Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"For Your Consideration"

Last month’s mayoral race was barely over when we suddenly started seeing “For Your Consideration” ads in the entertainment section of the L.A. Times. What readers are being asked to consider, of course, are TV shows worthy of nomination for this year’s Emmy awards.

This is an annual ritual in Los Angeles, since many, if not most, television shows are produced here. Ads in the L.A. Times have become especially prominent since the demise of paper versions of Variety and other “industry” publications. But imagine our surprise when we ran across these lawn signs as we were walking along a major street near our home. Surely this has to be a first, even for L.A.!

By the way, we’re not members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. But if I were, I’d vote for House of Cards, for best dramatic series, and its two main stars, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, for their lead performances. I’d also vote for John Noble, for his supporting role as Walter, the brilliant but tortured scientist in Fringe, and Monica Potter, for her effective supporting role in Parenthood. Ballots are due Friday.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ringo: Peace & Love

One of the perqs of being members of the Grammy Museum is that we’re occasionally invited to members-only events, including the openings of their special exhibits. In the past, the Museum has featured exhibits on John Lennon and George Harrison. Now it’s Ringo's turn—yay! The exhibit, “Ringo: Peace & Love,” opened last week. We were among the first to see it.

Needless to say, I love Ringo. Of all the Beatles, he’s the one who has been the most matter-of-fact about his life, growing up poor in post-war Liverpool and then suddenly, in the 1960s, being thrust onto the world stage as part of history’s most influential pop-rock band. The exhibit touches on his early days as the drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes as well as the far more famous years that followed. There are photos, letters, album covers, lots of videos, two drum kits, and even a booth where you can sing-along with Ringo on “Octopus’s Garden.” But think twice about pushing the record button: you may just discover how terrible a singer you are. Thank goodness the booth is soundproof.

Below are just a few of the many items we saw, before Tim was yelled at for taking pictures. The event was crowded, so I’ll be returning this summer during a slow weekday when I can have Ringo all to myself.

Lobby mural

The drums Ringo played on The Ed Sullivan Show

The red jacket Ringo wore during the Beatles' 

The infamous—and now extremely valuable—
"butcher" album cover that was immediately

Ringo's Sgt. Pepper uniform

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Culver City in Bloom

No one would mistake Culver City for the garden center of L.A. Still, you can hardly drive through town these days without smelling the sweet bouquet of jasmine at every stoplight. We do love a lusciously fragrant tropical flower. At night, when the windows are open and the scent of star jasmine wafts through the house—it's pure heaven!

Intoxicating star jasmine

California native toyon, with its delicate white flowers, and early-blooming Indian hawthorn are also ubiquitous to the area. 

Indian hawthorn


But it’s the jacaranda tree that’s the queen of late spring. “What are those magnificent purple trees?!” a colleague from northern California once exclaimed. “I just want to fall on the ground and worship them!” One of our favorite blogs, L.A. Observed, calls this time of year “jacaranda season.” As you can see, they are exceptionally beautiful this year.