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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?

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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!

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 –

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…

The Old Zoo (aka A Spray Paint Can & a Dream)

16 Aug

This sign says it all.  No, I mean literally, it does say it all.

I associate the Old Zoo with animals and spray paint.  But, you probably saw the animals thing coming, right?  This is one of the more interesting places I’ve been in Los Angeles and I can’t imagine there is anywhere else like it.  I like places where animals have been freed from their cages and graffiti adorns the walls (and everything else) so I was bound to like this place…

Around this time last year, I went to the Old Zoo in LA’s Griffith Park for the first time.  I went early in the morning to do a little exploring and picture taking (see below) and I loved what I found.  There’s not much to it and you get this odd feeling like you’re trespassing, when clearly you’re not.  It’s eerie, fascinating, thought-provoking, dirty and completely enjoyable.  It’s so out of place and I was truly shocked at the fact you are able to meander into these abandoned and heavily graffittied animal cages, stroll the nearly condemned buildings and completely take in these seemingly forgotten grounds.  When you’re there you feel as if you are in an isolated history.  But no!  It’s smack dab in the middle of a very cherry Griffith Park, very close to the Merry-Go-Round and 17 different birthday parties all complete with bounce houses.  The cages are completely open; you can walk right into them and peer out at your faux caged world.  I didn’t expect such laissez-faireism from the City of Los Angeles; you would think this place would be locked up!  Torn down!  But, I sure am glad it’s not.

This place is a teenager’s haven and you can tell it’s not lost on them.  I got a kick out of all the beer bottles, drug paraphernalia, pill bottles, condoms (whoo hoo! they’re not procreating!), snacks and litter.  And that does nothing but add to the general sense of displacement you feel from stepping onto the grounds.

This zoo was in commission from 1912 to 1965, with most of the existing buildings having been built in the 1930s.  After it’s 53-year run it closed (or left open) it’s doors and made the 2-mile journey across the big lawn of Griffith Park and set up shop at its current location.  This is all according to their posted signs; I’m a heavy researcher.  They go on to say, “Once, bears, lions, monkeys, macaws, goats, elephants, reptiles, and turtles, among other things lived here and the sounds of their growls, roars, calls, and clamor filled this canyon.”  While I find that all very exciting, does anyone else have an issue with their general ranking of animals here?  In what world do macaws and goats (goats!) get filed in the cool-animal ranking order before elephants?!  I’m being serious.  And I love turtles, but do they really get a shout-out when we’re talking about bears and lions?!  Yeah…I’m going with no.

This is a cool spot to hit up if you’re looking for a little bit of mellow exploring in Griffith Park Proper.

Directions:  You can take Los Feliz Blvd. to Crystal Springs Drive, pass the road that leads to the Merry-Go-Round (there are signs pointing to Mr. Merry-Go-Round) and take your next left onto Griffith Park Dr. (not like there are necessarily signs to these roads), follow this into a parking lot where it dead ends.  It’s Griffith Park guys – directions are hard.  You’re going to park and walk up the hill/take the stairs up to the grassy clearing.  The bear caves are across the grass to your left, it’s a good place to start, explore away!

Entrance to the bear caves.

Inside one of the cages.

Zoo love.

People are creative.

Who knew Audrey Hepburn was a skank.

Looking down an open row of cages.

Who DID Shoot Rock & Roll?

8 Aug

Mick Jagger leaving a stage that has been littered with shoes.  Photo by Lynn Goldsmith

Dear Time Travel Gods,

Please send me back to the 1960s/early 1970s.  I would totally turn slut for that.  I belong there.  Please let me know what you decide ASAP so I can start weaning myself off technology.  Also, I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb throwing around modern vernacular, so I’ll need a moment to extract it from my system. (OMG, that fugly MILF is totally rockin a whale tale.  And no, her wigger bf did NOT just give me the stink eye!?)  I would need to make sure I have the appropriate attire on hand.  No one wants to show up in their dream decade of peace, love and everything flowy wearing fluorescent anything and a bandage dress.  (Not that I wear that anyway, but you know what I mean.)  Anyway, I would be forever grateful if you could please show me to my DeLorean.

Thanks,

Red Velour

Now that we’re on the same page as far as life dreams go, we can get into what this post is really about.   I went to the WHO SHOT ROCK & ROLL exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography this weekend and was shown, yet again, why I love this time period, its music and its musicians in general.

If you haven’t been to the Annenberg Space before, this is a good time to check it out.  It’s on the CAA building property in Century City, so there’s ample parking, and it’s free.  Let me warn you, the space is small, but it’s modern and has a circular center where they typically show videos complimenting the current exhibit.  In this instance, they have a video produced specifically for the Annenberg Space and the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit (see trailer below).  It showcases many of the photographers that have pictures hung on the walls and they discuss the circumstances surrounding many of their well-known photographs.

How crazy to see Jimi Hendrix in a tux?! From popsiephotos.com

As far as the actual photography exhibit goes, there are a slew of remarkably interesting photos concentrated mostly in the 60s-70s, with a handful dating before and after.  They feature photographers like Bob Gruen, Linda McCartney, Norman Seeff and others.  Don’t know who they are?  You’ll remember those names after you see their work and realize you’ve been seeing it for years.  John Lennon in a New York City T-shirt, anyone?  There are concert shots.  Shots of outrageous behavior that could have been lost, but have instead been captured and rescued.  Then there are the behind the scenes shots, which glance into the real lives of these artists who are revered by so many.  Is my flux capacitor ready yet?  I gotta go!

Some of the featured photographers are scheduled to lecture at the exhibit throughout its run.  Check their website here for dates/times.  Who Shot Rock & Roll is showing until October 7, 2012.

Dylan with kids in Liverpool 1966. Photo by Barry Feinstein

Just watch it, it’s fun –

Carmageddon is Coming!! (Artmageddon is Coming!!!)

4 Aug

This is awesome.

Head for the hills!!!  Oh…wait.  We’re supposed to stay local and keep out of our cars, right?  OK, than stay where you are!  I’m not sure how the rest of the city felt during last year’s brief closure of the 405, but I thought it was awesome.  The whole community came together to talk about the impending disaster that would soon befall our fair city.  It was a topic of conversation on everyone’s tongue right up to the weekend that was Carmageddon.  And then the strangest thing happened…everyone did what they were supposed to do.  They stayed home; they stayed local.   The reason I know this is because I was the asshole that DID drive on the freeways that day and it was beautiful, really a sight to see, but that’s not the point.  My (and I’m sure everyone else’s) favorite picture is the dinner table set up smack dab in the middle of the 405, the parking lot, the place where Pandora’s box was first opened.  (Well that last one might not be true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be.)

This year they are closing it again to finish the construction they started last year.  Since it’s happening in super shiny Los Angeles, CA they’ve coined this year’s term – Carmageddon 2.  What I don’t understand is why, just because this is LA and this is where a good majority of movies are made, it’s widely accepted for people to act/say all sorts of things laced with douchebagery.  Every news outlet that picks up this story makes sure to mention it being titled “Carmageddon 2”, because we’re paying homage to our city’s culture of movie-making.  Ugh – really, LA?!?  This is the best you could come up with?  A digit?  I’m extremely disappointed with the lack of cleverness and surely hope you haven’t jinxed our fun Carmageddon reunion with your idiocy.

One thing I do appreciate this year is the fact that some wonderful people have designed a counter event to take place the same weekend.  A diversion to give the good people of Los Angeles something to do that doesn’t require gasoline – this being Artmageddon (I’m becoming dizzy with all the word play.)  In each LA neighborhood there will be art that one can walk, bike and/or take the subway to (see The Metro is for Lovers).  I love this!  What a way to make it easier on everyone!  There’s something to be said about being able to find something to do in your own section of the city and not feel mandated to drive everywhere all the time!

Pulled from artmageddonla.com

Do it!

The Metro is for Lovers

31 Jul

Get it?! This is L.A. and they’re referencing a Clint Eastwood move!
Pulled from celtisventures.com

Alright, L.A.  I can already see so many of your faces.  You’re giving me that look.  That, wait…what?  You take the SUBWAY?  The BUS??  My response being, “Yes!  You, don’t?!”

Public transportation is one of greatest perks of city living.  Albeit, we don’t have the best, or most efficient of services and no, they don’t hit all the areas of the city, but it is so amazing, I’m willing to let those things slide.  It’s a little tricky getting started, but after a ride or two, it’s smooth sailing, believe me.

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a drinker.  I’m also a driver.  Just not at the same time.  Why not utilize the incredibly cheap alternative to a cab or DUI when going out for the night?  I would much rather risk my chances with the locals than cuddle with Bertha in the clink.  Typically, I take public transportation to my destination and grab a cab on the way home.  I’m a huge fan of this plan!  (I keep rhyming, what the hell?)  The city can be yours!

In fact, back in the day, Los Angeles used to have a major subway system that rivaled New York.  You can thank the dicks over at General Motors for the smack down on that.  They started taking it apart after WWII in hopes of selling more cars – well, it worked and now L.A. is made fun of for it’s glorious smog.  Also, did you know the term “road rage” was coined here in L.A. in the late 80s?  Shocker, right?  I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to conclude that General Motors ruined any chance we had at happiness.

Still not grabbing your interest?  How about this fact – riding public transportation is people watching at it’s BEST!  I’ve ridden the bus with Zorro, seen a 90-year-old lady profess her love to her new friend and seatmate, met this guy below – who immediately stole my heart with his Kennedy Space Center kitty-cat shirt, and so on and so forth.

What!? Your cats are astronauts?! Fine, you win.

I recommend starting off with a day trip somewhere, anywhere.  Just keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll be fine!  Think of it as an adventure!

It’s much easier than you think.  Let’s do a little role-playing to get you in the mood.  You pretend to be the stranded French Maid or Grown Man Dressed in a Diaper (your choice) with only enough money to drink and pay for a one-way taxi ride.  I’ll play the Sexy Kindergarten Teacher – get the condoms – here we go!

1.  Figure out where you want to go.   Go to Google maps and enter in your starting and ending addresses like you normally would, except, click the icon that looks like a bus (this is public transport)…see below.  It will show you options for the nearest subway station and/or bus route.  Click here for the link to the timetables in case you aren’t planning an immediate trip (Metro Local Service = Bus; Metro Rail Service = Subway).  There are two different kinds of buses – express and regular.  Most likely, you’ll want express.  They make far fewer stops and will take you less time to get wherever it is you’re going.

2.  Show up at your start destination.  If you are taking the subway, you will have to buy a paper ticket or a tap card.  They have kiosks for this.  It’s just like paying for parking at any garage in L.A. except it’s different, but regardless, you should be used to this.  Most hubs don’t check your ticket right off the bat like they do in other major cities, but you must keep it on your person.  I’ve witnessed ticket checkers going up and down the trains and if you get caught without one, it’s a nasty ticket.  I’m talking the getting-caught-running-the-red-light kind.  That will ruin your weekend.  When taking the bus, bring coins since they don’t make change.  The fares are something along the lines of $1.50 each way, $3.00 round trip and $5.00 day pass (same for both the subway and the bus).

3.  If you did the bus thing, good for you, you’ve made it.  Sit down if you can, and enjoy the ride – watch out, it can get bumpy (note: ladies, it doesn’t hurt to wear a sports bra.)  If you’re on the subway, once you pass the turnstiles you’ll have to figure out which train to get on.  There are a ton of maps down in the depths of the subway system; I feel confident you’ll be able to figure it out.  Know where you need to get off ahead of time and keep an eye on the maps located inside the cars to watch out for your stop.

4.  When you’ve reached your destination, get off.  You will most likely have to walk the remaining bit, but otherwise, you’re there!  Yay!  You did it!

This could possibly be the most liberating thing you’ve done while living in L.A.!  Unless, however, you like the 405 and sitting in your car, or maybe you love going 20 mph on a two lane street when the speed limit is 35 mph, or perhaps you love jail.  If so, you’re right, public transpo just ain’t for you!

Grand Park Indeed

29 Jul

Yesterday some friends and I happened to be Downtown and we stumbled upon the newly opened, 12-acre Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles.  It’s greatest attraction, to me anyhow, being the huge water fountain and wading pool for both adults and kids (mostly kids) to splash around in.  Well, I’ll tell you something, whoever landed on that design is marvelous, simply marvelous (said in my best Billy Crystal)!  They also have a Performance Lawn, a Starbucks for those of you who can’t enter a park without your fix (and I have a strong feeling that won’t be the hardest drug sold in this park in future years) and a clear and sensational view of City Hall.

There were a slew of opening events, including many National Dance Day performances.  Anyone else out there that watches “So You Think You Can Dance” will have an understanding of what that is.  I missed any SYTYCD alums, but was lucky enough to catch the tween dancers dressed up with enough red lipstick to paint Madonna’s lips three lifetimes over.  We walked through and thoroughly enjoyed everything about the park and festivities.  With food trucks, pink benches and the aforementioned water fountain, this shiny new park is doing all the right things.

Who knew walking around in 2-inches of water in a public setting would be so enjoyable?  I felt like a little kid on a Slip and Slide – damn, I loved those things.  My two girlfriends and I held our own against the littluns with equivalent antics of jumping, dancing and general silliness while we played.   It’s amazing what a little bit of water on your feet will do for your sense of happiness.  It makes you wonder why it’s illegal to frolic in nearly all city fountains.  Well…Ok.  I get why it’s illegal, but this is just soooo much fun!  Especially if you’ve been drinking and traipsing around downtown prior to peeling of your socks and shoes!

There has been a lot of excitement surrounding the park’s opening and general existence.  For those of you who are poopooing it because you feel it’s acting as the new Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton in the homeless community – well aren’t you just the pessimist?!  Downtown has been on an epic journey to transform itself and I think this is flipping fantastic.

Pulled from grandpark.lacounty.gov

Before you go, I’d check out the park’s website, since some of the regions weren’t officially open yet.  Go check it out and you’ll be glad you did.

Brew at the Zoo? Don’t mind if I do!

23 Jul

Let me start by saying, I’ve never been to this event – however, I think it sounds awesome.  I am a big fan of combining two activities that would normally be pretty cool on their own.  Double the pleasure, double the fun.  I’m not saying I’m the biggest zoo fan (because I’m not), but since there is beer involved, I’m willing to give it a pass.  Apparently, many zoos across the country have a “Brew at the Zoo” day, turns out people really like rhymes.

So with that introduction – it’s about that time of year for the Brew in L.A. Zoo 2012.  There’s a handful of local breweries to sample and they have a DJ and Comedians from the Laugh Factory for entertainment.  They even have discounted tickets for designated drivers – which is fun perk for the nice guy/girl willing to drive their annoyingly drunken friends around.  It’s on Friday, August 10th from 6-10pm –  Click here for the info…

It’s a lovely day for a street fair!

22 Jul

Who doesn’t love a street fair?!  Especially, when one doesn’t have to park (for me anyway, we walked!)  Fun things that don’t involve parking are a rare and precious commodity in the City of Angels, so let’s appreciate them when we can, shall we?

So!  Since we are celebrating all things Los Feliz, I thought I would share some of my favorite things in the neighborhood.

Some of my favorites, in no particular order:

1.  SPITFIRE GIRL – There are two, one in Los Feliz and one in Silverlake.  It is a sweet little shop consisting of miscellaneous knick-knacks, ranging from cool and innovative jewelry to household items to chachkies for the kidies.  It’s very awesome and I’ve bought all sorts of lovely pieces from this establishment…

2.  PARADIS – Specialty ice cream.  What the what, you say?!  Yes.  Exactly as wonderful and fantastic as it sounds.  Whenever a shop closes in my area, I get VERY excited dreaming about what the next place to open will be – in this case, a very bland pinkberry closed and opened into an ice cream wonderland of happiness…for me.  It’s fresh, clean, and lovely to eat –

3.  MUSTARD SEED CAFÉ – This is my favorite brunch spot.  The food is great and they have a slew of choices.  My favorites are the Greek Scramble and BBQ Chicken Quesadilla.

4.  CO-OP 28 HANDMADE – This store sells jewelry and other handmade items made by local artists.   It’s interior design is fantastic and makes me want the delightful woman who owns it to come and fix up my apartment.

5.  COVELL – I have nothing but positive things to say about this wine bar (they usually have a handful of fantastic beer on tap as well).  The bartenders are always smiling, friendly and wanting to make your experience better.  Since I know next to nothing about wine, except it comes in different colors and I like it, I appreciate the fact that they don’t speak condescendingly to me.  When you get up to the bar they ask what kind of wine you like, pour you a taste and if you like it, they finish pouring the glass, if not, they ask you additional questions to help fine tune what they should pour you next…

6.  MOTHER DOUGH – I love this Neapolitan pizza joint.  Their pizzas are amazing and a little out of the ordinary.  I will always order the Zucchini Pizza and Burrata Salad – wonderful.

7.  SKYLIGHT BOOKS – A splendid independent bookstore that even comes with it’s own store cat.   I continuously go here to buy gifts, books and whatever else they happen to be peddling.

8.  DRAWING ROOM – I finish with Drawing Room, because this is usually where we finish the night.  We always always always always end up at Drawing Room.  This could possibly be my most favorite shitty bar that has ever existed.  It’s dark, cheap, has a great jukebox and a man that sells Trunk Tamales out of his (you guessed it) trunk in the parking lot.  I’ll tell you what – when 2 a.m. strolls around and you can’t remember the last time you ate, that Trunk Tamales man seems like a little Mexican angel sent from the heavens to help you with tomorrow’s hangover.  The jukebox is genius – David Bowie, Prince, Otis Redding, Thin Lizzy – and everything else you could imagine…this bar is holding some prime real estate in my heart.

If you’re familiar with the Los Feliz area at all, you may notice (or believe) that I’ve left off a number of local “favorites”.  I probably did.  OR maybe they just aren’t as cool or good as you think they are  🙂

I haven’t even touched on many bars that I love in this neighborhood – but that’s another day –

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