Friday, November 28, 2008
My Washington, DC-based friend, Jim Brown, is visiting Los Angeles for the Thanksgiving Weekend and this afternoon we opened the recently re-opened Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.
Closed for nearly 10 years, the Getty Villa displays primarily Greek and Roman antiquities.
Wednesday I went to see "Milk," which I thought was a very powerful political drama.
I was 15 in 1978 and already interested in politics, so I remember when San Francisco Supervisor Milk and Mayor Moscone were assassinated. I even met Mayor Moscone once at a grocery store near where I grew up in Pacific Palisades.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday afternoon I went to the Pierson Theater in Santa Monica to see the Rana's Arts Club production of "Willy Wonka Junior" starring Lily Fanali (center in front of the pole) as gum-chewing Violet.
This show could not have possibly been any cuter. Lily delivered her sassy lines with great authority (while simultaneously appearing to chew gum) and sang beautifully.
Saturday night I went to the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood to see "By the Waters of Babylon" by Robert Schenkkan.
Once again the Geffen is presenting a show just sufficient enough to be called professional theater, but completely boring at the same time.
In this case, it's a tale about a widow who hires a Cuban exile to clean out her garden. Literally and figuratively. And predictably.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
"The School of Night" is a new play by Peter Whelan at the Mark Taper Forum, the recently reopened theater widely considered to be Los Angeles' most prestigious theater.
The play looks at the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of William Shakespeare. According the program "the School of Night was a group of intellectuals in Elizabethan England who met in secret to discuss and explore new ideas. These men studied science, philosophy and religion, included Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, Lord Henry Percy, Ingram Frizer, Richard Baines and Thomas Harriot, among others. In an effort to discredit them and their ideas, these freethinkers were labeled as atheists, a dangerous accusation during these times. William Shakespeare seems to have made reference to The School of Night in 'Love's Labour's Lost' when he says, '...Black is the badge of hell. The hue of dungeons and the School of Night.'"
This play has a large cast with lots of characters coming and going. I can't say I understood every bit of the show but I found it's exploration of Elizabethan England interesting.
Robert Perdziola's costumes have received quite a bit of notice and understandably so. The costumes are truly beautiful with lots of patterns on the fabrics and lots of layers.
Before the show my friend, Sky, and I had dinner at a new restaurant, "Church & State." Opened by Steven Arroyo, best known for his three Cobras & Matadors restaurants, this one occupies the former loading dock of downtown LA's National Biscuit Co. Building which was built in 1925.
The Nabisco Building, in the outer reaches of downtown's art district, was recently converted into lofts. I enjoyed seeing the building -- which is beautiful -- but I can't imagine living there. It's surrounded by blocks and blocks of industrial property. If the "art district" is nearby, I sure didn't see it.
As for the restaurant, I'm afraid I didn't like the "working-class French" menu. I thought it was overpriced and the portions were stingy.
The service was attentive but one visit was sufficient to satisfy my curiosity.
Thursday night Junior Statesmen had a "Cocktails and Conversations" event in San Francisco featuring Willie Brown, the former Speaker of the California Assembly, Mayor of San Francisco and now a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and television commentator.
In the photo above Mr. Brown is being interviewed by one of Junior Statesmen's Northern California leaders.
It was a lovely event and I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with so many alums, current students and others. After the event a mother of one of the students who had been part of the program was nearly in tears as she explained to me she had just seen her daughter speak in public for the first time.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
GeezBob and I had lunch yesterday in East Los Angeles at the famous El Tepeyac Cafe -- home of the gargantuan burrito.
Yes, the burritos are huge but they also are really, really good -- fresh ingredients perfectly cooked and spicy.
No wonder this place has been as popular as it has for as long as it has.