16th Century, Anyone?

17 May
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Welcome to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

Ahhhhhh, the Renaissance Faire.  Actually, I should call it by its real name, the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, which is much more descriptively accurate.  I feel the majority of people out there have preconceived notions about these wonderful festivals.  Maybe they think this alt-world cosplay gathering is on par with the dungeons and dragons stock in the dork/nerd/dweeb class of life.  But, you’ve got the wrong idea guys, the wrong idea.  It’s fun.  Just fun.

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Washer Women.

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Danse Macabre March.

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Everyday life.

After parking you ascend upon a new world and a different land.  The people talk funny and wear funny clothes.  They are walking around with feathers in their hats and flowers in their hair.  It’s something similar to Coachella, but classier and with better fabric.  You are transported to another realm and another time.  There are even rumors that there are special appearances by Star Trek characters and Dr. Who, just to put another genius spin on the whole space-time continuum of things.  I say let’s dress up as Bill and Ted and really show ‘em…

There are many shows and activities you can partake in whilst  attending the fair.  They have a pub crawl, a joust, a wench show (which is awesome) and tea with the queen, as well as a falcon show, knife throwing, archery and plenty of people singing and performing.  There are goods for sale, so if you’re in the market for leather, tea, garlands or blown glass you’ll be coming to the right place.

Joust arena

Joust arena.

Dance

Dance.

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Hey, Owl. During the Falcon Show.

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A Lady.

Not sure what she is

Not sure what she is.

If you’re planning on going, why not browse the internet and brush up on your Renaissance language skills.  And you should add this Insult Generator to your research – my favorite one so far: Thou puking elf-skinned flap-dragon!  Yeah!  I kind of feel like it’d be worth getting in a fight with someone if yelling this was the origin…

The Wenches!  So funny!

The Wenches! So funny!

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The Queen!

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Look at this awesome yahoo.

Garlands for Sale!

Garlands for Sale!

There’s plenty of food and drink.  The whole turkey legs are famous and it’s a trip to see these things towering over those that are eating them.  The beer is plentiful, well-priced and they have some decent brands on tap.  Not just the normal light whatever water that’s normally served.  Don’t get me wrong, they have that too, but at least they are offering options.

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You know you want one.

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No turkey leg for this one.

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The only thing she and I have in common is our love of ice cream.

Music

Music.

Advertising

Advertising.

If you are someone who likes people watching, drinking and boobs – you will hate yourself if you don’t make this happen.  Mark my words.  It’s amazing how both the people who work there and the patrons assume their chosen characters.  They are shockingly and wonderfully committed.  There are lords, ladies, fairies, vikings, pirates, wenches, soldiers, knights, etc.  You are encouraged to interact with them and doing so will only enhance your experience.

There are many different “Ren Faires” as they are commonly called, but the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California is the oldest having had its first Fair in 1962.  This particular fair depicts a fictional Elizabethan England town, Port Deptford, in the 1580s.  There are now many fairs being held across the country (and some internationally) that draw hundreds of thousands of people each season.  A season is usually anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months and held primarily during the spring or fall.  Click here for a little more history.

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Viking!

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Pig from the petting zoo.

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I don’t know how to describe this guy, but I like it.

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Fairy.

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A man and his goose.

IT’S THE LAST WEEKEND IT’S HERE!  Only $25 to buy a ticket when you get there, or $23 to buy ahead of time at designated locations (pick one up at Walgreens); the hours are 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday.  Click here for their website which will give you all the possible information you may need and then some –

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True.

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Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

9 May
Welcome to the Swap Meet.

Welcome to the Swap Meet.

The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet has really taken hold of the tribute band circuit by continuously hosting many different kinds of faux rock legends.  What is a swap meet you ask?  It’s like a flea market.  What is a flea market you ask?  Well, it’s “a gathering at which enthusiasts or collectors trade or exchange items of common interest.” So mixed in with the sunglasses, bunnies, nuts, ladies clothing, kids’ toys, vintage action figures, tutus, beer and hats you will find some surprisingly entertaining music.  They hosted what may be one of the best shows I’ve ever seen for $1 – which is the entrance fee to the Swap Meet.

People getting into it.

People getting into it.

I was unaware of the underground (does it count as underground if I just don’t know about it?) world of phenomenal and very serious “tribute” bands.  I put tribute in quotes because of the couple I’ve seen, they are good enough to stand on their own.  However, instead of doing so they offer up their musical talents and pay homage to those that came before them and impacted them so fiercely.  I mean, it’s not just any day that one decides to completely embody another man so devoutly and fanatically.  It is a strange parallel universe, that’s for sure.  And let’s be honest, the band names alone make it worth it.  A majority of the time the wordplay bridge melding the names of the original band with the tribute band is fucking genius.

During my first foray into tribute bands at this “venue” I saw Led Zepagain, which I hope you’re picking up is a Led Zeppelin Tribute Band, and they were mind-blowing.  In a good way.  A really good way.  (Is it weird that the lead singer might be better than the current Robert Plant??)  So when I had the opportunity to see Bonfire, which is the not-as-obvious name of an AC/DC Tribute Band, I was 100% into it.  These guys are pure entertainment.  You don’t know if you’re laughing with them or at them, but the important part is that you’re laughing. Talk about pouring your heart and soul out onto a stage!  They were wild, loud and took advantage of their opportunity to shine in the spotlight.  They hit all the high points – hair, school boy uniform, duckwalk, devil horns, energy and everything that comes along with it – the “Angus Young” runs through the crowd and performs on tables for goodness sake!  Even though these guys originated in Los Angeles, the lead singer even had an Australian accent.  Real?  Not real? We’ll never know, but I think it says something about their commitment level.

Be warned – In some of the below photos you will see topless men of a certain age…

yeah!

Yeah!

Horns.

Horns.

A stint in the crowd!

A stint in the crowd!

Tandem

Tandem

"Angus"

“Angus”

Did I mention the groupies?  I didn’t?!  Well, they were an integral part to the whole retro experience!  The big hair and remnants of the once young, screaming AC/DC fans and panty throwers was a highlight.  Speaking of people watching, there was a lot of it.  Interesting crowd at the ol’ Swap Meet.  Plenty of tattoos, lots of kids and lots of people rocking both AC/DC and Bonfire T-shirts all making for a very watchable audience.

Awesome Hair.

Awesome Hair.

Thanks for the tip.

Her button says, “End Slavery Now.” – Thanks for the tip, Obvious Police.

Having a grand time!

Having a grand time!

Nice.

Nice.

A fan.

A fan.

Colors of the rainbow.

Colors of the rainbow.

Yep.

Yep, this picture sums up my experience.

They play three hour-long sets with one hour breaks in between.  During these breaks is a good time to explore the above mentioned Swap Meet merchandising. It takes about an hour to get there from L.A. in traffic.  So go get a churro and have a good time.

Coming up on the horizon this summer:

MAY

Hard Days Night (Tribute to the Beatles)

These Handsome Devils (Tribute to Morrissey and The Smiths)

JUNE

Red Not Chili Peppers (See above wordplay comment)

No Duh (uh huh, Tribute to No Doubt; this might by my favorite one)

Electric Funeral (Tribute to Black Sabbath)

Aeromyth (See above wordplay comment)

JULY

Pyromania (Tribute to Def Leppard)

The Rising (Tribute to Bruce Springsteen)

Damage, Inc. (Tribute to Metallica)

Lyvyn Skynyrd (Tribute to Lynryd Skynyrd)

Click here for Bonfire’s website – Click here for the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet’s website13963 Alondra Blvd., Santa Fe Springs, CA  90670

Out!

Out!

Out!

California Bear

8 May
Photo by Jeff - yenemy1a

Photo by Jeff – yenemy1a

Hello world!  I was hibernating, but now I’m back and good to go…

Too Many Sunsets? Never.

24 Jan
Stunning

Stunning

Now, the best thing about my recent Mexican experience was going to The Mayan Baths.  This is where I spent the last day of the Mayan Calendar.  This is where I was potentially spending my last days on earth.  And you know what?  I was perfectly fine saying good-bye to the world looking at this view.

This place is amazing.  If you are lucky enough to get here, to go here, you win. The caves are the brainchild of an extremely creative and inspired man.  It’s an underground grotto that has passageways and chest deep pools filled with water from a natural hot spring and it’s overlooking the Mexican countryside.  It’s designed so that every year on the Winter Solstice, the sun sets right down the center of the bath’s water filled passageway and can be viewed from the back of the cave’s main dome.  Also known as, absolutely stunning, a memory you’ll have forever, an experience you’ve never had before and something to tell people about for the rest of your lives.  You know, something like that.

You can also get a massage, have a drink (with a full bar at your disposal) and food (usually cooked with fresh fish caught that morning from fish ponds also located on the property.)  Finally, you can cozy up with a toasty bathrobe and towel warmed on a uniquely designed pyramid heater located in the main lobby.  Another little plus is they pass out dark glass rectangles when the sun is setting so you can look directly at it without your eyes exploding, nice touch.

Sipping some great tequila, while bathing in perfectly warm water in a candle lit cave while watching a magnificent Mexican sunset will be one of the highlights of your life.  I mean, the place has been blessed by Buddhist Monks so you’re bound to feel some magic happening.  Good luck trying to find something more amazing.  Yeah, good luck.

*These photos were taken at different stages of sunset over different days –

Walking down into the caves

Walking down into the caves

Underground walkway to going down to the pools

Underground walkway to going down to the pools

Looking up in the main lobby

Looking up in the main lobby

Main lobby in the caves w/ the pyramid heater

Pool View of the main lobby w/ the pyramid heater in the center

Main dome

Main dome

Sunset view from the main dome

Sunset view from the main dome

Wading from the main dome down to the outside pool

Wading out to the outermost pool

We see this on the way

We pass this along the way

Still wading out to the outermost pool

Still wading out

Almost out to the outmost pool

Almost there

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Outward view from the caves

Outward view from the caves

Almost down

Almost down

Outer most pool

Outermost pool

View from infinity ledge from outermost pool

View from infinity ledge of outermost pool

View from the infinity edge of outermost pool

View from the infinity ledge of outermost pool

Looking past the infinity edge at the outermost pool

View from infinity ledge at outermost pool

Turning to go back inside from the outermost pool

Turning to go back inside from the outermost pool

Wading back in toward the man dome

Wading back in from the outermost pool toward the main dome

Main dome

Main dome

Main dome

Main dome, you can see the arch where the sun is shining through on the back wall

Inside the main dome taking a picture out

Inside the main dome taking a picture out

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Better Than Disney World

23 Jan
La Paroquilla

La Parroquia – the first Cinderella’s Castle

This year I tried my hand at an exotic-type getaway for the holidays.  More like a mini-family reunion that happened to be somewhere foreign.  There were no last-minute Target trips, candy canes or even a Christmas Eve slumber in my childhood bed.  My boyfriend and I, along with the rest of my family on my mom’s side, visited my uncle who lives down in San Miguel de Allende.  A magical colonial city in the mountains of central Mexico about 3 1/2 hours NNW of Mexico City.

This is such an extraordinary town; it’s special.  It’s well known for being an artist’s community and has attracted many creative types and ex-pats over the years.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s idyllic main church, La Parroquia, looks like a better version of Cinderella’s castle.  It’s a town that’s modern while still being quaint, with its cobblestone streets and plenty of restaurants, bars, shopping and culture.  You can read more about its history here

My trip was filled with more breathtaking sunsets than most see in a lifetime, a group ATV ride to ancient pyramids, more great tequila than should be drank, and an absolutely awesome family that I’m really glad is mine.  But one of the most phenomenal parts about my trip was something that took place about 10min outside of the city.  A trip to the Mayan Baths – coming soon in the next post…

Don’t let the over-sensationalized news freak you out.  Mexico is much more awesome than most people give it credit for.  There are some very safe cities in Mexico; as long as you travel smartly (like you should everywhere you go) you can have a sensational and enlightening trip south of the border.

The colorful buildings of San Miguel

The colorful buildings of San Miguel

Statue (wish I knew who) in one of the town's jardins

Statue (wish I knew who) in one of the town’s jardins

Some Christmas decorations

Some Christmas decorations

Toy sellers in the Main Jardin

Toy sellers in the Main Jardin

Storefront

Storefront

Sky view

Sky view

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Sunset view from the gorgeous B&B/Hotel of Casa Puesta del Sol

Sunset view from the gorgeous B&B/Hotel of Casa Puesta del Sol

Cactus - come on, it's Mexico

Cactus – come on, it’s Mexico

Cemetery of Children - outskirts of San Miguel.  Came across it while on the ATV ride

Cemetery of Children – outskirts of San Miguel. Came across it while on the ATV ride

ATV ride

ATV ride

Traditional wedding, I snuck a shot

Traditional wedding, I snuck a shot

A town we passed that has the unique art talents of carving cantera stone into beautiful pieces

A town we passed that has the unique art talents of carving cantera stone into beautiful pieces

Beautiful cantera stone

Beautiful cantera stone

At Hacienda Galindo

At Hacienda Galindo

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That place w/ the line must be good

That place w/ the line must be good

Market

Market

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One of many beautiful sunsets

La Paroquilla at night

La Paroquilla at night

From Hero to Zero

8 Jan
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Throughout history there are unhappy and sorrowful stories where something beloved is quickly discarded without thought or care.  One such case is the tragic tale of the Christmas tree.  Even the notorious and famous that do wrong are eventually forgiven (Chris Brown, Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, Milli Vanilli – OK Milli Vanilli were never forgiven, I guess domestic abuse, adultery, fraud and accused child sexual abuse beat out lip syncing in our culture).  But no, the sad, sorry Christmas tree which once shone bright, sat on a pedestal and was cherished by adoring families is now a piece we’re desperate to get rid of.

Most aren’t even given a clean death, a hero’s death.  They aren’t wrapped in shroud and given food and wealth for the after world or next life.  They aren’t swiftly beheaded.  They were not laid upon a pyre and sent down the river.  There are no happy words of remembrance or tears shed.  None of that for the previously prized Christmas tree now being dragged from our homes by the trunk, kicking and screaming before being thrown on the curb with the rest of the trash.  Left in the street, not even taken to a proper burial site.

Poor Christmas tree.  Poor, poor Christmas tree.
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And So It Begins…

1 Jan
Photo from bighappyfunhouse.com

Photo from bighappyfunhouse.com

Hopefully this finds you recovering nicely from a hangover after ringing in the New Year with good friends, good food and good booze!  May your resolutions not fall by the wayside and may this year bring you lots of happy surprises.  With luck you will be cured of any and all ailments and genuinely laugh more than you have in years –

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Los Angeles

17 Dec
Photo by V. Smoothe

Photo by V. Smoothe

Almost nothing is more classic during the holidays than ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  However, I really enjoy the updated versions/parodies that exist out there.  I was shocked that I couldn’t find one specific to Los Angeles, so I decided to try my hand at writing one.  LA has to represent!

The poem was published for the first time in 1823 and is most commonly credited to Clement Clarke Moore.  Although, there was some dissension and many believe that it was actually written by Henry Livingston, Jr.  So I take this opportunity to apologize to both Mr. Moore and Mr. Livingston respectively for the hack job I have done to this beautiful poem.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 

Los Angeles version by SoJejune

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through LA,

no one was stirring, not even the gays.

The stockings were hung by space heaters with care,

in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

 

The hipsters were nestled all snug in their jeans,

while visions of indie bands danced in their dreams.

All actors lay down on their pillows with reason,

to nap and relax before pilot season.

 

When out in the city there arose such a clatter.

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

knocking into the table and spilling my stash.

 

I looked all around, but all my eyes could meet,

was the West Hollywood Jesus down on the street.

Then, I looked up and thought I’d had too much wine,

but there was Santa and his reindeer on the Hollywood sign.

 

I rushed out of the house, trying to catch him,

but hit traffic at the Grove, and thought, “I’ll never get them!”

I got to Griffith Observatory and could still see my guy,

apparently he stopped to eat In and Out’s 4×4 with animal fries.

 

A little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

I finally got a close look and he couldn’t be handsomer,

although he should’ve gone with a little less St. Topaz self-tanner.

 

As he readied to leave, his team they came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

 

“Now Dasher!  Now Dancer!

Now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! On, Cupid!

On Donner and Blitzen!

To the Santa Monica Pier!  To the Venice Canals!

Now dash away!  Dash away!

Dash away all!”

 

I hid on his sleigh, and could see roof top pools,

with all the studio heads and starlets donning their jewels.

The artificial snow was falling as they discussed,

their TV and movie ratings and box office bumps.

 

He looked at his list and realized he forgot,

peppermint macaroons for Bobby, believe it or not!

He uttered a gasp when he tried for a spot,

did he think he would find parking in a Trader Joe’s lot?

 

I peeked into his bag and what a kind, jolly ol’ soul,

he brought SAG cards for everyone and not any coal!

He had CDs from Ameoba, and clearly concurs,

as he finally brought Leo and Johnny their Oscars!

 

As he continued on from house to house,

he filled all the stockings, quiet as a mouse.

The food though, was more than he could handle,

for instead of cookies and milk, there were too many Vegan veggie scrambles.

 

He packed up his sack and past the palm tress they flew,

past the food trucks, Hollywood Bowl and Getty Center, too.

But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight.

 

“Happy Christmas LA, and to all a good night!”

 

Photo by Thomas Pintaric

Photo by Thomas Pintaric

Our Mini Christmas Tree

11 Dec
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I love Christmas trees; can’t be helped.  I also like when they are decorated in the typical clusterfuck / Christmas throw up fashion.  And by that I mean, no coordination, lots of ornaments, lots of lights, lots of tinsel, lots of everything Christmas related found, and affixed to a tree.

Since I wasn’t in LA for Christmas last year, my genius boyfriend got us a little place holder, a potted mini tree…perfect!  It’s nice for many reasons, one of those being, since it’s potted you can keep it alive and kicking until the next year!  You’ll never have to buy (and kill) another tree again!  Well, in theory anyway.  Ours only made it to August.  I blame my general lack of watering and care outside of the Christmas season to this sad fact.  However, this year, this year, things are going to be different.

My goal this year is to have our little tree, who I’m going to take a moment here and name Willie the Tree, make it until next year.  I promise to water you and give you the proper and recommended amount of shade.  To cuddle and read you a bed time story every night.  Hey, if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll get you a shiny new pot to reside in!  How does that sound, buddy?  I promise to do this for you…

And so now I raise my glass to you Willie – to health and good luck!

The NEW Hollywood Walk of Fame

30 Nov

Someone’s fantastic street (or sidewalk) art…

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These are awesome, and I couldn’t imagine them being anywhere but where they were found – on Hollywood Blvd.

A Dive Bar Thanksgiving

23 Nov

After all is said and done – the turkey has been eaten, bellies are exploding, games have been played, alcohol has been drunk, Macy’s Parade, “Elf”, “The Ref”, “Twilight Zone” and “Alf” have been watched, more games have been played and more drinks have been drunk.  The two remaining stragglers hit up the best dive bar ever and realize that they too host their own Thanksgiving dinner.  They rock it old school where sharing is caring and have a full spread for their patrons to enjoy.

Nicely played, Drawing Room, nicely played.

L.A. Unicorn – Angelyne

9 Nov

Angelyne the Billboard Queen – Photo by Thomas Hawk

Guys.  If anyone were to ask you why L.A. is a fun place to live, you would be able to provide a simple answer.  That being – because we have our very own unicorn, and her name is Angelyne.

The first time that I encountered Angelyne was when my young self was watching “Earth Girls Are Easy”.  If you haven’t had the honor of watching this movie, please stop what you’re doing and go watch it; you can finish reading when you come back.  It’s one of the best worst movies of all time.  It stars Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum and very young versions of Damon Wayans and Jim Carey.  The latter three being aliens who crash their space ship into valley girl Geena Davis’ pool. Upon discovery, she and Down Town Julie Brown shave their colorful alien fur revealing hot, human looking aliens.  Romance and science fiction ensue.

I didn’t know what Angelyne meant to Los Angeles until I moved here, years later. She’s been driving around in her pink, Barbie corvette since the 80’s becoming an idol/celebrity/icon/darling of Hollywood after putting up billboards of herself all across Los Angeles.  With her platinum blonde hair, voluptuous figure, and pink everything, she became a local superstar.  I’m certain that no one outside of Los Angeles really understands who Angelyne is or can really appreciate how exciting it is to see her driving around town with the specialty license plate ANGELNN, but if you see her, you feel like you’ve been let in on an inside joke. You’ve finally seen the sailboat.  Bigfoot, Nessie, El Chupacabra and the Yeti had a party and you crashed it.  You’ve seen a mythical creature others have only heard about; you’ve seen it with your own eyes.  Welcome, you have now officially arrived in L.A.

Her moniker, Angelyne the Billboard Queen, perfectly sums her up.  She is famous only because she believed she was famous and was fortuitous enough to meet a rich somebody else who also believed it, well that or she was from a surprisingly wealthy family or she was excellent at money management.  I’m guessing it was the first option since these days she seems to be struggling, selling Angelyne paraphernalia out of the truck of her car and selling her Malibu (Barbie) apartment in 2010.  She can still be spotted driving around town (I’ve seen her twice at my Albertson’s in the past month.)

I’m not sure what occupies most of her time these days, but I guarantee you if E! and the reality show world we live in now would have been going strong back in the 80’s, she would have had her own hit show, chock full of delicious anecdotes and train wreck moments.  Damn FOX, are we sure “Cops” was the better option?

Halloween: In the Spirit of Spirits

25 Oct

It’s Halloween time.  As we all know, it’s the time where people get dressed up in a variety of different costumes for a variety of different reasons and attempt to get scared out of their minds.  People get an opportunity to let loose and take on another persona for one night a year.  Oh, and girls dress slutty – there’s a slutty version of everything (please click on this link to see a slutty unicorn.)

I can do blood, guts and gore, but when it comes to people jumping out at me, I’m a huge pussy.  I’m really terrible at being scared.  It’s not even that I carry it with me after the fact.  After I leave a scary movie or event,  I’m not worried about walking through an empty parking lot in the middle of the night and I don’t have nightmares, but I do feel massively stressed out and anxious.  And listen, I feel that way so often normally that I don’t prefer to seek that out, let alone – pay money to feel that way.  No, thanks.  Really.  I will not be going to see Paranormal Activity 29, going to a Haunted Hayride, a Halloween Horror Night or the Queen Mary thing.  I prefer to enjoy Halloween for what it’s really about.  Candy.  Obviously.

So in the spirit of spirits – why not do something festive that doesn’t require actually being scared shitless.  Many deceased celebrities are buried here in our fair city.  Why not peacefully and respectfully go hang out with some famous ghosts, visit some graves, and walk with the dead?

See below for some highlights, click on the links to their websites for visiting hours, etc.

 

WESTWOOD VILLAGE MEMORIAL PARK – 1218 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, CA  90024; (310) 474-1579

I think this is the real winner in the celebrity cemetery circuit.

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) – The whispers around town are that Hugh Hefner owns the plot next to hers so he can lay next to her for all eternity.  Pimp.

Truman Capote (1924-1984)

Natalie Wood (1938-1981)

Rodney Dangerfield (1921-2004)

Janet Leigh (1927-2004)

Dean Martin (1917-1995)

Bettie Page (1923-2008)

Mel Torme (1925-1999)

Frank Zappa (1940-1993)

 

FOREST LAWN – 6300 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles, CA  90068; (800) 204-3131

Photo by Wildhartlivie

Bette Davis (1908-1989)

Walt Disney (1901-1966)

Sandra Dee (1942-2005)

Liberace (1919-1987)

George Burns (1896-1996)

Errol Flynn (1909-1959)

James (Jimmy) Stewart (1908-1997)

Not open to the public (but you can still revel in their presence):

Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Sam Cooke (1931-1964)

Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957)

Nat King Cole (1919-1965)

Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990)

Clark Gable (1901-1960)

Jean Harlow (1911-1937)

Mary Pickford (1892-1979)

Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

 

GREEN HILLS MEMORIAL PARK – 27501 South Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; (800) 597-7331

Bukowski Street Art. Photo by GFreihalter 

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

 

HOLY CROSS CEMETERY – 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City, CA; (310) 836-5500

Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth (1918-1987)

John Candy (1950-1994)

Bing Crosby (1903-1977)

Rosalind Russell (1907-1976)

Sharon Tate (1943-1969)

 

INGLEWOOD PARK CEMETERY – 720 E. Florence Ave., Inglewood, CA  90301; (310) 412-6500

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

Etta James (1938-2012)

 

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER – 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90028; (323) 469-6349

Johnny Ramone statue. Photo by Sean Russell

Johnny Ramone (1948-2004)

Estelle Getty (1923-2008)

Jayne Mansfield (1933-1967)

Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926)

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (1906-1947)

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Children are scary anyway, let alone on Halloween.

Drag-a-licious

15 Oct

I love drag queens as a people.  They are fun, fierce, beautiful, sassy and oh so very funny.  The majority of them seemingly just like to have a good time and love to ham it up for an audience.  I have always wanted to go to a drag show – well now, now I am a drag show virgin no longer.

A friend and I went to the Dreamgirls Revue at Club Rage in West Hollywood, which is held every Tuesday at 9:30pm.  What a fantastic time it turned out to be!  There were about seven ladies that performed, some were regulars and some were guests (a slew of them were even “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alums) and as you would assume, they each have their very own distinctive personality and performance style.  They each performed twice with a fun 10min intermission where the bar had $5 drink specials during that time.  The hostess was hilarious and really got the crowd cursing (at her request) and ready to go…

One hitch – since I’m not schooled in the drag culture, I missed the dollar bill thing.  I doubt it’s unique to this particular show so here’s the deal – the music starts-a-pumpin’, the curtains part, the stunning, glittery she-man appears on the stage and starts lip syncing and performing her heart out.  Then, they come out into the crowd where everyone is holding out dolla-dolla bills for them to shimmy over and take.  They work the room with more pizzazz than anyone should know what to do with.  There are splits, sparkles and some serious tucking, but they are all beauties and very, very awesome.

Drag shows are held in bars, clubs and all sorts of other venues in cities all across the country (and world), so why not check one out in your neck of the woods and support your local Drag Queen culture!

If you’re looking for something to do on a Tuesday night in LA, check check it out – Dreamgirls Revue – Rage Nightclub – 8911 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA (West Hollywood)

An Archer’s Life for Me

7 Oct

I don’t know what that hat is, but she looks pretty cool.  Sybil “Queenie” Newall at the 1908 Olympics in London

Here’s what I know about archery.  Nothing.  I know nothing about archery.  Except what Robin Hood and Katniss have taught me.  Again, which is nothing, except maybe that you can make bows and arrows out of random branches and such you find in the woods.  And I’m sure that’s much more difficult than they make it seem.  (What!?  Movies aren’t real??)  Turns out, the sport has elevated itself since these wooded cinematic depictions.

Some friends and I recently took an introductory/beginner archery class.  What fun!  You feel so primal and dangerous.  The closest I come to pointing something scary at someone is my evil glare when someone cuts me off in traffic or makes a snarky comment (which I probably deserve).  That’s about as threatening as I get.  So it was nice to step outside my norm a little bit and go to this class.

Seriously. This might as well be me. Anime Katniss by Ichigo Noodle – pulled from wikimedia commons

It’s held at Rancho Park Archery Range at Cheviot Hills Recreation Center on Pico and Motor, right behind Fox Studios.  Lovely volunteers run, teach and monitor this archery range.  Originally, we (my friends and I) wanted to do the free beginners class that they offer on Saturday mornings at 11:00am.  The problem there being, you have to show up early.  And I mean early.  Really early, 7am-and-wait-in-line-til-someone-shows-up-to-take-your-names-at-8:30am EARLY. Thanks “Hunger Games”!  They only admit 24 people into the class, so if you don’t show up at the ass crack of dawn you won’t get a slot and then you woke up on a Saturday morning for nothing – which could be the saddest thing in the world.  Most definitely beating out children with cleft palates and sad puppy eyes at the Humane Society.  So we elected to get a group together and do a private class.  There were 6 of us and it cost $20 a person.  Completely reasonable for 2 hours of out of the ordinary enjoyment.  Our coach was very funny, yet informative, and by the end of the class we had the basics down.

This is not how I dressed when we took the class. Photo from Library of Congress – pulled from wikimedia commons

The cool thing is, once you take the class and/or understand the principles and range rules, you are permitted to go during their free times.  You show up, rent the gear and equipment for free (except a donation which you should totally do, cheapo) and you can practice as much as you’d like til they kick you out.  On Saturdays it’s 9:30am-12:00pm and Sunday from 12:00pm-3:30pm.

You know what’s almost better than archery?  Breakfast.  So, whilst you’re over there, why don’t you get breakfast (or lunch) at John O’Groats.  It’s a simple little diner with good food.  Let’s just leave it at that.

This is what I ate. Something to do with eggs and black beans and cheese and potatoes.

Go get ’em Tiger!

On Booze: Lambrusco

29 Sep

Welcome to ON BOOZE.  The title taken from a book of the same name – a compilation of drinking stories written by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Since intoxicants are something I derive great pleasure from, I thought I’d share any new revelations or happy experiences I encounter whilst imbibing.  Or, maybe we’ll just talk, just have general conversations on the subject.  Who knows what’s in store for us…

“I don’t have a drinking problem ‘Cept when I can’t get a drink.” – Tom Waits

Without further adieu, I introduce…On Booze.

LAMBRUSCO.  I’m a beer girl.  100%, no getting around it.  That being said, when I do delve into wine, I prefer red.  Now, during the summer, when day drinking is at its best and beer gets hot too quickly, from time to time, I find myself having a crisp, white wine.  There’s something cool and fresh about it that accompanies a warm/hot summer day exquisitely.  Well, almost.  Except for the fact that I’m always wishing it was red.   Although I enjoy the white, it’s not my favorite.

Lambrusco. Photo by Marco Carboni. Pulled from wikimedia commons.

You can imagine how excited I was to stumble upon a certain type of Italian sparkling wine called Lambrusco.  I’m always late to the party.  I clearly missed Lambrusco 101 during my college years and went straight to Advanced Natty Ice.

A sparkling red, it’s chilled and bubbly, how fun!  It’s the best of the white wine world, but with added pigment and fun carbonation to boot!  This is not to be confused with the bad tasting and ill reputed wine coolers and spritzers; Lambrusco has an authentic and distinguished taste and handle to it.  Some brands are sweeter than others; I’m learning that I prefer the drier variety.  I’m going to dip into fall with this baby; I officially name this my Drink of Fall.

You can typically find them living in the champagne and sparkling wines sections (alright Obvious Police) of your local liquor or grocery store.  I really like this particular brand that I picked up at Whole Foods.  See below –  it will run you around $15.  I hear Trader Joe’s carries a good one as well…

These people are having such a great time! It must be good!  Everyone needs a monocle & baby while drinking!

Happy Drinking!

When the 80’s Attack

17 Sep

By Wladi87krasov. Pulled from wikimedia commons.

Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw…I’m a step away from making a mix tape and crimping my hair with the random 80’s onslaught that has inhabited my life recently.

The 1980’s.  It was exaggerated and bright time period, the music, the styles, fads and fashions were all overstated and embellished.  It’s a vibrant and care-free middle child to the war ridden 70’s and self-obsessed and angsty 90’s of recent past.  Recently, we’re taking hold of our 80’s heritage and now we’re re-obsessed with color, with fun music and clothes that are a throwback to that time period.   Because of this influx, it’s not surprising there’s been a triple invasion of 80’s culture to my simple life.  I love the 80’s, but other than it’s music, I don’t find myself on its radar most of the time.  Until this week.  This week, that was not the case.

This is what happened:  I started reading a new book, knowing nothing about its contents and was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  Turns out, it is centered around the glorious decade that is the 80’s.  Then, some friends and I happen upon a random bar we’d never heard of before and…well, you’ll see, but I’m guessing that you’re guessing it has something to do with the 80’s and, like, you’d be right, bitchin!  Go ahead…keep reading –

Awesome. Photo by Michael Surran, pulled from wikimedia commons.

READ – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Note:  this will be the worst book review you’ll ever read, continue at your own risk.

It’s the year 2044, the earth has gone to complete shit, our 18-year-old Protagonist lives in “the stacks” (think trailer park except with all the trailers stacked vertically forming a new version of The Projects.)  An extremely high-tech, detailed and comprehensive virtual reality called OASIS has been created by a mastermind, Steve Jobs type, to help the population cope with its current living circumstances.  Kids attend school here, people hang out, travel, everything you would do in real life, they do in this alt-world.  When the creator of this parallel universe dies, the Contest is born.  The users of OASIS are challenged to “find” three gates hidden in this virtual reality world he’s created.  Once you find them and beat all the challenges presented, you become the beneficiary to his estate and the recipient of his billions of dollars, etc.  Being the 80’s lover that he was, people begin studying everything 80’s.  Since this takes place 33 years in the future it is amusing the way the author references current film directors, fads, video games and musicians as a thing of the past.  It’s an interesting little headfuck and a very easy and enjoyable read.

Awesome pinballs at Blipsy Barcade.

GO – Blipsy Barcade – What a wacky place.  The description is in the title, Bar. Arcade.  See!!  I’m a little upset with myself that I didn’t stumble upon this gem of a place until now, but better late than never, I suppose.  It is stuffed with old video games, mostly from the 80s; you won’t find any of that too cool for school Mortal Combat or anything Tekken.  It has two pinball machines (my personal favorite), Donkey Kong, Mrs. Pacman, Joust, Robotron, Double Dragon, Rampage, Spy Hunter, Asteroids, Centipede, etc. and they all cost a quarter to play.  A quarter.  Again, a quarter.  No rip off artists here.  There was a great DJ spinning 80s (and some 90s) music and the crowd was milling about dancing, playing and generally being non-pretentious.  Good for them!  It was busy, but not crowded; you could still move around.  It’s the epitome of a shitty dive so bring cash; no credit cards accepted.  I’ll be going back in the very near future.

For the Record series at Rockwell.

DO – For the Record: John Hughes – So very very much fun!  Dinner Theatre at it’s best!  As we are assigned our seats at the bar we immediately notice they have some drink specials – cocktails named after some classic references, such as Long Duck Dong, She’s Alive, and my drink of choice, The Abe Froman. The energy in the crowd was wonderful and you can tell everyone was there in the same capacity.  No judging, no agenda, just to enjoy what was the classic John Hughes movie and all of its comedy and music.  As a child of the 80’s, I appreciated everything about it.  All the references, dance moves, song choices and inside jokes.  There isn’t a bad seat in the house and since the cast moves around the space constantly, you’ll never feel like you’re going to miss an entire bit.

These performances are actually a series.  “For the Record” puts on many different shows, all with the same idea…music and short excerpts usually formed around a certain movie or director.  Some past shows include “Boogie Nights” and Quentin Tarantino.  Do yourself a favor and try to catch John Hughes in time, or wait until the next installment – Martin Scorsese.  Man, if they do anything to do with “Casino” I’ll be institutionalized. – hit up goldstar.com for discounted tickets

If you find yourself looking for a little extra 80’s in your life and you’re not in the mood for fluorescent clothes or a “Pop-Up Video” marathon why don’t you go ahead and give these a look-see –

Hotter Than Hades

16 Sep

Yesterday it was over 100 degrees in Los Angeles.  Today?  Also, hot.  Too hot.  Most of the time the heat goes unnoticed by me since I work long hours in an air-conditioned environment, usually even wearing a sweater or jacket.  I know, don’t hate me.  I’m oblivious to the heat unless it goes down on the weekend and then I’m whining like a little bitch.  I whine because I, along with many Angelenos, do not have AC.  Sure, the heat index is worse in a lot of other places, South Florida, Arizona, etc., but those lucky bastards typically have AC, which makes it bearable.  In fact, in Florida it’s considered an actual emergency if your AC breaks.  You would be permitted to call the emergency number on the repairman’s answering service.  Lucky you.

Here are some things you can do to stay cool if you are without air-conditioning on a terrible, horrible, disgusting, hot day.  Side note: While doing these things you should wear as little clothes as possible (you’re not a slut if the temperature is over 85 degrees) and ice water, beer and creamsicles are heavily suggested.

1.  Go to the MALL – Embrace your inner teenager and go to the mall. Window shop in the free air-conditioning and have an Orange Julius.  Go with your boyfriend so you can hold hands awkwardly and make out in the corner.  Or, if you go with your girlfriends, be sure to wear almost the exact same thing and style your hair in the exact same way.  Oh, and don’t forget to talk loudly and laugh and squeal a lot.  These additional tips won’t help with the cooling process, but since you’re there, it will help with your overall nostalgic experience.

2.  Go to a MOVIE – Go to your own tiny dark hole filled with joyous AC and be entertained (in theory).  For a few brief hours, you will forget that there is a scorching hot world outside.  There are some good movies out/coming out soon too.  Some suggestions: “Beasts of a Southern Wild”, “Lawless”, “The Master” (this one gets a gold star since it will keep you in there for 2 ½ hours), “Jesse and Celeste Forever” and “Expendables 2” (hey, it’s supposed to be good if you like that sort of thing).

3.  Go to the GROCERY STORE – Make like The Bundy’s and go.

 

4.  Take COLD SHOWERS – This is for when you can’t leave your house, because if you did, you would incinerate.  When you are forced to sit in the hot box stillness, this will help you make it through.  Or, you can try the younger sibling of a cold shower; it’s basically a cold shower without the full immersement part.  Wash your hands and without drying them, run the excess water along your arms, legs and chest and stand/sit in front of a fan.  It’s wonderful.

5.  Go to a BAR/RESTAURANT with AC – Also, it should have closed windows and doors so that delicious AC can’t escape out into the cruel, cruel world.  Bring a deck of cards and hang for a while.

6.  DRIVE AROUND in your air-conditioned car – But, what about the astronomical gas prices, you say?  Well, friend, sometimes reaching nirvana via cool air is worth the extra money.

7.  Phone a FRIEND – “Help me I’m poor.” [Think Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids”.] Maybe some sympathetic friend will take pity on your bad situation and adopt you for the day.

8.  Take a NAP – Seriously.  If you are able to, maybe you can sleep-out the heat.  When you wake up it will at least be cooler than it was went you passed out from heat exhaustion.

9.  POOL – I put this last because this option is unattainable in my world and hence makes me want to cry.  Not for lack of trying, I’ve got a B & E wound to prove it.  IF, you are one of the fortunate souls that has pool access, move this baby all the way up to the number one slot.  Enjoy that.  No no no, I’m not bitter! Of course not, I’m happy for you.  You and your pool…as I weep heavily into my hands.

The silver lining is that we are working on the last days of summer and fall is right around the corner (hopefully).  Sooner than later, we can say so long to this damn heat wave and hello to a new set of temperature extremes to complain about!

Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho. Pulled from wikimedia commons

To the Theatre!

12 Sep

Beautiful interior of The Pantages Theatre. Pulled from wikimedia commons.

UPDATE: If going for the lottery – the matinee on Saturday is at 2pm and the matinee on Sunday is at 1pm & Sunday nights at 6:30pm and all other nights at 8pm, so you’ll need to show up 2 1/2 hours prior to those times…

———————————————————

Theatre in LA.  There are a lot of stigmas attached to a sentence like that.  Things like poor performances, bad productions, etc.  But, times they are a changin’.  Over the past few years, there has been an increasing amount of chances to catch a quality show, and not necessarily just touring or regional productions either.   More and more opportunities are arising for you to see shows that are held in high regard in the theatre community and, in some cases, will actually star some or all of the actors that originated the roles, now that is the bomb-schbomb diggity.  The pinnacle of this LA theatre uprising being the new arrival of “Book of Mormon” at The Pantages.

You need to do this.  This is what you need to do.  “Book of Mormon”.  Ahem, Ahem.  I SAID, “Book of Mormon”!  If you are unsure of what I’m referring to, please, let me educate you.  I guarantee, this will be one of the funniest things you’ll ever see.  It’s wrong.  So very, very wrong.  It’s a musical, created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone who are also the wonders behind “South Park”.  It won nine, yep nine, Tony Awards in 2011 and it is so sensational I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t do my best to force people to go.  It’s like George Carlin, Bill Hicks and Richard Pryor all had a talk with the comedy gods and decided now was the time to shower the people of earth with their celestial comedy magic once again. So down it rained and this show was drenched with their satirical genius.  Not that anyone should or does need forcing, but you will be thanking me later.

Book. Of. Mormon.

This show will define the modern musical.  It’s a fresh spin on a classic musical format.  There are the same impressive notes and pristine vocal abilities present, the same big builds and ballads, but the lyrics, the lyrics and overall content is what changes things.  If you were to just listen to the melodies of these songs, you would never guess in a million years the words that were about to come out of their mouths.

Now, tickets are expensive, you’re looking somewhere in the arena of $100++++.  I personally think it’s worth it if you’ve got it, but if that sole fact is keeping you from seeing one of the greatest shows you’ll ever see, ever, than there is another option for you.

I feel like nearly everyone outside of New York City is unaware of the following information, I surely was.  Let me introduce you to – the lottery.  No no no, I’m not saying your only other option is to win the state lottery, [imagine at me looking at you funny] good luck with that, big dreamer.  What many theatres have is a ticket lottery available for all or many of its shows.  In the case of The Pantages where “Book of Mormon” is playing from now through Nov. 25th – you show up roughly 2 ½ hours prior to show time (SEE UPDATE above: matinees start at 1pm and evening shows start at 8pm), submit your name and how many tickets you would like (1 or 2, and you can only submit your name once), and then they have a drawing 2 hours prior to the show.  If you are a lucky human and win them, you pay $25 per ticket in cash and your day/week/month/year has instantaneously gotten better.  And I mean by a very large margin.  If you’ve got the time, give it a try.

Another perk to checking out this particular production is that The Pantages is located directly next door to The Frolic Room. One of the most identifiable and iconic dive bars in Los Angeles.  You can drink there.  Because it’s a bar.  You should do it.  You’d be in the presence of some of the most famous ghosts in Hollywood history dating as far back as the 30’s.

Since we’re talking about theatre, another thing you should be aware of is goldstar.com.  As we know, theatre tickets can be very expensive.  This site has discounted tickets and frequently you’ll end up paying up to half of the original price; the seats aren’t bad either.  You sign up, enter your city and they’ll send you email notifications with all sorts of discounted activities coming up in your area.

One last thing, I’m not saying you to have to dress to the nines, but put a little effort into your theatre-going wardrobe.  Once upon a time, people dressed up because going to the theatre was an event; there was something special about it. You get to see, first hand, actors singing and acting their hearts out, so the least you can do is refrain from wearing flip-flops and a t-shirt, OK?  Can’t we keep it just a little classy?  And with that final note – enjoy the theatre!!  Click here for Center Theatre Group site where you can check out upcoming productions and here for another helpful Los Angeles Theatre site –

Here’s a little test – listen to the below video in its entirety.  If you’re laughing or your mouth is agape (in a good way) you should go see it.  If not, well, there you go.  You’re off the hook…

Business or Pleasure?

4 Sep

Antique vibrator. Photo by Wknight94, pulled from wikimedia commons.

Jimmy Jane is hiring.  Not for an HR position or sales manager, but for a product tester.  What kind of products, you ask?  Well, Jimmy Jane happens to be one of the fancy-schmancy, premier adult toy companies these days.  Wow, if only they made products for men.  I feel like this would be right up there with video game tester in the fantasy job department.  Or maybe an ice cream tester for the ladies. (Not that guys don’t like ice cream and girls don’t like video games…I’m generalizing here.)  Man, talk about putting in for overtime…

Click here for the application – do you have what it takes??

Advertisement from the New-York Tribute published in 1913. Pulled from wikimedia commons.

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