Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Had a chance to catch the next movie on my Summer Blockbuster list, "The DaVinci Code" tonight.
I never read the book, so it was all new to me. I can't say I followed every twist and turn -- or really understood the movie -- but it certainly moved along at a quick pace.
Ultimately, it just seemed like a weird cross (no pun intended) between an adventure movie and a religious one.
But the cinematography, sets and scenery were beautiful to look at.
Spent today in Fresno. (Had lunch at the Chicken Pie Shop.) The plan was my meeting would end at 5:00 p.m. and I'd catch the 6:35 p.m. flight -- the last United flight to LAX -- home. Tight but doable.
Around 4:00 p.m. the United computer called and told me my flight was delayed and would be leaving at 7:20 p.m. Great! I didn't have to rush.
So I do-dee-doed after the meeting -- made some phone calls, got a soda, etc. I showed up at the airport at 6:40 p.m. and was SHOCKED to read on the departure board my flight -- the last United flight to LAX -- had left on time at 6:35 p.m.
I waited in line for assistance at the counter and was happy to learn they don't update the board -- it just automatically says "DEPARTED" when the flight is scheduled to leave -- and my flight would be leaving, as I had been told, at 7:20 p.m. Whew!
Monday, May 29, 2006
Went to the Arc Light Theater in Hollywood this afternoon to see "Mission Impossible: III."
It's an interesting story, the action scenes are thrilling and frequent and Phillip Seymour Hoffman makes for a particularly creepy villain.
But it's hard to get past Tom Cruise and all the publicity surrounding his life these days. And his acting has become a caricature of itself.
It used to be when I watched a movie with him in it I just saw Tom Cruise, not the character he was playing. But now I see Ben Stiller DOING Tom Cruise DOING a character. I think Ben's Cruise is better than Tom's.
But the theme song still is the best ever!
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Went back to the Kirk Douglas Theater this afternoon to see the third of four one-person shows featured in their "Solomania!"
Today's show was Pacifica Radio Network reporter Jerry Quickley in "Live From The Front," which recounts his reporting from Baghdad as the American bombing began. His perspective is very much against the war, but it seemed fitting to see Memorial Day Weekend.
His presentation isn't very theatrical (though he does do a few different accents) but it's really more like listening to a friend telling some pretty amazing tales from a recent business trip. The problem is, at 105 minutes, it's pretty hard to listen to just about anyone go on and on for that long.
After the show GeezBob and I had an excellent dinner at the Double Dutch Dinette next door to the Kirk Douglas Theater. I really liked the menu -- lots of choices. I had the buffalo meatloaf and GeezBob had the beef brisket.
As implied by the art on the wall -- D.D.D. excels at desserts!
Went to the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City tonight to see another of the one-person shows they are presenting as part of "Solomania."
As the lights went down before the show began the star, Adriana Sevan, was helped on stage on crutches. She spent the entire show seated on a chair with her bare right foot slightly elevated on a black pillow on the floor and her knee in a major brace.
By their nature, one-person shows can be rather static. Stick your star in a chair and you're really limiting your story-telling options. Sevan's show, "Taking Flight" is about two friends in New York City dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 when one is hospitalized with major injuries. Surprisingly for such an emotion filled subject, I thought the show was rather flat. I imagine the show was better when the performer could move around the stage.
After the show was over I asked Usher near the front exit if Sevan hurt her leg during a performance. Just as Usher was telling me that, yes, she had hurt herself while performing behind me I heard the loud sound of someone falling.
An elderly woman had fallen down the steps while leaving the auditorium and was sprawled down on her back in front of the stage. It was clear Senior had fallen hard by the sound and confirmed by seeing she had come completely out of her shoes which ended up a couple of feet from where Senior landed.
Usher rushed over to help Senior and I hurried out to the lobby to let Supervisor know and to suggest they call Ambulance Driver.
The new Kirk Douglas Theater has a major design flaw. The rows of seats go up steeply -- which is good for watching shows. But it also means the stairs are steep and the handrail along the steps ends before the last two rows at the bottom. This means wobbly walkers have to freestyle it from about the third row to the bottom of the steps.
GeezBob pointed out a giant tear in the carpet covering the last step of the staircase. Thinking about where her shoes were, I suspect freestyling Senior caught her heel on the tear and wound up on her back. Sure hope the Theater's insurance is paid up.
After dropping off GeezBob at his house I found out that Crenshaw Boulevard was completely shut down for police activity and I had to wind around residential streets in heavy traffic for several minutes.
Seems like there was plenty of bad luck to go around tonight.
Friday, May 26, 2006
When you're driving east on the Santa Monica Freeway at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend and all of a sudden the traffic in the opposite direction -- all of it! -- disappears, you know you're about to see a major motorcade.
And since it was a few minutes after his downtown meeting with Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, I'm happy to report I saw Mexican President Vicente Fox' motorcade rolling undisturbed down one of the busiest freeways in America.
I don't know where President Fox was going, but I was on my way to Burbank for dinner and a show.
Dinner was at the excellent French 75 Bistro, which opened in February in the heart of Burbank's booming media district. With its "French Bordello" interior, this is a restaurant with a lot of style. And the upscale French bistro food more than satisfies. Great service and a large menu help make this a nearly perfect restaurant.
The show was a side-splitting satire about a small theater company producing a "gay" version of a Rogers and Hammerstein musical classic, called "Oklahomo!"
This laugh riot stars Justin Tanner -- who also wrote and directed the show -- as an over-the-top, passive-aggressive, bitter, manic, needy small theater director.
Mary Scheer does a great turn as a coke-snorting musical director who can't control her addictions (drugs and musical theater).
And Julie Brown (remember Downtown Julie Brown?) shows up as a TV-sitcom star who condescends to commune with small theater hack actors because she adores the show's author (and the plentiful coke in the dressing room).
It's a ribald comedy, not for the faint-of-heart -- but a lot of fun, particularly if you've ever wanted to ride in a surrey with the fringe on top.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Had a fun dinner tonight with my friend, Michael Self, at El Coyote in Hollywood -- the tackiest Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles (that's the most fun to go to).
Normally Michael and I have dinner there on Fridays. Not every Friday, but several Fridays a year. The host, Billy, knows us and makes sure we get a table in our favorite waitress, Mezerette's, section. She knows our order by heart and doesn't even bother to bring us menus.
But our schedules didn't synch up for several Friday so we decided to go there on a Thursday. I knew that GeezBob and his clique have dinner there on Thursdays. I hoped he wouldn't think we were invading his turf.
GeezBob and his tablemates all came over to say hello and, sadly, there were no Joan Crawford-esque catfights to report.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Two pitchers named "Aaron," Aaron Cook for the Rockies and Aaron Sele for the Dodgers, started tonight's game at Dodger Stadium. I don't know if this was the first time two starting pitchers named "Aaron" have ever faced each other.
But I'm very surprised the Dodgers didn't take the opportunity to sell advertising to the Aaron Brothers chain of stores and get them to "sponsor" the game. It would make as much sense as all the other over-the-top advertising at Dodger Stadium these days.
I refused the advertising they tried to give me as I drove into the parking lot tonight and I shot down taking the advertising they tried to hand me as I walked in the gate. Too much!
At least it was a good game with the Dodgers winning 7 to 1 for their seventh consecutive victory. Tonight's win means the Dodgers completed a sweep of a six-game homestand, the first time they've done that since 1994.
I tried to signal the driver of this stretch Escalade Cadillac limousine that his left front tire was flat. But he kept talking on his phone and waved me off like I was stalking Paris Hilton or something. I was glad to see he finally pulled over when the entire wheel assembly started massively smoking.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Dodgers claim to have sold 40,228 tickets to tonight's game against the Rockies -- and they may have.
But a lot of ticketholders didn't show up. Me thinks tonight's game had the bad luck of going up against the finals of American Idol and folks stayed home to watch TV.
I've never actually seen a single episode of American Idol -- but I can recognize of rating phenomenon when one exits. Maybe actual attendance at Dodger Stadium will rebound when May Sweeps is over.
Everyone who skipped the game missed a good one -- the Dodgers won 8 to 1, their sixth consecutive victory. The Dodgers have now won the series against each of the last six teams they've faced.
I had some good luck today. Exactly two weeks after I left my blazer on an airplane I got a phone call that United has located my jacket. I get to pick it up tomorrow at Lost and Found at LAX. My guess is it's been there all along, and they've finally gotten around to calling me. But I'm happy, not complaining.
Second piece of good luck -- just found out I'm one of 8,273 Californians who won $8 in today's Mega Millions lottery by matching three number. That should just about cover my gas and parking at LAX.
Monday, May 22, 2006
A little bit of international baseball history was made tonight at Dodger Stadium as two Korean-born starting pitchers (Byung-Hyun Kim for the Rockies and Jae Seo for the Dodgers) faced off for the first time ever in a Major League game.
And they'll be partying in my old neighborhood, Koreatown, tonight as the Dodgers won 6 to 1 -- their 5th consecutive victory.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
They had the tarp on hand in case it rained during today's Dodgers vs. Angels game at Dodger Stadium. Fortunately, they didn't have to use it.
The Angels probably would have preferred a rainout to what actually happened -- the Dodgers shut them out today, 7 to 0, completing the three game sweep. That's the first time the Dodgers have swept the Angels since the introduction of Interleague play.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Had dinner tonight in downtown Culver City and the hot, new restaurant "Ford's Filling Station." Owner/Chef Ben Ford has received much notice for his other restaurants (including Chadwick's) but he is still best known as the son of Harrison Ford.
This excellent restaurant is more down-market then his other enterprises. It's more of an upscale, neighborhood hang-out -- that everyone wants to go to. Good food at reasonable prices -- what a concept in dining!
I was in Culver City to go to the Kirk Douglas Theater to see one of the solo shows currently running in rotation as part of "Solomania!"
Tonight's show was "Gaytino!" written and performed by 65-year-old Dan Guerrero. It's about his life as a Gay/Queer/Friend-of-Dorothy/Hispanic/Chicano/Latino/Mexican-American.
Fortunately, it's been an interesting life.
His father was a famous spanish-language songwriter and singer and along the way Guerrero spent time on the stage in New York City, as a Broadway talent agent, performed at the White House for Richard Nixon, produced shows at the Kennedy Center and the Cite de la Musique in Paris and befriended Cesar Chavez.
And he's happy to tell us all about it in song and dance.
Shocked by the price of peanuts at Dodger Stadium, Grandmother Green once told me, "People should bring their own." (This was after making a stinging noise when she heard they were $3.) She would be most impressed with this family's frugality and organization. Grandma and Grandpa brought a giant bag of peanuts and several empty brown bags. Grandpa would scoop the peanuts out of the giant bag and put some in each of the small brown bags which Grandma would distribute to the frugal Grandchildren.
This is a view of the beach at La Jolla from the campus of the University of California at San Diego. I spent this morning on campus at a meeting at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
With a view like that how in the world do the students get any schoolwork done?