Farewell to the House of Blues.  More importantly, farewell to those who made it special…

Farewell to the House of Blues. More importantly, farewell to those who made it special…

The time draws near. Just around the corner, and there sits the end, nigh.

The House of Blues has been open for 21 years. And come Monday (come later this evening) after Steel Panther plays its last set that night, the doors will close on the old girl for good.

Paris Lights, for my final Dinner at House of Blues, Sunset.

Why? Well you may have heard, the House of Blues did not own it’s own land. And the landowners have decided they can make more money with a hotel on sunset than anything else.

Another…hotel.

Never mind there’s a hotel going up to the left and right of the House of Blues. Never mind there’s already one across the street. We need another hotel on Sunset like we need a hole in the head.  We need another hotel on Sunset, even if it means eliminating the very reason people come to Sunset in the first place: Live Music, Comedy, etc.

Scenes from the last (or next to last) Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues on Sunset.

Fine. Neighborhoods change. It happens. Do you remember what koreatown looked like in the 1920s? Not very Korean.

Me? I’ve been coming regularly to the House of Blues for a little more than a year and a half. I’ve been a “member” all that time. Truth is the brick and mortar portion of the House of blues I won’t miss that much. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss it, I’ll miss it something terrible. That’s why I’ve spent some of my last few hours here taking photographs of it. The photographs I can take with me.

What I’m going to miss the most, cannot.

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Backpacks for thee, but not for me at the @GettyMuseum.

Backpacks for thee, but not for me at the @GettyMuseum.

One of the benefits of my unfortunate time off is thy I’ve had a lot more time to visit stuff and try stuff out. It’s been fun. Now gotten to see a lot more of the city that word have otherwise.

I’ve actually been to the Getty Center three times. Three. I almost think I know the rules as well as the guards.

Almost.

I was asked to take off my backpack and check it for the first time ever at the Getty Center and it made the visit and unpleasant one. I was told by a guard, as well as one of the coat-check girls that this has always been the rule.

The Crime of Backpacks No. 2

Oh really?
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We really need to treat our Waiters and Waitresses better…

We really need to treat our Waiters and Waitresses better…

They are the most visible players in any restaurant you visit. In some ways, they are the face of the restaurant you are going to dine in tonight or any other night. When you bounce in to eat at So-and-So’s renowned kitchen, you won’t be speaking to the Chef, you won’t be speaking to the Hostess with the great legs all that much.

But you will be speaking to you Waiter or Waitress.

So maybe it’s time we learned to treat them better than we have been.

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Republique (@republiqueLA) now has company in misunderstanding and misusing the Affordable Care Act.

Republique (@republiqueLA) now has company in misunderstanding and misusing the Affordable Care Act.

Ugh. Here we go again.

Diners are discovering an unfamiliar new item when the bill comes for the truffled lobster Bolognese at Melisse and for the crunchy Spanish fried chicken and waffles at AOC — a 3% surcharge for employees’ medical insurance.

 

The charge first appeared at one Los Angeles-area restaurant late last year; by early September, more than a dozen mainly high-end eateries followed suit. The added cost has given some diners heartburn and thrust the restaurants’ owners unwillingly into the debate over the Affordable Care Act.

 

The healthcare surcharge, the restaurant owners insist, isn’t a political statement, but a way to offer valuable benefits to employees while maintaining their profits, which are slim even at the most successful establishments.

No, it’s not political. It’s idiotic, and betrays a complete misunderstanding of the Afforadable Care Act.

Republique was the first to start this nonsense, and as a result I still refuse to go there. All this article does is expand the list of L.A. Restaurants who’s doors I shall never darken.

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Finally, long Menus are going the way of the Dodo…

Luca

Heck, we brought up this very topic in our review of Luca not that long ago, and now at least the major Restaurant chains are catching up:

For years, long, windy menus were the fad. The more options a restaurant offered, the less likely that diners would want to go elsewhere, the thinking went. And the thinking was widespread: Everywhere from Ruby Tuesday to the Olive Garden and McDonald’s obliged, channeling their inner Cheesecake Factory with menus that spanned several continents and cuisines, challenging even the sturdiest attention spans.

 

But Americans are finally growing tired of all the clunky, and often confusing, food lists. And restaurants seem to be taking note.

 

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP), for its part, has shaved some 30 items off its menu over the past few years; Tony Roma’s has cut its menu items by more than a third — from 92 items to 60 — since 2011; Olive Garden has been criticized by investment firm Starboard Value, which recommended — among many, many other things — trimming its number of offerings; and McDonald’s has openly admitted that its menu has simply grown too long.

 

“We overcomplicated the restaurants and didn’t give restaurants an opportunity to breathe,” Tim Fenton, McDonald’s chief operating officer, said in an earnings call earlier this year. “We need to do fewer products with better execution.”

 

Burger King has pivoted in a similar direction. The company has been implementing what it calls a “fewer, more impactful” launch strategy for a little over a year now, which is essentially a commitment to bringing fewer but better-executed menu items to market each year.

Read the rest of the story at the Washington Post.

Why Parking Concepts Inc. sucks, and how I hope @LACMA straightens them out…FAST.

Why Parking Concepts Inc. sucks, and how I hope @LACMA straightens them out…FAST.

DATELINE: Friday. March 21, 2014. 2:30pm.

As a proud member of LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), one of the privileges I can swing is a Parking Membership. Basically, I shell out $60 in advance, and I can park for the year without extra charge.

Using it is no sweat. All you do is present your card at the Ticket Office when you pick up your tickets. That card is stamped, and you present said card to the guy at the gate when you leave.

Seems simple enough.

So why…oh why, did the guy at Parking Concepts seem hell bent on screwing it up?

Friday, March 21st. I had off. I figured, why not stop by LACMA for a visit. Go upstairs and see what my old friends the Impressions are up to.  Turns out nothing much, they were just hanging there, and partake of the lovely food trucks parked just across the street.

Sounds like a fine day, huh?

The problem began, when I tried to leave.

As I got my Admission Ticket at the Ticket Office, I once again got my Parking Card stamped.  This was not only before I left, it was before I entered the museum.  This time however, it wasn’t a stamp. The stamp making machine was broken, so the guy hand wrote my authorization on my card.

Stop. I know what you’re thinking. There’s your problem right there.

Oh no, I says. Because…Ticket Office guy had it right. He went the extra step to make sure if there was a problem, it could be solved. He put the Ticket Office phone number on my Parking Card so if there was any confusion, the guy downstairs could call upstairs and confirms what was going on.

Of course, that didn’t happen in the slightest.

I get down to the window, and explain the situation to the guy from Parking Concepts. That the Ticket Stamp was broken, that he could call the Ticket Office if there was a problem.

“Well, it’s going to be up to the machine.”

He ran it through said machine, and told me: “That’ll be ten dollars.”

“Uh, no. That’s what I said. That number there is the extension to the Ticket Office. They want you to call them.”

He picked up the phone for a second, and seemed to dial someone but…either didn’t get through to anybody (which I highly doubt), or thought better of it (the more likely scenario. He went on to demand I pay the ten bucks.

“Well, we’ve got a problem here, because I’m not paying twice.”

After a minute, he had the cars lined up behind me back off so I could get out, re-park and go to the Ticket Office all over again.

Now, I didn’t mind this too much since this was a fight I knew I was going to win. Fortunately for me, the SAME GUY at the Ticket Office was on duty, and I talked to him. Even he seemed pissed off about it, and called down to the Parking Guy himself. When that failed, he got a manager on the phone with him and that settled it.

He explained to me that Parking Concepts is a new company under contract for LACMA, and that in the past with the old when there was this sort of problem, this is how they’d handle it. Write an authorization by hand, put the number down for the Ticket Office, etc. Parking Concepts was new at this, so they didn’t know how to handle this, but don’t worry, LACMA would straighten them out.

I guess that in the end was my problem. LACMA did everything right. They went the extra step to make sure everything would be handled right. But then this one guy from Parking Concepts refused to do anything about it.

I can even handle the idea that he didn’t know how things worked with LACMA, but then…at least have the good sense to ask a question and find out if what I’m saying is the truth. But no, he just presumed I was lying and demanded that I pay a second time. That’s what pissed me off.

Of course, I got back in my car, and drove around to the guy again. He got the phone call but then, just to be an extra prick about it, he asked for the guy’s name at the Ticket Office.

Are you freaking kidding me??

He settled for writing down “Ticket Office”, and I was on my way.

Parking Concepts better get its act together, because LACMA actually values it’s Members, and doesn’t want to have an army of them pissed off because Parking Concepts can’t get it’s act together.

How to Survive Oscar Night, if you actually live in Los Angeles…

How to Survive Oscar Night, if you actually live in Los Angeles…

Yeah, sure. Oscar Night. The rest of you in America love it. But to the rest of us, the people who live here, Oscar Night can be a tremendous pain in our collective Southern Californian ass!

It used to be that the Oscars were shown on Monday Nights, and the occasion was an unofficial Holiday in town. Studios were shut down. If you had a job in the industry, you stayed home and had a party.

Now, the shows on Sunday Night…we all gotta work, and since the Show’s been moved to the heart of Hollywood (aka Hollywood and Highland and the Kodak Theatersorry, the Dolby Theater, those of us in the surrounding communities gotta deal with the headache.

Anyway, believe it or not the best place to get Oscar Traffic Information is the Oscar.org website. They have a PDF Document showing the traffic closure plan from 21 days out of the show, onto the show night itself. (As of now, we’re a week out.)

For me, as long as Highland remains open, Traffic will remain tolerable. But come next Sunday, I am staying the hell away from the Basin.