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Anderson Cooper 420

5:13 pm in Media, Television by thunderboltfan

acpot3Anderson Cooper ventured into a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles recently and brought along a camera crew to capture him ogling the goods for sale. It was one segment of a circumspect, comprehensive (for MSM, anyway) report about the movement to legalize the weed that I watched last night on his CNN news program, Anderson Cooper 360. By turns balanced and illuminating, it examined perceived pros and cons to consider in the march to legalization.

Cooper was drolly amusing as he perused the LA pot store, pausing to consider the different pot-laced goodies– brownies, cakes, sodas, biscotti, gelato (!) and of course, the dried weed itself. At one point, he paused to open a jar and took a whiff. “Smells like marijuana,” he said dryly, his blue eyes twinkling. Read the rest of this entry →

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Hollywood liberals eat their own

1:05 pm in Online, People, Television by thunderboltfan

"I’m a blogosphere virgin. I don’t read blogs. Blogs feels like they’re a dime a bushel. They’re endless. Like cockroaches..."

"I’m a blogosphere virgin. I don’t read blogs. Blogs feel like they’re a dime a bushel. They’re endless. Like cockroaches..."

Out, gay-as-a-picnic-basket, proud, loud, blog-challenged and, by all accounts, liberal director Todd Holland inadvertently got sucked on to the Hollywood Liberal Shit List last week. However, the move looks to be temporary in light of his good-natured and at times bitchy response, in addition to being nominated this year for a directing Emmy for 30 Rock, the sitcom starring über-liberals Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. His placement on the HLSL was further complicated by the fact that he got legally married to his partner last year before Proposition 8 was passed.

How it happened: At a panel discussion about gay Hollywood, Holland answered a question about whether he would advise gay actors in Hollywood to come out. Leave it to some nasty bloggers to take his response and “twist or warp” his words into anti-gay remarks.

The panel discussion took place at Outfest, the Los Angeles gay film festival held each July at The Directors Guild (a.k.a. Hollywood Liberal World Headquarters.)

So now the LA Times, LA Weekly and those spiteful, overly-sensitive gay blogs manned by (to use Holland’s word) “cockroaches” are tripping over themselves as he trips over himself to clarify and over-explain what he really meant or really meant to say– or more likely wishes he hadn’t said at all in the first place.

A condensed version of what played out… Read the rest of this entry →

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The Doctor Is Very In

4:04 pm in Celebrity, Music, People, Television by Matt Mason

img_1569As John Travolta’s character Vincent Vega said about Europe in “Pulp Fiction,” “[i]t’s the little differences.”  I feel the same way about Los Angeles’ relationship to the rest of the  country.  One such ”little difference” occurs if one goes to doctors in Beverly Hills.  When I do so, there is almost invariably a Celebrity Reminder at the office.  Here are three examples:

Feelin’ good, L.A. style, after the jump

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Open casting call for visual artists in Los Angeles July 11th and 12th

10:59 am in Announcements, Art, Television by thunderboltfan

A “best” artist contest to be new reality show

Even fine art can be tacky, if Bravo TV’s planned reality show for visual artists is any indication. The network that was known for its cultural programming before it nosedived into middle-brow reality series is partnering with Sarah Jessica Parker to produce “an art-related reality competition show” to be broadcast sometime next year, according to today’s NY Times.

An open casting call for artists will be held in Los Angeles on July 11th and 12th. At this point, no details are available on bravotv.com but I assume they will be forthcoming before long.

Bravo says the competing artists will be judged “by a panel of top art world figures, including fellow artists, gallerists, collectors, curators and critics.” Gallerists? The winner will receive a gallery exhibit, a cash prize and a sponsored museum tour.

Although I’m not holding out for any art that is truly challenging or controversial, I do hope aloof self-absorption will be a category of competition.

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There May Be Two Different Michael Jackson Stars On The Walk Of Fame, But There’s No Mistaking Where Thriller Was Filmed

11:53 am in East Side, Television by Will Campbell

Hat-tip to The Eastsider L.A. who hat-tips the film location-locating folks at the iamnotastalker blog for their October 2008 post showcasing the Boyle Heights street where the landmark music video’s zombie dance sequence was filmed, such as this scene in a really craptastic screencapture of the YouTube version:

mjt

Somewhat surprisingly the place — according to iamnotastalker and also Google’s Street View perspective — hasn’t changed all that much in 26 years:

upaMichael Jackson danced here.

The video can be viewed here. The location is in the vicinity of 3701 E. Union Pacific Avenue, Los Angeles, 90023 (map).

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Conan O’Brien Pimping In-N-Out Burger

9:00 am in Entertainment, Television by Matt Mason

img_1548Monday night was the third time that I have heard a sneaky plug for In-N-Out Burger in only about six episodes that I have watched of the new L.A. area-based “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.” When I heard this burger blurt come up in conversation for the first time a couple of weeks ago, with a guest (Tom Hanks, I think) advising Conan on where to find great burgers in L.A., it sounded genuine. When, a few days later, I heard it for the second time in the exact same context with a different guest, I began to have suspicions. Then, on Monday night, my suspicions seem to have been confirmed.

Conan’s carnivorical commercialism, after the jump

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Anti-gay infomercial airs in Los Angeles market

4:39 pm in Television by thunderboltfan

A group saying they represent “oppressed Christians” entered the Southern California TV market over the weekend with their anti-gay infomercial Speechless: Silencing the Christians.

Last February the organization, The American Family Association, bought air time for the 60-minute program in Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina.

It resurfaced in California on Sunday. According to GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, “One person saw it in West Hollywood, California on Independent Cable Channel, KDOC on Sunday, June 21, where it aired from 7 to 8 p.m.”

KDOC is based in Santa Ana but also serves Los Angeles cable markets.

KDOC’s general manager John Manzi told me, “Our plan is not to run it again.” He also mentioned that the station has nothing to do with content of infomercials nor do they endorse or agree with any of the views presented.

Speechless is hosted by über-conservative talk radio queen Janet Parshall, who lays out the Evil Gay Blueprint at the beginning of the program:

The way Americans think about homosexuality has changed over the last two decades. And if you think that’s an accident, think again.

Two homosexual activists wrote the book in 1989, After the Ball – How America Will Conquer It’s Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s. In that book, Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen laid out powerful and sophisticated propaganda techniques to manipulate people into accepting the homosexual lifestyle.

She’s right; it’s an incendiary book. But her conspiracy theory that it’s behind the growing acceptance of LGBT people is laughable. If anything, both After the Ball and reactive attacks like Speechless speak to the determination (and successes) of gay leaders and their struggle for equality in a society with an ever-evolving awareness.

Even Parshall admits in the infomercial that advances in gay rights in the last 20 years have been “breathtaking.”

If you can bear to watch it, click here.

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Grand Performance Indeed-Battlestar Galactica Live in Downtown L.A.

6:15 am in Downtown, Events, Music, Television by Jodi Kurland

California Plaza

BSG @ California Plaza

Last weekend, Bear McCreary opened the  2009 Grand Performances series with The Music of Battlestar Galactica. I’ve seen the talented composer conduct his unforgettable score live on a couple of other occasions. Every concert has been fantastic, but this most recent one really blew me away. From the gorgeous outdoor setting, complete with water features, in downtown L.A. to Katee Sackhoff joining McCreary on the piano for the opening bit to his version of  “All Along The Watchtower,” it was a pretty magical evening. A good friend of mine got permission to videotape the entire show and is in the process of posting the footage, which you can see here. Check out the “…Watchtower” clip below.

I hope to go back for more of this summer’s Grand Performances. I found California Plaza to be a beautiful, unique venue under the stars that I’d love to revisit. The weekly event runs through the end of August with one show in each September and October. The concert days and times vary each week, so check the calendar for specific details. Another important thing to note is that all of the performances are free!

The address for parking is 351 S. Olive in downtown Los Angeles. I found it quite convenient to take the Metro Red Line to Pershing Square and walk the one block to the plaza.

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by frazgo

American Idol Auditions set for Rose Bowl

12:30 pm in Entertainment, LA bloggers, News, San Gabriel Valley, Television by frazgo

american-idolHat tip to Pasadena PIO blogger  Ann Erdman for the info and LINK she posted to the announcement that American Idol auditions are set to take place at the Rose Bowl Monday June 30.   Pre-registration must be done and will also take place there on June 28 and June 29.

When I told my youngest the news he commented “great we can try out”.  I responded, “Sure I can be one of those no-talent ones they make fun of, repeatedly during the season”.

My little snark…with everyone knowing that the “Rose Bowl” is in Pasadena, why does AI discuss it on the show as an “LA Audition”?  Just asking…

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The WB Owns the Parking Lot Across from the Pantages

7:29 am in Celebrity, Driving, Entertainment, Television by lucindamichele

At least, this leads me to presume as much.

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Conan and Dave’s ratings swings have Hollywood press a twitter

2:30 pm in Television by thunderboltfan

With two wise-ass, caustic New Yorkers hosting competing late night network talk shows, one of them Conan O’Brien, now in Los Angeles and the new replacement for the middle-of-the-road schtick of Jay Leno, is anyone surprised that viewers are taking a second look at Letterman, if not out of blanching at O’Brien’s bizarre humor (and looks,) then maybe out of familiarity with Dave?

From LA Weekly’s Nikki Finke, who may regard herself an avenging angel of the right if her flailing rants against NBCU’s Jeff Zucker that dovetail neatly with Bill O’Reilly’s are any indication, to LA Observed’s blunt disgorging of the LA Times‘ and Variety’s lengthier analyses of a mere seven days worth of ratings for Conan and Dave, you would think something truly important is happening here with the former’s nosediving as the latter’s ascend.

But this is a town that follows Nielsen ratings like a hedge fund manager follows the commodities markets. Everyday brings drama and rash assessments, if not the financial equivalent of blood sport.

Conan’s ballyhooed move to Los Angeles is still a hot ticket here in his new city, at least according to my NBCU sources who still haven’t been able to get me passes  to  one of his tapings. By contrast, Leno tickets were always a breeze to secure and landed me in the air-conditioned “special guests” holding room, not waiting out on the Burbank sidewalk with the hoi polloi. (This always garnered big points for me with out-of-town visitors.)

While a fan of both Conan and Dave for the doses of NYC sensibility that they provide to an ex-New Yorker now living in LA, I also like Cash Cab on the Discovery Channel for the same reason. It’s a game show that takes place in a taxi cab cruising the streets of Manhattan.

I can’t imagine it being entertaining, let alone interesting for anyone who hasn’t lived there, but one thing I’m sure of: Wouldn’t work here; although I’ve considered pitching an idea I have for a new reality show based in Los Angeles. It’s called, “Help! I’m a Paparazzi-in-training!”

But even if it came to be, I’d still stick with Conan and Dave. And Cash Cab.

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Battlestar Saturday at Grand Performances

1:01 pm in Announcements, Downtown, Music, Television by Queequeg

cimg3633

Music inspired by the Toaster at Grand Performances

I had initial plans to participate in Silver Lake’s Dyke March on Saturday night, but darned it, something else might pull me away — Battlestar Galactica.  Specifically, Grand Performances’ presentation of the music from Battlestar Galactica, led by BSG composer Bear McCreary.  This is almost as nerdy as it actually is.

The show kicks of Grand Performances’ Summer Series of outdoor, global music and performances downtown at California Plaza.  If you haven’t jumped on the Battlestar wagon yet – or refuse to – fine but you are missing out – spend the nice summer night at any one of Grand Performances’ other Saturday shows scheduled between June 13th and August 29th.  The full schedule and details are on the official website here.

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Conan is here!

10:30 am in Entertainment, Television by thunderboltfan

conanBeing an expatriate New Yorker, when I heard Conan O’Brien was having a hard time wrapping his brain around moving from New York to Los Angeles, I could relate. I had the same experience six years ago, although I did not bring my late night TV talk show with me.

Fortunately, last night during the first installment of his new show (The Tonight Show, vacated last week by Jay Leno in case you’ve been living in a cave) from his new studio (on the Universal lot instead of NBC Studios in Burbank) in his new city, it was the same insane and strange Conan.

In an earlier time slot then his previous show and in a tamer town, the presumption is he may have to tone it down for a more mainstream audience. Last night that didn’t appear to be the case, although he seemed to be on his best behavior and he signaled as much, either intentionally or not, with a few nervous seconds here and there.

Filled with barbed humor and seemingly drug-induced antics, the show began with a hilarious opening montage of him wearing a suit as he, literally, ran (and swam) across the country; through New Jersey, Chicago, St. Louis, Midwest farmland, the Rockie Mountains, Las Vegas   (with a brief, bizarre rest stop at a Victorian doll museum) and into LA to get to his new workplace.

Another bit of a lunacy had him riding the tourist-filled Universal Studios tram out into the surrounding streets of Universal City, heckling passers-by and gleefully snarling traffic.

“Red is a girl’s color! Don’t buy it!” he screeched at a guy checking out a crimson vehicle at a car dealer.

In the land of cars, he may be asking for trouble. (Watch the opening clip here.)

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More On The Battlestar Galactica Auction: Cast & Crew Panels

12:10 pm in Announcements, Celebrity, Driving, Entertainment, Events, Music, Television by Jodi Kurland

Cylon Centurion by Jodi

I’m still in a state of mourning that Battlestar Galactica has ended as a series. Like many others, I watched the show reluctantly at first. It didn’t take long to get hooked, which made it even harder to say good-bye. Luckily for fans, there have been some events recently that allow the show to go on. Damn, it’s good to live in L.A.

Queequeg gave us a good look at the Battlestar Galactica props and costumes that were up for auction last weekend in Pasadena. The first sell-off this past January was awesome too, but of course it couldn’t feature any items from the last several episodes. This time I didn’t make it over to the convention center early enough on Preview Day to peruse as many items as before (or sit in a viper! How did Queequeg get so lucky?). However, I was able get there in time for a couple of entertaining and informative panels, one with some members of the cast and the other with various crew members. Personally, I could have listened to all of their stories for several more hours.

First up, we were treated to fun with four cast members. They recounted their time on the show, which was fun, challenging, and emotional. It was obvious that they all cherish their Battlestar Galactica experience.

bsg41

Grace Park (Sharon/Boomer/Etc.), Kate Vernon (Ellen Tigh), Michael Trucco (Sam Anders), Luciana Carro (Kat)

Continue on after the jump for more on the panels, including a video of Michael Trucco, and an announcement about a cool BSG event happening in L.A. this summer.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Battlestar Galactica: The Last Frakkin’ Auction

11:38 am in Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Television by Queequeg

cylon-raider2I got stuck on Battlestar Galactica right after the bar exam.  I was bumming around, de-barring, at a friend’s place when he pulled out the Season 1 DVD set and asked if I had ever seen it.  Being one of those people without cable (which isn’t as bad as being one of those people without a television), I had to shake my head no.  He popped it in, and that was it.  I was done for.  Less than a day after sitting 18 hours for the bar exam, I sat for 8 hours to watch the first half of the first season before I reluctantly realized that I really, really, really should sleep.

Converting other people to the show has not been as easy.  BSG fanatics are easily labeled as nerds – but when you have an entire United Nations event (oddly or not) dedicated to discussing how the show can be used as a tool to educate about the pressing issues of our time -  abortion, terrorism, torture, colonialism, imperialism, fear as a political weapon – well, we the devoted must be on to something.  The series ended a month ago, to much controversy (I for one hated it – I knew there was an implicit theme about imperalism, but I didn’t think it was that), but new and old fans can forget that the finale exists and instead fondly recall one of the best television shows in our time by bidding on an authentic piece of Battlestar this weekend at PropWorx’s Battlestar Galactica “Last of the Best” live auction at the Pasadena Convention Center.

A preview of the auction, including a nice bird, Baltar’s notes from when he actually did science-y things, and, yes, the red dress that wet dreams are made of, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry →

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