Merry Christmas Los Angeles!

In celebration of this season, I'd love to share with you some of the AMAZING holiday good times Los Angeles has to offer. Above are the spirited, Dickensian carolers at the Tam O'Shanter. They harmonize so well, they vibrate. They carol from  December 1st - 30th. It's a MUST DO. 


Holiday lights downtown are proof that the scene is booming. There was even a troupe of local carolers!

Day trip to Santa Barbara to enjoy holiday shopping, and decadent chocolates from Chocolats du CaliBressan. After all,  Jean-Michel Carre is known as "the French chocolatier of the American Riviera."

The historic Roosevelt Hotel is all decked out, with real trees (ah, the smell) and gourmet gingerbread houses.

The streets are decked out!

Luckily, my neighbors across the street were inspired by A Charlie Brown Christmas....and penguins.

The beauty of tacky Christmas lights. This is in Pasadena, not far from Christmas Tree Lane!

The cabin always looks best at Christmas, as most cabins do!



Hollywood Babylon

My neighbor Linda let me borrow the controversial book Hollywood Babylon, an infamous expose on the debauchery of early Hollywood. From the days of silent film to the 1950's, the founding stars of Tinseltown had antics that would make even the most jaded Angelenos blush.

Hours-long orgies were taped inside of studios, never to make it to theatres. Directors held these elaborate sex scenes (sometimes involving slaves and torture) as artistic visions, but America's laws on censorship made sure they never saw the light of day. The country's consternation over the budding film industry was so intensely disapproving, that actors and directors in the 20's and 30's were considered pleasure-loving outcasts, not lauded celebrities.

There were all-night parties, murders, rivalries, involvement with the mob and starlets overdosing in their Hollywood apartments only to be eaten by their house pets. But none of the stories filled me with such shock and horror as the story of Fatty Arbuckle.

Hollywood Babylon writer Kenneth Anger claimed that the burly actor raped aspiring actress Virginia Rappe behind a locked door at a party. Everyone heard her screams, and later Rappe mumbled to friends, "He hurt me," and "Arbuckle did it." She died a couple of days later. Her bladder had ruptured and her insides were torn to shreds. Hollywood Babylon claims that he had raped her with a broken Champagne bottle. In fact, long after his trial and acquittal, he was pulled over for drunk driving (a chronic addiction he suffered until death), and he smashed a bottle on the side of the road and laughed, "There goes the evidence."

Other sources I have read claim that there is no evidence to support the bottle theory, which is one of the reasons Hollywood Babylon is so controversial. It's the inaccuracy. There were signs that the book was smutty. The cover shows Jayne Mansfield with an exposed nipple; the only thing colored red in the black and white photo aside from her lips. The photos inside, while enthralling, are gratuitous. On display are dead bodies, whether with gunshot wounds, head in a gas oven or partially eaten by house pets. But nothing disturbed me as much as the story of Fatty Arbuckle.

I recommend this book for those fascinated with history and pop culture. But you have to read it like one would Us Weekly - with a grain of salt.


Cheaters Beware

We may never understand why Hugh Grant lowered himself to risking jail and Elizabeth Hurley just to receive the affections of a strung out prostitute. In a car. Grant was caught outside of Sally Struthers' house, by the way - little-known fact I picked up. What's even more odd is that he did this in Los Angeles, when he could easily have hooked up with a wannabe celebrity at The Standard. At least that way she's cuter, bathes regularly and has a room. Then again, maybe Grant steered clear of the hangers-on for good reason. Too many people on try to use sex with a celebrity to springboard off the tabloid circuit and into fame. Plus, Divine Brown (pictured above) is kind of cute.

But these days, all it takes is one scorned lover and a laptop get you into the Cheaters Registry. Everyone Googles their first date, and now, your transgressions may pop up for all the world, including your mother, to see. If your date is particularly savvy, they may cut to the chase and hit the Cheaters Registry first. Best of luck to you.


Selling used diaphragms for $50? Asian servers dressed as French maids and putting bibs on you?

Only in Los Angeles. No, I take that back. Only in Los Angeles and Japan. And we know Japan is all kinds of pervy, with vending machines filled with used panties and all.

Yes, it's true. Here, I Snopes'd it for you. 

Vending machine at L.A.'s Royal-T, "Lightly-used Diaphragm" (spelled wrong & $50)
While the Harajuku style is fun and playful, the French maid outfits at Royal-T were more Harajuku-Meets-kindergartner. The girlish puff sleeves, miniskirt and knee socks reinforced the Japanese custom to make grown women look like little girls, which is the sexual ideal in Japan. At least French maids look like women. You go France. Note to restaurateurs: I am not a pedophile.

Chillin' with The Glass Twins of GT Events
The food was great, the variety of cupcakes plentiful, and it's a fun art space. My favorite was the Port-a-Party - a giant Porta Potty-shaped iPod that played real music. But don't get me started on the used diaphragms in the vending machine. I'm not offended about them poking fun at the perverted side of Japanese culture. I'm more offended that they spelled diaphragm wrong and charged $50 for it.