Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Los Angeles a Go Go, part two

As promised, gentle readers, here is part two of my photographic chronicle of my recent trip to the City of Angels. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed my visit.

Party in a mansion
On Friday night I met my friends Emily and Randy at a mansion in Los Feliz for a birthday party. The birthday boy was an old acquaintance of Emily's from her days as a Hermosa Beach denizen, and he opened his home to us and... well, many others. The house was positively amazing, with both Emily and Randy commenting that it looked like something out of Sunset Boulevard.

The view from one of the host mansion's several balconies.

Me and Emily ready for our close up.

The front doors. They aren't green; that's just the way my camera picked up the party light.

That lamp light wasn't green, either. It's a cool effect, though.

Dusty's in Silver Lake
Dusty's Bistro currently is my favorite place to have brunch in L.A. They have several different varieties of mimosas (the strawberry-orange being the most popular), and they are not at all stingy with their portions. Plus, I think it might be owned or managed by someone my age because there always is great 80's new wave/alternative pouring out of the sound system. On this visit I had the pleasure of dining to the sounds of Roxy Music, OMD, Echo and the Bunnymen and Simple Minds. On a previous visit I heard Flesh For Lulu. Seriously.

Dave Wakeling and the English Beat at Pershing Square
An English Beat show always is a good time, even if the band is just original singer/guitarist Dave Wakeling with some musicians he's hired. They played a free show in downtown L.A.'s Pershing Square on Saturday night, and it was a delight to see them and enjoy free music on a Los Angeles summer night. It also was a treat to do something like that downtown, which was regarded as more or less a wasteland after dark when I was growing up in Pasadena.

Whatever song they're playing here, you can rest assured it was awesome.

Just a portion of the crowd.

The architecture downtown is gorgeous.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Los Angeles a Go Go, part one

I returned for my little jaunt to L.A. this afternoon, and I already miss the Southland. As much as love San Francisco (and as much as what I'm about to say probably disturbs many of my Bay Area friends), my heart remains in Los Angeles. I grew up in Pasadena, and the area always will be home to me. I took a lot of pictures during this mini-vacation. Some are better than others, but I've decided to post the ones deemed blog-worthy in two parts. Otherwise, this would be one massively long post. So here is part one. Enjoy!

The Go-Go's
As I mentioned in my last post, I went down to L.A. to see the Go-Go's perform at the Greek Theatre. In addition to the show, I also took a trip to Hollywood Boulevard to visit their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame because...well, why wouldn't I?

The band is in this shot somewhere. What an excellent show.

Hollywood Boulevard at Cherokee Avenue: the intersection where the Go-Go's star is located. I have a love affair with Hollywood Boulevard. Its seedy tourist trap existence positively delights me.

South Pasadena Farmers Market
If I'm in Southern California on a Thursday afternoon/evening, I make a point to visit the South Pasadena farmers market. I'm not really a farmers market person, per se, but the South Pasadena farmers market is a true community event. It is everything that is good about suburbia, and I love it. It doesn't hurt that it happens mere blocks from my brother Michael's house. So on Thursday my sister Patti and I took my nephew Mikey Jet and his friend Soon Mi to the farmers market before hitting a nearby park. Thankfully, my sister-in-law Maki joined us before too long. Mikey is a doll, but I always prefer it when the parents of small children are nearby.

The famed Mikey Jet and Soon Mi donning elaborate balloon creations I purchased for them. About five minutes before we saw the balloon man, they had been talking about cotton candy. So frankly, I think I got off easy just buying balloons.

Some of the farmers market entertainment. The kids were able to join this guy on percussion.

Tiki Ti
The best bar in L.A., hands down. I try to go there every time I visit, and this time around, I stopped in for a couple of cocktails after enjoying ground beef and pickle tacos at Malo Cantina and Taqueria down the street. Much yumminess all the way around.

More photos are coming, including several taken inside the Los Feliz mansion where I attended a party Friday night and a few from the free Dave Wakeling and English Beat show in Pershing Square downtown on Saturday night. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What A Way To Go-Go

Remember when the Grateful Dead was still together (when, say, Jerry Garcia was alive), and fans would follow them from city to city to see them perform. Their fans had the time, energy and dedication to follow their favorite band. And perhaps they were a bit nuts.

Well, I officially have become one of those fans.

No, I'm not talking the Grateful Dead here, obviously. On Tuesday, the Go-Go's played at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Then last night they played at the Greek Theatre in L.A. And I attended both shows.

In case you aren't aware, the Go-Go's have been my favorite band since I was twelve. I love them more than my second favorite band, the Beatles, or any of my other favorite bands... the English Beat, the Monkees, the Specials, X, etc. I even love them more than my rock and roll crushes, Buddy Holly and Nick Lowe (yes, I know Buddy Holly has been dead for more than 50 years). And the Go-Go's still tour with the lineup that made them famous (technically not the original lineup, as two of the original members were replaced before the band made it big).

So when I realized that I could take the time off from work and afford a little flight from San Francisco to L.A., it just made sense to buy tickets for both shows. At the Fillmore I got the intimate club experience, enjoying the show from... oh... I'm guessing 20 feet or so from the stage. The Greek Theatre was a slightly different story. My seats were decent, but a large amphitheatre is a large amphitheatre, and even decent seats can feel a bit far away. However, my seats this time were better than the ones I had when I saw the Go-Go's and the Red Rockers at the Greek on August 8, 1984 (my first concert, thank you very much). Plus, thanks to a tip from my friend Angela, I actually was able to attend their soundcheck yesterday afternoon. I only saw part of it because of my flight time, but even part of it was way cool.

Figuring that I may as well make a long weekend of my excursion, I'm still in the City of Angels and will be here until Sunday afternoon. I had a chance to visit with my nephew, Mikey Jet, today and intend to do some singing, socializing and lots of dining for the rest of the weekend. I even plan to enjoy a little more live music.

A trip to the Southland based on catching my favorite band play one night after I saw them in San Francisco...I can't help but think that somewhere Jerry Garcia is smiling.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Tea and Tiny Sandwiches

My co-worker Connie is pregnant, with twins, no less, and this weekend she had a tea party baby shower at Dartealing Lounge in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. I must confess that I'm generally not a big fan of showers, either bridal or baby, but this was such a fun gathering. We sipped four varieties of tea and munched on yummy sandwiches, scones and miniature cupcakes. We also, of course, lovingly fawned over Connie as she carries two other little people on her 5'1" frame. These pictures only include about a third of the guests in attendance, but I'm sure a delightful time was had by all.

The rest of my weekend was pretty good. Gry, an old friend from my acting days, is in town, and she and I got together for dinner on Friday night. Plus, my friend Megan and her roommate hosted their annual summer barbecue. It was awfully foggy and chilly in their backyard in Noe Valley, but the grill was hot and the company lovely. Unfortunately, I also had to deal with some worrisome family developments, but it appears that they are going to work out just fine. At least I hope so.

I also hope to attend another tea party soon. It's delicate, girly, good fun, and those sandwiches are incredibly yummy.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

What's On Your Mind

Good afternoon, gentle readers. It's been mellow couple of days in the land of All Things Sassy, so I'll just share a few things that have been on my mind lately. I know you've been wondering.

My next trip to Hawaii is coming up in about a month, and I am so excited. We're getting our hotel accommodations taken care of right now, thanks to my friend Andrey (he's a travel agent). In the meantime, I'm counting the days until I find myself back on the lusciously warm beaches of Honolulu.

Songs to try in karaoke.
My band, Sober Nixon, is on a tiny summer hiatus due to vacations, so my singing energy has been focused on training and karaoke. It helps that I've made a lot of friends at my favorite karaoke den. These days I'm averaging two nights a week there singing songs, and I've been loving every minute of it. I just learned "Mercy" by Duffy, which sits perfectly in my range. I still have to practice it a bit more, but it's almost like I was destined to sing it and songs like it. I'm also going to learn Dusty Springfield's "Son of  A Preacher Man," "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson and "I'll Follow The Sun" for the monthly Beatles sing along event I attend. I already am familiar with all of these songs, especially the Beatles ditty, but I need to practice singing them. Yes, I practice the songs that I sing in karaoke before I try them in front of an audience. That's probably breaking some sort of unspoken karaoke rule, but since I'm also investing in voice lessons to learn to sing properly, I give myself a free pass.

Self esteem.
All those people who say that self esteem improves as we age are so right. In the year and a half since I turned 40, I have been riding a wave of sky high self confidence. I still get insecure here and there, but I feel so much better about myself than I ever have. I'd like to believe this means that I won't put up with any more crap from stinky boys, but let's not get crazy here. Regardless, I feel great, and those boys all still smell bad.

So these are the things I've been thinking about lately. Exciting, huh? I do have a rather full weekend ahead of me. I just found out that Gry, an old friend from my acting days, is in town, so we're going to get together on Friday evening to catch up. Then Saturday is Connie's baby shower, as well as Kevin's birthday and Sam's birthday (I may or may not be celebrating the birthdays that day). And finally on Sunday is Megan's barbecue. After all of that, I likely will need a weekend from my weekend.