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Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

I have always loved the idea of a drive-in theater. I can probably blame Grease for that, but they always seemed so incredibly cool.

Like a mix of large-theater bonding and privacy-of-own-home luck of NOT being able to hear that guy 3 cars down talking way too loudly during the film.

They felt so retro American (thanks, Grease and love of all-things-50s!) and I’d unfortunately never been able to go to one before — they weren’t exactly a staple in NC and even though LA is the Movie Capital of the World, most of theirs have been put out of commission — so I have pretty much romanticized them to death.

 

THEY probably went to lots of drive-ins

BUT. For my birthday this year? I GOT TO GO TO A DRIVE-IN MOVIE. *Cue happy dancing hot dog commercials I was so sure I would see*

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Hipstamatic makes this appropriately old-school

Actually, I got to go to two, since the theater Jeremy found (like an hour-ish away…) played double features.

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Which two to choose...

We decided on Hop/Rango, since I was really interested in Hop (Russell Brand, James Marsden & Kayley Cuoco!) and Jeremy wanted to see Rango. Win, win!

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We got there a little early, since traffic can be hard to judge out here, and the movies didn’t start until dusk, but that just meant I had PLENTY of time to photograph our surroundings. (Most photos taken with Hipstamatic for iPhone, mostly b/c I found the camera settings appropriately retro).

One of the big screens:

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Our sweet movie-viewing set-up:

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I kept trying to get the screen in the background, but failing:

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FINALLY almost time for the movies to start!

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The way you listen to the films being projected is that you tune to a specific radio station (since they’re outdoors, and there were 4 separate screens, it would be a little difficult to have sound systems for each screen without major overlap). It was a little scratchy at times, but overall worked really well! It was really weird to run to the restroom though, and see things playing & not hearing anything but empty outdoor space and the occasional train.

And the movies them selves were decent choices. Hop was really funny/adorable for most of the movie, though the plot (well, PLOTS) was (were) a little jumbled at times. Russell Brand apparently makes an adorable bunny, in case any one was wondering. Rango, while a little more cohesive on the plot front…was a little confusing. It looked great visually, but for those thinking that Rango is a kiddy movie just because it’s animated (thank you, misleading previews) should look a little more into it before taking any youngsters. It’s actually much more of a classic western movie, with a fair amount of the classic film Chinatown thrown in, that just happens to be populated with lizards and other animals…and a (SPOILER?) Clint Eastwood look-alike.

While it’s a bit too far of a drive to make this a semi-frequent trip, I’ll definitely be checking back periodically to see if any other double features are playing that I’m DYING to see. It’s definitely an experience I would recommend if you can find a drive-in near you!

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A few weeks ago, The Paley Center for Media put on their annual PaleyFest — two weeks of nightly panels from some of your favorite TV shows past and present. Years past, the PaleyFest has included shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, LOST, and 90210.

This year included a Freaks & Geeks/Undeclared Reunion (which I WISH I’d known about soon enough to go), Glee and The Walking Dead.

The final panel of PaleyFest this year (and the one that I went to) was on Raising Hope.

For those of you who may not have seen this freshman show, I highly recommend it. The basic premise is that Jimmy has a one night stand with a girl who turns out to be a serial killer. She gives birth to their baby in jail before she gets the death penalty and so Jimmy (and his white-trash parents & mawmaw) have to raise the (ADORABLE and hilarious) baby girl, Hope. That may sound a little…odd…but it’s an incredibly funny sitcom and has me laughing every, single week.

The PaleyFest panel was really great — in attendance were:

Creator Greg Garcia

“Jimmy Chance” — Luca Neff

“Virginia Chance” — Martha Plimpton

“Burt Chance” — Garret Dillahunt

and “Sabrina Collins” — Shannon Woodward (this is Jimmy’s love interest on the show — they are SO cute)

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Kate Micucci (who plays Sabrina’s cousin Shelly) was in the audience, so they made her stand up a couple of times too.

The event started out by introducing Greg, and then he introduced the screening portion of the evening. They actually chose to screen the season finale for us, which was really exciting — though it means I can’t really talk about it, since I wouldn’t want to spoil anything! I can say that it was REALLY funny though, and brings back a lot of great recurring characters from the first season. It does a really good job (like a lot of their episodes do) of blending funny with genuinely touching moments — as Shannon mentioned during the panel, I think that this is a big reason that the show is as good as it is.

The panel afterward was really interesting — a lot of it ended up being about the actor’s background and kind of an “actor’s studio” on how they create the characters they portray week after week, but there was also a lot of talk about the writing and shooting process; and they also touched on what it’s like to consistently work with an infant and how Hope growing up will effect later seasons of the show.

They don’t have any clips from the event up on the Paley Center website yet, but here’s a promo for the most recently aired episode “Mongooses”

I’ll definitely be checking out the PaleyFest lineup next year!

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“Pullitzer and Hearst they think they got us, do they got us? No!” — Newsies

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Be still my media-history-and-disney-musical-loving heart. The last major visit of our short Carmel trip before heading home was to a glorious place just north of Los Angeles (in San Simeon) called Hearst Castle.

There are ZEBRAS there (but we didn’t get to see any.)

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They kept bears here in the heyday

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Some of the wildlife still on property

More importantly Hearst Castle is the lifelong project of Mr. William Randolph Hearst — the newspaper/media mogul of the 20s-40s who was the real-life inspiration for the movie Citizen Kane.

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Hearst Castle is also the inspiration for Xanadu in the movie.

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Mr. Hearst is also the bad guy in the musical Newsies — the true life story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899 (in song!)

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But back to the estate…

The castle is built on land that Hearst’s parents purchased in 1865 — his mother was completely against his plans to build a lavish home on the land. So he waited until she died and then did it anyway. Construction on the castle estate started in 1919…and continued for the next twenty-eight years until William Hearst got sick in 1947 and halted work on the grounds.

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Everything behind us (waaaay in the distance) is part of the estate

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According to our very informative tour guide, Mr. Hearst had a huge shopping addiction, which explained why there were SO many knickknacks (very expensive, one-of-a-kind knickknacks…) on the property. There were SO many gorgeous marble statues. His shopping was actually so out of control that he had to send his employees out to buy things for him — if an art seller or antique dealer knew it was Mr. Hearst looking for a piece, they would automatically TRIPLE their prices!

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The entire property sits at the very top of a hill, and is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. It consists of the main house Casa Grande:

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Casa Grande

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The main parlor -- and Charlie Chaplin hang out spot

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This solid silver lamp belonged to Hearst's mother

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A lot of European inspiration...

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The formal dining room (seated 22!)

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A fan of Heinz ketchup, I see.

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Overstated opulence...and paper napkins

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His personal movie theater

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I've always wanted a chair like this

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And three “smaller” (a relative term) guest houses:

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Inside Casa del Sol -- the medium sized guest house

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Lovely fashion choices of the time

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GORGEOUS ceilings

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Delicate details everywhere

There’s also an outdoor pool, and an indoor pool.

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Neptune Pool

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The tile of the indoor pool is made of pure gold.

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The estate also has its own airfield, which was used by entertainment and political persons. Getting an invite to Hearst Castle could propel a Hollywood career to superstardom — frequent guests included Charlie Chaplin (whom guests nicknamed the court jester, he was there so often), the Marx Brothers and Clark Gable.

Hearst Castle is now a California State Park and a historic landmark, which is why large pieces of the property are open to tours.

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We were on the entry level tour — it gives a great overview of the estate. I’m considering going back sometime between April and October for a garden tour since all the tours are so reasonably priced. It’s a really great place for film buffs and historians alike, and I highly recommend it if you’re in the area!

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