12.15.2010

A Little Focker before her ruin


Here I am with a Little Focker. The movie comes out on the 22nd and could very well bolster Miss Daisy Tahan into a full-blown child star. I got to her while she was still sweet and before she jumps onto the seemingly obligatory child star/self-pitying post-childhood star/drug addiction/rehab/sex tape tabloid headline phase. I wish her the best of luck.

12.01.2010

Sketchy Santas!

It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit with all these palm trees and spray-on tans. Angelenos, here's something that will throw you into the eye of the snake pit of the lion's den of that ever-elusive Christmas spirit - Sketchy Santas! Check out a few of my faves!













11.18.2010

Thank You Los Angeles!

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd like to thank Los Angeles for the following...

1) Morning Becomes Eclectic for making me less suicidal in the morning

2) Bougainvillea

3) Free Movie Screenings

4) Hundreds of cheap sunglasses at Venice Beach

5) The Moth story slams

6) The junk food platter at SimonLA

7) For bringing us Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

8) Pinkberry

9) The restoration of Old Town Pasadena

10) The Grilled Cheese Truck

11.10.2010

"Reg. Bev. Wil."



Anyone who doesn't get the "Reg. Bev. Wil." reference is not a true Pretty Woman fan. For those in the know, it's short for The Regent Beverly Wilshire, the grand hotel that Julia Roberts' character is swept off to when commencing an illicit love affair with Richard Gere.

I'd always wanted to stroll the interior, but the film's snobbish portrayal made me afraid to step foot inside. Sure, the hotel lobby has restaurants and gift shops that are open to the public, but I feared that someone would sniff out my Rudy's Barbershop haircut or Payless shoes (the occasional guilty pleasure!) and ask, "And where do you think you're going?" Once, while taking my mother sightseeing on Rodeo Drive, I was tempted to take her to the hotel, but restrained. She was wearing cheap, plastic athletic shoes with Velcro straps and I just...I just couldn't do it.

Fast forward a few years and I actually get invited (!) to the hotel. A grand soiree honoring BCBG designer Max Azria and his so-beautiful-it-hurts wife, Lubov. Luba for short. They were being honored for their generous contributions to the Los Angeles Team Mentoring program. Univision is a generous sponsor for this cause as well, and we were invited to share a table with a couple of darling executives, Dayna Wittman and Kathleen Wheeler-Strong.

It was a wonderful evening. Elegant decor, important cause, sumptuous food and an open bar never hurts. We walked away with a little crush on Max Azria's wife Luba. She was a less-severe version of Angelina Jolie. She had her full lips, but with softer features; blonde hair, golden tan and was the definition of elegance. She spoke to us about coming to America from the Ukraine, and how in the Soviet nations, one had to dance or perform in the Olympics to get a Visa out of the country. She talked about her fall into fashion and how her husband Max was the inspiration for her work. After all, she is no trophy wife, though Lord knows she has the credentials. She met Max while working for him, and now helps run the company. Married for 20 years and with children, they are the real deal.

Driving home, I felt pride at not feeling like an impostor at The Regent Beverly Wilshire. No one stared down their nose at me. I triumphed over a fear I'd harbored since watching Pretty Woman in junior high. I was invited, I was one of them. I'll say it once and say it proud: I am not a hooker.

11.05.2010

Digital Style L.A. & The Look Mixer at Trousdale!



You know a gift bag is going to be good when you pick it up and it's as heavy as a dumbbell. It was how I knew that the Digital Style L.A party hosted by The Look was going to be fab. The Look was created by Alan Mruvka, co-founder of E! Entertainment Television, and this new network is all things beauty and fashion.

As we sipped Veev Acai Spirit cocktails, we mingled and passed around business cards with the dexterity of Vegas card dealers. Everyone looked fabulous; mini-dresses with metallic paint splashes, a vintage-inspired bateau-necked dress in winter white and splashy handbags the size of Texas.

Blame it on high expectations, but because The Look has such a high-end look, I was surprised to see servers in pleather mini dresses and garter belts. Don't get me wrong, the girls were beautiful and looked like they hadn't eaten in four years, but it was so Frederick's of Hollywood circa 1987. Perhaps that's the Trousdale uniform, but it would've classed up the event to see the girls in sexy Alice and Olivia or Marc Jacobs ensembles - something thematic. Oh but the snacks they passed around - me oh my. Mini sliders that tasted fresh off the grill, cheesy pizza and egg rolls. Pure comfort food. Those sliders saved us all from the DUIs that only an open bar can make us paranoid about.

It was a great time, and was even better when I got home and ripped into that generous gift bag. I sampled some products immediately after my shower, determined to erase any evidence of the excesses of the night before. Thanks DSLA and The Look!

10.26.2010

L.A. Going to the Dogs


Dogs are the Los Angeles answer to the Manhattan cat. The Big Apple is stacked with box-like studio apartments, occupied by lonely-but-thankful-to-not-have-any-more-crazy-roommate types; perfect for felines. Los Angeles has wide-open spaces and a population with an innate need to tan - dog heaven.

Being a dog owner myself, I'm thankful for the hiking trails and dog beaches Los Angeles has to offer. But it's out of this very town that a creepy dog fetish is sprouting. The hipster in me wants to say it's cool and ironic, except that it's actually happening.

See these links:


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10.19.2010

Autumn. Sigh.


East Coasters find a lot of things to complain about in Los Angeles, but on one subject they always remain mum: skipping harsh winters. Wintry holidays at home sound glorious in a Bing Crosby song, but in reality that icy air hurts as much as your annoying aunt in the reindeer sweater. Everyone has one and you know who I'm taking about. Cold is only really worth it if there's snow, and that I can get in Big Bear.

But I do miss autumn. The crisp air, the changing leaves and the smell of burning firewood. There's nothing like that electric atmosphere, promising good things to come; Halloween, chic fall wardrobe and the holidays.

They say that when you first move to Los Angeles the seasons don't seem to change, and that the longer you live here, the more you'll notice the subtleties. Thankfully it's true.

Believe it or not the temperature does drop. We have trees in our yard with actual leaves that change color and spin to the ground. In the concrete jungles of Hollywood and South Central, these subtleties are easy to miss. In our lush and unnaturally wooded neighborhood, you can catch a glimpse. Some of my neighbors were even gracious enough to plant Japanese maples, which turn a fiery red. They stack pumpkins on their porches and build fires at night, filling the evening air with the smell of home and hearth.

For any of you homesick for the Eastern seaboard, drive through the neighborhood streets north of Ventura in Studio City, or take a day trip to Big Bear. Before the snow falls, you'll see a rainbow of colors amidst the pines. For a quick fix, check out these lovely shots of my hometown neighborhood. This is in Virginia just outside of D.C.
Sigh.


10.12.2010

If DJ AM and DJ Shadow had a baby...

...it would cry like this.

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How come no one ever told me about Pretty Lights? And just how long has this been going on, people? They were at Coachella and everything.

I caught them at the West Beach Festival in Santa Barbara, and I was floored. As of now, you can dowload up to 64 FREE SONGS on their official website. What are you waiting for?

10.05.2010

Grub - A Hub for those who Lub Good Food


Grub. Such a coarse word for the foodie paradise I am about to describe. Tucked away in a studio neighborhood, Grub doesn't need a big sign or heavy foot traffic to get bodies in the door. Quality comfort food and a serene setting pulls in devotees from all over the city. From importing blue cheese from Wisconsin to finding the thickest, crispiest bacon and putting it in practically everything, we love their food and it loves us back.

Me & the crew about to do some serious damage...

Their famous Hershey Bar sandwiches with bacon, a recipe from manager Melissa Fosse Dunne's (below) own mother, was just the beginning...


There was...

The After School Special: creamy tomato soup and a gooey, buttery grilled cheese sandwich

Potato chip cookies with chocolate chips

Rosemary steak sandwich with Gorgonzola & roasted potatoes...


Breakfast sandwich with French toast croissant bread and maple syrup...


And of course, the famous Hershey Bar & bacon sandwich!

9.28.2010

For Those Who Love to Party


For those in the prime of their youth traipsing around Los Angeles playing the field, I know how you feel. Darting in and out of Social and Dolce, you're still wrinkle-free and trendy on the outside, but harbor a dark secret. A fear is buried deep within you, nudging you with a question.

And the question is this: This is fun and all, but they aren't all like this, are they?

The sad news is, most of them are. But with a self-esteem a stitch above self-loathing and a health insurance plan to cover potential mental health issues, you'll be able to pull through with, well, something. In the meantime, don't waste years fretting over those self-involved manorexics and ego maniacs. If you cannot enjoy conversation, try to tap into some other joy they might have to offer. And for God's sake, use Return My Pants. They say it's a site for lenders and borrowers but I must say, it's a great tool for those who like to party.

For the guys you ditched early due to signs of sociopathic behavior or monologues breaking down the virtues of different energy bars, remember to be nice when exiting. Because life in the fast lane almost ensures that your treasured belongings will be scattered across town. For example:

~ You left your Happiness DVD at a studio exec's house while trying to impress him with your art-house knowledge.

~ You left your magic La Perla push-up at Xavier's place, because you found out he got chin implants and scurried out too so fast.

~ Your sequined dress came without pockets, so he held onto your broken necklace that night at The Magic Castle.

...the possibilities are endless. Remember to end it amicably, keep track of where you left what at Return My Pants and know that to get it back you'll have to at least pay for one cocktail. Or if he's particularly scary, coffee.

9.21.2010

The Grilled Cheese Movement



Perhaps it started with Campanile's Grilled Cheese Night on Thursdays years ago. This high-end restaurant (which would otherwise never serve the likes of grilled cheese in their gourmet menu) even claims to be the first to hype grilled cheese in Los Angeles. It was a hit with celebs like Reese Witherspoon and written up in all the glossies. Soon other restaurants followed, like Bodega Wine Bar in Santa Monica, making a high-end grilled cheese with brie and apples. I liked it, but it wasn't classic enough to bring on childhood nostalgia. I think the cheese needs to be yellow-orange for me to get that warm fuzzy feeling.



Then came the Grilled Cheese Truck which is known to have Twitter stalkers all over Los Angeles and lines around the block. This month, waiters at the OK! Magazine party were passing around mini grilled cheese sandwiches on silver platters.

But now, people are going beyond just grilled cheese. They are offering the whole package. Grub in Hollywood is known for making comfort food chic, and they came up with the After School Special; a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Their buttery sandwich and all-natural soup laced with tarragon made me feel all cuddly.

So far, my very favorite grilled cheese with tomato soup combo (and there are plenty of places to choose from now) is at The Bowery on Sunset in Hollywood. While known for their craft beers and burgers, their crisp and gooey grilled cheese sandwich is pure comfort. And their tomato soup is creamy like a bisque, topped with a piece of toasted baguette smothered in herbed goat cheese. It's enough to make me wish it were raining in our city of eternal sunshine.

9.15.2010

The Downtown L.A. Film Festival


The Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival held a gala at The Alexandria Hotel, circa 1906. While beautiful in its stained glass and crown molding glory, the owners try to hide the state of semi-dilapidation with paint jobs. The effect is very Ms. Havisham's mansion from Great Expectations. For this native East-Coaster, it brought back feelings of nostalgia. Rushing in were memories of my college days in Richmond, VA, where we all lived in once-grand homes (some dating back to the Civil War) that were broken into smaller units. It rekindled my longing for great architecture. Half-lit chandeliers, shattered mirrors and all.

The "gala" itself was boring and felt like a fundraiser. Call me a snob, but one doesn't call it a gala with paper plates and cheap Smart and Final desserts cut into 2-inch servings....at a cost. It was filled with hipsters trying to out-weird one another via hair and clothing, and a band that played...well, it wasn't music.

We escaped and wandered around darkened service hallways and opened doors into forbidden and forgotten ballrooms. The beauty of the place was intoxicating, and we had a blast exploring....until chased down and escorted out by security.

Enjoy the photos!











Above: the original Hollywood Babylon crew; Fatty Arbuckle, Rudolph Valentino, Poli Negra, etc.