Saturday, June 30, 2007

Pam and George

After lunch today, Pam and I set out to find George Enescu's house.
We weren't sure what to take so we stopped by the Translyvanian Bank to get a few Reis for the hike. I love the big old Pepsi neon sign at the entrance to the main park in town. We quickly were off the beaten track and walked past some great architecture. The houses here are stunning. The tin and copper roofs always amaze me.
After a few missteps, we finally arrived at the home of Enescu. He was a famous violinist who was a prominent composer, player and teacher until his death in 1955. I have to confess that I had not heard of him but Pam was well read on him and I entered the grounds feeling up for anything.
A gentleman escorted us in where a slightly flustered woman joined us. Vistors seem few here and I had the feeling we interrupted her lunch or some other chore.
We were handed a taped tour in english and made our way up the stairs into the dining, sitting, playing rooms. Small but elegantly appointed. I managed got off a few snaps before our guide rejoined us.
The entire tour took half and hour and as we left, we noticed the dogs of the compound were as laissez faire as the Castle's canines. And only could be bothered with if the promise of a good petting was offered.


After a fretful, sleepless night on KLM, I finally arrived in Bucharest on thursday morning. The weather has been so hot the previous days that everyone wanted to escape the city and head straight to the mountains when I landed. I did not get to see much of the city other than the van ride to the production office and then out of town. The city has not shaken off it's communist past yet. Soot stained buildings from 50 years of social planning and mismanagement seemed to be the norm. But there are signs of renovation and some of the big state buildings are quite handsome.
After a quick lunch, we loaded up the van and headed towards the Carpathian mountains. Made famous by Bram Stoker in the 19th century.
The ride to Sinaia took about 2 hours. Winding along the mountain pass, it reminded me of heading up into the catskill mountains. Except of course there are no horse drawn carts in New York State.
We arrived and had a quick dinner. Ellen and Mark were to be disappointed in the tripe soup but Pam and I enjoyed our schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese. Quite the Homer Simpson meal. Fried pork stuffed with other kinds of pork and cheese.
The next morning we headed up to the Castle. King Carol l started to build Peles Castle in 1879 and it was still being added to when he died in 1914.
The estate has many other buildings and palaces which housed knights and staff and other princes. The King designated the castle as a museum in his will so another smaller palace was built for the crown prince. But since King Carol l also denoted that there be only one "palace" on the property, the prince's palace is more of a chateau.
Fresh raspberries are in season now and are sold in little baskets.
The dogs are very mellow and laid back around the castle. Most love to be lounging and petted.
Midway down the access road, there are many vendors selling everything from crap souvenirs to lace table linens and woodcrafts and the favorite snack, corn on the cob.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Next Stop...... Transylvania

I have to say I love my job. Just looked up where we are going to be filming the next few days. Pele Castle in the Carpathian mountains. Looking very much the elegant retreat for both royalty and vampires. Ciao.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dan Flavin @ LACMA

Capping off a year long international retrospective organized by the DIA Foundation, Dan Flavin comes to Los Angeles on the last leg of his tour. He uses fluorescent tubes as his medium.
"Flavin was one of the inventors of what we now know as 'installation art' and his groundbreaking use of color and light in architecture has been emulated not only in art, but in design and architecture." Michael Govan, LACMA CEO
  • The Hayward Gallery in London has a nice web site from the show's March 2006 visit.
  • Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Employee Free Choice Act

    AmericaBlog is reporting the uphill battle for the Employee Free Choice Act.

    'Last year, the top three hedge funds earned $4.4 billion in profits, and the ex-CEO of Exxon got a $400 million golden parachute. Today, hourly wages are down while the number of uninsured is up. Today, household income is down, while the average CEO makes 411 times more than the average worker. Today – for far too many Americans – that New Deal has become a raw deal. It’s time to give working families a square deal.' Harry Reid.

    "Treating American workers with dignity, respect and fairness -- can't have that say the Republicans Senators. So, true to form, GOP Senators, who have become the obstructionist caucus, are planning to block the bill. They just filibuster every piece of progressive legislation:

    'Despite a pitched lobbying battle between business and labor heavyweights, Senate Republicans are largely closing ranks against a Democratic union-organizing bill, using the measure to project unity after their party has been weakened by tense debates on immigration and energy.'

    Great. Show unity by beating up on working men and women. That's so Republican."

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    $3 Light

    Inspiration from a $3 placemat @ Pier One Imports and voila....... a chic south seas sconce. The bulbs and the sockets cost 3 times as much. I finished putting it together today and will hang it tomorrow. I think about half the lights here in Eagle Rock are now home made wonders.

    The Haunting

    One of the best scary films ever will be screened this weekend in a...... cemetery. Cinespia continues its' saturday night screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with Robert Wise's "The Haunting". Julie Harris plays the new england frump falling for a haunted house. Supporting cast includes Claire Bloom's sexy sexually ambiguous hipster and 60's leading man Russ Tamblyn. Miss Moneypenny even makes the scene screaming her lungs out.

    Monday, June 18, 2007


    I went over to our friend's new house in Glendale this morning. I had repaired, rewired and cleaned some of her chandeliers. Well, the guys had them hung and they looked great. The house was such a mess and after only five weeks, it appears to be coming together in great fashion.

    Sunday in Long Beach

    We took the dog down to the Long Beach Dog Beach. As jet skiis raced back and forth in the shadows of the supertankers, Seven was romping in the surf. A first. He normally is scared of the waves. But the older he gets, the more fearless he is becoming.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Friendly Fire

    "The Army now admits that it secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard agents into the sea, along with 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, land mines and rockets and more than 500 tons of radioactive waste - either tossed overboard or packed into the holds of scuttled vessels."
    Read the whole article here. The picture of the dead dolphin with mustard gas burns is particularly disheartening.

    Saturday @ BAM

    We flew back east for the weekend to view a screening @ BAM for Ellen and Thavi's film. They just the week before been interviewed on NPR's Leonard Lopate show.
    It was a packed house for this work in progress screening. And afterwards a bunch of us went across the street for lunch and a few drinks. We all gave our opinions and afterwards were all smiles as we left. But not before a few photos.
    Later, Ming and I hooked up with Betsy and Bryan for a late night snack. Betsy is always a moving target for the lens and consequently, blurred.