On Saturday, a bunch of us went to the upper reaches of the Valley, sat upon our electric steeds and went forth.

Serious you go so fast and the curves are so twisty that I got a major case of gokartsickness. It was awesome.

More info on the track is here.

Where does Phil Spector live?

phil-spectors-home.jpgI’ve never cared to buy or even see a “Star Map,” but I will admit that I’ve been curious about where Phil Spector lives. Maybe you’ve heard the news descriptions about the death of Lana Clarkson at his “hilltop mansion in Alhambra” and wondered (like I have) why Phil Spector lives in Alhambra. I know Alhambra pretty well and it’s really known more for its boba shops and yummy Asian food than for hilltop mansions. In fact, most of Alhambra is pretty darn flat. So I’ve always figured that this mansion must have been pretty kick ass for him to want to live in Alhambra instead of a mansion somewhere on the Westside.

Thanks to an online reprint from the February 2001 issue of “Around Alhambra,” I have some answers about the history of Phil Spector’s home, a property known as the Pyrenees Castle (1700 South Grandview Drive, Alhambra, CA 91803).

The dense walls of the Pyrenees Castle embrace much history. In 1926, Sylvester Dupuy’s dream of building a castle had come true. The Pyrenees Castle was the culmination of his childhood dream to build a replica of a beautiful chateau he had admired when growing up in Southern France. It had 10 bedrooms, eight fully tiled bathrooms with Italian marble floors, a game room, a breakfast room, an office, dens, service and utility rooms, a large basement, an extensive balcony, covered patios and a large wine cellar in which the Dupuy family made its own wine.

Over the years, the castle has had several owners, sheltered many residents and has been the source of fantastic legends. One tale told of a wealthy motor magnate who never permitted himself to be seen entering or leaving the building. “Eastern gangsters,” secret elevators and passwords were the fodder for other tales.

In 1985, a Buddhist meditation temple was blocked from acquiring the castle. Neighbors of the castle led the charge against the temple, claiming traffic, noise and the promise of weekly festivals posed a serious threat to the castle.

My favorite quote in the article (mind you, this is from 2001):

Currently, record producer Phil Spector is the proud owner of the castle. A couple of years ago, Spector was quoted in Esquire magazine as saying, “I’ve bought myself a beautiful and enchanting castle in a hick town where there is no place to go that you shouldn’t.” The neighbors are probably happy to have a stay-at-home proprietor with no where to go so that the castle will continue to receive the attention it so rightly deserves.

Another link: Court TV Crime Library

Photo credit: AP Photo

Missing Kid

Click here for larger pic

I’m not sure if this happens in other parts of LA, but in my neighborhood of Lincoln Heights you’ll sometimes see posted signs searching for missing kids, which I assume are mostly runaways. Usually the flyers are hand written and include a very sincere statement regarding the person in question, coupled with a plea for information. Maybe it’s just some kid going crazy for a short spell via the pressure of a few wild friends, or it could be the first steps into a committed campaign against the world of lawfulness. But I’ve known enough runaways to realize that it can also be a very thoughtful rebellion against an oppressive family environment, and although I have no idea about the boy in this flyer, I often hope that’s the case.

Whatever you’re up to, take care of yourself Kevin.