Friday, April 29, 2005

clang clang!

Downtown Los Angeles could be getting a trolley system! Woo hoo! The City Council approved the funding of a study for the feasibility of bringing back a Red Car-type trolley back to Downtown Los Angeles. The study will determine whether or not a trolley system with a fixed route could work as a circulator and tourism magnet. My head is spinning with the possibilities. I am imagining how far my nontourage and I can then expand our coverage of downtown bars, restaurants, and shops if what this study envisions were to come true. Because that's what politicians, investors and developers like to hear. Tall tales of residents, visitors and tourists all riding the trolley and sprinkling bags of cash at businesses clustered around each stop. Every night would look like a beer commercial's idea of a good time, and every day would look like an iPod or carbonated beverage commercial.

The reality: the study begins this month and will take Irvine-based IBI six to eight months to complete. The study will address physical requirements, costs, operational issues, anticipated ridership and impact on the community. I wonder how they're going to measure the impact on the community. I wish they'd ask me. The 10-trolley car system would traverse a five-mile loop Downtown, with stops at hotels, business centers and tourist attractions. The steel-wheeled trolleys, replicas of the original Red and Yellow cars, would be powered by overhead electric lines. My reality: I could go way beyond stumbling distance from the penthouse.

fun bicycle activities

What's with the bikes? I had no idea so many people in Los Angeles were into their bicycles. I'm not into it, but if you supply me with beverages I'm sure I could watch it for hours.

The Bike Expo was this past weekend, coverage on that as well as upcoming bike events can be found here, here, and here. But for those interested in a fun downtown bike tour, you might want to check out The Inaugural Cinco de Mayo Downtown Los Angeles Fun Bicycle Tour on Sunday, March 8th.

Curtis C. Roseman, Professor Emeritus of Geography at USC says:
"It starts at the Shrine Auditorium, goes south through USC and Exposition Park, then north on Figueroa to downtown. After a major stop (about halfway) at Pershing Square, the ride continues down Broadway, then through North University Park to the Shrine. It will be an easy, casual ride, celebrating historic and cultural attractions of the area."

It is a 9-mile noncompetitive fundraiser, which doesn't mean much to me, but I'm not a cyclist. So if you feel like "Celebrating Downtown L.A's. Architectural Heritage" for nine miles on a bike, departure starts at 7:00 AM at the Shrine Auditorium. Let me know how that works out for you.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

what happens in the elevator...

I had to get downstairs. My roommate called, asking me to get some papers from Helen, the woman who runs the convenience store in our lobby. Helen left promptly at 7pm and it was 6:19pm.

I'm alone in the elevator when one of the drug dealers who live in my building gets in. He nods to me in greeting and pushes the button for the 4th floor. He asks me how I've been, if I'm having a good day, the usual small talk. "What about you," I ask, "how are you doing? I haven't seen you in a while."

"I've been away."

Was it just me or was this the longest elevator ride? That's when we realized the elevator wasn't moving. "Did the elevator stop?" he asked.

"It sure looks like it."

"Push the 'door open' button." he suggested. I did. We waited. Nothing.

I pull my cell phone out of my pocket and dial the front desk, "Hi, this is Celia. I'm stuck in the elevator, between floors six and five. Can you get us out?" He reassured me he'd send security up right away.

"I should've taken the stairs," he complained, "this is gonna take too long and I've got people to see."

I looked at the time on my phone - 6:26pm. I still had time. Then we hear banging from the elevator door, and voices. I bang the door in response. "Hello! Security? Can you get us out of here?" I yell.

From the top of the door we hear a faint, "Yes, this is security. Who's in there with you?"

I realize I don't know his name. I've seen him around for at least five years and I just know him as one of the drug dealers, the one with all the brothers and cousins, all sporting shaved heads like him. He was older, bigger, and his looks were more intimidating than his brothers and cousins. I didn't want to admit that I didn't know his name, so I squint, trying to make out the letters tattooed on his neck. I hope it spells his name and not his girlfriend's. I give up and he yells to the elevator ceiling, "It's me, Puppet."

I never would've guessed his name was Puppet, not from his looks, not from the letters tattoed around his neck. I thought I saw an "O" but couldn't make out the rest. The security guard came in faintly, "Puppet, man, just push the doors to the side. We're pushing out here."

All I could think of was getting to Helen before she left the convenience store at 7pm. "Tell Helen not to leave!" I ask the security guard. Puppet is grunting and the door isn't budging.

I could make out a muffled voice from the other side of the elevator door, "Push the number six button." Puppet stops pushing. I push number 6 and it stays lit. But buttons five and four darken. The voices outside grow distant. Are we falling? Puppet complains again, "I'm bored." We hear nothing from outside the door but silence.

"So do you still have a boyfriend?" asked Puppet. I look at him, wondering what neural pathways took him from pushing doors to wondering why he hasn't seen A around lately. "If we get bored we could make out," he suggested. I'm imagining introducing him to my astrologer and my parents, "This is my boyfriend, Puppet." Then, three heads explode, all at once. Then I visualize A's head exploding.

I laugh, "I'm involved." Yeah, involved with my imaginary boyfriend, who is nothing at all like the last real one. Involved with my vibrator, whose overuse I think bears more responsibility for my right shoulder pain than my car accident last month. Involved. That's a good word for it and Puppet has no idea what I'm talking about.

Puppet smiles at me, "I'm just saying, what happens in the elevator, stays in the elevator."

I change the subject, "So where did you go? Somewhere fun?"

"I was in jail."

All I could hear was the sound of me wishing I had weed.

Bored, Puppet resumes pushing the doors and we can hear the security guards on the other side. He asks, "Are you guys pushing on that side? Use the crowbar."

The muffled reply, "We lost the crowbar last week."

I look at my phone again - 6:47pm - and give up. I was just about to ask Puppet, "So you wanna make out?" when the doors part. Puppet strides out and says to no one in particular, "I'm not getting back on that thing man, I'm taking the stairs."

The security guards ride down the elevator with me. "What happened to your crowbar?" I ask the captain of security.

"Phil threw it at a tranny who was beating on Mike's head with her shoes. So they took it away from us."

"Did he hit the tranny?"


The elevator doors open and a man with long white hair stood in front of us in his bathrobe, big-ass stereo headphones wrapped around his head, clutching an air-freshener spray-can. We got off, he got on. As the doors closed, he sprays the air in the elevator. I had to ask the captain, "So, what's his story?"

"That's Dr. Smellgood. Haven't you ever seen him around? He sprays everybody who gets too close to him, he's always spraying air freshener around him."

What was I looking at that I never noticed Dr. Smellgood?

"He lives on the 9th floor, he has all these air fresheners laid out around his front door so that he hits all the air that comes in."

I wanted to ask the captain more questions, but I had to see Helen before she closed up shop and left. When I returned to the lobby, the captain was on patrol. There was a private sitting at the desk, but he didn't understand English. I took the only working elevator up to the 9th floor and peeked down one hallway - sure enough, there was a semi-circle of air fresheners and floodlights around one door half-way down the hall.

la press club, asspig, geminis

I was at at the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Tuesday night for the Los Angeles Press Club party. Hugh Hewitt was the host/featured speaker. I had many things to cross off my to-do list so I multi-tasked and invited my astrologer along because we needed to talk about my love life and find new things to laugh about. He had to deal with freeway traffic and I walked, so I arrived with plenty of time to have a drink and flirt with possibly the cutest writer in attendance before he finally showed up.

Hugh was very gracious and made a few introductions, but the room wasn't as friendly. Most of the crowd clung to their large circles of people they knew rather than mixing it up, but most of the crowd seemed old and mean, so it worked out. I did manage to meet Gabrielle, the really likeable woman behind the genius that is Single Shot, her significant other, Jim, from Uglytown, and actress Giovindini Murty. My astrologer finally showed up, introductions were made, more cocktails were had, and then a wave of unfriendly, unattractive people entered the room.

After what seemed like the longest cocktail hour ever, Hugh launched into his speech. I made the mistake of asking my astrologer about after Hugh spoke. Normally, that's a good time to ask that type of question, but it was a free-for-all with all sorts of people taking their turn getting loud on the mike: L.A. Times editor Bob Sipchen, Mickey Kaus, Patterico, Armed Liberal (Marc Danziger), Roger L. Simon, and others whose names I didn't catch.

"Did you check out asspig?", I whispered, causing a paroxysm of laughter in my astrologer.

"No, I have standards." He laughs, "Well not really, but anything with the word PIG in it that has to do with gay men scares me."

"Weren't you even the least bit curious?" I confessed, "I checked it out."

My astrologer swiveled to face me, trying to sniff out the truth. He must have smelled something. "I did too."

Marc and Roger (I don't know which one is which) were very excited. They just announced their new blog club, Pajamas Media, and asked bloggers in the audience to join their new whatever. The crowd showed signs of life, which excited them even more, and they got louder. Unfortunately, our whispering and giggling got louder, too.

"There was this one guy, I really think a part of me just died while looking at his picture. And his was the first asspig profile i happened to click on..."

"Did he have saggy man-boobs, bald head, goatee, lots of ink?" I asked, scanning the crowd, craning to see if I recognized anybody in the room.

"Was that the one whose intro read," he almost shouted in my ear, then just as the speaker took a breath and the crowd was at a lull, " '...if you want hot sweaty piggy sex then I'm your man' or something like that?"

Two guys in ugly suits and overplucked eyebrows in front of us turn around to look at us. So I raised my glass to them, smirking. They turned back around to listen, but moved further away. Oh yeah, Pajamas Media. They plan to sell ads on associated blogs, build a world-wide blog news service, and um, stuff. If you want to know what they were talking about, read here.

I spotted Crush #1 through the crowd and pointed him out to my astrologer. Astrologer wasn't that impressed and I have to admit, Crush #1 didn't look as good as he did the other night.

The astrologer warned me, "Remember, he's a Gemini so don't believe a word he says. But schedule a bikini wax just in case."

Crush #1 looks like a younger, more mainstream Benicio del Toro. Lips not as full, but that same sexy, heavy-lidded gaze that just undoes me. It was so hard trying to listen to the speakers and my astrologer and to not stare at Crush #1.

"Thats just... soooo wrong!" my astrologer stage-whispered in horror.

Did I just zone out staring at Crush #1 that I missed something good? Did Crush #1 notice me staring? I whispered back, "I missed it, what did he say?"

"I don't know, but why are so many women in this room carrying ugly green handbags?" He was surveying the crowd as well, "Ooh, he was cute."

I was looking at the crowd and trying to listen to the speaker, but I was still on asspig, "I think the guy I saw had, 'hot & piggy when it counts,' but my personal favorite was Bone4Pup."

Just when I was getting bored with our conversation and hitting the realization that Crush #1 really isn't that cute after all, our options expand. Crush #2 was hovering nearby and my astrologer noticed, "He's cute. His shoes make me laugh. Do you think he thinks I'm cock-blocking for you?"

"I think that for the rest of this event, there should be no more talk of ass, pig, cock, and, just to be safe, buttplug."

"I think tonight is turning me into an asexual." He wasn't even listening to me. "If only I were brave enough to be an asspigger."

I still wonder, "I don't know how it is that i didn't soil my pants just now."

Somehow, the speeches ended and the crowd started to thin out. Crush #2 made his way over and we critiqued the evening and its participants. We said goodbye to some of the nice people we met earlier and all through it, my astrologer stuck like glue to my side. How could Crush #2 mack me with my fairy godmother hanging on to every word? If he met someone cute I'd find the pool table, but no, he was on me like white on rice, like ugly on a plaid suit.

Interrupting what I'm sure was incredibly witty flirtation with Crush #2, my astrologer asked, "Celia, do you know that guy over there?", pointing at a very tall, very young, cute, and sexually confused young man.

I pretended to care, pretended to look, and pretended to be sincere, "No, but why don't you go over there and introduce yourself? No, really, I think you should."

"Hmm, that group he's with looks a little... closed."

"Pull him aside, we'll be over here. Really, what's the worst that can happen?"

He considers for a moment then shakes his head, "No. I don't think he'd respond to my sense of humor."

"Pull him aside and give him your best line. What is it?"

"Hi, I'm a very influential blogger. Want to have a picnic this Friday? My penis is seven inches long and my hands are EXTRA MEDIUM."

We laugh, then Crush #2 joins in once he realizes we're kidding. Can you imagine actually using those lines on anybody? Somehow I wind up with his card but not much hope that anything will come of it. Something tells me he's a Gemini, too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

free skid row concert

No, not the 90's hair-metal band. Skid Row, the area in downtown that you try to avoid when you come down here for a dose of street cred. It's close to the Fashion District, the place overrun on Saturdays with frantic searches for a Prada knockoff, $5 sunglasses, and bootleg DVDs, but worlds away from Walt Disney Hall and Staples Center. I know what you're thinking - there is no way her astrologer, stylist, numerologist, Pat Benatar look-alike, drug buddy, photographer, or girlfriends from OC will do anything on Skid Row, even a free concert, no matter how much under the influence.

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission will sponsor a Free Concert on Friday, April 29, 2005 from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. in San Julian Park located at the corner of San Julian and 5th Street. The concert will feature Louis Van Taylor Band, a jazz and R&B group, and is free and open to the public. The Los Angeles Poverty Department, an arts organization, in collaboration with SRO Housing Corporation, an affordable housing developer and manager of San Julian Park, will host the event.

Maybe the Elvis impersonator will want to go.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

social graces

I hit the mediabistro Fishbowl LA party on Monday night (thanks again Adrienne). I had a good time, but I try to have a good time wherever I go. I think this party has been going on since 1990. Open bar, hot apps, too loud for conversation, can't find who you're looking for, and some folks just don't tip. The next day everyone goes on about who they ran into and how fabulous it all was.

I guess this is where I do the same. Let's see, I had a fabulous time. I mistook Joseph Mailander from Martini Republic for a regular I see all the time at Jumbo's. He swears it wasn't him, so I played along. Luke Ford is much cuter in person and is very polite. For the most part, everyone seemed very well-behaved and enjoyed themselves immensely. It was fabulous.

Well, there was this one guy. I think his name was Scott, and I think he was raised by wolves. His attractive friend introduced us and I asked, "How do you guys know each other?"

"How do we know each other?" he laughed.

Do I stutter? Are you just vamping until you can come up with a clever answer, or will you settle for not trite? "Yeah buddy, how do you two know each other?"

"Ha ha, how do we know each other?"

You know, not that important. Seeing as you're not the most gifted conversationalist, I thought I'd help you out and make you seem less like a fucktard. But no, ignore the life preserver and drown, but don't grab at me. I saw an exit, "Oh, there's that bitch who owes me money! Nice meeting you."

I've sucked up all the free booze a designated driver should have, so I hightail it out of there and hit the HMS Bounty to get the taste of the westside out of my mouth. It was chill, but it didn't do the trick, I needed to travel further eastward. So I headed downtown and found out from the taxi dancers at Club Fantasy how they work a room.

TLC and Celia at play

crazy nazi-emo-hyena faced whore rod on rampage

Back in January I attended Poetry Soup and read Text Messages from My Astrologer on New Year's Eve. Vik is my astrologer and a dear friend. Here's more for the next Poetry Soup. It needs work.

Text Messages from My Astrologer: How Was Your Weekend?

me: you missed a good time
vik: im sorry i missed. so how'd the date go?
me: i don't know why but he gave me a lot of potent weed
vik: haha nice
me: we had a good time. what happened to you?
vik: did u read all my emails
vik: the one about influential music woman friend of yours
me: i just erased them because we're chatting now.
vik: did u guys go to firecracker
me: no way i'm walking into firecracker with pot man.
vik: nice btw, tell your photog friend that he rocks we had a lot of fun w/ him
me: i wish i could've cloned myself fri night
vik: pat benatar look alike and i would love to work on his next shoot
vik: just to work with him i will get nakked for his shoot
me: i'll let him know
vik: how many copies of u would u make?

vik: i vaguely remember talking to Mr Pot about, like, public transportation
me: really? you talked to him? does he have a brain?
vik: that only sticks out since it was pretty dreadful
me: i remember thinking he wasn't that bright
vik: wasn that confirmed friday night?
me: i didn't confirm anything friday night other than he needs viagra
vik: dayum
me: he was done after 3x he needs viagra
vik: so did you see pot man again on saturday?
me: no, i went to May's engagement party
me: then i had that date with the Elvis impersonator
vik: did you bang anyone in the restroom?
me: you only do that at weddings for good luck, not at the engagement party.
vik: but it was fun i hope
me: lots of wine and drunken bocce. really good food.
vik: btw, i think that's brill about elvis guy. so was he in full regalia?
me: kinda. i still had dinner at R23 with elvis in a sportscoat.
vik: you saw the king after dinner, didn't you?
me: you're funny
vik: i've held your interest for 16 months...and you are ms ADD. so u know i am
me: brilliant photographer guy thought you hilarious
vik: is his wife cool like him?
me: she speaks in tongues when she's had a lot to drink.
vik: so do we give her lots to... never mind. stupid question.

vik: so do u ever still go to that Traxx place in union station
me: i haven't been in forever
me: i used to get free food and drinks if i let the gm play with my hair
vik: i was wondering if it's cool. meaning, cheap
me: not cheap
vik: so was he hot at least? the hair-fetish-molester-gm?
me: barfugly redneck.
vik: food must be good.
me: tara cooks genius.
vik: did you guys end up going to jumbo's clwn room sunday?
me: no i was too hungover
vik: so you stayed home sunday, that's good
me: no i went out to get some food around 9 but went to a jazz club instead
vik: before you go you hve to promise me to check out these links.
me: what are they?
vik: oh this is brilliant

vik: just click all the way down til u get to ...terry schiavo
me: get over the terri schiavo thing
vik: this post is titled, "crazy Nazi-emo-Hyena-faced whore rod is on a rampage"
me: can't stop laughing
vik: i told u!!
me: i think i peed in my pants
vik: and dont ask me what these things "are",...i just link them

vik: we are such adults

feeding at the trough of ass

My stylist and my majordomo were helping me get ready for a date on Friday. Majordomo and I haven't seen each other in a long while, so I was bringing him up to speed on who I was going out with. Even if my date turns out to be a snore, at least it was fun getting all dolled up over drinks with smart and funny people. There were the usual questions, like, "What does he look like?" and "Where is he taking you?" but my favorite one is, "How did you guys meet?"

I told them my cute meet story, which is very sweet. I won't get into it here. I ask majordomo, "What about your and your new boyfriend? How did you two meet?"


"I don't get around much sweetie, what is that, a bar? Is it downtown?"

He laughs but is a little embarrassed, ", it's a dating site."

It just doesn't matter how much prep time I have, this is the stuff that keeps happening and keeps me from getting anywhere on time.

artwalk mop-up

My stylist and her sister couldn't make it so I threw myself together as best I could considering I was already drunk. Everyone was running late, I finished the bottle and watched my new robot Dante dance until brilliant photographer friend arrives sans his large scale oil painter wife and we artwalk.

My numerologist, astrologer, and winner of a Pat Benatar look-alike contest joined us at Bert Green Fine Art thirty minutes later. We didn't hit that many galleries. I wish we spent a little more time with Francesco at El Nopal. I know we wound up at a bar, because I remember meeting this cute photographer with amazing eyes and a lower lip I wanted to nibble on. I didn't get to do that and I don't know why. I don't remember his name but I hope I run into him again. I remember saying, "Take one for the team" repeatedly throughout the night, but I don't remember if anyone did and to what benefit. Oh yeah, I made out with ceramics guy. That was fun.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

art whores on the loose downtown

I will be artwalking tonight. So if you're artwalking too and you see an obviously drunk Asian girl in a firefighter's jacket, please come up and say hi. And buy me another drink while you're at it, everyone assures me I'm so much more entertaining when I'm drunk.

I may or may not be around two very tall redheads, my astrologer, the winner of a Pat Benatar look-alike contest, and hopefully, my drug buddy. We are not only a very attractive group, but friendly as well. Almost guaranteed that someone in the group will make out with you if you're holding.

visit with my astrologer

My astrologer had a meeting in the building across the street from me, the same building that houses Project Greenlight. His next meeting wasn't until late afternoon, so he came over to hang out and drop some wisdom on me. We only had a few hours, so we quickly formulated the agenda for the day's activities: get Mexican food, get trashed, and play with my new robot.

We stick the yummy yummy $4.99 bottle of Yellow Tail Chardonnay (on sale at Sav-On, #3 on the map) in the cooler and make our way to Ye Olde Taco House (by the Grand Central Market) for the best nachos in town. They'll probably do it for you too, if you ask, but for me they double the amount of veggies and cut the chips by half so the end result is a monstrous taco salad and much healthier, even though I have it with carne asada instead of chicken like my astrologer does.

On the way to Ye Olde Taco House, we stop by my astrologer's car to feed more coins into the meter. A woman was trying to park her car in front of his and a homeless woman was helping her. We rummaged through his car for more coins as I only had one quarter. The homeless woman asks if I have any bills to spare since it was obvious we needed the coins. As I pull out a dollar bill, she whips out a paper clip and says, "Let me take care of this for you." Faster than I can say, "Whaddya mean?", she punches the meter with the paper clip and we're set for an hour. Holy shit, I had no idea you could do that.

"I could get arrested for that", she informs me. I hand her the dollar and pick my jaw up off the sidewalk. "But don't worry, I'll watch the car for you and if it runs out, I'll take care of it."

My astrologer emerges from his car with an assortment of nickels and dimes, "Do you think these will be enough?" He looks at the meter, looks at the homeless woman, turns to me slack-jawed and asks, "What just happened?"

"Don't ask, just give her the coins." I replied. Quietly and obediently, he hands her a fistful of coins.

"You go ahead," she assures us, "I'll watch the car and the meter."

We don't talk about this, we just walk east on 4th to get our food. After we place our nachos order, we sample the tamarindo beverage. The owners are behind the counter today and Carlos tells us that the tamarindo is good for our liver. "We'll take two," says my astrologer, then to me, "Our livers need all the help they can get." He is wise.

Back at the penthouse, we sit at the bar and realize that we're being watched by several office workers across the street. I pour the chilled wine and my astrologer waves at the people at work, realizing that he was just in the same office a half hour ago. They watch us as we finish the bottle, chow down on the best Mexican food downtown, and make my robot dance for our entertainment.

This is the coolest robot. It can slide forward and backward, march, turn its head all the way around, dance in synch with the music, and SHOOTS FRISBEES OUT OF ITS HEAD. I think his name is Dante, we're not sure. It has great sound effects for all actions and says things we can barely understand in a sing-song Japanese-accented young boy's voice. When you press the red button he introduces himself, "Hello, my name is Dante. I can move like this (marching sounds), shoot like this (laser-blast sounds), and can teach you how to dance (techno-music snippet)." Every action has a corresponding and hilarious sound effect but I love his comments, "Let's dance together, it's lovely" and "That was great, do it again, please." If you don't command him to do anything in minutes, he says, "I will take a rest. Bye-bye!" and shuts down. Dante rocks.

After a while, we stop playing with Dante and finish our food and the bottle. We talk about what's going on in both our worlds, what my concerns are, etc. and then my astrologer makes his recommendations on the best course of action for me in the next few days. Drunk and full, we spy on the people in the building across the street spying on us. Then mindful of his next appointment, he looks at his watch, "Do you think that woman is still by my car?"

free coffee at mcdonald's

McDonald's is upgrading their coffee. They have a new "Premium Roast Coffee" from Gavina, a blend of Arabica beans from Central and South America. I'm not a connoisseur of fine coffees, so I'm not sure if that really means anything. But to celebrate, they are giving away free 12 oz. cups of the new blend on Mondays through May 2nd at participating McDonald's in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura County. I am a connoisseur of free, so I think I'll be at McDonald's on Monday for my 12 ounces.

911 joke

I'm backgrounding MSNBC as I work and I had to stop to comment on this: A 911 dispatcher in north Texas is in trouble for making a joke to a woman who called 911 because her two daughters were fighting. The woman who called 911 was emotional and looking for help or at least some advice in how to deal with her naughty 12-year-old. Here's the transcript of the call:

CALLER: The 12-year-old is completely out of control, and I can't- I physically... She's as big as I am, I can't control her.

DISPATCHER: Okay, did you want us to come over and shoot her?


DISPATCHER: Are you there?

CALLER: Excuse me?

DISPATCHER: That's a joke.

CALLER: This is really not very funny.

DISPATCHER: I know it's not, ma'am. I apologize.

CALLER: Well, guess what, it's not going to be very funny when I go in front of your supervisor and tell him -

DISPATCHER: I understand.

CALLER: I guess he can just listen to the tape.

DISPATCHER: Yes, he can.

The woman said that the comment first puzzled, then angered her. She doesn't want the dispatcher fired, but she met with the police later and recommended a reprimand. The dispatcher, Mike Forbess, has been reprimanded twice already, but I don't think he was truly out of line.

Was the woman correct in calling 911 because her child was unruly? If you were the dispatcher and you were fielding calls on a shooting on the freeway, debris being thrown from an overpass onto cars on the freeway and killing motorists, you know, life-threatening incidents and then you get a call from a woman whose 12-year-old is throwing a tantrum, how would you react? People are getting bent out of shape at the dispatcher, what about the woman and her frivolous call to 911? The first hint to me that the call wasn't an emergency - she was scolding the dispatcher rather than stress about what her daughter was doing. I was under the assumption that 911 calls should be reserved for highly volatile dangerous situations requiring immediate remedial action. Maybe this is why I am unemployable for the most part, but I think Mike's reaction wasn't that egregious considering the situation. That woman should be fined for abusing the 911 service with a frivolous, wackadoodle call. I'd be pissed if the police didn't react quickly to a freeway shooting or another real emergency because the operator was dealing with a 12-year-old's tantrum and a mother who can't discipline her children.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

there's a need for speed?

According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, Los Angeles just lost a bid to host the headquarters for the new State Stem Cell Institute.

We weren't the only losers in the crowd, two other cities within Los Angeles County also failed to suck up to The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine: Alhambra and Long Beach. Emeryville, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco will go on to the final round, there will be no swimsuit competition. Even though other cities had announced entering the bid process months ahead of time, Los Angeles threw its hat in the ring in February, less than a month before the bid deadline. What did we offer? Here's the short list:

* 17,000 square feet headquarters at City National Plaza (formerly ARCO Plaza) at Fifth and Flower streets
* Free access to the Los Angeles Convention Center for larger meetings
* $1 million in foundation grant funding to help support its administration
* The use of a private jet for institute board members and staff

Excuse me? The city has a private jet? Who else gets to ride on that bad boy? Is that information classified?

So Los Angeles is offering a private jet for board members and staff, what were they asking for that we couldn't give up? One requirement was that the headquarters office space be located on two floors with an internal stairway connecting those floors. Secondly, that the offer that would be irrevocable for 75 days after March 16, the deadline for submissions. Also, they wanted "preferential" treatment at Sam's Hofbrau. Okay, I made that last one up.

So why did we get into the game so late? And who knew the city had a private jet at its disposal?

semen seamen, 4 o'clock!

This Thursday at 4pm, the USS Stethem, the Navy's finest destroyer, will be docking at the Port of Los Angeles for five fun-filled days. The USS Stethem is part of the Navy's Commander Destroyer Squadron Two Three (CDS 23), Home of the Little Beavers. (I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.)

You can't expect the Navy's finest destroyer to roll without an entourage. The Stethem rolls with the most powerful fireboat in the world, the Warner Lawrence, just in case it gets so hot that something needs to be hosed down. How powerful is it? The Warner Lawrence can impel a projectile force of water directly over the 385-foot high Vincent Thomas Bridge. That's hot.

This all goes down at Berth 46. Public tours will be available on Friday and Saturday mornings, from 8:30am to 11am. Due to tight security procedures, tours are limited to the first 500 visitors. Free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis in the public parking lot on the corner of 22nd and Miner streets in San Pedro.

This is part of the US Navy League's Annual Navy Days LA, taking place April 14-18. There are tons of events planned throughout the week, but sailors can also be found partying at Pistons Bar and Club Fire Island in Long Beach.

(Thanks to Jose at Score.)

Monday, April 11, 2005

so where do 100,000 people park?

5300 spaces. That's all I have from my notes. Hmm. I think something is missing. Let's see, 7200-seat theater, 5300 parking spaces. Oh wait, Leiweke said they'd be tripling the volume of available parking spaces. Yeah, that sounds better.

My notes are ass, but Leiweke also said something about taking the old buildings downtown, converting them to residential so that you won't need additional parking because people will already live downtown. Um, I think people who live downtown might have friends. Occasionally, they might be convinced to visit. They might also want to go out somewhere while downtown. In any case, I think we'll need more parking. And $20 for parking will probably curtail the tendency to park close to LA Live. It'd be great if the DASH ran later and had specific circular nighttime routes, like from the Historic Core/Gallery Row to J-Town, Chinatown, Music Center, Staples/Convention Center, Fashion District and then back to Gallery Row.

Hold on, just found another scribbled note. Leiweke credits a lot of the future success of LA Live to all the residential development downtown, he mentions Tom Gilmore specifically. Leiweke predicts that the the number of people who live and work in downtown Los Angeles will grow from 10,000 currently to 100,000. I don't have a timeframe for that growth. Yeah, we'll need more parking.

do the hustle

The weekend started earlier with a midnight screening of Kung Fu Hustle at the Arclight. Oh who am I kidding, the entire week is just one big party for me. In any case, I don't think you'll see another martial arts film with such a violent opening leading into a dance number complete with top hats, so many stars eligible for a senior discount at the multiplex, or as many inside jokes for fans of the genre.

I won't bore you with a review of the film, do a google search, the reviews are everywhere. Believe the hype, all of it. Yes, Quentin Tarantino wishes he were Stephen Chow. Yes, there are moments of absolute hilarity. Long stretches of absolute hilarity, actually. Yes, Chow pays homage to martial arts flix of the past and you'll probably enjoy it more if you have familiarity with the genre. It has received some lukewarm reviews as well, so if you're not a fan of goofiness or martial arts films you probably won't laugh your ass off like I did. But I'm asking my friends who travel regularly to China to come back with a DVD for my collection. It's a keeper.

I figured I'd be beat after the screening, after all it did start at 12:01am. But we were so energized after the film, we needed to chow down on some noodles and talk about how much we loved the movie. It was 2am, so we headed to Little Tokyo's Koraku Restaurant. I can never get enough of the mabodon, and Koraku makes it better than anybody else. Of course I've only tried it at 10 other restaurants, so if you know of anyplace else that excels at mabodon, please let me know. I think half of the people at the screening had the same idea, because all these cars pulled up about the same time we did and I saw a lot of familiar faces, all slurping up ramen and talking about the movie.

just another night at cole's

Another Friday night at Cole's means most of the regulars drop by to see what's going on. There was more action at the left side of the bar than in the back room where the lame-ass band was playing to a near-empty room. Just another quiet Friday night at Cole's.

The action started before most of us even got there. L was walking to Cole's from her badass loft when a car at the intersection of 6th and Los Angeles suddenly made a U-turn and ran up the curb to a violent stop. The man behind the wheel jumped out of the car brandishing a gun and pointed it at two guys on their bicycles going west on 6th. L ran into Cole's yelling for the bartender Ali to call 911. So Ali picks up his cell, and RUNS OUT INTO THE STREET TOWARDS THE ACTION, with his hand on his sidearm! I don't know which was more surprising to me, L moving that fast, Ali running out into the street towards danger, or the blase reaction of the regulars who sat there drinking with no interest in the events outside. Turns out it was an undercover cop on a drug bust. When L gave Ali shit for running out towards danger, Ali explained, "I had to describe what was going on to the cops, didn't I?"

Later that night, the band was packing up their gear and the regulars were discussing their plans for the weekend. As I was getting ready to stumble home, a fistfight broke out on the street right in front of Cole's. A woman was chasing after her man, swinging wildly at his head and connecting about 3/4 of the time, screaming, "How could you treat me that way? I love you and you treat me like shit! How could you do that to me?!" This went on for some time, for someone who was obviously livid, she had good aim and focus. Ali and I stood outside by the stairs, watching for a minute.

Then the man realized he had enough. He screamed back, "I didn't do nothing bitch! Stop hitting me! Bitch, I said I love you too, now stop hitting me!" He stopped shielding his head and face, then came up swinging. At air, but swinging nevertheless. That's when the security guards at the Santa Fe Lofts yelled for them to stop and crossed the street to break it up. I went back inside and Adam asked what was going on outside. I told him the story and one of the regulars remarked, "Oh yeah, thats Lionel. We see them fighting all the time."

So the regulars knew him. "Lionel?" I asked.

"Lionel Richie."

The regulars laugh and go back to their drinks.

I figured that was enough excitement for one evening, so after the guards finally broke up the fight and after the yelling ended, I headed home. Just another boring night in downtown Los Angeles. I love my neighborhood.

the school of jazz

I love dim sum. And no one does it better in Chinatown than Ocean Seafood. So we braved the crowds on Sunday morning to get the best dim sum in town. We managed to stuff ourselves thoroughly and make it to the REDCAT at the Walt Disney Hall in plenty of time for the 2pm Jazz Jam With David Roitstein, Larry Koonse, Aaron Serfaty & Ivan Johnson.

I hadn't been to the REDCAT before, but I think I'll be spending a lot more time there. Adrienne from the LAist assured me that the lounge at the REDCAT was a worthy hang, what with their free wi-fi and strong drinks. The concert itself was a riot. Roitstein certainly knows his way around the piano and by explaining to the audience what they were trying to accomplish, how improvisation in jazz reveals a musician, well he demonstrated what a wonderful teacher he is. Koonse has great technique and plays very well with Roitstein, their chemistry as musicians was very much evident throughout the concert. Serfaty is an amazing drummer and together with bassist Johnson, they drove that quartet. They were enjoying themselves so thoroughly it was infectious. After a few numbers David Roitstein asked if anyone in the audience brought their instruments and wanted to come up and jam with them. Suddenly, it was The School of Jazz. A small group of teenage musicians took the stage, improvising, laughing, and playing the hell out of Ellington, Miles Davis, and original works by Roitstein and Koonse. They ended the concert with a Latin jazz number and had members of the audience singing along enthusiastically. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles, jazz and dim sum.

David Benoit, after playing in Bernard's kitchen at the Biltmore for Celia and friends.

Friday, April 08, 2005

attention rebel spies

So by now we all know about the line of Star Wars nerds in front of Grauman's, blog after blog have posted their reports, followed by the mainstream media.

But what are the Star Wars nerds doing on Craigslist? Make sure you don't have any food or drink in your mouth when you click on the above or you may do a spit-take.

does that look dark to you?

My hypochondria is running rampant. I'm getting a little freaked out that almost all the drugs that I've been prescribed in the past two years are being pulled. I don't know which prescription painkillers I can abuse anymore. Yesterday, Bextra was pulled from the market by the FDA, citing an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Their website says that Bextra "is a powerful medicine for the joint pain of osteoarthritis and adult rheumatoid arthritis, and painful menstrual cramps". I don't remember seeing my dealer doctor for cramps. And it didn't feel all that powerful when I took it. The FDA says, "Bextra and other NSAID medications can cause serious problems such as liver damage." Great, as if my lifestyle didn't already do enough damage to that organ. Continuing, "Some of the warning signs of liver damage are nausea, vomiting, tiredness, loss of appetite, itching, yellow coloring of skin or eyes, “flu-like” symptoms and dark urine." I'd love to get that loss of appetite symptom, but sadly, no. The itching did happen and that perplexed me, but nausea, vomiting, and tiredness I just attributed to my hangover or bad dating decisions. The yellowness of skin, gee I'm Asian, so who can tell? And I wish they'd define "dark urine". You know, it'd be a good idea to have color swatches on the site. I can't find a suggestion box on their site. According to the FDA site, side effects can include:

Stomach pain
Upper respiratory tract infection
Unexplained weight gain

Aha! It wasn't Haagen Daz or Ye Olde Taco House, it was Bextra that caused my weight gain. I'm glad they cleared that up for me. I only experienced six out of seven symptoms. Is that bad?

They also warn against taking Naprosyn, a drug used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. If the FDA keeps this up I'll only have Vicodin and Vodka to help me get through the day.

big plans for south park

I didn't have to read between the lines of Tim Leiweke's briefing on Wednesday to understand how LA Live will differentiate itself from all the other developments happening all over downtown. He stated the goal, " put Los Angeles back on the map as the leader in the tourist and convention business". They're not in the business of creating neighborhoods, AEG wants to create a world-class destination. He went on to say, "Every major event in the country should be ours." Talk about throwing down the gauntlet. AEG wants to make sure that the Grammys, MTV Awards, X-Games, WrestleMania, the Source Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the Nickelodeon Spoogefest (or whatever it is they call that thing where celebs get slimed) and all other awards shows and events to happen at LA Live. Specifically, AEG's wish list includes: "premieres, music events, post-parties, street fairs and celebrations". The aim is to revitalize the Figueroa Corridor so that it is as well known world-wide as Time Square. The first step is to build everything, then "we'll see if we can sell our city".

This is the Hilton, doesn't it look like a Nokia phone? (click on thumbnail to view larger image)

On what is currently parking lots 3 and 4, they will build LA Live, which includes a Hilton Hotel which will be the tallest building west of the Mississippi (that distinction currently belongs to the Library Tower). That's 1800 rooms, with 100 condos somewhere in the mix, and what I'm guessing will be a really big ballroom (and meeting rooms), linked to the Regal Theatres. I'm looking at my notes and under 40% hospitality, I've scribbled 4 million square feet - is that right? Seems like a lot of square footage. The Hilton will face Olympic Boulevard and the Regal Theatres will be on the SE corner of Olympic and Cherry. There's a small street separating the two buildings, I'm guessing that's where the limos will pull up to start the red carpet arrivals.

This is the Hilton at night, it should look cool next to Staples.
(Click on thumbnail to view larger image.)

The Nokia Theater is a 7200-seat venue which Leiweke says "is perfect for award shows".

Nokia Theatre faces 11th Street and Staples Center and will have the 40,000 square foot Nokia Plaza right next to it. On the other side of the Plaza will be a sports grill and Leiweke said it would be a great public space where, "they can begin and end the Los Angeles Marathon... and a great place to put the Kings outdoor skating rink". I guess that means we won't have ice skating in Pershing Square during the holidays anymore.

I have "Grammy Museum" somewhere in my notes, but I don't know where that fits in on the map below (click on thumbnails for larger view).

Leiweke also said that they've had traffic engineers working on this for the past eight years so he didn't see this development impacting traffic negatively for the area. Sure, And parking will be a breeze, too.

Ground will break on Nokia Theatre and the Plaza in August 2005 and open in 2007 (click on thumbnails to view larger images).

On, LisaStrouss posted her notes on attending the same briefing. She has't followed the project or know much about downtown Los Angeles, so she has an "interesting" take on things. I don't know much about the project, just what I learned from the briefing, but having worked for City Hall and lived downtown since 1990, I know downtown very well. Read LongBeachUrbanists' comments (okay, read all the comments), he/she has been following this project and downtown development for a while, so he/she's got mad knowledge. Also, LosAngelesBeauty has more and better pictures posted on the skyscraper forum. I know what you're thinking, how can they possibly be better? Well they definitely have more.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

glendale makes me horny?

Yes, it is time to pack it up and go to bed when I misread one of the headlines on Cityfeeds. One of my fave writers, Kevin Roderick at LAObserved, wrote that "Glendale Makes History" and not "Glendale Makes Me Horny". Good night.

downtown development briefing

Yesterday I attended a downtown development briefing at the Los Angeles Convention Center which outlined the plans for LA Live, the entertainment district near Staples Center. The event was hosted by the Los Angeles Convention and Tourists Bureau and the featured speaker was Anschutz Entertainment Group President & CEO, Timothy J. Leiweke.

Before he launched into his speech, Mr. Leiweke asked if anyone from the LA Times was in the audience. He said that it didn't matter to him if anyone from the Times was there, he usually asks that before he rips into them. He said that they never write anything good about what happens downtown anyway, but at least their bias was apparent - no hidden agendas there (I'm paraphrasing here). I was thinking that it doesn't matter if they were there because they either never get it right or they get part of it right about three weeks too late.

Although he was a very engaging and energetic speaker, I was looking around at the crowd while Tim spoke. It was a very conservative crowd. When I was at the SRL show this past Saturday, I saw some hipsters that I recognized from earlier in the week when I was hanging out at Cole's or from the other week when I was at The Smell. I knew I wouldn't be running into anyone from the SRL show or any Cole's regulars here.

I'll post more in the next few days about what went down at the briefing. I'm not being coy, there was a lot to cover and I spent most of the time scribbling furiously. I will say that there are dramatic plans in play to transform downtown into an insane destination, supposedly a mixed-use district comprised of 40% hospitality, 30% entertainment/retail, 20% residential and 10% office spaces.

He did say that the WrestleMania 21 event at the Staples Center pumped a lot of dollars into downtown Los Angeles. WrestleMania was the fastest-selling event ever, it sold out (12,500 tix) in 54 seconds. There were events scheduled all week, with overall spending totaling $10-15 million with each attendee spending an average of $30 in merchandise alone (not counting food, beverages, and tattoos).

Tim also went on to say that all the future plans for the sports and entertainment district around Staples Center do not involve one public dollar - all private investment. But the most important thing was that the networking reception that followed rocked. Can you say open bar? Now say sushi. Then say lamb. Shrimp. Now finish up with bananas foster and strawberries shot up with Grand Marnier and covered in white and dark chocolate. Now say open bar again. Actually you should interject it liberally between all that food like I did. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Bernard Parks was at the networking reception, working the room instead of the hot food stations like the rest of us were.

I'll post in more detail later, right now I need sleep.

Tom Jones and Celia right before they drank a case of champagne, ate steak & lobster, smoked some Macanudos and watched porn.

Monday, April 04, 2005

starting the weekend right

We've known each other for 16 years and we've never been alone together, not ever. We worked together for six years and he's one of the smartest, funniest, coolest guys I know. I've always felt that he saw me as a silly little sister, that he never considered me romantically. He was there when a chair hit my front tooth during Public Enemy's set at our company conference. He called the cab and drew the chalk outline around my body when I "fell asleep" on the sidewalk in front of the Schmucklerfest. He was there when the women in our company were vicious and cruel to me, unwavering and reassuring in his assertion that they were "jealous of everything about you". He ignored the top ten list a co-worker published of men in the music industry that I was rumored to have slept with, including my boss. He was at some of the more infamous penthouse parties, like the one where the Weekly did a write-up on the orgy and named names. He is one of my favorite people and we stopped being colleagues ten years ago.

We were at Cole's this past Friday because the Groovy Rednecks were playing. At least that's what we told ourselves. I think we didn't care who was playing, it was stumbling distance and we didn't want anything complicated like going to Firecracker in Chinatown, or taking the Metro for a pub crawl to Pasadena, or doing any of the million things happening on Friday night that would take our attention away from us being alone together for the first time ever. He told me I was crazy (in a good way) and never boring. He was stunned that I remembered all his jokes, the names of the people in all his stories, and every compliment he ever paid me. When his hand brushed my knee I felt the electricity all the way up my spine and back down into my pants. I'm glad we both finally found courage.

action-packed saturday

With less than four hours of sleep I hit the Palladium on Saturday for the Billion Dollar Babes sale. I was loopy, in a shopping frenzy, and I couldn't stop thinking about him, wondering how the hell last night happened. I don't remember most of it. I bought stuff, I just don't remember doing it. Next time I'm taking advantage of VIP membership and hitting the sale on Friday. It was good on Saturday, it must've been insane on Friday at noon.

Saturday night, I joined the entire population of Los Angeles Art and Hipster Nation and watched SRL blow up and torch shit - and yes, I recoiled with every cannon blast. It was a good time and cool as all get out. I even ran into one of my ex-boyfriends from college, Gunther. We used to hit all clubs like DirtBox, Plastic Passion, Alcoholic Salad, Power Tools, and all the ones whose names I don't remember but took place at the Home of the Topless Carrots, abandoned bank buildings, warehouses and whatever. Gunther used to wear my skirts and borrow my eyeliner. He's still 6'5 and still digs Asian chicks. My drug buddy and I walked up around 8:45pm, and were in the thick of the crowd. Ear plugs were passed back and pushed in. Minutes later, a woman walks up to the edge of the crowd and asked if anyone had more ear plugs, but no one heard her (I read lips). I laughed, standing up on my tiptoes, straining to see over the growing crowd. I struggled to make all 5'2 inches of me taller. I stood next to a man doing pretty much the same thing, only he wasn't on tiptoes because he stood about 6'7 (I can tell because I used to date someone who was a towering 6'9). After craning our necks in unison and not seeing much going on yet, we turned to each other, my 5'2 looking up at all 6'7 of him. We laughed uproariously for a few minutes at how ridiculous we must have looked standing next to each other. He adjusted the screen on his camcorder so I could see what was actually happening. It happened, almost invariably, a group of bimbos with a strong sense of entitlement showed up late and tried to bully/giggle their way past the polite crowd. One woman stood her ground, refusing to move for one group of these girls. One of the girls snarkily said, "That body-block move isn't going to work." Calmly, the woman asked, "Oh? Are you going to push me out of your way? Then I guess it does work," then continued to stand her ground. Beautiful. Everyone within earshot laughed and didn't budge in support. It was a good crowd.

All the other blogs have covered what went down, so I won't get into it here except to say it was good and I'm glad I went.

songkran festival in thai town

Sunday meant I was in Thai Town for the SongKran Festival celebrating the Thai New Year. The food was wonderful, but the best part about the festival was Muay Thai Boxing. I got there in time for the 3pm fight. When Carlos Ramirez jumped into the ring sporting white satin shorts with gold letters spelling out "Salvation" across his ass, accented in red, I knew I'd be rooting for him. His opponent, Manny Martinez, had a gut bigger than mine. Muay Thai is an ancient Thai martial arts of self-defense which utilizes all parts of your body - the hands, fists, feet, elbows, and knees to be your weapons. This is the kind of fighting that I can relate to, with all that slapping, elbowing and kneeing. Carlos fell on his ass twice while attempting high kicks to Manny's head. The round card girl was so awkward and self-conscious, then another chick came out flinging inflatable Shark energy drink toys (they were a sponsor) into the crowd. She pegged one guy in the back of the head and got the crowd roaring for the first time.

The second fight was an exhibition fight with twins. I almost left to get some pad thai or a lobster ball when I realized there wouldn't be any real ass kicking. Then they hit the ring, the music started and these twins launched into "Wai-Kru", the boxing dance and pre-fight ritual which also serves as a warm-up. It was so hot, the poses, their concentration, their bodies (twins!) - I got so horny watching them warm up. Then they launched into their exhibition. Kicking, kneeing, jumping up and down, punching, posing, loud, fast and hot. I talked to them after their fight and they were so charming, so hot and sweaty, I thought I was going to faint. The third fight almost put me away. I thought the twins were hot, but these guys were even hotter. I had to get some coconut milk and not watch them or I'd overheat. I met most of the fighters in the VIP area and now I think I might even take a few classes. Hey, they were nice enough to offer a lesson (as well as phone numbers and email addresses), who am I to say no? The hottest one was a genuine hero in Thailand, a four-time champion and a pop star, too. There were women fighters as well, and they were more badass than the guys in the first fight. I'm definitely checking out Muay Thai fights in the future, it is action-packed and did I mention that the guys are hot?

end of a good weekend

Sunday night wrap-up after such an action-packed weekend needed to be low-key. So I passed on a screening of the new David Duchovny film, House of D. I passed on the George Lopez party at The Highlands. Instead, I hit Ko-Raku in Little Tokyo for a mabodon fix. Now that's Asian comfort food.

Friday, April 01, 2005

i confess

I am the stereotypical ex-Catholic schoolgirl gone bad. Not only am I the product of many years of parochial school, but I was raised in a convent. My sister and I once followed a hot priest through a department store because we thought he looked like a hotter version of Father Ralph de Bricassart from the Thorn Birds. Since all the news channels are on a Pope Deathwatch, my Catholic school upbringing and how it has fucked me up is very much on my mind today. When I'm not thinking about that, I'm checking out the devastatingly hot priests on the Calendario Romano priest calendar. I know I've already secured my place in hell, but filing this in my BOMB (beat-off memory base) means they're sending a limo for me when I buy the farm. (Thanks to SocialiteLife for bringing this to my attention.) I've got a date tonight, so I'm going to grab my little friend and take a "disco nap". Bless me Father, for I am going to sin...