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Underrated / Overrated

January 17, 2008

VAMPIRA

The proto-Elvira was the brainchild of an actress inspired by a Charles Addams cartoon and the producer who spotted her at a costume ball and hired her to host horror movies on his L.A. TV station ("The Vampira Show," April 1954 to 1955). With her cleavage-baring dresses and campy glamour, actress Maila Nurmi (who died on Jan. 10) was the original queen of schlock horror. R.I.P. Vampira.

$5.99 SHOES

Clustered around Union on 6th Street, Westlake's selection of super-cheap shoe stores (look for signs reading simply $5.99 followed by a crudely drawn picture of a shoe) overflow with adorable Mary Janes, pointy-toed sling backs, killer wedges and comfy canvas tennis shoes. Stick around the bustling MacArthur Park area and hit the colorful mom-and-pop shops.

McD's Coffee

Take off the labels and Consumer Reports confirms what we already knew: Serious coffee drinkers prefer McDonald's 100% Arabica Premium Roast to Starbucks. In terms of bang for your buck, the meat-slinging clown can't be beat.

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PASADENA'S DOO DAH PARADE

Conceived 31 years ago as the "twisted sister" to Pasadena's "prim and proper Rose Parade," the Doo Dah (see details in Events) is supposed to be about outrageous antics and nonconformity. Maybe that was once the case, but over time it's morphed into the kind of toothless display of rebellion it once rebelled against.

CELEBRITY DJs

The trend of celebs dating DJs has been replaced by the more abrasive celebs becoming DJs: Macy Gray, Bijou Phillips and Danny Masterson are among those manning the decks at industry parties. The sloppy, disjointed results had us thankful, at least, for the open bar.

CANTER'S DELI

Yeah, it's an L.A. institution, but the food is awful, awful, awful. Some of us are Jews. Knowing good deli food is in our blood.

LENNY KRAVITZ

At this point it's like trashing Puddle of Mudd. Still, it must be pointed out that Kravitz (at the Santa Monica Civic Center tonight) has been writing the same song for 10 years.

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