Thursday, March 31, 2005

Not Pacified

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I saw "The Pacifier" tonight and I liked it. It's funny and, unlike a lot of movies, they don't give away all the good gags in the preview. And the kids don't steal the movie from Vin Diesel.

I am not pacified, however, over Earthlink's change today that means I can't send emails that appear to come from my work email from my home DSL. Instead emails sent via Earthlink have a message that it's an email from an "authenticated sender." Not from long -- looks like it's time to try a Comcast cable modem.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

More Than An Apple a Day

I see A LOT of movie trailers. They help me to decide if I want to see a movie or not. But I rarely get excited about a movie by seeing its trailer. Well, the minute I saw the trailer for "Beauty Shop" I knew I wanted to see it. It looked hilarious.

"Beauty Shop" opened today and I was at the 7:30 show. And it was as funny as the trailer made it seem. Queen Latifah gives a warm and funny performance. And the entire ensemble cast pulls it off.

But the biggest surprise was to see my friend, Elizabeth Hunter's name during the opening credits. She wrote the story! Elizabeth and I both serve on the Board of Directors of the Junior Statesmen Foundation -- we were both in it in high school and worked together at the Junior Statesmen Summer School at Georgetown University when we were both out of college. Elizabeth's career is clearly taking off and it was exciting to see her big old name going across the screen at the ArcLight Theater. And of course, I realize now it's the story that made it such a fun movie.

Does this every happen to you? You run across someone's name and then it keep coming up again and again. This has been happening to me over the last 48 hours with Johnny Apple. R. W. Apple, Jr. (known as Johnny Apple) is the preeminent political reporter for the New York Times. But over the last decade his writing has morphed into covering the places where he spends time -- and especially where to eat in those places. He's notorious in journalism circles for living the high life off of his expense account.

Well yesterday I was reminded by an article in Town & Country that he has a new book out, "Apple's America" where he writes about 20 of his favorite cities. I want to check out the book to see what, if anything, he has to say about Rapid City and Portland, Maine -- two cities I'm visiting soon for the first time.

So last night I went to the new Border's Bookstore in Hollywood in search of the book. The sales clerk told me they have "one" copy on order, but it's not in yet. I thought it was very odd that they would only order one. What's the point of that? It was clear the clerk thought I was what was odd, not how they order books.

And then this morning, Johnny Apple has a great article in the New York Times about the favorite restaurants of Ringling Bros. circus performers. After all, these performers spend 11 months a year on the road visiting the same cities year after year. It turns out that many of them have a list of their favorite restaurants and they were happy to share it. Apple wrote that in the old days most circus performers used to eat in the pie car (circus lingo for the feeding tent) but now most of the premier performers often go out on the town. Apple described himself as something of a circus buff, an interest I share -- but probably not enough to be a "buff." (I can claim to have visited the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida and the P.T. Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut.)

And finally tonight in Gourmet magazine I ran across an article Calvin Trillin wrote about Johnny Apple's 70th birthday party for 50 people at Chez L'Ami Louis in Paris. It sounds like a great party and that it all ended up on his expense account.

Tomorrow I need to find that book. Maybe I can find a bookstore that ordered two.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Revolution Will Be Televised -- on TiVo

Saw an interesting, off-beat little movie called "The Ballad of Jack and Rose" tonight. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis and was written and directed by his wife, Rebecca Miller. It's about a dying hippie who lives alone with his teenage daughter on what used to be a thriving commune. Their perfectly balanced life is thrown off when Jack invites some "normal" people to live with them as part of their family.

D.D.L. turns in a typically intense performance as a Father coming to grips with the mistakes in his life.

It made me think a lot about my Mother -- who certainly was a free-spirit -- and how our relationship and home was affected by the "normal" people she brought into it.

About a year ago I finally bought a TiVo. It has really changed how I watch television. Being able to watch the shows I want to watch when I want to watch them is a radical change. Originally TiVo included a feature that allowed the viewer to skip commercials. Under pressure from Hollywood, TiVo changed it's available technology to allow viewers to fast forward through commercials -- but not really to skip them. I bought my Tivo after the cool skipping feature was removed.

Earlier today on the internet I found the programming steps to enable the skipping feature on my TiVo. Sorry advertisers -- I'm loving it. (If you need to know how to do it go to:

I'm fascinated by the site meter I've added to this blog. I'm flabbergasted to have had over 25 hits in the last 48 hours. I know that's not much for most websites -- but it's a lot more than I expected here. Now I'm feeling some pressure to be really careful about my spelling and punctuation.

Monday, March 28, 2005

I'm Counting on You

Saw a bizarre little film tonight called "Harry and Max." It's about two brother pop idol singers and their complex relationship. The best I can say about it is I liked some of the location shots around Los Angeles. I especially liked seeing the Flamenco Show at El Cid Restaurant in Hollywood. I can't believe, after all these years, I still haven't been there.

Celebrity Sighting: Saw California Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia (Republican of Cathedral City) driving eastbound on Beverly Boulevard near Crescent Heights. I wonder what she was doing so far from her district in her state vehicle? And I wonder why state legislators still have such distinctive license plates. Maybe they think the poll too unfavorably to be worried about Al Qaeda. But Garcia's "AD 80 R" license plate sure made it easy to spot her. I don't know all of the legislators by their district number (I used to in college). But her's is easy because she is number 80 out of 80 districts and she was the most vulnerable Republican in the Assembly in last year's election.

I added a site meter to my blog last night. I was pleasantly surprised to have 14 hits today (you make 15). It'll be interesting to see what kind of traffic I get. You can check out the site meter to the left under the archives. Go ahead and click on it -- it won't bite.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Hope you had a nice Easter. I had a very slow and relaxing weekend.

Saw two movies -- neither of which required me to turn my brain on. "Miss Confidentiality 2" was terrible and is another example of sequels really stinking up the place.

"Guess Who" is a very funny remake of the landmark Katherine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy/Sidney Portier movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac are very funny in the father-in-law-to-be/son-in-law-to-be roles.

We had our annual Dodger ticket distribution on Saturday. I can't believe winter is over and the start of the baseball season is only a few days away. It was nice seeing all the members of our Dodger Ticket group yesterday -- and it's hard to believe this will be our 15th season dividing up the tickets.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Friday Night Live

Celebrity Sighting: Saw Norm Macdonald, of Saturday Night Live fame, leaving the 7:30 p.m. show of "Melinda and Melinda" tonight at the ArcLight Theater.

I wouldn't have noticed him if it weren't for David Koechner standing in the hallway shouting, "Norm, Norm, Norm" to get Macdonald's attention. Koechner was on SNL for one season, 1995 - 96 -- which means he and Macdonald and Will Farrell were on at the same time.

I had seen Koechner sitting alone as I was walking into the auditorium. I didn't have the nerve to walk up to him and go, "Boop, boop, boop" like one of my favorite characters of his used to say.

Will Farrell was pretty funny in the movie. And I wonder if his fellow alumnus from SNL root on his success. Or did they sit in the theater thinking, "Why isn't that me up there?"

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Melinda & Melinda Curse

Saw a couple of odd things today:

Driving to work I found myself behind a small truck on Olympic Blvd. with a sign in the rear window that read, "Nuclear Medicine Radioactive Materials." I'll tell you what -- I sure didn't tailgate.

Then waiting in line at Kinko's I saw a guy who was dropping off a FedEx package addressed to Mary Magdalene in New Mexico. What are the chances someone would have to overnight a M.M. a package that'll arrive on Good Friday?

After work I went by a travel expo at the Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood. When I was in Rio I met a tour company owner who was staying at the same hotel I was. He went out of his way to get me a ticket to the Scala Ball during Carnaval. I was hoping he'd have a booth at the expo so I could thank him again (I've already written a thank you note.) Sure enough, Michael was there. He remembered me and the first thing he said was, "what's different?" about my appearance. Of course I immediately assumed the few pounds I've lost lately have radically altered my look. That made me very happy. Fortunately, instead I made some joke about when he met me in Rio I was in "vacation mode" but now I'm in "work mode."

It didn't occur to me until a full 90 minutes later that when I met Michael in Rio I had a two-month old beard that I've since shaved off. Guess I'd better stay on that exercise bike.

I thought I had carefully planned to see "Melinda and Melinda" tonight. It still bugs me that I missed it last night. I arrived at the theater at 7:40 p.m. in plenty of time for what I know from last night is the 7:45 p.m. show. Only one problem. Between last night and tonight -- without telling me -- the theater moved the 7:45 show up to 7:30. Foiled again!

So instead I saw "Dot the I," Gael Garcia Bernal's English language cinematic debut. It's an interesting, twisted movie where all of the characters have secrets. Now if someone will just let me see Woody Allen's latest, I'll be happy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Getting Lapped By Kitty

Kitty Carlisle Hart -- who is 92 years old -- famously goes out every night in New York City. That's why it's with regret that I report I stayed home tonight.

I had planned on seeing the 7:45 p.m. show of Woody Allen's new film "Melinda and Melinda" at the ArcLight Theater in Hollywood. But my plan was foiled by the lousy service at the 101 Cafe, where I stopped for dinner beforehand. I still almost made it, but the cross-Hollywood traffic was miserable. And since ArcLight has a "no late seating" policy as part of its effort to create a "deluxe" moving going experience, I gave up and turned towards home with two blocks to go at 7:46.

At home I read some magazines, caught some shows on TiVo and watch tonight's re-enactment of the Michael Jackson trial on E!

Celebrity Sighting: Saw former California State Controller Kathleen Connell driving west on Pico while I was driving east. (Traffic was creeping along.) She appeared to be lecturing her sullen teenage son. Better him than all Californians. Seeing her reminded me: where's my state income tax refund check? My guess is if she were still the Controller the state wouldn't offer direct deposit of refund checks. I think having her name on the check and outside the envelope would be too important to her.

I read tonight that Sharyn Lane has passed away. Lane was the longtime produce of several Del Shores shows. I met her a couple of times when I pleaded to squeeze me and my friends into some hit show or another. She always found a way to accommodate us. R.I.P.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Adieu to the Lunch Lady

For as long as my office has been in its current building (just under 10 years) there's been a nice lady down the hall who sold lunch and snacks from a small room about the size of a supply closet.

Given her tight quarters I've always been amazed at the variety of items she offered. Her food was really cheap and I never could figure out how she sold enough to make a living. How much volume could there be when you're working out of a broom closet on the eighth floor of an anonymous office building?

Well, sadly, "Fresh Express" has gone out of business. The rumor in the building is the Health Department shut her down because her facilities weren't up to code.

There's so much I wish I had said before she went away. At least I didn't owe her any money (despite her "no credit" sign I was always treated like a preferred customer). I'll miss her catchphrase, "I bring it to you." She could bring a good turkey sandwich like no one else.

I've seen a couple of movies recently. "Robots" was cute. Robin Williams lines cracked me up. And I really like Bruce Willis' "Hostage." I wasn't expecting much. But it was really exciting and suspenseful. A couple of surprises made me yell pretty good. And I think my reaction made some people around me jump. So a good time was had by all.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ambush Q&A

Saw the new movie "Way Off Broadway" at the Laemmle Fairfax theater tonight. It's a small, independent picture about young artists in NYC coming to grips with the fact they aren't going to be "the next big thing."

Unbeknownst to me, the director and a couple of the actors were available after the show to answer questions. Since there were only about 15 people in the auditorium, and I always sit way in the front, I was trapped.

Lots of predictable "what was your vision/what was your motivation" questions -- as you would expect from a L.A. audience.

Actually, the Q&A will help me to remember what would otherwise be a pretty forgettable movie. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but I don't think the writer/director, Daniel Kay, is going to be the next big thing.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pastrami Tops Voters

Sat through William Shakespeare's "As You Like It," directed by Sir Peter Hall, at the Ahmanson Theater tonight. (A lot of folks didn't make it through the entire 3 hours and 15 minutes.) I admit it -- I don't get Shakespeare. Thee, thou, whilst leaves me cold.

Renee Rose has told me several times to just let Shakespeare "wash over you" rather than worry about understanding every single word. Well, I tried and I came up dry, again.

Sir Peter Hall cast his daughter, Rebecca Hall, in the leading role. But you can't charge "nepotism" here. Rebecca Hall is great in the role of Rosalind. A couple of years ago I saw her on stage in London with Brenda Blethyn in "Mrs. Warren's Profession," so it was nice to see her again.

During intermission Dave Hannon and I were hanging out by what is basically the backstage area of the Mark Taper Forum -- across the walkway from the Ahmanson Theater. We ended up chatting with the understudy covering the role of "the Son" in "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?" That show closes tomorrow and the understudy has yet to go on . I told him I'd have my fingers crossed for him tomorrow. And I got to tell him about Elaine Stritch's great story of being an understudy for Ethel Merman (who never missed a performance).

Dave and I tried to have dinner on the way to downtown at Lowenbrau Keller -- a German restaurant near downtown that I like and have been going to for over 20 years. Even though the restaurant was more nearly empty and we arrived at 6:30 they said we'd have trouble finishing dinner by 7:30 because "there was a party ahead of us."

So we ended up eating at King's Bar-B-Que, which is kind of a dirty place with good food just a few blocks from the Music Center.

GeezBob and Rui are out of town so I dined alone at Langer's for lunch today. This means that instead of eating at one of our regular booths I was banished to the "Crazy Counter" -- so-called because that's where all the crazy people eating alone sit at Langer's.

I sat next to an old biddy who kept trying to strike up a conversation. "Is this your umbrella, honey?" "Those fries look good, honey." "Is that a radio, honey?" she asked about my Crackberry. My one word answers did little to discourage her.

Sometimes I fantasize my late-Mother is communicating to me via strange ladies I meet. If she's going to that much trouble I also assume she's reading my blog, in which case I apologize for not answering her today.

Celebrity Sighting: Saw Los Angeles City Councilmember (and Mayor-to-be?) Antonio Villaraigosa at Langer's today. Actually, I need to check the Celebrity Sighting Rulebook to see if this counts -- I've seen him there on several previous visits. But unlike the past, his presence today created a stir in the restaurant. "There he is, the one in the red jacket," I heard one man say. You can chalk it up to making it into the run-off for Mayor.

Villaraigosa seemed to alternate between working the room and sitting down to eat his sandwich. My favorite part was when his advance-dude came running in with a cell phone and gave it to Villaraigosa. I could hear his side of the conversation standing in front of the revolving dessert case, "So you think I should go there......OK then, I'll leave right now.....I'll be there in a few minutes." And then he sat back down to finish his sandwich. Gotta love a politician with his priorities straight.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Surprise Ending

Really enjoyed seeing "The Upside of Anger" starring Joan Allen and Kevin Costner tonight. Allen plays a women drinking her sorrows after her husband left her and her four children. No one does "Ice Queen" better than Allen. Costner is perfect as a broken down baseball player. The biggest surprise is one of the actors who plays a slimy character, Mike Binder, also wrote and directed the movie. I didn't see that coming at all.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

No Amnesty from Blogging

Saw "In My Country" tonight -- a new film with Juliette Binoche and Samuel L. Jackson about the Truth and reconciliation process South Africa went through following the end of apartheid.

Since I was just in South Africa the film was of particular interest. But it wasn't as gripping or wrenching as I expected it to be.

I don't really have much to report on today, but wanted to meet my imaginary obligation to enter something in my blog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Little Hart to Hart

Saw the movie "Bride and Prejudice" tonight. It's a fun, Bollywood-style love story. I liked all the bright colors and how the cast often broke into song and dance.

Celebrity Sighting: Saw Robert Wagner having lunch today at Nate 'n Al's in Beverly Hills. I looked for Max standing by the limousine out front but couldn't find him.

Nate 'n Al's, of course, is most famous as the place Lew Wasserman and his grandchildren had lunch every Saturday. Apparently if anyone dared approach the table to talk to Lew they were told to "call his office" for an appointment.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Going Topless

Had a chance to see the new documentary "Inside Deep Throat" tonight. It's an interesting look at the cultural war touched off by the release of "Deep Throat" in June, 1972. And in lots of ways the battle between "immorality" and the First Amendment are still going on today. Since I was 9 at the time, I don't really remember the early 70s all that well -- but it all seems vaguely familiar. I wonder if in 30 years I'll look back on this decade with the same fog.

Today was absolutely gorgeous in Los Angeles. Even though I drive a Ford Mustang convertible, I'm not one of those folks who puts my top down at every possible moment. But today was one of those days when it would have been immoral to keep it up. I enjoyed cruising around today with it down.

Party Hopper

Flew to San Francisco on Saturday to participate in the Junior Statesmen of America's 70th Anniversary Dinner. Junior Statesmen is a non-partisan program that teaches American high school about government and leadership. I'm honored to be in my fourth year as the President of the Board of Trustees.

The dinner was held in the Metropolitan Club in downtown San Francisco. (In an interesting turn-of-the-tables, this business club only allows women members.) It's a beautiful facility and was perfect for our event.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was the evening's honoree. He gave a great speech about doing what you think is right regardless of the consequences and taking advantage of the moment because they never last. It was very moving and the I think the audience, both adults and students, were very impressed.

I was happy to get to spend a lot of time visiting with John Dunbar. John and I became fast friends when we both attended the Junior Statesmen Summer School at UC Davis in 1979. We've stayed in touch over the last 25 plus years and even though we don't talk all that often whenever we do we can pick up right where we left off. John has a VERY dry sense of humor and a razor sharp wit -- and he uses both at the same time to make me laugh like no one else. In a lot of ways he seems like the brother I never had growing up. (I was nearly 16 when Justin, my real-life brother, was born.)

My plan was to attend the dinner Saturday night, leave when it was over and get to bed at a decent time. Yeah, right. Of course I was part of the hardcore group that stumbled out of the bar across the street, Who's Your Daddy?, at 1:30 a.m.

So the Sunday morning, 7 a.m., alarm was a little painful -- but I had a plane to catch back to Los Angeles. I was rushing back in order to attend the Southland Theater Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.) fundraiser to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles and GLASS -- Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services.

This is an event where basically various stars of stage and screen each come out to sing one song. The first act featured the music of Harry Warren (42nd Street) and the second act was the music of Marvin Hamlish (A Chorus Line).

The highlights were:

Lorenzo Lamas -- he really can sing.

Susan Anton -- really killed with her rendition of "Better Than Ever."

Patrick Cassidy -- singing "Lullaby of Broadway" and looking more like his father, Jack, than ever.

Betty Garrett (Irene Lorenzo from All in the Family) -- performing a funny and wonderful version of "Chica Chica Boom Chic" fronm "That Night in Rio."

91 year old Fayard Nicholas -- of the legendary Nicholas Brothers, tap dancing.

Tonya Pinkins -- most recently of "Caroline, or Change" belting out "Ordinary Miracles."

and Carole Cook -- who replaced Carol Channing in "Hello, Dolly" performing a saucy number. Her act was all the better because she made the sign language interpreter come center stage and sign in slow language her potty mouth.

It was a great event and I'm thankful to Cary Davidson and Andrew Ogilvie for inviting me.

And as if that weren't enough, GeezBob had a very fun dinner party at his house tonight. His guests included several members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- and it was fascinating to hear their takes on American pop culture. You want these people on your team when you play movie or music trivia.

And GeezBob invited Kelly Presta and Rob Gutierrez, two guys I used to hang with in the 1990s. So it was like a flashback to see them.

But wait, you also get Liz Smagala and Phil, who rounded out the guest list. Liz is a very fun woman who works with GeezBob and Cary Davidson at Reed and Davidson. At she's not too shy to be asked to be named in my blog.

GeezBob made an excellent Mexican feast, with enchiladas that would have impressed Grandmother Green.

The party went a little late for a school night, but that's half the fun.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Bring Back Chris Rock

Saw a truly dreadful production of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" tonight at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. The talent was mid-level, the costumes were cheap, the sets virtually non-existent and the mikes kept cracking.

If it were a Community College production I would have been impressed. But if the Korean-backed producers of shows at the Kodak keep bringing such lousy touring shows to town their going to find out that once people's curiosity to see the theater where they do the Oscars is satisfied they won't keep them coming back.

The theater wasn't that full to start with, and at least 10% of the audience left at intermission.

At one point GeezBob and I actually debated whether one of the "ladies" in the show was a drag queen. This is bad because you're not supposed to talk while the show is on. Judge for yourself:

Actually, if you look at Stacy's website you can see that she and the other performers in the show have been on a pretty grueling tour -- and I feel for them. But you can also see that the towns they've been playing are on a different level than the 1,300 seat Kodak Theater in Los Angeles -- for crying outloud.

At one point some members of the cast actually came offstage and tried to lead the audience in a chant of "Shame, shame, shame -- You're ruining our good name." On that point I agreed.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I'm in Pajamas Too

I guess everyone is blogging now. I read in today's New York Times that even Rosie O'Donnell is publishing a blog.

And she even posts several times a day. (I find it hard enough to post once a day.)

Oddly, Rosie writes the entire thing like a song lyric or a poem. (Maybe she's hoping for some poetic justice.)

I find it very hard to read. Rosie: It's called a sentence. Use it!

Enjoyed seeing "Be Cool" tonight at Graumman's Chinese Theater. I'll see just about any movie about life in Los Angeles. I like to think I'm good at playing the "spot the location" game. In "Be Cool" the Russian-Mob Pawn Shop is about a block away from where I live on Sunset Boulevard. And if you look closely you can spot El Coyote -- one of my favorite restaurants -- across the street in the opening scenes.

After hearing about it for over a week, I finally caught E!'s reenactment of the Michael Jackson trial tonight. They use actors and actual court transcripts. I guess there's a production delay because tonight the Michael Jackson actor was wearing a "suit," while everyone knows by now that Jackson spent today in court in his pajamas.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hold the Rimshot

Sometimes life in Los Angeles really does seem like a bad movie. Counting the ballots in our city elections was delayed last night because fog grounded the five helicopters used to fly ballots downtown from the hinterlands. Truck convoys had to be quickly assembled to deliver the ballots in fire-proof bags. Where's Bruce Willis when you need him?

Saw "Walk on Water" tonight at the Sunset 5 movie theater. It's an Israeli thriller about the hunt for hiding Nazis. I liked it except the COMPLETELY unbelievable "can't we all get along" ending.

My car sounded funny on the way to the gym this morning. And it sure felt weird going around corners. I guess the flat tire explains it. Don't know where I picked up that nail. But the Auto Club came in less than 20 minutes to change it. So they are good for more than maps.

As Dan Rather USED to say, "Courage."

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Swanky Place

Celebrity Sighting: Saw Philip Hernandez, the actor who plays Juan Peron in the touring company of "Evita," at the gym this morning. (Yes, I actually went.) He looks less intimidating in a tank top and shorts than he does in his Argentine military costume.

I was happy to see on 60 Minutes that Hilary Swank ended her evening on Oscar Night with a burger at Astro Burgers -- about 3 blocks from where I live. Burgers and movie roles -- you know how to pick 'em, Boss.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Had dinner last night at a newish restaurant at the corner of Hollywood and Vine that is creatively named "Hollywood and Vine Diner." It's a large space that's clearly aiming to take advantage of the nightlife/lounge resurgence in Hollywood. The food was good but I didn't like the menu enough to want to go back. And I thought it was overpriced. (But it is very convenient to the Pantages Theater.)

Tonight I had dinner at Rusty Updegraff's new restaurant at the corner of Santa Monica and Robertson, "Gozar." I did not like it at all. I should have known better. Any restaurant that describes its cuisine as a fusion of Cuban, Puerto Rican and Spanish is bound to be a disaster. It looked like most of the entrees are a bunch of different items all mixed in together (Cold Stone Creamery goes Latin).

I'd of been much happier with a combination plate from El Coyote.

I thought it was WAY overpriced. It's clear Updegraff poured a lot of money into redoing the former Kachina Grill -- too bad the concept doesn't work. Maybe they can balance the books with their bar -- it certainly has an ideal location for bar-hoppers.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Greg Stevens, R.I.P.

Saw "Evita" tonight at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. It's hard to believe the show was writing nearly 30 years ago -- 1976 to 1978. The show was fine -- not great, not bad.

I saw the movie, but had never seen the live show before. I like most anything political, so a story about a woman climbing to the top of the political heap was interesting to me.

But I couldn't stop thinking about Hilary Clinton. Earlier today I watched 3 "Meet the Press" episodes I Tivoed. One featured an interview of Senator Clinton and Senator McCain from Baghdad. The more I think about it the more I'm convinced they are going to be the Democratic and Republican nominees for President in 2008. Evil vs. Crazy. What a choice for America.

I'm always shocked to read an article about someone my age dying. And the older I get the more often it happens. So I was freaked out to read about Greg Stevens' death in today's Los Angeles Times. (The Washington Times ran a better article.)

Greg was in the Trojan College Republicans at the same time I was and we both moved to Washington, D.C. around the same time. But he always seemed to move in a faster circle than I did.

I remember around 1983 when Scott Wilk and I had dinner at the oh-so-trendy Cadillac Cafe on La Cienega Boulevard. Greg came in to eat with a group that clearly was having a good time. I think both Scott and I secretly wanted to be invited to their party.

I didn't talk to Greg for several years, though I would see his name in the paper every now and then. But we did talk in the Fall of 2003. I interviewed a guy who was applying for a job on the No on 56 campaign and Greg was listed as a reference. Greg and I had a couple of nice conversations and caught up on each other's lives.

We promised to "do lunch" the next time he was in California -- but that wasn't meant to be. And it sounds like he was still moving in pretty fast circles. Dying in Carrie Fisher's guest house certainly has a dramatic flair.

The closest I can get to that is seeing Debbie Reynolds perform a couple of years ago at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas. At least I was in the front row.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Well That's Over, Mercifully

The Trojans Men's Basketball season came to an end tonight with a victory -- 78 to 68 over the Oregon State Beavers. Too bad the game was essentially pointless since the Trojans were eliminated from the Pac-10 tournament on Thursday.

The crowd at the Sports Arena was pretty lackluster -- although the seniors received a nice salute before the game and the benchwarmers got a loud cheer when they came into the game with a minute to go.

I won't miss hearing loud-mouth Petros Papadakis as the arena announcer. I've never listened to his talk radio show, but his personality seems better suited to "hot talk" on sports radio than announcing a game.

The Craven twins (Erick and Derrick) played a game that lived up to their reputation when they signed to USC. Too bad it was their final game as Trojans.

And Greg Guenther -- who gave up football the year the Trojans became national champions to focus instead on basketball -- appeared to get a little frustration out on one foul that sent a Beaver player skidding across the floor.

A good time was had by all.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hey Good Lookin'

Saw Peter Cincotti, the 21-year old jazz singing phenom tonight at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Last year Cincotti reached No. 1 on the Billboard traditional jazz charts, the youngest solo artist to do so. Really enjoyed his performance and expect him to have a long career in front of him.

Of course, any excuse to go to the Walt Disney Concert Hall is always welcome. It's beautiful, the acoustics are outstanding and the seating is very comfortable.

Celebrity Sighting: Saw Kevin P., the "embedded" model from Bravo's smash hit reality show "Manhunt: The Search for America's Most Gorgeous Male Model" at the Griddle Cafe on Sunset Blvd. today.

He was eating alone at the counter reading the newspaper. So I guess we have more than our looks in common.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Rants and Raves

The USC's means Basketball team's season basically came to an end tonight as they were eliminated from the Pac-10 tournament. They were beaten in overtime 94 to 87 by the Oregon Ducks. Only 8 teams from the Pac-10 conference get to go to the tournament and USC is going to end the season in 9th or 10th place.

What a miserable season -- and I wasn't even in the country for most of it. Our longtime Head Coach Henry Bibby was fired only a few games into the season. Another coach was hired with much fanfare, only to back out 24 hours later. Our interim coach, Jim Saia's, only previous experience was as an administrator -- not a coach. He's fun to watch, but very ineffective. He's very lanky and when he gets excited during a game he reminds me of a marionette with the strings caught in an overhead fan.

During tonight's game the score was tied 77 to 77 and USC had the ball. Trojan Gary Pruitt ran the entire length of the court and, with 1.5 seconds left in the game, made a shot that went in. Unfortunately, the officials called Pruitt for an offensive foul and the basket didn't count. The crowd went ballistic and Saia looked like he was going to jump out of skin. That's how close the Trojans were to remaining in contention for the Pac-10 tournament.

I went back to Hamburger Mary's today to correct yesterday's mistake. And then I had one of THE BEST chicken pot pies I've ever had. My experience is food rarely tastes as good as you think it will when you see it go by on its way to another table. Not the case here. Great flaky crust, lots of chicken and no mushrooms. What more could I ask for?

Tonight I heard a broadcast of a Dodgers spring training game for the first time this season. (I heard it at night because KFWB delays the broadcast rather than running spring training games live -- but that's a whole different rant.)

The Dodgers have fired longtime broadcaster Ross Porter and have implemented a new format. For decades Dodger games have only been called by one broadcaster at a time. Walter O'Malley's theory was this created the atmosphere of a conversation between the broadcaster and the listener. Well that's out the window and now we have (new) Charlie Steiner calling balls and strikes and (old) Rick Monday providing "color commentary." Rick Monday can barely call balls and strikes let alone make intelligent comments on the game unfolding before him. I fear his use of stupid puns and babbling about inconsistent thoughts is only going to be worse under this new format.

I'm already practicing the bitter comments I'm going to make to the team's new owner, Frank McCourt, when I bump into him at Dodger Stadium this season.


If the Shoe Fits.....

Saw my third popcorn movie in a row -- tonight's was "In Good Company" starring Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. I liked it. It's a light look at the mergers and acquisitions madness facing corporate America and its impact on people's lives. Quaid is solid as the "older" executive and Grace holds his own as the young upstart. I especially liked that it DOES NOT have a typical Hollywood ending with everything reaching an unrealistic conclusion.

GeezBob and I had lunch today at the Hamburger Mary's in West Hollywood. Even though it's been open for two years, it was my first time there. The decorations are over the top.

The food was good, but imagine my surprise when the check was delivered to our table in a giant women's red shoe, instead of the typical folder or little plate. (I noticed the shoe's label was from Frederick's of Hollywood.) I guess the check-in-a-shoe really threw me off because tonight I discovered the signed receipt (including the tip) in my shirt pocket. This means I must have left the receipt-in-the-shoe blank, which means I didn't leave a tip for our waiter -- Jerry.

Of course I'm going to go back tomorrow and fix the problem. Does that make me a good sole?

And as long as I'm there I might as well try the chicken pot pie. It sure looked good today. (Maybe that's what really threw me off balance at check time.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Free-Range Moviegoer

James Vaughn asked how my Oscar predictions turned out. Last Saturday GeezBob and I made our annual predictions over lunch at Langer's. A perfect score is 24 correct predictions. I got 10 right. GeezBob kicked my butt with 14 correct predictions.

Now that the Oscars are over I'm back to picking my own movies to see. The truth be told, I prefer having a checklist to work on.

Last night I saw "The Wedding Date" which was OK. I like Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney was good. The story was unrealistic, but the music was good.

Tonight I saw "Hitch" with Will Smith. Since I saw Jada Pinkett Smith fall out of the "Hitch" box at the Sambadromo in Rio I felt obligated to go. It's funny and Kevin James completely steals the movie.

Not sure which movie I'm fated to see next.