This article describes a driver for flashing LEDs using a repurposed ESC.
I2C – LCD interface – Type 1
A range of inexpensive serial to Hitachi style LCD interfaces are becoming available.
This article describes the settings for one sold by NYplatform on eBay (about $25 for 5 inc post at the time of writing – but they are getting cheaper). It uses the Philips PCF8574T I2C expander chip which is supported by the user developed Arduino LCD Library V1.2.