Of the Week

gay pride flag facebook covers

While what’s going on in Russia is obviously a terrible, no-good, really bad thing, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge how well the rest of the world is responding. Keep in mind that en masse, Internet-wide LBGTQ(IA*) support is a new thing. I think we (we, of course, being a relative term, meant to represent all the internet I come across) have finally reached a place where supporting gay rights is second nature. Like, duh, of course everyone should have the right to marry, etc, etc. It wasn’t like that five years ago, not even within the liberal media (or on my Facebook newsfeed).

So while we’re laughing at all the absurd, insane ways Sochi is breaking down and shaking our heads at Putin and his shirtless horseback riding, let’s keep in mind that this is the first time the entire world has banned together to support gay rights. Let’s keep the Google doodles rainbow, the sassy viral videos coming, and our spirits high because, with the way things are headed, this mess of horrific oppression will soon be distant history.

 

In case you were too busy chilling in a park somewhere to read the news/watch Jimmy Kimmel Youtube videos, Vancouver is allowing this sign to stay posted in a local park.

Some chick was single for a really long time and published a book about it (and I got really jealous). Then one of those ubiquitous internet lists popped up about why it’s great to be single. So, is this the hot, new trend? Being happy as a singleton?! Choosing to be single!? Pass me the ice cream; I’m in.

I totally thought American Hustle was overrated (And was more or less too terrified to say so on Facebook for fear over angering the cinefiles.), but, thankfully, I’m not alone!! (Thanks, Farran!)

Canadian television politics are still a tangled, laughable mess. So what are we going to do about it? No, seriously, that wasn’t rhetorical.

Movie/TV: Nothing’s stuck out to me the past week as I’ve solely been watching reruns of Arrested Development. So, uh, yeah, you should probably do the same.

Music: Dancepack by Volcano Choir – Like most of Justin Vernon’s side projects, this band isn’t instantly accessible; but it’s totally worth the effort. Perhaps start with the first single off the album, Byegone, before you move on to Dancepack; once you get there, I promise it will be worth it: it’s beautiful and mellow and will probably make you want to perform modern dance in your living room.

Photo: A hotel in Switzerland.travel_backpacking_round_the_world_amazing_hotels_ascher-cliff_switzerland

*Are the ‘I’ and the ‘A’ official now? Whatever… doesn’t matter. Give ALL the people ALL their rights.

 

Writing days & movie nights

While it may appear that all I’ve been doing in Los Angeles is playing, I did in fact come here to get some work done. Some network! Get it? Work… network! #sorrynotsorry

Anyway, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people here and will soon be compiling all the advice they have given me into one handy post. But for now, I’m just going to keep posting the fun stuff!

Tuesday was a REALLY EXCITING DAY.

hugo(The only picture I took on Tuesday.)

Yeah, so Tuesday I spent the day writing and emailing and jumping at the banging noises from the kitchen. Hugo is a sneaky teenager (I blame his adolescence for us not getting along.) and continually ducks in and out of cupboards in search of a “hit.” I finally got up and found him in the top cupboard, next to the fridge, head deep into a torn up food bag.

Wednesday was also mostly filled with more of the above but I needed to leave Narnia so I decided to check out Universal Studios City Walk.

universal globe

Finding something in walking distance is super rare for LA, but luckily Universal Studios is about a 40 minute walk from Ryan and Hayley’s place; (or 25 minutes plus a free tram* up the hill.) I was going to walk but the tram was right there, so naturally I hopped on. It takes you all the way up to the entrance of Universal Studios and what they call “City Walk.” City Walk is basically just a sweeping row of restaurants, tourist shops, and restaurants and tourist shops.**

*The tram loads diagonally across the street from the Universal City metro stop.

**Not a typo.

city walkEnthralling stuff.

It was neat, but not exactly a “must see.” The real reason I went up there, though, was to catch a movie.

Mild digression: Every year I tell myself I’m going to see all the films nominated for Best Picture; and every year I’ve gotten really close, but never quite made it. This year, however, I WILL do it! (I mean, it’s really not that complicated, especially in this day and age.***)

So I bought a ticket to Gravity. (I realize it’s shameful that I hadn’t seen it yet, but I was really busy last year, okay?!) The theatre up there is massive, boasting 20 screens. Unfortunately it was no longer in IMAX (Damn you, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.) but I was still blown away from seeing it in 3D. Gravity is truly a jaw dropping cinematic feat that will surely win several technical Oscars, but I sort of wish they’d done one more draft on the dialogue.

***But pirating is bad; don’t do it.**** Pay for movies.

****Unless you’re pretending to be a pirate, like, a real one, not then internet kind: in that case, carry on.

ayX4T0Kp0kj3d0-INRwKk__lohYGvjp5RjyaCizJjVoExciting even at night!

Thursday I had plans to meet up with Jake (a classmate of mine from VFS). He just recently moved down to L.A. permanently, but, being California born and bred, knows a lot more about the city than I do.

He picked me up and, after some much needed coffee, we drove up to Griffith Observatory. I’d already been up there (on Nisha’s last day) but it was nice to spend some extra time wandering around and taking in the view.

_U-xLdf5JQyf9CnsS-TJutOXWCZHAJkNU3hd9TWnQ_IThat view, amirite?!

Kidding aside, it’s actually beautiful to walk around. We popped inside — it’s a legit planetarium in there — then made our way back down the hill (mountain?).  For our next stop, Jake drove us to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library. (Say that five times fast.) The building is gorgeous, but the inside is actually pretty mellow, at least for what I assumed it would be like coming from the people who put on the always ritzy Oscars.

We browsed around for a while, enjoying the massive selection of film and television books, saw a real Oscar, (!!!) (All About Eve – Best Costume Design, Black-and-White), and enquired into seeing production notes and scripts. (They have a gargantuan collection, but most requests take 24 hrs to process.) You can’t psychically check anything out of the library, but it’s a fantastic research resource for anyone spending time in L.A.

sunset strip hotelA hotel on the Sunset strip.

I hadn’t spent any time on Sunset Blvd, so we decided to drive down the infamous strip to find some food and pick out famous sites (Chateau Marmont, The Viper Room). I was craving Mexican (I’m always craving Mexican.) but Jake pointed out another place and I (temporarily) let go of my taco craving. And I’m glad I did, because it turns out that he was taking me to the diner from American Graffiti.

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A classic, All-American spot, we ordered some greasy food and played Tom Petty’s American Girl on the jukebox.

mel'sUnlike Vancouver institution, The Templeton, the jukeboxes actually work here.

I wish we had more classic diners in Vancouver. Screw the Cat Cafe, I want waiters on roller-skates! We finished up our tasty (and artery clogging) food, then Jake headed off into the smog as I took to the Boulevard to wander.

I had plans to meet a VFS Writing alum in a few hours and was going to sight see up and down the strip until that time, but was feeling quite sleepy. Just as I was getting deep into my daydream of Nap Cafes***** I spotted a movie theatre! Hallelujah!

I’d stumbled upon one of Robert Redford’s Sundance Cinemas. It’s a 21+ chain where they serve drinks, fancy coffees, meat plates, edamame, you name it. The seating is reserved and the chairs large, cozy, and equipped with side tables. Now that’s how you’re meant to watch a movie! I picked Philomena, purchased a large Americano, and settled in.

Best Picture nominee, Philomena, is sweet, lovely, and ABSOLUTELY HEART-WRENCHING. Literally, bring all the tissues.

After it was finished, I had the perfect amount of time to walk down Sunset and meet VFS alum, Lynn, at The Cat & Fiddle.

*****This seriously needs to be a thing in major tourist destination cities. When you’re too far from your hostel/hotel and need a little break, you just know you’d pay $15 for a clean place to sleep for a couple of hours.

sny5ecAVJruGVQE89YoC3hMtdwtIuCyMpnTX9d0Cv10Sunset Blvd street art.

Lynn is super awesome and had a lot of great advice. (Combined advice article is forthcoming.) We had a drink and a snack then headed back onto the Blvd in search of the Nerd Melt Showroom. The Nerd Melt is a comic book/graphic novel/action figure Mecca with a back room built for storytelling, sketch, and stand-up shows.

That night was a storytelling event called Risk! and the theme was “freaky.” I love storytelling nights. (Really looking forward to the Rain City Chronicles‘ Love Hangover when I’m back in Vancouver. (Tickets still available, but they go fast!)) We settled in and it was quite the show. There were hilarious stories and heartbreak stories and meth stories and ghosts stories. It’s so cool to hear someone share something that’s meant so much to them. I sincerely recommend finding a storytelling night to go to, whatever city you live in.

Whenever you’re in L.A., though, I insist you check out Nerd Melt’s website. They’ve got so many shows with tons of recognizable actors and just quality entertainment. It’s a great addition to the UCB and Groundlings circuit. Thanks so much, Lynn, for taking me!!

How we celebrate Martin Luther King day…

By going to Mexico! 

YnpwVVh99mMUy9Y1w0sxt7-u7ZGIBGb9ASXc2D6xepsNot actually Mexico.

No, unfortunately, we didn’t go to Mexico, but we found the next best thing: Olvera St.

Hayley works an insane schedule so naturally we were both thrilled to find out she had Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off. After much discussion of what to do with such rare freedom, (her, not me. Clearly as a writer I have all day free to toil and hate myself.) we decided to check out the famed Olvera St., known for being a little Mexican corner of Los Angeles.

While I’ve only been to Mexico once, to a tourist town, when I was eight, and can’t specifically vouch for its authenticity, it did feel like we had traveled to another place, city, country…

Olvera St. is just that, a street, filled with stalls and restaurants and wandering singers with guitars. There are tons of things to buy: leather wallets and shoes, wrestling masks, clothing, and lots of little cafes and stands hocking Mexican snacks and drinks. Hayley picked up some beautiful ceramic peppers, avocados, and other various faux-vegetables to decorate their kitchen. I got a fridge magnet. Woot!

es-sDYj1aUWp826xo-veDqKRA7P3Wy_dQKSWLSBzaUAHayley & I.

After the wandering was over, it was time for food! (Obvi.) So we headed over to a little place Hayley’s friend Courtney had recommended, El Paseo de Los Angeles. We found a lovely shaded table outside and ordered the usual, skinny* lime margaritas and table side guacamole, not to mention a new addition of the dirtiest Mexican platter you ever did see. (DELICIOUS.)

*Less sugar, I guess?

EL PASEO FOOD

Completely satisfied, we rolled into Hayley’s car and made our way home. ‘Twas a magical little escape and while it sated my travel need for 24 hrs, after that time had passed, I just crave traveling to new places more and more. So, again, the million dollar question, how can I travel the world while building a career? (Blogging? Blogging’s the answer, right!?)

This little well reminded me of Kaitlyn. (Hi, Kaitlyn!)

wishing well

Nisha’s Last Day in L.A. and Celebrity Approachment

Sunday morning we woke up refreshed and groggy. Wait… refreshed or groggy, you choose. It was Nisha’s last morning (sob!) so we decided to squeeze in a few more things before driving her to the airport. First on the list, farmer’s market! My obsession with farmer’s markets knows no bounds and I couldn’t wait to check out what a Southern Californian one had to offer.

The farmer’s market in Studio City is right off of Ventura Blvd near Laurel Canyon Blvd. (Just a quick walk down the gorgeous L.A. river.) It’s noisy and right on the street, but what it lacks in tranquility it makes up for in PONY RIDES!!!

0Jwkx6CMGdgtYLVgrU0Kd77MIk-2JY5BJOvHP7uTjk4Like, whaaaaaa?

(Vancouver, time to step up your game!)

farmer's market

As we wandered through the stalls, Nisha’s eagle-eyes spotted the one and only Adam Pally. Squee! A couple things to note here:

1. Nisha is super mellow around celebrities. When I met this girl a year ago, she had NEVER seen a celebrity. Together now we’ve seen several and she’s calm and collected every time. I’m pretty sure I LOST MY MIND until at least, like, my 10th sighting of a famous person. (As in, there were tears involved when I saw Jared Padalecki for the first time. Also, Renee Zellweger straight up gave me dagger eyes. (But that’s probably my fault for pointing and hissing into Carrie’s ear much louder than necessary (or realized).))*

2. Adam Pally is lookin’ fine. The Max Bloom weight is off and that is one fine beard.

3. Through all of my brushes with those professionally charming people we call actors, I’ve never wanted to approach someone more. Happy Endings continues to be one of my favourite shows of all time, even after DOZENS of repeat viewings. I’ve never been one to approach famous people or ask for autographs or pictures. I always figure they’d appreciate their privacy more than whatever I have to say to them. But you don’t go into the business without a healthy love for attention, so sometimes it’s probably totally okay to say hi. But how do you know?! Thus, I’ve created a handy, dandy chart that you may assess before deciding whether or not to approach a celebrity.

*Edit: Nisha’s response: “I was not so cool when I saw Ricardo from the Food network. I’ve evolved.”

Kelly’s Handy Dandy Chart for Deciding Whether or Not to Approach Some Who is Significantly More Famous Than You Will Ever Be.  

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 11.38.18 AM

According to my chart it would have been totally acceptable to approach him, but, alas, we decided not to. He was with his kid and farmer’s markets should be considered a safe** place (additional factors that would require a much more comprehensive chart). In hindsight, I kind of wish we had, at least just to say how much we appreciate his work, but it was too nerve-wracking at the time. Thank goodness I have this handy chart for next time!

So in between all of this we were actually sampling and buying food. There was TONS to choose from and we probably sampled our body weight in fresh California produce. The absolute highlight of it all was something called bolani. It’s a vegan flat-bread from Afghanistan and it’s FREAKIN’ delicious. You can buy them stuffed with spinach or potato or pumpkin and then choose from an assortment of spreads to lather over them. I’m talking garlic mint cheese and cilantro pesto and jalapeño jelly. Seriously, get thee to an Afghani restaurant and order ALL THE BOLANI***.

Apparently these guys (East & West Gourmet) are all over farmer’s markets in California and you only have to read a couple Yelp reviews to know I’m not alone in feeling ecstatic over their product.

We took our bolani goodness along with some fresh avocados, handmade tortilla chips, ceviche, and salsa and headed back to Hayley and Ryan’s apartment for a feast. Amazing.

**Safe from being attacked by overzealous wannabe TV writers.

***Pronounced bo-lonnie, not bo-lownie or bo-lani. (I think… Hayley?!)

0GhSv0LU3gjU7AZmSfR8zhcwVPkI4gj2BVRStk78IU4If you hadn’t noticed yet, I really like panorama shots.

After the food and before the airport, we took the windy, jam-packed drive up to the Griffith Observatory. I guess all the tourists come out on Sundays, because it took us about a half an hour to get up the hill (mountain?). But it was worth it, even if the view is smoggy and you can barely see anything, you’re really there to point your camera in the opposite direction and get the ubiquitous**** tourist shot.

****Guys, I spelt that in one try. One try! *Self high five!*

hollywood sign

I’ve been trying this new “not showing my teeth” thing in photos and I don’t think it’s working out for me. I look pissed when in fact, I am not. (Quite the opposite actually.)

griffithYou may recognize that building on the left (aka The Griffith Observatory) from Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle or if you, unlike me, are a classy person, from Rebel Without a Cause 

We then rode over to LAX and said our goodbyes to Nisha (sad!) before heading home for an evening of relaxing and TV. The end.

Of Last Week

National flags made of their country’s traditional food. Exactly what it sounds like. And super cute.

(Online) dating in “No Fun City*” aka Vancouver.  A few well written stories.

All the places Canadians can get holiday/work visas. Whaaat? We have so many options!

Anna Kendrick is the bestest; and the writer of this ad deserves an award.

Vulture wrote a really interesting article about the history of the selfie. 

*Other people’s words; not mine.

 

Movie: Normally I like to stay positive and recommend only things that are SUPER awesome, but I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you of the atrocity I saw last week. Now you’re all smart people so you probably weren’t going to see it anyway but just in case, please, PLEASE don’t pay to see That Awkward Moment. I agree with this review that describes Zac Efron’s character as a sociopath, but it’s so much worse than that. I LOVE romantic comedies but TAM used the usually fun tropes in atrocious and offensive ways. I almost walked out multiple times. (Will I watch it again someday? Probably. But I’m a real glutton for punishment.)

Today is a grey day in L.A. (but Day 9 wasn’t).

YImd_EfcLR2ACctsp0T__vxJ9ND3sL_7swPNSHMMC70This is what, I believe, the kids calls “#nofilter”.

I’ve been in Los Angeles for nearly 20 days. (Say what!?) And today I miss Vancouver. The fresh air. The rain. The short distances between boroughs. It’s a god damn beautiful city and sometimes I have to leave for awhile to remember that. If you live in Vancouver please consider yourself very, very lucky.

*This post was written over two days. Today the sun came out. Yesterday it rained. People in L.A. LOSE THEIR MINDS when it rains. It’s hilarious. Actually, it’s pretty much exactly what happens to Vancouver when it snows. I highly recommend this Jimmy Kimmel video. So funny.

So the temperature has dropped. It got down to 50 last night (10??*). It will probably get up to the mid 60s today; still a treat for January, but not the warmth I quickly got accustomed to when I first arrived.

So, brief, fleeting homesickness aside, (I know, STFU Kelly, no complaining from you! But I’m just being honest…) L.A. is still frickin’ L.A. I guess I’m just grappling with the loss of my romanticized fantasy Los Angeles. But cities on pedestals shouldn’t throw stones. (What?!) California is known worldwide as a dream destination, and for good reason.

Day 9 (a Saturday) was a magical day. We rented biked in Venice and rode them all the way to Manhattan Beach. (A solid hour plus ride.) I (barely) managed to keep up with rockstar athletes, Ryan, Hayley, and Nisha. We only ducked onto the road for a short while and the rest of the ride along the beach was stunning.

*I’m no longer Googling the difference. I gots to figure it out on my own! 32 = 0, 61 = 16, etc…

bike rideClearly I’m having way too much fun with Pixlr.

It was an incredibly gorgeous day. It’s moments like that where I would sell a little piece of my soul to live here.** We arrived at Manhattan Beach and set up camp next to an empty volleyball next. Hayley and Ryan’s friends were still on their way so we decided to test the water. We dipped our toes in and it was, yes, decidedly freezing, but hell if I’m not going swimming in January! After a bit of wading and much reassurance from Hayley that this wasn’t the beach the great whites like to hang out at, we dove in. (Upon later reflection, we realized said beach was only TEN MINUTES AWAY. Seriously, watch this video.) The water was gorgeous and refreshing. I even ducked in a second time later in the day. (And half-heartedly attempted to surf. But, yep, still no upper arm strength on this girl.)

**Which I’m pretty sure they collect at the DMV in exchange for a California driver’s license. (The shards of soul are then tossed in the air to rest above the city as a cloud of broken dreams.)

beach day

After we towelled off, Hayley’s co-worker/lovely lady Katie and her finance, Ned, joined us as well as Ryan’s friend, Nate, his girlfriend, Batel,*** and their friend Kyle. Tequila in hand, it was time to play volleyball. I begged to be left on the sidelines (While I played a lot of sports growing up, I always abhorred volleyball.) but, alas, to no avail. It was, shockingly, actually really fun! Clearly elementary school volleyball should be taught on a beach and missed hits should not be punished with the popular girls laughing at you, but with shots of tequila. We played a game called “Ace“. It was super fun and my awful playing even got mildly better. (Big ups to Ned and Nate for teaching me!)

***Massive apologies. I’m almost certain I’m spelling that wrong. (But maybe you should make yourself easier to Facebook stalk?! 😉 )

end of beach day

Then the tequila was gone and the bikes needed to be returned so we bid adieu and promised to meet up in a few hours. Nisha, Hayley, Ryan, and I hopped on our bikes and journeyed back. The ride back to Venice was even more beautiful than the ride there. We almost made it back before the sunset (but, obviously a photo shoot was necessary midway). We managed our bikes fine in the dark and then, just as we were pulling into Venice Beach and I was thinking about how incredibly perfect the day was, I kid you not, fireworks started going off behind us. Glorious.

We returned our bikes and nabbed some massive pizza slices before hopping in the car and heading home. We showered and I started getting ready to go out, but you just know after a full beach day and two hour bike ride there was no way we were making it back out; so Nisha made us some dinner and we totally crashed. A perfect California Saturday.

-okDMzDPnkzpDs3pI1Ml-RQjmua3FP0xbuuQ4rgAjO0 Pz8TloANPsEB9mcJs2SFcwHTKqyhFrjTeBpZ4bu2ULA vVLCYw8EjqZi_Q6g3dADHB2btWURD1vSv7Iaiz9Fzno

WuujzHKiaJ9buL6ASaGuml5z8Mo7nRRzgplB8foyJns

The panorama option on my camera, with varying degrees of success.

Live! Sitcom! Taping!

Does anyone know any good memory boosting tricks? I think with all these fictional characters and events swirling around in my head, my brain is having trouble grasping on to the tangible ones. Or maybe it’s just a product of my generation: if I didn’t tweet it youtube it instagram Facebook tumblr snapchat (ok, that last one’s flawed) right away, it never happened. Why would my brain exert actual energy when social media (and its warehouse of servers in Alaska*) can do that for me?**

What I’m trying to say is I only have one picture from Day 8, so it practically didn’t happen. But it did and it was great. Onwards!

*There’s a horror movie pitch somewhere in there.

**Those platforms have to store their info somewhere, right? Someone told me that once… I think I need to read more books.

Ml8PDYYbOe9ZUlEZApRSB6S7TActJEA76ZvU5KJkJaoThe picture is from Day 7.

What we did in the morning doesn’t matter. (I don’t remember.) It likely involved breakfast at some point and probably a little TV. What matters is what we did in the evening: attend our first LIVE! STUDIO! TAPING! Well, except for Jimmy Kimmel the night before… So, it was our first LIVE! SITCOM! TAPING! (to be aired at a much later date). Barbara (the Wonderful) arranged for us to attend a taping of Men at Work, the TBS show we have previously seen a rehearsal of.

Men At WorkDanny Masterson, Adam Busch, Michael Cassidy, James Lesure

And now, like all our feelings for Clint Eastwood, I bring you the conflicted chart* of emotions:

The Good: The show, Men at Work: It’s funny. It’s not 30 Rock but not everything can/should be. It’s cute and fun and would make for excellent background TV on a rainy day of collaging.

The Bad: Our audience warmer** whose name escapes me but we’ll call Chris, because that’s what he called every male he brought up to the front, (except for Ryan – see below). I understand now that there are different calibers of warmers (stay tuned for future post) but way back then, on Day 8, I thought all studio audiences had to sit through an uncomfortable, groan inducing*** and, frankly, racist five plus hours of Chris’s brutal jokes. (He more or less just brought people up to the front, heckled them, then made them dance.) I understand that the job must be VERY hard — I could certainly never do it — and it probably wasn’t as awful as I’m making it out to be and, in fact, most of the audience seemed to really enjoy it, so, you know what, why not run with it, Chris, the same way I’ve completely run away with this ridiculous sentence.

The Ugly: The two individuals, (one nicknamed “rapey Ryan” and the other, let’s call her Christina), who chose to bump, grind, and otherwise engage in inappropriate behaviour in front of 200 hundred people. (I’m no prude but when the shirt AND belt come off and you’re shaking your bits atop the face of a woman who is now lying on the floor, I’m looking away.)

The Good: The attractive writers/crew. Nisha found her future husband. (Who, naturally, we stalked after the show and who, naturally, completely ignored us.)

The Bad: The sandwiches they served far later than midway through the night. But, hey, the taping (and the sandwiches (and Chris’s entertainment)) was all free, so this is not a real complaint.

The Good: Michael Cassidy! This guy has the smile/wave/laugh move down like you wouldn’t believe. He even took the time to come up to the audience and answer questions. It might take another 10 years but this guy’s going to be a movie star. Mark my words. (Seriously, I got a total Ryan Reynolds/George Clooney early TV days vibe.)

The Bad: Danny Masterson. (Hyde!) I couldn’t tell if he was phoning it in or his character was meant to be really, really low energy. Probably not the best question to arise.

The Ugly: Molly Sims’ face. It. Doesn’t. Move. (Which really isn’t ugly so much as sad.)

The Good: The rest of the cast. James Lesure nailed every take and brought something new every time. Adam Busch was also fantastic as were the “suburb” extras.

The Bad: The Nickelback joke! There was a great Nickelback joke in rehearsal and it got cut. I think we were the only ones who laughed at it in rehearsal and the show doesn’t air in Canada, so I get it; but we were sad anyways.

The Good: Going to a taping of a sitcom!!! All bad and ugly aside, it was an incredible experience. It’s absolutely longer than ideal, but five or six hours of numb butt is the trade off for seeing a television show taped live; and it’s worth every minute.

*Not a real chart. More of a list, actually.

**One who keeps the audience “warm” i.e. laughing during the lengthy hours and repetitive takes.

***I know that a “groan” is still categorized as a “laugh” but let’s not aim for that, okay?

IMG_5842The alien spaceship we saw floating on the way home.

Canals and Kimmel and tacos, oh my!

flowersSo much beautiful flora.

Thursday morning we rolled off the couches early and hitched a ride with Hayley into Santa Monica. Most mornings she drives down Laurel Canyon and through Beverly Hills to get to work. It’s a gorgeous, winding drive with views of the city over pot hole laden streets. She kindly dropped us off on Montana and we set off in search of a coffee shop.

We found a cute place (whose name escapes me) around Montana and 20th and enjoyed coffees and coffeecake muffins while catching up on emails and staring at Bryan Callen (Bilson from How I Met Your Mother). After a few hours we walked back to Hayley’s work, dropped off our laptops, and hopped on a bus to Venice.

venice entrance

For those of you who haven’t been, Venice Beach is a really cool place. At the foot of the beach is a long pavement walkway littered on one side with sunglass shops, 99 cent pizza slices, and marijuana dispensaries and on the other, various musicians and artists with their eyes wide open for tourist dollars; (but this is still America – unlike many other traveler hotspots across the world, visitors aren’t haggled to their breaking points; the vendors are all polite and relatively mellow.*)

The day was still fairly young and the Venice pavement promenade still stirring, so we decided to wander over to the canals and then Abbott Kinney before walking the beach. I’m not sure which came first, the canals or the name Venice, but either way, it’s a beautiful sight (and more or less authentic with the water being just as dirty as Venice, Italy — actually that’s probably not fair to Italy). Despite the shallow, murky waterways, the Venice canals are by far (IMO) one of the most beautiful places to live in Los Angeles. We spotted a couple places for sale — one at the extremely affordable price of 4 million dollars. (Which for the location and size really isn’t that bad; or have I been living in Vancouver too long?)

* Maybe it has something to do with all that California green?

canals

Nisha, me, and the mildly terrifying, territorial ducks with crossed paths with.

All the houses are very unique and have beautiful, eclectic adornments inside (from what we could see) and out; just my style. Although, if we’re talking dream homes here, I’d definitely rather be on the open ocean. After we were sated with enough aspirational eye candy, we walked a couple blocks over onto Abbot Kinney. Abbot Kinney is a hip little street complete with boutique t-shirt stores and coffee shops with no advertised names. There are also a ton of back alleyways and hidden shops to get lost in; but after a small feast of tacos and guac, we headed back to Venice Beach.

IMG_5023The clouds were being pleasantly sassy.

As we padded down the infamous walkway we spotted a “Palm Reading” sign and decided to give it a go. I bet the palm/tarot card woman makes a killing (at least enough to pay for her Venice Beach apartment) as we paid $10 and it only lasted a few minutes. It was, however, totally worth it. She even reiterated a few of the things the last person who read my palm (6+ years ago) told me. For example, she claimed that I’ll only have one marriage and it will take place “later” in life; (to which the question must be asked, what exactly does “later” mean?) She also said that I’m meant to work in a creative field in conjunction with people. As well, I need to learn to be more patient, more aggressive, and go easier on myself. (All good/important things to hear.) I think with wishy-washy (fun) things like palm reading, you just have to take what you want from it and already I feel like what she said has helped me out. (But, seriously, later in life… like, 30?)

7ZCtsW5Qm52i8B9WB5NVbsOOGjfDFqtsIwuDJSNMpJ0The tiniest, most adorable little dog at the palm reader’s.

Nisha also had her palm read (if you want her insights, you’ll have to ask her yourself) and we carried on. One of the attractions of Venice Beach is the Freakshow. That day they were filming for an episode of AMC’s Freakshow, so we signed the release forms and watched. It felt a little odd cheering and clapping but they all seemed pretty happy to be there. They had brought in a guy from Australia who is apparently a world leader in freaky stuff/things, I don’t know, but he stuck a heavily weighted sword down his throat and it was mildly uncomfortable to watch. Well, mildly uncomfortable for me and borderline traumatizing for Nisha. So we carried on without watching the rest of the show.

freakshowThe guy in the yellow vest was the sword/throat dude.

And thankfully we did because I checked my email and discovered that we’d scored tickets to Jimmy Kimmel Live! Even with two hours to get there we cut it super close. (Yay, L.A. transit!) But we made it and were probably the forth or fifth last people to be let in. It was a super neat experience but a little bit different than I expected. The studio is WAY smaller than it appears on TV, like, a third of the size you’d expect it to be.

IMG_2280Pictures are super not allowed, but Nisha snuck one.

The guests were lovely, (Chris Pine, Kevin O’Leary, Gregory Porter) but they really don’t interact with the audience much. I don’t know why, but I expected them to engage more. (I’m probably just bitter because Chris Pine didn’t wave to the back row.) Jimmy didn’t chat with the audience until after the second commercial break — I imagine he was using all his concentration to nail his monologue — but once he did he was engaging and charming, (particularly with a slightly eccentric French woman).

The whole experience was about two and a half hours. (Check-in, watch Jimmy Kimmel videos, warm up comic, more warm up comic/get to know the audience aka hear about the French woman’s familial problems, actual show, file over to the music room, sway, chat with nice interns – Hi, Nick! – leave.)

kimmmmel

We decided to keep the tourist day going and hiked up to the Cabo Wabo above Mann’s Chinese Theatre for, you guessed it, more Mexican food! There was a photo wall for some sort of event (comedy night?) so naturally we took advantage. We had some interesting conversations with some interesting characters aka a young racist white guy and some lovely older black men (America!) and imbibed $2 pints of Strongbow (America!). From there we traipsed back down to Hollywood Blvd and took trashy tourist shots before heading home to bed.

hollywood blvdYes, those are our feet in Lucas and Spielberg’s shoes.

Fun times!

Of the Week

Cooool! 13 Houses with Secret Passageways 

If you haven’t heard yet, I’m here to tell you, New Girl is getting sued. I’ve read all the comments and the public seems to be evenly divided. Half the commenters are saying this 100% happened and FOX with pay through the nose and the other half are saying its ridiculous and a total stretch. After skimming through the lawsuit myself, I don’t have anything new to tell you, except that half of those people might be right.

Speaking of FOX, they’ve ordered the pilot for Empire, a hip-hop drama from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong solidifying a new trend in music based television, specifically in the hip-hop/rap genre. I am, however, most excited for the half hour HBO Calvin Harris/Will Smith/Jay Z/Irvine Welsh collab.

Am decidedly less excited for the Leo Dicaprio/Jonah Hill/Q-Tip one. (And my gut tells me it won’t go anywhere.)  And, also, ALSO Baz Luhrmann and Shawn Ryan are prepping a drama set at the birth of hip-hop. (Did that sentence make sense?) It will probably be awesomely entertaining/critically reviled, but I am contractually obligated to my fifteen-year-old self to be obsessed with anything that man makes. (Except for Australia. Let’s continue to pretend like that never happened.))

TV: Have we talked about Sherlock yet? If you’re not watching Sherlock, you are not living life to the full extent. YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON LIVING A GOOD LIFE. Just watch it, please.

Film: Philomena – If you’re in need of a good cry, I suggest you bring the whole frickin’ box of tissues to this one. So sweet.

(Sorry it’s a short one today. Slow news week? I’ll do better next week. Promise.)

Here there be $2 tacos AND bottles of wine.

Wednesday started off the way every day should: with two breakfasts.

wednesday breakfast

Nisha and I walked a few blocks down Tujunga and stopped at a little taco stand that Google Maps tells me is called Cactus Taqueria #3. I had chorizo and Nisha had vegetarian and they were flippin’ delicious. After that wonderful appetizer we crossed the street to take in Aroma Cafe for the first time. (The fractured narrative of this blog may cause some confusion, but this was, in fact, my first visit to Aroma.)

If I recall correctly, my breakfast sandwich involved bacon and brie while Nisha ordered some sort of vegan plate which she claimed was delicious (and I took her word for it despite the fact that I’m gravely suspicious about anything involving fake cheese).

We enjoyed our breakfast on the patio, trying to make celebrities out of our dining companions. (Is that guy from The Eagles? *googles* Nope.) (Although I did definitely see an actor. But I don’t know his name and can’t remember anything he’s been in and then I went and IMDbed That Guy… movie and I can’t even remember the original guy’s face because all the guys from That Guy… have now blended into my memory.)

After our second breakfast at Aroma we waddled home to catch up on TV. (Sherlock OMFG!!! Amirite, guys?!) As well as New Girl, Mindy, HIMYM, Modern, and our weekly hate-watch of Super Fun Night. Then somehow we managed to extract ourselves from Narnia* and walk to the grocery store.

cacti walkAlong the L.A. River.

Have I mentioned that Hayley and Ryan live right beside the Los Angeles River? (I think of Chinatown every time I walk over it.) It’s dusty and kind of hideous, but it’s nicer than walking along the road. So after Nisha and I traded our money with the hard working people at Trader Joe’s for food and alcohol, we walked home along the river. Then we made Indian food.

riverSee, look: pretty and ugly at the same time.

Actually, Nisha made Indian food. I probably blogged read Vulture. Just as she was putting the finishing touches on the Saag Paneer Mozzarella and Butter Chicken Chickpeas, Hayley and Ryan returned home, followed by their friend, Dave, and Ryan’s brother, Matthew. We dug into the feast, chatted, and played Cards Against Humanity. It was really awesome to meet Dave and even awesome-r to catch up with Matt. Much beer and wine was consumed and even more laughs were had.

California, your people are great.   

* The oversized couch. Keep up, will you?