ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

1970s Music Tribute - A Place Called the Bla Bla Cafe

Updated on November 25, 2012
Al Jarreau
Al Jarreau | Source

A Place Called the Bla Bla Cafe by Sandy Ross

When the Bla Bla Cafe first opened, Twiggy was a fashion icon. Minimum wage was about a dollar and sixty five cents an hour, or about 65 dollars per week. Bobby and John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King had been assassinated. Marilyn was long dead. Haight-Ashbury hippies made the news. Viet Nam happened. Kent State war protests resulted in unarmed student deaths. During all of this and more, from 1971 through 1982, the Bla-Bla Cafe gave a spiritual and artistic home to anyone who wanted to be an artist, singer, songwriter, or comedian. Poets and jugglers were also welcomed. Anybody could go there and not be turned away for what they thought or the way they looked. It gave everybody a chance. The Cafe was not only well-loved by patrons and artists, it was also well-respected as a nightclub that had a major following.

More importantly, during the hard times and new freedoms met by many in the American 1970s, the Bla-Bla offered a homey camaraderie to performers that has lasted a lifetime. It was a refuge of some stability from 1971 through 1982, located on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, Los Angeles that provided a proving ground for new material and performers. Today there is a reunion website where the old regulars still check in. Among the hundreds of entertainers who worked at the Bla Bla are the following that you may recognize: Al Jarreau, Lisa Nemzo, Dave Matthews, Keith Green, William Katt, David Letterman, Roseanne Cash, Jay Leno, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, The Motels, Huey Lewis and the News, The Police, Vicki Randle.

This book is an amazing entertainment Who's Who of many ell known artists from a variety of genres. The story of the cafe is told in thirds. Part One allows the author to tell her own story in relation to the club. In Part Two, she shares interviews with performers such as Al Jarreau and Lisa Nemzo. Finally, in Part Three, Sandy has drawn up tables of all the players, including a table describing regular patrons who supported the cafe and the artists, another for all the staff, and a third, much larger table containing all the hundreds of performers.

Old Program
Old Program

The Book and Other Memorabilia

David Letterman Appeared

David Letterman
David Letterman | Source

The Motels: Only the Lonely

Mona's

The site of the Bla Bla Cafe was formerly Mona's Purple Hag. Previous to that, it was called the Pourvu and both had attracted a wide range of varying patronage and entertainment. Mr. Sebastian Massa was the owner of Mona's Purple Hag and his cousin Albie Hora had worked there as a waiter. The cousins sold and then repurchased the club, creating the Bla Bla Cafe. Albie decreed the new name should be Bla Bla, because he had had a mystic dream one night in which his name Alb Alb had been shown to him spelled backwards as Bla Bla. The previous iterations of the cafe had drawn a very diverse crowd, which lent itself to the new club drawing the same and more. The Bla Bla Cafe was open after hours, welcoming and attracting all manner of characters, despite the prejudice of the 1970s in America. Gays, hippies, creative types, and the uncertain all came to the Bla Bla, where they were accepted and given room to breathe and time to acclimate to adulthood and what they wanted to do with their lives. Over the 11 years the Bla Bla welcomed these people, it provided a home and family to emerging and undiscovered talent, much of which is famous today.

As the club took root and grew, the operations staff and management personnel of the Bla Bla reached out to include Albie's cousins, Sebastian's brothers and sisters and a lot of others. The book's author herself, Sandy Ross, went from singer and songwriter to talent booking and entertainment coordinator at the Bla Bla for many years. She was one of the original performers in the earliset of the early days of the Bla Bla Cafe. Many of the stories she has either written or compiled in her book include interviews she has conducted with the very performers she booked or whose performances she attended herself.

This book is a unique chronicle to read and add to your watching of That Seventies Show on TV. The story and the history will give you some perspective, and also bring back the memories if you lived through that decade and survived. A Place Called the Bla Bla Cafe is a tribute to the spirit of destiny alive among the performing artists of the 1970s who found their way to a 1600 square-foot club in California, full of idealism and youth in a period of revolution and social change. It is a real collector's item for anyone interested in entertainment history and the American 1970s. You will enjoy the stories and the photos.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      @Jack Arsenault - It is fantastically wonderful for you to visit here! The Bla Bla was Cafe certainly had a history of talents coming through, so thanks for the comment. What are you doing these days?

    • profile image

      Jack arsenault 

      3 years ago

      I was a partner at the Bla Bla Cafe with Albie and Eddie. Yes I am still very much alive. Love, Jack

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi joe - Thanks for the comment; your name sounds familiar - did you become famous there as well? I think the book is still in print and available from Amazon. It may be listed above. Thanks!

    • profile image

      joe Arsenault 

      9 years ago

      I remember this place (both the old and new building). My brother Jack worked there for many years. I made a lot of friends and ate and drink maybe too much. Never heard of the book but plan to try to find it.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I still hear about Twiggy every once in a while. :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      That's a good idea, William; a late-afternoon club could be fun sometimes. People could also go before they started work on a 3rd shift later in the evening.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Sound like an interesting place. At my age, however, I think nightclubs should be replaced by late-afternoon clubs. The only places I know that have entertainment these days don't get under way until at least 10 p.m. (That's time to come home, not time to go out!)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thank you all for your comments, Friends. It is a fascinating book and a quick read, because the pages turned quickly! I never knew about this place until I read the book. :)

    • bihargyan profile image

      bihargyan 

      10 years ago from India

      Great you are an inspiration.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      10 years ago

      Ahhhh, a lovely walk down memory lane!! Thank you so much Patty!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 

      10 years ago

      Very enjoyable, Patty!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Looks really good! Patty you keep telling about all these great reads and I won't have time to do anything else...

      Thanks

      regards Zsuzsy

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)