Everyone Loves a Parade!

Damian Kulash & Tim Nordwind of OK Go

Maybe not everyone loves a parade, but if you are like me and do, Los Angeles is a great place for one. Not only do we have the annual Rose Parade, but the city is also known for its Doo-Dah Parade, Hollywood Christmas Parade, those Lakers parades whenever they win championships and many, many more.

This past Wednesday, the band OK Go teamed up with Range Rover for an amazing event called “Dance Through Your City.” Essentially, they held a parade for many hours through the streets of the Los Feliz/Hollywood area. Using GPS, the route spelled out the band’s name, which could be visualized on the Range Rover Pulse of the City app. A mobile, musical work of art utilizing the streets and people of Los Angeles. How cool is that?

When I first heard about this event, I was saddened to know I’d be at work and not able to participate. What I didn’t know was that this parade was planned to go on for HOURS, meaning that I did get to take part in the evening. Since the route wasn’t published ahead of time, I was also surprised to learn it was going right by my workplace. I heard it go by, yet failed at finding a good excuse to run outside.

I was able to join up with paraders when they had stopped for a dinner break. The band changed from the brightly colored suits they wore during the day to the black suits covered with changing-color LEDs. Others were wrapping drums, trombones, guitars and themselves with electroluminescent wire. Everyone was encouraged to accessorize with glow sticks and all sorts of other blinking objects.

The experience of parading through the L.A. streets after dark, singing and dancing with other enthusiastic people is something I highly recommend. Part of the fun was the various folks running out of their houses, shops, etc. with quizzical looks or cameras. Some people shook their head, some people danced, and a few even joined in the parade. We saw lots of kids in pajamas. As I marched along, I couldn’t help but think that this was exactly the kind of experience that makes me love L.A.

For more parade goodness, check out the write-ups at LAist and Billboard.com.

RIP Stephen J. Cannell

Television icon Stephen J. Cannell died last night. He was only 69. Television might not be what it is today without all the amazing characters and shows that he created and wrote. Among many others were: The Rockford Files, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, Baa Baa Black Sheep, The Greatest American Hero. (And my personal sentimental favorite Tenspeed and Brownshoe.)

We attended a Writer’s Guild Panel a few years ago about his legacy and career and no one had a bad thing to say about him. He was clearly a man who was open to helping anyone out, offering support and creative criticism and encouragement to all who showed gumption and talent. His own work ethic was legendary, cranking out scripts after script and later, novel after novel.

Mr. Cannell’s work might not be considered “art” but he created entertaining, fun, full-of-life tv. He will be sorely and sadly missed by so many in the business, myself included.

Kathleen Madigan is Funny! Win Tickets!

What’s on your agenda this weekend? Me?  I could use a good laugh, always gets me going.   If that’s up your alley, check out Kathleen Madigan at Club Nokia this Saturday night at 8PM.  And if you really want to feel good, you can win a pair of tickets just by telling a good joke worthy of sharing with the world, or simply a funny story or anecdote.  (don’t worry if it’s not original, just make it funny!)

Kathleen is a stand-up comic… and a hilarious one at that.  She’s been on Jay Leno, tours constantly all over the US and has been a big hit on youtube.  Her particular brand of humor uses everyday life to poke fun of our eccentric, mundane human behavior.  She’s from the Mid-West, super accessible and then veers into outrageous antics.  Fun.

Sooooo, if you want to see her you can either buy tickets here, or in the comments section below, tell a good joke or funny experience.  The humor department here at blogging.la will choose four lucky people for a pair of tickets each.  But hurry, the contest closes in 18 hours (Friday at 11 AMish) and we need a laugh!  Don’t forget to put your real email address in when you register (it won’t be published) so we can contact you if you win!

Blogger Mugged in Broad Daylight Fights a Bitch Off

Our good friend e*star recounts her horrific mugging in broad daylight while the rest of Hollywood stood idly by. It sounds like she gave the girl a good ass-kicking:

She careened me towards the white picket fence at June and De Longpre, pulling my hair. I whipped her back around, kicking her in the stomach. We continued as I screamed from within the far reaches of my lungs to the passing cars who probably thought they were witnessing a chick fight, what with my female mugger.

It’s comforting to know that events like these are still taking place while the LAPD is running radar on Coldwater & Burbank to catch soccer moms speeding on their way to work.

We’re glad you’re OK, Esther. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for standing your ground in your new neighborhood.

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

$3 Pancake Breakfast This Weekend

(image courtesy of Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce)

The Kiwanis Club of Hollywood / Los Feliz is holding their 46th annual Kid’s Day Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser this Saturday, May 8. The Kiwanis Club of Hollywood / Los Feliz is a non-profit organization that supports a wide range of charitable needs in the community with the help of member dues, donations and annual fundraisers.  The annual Pancake Breakfast  provides up to 60 percent of their annual operating budget.  The middle and high school students that sell tickets to the event maintain 50 percent of the proceeds for their respective Builders and Key Clubs, which Kiwanis sponsors and mentors.  In addition to breakfast, there will also be a raffle, balloon animals and children’s fingerprinting.

$3 doesn’t go very far these days, so it’s great that you can get a decent breakfast while supporting your community. Stop by this Saturday and chow down for a good cause. Details below.

Who: The Kiwanis Club of Hollywood / Los Feliz, in conjunction with Hollywood and John Marshall High School Key Clubs, Virgil Middle School Builders Club and Boy Scout Troop 621

What: The 46th Annual Kid’s Day Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

When: Saturday, May 8th from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Where: Vons Grocery Store parking lot. 4520 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (on the corner of Sunset Blvd and Virgil, next to the Children’s Hospital)

Visit www.hollywoodlosfelizkiwanis.org for more information about the organization.


L.A. Plays Itself In The Movies: Valley Girl (1983)

She’s cool.
He’s hot.
She’s from the Valley.
He’s not.

Julie (Deborah Foreman) and Randy (a very young Nicolas Cage) are geography-crossed teenagers in love in 1983 Los Angeles. Not long after dumping her popular boyfriend, Tommy, Julie falls for Randy, who is from Hollywood. Her friends do not approve because, like oh my gawd, he’s “different.” He wears red and black instead of pastels, he slums it in a loud, dirty bar, and has friends who look like Sid Vicious. Grody to the max. I’m so sure.

In spite of how much Julie likes Randy, her bitchy “friends” convince her to “do the right thing,” which is break up with Randy and get back together with Tommy. They threaten her with the prospect of losing all of them and her social status. While truly conflicted, the desire to be popular prevails. What a total bummer. Randy is crushed and tries really hard to win Julie back, but she won’t give in.

In one last ditch effort to get the girl, Randy and his best friend crash the Valley High prom and make quite a scene disrupting the coronation of Prom King and Queen, Tommy and Julie. Fists fly and Randy and Julie steal away in the limo that brought her to the dance. Off they go, up the 405, to spend what can only have been an amazing night at the Valley Sheraton.

The premise of this movie, a modern day Romeo and Juliet, depends on Los Angeles playing a strong supporting role. You could even look at the L.A. portrayed in Valley Girl as multiple characters: The Valley, Hollywood, and The Beach. Now that I live in L.A., I definitely suffer from the problem of noticing, and often pointing out, the liberties that are taken in presenting the city. It’s something I didn’t think about before moving here in 1994. I find it fascinating to see how parts of Los Angeles are stitched together to create a version of the city that suits the needs of the storyteller.

L.A. is actually the first character you see and hear about as Valley Girl starts. A radio announcer says, “…they’ll be playing at the Hollywood Bowl…” as we hover above the Lake Hollywood reservoir looking toward Hollywood. We then head over the hills that house the famous sign for a reveal of The Valley. Well, it’s Burbank, but close enough. What I do find amusing is that instead of panning west into The Valley proper, we pan east into Glendale. Anyway, what-EVER! The first place where we encounter the Valley girls is The Mall. Duh. The location used for the opening sequence is the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, not the Sherman Oaks Galleria which is often misstated on various websites. In addition to official location lists, there is a clear shot of a door handle at the mall that says Del Amo on it.

Click through to read more and see the trailer

L.A. Plays Itself in the Movies: Swingers (1996)

Vegas, baby. Vegas.”

The film that spawned one of the most overused Vegas quotes of our time isn’t about Las Vegas at all. Swingers is so L.A.

Location. Location. Location. For me, the thrill of watching Swingers is noticing all of the familiar locations around town. The characters in this film never stay in one spot for long, always on the move from one bar to another bar, to a Hollywood Hills party, then to a coffee shop for a late night breakfast. All in their own separate cars of course. It’s laughable, but even today I notice that most of my friends in L.A. drive separately, despite that we all live in close proximity of each other and are meeting at the same place.

When I relocated to L.A. in 2003, the very first bar a friend took me to was The Dresden Restaurant to see Marty and Elayne perform. Immortalized by the film, The Dresden remains one of my favorite lounges in L.A. Located at 1760 North Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz, The Dresden makes its appearance in the scene where Mike (Jon Continue reading “L.A. Plays Itself in the Movies: Swingers (1996)”

Elvis Presley 75th Birthday Celebration Tonight

"Elvis" aka Greg Snyder of Wise Guys Events talks to KPCC's Shirley Jihad about the Elvis trivia game, bingo and more his company has planned for the Elvis event at the Egyptian on Sunday (photo courtesy of the Egyptian Theatre).
"Elvis" aka Greg Snyder of Wise Guys Events talks to KPCC's Shirley Jihad about the Elvis trivia game, bingo and more his company has planned for the Elvis event at the Egyptian on Sunday (photo courtesy of the Egyptian Theatre).

Celebrate Elvis’ 75th birthday this evening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Beginning at 5:30 PM, the event will feature films, special guest Francine York, music and karaoke from Roarshack, the biggest Elvis Mix ‘n Mingle trivia game and bingo west of Memphis from Wise Guys Events (with Elvis-related prizes), food vendors including banana and peanut butter pancake bites from Buttermilk Truck, BBQ from BarbiesQ and birthday cake for the entire audience from La Morenita Bakery.

Of course, there will be Elvis merchandise for sale from Hollywood Book & Poster and prizes from Warner Bros., Bettie Page Clothing, Taschen Books (at the Grove), the Grammy Museum’s “Elvis at 21” exhibit and Hollywood Book & Poster. The Pig ‘n’ Whistle will also be hosting a “no-host” bar in the Egyptian’s courtyard. I have no idea what a “no-host” bar is, but it sounds like an open bar. They should offer an open bar. It is what Elvis would have wanted.

Then at 7:30 PM, the Elvis Presley Double Feature will begin featuring: Continue reading “Elvis Presley 75th Birthday Celebration Tonight”

See You Wednesday Night At The Bar

bronsonbarThis Wednesday, January 6, Fred Sablan (Goon Moon) and Jeordie White (Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Goon Moon, Marilyn Manson) are DJing at the Bronson Bar from 10:00pm – 2:00am with cheap drink specials until 11:00pm.

Wednesdays are always a great night at the Bronson Bar if you like rock music (“only good stuff,” as Fred always says), no cover charge and people you actually want to hang out with. Pleasantly unusual for a bar in Hollywood, I say.

The Bronson Bar is not actually the name of the bar as far as I know. I think it’s just called The Bar, but people refer to it as the Bronson Bar, obviously because it’s located on Sunset at Bronson. The neon sign on the outside just says “cocktails” or “bar” or something like that. Anyway, don’t expect to see a sign that says, “Bronson Bar” out front, you got it? Now go rock out.

The Bar
5851 Sunset Blvd (at Bronson)
Los Angeles, CA 90028

As the Year Winds Down to a Close

Yeah, big fan of the whole "Freedom of Spech" thing.
Who is this dashing RobNoxious fellow?

Time to let go of ’09 and get ready for a New Start.

2009 is almost finished, and while there have been some great things that have happened, been plenty to remember fondly and celebrate, there’s also been a good lot that I’m sure none of us will miss. Some things that we should just put behind us. Some stuff that makes us just want to put paid to ’09  and get on with the New Year. Bring on some 2010.

Like the fact that RobNoxious hasn’t posted on Metblogs at all this year!

I Know! A Whole Year! Longer, really. Horrible, isn’t it? Tragic, one might say.

Well, well, welly well, my Little Droogs, not to worry. And we need not wait until the calendar flips its page into the next Three Sixty Five for my return:
The Noxious One is back, Friends.

All of my old posts can be found here:
(http://la.metblogs.com/author/robnoxious/)

But to narrow things down a bit, I think you should know that:
I like it The Punk Rock,
I like Comic Books and Sci Fi,
I don’t like surruptitious throttling of my internet, tapping of my phone or threats to Net Neutality,
I like Amusement Parks,
I don’t like douche bags,
I love exploring our fine city,
and even enjoy the occasional bit of poetry.

Really, though, I’m just another Artist making his way in L.A., paying the bills at his work-a-day job. But y’know, sometimes the job can really be HELL. (for someone, anyway. heh.)

In any case, it’s really good to be back, and I look forward to venturing into the New Year with everyone.

Thanks guys,
Rob

Surf’s Up in Hollywood

The PA holds cue cards for "Keanu" while "Pappas" looks on.
The PA holds cue cards for "Keanu" while "Pappas" looks on.

The longest running theater show in Los Angeles celebrated its two year anniversary on Saturday at the Dragonfly in Hollywood. Point Break LIVE! has been extremely successful, and with good reason. It is one of the most entertaining theater pieces in my memory; even better than Cats. (Okay, granted: most shows are better than Cats. Point Break LIVE! is exceptionally good, though.)

Point Break LIVE! is an absurdist stage adaptation of the classic 1991 movie starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. The twist to this show is that at every performance the role of “Keanu” is performed by a member of the audience (hence, the cue cards.) Because the show has been running for two years, I’m certain there are dozens of reviews more eloquent than mine just on the other side of a Google search. This is not so much a review as an unabashed endorsement.

Buy tickets. See this show. Now! I’m already planning to see it again with other friends.

Point Break LIVE! is a spectacular interactive theater show with comedy, stunts, special-ish effects, hot half-naked surfer dudes…everything you could want in a big budget action movie, but on a seriously diminished budget. There are so many delightful surprises in this show, I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling any of the fun. I will include this, though, from the Point Break LIVE! ticketing site:

“This show is not for the squeamish, uptight, faint of heart, or the easily offended. Theater snobs probably won’t get it. If you are looking for a traditional theater experience – STAY THE F**K AWAY FROM THIS SHOW.”

MetBlogs readers don’t fit any of those categories, so you should all enjoy it immensely. Point Break LIVE! runs Saturday evenings at the Dragonfly in Hollywood. Get tickets here.

PRO TIP: When you collect your tickets at the box office, you’ll be offered a “survival kit” for a buck. Take it. It may be the best dollar you’ll ever spend. Seriously.

Archiving Angeles (AA): The Knickerbocker

Knickerbocker

Hotel President Herman B. Sarno was joined by film starlets Heidi Heidemann, Beverly Anderson, and Kathy Marlowe, comedian Jack Carson, film Actress Connie Towers, and singing star Byron Palmer for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the luxurious Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel.

The year was 1955.

Photo from the USC Digital Library