Here is a list (in no particular order) of the Top Twelve Things (or places or people) in or about or related to Los Angeles we wish to thank this year, just for being here and being great:
1. The Beatles
The LA Report never gets tired of their music or lore. Has there ever been a band before or since with more gems per album? Or humor? We love the liner notes by Martin "Marty" Scorcese in the delightful 2-disc DVD set of "HELP!" just released this month. Want to see what inspired The Monkees TV show and Monty Python? Get "Help!" Want to OD on Beatles every Sunday morning in LA? Try KRTH FM's two 1-hour shows back to back from 8-10am, Chris Carter's always amazing Breakfast With The Beatles on KLOS FM 9-noon, and Les Perry's Meet The Beatles show on KCSN FM 10am-2pm. Want to see the place that still puts out their albums? See the landmark Capitol Records building on Vine just north of Hollywood Boulevard (where Beatle fans gather on Beatle birthdays and other dates of note).
2. Jenny Lens
See our recent post about her show at La Luz gallery. Her punk rock archive rocks. And she's super sweet.
3. Bill Maher
He's the Lenny Bruce of our generation. Like Lenny, he has been crucified for just stating his beliefs (an act which, last I checked, was supposed to be protected by something called the Constitution). Case in point: losing his ABC show Politically Incorrect over his comment re 9/11 (about who are cowards and who aren't). Losing a show called Politically Incorrect for BEING Politically Incorrect is one of the great ironies of all time. Luckily, HBO likes irony, and Bill landed there with his show Real Time. We knew he'd wind up there, because HBO has always championed comedy of all stripes, even if too truthful for advertisers.
4. The WGA
Here's to the Writers Guild, which represents the interests of all those wordsmiths who create the scripts that power the TV shows and movies (and Internet downloads) that make our increasingly-depressing real world more bearable, and can sometimes even improve lives, start movements or both. But it all starts with that blank piece of paper (real or virtual), being stared at by a writer, until the magic spills forth.
5. Little Steven's Underground Garage
Want to hear a near perfect example of a radio show? Check out this gem on KLOS FM 95.5 every Sunday, 10pm (or just after 10) til around midnite (or just after 12). Steven Van Zandt's fun style, encyclopedic knowledge of pop music, eclectic presentation of old and new indie-garage sounds - and his Freak of the Week - makes this an unmissable weekly listening event.
6. The Paley Center for Media
Formerly the Museum of Television and Radio. Thousands of radio and TV shows at your fingertips in their amazing viewing library, and daily special showings in their theatre. Periodic lectures, panels and exhibits as well. We are so lucky to have this place in LA (the other one is way over in New York).
I always wanted thank a noun, verb, and search engine in one go. But seriously, can any of us live without them? (Okay, Yahoo, put your hand down.) (Ironic how Yahoo put their name in an ad slogan as a verb, but "Do you Yahoo?" No, you Google.) And Google has now partnered with the X-Prize folks to offer $20 million to the first person to put a robot on the moon and post its video on YouTube. Is Google cool or what?
8. Wired Magazine
We have always loved their magazine - it is simply required reading for us every month - but they do great live events, too. They just finished a very cool series of tours of a "Wired Living Home" in the Brentwood hills (now listed for $4+ million in case you want to have your own private tour every day). Even the drive up there was futuristic, as we got to enjoy the new BMW Hydrogen powered car (which runs on either gasoline or hydrogen - the latter being the most abundant element in the universe with emissions that are basically just water). The LA Report attended on Nov. 18 and fell in love with the Ray Kappe designed home, which in some ways felt reminiscent of the Eames legacy in form while being very modern and green in function (we especially loved the 3-D desktop printer in the kids room). More info: www.wired.com/wiredlivinghome.
9. The Playboy Mansion
Do we really have to justify this one? (Not to guys, anyway.) Seriously, we are so glad this place is still alive and kicking (ass). Not just because it is a testament to the rewards that can come to you for creating a radically new kind of publication (newsworthy articles plus nudesworthy arty girls!), but because they still do amazing events there, and because they have a wonderful animal sanctuary which you must see. (Tip: buy a ticket to a daytime charity event held at the Mansion -- there are several each year -- and odds are good you can see the cool creatures, as we did). Note: our Thanks list Number 3 is often seen at the Mansion (Bill being a kind of honorary heir to Hef).
10. Shout Factory
The LA-based company produces some of the greatest DVDs and DVD boxsets we have ever seen or played. Also stellar CDs. There are too many to list! Just go to www.shoutfactory.com and see what we mean.
This LA-based company ALSO produces some of the greatest DVDs and DVD boxsets we have ever seen or played. And stellar CDs. Too many to list! Just go to www.rhino.com and see what we mean. (One example we will always cherish is their 70's music boxset; the original packages they sold are covered in real shag, baby! For a more recent stellar set, run don't walk to get Rhino's new cool collection, THE McCARTNEY YEARS, 3 DVDs of Macca/Wings heaven!)
Last but not least is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Their exhibits are world-class (the current Dali exhibit is one example, while King Tut and Van Gogh exhibits amazed throngs of grateful museum goers in recent years). They show great films in their Bing Theatre. They are centrally located, and have easy parking nearby. And to top it off, they do amazing events, our fave being the annual Costume Ball every year during Halloween week (or should I say Halloweek?). I think their slogan should be, "I like my LACMA." (Now let's see if they use it!)