Not the movie, but I will address that at the end of this post.
I’m talking about the real LA LA Land-EL AY, The City of Angels, and of course, the city for which L.A. (as well as the movie) is a symbol-
Los Angeles itself is really just like every other big metropolitan city-busy, hectic, and in many places, kind of grimy. But, when you push so many people into such tight space, you also get Art, Beauty, Creativity, and human progress.
I was in LA to both visit my daughter, and attend the opening reception for the street photography show at the Los Angeles Center of Photography. LACP is located in Hollywood, so I spent some time there for the first time ever. A great deal of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards are devoted to celebrity culture- more than one wall had pictures of Charles Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis, and a room in one low budget Hotel is famous as the last place Jim Morrison lived before moving to Paris.
The Hollywood/celebrity thing is fascinating. Only in LA would a hardware store have autographed movie star pictures on their walls, inscribed with something like, “For my pal Harry. You have the best selection of wall fasteners in town”.
It seems that everybody you meet is one step away from stardom. Once, I was staying with a friend who made us a nice dinner, along with her roommate and her boyfriend. He was a carpenter/handyman, but during the meal he said, “I have this great screenplay that I know would be perfect for DiNiro. If I can just figure out how to get it to him”.
But there is more to LA than Tinseltown.
There are some great museums, and I got to visit one that I have been wanting to see for more than 50 years, the La BreaTar Pits. This may be a simplistic description, but the Tar Pits are an area where natural asphalt springs ooze up and pool on the Earth’s surface.
When these areas collected rainwater, thirsty animals would wade in, and get trapped by the tar, and over thousands of years, the Tar Pits collected, preserved and fossilized millions of biological and botanical specimens-from insects and ferns to Mastodons and Saber Tooth Tigers. The Tar Pits and the Page Museum are located in a the middle of the city, a great place to see and learn more about this fascinating chapter of Natural History.
The Tar Pit animal that has held my interest for all of these years is the
As powerful and ferocious as our modern big cats are, this critter was a bit larger, and it had those teeth-what a killing machine! I couldn’t wait to stand before one.
Fortunately, the Saber Tooth is one of the most common animals found at the Tar Pits, and I was not disappointed-the skeletons are beautiful to behold, and the exhibit information was fascinating.
We learned that, like other mammals, those saber teeth start out as baby teeth,
and are followed by permanent teeth as the cub matures.
Another interesting thing we learned was how a cat’s claw retracts into the bony toe.
Apparently, the Saber Tooth Tiger is such a common favorite, it has been named the Official California State Fossil (awarded posthumously).
The most visually interesting animals have to be the Mastodons. I love Elephants but these guys are in the Elephant Hall of Fame.
There are two Mastodons here. One appears to be about the size of our modern elephants. This display shows a mother with a developing cub-
But this guy takes the prize, look at those tusks
The tusks are so amazing, we tend to overlook the teeth, which look like big molars
Here are some other animals
If you like natural history, paleontology, fossils, etc., this museum has something for everyone, young and old.
Oh yeah, the other LA LA Land
My wife really wanted to see it, so last night, against my better judgement, I agreed to go.
It was a waste of time.
I think Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling did a good job in “Crazy, Stupid Love”, but even their talent couldn’t save this movie.
The cinematography was good, and in two scenes, Emma Stone did a good job, but otherwise it was a big marshmallow- fluffy and sweet, but no substance. Not that much is expected from a movie musical, but I recently heard the director being interviewed, and he said that ever since he was a kid, “Singin’ in the Rain” was one of his favorite movies. “Singin’ in the Rain” is another a behind the scenes movie about Hollywood moviemaking, but it also had real musical performers and the amazing Gene Kelly choreographed and co-directed it.
Watching Donald O’ Connor perform “Make ‘em Laugh” is a musical comedy masterpiece.
I’m sure this director meant well when he invoked “Singin’ in the Rain”, but it is a disservice to that classic motion picture to mention “LA LA Land” in the same sentence.