Thursday, April 16, 2015

GQ Style: What To Wear Now Spring/Summer 2015

Sorry about the blurry picture!

After a terrible winter, the most snowfall was recorded since 1891, spring is poking its head up from the 5 feet of snow on the ground.

GQ has released its latest edition of what to wear now for spring/summer of 2015. 

The following are some of the topics covered:

Khaki suits - in 9 varying shades to choose from with a handy chart to accessorize with

Cotton ties - narrow and bright.

Washed out jeans - disgusting! What's next, pleats?

Flight jackets - a modern fit on a vintage jacket. However, looking at the pictures it seems the once hip jacket has now been reduced to an updated version of the Members Only jacket. As true flight jackets were only available in nylon in certain colors, the new versions now available in different hues and fabrics no longer resemble their hipper older brother.

Army style watches - the modern versions stay true to their heritage by keeping the defining factor: the green (olive) nylon strap. My pick is the Shinola, made in Detroit, sporting a black face with white numbers for a respectable $675.

Combining navy and brown - when you pair a navy suit with brown shoes you are telling the world you know what the f*ck you are doing. Elegance is defined as a navy three piece suit, white french cuff shirt, white linen pocket square, brown shoes, brown suspenders (braces), gold cuff links and a gold or yellow tie. Pairing khakis, white button down shirt, and a navy wool v-neck sweater is the casual version. 

Slides - a.k.a mandals. I never been a fan of these. The only options for casual summer footwear is a driving moc, loafers, flip-flops, and my personal favorite, barefoot.

Push for double breasted - this has been an ongoing topic for the last 2 years. Both Esquire and GQ have been pushing for this jacket model to return. This model is fighting an uphill battle because of what it was, not what it has become. Back in the 80s and 90s, it had a baggy fit, with linebacker shoulder pads, and a deep wide open front. Now along with the single breasted model, it is cut much slimmer, has less padding the shoulders, and closes higher in the front. Unfortunately it is only a small faction of fashionistas who are listening and not the masses. You first have to find a retailer that carries them. Forget about the major retailers; it is mostly luxury brands, such as Armani, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and Bruno Cucinelli. 

White dinner jackets - a proper dinner jacket should always be off-white, have a shawl lapel, besom pockets, and unvented. 

I'll be back to review the Fall/Winter edition...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

House of Cards Season 3: Everyone is Hungry

House of Cards Season 3 (Source)


Season 2 ended with Frank capturing the ultimate political prize, ascending to the Presidency of the Untied States of America.

Season 3 begins, not with Frank, but with Doug. Instead of picking up with Frank banging his ring on the Presidential desk, Doug is shown in the hospital beginning to recover from Rachel's attempt to kill him. Fearing for her life, rightly so, she hit him on the head with a rock and took off.

This season deals with hunger amongst the main characters. They all hunger for something and it drives them to commit unspeakable acts to quell the hunger. This is what I found:

Claire is hungry for power - although highly unqualified for the position of Ambassador to the U.N., she forces the issue with Frank until he gets her the job. She ultimately losses the position and in the last episode, demands a larger role than she has as the First Lady.

Heather Dunbar is hungry for the Presidency - She was the Special Prosecutor attempting to impeach Frank. She failed and now has to report to him. She indicates her possible intention to run for President. Through a potential opening in the Supreme Court, Frank wants to nominate her to take her out of the running. She sees through his ruse and declines the nomination, only to infuriate Frank.

Jackie Sharp and Remy Danton are hungry for each other - Jackie and Remy had a short affair in season 2. Frank installed Jackie to replace him as Majority Whip and for favors at a later date. Remy used to work for Frank, then worked as a lobbyist for SanCor. Now Remy is Frank's Chief of Staff. Jackie got herself married partly to improve her image for a potential run for office at a later date. She is also the eyes and ears for Frank. In return for being his inside woman, she wants to be on the ticket with Frank. Remy flat out rejects the notion, so in retaliation, she runs for President as well. Even better, they resume their relationship. Jackie knows she cannot win, so she drops out of the race and supports not Frank, but Heather.

Doug Stamper is hungry to get back to work - working for Frank is literally the only thing Doug has in his life. It is revealed in season 3, he has a brother and is an uncle. It appears Doug has no hobbies, relationships (prostitutes don't count), or interests. His only function in life is doing whatever it takes to keep Frank afloat and keeping Rachel in line. During his recovery he "works" from home, by writing reports and staying on top of the political news. His entire existence is him waiting in vain for the President to send word for his return. It does not come and Doug becomes more desperate, resorting to drinking booze again (he is a recovering alcoholic) and hiring prostitutes. Frank tells Doug there is a place for him, but not now. The implication is two-fold: Doug has to recover physically and Frank can't have Doug working for him until Rachel is taken care of. In the end, Doug recovers and finally closes the book on Rachel Posner. Frank, true to his word, rewards him with the position of Chief Of Staff.

Frank is hungry to be elected, "to leave a legacy" - Instead of taking the position by default he wants to be elected by the people. The Democratic Leadership does not want him to run in '16, so he acquiesces (wink, wink), then turns right around and runs for President. We know he will win, but what treachery will he commit to win.

Rachel Posner is hungry to start a new life - Poor Rachel! She was just a lost soul who unfortunately turned to prostitution to find closure in her life and was murdered for it. She was hired by Doug to set up Peter Russo and was the only person who could tie both Frank and Doug to his murder. Doug eventually finds her and sets her up with an apartment and job outside of Washington to keep tabs on her. Doug explains in no uncertain terms only her silence is keeping her alive. He becomes obsessed with her not allowing her to talk to anyone, make new friends, or go out on her own. When she enters a relationship with Lisa, he forces her to end it to her utter dismay. Rachel has now reached her breaking point and tries to kill Doug with a rock to the head. Rachel has made her way to New Mexico where she is trying to live anonymously.

Gavin Orsay is hungry to escape the clutches of the FBI - Gavin is a hacker that got caught by the FBI and to avoid the next 30 years in prison has to work for them. He sets up Lucas Goodwin, a reporter looking into the possible murder of Zoe Barnes by Frank, then gets him branded as a cyberterrorist which hands Lucas in jail for 7 years. Now he under enormous pressure from Doug to find Rachel. Gavin strikes a deal with Doug: he finds Rachel and Doug releases the lock on Gavin's passport. Gavin tricks Doug into thinking Rachel was killed in a car accident, Doug removes the lock, and Gavin flees the country.

And then there's the stalemate between...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Los Angeles Final Resting Place Tour Part II

For the second location, we went to the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. The first cemetery was in a quiet neighborhood, but this one is just off very busy Wilshire Blvd, tucked in between high rise buildings. These buildings insulate the cemetery from all the noise from the busy thoroughfare. There is a very high percentage of celebrities here as opposed to Forever Hollywood, which is much bigger. 

Here I was surrounded by men and women I have admired on the big and small screen. Even though they had passed on, it was a bit overwhelming. I would be walking and look, here is Dean Martin, then a few more steps, it's Marilyn Monroe!

Don Knotts

Eva Gabor

John Cassavetes

Mel Torme

Truman Capote

Buddy Rich

Marilyn Monroe, probably the most visited.

Guy Crocetti, Dean Martin's father.

Angela Crocetti, Dean Martin's mother.

Dino Paul Crocetti, a.k.a Dean Martin. Interestingly, Dean's space is directly opposite his parents.

The brother of Michael and son of Kirk Douglas.

Walter Matthau. George C. Scott is buried next to the Matthau's in an unmarked grave.

Merv Griffin

Farrah Fawcett

Rodney Dangerfield

Jack Lemmon

Carroll O'Connor

Billy Wilder

Peter Falk

Ray Bradbury

Jack Klugman

Janet Leigh

Karl Malden

Burt Lancaster

Bettie Page, the most famous pin-up girl.

Jim Backus, who portrayed Thurston Howell III, from Gilligan's Island.

Darryl Zanuck, the last of the studio bosses. He quit Warner Brothers and formed 20th Century Movies.

Natalie Wood Wagner

The infamous Bob Crane. He was murdered in 1978 and the case is yet unsolved.

Richard Conte, best known for his small role in the Godfather and a substantial role in Ocean's 11 (1960).

Donna Reed

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Los Angeles Final Resting Place Tour Part I

Since Los Angeles is home to the entertainment industry it makes sense that a large number of celebrities are interred in the area. On my last day in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to visit two cemeteries. A big thank you to blogger Laura of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings for setting up the entire adventure.

The first location is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery:

Cecil B. DeMille, left, the famous director.

John Huston along with his mother.

Fay Wray

Joey Ramone

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr.

Mickey Rooney

Peter Finch

A very young Valentino.

Peter Lorre and his wife.

Harry Cohn, left, founder of Columbia Pictures.

Tyrone Power

Janet Gaynor Gregory, the first recipient of the Best Actress Award in 1929.
Adrian, the costume designer and Janet Gregory's husband.
Jayne Mansfield
Part II to follow...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Los Angeles Doors Tour Part III

The third installment of the LA Doors Tour starts us in Venice and Santa Monica. After that we go back to West Hollywood, Hollywood, and then Fairfax.

#30 Brooks Ave., Venice

#50 Brooks Ave., Venice
These were the locations of Harry Diltz's photo shoot in 1969. Jim stood in front of the second panel from the right.

#1 Navy St.?, Venice

This location was a bit of a mystery. I was looking for the Cheetah Club which existed from 1967-70. It was destroyed by a fire in 1970. I'm guessing it was renumbered when it was rebuilt because the  address of the above building is 11 Navy St. It is the first odd numbered building on Navy St. I thought the building in the picture below was the former location as this is the first building on the odd-numbered side of the street. However, it has an Ocean Front Walk address. One could submit this is the former location because Ocean Front Walk did not exist in 1970 and was once was 1 Navy St. I am doing supplementary research on this and will update my findings. 

1855 Main St., Santa Monica
The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The Doors played here on July 3, 1967.

2615 Main St., Santa Monica
 This is the former location of Olivia's, a soul food eatery.  Jim ate here when he went to UCLA and  was the inspiration for, "Soul Kitchen".

147 Fraser St., Santa Monica
Ray and Dorothy were living here in July 1965.  Ray invited Jim to live with them after that faithful chance meeting on beach where they decided to start a rock-and roll band. However, there is a problem with this location. It appears the correct address 154 Fraser St.  A thread on a Doors forum  and the ariel view on Google Maps supports this. There is a video where Ray goes back to this location to reminisce the old days. When I went to 147, I walked down the driveway to see the apartment over the garage. It did not look the same. What I saw was different house in the video. Since I was very pressed for time, I could not investigate this further (more on that later).

116 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica
This now British pub was once known as the Turkey Joint West. Jim used to eat here but, far more significantly, it is the first time Jim Morrison was on a stage with an audience present. The exact date of this occurrence is bit fuzzy. One source stipulates late May and another suggests early June of 1965. 

1616 Butler Ave, West LA
This is Village Recorders. This location is important because on December 8 1970, Jim recorded what was to become, "An American Prayer". It was his birthday and he wanted to record some of his poetry.  I wandered in and was greeted by Jeff Greenberg, the CEO of The Village Studios. I explained what I was doing and asked if I could take a picture of the studio Jim used. Unfortunately, that was not possible as there were paying clients using the studios and he was not sure which studio Jim had actually used. I had the same experience when I went to Sunset Sound which I completely understand. He asked me the name of my blog and brought it up in his iPad. He took the time to check it out and ask me a few questions. He suggested maybe with a heads up next time I was in LA he could do something for me. I thanked him for his time and went on my way. 

I am noticing a slight difference in the name. My sources have it listed as, "Village Recorders" and now the name is, "Village Studios". I wonder when the name changed and why.

11272 Santa Monica Blvd, West LA
This is the former location of the Lucky U, a UCLA days eatery.

Hollywood/West Hollywood/Fairfax

1441 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood
This is where, "Waiting for the Sun", was recorded.

8512 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

This is what the stairs looked like back in 1968. On this trip, the stairs are now enclosed and closed off. If you look closely, it is the black square to the left of the brown wooden pole. No chance to get to them. Damn!

947 N. La Cienega, West Hollywood
Suite K was where Jim edited his film, HYW. I went to the door and knocked. No answer. I started to walk away when a woman on the phone opened the door. I wanted to ask her if I could enter the room, but she cut me off saying she was on the phone, then she closed the door. So close! I could not wait for her to get off the phone because my stomach gave me a subtle reminder that it was lunch time.

419 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax
This is a famous eatery in LA. Canter's has been around since 1931 and is open 24 hours a day. I included in my tour because, I was hungry and it was popular with the rock-and-rollers of the 60's. After you finished your gig this was the place to eat and be seen.

As much as I throughly enjoy visiting the sites of my all-time favorite band, my quest is hampered by two challenges, time and distance.

The locations are spread out throughout the metropolis that is known as Los Angeles. Being based in Hollywood does not help. Just to get to Venice, it took me 50 minutes by the Metro to get to Culver City, then a 20 minute bus ride that eventually dropped me off near Brooks Ave. Then I hit spots between Brooks to Santa Monica Blvd, another 30 minutes. Then another bus to the 11000 block of Santa Monica Blvd to check out Lucky U and Village Recorder. Finally a 15 minute taxi ride to Culver City where I had another 50 minute Metro ride back to Hollywood. I wanted to check out Lookout Mountain Ave in Laurel Canyon and The Topanga Corral in Topanga Canyon. Unfortunately, Lookout Mountain is 5 miles away and The Topanga Corral is 24 miles away from where I was staying. These locations would require a rental car or a very expensive taxi ride. I walk to as many locations as humanly possible.

My visit to LA is not primarily to research The Doors. I attend the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival. That is why I am based out of Hollywood. I purchase an expensive pass to see classic movies on the big screen and attend once-in-a-lifetime events. So I need to be at a certain place by a certain time. This makes the time I have to visit Door sites very very limited. That is why I could not take more time to figure out the Fraser Street location. I was also in the vicinity of 14 Westminster Ave., but was too pressed for time to visit. The Laurel and Topanga Canyon sites continue to elude me. I would also like to visit Fairhaven Cemetery in Santa Ana to see where Pam Courson is interred.

I consulted the my usual sources and came up with more locations for next year. They are The Sea Witch, The Warner Playhouse, Brave New World, and 1403 N. Laurel Ave. These locations are not too far apart.