Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I love LA... when it's empty

The best week of the year in Los Angeles is always this one, the final seven days of the year. More property taxes and obligations are on tap for me in January, but here on the last day of December I can bask in the glory of the city that Zorro once called home.

First of all, 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.

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. It’s also their way of giving back to the community. However, the nanosecond the nominations are announced this lovely gesture ends instantly. And they go back to the business at hand – busting the unions.

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.  This year's queen is thinking of going into neurosurgery.  Can't you just see her in the operating room wearing a tiara? 

The Rose Bowl is the "Granddaddy of Bowl Games" and this week.  It's the 100th edition and fifth being sponsored.  So this year we must refer to it as the "Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO". How fucked is that?  The combatants are Michigan State vs. Stanford. And again we have to suffer through Brent Musburger doing the play-by-play.  Keith Jackson, please come back!!!

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.  They've served over 20,000 players since 1956.  Not one salad.

This will be the second Rocking New Years Eve without Dick Clark (although his name is still in the title).  Which means another three minutes of air time for Ryan Seacrest -- who really needs it. 

The Rose Parade is tomorrow morning.  Idiots have been staking out spots along the parade route since Thanksgiving. 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 spectators on the street 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.  His co-host is L.A. talkshow goddess, Stephanie Edwards.   Last week when I filled in on KABC, Stephanie was my guest and had great insider info on the parade.  Here's the podcast of that interview.  I invite you to listen.  She's a terrific fun guest.

Be safe and sane tonight so you'll be alive for the parade.  Happy New Year everybody.

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

22 comments:

bmcmolo said...

Happy 2014, Ken! Thanks sincerely for the many decades of entertainment.

Bill Jones said...

Washington, DC is the same way. Since almost nobody is from here, everyone leaves during Christmas and New Year's. The only time it's as peaceful here is right after a blizzard. It's truly "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

Bob Summers said...

Friday question: Why did the TV season used to last from September to March or April? Most of the time, it seems like March. I'm talking about in the 70s.

Canda said...

The greatest period of "no traffic" was the 1984 Olympics. Since almost every Angelino was convinced that it would be a gridlock traffic nightmare, they left town.

You could drive from the Farmer's Market to the Colliseum in 5 minutes. Events in Malibu (water polo at Pepperdine) could be reached in 25 minutes. No smog, no traffic, everyone was in a great mood.

Ray Barrington said...

*sigh* even the Beef Bowl has come under the scrutiny of the do-what-we-say crowd... from the NY Times.

Michael said...

And don't forget that this year's Rose Parade features a very special grand marshal.

Hamid said...

Ah, The Grove! Brings back happy memories of my holiday in LA a few years back. Loved the movie theater there, where I saw Slumdog Millionaire. The Grove and Westfield Century City were my favorite malls, though the behavior of the audience at the Century City multiplex left a lot to be desired. I didn't expect that much talking and shouting at the characters on the screen during the movie, which was very distracting. Granted, My Bloody Valentine 3D isn't Fellini, but that's not the point.

Have a Happy New Year, Ken! As bmcmolo said, thanks for all the years of entertainment, and thanks also for this blog and for Must Kill TV!

Mike Barer said...

Wasn't the Rose Bowl Parade hosted by Lauren Green and Betty White at one time? I remember Bess Myerson from early times too. I remember when the Orange Bowl had a parade. It was at night time, as was the actual game.

Curt Alliaume said...

It would be great if the KTLA feed were sent out to other stations again. Years ago (early 1990s?), I lived in New York and five of the six VHF commercial stations were running the Tournament of Roses parade - WCBS, WABC, WNYW (Fox), and WPIX, which picked up the KTLA broadcast. KTLA is now a CW station, so I'm sure some of the other CW stations could grab it.

It looks like only NBC and ABC will run network broadcasts this year.

AAllen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AAllen said...

As recently as last year, KTLA's coverage was shown in Seattle by the local Tribune channel. They would run the whole thing without commercials. This year the station is running infomercials in the parade's time slot. Must be making up for lost time.

BigTed said...

The other L.A. New Year's tradition is when our local stations show "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve" and the other "live" shows on a time delay from the East Coast. There's nothing like partying at midnight while watching a videotape of celebrations that happened 3 hours earlier!

VP81955 said...

The TV season would begin in September to coincide with the unveiling of new car models from Chrysler, Ford and GM. Extensive spreads on the new automobiles would run in LIfe and Look...which shows you how far back these traditions went.

vicernie said...

many years ago, when my daughters were little, we drove to LA in our Mazda GLC (great little car - seriously) to go to Disneyland on Jan. 2 & 3 because a guide book said that was the least attended days. it was right; we breezed through the rides. then onto the I-5 and back to Victoria. we watched a special parade on Main Street and by the time we stopped in Northern California, it was a full blown commercial. the Disney organization is very efficient.

Ray Barrington said...

Note to Curt A. - HGTV also runs the Rose Parade. No ads, although there are a ton of plugs for its shows.

88622170-7a63-11e0-8ac7-000bcdcb8a73 said...

As we dig out from another lake effect snow storm and look ahead to a high Friday of minus 2, it's nice to hear how the other half lives.

Michael said...

Friday question:

I know you and David were no longer head writers when Gary Burghuff left MASH, but do you know if any consideration was given to adding a new character to replace Radar as company clerk instead of giving the job to Klinger? Curious if it was a creative decision or a budget decision.

Michael said...

I lived in Los Angeles from 1981 to 1989. Boy, do I love New York!

Johnny Walker said...

Happy New Year!

I hope 2014 is a good year for everyone reading this.

Dale said...

Canda.
The same thing happened in Sydney in 2000. It was paradise. And the taxi drivers were so desperate, they forgot to rip off anyone.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

London was a sort of madness. *Central* London was, I understand, a lovely place to be during the Olympics because everyone who could, fled. But the airports and some of the tube stations were zoos.

What really was awful was the years of construction leading up to the Olympics; the lst couple of years in particular the underground system was being dug up and renovated all over the place and working around all that was a real PITA.

wg

Mark said...

Moved from LA 8 years ago now and I still miss those Holiday weeks. I rarely took extra days off as the drive was so easy and work slowed down just a bit.