Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The butterflies at Pismo

Monarch butterflies hang out in a grove at Pismo Beach from late October through February.

Here's a sign about it.


Here's JW making a rare appearance on FWL, reading more about the monarchs.


They cluster in and feed on eucalyptus leaves, which are poisonous to the birds that might want to feed on them.


I'm rather pleased with how well my zoom did on my digital camera. You may have to click to enlarge, but at least in the Preview section on my Mac they seem to have turned out nicely.


These pictures don't even do justice to how many there were. There were huge clumps of them high in the trees, their wings closed so they looked like moths. 



Okay, more later. I'm going to milk these pics for all they're worth!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Smell, Sunday morning, etc.

There's an article about downtown rock club The Smell in The New Yorker, of all places. It's full of L.A. mythologizing, which is nice of Sasha Frere-Jones; some of the right names are evoked -- X, Black Flag -- although seems like a missed opportunity in ignoring The Weirdos, and name-checking Guns N' Roses feels like he's throwing the reader a bone. Anyway, check out the article here. Here's a sample quote:

The Smell, which holds more than two hundred people, serves vegan snacks, and has a shelf of books and zines that clubgoers can borrow, remains the scene’s hub. Randall and Spunt, who live in Hollywood, in a house with a half-pipe in the back yard, formed No Age in 2006, and frequently perform at the club. They have keys to the building, and Randall has been central to a four-year ongoing effort to install a second bathroom. (He helped dig the trench in the concrete floor to accommodate the new plumbing.)
Okay, enough rock-n-roll posturing. I'm at Buzz Coffee on Beverly on a Sunday morning, determined to get some work done, but wanted to slap this up first, and thought I'd ramble a bit while I'm here.

Did you all see The Fastest Clock in the Universe at Celebration Theatre? If you didn't you totally missed out. Last performance is today at 3pm. I'm going to see Playwrights Arena do Luis Alfaro's Hero today at 3pm, so I won't see you there, although I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

What else? Oh, up the coast on Tuesday, so the blog might be quiet for a few days. Or maybe I'll post a bunch of pictures or something. Dunno. Just letting you know.

Okay, must work!

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Morning Drive, Part 2: Seeing The Sights

When I first discovered the Forest Lawn route -- this was after ditching the Los Feliz to the 5 North, but before switching from Rossmore / Vine / 101-North to La Brea / Franklin / Cahuenga
Pass -- I found the daily driving past a rather large hillside cemetery just a little ominous. It was only slightly less ominous than the Charlie Chaplin street performer reading the paper and waiting for the bus while on the Rossmore / Vine route. I always felt like he was there to taunt me. Perhaps one of the reasons for the change to La Brea. On La Brea you don't see street performers; mostly you just see Orthodox Jews on the sidewalks, which I actually find rather comforting.

But back to the cemetery. While I've gotten used to the idea that I'm driving my way to the grave, I have a new, rather freakish roadside antagonist hanging out about halfway down Zoo Drive.

Coyotes.

I see them with increasing regularity these days. I don't know if it has to do with the Griffith Park fire, or if it's seasonal and I just haven't driven this route long enough to understand The Circle of Life and whatnot, but they're getting bolder with every passing day. Maybe it's just the same renegade coyote. I don't know. But he's gone from watching the traffic in a patch of grass near the road to trotting down the shoulder where local joggers usually do their exercise.

Let's just hope he and his cohorts don't start circling my car.

My Morning Drive, Part 1: The Left Turn

I take a familiar route from the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles into Burbank to get to Glendale, where I work. 8th to La Brea, La Brea to Franklin, Franklin to Highland, which becomes the Cahuenga Pass, then right, across the 101, to Barham, then Forest Lawn, at which point I have the option of going on the 134 East for an exit and getting trapped on the exit ramp or taking Zoo Drive by Griffith Park, which is far more pleasant and less congested.

When I first found this route, it was such a revelation. I'd been taking Wilshire east to Rossmore, which becomes Vine, then I'd stay on Vine until Franklin, turn left onto the 101-on-ramp, get off at Barham, and so on. Before that I was taking Franklin to Western to Los Feliz to the 5 North. These are all problematic for one reason.

The Left Turn.

How the hell did it take me five years of living in Los Angeles to learn that you NEVER turn left? NEVER. Okay, residential streets, maybe, but ONLY when there's a 4-way stop. If your choice is between one left and three rights, you TAKE THE THREE RIGHTS. YOU WILL GET THERE FASTER. Seriously, I cut ONE left out of my commute by taking La Brea instead of Vine and I saved 10 minutes on my commute. It's wild.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The bad news.

Huckabee's tied with Romney in Iowa. Read here.

If this poll means anything, I still remain optimistic that Hillary just might be able to wipe the floor with him. Let's hope so....

The good news!

The execution in Iran has been halted. Joe.My.God. points it out here.

Maybe that whole "social protest" kinda thing works!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I don't wanna brag too much

on him, lest he get a big head, but Kevin's new post on Veracifier is much appreciated, as I continue to be both appalled and a little unsurprised at Mike Huckabee's continuing to become a serious Republican presidential candidate. Here's my favorite sentence:

[W]hat really has my jaw on the floor is the emergence of Mike Huckabee: National Media Darling!!??
Kevin prefers to describe him as--

the pissy, paranoid, self-righteous Huckster who used to go all scorched earth on local journalists who dared criticize him.
Yep, if memory serves, that seems about right.

CHECK

THIS OUT.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I haven't posted

about Iran in a while, but its going around the gay blogs today, particularly because of a statement from an Iranian official saying that gays deserve to be executed or tortured. Joe.My.God. posted about that, along with a story about a 21-year-old man who may be executed for rape charges he allegedly committed as a minor. The execution of someone for crimes he committed as a minor violates both Iranian and international law. The young man claims his confession was coerced, and there's also the funny detail of no one claiming to being a victim of this supposed gay rapist.

So I sent some emails. Click here if you would like to do the same. There you'll find a list of all the proper addresses, as well as a sample letter you can use to email. It only took me a few minutes, so why not, right?

My friend

Kevin has been turning up on the internets lately. Long gone are the days when I could steal a clever IM convo from him for a little freebie post on FWL. No, now he's gotta go get paid for stuff. Here he is with a particualrly funny post about Kathleen Willey accusing the Clintons of putting a hit out on her cat.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Writers, take note.

If you write a play set in present-tense, and it's really intimate and character-driven, and it doesn't really seem to be about current events, but it's kind of intense and tragic or suspenseful, and you sprinkle in more than a few conversational references to Abu Ghraib or Al Qaeda or anything having to do with the war in Iraq in general, I am going to completely detach emotionally from the story and spend the remainder of the dramatic action trying to work out in my mind exactly how your play is a political allegory. I want it to be known that, for better or worse, it's just what I do. Thanks.

Friday, November 09, 2007

James Schuyler's

birthday is today. He would've been 84.


Frank and James, 1956.

I've found a quote from Barbara Guest about his work that I think is a sharp description of what he does so beautifully:
[F]or me Jimmy is the Vuillard of us, he withholds his secret, the secret thing until the moment appears to reveal it. We wait and wait for the name of a flower while we praise the careful cultivation. We wait for someone to speak. And it is Jimmy in an aside.
I've been looking online for one of my favorite poems of his; I'd love to quote it here. It's something about wrestling in his underwear. For some reason it appears that all the poetry websites don't have much to say about that one.... Too bad, really! I'll have to post it later when I can get to my copy of the collected poems.

Here's one that does get mentioned a lot. It's called "Salute."

Past is past, and if one
remembers what one meant
to do and never did, is
not to have thought to do
enough? Like that gather-
ing of one each I
planned, to gather one
of each kind of clover,
daisy, paintbrush that
grew in that field
the cabin stood in and
study them one afternoon
before they wilted. Past
is past. I salute
that various field.
It's funny that he uses the word "various" in the last line; it reminds me of the Frank O'Hara quote and epitaph, "With grace to live as variously as possible." He wrote an elegy for Frank called "Buried at Springs." I don't want to quote it here because it's kind of long, but it's a lovely piece. Read it here.

There's also a nice page of him reading several of his poems. Here's a sample for K and any other die-hards out there -- "Freely Espousing," recorded in 1986.

Happy birthday Jimmy!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Last night

I went by myself to see The Hold Steady at the Fonda. I love their album from last year, but in performance they kinda feel like a bunch of married guys with kids and day jobs putting on a concert in somebody's back yard and having the time of their lives. It may sound fun, but after seeing Control and starting a serious Joy Division obsession, it was not the best show to see. I left after about 8 or 9 songs.

Meg, how were The Hives?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I've always liked

Joy Division, but now that I've seen Control, I'm officially in love. And I'm not going to make a joke about it tearing me apart, either.

It's a gorgeous movie, but it's also one of those movies that gets better the more you think about it. In theory it's a conventional tragic rock-n-roll biopic, but it's also such an intelligent, artful take on the genre; it's full of beautiful images, and the minimalism of its storytelling is in perfect sync with the band's aesthetic and the internal conflict of the main character.

Oh, and Sam Riley is amazing in the lead. Stunning, stark, sad, so convincing...I completely fell for him, too, and then I went to Youtube this morning and found some live clips of the band. So now I'm slightly more in love with the actual Ian. Or maybe I'm just equally in love with them, but for different reasons.

Anyway, here's a clip of Joy Division doing "Transmission" and "She's Lost Control" live.



I think I'm going to keep the Youtube window up, and just click over to it and watch for a bit before going back to whatever it was I was doing. All day long.

Wow, that's a great idea! Why haven't I thought of that before?

Friday, November 02, 2007

The week that was

Monday:

The opening of a lovely new show about Medieval art and objects from the Cleveland Museum of Art at the Getty. Did I mention it's lovely and that you should all go see it ASAP? Can't miss don't miss go now now NOW.

Tuesday:

Saw Thurston Moore at the Echoplex in Echo Park. I've taken to going to certain concerts by myself, just because it's a little easier than trying to talk JW into them or finding people to go with me, and this one was just one of those shows. I tried to get there a little later than usual so I wasn't standing around by myself for too long, but these club shows go so late, when I showed up after 9pm the opening act still hadn't taken the stage. I was kinda restless, and when the opening act started I was not into them at all. I almost left, but thought about the round trip and ticket price that would go wasted and stuck it out. I'm glad I did.

He played almost his entire new album, Trees Outside The Academy , which is a really solid set of songs. My favorite moment during the main set was Fri/End and his intro for it, which went something like, "This is a song about two girls walking arm-in-arm on the campus of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts." Gives the song a whole new meaning, I must say. Particularly my favorite lyric: "Oh how I love the smell of your charred remains."

The encore was great, too; he pulled out his electric guitar and played some songs from his 12-year-old solo album, Psychic Hearts. I haven't listened to that CD in years, so it was nice to be reminded of it.

Wednesday:

We got four trick-or-treaters! All at the same time. I have all this candy left. It's a travesty. I'm going to have to eat it ALL, you realize.

Thursday:

Last night I continued some of the work I've been doing on this full-length screenplay that I abandoned mid-draft earlier this summer when Walking Into Traffic started cooking. My goal for the rest of the year is to finish a bunch of stuff that I've started, and I've already gotten off to a good start. I can't believe I actually finished a draft of Sheila Take a Bow. I was certain to abandon it. I'm glad I didn't. Anyway, I've moved on from that to revise and finish the Little Rock screenplay I started. I've enjoyed working on these back-to-back and feeling the progress in the shift from the outlining to the free-writing to the actual dialogue and scenework. With any luck I'll finish that one by the end of the year.

TO-NIGHT!

A play, and maybe a late movie. We'll see how I feel.

Have a good weekend! Go see the Medieval show at the Getty!