All posts by Will Campbell

Will Campbell arrived in Los Angeles via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in the sixty-fourth year of the previous century and has never lived anywhere else, which makes him two things: middle-aged and a native. He can count 16 residences over the course of his nomadic existence as a latchkey kid and deadbolt adult and presently he resides in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their four cats, three treefrogs, two dogs, and a Russian tortoise named Buster. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). For better or worse, the pinnacle of his online success arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was chosen "Best Website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue (in large part no doubt because he shrewdly avoided using blinking text which was all the Web 1.0 rage back then). He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous; is an alternate transportation proponent, a horrible golf player and an OK tennis player. His prefered mode of civic travel is a bike, and he loves all creatures great and small -- especially the ones people can't stand like coyotes, and opossums and spiders and potato bugs. As a rule he carries a camera with him pretty much everywhere he goes. Oh yeah -- And when he was a leeeetle boy he thought he was related to his idol, Dodgers pitching legend Sandy Koufax because they were both southpaws. Secretly he still wishes it were true. He can be found on Twitter via: @wildbell. His email addy is wildbellatgmaildotcom.

Royal Treatment

trf.jpgEntering the Ahmanson Theatre last night I had my doubts about “The Royal Family” (playing through May 16), but exited after the final curtain having fully enjoyed the energetic and entertaining production of the 1927 classic, a collaboration between George S. Kaufman (“You Can’t Take It With You”) and Edna Ferber (“Show Boat”), directed by Tom Moore.

Inspired by the legendary Barrymore acting clan and ably and enthusiastically delivered by a marvelous cast (featuring Kate Mulgrew, Charles Kimbrough, Marian Seldes, with Daniel Gerroll stopping the show a time or two), “The Royal Family” is a rich and rompy screwballer filled with eccentric characters and whipsmart dialogue that’s both a satirical send-up of the theatre and a heartfelt ode to it.

Round & Round

pano.jpgFound posted 03.28 on the Franklin Avenue blog is information about the impending closure of The Velaslavasay Panorama, which is host and home to a 70-foot painting by artist Sera Velas titled “The Panorama of the Valley of the Smokes.” Presented as a 360-degree visual, Velas’ panorama depicts the L.A. Basin as it might have existed a couple hundred years ago.

Franklin Avenue’s Michael writes that “the site has been sold [and is set to be razed], and the Panorama must vacate the premises at the end of the month. The Velaslavasay Panorama will hold an ‘old-fashioned style wake in celebration and for fond farewells of this quirky bit of architecture’ on April 25 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.”

Until then it’s open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. at 5553 Hollywood Boulevard, just west of Western Avenue.

VoxBox

Powered by audblogaudio post powered by audblog

Just thought I’d give audblog’s one-post-free trial a try and blather something pretty much meaningless (hope my voice doesn’t grate too hard). Seems a pretty nifty and very easy to use e-doodad. But of course I’ll only use it when I have something truly important to say. Which is rarely. Or seldom. OK, never.

But this function could come in very handy from the road, especially next September when I’ll be biking from Sacramento to San Diego to raise money for California condors ó without my craptop. With it I could make like a little daily audiocasts of my cycling adventures from my mobile phone. Oooooooo, fascinating!

The View From Here

view.jpg So in memory of Cesar Chavez and in celebration of having the day off from work in his honor, I decided to embrace his most famous quote, !Si se puede° (Yes we can!), and take the first step this still relatively young year towards getting into better health before my age becomes higher than my IQ this May.

So I dusted off my mountain bike, stocked up on water, pretzels and a pb&j sammich and trucked myself into Glendale, wherein duly sunscreened and bug sprayed, I hauled myself slowly through the hellacious temps up the Beaudry North fire road to the Verdugo fire road to the Crossroads (where the Verdugo FR intersects with the Brand FR that comes up from Brand Park). There’s a nice little bench there for relaxing and whipping out the digicam to grab some snaps of the view. The image doesn’t do the wonderful view justice, but it gives you an idea of what the payoff is. What’s really nice is that the hillsides are finally beginning to green back up from the fire that swept through about 18 months ago.

I’ll happily supply directions to anyone interested in how to get there.

Whole Lotta Lube

ezlube.jpgCan I just tell you how proud I am that this EZ Lube has been installed near the intersection of Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard? I mean, not only is the structure architecturally stunning, but its occupant is providing an invaluable service in making it that much more convenient for community SUVers to keep their road-hogging monstrosities guzzling along ó a service, prior to its star-studded grand opening several weeks ago, that was only available a full and torturous half-mile east at the Sunset Junction Jiffy Lube.

Prayers have been answered, let me tell you! Prior to its arrival I had to go a whole two blocks (and uphill!) from my apartment to get to the SunJun J-Lu. True to their name and corporate mission statement, this state-of-the-art EZ Lube has now made maintaining my vehicle that much more EZer by taking almost a full block off my oil-change commute (and with no change in elevation ó no more nose bleeds!). Over the course of a year that will translate into a gas savings of almost 45 cents (maybe even more if prices continue to climb). Cha-ching!

But this EZ Lube is more than just another way for us to maintain our addiction to oil. It stands proudly as magnificent testament to the fact that when those rare opportunities for neighborhood beautification or cultural enrichment raise their disgusting heads ó like a proposal perhaps for some of that gawd-awful green space or maybe a (gad!) free-speech zone, or something more morally and culturally acceptable like another (cough)… Starbucks? ó we disenfranchised citizens of Gloss Angeles still have the power to rise up and bow down before the corporate steamrollers (and the civic leaders that drive them) like so many obedient dawgs.

Woof!

Leather & Lake

polepost.jpg These posters have popped up on utility poles all over the place promoting a “Los Angeles Leather Weekend” block party scheduled to take place this Sunday (March 28) on Santa Monica Boulevard immediately south of Sunset Boulevard to Hoover.

If the “Los Angeles Leather Weekend” isn’t a big enough clue as to who will be who, a visit to the fest’s website should give you a better idea of what crowds and lifestyles should be attending loud and proud. If I decide to fork over the ten dollah (!) admission fee, I may wander over during the event’s waning hours since it’s basically less than a freakin’ block away from my flat. Might be some good photo opps.

Get yer Didge On!

digde.jpgEver since “Crocodile Dundee” (or was it “The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert?”) first hit the screens and I sampled my first sounds of a didgeridoo, I’ve been wanting me one. Real bad. There’s just something so magnetic and magical about its almost unearthly yet earthy sound. I flirted briefly with buying one at a now defunct Down Under-style eatery in Old Pasadena known as Boomerock (which had a small store that sold the Aborginal instruments and other ‘stralia paraphernalia), but the prices seemed a bit steep so I passed and subsequently accepted that I was fated to be a didgeridon’t.

Until last week when a person where I work brought hers in and pointed me to the place she bought it: the Didgeridoo Store in beautiful downtown Fullerton. Jonesing hard, I paid the website an immediate visit and found they’ve got a huge variety of didges from as low as $25. I soon selected a $50 one and quicker than you can say “https, mate” I’d placed an order.

But seeing as this is not blogging.oc, I decided that before I could post here I would have to find a more local establishment that offers didges ó and I did at L.A. Outback, previously in Laguna Beach but now at home in Studio City. The least expensive models there go for $79, but they actually encourage interested parties to come on up to “Dingo Mountain” (though it is suggested you call first to make sure they’re actually home) to kick back among the hilltop vistas and try out their variety of instruments with never any push to buy.

Can you didge it? There’s even an annual Didgeridoo Festival out in Joshua Tree… the next one’s October 11 – 17. Don’t know if I’ll be able to make that, but I certainly plan to haul my didge during my next trip to Death Valley and drone low and immaculate out on the salt flats and such.

Paved paradise and put up a parking lot?

Drive down Vermont Avenue south of Santa Monica Boulevard past L.A. City College and one can’t help but notice that something’s changed. Where once the stadium grandstand looked out upon a verdant football field surrounded by a quarter-mile track that was well-utilized by students and community residents, now all that can be cheered from the stands is … a parking facility? And a pretty serious, heavy-duty, and long-term one by the looks of it.

lacc.jpg

A visit to the LACC website left me with the vague impression that the lot is some sort of perma-temp installation connected with ongoing campus construction projects, but being a naturally curious cat, I contacted the Los Angeles Community College Disctrict HQ to dig out some more solid information.
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