He was set up on a street corner, the man with the accordion, in dusty downtown LA. He played neither well nor loud but by merely being there, announced his need, and those who passed filled his hat with coins.
Shot this old-school beauty parlor in Santa Monica with my iphone because I wanted to be stealth, didn't want to ruin the moment for the lovely woman with the brand new 'do.
And so it begins, pie contest season. Next weekend, it's the second annual pie-off brought to you by Evan Kleiman and the folks at KCRW. And so things are happening in the kitchen here, practice runs with sweet butter and sour cherries and ingredients to be named later.
The thermometer hit 80 yesterday, a rarity this 'summer'.
The parking lot was full and PCH was jammed yesterday as much of LA headed to the beach on a sunny Sunday.
So here's my Vin Scully story: I got to interview him once while I was still at the Ventura County Star. (Hi, Tim!) It took a few weeks to set up, more than a few faxes, a few more weeks of phone calls and waiting and then, like a miracle because he doesn't do that much press, the news that Vin Scully had agreed to the interview.
It was a day game. I was wandering the halls near the press box at Dodger Stadium, saying hi to the sports guys and marveling at the view when I head this unmistakable voice say my name, pronounce it perfectly. "Miss de Turenne? Veronique?" And really, right then, it would have been enough.
Banner hed -- Vin Scully Speaks VC Star Reporter's Name.
Subhed: Smiles and shakes her hand.
Right away he apologized for being late (maybe three minutes late, maybe), then led the way to his broadcast booth. We faced the field and watched batting practice, watched the Dodgers stretch and throw the ball around, watched the ball boys scurry about, and we talked for almost an hour. I had my list of questions, of course, and Scully gave great answers. He was astute and thoughtful and very funny. He was professional enough that even though it all had to be stuff he'd been asked a million times before, he never let on. He was, as everyone always says, kind and generous and smart and classy.
A parade of people stuck their heads into the broadcast booth with hellos and questions and comments, and to a sports world rookie like me, it was like a Who's Who of Dodgerdom. They'd say hi to me and Vin would introduce us then tell the visitors he was busy, would they please come back?
As the Ventura Star photog shot pix to go with the piece, I broke the rules and asked if it might be OK to get a photo with Scully. Vin just grabbed my chair, wheeled it close and made me laugh as the photog shot a few frames.
The pix are among my favorites of course, despite how goofy that fangirl in the photo looks. I figured nothing could top it, until a letter came in the mail about a week later. Addressed by hand, written in that same handwriting, it was a note from Vin Scully thanking me, for the interview, for sending him some copies of the newspaper, and for an enjoyable pre-game hour.
Talk about class.
If you've seen "500 Days of Summer", then you know Angel's Knoll Park at Olive and 4th Streets, tucked just below the landing platform of Angel's Flight. It's the red pin on this nice guide to LA landmarks from the film, created for LAist by mapster and LA geography afficionado, Zach Behrens.
On the day we were there last week, celebrating an Aug. 14 birthday, the city was warm and the place was drowsy. Except at The Bench, that is. There, people lined up to sit, lined up to take pix.
And look at the back of the bench -- there's the sign. Shot on a Saturday.
It was in the 80s the day we stopped by this park on 1st Street, just west of the 110 freeway. Hot hot hot on the city streets but in this little refuge, cool(er) and green.
It's Vista Hermosa Nature Park, 10 acres of paths and plantings and ball fields, oaks and sycamores and stands of sage, filled with nooks and crannies and even a waterfall and, once you wend your way to the top, this postcard view of downtown.
Half the time when we're about to pull out of the driveway, it's the cat who needs to be relocated, from the sun-warmed curve of the car roof, maybe, or the are-you-insane spot of shade cast by the rear tire.
Brace yourselves for many pix of something I've shot many times, namely, sunrise in the Cove.
And then we just sat there on the beach, Maisie chewing on Jake's neck and running him in circles and me just staring at that light, that glow, that SUN we haven't seen in the morning for a few months now. I bet the boat people in the Cove were happy.
And as the sun crested the Santa Monica mountains, the battery in my camera died but I promise, the sun rose. And right now, this very second, it's sunny here and the word "summer" suddenly has meaning.
So, that yacht anchored off the Malibu pier, the one starting conversations and stopping traffic? Turns out it belongs to Andrey Melnichenko, one of the many Russian billionaires brought to you courtesy of the collapse of the USSR. The boat's called simply "A", so even though it's not the biggest or priciest thing on the seven seas, its name will always top the super-yacht registry.
Tons of breathless stories about the boat, with details like the fact it was designed by Philippe Starck, is 390 feet long, cost upwards of $317 million to build, and is based on the lines of a battleship. It's bombproof and bulletproof, with the kind of security (heat sensors, finger-pad locks, getaway boats) a student of the Jason Bourne trilogy might concoct.
A tour of the joint, with pix of the pirate-proof hull and the all-white interior and one of the three swimming pools, from the Wall Street Journal. (Preceded by a crankier boy-is-it-ugly WSJ story.) The Brits have their say, and in San Francisco, the Russians' rumored destination, they seem disappointed that the boat hasn't yet arrived.
With both the sun and the low tides making a late appearance these days, it was a sweet and bluesy dusk as we returned from a walk to Point Dume.
There was a time, not that long ago, when surf god Laird Hamilton was the only stand-up paddler along the coast. He was polite. He was cool. He was welcome.
But people not as cool and not as skilled have turned stand-up paddling into a free-for-all, open to anyone with the bucks to buy a board. It's not what the stand-up paddlers do beyond the break that's the problem -- it's how some of them ride the waves, how they don't wait their turn, drop in at will, snake the rest of the surfers. It's how they use the size and speed of their boards, uncouth and unapologetic.
So here's someone in the Cove, very politely taking a stand against the stand-ups.
Went for a low tide walk to Point Dume yesterday. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and a pod of dolphins kept pace with us (or, more accurate, we kept pace with them) for much of the two-mile trek.
Leading the way were these tiny footprints, some a toe-first blur of a child running, and some, like these, quiet and perfectly formed.
You could see the profile of this boat -- or is it a ship? -- from the center of town. It had people fighting for parking to take a photo, to get a better look.
And then when you work your way back to the first photo, reference point by reference point, what you get is a whole lot of really big bigness.
This little blog launched four years ago today and to celebrate 1,140(!) posts of seascapes and sunrises and landscapes and freakishly small Labradors, here are a few shots from the archives:
Finally, a sunny day. (Yes, dear readers, you've won a reprieve from my bad-weather rants.) People flocked to the beach here, where parking was at a premium.
Our favorite vets in town, Dean Graulich and his wife, Dana, had another baby, and here's one of the birth announcements.
This is the tipping point, right here, the middle tunnel on Kanan Road. On the east, it's sunny. See the sun? See the shadows caused by actual sunlight hitting a solid object?
On the west, meanwhile, it's not. Sunny, I mean. (I'm so sick of the endless presence of the collection of microscopic droplets made up of two hydrogens bound to an oxygen, which hovers at ground level and BLOTS OUT ALL SUN AND WARMTH, that I've gone on strike and refuse to utter the word.)
Peer into the tunnel and the light at the end? Not sunny. See that one guy who even has his headlights on? That's because he's been driving through clouds. Because it's not sunny here this summer. At all. Ever.
Is it animal cruelty to make the little dog sit still for a photo you know will make people laugh? (And yes, this is from the archives, but the constant fog here makes it hard to shoot anything new.)
So, a sunflower. Not actual sun, of course, because that would be way too summery and lord knows we don't do summer here in the 'Bu. Not any more. Now we channel Portland and Greenland and Mordor with all the gloom and gray and heavy foreboding skies.
And yes, that is a bit of blue sky in the photo because for about 15 minutes, before the marine layer that had rolled out to sea rolled right back in again, it was sunny. Birds sang. The angels wept.
You know who's not complaining about the cold and fog? The roses on the bluff, which are blooming like mad.
Already alien in appearance with its thick and leathery blooms, the blue tinge of this datura takes weirdness to a whole new level.