Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Getty Museum in Fall

One of my passions is the Arthurian legend, so Karen and I dashed up to the Getty Museum on Sunday to catch a chivalry exhibit that leaves at the end of the month. The exhibit was good but tiny—only one small room—a bit disappointing, especially since it costs $15 (!) to park at the Getty. Luckily, Karen noticed that a tour of the campus gardens was happening shortly after we arrived. We quickly joined a large group of people waiting at the museum entrance.

Jousting in a spectacularly illuminated
medieval manuscript

19th-century actors depicting "The
Parting of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere"

The Getty, opened in 1997, was famously designed by architect Richard Meier, who, we soon learned, also designed the landscape. The Central Garden, which cascades from the buildings above, was designed by artist Robert Irwin. Where Meier is all about straight lines and white travertine marble, Irwin is about color and the senses. In fact, Irwin calls his work “a sculpture in the form of a garden.” It is considered the Getty’s largest—and most expensive—art installation. The plants, which are regularly changed to reflect the seasons, are most glorious in the spring. Still, we enjoyed Irwin’s warm autumn palette in stark contrast to Meier’s white buildings.

Under one of Meier's angular arches

Peering through one of many sycamore trees

My favorites: the bougainvillea sculptures

The gardens

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Stan Lee's Comikaze

It’s been many years since we’ve had the chance to buy tickets to San Diego’s annual Comic-Con, so I’ve had to rely on other venues to release my inner “geek.” Stan Lee’s Comikaze convention is underway in downtown L.A. this weekend. We decided to go late yesterday afternoon.

Though there were lots of interesting panels on all manner of topics related to comicbooks and science fiction, we went just to soak-up the atmosphere and see the costumes. Thankfully, the crowds were much smaller—a couple thousand (maybe) compared to 125,000 at Comic-Con—but the cosplay was just as good. We especially loved folks dressed like characters from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxywe are Groot!—and, of course, several Maleficents, one of whom won 2nd place at the big Comikaze costume contest, which we stayed to see. It was exhausting—we may have been the oldest people there—but very fun! I’m already planning ahead to next year . . .

An excellent Wolverine

A scary Skeletor

Perennial Star Wars fan
favorites: C-3PO and R2-D2


Female fans of Mothra and Godzilla

Don't know who they are, but their costumes
are amazing

 World famous cosplayer and costume
contest judge Yaya Han

Funny, but who are these guys?

Lifesize statue of Groot, possibly the most wonderful movie
superhero ever to come out of a comicbook

And Groot's best friend, Rocket Raccoon

Groot and Rocket cosplayers

With Peter Quill, Star Lord

Perhaps the oldest people in the room!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mickey's Halloween Party

Mickey jack-o-lantern

There’s something very special about Disneyland at night: all the rides and places you know so well, during the day, suddenly become dark and mysterious after the sun goes down. Needless to say, I love the park at night, especially when it’s all dressed-up for the holidays.

Teacups ride at night

Last night, Tim and I went to Mickey’s Halloween party—an extra-ticket, after-hours event held at Disneyland most evenings in October. The party is also the only time adult park-goers are allowed to wear costumes, so most nights sellout quickly. We saw many princesses and Jack Sparrows, of course; but also an unexpectedly beautiful Ursula, Ariel’s nemesis from The Little Mermaid, as well as quite a few terrific Mad Hatters, a la Johnny Depp in the 2010 Alice in Wonderland reboot. Though we don’t do costumes, I did wear one of my Maleficent t-shirts, plus horns/ears—no surprise: Maleficent is my favorite villainess—while Tim wore his Disney “warm, crispy, crunchy” churros t-shirt. We fit right in.

Me, in my Maleficent ears/horns,
in front of Mickey ghost

When we entered the park, we each were given a shiny wristband to distinguish us from the hundreds of day visitors, who were being gently pushed toward the exit via several checkpoints throughout the park. Our first stop was the town square, where various Disney villains and villainesses were posing for pictures with their fans. The Maleficent line was too long—damn, you, Angelina Jolie!—but we did pose with Star Wars Storm-troopers in Tomorrowland. We enjoyed the 8:30PM Halloween parade down Main Street and practically ran from the Indiana Jones ride to the park’s hub, in order to catch the special fireworks show at 9:30PM.

Tim sneaked a couple of snaps 
of Maleficent


 Although we had to pay—not even “cast members,” like Tim, get into the party for free—we decided it was a good deal because admission was limited, resulting in a lot less crowded park. The wait to pose with Maleficent may have been impossibly long, but the lines to get onto our favorite rides were relatively short. We had a great time.

Main Street train station covered in cobwebs

"Small World" exterior

With storm-troopers

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mother's Little Helpers

Our cats Jack and Bobby turned seven months old this past week. They're angels when they're asleep. Otherwise, they can be a real handful. I'm sure the neighbors think I've gone insane, constantly yelling at two little cats, who always manage to behave when others are around. I know differently and call them "The Axis of Evil."

The cats and I do have a special relationship, though, probably because I work at home and am with them pretty much 24 hours a day. They especially love to "help" me do daily chores, like making the bed and doing laundry. See for yourself:

Putting on make-up in the morning

Making the bed

Doing laundry (Jack in the basket)

Making sure the laundry is clean (Jack in the
washing machine) ...

and dry (Jack in the dryer)

Helping Mommy iron

And repot plants, even if they don't need repotting

Cleaning the kitchen sink and window sills

Time for a break: "When's lunch, Mom?"

End of day: Mother's little angels

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Ridin' the Monorail

Tim walked some friends into Disneyland this morning. Well, actually they all walked over to the Monorail stop in Downtown Disney and then rode into the park together. Because no one else was on line to ride the Monorail, Tim got to sit in the front with the driver, something that I've never even done! Here's his movie of the entire ride:

Paul Revere, RIP

Paul Revere

One of my fondest teenage memories is of rushing home after school to watch Where the Action Is, a black-and-white half-hour TV show that aired weekday afternoons on ABC. A precursor to MTV, Action featured the top pop singers of the day, lip-syncing to their songs while walking along Santa Monica beach or other well-known, mostly local teen hangouts. I loved the show and especially the Action “house band,” Paul Revere and the Raiders, who were silly and dressed like Revolutionary War soldiers. I still carry a CD of their greatest hits in my car.

Tim and I saw the Raiders about 10 years ago at Disney’s California Adventure, when the park first opened and was so desperate for visitors that they hired nostalgic rock bands to play and attract baby boomers. Paul Revere, the group’s leader, was a hoot and full of life. I couldn’t believe that I was finally seeing one of my childhood idols perform live on stage!

Then last year we bought tickets to see the reconstituted Raiders at an afternoon show in Cerritos. The new band, made up of singers far younger than us, was great. And once again, Paul was a hoot, telling jokes and sitting behind a small organ. But now he walked with a cane and obviously was not 100% well.

I’m very sad to report that Paul Revere died over the weekend. I’ve loved him and his music for almost 50 years. Long may you ride, Paul!

The Raiders on Action. Paul is wearing the tri-corner
hat trimmed in white fur.