los angeles

Rainy Day LA

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After such a long dry spell, rain is absolutely luxurious.

Soak it up, Los Angeles!

Observe

As dusk fell yesterday, I set out for Griffith Observatory. Which is at the top of Griffith Park. Which was given to the city of Los Angeles by – who else? – Col. Griffith J. Griffith. And the appropriate response is Thank you! because this park and everything in it is spectacular.

The 4,300 acre park sits at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains – better known as the Hollywood Hills – which run forty miles west and into the ocean past Malibu. This is a vast wilderness – more than 250 square miles – bisecting the city: LA to the south, “the Valley” to the north. Mulholland Drive twists and turns along the crest of the hills, all the way to ocean. Much of it is protected terrain, wild and rugged, especially west of Topanga with deep canyons accessible only on foot. The eastern portion is a bit more manicured, home to the “We don’t hike, dear” denizens of Brentwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills. It’s not the Upper West Side, though. There are mountain lions and rattlesnakes, bears and coyotes. And as the environment becomes more stressed by the drought, trash cans and swimming pools increasingly look like convenience stores for the four-on-the-floor set.

The Observatory is only about five miles from home, so it took me more than an hour to get there. Sunset Blvd through Hollywood on a Saturday evening is not a speedway. And the turnoff on Vermont that leads up the slopes of the park also takes you past the fabled Greek Theater. There was a concert last night, which meant rather legendary traffic. Even when the Greek is dark, the one-lane road snaking up to the Observatory can be a slow crawl (as my friend Brian & I found on last weekend’s aborted attempt to get up there). Last night, though, I lucked out with a parking space just a 10-minute walk from the top.

Photo by hdwallpaperpc.com

Photo by hdwallpaperpc.com

While it’s a great place to go any time of day, any time of year, the Observatory is at full power as a tourist magnet on summer weekend nights. It is an awesome destination for kids and adults alike. The Observatory itself, all its exhibits and tours, are open until 10pm. It’s free! And as the sun sets, the city begins to glow, spreading out to the horizon.

Photo: usapics.net

Photo: usapics.net

Griffith Observatory is an Art Deco masterpiece. Built in 1935 (because we used to build things like this during economic downturns) and completely renovated in 2006. While it was designed and still functions as an astronomical observatory, most folks come up here for the views of Los Angeles and the surrounding mountains. The building sits on the edge of a promontory and obliges the looky-loos with multiple levels of wide terraces, and curving stairways leading up and up all the way to the flat roofs and the dome parapets.

There were hundreds of people at the Observatory last night, tourists and locals, including plenty of children. Not my usual scene. But what you notice is that there is a sort of hush, a reverence, the same as in a cathedral or museum. People talk in whispers – when they talk at all. No one has to say, “Look at that view!” because everyone is looking at that view. In every direction. From every location. It is spellbinding. And I spend as much time looking back at this magnificent edifice as I do at the surrounding world. (The next few pix are mine.)

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And even a crappy quality photograph can take on a painterly aspect with the help of a filter or two. This is the sunset sky behind Griffith Park’s Mt Lee and its famous Hollywood sign.

Mt Lee Sunset

And here’s a shot I took on a wintry day a few years ago, from a trail below the Observatory. You can see this gleaming white structure from all over Los Angeles, and the closer you get to it, the better it gets.

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To learn more about this remarkable place, visit their website http://griffithobs.org

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FIFA FO FUM

Yesterday, I watched the second half of the World Cup match between USA and Germany. And I realized that it was the first time in my life that I was watching soccer on television. Or off television, for that matter. Now, I’ve seen clips of highlights from big games over the years. I very likely even kicked around a soccer ball in grade school. But I’d never really focused on the game for an hour, paying attention to the players and the strategies and the progress of play. It was fascinating. And exciting! And in the end, the American team lost to the Germans – but they both advanced to the next round because they had better records than the other teams in their group blah blah blah it gets a little hazy from there…

FIFA, the international football league, holds a world championship called the World Cup. And that’s appropriate, since every nation on earth fields a team to compete. Every nation? I dunno. But certainly most. 204 teams began competing last year for the 32 tickets to play for glory in Brazil 2014. (USA is now through to the round of 16, which is remarkable, because no one gave them a snowball’s chance in hell of getting that far. Bravo.)

It got me thinking about American Football. Like FIFA, the NFL culminates its season each year in a ‘world championship’ called the Super Bowl. Of course, American Football is played in exactly ONE country on earth: America. (NFL likes to hold pre-season ‘exhibition’ games in places like London and South Korea… but it’s always two American teams playing each other in those “soccer” stadiums.)

Now, I know I will be branded a traitor or a communist or a terrorist or all of the above for saying this, but it became obvious to me as I watched soccer – world football – being played that American football would bore the rest of the planet to tears.

soccerclipartpicNo, it’s true. It really is. Soccer is pretty much 90 minutes of the sport actually being played: running, kicking, jumping, heading, shooting, missing, scoring… when there are fouls they are called and the free throw or kick is taken and the game just continues… there are almost no interruptions… substitutions just happen… the clock never stops. If something happens to delay play (like some idiot running on to the field), then a few minutes are added at the end. So they play and they play and they play and someone wins, or there is a tie. And that’s OK too. Can you imagine an NFL game ending in a tie? Americans don’t understand that. It is about whether you win or lose… not about how you played the game.

Imagine trying to explain American football to one of the 7 billion non-Americans on the planet. Giant mounds of flesh and bone are encased in military-grade gear and are paid millions of dollars to mostly run into each other. Occasionally a nimbler version will escape the mob and run part or all of the way down the field to score. Sometimes the guy who throws the ball will throw the ball, and sometimes the mound of flesh he throws it to will catch it. When that happens, he will almost instantly be buried under many mounds of opposing flesh. Progress is measured in yards or feet or inches. There are 100 different fouls which will cause whistles to be blown and little flags to be thrown. The clock get stopped and whenever anything happens.

Soccer’s two 45-minute periods take 90 minutes to complete.

American football’s four 15-minute periods can take three hours to complete. Not counting the multimedia halftime extravaganza. Very often, the last 10 seconds ‘on the clock’ can be stretched out to 15 minutes of delays and kicks and thisses and thats. And then the lawyers get involved.

Also – and this really must be said – soccer players all look like athletes, lean and toned and able to run around for 90 minutes almost without stopping. They wear shorts and cotton jerseys. No padding. No helmets. No face cages. No suits of armor. And it can get rough from time to time, but they all seem to know that they are there to move the ball down the field and score – not to commit televised manslaughter.

Oh, and there is no instant replay in soccer. Shit happens. Officials call it. Play continues. No tantrums. No crybabies.

I’m sorry, America. Maybe I’m biased. After all, I live in a city that has a professional soccer team – the LA Galaxy – but no NFL football team. And I’m OK with that. In fact, I’d rather see tax money spent on schools and roads and health care rather than on a glistening new stadium gifted to some billionaire team owner. I don’t even know where the Galaxy play. Just sayin’…

There you have it. If I got it all wrong about football – American or otherwise – please be sure to sack me (or flash a yellow card) in the comments. In the meantime, I’m rooting for Team USA in the World Cup. Maybe this soccer thing will catch on?

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Happy Birthday Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills turned 100 years old in January. And yes, she’s had some work done. The fabled city is celebrating its centennial with a year-long public art installation. “Arts of Palm” is curated by Kate Stern (of The Frostig Collection at Bergamot Station).

One of the pieces chosen for this artistic salute to BH is a spetacular wood beam sculpture by my friend and colleague, Anne Shutan – a native of Beverly Hills who now lives near Boulder, Colorado. Annie’s “Heart of Palm” is one of the few works selected for indoor display – fortuitously situated at the entrance to Circa 55 at the Beverly Hilton – and convenient to Trader Vic’s poolside lounge. Click on the photo below for a link to Anne’s site.

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With temps soaring near the century mark this week, that was not a terrible place to catch up with Annie, her husband Scott and Kate Stern on Monday afternoon. In fact, that pool terrace is perfect for just about anything, anytime. I promised the artist I would stop by regularly to sip a mai tai check on her sculpture. If you’re in the neighborhood, you should too.

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^ Poolside at the Beverly Hilton

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^ Shadow Palm @ The Beverly Hilton
4:00pm Monday 12 May 2014

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Batman

The path from the pool to the parking structure takes me past West Hollywood Park’s picnic area and tot lot, then leads alongside a wide lawn. As the days lengthen, more and more folks gather there in the early evening. They romp around with their dogs. Or spread a blanket and watch the sky change. It’s a popular spot for personal trainers to bring their one-on-one clients: there’s an entire gym in a park bench. City parks are important, because in our over-programmed lives they provide completely freeform spaces. Just strolling along a path… or sitting on a bench… or lying in the grass = mission accomplished.

But yesterday, I had the rare opportunity to meet a bonafide superhero.

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I cut across the lawn to where the pint-sized Caped Crusader battled (played) with his archnemesis (friend).

Is that… Batman?! I asked the older girl who was with them.

He snapped to attention and turned to confront the intruder (me).

Gosh! I never thought I’d get to meet Batman! Is it OK if I take your picture?

“WAIT!” came the command. Seems Batman was having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction. He whispered to his sister to fix his cape before greeting his public…

And then, Gotham’s sworn protector was ready for his close-up. Deep down, this kid knew he wasn’t really Batman. But when some stranger came along and believed in him – it put a little more starch in that cape.

POW

What an amazing effect we can have on each other.

It’s fun when you get to ride along

for a few minutes

on someone else’s magic.

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Art Stroll

PDC.Escalate2I was meeting Thom after work yesterday. His showroom (Witford) is in the “blue whale” – the Blue building at Pacific Design Center. This massive structure contains six floors of home furnishings showrooms, most of which only sell to the trade (i.e., you need to be, or be with, an architect or interior designer to buy) – but the public is welcomed throughout the building. If you’re interested in furniture and interior design, this is part mall, part school, part playground! (It’s not the most appropriate place to bring kids, I should add.)

PDC.ChairThe building itself is a monumental sculpture designed by Cesar Pelli and built in 1975. (The Green and Red buildings followed in 1988 and 2011.) It dominates the streetscape along Melrose Avenue, like a big blue castle looming over the village. But the unconventional shape clad in cobalt blue glass gives this monster a playful personality. On the southwestern corner of the property by San Vicente stands a 20-foot tall aluminum chair; on the east side of the building is an equally oversized lamp. Message: This is a design center, not a condo for Smurfs.

What many people may not know is that in addition to the design showrooms, the Blue building is also home to a number of art galleries. (There is even an outpost of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) located in the fountain courtyard of PDC – but that’s another post.) I had about an hour to kill, so I wandered around the 2nd floor to visit some galleries. They don’t all keep regular hours, so it can be hit or miss. But there were a half dozen open on a Thursday afternoon.

So I meandered, rarely bumping into another person. In one gallery, there were tables and chairs and entire walls covered with circuit boards and other computer innards. Not really my cup of tea. But then I came upon the most fantastic sculpture at the CMay gallery. Korean artist Bahk Seon Ghi creates the most amazing installations composed of small bits of black charcoal suspended by almost invisible nylon filaments.

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The nearly weightless piece has visual mass. This is the only piece here by Bahk Seon Ghi. A Google search delivers a treasure trove of his other works. He specializes in creating architectural forms – columns, staircases, arches – using suspended charcoal, which lets him play visual tricks by tweaking the structures. I’m tempted to include a dozen images, but you can start with the link, below.

I also found artmergelab with an exhibition curated by Jae Yang featuring four artists, all of whom incorporate photographic imagery into their work. I was particularly drawn to several pieces by Bryan Bankston. He creates composites using hundreds of images of human faces found on Google. The resulting “portraits” are mesmerizing.

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There is so much more awaiting you at PDC. More galleries, artists, and the showrooms, of course. There’s also a decent restaurant upstairs, and a ‘sidewalk’ cafe by the main entrance on Melrose. And that’s my contribution to your cultural enrichment for today!

Credits:

http://www.cmaygallery.com

http://www.artmergelab.com

http://bryanbankston.tumblr.com

http://www.beyarch.com/2014/01/seon-ghi-bahk.html


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[096] Olympic Swim

ScarletSistersMy friend Myra MacPherson has a new book out, and it looks like the perfect summer read:

The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age

A fresh look at the life and times of Victoria Woodhull and Tennie Claflin, two sisters whose radical views on sex, love, politics, and business threatened the white male power structure of the nineteenth century and shocked the world. Here award-winning author Myra MacPherson deconstructs and lays bare the manners and mores of Victorian America, remarkably illuminating the struggle for equality that women are still fighting today.

Myra is in town this weekend for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the USC campus, and I was looking forward to catching up with her. When I looked at the FoB schedule this morning, I realized that I wasn’t going to make it to USC for her panel discussion. Rats. (Sorry to miss you, Myra… but I hope I sold a few books with this post!)

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While in scheduling mode, I was wondering when to get in my swim today. Saturdays in my usual pool tend to get a little crowded with people I generously call “floaters”. Then, the part of my brain that was still at the Book Fest remembered that USC is next to Expo Park – which includes the Coliseum and the Los Angeles Swimming Stadium.

These were built for the 1932 Olympics, and called up for duty again in 1984 for LA’s second bite at the Olympic apple. In the ’90s, the whole thing got mothballed. But ten years ago, the Swimming Stadium was given a $30 million renovation. I’ve heard it’s a great venue for lap swimming, so I’ve been wanting to give it a spin.

Today was the day.

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The two rounds of renovation tread very lightly on the original 1932 architecture and design of the Swimming Stadium, permitting this state of the art facility to keep its Art Deco bones. That’s a laudable achievement anywhere, but especially in LA – which hasn’t always put a premium on historic preservation.

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The Coliseum is decked out in USC’s red&gold as the home field of the Trojans.

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In the most recent redo a massive recreational pool was added (background); this is a godsend to us lap swimmers, as it siphons off the floaters. The 50-meter pool has a moveable divider (visible at left) creating a 25-yard pool at the far end (for diving, water polo and synchronized swimming) and the 8-lane lap pool in the foreground. 50 meters minus 25 yards = about 27 yards: 2 yards longer than the standard 25. So, the configuration of this pool makes you work a little harder for your lap count. But I took comfort in knowing I’d recess.icecream.truckget an 8% bonus at the end of my swim. Before I finish this love letter, let me just say that a six-foot-deep shallow end is a beautiful thing. All that for two bucks, and free parking! I’d swim there everygreentea.cone day if it weren’t a 20-mile roundtrip. But maybe it’s my new Saturday plunge.

Afterwards, I wandered through Expo Park, past the Natural History Museum and the California Science Center (now home to Shuttle Endevour) and over to the USC campus – which was still humming with book lovers. I stumbled upon a quad filled with food trucks, and suddenly felt famished. Funny how that works, eh? I scoped out the shortest line, and was happy to find myself at the very festive Recess Ice Cream truck asking for two scoops of green tea ice cream in a waffle cone.

As I walked slurpily away, I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had an ice cream cone. Am I alone in this? Or have we all been denying ourselves one of life’s simplest pleasures for far too long??

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Lots of collegiate red brick and blue sky provide a great backdrop for this flowering jacaranda, my view while I waited for my ice cream cone. As I made my way off campus, I bumped into this guy:

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And I have to say, if there’s a competition among life-size bronze statues for Best Plaque… this one just might win:

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Except for missing my friend at the book fest, today was not a bad day at all.
Olympic qualifying, in fact.

Day 096 #100happydays

Photo credit at top: Ryan Lochte by Martin Schoeller

 


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[095] Jacaranda!

Kim+Me.Robertson.041014I reconnected a couple of years ago with a friend from our high school days who now lives in Northern California’s Silicon Valley with her husband and two sons. Last August, Kim was shuttling her older son back down to USC for his sophomore year; she suggested we get together for lunch, which was really lovely. How do you catch up after so many years? Wine.

A few weeks ago, Kim telegraphed that she’d be down LA way again – this time with her younger son, who has a decision to make about his own collegiate future. So we had another chance to lunch and catch up and spend an unhurried afternoon together. From what I hear, it looks like they are going to be an All-SC family… which guarantees me a few more lunch dates with Kim. That makes me happy. The dogs too. Especially Bernardo – who is quite smitten with this girl! After our lunch (at Lemonade on Beverly), we wandered around, visiting and window-shopping. Some kid was taking snapshots of his supermodel girlfriend near the Ivy on Robertson, and he was kind enough to take ours. We tried to be adult and respectable, we really did. (We failed.)

jac and pineAnother wonderful thing happened yesterday. As we were driving to lunch, I spotted my first blooming jacaranda tree of the season. Spring is really here when the jacarandas burst into blue-lavender-purple fireworks. It starts slowly, with the telltale purple haze here and there. And then, ka-BOOM! They seem to be everywhere. But especially in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. They are native to South America and elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, but were brought to Los Angeles a century ago by Katherine Olivia Sessions, the landscape architect for Balboa Park in San Diego. Thank you, Ms Sessions! jac.telephonepole

These aren’t terribly good photographs of the jacarandas in my neighborhood, where they mingle with palms and pines. The sun was too high and the colors are washed out. But I’ll get better at it. As long as we don’t have a freak rainstorm, these blooms last for a couple of months. (They bloom again in the fall, but the big show tends to be in spring.)

And here are a few more snaps of local flora from my travels today. Enjoy!

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I don’t know the proper name for this gorgeous yellow flower,
so I’ll just call it gorgeous yellow flower.

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The ruby-reddest bougainvillea I’ve ever seen.

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I love the way the new growth on this silvery-green olive tree reaches for the sky.

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They’re just clumps of tall grasses planted at the edge of a park…
but there’s such exuberance – even without all the flower power.

To old friends and new seasons.

Day 095 #100happydays

 

 
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[090] Twins

I’ve logged nearly 150 miles in the pool since November, which is the good news. The bad news? My favorite swim trunks have been degraded to the point of scandal. So, today I found myself in the shopping nirvana that is the Century City mall, in pursuit of a swimsuit. I had done my homework and headed directly to H&M, which had what I was looking for. Sadly, I tried on three different styles in size MEDIUM before succumbing to the harsh reality: I still require the LARGE. You know, I’ve heard that they take liberties with women’s size labels. Why don’t men get this courtesy? What about size labels such as POTENT or BRILLIANT or PROSPEROUS?

[Sidebar] A thousand years ago, I had my first big-city job in New York and bought my first big-city winter overcoat. It was a brown tweed number, trench coat style with wide lapels. I felt very cool while keeping warm that winter. One cold night, I stopped to see my friend Kip at his parents’ house. His father opened the door and gave me a hearty welcome. “Steve! Well, you’re looking prosperous!” Now, I knew I had overpaid for that coat, but in that moment I felt entirely vindicated. I suddenly hoped summer would never come. It was some time before I learned the crushing truth: “prosperous” is a polite synonym for “fat” – as in “well fed” – used by very nice-if-somewhat-snarky New England WASPs. (I lived.)

Anyhoo, success. I found my swimwear for the next several hundred miles. But then it took longer to get to the cash register than it had taken me to get to the mall. And I was nearly asphyxiated when the charming little girls behind me smashed a vile vial of glitter nail polish on the floor. Their mother pretended not to know them while the employee (who would otherwise have been ringing up my purchase, thankyouverymuch) discovered the near impossibility of wiping up glitter-infused nail lacquer from a white marble floor.

And no, I will not model my new swimming costume for you. Maybe next time… when I’m sufficiently less prosperous. Hey – this post is not even about swimwear, or overcoats, or child terrorists. Hello! Focus people, focus!

aerial-centuryplazaThat mall has an immense underground parking structure, and I’m always a little relieved to find my way to any exit. Today’s roulette put me on Constellation Blvd and I found myself looking up at the crisply striped twin towers of Century Plaza against an endlessly blue sky. (Sometimes, the blog post just writes itself.) Here’s an aerial shot to show you how these 500-foot tall wedges stand in relation to each other. The six angles produce ever changing communication between these two giant sculptures.

Once a New Yorker always a New Yorker (no matter how much ankle-deep slush I no longer have to step in) – so the first time I heard someone refer to Century Plaza as “the twin towers”… my reaction could be summed up as fuhgeddaboudit!

My stance on this has softened somewhat since learning that these twinned towers in LA share something rather significant with the iconic Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center in NYC: their parentage. The same architect, Minoru Yamasaki, designed these buildings. What’s more, they were built around the same time. WTC was finished in 1973; Century Plaza Towers opened two years later. And the family resemblance is striking. Yamasaki favored aluminum cladding and narrow dark windows. These two side-by-side shots show the similar design elements:

SIDE BY SIDE 1

Of course, New York’s Twin Towers were far more massive and 2-1/2 times taller than Century Plaza Towers. But as I stood looking up at the interplay of the twins here in LA, I couldn’t help recalling the same strained neck while standing between the North and South Towers of WTC, once upon a time. There was a time when this would have made me sad… but today I found myself happy to visit the California cousins of those noble old New Yorkers.

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Towering Twins

Day 090 #100happydays

P.S. I have just traveled here from the future! Well, little more than a week after the original date of this post. Because I found another shot in the album from that day. I didn’t use it in this post, as the trees interfered with the clean lines of the architecture. But I like the juxtaposition of the natural and built environments. So I’ll just sneak it in here, and return to my proper place in the timeline.

centuryplaza.trees

 

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[084] Dockweiler

planeWhen I was a kid, I was fascinated with planes, airports and everything to do with aviation. Along with most other little boys of my generation, and undoubtedly quite a few of the little girls. A big jet launching into the air presents a heady mix of science, engineering, magic and romance. How does it fly?! Where is it going? Who’s on it?

Fast forward, decades. Wide-eyed little boys and girls become bleary-eyed passengers. Science and engineering are now in the service of shoehorning ever more butts into ever-shrinking seats. Magic is required to jam giant carry-ons into overhead bins. As for the romance of air travel… that phrase just reads like a punchline.

But there’s one place that even the most jaded traveler can summon his inner kid: at the end of a runway.

I dropped Eileen at LAX this afternoon, reluctantly sending her back to the last vestiges of Boston’s never-ending winter. Instead of hopping back on the freeway, I decided to take a quick detour down the Imperial Highway, which runs along the southern edge of LAX. It parallels the runways, and like all westbound routes, it ends at the big blue Pacific.

Dockweiler State Beach sits under the bluffs at the end of the airport’s runways. You’d never know there is a massive intercontinental transportation hub behind that hillside covered with ice plants, because you can’t hear or see the jets until they have launched themselves right above your head, out over the ocean. Doesn’t matter the destination: north, south, east or west. Transcon or transpacific. All flights jump off headed west, into the wind. Some will turn left or right. Some will just keep going, into the wild blue yonder. Next stop: Hawaii. Tokyo. Sydney. Hong Kong. Singapore…

So the little kid in me got to relive some long-forgotten thrills today, watching big planes climb up into the bigger sky. How does it fly? Where is it going? Who’s on it? And between launches, I was drawn – as I always am – to that zone between land and sea. Where the relentless blue-green surf throws itself upon indifferent sands. It is somehow violent and peaceful all at once. An unending war, fought to an inevitable draw, over and over and over again. The sound of it is comforting, like a lullaby. The sea breeze is constant. There goes another jet. Down the beach, a few kites take to the sky. And the great flocks of gulls gathered on the beach to breed are a little more skittish than usual. They take wing en masse if someone approaches too close, settling again just 50 feet down the beach.

That was a busy stretch of sand there at the end of the LAX runways this afternoon.
And one very happy little boy.

Day 084 #100happydays (And here’s a few more pics from today.)

gulls

view to santa monica

Santa Monica’s gleaming white skyline follows the sweep of the coast just north of LAX.

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Hillsides covered in fire-resistant succulents called ice plants explode with vibrant colors in the Southern California spring.

If you squint you can just make out a jet headed west over the ocean. The smudge along the horizon is the marine layer – dense fog banks a thousand feet high or more – that is California’s natural air conditioning. As the inland areas heat up, the marine layer is drawn closer in, giving us a nice cool hug. In June, it might not burn off until early afternoon, earning the meteorological moniker “the June gloom”. Some folks find it depressing. But as a veteran of many a sweaty summer in New York, Boston and Washington DC – not to mention six consecutive summers in the skillet of the Palm Springs desert – I’m a big fan of the marine layer. It’s cool.

 

 

[083] Supermodel Pizza

The last full day of pal Eileen’s LA visit began with a casual and delish breakfast at Bossy Wife + Co on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood. French toast. Corned beef hash (= crazy good). Omelette. Sourdough toast. Coffee. Mmmmmmmm.

chamberlain.roofThen we strolled back to the Chamberlain and popped up to the rooftop pool for some R+R in the sun. A crystal clear day. The sky blue sky. The pool blue pool.

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Gorgeous views up at the Hollywood Hills, to downtown L.A., to Griffith Park and the San Gabriel mountains beyond.

 

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griffith.sangabriels

Later in the day, after a couple of hours hanging out with Thom and the dogs, Eileen and I ambled on over to Cafe Med in Sunset Plaza. I was craving their pizza della fotomodella… supermodel pizza.

CafeMed_Now

Because I love eating it: thin crust pizza, no red sauce, arugula and prosciutto: perfecto! And I love saying it: pizza della fotomodella!

pizza della fotomodella

It is impossible not to sound like a native Italiano when these words strut down the catwalk of your tongue:

Vorrei la pizza della fotomodella, per favore. Ciao! Grazie! Bene!

raoul-bova-480150l-pozaIt’s how Raoul Bova (Diane Lane’s love interest in Under The Tuscan Sun) would say it.

Damn near perfect.

Day 083 #100happydays

 

 

 

 

 

[081] Just Add Water

Today I watched three refugees from winter begin to thaw. It was beautiful.

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Mario, Jim & Eileen on the Venice Beach boardwalk.

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Los hermosos… patrolling the sand.

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Just as we’ve long suspected:
She walks on water.

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Mario & Eileen, deep in reflection.

Jim… footloose and fancy-free.

Sun, sand, water + friends.

Day 081 #100happydays