Monday, April 15, 2019

I drove over The Great Bridge in Long Beach, and I'm back in San Antonio preparing for Fiesta

I neglected to tell you that I drove over The Great Bridge - also known as the Vincent Thomas Bridge - several times during my recent trip to California.

I actually visited San Pedro, the community across from Long Beach over this bridge, hoping to find a filming location for the William Friedkin film To Live and Die in L.A.

IMDB lists many filming locations in the Los Angeles area for that movie. The one address I really wanted to see, unfortunately, was not listed there. I'm referring to the property the Secret Service informant lives in, with the fantastic view of that bridge from her window.

It's hard to tell from this photo if the property is on the San Pedro or Long Beach side of the bridge. I've always really liked that movie. It's sort if cool to see how these areas have changed (or stayed the same) years after they served as a filming location.

I arrived back home early this week to find San Antonio just beginning its Fiesta celebration. This is considered one of the city's premier festivals, taking place every year over a period of a couple weeks. There are numerous events all over town to choose from during that time. This is my first Fiesta as a resident here.

I've decided on attending an event called A Night in Old San Antonio, because I really wanted to find something hosted downtown. One of the really cool things about San Antonio is that some of the best places to visit are either in or near the downtown area. I'm looking forward to heading out there April 25 to see what all the Fiesta excitement is all about.

I'm also heading to the Houston area later this month to attend an event my dad has helped organize the past few years, the San Leon Oyster Fest on April 27. I may spend much of the weekend in the area, which would likely put me at Numbers that Friday night.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Things in Los Angeles progressing pretty nicely during visit, movie night tonight

I really have been trying to get out and about a little bit in L.A. this week. There is so much to do in this city.

What a fantastic outing I had my first night here. I drove over to Santa Ana and saw that Peter Murphy show at the Yost Theater. There was a good crowd there, and he and the band sounded great. I enjoy the Bauhaus tracks, but I'd like to see him perform his solo material live sometime. The Bauhaus material was before I actually became a fan of that kind of music. I discovered the Bauhaus music as a result of his solo work during the Deep and Holy Smoke era. Cuts you Up is fantastic in a night club with the girlies dancing.

His opening act, a San Francisco-based artist named Jill Tracy, gave a good performance as well. I found the recollection of what she described as her one "Goth Diva moment" quite funny. Due to ingesting a wrongly prescribed medicine for several days, she had to be carted away by ambulance one evening in a black-sequin dress after passing out right before she was to go on stage before Peter Murphy.

I blogged about wanting to visit Griffith Park years ago, but previous attempts to actually get up that hill and see the place had been met with large crowds of people that made doing that difficult. Here's a tip if you plan to visit: Go during the week, and in the morning. The crowds were much smaller, and there was much more parking available along the road up the hill. As an added bonus, parking along the road is free before noon during the week. The site offers a great view of Los Angeles from up in the hills, although yesterday was a bit cloudy and hazy.

A lone, well-dressed Asian warrior seemed to stand watch over the courtyard in front of the observatory. I just had to take a photo of him.

The drive to Huntington Beach brought me to a home I lived in briefly as an elementary school student. I found the address in a box on some material published by the Huntington Beach Rams, my pee-wee football team. The house is still there and looks much like I remember. There was a huge lava rock that used to sit near one of the pillars in front.

The most significant change I noticed in the neighborhood is this park that the city has placed on the corner. The park is two or three houses down from the home pictured above. In 1978, this site was a huge dirt lot. This is where the neighborhood kids would meet to play baseball or kickball. What has been done here is definitely an improvement, but I actually expected to see homes built here.

Dodger Stadium was Dodger Stadium, a very nice place to go. Lots of cool people. Although I don't condone fighting in public, there was a pretty good scuffle in our section that saw several people ejected during the game. Nothing serious, probably just a few guys enjoying a little too much cerveza. And the Dodgers beat the Giants, which is always a good thing.

I stepped out a little early because it was so chilly up there, and I didn't want to break out my Bank of America hoodie, awarded free to the first 40,000 attendees. I want to list this as New without tags, which means I can't pull it out of the packaging just because I'm freezing my ass off and didn't bring another jacket.

Tonight is movie night at the New Beverly Cinema. As long a Quentin Tarantino is alive, and as long as he's rich, there are going to be double-feature screenings of old movies at this theater in Los Angeles. I have another $10 for him tonight. I get to see a John Wayne movie AND a Jack Nicolson directed film, both from the early 1970s.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A week in L.A. area includes visit to my third-grade home, Dodger Stadium, Peter Murphy show

Greetings to you from the air between San Antonio and Santa Ana. I'm taking a week or so to head out west to kick back and do some relaxing.

I'm once again staying in Long Beach at a familiar location. Later this evening I'll see the legendary Peter Murphy performing his Bauhaus tunes at the Yost Theater. I saw the show in San Antonio several years ago at the Korova Bar (a venue I wish was still open). I'm looking forward to later this evening.

I also have tickets to the Dodgers-Giants game at the ballpark tomorrow. I've got to get my hands on one of those free hoodies. Should I hang on to the wonderful garment or list it in my eBay store? These are the difficult decisions I face all the time in my life.

I'll probably head over to Hollywood Boulevard during this trip. I don't think I've done that my last couple visits to Los Angeles, and I always enjoy walking down the street and seeing the sites there. One time I stopped to grab a sandwich in a small deli and looked up to see a sign indicating Clint Eastwood filmed a scene from one of his movies at that spot I was sitting. You never know what you'll discover on Hollywood Boulevard. You may even see some people dressed like Spider-Man or Edward Scissorhands.

Another thing I'm really looking forward to doing this trip is driving over to Huntington Beach and seeing the home I lived in briefly during the third grade. Though I was young, I have many memories of that house, the surrounding neighborhood, and the elementary school I attended there. It will be cool to see how things have changed (or stayed the same) in the area.

I read somewhere that Quentin Tarantino purchased a historic movie theater in Los Angeles where they run old films from time to time. Maybe I'll see a movie this trip. I'll do more research on the Internet machine and find out where the place is and what is showing. In the past, I've caught my old movies at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood (one night I was lucky enough to walk up on an evening they were screening an Akira Kurosawa double-feature).

Other than that, I'll play this trip by ear. Keep an eye here or on my Twitter for updates.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Flying from San Antonio this weekend, the next journey takes me to Denver, Colorado

Have you ever noticed how everyone who lives in Colorado, or has visited Colorado at some point, has a glowing review of the place? I get my first glimpse when Southwest Airlines delivers me to Denver this coming weekend.

I have relatives in the city I hope to visit with at some point (please DM on Twitter or send an email to john@pinnaclecreative.net. I'd love to meet up during the week sometime). Other than that, I've spent some time reading up on places to go and things to see, as well as educating myself by watching YouTube videos on the city.

Initially, I'm just looking forward to seeing the place my plane lands. According to the Internet, the Illuminati built the airport and they have special landing strips for spaceships and aliens invaders. They've also painted pictures of World War III or some sort of nuclear holocaust on the walls, while creating runways in the shape of swastikas. If that wasn't enough, a giant horse statue that looks like an evil Denver Broncos logo was erected on the premises, just in time for it to topple over on the artist who created the thing. He was crushed and killed right there at the airport by his own piece of artwork.

1) Sunday playoff football - I didn't realize until after I booked the flight that the AFC and NFC championship games are both played this Sunday. I fly in early that morning, so I'll need to find a place to watch the games. I'll probably just find a good spot near my hotel. Incidentally, I'm pulling for the Los Angeles Rams to win the Super Bowl this year.

2) Rocky Mountain National Park - I think I'd enjoy a short road trip to visit a national park in the midst of some beautiful mountains. Apparently, an hour or so outside Denver is this national treasure, which according to a local newspaper is partially open despite the current spat in Washington D.C. By partially open, I mean I can still get inside the park and enjoy the scenic beauty. I don't know if I'll be able to use the restrooms there, though.

3) Red Rocks - This place always makes me think of U2. The band was brilliant to record a live album there. I owned the cassette as a youngster and always figured Red Rocks was somewhere overseas. This is another location that is always lauded for its natural beauty. I've also heard the acoustics are great there, but I won't see a rock show next week. I look forward to wandering around in there.

4) Coors Field - I wish it was baseball season right now. I'd love to see a ballgame in the place, but for now I'll settle for a tour.

5) Molly Brown House - The Denver socialite survived the sinking of the Titanic. Remember Kathy Bates character in the movie? This is her actual home from that time period, which has since been transformed into a museum. I'm sure I'll take the tour there as well. Incidentally, I saw the movie Titanic on Christmas 1997 in Pasadena, Texas with a current resident of Denver and my wonderful mom, who we miss dearly. As I recall, the movie was interrupted by a theater manager and the Pasadena Police Department because someone had opened fire with some handguns and shot up a van in the parking lot. Anyway, it'll be cool to see Molly's house.

6) U.S. Mint - They make coins in there. I heard a rumor that the U.S. government might stop making pennies because the cost of the metal plus the labor required to make one now exceeds one cent. That's fraud, waste and abuse. However, if we stop making pennies we'll never be able to purchase something that cost $4.67, or $11.56. I guess we have to keep making pennies. It'll be fun to see how that stuff is made.

7) Larimer Square - Looks like a fancy shopping and dining area with Christmas lights strung all along the street, sort of like the River Walk without the water. Visitors on the Internet really seem to like the place. This appears on most Denver tourism "must see" lists. I'll likely walk around out there one day or evening.

8) State Capitol Building - This is where the important people work. I have a special reverence for important people and the places they congregate, because I always envisioned myself potentially doing something important one day. Until then, I'll just visit the places where important people go. I also like historic buildings, so this will be a lot of fun. As a tourist, you wouldn't visit Austin without a trip to the capitol building, so I can't see myself going to the capital of Colorado without walking through the halls of power there. I'm looking forward to that.

I'll keep you posted here, or you can follow me on Twitter for updates.