Monday, November 16, 2009

Stay-cation (11/6-11/15)


What would you do if you were spending a week in Los Angeles? Well, we started our nine-day stay-cation by eating (of course!) at The Oinkster in Eagle Rock, one of Guy Fieri’s featured “diners, drive-ins and dives.” Those are shredded pork sandwiches and twice-baked fries in the before-and-after photos—yummm-eee!


We’re all about mid-century living, so naturally we took the L.A. Conservancy’s tour celebrating the 50-year anniversary of 1960s architecture in Los Angeles. It started at the Proud Bird, a funky restaurant surrounded by old aircraft, including the orange rocket Chuck Yeager flew when he broke the sound barrier in 1947. Located on the eastern end of LAX, the Bird is the perfect spot to watch planes land while wolfing down Sunday brunch.

From the Proud Bird, we drove over to the Flight Path Museum, the former Imperial Terminal building where many VIPS and local sports teams board chartered airplanes. Now a free museum open five days a week, the Flight Path chronicles the history of LAX through photographs and fascinating artifacts. Most of the stewardess mannequins were dressed in their finest polyester suits and miniskirts. We also got to board an old DC-3 plane permanently parked behind the museum. Though we never left the ground, the thought of flying in such cramped quarters made me (relatively!) happy for today’s much larger—if less glamorous—737s.

Our next stop was the Theme Building, LAX’s iconic hub that looks like something out of the space-age cartoon, The Jetsons. Turns out it was actually modeled after Martian spacecraft in the 1953 movie War of the Worlds (who knew?). Built in 1961, the Theme Building is currently undergoing renovation after a chunk of concrete fell off one its four arched legs. Retrofitting won’t be completed till next year; still, we were able to go up to the observation deck, which has been closed since 9/11. The view of the entire airport was magnificent.


Although I’m a loyal member of the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA), the thought of driving up to mid-Wilshire—one of the most congested parts of the city—is sometimes just too much to bear. So it’s been a while since we’ve visited the museum. However, Tim and I were sufficiently intrigued by an exhibit celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall that we spent much of Tuesday at the museum and environs. I loved the permanent display of old L.A. light standards that now greets LACMA visitors. We were also impressed by the Wall, which has been temporarily installed across the street.

The best part of the day, though, was (finally!) getting into Mozza, possibly the best—and therefore, most popular— gourmet pizzeria in all of Los Angeles. The trick is to go at 2PM on Tuesday. But even then, it was crowded. We were lucky to snag two seats at the counter, where we watched mesmerized as the cooks assembled and baked at least 20 pizzas while we were sitting there. Very entertaining and, of course, the food was amazing.

The rest of the week

In addition to running around and eating, we also met with friends, went to two plays, caught up on tivo, and saw five movies (a new world’s record even for us): An Education, the well-acted story of a 16-year-old student who has an affair with a con artist in the early 1960s; A Serious Man, the Coen brothers’ darkly funny semi-autobiographical film about growing-up Jewish in Minnesota; 2012, the ridiculously improbable yet fun disaster movie that revels in destroying Los Angeles and the rest of the world; Fantastic Mr. Fox, a truly wonderful stop-motion film that features the voices of George Clooney and Meryl Streep; and Women in Trouble, an extremely low-budget flick, starring some of my favorite actresses from TV shows Friday Night Lights, 24, and Entourage.

It was a fabulous week and only a taste of what it will be like once we retire. Only ten more years to go!!

P.S. Does anyone know what this is? (Tim is not allowed to guess!)


Mike said...

The Oinkster, wow. It reminds me of a place called The Hat..went there in '94. It was in Pasadena, I not know if it's still in biz. That flight museum makes me want to get over to LA NOW...

I read on someone's blog somewhere that the Warner Hollywood Studios, ie The Goldwyn Studios, lately known as The Lot (It's hard to keep up with the regime changes at places like this) have had plans afoot to demolish certain Pickford/Chaplin era buildings and replace them with glass boxes. I read also that there is an organization called the Hollywood Heritage Society (?) that keeps a watchful eye out for such things, but, is easily got around. Do you know anything of this Cindy?

Mike said...

Oh yeah, forgot...I loved The Fantastic Mr Fox. If you know of any action figure merchandising associated with this...on a film topic perhaps I was less enamoured with Avatar than a lot of others. It seems to me that all the special 3D technology applied to it cannot conceal a very 2D script and acting, however it is heartening to see that, in, what?, two hundred or so years from now, basic smoking technology, as demonstrated by Ms Sigourney Weaver, will not have changed...We watched Julie and Julia on our BluRay plaz, tee hee, and found Ms Meryl Streep to be spot on as Julia Child. But, well, I'm no great fan of Nora Ephron's screen treatments. The abysmal Bewitched comes to mind. Why, Cindy, why? Why did they go and screw that up? Similarly no other film fan was as disappointed with the Lost in Space movie as I was. Not that Ms Ephron had anything to do with THAT disaster of some 12 years back or whatever. Still, it hurts.