Thursday, September 23, 2004

WATCH OUT WATER GRILL!

A new top gun/spatula is headed downtown. A lease was signed today in the Historic Core by the latest contender for the title of the top restaurant in downtown - if not all of LA.

Developing...

A GIANT OF CINEMA PASSES

All men who came of age in the 1960's and 1970's will mourn the recent passing of Russ Meyer. A throw back to the age when actual sex did not need to be shown in a soft core porno for the film to be mesmerizingly erotic, Meyer somehow managed to combine his four passions in life - women with enormous cleavages due to the wonders of advanced modern technology, violence - but mainly women against exploitative men and - most bizarrely of all - anti-communism and anti-racism, in films that continue to be shown and appreciated all over the world.

And in recent decades, the idiosyncratic appeal of his films has increasingly brought them to the attention of film critics - and museums and universities - all over the world.

My own personal connection - other than as a profoundly appreciative viewer during my teenage years - was when a buddy of mine who felt Meyer was the world's greatest filmmaker (long before he had any critical respect) - somehow got the opportunity to work with him and I was able to crew on one of his films for a few satisfying days during my gratefully misspent youth.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

TODAY'S BUSINESS SCORECARD - WORLD - 3 - LOS ANGELES - 0

Today is a day like every other day in LA. Three Los Angeles companies are gobbled up by out of state companies - and no companies are acquired by Los Angeles area companies. Irvine's LoanCenter.com is acquired by a subsidary of Barry Diller's New York-based IAC, Carson-based Bistol Farms is snapped up by Idaho-based Albertsons and New York-based Bank of New York swallows Santa Monica's Wilshire Associates. Cries of protest by area media and politicians - zero.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

ITALIAN JOB REVS UP PERSHING SQUARE

The ITALIAN JOB was screened al fresco in Pershing Square tonight in what is hoped will become a regular event. It was put on by the Central City Association - among other groups - and it gave a chance for downtowners from all the neighborhoods to gather together and watch a cool film, much was which was filmed on the streets only blocks from Pershing Square.

It is exactly the kind of free, social event that we need to create an overall community and the kind of event that is very common in New York. So let's see what the follow-up event will be.

SUNDAY MORNING IN THE CITY

The sounds of the city.

On Sunday mornings I come to the office early to pursue my novel and my memoirs - that being only time that I can expect to get anything done on anything that might actually financially benefit me.

But even then the lure of downtown comes creeping into my office. And, inevitably, the sounds of the city slink into my consciousness - and slowly seduce me away from my work. Leaving my office door open, I hear the sounds of Spring Street though the windows of the vacant offices down the hall and I listen to a lone trumpet player sweetly playing Moon River with a sad, unusually melancholic lilt.

Now whether that is the musician's heartfelt response to this particular song or his own personal feelings as he discovers that the mere handful of pedestrians that pass him by are unlikely to be able to afford to fill his awaiting, upturned hat on the sidewalk, I do not know. I only wish I could afford to pay him to remain there the remainder of the day so I could continue to enjoy his playing.

Then, though the opened windows that face my building's courtyard, I can hear the sporadic enthusiasm of a power drill - the patron tool of all artists - busily working screws into studs and drywall for an art space (Kristi Engel Gallery) in the adjoining suite that will shortly become yet another contributor to Gallery Row.

But I can also hear the monotone sound of the sewing machine of the young fashion designer across the air well, the muted sound of a score for an Indy film being mixed next to her and the playbacks from a recording studio across the hall from them both.

And I find myself thinking more and more about all that is surrounding me rather than paying attention to my word smithing of the never-ending travails of Jed Matthews. in The Long Rider.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

COWABUNGA, DUDE! SURF'S UP IN THE 'HOOD!

You know the neighborhood is changing when on a single Saturday morning I observe not one, not two - but three (three - count'em - three!) seperate dudes carrying surf boards in or out of three different loft buildings on Spring or Main Streets. The ex-Westsiders are definitely representin' themselves in the 'hood..

Friday, September 10, 2004

GRAND AVENUE - WAITIN' FOR THE PHONE TO RING

The August 8th, 2004 Edition of the Slatin Report (a leading real estate newsletter) describes New York's The Related Companies winning the Grand Avenue 'competition'. Peter Slatin does his usual superb, concise overview of the project and its most recent history (though I would disagree with some of his more subjective judgments) and he hits the major points of both the community's almost unanimous distain for the secretiveness of the process and the concerns that many of us have in Related's past failures in developing even one project with any strong sensibility for either design or urbanism. (And in interest of full disclosure, I am the unnamed community activist they identity as stirringly speaking in favor of one of the their competitors, Forest City.)

But Slatin's most interesting point, though, was that West Coast Related head Bill Witte was quoted as saying that he would start working with the community the very day he got back from vacation on August 19th. Well, it is now September 10th - three (3) weeks later and if anyone's phone has rung - no one has yet told the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, which is only organization officially designated by the city charter to represent the community in land use matters.