Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pole-toberfest II: Return to Pierogiville

With a proper Polish princess as a distinguished member of the wacky tacky adventure team, the opportunities for cross-cultural exploration are both frequent and fun.  Getting restless remembering our "Doin' the Dozynki" exploits of last year, we excitedly donned our butter-stained pierogi bibs and headed for  Our Lady of the Bright Mount (Southern California's premiere Polish parish) for the 2014 Los Angeles Polish Festival.

Now we know why Warsaw is the capital city.

I've said it before but it shouldn't go unstated that, as a regular attendee of our local German club, card-holder of our members-only Asian grocery store, patron of the southland's two European marketplaces, and investigator into the local Dutch club, it is clear that I am in the midst of a chronic cultural-identity crisis!  The only thing my family had that tied us in any tiny way to our Yugoslavian ancestry was "Toshka," a mac-and-cheese/mashed potato hybrid dish that my great-aunt made on special occasions (I have found zero substantiation anywhere online to verify the authenticity of the more-than-likely-midwestern foodstuffs).  With every new dip into the Polish pool, however, I feel like I'm moving in the right easterly-European direction; now an old pro on the festival circuit, I knew that my mission was to find and document the three "F's."

The line for pierogies was so long that I could only capture the first third in the picture.
Exhausted by the wait, we soon gave up on sampling much of the Polish cuisine -
except for my preferred prune-filled Polish pastry, the paczek (it doesn't look like
 much...actually it kind of looks like turd but it is really good).

I believe this is what is referred to as the Polish Tuxedo.
Cynthia was quickly taking style notes for next year's festival.

Without question, my favorite Polish dances are hip-hop, the tango, and the Zorba...
Wait, those aren't indigenous to Poland?  Well, it looks like some of these dancers were
experiencing a cultural identity crisis of their own.  Seriously, there was a Polish hip-hop
number with a routine that culminated in the king of Greek dances - it was AWESOME!

As much as I enjoyed our one-day excursion to Mother Polonia, I was even more excited by the festival venue.  On the grounds of an Edwardian-era estate, I had heard whispers that the beautiful house once belonged to a Hollywood movie star.  I figured that it must've been a star of Polish descent who deeded the enormous estate to the church upon his/her death.  After doing some investigating, I learned that, rather than Pola Negri or Theda Bara, the true owner of was one of Hollywood's most infamous legends.

wacky tacky polish festival
Fatty Arbuckle lived here (a fourth F)!!!
Clad in high-fired terra cotta block, the Vienna Secessionist-style house was completed in 1910.
Unfortunately, the only access to the interior that we were granted was the basement bathroom/library (a brilliant, if completely un-photogenic, combination).  The terraced backyard has enough remaining details to have our wacky tacky imaginations running riot thinking about the amazing parties thrown here.

This adventure was definitely a "twofer" - Polish festival and Hollywood house hunt all in one!  I was thrilled to find that the fourth "F" of our festival experience stood for Fatty; sometimes it feels good to know that you're not the only fatty waddling around.  Neither fatty, Arbuckle nor Tiny, claims any Polish lineage, but His Holiness loves us just the same.  Dziekuje, PJP II...see you next year!

Our Lady of the Bright Mount Parish
3424 W Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA


Mr. Tiny


  1. Love the fashion picture with the 'Polish Tuxedo'. My family is Polish-my dad was born there and came to America with my grandparents when he was 2 or 3 yr old. For special occasions and parties he used to dress very similar to that. He loved wearing vests. And he always wore a cap. He had cotton ones for summer and wool caps for winter.

  2. That's great! You're so lucky to have been raised with some fun culture!