Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday Night At Vincent's

Friday, March 30, 2011

Headed out tonight to meet my buddy at Vincent's in Worcester. Michelle "Go Kat Go" Terranova was putting on her first Worcester show, featuring Skinny Jim & The Number 9 Blacktops from Illinois. Michelle is renowned for luring National & International Rockabilly acts to her shows at Cafe 9,in New Haven, CT. Lucky for us, she recently moved to Massachusetts & brought her love of all things Rockabilly with her. This first show was a good one, featuring a mix of Rockabilly with good old Rock & Roll washed down with a few ice-cold Narragansetts in the killer atmosphere of Vincent's & I went home with a coupla new CDs. AHHH! Now that hit the spot!

Vincent's cool sign.

Skinny Jim & the boys gettin' it on!

Thanks, Michelle. That was a great night & I can't wait for the next one.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Last Meal In SoCal

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Well, I reached Trader Vic's in L.A. only to discover that there was a Lakers game right next door. The restaurant was packed & parking was scarce. Rats! Trader Vic's was gonna have to wait til the next trip. Now, I was really hungry & I began to brain-storm for a Plan B. I was not eating at some giant, conglomerate, chain restaurant. This was SoCal. It had to be someplace cool. Then, I remembered driving by this amazing coffee shop, on my way to L.A. from Redondo. I turned the car around & headed back, in search of Pann's. Finally, Pann's came into view. The closer I got, the cooler it looked. OK, this was gonna be a good way to end my trip.

I sauntered in, sat down at the counter & looked up to see a bunch of cool, vintage drag racing photos, on the wall behind the counter. I'm guessing these were regular customers back in the day. How cool is it that Pann's kept these pics up all these years? While waiting for my dinner, I heard the strains of "Little Darlin'" by The Gladiolas coming from the jukebox.! This place was getting better by the minute.

BLT, Potato Salad & a Coke. God Bless America!

After finishing my meal, I figured I had better head for the airport. I had no idea that I was only about 5 minutes away from LAX. Now, I had time to kill, so I decided to do a bit more cruising. As soon as this gourgeous sign for the Academy Theater came into view, my heart skipped a beat. This sign was spectacular & in complete working order. I got closer, parked the car & hopped out to takes some pics. as I got closer, I realized that the place was no longer a theater, but some type of church. Sigh! At least they had maintained this killer sign.

Back towards LAX, I happened upon Randy's Donuts, another Southern California, roadside icon.

Now it was time to turn in the rental & take the shuttle over to the terminal for the long trip home. My first trip to California had exceeded all of my expectations & the people were amazing. I was very impressed with the hospitality of everyone I came in contact with. I felt so at ease with everyone I met everywhere I went. I hope, someday, I will have the opportunity to relocate to SoCal. I've really had it with New Engalnd winters!

Cruising Around SoCal

Thursday, February 3, 2011

After leaving Barris Kustom City, I decided to head back to Long Beach to poke around the stores a bit more. After I finished my window-shopping, I realized I had been in California for a week & hadn't seen the Pacific Ocean, yet. I hopped in the rental & headed for the beach. It was another beautiful day & there were a few people walking the beach & bike-riding. I took a few pics & decided to head up to Redondo for some lunch. I was hoping for fish tacos, but I couldn't seem to find any so I settled for a Fisherman's Platter, at one of the restaurants on the pier. The food was cheaper than I had expected & I soon found out why. It was awful! I choked down what I could & hit the road, again. I headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway heading towrds L.A. with thoughts of dinner & a Mai Tai at Trader Vic's.

Long Beach

Redondo Beach

Barris Kustom City

Thursday, February 2, 2011

I woke up Thursday morning, knowing it would be my last in beautiful Southern California. I had a midnight date with a red-eye flight back to that frozen hell I live in. I got up, packed my things & checked out of the motel. Cash was at a premium, so my day was going to have to be on a low budget. That was OK. At least I could spend the whole day in SoCal. My first stop of the day was Barris Kustom City in North Hollywood. I arrived around 11:00 AM to find the door still locked. I peered through the windows, trying to get a peek at what was inside. I didn't realize anyone was there, but George's daughter saw me & came over to unlock the door. She let me in & graciously told me to feel free to roam around & take pictures. She then went back to her work & I noticed George sitting behind the counter, eating his lunch. I had met George several times & decided I'd just look around & let him eat his lunch in peace. There was not much of the rich, Barris Kustom history on display, but I was pleased to cast my eyes on the original TV Batmobile. I poked around a bit, took a few pics & then headed out to explore a little more of my Mecca.

The beautiful Southern California sky & landscape that greeted me Thursday morning

Barris Kustom City

The Munster Coach

Batmobile #1 aka the Lincoln Futura concept car.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bob's Broiler, Downey, California Cruise Night

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Any Rod & Kustom guy, worth his salt, knows of Harvey's/Johnies's broiler in Downey, California. The Broiler is one of the most famous drive-ins on the planet. Located in the heart of Kustomland, it was frequented by the likes of Larry Watson, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Dean Jeffries, et al. It had been used as a used car lot for several years when, in January 2007, late on a Sunday afternoon, the man leasing it and/or the owner decided to begin an illegal demolition of this icon of Rod & Kustom history. The razing was halted when a concerned citizen notified the police. From that day on, things evolved, slowly at first & then surprisingly quickly. A group of Downey citizens & a die-hard group of Rod & Kustom guys banded together & fought to save this landmark. After a long & passionate fight, Big Boy Restaurants & Jim Lauder, the owner of the Torrance Big Boy stepped up & signed a lease for the property with a vow to restore the Broiler to it's original glory. After following this story online, since the demolition, I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the Rod & Kustom cruise night at this amazing drive-in. This is truly a triumph for car guys & Americana fans everywhere & shows what can be accomplished with hard work & passion.