Monday, January 14, 2019

In Support of LAUSD Teachers: The Strike Begins

The rain is pouring in Los Angeles, but that's not dampening spirits on the picket line as teachers and supporters fight to improve the quality of education being offered by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Maria took these shots this morning outside the Blogger Teen's school.

Higher pay, smaller class sizes, more support staff. Our children, and the people tasked with preparing them for the future, deserve it. And as a society, we need to get our priorities in order. 

The fact that we rank so low in education funding is California's shame. Time to do something about it. It's truly unfortunate that we got to this point. In solidarity with LA's teachers.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Ralphs Ditches 'Van de Kamp's' Name, Rebrands Its Store-Brand Bread Under 'Kroger'

Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakeries was once a staple of Southern California, particularly thanks to the bakery/restaurant chain's trademark blue windmills. Founded in 1915, Van de Kamp's evolved into a chain of more than 300 bakeries and restaurants up and down the west coast. A grand headquarters was even built in Glassell Park. The building still stands (today it's the LA City College's Innovation Center, and also home to a charter school) — but Van de Kamp's went out of business in 1990.

The name has lived on via local grocer Ralphs, which holds the license to sell its in-house bakery items under the Van de Kamp's name. But that may now be changing.

Eagle-eyed Friend of Franklin Avenue Jim Ellwanger posted on his Twitter feed that it looks like Ralphs is ditching the Van de Kamp's brand in favor of its parent company, Kroger. That would bring items like bread, buns, and pastries, in line with its other Kroger-branded in-house store items. Here's what he found:

"Van de Kamp's bread has a new look. Same Great Taste! Now... KROGER." I guess chalk it up to another end of an era.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Y-Que Shirts Take on Trump: 'Trumpacabra' and 'Lock Him Up' For Sale

It's been a while since we checked in with one of our favorite Los Feliz shops, Y Que, and its infamous t-shirts. But over the holidays we were in the neighborhood and stopped by, and were pleased to see the Y Que t-shirt game still going strong.

Of course, the hot topic of the resistance is front and center, via this "Trumpacabra" shirt and others addressing the current inhabitant of the White House. There's also a "Lock Him Up" shirt and, in the vein of Y Que's classic "Free Winona" shirt, a new one for Melania Trump. (Although, as we've learned in recent months, she is complacent in all of this.)

But as we first wrote about 10 years ago (!), we still really gravitate toward Y Que's wide selection of Los Angeles neighborhood shirts, featuring designs — sometimes humorous, sometimes spot-on — relevant to the area. Just a few examples:

The "Happy Foot/Sad Foot" Silver Lake shirt may be my favorite. Check out their website here for more shirts, and our past Franklin Avenue coverage of Y Que here. Y Que is located at 1770 N Vermont Ave. in Los Feliz.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Eve in Los Angeles: 2018 Edition

Our Christmas Eve traditions are tied to the Blogger Kid's birthday — he turned 14 on Monday — in addition to the holiday, and take us through the city. There's something special about being downtown and seeing the iconic City Hall lit up, next to the holiday lights and Christmas tree of Grand Park. Here's a look at our Christmas Eve in Los Angeles:

One tradition that we have had to alter: We used to eat at the Square One location at the Echo Park Boathouse before renting one of the paddleboats. Square One is gone, and its replacement, Beacon, wasn't open on Christmas Eve. So we continued the tradition by eating at the Square One location on Hyperion in Silver Lake *after* the paddleboats.

One big change to the paddleboats: New vendor Wheel Fun switched out the old boats with these swan boats. They're easier to paddle and more fun to look at, even though the swan heads partially block the view.

Another tradition: The 4 p.m. Children's Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Downtown Los Angeles.

After that, we book it across the street to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to catch the tail end of the annual Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration. The annual free event, which celebrates its 60th anniversary next year, boasts a wide range of talent — including, as seen above, the Daniel Ho Trio, with Halau Hula Keali'i O Nalani, Makoto Taiko, and the Arcadia High School Orchestra.

The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea end the show.

One last look at Grand Park and City Hall, before we head off to see the extended family. Merry Christmas from Los Angeles.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Record Stores Still Live: Support Your Local Retailer While You Can This Holiday

It was very heartening to visit Rockaway Records on Sunday, as it held another of its periodic sales. Yes, I download and stream music these days, but there's still nothing like holding physical media — and discovering something in the stacks. I went home with 16 CDs for $36. I'm not sure how much of a business model that is, but I imagine Rockaway makes most of its revenue through its vibrant collectable business, and also from its real estate. (The music store has slimmed down over time, as it began renting off chunks of its building to other businesses, like Silver Lake Wine.) Thank goodness for stores like Rockaway and Amoeba, keeping the joy of music shopping alive.

Rockaway Records, 2395 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
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