August 2008

One thing I miss about Paris is walking by its little boutiques in the summer and seeing such signs:

The store will be closed from the evening of July 27th through August 26th, included.

The bakery/patisserie across the street usually had a sign that said “The store will be closed from the evening of June 30th through July 30th, included.” so that French people got their dose of warm croissants and pains au chocolat no matter what.

When I realized it was time for the Smiling Spider to take a summer break I asked my sister-in-law to take a picture of a vacation notice. Unfortunately my sister-in-law e-mailed me back that it was harder to find bakeries closing for a whole month, which made me so sad I didn’t want to even ask why.

In the French tradition of 5 weeks paid vacation after a year of employment, stores that are never opened 24/7 and certainly not on Sundays, I would like to announce that the Smiling Spider will be taking a French vacation from August 5th through September 4th, inclus.

I hope you too will get a break and enjoy the rest of our California summer.

I will leave you with another picture of our boulangerie called “Le Gateau Battu” (the whipped cake.) The sign says this is a Artisan Boulanger Patissier, who uses whole butter, kneads the dough by hand and bakes it in his oven.

I also wanted to let you know of a show being performed outdoors this coming weekend by our socially-conscious Cornerstone Theater Group. It’s called “attraction” and is the story of Downtown L.A.’s Traction street. Definitely something to check out. For more info go to



I suggest Harry Potter fans stay away from the Rogue Artists‘ adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean‘s “The Comical Tragedy OR Tragical Comedy of MR. PUNCH.” It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not for humans period. It’s for puppets. Only creatures made of wood can withstand this two-hour ride on the planet of the puppets where humans’ distorted features forever expose the latent predator in all of us. Think twice before you step in the theater, because, like The Professor (Tom Ashworth) says to The Boy (Sean Eaton/Connor Merkovich): “When you put Mr. Punch on, there’s no taking him off. ”

The Punch (Tom Ashworth) and Judy (Miles Taber) show.

MR. PUNCH is the story of a young man (Miles Taber) reminiscing about a life-changing summer when as a Boy (Connor Merkovich/Sean Eaton,) despite grumbling and protesting, his parents sent him away to spend the summer at His Grandpa’s (Dana Kelly, Jr.) Grandpa runs a fair by the sea with The Boy’s hunchback Uncle (Kerr Seth Lordygan.) The young parents laugh at The Boy’s desire to stay with them and cut even deeper by adding that Grandpa might eat him for supper.

Settled by the English seaside, the Boy spends most of his time with the fair’s main attraction: Mr. Punch. “Families are supposed to love each other,” he whines while watching Mr. Punch torturing his newborn. The star miniature obeys the little master. Suddenly, flowers bloom on the tiny stage. The sun rises. But the Creature takes a 360 degree turn to spew a “IT’S MYYY WOOORRRLLLD TOO!” so convincing it blew the house down. Think before you enter. Disneyland’ small world might never ever feel the same. It is a Mr. Punch’s world and Mr. Punch does whatever the hell he wants.