Thursday, December 31, 2009
Gardens on Glendon
1139 Glendon Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
The Gardens on Glendon has been home to hundreds of celebrity, entertainment, corporate and private parties. Such luminaries as Warren Beatty and Annette Benning, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and many more have held their private soirees at The Gardens on Glendon. HBO, Dreamworks, Showtime, New Line, Disney, KCET/PBS and many more have enjoyed the ambience and majestic dining experience at this Westwood Landmark. Choose the barroom, the Rotunda, the Courtyard, or the Studio, for your own huddling with a friend, or your own entertaining, or do a huge affair up to 500 guests with a gorgeous buffet.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
10878 Kinross Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Westwood Froyo Wars
By EMMA COURTLAND
Mon., May. 25 2009
Yogurt Express, which sits signless in the former Haagen Dazs spot, next to Urban Outfitters, is currently the only self-serve yogurt shop, and the last independent yogurt shop left in the village. It has six flavors at a time, and a modest toppings station. Although technically, self-serve yogurt is the shop's gimmick, it's not what differentiates it from the chains.
When describing his business, Yogurt Express's owner Roel Kusuma (he pronounces his first name "Royal") searches for the right words, but keeps coming back to the word "feel." When you walk into the tiny brick shop, you understand why. Kusuma looks up from his place behind the counter and greets you like an old friend.
"It's about building a community," he says. And he means it. Of every ten people who walk in, he usually knows the names of at least two. And even though he works from the time the shop opens until the time it closes, his face always glows with energetic welcoming.
And why not? Yogurt Express is a family business. Kusuma runs the shop with his sister and aunt, and throughout the day, other family members stop by with their kids. "Hey girl!" he says to his two-year-old niece. It's the same greeting he gave me when I walked in. By keeping things small, within the family, Kusuma can keep the cost as low as possible and cultivate that "feeling" that keeps people coming back.
"It's not just about the money," he says earnestly. "I mean, we need money. But that's not what it's about." What would sound clichéd coming from anyone else, is entirely sincere coming from Kusuma. You really can feel it. Yogurt Express is the place you want to go because it feels good being there. There's a feeling of familiarity, of participation and community.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Mann Festival Theater
Los Angeles, CA
10887 Lindbrook Drive,
Los Angeles, CA 90024
The Mann Festival Theater opened in 1970, in a building that opened in 1929 as one of Westwood Village's first six buildings, and had housed the first Ralph's supermarket. Its understated exterior matches its simplistic, but comfortable auditorium.
Neither flashy nor opulent, this single screen theater has been a popular Westwood venue for years.
Smaller premieres are also held here and, occasionally, Hollywood luminaries have been spotted at this quiet, out-of-the-way theater.
The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Mann Festival Theater was closed on July 30, 2009.
Westwood's Mann Festival, RIP
Kevin Roderick - July 30 2009
Hat tip to the New Beverly Theater's Twitter poster for noticing that the Mann Festival has put up a final message to patrons. Known previously as the Egyptian (and as the UA and the Odeon, per Cinema Treasures), the single screen on Lindbrook Drive is perhaps best known for its location. It occupies part of a building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, originally a Ralphs grocery dating to the first years of Westwood Village. (It's sometimes described, in error, as the first Ralphs.) The distinctive tower at the corner at Westwood and Lindbrook that now houses a Peet's Coffee used to be the entrance to the Bratskellar restaurant; there have been lots of other things in there too through the years.
Monday, December 28, 2009
LA TIMES, January 27, 2009:
Home Depot to Close Expo Stores
Nathan Olivarez-Giles and Roger Vincent
Home Depot Inc. announced Monday that it was closing its 34 upscale Expo and other home specialty centers and laying off 7,000 people as a result of the crumbling U.S. housing market and worldwide economic downturn.
The company said it would close its 34 sprawling Expo Design Center stores by April, including eight in Southern California, and 14 smaller stores.
Some employees were stunned. "Shock. It was shock. It's just 7,000 of us, just gone," said Chris Toliver, who works in the appliance section at the company's Expo store in Westwood.
"I'm young. I'm 22," he said. "But what hurt the most is the people in their 40s or older, people with families, who are losing their jobs here. Unemployment is nowhere near enough to feed a family."
Toliver transferred to the Westwood store eight months ago but is now looking for work in another industry. "Retail is a tough business," he said. "We have the customer service skills, but there are no customers."
The Expo stores targeted an upscale home remodeling market that never seemed to catch on, the company said. "The Expo business has not performed well financially and is not expected to any time soon. Even during the recent housing boom, it was not a strong business."
People laid off will be offered a severance package of at least 60 days' pay, said Home Depot spokesman Ron DeFeo. Some may find other jobs within the company, DeFeo said, but it's unknown how many jobs will be available.
The decision will result in the loss of about 5,000 retail jobs and 2,000 support jobs at the specialized stores, DeFeo said. Together, the losses will total 2% of the company's workforce, Home Depot said.
Liquidation sales at closing stores begin today with a 10% discount, DeFeo said. The discounts will increase as the stores' merchandise dwindles, he said.
Twelve of the 34 Expo stores are in California, more than in any other state. The smaller stores being closed are its five Yardbirds stores in the San Francisco Bay Area; a bath remodeling business known as HD Bath, with seven locations; and two Design Center stores in Concord in Northern California and Charlotte, N.C.
What will happen to the vacant stores probably depends on their locations, said Mike Jensen, a property broker at Pacific Retail Partners in Long Beach. Since the Expo stores were located in affluent neighborhoods, he said, other businesses may find the soon-to-be-empty retail spaces desirable.
"Fundamentally, they are good real estate properties," said Jensen, who helped Home Depot find Expo's Southern California sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Home Depot owns some of Expo's buildings here and rents others, he said. To attract occupants, the large spaces might be split up to accommodate smaller retailers.
The best locations, such as Westwood and Redondo Beach, should soon find suitors thatwant to move in, but it may take awhile for all of the former Expos to be reoccupied, Jensen said. "There aren't a lot of people expanding right now."
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Richard Poncher 1905-1986 RIP
Birth: Apr. 25, 1905
Death: Aug. 30, 1986
American Folk Figure. There is a persistent, though never proven, story that he was so enamored of Marilyn Monroe that he went to great lengths to secure the crypt above hers. After his own death, the story continues, Poncher's close friends waited for everyone else to leave, then turned the body upside down before the crypt was sealed--leaving Poncher face down "on top of" Marilyn for eternity. William Poundstone, in his book "Biggest Secrets," tells the story and adds that he was unable to come up with any information proving or disproving it. The inscription on Poncher's crypt reads, "To the man who gave us everything and more. You're one in a million, 'Freddie.'"
On August 8, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was interred in a crypt at Corridor of Memories #24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles. Lee Strasberg delivered the eulogy. The crypt space immediately to the left of Monroe's was bought and reserved by Hugh Hefner in 1992.
In August 2009, the crypt space directly above that of Monroe was placed for auction on eBay. Elsie Poncher plans to exhume her husband and move him to an adjacent plot. She advertised the crypt, hoping "to make enough money to pay off the $1.6 million mortgage" on her Beverly Hills mansion.
Poor Marilyn Monroe!
Crypt auction fails yet again
Monday, November 2nd 2009, 9:44 AM
A second attempt to sell a crypt on top of Marilyn Monroe's final resting place has failed, with not a single bid received for the burial spot in a celebrity-filled Los Angeles cemetery.
Widow Elsie Poncher is trying to sell her husband's crypt to pay off the mortgage on her Beverly Hills home. On selling the crypt, Poncher had planned to move her husband, who died in 1986, to an adjacent crypt intended for her.
But a $4.6 million bid submitted through online auctioneer eBay Inc in August fell through when the unidentified bidder pulled out.
A second auction on eBay with a reserve price of $500,000 also failed, with a notice on the online trading website saying it had closed with no bids on the marble mausoleum where Monroe was laid to rest in 1962.
The crypt is located at the Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery, home to celebrities including Dean Martin, James Coburn, Roy Orbison, Truman Capote, Natalie Wood, Carl Wilson, Minnie Riperton and recent arrival Farrah Fawcett.
The space next to Monroe's vault was sold in 1992 to the publisher of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner, for $75,000.
Winning bidder in eBay auction for spot above
Marilyn Monroe's crypt can't afford $4.6M price tag
By Nancy Dillon
DAILY NEWS WEST COAST BUREAU CHIEF
Tuesday, August 25th 2009, 1:16 PM
LOS ANGELES - Someone just jilted Marilyn Monroe.
An eBay bidder from Japan who offered $4.6 million for the chance to spend eternity on top of the sexy screen siren has backed out.
Beverly Hills widow Elsie Poncher, whose dead husband was laid to rest in the crypt directly above Monroe, put her beloved's valuable vault on the block Aug. 14 to help pay off the $1.6 million mortgage on her home.
Bidding started at $500,000 and shot to $4.6 million in three days. Everything seemed to be going so well, until the widow's rep sent an invoice to the winning bidder Monday.
"I am awfully sorry, but I need to cancel this because of the paying problem," the unidentified bidder said in an email, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The widow's rep has since emailed the 11 other bidders who bid at least $4.5 million, giving them 24 hours to submit new offers.
He told the Times that if the right offer isn't made, he and Poncher may try to find another way to sell the crypt.
EBay had been vetting the bidders and cancelled several offers that appeared fraudulent - leaving 21 final bids.
Poncher's late husband was buried face down, looking at Monroe, when he died 23 years ago at age 81, the auction posting revealed.
His 80-year-old widow said her decision to sell the crypt at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park was a practical one.
"I can't be more honest than that," she told the Times. "I want to leave my house free and clear for my kids."
Richard Poncher bought the crypt from Yankee great Joe DiMaggio during his divorce from Monroe, the widow said.
Poncher wasn't a huge fan of Marilyn at the time, the widow said, but as he lay dying, he made a startling vow.
"He said, "If I croak and you don't put me upside down over Marilyn, I'll haunt you the rest of my life," Elsie Poncher said.
Monroe died of a drug overdose ruled a "probable suicide" at the age of 36 in 1962. The star of "Some Like it Hot," "How to Marry a Millionaire," and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" was named the sexiest woman of the 20th century by both Playboy and People magazines.
The stone façade of her above-ground crypt stands out with a darker hue left by the fingerprints and lipstick marks of countless fans.