They find havens in Hollywood

The husband-and-wife team of Emily Burton and James Rota not only play in the same hard rock band, Fireball Ministry, they also share a love for the simple pleasures that Hollywood has to offer, from steaming chili dogs at a stand on the boulevard to hunting for finely illustrated comics at Meltdown on Sunset.

Skooby dogs

We live close to Hollywood Boulevard, so one of our favorite things to do is walk along the famous street and head for a hot dog stand called Skooby's. They serve gourmet hot dogs, chili made with Guinness beer and fresh lemonade. The place has such a great atmosphere too. You get to eat comfort food like chili cheddar dogs with sauerkraut and freshly made French fries dipped in their special mayonnaise sauce, while listening to good music and being able to watch all the folks that make Hollywood such a diverse city. And as musicians, we're used to staying up late rehearsing or playing shows, so the fact that they stay open until 2:30 in the morning is definitely a plus.


Some musicians experience meltdown while on the road touring, but we experience Meltdown on Sunset Boulevard every week when we're home to get our fix of the latest and greatest in the comic book world.

Not only does the place have a great selection of books and comics, they have a section near the front of the store that specializes in clothing inspired by comics. The Japanese artist Junko Micuno has her artistry put on T-shirts made by the company French Kitty. So you can buy and read your favorite comics there and also buy and wear your favorite images from them.

Cat love

There's a farmers market in Hollywood near Selma and Ivar that has a good variety of fresh fruit available for humans and also a treat for cats.

We have two cats, Geezer and Doro, who like wheatgrass, so we learned awhile back that if you take a Polaroid picture of your cat and show it to the guy who sells the wheatgrass, he'll give you a free little box of it for your pet. This guy must be a big animal lover, because if you bring him back the empty container next time you go, he'll refill it for free.

Metal shop

In our perfect world, we would be able to go to the House of Blues on Sunset and see the Judas Priest Reunion Tour, because that would be a melding of our favorite sounds and our favorite venue. But since that is not likely to happen, we head out to the Viper Room on Mondays to experience the great music they play on Metal Shop night.

As far as us playing our own shows, we are always happiest to do a show at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. The staff is very respectful to the bands who play there, and they work hard to make the sound good for the audience. If you don't want to stand for the duration of the show, you can head for the seats available on the balcony. It's a comfortable place to experience and enjoy music.

-- Karla S. Blume

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World