Beer Craft For Craft Beer Lovers

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Crazy for craft beer? You can’t seem to go far these days without stumbling across artisanal ales. Nothing like bellying up to the local bar for some local brew, but some days you just feel like cracking a cold one on the cheap in the comfort of your own home.

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For the love of good beer with a dash of dive bar atmosphere, we’ve created a set of Handmade Upcycled Photo Coasters to bring old school beer-sonality to your home bar.

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Stay in and enjoy a healthy session of homestead elbow bending, without endangering that heirloom coffee table.

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Field Notes for Urban Adventurers

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Take note. Our handmade upcycled photo notebooks are one of a kind. Pick a theme that strikes your fancy– from Pizza to Urban Birding to Mid Mod Architecture. Original urban photography inside and out is sure to inspire some bright ideas. Tour our mini journals here and put one in your pocket!

 

 

So Close and Yet So Noir…

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Over 5 years ago, we challenged ourselves to track down and watch every film noir made back in the day when noir was noir. It’s been a fun yet bumpy ride mapping our way through cross referenced lists to find rare cinematic gems and plain old lemons. We’ve scoured public libraries, the internet, local video stores, and film noir fests. Now we’re closing in on completing the list.

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But thankfully, there’s always unexpected noirs popping up like weeds wanting their day in the sun. So the challenge continues. At this point, it would be heartbreaking to take a powder on the nightly noir habit.

Luckily, we’ve amassed quite a DVD collection for the dry spells. It was that tippy stack of DVDs that inspired the making of a worthy home for them. We found a couple discarded noir-ish LP covers and worked up a plan for a dapper homemade DVD Case. Over time, we perfected the construction and began selling the one-of-a-kind Upcycled DVD Holder Books.

Recently, we came across this album cover which inspired the making of our latest 52 DVD Holder Book to hit the Etsy shop.

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Inside pocket pages are sewn from repurposed card stock printed with original photography, street art imagery and graphics in keeping with the noir theme.

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Now you too can stylishly tote your film noir library through life’s mean streets.

Meanwhile, we’re hoping to cross a couple more noirs off the list at the San Francisco Noir City 2016, taking us one step closer to wrapping up our challenge… or maybe just a couple films deeper into the shadows.

The Hand Writing is on the Walls

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It tells you where to park, what’s for sale, or how much for a haircut. I may not go in for the advertised clutch job or psychic reading, but I’m sold on the peeling-paint fonts and colorful crooked letters that make the walls come to life. A field trip through the city is a walk through a typographic gallery. It’s as if these walls can talk.

Check out our urban typography mini journal here http://etsy.me/1z0VNzF . Perfect for recording field notes on your urban rambles.

City Lights

CityLightsSprouting skyward out of the cracked bubbling blacktops of abandoned city parking lots, the rusty streetlights quietly weather out their last stand against the next nondescript stucco development that will inevitably usurp their real estate. Admiring these geometric giants orbiting above the urban sprawl, one can begin to imagine how the past was lit.

To see a bunch of old LA streetlights standing together in one random parking lot, check out Vermonica created by Sheila Klein.

You can find more photos of  Los Angeles’ urban landscape at stripeycity.

Art is all around us

Museums are inspiring, but sometimes a shuffle around the city is just as good if not better– easy on the eyes and the wallet. Slow down and you might catch a masterpiece before it disappears.

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This art seems to pop up as magically as it is erased from the cityscape.

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Who’s behind the art? Does it drive up sales of mufflers or psychic readings? Either way, it’s great wallpaper for the city.

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Hats off to all the urban artists who make our city colorful and interesting. Any neat street art in your city?

See the day in the life of one street artist here. Take notes on your own urban art ramblings in a  Street Art Mini Journal.

Endless Entertainment

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This was my bowling alley.  A few blocks east on Pico, at Westwood and Pico, The Picwood Bowl.  I could walk there and I did.  Endless entertainment because it was open 24 hours.  Damn!  Three levels of steps & chairs down to the main floor where the balls were tossed.  A sunken cocktail lounge with trophies and forgotten odes to alcohol behind display glass.  Always felt a bit weird sitting on a bar stool in that sunken bar – tall on the chair but short to the rest of the world up on level ground bowling.

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But one day the lanes were stripped of their wood and the building flattened for one gigantic ugly hell of a shopping mall.  Some post modern monstrosity. Designed by an architect raised on junk food & profit margins.  Yes, the family who owned the lanes sold out.  I hope the hell they made a lot of money because they made a lot of folks pretty damn unhappy when the sold out.

Across the street the Apple Pan still flips out burgers and pies, some of the best in Los Angeles.

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The Ivar – Legit Goes Strip

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I first stumbled on the Ivar with this slide I took in the late 1970s.  Hollywood was rundown and the Ivar was a lovely shade of pink that symbolized what was left of the city of dreams.  A legit theater that opened in ’51, it had turned into a peep show and strip club a couple decades later.  Famed street photographer  Gary Winogrand left the street to photograph the show inside and why not, they even had a photo night where horny men with cameras could get their film exposed in more ways than one.  In the 1960s and into the early ’70s, rock acts like the Doors played the stage.  For more info and some great old photos, check out this website and the various links contained on its page:  http://sites.google.com/site/hollywoodtheatres/ivar

Gorky’s Was There First – With Borscht & Brew

Several decades before the reinvention of downtown Los Angeles into a loftified art walk circus, the place was dead at night.  Dead and scary with zombie crack addicts and also sad and lonely with one of America’s most populated tent city homeless encampments.  Today every classic joint has been purchased and reinvented by well-oiled club magnates and skid row is planted with 8am-midnight parking meters.  But back then, few ventured downtown at night.  There was Al’s Bar, a spotty arts district and Gorky’s.  Gorky’s, a 24 hour restaurant serving hardy eastern European soul food and their own brew.  Craft beer in the heart of downtown LA decades before the term craft beer was even thought of my a few yuppie entrepreneurs.  But downtown Los Angeles got a lot worse before it got better and Gorky’s didn’t make the cut.  All the facts are contained in a long ago published article in the LA Times that’s still available if you follow this link.

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Sometimes I wonder if Gorky’s even existed.  But then I  found this shot hidden away in an old box of negatives.  Someone wearing a Gorky’s tee shirt.  That sight inspired a mind’s eye vision of visiting Gorky’s late one night for the stew.  It was freezing outside, my breath a frozen cloud in front of my face.   Long Live Gorky’s!  Long Live deserted downtown LA, where the produce market bar rocked and rolled every morning until 9am.  Now that was some good time.

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We Never Close…

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…that is until we close for good.  Ships Coffee Shop.  Los Angeles.  Toasters on every table.  Open 24 hours.  Several locations.  Arrows of neon pointing toward space.  A place in the dreamscape of every kid who grew up in these parts of Los Angeles.  Nope, they never closed, until they closed for good back in 1995.  Whittled down to the last shop on La Cienega Blvd, then erased from the landscape.  Family opened and family gone.  The Culver City location, which was as close to Hollywood as one could get before actually hitting Hollywood Blvd., eventually became a Starbucks.  There’s irony there but we’d rather not bother with the obvious.  Google “Ships Coffee Shop” and you’ll come up with biographies and cool vintage shots.  This shot’s from the last few years they existed.   For some reason the sign was repainted just before the coffee shop closed for good.  “Go figure,” as my Dad would say.  Which means there’s no logic in the ever changing landscape of our Stripeycity.

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Betty, our last waitress at Ships Culver City

To see a photo of Ships’ neon in full splendor against a smoggy LA sunset, visit the stripeycity shop.