Saturday, November 6, 2004

Bible and the People at the Huntington

Today Joanna, Erika and went to the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena to see the new installation The Bible and the People in the Boone Gallery.

This new exhibit traces the evolution of the Bible from the 11th Century through today. The written Word of God started hand-written art only available to a select few. While the pages were beautifully adorned the books, chapters and verses were inaccurate and out of order. The most reliable translation was what was passed down from priest to his congregation through an oral message of memorized passages.

We watch its transformation from an isolated word to one possessed by millions. The invention of the printing press exploded the ability to actually have your own copy. It was now something everyone could own in their home, not just visit on Sunday. Now there are many translations, kinds and it exists in most every language on the planet.

It's a fascinating study of how this one book has transformed and metamorphized to meet the needs of those who read it.

After visiting the exhibit we had tea and wandered through the rest of the gardens visiting the new children's garden , checking out the new conservatory and our favorite, the rose garden.

I highly recommend tea at the Huntington, for about $15 you're treated to three different kinds of tea (China Caemon is delicious), and a tasty buffet of cheese, crackers, little sandwiches and all kinds of desserts.

You'll need the walk around the grounds to work off your tea and the rose garden is the perfect place. One of the great things about all of the unexpected rain we've had lately is the flowers are back in bloom. We noticed some unusual names for roses - like mischief, bridesmaid, and sexy girl. Sounds more like screen names than flowers but hey who am I to judge??

So we decided to name some of the roses as follows:

  • Erika named a beautiful orange rose - comquat joy. Just because she likes the sound of it.
  • Joanna called a stunning pink rose - Oops, because when you make a mistake you blush that exact shade of pink.
  • I named the ever popular red rose - Atonement (most of the time a girl gets a red rose is because some guy messed up).

Monday, November 1, 2004

Pick Your Favorite Procedure

On the radio this morning I heard an ad for the Cosmetic Enhancement Expo, November 5-7 in Los Angeles. An entire trade show dedicated to plastic surgery and why you need it. Executives from Extreme Makeover and The Swan will be there for casting.

This is the most insane thing. A smorgasboard of surgery. An entire convention center dedicated to making you feel bad about yourself and how surgically altering your body will make you better and worth while.

A benefit of attending the show is the opportunity to win free botox. Seminar topics include: Surgery on Friday, Back to work on Monday, Wake Up in Beverly Hills with a Brand New Smile, What's Hot in Lunchtime Makeover Procedures: Minimally Invasive Rejuvenation and Total Body Work. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. These are actual seminar topics.

Not in LA, not to worry, this traveling vanity show will be in a city near you in 2005.

Friday, October 15, 2004

LA Losing a Piece of History

A 4-3 vote from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) defeated years of struggle to save the historic Ambassador Hotel.

For the past eight years conservationists, spearheaded by the L.A. Conservancy, have battled to save the legendary hotel from total demolition. The school board decided to raze the most of the grounds and build a $318.2 million complex for grades K-12.

Conservationists were hoping that the LAUSD would incorporate existing buildings into the their designs for the school and remove only what was necessary. However, the latest vote was that only the renowned night club, The Cocoanut Grove, would be preserved and a committee will decide if other historic locations in the hotel should be saved.

The famous hotel is home to many infamous moments. It is of course where Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 by Sirhan Sirhan. The pantry where the murder occured is one of the locations up for committee decision. Its bungalows were the home-away-from home for many celebrities like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Rudolph Valentino and Albert Einstein. After its closing in 1989 it became a stage for many movies including Pretty Woman and Charlie's Angels 2. It was used so often that it was referred to as Ambassador Studios. The hotel was also home to six Academy Award ceremonies, and was where the Oscar made its debut.

Erika and I saw a performace there last year by Dance Collage that depicted what life would have been like at the hotel in its prime through modern dance. The building itself is an architectural gem with an amazing art deco design.

I am very sad that the battle was lost. I wonder why progress has to be at the expense of history? I think we lose a sense of who we are when this happens. I love history and I love to visit historical places. My active imagination takes me back to what it must have been like in its heyday.

Buildings like the Ambassador Hotel are a part of L.A. culture, a place many argue doesn't have much to begin with. I wish they would let us have one more tour of the place before it is destroyed as an homage to what it was.

On a side note - The L.A. Convervancy offers great walking tours. Go check out some of the great architecture in the city, who knows what will be next on the chopping block.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Night with Norah

Eating tasty food, drinking hot chocolate and listening to Norah Jones under the stars, what a way to spend the evening. She, like Michael Buble, has a soothing voice. My friend Jer described her as adult-level entertainment, and that she is, which is why the Hollywood Bowl is perfect for her.

It was a good show, a mix of her first album and some of her favorite songs. I'm glad she didn't play too much from her current CD, Feels like Home, it's too country. I know that's counter-intuitive to a concert promotion of the new album but who cares.

We paid the big bucks this trip the Bowl to sit in the coveted box seats. We thought it would be a whole new world down where the tables are. It was a new world, but not the one we expected. Normally we sit with the masses up in the bench seating. Your food rests in your lap and you watch the show on the gigantic screens, cause the musicians are about an inch tall. Most everyone is fun and its a great shared experience.

Life in the box seats has its perks. Seats are definitely more comfortable and you don't need to bring your own cushions to keep your butt from going numb. There is also a table to eat on and the entertainment is definitely closer. But is it better? I guess that depends on what's important. They don't tell you that most tables are on a 30-degree angle. Anything we put on our handy pop-up table slid down. Luckily we didn't bring candles or I would have set Joanna on fire.

The boxes themselves are big enough for said table and four chairs. You can't get in or out of the box once you are seated. So if you're sitting in the back corner and need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the concert then everyone has to stand up, one chair, possibly two have to be removed for your exit. It doesn't make you a popular person, especially if you don't know your boxmates. Doesn't make those behind you love you either since now they can't see.

Luckily, Joanna and I didn't have to share a box. However, we were surrounded by some interesting characters. The most interesting would be the drunk couples that showed up an hour and a half late for the show. They were loud, bumbling and stumbling. I'm sure Norah must have heard them from the stage. I'm surprised she didn't remind them that she provides adult-level entertainment, not music for frat parties. They continued to drink through the remainder of the concert and left early. We think that the concert was merely a stop on their bar hop across Hollywood, but why buy expensive seats when the cheap seats, closer to the bar will do?

In the end, it was a cold night in the expensive seats of a really good show. It was nice to feel the cold chill in L.A. beneath both visible stars listening to fabulous music with your best friend. That is life as it is meant to be lived.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

L.A. Fair

Laticia and I braved the heat today to visit the L.A. County Fair. It was at least 300 degrees out there. We were literally melting. But it was so much fun.

I have such great memories of the fair. In Ohio we got days off school to attend. I had friends in 4-H and it was a big deal when someone got a ribbon. It was a little odd to see award-winning cakes in Los Angeles. The two things just don't seem to go together. In LA you're judged by your car, breast size and title not the quality of your jam, pig or ability to quilt. County fairs seem so middle America. It also reminds me of the 1950s when a woman's worth was determined by her baking, sewing and growing abilities.

However, I have to say my favorite thing were the rides. My mom never let us ride carnival rides. She said they were assembled and disassembled too much to be safe. But today I broke all the rules. Laticia and I went old school and rode the scrambler, gravitron and ferris wheel. It was great. You know you love the scrambler.

To beat the heat we wandered around the air-conditioned buildings that have all the great demonstrations, fudge and gadgets. Where else can you see ginsu knives, get your tennis shoes clean with a miracle cleaner that also gets rid of rust spots on your tub, AND register to vote. I'm telling you its a cornucopia of delights, a treat around every corner. We got sucked into everything. I was tempted to buy the miracle mop, but I refrained.

I haven't even gotten to the food yet. Fair food rocks. I love fries with vinegar and BBQ pork. Those are my favorites. There is so much to choose from - pretzels, cotton candy, hot dogs, burritos ... tasty. It was too hot to eat though. So instead we paid a ton for water. That is at least very LA.

My love affair with the fair continues. I might have to go back again.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Ice Ice Baby

This is why I love L.A. Where else can you see Vanilla Ice for FREE and get your chance for on-camera time?

I'm posting an email I got from the friend of a friend about the concert. I couldn't keep this announcement to myself, I wanted to make sure you had the chance to add it to your social calendar.

I wonder if he's still rapping ... stop collaborate and listen, ice is back with a brand new invention .... scary that I still remember that song. Here's the email invite, tell all your friends:

hello, all of my l.a. friends! As some of you know, i am working on this show called REMAKING for vh1, where we challenge rock stars who are, shall we say...past their a total REMAKING. we are lucky enough to have vanilla ice performing in a FREE concert at the great knitting factory on wednesday, september 8th. the doors open at 8pm and the show is at 9pm. again, people...this show is FREE! and its vanilla ice! so if you were a fan, are a fan, or are planning on becoming a vanilla ice fan...please come! we are looking for a crowd ofpeople who will bob their heads and have a great time. you may even get a chance to be on TV!!! pass this e-mail along if you know of any ice fans. thanks.

If you're in the area I highly recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

About This Blog

I have been a southern california resident for twelve years. I am a transplant enamored with all that there is to offer in this amazingly beautiful part of the country.

In one day, if I were so ambitious, I could visit the desert, ocean and mountains. It is a virtual Camelot. Ok, so maybe I am waxing a little too poetically, but I am constantly amazing at how many things there are to do within a few hours driving distance.

If you're looking for a blog that is hitting all the hottest night clubs, doing extreme sports, or hiking up a mountain then this is not the place for you.

Instead I frequent museums, california missions, concerts, the theatre, architectural gems, historical sites, quaint cities, beach communities and other fun local spots that make living here so great.

Stay tuned, you never know what I'll find.

If you have a suggestion on some place I should visit, email me and let me know.