All posts by thommills

Academy Museum Edges Closer To Expensive Tickets

The future Academy Museum is slowly getting into shape at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. On the left you can see the dome coming into its full roundness. It will eventually be a huge theatre sure to offer steady red carpet screenings to the film elite and gridlock to the residents of the Miracle Mile. To the right is the museum proper currently an open-air eyesore as construction crews bang it into shape for its first visitors in a year or two. The Academy Museum will house thousands of props, movies and Hollywood lore from over a hundred-years of filmmaking and it will no doubt cost a bundle to visit…. unless you’re an invited A-lister, and I don’t know about you but I’m not.

City of Tickets and Technicalities

Of all of the angles in the City of Angels, none is more aggravating, prevalent and reliable than the parking ticket scheme.

Administered by a dedicated corps of governmentally hired hench-people called the parking enforcement bureau,  or the “vulture squad” as some recently-fined citizens refer to them, these over-priced, overly-distributed tickets are a civic curse and inescapable insult to LA’s residents and visitors alike.

While Los Angeles has yet to deal with rampant homelessness, deteriorating sidewalks and 3:00 AM helicopter traffic, it has no problem propping up the city’s coffers with a dubious ticket system that is by many accounts the most outrageous in the country.

No one can argue if they park their vehicle in a non-parking zone for the day and get penalized for it.  If someone dares to take a handicapped-space so that they can run in a 7-11 to buy their smokes, damn right they should pay a fine.  Don’t pay a meter because you forgot?  Okay that sucks, but you still accept the ticket.

But there are tickets and there are tickets.

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As this photo shows, a prominently placed parking permit sticker that would be visible to anyone with the gift of sight, it’s ironic that a dedicated member of the vulture squad apparently didn’t see it and wrote a $68 ticket to a resident in front of her own Miracle Mile house.
Continue reading City of Tickets and Technicalities

Michael Bay Apocalyptic Film Set or Future Academy Museum?

 

City of Angels and Angles today only had to walk up the street from our Miracle Mile office to take a peek at the blown-out setting for what looks like a future blockbuster.  Naturally, this being L.A., I drove.

Sorry, Mr. Bay, it’s not your back lot version of America 2125.  This site belongs to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , and while it’s clearly not ready for its Hollywood close-up yet, the future Academy Museum promises to be a game changer when it debuts.

Game changer in both good and potentially bad ways.

Not only will it up the glitz/glamour quotient of the area, but it will change the game for traffic in and around the middle of already overcrowded Wilshire Blvd.  Such is the price to pay for bringing yet another world class showcase to the Museum Square area, joining LACMA’s  redesigned  future campus and the red-clad Petersen, Automotive Museum, which revs its engines right across the street.

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The future Academy Museum looks like it has a perfect place for a 50-foot Oscar. The Petersen is in the foreground.

Here’s what the front looks like now, the gold façade still familiar to longtime Los Angeles residents as the former May Company Department Store.  If you’re not quite that old you still might remember the building as the place that had the King Tut exhibition over a decade ago.

That cool deco front façade is sure to change into something spectacular, but nothing will match the impact of the giant glass  bubble  that will eventually replace the growing rubble pile on the other side of the enormous structure. Surely this futuristic fish bowl as theatre entertainment venue will displace  the floating rock at LACMA as the most popular sort-of-circular tourist destination in town.  The balls at MacArthur Park lake held that title in the fall but they are gone now.
Continue reading Michael Bay Apocalyptic Film Set or Future Academy Museum?

Naming Rights For A Rock

Creative flair is everywhere in the City of Angels and Angles,          and never has a city been more worthy of the saying, “Art is in the eye of the beholder.”

Wall murals, site-specific theatre, competing orchestras, random cows statues, otherworldly art installations, roaming, slow-motion mud characters, buskers, web series, TV series, above ground art walks, underground art exhibits, open mics,  closed screenings, L.A., has it all – good, bad, memorable and forgettable.

And rarely can you get two people to agree what merits applause or a closing sign.

True, one person’s artistic pleasure is another’s pain, and even if you’re not into that kind of thing, you can understand the foolishness that comes with trying to get people to agree if something is good art or bad art or even art at all.

I generally try to stay out of art arguments because paint gets everywhere and in the end no one is ever fully right,  especially, when it comes to big bucks museum acquisitions, where, perhaps, the more appropriate saying might be “Art is in the eye of the check holder.”

But I do have a thought about how art is named. Yes, named.

Which brings me to the giant rock currently floating outside at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art –LACMA.

Floating, as the hype around it purports that if you view “Levitated Mass” at just the right angle, you’ll believe it hovers in the air.

Continue reading Naming Rights For A Rock

Subway? L.A.? No Way.

When they bulldozed under the Hollywood Hills fifteen years ago and extended the Red Line subway from downtown across a large swath of the basin and all the way to the San Fernando Valley, many squawked.

What about an earthquake?

No will ride the damn thing! It’s L.A. man, we dig our cars.

Why the hell would I want to take a train to the Valley?

Turns out, they were wrong, again, just as they’d been about earlier subway lines that were regularly being used in Los Angeles.   But this one was different because it symbolically and realistically brought together the two sides of Los Angeles – the basin and the valley.

Car-obsessed Angelenos took to that 2000 iteration of the underground big time.  And it wasn’t just early adopters, Universal employees and NoHo actors celebrating the arrival of high-tech trainery.  The generally nonplussed populace rallied behind it in big numbers either as riders or, at least, boosters. Continue reading Subway? L.A.? No Way.

Survey Says: Enough is Enough.

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I don’t know how it is where you live, but L.A. is not only the capital of glitz and glamor, thanks to the prevalence of showbiz, but we’ve also become the center of all things survey.

Surveys are now a daily nuisance in our lives no matter where we go.

I understand the potential upside for taking a survey when it comes to something useful like voter rights or neighborhood improvement campaigns and other areas where there might be significant change at the end of the rainbow, but do we really need surveys every time we step up to a cash register.

At the post office I’m asked to go home and do an online survey.

At the supermarket I’m asked to rate my cashier’s performance.

At department stores, movie theatres, car washes and anywhere else that I happen to do business I’m being hammered with survey requests.

At Subway – Subway! – they’re asking me to take a one minute survey in exchange for the chance to win a cookie!  It’s madness.

Enough is enough.  I’m done with it!  Stop asking.  Don’t offer me sweet gifts, discounts or other useless perks which will only amount to another survey somewhere down the line.

What are you people going to do with all this survey info anyway?

Is the cashier at Ralph’s going to be retrained to count out my change quarters first instead of nickels first if I put that in my survey?

Will the clerk at the post office somehow manage to eliminate the forty-five minute holiday line if I put that note in the comments section?

Will the lady at Auto Suds get a pay raise if I say she was terrific in stamping my frequent flyer card?

None of this means anything, it’s a complete and utter waste of time. Yet some overpaid MBA, no doubt influenced by our rate everything society (see Yelp, Facebook, You Tube, et al.,)  came up with the scheme that is now rampant across our city’s businesses and no doubt around the world.

I’m just waiting for the company that wants me to do the survey to send me another survey asking how their customer service was?

And no, there is no survey at the end of this column, so don’t feel obligated to leave one of those nasty anonymous notes that are so common in the land of the ‘comments’ box.

 

 

 

 

 

Petersen Automotive Museum Lights It Up

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The Petersen Automotive Museum has been reimagining itself for  this past year and just tonight they threw on the exterior lights in prep for next week’s grand opening.

City of Angels and Angles office is right on the same block so we’ve put up with the gnarly traffic delays as part of the process, and if the outside is any clue as to what’s inside it should all be worth it.

And how about it Petersen…any earlybird tickets for the locals?

Okay, Where Actually is L.A.?

Los Angeles Map... sort of
Los Angeles Map… sort of

Even casual followers of our fine city vaguely know about the labyrinthine geographical complexities of Los Angeles. The old line, “There’s no there there,” which I always took as an outsider’s misguided slap at L.A., sort of makes sense in the context of our map.

Look up sprawling in the dictionary, or rather on dictionary.com these days, and you’d expect to find an aerial shot of this city of angels and angles. L.A. proper seemingly stretches on forever, which means the inevitable hours in traffic if you’re going anywhere across town. Okay, we get that, we handle that as part of living in one of America’s urban treasures.

The thing is, though, that sprawl often isn’t even a part of our city, although it’s smack dab centrally located in it, or inside it, or about it anyway.

Confused yet? You will be.

Long ago, some people came up with the bright idea that it would work well if other cities and towns were allowed to be placed directly into the middle our already spread out metropolis.

Were they playing a practical joke? Okay, it worked. We’re all confused. I’ve lived here for two decades and I’m never 100% sure when I’m in L.A. or in a neighboring location, although this neighbor lives kind of in our house, not next door. Continue reading Okay, Where Actually is L.A.?