Now THAT'S a Party

Los Angeles is the perfect town to throw a party. Unlike the cloistered labyrinth of New York City, it's harder to annoy our neighbors. We have the privacy of mountain roads and quiet canyons. On the edge of our continent sit rows of bungalows set against the deafening crash of the surf, allowing us make like Elvis Costello and Pump It Up.

I missed the party where Matthew McConaughey apparently played a game of naked all-male Twister, the one (and I suspect one of many) where Winona Ryder got loopy and broke into hysterics and the oft-whispered of party when P-Diddy was allegedly caught in a compromising position with another guy in a hotel bedroom at a raucous party on the Sunset Strip. I'm not one to start rumors, but I was about one or two people removed from seeing the shenanigans myself, and that annoys me.

For all of you out there hearing the crazy rumors from parties you missed, be it a Greek mixer or abusive office party, you can always get a peek into the sick shindigs you missed (or glad you missed) on Now That's a Motherfucking Party.


Hollywood-Inspired Roadtrip #2 - The Amityville Horror House!

Whether or not you believe the Lutz family's claims of hauntings and paranormal activity in their Amityville home (allegations that inspired the Amityville Horror film), one cannot deny that the place holds a sordid place in American history.

Before the Lutz family moved in, the Dutch Colonial home sat vacant for 18 months. Why? Six members of the DeFeo family were slain in their beds when they occupied the house beforehand. People claim that the Lutz family lied about the house's alleged haunting, but one cannot overlook the fact that they hightailed it out of that place just 28 days after moving in. Anyone who knows what a pain moving is can tell you that's a sure sign there was some funny business going on.

My friends and I drove to the Amityville house one night. I was saddened to see they replaced the iconic fan-shaped windows that seemed like eyes staring out. I suppose when they made that house habitable again those windows would be the first thing to go. Then it was painted white, among other minor tweaks. But the bones are still the same.

When trying to leave the neighborhood, we got lost in the winding streets and drove in circles for a couples of minutes. For the sake of adventure, we really looked into it.


Hollywood-Inspired Roadtrip: Grey Gardens!

Before Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange danced their way into our hearts with their Tea for Two number, there was the real thing. Grey Gardens was a documentary that inspired shock and awe in me. How these East Hampton ladies of high society could degenerate into a reclusive life of squalor was beyond me.

I had to see Grey Gardens for myself. During my last visit to New York City, I rented a car and sped the length of Long Island to get to the once-delapidated mansion that Jackie O. & Co. cleaned up before it was condemned. Not surprisingly, the facade was blocked off with high gates and security cameras because of jerks like me. But for the savvy book-readers and documentarians of the world, it is well-known that one can go to the beach, climb a sand dune and get a great shot of the backyard, which I did.


Trendy L.A. neighborhood is for the birds

If Los Angeles were one big high school, and everyone wanted to do something because "all the cool kids were doing it," the cool kids would be the celebrities. We get their haircuts, copy their outfits and, at one point in history, have all said, "That's HOT," because Paris Hilton did. We all may be ashamed to admit this, but at the time, she was head cheerleader in this circus.

According to the tabloids, all the cool kids are moving to the "the birds" above Sunset Boulevard in the hills, particularly a street called Blue Jay Way. "The birds" are a collection of streets clustered at the top of the hills, with sweeping views from the ocean to the Los Angeles basin. Some street names include Oriole, Nightingale and Swallow. All the tabloids feature spreads with aerial views, claiming that young Hollywood has built their nest on the bird streets. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston and Keanu Reeves all have homes there. What's more, is that George Harrison wrote a song about the street. Below is a photo of the house he stayed in for a little while on Blue Jay Way.

I was stoked to take the greyhounds on a nice hike, especially with the jutting, hard-to-climb hills. Much of the time we were out of breath and felt on top of the world, physically. I could see everything, including a dark grey tumble of clouds sweeping over Catalina Island and towards our shores. Blue Jay Way was up so high, one can predict weather patterns! But I was floored by how crappy the homes were. You know the types. Small ranchers from the 60's with low-slung roofs covered in pebbles. Driveways lined with cinder block walls painted white. Yeech. Sure, George Harrison's old pad (pictured above) had a pool, but otherwise it's a place where architecture goes to die. That place needed a pool to distract the owners from how depressing it was.
I think what sold the residents were the views. No doubt the real estate ads showed amazing nighttime shots like this realtor's photo I found:

With heights like this, Leo, among his other neighbors, could feel like "King of the World!!!!"


In Defense of the Jersey Shore

No, not the Jersey Shore that was stolen by Snooki and The Situation. My Jersey Shore doesn't involve flammable hair or clothing.

Not only has that crew taken Italians another 50 years back, but they detract from a classic American retreat. One of the best things about L.A. is getting out of L.A. and the Jersey Shore has always been a warm respite every July. We rent a house right on the water, and the days are filled with summer reading on the beach, fresh tomatoes from the Garden State's many roadside stands, late breakfasts, volleyball, coconut-scented sun tan lotion, body surfing and grilling dinner on the deck. It's Ralph Lauren, not Baby Phat. Hamptons not Hooters. And I have posted pictures to prove it. So there.