Category Archives: Hollywood

The Knights Of Monte Carlo

Postcard Rear GenericI stumbled upon the Knights of Monte Carlo quite by accident this past Summer while attending a concert featuring my wickedly talented friend Esza Kaye and the L.A. rock meets cirque sensation Powder at the Key Club.   They were the last band on, which is always a crap shoot.  All the same, we ordered coffee after having enjoyed dinner and gave them a shot.

Unexpectedly, this 1970’s lounge lizard meets Jimmy Buffet-on-a-beach vibe assembled itself on stage.  I braced for an onslaught of cheese.  Instead, I was blown away by incredible musicianship with only the most subtle hint of humor tossed into the mix.   It was so good that if I closed my eyes I was certain Steely Dan was on the stage.  I was instantly a fan along with most everyone else who had remained in the club.

The Knights Of Monte Carlo have since gone on to make believers out of hundreds of other Angelenos, establishing themselves as one of the best live music acts that must be experienced on a regular basis.  (Just don’t call them a cover band!)  Playing the ‘hard core soft rock’ of the 70’s with a country club ambiance, they have taken up residency once a month at the King King Hollywood with the Hollywood Yacht Club.

The next show is tomorrow night at 10 pm.  It’s a $10 cover with the doors opening at 9 pm.  Country club attire is encouraged so have fun with it!  As a side note, Carson Daly will be filming this particular evening so if you want to avoid that you can check them out on March 18th.

*Insider Tip*  Affordable parking available two blocks away at Hollywood and Wilcox.

locali – conscious convenience

Inside locali
Inside locali

Have you checked out locali on Franklin Ave. in Hollywood?  I only recently found out about this store and had to visit.  Reading on the website, it read like a green 7 – 11.  Funny thing, that’s exactly what it is and then some.   Want a slushie? They have yummy ginger tonic slushies in a couple of flavors.  There are vegan and vegetarian burritos available along with salads, soups and other ready-to-eat items.  Fresh organic coffee is for sale and quite delicious.

locali has pretty much everything you, but with a green twist.  There are environmentally sound household & hygiene items and a rather large selection of beers and wines that are Certified Organic, biodynamic and/or come from sustainable farms, including gluten-free beers!  Toward the rear of the store is a well stocked frozen section along with healthy snacks for kids and a deli section.  The big draw of this area is the emphasis on vegan and gluten-free foods, making it easy for those who follow these diets to grab a quick bite on the go.  Continue reading locali – conscious convenience

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.

Here’s Looking At You, Kid

Tonight in Hollywood the ArcLight, in association with the American Film Institute, will be screening (in my humble opinion) one of the greatest films of all time: Casablanca. I’ve seen Casablanca countless times, but this is the first opportunity I’ve ever had to see it on a big screen. There are a few tickets still available, so snap ’em up while you can.

There are revival houses around town playing classic films, but none of those theaters are quite as nice as the ArcLight, if you ask me. Great projection and sound, comfortable seats, and although it’s a bit pricey (average $12-$14,) I tend to believe that the slightly higher prices deter most of the riff-raff. Stop talking and texting and kicking my seat and get offa my lawn!…wait, that’s a rant for another time.

So, join me tonight at the ArcLight on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. You’ll see one of the best movies ever, and if you find me at the lobby bar before the screening I may even buy you a drink. I’ve always wanted to toast someone with “Here’s looking at you, kid” with some bit of context.

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.

The most expensive parking lot in Los Angeles, perhaps the USA

2 hours of parking = $648 at the Sunset 5. And it isn't even valet.
2 hours of parking = $648 at the Sunset 5. And it isn

If you go to see a movie at the Sunset 5 theatre, you’ll find that they validate parking, free, for up to three hours, which is typically sufficient. However, if you’re planning to see parts 1 and 2 of Stephen Soderbergh’s 4+  hours “Che,” the box office urges you to repark your car during the intermission.

While I was doing just that, along with dozens of other attendees Saturday night, another movie patron ahead of me stuck his ticket into one of those self pay machines – I presume to double check they’d validated his ticket – and was confronted with a fee that could make Che return from the grave to start another revolution: $648.

I think he was expecting sympathy after he told me that he’d only been there for a little over 2 hours… instead I joyfully snapped some low grade cel phone cam shots and told him how awesome this would be for the blog. Unfortunately, I don’t have proper closure to this tale, nor explanations as to the exorbiant fee. Hacker? Software glitch? Inflation? We may never know. Continue reading The most expensive parking lot in Los Angeles, perhaps the USA

Down With Pants!

It seems a lot of people have been taking to the streets lately.  This past week it was Israelis and Palestinians, gathering on Wilsire Blvd. to protest the situation in Gaza.  Continuing since before November’s election both sides of Prop 8 have demonstrated to express their point of view.  What do these and other demonstrations have in common?  Anger, strife, and feelings of injustice, to name a few.  Wouldn’t it be nice to join a large group of people on the streets of L.A. all on the same side of an issue, not decrying an injustice, but engaging in pure joy, sharing that joy with everyone around them?  The day for that demonstration has come, and it is Saturday, January 10.

Tomorrow is Global No Pants Day 2009.  Created in New York City eight years ago by Improv Everywhere’s Charlie Todd, No Pants Day has spread to 25 cities in nine countries around the world.  Los Angeles will join in the fun beginning at 2:00pm on Metro’s Red Line (okay, not the “streets” of L.A., but close.)  More complete details can be found on the Los Angeles No Pants 2k9 Facebook event page, but the basic idea should be pretty self-evident.

So, come out and join me for a pantsless subway ride. If you do, please remember this important point from the Facebook page: “…this obviously means no pants, but DEFINITELY (wear) underpants!”

(I know it’s late and this is short notice.  Hey, it’s my first day.  More notice for upcoming events, I promise.)

Book ‘Em: Faces of Sunset Boulevard

I’ve been enviously following the progress of Patrick Ecclesine’s Faces of Sunset Boulevard project since I first heard about it a couple years ago, in large part because he was living what I’d only once dreamed of doing with the help of a high school classmate and a Super-8 movie camera waaaaay back in the day: document one of the city’s most iconic and diverse/disparate thoroughfares from one end to the other.

My pal Hovik and I didn’t get very far. With a working title of “Sunrise To Sunset” we got downtown one early Saturday dawn to start the journey — driven by his dad. But the opening shot we wanted of day breaking from behind Union Station was thwarted by overcast skies and after several minutes of standing around bummed that we’d have to get up way too early and come back on another hopefully clearer-skied Saturday, we adjourned to breakfast and the realization that we’d vastly underestimated the scope of the project. There was just no way a couple punks like us had all that was needed to do the boulevard justice.

Ecclesine had what was needed — and it took him four years to paint a portrait of Los Angeles via one of its longest and windingest roads that my buddy and I foolishly figured we’d be able to do in a day. Beginning with small street-corner shoots involving willing passersby, Ecclesine’s projects evolved into full-scale productions with elaborate lighting, street closures, and the occasional celebrity.

The result is awesome and can be found in a new 208-page 9″ x 12″ hardbound volume ($39.95) from Santa Monica Press that to me perfectly captures what Los Angeles is all about and would make a perfect gift this holiday season for the angeleno who has everything or the non-native who wants greater insight into what this place is all about. I got mine at Amazon for $26, and it’s also available online at Barnes & Noble and Borders. PS. Ecclesine states that his personal profit from the book will benefit the Surfrider Foundation.

Orange 20 Bikes: Now With More Awesome, Enhanced Bigginess

Sean first posted about the in-progress move here a couple weeks ago, and yesterday was the first opportunity I had to bring in a front wheel desperately needing a new hub/rebuild and step inside the giantness that is the new home of Orange 20 Bikes in the famed Bicycle SquareQuadrantZoneDistrictRealm. DotCom. Also known as the corner of Heliotrope and Melrose in East Hollywood.

Turns out my timing was as impeccable as my taste in homegrown velocipedic establishments as yesterday was their first day of bustling operations in their new castle:

IMG_2885.JPG

After stepping inside and gaping at the absolute vastness of all that additional square footage I made my way back across what may have been a change in zip code to the service/repair area — itself easily as large as the entire shack that was O20’s first home across the alley out back.

Greeted by proprietor Jim C. I guesstimated that the place must be three billion times bigger and he corrected me down to reality.

Continue reading Orange 20 Bikes: Now With More Awesome, Enhanced Bigginess

Los Angeles Triathlon Is Tomorrow (Sunday)–That Means Road Closures

The Los Angeles Triathlon will take place tomorrow morning and running into the afternoon. This means road closures across town beginning at 6:50am until approximately 1pm.  The course starts in the ocean near Venice for the swim, then the competitors jump on their bikes and head inland along Venice Blvd., to Fairfax, make a jog up to 6th then to Alvarado then toward Sunset and then into downtown for the run and finish.

Please click here for a very detailed map that includes route crossing locations and more specific road closure times through out the day.  For general information on the whole event, click here.

Good luck athletes!

“The Wrecking Crew” At The Arclight

Tommy Tedesco and Hal Blaine from The Wrecking Crew
Tommy Tedesco and Hal Blaine

Docuweek, sponsored by the International Documentary Association, is on now at the Arclight and one major treat is “The Wrecking Crew”.  I’ve mentioned it before, and I really really really want you to see it. I saw it again for the second time last night and just can’t get enough.  Hal Blaine and Don Randi were there last night along with filmmaker Denny Tedesco.  If you are serious about 60’s rock and pop and LA music history, this is the film and Q&A panel for you.

The film is screening twice a day at the Arclight Hollywood until Thursday, but there will be Q&A with Denny Tedesco and Don Randi this weekend: today at 4:30 and 9:45 and tomorrow at 7:00 pm.  For full schedule and ticket purchases, click into the Arclight webpage.

For some of the songs you will hear and awesome photos, join me after the 8 count intro.

Continue reading “The Wrecking Crew” At The Arclight

Thieves in Hollywood posing as DWP and construction workers caught on video

UPDATED BELOW

Surveillance cameras at the building I live (near Franklin and La Brea) caught a bicycle theft in action. As you can see from the video below, a man in a construction helmet and reflective vest is able to casually rip off a bike with the help of bolt cutters. As he finishes, a tenant walks right by, thinking nothing of the thief.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH68uqV5T6U[/youtube]

This video, which shows the pathway between the building’s backdoor and parking lot, was taken last Tuesday, August 12th, shortly after 8am. The theft itself wasn’t reported to building management for 3 days.

Valorie Keegan with the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council tells me that similar incidents have been reported of thieves posing as DWP workers and tree trimmers. And couple days after the bike theft, a neighbor reported that another man dressed as a construction worker tried to talk his way onto building property claiming he was with the housing department.

During both incidents heavy construction has continued on the street in front of the building, lending the perps plenty of opportunity to blend in.

While I hope the DWP and police take this situation very seriously, this incident demonstrates the need for residents to be more vigilant and report crimes as they happen.

If you see someone suspicious or out of place in your neighborhood, report it ASAP, to your building management, the police, and your neighbors.

UPDATE: Zach at LAist has details of home invasions robbery occuring in Sherman Oaks by teams of men posing as DWP.

Tom LaBonge describes Griffith Park fire as “suspicious”*

Photo by Burns! used under Creative Commons
Photo by Burns! used under Creative Commons

As I write this, three brush fires continue to burn in the northeast corner of Griffith Park. The first was reported by the Los Angeles Fire Department at 2:17pm near the Travel Town area, followed by reports of two additional fires 30 minutes later.

According to ABC7, City Councilman Tom LaBonge has described the fires as “suspicious.”

Additional note from Lindsay Williams-Ross at LAist:

This is the third fire since July 27 to strike the same general area of Griffith Park. The second fire was on August 4 burning approximately 3 acres while the one in July scorched around 25 acres.

Is a serial arsonist at work in Griffith Park?

*Update (6:42pm): In an email, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphreys responded to me:

Barring some formal statement today from our Arson Investigators or our PIO’s (Captain Hogan or Captain Haro), the earlier fires in Griffith Park remain  – as far as our office is concerned [emphasis added] – under investigation.

He adds that LaBonge’s comments “should rightfully be attributed to him as a City elected leader.”

See “The Wrecking Crew” At The Arclight


The International Documentary Association is having its annual festival, Docuweek, at the Arclight Theaters August 22 – 28.  Included in the line-up is the “The Wrecking Crew” (previously mentioned by me).  If you missed the sold out screenings at the Silent Movie Theater, here’s your chance to see this amazing documentary about the most famous musicians you’ve (probably) never heard of.

Here again is a synopsis of this important piece of Los Angeles music history:

You heard them playing on the Beach Boys hits, on the Mamas and the Papas’ tunes, on Frank Sinatra records, on Monkees’ singles and they were Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. Simply put, you heard them everywhere. They have performed on more number-one charted singles than the Beatles, and were one of rock and roll’s most legendary bands, a hit-making machine. Most likely, you never heard their name; if you knew who they were, you called them the Wrecking Crew. Denny Tedesco, son of Crew member Tommy Tedesco, knew their story was too important to leave to just a small circle of friends, and set out to film his father and other members of the Wrecking Crew to capture their story firsthand. The film features conversations with Brian Wilson, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Mickey Dolenz, Herb Alpert, Lou Adler, Dick Clark, Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson, Roger McGuinn and many others.

Click into the Arclight Theater website to buy tickets.  (There are two showings a day on each day of the festival.)

To learn more about The Wrecking Crew, watch a trailer, hear just some of the music they played and to get on their email list go to their website:  The Wrecking Crew
To learn more about the IDA and Docuweek, please go to their website:  International Documentary Association

(If all of this is not enough to get you to see the Wrecking Crew, then read this from comments made by LA’s own Militant Angeleno:  “It’s a great doc and part of it even delves into some Los Angeles history…MILITANT APPROVED!” Need I say more?)

Arclight, Dark Knight

Hello, friends! We were on hand for The Dark Knight midnight movie madness at the spectacular Cineramadome/Arclight! Crowds abound and news crews were there to point bright lights and cameras at them with the intent to annoy and interview those of us in line. There was also some kind of butt-tasting ice tea drink being bandied about, but the price for tasting it was to pretend on camera that the vile liquid was indeed delicious. It was not.

Click for more pics and snide remarks after the jizz-ump