Thursday, July 02, 2015
Dr. Mike and Damon V., from the summer of 1990
It's hard to believe, but this month marks the 25th anniversary of the summer I spent with a bunch of kids from around the state of Hawaii living at the University of Hawaii dorms and getting hands-on experience in the worlds of TV, radio and journalism. It was the State of Hawaii's Summer Program for the Enhancement of Basic Education (SPEBE), a pretty cool program that fell victim years ago to budget cuts. But it made my summer of 1990 -- the summer before my senior year of high school -- a transformative experience for me. (I also returned as a counselor, overlooking a whole new crop of kids, in 1993).
We were all high school juniors and seniors from all over the islands: In-town and rural Oahu, Kauai, Maui, the Big Island and even Lanai. For six weeks while living at the UH dorms we also produced video projects, created a newspaper and did a weekly radio show on UH's KTUH radio station.
A few years ago I shared my bad acting as lothario "Bruce" in one of the cheesy videos we made that summer, "Love Story" (link here).
Now, I just uploaded my first-ever actual on-air radio show -- and it's horrifically cheesy as well. It's the "Dr. Mike and Damon V. Show" (Damon was my roommate), recorded at midnight on Thursday, June 28, 1990. The music is quite the hodge-podge (The Smiths, Jane's Addiction, Phil Collins, Inspiral Carpets, Madonna, The Sundays, Janet Jackson, etc.) and I hog the mic (sorry, Damon!) way too much. Stick around for the news report from Eugene and Marisa. I have cut down the songs so it's not too long of a slog. Here you go:
Podcast Hosting - Download Audio - Dr. Mike and Damon V on KTUH...
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
We've got another family-friendly waterfall hike for ya, and this one may even be better. Monrovia Canyon Park is a quick, hour and a half hike that covers only about 2.5 miles -- but the reward is a lush, tree-covered hike that is easy for the little ones, with a waterfall at the end. Modern Hiker has more details:
There is plenty of shade on the trail here and for most of the rest of the hike you’ll be in cool, dappled sunlight. Even on a hot summer day, this is a great trail to explore – especially once the trail dips down to the canyon floor itself around the 0.6 mile mark, where you’ll be stepping over babbling brooks and overshadowed by enormous, tangled oaks.
At the 1.3 mile mark, you’ll hop over a few boulders and reach the rocky bottom of Monrovia Canyon Falls. This 30 foot double-cascade is not the tallest nor most impressive waterfall in the San Gabriels, but even with a steady stream of hikers coming and going this is still an absolutely lovely and serene grove that feels a million miles away from city life.
A month ago we wrote about the Eaton Canyon Waterfall, another closeby waterfall in the foothills. Even though we're in a drought, the waterfalls remain and are worth checking out. While Eaton Canyon's falls is more impressive, that hike is jam-packed. We enjoyed the solitude of the Monrovia hike.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Last weekend we strolled through Pasadena's Paseo Colorado open-air mall to check out the participants from this year's Pasadena Chalk Festival in mid-creation. Billed as the world's largest chalk art competition, more than 600 artists created some really great, colorful chalk art. (And as a weird bonus, we ran into Marc Maron, a day after he interviewed President Obama in his Highland Park garage!) Check out the winning murals here. Some highlights:
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Restaurant: Valerie Tea House & Bakery
Location: 1665 Echo Park Avenue (Echo Park)
Type of restaurant: Bakery, Brunch, Sandwiches
We stipulated: For a belated Mother's Day brunch, we decided to give the Valerie location in Echo Park a try. Valerie Confections participated in our 2012 Great Los Angeles Walk, selling hot chocolate and goodies to our walkers, so we were happy to visit a new location.
They stipulated: "Valerie Confections was founded by partners Valerie and Stan in 2004 with six flavors of chocolate-dipped toffee. Since those early days the company has expanded exponentially and now includes chocolates, a popular line of petits fours, handmade preserves, cakes, pastries, and a catering division—all made with a commitment to using the very best ingredients. The Valerie Confections boutique and factory is located just outside downtown Los Angeles."
What we ordered: Curried chicken sandwich (jidori chicken, apple, onion) $10; Egg salad sandwich (capers, fresh dill) $10; Toast and preserves (served with butter and seasonal preserves) $5; Salted caramel bread pudding (puff pastry, caramel, fleur de sel) $6
High point: The bread was great and the sandwiches ever large.
Low point: Limited seating, and no coffee refills!
Overall impression: The chicken sandwich was a rad sweet, and the bread pudding surprisingly bland. But still the kind of quaint, neighborhood spot that I wish we had closer to our home.
Will we return: A decent choice for brunch if you happen to be in Echo Park, although we also like the Square One outpost at the actual Echo Park boathouse as well.
On the latest edition of KCRW's The Spin-Off, Joe and I talk to "The Goldbergs" and "Bridesmaids" star Wendi McLendon-Covey:
As an actress who earned her improv chops at The Groundlings, Wendi McLendon-Covey thought she was "too weird for network television." But then,"network television got weird."
McLendon-Covey tells us how after a hilarious turn in Bridesmaids, she was cast in two promising projects that ended up falling apart. Following those disappointments, she ended up landing the part of the smothering mother (better known as a "smother") Beverly Goldberg on the ABC comedy, The Goldbergs. The show will start its third season this fall, but before it was a hit, creator Adam F. Goldberg had several failed attempts to get it off the ground. Despite the struggles for both McLendon-Covey and the show itself, she feels like things eventually worked out the way they were meant to be.
She tells us how she's shaped her career by saying no to roles that feel to similar to parts she's already done and how she once had to fire a manager who constantly shot down her ideas and told her not to audition for Bridesmaids. For McLendon-Covey, a lot of it goes back to the lessons she took away from her time at The Groundlings: "Work your ass off… and show them why you're worthy."