Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 4: Tuesday July 28th, 2009

Los Angeles

Tuesday was our day to explore the various districts of Los Angeles. First we stopped in Silver Lake, which is supposed to be a pretty cool part of town and it definitely was. It had that cool college-town vibe I’ve mentioned. Some notable residents (at least at one time) include Parker Posey, Ryan Gosling, Beck, and many others.

We mostly drove around the town, but stopped at Rockaway Records, which, in addition to records and CDs, had an amazing collection of autographs, old magazines, photos, and more. They had several autographs from all members of the Beatles, Beach Boys, and more. All of these autographs were for sale. In particular there was a Hofner Bass Guitar signed by Paul McCartney. Got $18,000? Well then the autographed bass guitar can be yours.

Next we drove to nearby Los Feliz, which had a similar feel to Silver Lake. I liked it a lot. I imagine if I lived in Los Angeles, which has been an interest of mine, I’d probably choose the Silver Lake or Los Feliz areas.

Just down the street is the Griffith Park and Observatory, which offers a great view of the Hollywood sign among other things. In particular I wanted to see the bronze bust of James Dean that is located outside the observatory. Many important scenes in James’s classic film Rebel Without A Cause were filmed outside and inside the observatory. For those that don’t know, my obsession with James Dean borders on creepy. Whether it was freshman year in college where I tried to style my hair like his, the monthly calendars of him I’ve had on my wall for the last several years, the multiple posters I’ve bought, the numerous books I’ve read, or the fact I was thrilled when the last girl I tried to date (tried is the key word) had the last name of Dean (perhaps if we got married I’d take her last name!), there is plenty of evidence to prove this fact.

Next we drove to Burbank where a lot of the television studios are, but we learned many didn’t offer tours, or they were just too expensive, so we decided to pass on this.

Driving a couple miles we ended up at the historic Hollywood Bowl where the kind woman working the museum informed us we could walk through the seating area if we wanted to. That was neat. To be near the stage where so many amazing concerts have taken place. The Beatles, Monty Python, and hundreds more.

Our major event for the day was attending a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live. Meredith (the woman we stayed with) knew someone who worked there and arranged for us to get tickets. We had some time to kill before this so we went back to Hollywood Boulevard and ate at Pig n’ Whistle. No idea where the name comes from. Our waiter was extremely enthusiastic and very funny. When we ordered Cokes, he bolted with electricity and said, “Have you ever had Mexican Cokes? I’m gonna get you two of those. You’ll love them.” They tasted about the same, but have less “evil” things in them or whatever. When we both ordered this one chicken sandwich, he again was excited. “Your face will love it! That's my favorite thing.” And wow, he was right! It tasted great.

Next we went to the El Capitan Theatre, where Jimmy Kimmel Live is filmed. We got to be near the front of the line due to being called “houseguests,” something Meredith’s connection got us. Eventually we were let into the theatre and were given seats in the 5th row.

Before the show a warm-up comedian came out to entertain . . . no wait, that’s not the right word. What is the one I’m looking for? Oh yeah: annoy the crowd. Sorry, but I could not stand this guy, prancing around the stage making fun of people in the audience and trying to act over-the-top. Eventually Jimmy came out and we gave him the standing ovation we had been instructed to do beforehand. Not that Jimmy is undeserving. While I’ve never watched Jimmy Kimmel Live, I’ve always thought Jimmy was a good, entertaining guy.

We were disappointed to learn one of the night’s guests, Leslie Mann (you might’ve seen her in Knocked Up, Orange County, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and many other comedies) actually taped her interview the week before, though it’d be airing in that night’s show.

Finally the taping began. Jimmy seemed very funny as he delivered his monologue and commented on the various clips and other things. The one guest we did get to see in person was Eric Winter, a guy who I had never heard of, but learned is a star on Days of our Lives.

The musical entertainment for the evening was a young band called Parachute, who sounded like a million other bands on the radio these days.

So while not a highlight of the trip, it was pretty neat to see a live taping of a popular show. Big thanks goes to Meredith for making that happen. Plus on the broadcast that night you can see us pretty well in the audience for a couple seconds!

The taping got over at 8:15, so Vince and I decided we wanted to see another show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Sadly we wouldn’t be able to make the 8:30 sketch comedy show featuring Zach Galifianakis, but when we called the theatre they told us the 11:00 show would feature two people from Saturday Night Live, two of the newest cast members, Abby Elliott and Casey Wilson.

Before the show we got a drink and snack at Birds, a restaurant and bar next to the UCB Theatre. Then we went to the two bookstores that were nearby. At Counterpoint Records and Books I bought a novel by Dawn Powell. After making the purchase, Vince chose to wait in line by the theatre while I took the book back to my car. Rounding the corner walking behind a few people my age, all of a sudden a door opened up and out he came. Out came Zach Galifianakis! Obviously just having finished his show at the UCB Theatre. He was shy and quiet, like I’ve seen him in interviews, but he gladly signed autographs and posed for pictures.

This photo was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. And as you can see he’s much more capable of growing a beard than my disappointing attempt:

When I met back up with Vince and gloated about my photo, he said while waiting in line someone had bumped into him and quietly said sorry before continuing to walk away, and that after turning around, Vince had realized that was Zach himself, so we both had “run-ins” with Zach, though obviously in different ways.

As for the show itself, it was again amazing! Vince and I had a great time. I didn’t know what to expect, but was blown away by how creative and hilarious the sketches were. I’ve been writing some sketches lately, and this was definitely a great learning experience. It was very inspiring. So once again Vince and I felt right at home at the UCB Theatre, one of the definite highlights of the trip.

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