Sunday, December 30, 2012

LA is a great town when there's nobody here

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 in the waning days 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.

The Rose Bowl is the "Granddaddy of Bowl Games" and this week.  It's the 99th edition and fourth 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 Wisconsin 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.

This will be the first Rocking New Years Eve without Dick Clark.  Which means another three minutes of air time for Ryan Seacrest -- who really needs it. 

The Rose Parade is Tuesday 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. 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. She was replaced in the booth a few years ago 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/TODAY SHOW way for squeezing out our beloved Stephanie. (Fans would show their support for Steph by shopping at Lucky but Lucky no longer exists.) Now Stephanie is back. Although she will have to go by "Stephanie Edwards Presented by VIZIO".

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

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


chas said...

Ken: You missed a major story while you were away-the closing of Junior's Deli. Their last day is tomorrow. Here's the coverage from the LA Times:

James said...

Stephanie replaced Barbara Feldon, who had co-hosted with Bob, so for decades I felt the same with about Steph.

I'm mellowing in my old age.

Anonymous said...

Ken, you really are funny.

ddatch54 said...

How long before -

By Ken Levine Presented by VISIO?

Thanks for a great year of blog!

Johnny Walker said...

My favourite corporate sponsorship message is at DisneyLand.

Their Christmas fireworks display begins with the message: "Believe... In Christmas Magic -- sponsored by HP"

Yep, nothing says Christmas magic like corporate sponsorship.

Howard Hoffman said...

It's like I still live there, because this week there's no traffic in Walla Walla either. (You guys write the punch line: ______________________________)

Scott said...

So I have to ask. Why live in LA? Sounds like you'd be happier in Seattle calling Mariners games and you can write and blog from anywhere.

Mike Schryver said...

The mention of Stephanie Edwards has gotten the theme from AM AMERICA running in my head. Thanks, I guess.

Wayne said...

902lickeireI have a question about free movies if you are a WGA or other guild member.
Yesterday I paid to see Les Miserables and then while going to my seat felt like a fool. I thought "Gee I bet I could've got in free."
But I don't get newspapers in dead tree form anymore.
Is there a website for finding out the free movies for WGA?

VP81955 said...

Crossing my fingers that the impossible dream may yet actually happen -- my alma mater, the University of Maryland (and Big Ten member come fall 2014), will somehow play in Pasadena on New Year's Day. Can the Terrapins achieve this feat before the Houston Astros win an American League pennant?

Hank Gillette said...

If the Rose Bowl had to get a sponsor, why couldn't they have gotten FTD? The FTD Rose Bowl just rolls off the tongue and has synergy.

Paul Duca said...

And New York's a lonely town when you're the only surfer boy around...

Ralph Hughes said...

Lucky Markets made a pseudo-comeback in the last5 3 years but the Alhambra & Van Nuys stores went down a few weeks back...