The 2010 Naughty List: Meg Whitman

My best friend lives in Vancouver BC, but he grew up in San Pedro. Expatriate though he may be, he’s still lived the bulk of his life in California, thus far. And while he’s now, as a Canadian Citizen, largely removed from the noise of California politics, it can still pique his interest when he comes to visit.

Back in July, he was here for Comic Con (something rarely missed) and, of course, Meg Whitman’s ads were running constantly on every available media outlet, short of Big Gulp cups and Happy Meals.

“Who’s this ‘Meg Whitman?'” he asks me.

“Used to run eBay. Dumping a crap ton of her own money into the race. Record amount, in fact.”

“Who’s running against her?”

“Jerry Brown.”

The look of disbelief that crossed his face will haunt my soul.

“Does anyone really need anymore proof that the Democrats are in collusion with the Republicans?”

Mike’s a cynical bastard.

Look, you can take any politician, ANY, and create a laundry list of their lies and deceit; they’re politicians. They are liars. All of them. Your favorite candidate, in whatever race that was? Yep, them. Big, fat liars. Pants ablaze. The Great Statesmen and Orators of History? Fibbers, every last one. So, I will not even to attempt to recount a play by play of campaign inaccuracies and skullduggery here. Putting a politician on the “Naughty” list for lying or running a rough campaign is like blaming a spider for having too many legs. It may creep you out, but that’s just the way the damn thing is built.

So, why bother? Well, I’ll tell yeh, and frankly, I kinda find it funny:

Bitch tried to buy us off.

Seriously. Slice it up any way you wish, it was a blatant attempt to run an unstoppable money-fueled juggernaut of a campaign, which collapsed under its own hubris.

I’m not even going to take up the tract of, “She should have just poured all that money into our failing education system,” or whatever. Would that have been great? Oh, hell yeah! I would love to see a politician actually do that, or similar, on that scale. I ain’t gonna ride her for not deciding to do something so grand.

No, what gets you the coal in your stocking this year, Meg, as far as I’m concerned, is the hubris. The unmitigated gall. You thought you had us, that you could just buy us. That that’s all it would take. We heard it in your voice. Well, take your lump and heat your stove, let that keep you warm, we’re gonna let Jerry do his thing. At least he didn’t try to buy us out.

The part that tickles me, really, is that it did happen here. Like it or not, the stereotype of a typical “Californian” tends to be either the dimwitted surfer or the shallow “Movie Star.” This tends to piss me off, but that’s really how much of the country sees us. And yet, the State known to be all flash and no substance passed on Meg’s Millions. Whatever else Jerry Brown may or may not be, “Flashy” he’s not.

I suppose those who insist upon State drawn stereotypes will shrug us off as “Hippies” now. Funny how such a bunch of Hippies have elected so many Republicans in the past. Whatever, I’ll take Granola over Vapid any day.

I can’t wait to find out what my friend in The Great White North thinks about all of this when I go to visit him over Christmas. Should be interesting.

Free Tix! Lisa Lampanelli! This Weekend! Hurry, Hurry!

Four Pairs of Tickets! Lisa Lampanelli at Club Nokia on Saturday, November 20th (10:30pm show)

I have to have names by TOMORROW NIGHT!! Post in the comments section, first come first served. Do it right away or…or… she’ll say something really mean to you. So there! Or, maybe she won’t. Whatever seems more cruel.

Seriously, I’m not gonna try and be snarky with the Queen of Mean around. I’m good, but even I’m strictly amature compared to this Lady.

Post! Post a comment! Post now! I don’t want these to be wasted!

Year of the Tiger Army, Twice! – Win Tickets for Halloween Weekend!

I’ve got Tickets to Give Away again, Kids!
Not just One Night but TWO!!

Spend Halloween Weekend with Nick 13 and TIGER ARMY!

Tiger Army shows are always awesome, and their Halloween shows are Legendary.
They’ll be at The Grove in Anaheim, on October 30th with Jack Grisham & The West Coast Dukes and Throw Rag
and on Halloween October 31st with Mad Sin and Hillbilly Casino.

Not to be Missed!

I have Four Pairs of Tickets to each show to Give Away! And a surprise Extra Pair for one of the nights! Ooooo…Bonus! Which night? Well, you don’t know, do you? Is it a Trick, or is it a Treat?

To enter the contest leave a comment on this post, and make sure to let me know what night you want to go. If either night is fine, let me know that. (That’s a good way to get an edge in the contest, I’m not gonna lie.) Winners will be selected randomly, or perhaps capriciously. It amounts to the same thing.

Oh, and no one will be getting tickets to both nights,  so don’t ask. Seriously.

Have Fun and Good Luck.

Tiger Army Never Die!

Emergency Concert Ticket Give Away!! Reverend Horton Heat, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Head Cat!

I Have Four Pair of tickets to give away for this Show on Saturday, September 25th!

The Legend! Jerry Lee Lewis! Yes! He is still alive! The Reverend Horton Heat, who just simply must be seen live! No, Seriously, just an AMAZING live band! And The Head Cat. This is Lemme from Motorhead and Slim Jim Phantom serving up some Rockabilly Greatness.

But it’s coming up soon! I have to know who to give these tickets to by Wednesday!

We’re not getting fancy this time, if you wanna go, let me know in the comments, I’ll pick winners at random.

The show is at Fox Theatre in Pomona. (But so worth the drive.)
See you there!

But I have to know who

L.A’s Greatest Landmarks: The Hollywood Sign

Photo by Vlasta Juricek, 2005

Photo by Vlasta Juricek, 2005

Perhaps the most recognizable string of letters in the world. A Real Estate Advertising gimmick turned into a Monument and saved by Hugh Hefner, not once but twice. What more fitting tribute to Tinseltown could you ask for? I love The Hollywood Sign.

On Friday the Thirteenth, July 1923, they dedicated The Sign. Thomas Fisk Goff, owner of the Crescent Sign Company, designed it at the behest of real estate developers Woodruff and Shoults. The whole crackpot scheme was the brainchild of H.J Whitley and Harry Chandler, owner of the L.A. Times.

I can almost picture Chandler, with a wild gleam in his eye, exclaiming, “Why, that’s just crazy enough to work!”

The original letters originally read “Hollywoodland,” were five feet taller than the current structure, and festooned with around 4000 light bulbs, plus a giant blinking dot below, 35 foot in diameter, to  “catch the eye.” Because thirteen, fifty foot tall, white, blinking letters are far too subtle on their own.

They put it there to sell land in the hills. And when they were done, they just left it. Bastards! That’s so “ungreen.” Just leaving your garbage on the hill! What are you thinking!

I kid, of course, I love the thing, but that’s kinda what happened. It was never meant to be permanent, at all, let alone to stand up to decades of weather. And I’m sure many, many people felt that way about it as it started to deteriorate over the years. In the early Forties, the signs official caretaker got drunk, drove into the “H” and destroyed it. By 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the City of L.A. parks Department had come to a deal to repair the sign. The eliminated the last four letters and removed the lightbulbs. The Chamber of Commerce would have had to foot the bill for lighting the thing, so, yeah; no.

But it was still the original letters and they continued to deteriorate into a complete eyesore. By the 1970’s it was determined that it needed a complete overhaul, costing a quarter of a million dollars. To raise the money, the band Fleetwood Mac pledged to do a charity concert on the hill in 1977, but local residents put a stop to it. So, the following year, Hugh Hefner stepped in and held a charity auction at the Playboy Mansion, auctioning off individual letters at $27,777 each.

Thus, in August of 1978 they tore down the old sign and put up the one that stands today, this time on purpose. The letters are 45 foot tall and from 31 to 39 feet wide. No light bulbs. Hugh Hefner owns the “Y,” Andy Williams spotted for the “W,” and Alice Cooper bought the third “O” in honor of Groucho Marx. Warner Brothers owns the second “O,” and I suspect they currently keep The Warner Kids trapped in there, instead of in their old water tower.

Recently, a proposal to develop the surrounding land prompted the “Save the Peak” campaign. $12.5 Million dollars was needed to keep 138 acres adjacent to the sign. Donations came from all over, but at the eleventh hour, the Hollywood Sign’s Number One Fan, Hugh Hefner stepped in again, this time donating the final $900,000 dollars to save it.

Thanks, Hef. I really, really appreciate it.

I would respectfully like to dedicate this post to the Memory of Peg Entwistle. Rest in Peace, Star.

This post is part of the L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks series – click here for the rest of the series!

Peg Entwistle

L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks: The La Brea Tar Pits

Click to see the Original Painting.
Why would you do that?

Come for the Lush Scenery and Wildlife, Stay for the Hot, Molten Asphalt that won’t let you go!

I’m basically a little kid thinly disguised as an adult. Very thinly. So, when I go to write about The La Brea Tar Pits, my initial reaction is to jump up and exclaim, “Dey gots the Saber Toothed Tigers an’ dey goes, ‘Rraawrr!‘”

In fact, they are more properly known as Saber Toothed Cats, not Tigers, as they have far more in common with other of the Big Cats than modern tigers, and more than 2000 individual specimens of the Smilodon Californicus have been uncovered at the site. Evidence does, however, support the supposition that the beasts, indeed, did go, “Rraawrr!

The site is one of the largest sites in the world for uncovering Ice Age Mammalian fossils. The sheer volume of bones from the vast span of years has brought invaluable insight to scientists the world over about our planet and how the ecosystem has adapted and flourished (or not) over the centuries. William W. Orcutt was the first man to take a scientific interest in the tar pits, gaining permission to excavate in 1901 from Rancho La Brea’s owner at the time, Henry Hancock.

That’s the Hancock family that Hancock Park is named for, while W.W. Orcutt got the local species of coyote named after him, Canis orcutti. The word “Brea” literally means “tar” or “pitch” in Spanish, so Rancho La Brea itself simply means “Tar Ranch.” I gotta admit, it sounds way cooler in Spanish. (Most things do: Consider “Antonio Banderas” versus “Tony Flags.” Seriously, he’d have no career.)

Anyway, the place is pretty cool, and cheap. Seven bucks, lots of cool fossils, and “The Fish Bowl,” where you can watch actual Paleontologists get their Paleontology on; this is a working fossil site, kids. They’re still digging stuff up and putting more and more together.

There are huge Mammoths assembled, of differing varieties, American Lions, Dire Bears, thousands of Dire Wolves, (Which, apparently, are not just D&D monsters.) and, of course, our friend, Smilodon Californicus, the Official State Fossil. “Smilodon” sounds so friendly, doesn’t it?

Rraawrr!

Main image above courtesy of Ian Coleman, used with permission; tho’ it being turned into a “Saber Tooth LOL Cat” is entirely my fault. Don’t blame him for that! He was very kind to let me use his picture. Please visit his site to view amazing wildlife paintings at http://www.colemangallery.com/Welcome.html.

This post is part of the L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks series – click here for the rest of the series!

L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks: Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

The Footprints. Everyone knows about the famous Footprints. Black and white memories of smiling stars in tuxedos signing their names in concrete after ruining a pair of shoes worth a weeks wages to most people.

Those footprints are part of some people’s Hollywood Dream.

The first time I was lucky enough to see a movie at Grauman’s, it was for a 20th Anniversary showing of the original theatrical release of Star Wars. This was before those dreadful Prequels, and some months, even, before the release of the newer re-edited versions.

While there were several showings, my friends and I were only able to procure tickets for a showing at around 7:30AM, all others were sold out. I pointed out that 20 years earlier, when we were all in Grade school, if we could have convinced our parents to take us to see Star Wars at 7:30 in the morning, we certainly would have.

It remains one of my favorite places to see a film.

The third of failed gold prospector Sid Grauman’s famous L.A. theatres, it’s success dwarfed even that of The Egyptian, which was a phenomenom at the time. Between the two, many think Grauman is at least partially responsible for bringing L.A.’s entertainment district to Hollywood from Downtown in the mid ’20’s.

The theatres were certainly cornerstones in the revitalization of Hollywood later, in the first part of the new Millennium, as I can personally attest. I first moved to the middle of Hollywood in the late nineties, and it was, how shall I put this delicately, a shithole. Tourists would show up looking for bright lights and find abject squalor. When the decision was made to revitalize Hollywood, they began with Grauman’s two most famed venues.

First the Egyptian, which had fallen into disrepair, was sold by the city for the nominal fee of one dollar to The American Cinematheque, under the condition that they restore it to its former glory and open it as a theatre once again. As their whole gig is the preservation and display of film, that worked out pretty well.

Shortly thereafter, work began on the Hollywood and Highland mall, which was not only to include a theatre for the express purpose of hosting the Oscars, (The Kodak) but to envelop and restore The Chinese theatre. The mall has since, in a remarkably short time, become a legitimate landmark in its own right. (A fact, as my fellow bloggers may later point out, I was somewhat reluctant to admit. I have, however, been proven wrong, and I’m not above admitting so. HiHo’s a Landmark. I’m at peace with that.)

But that’s a story for another time…

One last thing:
My favorite set of footprints? Humphrey Bogart.
Next to his prints he wrote, “Sid, may you live forever, until I kill you.”
Gotta love Bogart.

Win Tickets to Hootenanny 2010!

Photo by Robotclaw666 at last year's Hootenanny.

You Know You Wanna go, Daddio.

We have tickets to give away to HOOTENANNY 2010
at Oak Canyon Ranch on Saturday, July 3rd.

Say it with me, “Hooooootenanny!

See? It’s even fun just to say!

We’ve got two pair to give away. Want ’em?

Describe for me, in the comments, what would be your Dream Car to pull up to the Hootenanny in. Get creative. Best two might not have their dream ride, but at least they go to the show, y’know?

I’m torn between a ’59 Thunderbird two seater with the Rocketship Tail lights, and the Fang front grill, stock, or an Old Shoebox Ford Falcon, with a 5 litre Mustang engine dropped in, (it’ll fit) and new interior refitted with power windows, locks and 6 Speaker Stereo system with custom dashboard input that looks vintage but takes a USB and plays mp3 and Flacs of my favorite Full Custom Gospel Sounds Reverend Horton Heat albums.

Painted Dark Metallic Blue.

What’s your dream ride, L.A.?

Win tickets to Danzig

Do you really think you deserve to go see Danzig with with Gorgeous Frankenstein & Toxic Holocaust at Club Nokia on June 26th?

Huh? Do ya? Well, I have FOUR PAIRS OF TICKETS I’m giving away. That’s right. Four pair.

Actually, I’m not giving them away, I don’t really think any of you deserve them. If it were up to me, you’d sit outside the venue sniveling like a pathetic emo kid wishing you could come inside.

But the folks here a Blogging.LA are kinder than I. Some would even say weak. Their benevolence will surely be their undoing.

Thus, it has been left to me to determine which of you unworthy heathens shall be permitted to enter this event.

Here’s how to enter: In the Comments Section, give me no more than two lines of your favorite MISFITS lyrics. That’s right, MISFITS LYRICS.

Yeah, I know. I don’t care.

And no more than TWO LINES! You copy and paste the entire text of “London Dungeon,” or whatever, up in there, I will find you, walk up to you on the street, and wordlessly slap you and walk away. You’ll know why it happened. You’ll know you deserved it, too.

So, no Danzig lyrics. Not even Samhain lyrics. Misfits. Two lines. I figure even if you poseurs have to Google the lyrics, at least you’ll be exposed to some actual Punk Rock.

The four entries that please me the most will win tickets.

OK, Go.

Win Tickets to Video Games Live at the Nokia Theatre!

Reality has such a high resolution...
I Can't wait for this to come out on Rock Band!

So, the Downside of this Contest is that if you win, you might actually have to go outside.

And for the people who really deserve it, that might be an issue.

Video Games Live is coming to the Nokia Theatre at LA Live on June 17th as part of the E3 Expo!

And MetBlogs is giving away two pair of tickets!

I’m so excited I can barely hold my Wii!
(Don’t judge me, that’s the first pun I’ve really been able to make online about the console since it came out. Video games aren’t necessarily my “beat.” Beat. Wii. This is too easy.)

Wanna Go? Describe in the comments section the best/worst/most embarrassing thing you’ve ever sacrificed or missed in order to play, or continue playing, a Video Game.

Did you miss Finals to make the next level on Doom? Did you skip studying for the Bar Exam for an all nighter on Bio-Shock? Miss out on a hot date because the Guild needed you for a Raid? (Sure you did, buddy.) Let us know!

Winners will be determined in a totally biased and unfair manner by me, or maybe randomly. Alliance Scum may well have no chance.

Victory for Sylvanas!

(Oh, stop…I’ll be fair to members of the Alliance. The Horde are Just and know Mercy, when appropriate. … As in “Mercy Kill.”      …  For the Horde!)

Los Angeles plays itself in the Movies: The Big Lebowski

"The Mona Lisa"F*(k it, Dude. Let’s go Bowling.

“Sometimes there’s a man… I won’t say a hero, ’cause, what’s a hero? But sometimes, there’s a man, and I’m talkin’ about the Dude here, sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude, in Los Angeles.”

When we first discussed doing this series, we considered the tagline, “Except Chinatown,” because it was just too obvious.

I start to wonder if The Big Lebowski couldn’t have gotten the same pass.

Many of the characters and situations were inspired by real people and events in Los Angeles county. And, while it might be reasonable to assume that may be the case for more movies than are immediately apparent, it seems the people and events that inspired this movie could only have lived in and taken place here.

Where else but L.A. would one encounter someone who called himself “The Dude?” Real guy. The final character is from a couple sources, but there really is/was a “Dude.”

The Coen Brothers wanted the events to unfold like a Raymond Chandler story. Quintessential Los Angeles. Yet,  as the narrative is told by “The Stranger, ” a cowboy, who tells us the story happens “Way Out West,” he  describes our little town to the tune of “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” like we’re about to see an old Singing Cowboy movie. Completely different, yet still quintessential Hollywood.

Shortly thereafter the theme song changes to a track by Randy Newman.

Pornographers, surly Malibu Police Chief, rundown 20’s deco Hollywood apartments, Sex-starved starlets, Ralph’s, all of L.A. is crammed into this movie. And I just have to say, I miss the Hollywood Star Lanes, that place was awesome.

So much has been written and this movie has been so celebrated in so many unique ways, I can barely touch upon it here. Lebowskifest, The Knave or Two Gentleen of Lebowski – The Shakespearian take on the screenplay, The Achievers (And Proud we are of all of them) that organize Lebowskifest, among other things. It’s so quotable, so accessible,  so laid-back, taking the truly bizarre as mundane day-to-day occurrence, so, not only Los Angeles, but that unnameable essence of what I love about L.A., it’s no wonder this film has lasted the way it has.

It Abides.  The Dude Abides and the film The Big Lebowski Abides. And, y’know what? Los Angeles Abides.

And I most certainly take a certain comfort in that.

This post is part of the L.A. Plays Itself in the Movies series. For a listing of posts in this series, click here.

Los Angeles plays itself in the Movies: Blade Runner

Future Noir in an Overpopulated City of Angels


Several years ago, when I lived in Hollywood, my apartment was on the fifth floor. It was a twenties era place, very Art Deco.

I had a view of the Hollywood sign, and could see the giant billboard and digital marque of the then-new Hollywood and Highland mall from my window, looming over the neon waitress of Mel’s Diner.

One evening, and I remember this very clearly, the Police Helicopters were particularly loud, invading my room along with the heat and neon though the mini blinds. I was jarred from the Anime program I was watching, giving me a distinctly creepy feeling as I typed messages to a friend half a world away on my computer. It took me a few moments to comprehend what was causing this uneasy feeling, as the flying police vehicle circled its spotlight over my building once again.

It had happened.

I had entered the Dystopian Future. I was living in it.

I was practically a Nexus 6 Model away from living in Blade Runner.
Continue reading “Los Angeles plays itself in the Movies: Blade Runner”

ICME – Episode 4.5 – A New Cuppa

Pic by Melinda Canett
"TK-421, Why aren't you at your post?" "I needed a Latte."

So, this caught my eye, but it caught it on Facebook. My friend Melinda snapped this from her cell and posted it there with the title, “Storm Troopers need coffee breaks too.”  She was kind enough to let me share it with you. (I have agents in the field!)

Where else but Los Angeles can you happen across a Stormtrooper making a call on his cell from a coffee shop? Well, where else on Earth. I imagine it’s fairly common on the Death Star.

This does, in fact, appear to be a Coffee Bean and not the Death Star Canteen, as described by Eddie Izzard. (Be Advised, that link leads to hilarity, but there is also liberal use of the “F-Bomb.” So, its NSFW rating depends largely on your work place’s attitude toward the word, “Fuck.”Aren't you a litle Hot for a Stormtrooper?

So, I’m wondering if this is who he’s calling.

Pictured is Courtney Cruz, taken by Shannon Cottrell for the LA Weekly’s coverage of Star Wars Burlesque. Click the lovely photo to go to the article. That photo, incidentally, has been immortalized in Tattoo Ink. Click here to see the Ink, and LA Weekly’s article about that. (I don’t blame ’em, I’d be proud, too.)

<Darth Vader Voice>Impressive.</Vader>

Dave McKean Signing and Gallery exhibit!

Amazing mixed media Artist Dave McKean is doing a signing this Friday, followed by a display of new work, opening Saturday.

He’s responsible for all of the covers of the comic book Sandman, as well as The Vertigo Tarot. A long time collaborator with author Neil Gaimen, and the director of Mirrormask.

He’s seriously one of my all time favorite artists, and, the couple of times I’ve been honored enough to meet him, one of the nicest guys ever. According to his Twitter he’ll sign whatever you bring to the signing Friday night at Wacko. (I mean “La Luz de Jesus.” Which is the Gallery in the back of Wacko. Whatever. Details below.)

Signing on Friday, February 12, 6 pm – 9 pm,
LA LUZ DE JESUS GALLERY,
4633 Hollywood Blvd. LA. 90027

“New Works Inspired by Early Cinema”
Exhibition: February 13, 2010 – March 6, 2010
BILLY SHIRE FINE ARTS GALLERY
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 13th, 7-10 pm
5790 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232

I don’t think there’s anything Dave McKean cannot do as an artist..” – Neil Gaiman