Saturday, April 12, 2008

March 2008

One of the difficult things about maintaining a blog is that, when you’re too busy doing fun stuff, there’s no time to write about the fun stuff you’re doing! Case in point: the entire month of March.

Week 1: I had a free Southwest airline ticket that was about to expire, so Tim and I decided to fly over to Phoenix for a little spring training baseball. The only room we could get at the Sheraton (within walking distance of the stadium) was four doors down from the Club Lounge, where we could eat all the complementary breakfast and “happy hour” treats we could stand (bummer!). With no car, we were pretty much stuck in the hotel or at the stadium; but it was just the mini-vacation we needed. Plus the Angels won both games. Tim was in heaven.

Week 2: On Thursday, Karen and I schlepped to UCLA to see NY Times columnist Frank Rich interview Stephen Sondheim, Karen’s all-time favorite playwright. I especially enjoyed his tales of old Broadway and Ethel Merman, Jerome Robbins, et al. Then, on Friday, Tim and I saw the touring company’s performance of “Sweeney Todd,” perhaps Sondheim’s best known musical. The young woman sitting next to me was disappointed to hear that Johnny Depp wasn’t in this version. Still, we both survived and agreed at the end that this was almost just as good.

Tim and I finished the week by attending yet another play, “Top Secret: Battle for the Pentagon Papers,” performed by L.A. TheatreWorks, a local company that stages radio plays for later broadcast on NPR. The plot revolved around the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon’s infamous chronicle of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Although a completely different theater experience altogether, I must say I liked “Pentagon” better than “Sweeney” because of its relevance to today. Congresswoman Jean Harmon was part of a panel afterward that compared the Nixon White House to that of George Bush. It was my turn to be in heaven!

Weeks 2-4: As it does every March, PaleyFest—the Paley Center for Media’s (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) three-week long homage to TV—came to town in a big way. The festival has become so huge, in fact, that it moved this year to the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood so more people (some 800 every night) could attend. We went to the following five events over a span of eleven nights: “Pushing Daisies” (Chi McBride was a riot), “Friday Night Lights” (my current fave show), “Damages” (Glenn Close—serious actress!), “X-Files” (the lead actors were not there, but we did see a trailer for this summer’s movie), and an evening with Judd Apatow, creator of “Freaks & Geeks” and box-office hits “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked-Up” and “Superbad.” Of them all, the Apatow event was the most outrageous as he shared the stage with his mentor Garry Shandling, protégés Seth Rogan and Jason Segel, actor friends Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd, and an assortment of other wackos. Clips of the entire festival are available on the Paley website.

Week 4: The month ended with me taking a three-day trip to Minneapolis, where I attended the Public Library Association conference. Two hours after landing, my roommates and I were riding a shuttle to a free reception, given by an architectural firm that designs libraries. Their offices were located in an old burnt-out flour mill that overlooks the Mississippi River. Before leaving home, I thought for sure I’d be trapped in Minneapolis by inclement weather. But standing there, looking out at the view, I was glad I came. Nonetheless, there were still remnants of snow on the ground, so most of us opted to take the downtown area’s intricate series of skyway bridges from our hotel to the convention center. The skyways, which link the 2nd stories of most of the buildings downtown, look like one continuous mall and are really quite amazing.

Just as I was beginning to miss my garden back home, I wandered into the Macy’s across the street from the hotel and, to my amazement, found a display of succulents and tropical plants in the cosmetics department! I cheered up immediately, but silently thanked my lucky stars that poor Tim wasn’t there, because even he’s starting to grow weary of my born-again fascination with all things botanical.

The weather held long enough for my flight home to be rather uneventful. More than half the plane was filled with librarians, so I relaxed, closed my eyes and happily listened to my iPod for five hours.

The next morning, Tim and I got up early to tour architecturally-significant mid-century homes in Pasadena. It was good to be back in L.A.

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