Friday, March 10, 2006


Our Man in LA has at least four LA things

Or at least that's the hope.

The other day, my buddy Rick Porter (known throughout the Midwest as "The Condor") enlisted me in a sort of blog chain letter created by the folks at the well-regarded LA blog FRANKLIN AVENUE (

As Rick explains at his own blog, which you can find here (, it's a chance to ruminate on all things LA, one's experience of the City of Angels.

Cool. I'm a gamer.

Before I start, though, one note. Just because I'm chain lettering about on the blog today doesn't mean that there's none of the regular "Our Man in LA" wackiness coming your way. No, sir. The Tuesday Top Five and Bottom One are on their way, as are other pieces of mirth and discussion. I fully admit to being behind schedule, which those of you who know me will suggest is my natural state.

Anyway, let's ruminate, LA-style:


I've had only one day job since moving here 18 months ago, and that's Director of Corporate Relations for the Los Angeles office of the Alzheimer's Association. Basically, I manage all of the relationships the Association has with corporations based on the West Coast. I also spend a good deal of time working with Big Pharma and other large international concerns that are looking to support Alzheimer-related programs and events in Southern California.

By night, of course Our Man in LA toils at the keyboard on screenplays and novels.


* LA CONFIDENTIAL. An amazing, brilliant look at the layers upon layers of the onion that is Los Angeles. Yes, it should have been the best picture that year. It would be the best picture most years. And I don't think any other film captures so well the time when LA was transforming from the self-contained basin town it had been to the freeway culture megalopolis it is today.

* COLLATERAL. It came out right when I got here, and I love the performances by Foxx and yes, even Cruise. More than that, I love how Michael Mann abandons the idea of cinematic geography for the most part. Don't you usually hate the way a movie shot in your favorite town will have a scene where two characters are talking on a street, and you'll know exactly where they are, only to see them turn a corner, and YOU KNOW they're sixteen miles away? I do. In RISKY BUSINESS, Tom Cruise goes from the Drake to Highland Park in less than a minute. Not here.

* HEAT. OK, I have a thing for crime movies, and Michael Mann. But there's something poetic about this story about cop and killer both at the ends of their individual ropes on the edge of the American continent. Beautiful to look at and riveting. When DeNiro tells Pacino at the end, "I told you I was never going back" as the plane screams overhead, you feel the moment right in the sternum.

* BLADE RUNNER. I tried to think of a comedy about LA that I liked better than this. I love LA Story, but this is even more a part of my personal psyche and experience, so I had to put it up. An LA of the future that seems strikingly close to the one we have now, the great use of downtown's Bradbury building, the reversal of hunter and hunted with Rutger Hauer and Harrison Ford, the long discussions through college about whether Decker's a replicant or not. It's all good.


* Los Feliz, which has sooo many. The Bruschetta at Farfalla, the beef burritos at Yucca's and the seafood enchiladas at Mexico City. The spicy tuna rolls as big as your face at Niko Niko. The Thai Cobb salad at Fred 62. The rosemary turkey burger at Mustard Seed. I could go on.

* Palms/Culver City. Tito's Tacos. Great appetizers at the Beacon. Thai carry-out from Pam's Place and Natalee. Amazing Empanadas from the Empanada Palace.

Those are the only two places I've lived in LA, though when I used to stay with Doc Noel in West LA, I loved the late, lamented Lula's Blue Plate on Sawtelle, with its omelettes and fried twinkies.


* 24. Still my fave show on TV. I'm still trying to figure out where CTU's HQ is.

* ENTOURAGE. I didn't want to like the show, but damn if Piven and the other boys aren't funny as hell.

* CITY OF ANGELS. An oldie but a goodie. Who knew Wayne Rogers could be cool? Imagine CHINATOWN as a TV show, and you have it.

* (tie) THREE'S COMPANY and 90210. Hated myself every entertaining minute, but I kept watching.


* Griffith Park. I can walk there from home, and I'm not much of a camper, but I could spend days there.

* One of those oceanfront villas in Malibu. Getting away, watching the surf crash into the sand. That'd be decent.

* Renaissance Hotel, Hollywood and Highland. Stupid, simpering and cheesy on my part, I'll grant you, but I have to put it down. When you live in a place, you forget about all the touristy stuff that's actually fun. If I picked four places to stay in New York, I'd want one to be near Times Square. And this is LA's Times Square.

* (tie) Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica; a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel; or Chateau Marmont. I just can't make up my mind.




* Citysearch LA

* Our Woman in LA loves something called "Daily Candy LA". I have a feeling that's slightly more interesting than my "Citysearch" choice.


* A double cheeseburger, fries and vanilla coke at In n Out Burger.

* A combo plate of Mexican food at El Cholo.

* Grilled lobster at, well, The Lobster.

* Just about anything at Farfalla or Mexico City.


It's almost noon on Friday, so:

* Taking a drive north on PCH with Our Woman in LA.

* Spending the day at the Arclight or Mann's Chinese, catching up on my movies, also with the wife.

* Hiking through Griffith Park, taking in the view.

* Walking the boardwalk in Venice with Our Woman in LA, catching the pickup basketball, checking out the people and the tacky souvenir shops.

It is customary to pass this thing on, but I don't have a ton of LA bloggers on my mailing list. I promise to invite in my pal KID SIS IN HOLLYWOOD, but also, in the interest of turning this thing into a giant pyramid scheme, I'll ask my pals Reggie Newton at and Greg Rolnick at to chime in about their hometown (from whence came Our Man and Our Woman in LA).

Whether they play is up to them.

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