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California, part two

Friday Morning: I blinked awake bright and early, though I was sleeping pretty late by EST standards. Brenda and Jo got ready for work as I snuck in a shower, got dressed and got directions from Brenda to a neck of the woods where WiFi could be found. Brenda gave me the keys to her digs and I headed to nice little semi-bohemian neighborhood (that I have quite forgotten the name of--I'm sure Brenda can prompt me) with a couple of different cafes that provided WiFi. Alas, it was pay-for-play, but it was four bucks for a couple of hours, so I went ahead and put it on the card, updated my journal (thusly) and got some more detailed directions for How To Get To Bronson Canyon.

Bronson Canyon is a little spot of wilderness that lurks within the boundaries of Los Angeles. Lots of films and TV shows have been shot there, particularly around a cave entrance that is actually a tunnel through a hill. Said cave features prominently in such cinematic treasures as Robot Monster, Eegah! and The Brain From Planet Arous.

Alas, I could not find the cave (it's a public park and has no signage indicating "this way to B-Movie Cave") but I did have a nice little hike up the mountain trail and took some pictures.

You can turn one way and find lovely views like this . . .

. . . and then turn around and see the city like this.

From there (and a long walk down) I went, at the suggestion of Tracy (blusilva) to the Hollywood Forever cemetery. It's the resting place of various People Of Fame, but it's also the resting place of a lot of Russian immigrants with elaborate monuments.

There were also some odd graves like this:

My attempt at artsy photography:

And the question posed in many a midnight movie show answered definitively:

It's also the resting place of one John Cummings, better known as Johnny Ramone.

And it's got a big lake with lots of waterfowl, including these two:

(Those swans had the strangest voices I've ever heard. They sqwonked like free jazz trumpets. One of them tried to bite my sneaker. And they followed me whenever I came up to the water to try to photograph them.)

Friday Afternoon: Having soaked up all the dead people watching I could stand, I got some lunch and then looked at the back of my nifty AAA map to see what else I could take in before meeting up with Kevin that evening. (Kevin you might remember from this entry.) I settled on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and trundled my way there. It turned out to be much, much nicer than its municipal-sounding name might imply. They had an exhibit of Magritte that was quite delightful. Actually, it was an exhibit of Magritte mixed in with other artists that explored similar themes, etc., but it came out better than I feared it might, if only because some of the work ended up making Magritte look that much better. The setup was pretty whimsical, too--the carpet was sky blue with a pattern of puffy white clouds, and all the museum employees in that section were dressed in suits and wearing bowler hats.

There was a whole other museum worth of art to explore, so I burrowed through it until my cell phone went off somewhere in the middle of Asian art. I slunk outside and returned the call--it was Kevin, letting me know he'd be on his way to Brenda's place (where I told him I'd be) at around 4:00. So I got back into the car, headed back to Brenda's, freshened up and transcribed some of my adventures into my diary. Kevin arrived and carted me off to Santa Monica.

Friday Evening: He took me to a little pedestrian section near Santa Monica Pier. We strolled past light-wrapped trees, wandered in and out of shops, paused to look at street musicians and goggled at some of the Christmas displays. We walked out to the pier proper and looked out over the ocean. Kevin tipped the one man band and we rode the ferris wheel. It was actually my first time on a ferris wheel and it was a little more yeep!like than I'd anticipated. Particularly when you can see the ocean over your shoulder. After that, I picked out a restaurant for dinner (Barney's Beanery) with a newspaper menu, photo collages on the tables and advertising pages from vintage Playboy magazines on the walls of the restrooms. After dinner, we wandered our way back and passed a movie theater. Kevin asked me if I wanted to see Casino Royale, since I'd mentioned an interest in it. The next show was 7:10. It was 7:20, so Kevin hastily threw cash at the ticket lady, we rushed into the theater and sat down at the tail end of the very last preview. Awesome.

So I got to see Casino Royale. Which, frankly, made every other James Bond film in the history of cinema look kind of goofy by comparison. Kevin had seen it once already, but he enjoyed seeing it again since it has one of those twisty turny plots that make a second viewing just as interesting since then you can see where they laid the pipe for the big surprises.

After the movie, Kevin drove me back to Brenda's and I ended up sitting around with Brenda and Jo and talking until all hours about all kinds of crap before going to bed.

To be continued, really, honest . . .