SHORT TRIP, LONG BEACH

Being a writer can be challenging. Being a great writer is a disease. Being a writer with wealthy friends that will let you stay at their vacation homes for free—NICE CONSOLATION!

Some of my earliest childhood memories float through my mind like the fog that rolls toward the California shores, particularly Belmont Shores Long Beach, where my father procured a rental every summer for our family. I was too young to understand that this was not the most tony of beach resorts, but did take note that my father often told other adults that he preferred the weather in Belmont Shores to any other costal city. And my father did have an aversion to big shots and people who fancied themselves chic.

As years passed on, the family vacations came to an end. And as more years passed my connection to Belmont Shores, like so many of the great wonders of youth, became a distant memory relegated to an occasional visit.

I pause to think now about my dream of buying the beautiful brick house that to this day sits on a corner of an island called Naples, which juts into the bay at its most favorable bend. In my lifetime I earned the money many times over to buy this spot so beautifully balanced between the earth and sea, but the foolishness of still larger dreams caused this one to vanish like the sandcastles of children with the rise of the tide.

My friend Ed, EY, Big Ed, or Edward Yawitz, he answers to all cheerfully so, grew up in Montebello a few blocks from I. And his family too escaped the heat of August by family vacation in Belmont Shores—and many other neighbors did so as well, it was the Catskill’s West. Even though many friends of my childhood kayaked in the bay in my company, and broke bread at my wooden table on the patio of The Beach Burger, or stood in line next to me at Woody’s Goodies, it had never occurred to me that their dreams had taken the shape of my own. But unlike my easily corrupted, by greed and grandiosity, vision of existence my friend Ed bought a home on the shorefront of Alamitos Bay, Belmont Shores, Long Beach.

“Why don’t you come down to Long Beach and spend the night? We’ll paddleboard around the island,” Ed suggested whilst we drove around the city smoking Cuban cigars in an American made truck he uses for work on occasion.

“Okay…” said I.

The home, built in 1903, was the first on the peninsula. Originally a Grand Victorian it was the sales office for much of the neighboring beachfront property. Later the first home on the bay laid claim to being the first brothel of the beach. And then came the remodel that converted the magnificent home to an apartment building—with three thousand square feet preserved ground floor, in front, for a hint of grandeur past.

And it is this valuable footage that my friend Ed has turned into a vacation rental. It warms me to think that other families are experiencing the summers as I once did. Ed is a wealthy man, he does not need to rent out such a special place—he won’t admit this. But in his heart I see that he wants others to know what we know about this little part of Earth.

I paddleboarded up and down the bay, after an unfortunate moment in which I attempted to mount the surfboard like contraption—it slipped from underneath and I landed face first in the shallow water. “Warmer than I remember,” I thought to myself, as Ed and several children accompanied by their parents had a great laugh. I chose to make it a teaching moment. And after failing so miserably the first time, I tried again and succeeded excessively.

Post paddle, I took a luxurious hot shower. This particular cascade of pleasure can only be experienced by walking directly from the sand to the shower bath—and even an adult must smile at the sand that washes down the drain after finding its way into the most inappropriate of places.

Ed took Frankie (another of his friends) and I to dinner on Second Street. Continue reading

The Cove Interview

You all probably remember, or at least know of, the beloved television series “Flipper.”  An integral part of the success of “Flipper” was Richard O’Barry who, in the 1960′s was the world’s leading authority on dolphin training. The Flipper lagoon, dock and house were actually O’Barry’s and it’s where he trained and cared for the dolphins who took turns playing Flipper. Well cared for and free to swim in open waters, it all came to a screeching halt with the cancellation of the tv show and the dolphins being sent to a seaquarium.  It was there that O’Barry’s special dolphin, the one who played the majority of Flipper scenes, Kathy, died in his arms. Continue reading

Wine ─ To the Corps!

The downtownster faithful have no doubt noticed the absence of “Hello Wne Lovers” of late.  Our champion of the corkscrew and wine glass, Mike Berger, has been called into even more pressing service at Ralphs downtown than his usual 60-hour workweek and apparently he has to blog on his own time.  Since he has so precious little of that, he hasn’t been able to schedule blogging.  This is not to say that the wine tastings at the famed “rolling wine bar” have slipped.  Au contraire, mes amis!  They are as wonderful as ever and still in our top three recommendations for happy hour.  
 

Tonight, the focus will be on French wines and, as this is an immense subject, I cannot predict what to expect.  Suffice it to say that France produces the crème de la crème of sparkling wine (Champagne) and dry Chardonnay (white Burgundy).  Beyond that they also make some of the finest Pinot Noir (red Burgundy), dry Sauvignon Blanc (Loire Valley wines) and blended red wines driven by Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot or Cabernet Franc (red Bordeaux).  “But, wait!  There’s more.  If you order now…”  Seriously, I could go on for hours. Continue reading

A Poem By Jeannine Hall Gailey

Female Comic Book Superheroes

are always fighting evil in a thong,
pulsing techno soundtrack in the background
as their tiny ankles thwack

against the bulk of male thugs,
They have names like Buffy, Elektra, or Storm
but excel in code decryption, Egyptology, and pyrotechnics.

They pout when tortured, but always escape just in time,
still impeccable in lip gloss and pointy-toed boots,
to rescue male partners, love interests, or fathers.

Impossible chests burst out of tight leather jackets,
from which they extract the hidden scroll, antidote, or dagger,
tousled hair covering one eye.

They return to their day jobs as forensic pathologists,
wearing their hair up and donning dainty glasses.
Of all the goddesses, these pneumatic heroines most

resemble Artemis, with her miniskirts and crossbow,
or Freya, with her giant gray cats.
Each has seen this apocalypse before.

See her perfect three-point landing on top of that chariot,
riding the silver moon into the horizon,
city crumbling around her heels.
 
“Female Comic Book Superheroes” was published in the book Becoming the Villainess from Steel Toe Books. It apeared on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.
 
Jeannine Hall Gailey’s first book of poetry, Becoming the Villainess, was published by Steel Toe Books. Poems from the book were featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Ninth Letter, and Rattle. She lives in San Diego, where she volunteers with Crab Creek Review and teaches at National University’s MFA program. You can learn more at her web site, www.webbish6.com <http://www.webbish6.com/> .

NO DEFENDING LA LIVE

Funny, that hundreds of thousands of people have read my blogs either about LA Live or LA Live tenants and only two people have ever bothered to offer a comment in disagreement with the facts as I’ve presented them—that’s a pretty amazing statistic. So when the first comment of the two was submitted I had my doubts about its legitimacy, but I let it go. Yesterday, we received the second comment that disagreed with the facts as I’ve presented them with respect to LA Live, actually we received it twice, so please read both and note that the comment is referring to my blog “LA Live’s St. Patrick’s Day Massacre”.

Comment 1:

“do you really think bashing la live is going to get you anything?  we as a community should be supporting everyone and talking bad about someone on a BLOG.  you’re a jerk.”

Comment 2:

“oops, typo. 

we as a community should be supporting everyone and NOT talking bad about someone on a BLOG.  you’re a jerk.”

Now most of my readers know that I take being part of the Downtown community pretty seriously—I’ve lived Downtown for fourteen years and of course I founded downtownster. I was also a major supporter of LA Live until the time I concluded that AEG had betrayed the community and my trust. I met with Michael Roth, LA Live’s Vice President of Communications, he made promises that he did not keep—I’ve been more than fair to LA Live, I was willing to give them a second chance, and frankly for the good of the community, still would. But not by compromising on what I believe is right. And certainly not because of comments that call me a jerk.

AND WHAT ABOUT THAT COMMENT FROM THE CONCERNED MEMBER OF OUR COMMUNITY?

Here’s the problem for big corporate, corrupt, America—the Internet and blogs like downtownster have become the great equalizer. So now big corporate, corrupt, America is trying to defend itself—by lying. That’s right, companies like AEG either own their own blogs or employ people to post bogus comments in order to defend their interest around the Internet. AEG owns the examiner.com, which allows them to examine their own interest favorably. And apparently their tenant Outback Steakhouse Inc., the owner of Fleming’s at LA Live, has a bogus commenter doing their bidding—because, although the comment above was posted anonymously a trace of the IP address identified Outback Steakhouse Inc. 2202 N. Westshore Blvd. 5th Floor Tampa, Florida 33607 as the origination source. And yes we even know the name of the person whose workstation the comment came from, Patrick.

HOW DID A GUY WHO SENDS EMAIL FROM FLORIDA BECOME PART OF OUR COMMUNITY?

He’s not…And frankly, I can’t imagine what type of whore a person like this must be to throw away their integrity to defend a company from the truth…Hear this well bogus commenters…downtownster writes the truth and exemplifies why the founding fathers were such advocates and protectors of free speech.

So dear readers, to discourage corporate America from trying to interfere with the truth that we work so hard to bring to you, I’m going to repost at the bottom of this blog “LA Live’s St. Patrick’s Day Massacre”, “Three Things To Miss Downtown”, and “Why Pay To Bury MJ?” I urge you to read them, and use our share function at the bottom of each post to send this post to all of your friends—this helps to move the content way up on search engines and corporate, corrupt, America loves this.

Also, while downtownster loves getting legitimate comments, I promise the next bogus commenter that we will not only post your work address, we’ll post your full name and make sure everyone knows that you are fraud—Promise.

PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO READ THE THREE POST’S THAT SOME VERY RICH PEOPLE DON’T WANT YOU TO READ!!!

LA LIVE’S SAINT PATRICK’S DAY MASSACRE Continue reading

How New Words Are Born

Stan Lerner is a rarity
Well known for his gregarity
 
When my friend Stan wrote “…I know gregarity isn’t a word, but it ought to be…” he inspired me to write the above iambic couplet.  You see, he coined the word in a post in this blog and, if it eventually makes into widespread usage, you will see it in dictionaries.  Although hardly immortal verse, my finding an application for it immediately is helping to get it into the lexicon.  Similarly, when I used and defined the word oenophiliac in an earlier post (a made up extension of oenophile for comedic purposes) I took the term for a wine lover and stretched it into the realm of hyperbole to mean, a lover of wine.  Like some wines, the humor was too dry for some tastes.  I also had to entertain that some of my friends might have thought I was serious, given the robust ebullience I exhibit when tasting fine wines.

The whole business of how words and phrases come into common usage has always fascinated me. I discovered, early on, that if an important enough writer makes up a word, it becomes a word as soon as they write it. Continue reading

MOVIE REVIEW: THE ANSWER MAN

This time around, I just have to give you the answer before you even ask the question.   In short, the answer is “YES” to THE ANSWER MAN! I love this movie!  As soon as it was over, I wanted to see it again.  More importantly, I would love to revisit the characters in this film. First time writer/director John Hindman has certainly found the answer for a winning combination in a film with THE ANSWER MAN. From the indefatigable emotional roller coaster of Jeff Daniels as Arlen Faber to the comedic perfection of Nora Dunn to the free-spirited joy of Lauren Graham to a script that speaks with love, laughter, heart, (did I say laughter??!!), the whole package makes your heart smile and leaves you wanting more. Beautiful. Touching. Sincere. Simple. No frills. Genuine. Priceless. Continue reading

Angel On A Motorcycle

Have you ever been in a situation where you found yourself calling on your guardian angel?  If you’ve seen active military service, I probably know your answer. Most who have experienced danger answer in the affirmative.  This is hardly surprising.

A 2008 Baylor University study showed that more than half of all Americans claim to have been protected from harm by an angel on at least one occasion.  They could have attributed their happy escapes to luck or coincidence, but they didn’t.  They told researchers that they were helped by angels.

But what exactly is an angel? Continue reading

PROVECHO

I was thinking about things to do Downtown on a Wednesday night—Jazz and Modern Mexican Food crossed my mind. Not as arbitrarily as it might sound given an encounter I was lucky enough to have with the lovely Lauren Brand at the June, Marketing Round Table.

“Lauren Brand, with Provecho and Remedy,” she stood and said. This introduction is part of what happens at the meeting put on by Hal Bastian and company—Downtown BID.

After the meeting I was sure to run into Lauren, and she was sure to inform me that I should take her up on an offer to visit Provecho for some Wednesday Night Jazz and Modern Mexican Cuisine. Somehow we snuck a Happy Hour in, which was more than enough to convince me to trust Lauren on her Wednesday night suggestion.

The story of Provecho really doesn’t start with all of this PR / blogging talk…It’s more of a love story that began when a young girl named Jill and a boy named Gabriel worked at a restaurant in Pasadena called Mi Piace—Jill went on to college, so did Gabriel. Jill graduated college and opened Café Citron, a tiny neighborhood place in Monrovia. Gabriel went on to become Chef Gabriel Morales…Then Jill and Gabriel got married.

It does not take a cognitive epiphany to understand that Jill and Gabriel were destined to open a restaurant—lucky for us downtownsters.

Provecho’s décor is what I call high end soothing. Yes, it has a hint of modern, which foreshadows Chef Gabriel’s take on cooking.

But before discussing the food at Provecho I must mention two of the best drinks of downtown libation lore. Continue reading