Tuesday, July 31, 2007
When I needed a pair of black dress shoes for the lawyer costume my character was to wear, I walked into the Supply Sergeant on Hollywood boulevard, just a few doors down from my office building and the Pussycat Theatre, which in 1980 was still showing "Deep Throat" and 'The Devil in Miss Jones." I never went inside the Pussycat theatre, but I did find a pair of USA made, Navy oxfords that fit my budget at the Supply Sergeant. I found those shoes incredibly comfortable and I appreciated the workmanship. Over the years, I've returned to the Supply Sergeant and bought at least 10-15 pairs of these shoes. A few years after the theatre company was a memory, I bought a bitchin' pea coat there that a girlfriend at the time gave me shit about wearing too often.
So, I was disappointed when I drove up to the Supply Sergeant's Santa Monica location and found it closed. Not a big problem. I'm not shopping for shoes. Since I haven't been to this location in at least two years (even though I live 5 blocks away), I don't know how long the place has been closed. So, now the next time I need a pair of black oxfords, I'll have to drag my ass back into Hollywood or, god forbid, venture into the valley and go to the Burbank location. I just hope it isn't summer. I avoid the valley at all costs during the summer. When I die and go to hell, I'll be given a residence in the valley without air conditioning.
Monday, July 30, 2007
My wife, who sits next to me in our car and listens to me count off the Mitsubishi driving bozos, thinks the phenomenon might exist because the cars are sporty and inexpensive, thus ignorant, materialistic, low self esteem, narcissistic fools are more prone to buy them. I think that makes a lot of sense.
This fellow in the picture above crossed into my lane ahead of me quickly, without signaling (Does Mitsubishi provide signal lights on their cars?), and so close as to almost clip the front of my Mercury. What are you gonna do? Happens everyday to everybody, right? So, I took a picture.
Internationally renowned author James Ellroy discusses 60 years of the secret history of Los Angeles in raucous, freewheeling and profane form. Born in Los Angeles in 1948, Ellroy's L.A. Quartet novels – The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential, and White Jazz – were international best-sellers. His novel American Tabloid was Time Magazine’s fiction Book of the Year in 1995. His memoir My Dark Places was a Time Best Book of the Year for 1996. His novel the Cold Six Thousand was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book for 2001. Last year, he published a remarkable first-person story in the Los Angeles Times Magazine about his recent return to the "Great Wrong Place that refined [his] imagination." He visits Zócalo to talk about the underbelly of the city he has reclaimed.Zocalo, a cultural forum for the new L.A. - Public Lecture Series
- from the Library website
Sunday, July 29, 2007
After leaving Paco's and bidding our friends adieu, I couldn't resist driving around the corner and taking a picture of the Alibi Room's latest condition. During lunch, David and me had reminisced about the one time we went to the old Alibi Room circa 1999-2000. No big deal. No drunken incident to recall. No problems. Nice neighborhood bar. Friendly bartender. Good prices. Cigarette smoking floozies sitting at the bar being romanced by grizzly bearish men wearing baseball caps. Blue collar workers chugging Buds and playing pool with old hippies and young execs. The music choices were just fine. I think I had a bag of peanuts with my beer. I liked the place and planned to return often. I think I went back a few times, then they closed the place and I spent the next year drinking at JP's at 11th and Wilshire near my house. But that's another story.
My original post 7/15/07 with 3/13/2007 photo.
My 7/24/07 update with 7/17/07 photo.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I remember this guy vividly. I used to go there all the time. He died while on a bike ride. He had a heart attack at 63 and left a wife, Mary, and a son, Michael. The future of the theatre is undecided, but apparently, after going dark for the funeral, they've continued screenings. He will be missed.
New Beverly Cinema
LA Times Obituary
Edward Weston: Enduring Vision
July 31–November 25, 2007
A seminal figure in the history of photography, Edward Weston (American, 1886–1958) began his long career in Southern California. The Getty Museum's collection of Weston prints is among the most significant of any art museum, spanning four decades of the artist's work. This exhibition traces the breadth of Weston's accomplishments in California, Mexico, and across the United States, employing a selection of prints drawn from the Museum's holdings alongside a smaller number of complementary loans. One gallery of the exhibition is devoted to the work of Weston's colleagues and students.
Love the mugshot, but I prefer this photo.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Malibu turned out to be a blur, a grey blur. The smog had seen fit to hover atop the hillsides; diamonds of glare bounced off the ocean waves and tore into my sensitive eyeballs. Miserable heat engulfed everything. Even an old Pinto hatchback I saw (I'm sure as the result of a heat induced time warp.) had its windows up and its air conditioning turned on. I drove on to Point Dume, where Charlton Heston saw the Stature of Liberty and where I used to enjoy having a cold one at the Dume Room, an authentic beach dive bar, now extinct.
I stopped to take a look at one of my favorite places on the Malibu coast. It closed earlier this year, the result of new land ownership and higher rents I think I read somewhere. Now, months later, the place remains boarded up and no use to anyone. Doesn't look like any renovations are going on. They could've kept this place open until they decided what to do with it. Let them pay the old rent. Some rent is better than no rent. (I know there are probably other legal and financial considerations, so don't bother me about that. I speak in hyperbole often. Please get used to it. You do too, even if you don't recognize it.) The party could've continued. The payrolls could've kept getting met. Everyone could've continued to get wet. And today, I could've gotten a cold one.
Here's my lunch pal. I often take my lunch at Woodlawn Cemetery, located at the corner of Pico and 14th. In the olden days, 14th Street was called "Cemetery Road." I know people who have lived in Santa Monica for over 20 years and they had no idea there was a cemetery here until I told them and they still think I am lying. Woodlawn is a lovely small cemetery, right in the heart of the Pico district. It's quiet, breezy, and colorful. Mostly, it's quiet.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I grew up in Gardena in the sixties when the small community of stucco bungalows looked beautiful because they were complimented by exquisite Japanese gardening. I ate sushi before sushi was cool. I grew up with Japanese friends, some of whom had parents and grandparents who returned from the WWII American concentration camps to restart their lives. We all lived together and everybody got along. Some of us became family to each other.
Now, the little city has lost most of its charm and looks like an extension of south central. But the best Italian deli in South Bay, Guiliano's, still exists. A freight train continues to run through the old downtown intersection at Gardena and Vermont now and then. You can buy excellent sushi on Denker near my Elementary School. The new Hustler Casino has an inexpensive, multicultural menu. For the most part, everyone still gets along.
At 6 am or so this morning, an armed robber entered the Yoshinoya near the corner of Redondo Beach Boulevard and Western Avenue, pistol whipped a female clerk and left with a bag of money. Somebody had hit the alarm and the Gardena Police responded immediately. When the cops saw the crook exit the restaurant with the gun in his hand, they fired their weapons and sent him to hell. The gun turned out to be a replica.
I know that Yoshinoya. I don't think I've ever eaten there. I usually feed at the sushi restaurant next door. But my father told me he once dashed into the place when, while driving nearby, diarrhea overwhelmed him with an irresistible urge to void his bowels. He waved and ran past the clerk and made it to the men's room before the worst happened. However, he confessed to me that he soiled his underwear and had to wash them out in the sink. From that time on, we always referred to Yoshinoya, known famously as "the beef bowl," as "the shit bowl."
If my parents were still alive, I'd call them in Gardena and talk to them about this morning's SHOOTOUT AT THE SHIT BOWL.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
We ran out to get an early dinner before the Monday night rush. (Sarcasm intended.) Having enjoyed Kay and Dave's Cantina on Pico, we decided to try their Brentwood location on 26th street, south of San Vicente. We were being seated at a table when we realized the place was so noisy that we couldn't hear ourselves think much less talk. Then, the screaming babies started adding to the cacophony. We got up and went next door to Louise's. Much better. More serene. No screaming babies.
We dove into the bread and wine while we waited for:
the chopped salad (a generous serving, but lacking the salami magic)
and the Chicken Balsamico (excellent, kind of like an Italian teriyaki).
Afterwards, we watched a firetruck pull out of the red zone across the street, turn around and parallel park into two metered spaces in front of the restaurant. What fun!
We decided to go in search of the rumored new Pinkberry location in deeper Brentwood. Obviously, we found it. Now, we already eat a lot of plain, non-fat yogurt, so the tartness of the Pinkberry product didn't present a problem. The dessert satisfied, but the mechanical customer service and the lack of chairs on the patio won't be bringing me back. (This is one of those corporate places that you enter and they register your complete order and take your payment before you can even look at the goods. The clerk demanded I chose my three toppings, but I didn't even have a menu to chose from. I guess she thinks everyone is a repeat customer or everyone went through the same Pinkberry product training course that she did.)
Here's a fellow who so loves Pinkberry that he shares it with his dog. Is that Rudy in L.A.? Watch that spoon!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
This photo was taken on March 13, 2007 and shows the building in construction. On the Triplecreme site, you will see more recent photos.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I love El Coyote. There are two types of humans in this city. You either get it or you do not. A third type might be those that don't get it, but pretend to. The food, Californian Mexican diner style, is as kitch as the decor. Get it? (You are eating art and participating in a performance piece.)
Documentary filmmaker and professor Mitchell Block was the first person to take me to El Coyote back in 1978. (He had taken us film students to the cast and crew screening of Piranha at the Director's Guild theatre, which was on Melrose then.) At the restaurant, we sat in the back in a large red vinyl booth and raved about the carnival atmosphere.
All through UCLA Graduate Film school (80-83), we ate religiously at El Coyote as a prelude to double features at the New Beverly Cinema. The food and drink was so affordable you could buy rounds for strangers and we did.
In 85, I moved into the neighborhood. I took up residence at the Cameo apartments on Cochran Avenue just south of 3rd street, three blocks west of La Brea and four blocks away from the entrance to an air conditioned margarita paradise.
Then, I met my wife and we went on our first date to El Coyote. She grew up in the neighborhood and attended Fairfax High. She and her buddy Lisa would pig out there regularly. When we met, we discovered our mutual fondness for the place, so we chose to go there when we scheduled our first date. We sat in the rear west room, which once had a working fireplace. We were seated at a booth with an unstable table, so we switched to another booth. Several margaritas later, we confirmed our suspicions that we were talking to another person from our home planet. When we moved in together a short while later, we elected to stay in the neighborhood and found a larger apartment just two buildings north on Cochran.
Many wonderful evenings were spent at El Coyote with many wonderful people. I particularly enjoyed the rainy Friday nights when the fourth double margarita didn't start to taste too sour.
My friend Steve dined there so regularly that on Friday nights I could have him paged. His wife turned us on to the mexican spaghetti option. At his bachelor party, we smoked a joint at a center table and no one said anything. It was 1987.
In the early nineties, I spent a lot of time hiding out from the heat and reading scripts there. The family matriarch Blanche, dressed in beautiful ornate dresses, would stop by and ask if everything was okay. She was a delightful part of the whole show.
In 93, we moved to Santa Monica and have never found a west-westside alternative to El Coyote. So, we regulary venture back to our old neighborhood and gorge ourselves. My wife meets her best friend there every Thursday night for dinner. (The sour part is that we have to watch how much we drink, so as to safely survive the voyage home to the beach. My wife and I trade off as designated driver.) Anyway, I'm babbling.