Friday, September 18, 2009

L.A. Saturday: September 12, 2009

This past weekend we were in the LA area for a visit with George's aunt and uncle, the D23 Convention in Anaheim, and a general good time. The convention on Friday was a bust (from what I hear) but the rest of the weekend was incredible, which leads up to our first entry for our Saturday Adventure Series!

The morning started off (early and without breakfast) with a visit to Dan Krall's home. Well, technically it started with the drive there and George getting a speeding ticket. The CHP Officer was efficient, speaking to us and writing the ticket very quickly. He was even kind enough to ask where we were headed and offer directions. Thanks for the ticket and the directions officer!

Dan Krall is a modern heavyweight in the animation industry, doing everything from layout to character design for Cartoon Network shows such as Dexters Lab, Samurai Jack, and Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends. Recently he made a massive contribution of his talents to the feature film Coraline! Check out a whole slew of Dan's work here: Be sure to visit his blog too! Through the kindness of another animator (you rock Andy Suriano!) George managed to score us an invitation to Dan's house for an opportunity to meet him and discuss the finer points of animation. Pretty old school, huh? He was a very humble and down to earth guy, with an equally lovely wife, and we adored the way their home was decorated! It had a retro feel but was subtle. It was basically exactly how we'd like to decorate, some day.

After the visit we had lunch at Cha Cha Cha. They wanted $5 for the Valet to park in one of their three available parking spaces that were literally two feet away. We declined the offer, parked a mere block away and headed in to a spacious and quite empty restaurant. The menu was different and the food a bit disappointing. It made us long for our much beloved San Francisco locations. However, this Cha Cha Cha had a more robust menu of libations, including a Mango-rita, made fresh on the premises. Yeah, a pitcher of what was essentially spiked Jamba Juice was the perfect alternative to our daily fruit/vegetable intake. Fortunately, the food was dense.

Next, we headed back to Titi Sonia and Tio Ricky's house in Redondo Beach to get ready for a night at the Hollywood Bowl! It was time to eat again so we went to dinner at a tasty Cuban restaurant called Versailles and stuffed ourselves on croquettes, yuca, rice and beans. It was true traditional Cuban fair- fatty and salty. A word of advice: don't get the sangria, unless of course, you enjoy obviously watered down wine. We then made our way over to the Hollywood and Highland Center so that we could catch a shuttle to the show. While wandering around the center I saw Kevin Bacon's wife, Kyra Sedgwick standing by an elevator with what was presumably one of her handlers. Nobody else noticed and I didn't say anything because I didn't want to cause a stampede. I could hear it now, "OMIGOSH, it's Kyra Sedgwick, star of The Closer, you know, that show you hear about but don't watch." George did say we were going to see movie stars this time!

We made it into the Hollywood Bowl and smuggled in our vodka without a hitch, leaving security none the wiser. The show was called "Blame it on Rio" and featured Brazilian music with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Bebel Gilberto and Seu Jorge. We'd never heard of them before but the music was great, especially Bebel Gilberto, who is apparently Bossa Nova royalty. She sang Carmen Miranda's "Chica Chica Boom Chic" and it was truly delightful. There were even dancing ladies in colorful, sparkly attire and giant feather hats, dancing and shaking all about. Seu Jorge did a cover of "David-de-Bowie's Life on Mars." That's how he said his name (David-de-Bowie) and how we will say it from now on. For the most part we didn't really understand the words so we enjoyed substituting the lyrics with words and phrases we did know like "mofongo," "chingadera" and "a mira que wow, and a mira que wow." The end of the show included fireworks backed by the orchestra playing fantastic Latin rhythms.


Upon exiting the venue we noticed that one of the upcoming events was a Sound of Music sing-a-long. Being that we were tipsy, we began singing "Doe a Deer," but forgot the lyrics after "Fa, a long long way to run." Never fear though, Tio Ricky came to the rescue with the proper rhythm and only slightly skewed lyrics... "Chingadera-la-la-laaaaaa, Chingadera-la-la-laaaaaaaaaaaaa." Strangers were laughing, it was momentous.

On the bus ride back a second attempt was triggered by a pair of friendly sisters (they weren't Nuns, or African American women, they were actually sisters), but it unfortunately fell flat. We laughed anyway.

Overall it was a perfect Saturday with good company, good food and good music!

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