Beverley Hills/Century City – May 27, 2010

In an attempt to discover all things likable about this town I have been punctuating my business meetings with forays into different aspects of LA living.  Yesterday I managed two, in between which I sandwiched an absolutely faith-restoring meeting with the local chapter of the AFM.  I was there for an hour and a half, got some great leads and was asked if I had considered running for the Board of Directors in Toronto and invited to do so in LA if I move down here.  Confidence now moderately restored.

Anyway, before my meeting I went to the Annenberg Space for Photography to see an absolutely fascinating still and video series called “Water – Our Thirsty World”.  The Annenbergs are the current version of the Hearst family.  They have made billions in publishing and spend a goodly portion on philanthropic efforts and support of the arts.  The show was sponsored by National Geographic so the images were spectacular and the gallery , though small, is brilliantly executed.    The show itself really brought home how much we take for granted our access to this resource.  Canada, for instance, as .5% of the world’s population but 9% of the world’s renewable water supply (I googled that little fact).  Fantastic show, if you come visit you must go.

The gallery is in the same complex as the talent agency giant CAA, so needless to say the landscaping was beautiful and the place smelled like money.  They have a little knoll in the middle of the buildings where you could eat lunch and broker a million dollar deal for your client where there were some fabulously expensive suits taking their repast.  The parking garage was so spotlessly clean it literally squeaked.  I was entertained by the fact that my tires were making whale calls as I drove around looking for a spot.

I have been spending a few mornings a week going for walks in Bev Hills with my friend Anny.  We have known each other since we were 15 and lost touch after college.  She moved here to be an actress and wound up a director and copywriter instead.  And she married a fabulously rich guy in the interim.  She showed me this crazy place – it is called “The Witch’s House”, built by some Disney exec in the 20s and currently unoccupied.  It has become a landmark and every Halloween the city shuts down the intersection it lies on and it becomes ground zero for trick-or-treaters

Beverly Hills is as one might expect very pretty and very well tended.  The blandest lot is worth about 3 million dollars and that is in the flats.  Prices rise the higher up the hill you go.  Not really my cup of tea.  I prefer things with a bit of an edge and the chance of getting a Mars Bar without having to warm up the lamborghini to fetch it.

Last night I went to the Pickford Center to catch some free documentaries.  The Academy of Motion Pictures (the guys who bring you the Academy Awards) own the theatre and have been sponsoring free screenings of the nominated docs every second Wednesday in the spring.  This place is only a ten minutes WALK from my place (about the distance from the Pivot office to Dundas Square) and there is another screening in two weeks.  Definitely an experience I will repeat.  Last night I saw “The Conscience of Nhem En” which was about the rule of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 70s (think “Killing Fields”).  The doc focussed on a military prison that had been converted from a school where the Khmer Rouge tortured  and killed thousands of political prisoners, the vast majority of whom were innocent.  17,000 men, women and children went in.  Eight came out.  Eight.

The second was an Errol Morris doc on Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq which was really interesting.  Errol Morris is a brilliant documentarian (Fog of War, Thin Blue Line, Fast Cheap and Out of Control being but a handful) and Standard Operating Procedure is great, if chilling.  It centers around the very famous photographs that started the whole Abu Ghraib/Americans torturing prisoners controversy in 2004

By the way, the chick in the picture (Lynndie Englund) is very possibly a psychopath.

Today I have no meetings schedules and it is overcast.  I will spend the morning doing research and may pop over to check out Pasedena. The old city there is beautiful.  I may drive downtown to take some pictures of the old theatres there as well.  I am gradually learning my way around and am mentally buying real estate with my fictitious billions.  And dating Robert Downey Jr too while my imagination is roaming freely.

More later.  I am beginning to get more photographic subjects than I am days to send them and I don’t want to inundate you all.  Send news from home, I miss you guys.


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