Tag Archives: downtownster

LA LIVE’S SAINT PATRICK’S DAY MASSACRE

FOREWORD BY STAN LERNER: Downtownster does not celebrate its first birthday until February, but I still feel compelled to post the TEN BEST downtownster blogs of 2009. And while I think all of our blogs have been great, these are the ones that readers read the most and gave us the highest level of props for writing. This particular blog gave the community notice that AEG LA Live wasn’t the beneficent benefactor that, for many years, they made themselves out to be.

<Click Here: To Buy Books By Stan Lerner> 

Okay, I didn’t work on the script, and didn’t raise the $500,000.00 I was supposed to in order to spin downtownster.com off from its’ parent company Lerner Wordsmith Press today… Sorry shareholders, but it was a SAINT PATRICK’S DAY MASSACRE and I had to get in the middle of it—and yes like all good downtownster.com writers (Vaughn Blake) I’ve been drinking Guinness. So as Elvis would say “My boy! My boy!”

It started simply enough; I met Carlos our programmer to go over the pictures that will soon be uploaded to the coming soon downtownster.com store. That would be right here on this very website. Our initial collection of Downtown Oliver Brown clothing will no doubt be a big hit and be an even greater distraction to my screenplay and novel writing than blogging, but enough about me and downtownster. We were working and having a coffee at The Farm at LA Live…As usual there was nothing going on in the plaza. Apparently it was crowded the day before with 450 people trying to get 45 jobs in what AEG calls a job fair and the rest of us call a publicity stunt to lure CNN into using the place as a backdrop.

<Click Here: To Buy Books By Stan Lerner> 

It was this very quiet nothing going on for the community atmosphere that we have all become so used to that struck me as I stood in the city’s other cement bunker, albeit with trees and a fountain, Pershing Square. And yes I know that the city is working on some multi-million dollar study to determine how to spend a few hundred million in funds we don’t have to make the place feel not so Cold War Era, but I’m actually of the belief that we’re headed back into a cold war with Russia, so that the current state of Pershing Square is just fine. Anyway, I took in the fountain that poured green water and smiled. Then walked to the area where the Young Dubliner’s were rocking the house. Continue reading

HOLLYWOOD – A LOVE AFFAIR

The LA Times recently published a piece that pronounced the recent rash of Hollywood Executives to be shown the door the best slasher story in years. The LA Times of course left out the second best slasher story, that being all of the slashing that went on at the LA Times, but that would be good reporting and then I wouldn’t be quoting the Times.

So what’s wrong in Hollywood? Why are so many top executives at major studios being Terminatored?

IT’S THE PRODUCT STUPID!!!

That’s right if you make bad product, it doesn’t make money, and then you get fired. Pretty simple, but not really…Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, so let’s start at the beginning and see if we can’t gain some substantive understanding of the problems facing Hollywood—not just the “DVD sells are down” excuse, but the reality of the difficulty of making dreams come to life.

The complexity of succeeding in the motion picture industry is really more a derivative of a left-brain right-brain conflict. Meaning that there is creative art and the business of creative art. The highest level of success that one can achieve in the motion picture / television industry comes from the optimum balance of these two factors – and yes there is an optimum balance and it can be achieved. The job of achieving this balance falls to a Studio Head.

Think about this task for a moment…A Studio Head has a person on the business side that wants to spend as little money as possible and he has a person on the creative side that will spend as much money as possible to achieve a creative vision – this is the best case scenario. The job of managing this endless conflict is a sign of a healthy studio. And somewhere the Studio Head should have a go to person, a tiebreaker, a person that pulls the trigger and ultimately says yes or no—all things considered.

All things considered is where much of the trouble of the last ten years has come from—ALL THINGS ARE NOT BEING CONSIDERED. Continue reading

An Education – Movie Review

As the school bell rings the start of another day, let me say this – AN EDUCATION is some kind of education!

Jenny is your average 16 year old schoolgirl.  Attending a private school in the London suburb of Twickenham, her father pushes her to be the best, get those straight “A’s”, study, study, study, earn that scholarship to Oxford.  And after all, you need to go to college to find a husband. (I know, I know.  What do you expect in 1961?)  Between classes all day and cello practice every afternoon compounded with extra Latin homework every night (Cogito Ergo Sum), Jenny is left little time for any social life.  Yet, she still finds time to dream of the day she leaves home, venturing out into a world filled with excitement and adventure.  Sprawled on her bedroom floor singing along to the sounds of Parisian singer Juliette Greco, Jenny’s teenage angst is blossoming.

Then one rainy day, Jenny’s wish for excitement and adventure is prematurely answered when a stranger named David, driving a fancy Bristol roadster, takes pity on this poor girl toting a cello walking in the rain. Continue reading

Go For It

Encountering a stranger who knows more about your life than he should is eerie.  Well, I don’t mean to startle you, but I do know a private fact about you.  I know that you are weighing up a decision in your life.

To be sure, I do not know any details.  I have no idea whether you are considering a geographic move, a job change, an investment, or whether you are considering a family or medical decision, but there is certainly some fork in the road that you are confronting.  And because I am quite ignorant of your particular situation, I am unable to advise any specifics.

However, I can help you focus some ancient Jewish wisdom onto your predicament.  This will help illuminate your direction just as focusing a flashlight in a dark forest at night reveals previously unseen paths. Continue reading

MOVIE REVIEW: THE BOYS ARE BACK

We are so used to seeing films with a predictable plot line of  mother wrangling unruly child or lonely miserable single mother trying to befriend her single child that we forget there are single dads out there, too.  However, when we do see them, they are generally divorced, a part-time only dad, and a girlfriend inevitably enters into the mix.   Which is exactly what makes THE BOYS ARE BACK  so refreshing, so enjoyable, so emotional and so entertaining, as it is the complete antithesis of these hackneyed worn out plot lines.  THE BOYS ARE BACK is filled with heart and love, the beautiful Southern Australian seaside of Adelaide, one of the best performances of Clive Owens’ stellar career, and a little six year old named Nicholas McAnulty who is guaranteed to not only steal every scene, but your heart as well.

Joe Warr is your average dad. Continue reading

AFGHANISTAN ALL IN

There is never an end to the building of a country. The United States has been and always should be under construction. And all should know it to be true that good construction requires a solid foundation.

Subsequent to the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack on the United States there was great need for building, but most Americans understood that the attack itself revealed tremendous flaws in the foundation of our country. Now, eight years later, the President and his top advisors are trying to decide what the objective and course of action of the United States should be with respect to the war in Afghanistan. So much of what afflicts this great country can be directly traced to this particular disrepair of its foundation, that it is incumbent on all Americans to achieve clarity as to what our national course of action must be.

In recent history Afghanistan has been known to the United States as a failed state. During the 1990’s an Islamic fundamentalist government, the Taliban, was allowed to gain power. This government once in power gave refuge to the terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda—headed by Osama bin Laden. This history is well known to most and it should be easily concluded that this threat to our country would have, best, been dealt with at its inception. But because it was allowed to crest into what became known as 9/11 an entirely different course of compulsory action became required—and remains so until this very day. 

The removal of the Taliban and the disruption / destruction of Al-Qaeda, the stated goals of the Bush administration and the restated goals of the Obama administration, was not, is not, and never will be the solution to the threat the United States and other liberal democracy’s face from Islamic terrorism. The only way to end the threat is to UTTERLY DESTROY not only the enemy combatant of today, but their entire way of life, so that there will not be an enemy combatant of tomorrow. And make no mistake about it; we have done this before. President Lincoln ordered General Sherman not just to destroy the Southern Army, he ordered the destruction of the South and the Southern way of life—Sherman literally burnt the South to the ground. President Roosevelt and his successor President Truman gave neither Germany nor Japan the opportunity for anything other than UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. And this was only achieved in both cases after the entire force of American military power was brought to bear on these heinous enemies of humanity.

The reason that President Obama suffers the quandary of Afghanistan is not of any kind of mystery to even the most slightly informed—eight years have passed and the enemies of the United States have yet to feel anything close to the full force of American military power. A few days after the attack of September 11th several people inquired as to my thoughts on an appropriate response. I shared my belief, then, that the size of the United States military would at a minimum need to be doubled and realistically should be thrice its peacetime size. I was definitive that the force, which needed to be sent to completely eliminate the threat in Afghanistan, was a force numbering one million soldiers with no less than three hundred thousand combat troops. I was also definitive that once the leadership of Al-Qaeda was tracked to a small enough geographical region the use of tactical nuclear weapons should be an option. ONE MILLION SOLDIERS AND EVERY WEAPON IN THE ARSENAL, I said this then and I repeat this now. Continue reading

STATE OF RACE

Over the weekend the state of race relations in America came to mind…Seventy-five thousand protestors marched against President Obama’s agenda…Serena Williams had a meltdown at the U.S. Open…Kanye West went thug at the MTV Video Music Awards…And I attended my friend Kim’s Gospel Brunch in Beverly Hills. All of these events, except for my brunch, have been covered in the media as having a racial component. But interestingly enough the media seems to not understand the state of race in the twenty first century—it’s not what it used to be.

Kanye West (black) taking the microphone out of Taylor (white) Swift’s hands and proclaiming that Beyonce (black) had made one of the best video’s ever was not just rude as the media portrayed it—it was racism, black racism.

Serena Williams (black) outburst over a fault called by a line judge cost her a point on her serve and the match. Her outburst went something to the effect, “You don’t know me, I’ll take this fucking ball and shove it down your fucking throat.” She had already had one warning for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first set for smashing her racket—there was nothing subjective about what took place. She clearly violated the rules of tennis and she was treated as any player white, black or purple would have been. Yet, I sat at Starbucks 15th and Montana (SM) and listened to a woman (black) emphatically explain that, “they took the points away from Serena because they were afraid she was going to come back and kick that white girls ass.” For the record this was not a crazy woman—she works and lives in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world. Apparently the fact that Serena had lost the first set and was down match point meant nothing—because she was black she would at will rise to the occasion and vanquish the white girl. Even Serena didn’t suggest this when she didn’t exactly apologize at her press conference, this woman’s statement—black racism.

When The Factor came on and Bill O’Reilly and guests watched as the all white crowd, seventy-five thousand strong, protested the Obama agenda in Washington DC, they concluded that they weren’t racist, but that it made sense as whites do make up the majority of the population. I stared on in wonder thinking, “is there really not a single black person in America that doesn’t agree with the Obama agenda”. And then I thought of every black person I know, and I know a lot, and I couldn’t think of a single one of them that didn’t vote for Barak Obama. Then I thought about Colin Powell (black), a Republican, a military man, who didn’t vote for his friend, fellow Republican, and military man John McCain. Forty-five million black people, if they voted, all voted for the President? Forty-five million black people, apparently, all agree with his agenda—black racism? Continue reading

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME?

My writing has come to span a variety of topics. And because one can never truly know what lies beyond the next door I, on occasion, write about what was once reserved for my most personal of conversations—politics and business. You see, I admittedly have a passion for both subjects, but in the ideal sense; what people do in the reality of politics and business brings to my heart darkness, and this is for me a source of great frustration. But in this moment of extreme egomania I can’t help but to think that I may say something that will help others tread on a better path…Business in America has lost its way, and government intervention / artificial stimulus aside, it has fallen, appropriately so, on the members of the business community to be the causation of a now much needed, tectonic like shift in the business PARADIGM.

First, the context of my thoughts on today’s downward spiral of business is from the vantage of growing up, born and raised, to do OLD BUSINESS—my father was a World War II veteran who opened a car lot on Whittier Blvd. and later or additionally an auto parts business—he was a straightforward businessman. Because of my age (44) I came to majority as a businessman in the 1980’s the cradle of the commercial digital revolution, which much to my father’s concern I embraced. The net effect being that I think about business today, as everyone should, in terms of what was, what is and what will be. Or more simply put: did the old way yield a better result than the new way or is the inverse true and worthy of evolution?

“When times are good people drink. When times are bad people drink more!” an eloquent and insightful cliché. Do not step into the trap of thinking that clichés are myths in need of debunking, because more often than not a cliché articulates the most universal of truths. However, not all clichés are born from truth and great harm can come from such ideas.

“If you build it they will come,” a paraphrased line from a movie, now a cliché, but not exactly a universal truth. And be frightened, because this flaw of thought has permeated American business culture. IF YOU BUILD IT THEY MAY NOT COME!!! Please feel free to quote this humble writer. And, because my vocation is telling people about things, I am the first to divulge the obvious that it is in my interest to weigh in. That being said, business is as much about perception as it is product—you can have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows of its existence, financial challenge will be imminent, and that simple fact, AWARENESS, only broaches perception. A product can be great, people can be aware of it, and it still won’t sell.

 

American Cars For Example: Continue reading

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

SPECIAL GUEST BARISTA

A FEW MONTHS AGO

“Another Jack and Coke,” I said, ordering my fifth drink—I try to drink minimally at Lakers’ games. “Look Ray, you have to have an espresso machine at the bakery,” I urged.

“We’re going to have coffee,” responded Ray politely. He’s from Denmark they’re polite.

“That’s great, but you have to have espresso.” I wasn’t taking no for an answer. “Look how busy the Starbucks right around the corner is.” Referring to Starbucks at 11th and Grand. “You could take half their espresso business in your first month…They don’t even make their drinks by hand…And they still get the orders wrong half the time.”

“I don’t know why I come to these games,” chimed in Ed, as in Ed Yawitz our host. “Stan’s right Ray, you have to have espresso drinks.”

“Hell, I’ll be your barista—no charge, if you’re worried about the extra staff,” I offered getting carried away in the moment.

Ed nodded. “Stan’s a world class barista—I’ll come every day.”

Ray hadn’t had as much to drink as I. “Okay, I’ll put in an espresso machine, but you have to come in as our barista, not all the time, but…”

I held up my hand. “I’m there. I’ll be your special guest barista and I’ll train up some protégés.”

A FEW MONTHS LATER

Ray opened Hygge Bakery (1106 South Hope St.) and if you’ve read my blog “Let’s Hygge” you know that I was there crafting a very fine story, which I later wrote while on vacation in Las Vegas. Oh and while I was on vacation I launched downtownster’s sister site blogsincity.com a must read before any trip to Vegas. And if you haven’t read my blog “Let’s Hygge”, you should!!!

So on my way back from Vegas I received a text from Ray. “We’ve got the espresso machine.” I texted him back, that I’d be in the next day. Continue reading