OCTOBER 2019 Taimane in Malibu, Rocktoberfest, and Halloween!

OCTOBER 2019 – Taimane in Malibu, Rocktoberfest, and Halloween!

And so it is ROCK-TOBER again, and Halloween is on the doorstep.
Thanksgiving and “the Winter Holidays” (Christmas) are waiting in the wings.
Where does the time go? What happened to this year? Tempus Fugit! Time flies.

A Blog Post in three parts: first, some LIVE MUSIC Taimane in Malibu, second, a review of the month of October, and third, a little fun with “The Big Lebowski” and “Office Space”.

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US 101 North – Ventura Highway

Thursday’s sunset on the 101 freeway on the way to Pepperdine University in Malibu.

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Taimane LIVE at Pepperdine University 10-17-19

NOTE: Taimane is pronounced Tie-mane-ee

Taimane and her Quartet – Elemental Tour
with special guest Polynesian Dancers
in the Smothers Theatre at 8pm
2019 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Favorite Entertainer of the Year!
A wonderful showcase and celebration of Polynesian culture.

with added bonus “It’s All Black & White” Contemporary Art exhibit
in the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art next door – FREE Admission!
(see our previous Blog Post for pictures of the art)

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“It’s All Black & White” Art at Pepperdine University

One Ticket to the show: $20+$2 service charge = $22 Total!
and FREE PARKING if you park in the shuttle lot and ride.
(and $7 to park nearby if you don’t want to shuttle)

“She shreds on ukulele and rocks everything from Beethoven to Led Zeppelin. Somehow she manages to not only rock out but connect the audience with meaningful Hawaiian traditions and dances.” – Austin American-Statesman

It was an easy drive from the San Fernando Valley to Malibu. There was only a little stopped traffic caused by the stoplight and left-turning cars at the intersection of Las Virgenes and Mulholland going through the Santa Monica Mountains to the beach. Our destination: Pepperdine University on the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) above the Pacific Ocean.

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US 101 Freeway (north/west)- Ventura Highway at Sunset

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View of Malibu and the Pacific Ocean from Pepperdine at night

We parked for FREE in the shuttle lot and after a short ride we were at the Smothers Theatre picking up our ticket at WillCall. It was a beautiful evening at the beach! We arrived early, walked around a little, took some pictures of the campus, and then visited the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art next door and experienced the “It’s All Black & White” contemporary art exhibit for FREE! (pictures of the art in our previous Blog Post)

Lovely fountains, the Palm Court next to the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, steps that lead down to the lower campus and a Starbuck’s, the parking lot and the Smothers Theatre at the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts – Pepperdine University in Malibu.

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And when they opened the house doors, we went to find our seat. Orchestra Row B, on the side aisle. The show started about 15 minutes late, and then it was magic time! Taimane has a beautiful voice  and she jams on the ukulele (and guitar)! She talked directly to the audience, introduced each section/song during the performance and created a intimate relationship with the audience. Her quartet were also amazing! She was accompanied by a guitar, violin and percussion (actually a trio) and two wonderful dancers who performed hula and haka dances during a few of her pieces. We enjoyed the show very much! We love LIVE MUSIC! And the performance was really fun.

One of the reasons we chose a seat on the side was in case video recording was allowed…. and it was! The lighting and our cheap cel phone camera made it difficult to get good pictures (as you can see, we had the same problem at Lebowskifest), but the videos we shot came out pretty good and did a good job of capturing the musical performance.

A couple interesting points: 1. The theatre space makes the performance different from a club venue or music stage, and the audience response was great, but somewhat subdued.
2. The actual show length was kind of short. They started late and played a short first set, then there was an intermission, and a longer second set.  And done before 10:30. There was time for more music (at least another song), and there could and should have been a little or a lot more music, and maybe less introduction. But for only $22 for the ticket we should just shut up, because it was a fabulous performance that we really enjoyed.

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NOTE: Why does this always happen? The nice (old) couple behind me sat down and started talking…. season ticket holders? They knew nothing about the artist or the music.
And they had a wonderful experience! We know because they talked….

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During Intermission and after the show, Taimane worked the “Merch” table, signing autographs and taking pictures with everyone! The other musicians and the dancers also came and mingled with the crowd and everyone was very friendly.

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Spotted this car in the shuttle parking lot after the show! Lots of vintage stickers too.

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We rode the shuttle back to the parking lot and walked to our car enjoying the view of Malibu and the Pacific Ocean at night from the university heights. We once lived in the Pacific Palisades on the Pacific Coast Highway just south of Malibu with a panoramic view of the ocean and we really miss enjoying it 24/7.  We drove south on PCH and then back to the San Fernando Valley through Topanga Canyon. There was construction and we had to stop twice for traffic when it was just a single lane. There were too many slow drivers and one crazy tailgater, but we got home eventually without incident.

Ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner performs
at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
(Right Click and “Open in New Window”)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ-_ZO9AlMo
and her page on fb> www.facebook.com/taimanegardner

NOTE: The three Taimane live performance videos we shot have been uploaded to our personal fb page and may soon be available on our YouTube channel, if we can figure out how to upload them from our cheapo camera. Her videos on YouTube rock!

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“So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working,
every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it.
So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”
– Peter Gibbons, Office Space

Here is our old 2010 commercial real estate office space in West Los Angeles:

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Our CUBICLE in the West Los Angeles Office

As a Hollywood Talent Manager we worked from the Home Office for over 10 years. It was a big change having to wake up, get ready and then drive to work to get to the office and our work desk in our cubicle space. Try doing the 405 Freeway Crawl for a year! It was only 12 miles, but it could take well over an hour to get from the Valley to West L.A. And the drive “over the hill” isn’t much better using the canyon roads, as we found out working at the Century City adjacent Talent Agency. It sucks to arrive at work already stressed out from the drive, and then to still have to be present and accounted for all day. And then stress out on the drive home in horrible traffic again after work…….

Agent, Agent, Agent! Three jobs in a row:
Commercial Real Estate (sales & leasing) Agent – nice cubicle in nice office as seen above.
Hollywood Talent Agent – had our own office, but it really was just a “private” cubicle.
Luxury Travel Advisor/Travel Agent – didn’t even get walls, just got an open desk space.

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Milton: “I believe you have my stapler.”

And at present we are back in the Home Office, Right now, we are finishing this Blog Post in our bathrobe at 4:30am while drinking coffee and watching reruns (that we’ve already seen too many times) of “Two And A Half Men”.
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So OCTOBERFEST!
Rock Out it’s ROCKTOBERFEST!
And INKTOBER too!

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Happy Halloween 2019!

September 29: Happy Rosh Hashanah! Happy Jewish New Year!
(we celebrate for 2 days, and observe the holiday for 10 days)

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Happy Jewish New Year!

October 8 was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement
(lots of prayers and fasting on the holiest day of the year)
A personal message from JoshWillTravel:
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Remember The Las Vegas Massacre on the Las Vegas Strip?
October 1st was the 2 year anniversary of the Route91 Harvest Music Festival:
58 people killed and 422 wounded.
October 27th is the 1 year anniversary of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life (L’Simcha congregation) Synagogue Shooting: 11 people killed and 7 others injured.

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“Enjoy Every Sandwich”

October is the tenth month of the year
Autumn in the Northern hemisphere
October’s birthstones are tourmaline and opal
Zodiac signs for October are Libra and Scorpio
And it’s National Pizza, Popcorn Poppin’, Pork, and Seafood Month!

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“Callin’ Oates” Your EMERGENCY Hall & Oates Hotline!

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We called it. It is real. “Whoaaaaa, here she comes…..”

October 20 – Remembering Tom Petty on his birthday.
Gone too soon. May his memory and music be a blessing!

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Happy BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY 2019!

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Oct 25 is St Crispin’s Day!
“This story shall the good man teach his son,
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd” – Henry V
The Battle of Agincourt was fought on this day in 1415.

He stomped on the Terra.
Remembering Wolodia Grajonca (aka Bill Graham) today.
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HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2019!
Still on OCTOBER 31st for now…
Watch for a new Halloween Blog Post coming soon!

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Happy Halloween 2019!

“They did the Mash, They did the Monster Mash!”

The Dude Abides. And where did the year go?
How is it the end of October already?
TIME. TIME. TIME.
“It’s astoundingTime is fleeting. Madness takes it’s toll” – Riff Raff

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“Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world – Dudeism.
An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh…lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you’d like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we’ll help you get started. Right after a little nap.”

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“And even if he’s a lazy man, and the Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide.”

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

“Shomer Shabbos!” Friday at dusk until Saturday at sunset!

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“SHOMER F*CKIN’ SHABBOS!”

The Sheriff of Malibu: (a F*ckin’ Fascist!)
“I don’t like your jerk-off name, I don’t like your jerk-off face,

I don’t like your jerk-off behavior, and I don’t like you, jerk-off.”

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“Stay out of Malibu, Lebowski! Stay out of Malibu, Deadbeat! Keep your ugly fuckin’ goldbrickin’ ass out of my beach community.”

“I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.”

bzCemBG
The Dude Abides.

“Come, come, leave business to idlers, and wisdom to fools:
they have need of ’em: wit be my faculty, and pleasure my occupation,
and let father Time shake his glass.”
~William Congreve

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.         …I’m dreaming of a White Russian.

“Uh, I am not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude.
So that’s what you call me. You know uh, that or uh, his Dudeness,
or uh Duder or uh, El Duderino, if you know you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

Use these LINKS to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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The JoshWillTravel AdventureScope on Youtube> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP3QQfRTfD-2eABWVd-JwQ

Have you seen my IMDB? http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0918756/

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“Truckin’, got my chips cashed in.
Keep truckin’, like the doo-dah man
Together more or less in line, just keep truckin’ on.”
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“For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone.” – Psalms 103:16

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FULL MOON FEVER!

OUR RECENT BLOG POSTS:
(we’ve been on a roll and these are all new!)



 

Rancho Los Encinos in Encino, California

Rancho Los Encinos in Encino, California

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Los Encinos State Historic Park 2017

“Los Encinos State Historic Park, just northeast of the intersection of Balboa and Ventura Boulevards in Encino, California, was the hub of Rancho El Encino. Located in the San Fernando Valley, this California rancho includes the original eight-room de la Ossa Adobe, the two-story limestone Garnier building, a blacksmith shop, a natural spring, and a pond.”

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Rancho Los Encinos 1949

“The natural spring provided a year-round source of water for the ancient, autonomous, village of Siutcanga.  The village was home to Chumash, Tongva, and Tataviam people, who later were called “Fernandeños” by the Spanish due to the enslavement of these three groups to the San Fernando Mission.  An excellent description of this village was recorded as part of the 1769 Portola Expedition. This Spanish expedition reached the San Fernando Valley and named it “El Valle de Santa Catalina de Bononia de Los Encinos” (The Valley of St. Catherine of Bononia of the Oaks).”

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Rancho El Encino 1880s

September 4th, 1781 – El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles is founded!

“Located along a significant travel route between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, the property passed through many hands between the 1840s and the early 20th century. Today, the park contains exhibits related to the agricultural enterprises of Rancho El Encino’s various owners, including Mission Indian, Mexican Californio, French, and French Basque families.”

National Register of Historic Places: NPS-71000142
and California Historical Landmark Number 689

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Dogs are allowed (on leash)

Use these LINKS to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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Return to Homepage | The JoshWillTravel Adventure Channel on YouTube 

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California Department of Parks & Recreation – Los Encinos State Historical Park
www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=619

Los Encinos Docent Association http://los-encinos.org

Read our Blog Post about the Lakeside Cafe in Encino, with a view of the park>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/dinner-at-the-lakeside-cafe-in-encino/

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Los Encinos State Historic Park
16756 Moorpark St., Encino CA 91436-1068 (No Parking Lot – Street Parking Only!)
The Park is Open Wed – Sun 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Admission is FREE!
The Visitors’ Center in the Garnier Building is open during regular park hours.

 



 

Las Vegas, Nevada! “Vegas Baby! Vegas!”

Las Vegas, Nevada!
“Vegas Baby! Vegas!”

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Back from Las Vegas.
A fun trip to “Sin City”
Happy to be Home!

JOSHWILLTRAVEL! And travel to Las Vegas last week is what we did.*

*well, it wasn’t last week…. more like last month. Tempus fugit!

We were invited (very last minute) to our friend Frank’s 65th Birthday Adventure:
(via a series of text messages)
– Come to Vegas if you want we have extra rooms
– We arrive Wed and lots of different rooms. Party on Saturday
– The party at Topgolf should be good even if you dont golf. Has a private pool for us
– Then we got a big cabana by our pool Friday Saturday and Sunday

So, let me think about it….. and Road Trip to Vegas!
Left the beautiful San Fernando Valley at 1:30am on Thursday morning.
Highways to Las Vegas: 101north-134west-210west-10west-15north
We drove a rental truck, a no-frills silver Nissan Frontier, with unlimited miles.
No traffic! Driving 285 miles at night with the truckers on I-15 north.

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“World’s Tallest Thermometer” in Baker, California

Stopped along the way in Baker, California, for gas and to see the “World’s Tallest Thermometer” once again lighting the side of the 15 freeway. It was “non-operational” for many years, but has been repaired and now it is again a beacon at night on the desert highway.
NOTE: Gas prices were “too f*ckin’ high” in Baker! 

Stateline! No stopping until we get to town.

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Stateline! Primm, Nevada

Arrived at South Point Hotel and Casino before 6am on Thursday.

We have always heard good things about the SouthPoint. People regularly recommend their buffet as being very good. They were also recently featured in the Showtime series “Action” about legal sports gambling, so as we rolled into town we decided to stop there.

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SouthPoint Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada

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Self Parking at SouthPoint is FREE. We parked outside, instead of in the structure, and it was only a short walk to the Casino entrance. We had to go to the High Limit Slots counter to get a Player’s Card because the Club Desk doesn’t open until 7am. We played some blackjack and a little video poker and won a little money.

We also earned 300 club points which entitled us to “spin the wheel” and we won 5000 points (so we cashed them out for $15.00), wandered around the casino, and then headed for their Breakfast Buffet.

NOTE: Get the SouthPoint Player’s Card and the Breakfast Buffet is only $9.95 + tax
(Really nice breakfast buffet for ~$11.00 + $5.00 tip for our server/waitperson)

Breakfast Buffet Time! The Las Vegas “Buffet Experience”! And we were hungry…..

On The Menu: Everything. It was a Good Buffet!

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After breakfast we headed out and drove to the Wyndham Grand Desert Resort near the MGM Grand and across the street from TopGolf at the south end of the strip.
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Wyndham Grand Desert Resort

Parked near Tower 3, walked to registration at Tower 2 and Checked In.
Our friends had the rooms reserved and a quick phone call was made, our ID was checked, and we were handed a keycard and welcome instructions. We walked back to Tower 3 and met one of our friends in the lobby. She gave us the “nickel tour” of the resort property and showed us the adult pool and the cabana they had reserved for our party weekend. We walked back to Tower 3 and grabbed our luggage and weekend supplies out of the truck and rode the elevator upstairs.

The SMELL in the hall.
Okay, something died. rotting trash beyond rotting. it was terrible. really terrible.
FOR THE WHOLE TIME! It was disgusting. It reeked. It stank.
Yes, we complained. And they tried to mitigate the smell with deodorizers and sprays, but they should have called for sanitary cleanup immediately. They were really good about apologizing and they gave our hosts credit for the inconvenience.

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“It’s Kubrickian!”

The Sweet Suite!
Tower 3, Room 392 at the Wyndham Grand Desert Resort:

Happily, the smell was only in the hallway. Once inside the room, a “lock-out” connecting room, adjacent to the first room our hosts stayed in…. they moved to the Presidential Suite, and her brother moved into their room. More on that later.

Each room had a nice kitchen area, living room space and private bedroom and bath. Mine was a little smaller than the room next door which also had a bar and bar seating in the living room space. I was very happy with the accommodations and also the fact that it was FREE! My hosts were treated to drinks, gifts and other forms of thanks all week long in appreciation for the invitation.

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After the little tour of the resort the it was nappy time. Then once we were awake and active again, we joined our friends for a quick visit to the TopGolf mega-entertainment center across the street. We met our friends in the inside bar and had a cocktail while they finished their food (we were still full from the morning buffet).

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Our friend’s birthday party was scheduled for Saturday afternoon in the Chairman’s Suite, complete with private pool and lunch buffet, so they went to check it out.  More on that party later……
We wandered around and toured the massive four deck facility. There were lots of bar and seating areas, and a public pool area with lounges, private cabanas and a “swim-up” bar. There were televisions and monitors everywhere, and really big multi-screens by the pool and in the gathering and game areas. And there were a ton of people having fun at midday on Thursday! The Golf Area has private driving areas for rent, with computer monitoring, that tracks your ball and gives you distance, replay, and other fun golf info. And of course there is plenty of food and beverage service available everywhere.
Just mind the warning signs and watch for errant golf balls and clubs!
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And then back across the street to the resort.
Our friends moved their stuff to the Presidential Suite with a Private Veranda and we hung out there and waited for them to get settled in.
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We made a run to the local market and picked up provision for the week. And then later we went back across the street to TopGolf for a late dinner.

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TopGolf Photo Op!

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On The Menu: More cocktails
and Boneless BBQ Wings w/veggies & ranch dressing at one of the bars.
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FRIDAY at the Wyndham

Good morning! Cabana Time!
Our Large Private Party Cabana in the shade for Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

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Large Private Party Cabana in the shade for Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday began the same way each day: Tiki drinks for brunch! And some kind of food from the resort kitchen, along with snacks we brought from the room.

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The cabana was equipped with a nice television and a noisy ceiling fan, and the public smoking area was right next door and there was a public cabana in that area. Most of the pool cabanas were positioned in the sun, and must have been really hot inside, while our cabana was on the other side and in the shade set back but facing the adult pool area.

 

Dinner time on Friday, and we had a meeting in the Presidential Suite to decide where to go to eat. There are many choices, so the group reviewed them, and eventually decided to go to Burger Bar (inside the Luxor Hotel, which we didn’t know at the time).

NOTE: Everything we did took a long time to get it together and actually do it. It wasn’t a problem, and we resolved to just ride along and see what happens (most of the time).

And then it started raining. A real Desert Storm! And a wet Friday night.
One of our new friends was the non-drinking designated driver, and he was a cool dude. But his driving was not cool. And it was dark and wet and it took a long time to get there. And then we toured the parking lot, for a long time, before finally parking.

We made our way into the Luxor and found the Burger Bar. Basically a $20 hamburger without anything else, so we decided to go spend our money at The Peppermill instead.

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MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on a Rainy Night in Las Vegas, Nevada

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And so, after another wild ride in the rain around Las Vegas, we arrived for Dinner and Drinks at The Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge!

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We had dinner and tiki drinks in the restaurant and then went into the lounge and had more drinks. The rain was really coming down and we were in no hurry to leave, so we rode out the storm in the lounge and met some fun new people.
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On The Menu: Tiki Cocktails!
A Lava Flow and a nice Beef Dip Sandwich with fries and extra au jus

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A good time was had by all! We enjoyed our dinner and drinks at The Peppermill. Frank had a big Scorpion drink (in a glass, not a bowl) and the rest of us had a few different drinks from their cocktail menu too.

One more drive around Vegas in the rain and back to the resort. We survived! We returned to the Presidential Suite and then back to our suite in the other tower. We decided to take a hot bath and then sleep in the next day.

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“Wanna take a bath?”

SATURDAY at the Wyndham and TopGolf

Cabana Time! Basically the same routine as Friday: tiki drinks, food, people hanging out and new friends stopping by until it was time to get it together and head over to TopGolf for the big shindig!

Frank’s 65th Birthday Party in the Chairman’s Suite at TopGolf – Saturday 2-5pm
Golf, balls, a buffet, more drinks and a private swimming pool just for us.

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Party at TopGolf in Las Vegas, Nevada!

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The Guest of Honor in the Private Pool in the Chairman’s Suite

On The Menu: Tacos (chicken, steak and pork), Sliders (cheeseburgers, battered fish and pulled pork), chips with salsa and guacamole, salads, and of course more tiki cocktails!

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The party was a lot of fun, we got out drink on, and there was too much food! We ended up taking a lot of it back to the resort afterwards. There was golfing (unlimited balls, or something like that) and swimming too. The pictures are just a sample before it got crazy wild.

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A beautiful day at TopGolf Las Vegas!

Saturday Night in Vegas!

And so we returned to the resort and hung out until it got dark. We decided our next destination would be (more) Tropical Cocktails at Frankie’s Tiki Room! 

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Saturday Night on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada

After the wild road trip on Friday night, we decided we would drive to Frankie’s and meet the crew there. We cruised past The Strip and downtown to the bar.

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More cocktails! Famous tiki drinks! And it was really dark inside.
Here are some pics:

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We enjoyed a Mai Tai and then there was a lot of conversation and more drinks. We moved around from our table in the cabana to a seat at the bar. Lots of kitsch and weird decor to see, even in the dark. Eventually, they decided to return to the resort and we decided to go back to The Strip and have some Las Vegas fun.

We drove to The Wynn, Las Vegas Hotel and Casino – FREE SELF PARKING!
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The Wynn is a beautiful property! And it was crowded, which was nice. We played a little and wandered around taking in the different areas of the casino and environs. We had some luck and cashed out and drove back to the resort and went to bed.

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SUNDAY (Mother’s Day) morning after waking up and getting ready, we walked over to the Presidential Suite for Breakfast/Brunch and more Cabana Time! It was a leisurely day of drinking and hanging out. There may have been an afternoon nap involved.

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So we were volunteered to cook and we grilled some steaks for dinner at 9:30pm on Sunday at the community BBQ Grills. There’s a curfew for cooking at 10pm, so we had to be quick! We took them upstairs and enjoyed a great meal on the private veranda (and of course, there were more cocktails).

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Then we went on a mission to The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” Sign!
It was designed by Nevada-born graphic designer Betty Willis (1923-2015) in 1959.
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“The rounded diamond shape of the sign was inspired by the Goodyear logo and the idea for the starburst came from the one in Disneyland’s emblem, which to her meant a happy destination. The seven silver dollars were a symbol of good luck for visitors entering the world’s gambling capital. (Betty) Willis’s design was never trademarked.”

The sign was built by a small local company Western Electric Displays Inc, aka Western Neon. Western Neon was bought by YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company) and they have maintained the sign ever since. The original sign has been rebuilt, restored, and recognized as a cultural and historic landmark for the City of Las Vegas over the years.

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Safe and legal public access to the sign was finally made possible in 2008, when parking spaces and a pedestrian walkway were finally constructed. Clark County and the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office had the sign listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

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NOTE: It was “Helldorado Days” a big holiday in the State of Nevada. There was a parade on Saturday and the Rodeo and other events were happening all weekend in downtown Las Vegas and on Fremont Street. So, we didn’t go there.

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Old Vegas! Glitter Gulch!

We returned to the resort and stayed up until MONDAY morning!
“It’s HOT in the Hot Tub!” 
And sometime before dawn we hit the Jacuzzi and Pool! (the pool and jacuzzi at Tower 3 are open 24 hours) It was very Early AM, at Tower 3, after it was cleaned, before the crowd and we were almost alone.

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We had stayed up all night and after our adventures we finally decided to try out the 24 hour pool and jacuzzi in our Tower. The pool area was empty except for one couple, so we waited until they were out of the water and then we moved in. We spent about a half hour enjoying the warm, bubbly spa, and swam in the cool pool until the calm was interrupted by two small children and their mother….. as we left the pool area at 6am the mother was screaming at the children in the shallow end of the pool, “Get over here dammit, you pulled this sh*t all yesterday, I’m not gonna have it today!” 

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Went up to the room and took a hot shower, ate some leftover tacos, and went to bed.
Requested and was given a late checkout time of 12 noon via the telephone.

And then,
Housekeeping knocked on my door three different times between 9:30 and 11am!
AND THERE WAS A “DO NOT DISTURB” SIGN HANGING ON THE DOOR HANDLE!
They also started cleaning the other half of the “lockout suite” and made noise like they were doing construction next door, making it impossible to sleep.

NOTE: We complained and Dan, the resort manager, gave us a $50 credit to use at our choice of restaurants “off-property” at a Caesars Hotel (there was a list of restaurants to choose from at each hotel) for our inconvenience and also took care of our friends who invited us. That’s real good hospitality!

Checked out of the Wyndham and drove back over to the Wynn. FREE Self Parking again.

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We walked to the Palazzo and Venetian, then went outside, crossed Las Vegas Blvd and went over to the Mirage. It was a beautiful day, but it was too hot of course.

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We visited the MLife desk, and asked about a MyVegas room rate. They offered us a Monday night room for $63.00 + taxes and the ridiculous resort fee, so we passed.

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We walked through the Forum Shops to Caesars Palace and enjoyed the weirdness!

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Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino was once the best place to stay and play in Las Vegas. Then they turned it into “Disneyland”, and they threw away all the class and quality that made it great. And then they added RESORT FEES and PAID PARKING.

We went to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and got a seat a the bar, but when we looked at the menu there was nothing that we wanted to order…. so we thanked them and left. We wandered around Caesars enjoying the sights while trying to decide where to eat.

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The Bar and Sportsbook at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Then we decided on dinner at Rao’s Italian Kitchen, Las Vegas at Caesars Palace!
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On The Menu: Good bread, an excellent Caesar salad and their tasty meat lasagna.
We ate the salad and half of the lasagna and bread, and had the other half packed “to go”.
No drinks or wine because we were driving later, so only ice water with dinner.

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It was getting dark after dinner, so we started walking back, watched the sunset behind Caesars Palace across the street, and then stopped at Harrah’s and the old Casino Royale on The Strip.

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Casino Royale!

 

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And then we walked back to the Wynn. We enjoyed our after dinner walk at night and took in the sights along The Strip on our way back. We returned to our car and hit the road. Destination: Los Angeles.

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LEAVING LAS VEGAS around 9:30pm on Monday.
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Stopped at the new Mega-Gas Station Terrible’s Road House on the way back to California and filled up the gas tank and emptied mine. They have 100 pumps for “rush hour”, but the place was almost empty when we stopped in around 10pm on Monday night.

It was a quick stop, with lots of light and easy highway access. After getting gas, we took some pics and then got back in the rental truck and made a non-stop, no traffic, night drive back to Los Angeles. Home again before 2am. Had a really fun trip!

SouthPoint Hotel and Casino

Wyndham Grand Desert Resort

TopGolf

Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge

Frankie’s Tiki Room

The Wynn Hotel & Casino Las Vegas

 

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The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” Sign Webcam>
www.earthcam.com/cams/nevada/lasvegas/index.php?cam=sign_hd



 

 

Dim Sum Sunday Brunch at Shanghai Rose in Studio City!

Dim Sum Sunday Brunch
at Shanghai Rose in Studio City!

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Shanghai Rose Chinese Cuisine & Dim Sum in Studio City

Sunday Dim Sum Brunch! Party time with Chinese food!

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On Ventura Blvd, Sunday street parking is FREE. The restaurant has a parking lot and they validate, so parking is pretty easy.

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Black and red lacquer design (is that traditional?) with lots of cool gold accents. There is a long bar area with a cool aquarium attached to the large dining room. Table and booth seating is available. For the Dim Sum Brunch there was a steam cart circulating and a big menu with lots of other choices available for “made to order” plates.

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The spicy chicken wings were our favorite thing, and the soup dumplings were nice and juicy! We ordered a lot of food, tried tastes of many dishes, and it was good, but not great. So, if you don’t want to make a trip to Chinatown or Alhambra for serious foodie Dim Sum, this is an option in the San Fernando Valley.

Shanghai Rose12229 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604
818-762-2542 http://www.ShanghaiRoseDimSum.com

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Brody Stevens RIP – We Enjoyed It

Steven Brody Stevens RIP

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Brody Stevens performs at the last Josh and Josh Show at Bar Lubitsch

Steven Brody Stevens killed himself. He was only 48 years old.
This is horrible and VERY SAD but not unexpected. Mental Illness is not a joke.

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Brody Stevens’ Name on the Comedy Store Marquee….. RIP

We didn’t know Brody. We weren’t friends. We never hung out. We did meet Brody when he was a special guest at our comedy show “The 5 and Dime in Studio City”. We watched his reality show when it was broadcast on cable. We knew about “the incident” on Sunset Boulevard that got him arrested. We became a real fan one night when we found his Periscope channel. We saw him perform live at The Josh and Josh Show a few times, but we watched his live performances on Periscope many times, which he shared every night for a long time, before taping his comedy special. We watched his scopes from his apartment, and his “Steps with Steve” scopes, and in his car driving (while drumming) scopes. Most of the time it was just Brody being weird and real, and it was raw, and sometimes it was hard to watch because he was so f*cked up mentally. But mostly it was entertaining and sometimes pure comedy genius. He was a unique talent, brave to broadcast his comedy direct to his fans and haters (who were there with him every night too), and he knew nobody could steal his act, his off-center jokes, and his catch phrases. “Solo scene on a yoga mat”, “Leather exterior”, “Take my mom to lunch and pay half”, “She’s an UBER driver in Coachella”, just f*ckin’ great jokes and if you knew him, you knew all the punchlines and they were still funny everytime. He was also a big presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using each platform creatively to promote himself. I’ve peppered this Blog Post with more of his comedy in tribute to a man who shouldn’t be dead.

“You’re never alone when you’re bipolar.”

EVERYONE KNEW HE WAS “SUICIDAL” and there was nothing they could do…. all of his FRIENDS loved him and his weirdness, but it wasn’t enough.

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Brody Stevens on the road at the Cabazon Dinosaurs

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Brody Stevens at the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip

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Brody Stevens Backstage at the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip

Everyone knew he had mental health issues, it was public knowledge. He did a TV reality show “Brody Stevens, Enjoy It” you can watch on ComedyCentral’s channel and addressed the problems he was experiencing, the drugs that he was prescribed, and his recovery after being “5150” hospitalized for a bipolar incident in 2011. He was very brave to talk about mental illness, his personal issues and his feelings. He was also very frustrated and angry, he was jealous of other people’s success, and he held a grudge hard and was not afraid to air his complaint and grievances publicly. He burned a lot of bridges. He had “run-ins” with the police and other authority figures, and it cost him jobs.

“I’m intense. I get B.O. in the shower.
I get road rage at the car wash” – Steven Brody Stevens

Brody had small speaking roles in films. He was in “The Hangover”, “The Hangover 2” and “Due Date”, but he got cut out of “Funny People”. He “created Chelsea Lately!” Brody was frequent guest on other people’s podcasts and had his own “The Festival of Friendship”.

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The Brody Stevens “Festival of Friendship” – You Got It!

He was incredibly funny, he wrote clever jokes, he loved baseball, the Chicago Cubs, and drumming. He loved his mom and her dog, Daisy. He could improvise on a dime and do weird bits that other comedians would never dream of trying, and he was a master of “crowd work” and warm up. “Arms crossed, negative” was a common line as he broke down the audiences’ defense, crashing through the fourth wall, and attacked them with his aggressive comedic persona. Angry Brody unleashing on an unresponsive audience was a sight to behold! It was “in your face” and mostly unapologetic, and designed to get a real reaction. His daily Periscope broadcasts were GENIUS! He made other comics laugh, and tried to make the world a more positive place. He will be missed.

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NOTE: This sequence below is from a truly creative Periscope video he shared. Using the delay in broadcast time, Brody engineered a conversation with himself using his iPhone, iPad and GoPro, while still talking to his viewers. It was BRILLIANT!

“You Got It!” – Steven Brody Stevens

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Brody Periscoping from his apartment in North Hollywood

NOTE: Brody often talked about his medication and the drugs he was taking. We read that he had recently changed medication and was taking Lexapro for his depression. He talked about adjusting to it in his last broadcasts and feeling “melancholy”. We looked it up after we heard the news and found reports online from 2005 and 2011 that stated Lexapro (and other drugs like it) can intensify suicidal thoughts and behavior in some cases. Brody was bipolar and the medication may have pushed him over the edge.

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Brody’s Name on The Comedy Store Wall of Fame

Rest in Peace now Prince of Periscope.
Thank you Brody for sharing your one-of-a-kind comedic talent with us!
May the Four Winds blow him safely home.

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Brody Stevens Backstage at the Improv

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A Sketch of Brody Steven, the Prince of Periscope

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“818 ’til I die!” – Steven Brody Stevens

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“POSITIVE PUSH!”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away! Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

Read the previous Blog Post “Depression? Questions to Ask – Before Giving Up!”>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/depression-questions-to-ask-before-giving-up

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BrodyIsMeFriend – Steven Brody Stevens RIP

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There will be a Benefit on March 5, 2019 at The Comedy Store
for Brody’s Mom and Sister and Mental Health Awareness:

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Tickets are only $30 at thecomedystore.com!

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Brody Stevens RIP and Kevin Short (West Hollywood Jesus) RIP

 


UPDATE: Thursday, March 7, 2019
There was a big Festival of Friendship Benefit to celebrate Brody’s life (and death) at The Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood on Tuesday night March 5th.

Brody was so happy about getting his name on The Comedy Store wall, and was always concerned about getting his name on the marquee. Well, his name was on the marquee and his friends and the staff at the store had t-shirts made to honor his catch phrase “ENJOY IT!” (and if you knew him, you just read that in his voice with a special inflection)

His friends and fans gathered together, proceeds were donated to a Mental Health charity, there were flowers and photos, and many fine tributes to Brody. There were also other gatherings at other venues and most everyone had at least one Brody story to tell. There were also fan tributes, online tributes, and a lot of immediate media coverage. When the news broke, Brody was trending #1 on Twitter and Facebook. He would have loved that, too bad he was dead. Don’t try suicide. It just leaves a mess behind.

There is a lot of Brody Stevens available on Comedy Central, YouTube, and Social Media!
Brody was “The Prince of Periscope” and he also had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. He appeared on television, the internet, numerous podcasts, and posted his own videos online. He was a tortured soul who left behind an enormous body of work for his fans to remember him by. #BrodyIsMeFriend

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Rest in Peace Brody.



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UPDATED March 10, 2019: There was a gathering at The Comedy Store to “celebrate” Brody Stevens, his friends and comedy friends assembled for this wonderful picture.
There will be another “CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC” gathering tomorrow night (Monday the 11th) at The Comedy Store for his friends.

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Get Your Brody Stevens Suicide Souvenir T-Shirt and Merch!


UPDATED 11-19-19: Brody’s Bench has been installed in Reseda Park! 818 Baby!



 

THE JOSHWILLTRAVEL BLOG ARCHIVES!

THE JOSHWILLTRAVEL BLOG ARCHIVES!

Here are “The JoshWillTravel Blog Archives”
our previous Blog Posts links organized by year and month:

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Venice Beach, California

RIGHT CLICK ON ANY LINK AND THEN “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

The JoshWillTravel Blog – Established February 2013

NOTE: Use the SEARCH BOX at the Top of the Page to Search by Topic!
(and then continue to see what we have written about it)

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Black Rock Desert, Nevada

It’s the 25th Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake!

It’s the 25th Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake!

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25 years ago, on January 17, 1994, we woke up in the dark at 4:30am to the 6.7 magnitude Northridge Earthquake shaking and the sound of things falling! As I opened my eyes, the TV fell off the stand in the bedroom with a crash and the sound of glass breaking could be heard as things fell out of cabinets in the kitchen of our 4th floor apartment in Glendale, California.

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Damage at home was pretty minimal and we had earthquake insurance that covered most of it! Our storage unit in Northridge was another story however (yellow tagged), and we had to rescue our trapped Grandmother (of blessed memory) from a destroyed condominium/apartment in Sherman Oaks.

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Our friends lived on Woodman near Burbank and they could see daylight through their apartment walls! The whole neighborhood to the south and west suffered “liquefaction” and there was more damage to most of the buildings in that area. They also had to wait in a line to get into their building to try to recover their stuff when the building was “yellow tagged”. Our Grandmother’s third floor apartment in Sherman Oaks was completely destroyed and she had to be rescued because she was trapped inside.

And the aftershocks in Sherman Oaks and the mid-Valley were just plain scary and went on for days! A pic of the Northridge Fashion Center after the quake:

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The Northridge Fashion Center After the Northridge Earthquake

We remember the 57 people who died (and the thousands who were injured) in the Northridge earthquake, a smaller number than might have been killed, because the event happened at 4:30am when most people were in bed……….

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57 People Died! Thousands Were Injured!

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BE PREPARED FOR THE NEXT BIG EARTHQUAKE!

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Rockabilly Retro Relief for Fire Victims!

FRIDAY NIGHT WAS ROCKIN’ FOR A GREAT CAUSE!

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Rockabilly Retro Relief for Fire Victims LIVE at Joe’s in Burbank on 11-16-18!
Maureen & the Mercury 5, Doña Oxford, the Brian Hogan Band, the Crown City Bombers, James Intveld, and Lil Mo and the Dynaflos!

BIG THANKS TO MAUREEN & LIL MO!
BIG THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PLAYED, PARTICIPATED IN PUTTIN’ ON THE SHOW OR WHO ATTENDED AND GAVE MONEY TO AID THE FIRE VICTIMS!
BIG THANKS TO JOE’S GREAT AMERICAN BAR & GRILL FOR THE VENUE!

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The 101 Ventura Freeway East – Going to Burbank!

LIVE at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill in Burbank!  

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Joe’s American Bar & Grill in Burbank

 

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Joe’s American Bar & Grill in Burbank

 

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Stiff Drinks at Joe’s American Bar & Grill in Burbank

Raffle, Silent Auction (with very cool stuff)
and Merchandise Sales to benefit the victims!

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Great Music All Night Long!

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Maureen making announcement! Let the show begin!

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Maureen & the Mercury 5, Doña Oxford (on the electric piano), the Brian Hogan Band with Spanish Mike, a Guy from Hungary, the Crown City Bombers, James Intveld, and then Lil Mo and the Dynaflos! Great music all evening until after 1am.

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Brian Hogan and Spanish Mike Rockin’ The House!

All Night Long!

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Special Guest Swingin’ James Intveld!

All the bands donated their performances and a portion of the proceeds from their “merch” sales to Fire Victims Relief! Rockin’ music all night long! Joe’s donated the venue! There was a raffle and silent auction too, and a lot of money (over $7000) was raised from a Great Party for a great cause!

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The Dance Floor was Crowded All Night Long!

 

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Takin’ a Break Out Back at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill

Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill – 4311 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

All photos copyright 2018 JoshWillTravel

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The 101 Ventura Freeway West = Going Home!

Sharing this vid from the Retro Relief for Fire Victims. If you need someone to get the party started here’s Doña Oxford doing the Boogie Woogie on electric piano! I’d definitely invite her to play my next party! www.youtube.com/watch?v=E21XFEiB99A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday BBQ Dinner at the Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks!

Sunday BBQ Dinner at the Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks!

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The Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, California

We heard good things about this place via friends on the interweb.
We were originally going to have an Italian dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletano (read our previous Blog Post), but when we got there, they were varnishing the tables and chairs and so were closed for the night. A quick decision was made and we headed over to the Boneyard Bistro on Ventura Boulevard near Woodman in Sherman Oaks for some BBQ.

NOTE: There have always been great BBQ places in San Fernando Valley. Growing up there were places like Monty’s Steak House, The Oak Room, Houlihan’s, Charley Brown’s, Victoria Station, and Love’s BBQ. Recently, a lot of old time BBQ joints have closed down: the El Paso BBQ in Tarzana, and My Brother’s BBQ in Woodland Hills are now gone, the SmokeHouse BBQ in Van Nuys didn’t last long, there was once a Mr. Cecil’s Barbecue in almost the same location as the Boneyard, but it closed well over a year ago. And just recently the Tony Roma’s chain BBQ restaurant in Encino closed after many years and the location will soon be a crappy Norm’s Restaurant.

The Boneyard Bistro has Valet Parking in front for $6.00 + tip, but we were able to find street parking at a meter and it was Sunday night so you don’t have to pay. Parking is a major problem on Ventura, and there is Starbuck’s on the corner to compound the problem. Just sayin’.

The place was busy, as shown in the photos, the bar was crowded and the dining room was already more than half full. It was a chilly evening so the patio was almost empty.

Choose your seating: The Bar (high-top table), the Dining Room or the Patio.

We chose the Dining Room and were seated immediately at a table for two. The Sunday night football game was on the television (Dallas Cowboys v. Philadelphia Eagles). The service was good. We ordered our drinks and food. They brought us the drinks and in very short order, they brought us the food. We waited a little bit for the bread and fried corn muffins, and then before we could butter our bread, they brought out the entrees.

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Not sure how to describe the utilitarian design of the place, other than functional. From the street is has a “Chicago Diner” type facade with a glass enclosed patio and big block letters. High ceilings and hard surfaces with wood accents amplify the sound. There is a weird painting in the dining room that is the length of the full wall and it’s a skeleton in red heels holding a platter of fire. The skull and cleaver is their logo and brand.

We were seated by the kitchen doors and prep station, so there was a lot of activity passing us and all around the table, and the dining room is a little “close-quarters” even for the size, because of the number of tables and space between them. The noise level in the bar area was very loud and happily the dining room was not as noisy. Service throughout the meal was good, and all of our requests were handled quickly.

Go ahead and have a beer (or a cocktail from the bar):

We ordered the $9 flight of beers, served in four small glasses. It was a very good deal.

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The Special Stout Festival Beer Menu

ON THE MENU: BBQ baby back ribs, fries, baked beans, bread & fried corn muffins, a flight of beer, and a coke. Tiramisu Creampuff for dessert.

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It’s a good menu. There are a lot of things to try that look really good. They also have salads, but who has a salad at a BBQ place? We always judge a BBQ restaurant on their ribs, and we weren’t disappointed by theirs.

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

It was an excellent BBQ dinner! We ordered off the Ala Carte Barbecue list. The dry rub on the baby back ribs was subtle, spicy and not too peppery. The pork was smoked for a long time, it was juicy and came right off the bone. The beef ribs were big and beautiful. They give you the option of “wet” or “dry” ribs, and their BBQ sauce is very tasty, both on the meat and “on the side”. Their homestyle baked beans have nice chunks of meat in the recipe and was an excellent side selection. They have shoestring fries, and the first order was not hot, so our waiter brought us another order just out of the fryer.

The portions are huge, so each entree is actually two meals, and good for sharing. We ended up taking a big bag of leftovers home, like most of their customers, for later.

They also have fabulous creative desserts (like banana puddin’ brûlée made with Nilla Wafers and chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ganache) but they were all a little too fancy (and too expensive = $11 per dessert), so we decided to pass.

We enjoyed the food, and will probably return soon when we have our next BBQ craving.

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The Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, California

NOTE: And so DESSERT? After a brief conversation in the car, we decided to stop and get something sweet on the way home at the Paris Baguette. My dinner companion had a craving for chocolate cake. I wanted tiramisu when we were originally going for Italian food, so of course, a Tiramisu Creampuff for dessert:

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Tiramisu Creampuff from the Paris Baguette bakery in Encino!

Boneyard Bistro13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 (east of Woodman)
818-906-7427 http://www.boneyardbistro.com Open 4:30pm-2am daily

All photos copyright JoshWillTravel 2018

Read the Previous Blog Posts about the Paramount Ranch>

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