Go Go to Museums of the Arroyo Day on May 16th! (Photo of Arroyo Seco Parkway circa 1940 courtesy of MOTA Day.)

 

Love to looky-loo at historical homes?  Interested in LAPD gangster-gumshoe struggles? Wish you could travel back in time?    

Check out the 21st anniversary of the Museums of the Arroyo Day (MOTA) on Sunday, May 16th for all of the above (well, maybe not ACTUAL time travel…) plus suffragettes, a helicopter, and an Edwardian-era fashionista. You can park once, (or take the Metro Gold Line), pay nothing, and spend the day meandering around the museums  that line this leafy tributary of the Los Angeles River.    

Ms. Go Go recommends absolutely every museum but if you can’t dedicate the day, here are highlights of events at the participating museums:  Heritage Square Museum, Lummis Home and Garden, Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum, Pasadena Museum of History, and the Gamble House.     

In addition to the preserved, historic structures, the Heritage Square Museum can be an all day destination in itself for families; myriad, kid-friendly activities include historical storytellers, period crafts, and Victorian games.   Be prepared to explain “women’s rights” to any kids in tow; suffragettes will  be in attendance in keeping with MOTA Day 2010’s theme: “Women of Early Los Angeles”.    Maybe the ladies will wear bloomers, which would further entertain the small fry….    

Started in 1898 and finished in 1910 by Renaissance Man Charles Lummis (founder of the Southwest Museum, among many other accomplishments), the Lummis House, with its use  of stone, wood and decorative detailing, is considered one of the earliest examples of the Arts and Craft aesthetic.  If you only have time for a couple of museums on MOTA Day, check out the Lummis House and Garden (lots of native plants and a nursery/ shop to help you plan your new low-water garden!) then grab a shuttle from Highland Park to Pasadena to see the gorgeous Gamble House, which was built in the Arts and Crafts style in 1910 and is considered one of the finest examples of Greene & Greene architecture.  The other big draw?  Cookies and lemonade on the Gamble House lawn.  (You need sustenance for your stroll through history, right, Go Go’ers?)    

Linger longer on Pasadena’s former Millionaire Row….  Just down the street from the Gamble House is the Pasadena Museum of History, which is honoring Eva Scott Fenyes: Pasadena art patron, adobe archivist/watercolorist, and Edwardian fashion plate. The Fenyes mansion (the museum’s main building) will be closed but Ian Whitcomb and his Bungalow Boys will play music on the elegant grounds at 1:00PM and 3:00PM; period clothes are encouraged so you can tap your twinkle toes in button up shoes if that’s your fancy.   Historians-in-Residence Walter and Sheila Nelson will share  early 1900’s etiquette tips.   Hmmm…maybe you’d better stop here first before you gobble up Gamble House cookies.    

The  1925  Renaissance Revival style Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum is the perfect place to take big and little wannabe crime fighters who can climb into a police helicopter, sit on a police cruiser, try on police gear, and pose for a “booking photo”.  (Bring your own camera to immortalize the faux felon.)   Fans of nonfiction crime can meet John Buntin, author of the well-reviewed L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City, which details Police Chief William Parker’s decades-long attempt to thwart gangster Mickey Cohen’s efforts to become the biggest crime lord in the City of Angels.    ‘Cause every boy needs  a dream….    

MOTA DAY ends at 4:00, which is basically cocktail hour. Relax and imbibe at one of the Eight Great Bars of the Arroyo Seco, reviewed in Ms. Go Go’s three-part guide  (links after the jump) to Northeast Los Angeles watering holes.     

Go Go’ers,  history doesn’t have to be dry….    

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….    

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Author John Buntin brings his book to life in his guest-hosted tour from Esotouric.

 

The weather forecast may call for sunshine and blue skies this weekend but it’s always shady in the land of Noir.  This weekend, check out gangsters and gun molls plus real-life cops and robbers.  Snap-brimmed fedoras optional….  

The second* weekend of American Cinematheque’s Film Noir Festival at the Egyptian Theater features some interesting curiosities. The script for  Bodyguard, the second film in Friday night’s double feature (playing with The Locket) was written by a young Robert Altman.  Sunday night’s Drive a Crooked Road features the double delight of cast-against-type Mickey Rooney as a car mechanic whose penchant for pretty dames has him on the skids in a script by Blake Edwards.  (Walk a Crooked Mile follows.)  Saturday night’s fare has no stunt casting/screenplays but offers a double dose of Broderick Crawford in New York Confidential and Human Desire.  

Go Go’ers in the know dine on dry martinis and other Rat Pack staples across the street at Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood’s oldest restaurant (opened 1919) and a favorite haunt of Hollywood royalty and writers on a budget  or a binge; John Fante and Charles Bukowski both ate/drank here as did F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway when they wrote for “the studios”.  (NOTE: The bar at Musso & Frank Grill is now open until 2:00AM; a limited but beyond-bar-food menu, such as  steak filet, is also available.)  

Check out L.A.’s real back alleys, brazen gangsters, and beat-cops-with-a-mission in Esotouric’s L.A. Noir Crime Tour.   Author John Buntin brings to life his  highly praised book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City about the decades-long power struggle between cold-blooded-killer/Hollywood scenester Mickey Cohen and controversial Police Chief William Parker.   Buntin guest-hosts the tour  with Esotouric’s Crime Tour creator Kim Cooper.  The tour leaves from the classic Clifton’s Cafeteria; get there early to jolt yourself into consciousness with a cup of joe and a sugary dessert.  

Bad boys and b-girls, this one’s for you.  

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….  

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JOHN FANTE, novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and chronicler of Old Downtown, will be honored on April 8th with a city square at 5th Street and Grand Avenue.

H.L. Mencken mentored him.  Orson Welles collaborated with him. Charles Bukowski said of him, “Fante is my god.”  Robert Towne, who found John Fante’s novel Ask the Dust while researching Chinatown, declared it “the greatest novel ever written about Los Angeles” and endeavored for 30 years to bring it to the screen.

On Thursday, April 8th, fans of Fante, one of L.A.’s greatest, under-appreciated writers, will be dancing in the streets…or more accurately, at 5th Street and Grand Avenue, when it is officially dedicated as John Fante Square  by Councilpersons Jan Perry and Jose Huizar on the 101st anniversary of Fante’s birth.  Fittingly, the Square is next to the Los Angeles Public Library, which was a constant source of reading material for the young writer and which is where Charles Bukowski discovered the work of his literary hero, and at the bottom of Bunker Hill, where Fante lived and worked and which he chronicled in the novels about his autobiographical anti-hero Arturo Bandini, creating a rich portrait of a now-lost downtown Los Angeles in the process.  

 The hour-long dedication ceremony will be attended by Fante’s family, fans and city officials, and followed by a free, loosely structured walking tour of John Fante’s beloved Bunker Hill neighborhood led by L.A. historian Richard Schave (also of Esotouric fame), who initially suggested the dedication and guided it through the City Council approval process.  The tour will head up Bunker Hill (vastly changed since Fante’s day), take a ride on the recently opened Angel’s Flight (the “shortest railway in the world”), include a stop for a no-host lunch at Grand Central Market (on the ground floor of Los Angeles landmark, the  Homer Laughlin building), and end up at King Eddy’s Saloon, the last dive bar in Los Angeles.  King Eddy’s, which is featured in  Ask the Dust, has declared April 8th “John Fante Day”  and invites the public to “Party with us in honor of John and this special day.”

“Ah, Los Angeles!” John Fante wrote in Ask the Dust, “Dust and fog of your lonely streets, I am no longer lonely.”

Dedication of John Fante Square  & walking tour

Dedication: 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Tour: 12:00PM

South Grand Ave & West 5th Street

Los Angeles  90014

Free

http://lavatransforms.org/johnfantesquare

Novels in the Saga of Arturo Bandini (a.k.a. The Bandini Quartet)

The Road to Los Angeles (1933)

Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938)

Ask the Dust (1939)

Dreams of Bunker Hill  (1985)

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

Janis Joplin, Anderson Theater, NYC, 1968, singing with Big Brother and the Holding Company ; from Strange Kozmic Experience at the Grammy Museum; copyright Elliott Landy/LandyVision.com

 

Easter is over, Passover is all but past.  You’ve  dressed up, seen your loved ones, and eaten big, (hopefully) delish dinners.  

Ready to throw on your jeans and relax?  Today, the Grammy Museum debuts  Strange Kozmic Experience, which focuses on Sixties musical legends Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Doors who left an indelible mark on music with their blues-inspired rock ‘n roll.  

Give yourself plenty of time; the comprehensive exhibit features 30 rare photos by esteemed rock photographers Elliott Landy, Joel Brodsky, Lisa Law, Eddie Kramer, and Jim Marshall (who passed away less than two weeks ago); instruments and lyrics from blues influences such as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Odetta, Albert King, Howlin’  Wolf, and B.B. King; artifacts accompanied by archive footage and biographical films; and archived talk show interviews with the artists.  

Go Go’ers, you’re gonna want to throw on your fringed jacket with those jeans.  

You’re also gonna be hungry after all that time-tripping.  Keep the evening low-key and low-cash by Go Go’ing over to Spitz Doner Kebab Little Tokyo (LT to insiders).  The Not-Unhappy-Hour (3-7PM) and the Late Night Not-Unhappy Hour (9-10PM) feature inexpensive beer, pitchers and sangria as well as the restaurant’s newest, genius grub: Street Cart Fries (thin-sliced or sweet potato fries smothered with feta cheese, garlic aioli, onion, green pepper, diced tomato and Kalamata olives, peperoncinis, and chili sauce) and Cinnamon-Sugar Pita Strips with Vanilla Gelato Dipper.  

But wait, it gets better!  This Monday and Tuesday (April 5-6), you can get 50% off the Street Fries and the Cinnamon-Pita Dippers at either location (LT or Eagle Rock) when it’s NOT Not-Unhappy-Hour when you print out the coupon below (after the break).   Better still, you can use the printed coupon as many times as you want over the next two days before it expires on Wednesday, April 7th.  

Rock ‘n roll, cheap booze, ethnic eats – the Sixties live again.  

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….  

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Read the following and check all that apply:

A)  Your hyperactive relatives are coming into town and want to do something “different”…again.

B)  You were the (secretly smug) whiz on all of those school/scouts/slumber party scavenger hunts.        

C)  You KNOW you would dominate on a reality show but it’s just too embarrassing to admit much less sign up.

If you checked one or more of the above, then you should also check out The Amazing L.A. Race.  You and a team (which can be just you and a pal or up to eight of the aforementioned relatives…or friends… or you and an existing team) start at a Location-to-be-Revealed-Upon-Sign-Up-and-Confirmation where you’re given a clue that, when solved, leads to more clues at Los Angeles landmarks, both well-known and off-the-radar.   The first team to solve the clues and cross the finish line wins prizes and, of course, the even more important bragging rights….   Even natives will see Los Angeles in a whole new light after this on-the-ground, embrace your  city AND your inner tourist experience. 

THE AMAZING L.A. RACE

$69 per person

11:00 A.M.  on Saturday, March 13th and Sunday, March 14th

Check website below for the many other dates throughout the year as well as well as to sign up and get further details.

www.amazinglarace.com

Ready?   U Know U Want 2 Go Go….