Since my entire prior knowledge of LA came from movies – specifically L.A. Story and Speed – I spent this past weekend getting excited about really ridiculous things. Buses, for instance. Freeway signs. The airport (“We’re at the airport. I already seen the airport.”). And since I decided it would be a good idea to watch the first season of Angel last week, I was always on the ready for vampire attacks. No vampires, no David Boreanaz, no celebrities whatsoever – although Sabrina and I said hello to some guy from Lost – but a damned good vacation anyway.
Thursday, aside from a flight (me at the window: “Ooh, desert! Ooh, mountain! Ooh, snow! Ooh, desert!” Basically all at the same time. The Earth is weird), was basically a normal day: Sabrina and I went to her apartment, went out for pizza, grabbed a Starbucks and walked to a movie theater. There I got my introduction to L.A. via our host/ess Cyridian, or something to that effect, who told us to “turn off our burberrys and other electronical devices” before flipping his(?) hair and starting Vantage Point, which was enjoyable aside from Matthew Fox’s terrible Spanish (actually, that was pretty enjoyable too). Then we walked home (no vampires).
Friday was insane. We did the NBC studio tour with Jason the “Sure Enough” tour guide. Al Roker was in the building for some reason, but I failed to meet him for the second time (he was not around when we were in NYC last year). I geeked out more over the backstage stuff than the actual studios, and our tour guide let slip that The Office and My Name is Earl are both filmed in a converted office building in Van Nuys. Store that info for later. After this, we walked through a vintage clothing shop where everything came from movie/tv sets, then changed in the car (we’re classy) and went to The Ivy for the experience. The surrounded-by-bitchy-LA-women experience. Too tan for vampires (too tan for people), they were still quite the thing.
Then we went to Amoeba Records, a giant used CD and DVD store, which was awesome. We followed that with a trip to the Kodak Theater/Grauman’s Chinese Theater/the walk of fame/famous footprints/the Hollywood sign. We did all of these things within about half an hour because they are all located in one handy tourist trap location, which, unbeknownst to me, is situated in the third circle of hell. The whole area was swarming with people dressed as movie stars, superheroes, and animals. Mascots, if you will. The ones who looked like people I could sort of handle – like the Jack Sparrow who followed me into Starbucks – but the animals, not so much. I would have preferred vampires.
We followed that up with Sprinkles cupcakes, which Sab likes and which I’ve heard of thanks to The Girls Next Door. We each bought two and made it as far as Sabrina’s car, parked in a random fancy neighborhood in Beverly Hills (they’re all fancy), before going to town on the cupcakes. We giggled through frosting, especially when people came out of the house we were parked nearest and sent us looks (we decided freezing was the best option). This experience might sum up why Sabrina and I are friends. Cupcaked up, we went to the Getty museum, which I loved more than I can say, and finished the night with Mexican food before I almost fell asleep standing up. Saturday started with a hike, on which we saw the Lost guy and George Clooney’s house. We then took a slight detour…to Scranton. Through some creative googling, Sabrina found the address of The Office, down a dead-end street, surrounded by shady-looking buildings and “no loitering/parking” signs. Naturally, we parked and loitered, and took pictures of Dwight’s car. That was followed by brunch and the beach. No vampires at the beach either, but we did get to overhear life lessons from an LA mother to her preschooler: “White people can be poor too! Black people can be rich – there are lots of rich basketball players, and they’re all black!” Wow.
Sunday was Santa Monica, which is full of tourists, street musicians, and homeless people. If you have to be homeless (or a tourist or a street musician), not a bad place to do it. Lots of palm trees and beach and sun, and no vampires.
Now I’m back, and even though it’s Minnesota Tropical right now (40 degrees), it’s just not the same. Sigh. I’m going to go rent the second season of Angel to cheer myself up.