Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Peek into Hollywood: Made for TV

Marie Osmond-Grand Marshal
Marine Corps Color Guard from San Diego
Living here in Los Angeles brings the Hollywood Scene rather close and personal, so I decided to peek inside. The 80th Anniversary Hollywood Christmas Parade was the perfect opportunity. This parade is televised every year and being behind the scenes and sitting in the grandstand, of which there was a price, was a treat. The grand stand is the audience for this televised event. The other option is to be lined up along the streets hoping you can see over those that so often ease their way in front of you.[/caption] Marie Osmond was the 2011 Grand Marshal, but in light of the political climate, the Marine Corp Band from San Diego was the real highlight at the start of the parade.   Marie may be a celebrity, but these Marines were the true stars, the true heroes, and I think that they could feel the love from the crowd, by the standing ovation from the band stand and the cheers from the crowds on the street demonstrated that love and gratitude. The band was led by the Marine Corps Color Guard also from San Diego, California.  ColorGuard from San Di

Kate Linder, Daniel Goddard, and Christian LeBlanc from The Young and The Restless
Laura McKenzie and Eric Estrada
 Erik Estrada and Laura McKenzie were the parade hosts, these  two introduced all of the parade participants to TV land  and to us in the bandstand. It was an experience that I will never forget.  Listening to the two of them repeatedly read the teleprompter was disappointing and embarrassing. These re-takes added time to our sitting there waiting for the parade to continue, while they got it right for the cameras.  Many of those sitting around me were shocked because more is expected from  these trained professionals.  This is what they do for a living so the lack of preparation was shocking.  At one point I was beginning to wonder if Erik Estrada could read at all, he had to repeat three sentences from the teleprompter 12 times before getting it right.
Elmo's Handlers
         There were so many politicians in the parade until it started to feel like a rally.  Appreciating the mayor of the city is one thing but there was one councilman who picked up his mike to speak and I felt like I was on the campaign trail.  It was quite annoying and really showed me just how phony Hollywood is.   The first time seeing a 6 foot balloon reminded me of all the years I watched the Macy’s Parade on television.  Looking down and seeing the red carpet laid out in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard along with the warm temperature reminded me that I was in California     

Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. and Judith Hill
Vivica Fox looking stunning in Pink
 Judith Hill is the singer that was hand selected by Michael Jackson to be a part of his last World Tour, but with his sudden passing she performed at his memorial service.  In the car with her is Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. from Americas Got Talent.  They performed a compelling duet. The power in these two voices was captivating.                   

Friday, December 9, 2011

Westward Migration


Finally I worked my way to the Autry Museum and it was well worth it. I have been fascinated with the natural landscape of California every since I arrived here.
This exhibit shows the importance of the contribution of women in the development of the west along with many African Americans. There was something that I read in the museum's brochure about a female doctor named Justina Ford. Dr. Justina Laurena Warren Ford was the first African American female doctor in Colorado, and was still the only female African American doctor there when she died in 1952. She demonstrates perseverance and dedication to her dream as many pioneers have and did not let the obvious roadblock deter her. Her home in Denver has been moved from its original location, and is now the home of the Black American West Museum. I was quite surprised in the number of African American Cowboys there were in thiswestward migration. I  now realize that one-third of the cowboys were black. They had established all black townships, and owned a great deal of prime real estate. Information that is not in our history text books. It make me angry that so much of our history is omitted as though it is not American History. There is also a beautiful exhibit throughout of the American Indian and their contribution to the westward migration of the cowboy. There are more photos of the exhibits here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Protest Expectations - What are they?

Civic Center Red line Station
Tents of Protestors on the lawn at City Hall
Many Camera and Crew with  Laptops
Occupy 99 started out as Occupy Wall Street.  It was born on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square within Manhattan''s financial district.  This is a protest that is all about the people pushing back against the destructive power of major banks, large corporations, and Wall Street's responsibility in what has become the greatest economic decline in decades. I could not begin to explain all that has been going on with Ocoupy99 all over the world, as the working class people speak out. This declaration explains more about the movement.   [caption id="attachment_1028" align="aligncenter" width="684" caption="Tents of protestors on City Hall's lawn."][/caption]     Here in Los Angeles, Occupy99LA is set up near city hall and has been quite peaceful. These protestors were initially welcomed by the local politicians as well as the mayor, but they are beginning to tire of it all.  Duh, ...being sick and tired is what this whole thing is about.   October 1, 2011 was the day that Angeleons decided to stand with Occupy Wall Street and occupy Los Angeles at City Hall on Spring Street. Thirty-Six days later, on Saturday November 5, 2011, I decided that I was going to head downtown and witness this for myself. Sorry to say,I was pretty disappointed.  There were not near as many people as I expected.  I probably should not have too much to say in reference to the turnout, when I am not out there myself.  It just didn't feel like what I expected a protest to be.  I have never experienced any sort of organized protest, therefore I don't have a point of reference.  This was the reason why I went down to city hall, to get a feel for it all.  I know the main reason for my going should have been to stand with the protestors.  I do support their efforts and their reasons for sure, but I no longer have that kind of fight in my heart.  At this stage in my life, I can just decided not to participate and live with that decision. Young people need to be out there in massive numbers, scattered with some veterans, because they are the future, and at the rate things are going now, that future  is not looking too bright.  There are so many of our young people graduating from college, because we made them believe that without education life will be hard, and hell, now with education life is hard.  I know many are pissed not because they could have been working and possibly have a little savings at this point, but instead they are coming out of college still depending on their parents, with mounds of debt and no jobs. I was pretty excited about experiencing a public protest and left home armed with my camera gear.  I decided to take the Metro from San Fernando Valley to downtown Los Angeles because City Hall is easily accessible from the Civic Center's Red-line station. [caption id="attachment_989" align="alignright" width="570" caption="Rather empty Civic Center Red-line Station"][/caption] As I alighted from the train, I was surprised to see that there were not many people in the station. During the week, this station is rather busy again because of its close proximity to City Hall. I expected it to be busy this Saturday for the exact same reason.   [caption id="attachment_988" align="alignleft" width="570" caption="Going up the escalator to the civic center district."]

While going up this escalator, I start to feel excited again. I was going to my first protest and definitely a cause that I have been privately fighting for some time. For the past 4+ years I have been downsizing my life so as not to be enslaved any longer by this capitalist society. The hardest thing to adjust was what I wanted for my life, was it really that bill of goods on the "American Dream", or was it to be able to determine my dream and my desires for my life. Well I chose the latter, knowing that it was going to take some rather painful re-adjustment of my belief and value system. Oh, but this was not about me, oops sorry.  However, it is relevant to the working American wanting to take back their lives.   One of the first things that I noticed as I approached the corner of 1st and Spring streets, was law enforcement sprinkled throughout the area. The second thing that I noticed were the large number of people out there with camera and video equipment, and now as I approach I will be adding to that number since my camera is also strapped to my right hand.                                  
As I started to walk through this park, I remembered a news report on how this protest is costing taxpayers money, and my immediate thought was "here we go", the use of the media to control the minds of the public.  The reason for the possible bill to taxpayers would come from the alleged damage done to the lawn on the side of City Hall that faces 1st Street. First of all, there is a weekly Farmers Market that is usually held in this exact same spot, on this very same lawn, so do you think the lawn was plush prior to this protest? No it was not, mostly because there are a great deal of large trees that doesn't allow enough sun to come through for the grass to be plush. On top of that most of these trees have large exposed roots. So you take a look and see if you think that there was once plush grass there.                                        As I walked further in the midst of the people and all of the tents, I started to get a headache. The place was very clean, no trash on the ground, no decaying food, not even the smell of urine. What was immediately causing my sinuses to go bonkers was the strong smell of marijuana. It was coming from the tents as well as those just standing around smoking it as if the police officers were not less than 5o ft away. Only in California would this be possible. So I walked around and talked with a few people, listened to a couple of people speak, but knew that I would not be able to hang around too long, because now I had a full-blown sinus headache that was not going to let go. So I wished many good luck, smiled, and walked across Spring street on my way back to the Red-line station. Feeling disappointed in this experience, not having  known what to expect, and obviously expecting too much. I hoped that stopping to get something to eat at the Highland Center on my way home, and taking something for this blazing headache, would help me to put all of this in perspective. So here I am sharing it with you. More Photos

Things are not what they seem.

When I took this photo at the Occupy99LA last weekend, I noticed this guy about thirty minutes prior to taking this shot, but around the corner in the front of the building.  When I saw him again I  thought  it was interesting how he covered himself in this way.  When I took this shot, the guy with the scarf, was quite a distance behind this young woman. If this photo was shown in another context it could be considered  a threatening moment.  This photo would definitely instill fear in many people.  It is merely the camera angle.  Taking a photo such as this would be the intention of many photographers and for many reasons. It could be to instill fear whether it was for sensationalism or just for a movie poster. This is how easily things can be skewed, regardless of whether  it was intentional or accidental. I would imagine that this is something that the tabloids are use to  and have probably studied in order to have the photo support the story.   This video explains the same tactic even more

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Woman with Issues

Many women talk among themselves about other women, and often men do the same.  When we talk about a woman with issues, we are usually referring to the 'drama queen',  the woman with a great deal of negative energy, always whining and complaining about anything and everything and to anyone that will listen.  Wel,l when I looked at myself yesterday  I discovered that I too am 'a woman with issues'.

  No, not the kind that was just described, but issues just the same. You see I am in the throws of menopause. Should I say more.  I didn't think so.  I have said before that I have never been a moody person, and I am usually of even temperament, but boy has that changed. It is even making me take a step back and look at myself as though I am seeing me for the very first time.  However, since I have to live with myself, I am having to re-learn how to get along with myself.  I know you are thinking that I am starting to sound like a crazy woman, well you have hit the nail on the head, because I so often feel like a crazy woman.

The highs and lows of my moods these days almost feel like there is some split personality going on inside and it is not pretty.  I have recently named that other personality 'she devil' because it is almost that evil, at least by my standards.

 All jokes aside, there is really no warning out there for the emotional and physical symptoms of menopause.  I am, however, grateful for all of the information that is available and that more and more women are talking about it than before.  It is something that you have to experience first hand to really know Yes there are other issues. Sometimes I have to stop and think about which one of them I am dealing with at any given moment. 

Thanks to the most recent climate changes, my sinuses are going haywire, which causes me to suffer for 2-3 days at  a time. Yet I am also taking Vicodin, because   oftenI have  flare ups from the most recent neck surgery. I told my mom that I when I wake up most mornings, I have to first figure out what issue I am dealing with in order to know which pill to take, antihistamine, Vicodin, or hormones. I now know what older people meant when they said, 'don't get old girl'.

Yes I am grateful to get older because in my book any day above ground is a good day, but they are definitely challenging ones. It is said that 50 is the new 30, but hell there are those times when it is just 50. So as I said in the beginning, I realize that I too am a woman with issues.  So the connotation of the term has definitely changed for me.  Please tell me I am not alone.

A Woman with Issues

Many women talk among themselves about other women, and often men do the same.  When we talk about a woman with issues, we are usually referring to the 'drama queen',  the woman with a great deal of negative energy, always whining and complaining about anything and everything and to anyone that will listen.

 Well, when I looked at myself yesterday  I discovered that I too am 'a woman with issues'.  No, not the kind that was just described, but issues just the same. You see I am in the throws of menopause. Should I say more.  I didn't think so.  I have said before that I have never been a moody person, and I am usually of even temperament, but boy has that changed. It is even making me take a step back and look at myself as though I am seeing me for the very first time.  However, since I have to live with myself, I am having to re-learn how to get along with myself.  I know you are thinking that I am starting to sound like a crazy woman, well you have hit the nail on the head, because I so often feel like a crazy woman.

 The highs and lows of my moods these days almost feel like there is some split personality going on inside and it is not pretty.  I have recently named that other personality 'she devil' because it is almost that evil, at least by my standards. All jokes aside, there is really no warning out there for the emotional and physical symptoms of menopause.  I am, however, grateful for all of the information that is available and that more and more women are talking about it than before.  It is something that you have to experience first hand to really know

 Yes there are other issues. Sometimes I have to stop and think about which one of them I am dealing with at any given moment.  Thanks to the most recent climate changes, my sinuses are going haywire, which causes me to suffer for 2-3 days at  a time. Yet I am also taking Vicodin, because   oftenI have  flare ups from the most recent neck surgery. I told my mom that I when I wake up most mornings, I have to first figure out what issue I am dealing with in order to know which pill to take, antihistamine, Vicodin, or hormones. I now know what older people meant when they said, 'don't get old girl'. 

Yes I am grateful to get older because in my book any day above ground is a good day, but they are definitely challenging ones. It is said that 50 is the new 30, but hell there are those times when it is just 50. So as I said in the beginning, I realize that I too am a woman with issues.  So the connotation of the term has definitely changed for me.  Please tell me I am not alone.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grandmothers - The Lessons

Irene Sapp Keitt
Susie Esker McMillian Ryals
  Did you grow up with your grandmother(s)?  What did you learn?  What have I learned?   Read more.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Homeless in Los Angeles

Homelessness is something you see in Los Angeles everyday and everywhere. It doesn't matter the neighborhood, it is there. Of course you see a great deal more of it concentrated in certain areas like downtown LA and Venice Beach. It is a very sad thing to see but I always found myself wondering what were these people doing the moments before finding themselves homeless. I do realize that a great deal of these people suffer from mental illness, some are just down on their luck, and for others it is a lifestyle choice. I know, it is hard to imagine someone choosing to be homeless but it is often the case. This man is simply looking for recyclable items, but often times they are looking for food. You will see some with more than one shopping cart filled to the brim with stuff, plastic bottles or just personal items. I use to think that it was awful that these people are on the streets like this, with no where to go and nobody that cared enough to help them. I now realize that this may be a situation that is never eradicated. Capitalism does not breed the kind of care and community necessary for all in this country to have the basic needs; and it is unfortunately but I have come to accept it. I know many would think that acceptance of this is even more sad. I often give cash or buy a meal, but it is not nearly enough, but I do realize that it does help that person at that moment in time. The most heartbreaking to me other than seeing mothers and children on the street is when I see an elderly lady. We seem to throw them away like the trash. Now this guy on the scooter was parked near the Starbucks in Brentwood, near UCLA, and besides this scooter being filled with so much stuff that he could hardly ride it, he had an outside table right outside of Starbucks, filled with papers, books and a briefcase. It seems as though he pretending to be a professor or something.  He was wearing a fedora, which he took off and put to his chest, buttoned the jacket over it in the front of him so it would not blow away.  However, he did put the helmet on when he mounted the scooter.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The City of Entertainment

New York New York Hotel and Casino
My room was nice and Comfortable. The Park Avenue Deluxe with King Bed
With my 50th birthday only four days away, I received an email for a vacation package to Las Vegas, and since I had never been I decided to check it out. Most of Friday, I went back and forth from website to website trying to find the best deal to Las Vegas. LA City Tours has a bus tour that I thought would be fun, since I was going alone, but I was not too excited about the hotel that they were using. When I was reading through the reviews, there were none on the hotel itself, they were all about getting the best steak for the buck. Since I am not a steak lover, I was not impressed, so I decided to skip on that package.  My search continued.  Priceline, Jetblue Airlines, and US Airways all had pretty good packages for Las Vegas, with a choice of hotels. After researching the hotels, I decided on a package from Jetblue with the New York New York Hotel and Casino.  It was definitely the best value.

 Inside the hotel and casino is like a city, with street signs, coney island, coffee shops, even a rollercoaster. Since I love New York City, this was a great reminder for me. The room was nice and very comfortable. Park Avenue Deluxe w/ King Bed.
Inside the Hhotel
 I am telling that this place is huge with about 15 different places to eat all under one roof.
more of inside
more of inside
The Casino Floor
Elvis Impersonator
 Waking up here on my 50th birthday was fun. At first I thought that I was way out my league, because I am not a big party girl, but after walking the strip the next day, I felt nothing but amazement. Most of that amazement was in the architecture and everything being bigger than life on the strip, a.k.a. Las Vegas Blvd. Even in the middle of the week the strip was jammed with people from every part of the globe. I met two separate couples that flew to Vegas from Australia. For me this trip was mostly for discovery. discovering what everyone loves about Vegas. Now I didn't catch any of the shows or win any significant amount of money, but I did enjoy the atmosphere and some great food. When I go back, yes I am going back, I will go to see a couple of shows and visit a few more fabulous restaurants. It would not be Vegas if you don't see at least one Elvis Impersonator Or two

mouse over and click for more photos of Las Vegas[/caption]

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eating in Chicago

I thought Los Angeles had some of the best restaurants, but I was blown away in Chicago.  Yesterday I had lunch at this beautiful little restaurant called Friends Sushi located on Rush Street in downtown Chicago. This is a place where my girlfriend Al often goes for lunch, because it is only a short walk from her Michigan Ave. office.  It was a small place on a side street, but it was cute and the food was fabulous.

 I arrived in Chicago on Friday after midnight and sat up talking with my friend from Philly until a little past day break.  Yes the sun was coming through the windows.  After only a couple of hours sleep we set out to get breakfast. Allison knows how to find the gems in any city, especially the one that she is so passionately in love with. So we ended up at  this quaint little restaurant called Big Jones in Andersonville.  Th menu at this restaurant is what I would consider southern with a Cajun flair, but much healthier than expected. It is fancy but affordable and the owners and staff were warm a welcoming.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Audio Tour at the Getty Museum

Waiting for the tram that takes you to the Getty
 I have been to the Getty Musem about six times before but this was the first time I thought of taking the audio tour. The place is beautiful and quite overwhelming. Even without the audio player it takes awhile to really take in all that the Getty has to offer.  Usually when I go, I make sure I  see the photography exhibit, because it changes every few months.  Since I was just there in December and saw the present photography exhibits, I decided to start in the North Building, which is immediately to the left after entering the arrival plaza. This is where most of the permanent exhibits are, and the audio tour is only for those permanent exhibits. The audio really brought everything to life for me.  I found it very informative and it made me really slow down and learn about the things that I was viewing.

The fabulous thing about the Getty and all of its wonder is that is a free museum, and that audio tour only cost me five dollars.  This is a place that I think all should see and will definitely enjoy.  The architecture and layout of the museum, designed by Richard Meier, is beautiful. It sits high in the Santa Monica Mountains, which gives you a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.  There are tables and chair all around where you can sit with your family and/or friends  to enjoy a picnic that you can either bring yourself or purchase from the vendors on the grounds. There is also a beautiful Japanese garden that sits below the travertine clad buildings, where there is also a large grassy area where many just layout their blankets and enjoy the sun.  It is a place where you can spend all day.