Hollywood Blvd Turf War

During a late dinner last night I caught on one of the local news channels that there was a turf war raging on Hollywood Blvd between the costumed characters and guys selling their hip hop CDs.  It’s a very one-sided war with violence being executed strictly by one group upon the other.

It seems that the music vendors think the characters are cutting into their profits when they roam around that small stretch of Hollywood Blvd rather than sticking to the area directly in front of the Chinese Theater.  In response, they have doled out some brutal beatings, including one that ended an actor up in the hospital with a skull fracture.  Reportedly, there have been around 6 of these incidents in the last few months.

The celebrity impersonators have asked the city for some form of protection or security.  They’ve even proposed the idea of everyone performing on Hollywood Blvd being licensed and creating a set of rules for street vendors.

Either way, it’s baffling.  I can’t for the life of me figure out how a guy in a Spiderman costume who makes $1 for every picture he poses in can be a threat to someone selling a hip hop CD.

Gourmet Survival In Tough Times

One of the silver linings of a poor economy are the deals that inevitably evidence.  I have been seeing them all over the place, even in very high end areas.  Fine dining is starting to feel the pinch all across Los Angeles and the deals are becoming plentiful in an effort to entice diners out for a meal.  These are a couple of the latest special menus I’ve come across.

Taste on Melrose is extending its DineLA menu through the entire month of February (something many participating restaurants are also doing).  You can enjoy a three course lunch for $22 per person or a three course dinner for $34 per person.  If you haven’t been to Taste, now is the time to try it out.  It will be impossible not to fall in deep taste bud lust.

This weekend the Innovative Dining Group announced Appetite Stimulus Menus at several of their popular restaurants ranging from $25 per person to $40 per person Sunday through Thursday beginning yesterday at BOA Steakhouse (West LA and Santa Monica locations), Sushi Roku (West Hollywood and Santa Monica locations), and Katana.  It appears to be a similar extension of the DineLA concept.

So, if you are dire need of an exquisite little venture to remind yourself that life can be completely hedonistic even in the darkest of hours, take advantage of these sumptuous menus and spoil yourself or do it in tandem with your favorite partner in crime.

TAP Card Readers In Action

Yesterday while transferring between the Green and Blue line I encountered a group of officers enforcing fare payment armed with card readers for TAP.  I used a day pass on that occasion so I didn’t get to see them in action.  Plus, I was in a hurry.  So, this is a heads up to everyone out there using the TAP card.

As a side note, it seems logical to allow TAP card owners to buy a day pass and load it onto the card.  One of their selling points is the eco-friendly nature of the card.  Perhaps that is a feature to be added in the future.

A Night At The Edwardian Ball Los Angeles

Photo courtesy of Gary Stevens (www.garysworld.net)
Photo courtesy of Gary Stevens (www.garysworld.net)

On the evening of Saturday January 31st hundreds of revelers descended upon the decaying Tower Theater in Downtown Los Angeles for an evening of art, music and creative fashion.  The very first Edwardian Ball had landed in Southern California.  The response was both enthusiastic and unforgettable.

Even at the very start of the night the venue was already over flowing with a sea of people in costumes ranging from the Victorian era to Burning Man types with glow in the dark accessories.  It was hands down one of the most eclectic crowds to ever gather in such a setting, sporting a very healthy representation from all the generations presently dwelling in the City of Angels.

This was not the typical glam scene with nothing but pretty young kids.  It was a crowd marked by character faces from youthful scenesters to the WWII generation, making for some of the greatest people watching I’ve had in at least a decade.  What was equally significant was how respectful everyone behaved with regard to sharing space for a night.  There was no ageism, scene hauteur or other negativity often played out in the darkness of a Los Angeles night.  I have no idea if that was due to people taking up the spirit of a time when people had manners or if it was sheer communal joy for a shared passion.  Either way, it was beautiful and set the tone for the night.

Continue reading “A Night At The Edwardian Ball Los Angeles”

Ruin Beckons On Friday Nights

Photo courtesy of LA Dead and Catalyst Echo
Photo courtesy of LA Dead and Catalyst Echo

Ruin at the Monte Cristo has been one of the most consistently enjoyable nights out to be had in the Los Angeles underground since it opened. Taking place in one of the few decent venues that has become a fixture for upscale Goths and alternative lifestylers, the club was at one time in danger of closing down. It seems to have bounced back with a vengeance.

I had heard rumors of the new renovations at the Monte Cristo and been curious for weeks to see how the décor could have possibly been improved upon. Between that and the noir theme for the night, I was unable to resist inviting a group of friends to join me for a warm up evening before the highly anticipated Edwardian Ball.  So, we converged upon Ruin for a night of delicious escapism.

The remodeling was not as breathtaking as I had been expecting though it wasn’t without some useful improvements.  The space was opened up quite a bit, making it seem twice as large. Windows were unearthed from behind a wall in the backroom. I imagine those will help when the summer hits as the venue is notoriously unbearable during a heat wave. Some additional seating was added, an inspired move as there is no longer seating out on the patio.

Continue reading “Ruin Beckons On Friday Nights”

A Week With TAP

I have been using the new Metro TAP card for a week now.  For the most part, I like it.  But, as with anything new and untested, I already have a list of areas that could use some improvement.

It isn’t always clear or convenient to TAP in when transferring from one line to the next.  At first, I figured it didn’t matter because I had paid for the entire week.  But I soon discovered by reading other people’s blogs about the whole system that the Metro can fine a rider for evasion of paying the fare if they fail to TAP in during a leg of their journey.  There’s a massive disconnect for me there.  How am I evading paying a fare when I’ve paid for the entire week?  It makes no sense.

The next bit of frustration I experienced was when I tried to register my TAP card so I could refill it via the internet.  I had already set up an account on a previous date.  But when I went to register my card, I couldn’t get it to work with that account.  Further, it seems that only monthly pass refills are available online.  As a fully jacked in participant of the digital world who relies upon the internet to function in many ways, being able to do such transactions would be ideal.  Yes, I understand that we can do it at any Metro station or the stores where the TAP cards are purchased but being able to fill my card on a Sunday night before a crazy week is far more convenient.

I think the TAP card has potential.  I still like it better than having tons of little pieces of paper filling my purse and pockets every week.

Overall, I’m starting to understand how illogical the entire Metro system is after listening to my New York City boyfriend talk about his experience in Gotham.  There is simply no way to cheat on fares without putting in some serious effort.  Everything is laid out in a practical, obvious fashion.  But many things in Los Angeles suffer from flash and style over substance.  It’s just how we do things here.  Unfortunately, in the case of public transportation, it doesn’t serve us well.

Pre-Edwardian Ball Festivities At Ruin

Image Courtesy of LA Dead
Image Courtesy of LA Dead

If you’d like a little warm up to the ultra glam of the Edwardian Ball taking place this Saturday night, have no fear as DJ Xian is offering up an evening of noir elegance with Shadow Play at Ruin.

Held in the newly redecorated Monte Cristo (3100 Wilshire Blvd), Ruin is allowing free entry to anyone with Ball tickets.  You can also try your luck at winning tickets to the event if you don’t already have them.

Come mingle among the dangerous dames and vintage vixens for an evening of dance, absinthe and edgy conversation.  Themed costuming is highly encouraged.  Upscale attire is absolutely compulsory.

Ruin takes place every Friday from 10 pm to 2:30 am.  Tickets are $10 at the door ($5 before 11 pm).  The Monte Cristo has its own parking ($5).

Designer Shoes & Gourmet Chocolates

I have been spending a great deal of time in Manhattan Beach for work purposes.  At first, I’d just get to my meetings and leave as soon as possible because the commute was so dreadful and I wanted to get it over with quickly.  But on my final two days I decided to be far more relaxed and actually take in the admittedly darling little ocean town.

On my way to fetch some coffee yesterday, I froze while standing before one storefront in utter awe.  That swiftly melted into frustration when I realized it was too early for me to worship in the temple of genius.

Designer shoes and gourmet chocolates.

It was total brilliance with a side of awesome sauce.

Someone needs to do this in Hollywood only I’d like to request that you design the store to look like a turn of the century bordello.  If I’m going to commit to an excessive experience, I want to go all the way.

The Edwardian Ball – Los Angeles

Photo Courtesy of Neil Girling (www.theblight.net)

For the first time ever, the infamous Edwardian Ball will be making its tawdry way down the coast from San Francisco and gracing Los Angeles with an evening of exquisitely dark decadence in the historic Tower Theater on the evening of January 31st.

For the unanointed, the Edwardian Ball is a celebration of art, dance, music, fashion and technology all centered around the art and stories of Edward Gorey. It is a unique blend of historical and contemporary imaginations colliding to create an unforgettable evening where the people watching is as integral to the experience as the performances on the stage. There is one small warning – there will be ballroom dancing. So, do get your practice in now, darklings.

Hosted by Cirque Berzerk in collaboration with Edwardian Ball co-creators Rosin Coven and Vau de Vire Society, the evening will be nothing less than an intoxicating ride full of glamour, visual seduction and live performances. Other talent featured includes Helios Jive, DJ Xian, Jill Tracy, Miz Margo, Dark Garden Corsetry, and several special guests.

The event is all ages. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $75 for VIP (which includes reserved balcony seating and a hosted absinthe bar). Tickets can be purchased online here or by visiting Necromance at 7208 Melrose Ave. LA, CA 90046 (323.931.2997).

Dinner… And A Free Movie

Hollywood & Highland has just announced a new promotion offering diners free movie tickets to the Mann’s Theatre with any purchase of a meal at participating restaurants.  Just show same day receipts totaling $30 or more at the Visitor’s Information Center on Level I and you’ll get a pair of tickets!  (There is a one pair per person, per receipt, per day limit.)

The promotion runs through February 15th while supplies last.  For more information as well as a list of restaurants involved visit their website here.

Selling Obama

During a quick trip to the corner store this evening on a quest for flour, I was assailed by Obama Mania.  A shelf overflowing with bottled water and souvenir mugs summed it up quite nicely for me and I was compelled to take an exhausted (thus blurry) but amused snapshot with my cellphone which I sent to a few friends.

I have a feeling tomorrow is going to look a lot like this – Obama coffee cups, pins, toast, shirts, napkins, eggs, champagne (as seen in a MySpace ad), pizza, toothpaste and, yes, Obama water.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.  I’m just as excited as anyone who voted for Barack Obama but a part of me is horrified by the profuse use of his image to sell items from collector’s pieces to mundane frivolities such as water.

Dias Y Flores World Premiere

Opening this weekend at Company Of Angels, the oldest non-profit theater company in Los Angeles, is the world premiere of Dias Y Flores – an original play by Oliver Mayer.

Dias y Flores is a meditation on love – straight, gay and filial. Testing which love is strongest, the play seeks the musical magic of love. Its story is loosely based on “A Thousand and One Nights” and the music of Cuban Silvio Rodriguez and Beethoven, played live. It also looks at the changing face of Latinos – Caribbean to Mexican. What does it mean to be Latino and in love? What happens when your sexual feelings cross boundaries? A new play with live music, set in the jungles and gardens of New York’s Lower East Side: Sherezad’s got an ache so deep in her soul it’s driving her mad. Can Silvio Flores, with his guitar and lilting melodies, be Sherezad’s Arabian Knight?

The production runs Friday, Saturday (8 pm) and Sunday (7 pm) through February 8th at The Alexandria in Downtown L.A. (501 S. Spring St. 3rd Floor). Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance via Brown Paper Tickets.

For more information visit the Company Of Angels website.

L.A.’s Largest Inaugural Viewing

L.A. Live has announced that it will host the largest public viewing of the Inaugural events in Los Angeles on the morning of January 20th.  Taking place in Nokia Plaza, Councilwoman Jan Perry will host the live feed from Washington, DC beginning at 7 am with the pre-ceremony events.

As a side note, they are encouraging people to take public transportation.  It sounds like a smart idea, particularly if you can catch the Red Line at any point.

For more information or to get further details visit L.A. Live’s site here.

Another Introduction

Hello!  My name is Victoria Lane.  I am yet another new writer impishly adding my words to the mix.  As seems to be the trend, I am a native Californian.  I grew up behind the Orange Curtain and presently live in the Hollywood area.  I’m a professional creative, working primarily as an actress and a writer.

I am madly in love with Los Angeles and cannot wait to share that passion with all of you while discovering yours in return.  I tend toward the dark corners, glamorous occasions and imagination-driven sandboxes.  Even after so many years there are always new discoveries to be made because of the scale of this place and the simple fact that inspiration never dies.  This town is replete with frequent births and many a phoenix rising from the dirty ashes of a fiery fall.

I am addicted to the world-class people watching that borders on salacious voyeurism.  I adore the wild interactions that come with living in a place where artistry and shooting star dreams converge in a bizarre (and sometimes scandalous) parade of human behavior.  Merely going to a coffee shop or hitting the gym at 2 am can be an escapade worth writing a novel about.

I am thrilled to have been invited to contribute to Metblogs.  I cannot wait to begin a sordid little valentine to the City of Angels.