Category Archives: Los Angeles

Take on Argyle

Or also known as my comments on a film from 3 years ago (yes, so recent!) with appeal to me, La La Land.

Back in 2015, I had the stunning experience of watching a movie, on a big screen, on the top of a theatre in Hollywood, set nearby, the famous Sunset Boulevard, starring Gloria Swanson. Watching that on an evening in October, with temperatures about 100 in the evening, was a surreal experience. My only visit to Los Angeles since then, I saw they were doing the same thing the week I was there, showing La La Land. Even though I looked a fair while before my visit, to see what options there were to repeat the experience, it was a total sell out!

Fortunately, yesterday morning, on a betting forum I visit, someone said that they were showing this movie on BBC 2 last night, so rather than just watching round 3 of the golf, I went over to the movie, to give it a try.

I’ll be quite honest, my main reason for wanting to watch it wasnt for the movie plot, it was for the location shots. And yes, there were any number of locations that I recognised from my trips to town. There was a musical number clearly filmed at the viewpoint above Hollywood that I went to on my first trip, in April 2015, though that was shot at night, and I saw it by day. My other obvious favourite was the shot of the murals at the top of Argyle Avenue, focusing on the Louise Brooks one, which I have walked past, or ridden past on a bus so many times before. And yes, if I stay up that way again on my intended visit to the city again next year, will do the same again. If not, I will probably just go up there once, anyway, as there is a fantastic Thai takeaway/restaurant nearby that I need to go to, just to see if one amazing old lady is still there, and still recognises me, which she did last time, after 3 years!

OK, the movie. Some of the dance numbers seemed a bit forced, but from the point of view of whether it fits in with the life of budding young actresses/musicians in La La Land, I suspect its probably pretty close. I wonder how she felt when Clara Johnson arrived in town in 1925, with ambitions to make it big herself? She never did of course, but seems to have had a pretty decent career dancing when the talking movies came in at least. Fine, I liked the way it all ended, I must admit. So overall, I enjoyed it, though probably more for the locations, than the story-line.

OK, video time. I was tempted to go with some Jazz, given thats what he played in the movies, but I havent a clue whats good, or bad. But equally, he was in an 80’s cover band, and this is a cover of one of those songs they played in the movie

 

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Until Hell freezes over

Yes, the blog title is generally used to describe something that is never going to happen. Thing is, at least in Hell, Michigan, due to the Polar Vortex that settled over the mid west of the US, it really did freeze over, nearly minus 50, in fact, allowing for wind chill! To add, before anyone else points it out, there is also a place named Hell, in Norway, which I suspect freezes over at some points most winters, but fine, too many American’s dont know there is a world outside their country, but anyway… Well, maybe Canada, and probably Mexico nowadays, but beyond that…?

I have to say that I have no idea what a temperature that low would be like, nor do I want to find out what its like. Ironically, just over 16 years ago, I experienced my personal outdoor low, of about minus 25, which was a similar temperature to the actual one in the Polar Vortex zone, only I had no notable wind chill factor for either of mine.

The highest temperature I have ever experienced outdoors is just over 100 (these are all F, by the way) in Los Angeles. Remarkably, this was in October! I strolled back from an evening outdoor roof movie, after 10 at night, and it was still 100 then! I have now done 140 in an infra red sauna, but have no desire to top that, however much my back might like me to do so!

But yes, the next time someone suggests something totally impossible, dont say those famous words about hell freezing over, because it already has!

OK, video time. I know its a bit late for Christmas Carols, but this one just seemed so pertinent, and apt, considering we’re talking about hell. A bit like all those Christians that think Jesus Christ was born white, the chances of a bleak, deeply frozen winter in Israel are very unlikely, but of course these words were written in UK, at a time when winters really were this cold, and bitter.

Another May in LA

Now, normally when you do a review of the year, and you’re splitting it in two, you’d do two spells of 6 months, right? But when I looked back on my year, it took me about 30 seconds (if that long) to work out that apart from one event in May, not much happened for the first 8 months, then a hell of a lot happened in the last 4! So to avoid a 500 word blog tonight, and a 3000 word one tomorrow, I’m doing this on an 8/4 basis this year.

In truth, the highlights of the first 2 months were getting the news I’d passed probation period at work, and getting my first passport in my new name, and gender. I know, I’d lived about 7 years as a woman before then, but all the same, that was a special moment when it was made official. Oh, and around the same time, my first moments of DWP fame, in a transgender sense, with an interview from work, about life as a Transgender woman in the Department. Which of course led to something that will be mentioned in Part 2, but for now…

No, diplomacy means I’m not mentioning a certain event that happened in the US, in January, but you all know what I think of him, and his actions, so lets leave it there.

Of course, my first flight as a woman, was in May, going back to Hollywood, or more strictly, Los Angeles. Lets just say the whole apartment thing this time around wasnt the success of the previous trip, both in the sense of initially booking an apartment, and then the landlord deciding he wanted to decline the booking, because he hadnt put in his price rise for the New Year. Fine, I thought, until he told me it was done, and suddenly the price had risen by over 20%, nearly 25% in fact! So I started again, thought I’d found somewhere decent as a replacement, but it didnt live up to all its claims. Dont get me wrong, it was nice enough, just didnt have all the facilities it claimed it had.

The funniest moment was a delightful Thai takeaway I had found 18 months earlier, and the lady still remembered me the moment I walked in, despite that. Its sad to think that by the next time I visit, she will almost certainly be gone, as it will be a few years before I get there again (unless I get a role offer), and I doubt she was that young this year, so…but she was amazing!

The other big highlights that will stick with me, would be 2 Louise Brooks silent films, viewed at the historic Egyptian Theater, a guided Hollywood walk given by a wonderful lady that I like to see as a friend, a ‘better than I would buy’ seat at a Dodgers game, thanks to another friend, with the added bonus of it being a game that Kershaw pitched at! Lastly, there was a wonderful Harlow display at the Hollywood Museum, which was a delight to see. Oh, and thanks to the Metro, getting to Santa Monica far easier than ever before!

In truth, I have no idea when I’ll be back, unless I get an offer, which I would have to say is pretty unlikely. But never say never… Certainly, due to something that will be mentioned shortly, walking up the hill to where Harlow rests at Forest Lawn would probably be beyond me now, but anyway…

In July, 2 things happened, one good, one bad. The good one was, that knowing that Clara Johnson’s middle initial was E, and finding a few images of a chorus line dancer/Goldwyn Girl, and putting two and two together, when you find a dancing match, named Elaine Johnson, who has a career that seems to tie in to Clara’s, well I jumped on the issue, and joy, actually found 3 pictures of her from a credited movie promotion shoot. Of course I cant be 100% sure its one and the same, but enough coincidences for me to say it is. In fact, as you’ll find out tomorrow, this isnt the end of that story! Yes, a few new pictures, wow! I’d still love to find her married name, so I’d have a chance of paying my respects if, and when I get back to LA.

The bad thing, my back, after giving me support for about 59 years, decided it had had enough, and snapped. Quite literally, though not in too severe a way, fingers crossed. Yes, osteoporosis had taken its toll on me! Painkillers, and other meds (been tweaked a couple of times) keep it bearable, but yes, its fair to say old age is beginning to catch up with me. It eventually led to me cutting back to 4 days a week at work, with which I can just about get by financially, but holidays will need to be cut back on now, for sure.

August marked 1 year in the new job, and in truth, apart from a dream acting offer, I cant see me leaving before I get to retire in just over 6 years time. Yes, I really am that old lol! The rest of the year, and a few landmarks, tomorrow!

Right, the video. One of the few modern groups I have much time for, are The Killers. I now love them even more now I know that each Christmas, they record a song, and give all royalties to charity! This is the 2013 song, which is apt given where I was in May, and even more so when you see something I post tomorrow!

All around the world

So some of my readers who know me might have wondered when this was going to get mentioned, but yes, the baseball World Series is now on, and some team called the Los Angeles Dodgers are involved for the first time in nearly 30 years. I know, 2 games gone already (its 1-1, for those who care), and I’m only mentioning it now.

In truth, because it happens in the middle of the night UK time (starts 1 am), I havent seen any of it live, nor am I going to. So far, I’ve only seen 1 World Series game live, 2 years ago (and my AL team, Kansas City won it), and in truth, that could well be it! Well, unless I get an acting offer, at the right time of year…? Yeah, I know, stop laughing.

The thing is, like them or not, the US commentators who regularly commentate on baseball know the sport. Which I thought was going to be fine this morning, when I had the chance to watch Game 1, which actually happened Tuesday Evening (LA time), or Wednesday morning (UK time), depending on how you want to look at it. Snag is, we arent getting them. Instead, I had the misfortune to have some ‘international’ production that MLB are presenting, which seemed almost as focused on events on Santa Monica Pier, as events at Dodgers Stadium. Either that, or celebrity spotting! Actual baseball, well…?

There is also the issue of a ‘dummy’s guide’ to baseball that they’re providing when they are actually commentating on the game. Now, fine, there might be a few somewhere watching this, who dont know the sport, but seriously…Lets face it, how many people are randomly going to put on the World Series for their first taste of baseball?

So yes, America, whatever you think of ESPN, Fox Sports, or local commentary teams, believe me, they are better than the MLB international team!

Mind, its not just the commentary team that is baffling me with baseball at present, its team owners too!

Now fine, I can understand that if your team isnt doing well (even if its the owners fault, for not spending money), you might want to change manager from time to time. But this year, 3 of the teams who have made the playoffs have sacked their manager after the season is over! So yes, you got us to the playoffs, and its not good enough, seriously? Now just waiting for “Sorry, Mr X, but winning the World Series isnt good enough, you’re fired.”. Even in this crazy world, I doubt it, but just at present…rolls eyes…

Oh, lastly, while we’re at it, I feel sorry for the fans too. All those people who faithfully support their team through the year, at ‘normal’ prices, suddenly cant afford the crazy seat prices for the play offs, because its only wealthy people, and celebrities who can afford them. I know, same happens with all sports, but…

Fine, baseball rant over. Go Dodgers, and all that!

The video, well there have been a few songs of this blog title, but this is my favorite of those.

Girls just want to have their chance!

So, assuming I can get feminist, if I dont get all militant about it, right? Oh fine, you know me already, I dont do militant, just equal chances for the fairer sex anyway!

Back in April 2015, on my first trip (but definitely not my last) to Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of getting in contact with a wonderful woman named Tema, about a group called Women In Media, who are only trying to do what is fair, and give women an equal chance in media as a whole, but in this case, primarily Los Angeles, of course. On my last night of the trip, our contact got beyond online, when I met her, and a number of other people dedicated to the cause, to watch a 1940 Lucille Ball film, directed by Dorothy Arzner.

It was a wonderful evening, and I have the feeling that if I hadnt been flying out the next morning (yes, timing is a pain, sometimes), I might have at least made a few worthwhile contacts, and who knows what more? I’m not saying I’d now be a movie star, but earning a decent living, in small/medium acting roles, or even writing, who knows?

I was fortunate enough to meet up with her again in May, for a reading event in Hollywood on a Sunday afternoon while there, and only amazed that she wasnt the only one to remember me! Well now, I’m delighted to say, Women In Media have been given 501(c)(3) status, so are now having a big relaunch, complete with new, impressive website at https://womennmedia.com so go and give it a checkout, if relevant to you, as its now live.

To answer questions, yes, I am a member, but no, my profile isnt up yet. It will be in the next few days though, so if you want to use my talents… Yes, this is principally about behind the camera work, because thats an area that women struggle to get their chances at, even more than on the screen. So yes, my profile is probably going to end up looking like a writer, that acts a bit, rather than an actress who writes a bit, but hey, I’m a combination of both, so…

No, dont look for me at many events, I will get to them when I’m in town, but lets face it, thats not often! But I’m certain that if you mention the name, Harlean to Tema, she will know who you mean, there arent many Harlean’s in the world, lets face it. Though Stevie might strike more initial chord, as thats what she got to know me as, of course.

So, all we are saying, media industry, is give women a chance! Not just for me, but all those other wonderful, hard working people out there just looking for that chance!

The video. Yes, its a variation of that song by Cyndi Lauper, but a different sound. Oh, and for some strange reason, the whole concept of the video appeals to me, just saying…

Political correctness stupidity

One of those ‘grumpy old lady’ moments that I hope some enjoy at least. Yes, I understand that many things need to be done ‘politically correctly’ nowadays, but there are times when its taken too far. Let children grow up as children, for pity’s sake!

The PC furore I ran into today, was over a dress that Disney are apparently trying to sell to young children, or more correctly, their parents, for their young daughters. Which one, you might be asking, or maybe you’ve already guessed? Pocahontas!

I know, young white children, wearing an outfit of a Native American character, I can see, in a perfect world, some might not see it as an ideal scenario. But seriously, some of the ‘moral minority’ were making it sound like it was a treasonous crime, for heavens sake! I’m sorry, but girls under the age of 10 dont know, or care about politics, let it be known! All they know, is that they’ve seen the movie, loved the character, and want to dress like her. Presumably at this time of year, it could be as a Halloween outfit (which is crazily huge in US), or maybe something else, though I would assume the former.

What I want these people to do, is stop and think. Lets see, if young girls want to (in their minds at least) look like a Native American woman, isnt it more likely that when they grow up, that they will be more supportive of said community? Whereas if they are stopped from wearing it, to appease the politically correct people, arent they more likely to dislike said community, for stopping their dressing up fun as a child?

Now, I’m not saying my logic is perfect, as presumably, if parents are happy for their daughter to dress up as Pocohontas in the first place, then they’re not likely to be right wing white supremacists! I know, I know, Disney are only in it to make money, lets face it, but…if young girls (and dare I even suggest this, young boys?), want to dress as Pocohontas, then let them! Their precious childhood is but for a few years, so let them enjoy it. They can get into the sad realities of life when they get old enough, and hopefully wise enough to still want to support Native Americans living in the US.

Lets cheat, and include the video here, as this is what it relates to. The song is from 1960, this version is from 2009, and still pretty good!

OK, lets have an actress moment, as it loosely relates to a similar sort of issue. I know, I’m blessed that at the moment, I only need a wheelchair for matters involving standing in one place for very long. Others, it has to be pointed out, are not so fortunate. But practically, for me at present, pretty much any acting role (stop laughing, I know) would require me to be in a wheelchair for most, if not all of the performance, pretty much the latter in truth. A fact that you may, or may not know, most roles in the movies (and other parts) requiring people to be in a wheelchair, are played by people who dont need one! Oh fine, Patrick Stewart was magnificent as Magneto, and Raymond Burr (for the oldies among my readers) was great as Ironside, but…a disabled actor might have been just as good! I know, these arent female parts, but as good examples…And yes, I’d love to play a female Davros type (of Dalek fame) role, not that most would be surprised by that fact lol!

I know, I’m a bit of an in bet-weenie, in that I would need a wheelchair at present to act in the theater, or a movie at present, but its not a permanent state for me. As I said before, some are not so lucky, but yes, especially after the last fortnight, I have even more knowledge of what their life is like. Yes, its true, far too many people really do try to avoid catching your eye, or even acknowledging your presence, when you’re in a wheelchair, believe me, I now know!

But yes, if you, or anyone you know, either here in the UK, or in North America knows of a part suitable for a 60(ish) woman in a wheelchair, of decent acting standard, then feel free to let me know, c/o of stephmajor8@hotmail.com , or even better, contact a lovely agency in LA, and let them know. Their twitter address is @cgemLLC , or their website is cgem-llc.com . Just tell them that Stephanie Carpenter (the name I use on Twitter) sent you, and you’ll probably make their day, as much as mine! Go on, just think of the disability kudos it gets you, lol! Could make my dream come true too!

Oh, and tomorrow, back to the day job! Wish me luck!

An Englishwoman in New York

Given how many times I have visited since the turn of the century, its hard now to believe that the first time I visited the US was only 30 years ago. Yes, it took me half of my current lifespan (more or less) before I actually flew across the Atlantic to make my first visit. That first flight, flying with TWA (who no longer exist) was into Boston, a city I have visited several times since, under my own steam. But like I will be doing this year, flying Thomas Cook Airlines, I didnt fly out of the same airport, or city, as I arrived at. For the last few days, we took the hire car back to Boston, then took a train to New York City. Funnily enough, this year will involve a shorter trip on the same railway line (to Stamford), and no, I havent travelled down it, in all that time! Yes, I suspect its changed.

I guess NYC is one of those cities that you either love, or hate. Its loud, in your face, and very, very busy. Yes, I enjoyed seeing the sights, and I loved seeing 42nd Street on Broadway, but the place as a whole wasnt my scene. The strangest memory is that we got the tickets for the musical, in a ticket booth which was either just outside, or just inside (it is 30 years ago!) the World Trade Center, which 14 years later, attracted news headlines for all the wrong reasons.

It was only after the event, after my stay in Chicago, that I realized that I’d taken to the noise, and bustle in a much easier way than I had in NYC about 20 years earlier. Had I changed in myself, or was it the start of the whole transition thing that lightened me up, who knows? Either way, Chicago is on the list of places I hope to get back to, sometime soon. Will be next year, if I get back to a 5 day week, and 2 holidays next year, but lets see how the health issues play out first. If not, Seattle is calling to me even louder, so if it comes to 1 slightly longer holiday, that will probably win out.

But yes, its my strong love for LA, which lets face it, is very loud, very bustling, especially Hollywood, that makes me wonder how I’d feel about NYC nowadays? I know I’ve changed since then. The whole becoming a woman matter has made me feel so much better about myself, made me more self confident, and probably livelier, that makes me think that I might now see NYC in a different light? Yes, the expensive nature of the city will make it hard for me to visit, but maybe at some point…?

No, it wont be this year. I will pass through the city on the way to JFK airport (which is where I flew out of, 30 years ago), but it will only be passing through, nothing more. And thats assuming I dont get driven to the airport, which I’m not expecting, but then again, I had to convince someone she wasnt driving to Cape Cod to pick me up, and I might still need to try and convince her again lol!

So yes, maybe at some point, I will go back to NYC, and see how I feel about it now. Hey, if I love Hollywood, I might love NYC now? But yes, even at 2 holidays a year, it will be a few years yet, as beyond the 2 mentioned for next year, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Minneapolis St Paul (probably in that order of preference) are all cities I want to go back to.

San Francisco for so many reasons, KC to see if I can find any more Harlow landmarks, and to see more of the city. MSP, no idea why, but I feel I want to go back, all the same. And thats all assuming I cant find where Clara Elaine Johnson was born in Oklahoma, and visit there! Texas, where she moved to LA from, I’ll see how they feel about transgender women by then, even if I do find out where in the state she lived. Mind, I might have had the op by then, so…lol?

But yes, in 30 years, the only place in NYC I’ve visited, is a couple of transits through JFK. Maybe someday, I should go back?

The video? Big clue in the blog title, how original!

It never rains, but it pours

Yes, given where I’ve just flown back from, you might have worked out what the song is tonight, for the last ‘double’ blog for a while. You might not guess who’s singing it, unless you look though. Thats right, not Albert Hammond!

Yesterday morning, I had a text (well actually they sent me 2, for some reason?) they moved my shuttle time forward by 15 minutes, because we folk who share shuttles tend to have to fit in with others in the area, to save them cost, which is fair enough. Anyway, irony, just as I’m about to shut down the laptop, pack it away, and get ready to go, the phone rang. Yes, you guessed it, the shuttle driver, saying it was actually back to the original time. Yes, stop laughing, there was a good reason, incident on the freeway, or so he told me.

Anyway, at the newly agreed time of 12.30, I’m stood outside, when the shuttle pulls up. That was when the fun started. He’d managed to get hold of me, and warn me, but had no joy with the other 2 he was meant to be picking up, phones not connecting or something, probably given the wrong number? Anyway, as we were heading off in the right direction, his phone rang. Yes, one of them was contacting him, to see where he was. Thing is, we went to the address he’d been given for her, not there. So now, he rang back, and she gave him a totally different address, thankfully not too far away. Even then, she couldnt tell him where she was, as she didnt know the name of the road she was on! We found her, eventually, so one to go…? No joy, no one at the address he had, so off we headed to the airport.

As we were getting close to the airport, his phone rang. Seemingly the woman we’d never found had rung them to find out where he was. Anyway, he got ‘ticked off’ for not telling them, but for whatever reason, he didnt seem to care too much, part of the job I guess? Finally, as he was dropping us off at the airport, he checked for his next job. Now whether this was just the luck of the draw, or someone at head office was feeling vindictive, but apparently it was 66 miles away from the Airport!

I booked in, and was directed to an escalator to get to the security gates. Fine, except when I get there, I get told no, and get directed to the other end of the building! After that, everything went fine, until this morning.

One of the beauties of premium economy flight, is that your case gets a priority tag, so should be one of the first on the baggage carousel at Manchester. Well…It doesnt appear, and when the dreaded sign, delivery completed, comes up, off I head to the rep’s desk, along with a few others, in similar position. However, just when I fear I’m not getting my case today, lo and behold, she finds a few cases that somehow missed the carousel, and were sat out the back. Yes, my case was one of them!

After that, and with the assistance of a lovely lady, with a mobile phone, I firstly warned the taxi driver about the delay, and then sorted out where to meet him. From there, journey home was straightforward, thank goodness.

Oh, one last thing. For September, I had noted that Expedia had a nice price for a Virgin Premium Economy flight into Boston, and back out of JFK was being offered a couple of weeks back. Of course, by the time I’ve got things sorted, back in the country, price has shot up £200! Thankfully, much to my surprise, and delight, Thomas Cook Airlines wasnt as basic as I expected, albeit I was in Premium Economy, but anyway…

To cut a long story short, they have flights to fit, and its about £150 cheaper than the economy Virgin price is now! I know, I’m hoping the leg room in economy is reasonable, but I’ll take my chance, especially as it will be a much shorter flight. In truth, the outbound flight is a better time too, but yes, only some of their flights have premium seats, and this wont be one of them! Ah well… It never rains, but it pours.

Which leads me to the video. Found this Barry Manilow version of said song, and actually, I think I prefer it!

Memories of my days in the sun

So this is it, the last blog from LA for a considerable period of time at least, if ever again. I know, I could come back again, and may even need to come back again sooner than that, but being practical, I have many other places to see, some for the first time, some for repeat visits, so its going to be a while, if ever again. And yes, at my age, with the distance involved, and I’m sure the deterioration of my physical health, which is far from perfect even now, I’m sure I wont be able to do as much then, as I can now, anyway. I’m already suspecting that delights like walking up the long hill at Forest Lawn might be beyond me by then at least, but we will see.

To be fair, if you’d told me back in October ’15, that my next holiday would be back here, I would have laughed at you, but its happened. I guess I just wanted to show this city that I’d battled through everything that life had thrown at me, and got here again. But now thats done…?

In some ways today has been a light day, I havent actually left Hollywood. However, I spent a lot of the day on my feet, walking, so maybe not as light as all that? It was actually interesting going on a guided walking tour of Hollywood, where I knew the guide! I know, end of holiday, but in truth, it didnt matter, as I got to visit lots of old buildings that I’d never have got into myself. Oh fine, the one that amused me the most, has to be Musso and Frank’s! Yes, I finally got to go in there, if only for coffee, but at least I now know what it actually looks like from the inside. Of course, for works of fiction, thats a mere technicality, but at least I’ve made it there now. Yes, its every bit as impressive as I’d been led to believe. So if I ever want to use it in a story again lol…?

The other thing I’d already decided was where my last big meal in town would be, and though its not bargain basement, its cheaper than that legendary place. So I settled for the 50’s feel of Mels Diner, for one last time. After that, a couple of final, final goodbyes, at the star, and prints of Jean Harlow, before heading back to base. I do wish there was a star to the uncredited chorus girls/bit part actresses of the world, but no, there isnt, so I just said goodbye to Clara Johnson generally, as I turned off the Boulevard for the last time, on foot at least.

What can I say? You can take a woman out of Yorkshire, but you cant take Yorkshire out of a woman? Yes, I stopped off at a gorgeous, quirky, vintage clothing store on the way back, and saw the most gorgeous, silver flapper dress, really looked the part. Had my size too, but I didnt get it. Why? Because I cant justify spending $65 (plus tax, I’m sure) on a dress I have no idea when, or where I would ever wear it. So yes, I know I’ll regret it, but it stayed in the shop. I could get it in the morning (shop opens at 11, I have to be ready to go at 12.30, and its about 5 minutes walk), but I know I wont.

The only walk I’m planning at present to do in the morning, is a short trip around the block, so that I can walk a little way up Beachwood Drive, looking at the Hollywood sign, one more time. No, I’m not going as far as Verbena though, thats far too far for the short period of time I have left ‘in the sun’ of LA.

Yes, thats it for here. Pretty sure you’ll have to wait until Monday for the next blog, I’ll have too much catching up to do on Sunday for that.

The video. I’m surprised I havent used this Elaine Paige classic before, but seemingly I havent (well, on 1 blog at least), so lets use it now

In memory of those who died too young

Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…

As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.

After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.

No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.

So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.

Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.

Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?

After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!

Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…