Monday, March 31, 2008
I hope you like this photo of Dodgers cupcakes. It cost me $20 to take it.
Today was Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. I've given up my season tickets this year, but after going to Opening Day for 17 consecutive years I still wanted to go today.
So GeezBob and I bought a couple of tickets on StubHub and enjoyed an afternoon at the ballpark.
I'm glad we went today but I really think I have no interest in going to any other Dodger games this season. The air is out of the balloon for me.
As for the cupcakes, I saw them at the new Mrs. Beasley's stand at Dodger Stadium and thought they'd make a fun picture -- even if they charged $10 for 2 cupcakes. (OK, $9.75.)
I took them back to the seats and promptly dropped both of them trying to open the plastic container.
But once I have an idea I'm captive to it. So I went back and bought two more. Fortunately, I photographed them without dropping the second pair.
The cupcakes were good, but certainly not worth $20. Probably not worth $10. But a good photo on my blog -- priceless!
The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles 50 years ago -- 1958. To mark the milestone the Dodgers had a goosebump inducing pre-game ceremony. Around 40 of the greatest living Dodgers from the past 50 years were invited to the stadium today. One by one each man emerged from either the left or right field bullpens or the center field gate and walked to the position they famously played.
No announcements were made -- simply their name and a photo from their playing days were shown on the Jumbotron. And the crowd reacted.
Duke Snider (photo above) was the first to come out. Snider, who was on the Opening Day roster in 1958, slowly walked to center field. For the longest time no other players joined him in center field. As the other positions filled, Snider remained alone in center field.
It was very poignant.
I'm of two minds on President Clinton's speech yesterday to the California Democratic Party. On one hand his ability to connect with the audience and to hold them in the palm of his hand was astonishing. On the other hand, his nostalgia for being in the limelight was undeniable and in the end I doubt built any support for Hillary.
But I appreciated the opportunity to see him speak in person.
State Senator Carole Migden and Assemblymember Mark Leno slugged it out over the weekend for the Party's endorsement in their bitter primary fight. Here they are (Migden in the red jacket on the left and Leno on the right) working opposite sides of the door as delegates entered the convention hall.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday night I went back to the movie theater at Santana Row to see "Married Life."
It's a much darker film than the name implies (unless you already have a dark view of marriage). And any film with Patricia Clarkson is bound to be good. But I spent most of the movie admiring the set decorations and thinking "I should do that at my place."
After the movie I checked out several restaurants at Santana Row but they were all too crowded. I was delighted to stumble upon this coffee shop -- Flames Restaurant -- across the street from Santana Row. It's Googie architecture caught my eye (as Googie architecture is supposed to do). Turns out the food was pretty good to0.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Flew up to San Jose today to attend this weekend's California Democratic Party Convention.
President Bill Clinton is speaking on Sunday, so it should be interesting. He's also meeting with uncommitted Super Delegates (California has more than any other state). But I don't think I'll get in that room.
Friday night I went to San Jose's newish deluxe outdoor mall, Santana Row, to see the brand new movie "Stop-Loss" starring Ryan Phillippe and Channing Tatum.
This movie uses our country's entanglement in Iraq to examine the bonds forged between men in combat. I found it very moving and empathetic towards our soldiers currently serving in an awful situation.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Went to see the new movie "Snow Angels" tonight. I didn't know a thing about the movie. All I knew was I saw Amy Sedaris promoting it on David Letterman and that was enough for me. I figured she would be playing some kooky character in a quirky movie.
Wrong! This very dramatic film carries a wallop from the get-go. And while Sedaris does take a turn as an off-kilter waitress at a Chinese restaurant in rural Pennsylvania, she really shows her acting chops too.
It's definitely worth seeing -- and the less you know going in the better.
"Funny Games" is an intriguing movie that's not "about" what it appears to be about at all.
On the surface, the movie's plot is about a family whose luxury vacation home is invaded by two young men who, over the course of the evening, kill the family. A real upper.
But actually the movie is about the audience watching the film and the sadistic thrill of watching what amounts to a snuff film.
And if it's not clear, a few times characters in the movie actually turn to the audience and remind them what outcome they are silently rooting for in the dark.
It's one of those movies that's hard to get out of your mind -- unless it gets blown away by a giant rifle.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Went to the Ahmanson Theater on Saturday night to see the touring production of "Sweeney Todd" as re-envisioned by John Doyle. This is the ingenious version of "Sweeney Todd" where the ten members of the cast double as the orchestra, playing instruments while singing and speaking their roles.
Having seen this show on Broadway a couple of years ago I couldn't help but compare the two productions. In NYC the cast was lead by Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris in astonishing performances.
Fortunately, Judy Kaye and David Hess are both excellent and, when it comes down to it, this Sondheim show is so strong it would be hard to ruin it.
Dinner before the show was at the J Lounge and Restaurant at 11th and Olive downtown. I suspect this place gets going later at night but it was dead early in the evening. The American food was good but pricey. The real money-maker for this place probably is it's enormous bar and lounge on the second floor. The waiter seemed very proud of the "cigar lounge" available upstairs. No thanks.
Still, it's fun to witness the transformation of Downtown Los Angeles into a place people go to for entertainment at night.
Friday night I went to see a new play, "Secrets of the Trade" by Jonathan Tolins ("The Twilight of the Golds" and "The Last Sunday in June"). It's about a precocious 16 year-old theater fanatic who writes a famous theater director and ultimately gets to know the man. The play insightfully examines that time in life when children leave their parental adoration behind and chart their own path in life. It's beautifully written and very touching.
John Glover is most impressive as the theater impresario "Martin Kerner."
The show is running at the tiny Black Dahlia Theater -- with just 35 seats. The theater is so small you actually enter through the gift shop next door (photo above).
Celebrity Sighting: Spotted both Tony Shaloub and Chad Allen in the audience. That's a pretty high celebrity quotient since there are only 35 seats.
Saturday afternoon I drove up to Victorville for my cousin, Pete Fliegner's, Hawaiian-themed 40th birthday party.
I can remember going to the hospital the day Pete was born. Lots of family members were there and they all got to go into the maternity ward to see Pete. But since the hospital considered me a five year-old germ-bomb I had to sit in the hallway and was the only one who didn't get to see the baby. I remember being indignant at the injustice of it all. I whined, I begged, I argued (and I'm sure I pouted) but to no avail. I didn't get to actually see Pete until he left the hospital.
I haven't figured out how Pete could possibly be turning 40 since I'm only 35 years old myself...