Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Scoops!

Today, Scoops celebrates three years of business!

Well, not really. Owner and proprietor Tai Kim isn't much into celebrations or milestones. He professes that he doesn't even celebrate his own birthday. But East Hollywood's own eclectic ice cream sensation opened on Saturday, April 9, 2005.

After honing his ice cream Jedi-Master skills at Portland's Western Culinary Institute, Kim apparently searched for an ideal location for which to sell his tasty, cold wares. He settled on the row of shops on Heliotrope Drive mainly because of its proximity to Mondo Video, of which he was a huge fan of when it was located in Los Feliz. Right timing, since the Bicycle Kitchen also set up shop around that time as well. And the genesis of the corner came about after the now-defunct Night in Tunisia Cafe opened in late 2001 and got people used to hanging out on the diamond-motif sidewalk.

In the three years that Scoops has been serving unique gelato-like ice cream (or is that ice cream-like gelato?), sorbets and soy-based vegan flavors, he's spent virtually zero dollars on marketing -- an entrepreneur's dream. The fanaticism has been propagated via word of ice-cream-filled mouth, hastened by today's technological media: Internet forums such as, blogs, sites like and text messaging. Ironically, Scoops does not have its own website, and Mr. Kim seems to prefer it stay that way.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Happy Anniversary, Tai and Scoops!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

John Williams All Up In My Hood

Oscar-winning film composer John Williams made a visit to his alma mater, Los Angeles City College on Wednesday night. He spoke in a Q&A session with LACC music professor Dr. Doug Dutton (my brother's music appreciation teacher, who also owns Dutton's Books in Brentwood), who asked the maestro questions from LACC music students.

He talked about attending LACC in the '50s (he transfered from UCLA because LACC had a better music program at the time!), his workday, composing over 60 bars of music in his Universal Studios office, working with just "pen and paper" over software, meeting a young Steven Spielberg for the first time and the importance of musical keys in his composition choices (apparently, he's fond of B major) and his start as a studio orchestra pianist.

Afte rthe Q&A, there was a concert of LACC student composers, bookended by Williams' compositions (from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Schindler's List, The Witches of Eastwick and Far and Away). Williams didn't perform or speak at the concert but he sat proudly in the center of the Camino Theatre.

As a fellow musician and (newbie) film composer, it was quite the educational experience to hear from one of the greatest contemporary American composers of all time.