Last Chance, For Love

Before I moved to Los Angeles when I was 18, my only perception of the city was through television and movies. I imagined the valley to be like the Brady Bunch or Adam 12. The beach communities were a hotbed of swinging singles and fern bars like Three's Company. Hollywood was a place where teenage runaways became prostitutes and got syphilis via Dawn, Portrait of a Teenage Runaway. West Hollywood was incredibly hip and the center of disco and cocaine as in Thank God It's Friday.

If you are old enough to remember drive-in theaters, Thank God It's Friday is a movie that you would see at one. I think I saw it with some older cousins at a drive-in theater on the border of Reno and Sparks. It was a double bill with Corvette Summer. The only parts of the plot I recall is Donna Summer wanting to sing, the dance floor had a giant spherical DJ Booth, and everyone was rather seedy. It all seemed very dangerous and slick.

By the time I was in college, the disco in TGIF was still there, but was a rock and roll venue. There was also a restaurant with a big whale's mouth across the street. Today, I drive through this intersection every morning. Unfortunately, a hideous Loehmann's and bizarre upscale apartment building replaced the Fish Shanty and Oskars disco.

People in New York complain that neighborhoods are too gentrified and sanitized. They miss the urban danger and grit. In Los Angeles, the gentrification has taken away something more precious: glamorous disco glitter, rows of gas guzzling rust colored Cadillacs, lines of people in sequins and parachute pants, and restaurants with hungry whale entrances.


slick leather outfit

TGIF title

TGIF poster




The Millionaire's Club (pre-Oskars)

Oskars replacement: Loehmanns

the intersection

New apartment where Fish Shanty was

Fish Shanty

The Knowing of All Things

There is a rumor that people in Los Angeles don’t read. But, I’ve heard that Los Angeles is one of the biggest book markets in the world. That sounds impressive, as if we were all reading Also sprach Zarathustra in the original German by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. The reality probably includes this and enormous amounts of Jackie Collins novels. I found another alternative. Paperback books that are written for the truly intellectual. People who have read everything, and I mean everything are desperate for new content. A book adaptation of a 22-minute Adam 12 episode fills this need. Yes, it is possible to fill 224 pages with the spine-tingling plot of “Three hundred pounds of drunken driver menaces a quiet pedestrian street.”

Once you know all there is to know and are close to omniscience, or oneness with the universe, you need the novel That Girl. But stop, it’s not just Marlo Thomas running around town with a flippy hair-do. In this iteration, That Girl is Cathy from Wuthering Heights, “wandering the moors for eternity in search of her lost love, Heathcliff.” If Emily Brontë had the option to rewrite Cathy’s character as a perky young woman splitting her time between Heathcliff and auditions she would. "Oh, Donald, I have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction, and I am too idle to destroy for nothing."

If You're Not Kama'aina, Your Dead

We’ve been down this path before. On a previous post, I discussed the reasons why Hawaii 5-0 kicked Magnum P.I.’s ass. You won’t see that on DesignObserver. Now, we face the issue of the classic Hawaii 5-0 and the new Hawaii 5-0. The old 5-0 had a better title sequence, but was basically Adam-12 in Hawaii. It was the show you watched when you stayed at your grandparents’ house, and they never changed the channel away from CBS. The new 5-0 has a title sequence that’s more ‘techno” and action packed, but lacks the finesse of the old one. The new 5-0, however, is more exciting. Or perhaps I’m now old, like my grandparents and don’t get out often.

The only thing I can’t understand is why the governor of Hawaii seems to operate like the chief of police. It seems that the governor is trampling on the police force’s territory. I’d be concerned that she was not paying attention to legislative issues, but sitting by the police radio listening for some action. It also seems to send the message that you will immediately be caught in cross-fire or kidnapped if you’re a tourist in Honolulu.