I found this nice link that I think I'm going to start using to I can keep up with what's going on around L.A. when it comes to music. I like my jazz and I'd like to find places to sit and watch a live show from time to time, maybe get to know some of the local musicians.
It's L.A. Times - Calendar Live.
What I like is that you can put in what type of event you'd like (music, art stage, movies, etc.), what area you're looking to visit and what date. The only problem is you can only search within a 7 day time frame. It will come up with a search result.
I'm going to use this and if you're around L.A. looking for something to do, don't forget to check out this link.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The La Brea Tar Pits is known for having the largest and most diverse collection of extinct plants and animals from 10,000 to 40,00 years ago.
If you remember or saw the movie Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones, the volcano erupted near the La Brea Tar Pits which is located in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles.
There is a paleontologist lab inside of the museum where you can actually watch some of the paleongologist cleaning the fossils. They are still excavating fossils.
The pond in front of the museum, which is the tar pit, contains life size replicas of some extinct animals. It still smells of tar that trapped these animals and you can see bubbles forming on the surface. The tar preserved these bones/fossils in pristene condition.
Imagine this tar pit in the heart of Los Angeles. Stand facing the tar pit and imagine none of the buildings and none of the traffic around you - just wide open land with extinct animals roaming free. Imagine them coming to this watering hole and finding it a trap from which they can't escape. Their bones are still being excavated in the heart of this city for us to view and study.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Image from http://www.mystcritic.com
One of these days I'm going to get out and do the restaurant reviews as part of my re-discovery around L.A. For now I was just going to mention Harold & Belle's because I know it's a very popular spot and I've never heard anything but favorable reviews about it. But I found a website that reviews the best creole restaurants around L.A. I thought, why just suggest one. You can check out his link and get a few more places to try.
I'm going to try it myself one day... you'll see.
Note that the mystcritic.com where I got the picture gave a great review of Harold & Belle's as well. You never know what else they might recommend.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Universal City Walk or just CityWalk is like a cross between a shopping center and an amusement park without the rides. It's bright, colorful, entertaining, lots of shopping and lots of choices to eat. Of course, if you want the theme park it's there too at the end of CityWalk - Universal Studios. All wrapped up in one place is an amusement park, shopping, restaurants, nightclubs and movie theatre. It can be your daytime or evening source of entertaiment. It's great for a date or someplace you can go alone if you just feel like something to do or want to do a little shopping.
The cool thing about CityWalk is that you can take it all in or just take some of it in. Feel like a movie and something to eat? You can't really beat the surroundings for something different from the same old neighborhood movie theatre. Feel like some musical entertainment? Why not take in B.B. King's House of Blues?
It was a beautiful day in L.A. and a beautiful day to take a stroll around CityWalk with a cup of Starbucks or Coffee Bean, check out the stores, sit and have something to eat outdoors, all while a perfectly clear blue sky loomed above. It's colorful, it's lively, it's relaxing, it's definitely something to see and some place to go.
The slideshow below is a collection of my pictures of my day at CityWalk and hopefully a reason why you should plan to just get in your car, take a drive up the 110 Fwy and visit CityWalk.
There have been stories in the news that the 138 acres around the Hollywood sign, owned by a Chicago investment group are about to be redeveloped, bulldozed and turned into luxury homes. You can click on this link to read an article in the L.A. Times website.
Supposedly these homes are not likely to obstruct the view of the Hollywood sign but it's not the point. The Hollywood sign has always been nestled in the green hills, seen for miles for as long as I can remember, a tourist attraction. It's difficult to imagine looking towards that hill and see houses around it. It's difficult to imagine that the many people who take hikes up to sit near that sign and look out at the fantastic view will no longer be able to do it because it will be surrounded by public property.
Sadly, I'm not surprised at this turn of events. Why not just tear it down, I wonder sarcastically. They've torn down practically everything else that use to be a symbol of Hollywood. If you've watched t.v. at all you're familiar with I Love Lucy and her infatuation with movie stars and their trip to Hollywood. Gone are all the places that used to be a part of Hollywood, places that in my eyes should have been kept as historical landmarks. Old Hollywood. Gone.
The Brown Derby - how could they tear that down? How could they let someone ever change it from what the original look into something pink and clownish? It was a landmark during Hollywood's golden era known for the celebrity clientel. It's nothing but a memory for many and soon no one will even know what it was, what it used to be.
The Ambassador Hotel and The Coconut Grove - once hotel and nightclub to the stars. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in this hotel after winning the California primary. The hotel was demolished in 2006 and the only remaining part of it, The Coconut Grove club is marked to be the auditorium for a school to be built there... maybe.
Those are just two examples of the Hollywood that our city has let disappear. There are homes in historic neighborhoods in this city with rules that govern what you can and cannot do to improve the homes so that the homes remain historic and yet they've done little to preserve the historic buildings and streets of Hollywood.
When I was in high school Hollywood was the place to go on the weekend. It was great to walk the streets, hit the stores, take in a movie, check out the footprints of celebrities along the street. It's not the same. Hollywood and vine is not the same. The famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre is still there but Hollywood and the glitz and glamour of it... it's just not the same. Hollywood has disappeared. It didn't just disappear they slowly tore it down and let it go to pot.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I know this is a lousy picture but I couldn't get a clear one and didn't want to have an accident but I think this picture is clear enough to make a point. The downside of living in L.A. and having so many places to go is that most of the time traffic is so bad who wants to get in it? This was at about 6:15 p.m. on a Saturday! There are too many people here, they just keep building, there's no public transportation that anyone is willing to take unless they have to, and too many people don't know how to freakin' drive!
In this picture I had just passed one of those digital road signs that told me it was going to take 30 minutes to get about 10 miles. This is every freeway in each direction, the streets are no better and then you look over at the shopping centers you pass and the parking lots are packed. All you see is wall to wall cars. On one street my sister and I sat through three signals just to get down one block and then through two more just to turn left. Five minutes to clear one block!
Even when traffic is decent there are still those clowns driving 40 miles an hour when the speed limit is 65 and they hog every lane so that traffic is backed up behind them. Even when traffic should be clear, it's not.
Every piece of vacant land is being built on - another 200 unit complex or condo complex to dump another 200 cars on the already crowded roads.
Sure, L.A. is wonderful and I admit that. But the traffic is so bad it takes forever to get anywhere and it's only getting worse! Why do people have road rage? I know why.
If you live in L.A. and like jewelry, and I mean the "real" stuff, I doubt that you don't know about The Jewelry Mart in downtown Los Angeles. If you don't know about it, where have you been!? I worked with numerous women who loved their gold, diamonds and other stones and the only place they would get it was downtown. I have a couple of pieces. Nothing gawdy, but the prices are great and the quality is top notch. I am by no means saying you should not always be on your P's and Q's when buying here. I don't do enough shopping down there to quarantee you anything with anyone. But if you're looking for good quality at reasonable prices, I would suggest checking out The Jewelry Mart.
I had the fortune of going to specific vendors that other women at work knew very well. I can tell you the pricing is competitive because they have to be to compete with all of the other vendors in this area. To give you an example, when you walk into many of the doors you will find that there are numerous vendors with individual stalls. It's not like walking into a mall and there might be three jewelers who basically have all the same stuff. We're talking a couple blocks of jewelers from one end of the block to the next, on both sides of the stree, with numerous vendors inside each door you enter.
If you're looking for some serious jewelry at least go check out the Jewelry Mart. It's down around, and not limited to, Hill Street and 7th Street.
I thought I lost my bracelet a while back and thought I'd go in one of the jewelry stores in the mall to price what it might cost to replace it. Let me tell you, after having bought things at the jewelry mart (and again, it's not much but it's mine - LOL!), I was really disappointed with the quality and lack of selection. Luckily I found my bracelet (thank God). But I vowed that if I ever buy anything again, it's the Jewelry Mart for me.
Did I mention that, at least the last time I bought something, you could pay on it, like a layaway plan? You can afford something really nice without credit.
My sister and I ventured out today and actually hit three places. The Griffith Park Observatory was one of them. My sister is three years old than me and imagine my surprise when I learned she had never been there! This was a treat for me to show it to her and I was glad I included her in my rediscover L.A. venture.
I was quite surprised to find out how many cars lined the two lane road as we neared the observatory. It was crowded and people were just out to enjoy the beautiful day. Many were just standing around the railing around the observatory or on the different floors of the observatory looking out over the wonderful view of the city.
Though it wasn't as smoggy as it sometimes is, it was still a little hazy. You could see the buidlings from Downtown L.A. but on a very clear day you can actually see the ocean. It was too bad it wasn't such a day so I could have shared such a picture with you. The wonderful thing about the observatory is that even if you chose not to go in, or you got there and found it closed, it's still a worthwhile trip just to stand atop this mountain with observatory and get about a 270 degree view of Los Angeles below. Or maybe you might choose to take one of the many hiking/walking paths that you can see below. Many people did just that today.
When you first enter the observatory the domed ceiling is really quite beautiful with paintings depicting astronomers. There are quite a few displays and things to look at but the real thrill of the observatory is to catch the shows. My sister and I decided not to do that on this trip. It was quite enough on this trip just to visit the observatory, take in the displays, enjoy the beautiful day and enjoy the view.
Can you see the Hollywood sign in the distance in the picture above? It's been in the news recently that the owners of the land around the Hollywood sign are trying to sell it for development. The city is trying to raise the money to buy it back. I think it would be a shame to take away from the sign by putting anything around it.
This is the back of the observatory. You can literally walk all the way around it to enjoy that 270 degree view.
The Fashion District is located on the east side of downtown Los Angeles and stretches for blocks and blocks in the vacinity of, and hardly limited to the area around, Olympic Blvd between Los Angeles Street and Maple. If you exit the 10 freeway on Maple there is even a sign stating The Fashion District. This will include the infamous "The Alley". You can find anything here - children's clothing, men and women's clothing, suits, shoes, fabric, notions, bridal gowns, bridal fabrics, upholstery fabrics, purses, sunglasses, luggage, costume jewelry, etc. - and it's all discounted.
If you live in L.A. and you don't know this area, shame on you!
If you're planning on visiting L.A. you've got to try to make it to the Fashion District. I haven't been in a while but I just drove through it on my rediscover L.A. venture. I'm not saying it's all designer clothing and designer outlets but you never know what you might find in the Fashion District and there is a little bit of everything for everybody. And if nothing else it will definitely be an experience.
Feel like shopping? Remember The Fashion District and I'd suggest leaving early unless you don't mind being in the midst of the crowd of people you'll run into.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I worked in downtown Los Angeles most of my working years. My job prior to the one I have now, I worked on 3rd and Grand for nearly 20 years.
I remember old downtown L.A. when most of the "big" stores were on Broadway. I remember when the tallest building downtown was City Hall which is now dwarfed in comparison to other buildings and is no longer the heart of downtown. In this picture it's the smaller white building on the right that comes to a peak. I can vaguely even remember taking the trolley with my mother and the sparks from the wires which is probably why I remembered it from such a very young age. It was the place everyone went to shop and had the best movie theatres around.
Broadway now is run down and laden with nothing bus discount stores. All of the major stores moved west into places like the Broadway Plaza when malls became the new rage and building became skyscrapers. It has certain changed over the years but change isn't always a bad thing and the buildings are beautiful.
Pictured below are just some of the buildings and focal points of downtown Los Angeles - The Music Center, MOCA, the main library, Walt Disney Concert Hall. I will mention that the Water Court between the California Plaza towers is spectacular and host a string of evening concerts in the summer. There are pictures on the water court in the slideshow below.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I thought the best place to start this blog was with an area of this city that seems pretty central to me. For a short while as a teen I lived in this area. I passed it most days going to work, when I visit my sister I pass it, if you travel south on the 110/Harbor Freeway you pass it and when I attended USC it was right across the street.
Exposition Park consists of parks (of course), museums, a rose garden, The IMAX Theatre, The Coliseum, The Sports Arena, and the Los Angeles Swimming Stadium. The main picture is the entrance to the IMAX theatre on the left and the California Science Center on the right.
I finally made it to Exposition Park at about 1:00 p.m., that was after stopping at Olvera Street and driving through downtown to take a few pictures from the car. They finally kicked me out at 5:00 p.m. I had a great time because I had not been there in so long and they had definitely made architectural and display changes since I'd last been. There is still construction going on as they continue to expand and though I knew that because of this time of year there wouldn't be any roses in the rose garden it was still disappointed to see the thread-bare bushes. Still, the trees outlining the garden were beautiful just the same.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
I started out at the Natural History Museum even though I had to walk through the Science Center and down the tree lined street to get to it. $9 per adult to get in on top of the $6 for parking, so far I was only out $15.00. The minute I paid and walked into the museum and saw the skeleton of the dinosaur on display a sense of nostalgia came over me and I realized how long it had really been since I'd been in that museum.
So me, my camera and my map set out on our museum adventure on the three floors of exhibits. I've got to admit that I think the Gems & Minerals exhibit was my favorite simply because they made for such great pictures. My pictures are in the slideshow below. If you notice a lack of dinosaur skeleton pictures it's because, I'm sad to report, it was closed.
The area that changed the most for me was the California ScienCenter and they're still expanding as part of it was under construction. One side of the building is the old building. The other side by the IMAX Theatre has been "moderenized" and the interior has been completely redone. I couldn't tell you when this took place.
I didn't "play" with the exhibits so I can't give you first hand knowledge of whether or not they were fun but the place was full of kids who seemed to be having a great time and there is certain enough there to amuse and entertain while learning something in the process.
I was quite entertained by the new chicks hatching in the large incubator and the metal contraption suspended in the open between the 1st and 3rd floor which contracted and expanded like an accordion. Then there was the bicycle on the tightrope which, even though it had a safety net beneath it, you could not have got me on. There was a brave soul or two who ventured out on it as you'll see in the slidehow below.
The cost of this adventure - a donation of $5.00.
CALIFORNIA AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM
My last stop was the California Afrian American Museum. I regret that after all the pictures I was able to take, we were asked not to take any photos inside of this museum because of copyright concerns. I was so impressed with the layout of the art and the art I wanted so much to be able to share my experience visually. I've provided you with the link so you can see some of the art for yourself. Please note that these the samples they have on the website are nothing compared to what art is housed inside the museum itself.
OUTSIDE THE MUSEUMS
Outside the museum are a couple of full size airplanes, one on a building and one between the walkway and the parking lot.
SPORTS ARENA & LOS ANGELES MEMORIAL COLISEUM
Then of course there is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, historic points in Los Angeles. The Coliseum was host to two Olympic games, the most recent being in 1984. It is also home to the USC Trojan football games (USC in across the street from the Coliseum). It was also home to the Rams before they moved to Anaheim in 1980. My ninth grade graduation was held there and I attended several USC games and the track and field of the 1980 Olympics.
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was at one time the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, The Los Angeles Clippers, USC Basketball and the Los Angeles Kings.