Friday, December 30, 2016

Sweeping Away 2016

From the buzz of my friends, it seems like 2016 has gotten quite the bad rap. With a rash of celebrity deaths in the last few weeks (Zsa Zsa Gabor, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and George Michael), the world has been clubbing the hell out of 2016 and counting the days until 2017 begins. In a somewhat twisted but brilliant maneuver, a man in Spartanburg, SC has started a gofundme page to keep 94 year old actress Betty White away from the clutches of the grim reaper. Before anyone gets their underwear twisted out of shape, the money will actually be going to a theater in Spartanburg. It appears that in just a few days, he has almost achieved his goal of raising $10,000. I say bravo to creativity! Somebody chose to use their energy to leave this comment on the fundraising page:


Where do I begin? Not even worth the effort. I can't say 2016 was really different for me from any other year; it had peaks, valleys, and the usual mesas. A lot of learning...a lot of mistakes...a lot of successes. I guess it's all in what you choose to focus on.

The scariest part of this year has been watching people become so quick to anger. It takes very little for the rants to begin, and of course the election didn't help. Instead of hating, judging, and throwing back the same horse-pucky that we all claim to despise, how about just sharing a little love, compassion, and tolerance? I was so saddened to see Steve Martin's tweet about Carrie Fisher deleted in response to the hateful stone-throwing rants by those who found it offensive. Name-calling and hateful words do not make your point any more compelling. Maybe the world has just gotten angry. I sure hope that when the calendar turns to 2017, we are able to reset and calm the heck down. Instead of going on social media and complaining, ranting, and blaming others for your woes, how about taking some time to volunteer to help an organization or person who is less fortunate than you? Channel that anger and frustration into something positive. Trust'll feel a lot better, too.

By the's vintage Disneyland image is circa 1956. Note the mound of dirt on the left where the Monsanto House of the Future would eventually go.

More vintage and current Disneyland Central Plaza photos at my main website.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

La La Land

I saw the movie "La La Land" the other night and my brain is still buzzing. A movie has not affected me so much since "The Artist" in 2011. This post will contain some spoilers, so if you haven't seen "La La Land," please do so...and then you can come back here.

It's one of those movies that I wanted to immerse myself into and stay for days. Stylistically it is a throwback to the musicals of the fifties, but story-wise, it is a very modern tale of pursuing your dream and what may have to be left behind to do so.

The movie begins with a powerhouse musical number filmed on the offramp of the I-105/110. How the hell did they do this?!? If you're not into musical numbers, just patient...the story line will begin soon enough and you too will be swept away.

It is also a colorful postcard of Los Angeles and Hollywood, featuring some of the iconic landmarks and secret treasures that I adore.

The Angel's Flight Railway was put back in action to film a very short sequence showing the two main characters Sebastian and Mia, played by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

Oh how I wish it were still working.

The Griffith Observatory is also prominently featured as Mia and Sebastian visit the location where "Rebel Without A Cause" was filmed.

A walk down the Colorado Street Bridge was filmed at just the right time, capturing the globe lights and saturated sunset/sunrise.

I was not so lucky when I shot this photo; the lights had just gone off!

Quite a few scenes take place on the Warner Brothers lot, where Mia works as a barista to help pay the bills while she struggles to be an actress.

The casting call audition scenes are brutal; apparently they were based on actual experiences by both Stone and Gosling.

My fave hotel the Chateau Marmont is shown in a brief clip of where "future" Mia stays while visiting from New York. Unfortunately, the interior room shoots were filmed elsewhere. That was a bit of a buzzkill!

Run...or the nearest theater that is showing this film.

See more Los Angeles photos at my main website.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Balanchine for my Birthday

I am a firm believer in Serendipity, and when for some reason I felt the need to search for performances of my favorite George Balanchine ballet "Serenade," it came as no surprise that it was playing on my birthday. In New York City no less, at the David H. Koch Theater.

This would mark the third time I had seen this ballet that debuted back on March 1, 1935 (no, I wasn't there for that one!). Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, it has four movements: Sonatina, Waltz, Russian Dance, and Elegy.

The first time I saw it was a performance at Indiana University. It was one of those experiences that changes you creatively. I could not get over the magical combination of music, lighting, color, and movement. I fell in love with the genius of Balanchine immediately.

The second time I saw "Serenade" was in San Francisco, and it was just as powerful as the first.

And the third time was also out of this world.

Cameras are not allowed during a Balanchine Ballet, so you'll have to forgive me for these crappy images. They do not begin to do justice to what I saw.

The sphincter police DID allow photos during the curtain call!

More New York City photos at my main website.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Disneyland Christmas Parade December 1959, Pt. 2

Round 2 on the December 1959 Christmas Parade at Disneyland. Here's another batch of consecutively numbered images, starting with a batch of trumpeters.

Walt Disney himself is in the carriage crossing over the bridge.

The girl sitting next to him is Dawn DeFore. Unable to get his own grandkids in the Parade, the children of Silver Banjo Restaurant owner Don DeFore substituted very nicely.

Here are two previously posted shots from the DeFore family showing both Dawn and Ron in the carriage with Walt.

Back to the Parade. Plenty of live animals, including horses:

and what appear to be llamas!

Note the security man posted on the bridge:

I wonder if the gal on the left got her jacket in the Frontierland Pendleton Shop?

This group looks like they got lost on the way to The Sound of Music:

Any ideas what this group with the tridents is supposed to be?

Looks like a Marching Band is on the way:

A closer look at the flag/banner for Nationalist China:

Zooming in on the left, you can see the Rooster signage from the Plantation House restaurant:

I was right; here comes the Marching Band!

Another interesting Asian-themed float:

Note the Gnome on the left:

A closer look at the group featured in this photo:

A Knight and his Dragon?

This Dragon seems to have wings, too. Trailing behind appear to be two cast members.

A group of Dickens-style Carolers:

A pig's head for the feast. No vegan choices here!

A German group:

Don't believe me? Just zoom in for a better look at the banner!

Santa can be seen at the back of this shot:

Last one of this batch shows a group of children; no doubt the inspiration for it's a small world!

More vintage and current Disneyland Christmas photos at my main website.