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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…

Wouldn't want to go to the mattresses with this guy, would ya?

For just $38 this cowboy could stare you down daily

Or, maybe these sporty derrieres are what these macho men have their sights set on...

Psst: Yes, these garish things were actually for sale at an antique warehouse that is otherwise full of very tasteful pieces. Do you think someone really hung these on their walls at home? Or do you think these giant wall hangings were salvaged from an old bowling alley or movie theater? Leave a comment.

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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…

Elvis and a replica Hollywood sign also top the roof of Dimples, thank you very much

All hail the plaster king of rock

The full sign reads, "HOLLYWOOD is over the hill in Burbank"

Gotta love the neon kitsch of the Dimples sign

Psst: I’ll be posting one more fabulous Dimples photo to the Coté Writes Facebook page later today, so be sure to check it out and follow this site so you’re one of the first to know whenever new posts are up. You can follow via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS…Which of these pop-culture icons is your favorite? I’m a Marilyn gal all the way, but I would never say no to an impromptu trip to Graceland. How about you? Leave a comment.

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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?

Another hot dog on the awning of Vicious Dogs in North Hollywood, CA

Winged hot dog atop a LA food dive that recently went out of business

Psst: I hope you have a marvelous Thursday, whether you’re celebrating an American Thanksgiving or an average workday in another corner of the world. Any big plans or plaster-statue sightings ahead? Leave a comment.

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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…

Doesn't the color of this house look exactly like black-raspberry ice cream?

Just to add to the fairy-tale feel, there's a windmill by the front door

If the house is the color of black-raspberry ice cream, the picket fence is a rainbow of sherbet

Psst: Is it just me, or do you love imagining the idea of these two families meeting and deciding to paint their houses in this way? Leave a comment.

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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…

This patriotic fence is lined with flourishing, red roses

Isn't this barn-style, striped house almost too quirky to be true?

Psst: There’s something about this house and it’s location that makes it five-gazillion times better than it already appears in these photos. Tune in to next week’s kitsch fix for the fabulous reveal. Until then, what do you think of this striped house and its patriotic fence? Leave a comment.

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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…

Look closely behind this pickled zombie head and you'll see that's a mutilated Sylvester stuffed animal in the background

This stuffed animal is unrecognizable with, blood stuffing, and vital organs hanging out everywhere

Paper banner of bloody, torture tools hung against black tulle - these were clearly used on poor Sylvester

Shovels and rope mark off this toy graveyard where...

A detached, antique doll head hangs in a tree

Psst: Aren’t these decorations such great displays of creativity and innovation? I love Halloween for so many reasons (including costumes and candy), but most importantly I adore the fact that it is a secular holiday that emphasizes creative things, like pumpkin carving, face painting, and haunted-house decorating. I mean, I’ve always thought there was something creepy about old toys, but thanks to the creative souls who decorated these houses I will never look at antique dolls the same way again…Do you find these mutilated toys creepy, or is it just me? Are there any holidays other than Halloween that bring out your inner craft goddess? I’d love to hear all the details! Leave a comment.

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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.

This organ is so intricate, I'd swear it was a prop from "The Munsters" TV show

Ceramic skulls - don't you just adore the one with the gold-and-rhinestone-encrusted tooth?

Dracula with dreadlocks - isn't his purple-velvet-lined casket the snazziest final resting place you've ever seen?

Green ghoul pointing the way into Halloween Town

Psst: Do you have any fun plans for Halloween? Attending any parties or dressing up in costume? I think I’ll be keeping things low-key and staying home to watch scary movies and pray that trick or treaters come by to take all this candy off my hands. Wishing you a wickedly wonderful Wednesday! Leave a comment.

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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…

Hand-painted signs and the landmark pink bicycle pointing the way into Phil's

I can't get over the abundance of arrows in such a small space, and the cuteness of the giant finger pointing to the daily specials

Psst: Does old diner decor and the color pink put you in a happy mood, too? Do you have a different feel-good color that lifts your spirits whenever you see it? Do tell! Leave a comment.

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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…

Yup, that's Lady Liberty among the rose bushes

White Statue of Liberty with Christmas lights wrapped around her crown and torch

Did I mention this is just half a mile down the road from the other lawn full of NYC pride?

Psst: Am I the only one still having trouble getting over the fact that these kitschy statues are situated in Beverly Hills? Maybe these homes belong to New York transplants, though, and this is just a reminder of their hometown…Do you live far away from the place you grew up? Are there any ways you display your hometown spirit in your new neck of the woods? How about any activities you take part in to stay in touch with the place you’re from? Leave a comment.

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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…

Full-length view of this jukebox-encased doorway

On the weekends there is a velvet rope out front and quite a line - would you consider buffet sushi and lip synching worth the long wait?

Tokyo Delve's sign and a Cadillac cutout - random 1950s decor at its finest

Psst: Does Tokyo Delve’s sound like the kind of spot where you’d want to dance on chairs and boogie to the “Chicken Dance” song? Judging from a bunch of Yelp reviews, the restaurant’s DJ does in fact play the songs “Chicken Dance” and “Macarena” every night. As much as I love the kitschy exterior of this place, I’m not sure I’m ready for all the flashbacks of junior-high dances and bat mitzvahs that these songs would likely bring on. What say you? Leave a comment.

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