Monday, November 17, 2014

Hollywood Costumes and Charlie Chaplin

Today's adventure with my LA bestie involved the Hollywood Costume exhibition courtesy of the Academy Museum (in the old May Company building on Wilshire), Charlie Chaplin movie clips shown at LACMA, and some good chow (two meals, in fact) while in the neighborhood.

After juggling schedules for a few weeks, we finally decided to see the costumes today and got the earliest 11 a.m. entry. As luck would have it, there was also a screening of rare Charlie Chaplin shorts at 7:30 p.m. Let's make a day of it!!

It was super cool to see the costumes up close and personal. I was reminded about the costuming class I took in college, and the goal of the outfit being believable yet not overwhelming, secondary to the story. In one section, clips of Tippi Hedren and Edith Head talked about decisions regarding "The Birds." In another, Dorothy's gingham dress and ruby slippers served as the cherry on top of the collection.

The exhibition layout is kind of wonky: some of the costumes were shown with film clips behind, some were shown with headshots, some were shown with video screens for the heads. Placement of label copy didn't always connect with locations of the costumes, and there wasn't a clear logic to how outfits were placed together. But, as shared, it was a fun experience.

Afterward, it was time for lunch, so we walked over to the Farmer's Market. I've been hankering for a catfish po'boy, and The Gumbo Pot totally delivered! Whisper-thin slices of lemon put the exclamation point on this delicious sandwich; what a refreshing surprise. We did some shopping at The Grove for a couple of hours before walking back to Hancock Park, sniffing around the Tar Pits, and checking out shops on Wilshire.

And, we still had to have dinner before the Chaplin show. I was due for my burger and fries this month, and a return visit to The Counter certainly fit that bill. This time, I got a burger on a pretzel bun with smoked Gouda, smoky chipotle aioli, tomatoes, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, spicy pickles, cucumbers and mixed greens. Oh, and really crispy shoestring fries. DEEElish!!!

Finally, it's time for the Chaplin lecture, which was presented by the Academy in conjunction with the exhibition. It turned into an overview of the film restoration process, with screenings of super-rare and super-hysterical clips and shorts as examples. Clips were shown from several deteriorating sources then in the restored, finished product. Film historian Serge Bromberg also accompanied the silents on the piano! He didn't share if the piano or the films came first for him. We saw three shorts featuring Chaplin's The Tramp character, one of Chaplin in street clothes, and one with Max Linder, who was one of Chaplin's inspirations. Definitely entertaining and educational!

Click here for Academy's website.

Click here for The Gumbo Pot's website.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

California Fiesta Tamales

I'm at the Burbank Town Center for a screening of the Glen Campbell documentary "I'll Be Me," about his amazing Goodbye Tour following his Alzheimer's diagnosis. Click here for the post from June, 2012. If you see "I'll Be Me," and I highly recommend that you do, be prepared for the full range of emotions: jubilation to tears. The ride is definitely worth it.

But, knowing the emotional roller coaster ahead of me, I needed some food. I grabbed these fantastic tamales at California Fiesta Tamales at the mall's food court, honestly not expecting much. Wow, was I surprised! This is a combo with a carnitas and a cheese and green chile version. Delicious!! Everything tasted homemade, fresh and delicious; their spicy salsa had we weeping with joy to get the night rolling. With Christmas coming up, who wants to split a dozen tamales with me? The chocolate variety may be the sugarplum dancing in my dreams!

California Fiesta Tamales does not have a website. Address is 201 E. Magnolia, space 374, in Burbank. Phone is 818-567-6100.