Tag Archives: Los Angeles

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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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?

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 –

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…

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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…

Palm Trees a Go-Go

20 Aug

I am depressed.  This is a sad post.  Very, very sad.  Hey, stop laughing at me; I’m being serious.  This is what depresses me…

There are many things I love about LA, but an image that has always been extremely dear to me is that of streets lined with tall, skinny palm trees that are up so high, they dazzle the sky.  They’re peaceful and beautiful additions to a bustling, high-octane city.  They’re so perfect, so calming.  I choose certain streets to drive down over others just so I can see them.  Billions of people associate palm trees and Los Angeles, and rightfully so.  Of all the buildings and people who have changed over the years, the palm trees have stayed the same; they are one of the few things that tie the worlds of old and new Hollywood together.  And this is when it gets sad…because in the near future, they are going to be gone.

Trees are living and because of this atrocious fact, they also die.  This is something we learn as youngsters, usually the day our first goldfish goes belly up.  The city isn’t replanting them for a slew of stupid reasons, some of those being that their upkeep is expensive (all that trimming, etc.), this particular type of tree doesn’t provide shade (Seriously???  Is this the only reason nature exists in a city?  To provide shade??  Jeez, I feel like that’s right up there with “the dog ate my homework.”), and they’re not particularly known for their help with carbon monoxide/air filtration/cleansing the smog, etc.

This particular species of palm tree (the tall skinny kind – so scientific, I know) has a typical lifespan of roughly 100 years and the majority of these were planted back in the 20’s & 30’s.  Do the math.  I can’t image this city without them, but unfortunately they are going to start dropping one by one.  Watch out for your cars and houses.  Don’t worry about me in that capacity, I’m covered, I rent and have subterranean parking.  But, one day there will be Oaks and Sycamores lining our streets instead of the palms that will very soon be celebrating their centennial.

There is a project dedicated to replanting trees in LA, called the Million Trees Project, which will replace the fading palms with new trees.  They’ll be putting in all sorts of trees – except for palms.  Sure, some will be planted, but the amount will be nowhere near the quantity we have now.  This species of tree isn’t one of those lucky bastards that gets to live it’s remaining days in La La Land and revel in its fame.  Imagine all those little baby trees that get to see their relatives on TV and in the MOVIES!  Oooooo!!!  But no more, shade is a problem in LA and we need to rectify it.

The types of trees that are going to fill our city in 20 years.

It would be wonderful if there was a better way around this, but alas, we are going to be forced to conform to the new LA.  The sycamore and oak version of LA.  People will come to our city with stars in their eyes, they’ll see the Hollywood sign, they’ll go on audition after audition, they’ll go to Amoeba and the Cinerama Done, but they won’t see the abundance of palm trees that we see today.

Maybe Hugh Hefner will come in and save the palm trees like he did with the Hollywood sign.  He is my local hero…

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!

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