Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Super Sonic

Turns out teeny tiny songstress Kristin Chenoweth and I have something in common.

It’s not our singing ability — which I’m sure was your first thought — and it’s certainly not our size.  (I have shoes bigger than her.)  And while it’s true we both love musical theatre, I’m talking more ‘guilty pleasures’ here.

Kristin and I are both fans of chain restaurants.

She waxed poetic for her love of ‘em on Conan last night — Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Applebees.  He called her a ‘cheap date.’  I call her a comrade in arms.

One of her favorites and mine?

Sonic Drive-In

Grilled cheese on Texas toast, tater tots, and a grape slush is my favorite meal at Sonic.  But we don’t have Sonics in Manhattan.  Apparently LA doesn’t have them, either.  So Kristin and I both suffer their national ads.  And dream.

See?  Celebrities are just like us.

Favorite places

While re-watching 500 Days of Summer recently, I found myself wondering…

What are my favorite buildings in Manhattan?

The lovesick architect Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was able to find inspiration in Los Angeles.  I live in New York City, home to some of the most iconic buildings in the world.  What speaks to me?

The Lucerne Hotel

When I was looking for my first apartment in the city back in 2006, this Upper West Side building immediately caught my eye.  The realtor had made an appointment for me at a nondescript high-rise across the street; I just wanted to talk about this beautifully ornate structure.

I soon learned it was a boutique hotel with a decidedly European influence — a French restaurant occupies the entire ground floor — and that had it just undergone a major renovation.

But at the turn-of-the-century, The Lucerne was a residence hotel.  Eugene O’Neill is one of its more storied occupants.  I’m sure it was less grand back then, but the man knew his architecture.

I wish the darn thing would go co-op now!

A robot’s tale

I met a robot in my neighborhood.

image He’s a nightlight for sale at my friend Stephanie’s shop, Stoopher & Boots.

Every time I have seen him, I couldn’t look away. (We don’t get a lot of his kind on the Upper West Side.)

Then I started hearing a sound when I was near him…a soft chant. “Milo. Milo.” (He’s a friend of mine — the baby boy variety – who has a particular interest in the ‘bots.)

He needed that robot nightlight.  So after a quick consultation with his parental units, it was soon on its way to Milo’s robot-themed bedroom in sunny Los Angeles.

image

Look at it — sitting in his room, like it was made for the place.

It’s almost an exact match to the robot in the print on the wall!

How a’bot that?

Spirit stick

Do you remember the very first DVD you ever owned?

I do.

I had just bought a combo VHS/DVD player — back when they were still pretty pricey — and a friend gave me the campy cheerleader cult classic Bring it On.  (It wasn’t a classic back then; just campy.)

It also wasn’t a musical, but it is now, and not on Broadway. My west coast friends have the bragging rights to this one.

Bring it On: The Musical may be playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles through December 10th, but they have recruited a bunch of Broadway award-winners to their team:

  • Tony Award-winning writer Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q)
  • Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights)
  • Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next to Normal)
  • Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (In The Heights)

It’s gotta be good, right?

Tweets from audience members, both celebrity and ‘regular folk,’ have been very enthusiastic. The critics appear to have their doubts.

But it’s early yet.  There’s lots of time to polish.  Bring it On: The Musical is on a national tour, although no Broadway dates appear to be scheduled.

Yet.

I’m sexy, I’m cute,
I’m popular to boot.
I’m wanted, I’m hot,
I’m everything you’re not,
I’m pretty, I’m cool,
I dominate this school,
Who am I? Just guess,
Guys wanna touch my chest,
We cheer and we lead,
We act like we’re on speed,
Hate us ’cause we’re beautiful,
Well we don’t like you either,
We’re cheerleaders,
We are cheerleaders.

Bacon benies

Ask any business traveler — the success of any off-site conference, meeting or training session hinges upon one essential element:

BACON

It’s that simple.

Any time you gather together individuals for two or more days away from home — away from their families, their routines, their creature comforts — you must provide bacon at breakfast to insure their stamina and good health.

(I mean mental health, of course.)

Even if these businessmen and women don’t regularly eat bacon at home, offering them bacon each morning during your meeting will automatically adjust their attitude towards the positive, making them more tolerant for whatever amazing agenda your company has planned.

I know of what I speak.  It’s Saturday.  I’m working all day at a meeting in Los Angeles.  My head won’t hit the pillow until the wee hours of the morning.

How will I motor through?

Bacon.  It’s what’s for breakfast.

Oscar unworthy

I’m headed to Los Angeles this weekend — for work,  of course.  But my hotel is located right next door to the Grammy Awards venue.

I know, right?

Another red carpet, another round of celebrity self-congratulations.  And as the Academy Awards draw ever nearer, I have to say — this year’s awards season seems even more shallow than usual.  The nominees, the producers, the directors, and even the Oscar voters, I dare say, have abandoned even the appearance of giving out the statutes based on quality.

You just gotta be popular.

Producers always run elaborate pre-Oscar marketing campaigns for movies and their stars, but this year, even the actors are purchasing full-page ads in industry publications ‘for your consideration.’

Case in point: Melissa Leo, Best Supporting Actress nominee for her gritty performance in  “The Fighter,” (which has already garnered her three other trophies).

Chillax, Melissa.  You’ve been considered.  And shee-shee pics like these may swing opinion in the other direction.

The popularity of  the leading actors in The King’s Speech is also one of the main reasons it has of late pulled ahead of The Social Network in the awards race — not because Speech is a better film.  (It’s not.)  This became especially clear during the SAG Awards telecast.

When the casts of both movies appeared on stage during the show, the good feelings that washed over the cast of The King’s Speech were palpable…. whereas the young entourage from The Social Network was prickly, awkward and off-putting.

Heck, I wanted TSN to win, and I didn’t like their attitude that night much either.  But I would hope — if I had the opportunity to vote for any of the awards — that I could separate my personal feelings about any of the nominees from their work in the films.

If the Oscars are going to mean anything now and in the future, the voting community has to man up, act like adults and vote based on the quality of the filmmaking…not just ‘who’s their buddy.’

But then again, maybe none of them are that good of actors.

Steam cleaning

The Sticky Egg has the flu.

Poop.

And as with most cases of the flu, I feel feverish and tired and achy.  I’ve been thinking about how great a massage would feel. Of course, I don’t think a masseur would want anything to do with a client with the flu.

How rude.

Perhaps I should skip the massage and go for a newfangled spa treatment that has just arrived in the United States. It’s a freakish thing called chai-yok.

You sit on a open-seated stool and steam from water infused with mugwort and wormwood and other herbs is blown into your nether regions.

It’s purported to increase fertility, get rid of hemorrhoids and fight infection, although doctors haven’t exactly gotten ‘behind’ the spa treatment.

If you live in Los Angeles, you can go to a spa and steam your private parts.  If not, there are at-home kits available.

Perfect for flu-y folk like me.

It’s a date

Attention bailiffs!

If you’re tired of playing that dated and — let’s be honest — rather trite ‘Aren’t you proud to be here today doing your civic duty?’ video to newbies in the jury pool each day, help is on the way!

Wouldn’t a sweeping tale of love and romance — ripped from the headlines “Law and Order” style — be way more inspiring to the usual herd of unwilling victims…and easier for you to stomach watching over and over and over again?

Well, I’d say it’s only a matter of time before a dramatization of the real life courtroom love story between a certain famous former plaintiff and a member of his jury will be coming to a holding room near you.

The couple?  None other than Rodney King, the Los Angeles man who was notoriously beaten by members of the LAPD, and Cynthia Kelley, a member of the jury that awarded him a $3.8 million settlement in the civil suit against that very police department.

(The two met the day after the trial at a pizza shop, so it’s all above board.)

Think of the singles who normally crowd into bars, or suffer through blind dates or church mixers, desperately looking for Mr. and Ms. Right.  Now, those same singles will be clamoring to meet their special someone and send people they don’t know to prison.

There’s a fun two-fer…and the meal’s included.

Now, there’s no guarantee that everyone will find happiness in the courtroom and walk down the aisle like Rodney and Cynthia.  But if you wanna take a chance on love…

You’re just gonna have to face the judge.

Stand and deliver

I have my issues with Apple.

They make innovative products — I’ll give them that.  Their really cool looking gizmos do most of the stuff they’re supposed to do.

But they repeatedly rush their products to market under a blaze of brilliantly constructed advertising — honestly, no one does marketing better — and when their products fall short of what was promised, they totally suck on the customer service end.

There was the pre-order debacle — as in, people couldn’t get through to place one.  Now in-store inventories are low.  And lines to get the iPhone 4′s that are available at the stores are ridiculously long.

Apple’s poor follow-through even drove perennial everyman Jason Bateman of “Arrested Development” to pull the celebrity card and cut a 2,000-person long line at a Los Angeles store to get his iPhone.

He got booed when he left.

And what’s this?  There’s a yellow tint or line on their much heralded display.  More seriously, if you hold the phone wrong, you might not get a signal.  Pardon me…I hold my cellphone at the bottom, like a normal person.

I’m not hurling all this bitterness at Apple because I was stuck in a long line waiting for my iPhone.  I use a Palm Pre quite happily.

I just want Apple to realize that customer service is the other side of marketing.  If your can’t deliver on the BS you’re selling…

Don’t sell.

As thin as…

I was stoked to learn that “Paper Man,” a new movie starring Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone and my main man, Ryan Reynolds, was showing here in NYC. “Paper Man” is up at just two theaters nationwide…and I can get to one of them by subway.

In the words of my friend Jennifer…

“Rock on.”

In “Paper Man,” Daniels portrays a writer who can’t seem to move forward without the help of his life-long imaginary friend, Captain Excellent (portrayed by Reynolds).  Daniels meets Stone — who has her own childhood traumas — and they develop an unlikely — I should have underlined ‘unlikely’ — friendship.

I saw “Paper Man” last night.  And I learned two very important things.

Number 1:  A funny line does not equal plot.

Number 2:  Ryan Reynolds, his buff body so aptly displayed in superhero tights, cannot rescue a movie from the aforementioned lack of plot.

(I think I knew both of these before I sat down.  Tragically, the filmmakers did not.)

If “Paper Man” comes to your town and you are moved to see it due to the cast as I was, know that you will still enjoy looking at Ryan Reynolds’ sculpted body.  But you can do this by visiting the website or gazing upon the movie poster — no need to actually sit through the film.

That being said, I do think the performances were good.  The actors gave the material more than it deserved.

They showed up.

The plot…did not.