Tag Archives: classic

Greta Garbo in color!

This past Thursday, September 18th, would have been Greta Garbo’s 103rd birthday. And seeing as my brother Ryan and I are both huge, lifelong fans of “the Swedish Sphinx”, I thought it only appropriate to celebrate this monumental occasion by posting this super-cool, super-rare color photo of the woman of the hour herself.

Taken during GG’s last photo shoot at MGM — during production of her final film, the virtually unwatchable “Two-Faced Woman” (1941) — the photo is one of only a handful of color photos ever taken of “the face of the century” and as such, is considered very rare.

The picture was taken by legendary Hollywood photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull, whose iconic work includes not just some of the most famous pics of Garbo, but also scads of other classic shots of Hollywood greats from the golden age.

As luck would have it, Ryan, Laura, my stepmom, Wendy, Christine and I had a chance to see this print in person at the incredible “Made in Hollywood: Photographs from the John Kobal Collection” exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art a few weeks back.

If you get a chance I encourage anyone within driving distance to head up (or down!) to Santa Barbara to catch this amazing show before it closes on October 5th. For although the gallery space dedicated to the show is very small, the photos there are almost breathtakingly beautiful.

Seriously, you could lose yourself for hours in some of those inky, velvety blacks in the B&W prints. Just really top notch stuff all around…and if you go on Sundays, admission to the entire Museum is free! Yay!

So, check it out while you can. And in the meantime, Happy Birthday, Greta!

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“American Mall” night @ The Cinerama Dome!

Surreal as it may sound, tonight is the red-carpet premiere of my MTV musical, “The American Mall”. Wow, just typing the word “my” and “red-carpet premiere” in the same sentence is so totally bizarre. Crazy…

And to make matters even more surreal, the movie is screening tonight at the historic Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd. If you live in the L.A. area and haven’t been to this theatre, you are seriously missing out, man. Housed in a giant geodesic dome, the curved screen is crazy big and the sound is incredible.

Ironically enough, the last movie we saw at the Dome was also a musical. We saw “Evita” on New Year’s Eve back in 1996 and I swear to God, Madonna’s face was so gigantic on that towering screen that I almost threw up. Of course, we were sitting in the front row, so that didn’t help.

But wow, what a screen! The Cinerama Dome was built in 1963 to screen the studio’s burgeoning library of sweeping, wide-screen epics in all their glory. And though it has come close to closing a few times, the recent addition of the adjoining Arclight Cinemas guaranteed that audiences will be enjoying the enormity of the Cinerama Dome for years to come.

So, as Christine and I run out the door to do some last minute errands before the premiere — actually, she’s the only one with “last minute errands” like getting her hair done and stuff — and I practice not tripping over myself in my slippery-ass dress shoes, enjoy these vintage pics of the Dome…

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Downtown L.A.’s “Ciudad”

On their very cool website, Ciudad invites one and all to “experience the bold and seductive flavors of the Latin World” and last night, we took them up on it!

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Ciudad is the brainchild of world-renowned Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger and though a little pricier than their fare at the similarly-themed Border Grill in Santa Monica and Las Vegas, Ciudad is worth every penny you pay. Seriously…it’s kind of magical.

Although Christine has eaten at Ciudad a number of times over the years — her workplace, downtown’s Central Library is practically across the street from the restaurant — I had only been there on one other occasion, but the memory of that meal has stayed with me ever since.

So after enjoying the sunset from the rooftop bar of The Standard nearby, we hiked on over to Ciudad for a late dinner with some of Christine’s co-workers. And seeing as the late night happy hour at Ciudad had begun just minutes before we walked in — incredibly enough, they have house mojitos, sangria and a number of other rocking good cocktails for only $4 a pop from 9-11 on Friday nights! — we could not have planned it better!

The only hitch to the late night happy hour is that you have to enjoy your drinks literally at the bar and cannot move to your table until after you’ve settled your tab. Fine by us! So we drank ourselves silly at the bar, settled the tab and stumbled to our table around 10-ish.

And the food? Wow…word’s cannot do this place justice. Fusing delicious new and classic authentic dishes from Spain, Mexico, South America, Central America, Cuba and even Portugal, the menu is almost as rich, colorful and varied as the crazy hip decor and art work inside.

We started with some incredible tapas-style dishes. And though the Peruvian Ceviche with plantain chips and Argentine Empandas (with wild mushroom, warm chipotle sauce and swiss chard!) were fantastic, I gotta say that my favorite of the three appetizers we shared was the Fried Spanish Brie. Dios mio, that stuff melted in your mouth…it was incredible.

And this from a man who is not a huge fan of the Brie…don’t get me wrong, I love me some soft cheeses, but Brie has never been my favorite. Until now!

And dinner was even more amazing! Not only were the hip, mid-century dishes super groovy to look at, but the plating of this food was out of this world. Beautiful culinary art on every plate…just gorgeous!

I had the slow-roasted Niman Ranch Carnitas with mashed yuca, organic black beans, fried plantains and grilled corn salsa. Wow, even just typing those words is making me drool. It was probably the best carnitas I’ve ever had anywhere…and that mashed yuca is something I wanna make at home, like, every night. I loved it!

Christine had a huge crusted pork chop from the “Specials” menu that not only tasted like heaven, but rivaled the Brontosaurus bone on “The Flintsones” in heft. That thing was enormous!

And that lovely pork chop was not alone in the size department, because, unlike other hipster haunts downtown, the portions at Ciudad are authentically gigantic. That’s right, they don’t eat dainty in any of the countries listed above, so why should we do it here? Sí se puede, indeed!

I don’t have any pictures to back this all up of course — Christine forbid me to photograph my food in front of her work friends — but you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that even the heartiest eaters out there will not leave this joint hungry. It’s just not possible…

So next time you find yourself downtown on a Friday night between 9-11PM — gotta hit that happy hour, I mean, come on, regular-priced Supremo Mojitos are $15! — check out Ciudad! Sure, it might cost you and arm and a leg, but I swear to God, the food you eat here will flash before your eyes when you die.

Yep, it’s that good!

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Cafe Pasqual’s & The Shed

While we tried tons of super cool restaurants in Santa Fe, these two were, hands down, our favorites of the bunch. And, trust me, with the caliber of kick-ass food being what it is in Santa Fe, that is really saying something.

Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

Probably best known for their spectacular mole sauce, Cafe Pasqual’s has been one of the premiere destinations for gourmet Old Mexican and New Mexican dishes alike for the past 28 years. And while the prices are a bit higher than some of the other places in town and the lines are known to stretch down Don Gasper Avenue at all hours, once you’ve eaten at Cafe Pasqual’s, it all makes sense.

Ginger and I had an early lunch there one day where I sampled that legendary mole sauce on some of the finest chicken enchiladas I have ever tasted anywhere…including Mexico. The mole was dark as night, awesomely spicy and best of all, not too chocolate-y. I was in heaven…

Cafe Pasqual’s @ lunch time! (Feb. 2008)

The next time I went was with Christine for dinner and once again, the food was downright dazzling. I had some of the tastiest skewered filet mignon I’ve ever had and the bright green cilantro rice on the side was crazy good. In fact, we were so impressed with the food that we actually bought the newest of the two Cafe Pasqual Cookbooks they had for sale up front.

I should also note that I learned later from our friends James and Amy that if you ask nicely, the chef will add a fried egg on top of any of the dishes on the menu for the low, low price of $1.00. I don’t know that I necessarily needed the egg, but hey, I’ve done stranger things for a dollar…so, maybe next time!

Mole chicken enchiladas @ Cafe Pasqual’s! (Feb. 2008)

But while we both loved Cafe Pasqual’s, The Shed is the place we’ll dream about in the years to come…huge thanks to Christine’s co-worker, “Santa Fe Sarah” for recommending it to us, you rock! Located in a cool little hacienda dating to 1692, The Shed has been serving some of the finest, Spanish, Pueblo, and New Mexican food known to man since 1953.

Housed inside the thick adobe walls of the hacienda, the dining area is spread out across a series of small, brightly colored rooms linked by narrow doorways and halls adorned with some of the coolest art in town. The place actually felt more like someone’s house than a restaurant, and with little round fire places up front and an intimate, low-ceilinged feel throughout, you could have sworn you were eating in Yoda’s pad on Degobah. And yes, that is a good thing.

The Shed, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

And the food…my God. Amazing! Christine ordered the Chicken Enchilada Verde which is made with traditional New Mexican blue corn tortillas and bathed in a roasted green chile sauce that will leave you begging for more. Literally! I went back two days after she left and ordered the exact same thing…and it was even better the second time.

The other thing we really dug about The Shed was the garlic bread. Instead of chips and salsa — which you can still order separately if you like — every entree is served with this amazing, piping-hot basket of French Garlic Bread. I know it sounds kinda weird, but when you’re sopping up that spicy green chile sauce, that bread is exactly what you wanna have on hand. Whew…awesome!

And for desert, you gotta try the mocha cake. I’m not kidding, I actually woke up a couple of times craving that thing. Probably one of the best coffee-infused, chocolate mouse cakes I’ve ever had. If you like chocolate…you will die!

Anyway, like I said before, there were plenty of killer dining spots in town, but these two…wow…if you ever find yourself in Santa Fe, don’t miss them.

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Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd”

Finally saw Tim Burton’s rocking version of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” over the weekend and let me tell ya, it’s bloody good…emphasis on the bloody. Seriously, I haven’t seen this much spraying, operatic bloodletting since the first volume of “Kill Bill”, and that time, the bloodiest scenes were in black and white.

Well, not so here, amigos. Tim Burton’s bright, comic-book-red blood flows freely and often…and it couldn’t be cooler!

Johnny Depp as “Sweeney Todd” (Dec. 19, 2007)

Save for the standards “Pretty Women” and “Not While I’m Around” — which are way darker in the context of the show than they are as stand-alone songs — I wasn’t that familiar with the original musical, but wow, it’s good. Christine found some of the numbers a bit stagey and claustrophobic, but I really dug the musty intimacy of it all.

Set in and around a gloomy, beautifully dank Victorian London, the movie and the songs are as dark as can be. And while the ads make it look like quirky, Tim Burton-lite, this movie is one of the darkest things he’s done in a while.

I found the songs and humor to be funny as hell, but I should warn the uninitiated that this “Sweeney Todd” is not for the feint of heart.

Johnny Depp singing in “Sweeney Todd” (Dec. 19, 2007)
Anchoring the movie and proving once again that he can do almost anything onscreen, the always-astonishing Johnny Depp rocks in his first full-blown musical. Ditto for “Borat’s” Sasha Baron Cohen (as Depp’s hysterically oily rival, Pirelli), Alan Rickman as the villainous Judge Turpin, and the incredible little boy who plays Toby (newcomer Ed Sanders).
Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter in “Sweeney Todd” (Dec. 19, 2007)

But fans of the musical know that the dark heart of the show has always been that wily scene-stealer, Mrs. Lovett.

I read somewhere that Stephen Soundheim loved her character so much that he actually demanded (and got!) final approval for the casting of Mrs. Lovett. And though Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t the best singer he auditioned, she was by far the best actress. And lemme tell ya, Soundheim was right. Helena Bonham Carter is spectacular in the role.

I’ve been a huge fan since I first saw her in “A Room With A View” and Carter has continued to amaze me ever since. If you haven’t seen her in “Fight Club” you haven’t lived. Not only did she blow Brad Pitt and Ed Norton off the screen, but her twisted, manic performance as Marla Singer is one of the great screen characters of the 1990’s. Really amazing stuff!

Helena Bonham Carter in “Sweeney Todd” (Dec. 19, 2007)

Here again, Ms. Carter — who gave birth Saturday to her second child, a daughter, with Tim Burton — rips into a really juicy part with a vengeance. And like her co-stars, I’m happy to report that Carter’s singing here is top notch. More traditionally Broadway-ish than Johnny Depp’s rock-infused vocals, Carter’s scrappy, Cockney-accented singing really steals the show.

And though the content of her “meat pies” would turn even my hearty stomach, I gotta say if Carter’s saucy Mrs. Lovett was selling them…I’d be the first in line!

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