Chattel wows crowd at California Preservation Foundation Conference

Chattel recently attended the 2011 California Preservation Conference in Santa Monica.  In addition to instructive education sessions and study tours, one of the highlights of the conference was 3 Minute Success Stories, a evening of skits and audience participation celebrating successes in historic preservation.  Chattel presented the relocation and rehabilitation of Phil's Diner, the oldest dining car in California, now located at 5230 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood.  Constructed in 1920, the Diner operated continuously as a restaurant until 1997.

The Diner has been relocated several times during its long life and was accidentally damaged in 2009 during another relocation by crane.  Rehabilitation included structural retrofit and repair, as well as an addition to the Diner’s east elevation that contains a new kitchen, mechanical and electrical equipment, and restrooms with accessibility improvements.  With all of this work found to be in conformance with the Secretary’s Standards, Phil’s reopened for business on April 20, 2011.

This is an exciting preservation success, and one that deserves a rousing 3 Minute Success Story.  We started with the vision of a classic silent film, highlighting the drama and suspense of Phil's storied past.  Jenna created an excellent slide show, featuring the many moves of the Diner.  Shane, a talented musician, prepared an accordion piece as accompaniment.

With this wonderful presentation and musical entertainment, what more could we add to our success story? 

A pinata! 

To be exact, a meticulously constructed replica of Phil's Diner in pinata form, which we would use on stage to replicate the Diner's travels through Hollywood.  Robert carefully planned the six foot long pinata, using his drafting skills honed by years of experience.

Through extensive research, Jenna and a custom pinata craftsman named Juan Pablo made the dream of a Phil's Diner pinata come to life.  The arrival of the completed pinata was a much-anticipated event in the office.

Seriously, we were excited.

Aided by nearly half an hour of rehearsal, we were ready to perform in front of an eager audience at the Santa Monica Bay Women's Club.  At the reception before the performances, we soothed any lingering stage fright with a variety of excellent desserts.  Once on stage, our natural talents in interpretive dance and pinata wrangling took hold to create an excellent show.  Check out the video for yourself, because we'll be back for the 2012 conference in Oakland! 

Pinata Wranglers:
Robert Chattel, Sue O'Carroll, Kathryn McGee, and Marissa Moshier

Sign Stealer:
Shannon Ferguson

Shane Swerdlow

Stage Manager, Set Designer, and Videographer:
Jenna Snow