Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ohmygod, is that a parking space???

The best week of the year in Los Angeles is always this one, the final seven days of the year.

The town is practically empty. Most people from the industry are gone, terrorizing the help in Hawaii and Aspen. There’s very little traffic. You can actually make the fifteen minute drive between Brentwood and LAX on the 405 Freeway in only forty minutes. It’s like you’re flying! Hard to get into restaurants? Not this week. Spago will even make reservations for people they don’t know. And at 7:00 not 10:30. (Unfortunately, their chefs are probably in Aspen and Hawaii.)

Los Angeles is so deserted I heard of a friend who found a parking place at the Grove shopping mall. But that’s still just a rumor.

And for industry guild folks there are free movies. In the hopes of snaring nominations from any organization that gives out awards (even the WGA), studios let eligible voters and guests attend contending movies gratis. Forget MARLEY & ME on Christmas. I get to see THE READER for free!!

Most of the city’s attention this week is on the upcoming Rose Parade and Bowl. If you have six friends over to your apartment to play poker, the Rose Queen and her court will come and speak to your group.

The Rose Bowl traditionally pits the champion of the Pac 10 with the champion of the Big 10. It’s always a big deal, “the Granddaddy of Bowl Games”. And this year the "Granddaddy of Coaches", 100 year old Joe Paterno brings his Penn State Nittnay Lions out to face perennial USC, who wins every year so who gives a shit? I bet I get maybe two calls about the game on my 790 KABC show Sunday night.

Every year fans from the Big 10 representative flood into Southern California. They’re easy to spot. They’re always the nicest people you’ve ever met and they’re always wearing school shirts and hats. I’m beginning to think they come to LA for a week with only that one outfit. Since Nittnay Lions are blue and white those are Penn State's colors.

Highlight of the Rose Bowl festivities is the Lawry’s Beef Bowl. Lawry’s is the greatest prime rib restaurant in the world (a more popular attraction to Japanese tourists than Disneyland). Every year they invite each team and feed them as much prime rib as they can eat. Usually the winning team tops out at around 630 pounds of beef. During the Rose Bowl, you’ll notice half the players sleeping the bench. That’s why.

The New Year's Eve tradition is to watch Dick Clark and experience the year change in tape delay. Unless you have satellite. Then you can watch the East Coast feed in which case you're in 2009 for three hours while the rest of us are still in 2008. This year I think they're calling it Ryan Seacrest Allows Dick Clark to still make an appearance on New Years Rockin' Eve.

The Rose Parade is Thursday morning. Today some idiots will start staking out spots along the parade route. Every local channel will broadcast the parade. KTLA gets a 50 share, everyone else gets a 2. Why these other stations still bother is beyond me. KTLA coverage begins at like 3:00 a.m. Five hours of watching people paste flowers on floats and the idiots from today freezing. KTLA will begin replaying the parade immediately upon its conclusion. Then they replay it again. And again. Sometime around January 15th they return to regular programming.

Bob Eubanks has been hosting the parade since the floats were powered by horses. And this year Stephanie Edwards returns! Stephanie is a popular local personality who was mostly known for being the carnie for Lucky Markets. She was replaced in the booth by local KTLA morning news anchor, Michaela Pereira. This caused quite a stir. Most people felt that Michaela was horrible and resented her in that Deborah Norville way for squeezing out our beloved Stephanie. (Fans would show their support for Steph by shopping at Lucky but Lucky no longer exists.) But now sanity returns and Stephanie is back. Stephanie Edwards and Obama, two very good signs for 2009.

Then on New Year’s evening all the locals will go out to dinner, have to wait 45 minutes for a table since the Penn State rooters got there first, and things will return to normal.

So for my fellow Angelinos – enjoy it while you can!

15 comments:

John said...

The absence of locals is one of the main reasons why I schedule my annual trips to L.A. during the New Year's period (it's also why I prefer New York in June, but for a different crowd reason -- the weather's nice, but the NYC Board of Education keeps the urchins in school until the end of the month, so weekdays outside are both comfortable and uncluttered).

Danny Cohen said...

Is Lawry's really that great? Please elaborate on how prime their meat is.

-K- said...

"Then you can watch the East Coast feed in which case you're in 2008 for three hours while the rest of us are still in 2007."

I'll have to check my watch but I think I've been in 2008 for more than three hours already.

Ben said...

-K- said:
"Then you can watch the East Coast feed in which case you're in 2008 for three hours while the rest of us are still in 2007."

I'll have to check my watch but I think I've been in 2008 for more than three hours already.

-----

Ken obviously wrote that last year, but couldn't publish because of the strike.

xjill said...

Danny - Yes, Lawry's is that great. The yorkshire pudding and spinning salad make it even more wonderful. I encourage all Angelenos to go see the Rose Parade live once - I'll never forget it, that's for sure, downtown Pasadena looks like Baghdad with everything boarded up and makeshift camps everywhere.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I'll never forget it, that's for sure, downtown Pasadena looks like Baghdad with everything boarded up and makeshift camps everywhere.

An accurate simulation of poverty in a city that would never have it.

I also recommend either the hours after the parade or the next morning, to go check out the floats up close. It's incredible the first time, but loses its sheen subsequent times. Oh, and make sure to get a bag of the kettle corn there. A wonderful day.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Oh, and there's also the chance at the Rose Bowl Float gathering that your day may be customized to fit what you like. The first time my folks, sister and I went, whomever was working the sound system obviously didn't know how to work it early in the morning (way early, since my mom is disabled and we went in those two or so hours before the exhibits open to everyone), and 'I Wanna Be Like You' from "The Jungle Book," my favorite animated film, played over and over. Worked for me.

WV: brighthe - An observation made of a smart person by a stupid person.

Sam Thornton said...

You're making me sentimental, Ken. I'm thinking 1960, walks to and from Uni High from the Fox Lots, with a stop at the hotdog stand on Santa Monica Boulevard under the shade of the San Diego freeway. Best hot dogs and worst coffee for miles around. Also, the only shade. Must be either a war zone or a golf course by now.

Ah, sweet yesteryear.

Happy New Year.

Mike Bell said...

A few years ago I went to Disneyland on Christmas day. I'd been told it was one of the best days to go because everyone was either at home opening gifts or out of town.

During the fireworks show that night, just before the fake snow, I turned to look up Main street towards the front entrance.

All I could see was heads. There were people crammed in tighter than sardines. No empty space anywhere. I had never been in such a crowd.

My friend that had told me Christmas was a great day to go?

"Oh, I meant Super Bowl Sunday."

J.J. said...

As obnoxious as Happy Valley alumni and student fans can be, I still have to pick 'em to win over USC. And it would be great for JoPa--a wonderful way to end his career...

Go you Nittany Lions!

Joe said...

John,

Good tip on scheduling a NYC trip. Now I need similar inside dope on Chicago and Boston and I'm golden.

Gift card printing said...

Yes i am agree with you that the best week of the year in Los Angeles is the last week, because it bring pleasure for us.

Anonymous said...

"If you have six friends over to your apartment to play poker, the Rose Queen and her court will come and speak to your group."

Ok, then I'll tell the guys to bring plenty of singles.

ravaj said...

with regard to finding parking spots at the Grove - just to note that a couple of weeks ago my sister was returning to her car parked at the Grove, and someone shot her in the back with a metal-tipped pellet from a bb gun. We had no idea why this happened until now - obviously someone needed her spot.

btw, she had 6 stitches at Cedars-Sinai but she is much better now.

Paul Duca said...

I was at another website that as part of a piece of content, had a link to a site announcing the return of Lucky Supermarkets to Southern California. The SaveMart chain, based in the state's Central Valley, acquired 72 Albertsons stores to be renamed Lucky.
It says the job began at the end of 2007 and would continue all through last year. Does anyone out that way know about this?