essentialsaltes: (dead)
Fresh off reading about Tough Guy Writers, it was maybe inevitable that a few titles caught my eye. Death in a Bowl, featuring a murder of the conductor at the Hollywood Bowl during a concert certainly punched the right buttons. Sadly, there's not as much local color as I hoped, and a plot that's hopelessly cockamamie by the end. But a few bloodthirsty and cold-blooded nouns and verbs smash together pleasingly every once in a while.

"Do I look like a killer?"
"I never saw a man who looked like one...You look like a liar to me--I've seen them before."
essentialsaltes: (eye)
Last Tuesday, Uzbeki pianist Behzod Abduraimov tore the cover off Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto at the Hollywood Bowl. I can't say that I know the piece that well, but I agree with the LA Times' glowing (and better informed) view. The Times may be a little harsh on the Pictures at an Exhibition.


It was a great experience, and was our first time sitting in the boxes, which definitely had a different vibe. For one thing, the boxes seat 4 or 6, so we had an musician-cum-astrodynamics programmer in town from Colorado Springs for a wedding in SoCal in the box with us. And we also chatted some with the family in the next box, doing a bit more socializing than is usual up in the benches.

Saturday, we went to the Leimert Park Book Fair. Steve Barnes and his wife Tananarive Due had a quick panel on 'Afrofuturism' with two other authors, Deborah Pratt of Quantum Leap fame, and Jodi Baker, a bubbly person with a YA series. Barnes had a good point about the snowflakes upset about 'their history' being torn down -- African Americans are commonly told to forget all about the past history of injustice and focus on the now. (Not to mention the African history and culture that may have been lost from their ancestors).

In the evening it was back to the Bowl for Tchaikovsky & Fireworks. Bramwell Tovey conducted, and he brought more of the talkative and humorous style that John Mauceri used to bring to the Bowl. They performed some works unfamiliar to me, which was interesting, since the program had been pretty set in years past. Some bits of opera and ballet, with the waltz from the Nutcracker Suite being a highlight, along with some music from Sleeping Beauty with a violin soloist. Although it didn't do much for me except in some nice passages, the Rococo Variations certainly demonstrated virtuosity on the cello. And then, of course, the 1812 overture -- with fireworks. Beautiful colors, beautifully orchestrated with the music, a really fine spectacular. The only down point, some of our nearby audience members. Dude, is your conversation world-class? Because that lady up there is giving a world-class performance and you're not paying attention (and you're distracting me). Chit-chat, camera chimes, crunching snack bags... I think the lure of fireworks brings out a different crowd.
essentialsaltes: (glycerol and oleic acid)
 The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler

Chandler doesn't hold anything back here. Half again as convoluted as The Big Sleep, Philip Marlowe navigates his way through a Los Angeles where everyone, just everyone, is almost uniformly awful, including himself. Chandler unloads on Los Angeles and anything else he doesn't like, including alcoholic authors who hate the crap they write.


The Puppet Masters, by Robert A. Heinlein

Alien slugs take people over, threatening the American way of life. But surely these slimy pinko collectivists can be defeated by rugged individualism and a laissez-faire attitude toward biological warfare? Surely the boy will get the girl? Spoilers: yes on both counts.

essentialsaltes: (eye)
 Some pics of a morning walk from Echo Park to Vista Hermosa and back again.
essentialsaltes: (larpies)
We took a hike this morning to climb up and down some of the stairs in and around the original Hollywoodland development. There's a nice guide to the trail here (and a couple other hikes on the site).

All the pictures.

You do get a bit of a work out.

Stairs Hike

Lots of crazy castles and castle-esque stuff up there.

Stairs Hike

Views of the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory, the Ocean, and a few spots for DTLA.

Stairs Hike

Going down is less work, but reminds me of the dangers of climbing down Mesoamerican pyramids.

Stairs Hike

The guide describes this as Prince Valiant.

Stairs Hike

But surely Valiant is raven-haired! This is more Ivanhoe.

The grandest stair had two staircases. Originally, the middle had a stream that ran down it, now replaced by planters.

Stairs Hike

The sun was difficult for many shots in the early morning, but I still like this of DTLA through a tree.

Stairs Hike

Also ran into the Theosophists.

Stairs Hike

After the hike, we jetted down Sunset to an estate sale in Santa Monica, where we picked up a new desk chair for me, in which I now sit.
essentialsaltes: (city Hall)
From a few nights ago.

Santa Paula
essentialsaltes: (city Hall)
Morning from a few days ago.


New neighborhood signage



DTLA with a hint of snow. Nice view of the Wilshire Grand and its bullshit spire to make it the 'tallest' building in LA.

essentialsaltes: (herbert West)
del Toro LACMA

Really nice collection, organized into little themed areas.

Most of the items are from del Toro's collection, but there are a few from LACMA itself:

del Toro LACMA

As creepy as the many life-size life-like statues are, I did like the Ray Harryhausen tribute:

del Toro LACMA

There were also a small number of metal sculptures Ray himself had made.

del Toro LACMA

Speaking of statuary, got to see Bryan's work -- someday I'll get to the other big bust in Providence:

del Toro LACMA

Arthur Rackham original!

del Toro LACMA
essentialsaltes: (playing With Fire)
Yesterday, Dr. Pookie and I went to the African American Firefighter Museum on S. Central to go to their first (annual?) BBQ contest/benefit. On a day when 90,000 people were going to the Coliseum to see the Rams play in LA, it was a chance to do a small-town kind of thing in a big town.

Fire It Up BBQ Competition

Of the food we tasted, I think Mark Curry's baby back ribs were the clear winner. The museum had memoribilia and clippings, but the best thing about it is its location in a firehouse from 1913.

Firehouse poles!

Back in the day, it was part of the LAFD's segregated force.

Fire Station No. 30, Engine Company No. 30 back in the day

The building is now on the register of historic places.


The museum sits kitty-corner from the 1939 Streamline Moderne Coca Cola Building, one of the locations from my road rally.

The Coca Cola Building is kitty-corner to the AAFM
essentialsaltes: (danger)
I met Jim in Portland at the HPLFF. I was intrigued by a horror-tinged mystery novel with the action set at a girls' school. Dr. Pookie and I both love a couple such, written by female authors -- Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers & Miss Pym Disposes, by Josephine Tey. It was too much to hope that Smiley's first novel would live up to those. And it doesn't, though it's really of a different genre -- more hard-boiled pulp detective. He has some good, snappy dialogue and character interaction, but there's a lot to be desired. Ostensibly set in Prohibition-era Los Angeles, there are very few details that set the scene in either time or place. Of course, as an Angeleno, one of my favorite things is reading a story set in my town that feels like my town. And it's a consequent bugaboo if it's not done well. As a feminist, another one of my favorite things is female characters that have more than one dimension. And it's a consequent bugaboo if it's not done well. Most of the students at the school may actually have zero dimensions; they are shuttled from a dorm to another place to keep them safe, but I'll be damned if anyone actually ever talks to them, or asks them questions about the murder in their midst.
essentialsaltes: (pWNED!!! by Science)
Was considering Mexican places for lunch today. Discovered that Margaritas on Crenshaw wouldn't open until 2pm. [Ended up at the El Cholo on Western]

KCET showed a nice documentary [interspersed with begging for money] about Endeavour's trip down the streets of LA. As it trundles down Crenshaw, there's a nice shot of it through the archway at Margaritas.

ThisTV was (well, still is) having a Bond film marathon. ThisTV has an interesting assortment of advertising, including one for a little hand-operated food processor thing that has a pull cord that moves the blades. I was a bit shocked that the smiling loud man chopped some vegetables, dropped them into his stir-fry, looked into the camera, and said "Me so Hungry" as though he had done nothing wrong.

Then when the credits of A View to a Kill came on [I said it was a marathon of Bond films, not a marathon of good Bond films. Only watchable for Grace Jones and the fact that the ridiculous plot involving injecting water into oilwells to cause earthquakes has turned out to not be so ridiculous.] and it was hard to let a name like Papillon Soo Soo go by without further investigation.

"Papillon Soo Soo appeared as Pan Ho in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill, the first of three films that she appeared in.

She is also well known for playing the role of the Da Nang hooker who uttered the famous "Hey baby, you got girlfriend Vietnam? Me so horny. Me love you long time," and "Me sucky sucky" lines in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, which continues to be referenced in popular culture..." such as advertising on This TV.

[Since things come in threes, we can further connect synchronicities #1 and #2 via Moonraker, which is just as bad as I remember it.]
essentialsaltes: (city Hall)

More pictures.

I'd been to the Hollyhock House before, but this was the first time I got to see the inside (no pics allowed inside, alas). Lots of neat original details within, and reconstructions of some of the furniture.

Also in the park is one of the original guest houses, now sadly in disrepair.

essentialsaltes: (aCEG)
Here's the whole schedule.

I'm just jotting down a few of interest to me. Alas, Basement Jaxx & Bootsy Collins is while we're in France.

Tuesday July 14: All Rachmaninoff

Thursday July 16: All Beethoven

T/TH July 21/23: Carmina Burana

F/S July 24/25: Tchaikovsky & Fireworks

F/S/S July 31/32/33: SPAMALOT ('All-star cast to be announced')

F/S Aug 14/15: Bugs Bunny at the Bowl (including the world 'orchestral' premiere of Long-Haired Hare, set at the Bowl ("Leopold! Leopold!"))

Tu Aug 18: 2001: A Space Odyssey, with live accompaniment.

Agenda 21

Feb. 10th, 2015 04:50 pm
essentialsaltes: (perill of Breakdancing)
We were walking around the neighborhood, when a young guy on a bike slowly catches us up and starts talking at us. The conversation was odd from the get-go, and got odder. He was not satisfied with our explanation that we were taking a walk, and said something like...

"Oh, I know what's going on. This is some Agenda 21 action."

"Uh, no we're taking a walk."

"Yeah, Agenda 21. I have a well over 200 IQ and know what's going on. Where are your notebooks? Aren't you taking notes?"

"No, we're taking a walk."

With some last words about how we were carpetbaggers, he drifted down a different street.

Agenda 21 is "non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development", but it has turned into some sort of (largely rightwing) conspiracy about how the UN is going to take over America. But there's also Democrats Against Agenda 21.

Although, you have to admit, they may be on to something here:
Bicycle advocacy groups are very powerful now. Advocacy. A fancy word for lobbying, influencing, and maybe strong-arming the public and politicians. What's the conection with bike groups? National groups such as Complete Streets, Thunderhead Alliance, and others, have training programs teaching their members how to pressure for redevelopment, and training candidates for office. It's not just about bike lanes, it's about remaking cities and rural areas to the 'sustainable model'. High density urban development without parking for cars is the goal. This means that whole towns need to be demolished and rebuilt in the image of sustainable development. Bike groups are being used as the 'shock troops' for this plan.

It certainly does seem like Washington is in the pocket of Big Bike.
essentialsaltes: (city Hall)
St. Vibiana's, which did NOT get illegally knocked down, is now open as a wedding venue.

More importantly(?), the cardinal's residence is now Neal Fraser's restaurant, Redbird (get it?). Not a lot of info as yet, but he also does the menus at Vibiana.


Dec. 7th, 2014 02:19 pm
essentialsaltes: (city Hall)

We strolled (not being velocipede enthusiasts ourselves) down to Leimert Park to see the festivities. Vendors were out, a few food trucks, radio stations playing music too loudly (on my lawn, practically, too). A couple angry guys with a message of "Black Pride, not Bike Pride!"
It was nice to take a look at the outside and inside of the Vision Theater.


essentialsaltes: (Titan)
LACMA has a fine exhibit on German Expressionist film, with lots of behind the scenes production art, stills, posters, and other material. Loops of several films also play in inviting walkthrough areas of the exhibit. You don't feel like you have to stay for the whole show, or that you will annoy anyone by staying a moment and passing on.

Lots of good material on the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Concept Art, Cabinet of Caligari

Die Nibelungen

Dragon from Lang's Die Nibelungen


Trial Scene from M



The Golem, The Blue Angel, Faust, Waxworks, the Testament of Dr. Mabuse...

After the art, a fine meal at Ray's, although the server and the chef paid a lot more attention to a few wealthy donor types. I'm sure it's wishful thinking that the chef would deign to speak with the likes of us, but at least I know what 'sous-vide' means, unlike the wealthy twat you're fawning over. They had a nice menu of drinks inspired by (not German expressionist) films. My Evil Flying Monkey was based on an aviation, natch. The charcuterie plate is just as good as I remember it. And the lamb sausage pizza was fantastic stuff.
essentialsaltes: (wingedlionbook)
I got the latest Heritage book auction catalog yesterday, and was a bit sad to see that Krown & Spellman will be liquidating their collections over the next few book auctions. There's a nice encomium of the store and its owners, but apparently health reasons are driving the decision. Founded by UCLA grads, the store was originally in Westwood in the 70s. I remember their location at the 3rd Street Promenade, although just about everything they had was out of my range (and still mostly is!). Lovely old moldy books in Latin and Greek, but maybe even something in English, like Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, or Reginald Scot's skeptical look at the witchcraft craze: The Discoverie of Witchcraft. Oh sure, that's only a Third Edition from 1665, but still.

The catalog also noted, tantalizingly for me anyway, that Franklin Spellman has amassed a huge Lord Dunsany collection, which will appear in a later sale.
essentialsaltes: (City Hall)
It was a really great show. I only wish it hadn't been a long show after a long Friday after a long week, but I still had such a great time.

My flickr set

Can't argue with the Wiltern as a venue. The place is gorgeous. It looked a little different this time, with a half dozen minibars throughout the various lobbies selling Caucasians. Lots of people milling about. Fewer costumes than at the bowling night we went to last time, but still quite a few. We got ourselves a couple oat sodas and found a nice spot in the mezzanine. A bit before showtime, Peter Exline came out and told his story.

The Kyle Gass Band opened up the official festivities, dropping in to see what condition their condition was in. They had to work at it, and they definitely stepped over the line by trying out an Eagles tune, but they soon had the crowd whipped up and plenty of people on their feet at the foot of the stage. Some impressive rock flute.

While they changed gear, a few more of the actors said hello. Coffeeshop lady had just turned 80, and the fest crowd filled that room with "Happy Birthday". Ralphs checker girl. My pic of irate Corvette owner was blurrier than most, but he was there. Liam. And Jeff Dowd, who was the Seattle Seven (with six other guys). He rambled a bit, and perhaps had been less (more?) strict than usual with his drug regimen.

And then it was Jeff Bridges and the Abiders. I found it hard to believe this was actually happening. Hey, there's Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges playing a song from Crazy Heart. Hey, there's the Dude playing the opening and closing songs of the Big Lebowski. Hey, there's the Oscar-duding Crazy Bridges playing Creedence.

Bridges came back to introduce the film, and Duded himself up with sweater and glasses. The crowd went apeshit. This is a terrible picture of a perfect little moment:

Glasses on, introducing the film

My favorite part of watching the movie was seeing that everyone else (at least in LA) recognizes that LA is also a star of this film. When you first see the lights of the city, that got as much applause as most of the other characters when they appeared. Philip Seymour Hoffman was sent off with the longest applause.

It was a given that people were going to shout out lines, but it was all good fun (except that one drunk guy). Another given is that whenever the Dude lit a J, the audience was going to do likewise. You wouldn't think you could make that huge space reek, but you can. If I have a least favorite part, it's that too many guys seem to think that Walter is the hero of this film. He's not wrong; he's just an asshole.
essentialsaltes: (Jimi)
2014 Schedule

June 22: Janelle Monáe
Looked weak in the field on American Idol. A longshot 25-1

July 2-4: July 4th Fireworks Spectacular With Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell
Still plucky at his age on the PBS pledge drive special. 10-1

July 22 & 24: Beethoven's Triple Concerto & Symphony #5
Crushed a somewhat weak Boston field with a conductor who knows his way around that track. 4-1

July 27: Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana, and a concert performance of Pagliacci
Game as they come and never runs a bad race. On the other hand... clowns. 45-1

August 14: Yo-Yo Ma plays Elgar's Cello Concerto
His fourth-place finish in the Brahms Cello Sonata #1 jeopardizes his chances, but he’s dangerous on breeding alone. 8-1

August 15-16: Tchaikovsky Spectacular with Fireworks
Was able to fight off challengers in the Gotham at Aqueduct to stay perfect. 3-1

August 26 & 28: Beethoven Emperor Piano Concerto, and Mussorgsky/Stowkowski's Night on Bald Mountain and Pictures at an Exhibition
The favorite at even odds.

August 29-30: John Williams
August 31: The Big Picture: Hitchcock
There's a fantastic rivalry between these Hollywood stablemates. Both at 4-1.

September 9: The Planets (with NASA/JPL imagery) & US premiere of Concerto for Drum Kit and Orchestra
Not sure he’s battle-tested enough. 20-1

September 11: Beethoven's Ninth
Seasoned and fast. 5-1

September 12-14: Fireworks Finale / Simpsons' 25th Anniversary
Finished a game third in San Francisco. Also watch out for his stablemate Santa's Little Helper.

Also running: Grease singalong, Sound of Music singalong, Gloria Estefan, Gladys Knight with Kool and the Gang, Herbie Hancock, Pixies, Peter Frampton, The Four Seasons, Elvis Costello...


essentialsaltes: (Default)

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