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      Inside columnist and civic booster Chris Nichols's L.A.
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Video Village With Ask Chris: The Heimlich Helper AKA Don't Spend Thanksgiving Alone

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 11/13/2012 12:48:00 PM

Marc Price, who played Skippy the wacky neighbor on Family Ties, is promoting a new wonder product out of Canoga Park. From the makers of Big John jumbo-sized toilet seats, comes the Heimlich Helper. The safety tool looks like a cross between a pogo stick and a sledgehammer and is used as a “Self Assist Choking Emergency Device.” Price stars in this promotional video and provides a great gift idea for those who might be enjoying a... solitary Thanksgiving. “It’s a potential life saver,” says company president Scott Kramer. “For anyone who eats alone.” TV’s Skippy is planning ahead for Christmas and says he’s buying Heimlich Helpers for his entire family. 

Where's Chris? 11/12/12

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 11/12/2012 11:00:00 AM

Hello friends! Your Ask Chris columnist here. I've been poking around L.A. County and spotted this neat place. Where was I? Be the first to guess correctly and win a one-year subscription to Los Angeles magazine for yourself or a friend. Post your answer in the comments section (and please include your email on the form so that I can reach you) then come back to see where I've been

DispL.A. Case #21: Rose From The Rose Parade

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 11/9/2012 3:55:00 PM

The history of Los Angeles as told through 232 objects.

Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781. Between now and the 232nd anniversary, we are gathering the stories behind iconic objects that help explain our city. Los Angeles is older than Chicago, Atlanta or Washington, D.C. In fact, when L.A.’s founders were gathering at El Pueblo, New York City was still occupied by the British army. We have a long story to tell, let’s take a look back and see where the city came from. Feel free to add to this exhibition. Email your ideas to askchris@lamag.com

For more than 120 years, the Tournament of Roses parade has spotlighted the glories of Pasadena on the first day of January. Images of the horses, carriages and eventually mechanical floats smothered with millions of fresh cast California as a tropical paradise when much of the country was shivering. The founders were ...

Robert Goulet's Golden Weenie Up For Auction

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 11/8/2012 12:28:00 PM

This is breaking my heart. Robert Goulet’s golden weenie is being offered for sale at Julien’s Auctions. Goulet, who died in 2007, created the 14K gold hot dog as a gift for his aunt Alice. Auntie believed in the starving young performer and helped him out in the years before his breakout role in Camelot. The auction catalog tells the story of the young Goulet visiting the aunt and scarfing down one of her apple pies. She told him he still looked hungry, slipped him $10 and told him to “buy yourself a hot dog.”  When the 26-year-old hit it big, he paid her back with this memento. She left it to him when she died, and now it might be yours for the opening bid of $900. Heck, as of this morning, just the 84 grams of gold are worth over $5000, and the cocktail party stories you can ...

DispL.A. Case #20: The Golden Spike

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 11/7/2012 6:41:00 PM

The history of Los Angeles as told through 232 objects.

Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781. Between now and the 232nd anniversary, we are gathering the stories behind iconic objects that help explain our city. Los Angeles is older than Chicago, Atlanta or Washington, D.C. In fact, when L.A.’s founders were gathering at El Pueblo, New York City was still occupied by the British army. We have a long story to tell, let’s take a look back and see where the city came from. Feel free to add to this exhibition. Email your ideas to askchris@lamag.com

Shortly after the civil war, the transcontinental railroad reached California. Easy access would open up the entire West coast to a bright lights, big city way of life. You may have heard about this wingding out in Utah with the champagne and the golden spike and all that, but let’s keep digging ...

DispL.A. Case #19: Barbie

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 11/6/2012 6:07:00 PM

The history of Los Angeles as told through 232 objects.

Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781. Between now and the 232nd anniversary, we are gathering the stories behind iconic objects that help explain our city. Los Angeles is older than Chicago, Atlanta or Washington, D.C. In fact, when L.A.’s founders were gathering at El Pueblo, New York City was still occupied by the British army. We have a long story to tell, let’s take a look back and see where the city came from. Feel free to add to this exhibition. Email your ideas to askchris@lamag.com

The BBC reports that three Barbie dolls are sold every second in over 150 countries around the world. That places her somewhere between the number of Taylor Swift albums and iPads churned out every day. Mattel was founded in 1945 as a picture frame maker but co-founder Elliot Handler started turning wood scraps ...

Where's Chris? 11/5/12

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 11/5/2012 12:44:00 PM

Hello friends! Your Ask Chris columnist here. I've been poking around L.A. County and spotted this neat place. Where was I? Be the first to guess correctly and win a one-year subscription to Los Angeles magazine for yourself or a friend. Post your answer in the comments section (and please include your email on the form so that I can reach you) then come back to see where I've been

California's Designing Women At The Autry

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 11/2/2012 12:29:00 PM

I recently had the chance to walk through the exhibit: California’s Designing Women, at the Autry Museum with curator Bill Stern. Stern’s Museum of California Design created the terrific California Pottery: From Missions to Modernism show there a few years ago and I was excited to see what treasures he would put on display. Designing Women spans almost the entire 20th century and includes decorative arts, fashion, furniture and even some Reagan-era computer graphics from April Greiman. Stern wanted to show “Women working in technology and materials that stereotypes have excluded them from.” Some of the objects, like the prototype Barbie dolls and the sculpture of Ray Eames, are some of the best known designs from the Golden State, but some are complete revelations. One of the earliest pieces in the show is a swoopy art nouveau lamp by Elizabeth Eaton Burton. The artist fashioned the delicate piece from ...

DispL.A. Case #18: Michael Jackson's Thriller Jacket

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 10/31/2012 3:57:00 PM

The history of Los Angeles as told through 232 objects.

Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781. Between now and the 232nd anniversary, we are gathering the stories behind iconic objects that help explain our city. Los Angeles is older than Chicago, Atlanta or Washington, D.C. In fact, when L.A.’s founders were gathering at El Pueblo, New York City was still occupied by the British army. We have a long story to tell, let’s take a look back and see where the city came from. Feel free to add to this exhibition. Email your ideas to askchris@lamag.com

Michael Jackson’s Thriller is the most popular music video ever made. The 14-minute horror/dance film transformed a simple promotional tool into a cinematic event. Vanity Fair called it the “most popular and influential music video of all time.” At the height of its popularity, MTV played the film twice every hour, and ...

Vampira In Hollywood, 1954

Posted By: Chris Nichols http://lamag.com · 10/29/2012 2:39:00 PM

Maila Nurmi was a Hollywood beatnik who caught the eye of Hunt Stromberg, a TV producer looking for a way to spice up reruns of old horror movies on Channel 7. He spotted Nurmi at a party dressed in her Charles Addams finery and hired her to host The Vampira Show in 1954. The screaming beat was noticed by Ed Wood, who cast her alongside Bela Lugosi in Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Lisa Marie played her in Tim Burton’s biopic in 1994. “There was a bit of Greta Garbo in there, a little Dostoyevsky,” she told a biographer. “Something just a wee bit spooky like Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.”  Life magazine ran a three-page spread on the darker than life TV star with the 17" waist as she strolled through Hollywood.  Thanks to Google you can read it here. Nurmi died in 2008 and was buried at ...

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