Archive for February, 2012


Monday, February 13th, 2012

Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday proved to be as delightful as the rest of the week had been.  The temperature dropped but the sky was blue, I had another great meeting with some kindred spirits and hooked up with friends new and old.  I bid a fond farewell to the city and headed to the airport.

And I made a rookie mistake.  I didn’t bother to make sure that my flight was on time when I left for the airport, so I dropped off my rental car and made my way to an empty departure lounge where I realized my flight was fully two hours behind schedule.  LAX, unlike many airports, is NOT in the middle of nowhere but I had my flight case with me and there are no lockers on the premises. It just wasn’t practical to hop a bus to the nearby Marina to kill some time, but I did give the idea pause.  I ended up doing laps around the airport and then taking myself for a time wasting lemonade adventure to the restaurant that lies in the heart of the airport complex.

You may have seen photos of Encounter as it looms, Triffid-like,  over the terminals.

The cosmos theme is very much continued in the interior.  You start your adventure by entering a tiny elevator that cues eerie space music (or what passed for it and now sounds like a really stretched audio cassette) and ride up to the top.  The view is pretty good if you like looking at runways and the mountains that you could have been driving through had you the foresight to check your flight details.

The proprietors have resisted the urge to carry the theme to the menu – I had a berry salad and a lemonade that were thus named as a opposed to something like a “Moonberry green garden with alien sputem sauce”, but the kitsch continued to the decor which I suspect had not been modified since the early 80s.

The bathroom was fabulous.

All in all it wasn’t a bad place to spend an otherwise unclaimed hour.  The food was passable, it wasn’t the departure lounge of an international airport and the possibility of an abduction seemed positively ripe.  Still, I will endeavor not to make the same mistake again.  It is hard to stomach that you are looking at this:

When with a simple phone call or web surf you could be looking at this:

Life Brew

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

There are a few things that should be known about me.

1.  I am asked for directions everywhere I go, including when I am in foreign lands

2.  I can predict the location of any public washroom within a one mile radius regardless of what city or country I am in. (I inherited this skill from my mother)

3.  I have a serious shoe obsession

Today I was asked for directions to the washroom in Designer Shoe Warehouse.

I believe my life is complete.

LA Redux

Friday, February 10th, 2012

So Hello Again California!

The PMA (Production Music Association) is an organization that is fairly integral to the mechanics of my new business and they hosted a seminar on Thursday night in Los Angeles entitled “What Is The Value of Music?”.  There was a similar event in New York in November which I elected not to attend and I have regretted it ever since.  I angsted over attending this one as it meant cashing in ALL of my travel points, but here I am.  I couldn’t be more glad I made the decision I did.

After an uneventful (and chilly) flight from Toronto I landed in Los Angeles.  The first thing that happened was I got an unasked for upgrade at the rental car place from a rather down-at-heel black Nissan Versa to a brand new silver Mustang convertible.  The second thing that happened was a high of 80 degrees fahrenheit.  The roof came off and the games began.  I had some time to kill before my first meeting of the trip so I drove to the Rose Cafe in Venice for lunch, which has long been one of my favorite places in town.  I ate, went to the Marina and had an absolutely brilliant meeting where I met the owners an operators of a great music library that will now be added to my stable of suppliers.  I drove into Hollywood with the top down, whistling a happy tune and checked into The Magic Castle Hotel.  I have long been fascinated by The Magic Castle which was built in 1909 and opened as a private club for magicians and sleight of hand performers in 1963.  I discovered upon my arrival that my room was not in the Castle itself but in a converted apartment building just adjacent to it.  My disappointment in not having a coffin in which to saw someone in half strategically placed in the living room was quickly assuaged by the fact that my room is bigger than either my apartment in LA or my current living space in Toronto.

I lolled about for a bit then drove up to Mulholland Blvd for a scenic drive that wound through Topanga Canyon to the ocean.  I drove along the coast for a bit and back down through Santa Monica, ending up in Venice again for a lovely dinner in a cozy Spanish restaurant.  Diver scallops, risotto and tea.

Thursday I ran errands and found myself on Hollywood Blvd, drinking in the most exquisite juice (a Fruit Rainbow – fresh squeezed oranges with water melon, strawberry and blackberry juices with a bit of honey) while I wandered over to see what my favorite mannequins were wearing for Valentine’s Day.

They never disappoint.

I had another meeting in Santa Monica which went beautifully (another library for the collection!) and I headed up to the Valley for the seminar.  It is always a tough call with these things.  They can be dry-as-a-bone dull, or absolutely fascinating and fortunately this was the latter.  I was amused to discover a few weeks ago that one of the panelists was a Torontonian guy called Steve Pecile who used to be Willard’s boss and I have known for 20 years.  “Great”, I thought. “I am flying 2000 miles to see a guy I could drive 20 minutes to visit”.  It was worth it.  He looks great – relaxed and happy and 10 years younger than the last time I saw him.  I reunited with some of the people I had met with before, met some great new people and left the seminar completely fired up with enthusiasm and renewed vigor.

Today is another beautiful day.  I had breakfast with my old neighbour Ethan and am about to head out for a walk before my next meeting in Burbank this afternoon.  My hotel is located in the heart of Hollywood and is perfectly located for jumping off to the different parts of the city.  And the Designer Show Warehouse is one block south.  I guess I know what I am doing this afternoon.

I have this last meeting then an evening of uncharted excitement.  Tomorrow holds lunch with my friend Anny, then dinner and a sleep over with Jessica in Santa Monica.  Then home on Sunday.  All in all a healthy, happy, profitable and inspiring trip.

Time to take the top down and go look at shoes.  Does it get any better than this?


Friday, February 10th, 2012

I rented “Moneyball” the other day.  It turns out it is a baseball movie about baseball.  I was expecting some kind of subtext, but no, it really is about a specific period in the history of a baseball team when the general manager decides to adapt a new method of developing said team.  At first it doesn’t work, then it does for a bit.  No real spoiler alerts there.

So often there are more dimensions to films ostensibly about sports.  You hear phrases like “the triumph of the human spirit” and things of that ilk.  Not this one.  So it was with some interest that I read that both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill were nominated for Academy Awards in (respectively) the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories.  For the life of me I cannot say why.  They were both passable in unobjectionable roles.  There was nothing particularly nuanced about either performance.  I didn’t snap off the TV and feel like I needed to learn more about the subject I had just watched.  I didn’t pause and take a breathe and express wonder at the miracle I had just witnessed.  They were … fine.

I know it is fairly common knowledge that the Academy Awards are a political game and rarely are nominations dealt out simply for excellence in a single performance.  But shouldn’t they be?  I noticed that Christopher Plummer was up for a supporting actor nod.  Now, Christopher Plummer is an incredible actor and I have not seen this film, but is he REALLY nominated for this particular turn or is it because he is really goddamn old and he has never won before?  Not to say you shouldn’t be appreciated for your entire catalogue of work but surely those are called “Lifetime Achievement Awards” and have their own special place in the world.

In the past, did Halle Berry win for “Monster’s Ball” because she was incredible (which she kinda wasn’t) or because no black woman had ever won best actress prior to 2001?  I hesitate to even write that lest I be accused of racism, but isn’t there really a bigger picture problem of no good roles being created or offered to black women that surely cannot be solved by a misplaced homage?

Did Charlize Theron win for “Monster” because it was outstanding, or because they transformed an insanely beautiful woman into an ugly one?  (And if walking around with no make up and sweatpants on harbouring resentment against the world is award worthy, then where the hell is mine?)  Even Sandra Bullock surmised in her acceptance speech that she thought she had finally won because the academy had grown tired of seeing her nominated without a win.

I harbour no malice to Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill or any other actor I have mentioned.  I just believe that  the point of having a show such as the Oscars is to honour tour-de-force acting in a specific film.  Athletes win medals because they excel in a specific event at a specific time.  You don’t win Olympic gold for being a generally good sprinter, or swimmer, or skier.  It all comes down to one moment, and one that you have worked your life to get to.  Makes it seem a little more important.  Makes you believe in the “triumph of the human spirit” after all.