Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Your Party Will be a Success
People in LA really seem to like birthday parties. The 1920’s-themed birthday party I went to on Friday, featuring a $700 cake and 17-piece orchestra, felt more like a wedding than a 25th birthday. And I passed up a party a couple of weeks ago with an Evite that boasted a $2,500 tab in Santa Monica and a guest list of 300 people. Who even knows 300 people? But then again, I guess if I opened up that kind of tab somewhere, I would have 300 new friends, too.
So it was very refreshing to do a complete 360 and attend a 6-year-old’s birthday party on Saturday afternoon in Atwater Village. In fact, I’ve never had so much fun in my entire life. The backyard was turned into a total dreamscape, with a tent, cookie decorating table, fake tattoo parlor, piñata, Mystery Machine moon walk, and even a chicken coop. Most surprising, to me, is how practiced these California kids are at the art of the piñata. As soon as it was hung, without instruction, they all lined up in perfect order, and knew how far away to stay from the line of fire. From there, it was straight out action. One kid was scolded for throwing a rock at the pinata, the little sniper; the father took a knife to the piñata when no one was looking; the birthday girl puked just before it was struck, and then, with the resilience that only a 6-year-old can muster, managed to eat a piece of her birthday cake ten minutes later. And even though there were only about 20 kids there, it felt like 50 because they just kept running around and around and around.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The second screening was a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie called The Russell Girl, which was not nearly as bad. Still, within the first five minutes of the movie, the audience finds out that a young girl has Leukemia. And then we sit and watch as she tries to hide it from her family and high school boyfriend for the next two hours. Hallmark is quite cunning, actually, and knows how to hijack its viewers’ emotions. Even though the screening did not have commercials, it was explained to me at the reception beforehand that when Hallmark shows the movie on TV, they only use Hallmark commercials. Each commercial is strategically placed at specific points in the film to provoke certain emotions. Even without the commercials, though, I still found myself crying at the end of the movie. I don’t know why. I felt no attachment to the characters or the story; I just couldn’t help but cry.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Out on the Weekend
And the rock formations, too, are out of this world. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years of earthquakes, erosion, molten liquid, and whatever else, makes for a very fascinating geologic landscape. But the highlight of the trip was a horseback riding tour we took with a cowboy named Dan. Dan regaled us with tales of his teenage years – when he would get so bored, that he'd climb a mountain with no shoes on – and his time as a front man in a Doors tribute band. That’s Dan’s one true passion: the Doors. Dan had a lot of stories to tell about the crazy 90’s and the dueling Doors acts in Yucca Valley, California. Sometimes Dan’s passions trailed off to rattlesnake hunting for his taxidermist friend, or pool and spa supplies, but he always came back to the Doors. We even got our own private concert when Dan sang “Five to One” and “Strange Days” for us out there in the middle of the desert.
Friday, January 18, 2008
What a Day for a Night
Anyway, back to the event. The acoustics in the hall are positively first-class and the seats, no matter how far away, are plush. First up was Plaid, a British techno duo with a set of turntables and a backdrop of digital abstract art. Next, Tokyo’s Cornelius delivered a sonic performance of electronic psychedelic rock in front of a gigantic screen of futuristic visuals. Experiencing the images in perfect synch with the music produced a truly dramatic effect, especially when sitting in the concert hall felt like watching a show from the inside of a whale’s stomach.