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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #63: Not-So-Tough Guys

Giant, foam cowboy overlooking the showroom of Wertz Brothers in Santa Monica, CA

Upon a recent visit to my favorite furniture store, I had a run in with some larger-than-life cowboys and mobsters. They wielded shotguns, puffed cigars, stared me down, and would have scared me out of my wits if they hadn’t been made of vinyl and foam. Maybe it’s the fact that these wall hangings are twice my size that confounds me, or perhaps it’s just that these seemingly tough guys are so soft to the touch, but one thing’s certain: people hand the darndest things above their mantels…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #62: Dimples

Marilyn Monroe sculpture atop Dimples Supper Club in Burbank, CA

Thanks to my new route to work, I now pass a kitsch-tastic homage to some classic icons of American pop culture every day. I’m speaking of these giant, plaster statues of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley of course, which are made all the more marvelous due to the fact that they’re perched on the roof of a karaoke bar/restaurant. This rooftop belongs to none other than Dimples Supper Club, which dubs itself “The First Karaoke Club in America.” Even if I didn’t know there were people inside scarfing down fried food and serenading each other with karaoke ballads every night, I would still adore this image of  Marilyn Monroe à la “The Seven Year Itch” alongside the Hollywood sign…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #61: When Dogs Have Wings

Plaster hot dog atop Village Market Liquor in Burbank, CA

In honor of the Thanksgiving feast that’s about to take place in the states I figured I would share some food-themed kitsch with you today. Since I recently came across a surprising number of plaster hot dogs perched at sky-high altitudes in Los Angeles, I quickly realized these angel-like dogs were worthy of this holiday. Just for the record, my personal favorite is the hot dog with wings in the last photo, which was actually torn down a few weeks ago. Which hot dog is your favorite?

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #60: Rainbow Houses

Two most colorful houses in all of Burbank, CA, if not the entire world

What could be better than the patriotic house with a picket fence I showed you last week? How about the pink and pastel-green-yellow-orange-and-blue-striped house right next door? Yeah, that’s right, two families with similar decorating sensibilities and a proclivity for bold exterior paint jobs ended up buying houses right next to each other in the suburbs of Los Angeles, adding a cartoonish element to their otherwise-sedate neighborhood. I could go on forever about all the different reasons these houses are kitsch-tastic, but I think it’s best just to take in the photos and bask in awe of the fact that these two families somehow found each other…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #59: Patriotic Picket Fences

Red-white-and-blue picket fence in Burbank, CA

While picket fences are often synonymous with sedate, suburban living, I have a hard time finding anything remotely sedate about this red-white-and-blue painted home (complete with color-coordinated picket fence), which I spotted just a few blocks away from where I live. This vibrant house is situated on a quaint street of Burbank that has a particularly suburban feel to it, so I can’t help wondering whether this striped home is a rebellion against suburban living or a full-on homage to American values and the middle-class lifestyle of yesteryear. In case this helps you form your own opinion, I should note that the lawn is covered in AstroTurf and the whole front yard is filled with immaculately pruned flowers. See for yourself and let me know what you think…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #58: Tormented Toys

Giant skull hung from a tree in someone’s front yard and draped in bloody sheets

My pup and I dashed out the door well before nightfall on Monday and spent a solid two hours exploring the Halloween decorations around our neighborhood (camera in tow, of course). Some houses opted for very Martha-Stewart-esque wreaths and simple Jack O’Lanterns, while others decked their garages and lawns in more gruesome gear. My favorite two haunted lawns were actually within a block of each other and both featured an array of mutilated children’s toys. From stuffed animals splayed on bloody trays to severed doll heads in trees, there was something so exceptionally eerie about this use of tortured toys as Halloween decorations…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #57: Halloween Town

Buxom, winking witch ornament at Halloween Town in Burbank, CA

We’ve all got those seasonal storefronts in our neighborhoods that crop up with Christmas ornaments far-too-many weeks before Thanksgiving, Calendars well before New Year’s, and – of course – Halloween costumes right after Labor Day. There are at least three such (giant) stores within walking distance of my new home, but I was recently delighted to find a place that’s open year-round and boasts anything but your typical array of clown wigs and party streamers. This spooky store is called Halloween Town, and it sells everything from $1 zombie blood to $1,000 vampire statues. The store is quite spacious, so some areas are devoted to eerily merchandised T-shirts, horror-movie memorabilia, tombstones and whatever other scary props you can imagine, while other areas are set up like haunted graveyards (which, I might add, genuinely gave me the chills). Halloween Town seriously has everything you’d need to build a professional-quality haunted house, and this silo of screams is so fun to stroll through that I’m sure I’ll be returning long after its seasonal competitors have filled their storefronts with Christmas trees.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #56: Pink Makes Everything Better

Pretty-in-pink neon sign for Phil’s Diner in North Hollywood, CA

I am a firm believer that a tuna melt, a good spin on a diner stool, and the color pink can make almost anything better. So, you can probably guess I was tickled magenta when I discovered a neighborhood eatery that’s shared this opinion with me since 1926. I am referring to none other than Phil’s Diner, which is housed in a tiny diner car, swathed in numerous coats of pink paint, and marked by lots of pink neon and a pink bicycle that’s ever-present at its entrance. Although the dining car’s interior abandons Phil’s signature color in favor of black-and-white tiles and red vinyl, I’m willing to forgive this oversight because of just how old-fashioned and fabulous the diner stools feel. Take a quick spin with me, my dears…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #55: New York, 90210

Gray Statue of Liberty on a front lawn in Beverly Hills, CA

My husband and I took a drive through Beverly Hills this weekend with the simple goal of mansion gazing, but while there we happened upon some lawn art I really didn’t expect to find in that zip code. The ornaments in question were unexpected in two ways: 1) lawn art isn’t exactly synonymous with Beverly Hills, and 2) these particular works of curbside art were far more east coast than west coast in theme. That’s right, we spotted not just one but two different replicas of the Statue of Liberty on the front lawns of some very swanky homes. I’m starting to wonder whether there’s some kind of Statue of Liberty Lover’s Club that the show “Beverly Hills, 90210” blatantly hid from us. Donna Martin and Dylan McKay, I feel betrayed…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #54: Sushi Jukebox

Arched entryway to Tokyo Delve’s Sushi Bar in North Hollywood, CA

Burbank and North Hollywood are so full of 1950s decor, and I die of delight a little bit each time I see a new piece of kitsch from years gone by. Today’s twist-n-shout-worthy find is the facade of Tokyo Delve’s, a sushi bar in North Hollywood. What exactly sushi and jukeboxes have in common remains a mystery to me, but the randomness of it all is what appeals to me most about these light-up-jukebox archways and neon-striped cutouts of Cadillac convertibles. This place is apparently a hotspot for bachelorette parties, birthdays, and other debaucherous nights on the town, so it’s more like a nightclub than a restaurant. Boasting sake bombs, lip-synching waiters, and lots of pre-made sushi, I guess you could say they have a shtick and are sticking to it…

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