Bold Songs About Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a place of dreams. Thousands flock here every year with stars in their eyes to pursue their dreams, and one of those dreamers was me in 2004. I still adore this place, and I’ve had many dreams come true here, including speaking roles in film and television as well as working as a professional writer full-time. Yes, I also did the stereotypical actor’s waitress job for four years as well, and I overcame a brief period of homelessness there. Los Angeles has its dark side.
Many things can happen in Los Angeles, and songwriters have long realized the appeal and darkness of this unique city. Here are some songs that signal a warning to those who dare to venture here without awareness for all its dangers and stumbling blocks. They're fun but also thought-provoking.
”L.A. Song” by Beth Hart speaks on how lonely and desperate one can become in the bright, big city. “Hollywood” by Madonna is upbeat in sound, but its lyrics hint at something far more dark and deep. “How can it hurt you when it looks so good?” she asks. “Say Good-bye Hollywood” is a much darker rap song by Eminem in which he confesses to suicidal feelings and having sold his soul to the devil for his career. “Beverly Hills” by Weezer is a seemingly sarcastic look at the riches of the wealthiest area of Los Angeles.
“Don’t Mean Nothin’” by Richard Marx is a rather harsh take on the city, but it’s one that many dreamers who’ve had those aspirations broken or crushed will easily recognize. “Crazy” by Aerosmith mentions the subject of the song as promising to head out to Hollywood, even though the song isn’t directly about Los Angeles. 

Arclight Cinemas: Providing a Chic Moviegoing Experience

"What’s also really cool is that you can dress up or dress down here"

Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood just may be one of the coolest locales in the vast city of Los Angeles. The beautiful, unique architecture of the “cinedome” will likely catch your eye. The seats are comfortable; stadium seating is offered as well.
Yes, you may sight to yourself and think, “Why go to the movies when you’re in a city with so many museums and culture! Not to mention indie theaters.” Well, Arclight has you covered as it does include both culture and indie cinemas. It picks up lots of independent films, and you are treated to a makeshift art gallery both in the main lobby and upstairs and downstairs in the main areas before you go your assigned theater. 
What’s also really cool is that you can dress up or dress down here. You don’t look out of place in a fancy dress or jeans and boots. It’s really is an accepting, sophisticated atmosphere we’re all seem to be welcome. It attracts an eclectic mix of people for sure. I once stood in the popcorn line there behind Ryan Gosling when he was dating his lovely co-star from “The Notebook,” Rachel McAdams. 
The Arclight Cinemas also provides a charming cafe where the hostess will happily write the showtime of your movie down on a sheet that is put on your table. The waiter then can plan out the serving of your meal according to the time your movie starts. So, if you get there really early, you don’t have to worry about being rushed out the door well before showtime. The restaurant, like the theater, is anything goes as well so dress as your heart desires.

Chic Ice Skating

From November 18, 2011 to January 1, 2012 the pool at hotel W Los Angeles – Westwood is transformed into a chic ice skating rink.

The 1,600 square foot rink is surrounded by a backdrop of colorful lights and candles. Each of several outdoor cabanas is stylishly decorated with mirrors, modern textiles, handmade rugs and white deer heads.

(Yes, deer heads… reindeer maybe?) Snow falls once every hour, quite an appropriate touch… don't you think?

The rink is open Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 10 pm. Saturday hours are 10 in the morning until 10 at night. The cost for one hour of skating is $10 per person, ages five and up. Rental skates are included in the price. (I have to admit, the cost is a bit too steep for my blood, but then again… it IS Los Angeles and there IS snow involved.)

No reservation is required and guests are welcome to bring their own skates. Hot cocoa, winter cocktails and a variety of comfort foods are available at the onsite bar.

Several special events are scheduled on the weekends. They include fitness classes every Saturday at 9 am and ice skating performances every Saturday at 6 pm. The children's design station is open from 11 am to 1 pm on Saturday, as well. Kids (age 12 and under) are invited to participate in a gingerbread cookie decorating activity.

The hotel also offers an overnight skate package, which includes one-night accommodations, two ice rink tickets, two complimentary winter cocktails, all day cabana rental and a minty soap and scrub gift from the hotel spa.

Wear some pretty clothes before the trendy girls on your block buy them all

Trends from L.A. Fashion Week

I guess Los Angeles Fashion Week is a pretty big deal. It sets the tone for what you’ll be buying at H &M and Target in a few months. A few months after that, it creates the horror  you feel when you see what you bought H&M and Target because it looked like something at L.A. Fashion Week.  Yikes, those super high waisted pants. Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Regardless of how long these trends will last, you’ll probably see tons of girls in these up-to-the-minute fashions drinking coffee and artfully scrunching their faces and positioning their legs at your local coffee shop. They might already be there. Beware. But don’t let those bitches show you up! Go out there and get some trendy threads of your own with this handy guide. 


Electro-Bright colors.  Pull out your old neon dance leotard and you’ll be sporting the latest trend.  Neon pinks, yellows, blues and greens are in this summer, but if you don’t want to look like you’re six years old again, put a dark jacket and minimal jewelry on top.  


High contrast colors.  Color blocking means putting large swaths of one color—usually black—on top of another swath of either a color or white.  That’s in, along with lots of red pieces and clothing wit black-and-white patterns.


Neon animal print.  A more nature-specific and growly version of the already childlike neon trend. Get a t-shirt with pink leopard print and black-rimmed neon spots or a green-and-black zebra printed pair of leggings.   


Plaid. Yeah! Already got it and so does everyone I’m sitting around right now in Seattle.  I guess we are the real trend setters; not you, L.A.  


Desperado.  You probably don’t want to try most of these fashions until fall unless you want to die of heat stroke, but this look includes Zorro-like hats, Navajo-inspired ponchos and pheasant feather dresses.  Some designers also have Navajo style wrap shirtwaists, a throwback piece to be sure, so it can’t hurt looking around for one actually from the ‘70s at the local thrift store.  


Pleather/leather shorts.  I don’t know about you, but I think when an item of clothing makes little droplets of sweat run down your thighs, it really can’t look that good on you.  These shorts come with little embroidery pockets, making them look like mom took her leather coaster (she’s funky, okay?) and made you some bottoms.  


Wild high-heeled shoes.  Floral and wooden chunky heels.  Tall, leopard print Lady Gaga boots. Mesh stilettos.  If you can’t get away from a pack of cheetahs--or at least a pack of children--you probably should probably buy more practical footwear.  Did you know that women distribute more than four times their body weights to their toes when they wear shoes with heels over four inches?  At least with this season’s “wild” prints, you will be presumed to be the antichrist of sensibility.  


British invasion.  Who even knows what is British anymore?  But I guess that’s what they’re calling the summer trend which includes rock concert tees, cutoff jean shorts and army fatigues all topped off with an incongruous strand of pearls.  Maybe the pearls are so you’ll look fancy enough to meet the Queen. 



Noc Noc: Seattle After-Hours

Noc Noc… no I’m not attempting to start telling a lame joke, I’m talking about a club in Seattle. What makes this club so special? A local would tell you it’s the ultimate after-hours hang out spot on the weekends. I would have to agree.

Last weekend, my date and I decided to crash this venue for some after-hours action. When the bars are closed and you’ve still got that itch to dance to music that’s well produced, this is where you go.

Noc Noc is open until 9am Friday and Saturday and 10am on Sunday. The bar stops serving alcohol at last call, but the party doesn’t stop when the alcohol runs dry. The bar reopens again at 6am. The after-hours crowd and bartenders at Noc Noc are in a word: hardcore.

It takes a certain kind of person to keep the energy up and dance, dance, dance without liquid courage as a motivator. In my case, I had puh-lenty of liquid courage running through my veins, but I wasn’t ready to call it a night.

We arrived at Noc Noc around 4 am, it was still dark outside. Dark enough to not pay attention to the fact that sunrise was imminent. We showed the bouncer our ID’s, he was refreshingly friendly. I know I have said this before, but I repeat, most bouncers and doormen that I have encountered in Seattle are not the friendliest people. This guy had a smile that radiated like the sun. Though I was about to learn that he was a bit of a jokester.

This guy looked at my ID with barely a second glance. He had a big smile on his face. When I handed him bills to pay for the five dollar cover for my date and I, he snatched the twenty I handed him. When I held out my hand for change, he gave me a sly look and said “the rest is for tipping the management.” For a minute I thought he was serious, but then that sly look turned into the biggest belly laugh I have heard in a good long while. He handed me ten bucks change, opened the door and told us to have great time.

We walked in the door and had to pull back these heavy black curtains. As we stepped through the threshold, I knew we were not in Kansas anymore. Noc Noc is dark, that’s their atmosphere. I think they pull it off well. Immediately I was lured to the dance floor where all the other hardcore patrons were hanging out. The DJ was blasting music, but it was good music. The kind of music that makes the ground shake. It’s so loud you can’t hear yourself think—in the best possible way.

As we stepped out onto the dance floor, we encountered an honest-to-god legitimate B Boy breakin’ right there in front of us. Side note: Seattle is home to world famous break-dancers, for a good example of what all the hype is about, watch an example of this amazing dance style here.

We stayed at Noc Noc past sunrise. When we stepped outside, our eyes were bleary, our heads full to the brim of good music. We walked past those curtains, the darkness of the club disappeared and we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of very stark contrast- daylight. This is how you party if you’re hardcore.

Noc Noc is located at 1516 2nd Ave, 98101 in the heart of Seattle, just past the Pioneer Square district.

Image courtesy

Life is A Young Man's Game

Walking across the graduation stage and realixing your adult or "real" life is about to start is a harsh reality many people are facing the next couple of months. Being a graduate of a liberal arts school with a degree in filmmaking (or, magic as my gf calls it) was a big deal in my family. I was the first person in my entire family to graduate from college. So, those grueling years at college, combined with the promissary notes for students loans, really left a bad taste in my mouth. Sure I received a four-year degree and my family was able to watch me at Navy Pier with proud tears in their eyes, but as I smiled and shook hands with the dean my blood ran cold.


"What now?" I thought as i looked at the sea of people who were congratulating their own children on a job well done. I had a degree, sure, but what did that even mean? What was I supposed to do next and why, oh why did I decide on such a useless major?


A month after graduation my best friend and I decided to start our own business. We got together money and started a corp. We decided the best plan for us was to do our own thing. We also set a goal for ourselves, to get bigger and better every year, and as long as improvement is seen we will keep on going. We just wanted to start right away because we felt that time is of the essence.


As I launched a rather large endeavor I checked in on my friends to see what they were doing. Many were moving to LA to work their way up, others were here working freelance, and some were just going back to their respective hometowns to get a 'real' job to pay off tgeir loans. As the years sent buy I saw more and more people getting jobs outside of the film industry with the assumption they would continue their dream on the side, like I do. We all even got together from time to time and talked about projects and the future. The future, what a weird concept to a 22 year old. Its like the future is soon but indefinate and most likely not measureable. We all continued on like that for a few more years and even more people stopped trying or got married and for the first time in their life understood responsibility.


Fast forward to now, five years later and it feels like a deja vu. I am having the same conversations with the same people and nothing has changed for them. I have continued the slow rise to the position I want to be at with more work and people workinf with us. I do have a day job, but I still direct and write every week. I talk about projects and see them to fruition. I miss many dinners, birthdays, special occassions, baptisms, etc, but thats what it takes and I knew that going in.


Thats why I have realized going after your dreams is a young persons game. I see more and more people choosing life and obligations over their career. Even I have things I have to put above everything else, stupid life things like shopping and laundry. The hard part is that in a few more years that mindless bullshit will take up more of my time. As we get older we fall in love and get a dog or a house and that all takes time to maintain. Then may be you have a kid or you get a promotion at your day job which is longer hours. Then you are making money and can finally do all things you wanted, so you do them. You eat well, hang out with friends, maybe buy a new car. Now you are 35 and have even more responsibilities that have to receive your attention.


when you get together for dinner with your college buddies you inevitably talk about the future you realize the future is like 5 years from now. You are no longer on your twenties but are pushing the other side of thirty, which would be fine except you are not where you want to be in life and your blood turns cold again. You realize that you can't live the frugal life you once lived because you have bills to pay. You can't devote that much time to your dreams because you have so little free time. Then common sense gets in the way and you set a date for yourself to accomplish a few milestones to get where you want to. You are happy and reinvigorated as you chat with your friends and signuficant other about the plan. But then something happens, the car needs fixing, your company downsizes, or taxes go up and you have to shelf your dreams once again- for the future.


That why its important to give it all you got when your young and aren't used to the finer things. When you have few commitments and nothing to lose. When you have so little common sense you don't understand what you're doing. When hearing "no" has not broken you down. And most importantly the future is a vast ocean of hope that is within reach, but still so far away.

Walter Lure LAMF featuring original Rent Party guitar player Joey Pinter


                                           FEATURING JOEY PINTER


                                                                  JUNE 10 ALEXS BAR LONG BEACH

                                                                    JUNE 11 THE REWOOD LOS ANGELES

The Spin Cycle

A day in the life of a Zoning Officer

Every day in the zoning office is different, yet every day unfolds in exactly the same way.  Driving to work, I organize and prioritize the most important tasks that needs doing that day. I outline my daily goals. By the time I sit at my desk, java in my R.I.T. mug next to the phone, my day is ready to unfold- exactly as I planned it. Then I sip the bitter coffee and I'm ready. At that moment, the phone usually rings.  I begin to spin ever-so slowly, nothing to be worried about, I've been in this spin before. 

It's Mrs. Gigliotti from 4th street, a chronic complainer of all things that irritate her.  "What can I do for you today, Mrs. Gigliotti?" I ask, as I grab a pencil and notepad.

"Everyone calls me Mrs. G", she replies indignantly.

"Yes, Mrs. Gigliotti, how may I be of service today?" A smile creeps onto my face and the spin slows.

Her first complaint is about a small inflatable swimming pool in her neighbors yard. Shouldn't they need a fence? I look at the weather channel temperature on my computer desktop. It is 30 degrees outside. I envision happy little 3rd graders ice skating on the surface of the little pool.  Her second complaint is about a fence on 5th street. It is leaning into the alley. She is afraid it will fall over onto children playing in the alley. 

I try to calculate the chance of this happening: height of fence x degree of lean/condition of posts x width of alley/percent chance of third graders in the alley/percent chance of specific hour in a day when fence may fall= percent of chance that fence will land on the head of a small child. I realize I forgot to include wind speed.  My result is 1 in 1.32 million chance that that fence will fall on a male third grader, striking with sufficient force to bend the handlebars of his bicycle.  (girls are smart enough to ride on the sidewalk or pavement and avoid a stony, bumpy, unpaved alley.)    Of course, I promise to investigate her complaints as soon as time allows. The phone call has now struck the 25 minute mark. The spin quickens again and I think I can really feel it now.

The Town clerk steps into my office. "There is a someone here to see you."  She ushers him and he sits down across from me- this young man, possibly in his early thirties, well-groomed, immaculately dressed. He looks like a concierge or a tie salesman.

 "I really don't want to complain, but my neighbor is not cleaning up after their 6 dogs, " he tells me,  "Now that the snow is melting, the dog feces has liquefied and is running under the fence and into my yard." Mr. Doggie-Poo hands me an envelope stuffed with photographs. He has pictures. Pictures of brown liquid running under a fence. This is his backyard. This is the brown dog-poopy water running into his yard.  he tells me he also owns two dogs, but he cleans up after them.  But...BUT....I am am I going to know for certain the poo-juice is from his neighbor and not from his own dogs?  My...head...spinning...faster...and...faster.

I try to explain that poo ownership may be difficult to prove in court, but Mr. Doggie-Poo is very upset. His complaint expands to include every single iota of his neighbor's unacceptable personal dog habits. My mind wanders into daydream. I am in front of a Judge. "Your Honor, I would now like to call to the stand Dr. Chow, an expert in canine DNA testing." Finally, Mr. D-P is running out of angry things to say. I bring the meeting to a conclusion, making promises as I walk the complainant to the exit. I will write a letter to the owner of the 6 dogs, as soon as I am finished with a few higher priorities, such as:

  1. Forcing a slumlord to provide heat for his tenants
  2. Issuing a Notice of Violation to the tattoo parlor that opened without permits
  3. Inspecting a fence that may fall over at any second, crushing Mrs. Smith's entire 3rd grade class
  4. Issuing a Cease and Desist to the children illegally ice skating on a small inflatable pool. 

I am now spinning quite nicely, reflecting sunlight at every turn. 

I decide to leave the office and head for the streets and alleys. On my patrol, I see violations at every turn- house alterations, unlicensed cars in back yards, little illegal swimming pools everywhere, and every fence is about to fall over into every alley.

Spin! Spin! Spin!

I return to the office. The phone rings. It is my darling wife. "Honey, guess what? I bought a dog!"

Dear Ms. Insurance Agent: Math Matters!

Hello Ms. Customer Service Award Winner of the Year:


When I called you today to ask you about adding some coverage to my car, your voice was polite; some might say it was as smooth as silk. Which was in a small way, refreshing and nice to hear.


Unfortunately, whoever hired you for your perfect telephone voice failed to notice that you didn’t have any brains between your ears, which is much, much more important than your soothing voice.


At first, you were fine; you gave me the correct charge for my added coverage. Then, you told me that my one-time fee of $25 was going to be spread over 8 months, the phone call took a decidedly ominous turn for the worse.


I asked if I could pay it at one time.


“No.” Your voice was still polite because you thought you still had the best of me, “it’ll be spread out over 12 months.”


Already, your math was starting to sound a little fuzzy. I asked how the number switched from 8 to 12.


“It’s too complicated for me to tell you because you changed your billing system.”


I tried to keep my voice calm and asked you how much I would owe each month.


“Right now, you pay $42 a month, but in June you will pay $78.”


The fuzzy math was getting even fuzzier. I’m sorry I had to put you through it, but I did lose my cool a little bit at this point in the conversation.


“That doesn’t sound quite right. Are you sure?”


Math was obviously not your strong point, so I asked for the billing department.


“I’m in the billing department.”


I began to get frustrated. How was a one-time fee of $25 now $36 extra a month? I started to think you were intentionally trying to rip me off, but even then, I couldn’t believe that you would really be that stupid. Either way, it wasn’t looking good for you: a person with rudimentary math skills or the worst con artist ever.


“So, how many payments do I have left?”


You repeated that it was truthfully confusing because I had changed my payment plan. I started to worry about the training in the billing department. Did the employees have to have a high school diploma to work there? Was I talking to the insurance equivalent of Britney Spears?


Fortunately for you, my insurance company doesn’t have a complaint department. Fortunately for me, no one else I’ve spoken to at that particular insurance agency is quite as dumb as you are.





April 6 is Drowsy Driver Awareness Day

Last night while driving home from story time, my husband kept trying to talk to me while I dozed. Thank goodness he was driving because I would have wrecked the car, as tired as I was! I tend to not get enough sleep and as a result, when we get into a car, I usually get as drowsy as a toddler. (In fact, my daughter and I may as well be the same age!)

April 6 is Drowsy Driver Awareness Day, a good day to assess whether you should be at the wheel or not. If you’re too tired to drive, just don’t do it; it’s not worth it! Here are some tips for nondrowsy driving.

  • Get someone else to drive if you can
  • If you can’t, wait until you are awake
  • If you must absolutely drive, grab a coffee or something that you know will wake you up (for me, it’s ice cold water)
  • Pull over if you feel sleepy! Better to lock the doors and grab a quick nap then to run off the road as you fall asleep.
  • Avoid future episodes of drowsy driving by getting adequate food and sleep, and staying hydrated