I don’t know about you but there’s nothing that I’d like to see floating in my drink less than a set of teeth. Unless they’re these wonderful ice cubes that pop out of a rubbery bubblegum pink gums-colored tray right into the refreshment of your choice. I’ve even made them specifically for Bloody Mary’s where I put some crushed peppercorns in the water so it looks like the teeth have cavities while slowly seasoning your drink as they melt.

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It’s a gorgeous day here in LA today, perfect for sitting back with a nice, cold drink showing off a beautiful extra set of choppers. I’m mixing the Kool-Aid right now.



A petite 4″ x 6″, this little metal tip tray was a promotional item given away in the 1950’s by the AMI corporation to celebrate their massive line of  exclusive multi-Horn, high fidelity sound system jukeboxes. It’s  been sitting in my recording studio collecting guitar picks for as long as I can remember after originally being brought in as a drink coaster after I ruined several keyboards with an avalanche of Diet Coke, Yoo-hoos and decaf.

Sunday night I was in Sonoma, CA. writing with Pomplamoose. We were shooting to finish three songs in four days. The work never stopped even when we went out to dinner as is evidenced by my little digital recorder that was on for four solid days capturing every thought and breath we had.


But when it came time to pay the check I reached out to lay the tip down and knocked over a bowl of lentils, dousing the recorder with a river of Indian goo. So every time I went to record after that I had to push down extra hard on the buttons to break through the crust that seeped into and dried in the recorder. If only the AMI JukeBox Tip Tray had been there so there was a nice designated and protected area to deposit the gratuity I would still have a recorder that didn’t smell like Bombay.



Here’s hoping that everyone is having a blast this Memorial Day! I hope that includes popping lots of bottles with a similar vintage bottle opener as well as eating lots of hot dogs.


If it had a pointy metal end the hot dog’s hair gel/ketchup would look a lot like the ‘Have A Blast” cap popper.


The ‘Have A Blast’ even  has a baby brother:


Obviously the more popular of the two, the baby’s message is almost completely blasted off.

If you had either one of these openers right now you could pop the cap on something cold and celebrate the holiday by whipping up some Festive Hot Dog Soufflé from The New Hot Dog Cookbook, a 1968-updated-in-’83 tome of wiener recipes.


Or if that doesn’t sit right on your taste buds perhaps you could “make your wieners Wynders”.  Trust me, this is worth watching:


If you don’t want to drop coin on buying a Wynder’s Wiener maybe you’d like to spend this holiday tooling your own:


However you spend your holiday I hope you’re doing what you want to do and don’t forget to:



In anticipation of the Memorial Day holiday tomorrow and the many glasses that are about to be lifted these Party Jocs drink cozies make it easy to keep track of your drink and keep your hands moisture free as you chug it down.


Wednesday night I went to my favorite restaurant, Street, in anticipation of lifting a glass in celebration as Chef Susan Feniger won another round of Top Chef Masters on TV.  Not  only was she one of the final four but she had won 75% of her battles so far.


I went with my good friend, Stu James, who was also Harpo in my musical, The Color Purple. Although I didn’t have the Party Jocs with me and no glasses are evident in this photo we took with Susan we were all in a glass-lifting celebratory mood as the show began.


What’s great about being at Street on the nights that Top Chef Masters airs is that not only can you order any of the completely and insanely inventive food on the menu but also little trays of whatever Susan cooks on the show that night are passed around. We started out with Lamb Kakta Meatballs drizzled with date and carob molasses…


… followed by the Tatsutage Fried Chicken marinated with soy, mirin and sake and crispy fried in rice batter, topped with spicy kewpie mayonnaise sauce.


Then came the Burmese Lettuce Wraps with gin thoke style lentils, toasted coconut, peanuts, fried onions and sesame ginger dressing…


.. and the Paani Puri, spiced potato, chutneys and sprouted beans in crispy puffs of yogurt-cilantro water dipped dough…


… with the Brazilian Acaraje not far behind – black-eyed pea fritters with palm oil, garlic and cilantro stuffed with citrus cabbage slaw and malagueta chile sauce.


Then we topped it off with barbecued pork sliders:


Obviously Stu and I spent as much time taking photos of each other eating as we did talking, all the while watching Susan toil away on TV.  The chefs’ challenge this week was to make food “fit for the gods of the heavens”.


Susan was assigned Aphrodite, goddess of love.  She went for it with one of the signature dishes at Street, Kaya Toast.


Kaya Toast  is a Singapore street cart experience – toasted bread spread thick with coconut jam and sweet butter that you dip in a soft fried egg drizzled in dark soy and white pepper.  When you bite into it it fills your mouth with such an unexpected burst and multi-textural slide down the throat that your whole body jolts with the sensation. I can always tell when someone orders Kaya for the first time because there’s always a long drawn out ‘oohHHhhhh’ that accompanies it. That’s love. And it’s certainly fit for Aphrodite.

As individual servings of Kaya Toast were passed around to all of us in the restaurant Susan raced to finish the dish on the show.


As the judging began, the whole restaurant got ready to lift their glasses to celebrate yet another triumph. At that moment I wished I had brought the Party Jocs with me so Stu and I could have toasted in style not to mention hand comfort.


But the only thing about the Kaya Toast is that it looks like a very simple dish. Everyone always thinks it’s going to taste like a grilled cheese sandwich.


And that’s what judge Jay Rayner couldn’t get out of his head, that it looked like a PB&J and he didn’t find that very sexy.  So Susan went down in flames…


But I’m here to tell you that it took balls to make a dish like that, on first impression so plain and simple but upon tasting it a cornucopia of textures, tastes and sensations.  So come to Street if you want to taste food fit for the gods. And to Jay Rayner and the remaining three male chefs I lift my glass, now adorned with its comely 1960’s fashion statement, and wish them all very happy highballs as they cook to the finish.



As any good party hostess knows, one of the biggest drags is seeing a sea of half filled cups littered all over your place left by guests who are on their way to the bar to get a fresh hit because they have absolutely no idea where they left their drink. As someone who is writing this as 200 guests head toward here for “Food For Thought – The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch presents The Art of John Lloyd Young” party/AIDS Project of LA fundraiser, I don’t have to worry about such things because over the years I have bought at least 20 sets of these brilliant “What’s Yours?” Drink Markers that you snap on the side of a glass as soon as a drink is poured so the hostess not only knows exactly what’s in the glass to refill it but as each little tab is numbered also knows what drink belongs to who.


The manufacturer seemed to be particularly attached to Bourbon and Scotch:

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In case the party host  gets too inebriated to remember that all you do with these little clips is to clip them on the side of the glass. handy idiot-proof instructions have been included.  My favorite instruction is that the host is instructed to carry the box of tabs with them as they offer their guests a drink and ask each of them, “WHAT’S YOURS?”.


Despite the fact that, in theory, this bar accessory serves a very practical purpose the most amazing thing about it is that every time I use these I come back to my glass to find it stripped of its badge. The Alexander & Wilson Co. of Pasadena, California may have put a lot of thought into the concept of their product but apparently not enough into the composition as per longevity. Perhaps the plastic was elastic enough in 1950 to ride the glass as if it were a polo pony and stay on but it doesn’t take more than about 60 seconds for the front of the tag to bust loose from the clip today and land in some undesirable drinking spot like the floor.


Yesterday John Lloyd, the honoree at my party today, and I spent the day setting up.  We did actually have drinks before we sat down to take this photo and would have brought them with us had we remembered where we set them down.


I have no idea why I wasn’t you carrying around my “What’s Yours?” Drink Markers.



I’m not much of a golf buff but I love kitschy golf accessories, especially those designed around my favorite hole, the 19th.  Although I’m sure that the golf ball dome lid gets screwed off of this 10″ high plastic refreshment vessel long before the green is spotted on the long-awaited hole. Which is good because the glamorous leatherette cover is so cheap and bunchy on the bottom it tips to the left like the leaning Tower of Pisa so the contents would be watering the green instead of your gullet by the time you reach 19.  Happy Masters!

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I’m still incredibly bleary-eyed from my month’s buildup to my Sound Of Soul extravaganza Monday night, the recuperation after from which  I still feel numb not to mention running back and forth to The Pantages to see the final ever performances of my musical, The Color Purple, as originally conceived before it closes on Sunday and jumps to another tier of performance when the second national tour begins in a couple weeks. Honestly, I’d rather be lying in bed watching TV, my favorite sport, then running myself ragged like I was 16. But I’ve never been the type to do the former and I seem to eternally be the type to act the latter so at least it makes me smile when my drinkware matches my state of mind.


I’ve always admired cups like this, interpreting in clay what the artist feels inside.  I’ve also never been the type to practice  perfection, preferring instead to let things happen as they may, my skill being to figure out a creative way to deal with everything that smacks down into my path. Were I a sculptor of coffee cups I would naturally be drawn to this philosophy of design. If the cup isn’t perfect, crush it. Then it looks intentional. Then people like me come along and go this is just  what I feel like today and if they have the need, as I do, to make each action in their life organic and connected they have no alternative other than to pop down the coin for the cup.


This beauty has no other manufacturing marks than simply “Japan”. Of course, it was the 1960’s.

May you also see the day out of cockeyed eyes so you notice something new and wonderful to be grateful for.



Not quite sure why no chair was provided for the female of the species as by the time this photo was taken for this vintage Hamm’s beer sign in the late ’70’s feminism had surely raised its voice loud enough to demand equality in seating arrangements. At least they’ve got a few beers to tip back this Valentine’s Day so her muscles won’t cramp in that position. Maybe one of her gifts to him is a pedicure. In addition to candy and flowers I hope one of  his gifts to her is a nice, comfortable chair.

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These were all the rage among crafters in the 1950s and continue to bring joy to Kitsch lovers who don’t like staring at plain wine or liquor bottles.  Most popular canine colors were white, gray and black. They usually came with accent color noses and button or rhinestone eyes, in this case both. If the crafter was very industrious Fifi also had knit or felt red lips and a jeweled collar.

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Long before it was de rigueur for refrigerators to come equipped with automatic ice makers a contraption like this hung in almost every kitchen in the world allowing homemakers to crush fine or coarse ice without lifting a hammer, the previous method of accomplishing such a thing.

9 1/2″ tall, this most revolutionary of kitchen appliances was made by by the Rival Corp. of Kansas City, Mo., the company that also relieved kitchen misery with their forward thinking Can-O-Mat, Juice-O-Mat, Broil-O-Mat and other O-Mats which graced the product line until production ceased in the 1960’s. Thankfully I still have this one to remind me of my excellent past ice experiences. It’s been in full use this Thanksgiving weekend as many drinks preceded the bird and it’s leftover flock.

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