I’m in deep

GAS! ( Garcetti Action Squad, what my sister and I call ourselves) were fired up to meet Jan Perry and the other primary candidates who are all supporting Eric Garcetti for Mayor of LA.  None of them have the worldwide impact of a Bill Clinton.  But, I think for the 243 people in LA who vote they could have more impact.  Kevin James, the lone Republican ( a Republican in LA is a Pinko anywhere else.)

my sister Carole and Kevin James

Emanuel Pleitez, who is a gracious young Latino who  garnered a loyal cadre of supporters.  Jan Perry, she was my 2nd fave in the race all along.  She is a Council Member, representing Downtown and South LA.  So here comes the  gasp-able ( like teachable, but more astonishing) moment in the primary.  Wendy Greuel put out an ad saying that Jan Perry was not a good fiscal watch dog for the city because years previous her now – ex husband business failure forced them to declare personal bankruptcy.

Not cool sister, not cool.

1) personal attack, yuck

2) Greuel wants traction for potentially being the first female mayor of LA.  How about being a woman who doesn’t tear down another woman who could be the first female mayor of LA?

3) Are any of us in complete control of our spouses financial decision?  Their business?  Dang, I know I’m not. Ask Hillary Clinton if a woman should be blamed for her husbands failures!

4) it was bad politics.  Perry wasn’t going to win the primary, so why attack her, risk alienating African American voters?  Not a smart choice.

Team of Rivals and my hand

I was holding the Garcetti sign over my face, partly so it was visible to the cameras, partly because the sun was in my eyes.  I was listening to the primary foes speak to why they support Garcetti.   They didn’t say this, but I thought that part of this is because he is a more likable person.  Not to say that his record in his council district isn’t stellar, which it is and  he is worthy of endorsement. But, they did 42 debates with each other, they spent a lot of time together.  He is most likely just a more likable person.

My sister Carole and I were thrilled to meet Councilmember Perry.  We told her how rotten we thought her treatment was by Greuel and how elegant her statement was in response to it.  She quoted Maya Angelou by saying “Thank you for showing me who you are”. Snap.

Being a political nerd in general and an LA nerd specifically we fawned over Perry like we were 9 year olds at a Justin Bieber concert.

A couple weeks after this  we spoke again at Maverick Flat’s, at another Garcetti event.   I told her she won my area in a landslide during the primaries and she offered to come and speak to my neighborhood and speak on Eric’s behalf. Very cool.

So, long story short. Jan Perry is coming to my backyard!!.  I’m very excited and honored and of course have to clean that heap of toys and weeds out there!   I’ve started sending out the word to my neighbors.  I am hoping to get Jan fans who can convert to EG, undecideds and people who haven’t tuned in yet.   I don’t need the hard core Garcetti faithful, though a few ringers are always good.

Now, what refreshments should we serve..?

 

LA Mayor Race

On President’s day I was sitting in LA City Councilman’s Eric Garcetti’s house making cold calls to voters while my children played upstairs in his bedroom with his daughter…how did I get here?  This is my story… 

“Since when do people care about the LA Mayor’s race?” a friend queried the other night at dinner.  It’s kind of true.  It seem like a bigger deal this year, but I can’t tell, because it’s a bigger deal to me personally.   

Being politically minded since I was in pre school and campaigning for my dad I always pay attention.

my dad running for re election in Culver City. I'm the one with the peace sign

However, this year I’m much more involved because we are friends with one of the candidates, Eric Garcetti.

Now, for non Angelenos, bear with me. This is still the life of a mom trying to keep her hand in the world and teach her kids at the same time. Eric is a city council member of the 13th district (Silver Lake,Hollywood), he was city council president for years.   In a race with two women in it Garcetti got the endorsement of the National Organization for Women.  A couple of highlights in that arena:

- More than 60 percent of his commission appointees have been women, and many of top posts in his staff are held by women.

Eric tripled the number of parks in his district.   He has been a big supporter of charter schools. He got aftercare in all of the public schools in his districts. His district had job growth even during the recession.

Now, those are the beats on a good brochure and things that line up with my politics.  But, the personal is what puts this over the top.  I wrote a few years ago about being at a dinner party where I met Councilman Garcetti and his mom Sukey Garcetti.  My husband already knew them since Eric’s sister had worked for him and because at the helm of one of top restuarants in LA for over 20 years my husband knows everyone.

I was entranced as I spoke to mother and son.  They are warm, down to earth, smile on their face.  Over the course of dinner I learned that Eric is an accomplished jazz pianist, Rhodes scholar, Navel Reserve and foster parent.  I asked Sukey, “How did you raise a child like this?” wanting to duplicate her results.

“Hold them close and then let them go.” She smiled.  I knew there had to be more to it than that.  I kept in touch with Sukey for dinner.   Sukey’s husband Gil is a former District Attorney of LA .  Then we heard Eric was going to run for Mayor.

first of many events

Mark agreed to do the food for an event.  This was back in ’11.  Eric was efusisive in his appreciation for Mark’s contribution and when Eric spoke to the party about why he was running for Mayor I was moved.  He is a true Angeleno, not one of these sad sack actors who has come to rape the land and complain about the pizza.  He is 4th generation and he is a mix like LA itself, Jewish, Mexican with an Italian last name who grew up in the Valley.

Little Eric with grandfather and sister

Last March when The Tar Pit closed I reached out to Eric’s office to see if he had  ideas of where we could relocate in his district.  He met us right away with an aid who helped with business development.  For other business reasons we didn’t act on this fact finding mission, but we appreciated his direct approach to helping a small business maintain viability.

As his campaign slowly ramped up I kept in touch with one of his associates so I could figure out how best to help.  I heard him talk many times at small meet and greets at people’s homes.  He has Clinton like charisma with Zen calm.  He deftly handles all questions with charm and a vigourious understanding of the issues.  One can see how he is a former college instructer as he lays out an issue, it’s problems and solutions.   I always learn when I hear him speak.

I threw a “Grilled Cheese For Garcetti” luncheon for Eric at Campanile last summer  ( oh, remember when we still had a restaurant?) to introduce him to LA mom bloggers.  Sukey attended as well so mom and son could work their charm offensive.  Some of my favorite mom bloggers were there like Donna Schwartz Mills of SoCal mom,  Jessica Gottlieb, MomsLA, Yvonne and Sarah ( their video with him here) , Heather Spohr, Kim Tracy PrinceSarah Maizes

Sarah Maizes, Jessica Gottlieb, Yvonne Condes, Sarah Auerswald

Sarah, you may remember her for her hilarious star turn in one of my “how to be a mom ” series with Cafe Mom.  She played the annoying parent.

"let's vote for Eric Garcetti for mayor"

My sister Carole, of LaGirlNow was there as well and immediately signed up to do an event for Eric.  She packed her lovely home in November for a big cocktail party where many people got to hear Eric talk about his vision for LA. Carole gave him a great introduction where she said the Brogdon girls hadn’t been active in a LOCAL campaign since one of our dad’s, but Eric had inspired us to get back involved.    He took many questions that night and one was from a man who was a bit grouchy.  (My sister wanted to leap across her living room and knock the plate of middle eastern food out of his hand that she had provided for being so cranky at her gathering.)  Eric handled it smoothly and with answered his concerns in detail ( it was about the business tax). He let the guy know he was hearing him.  That man now has a “Garcetti for Mayor” sign on his lawn. It’s one of the many times I’ve seen the councilmen with a “water off a ducks” back ease about whatever comes his way.  He is never thrown for a loop and is up on the issues.

Okay, so that takes you up to the end of 2012… More on this story of my local politics renaissance tomorrow.

 

What a week

Oscars,

a death,

a stomach bug,

a big food event.

This has been the last few days.  Sunday morning I was at cheap hair salon in a rundown mini mall getting a blow out in preparation for Oscar night.  I went there because there is not a lot open in the way of hair on Sundays and it’s cheap.

My friends Heather and Nina, with her darling little girl Ruby, had road tripped down from San Francisco for the fun times.  Feeling good.

Then my sister Cecily called and told me her father in law Louis Mitchell had just died. Ugh.  My tummy started to hurt. Hurt for his family and recalled for me my own father’s passing.  So sad for my brother in law.  I knew he would feel the pain in his head, stomach, neck.  His father had been sick for a while, but it’s always a blow no matter how prepared you think you are. Now my brother in law was “in the club” as my friend Nina puts it. That means someone who has lost a parent.
“I can drop everything, do you need me?”  Cecily said no.  The Oscars didn’t seem quite so important anymore. Nevertheless, that hard lesson when someone you love passes is life does go on.  Although what was to be a total fun day had a tinge of darkness on it. It was also a tad annoying to have the guy who was doing my hair, “What happened?”

I told him.

“Oh, God bless, light some candles.  Light some candles.”  He repeated this so many times I was tempted to say “why is there a power outage?”  I wanted to be sad for the moment, but didn’t want to mourn next to this guy who reeked of tobacco who believed candles held the key to grieving.
I raced home to take Rex to a kiddie party, but he was asleep.  So, Heather and I decided to go and see if the Oscar attendees needed our help.  The show starts at 5:30 so Carole’s hair and make up lady arrived at 11:30.  Kevin got tickets to the big show for his brother and his wife, Meaghan and my nephew.  I was glad I showed up because I helped Meaghan with her hair.
oscar
It was fun to see Carole getting all dolled up.  The nominee was relaxed.  He was jotting down a few things to say in case he won, but he wouldn’t share them with us.  The car arrived at 2, though they didn’t get in the car till about 2:45.
Heather said, “We have to get ready!”  So, back home we went.
Seeing Carole’s pro make up made me spend a bit more time on my own.  I was walking the red carpet , but was presiding over an Oscar watch party and Campanile and then Heather and I were going to the Fox Searchlight post Oscar party.
Rex said, “I want to wear something handsome.”  So, we put on his vest and good pants.  Vivien loves to get dressed up.  My mom had arrived at our home at 3pm and settled into watch the red carpet hoping for a glimpse of Carole and Kevin. We figured they wouldn’t do an interview with him on the big stations, but we might see him. She kept moving the channel around from E! to TV Guide ( oh people still work there?), to the our local coverage.  She didn’t see here.  Meanwhile I was getting texts from my cousin Mary and another friend, “I just saw her.”  “She is by Octavia Spencer.”
oscar
Me, my friends, kids, mom, Mark and Oliver and Dolly our baby sitter went of to Campanile.  It was so cool.
The catering director had set it up perfectly.  He had a big TV set up on one wall and rows of tables in C shapes fanned to the back.  Friends of ours trooped in.  I ordered everyone to fill out their ballot. The winning one would win a $50 gift card to Campanile.
As the show began we were all craning to see if we could spot them.
“They are in Row k”  My mom started counting back from the stage, “a, b, c”  Then our friend yelled, “there she is.”
They were towards the back, but visible and Kevin was on the aisle.  My mom was chuffed.  We all knew what it meant.  Winners are sat on the aisle. Time seem to fly ( not something I usually say watching the Oscars.) The Oscars are more fun to watch with 42 of your friends and family while you served the best food in LA. I didn’t have a seat for awhile.  Rex had kicked me out of our shared seat, “mommy, go get your own chair.”  But, he got tired so Dolly took him home and I got to sit down in front next to my mom.  Vivien was happy hanging with her cousin and grandma’s.

oscar
Cecily and Lily had shown up.  She had been tending to her grieving in laws, but said, “not to be insensitive, but I’ve got an Oscar party to go to.” They all understood, “Good Luck to Kevin.”.
All of a sudden it was the editing award. What?? Everyone figured his competition was from “the Artist”, as they were favored to win best picture. The day before the editor of “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” ( who had won last year for “Social Network” told Kevin, “I”m rooting for you.”) They showed quick clips of all the editors talking.  When Kevin’s face came up we don’t know what he said because we were all screaming.
“and the Oscar goes to…”Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
huh?
We all slumped our shoulders a bit as we saw my sister Carole in the audience mouth “Wow.”  The winners were behind them and she said they were surprised as well.
After a few minutes I got up in front of the crowd and said, “Okay, let’s all do this together, AHHHHH.”
Many of us were saying, “hey he was nominated!” or “he will be back”.  Cecily said, “I’m taking this harder than everyone else, I just wanted some good news today.”
We did get one thing to cheer about Alexander Payne, and his co writers took the gold for adapted Screenplay for “The Desendants”. He is one of Kevin’s best friends and good person.  It would be the pictures only win, I’m glad they got something.
We also whooped it up when we got some more good shots of Carole and Kevin.

Particularly when they gave an ovation to Oprah, James Earl Jones and the other special award winners there was a shot primarly of them clapping and smiling.
“>oscar
I got texts from my cousin “great shot of Carole”.  People were cheering for Kevin all across the country.  His family who live outside of Buffalo even had a story about their watch party.  With a world full of cynics it’s sweet when people root for each other.
Party was done and all departed.  Heather and I drove up to the after party.  Some of the stars of “The Desendants” were there.  My nephew and his aunt and uncle.  We heard about their time at the Oscars.
After a while Carole and Kevin showed up.
oscar
The were in a great mood, it was all exciting even without the win.   Then a big cheer went up.  Alexander had walked in holding his gold.  It took him a while to get to us and when he did I asked if I could take a picture with he and his Oscar.
“Only if you hold it” say things that make me love you more.  Heather snapped the picture.  But the flash didn’t go off.  I turned and Carole, Kevin and Alexander had walked out the door.  I went after them.  “What’s going on ?”

oscar
“We are going to the Governer’s ball”  Carole said.  It was perfect timing because I was exhausted, but I was gouch enough to want my picture.  So I asked Alexander fro a retake. In reality he obliged kindly, but this picture makes me look like a crazy stalker and he like he just had root canal or perhaps fears the crazy stalker.
oscar
I’m not going to kid you.  I was trashed the next day.  Trashed.  I can’t stay up till 12:45, and not be.  Plus there was so much emotion in the day.  I cancelled everything on Monday to spend time with Cecily.
Tuesday I woke up sick, sick, sick.  I’m just coming out of it now. But, since I’ve only eaten jell-o and tea I’m almost at my ideal weight!
Tonight is the big Mark Peel Roy Choi mashup that I came up with ( yeah me!).  I’m telling my tummy to get it together because I want to eat the great food.  The event is sold out.
Ah, La Vida.

LA girl Now

Frequent Cool Mom Player Carole Brogdon, my sister, has a blog of her own called lagirlnow. Now most of the content and information on this site will be of greatest interest to those in the Greater LA Metro area I think anyone can appreciate her writing.  I’ve long told her that she has a distinct voice in her writing.  Witty, lively.  Her letters cracked me up long before the web came along. She is an active stay at home mom who somehow manages to keep up on cultural happening in our city.  I don’t know how she does that so I do pop over to her site for the lowdown on what’s going on.   Here is a one recent post she did.  Yes, she did mention one my favorite eateries as well ( well, I co own it), but Brogdon girls promote each other. That’s how we (blog) roll.

(from lagirlnow.com)

Art ~ Vivian Maier at Merry Karnovsky Gallery

Don’t miss this exhibition entitled, Vivian Maier A Life Discovered, the opening night reception is this Saturday at the Merry Karnovsky Gallery. If you haven’t read about this hertofore unknown nanny who spent her life taking vivid black and white images on the streets of Chicago, it is quite a story. During her lifetime Vivian Maier was not recognized as the astute chronicler of people that she was. Her vast cache of negatives were found after her death and they are compelling pictures that should be seen. Post picture viewing just scoot up La Brea to The Tar Pit Restaurant for a perfect cocktail and dinner.

http://mkgallery.com/index.php

http://www.tarpitbar.com/

A Blog is Born

Gather round those that like a good wit!  After YEARS of begging my sister Carole (seen here in  a CM vid) to do a blog she has finally done it.  LAgirlNOW has arrived.  It’s all her faves: food, shopping and iconic LA.

Carole is a modern day Dorothy Parker.  The enthusiasm in her writing is who she is in real life. IMG_0361.JPG

Always excited to hear about new things, people, their lives.  Now, if you don’t live in LA, give it a look anyway just to get a taste of her joie de vivre.

If you are in So. California Carole will be a great guide.

I’m so proud of my big sis.

Sponsored Content: My Points, My Choice!

Let’s not kid ourselves, holiday time has arrived and is sitting in our laps.  If you don’t get going on this your leg will fall asleep.  Here is a way to knock off a few on the list.

Frankly,  I think this video is adorable. Maybe it’s the old time music or maybe that it’s me and my sister Carole hanging out.  Carole’s super hero power is her enthusiasm for things.  If I tell her about a new job or a new pair of shoes she is excited and on board.  “Personality Plus” as she calls it.  As in, “Daph, that girl wasn’t that much fun, but you know I like people like us, Personality Plus.” So, while this is a sponsored video the setting of me and my sister sharing something we have discovered is geniune.  Also, when Oliver opens a Coke I say, “keep the tops for my coke rewards”.