In California. Specifically, Los Angeles, with a brief stop in San Diego (and an even briefer stop at the Denver, CO airport). Out to visit a close friend who moved out there about two years ago, the 8-day trip wound up being my first bone-fide vacation in years. (When I have time off, I usually just go to a film festival, which is hardly a break.) Here are some highlights:
* Fell back in love with the Eric Schlosser-approved In-N-Out Burger
. Despite some major strides in a healthier lifestyle back home, I totally threw it to the wind, eating far, far too many of their burgers in the week-plus than I'd like to admit. I also munched on a Bob's Big Boy Burger -- boy, is it a shame this place no longer exists back here -- and a Fatburger, which I found not as good (and way overpriced) compared to In-N-Out. Back to carrots, walnuts and salmon.
* Ate catfish in non-fillet form -- i.e., very little meat and some annoyingly tough-to-initially-detect bones -- at a Thai restaurant.
* Dropped an appalling amount of money during two (2) separate trips to Amoeba Music
. Some major finds: Françoise Hardy's English-language album If You Listen
; Primitive Plus
, the hard-to-find first album from Boston whiteboy rapper/emcee Edan; Krautrock outfit Faust's mindblowing The Faust Tapes
; McCarthy, the band that eventually became Stereolab (but not without sounding like alternately R.E.M. and New Order first); and a $7 copy of the R2 Articial Eye transfer of Godard's Week End
that didn't turn out to be too good to be true. (The R1 New Yorker version is notorious garbage.)
* Saw someone I hadn't seen in far, far, far, far
too goddam long.
* Was given a personalized(-ish) tour of the Paramount lot. Highlights: a window full of Oscars; replicas of several city streets; Dr. Phil's car entourage and lot cart, which has, um, monster wheels.
* Wept uncontrollably upon stepping foot in BevMo!
Pennsylvania still (still!
) has cartoonishly puritanical drinking laws; for instance, right now (quarter to 7pm on Sunday) one can't buy a bottle of wine as liquor stores, with very few exceptions, are closed on this, the day of our lord. A week ago exactly (adjusting for time difference, that is), I walked into a BevMo! and happily grabbed bottles of Späten, this awesome dark Heffeweissen and one of those wacky mini-kegs of Paulaner. (I also scored glasses for Heffeweissen, Stella Artois and Duvel. They survived the flight.)
* Went to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time ever. No Monty Python, but Rachmaninov, Shostokovich and Stravinsky were way pleasant. Also: wine and cheese.
* Attended the Getty Villa
, the purdiest museum I've ever been to.
* Didn't drink any whiskey whatsoever at this ritzy whiskey bar called Seven Grand.
* Attempted to hike; was thwarted by the first desert rain in what? A billion years? Made up for it, if partially, by bouldering (with my brand new hiking shoes!) and "climbing" the trail up to the Griffith Park Observatory. Heard a pack of coyotes wailing on the way back down. Ominous.
* Ate some great BBQ.
* Drove out to Newport Beach. Body surfed for some 2 1/2 hours before, er, getting whacked something fierce on the head by a boogey board. My head bled, very minimally, for several hours later. Fun!
* Ate at a fancy-schmancy seafood restaurant in San Diego. My meal, which turned out to be in a giant fucking tin bowl, required wearing an actual bib. Not pretty.
* Snorkelled at La Jolla cove. I swam over (harmless) leopard sharks and swam with a bunch of bright yellow fish. Also seaweed and algae. Best. Thing. Ever. Except for the whole totally sunburnt back thing.
* Did karaoke for the first time since I was probably fifteen. Apparently I do a mean Girl From the Cardigans.
* Smoked medicinal marijuana. What paranoia?
* Didn't watch a single movie the entire time I was there.
The last two week's of PW pluggin'. Didn't feel like doing even the minimal of blog updates out on the West Coast, so here goes. From 8/29 issue, I reviewed
the lo-fi 9/11 2 yarn Right At Your Door
, wrote a Six Pack
on unusual remakes (Losey's M,
, Chris Rock's take on Eric Rohmer) and did Rep
. From the 9/5 issue, I reviewed Dans Paris
and Ten Canoes
(second and third down), Six Pack
ed decent movies shot on shitty video (The Celebration, Colossal Youth, Inland Empire
) and Rep
ped it up.