Valley Relics

After visiting Corriganville, Patrick and I headed to Valley Relics Museum. Valley Relics is a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the San Fernando Valley, with a wide array of wonderful and impressive artifacts from businesses from the San Fernando Valley, including a fantastic collection of vintage ashtrays, ephemera, neon signs, and more. And when Patrick told me they had some items belonging to western wear legend, Nudie Cohn, I was even more excited to visit!

The Palomino sign was quite impressive and one of my favorite pieces, as it was where many country-western legends performed, including Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, and personal favorite, The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Valley Relics is located in Chatsworth, about 33 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It is only open on Saturdays, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, and is free to visit, but donations are always happily accepted.

Goodbye Gill’s

Last Sunday was a sad day in the Los Angeles history books, Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream at Los Angeles’ Original Farmers Market closed up shop after 80 years scooping ice cream. I cannot lay claim to many fond memories spent at Gill’s, as I had only been there once, but I can still mourn the loss of a true “home spun and family run” (as Charles Phoenix likes to say) business. For generations, the Gill family has dished out cone after cone, and legend has it they created the flavor rocky road. So, when we heard that this LA landmark was vacating, we had to go over to bid farewell.

I was very inspired by the look of Gill’s when I picking out what to wear, selecting a pink and white stripe shirtwaist that reflected the pink and white stripes of the stand itself, and taking from the green awning, I opted for a green bolero. As I selected my outfit, I lamented about a lack of an ice cream or Coca-Cola brooch, when true inspiration struck me! As I was getting dressed, I looked at my dresser, atop which sits a vintage Knott’s Berry Farm ashtray, full of my Knott’s jewelry, and I remembered discussions at Knott’s of making brooches out of some of their fun magnets. I then remembered we had a Coca-Cola magnet reminiscent of the signage that Gill’s had! So I used a plain magnet on the inside of my dress to secure the Coca-Cola one. I also chose to wear my vintage, Los Angeles themed charm bracelet, which features a Farmers Market charm on it!

It was delightful to see the outpouring of love that people had for Gill’s, as the line curved its way through the aisles of Farmers Market, and people shared their stories of their visits to Gill’s over the decades. I even had the delight of talking to the great-grand daughter of the founder, which was a really wonderful moment, as she shared her memories with me.

Farmers Market has announced another family-owned ice cream shop will take up residence in the same stall in the near future.

Outfit
Bolero: Gift from Patrick, but I know he got it at Hollywood Babylon, Portland, Oregon
Dress: Red Light, Portland, Oregon
Belt: Nordstorm
Shoes: Re-Mix
Purse: Lux de Ville
Scarf: I don’t remember
LA Charm Bracelet: Found by my dad I think…

Clifton’s Pacific Seas Bar

After much anticipation, Clifton’s (which I have blogged about on several previous occasions, including its grand re-opening, Thanksgiving, and the first Fur & Feathers in LA) finally opened the doors to the newest addition to its cabinet of curiosities, Pacific Seas, a tiki bar inspired by the first ever Clifton’s, under the same name.

The Pacific Seas was the first of Clifford Clinton’s chain of cafeterias, and featured a gorgeous pacific island theme with lots of bamboo, gorgeous faux rock features, both inside and out, and even neon palm trees. It was gaudy, outrageous, and utterly amazing. Honestly, what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and experiences it. Seriously, take a look…

Pacific Seas opened in 1939 and closed its doors in 1960s, when it was demolished and became a parking lot, which it has remained since. But now Clifton’s guests can either re-live, or experience for the first time, a small taste of what the Pacific Seas was like with its all new tiki bar. On Friday Patrick and I had the pleasure of going the night before its grand opening thanks to a friend. My eyes couldn’t stop darting around at all of the amazing details, and these photos simply don’t do it justice. One of my favorite details was the original plaque to the outside of the Pacific Seas location that discussed the exterior and gave thanks to the artists behind the creation. Sadly, I failed to get any real outfit photos with the exception of a quick snap at the end of the night.

I can imagine we shall be visiting Pacific Seas as often as possible, as it is nothing short of spectacular, and I highly encourage both locals and visitors to LA alike to visit!

Outfit
Dress: LA Vintage Expo
Shoes: Re-Mix
Coconut Bangle: ???

Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Just a few hours after arriving home from San Diego Comic Con, Patrick and I were off to LA to attend Charles Phoenix‘s show at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, a rare, if not slightly bizarre, gem in Los Angeles. I had heard about this theatre from Charles on a few occasions, but the show he hosted was my first visit to it, and what a treat it was! But more on it in a bit! First let’s take a peek at what I wore…

I wore this cowgirl brooch because her dangly style reminded me a bit of a marionette. She has a boyfriend as well, however, his color scheme didn’t match my outfit as well as she did. So he was left in the jewelry box for the evening.

First off, it should be mentioned that the Bob Baker Marionette Theater runs regularly, Charles Phoenix’s event was a special one (UPDATE: Charles is hosting another event in September at the theater! Learn more here), in which he selected his favorite numbers to showcase, and it was amazing. Seriously, being a puppeteer is an art from, I was blown away by how these performers were able to give life to the marionettes by pulling just a few strings. Plus the marionettes themselves were stunning works of art.

The theater was founded 1963 by Bob Baker, who both made puppets as well as performed with them. Over the decades the Theater was the home of thousands of birthday parties for the children in the Los Angeles area, and a few adults I came to learn. One attendee mentioned he had both his sixth and 40th birthday at the theater. In 2009 the Bob Baker Marionette Theater was designated at Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark. And while Bob Baker passed away in 2014 at the age of 90, his theater and legacy continue to live on. If you’re in the LA area, I highly suggest a visit! They have a Halloween show coming up this fall, which I am looking forward to attending.

Outfit
Patio Dress: Junk 4 Joy, Burbank, California
Pressed Leather Shoes: Olvera Street, Los Angeles, California
Purse & Cowgirl Brooch: Found by my dad
Bangles: Various

Sabado en la Plazita

Over the weekend a few friends and I got together for a Saturday afternoon at Olvera Street, dining on delicious Mexican food, peeking into the museums, and shopping the unique stalls and shops along the oldest stretch of Los Angeles.

We dined at Casa La Golondrina Mexican Cafe, which opened in 1928, and is located within Los Angeles’ first brick building. Afterward we went into Avila Adobe, which is the oldest structure remaining the LA, built in 1818, and is now a museum reflecting the the lifestyle of the early days of California. I also bought myself another pair of the shoes I’m wearing in these photos, except in green. Seriously, these faux tooled (also known as pressed) leather wedges have quickly become a favorite and go-to shoe for me. They are comfy once broken in, and work with so much of my closet.

Also, can I just gush about my dad’s awesome shopping skills for a moment? He spied this beauty of a skirt at an antique mall and sent me a picture of it and followed by calling me to make sure I got the picture text, and asked me if I wanted it. I was in line to me Kylo Ren at Disneyland at the time, and thankful for his call, because this skirt is beyond amazing. Not only is it a spectacular print, it’s in amazing condition and fits perfectly, oh and has pockets! Thanks, Dad!

Outfit
Peasant Top: Pin-Up Girl Clothing
Painted Mexican Skirt: Found by my dad!
Tooled Leather Purse, Earrings, & Bracelet: I don’t remember!
Necklace: Made by a friend
Pressed Leather Shoes: Olvera Street, Los Angeles, California

The La Brea Tar Pits

Over the weekend Patrick and I went to the La Brea Tar Pits. Finally! We had been wanting to go since we moved, but I wanted to wait until I found myself a piece of jewelry featuring my favorite prehistoric creature, the saber-toothed cat (formally known as the Smilodon), which I happily found on Etsy from Hungry Designs. I was beyond excited to finally see the loads of fossils that have been discovered right in the heart of Los Angeles since 1913, and are still being found to this day.

The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits offers a lot of insight into the area we now know as Los Angeles during the prehistoric time period, with thousands of fossils on display, active dig sites and labs. When peeking through the window into a lab we observed paleontologists working on finding micro-fossils using microscopes. One used her phone to take a picture through her microscope to show what she had found, which I thought was a really nifty way of showing what she was seeing. Another unique offering at the Page Museum is the Encounter Theatre where guests learn more about Rancho La Brea, the current digs going on, and even encounter a real life saber-toothed cat! Or, at least a very incredible, life sized puppet of one.

I’ve loved saber-toothed cats since I can remember. I recall once at day care (like pre-kindergarten) we used stencils to decorate necklaces we were making, and after using a cat stencil I added the large teeth to make a saber-toothed cat. And as a full grown adult I made a saber tooth cat at Build-a-Bear when it was offered a little ways back. Also, fun fact the saber-toothed cat is the official state fossil of California!

Outfit
Sweater: I honestly don’t remember…
Skirt & Penny Loafers: Buffalo Exchange
Purse: Present from my sister
Sabor Tooth Cat Brooch: Hungry Designs
Scarf: Thrifted…probably…

Clifton’s Cafeteria At Last

When I think about iconic old Los Angeles, a few places immediately spring to mind. The Bradbury Building, LA City Hall, Angels Flight, Griffith Observatory, and Clifton’s Cafeteria. Clifton’s is most certainly an institution in here southern California, and it’s one that was reborn last night, and Patrick and I were lucky enough to attend the grand re-opening. There are three stories that I feel are important to tell, so, this is going to be a longer than normal post.

First I want to tell the story of Clifton’s Cafeteria and its owner, Clifford Clinton. And while at first that may sound kind of boring, I’m telling you it borders on sounding like a James Elroy novel. The first Clifton’s Cafeteria was opened by Clifford Clinton (the name Clifton’s was created by taking portions of his first and last name and putting them together), in 1931, and was called Clifton’s Pacific Seas. The cafeteria was jungle themed, with murals, faux palm trees, waterfalls, and, my favorite detail, a rainfall every twenty minutes. The Pacific Seas location would remain open until 1960. Clinton opened his second cafeteria in 1935, Clifton’s Brookdale as it was called, and it featured a Redwoods inspired interior, rock work and water features. Clinton opened his cafeterias during one of America’s most difficult time periods, the Great Depression, and while other restaurants were turning away customers who couldn’t pay, Clinton had the following printed on guest checks, “Regardless of the amount of this check, our cashier will cheerfully accept whatever you wish to pay – or you may dine for free.” His openness did not end there. In a time when there were separate drinking fountains and much, much more for blacks and whites, Clinton welcomed everyone, regardless of race.

In the same year, Clinton was invited to inspect the food operations at LA County General Hospital, and it was the stepping off point on a crusade against corruption. At the hospital, Clinton made a report siting waste and poor patient treatment, and offered suggestions to trim the budget, but what he didn’t know was that the hospital and its budget had political ties, and Clinton’s suggestions were not welcome ones. In 1937, Clinton found himself selected for LA County Grand Jury, and specifically a jury that would hear offenses punishable by a year or more in prison, and the service would last one year. Shocked by what he learned while serving, and the resistance he met within the grand jury, Clinton created his own group, Citizens’ Independent Vice Investigating Committee (CIVIC). He compiled a report highlighting the relationship between city officials and the criminal underworld, and after the grand jury refused to print it, Clinton printed it himself. After the report, Clinton soon found his own restaurants were being issued violations, and even lawsuits by people claiming food poisoning and more. In October of 1937, a bomb exploded in the basement of Clinton’s Los Feliz home, and just a little while later, another bomb exploded in the car of an ex-cop, who was giving information to Clinton. The bombing was tied to an LAPD Captain, who was soon put on trial. The trial also exposed that the Captain was running illegal wiretaps, and soon the public became aware of the corruption within the city’s government. With the bombing and other corruption now pubic, Clinton with his CIVIC allies then began a recall campaign against the mayor, and they were successful.

After Pearl Harbor and America’s entrance into World War II, Clinton, at 41, joined the army and worked as a mess officer. After the war, he attempted to run for mayor. When he lost, he turned to the problem of world hunger, and teamed up with a Caltech biochemist to develop a food supplement to give proper nutrition, and did so at the cost of five cents per meal, Multi-Purpose Food, as it would be called. He then used this to create Meals for Millions, which has continued to this day in the form of Freedom from Hunger. During his crusades against corruption and hunger, Clinton continued his restaurant businesses, and opened several more locations, however, Clifton’s Brookdale was the only one to survive, being sold in 2010 to Andrew Meieran, who then closed it for refurbishment, and underwent many, many delays, as well as $3 million before it reopened its doors Monday night.

The second story I want to tell is the shortest of the three. As some of you might already know, my dad is originally from the Los Angeles area. He grew up down here, and he can tell you where nearly every business used to be, and recalls stories of his childhood and teenage years before he headed to Oregon for college. It is his stories, along with California’s lush history, that I want to track down and relive, they are stories that inspire me. When he told me about visiting Clifton’s, I longed to go, and Clifton’s shot to the top of the list of places to visit after we moved. But, like many, we found out we had to wait.

And now, the wait is over, and I get to tell you about our experience! Clifton’s Grand Re-Opening was a ticketed event to benefit the LA Conservancy, and Patrick had surprised me with tickets awhile ago. So I had been eagerly counting down the days, while simultaneously trying to avoid looking at pictures from the news articles that were popping up on the internet. Finally the day arrived, and the date couldn’t have been better as it fell on our one year anniversary of moving to California. Seriously, what better way to celebrate? Clifton’s pretty much sums up the reasons why I wanted to move here.

Clifton’s on one level may come across as kitsch to the max, but it is also incredibly charming, and classy. It still evokes all of the fun it did when it opened, while giving the menu a facelift, but there is still mac and cheese and Jell-O. I loved exploring its nooks and crannies, and taking pictures, despite difficulties (seriously, this place was a pain to shoot in, because it is so dark). During the party, the first and second floors were open to the General Admission (which we were), with the next two floors open for VIP admission (which we instantly regretted not purchasing, though they cost double what GA cost). And while the doors might be open, it’s still not completed. Talk of a tiki bar and speakeasy are on everyone’s lips, and I look forward to many, many returns during our visits into LA and exploring it even further.

Outfit
Dress: Stars Antique Mall, Portland, Or.
Stockings: What Katie Did
Purse & Necklace: Antique Alley, Portland, Or.
Bangles: Buffalo Exchange
Shoes: I honestly don’t remember! Maybe Antique Alley as well…

Patrick’s Outfit
Suit & Hat: Paper Moon Vintage, Los Angeles, Ca.
Shirt & Shoes: Nordstorm
Tie: Not sure…maybe found by my dad…