Monday, July 30, 2012

HAIR, Th-HAIR, and Everyw-HAIR

Do you ever get the feeling that you just don't belong?  The feeling that even after triple checking your ticket, you're almost positive that you have been invited by mistake.  You know, the feeling you get when you show up, to a sea full of people with asymmetrical haircuts and layers of avant garde, black clothing, and you're wearing a cap, a plaid jacket and a red bandana?  

Yeah, I get that feeling too.

I decided that instead of running from situations where I get that feeling, I am going to start running towards them.  Sometimes the wacky tackiest thing to do is step outside the box and attend an event that soars far outside the wacky tacky radar.

When our friend, Amber, a very reputable sales representative for a very well-known line of quality, salon products, invited us to the huge hair show hosted by her company, honestly, I wasn't that excited.  Then I remembered that episode of Ricki Lake where stylists were competing in a hair show; I vaguely recalled a pair of hair chaps and a working fountain on top of someone's head and said, "I'm there!"  

"Weaven Steven" on Ricki Lake

It took some convincing from Mary to get me to go after Amber informed me that there was absolutely no chance that one of the models would show up wearing hair epaulets and there would most certainly not be a weave with a built-in engine from a model helicopter that made the multi-color ponytail spin.  Even when we pulled in the parking lot, I wondered if I was going to be bored out of my gourd.  My attitude immediately changed as we walked through the doors.

Representatives from
Monsieur Tiny's Maison des Coiffures
Do we look legit or what?

Upon entering, the energy was great; the music was playing, the crowd was wild, and there were snacks everywhere!!!  We had to sign in and I was caught slightly off guard when we were asked to identify the salon that we represented - this was, after all, an industry event.  Without hesitation, I listed myself as the proprietor of Monsieur Tiny's Maison des Coiffures.  The young woman at the check-in table seemed appropriately amazed that I would attend this shindig and I detected a air of deference (and maybe a small salute) as she handed us our passes specially-marked "General Admission."  My ego was slightly deflated when Mary informed me that general admission was not a commissioned office of distinction, like General Colin Powell or General Ulysses S. Grant.  Nevertheless, I was glad to have come.  We quickly found Amber and started making the rounds. 

Amber and her all-access pass.  
Whither thou goest, we couldn'tst follow.

It was apparent, or should I say "app-HAIR-ent," that 60's was the theme for the evening - at least for Mary and Amber.

Mary and Amber do the double-reverse bouffant twist with a jack knife.

We made it just in time for the runway show that included highly-stylized hair trends meant, much like haute couture, as inspiration for what will become more wearable trends in the future.  The show also represented the best of creative North American stylists who were competing for prizes, trips, and bragging rights.  The show wasn't just about hair though; there were aerialists, b-boys, contortionists, live demonstrations of styling, models falling on the runway, people spinning inside of giant Hula Hoops, and dancing shrimp!  Here are some images from the show; please forgive the crummy quality.  You already know that I'm not a gifted photographer and while they looked pretty solid on the little screen on my camera, the photos are a little lacking in a larger format.

Seriously, dancing shrimp.  Relative to what, I know not.
For some reason they appear in the photo like they're glowing under a black light.
Mary said that halfway through their performance, one of the shrimp's leotards split
right up the rear seam.  Fortunately, no efforts to devein the shrimp were attempted.

The end of the show resulted in awards, tears, and confetti! We took the opportunity to walk around, talk, and take some photos with some of the creative minds and the models.

From the front

And the rear
There were so many cool photo ops that we had to snap a few photos of the dress I made for Mary.  Pretty soon thereafter, the confetti proved just too alluring and she didn't want to stand still.

She wore an eyelet lace, trapeze-style, 60's dress in bright yellow with bell sleeves.

Getting a little too party time in the confetti blizzard.

Other people saw how much fun the confetti could be,
 and they joined in the confetti-angel making.
Believe it or not, the strangest part of the evening was not lying on the floor making confetti angels, it was the amount of attention we were getting.  I guess we stood out in our kooky get-ups, but I never get a second glance from anybody.  All night long people were complimenting us and  telling us how cool we were.  Trust me on this one, I have NEVER been the cool kid, so between the hair, the confetti and the compliments, the evening was the height of surrealism in action.

It may not have been Ricki revisited, but it was a great opportunity to see how a creative industry celebrates its talent and skill.  Next time you reach for the teasing comb and Aqua Net, just remember those intrepid hairstylists that paved the way for your crazy hair.  Thanks, Amber, for the amazing evening and helping me take a giant leap outside the wacky tacky comfort zone!!!

"Hair" - Zen


Mr. Tiny

Thursday, July 26, 2012

7Up Yours!!!

Sometimes you leave the house with the best laid plans; instead of things working out just how you thought, your day takes a sharp right turn and unfolds in an entirely different manner than you had expected.  Often times that can be a bad thing.  Often times that redirection leads to frustration and a checklist unchecked.  Other times, it leads to something so wonderfully-effervescent that it can only be likened to the combustible mix of soda and Pop Rocks! (More on that later)

The ubiquitous gathered, ruffled top in a green and white, bamboo print cotton with
 pom pom trim.  Matching capri pants with pom pom trim at the hem. 

A matching basket purse?  Yes, indeedy!

Last weekend we were set to go do some demo recordings for Mary's label, Wild Records. They are currently filming a documentary and the crew was supposed to be at the studio.  Thusly, Mary was desirous of a new outfit.  I know, I know, the designs are becoming slightly derivative, but it is summertime and the livin' and the sewin' are supposed to be easy, right?

The Uncola!

On our way up to the location, I took a "sharp right turn," so we could go take a few photos by this painted 7Up sign.  Sights like this are VERY unusual in our neck of the woods and, having driven by it for years, I wanted to capture it while we still could.  The sign is painted on the side of a defunct bar turned tow yard.  Frankly, I'm not sure if they served "Pool Sandwiches" or if patrons were supposed to "Park in rear Pool," but I love advertisements painted on the sides of buildings.  Lack of punctuation notwithstanding, we felt very brazen as we parked in the in the tow yard's customer only parking and jumped out of the car to quickly snap a few photos.  After the photos were taken, we hopped in the getaway car and headed north.

As we inched along on the freeway, the parallel between the increase in traffic and the increase in temperature became increasingly evident.  Mary's phone rang and that is when our day's plans changed entirely.  The filming/recording had to be postponed and that left us with an afternoon of freedom.  As it turned out, our pal, Charles Phoenix, was making an appearance at the Summer Soda Tasting hosted by Galco's Old World Grocery/Soda Pop Stop, in Highland Park, CA. 

A small fraction of Galco's soda pop offerings

If you're unfamiliar with Galco's, it is a small, family-owned, neighborhood market that opened in 1897 as an Italian grocery.  Over the years, the neighborhood changed and so did the focus of the store.  For the last two decades, Galco's has become synonymous with soda pop, but not just any soda pop - craft-brewed, regional, hard-to-find, vintage soda pop in glass bottles.

They're also known for stocking many old-timey candies.
I highly recommend a Cherry Mash...if you like that kind of thing.

Certainly not the oldest example of 7Up, but considering
 the subject of our recent photo shoot, I thought it only
right that we show the vintage 7Up display a little respect. 

It has been brought to my attention that I should include more pictures of
myself.  In an effort to appease the masses, here's Mr. Tiny...hardy-har-har.

In honor of the occasion, Charles was on hand to mix "poptails" for the soda tasting.  Our favorite was the "Luscious Lavender," a combination of Frostie Blue Cream Soda and Nesbitt's Peach served ice-cold with a garnish of a single Swedish Fish.

Mary sampling the "Aqua Limonada" garnished with a Gummy Worm.

Usually when we help Charles at his shows/appearances, it is mostly selling books and t-shirts.  The star of this show, however, was the much anticipated unveiling of the newest taste sensation from his world-famous test kitchen - The Seven Layer Soda Pop Rocks Cake.  We were drafted into assembly and decoration detail and were whisked away to the back of the house to begin preparation on what was to become the hit of the day.

The first coat of frosting never looks perfect....

I've told you before, I'm rather handy in the kitchen but baking is most assuredly not my forte.  When Charles asked us to assemble and assist in decorating the cake, I wasn't sure which of the two tasks was more intimidating.  I jumped in without fear, however, and started stacking and icing!   I think I did a pretty good job of assembling my first-ever seven-layer cake.  Each layer of the cake was representative of a soda flavor (grape, lemon-lime, cherry, etc.) and sandwiched in between each layer was a healthy portion of Pop Rocks nestled in a thick swath of cream cheese frosting.  After an intense brainstorming session, Mary began applying the decoration.  We had a box full of tricks, but it became clear that the best approach was to team with the theme and cover the top and the sides of the cake with Pop Rocks and use the wax soda bottle candies to blast off the rocky surface. The center of the cake held a star-shaped sparkler that nearly set off the fire sprinklers when the cake was presented to the crowd.

Here's Mr. Tiny with the finished cake.
How is it possible that even standing behind it,
 my head is bigger than a seven-layer cake and
a comparable shade of red?!?!

Because we were assembling the cakes in the kitchen, a few attendees understandably assumed that we were employees of Galco's.  One lady repeatedly asked Mary to sell her some macaroni salad.  Mary's kindly explanation that not only was the service deli closed, but that she (Mary) was not an employee, only angered her and deepened her macaroni mania!  Frustrated, the woman turned to me and demanded that I sell her some macaroni salad.  You should have seen the daggers she shot me when I explained that I too was not authorized to serve Galco's, apparently-irresistible, macaroni salad.

"Crusted and dusted with over two cases of Pop Rocks,"
 the Seven Layer Soda Pop Rocks Cake!
Can you see the star sparkler sparkling?

The wedge of wonder!!!

The mad scientist with his latest creation
 and hordes of hungry fans!
The best part of the event was that while the cake was on display, the Pop Rocks kept popping and almost took out a few eyes.  There was a subtle, yet consistent, to borrow a phase that is no doubt trademarked, "snap, crackle, and pop" that underscored the event's festivities.  I got word that more exciting information regarding the Seven Layer Soda Pop Rock Cake will be forthcoming.  Stay tuned!!!

Galco's Old World Grocery/Soda Pop Stop
5702 York Blvd
Highland Park, CA

Now how's that for a wacky right turn?  What's your favorite flavor of pop?  Although I rarely drink it, Mr. Tiny's favorite is a toss up between Nehi Peach (not allowed in California due to our overly-strict lead laws as they relate to the glass bottle) and Root Beer (pretty much any kind).  I'm too chicken, but have you ever tested the limits of human fortitude by mixing soda and pop rocks?   Don't forget to "like" us on Facebook if you're so inclined.


Mr. Tiny

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bowl-O-Rama: Covina Bowl

I guess when you're hanging out at a bowling alley wearing overalls, you just can't help but be a weirdo magnet.  Why can't I just sneak around the bowling alley taking photos of light fixtures and terrazzo flooring without being solicited into beating up a group of thirteen-year-old boys by a 28-year-old man playing shoot 'em up video games who is admittedly the father to no less than fourteen children of his own but has nothing better to do than play video games and threaten minors in the middle of a weekday?  To echo my sentiment from an earlier post, I sure am grateful for the neat places that are still here.

The other day we took a short drive to a veritable temple of the bowling arts, Covina Bowl in Covina, CA.  

What an entrance!!

Built more than thirty years too late to cash in on the Tut-mania of the 1920's, this bowling alley is inexplicably, if only very superficially, Egyptian themed.  The roofline speaks much more to mid-Century tiki architecture and the references to ancient Alexandria are scarce.  Whatever the thinking behind architect George Powers' 1955 masterpiece, we didn't even make it inside before we fell in love! 

In various states of repair, the signs were beautiful in their simplicity!

A taste of Egypt on an exterior wall

Once inside, our options for discovery were plentiful,
 but who would want to get bored in a board room,
when one could just as easily play urban Indiana Jones and
explore the wonders of the Egyptian and Pyramid Rooms!!! 

The Egyptian Room was definitely my favorite area of Covina Bowl.  Completely trapped in time, it is the coffee shop that must have served thousands of ravenous bowlers over the years.  Although it is completely outfitted to operate as a functional coffee shop/cafe, it now sits empty just begging for a wonderful entrepreneurial restaurateur to come along and fill the seats.  Given the means, I would love to run a wacky tacky eatery in the space; it just needs a little bit of love before it could be the coolest place to grub in Covina!

Mary sits at the counter where the stainless steel display cases are longing for pies, cakes, and Jell-O.
Behind the window, there is a huge commercial kitchen.  All of the facilities/utilities are in place and seem to be in good shape;  I guess there must be a reason why the Egyptian Room is is non-operational, but I can't think of a good one!
A detail of the stained, textured glass wall behind a booth in
the Egyptian Room. 

We poked our heads into the Pyramid Room and found
 a rather spiritless banquet room that was being
 prepared for a quinceanera  later that evening.
Instead of a bunch of tables covered in white table cloths,
here is a photo of Mary, walking like an Egyptian.

As ever, I find delight in terrazzo floors and light fixtures and Covina Bowl did not disappoint!  The building is enormous and it must have taken a whole quarry full of marble chips to make the miles of flooring.

I wonder how many other bloggers include pictures of the floor wherever they go?
The floor was much more green than this photo could capture.

I love light fixtures!  
I was particularly fond of the pendant lamps with stripes of coral, lavender and blue.

We couldn't leave without visiting the arcade (the site of the near brawl between man and children).  Any time I have the opportunity to trade my hard-earned money for tokens with the slight chance that those tokens might translate into paper tickets that I can then swap for plastic prizes that I could have simply purchased for mere pennies on the dollar, I'M IN!!!

We stayed as far away from the "Flamin Finger" as we possibly could.
It seems like no amount of antibiotics could cure flamin' finger.

I'm much more of a speed demon!
I am game challenged and in too much of a hurry to read
the rules.  Even after reviewing them in the photo, it occurs
me that, "1. Get a Speed Demon Here" and "2. To play here,"
weren't quite explicit enough for me.  Huh??? 

Nevertheless, I was triumphant!!!

We actually won enough tickets for only one of these rings, but having
clearly gained the favor of the ancient bowling gods, the machine that
 dispensed arcade prizes gave us each one!  Jealous?

Sometimes you don't realize how similar you are to a bowling pin until the side-by-side comparison.
All that separates us is a crown and some bowling shoes.

Oh yeah, did we mention that they offer bowling at Covina Bowl?
50 lanes of gleaming hardwood!
Covina Bowl is a definite feather in the cap of Southern California bowling alleys.  Maybe next time we visit, we'll actually bowl a few frames!

After all, the first step in that best seller "Bowl To Stay Slim," is BOWL!

Covina Bowl
1060 W San Bernardino Rd
Covina, CA


Mr. Tiny