LA 2006 Day 4

Breakfast! King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant in Torrance. Good stuff. Afterwards, we headed a little further south to Little Saigon, an awesome Vietnamese community with excellent shopping, and an awesome mall that almost makes you believe you’re shopping in Vietnam. Last year we saw a Buddhist monk who was doing somekind of meditation infront of a large bush in the parking lot. We saw him there again. Apparently he is always there. I wonder if its some sort of pennance.

We did some shopping then returned to Andre and Miriam’s to hang out and relax. We got in touch with my brother and got ourselves invited to a birthday party in West Hollywood. After dinner at a Thai Restaurant, they decided to stay home, so we drove back into LA to meet my brother.

We hit the East West bar. Pretty popular place and quite busy. After some cocktails we moved down the street to The Abbey, where my brother had taken us last year. Overall it was a fun evening.

LA 2006 Day 3

A very slow start. But that’s ok. We watched my brother’s place while a handyman came over to work on some renovations he’s doing to his place. Afterwards, we rolled over to the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. It’s pretty big, and is surrounded by other shopping venues and the CBS television studios.

Inside you can find tons of food shops, bakeries and restaurants. We ate at a little place called Singapore Banana Leaf. Awesome food! And best of all, when I asked for spicy…they gave me spicy!

Eventually we made our way south a bit to Torrance. We hung out at the Del Amo Mall for a bit (parts of Quentin Taratino’s “Jackie Brown” was shot there) and eventually made it to Andre & Miriam’s house.

LA 2006 Day 2

After spending a mellow morning at my brother’s condo, we headed across Los Angeles towards the Pacific Ocean. LA’s freeway’s are crazy and infamous for its bad traffic congestion, but at around 1pm it wasn’t that bad. We made it to Malibu in about 30 minutes.

We had a huge lunch at Fiesta Feast. Fantastic Mexican food! Strangely the owner apparently met Ronald Reagan somewhere, and there’s an autographed picture of him with Ronald Reagan.

Anyway, after an excellent lunch, we finally made it to our destination, The Getty Villa.
The Villa is a museum dedicated to ancient Greek and Roman civillizations. It’s more than just a museum in the strictest sense. There is an amphitheatre where ancient Greek and Roman plays are performed. Infact the entire museum area is designed to look like an actual Roman noble’s country house that stood on the foothills near Mt. Vesuvius. Through excavations in the 1700 and 1800s, a detailed map was eventually made of the villa’s landscape. So when Mr. Getty himself commissioned the project they had an excellent source of architectural reference. Now that I’ve visited both the Getty Museums of LA, I think I prefer the Villa!

Afterwards, we decided to kill time at the 3rd Street Promenade in nearby Santa Monica. We’ve been here before, so we’re somewhat familiar with the area now. Still, it’s fun just to walk around the place and watch the tourists, the locals and the street performers!

That evening we returned to my brother’s place briefly before the 3 of us headed out to Palermo’s Italian Restaurant. Excellent place, I highly recommend it. We capped off the evening at The Standard, a swanky jet-set hotel with a glamorous Hollywood bar. We tried to get these stupid arm-bands that apparently allowed you to go up the escalator then on to the top floor to get one of the best views of LA. The admission policy had changed since the last time my brother had been there, and now only hotel guests were being allowed in. Dumb. So we sat and people-watched over cocktails.

Stay tuned for more…

LA 2006 Day 1

We left the Bay Area in Kristen’s car around 11am. It was smooth sailing all the way. We stopped along the way in Gilroy for lunch, San Luis Obispo and Ventura before arriving at my brother’s place in Los Angeles just before 8pm. Sure most people take the I-5 because it is faster, but it is one of the most boring roads ever. Yes we took the winding 101, but it never fails to impress with its lovely views of vineyards and the Pacific Coast.

Anyway, after a tour of my brother’s new place, we left for dinner. We hit Gingergrass a fusion-Vietnamese place. Pretty good. Next we hit a new gelatto joint. I think it was called Panzzo Gelatto. Wow! that was some of the best ice cream ever…and perfect for sitting at their outdoor tables in the LA summer night.

We topped off the evening by hitting a bar called “Ackbar”. A dive bar with its own style. What made this place special was its arts & crafts room. Every night apparently has its own theme. Last night was pasta night. Right, so for a $2 donation (to cover the cost of materials) you get a square of cardboard as your canvas. Tons of different shapes pastas to glue on the board, then your choice of beads, pipe-cleaner, markers, paints, glues, glitter and more. It was like art-activity time in kindergarten except with alcohol. It was a blast!

Stay tuned for more…

Adventures in Los Angeles: Day 4

Saturday morning. Miriam made a big German breakfast for us. Some kind of German bread, and a huge spread of fine cheeses, jellies, jams, sausages and other various coldcuts. After a fun morning with the Bremer’s we headed back to western LA to meet up with Jyoti.

She drove us to see the condo where Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered, and we then ate lunch. After we had our fill of salads we headed out west on the Pacific Coast Highway. Our destination? The massive Hindu temple in the Malibu Hills. The drive was scenic and just driving up along the canyon and hills made the journey and the temple seem like a mystical journey. The temple itself is beautiful. Peaceful and surrounded by lush greenery, trees and the mountains. The temple is done in the South Indian style with statues of guardian demi-gods, monsters and lions everywhere. Up on the stepped towers, each level has statues of the various gods and goddesses.
We walked around the temple grounds, and communed with the Gods. We decided to go after I had shot about 40 pictures of the temple!

On the way back to Jyoti’s place we stopped off for some Boba tea, and in general just had a relaxing time. Evening was approaching so we returned to the Bremer domocile and were chauffered to Culver City for dinner at Paco’s Tacos. This place is amazing. It’s just a casual family-style Mexican restaurant – with an average wait of one hour to get in. The food is fantastic and the workers there are very friendly. You won’t be dissappointed!

Stay tuned for Day 5…

Adventures in Los Angeles: Day 5

Last day of vacation. It was a very mellow day. First, we went to Electronic Arts Los Angeles headquarters to meet Andre. He gave us a tour of the building. It was pretty cool, definately one of the coolest offices I’ve ever seen. Being a huge fan of EA’s videogames, i was in geek heaven wandering through their halls. Also, it was the same day the Michael Jackson molestation case was ending and none of the EA employees were working…everyone was glued to the many plasma screens around the building awaiting the verdict! We went out to lunch on the harbor in Marina Del Rey.

In the afternoon we bummed around Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Not really an eventful day, but a nice way to wind down the vacation.

Adventures in Los Angeles: Day 3

Friday, our last day at my brother’s apartment. We were off to look at more art. This time we went to the La Luz de Jesus Gallery the epicenter of “low-brow” art. I’ve been wanting to visit the place for a few years now. I’v also got a few friends who’ve had their works displayed there recently. I’m considering submitting some of my work, so i’m brainstorming on some themes and style. The gallery has an amazing store as well, with some interesting toys, jewelry and a fantastic selection of books covering art of all sorts.

My only complaint about the place is the staff. They are jerks who apparently find it beneath them to respond to a polite “hello” or “How are you doing?”. Kristen and I were the only people of color in the store, and I’ve dealt with enough people to recognize a more discreet form of racism. Apparently being a caucasian check-out clerk who dresses like a bum in a trendy gallery is somehow superior to me. Strange they can sell statues of my gods, but can’t actually treat me nicely. I wonder if they’ll kiss my ass if I ever get my work displayed there.

Anyways we then got some lunch (back to Palm’s Thai – sorry no Elvis at lunch) and then went out in search of the Pacific Design Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was a little dissappointed. Apparently, the MOCA is split into 3 facilities and the one we went to was a very small display space covering 2 floors. We saw the work of a Cuban artist who is also an architect. He creates many models of utopian designs for educational centers as well as interesting mixed media work. Usually a diptych of blacnk and white photos of a location. One before, and one after the main building has been demolished. He then recreates the outlines of the building over the original location. Interesting exhibit but also dissapointing since that space was so small. We should’ve hit the La Brea Tarpits instead!

Now it was time to head for Torrance. We were going to stay with Andre and Miriam for the next 2 days. They’re wonderful hosts and they took us up to Santa Monica to the Monsoon Cafe in Santa Monica. Really excellent food in a setting that makes you feel you’re dining in French Indo-China!

We ended the evening rather late… Andre and I stayed up playing video games and making gin & tonics!

Stay tuned for Day 4…

Adventures in Los Angeles: Day 2

We began the day by shopping for a replacement camera. While we were out we bought some stuff for Swaga’s apartment, and grabbed lunch at the Jones Cafe. First time I’ve ever had wasabi mashed potatoes. The day was really low-key till the evening. We met up with my brother and hit a fantastic sushi joint. Wish I could remember the name of the place!

Then we were off to a special party for LA Gear shoes…by invitation only of course. A huge nightclub space, with DJs spinning their music, cameras and tons of hollywood hipsters everywhere. I think LA Gear is updating their image and they used this party to give away shoes from their new line. My brother was lucky to get on the freebie list and scored a fancy pair of shoes. The bar was sponsored by Bacardi Rum, so the booze was flowing and we only had to pay tips. Afterwards, we hit a birthday party for an ex-coworker of my brother’s. We went to the Bungalow Club. Swaga seems to know somebody everyplace we go, so it was fun to watch him in action.

All in all it was a mellow and fun day. Stay tuned for the true story of Day 3!

Adventures in Los Angeles: Day 1

Vacation. This time Kristen and I decided to hit the City of Angels.

It was a wonderfully exhausting day. Highlights included 2 hours of sleep before our flight, and me getting angry at Alaska Airlines employees (check in only- flight crew were lovely). After landing and fetching our rental car, we stopped to eat at El Pollo Loco. Nothing like going to a Mexican themed fast-food when you can get authentic Mexican cuisine everywhere you look.

We then headed out to the new Getty Museum.
Beautiful location and amazing architecture and landscaping. It’s very eurocentric and the majority of the collection is neo-classical sculpture, renaissance and later paintings and decorative arts from the 1600s and onwards. After 5 hours of looking at art depicting the suffering of Christ and the martyrs of early Christianity, we felt it appropriate to take a break and get a snack outside. We went back to finish off the final wings of the museum. In a gallery containing amazing neo-classical sculpture we met Isak a wonderful eastern european man of 50 perhaps. The man has his hair shaved short and you can see the scar where his skull was cracked. He didn’t tell us what happenned to him, but he says the doctors were amazed he pulled out of a 21 day coma, and not only survived, but seemed to have no brain damage. I get the impression he’s ex-Russian military… but i could be wrong. In any case this friendly fellow said he knew i was truly a lover of art because I scrutiniezed the work of certain statues from every angle. He then proceeded to show us how to read the the serial numbers on any work at the museum to know if it belonged to the Getty or if it was a a loaner. He asked us to come back sometime soon and visit him. Looking forward to it. If you find yourself in that wing of the museum, tell him the Indian guy with the nice watch said he will eventually have his statue in that exhibit.

Next, we drove down from the hills and dived into Hollywood. We were on our way to meet up with my younger brother. He works in television production and has lived out there for about 5 years now. We had an hour or more to kill, so we explored his neighborhood which is sort of sandwiched between Little Armenia and Thai Town. The craziest thing was the huge Church of Scientology compound just a few blocks from Swaga’s place. We walked around and took pictures of the place. Spooky. Why does L. Ron Hubbard keep publishing books from beyond the grave? Why are so many celebrities into this “cult”? Eventually we met up with my brother but while I was walking with our luggage my digital camera slipped off my belt and landed in the street. It was run over a few seconds after, but we didnt realize that till 5 minutes after we’d settled into my brother’s apartment. I ran out, frantically searched the car then saw it out int he middle of the street. I snatched it up and opend up the pouch as i walked back to the apartment. The camera was smashed up, and i’m not sure what’s holding it together. Everyone was shocked to see it, but amazingly the SD Card was fine. Instead of getting upset I decided that the next morning I’d get a new camera. (Stay tuned for the digital camera autopsy, I’ll be posting those pictures soon!)

It was just after 8 and we decided to get dinner. Swaga took us to Palm’s Thai Restaurant. This place is always packed. The prices are cheap and the food is AMAZING. Easily one of the best 5 thai restaurants i’ve ever eaten in. The place is loud and jumping with activity as the band played early Beatles covers and other pop-rock hits of various eras. After they left the stage, Thai Elvis hit the stage. I think he’s one of the owners of the place. Anyway, if you close your eyes, you’d think Elvis himself was singing 20 feet from you. Hit this place if your down in Hollywood.

Next stop downtown Hollywood. We tried to get to Mann’s Chinese Theater. We couldn’t get in due to the premiere of the movie remake of The HoneyMooners. We did see some celebrities including Ayesha Tyler, Gabriel Union and the fat bald Italian dude with the thin mustache… he’s a great character actor, and i’ve seen him in tons of stuff… as soon as I find his name i’ll update this entry.

After sometime we decided to go someplace else. We were off to The Abbey in West Hollywood. Cafe and restaurant by day, it turns into a gay, hollywood hipster and celebrity hotspot. We showed up as some show was wrapping up shooting. The place was packed and Swaga said it was a slow night! We spent a couple hours there and headed back home after 1am.

Stay tuned for Day 2!

The Anniversary Report

Yeah it’s been awhile since my last post. Things have been hectic to say the least. So
today is a huge double anniversay for me and the wife. 5 years married
and 14 years together. Its amazing where life leads two people who met
in highschool.

So why the radio silence? Well first there’s
work. I’m the webmaster for UltraCade Technologies, purveyors of fine
arcade gaming entertainment. Check us out at www.ultracade.com

Other highlights include my wife’s dance company, Element Dance Theater
recently peformed down in Los Angeles… Venice to be exact. It was a
great trip, and Element’s most recent work “Zoetrope” is nothing short
of amazing.

What else? Well, I’m working a few freelance gigs
including an illustration/postcard & poster design that’s almost
approved. I’ll be posting that soon. I’m also playing World of Warcraft
occasionally. Best MMORPG I’ve ever played. I say occasionally because
you can actually play for 30 minutes and feel you’ve accomplished a
small set of goals. Great gameplay and the community so far has been
fun and helpful. If you’re ever on the Kilrogg server – look me up on
the alliance faction. (my characters are Shankar and Isharah).

stay tuned for more announcements soon. =)