Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I love L.A... this week

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

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.

Talent and literary agencies remain closed until after the Sundance Festival in late January. They stay open for three days and then it's time to get a jump on Presidents Weekend so they're closed again until the Oscarcast.

For industry guild folks who have not fled to the slopes to break bread and legs with our Governor, there is the perk of 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.

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”. This year, with USC and Michigan disappointed that they’re not playing in the national championship game, it’s a consolation prize and no big whoop for either school. So the anticipation and excitement equals that of the WNBA finals.

Every year fans from the Big 10 representative flood into Southern Californa. 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.

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 2007 for three hours while the rest of us are still in 2006.

The Rose Parade is Monday morning. On Thursday 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 Thursday 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. For many of those years his co-host was Stephanie Edwards, a popular local personality who was mostly known for being the carny for Lucky Markets. Last year she was exiled to sideline duty where she filed cryptic reports in the driving rain. 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.) So what is management doing this year? Bob and Michaela are back. And as of this posting I’m not even sure Stephanie will be involved. The outcry will come in the form of ratings. KTLA will probably only get a 47 share. Don’t mess with the citizens of Los Angeles!

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

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


Anonymous said...

Long before Stephanie Edwards was shilling for Lucky, she was Ralph Story's co-host -- a job she performed with wit and style.

I think that's where most of us long-time fans remember her from.

By Ken Levine said...

People forget that Stephanie was the original co-host of GOOD MORNING, AMERICA on ABC when it was called something else.

I am in the camp that wants Stephanie back. If they want to replace someone, replace Eubanks.

Anonymous said...

"I am in the camp that wants Stephanie back. If they want to replace someone, replace Eubanks."

Include me in your camp.

I'm fairly sure Eubanks passed away a few years ago and was replaced by an animatronic replica that was bolted to the Rose Parade set while nobody was looking. Apparently Stephanie was beginning to catch on so she was relegated to the streets and replaced by a clueless Michaela Pereira (apparently there's no second 'p') who wouldn't jeopardize whole charade.

You're right about this being the best week of the year. I'd be in favor of moving Christmas day to December 1st and enjoying a whole month of peace and quiet in LA.

Happy Holidays...

Geoff said...

You would think that the rain last year was a sufficient sign that God was pissed over Stephanie's relegation to the sidelines. May it pour buckets again this year.

Richard Cooper said...

Go Trojans!

Anonymous said...

Bring back Stephanie! Another long time fan since the Ralph Story years... it's gonna pour!

But, if you do go to the Rose Parade, come say "hi"... I'll be passing out band-aids to careless revelers in the Red Cross First Aid booth on the Parade route.

Whaledawg said...

I went to the Grove at 11 am on Christmas to see Children of Men(awsome by the way). The parking garage was about 80% full and by the time I got out of the movie they had no spots available.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's like going on a cruise and staying on the boat when you reach Playa Del Whatevero.

All the passengers get off to buy pinatas, and (Yahtzee!) you kick back in the "good seats" on the Lido deck.

My wife and I went to LA once. We had to wait in a line - in Temecula - for 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

I myself found a parking spot at The Grove. On the way out, everyone I passed yelled "Are you going out?! Are you leaving?! SWEET JESUS, TELL ME YOU'RE LEAVING!"

Everybody was red-eyed, distraught, hands trembling, it felt like I was leaving a war camp.

I gave a woman my parking spot and she collapsed into my arms, openly weeping.

Anonymous said...

I've been watching the Rose Parade coverage on HGTV...they run it live, commercial free, and have as co-host the guy from their GARDENING BY THE YARD program--good humored, and he looks like a live-action Ned Flanders.

Real History Lisa said...

It's always been my favorite week too. The blue skies, crisp air, and I made it downtown in 10 minutes today - a drive that often takes 30-45 minutes!

LOL at finding a parking space at the Grove. And no matter how many validations I get - why does it always seem to cost $11 to park there????

James said...

I'm a newbie to the city.

And I couldn't agree more.

I loathe L.A. as a city with extreme prejudice. But since about the second week in December, it seems that things have gotten much easier to navigate. It almost feels like the city is starting to grow on me... but we all know it'll be hell again, come February.

It still boggles my mind that the agencies close for nearly two months.

Pete Ford said...

I take it that means right now is not a good time to send a query letter...? In which case, I'll give it a month and try again...

Steve R. said...

Bring Stephanie back. She was witty and knew what she was talking about. She knew the horses better than anyone. For us horse lovers, we appreciate that. She was a tradition and isn't the Parade about tradition?

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe KTLA is trying to change the direction of the Rose Parade by kicking Stephanie Edwards to the curb. And to make it all worse, Bob Eubanks cracks a joke about it during the first hour of the show!
~”Yeah… just like old commentators are replaced” (he laughs)

Replace them both. Replace Bob only. But don't replace the heart of the Parade, Ms. Edwards.

This new direction the station is taking is disgusting. I refuse to ever watch the Rose Parade on KTLA again, I called CEO of the Tribune Co. to voice my opinion, I emailed KTLA, and I will be mailing Vinnie, the Gen. Manager of KTLA as soon as USPS opens up again.

I won’t stand for this ‘throw out the old and cherished classic for the new, young, uninformed and pitiful imitation’ mentality. And I’m going to let KTLA know that.