Tag Archives: Hollywood

America’s Got Talent: is a show that featured mostly foreign acts.

Sometimes, some things are worth standing out in the rain for an hour. One of those times was last Saturday and one of those things is, watching a live taping of America’s Got Talent. This was a surprise to me.

I am not the intended audience of variety shows. Or belted out R&B ballads, country music, sob stories seeking redemption through Hollywood stardom, or pretty much anything with sequins at the core. America’s Got Talent is pretty much all of those things and I went there in large part because my wife likes these things and I like being with her- but also because the alternative was an evening where I try to convince my 2 children to clean up after themselves.

So I went.IMG_7870

While I am not the appropriate target for all those things above, I have more than a healthy appreciation for live music well performed, no matter the genre. I also love a rowdy crowd, being around people who are actively doing the things they love, and most of all I appreciate things that are real. This event had all of those things as well.

For example the Philadelphian in me loves a crowd that is willing to boo. I also love a crowd that is willing to stand up and cheer for a child who needs a little help getting over cold feet. This was that sort of crowd. IMG_7911

The event was also surprisingly real.

What I mean by that is the set is crawling with cameras, producers, and we were able to sit in our chairs and watch as Simon Cowell asked performers lots of follow up questions in an obvious attempt to get those amateurs to say something a television audience might find remotely interesting. We got to watch an obviously professional band do a sound check with a fantastic song, then perform a completely different sob story song once it was show time, and then answer Simon’s question as to “why did you choose to come on this show?” by saying, “Because the producers called and invited us.”IMG_E7927

That was pretty real.

What was also real is that this show with America in the title only had one America born judge and 3 of the seven acts were from another continent…

Which in mind is how America should and could be.IMG_7944

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That One Time I Hung Out With Tyra Banks: My Baby Hairs are On Fleek

So this one Day I get an email saying that this TV show is looking for white fathers of bi-racial daughters. The premise of the  bit is that we oafish Dads may be ill equipped to do the hair of our daughters, especially if they don’t have the same hair types as our collective selves.

That email was well directed.

I had never heard of the show and for good reason- this call was for its very first taping. What I did know was the name of the celebrity headliner, because every boy of my generation knows the name Tyra Banks.IMG_6298To make a long story short, you did not miss our episode. It never aired. Which makes this post exclusive footage, but that isn’t really my point. I will eventually get to some sort of point. Eventually.

So I show up, bi-racial daughter in tow, and I meet a bunch of other guys who are there to play the role of expert hair-doing dads. I am the only oaf. Normal.IMG_6296

Once the cameras got rolling I realized it wasn’t just Tyra but a cast of characters hosting the show including this one woman I know as Mrs. John Legend.

This is the part where I get to my point. Sure I was on a television set with celebrities and producers and such, but I was more interested in this ivy league professor, and academic rock star friend of mine who has a borderline unhealthy obsession with John Legend. The obsession is understandable as John is after all the coolest, smoothest, and arguably smartest crooner alive today, and here I am hob-nobbing with Mr. Legend’s Sports Illustrated cover gracing wife.

I told Chrissy Teigen I was good friends with someone who may be willing to pay me an unreasonable amount of money to somehow, anyhow, make her husband “available.” She admitted there were many people with the same intentions.IMG_6276

My wife is by far the best, I am more Doug Heffernan than Cassanova, and I am not even close to Tony Soprano, so Chrissy and I settled for texting my professor friend a picture of the two of us together.

And of course I had time to do all this because Tyra was working on my little girl’s baby hairs. Then, when it came my turn, they cut to commercial and a crew of actual stylists came in to do what they were sure I could not… make a pony tail.IMG_6274

Perhaps the reason why we didn’t air was my little girl’s hesitation to perform while sitting on Tyra’s lap. Too young to be star struck, she was comfortable enough talking, but Lil Bit refused to look into the camera and say “My baby hairs are on fleek.” She acted all shy and stuff.

Driving home I asked her why she wouldn’t say it. “Did you get scared?”IMG_6301

“No Dad”, said the seven year old, “I don’t know what fleek means. I’m not going to say a word I don’t know on TV.”

I am apparently even more deficient in teaching my children vocabulary than I am in making pony tails.

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Langer’s: just order #19

Los Angeles isn’t know for delis,but those in LA know about Langer’s.IMG_0135

As far as decor and location go it is just a regular diner, big menu, self seating. What sets Langer’s apart is thick cut pastrami and good bread. Never forget the bread. Norah Ephron called the #19 the best pastrami in the world.IMG_0121

The place has been around since 1947, been written up by everyone who writes about LA, and been on every food tour television show there is. It’s just Langer’s.IMG_0195

Norm Langer is still there hanging around chatting it up with everyone. It’s his place and he doesn’t mind mixing it up with the Hollywood types and the nobody’s alike. He mixed it up with us, and if you were wondering, we are the Hollywood types.IMG_0132

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Hollywoodland: Because no one calls it that anymore

The sign used to say Hollywoodland and one of the major reasons movie companies moved there back in the day was to avoid being sued by Thomas Edison. Neither of those little details really matter to anyone today, which makes them just like all of Hollywood in the mind of this author. IMG_7083That isn’t really true, the part about me not thinking Hollywood matters. I love movies. I also hate movies. It all depends on the movie. But for the most part, movies are imaginary, and by extension most of the reasons to admire actors are equally fictitious. Except for maybe Indiana Jones. Dr. Jones, who was also Han Solo, is just a little too admirable in my imagination to be squashed by reality. I refuse to think that Indiana Jones does not in some place or in some time, exist.IMG_7089

What surely exists is the industry that has grown up around moving pictures and the very real dollars produced thereby. Lots of dollars. Billions of dollars. Lots of billions.

But Hollywood has also created art. Art and money each wield influence inn the world. Together they can move the societal needle, forward or back, left or right, true influence.IMG_7085

Moved to tears, moved to the streets, moved to the penthouse, or maybe movements in the outhouse. Hollywood has done all of those things. No matter how you feel about the place or what it produces, it is above all else, a spectacle.IMG_7088

Spectacle is what it is. It isn’t necessarily good or bad. It can be either. It just is. I have opinions… but really, I’m fine just spectating.IMG_7084

 

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How Can You Look at Stars When the Building is So Cool? Griffith Observatory

Just a note, don’t go when it is even close to convenient, you are in a hurry, don’t want to walk a million miles, or don’t want to be with other people, because this place is popular. It is also worth it.IMG_6869

The observatory is built on Mt. Hollywood, the same one that has the big Hollywood sign, in 1935. From its inception it was open to the public for free. It was meant to make astronomy approachable and accessible to the masses and the masses show up en masse.IMG_6873

The copper domes really do house legit telescopes that aid real-life science (see what I did there?). Smart people doing smart things that I don’t understand, work there. I didn’t work there, I just looked there.IMG_6878The city, the sky, and the building. The art deco scalloped smooth lined solid colored building, the pastel fading multicolored shapeless sky, and the staccato jumbled lit up city.

You can only go there when you have some time.IMG_6870

Only go there when all those crowds and lack of parking and walking don’t matter. Because despite all that, you have to go.IMG_6875

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