Bringing “Joy to the World,” some lovely people have gathered at La Knitterie Parisienne in Studio City to knit their holiday gifts under the careful supervision of Edith Eig, called the “Mother of Purl” at her yarn boutique. The warm and cozy place is especially festive this time of year “because people are making things for their family members and dearest friends. They know these gifts will be treasured, and right now everyone is busy trying to finish them in time,” Eig says about all the activity that goes on before Christmas and Hanukkah. This year the trend seems to be unusual yarns that make fabulous ruffles on scarves and sweaters. “There’s also the ‘recession scarf’ that is popular, made with just one ball of yarn.”
It’s a delight to see the knitting circle that forms at the shop as the gals and some guys learn how to “knit and purl” to create something warm and fuzzy. And they are continuing a tradition that started last year, putting their needles to work for “Wraps of Love,” an effort to make little blankets called “lap wraps” for wounded soldiers going through physical therapy at hospitals. “Last year we sent about 1,000 lap wraps to our veterans. And the effort is still going strong,” Eig reports. A symbol of warmth, security and caring, each wrap is sent with a personalized note that says it has been made with love and appreciation for our wounded warriors.” Bless them.
It was nice to see a handsome young Marine on hand at the Magic Castle’s Toys for Tots benefit. He volunteered to collect presents for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ program at the Cabaret at the Castle’s Holiday of Magic Celebration, featuring an awesome line-up of performers. Ultra-funny Shawn Pelofsky hosted the event, with Jason Graae, Julie Garnye, Alli Mauzey, Nita Whitaker and Ty Taylor singing holiday classics, and magician Tony Clark enchanting the crowd.
More special events will be coming to the Castle in the New Year. “A Weekend with Tippi Hedren” on Jan. 16 and 17, is part of the legends series of shows, which will also have Tony Curtis upcoming. And the Comedy at the Castle cabaret series will present “Alison Arngrim in Confessions of a Prairie B*tch,” Jan. 18 and 19. The funny show puts the spotlight on Alison’s bratty Nellie Oleson persona from Little House on the Prairie. All are open to the public and take place at the Magic Castle’s Inner Circle.
The Christmas Song is 65
Toluca Lake has a connection with one of the sweetest sounds you’ll hear around the holidays. “The Christmas Song,” aka “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” is the best selling holiday song of all time, even surpassing “White Christmas.” It was co-written by late jazz legend Mel Torme and Bob Wells 65 years ago while dashing off some songs at a home in Toluca Lake. Torme once recalled, “I saw a spiral pad on (Bob’s) piano with four lines written in pencil. They started ‘Chestnuts roasting… Jack Frost nipping… Yuletide carols…Folks dressed up like Eskimos.’ Forty minutes later that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics.”
Veteran music manager Dale Sheets, who repped Torme for 35 years, is the keeper of “The Christmas Song” flame. Every year he gets hundreds of requests to use the song. It’s so beloved, he says “we’re very careful where and how we grant permission to use it. Mel asked me to watch over his gem and I have.” And what wonderful memories it brings.
Helping to put folks in a good mood for the holidays is the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Universal CityWalk. Funny lady Justine Marino told me there’s a special Christmas Eve night of comedy called “A Very Merry Chizmar Christmas,” and she’ll also be part of the “Tim Chizmar Comedy Party” at the club January 7th. After launching the CityWalk holiday festivities with the tree lighting ceremony, Lovitz himself is performing there on a regular schedule, along with the hot “Up-N-Comers” and comedy showcase giving us some laughs to start the New Year.
To look glamorous for the holidays, take a tip from the expert at It&ly Hairfashion, the folks who are creating a strong presence in Hollywood as they are embraced by the trendiest gals seen in Twilight and Gossip Girl. Richard Zucckero, CEO of It&ly Hairfashion N.A. Inc., says the best way to glam up your hairdo for the holidays is to “use a leave in shine product, such as Purity Design Pure Water Drops, to allow hair to glisten and catch the glow of holiday lights. Next, decorative hair pins or headbands work for any length of hair and are an easy way to add that special touch to your style.”
Braids are on the top of Zucckero’s hot trend list. He says, “They can serve as an accessory and holiday style trend all in one— French braiding sections at the front-top will serve as an instant headband. Or you can create an up-do with one long dramatic braid.”
Finally, the style expert emphasizes, “Always invest in good hair care products and tools. Keeping hair at its maximum condition saves styling time. Nothing is more consuming than trying to fix dry, brittle hair. Next, opt for a great haircut that will hold its shape and style for up to two months. Finally, keep some hair accessories on hand, such as headbands, pins and clips to change your style at a moments notice.” Great tips for girls-on-the-go in 2010.