Monday, January 31, 2011

John Barry Has Died

John Barry, the Academy Award-winning film composer whose idiosyncratic and iconic compositions over the course of a lifetime in the movies -- including some of the best known James Bond music and the themes to "Midnight Cowboy," and "Out of Africa," among dozens of others -- died in New York on Sunday at age 77. The British-born composer not only helped define the feel of the Bond films but crafted music that served as a 1960s soundtrack to a new kind of jet-setting lifestyle. With his wildly adventurous arrangements and instrumentation, his music's devil-may-care feel will forever be connected to fashionably mod cocktail lounges of the era.
Listen and read more on the LA Times blog and here
  • "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" Suite
  • Weekend Dog

    Seven appears positively Vermeer-esque in a beautiful early morning bounced light

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Erica canaliculata

    A few of our new South African Erica Canaliculata or Christmas Heath in it's place in the back garden. It seems to fit in well with the lavender and grasses.

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Frozen Treats

    Seven got his weekly shank steak this morning. We freeze it so he won't gulp it down in two bites.

    Paella For Real

    Have been tired of runny paellas so I finally went out and got a proper, shallow paella dish. For the first time, my favorite chicken and pork paella came out looking as it should. I have to start trying some other recipes now.....

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    New Additions

    Some of the Indian Hawthorne did not survive last year's heat. So we replaced them last weekend with a new Australian hybrid of Wax Flower called Chamelaucium 'Matilda'. It's only been in the States for two years but will hopefully be a bit more drought tolerant. Meanwhile in the back, the dwarf banana tree has been replaced with a South African Erica Canaliculata. Sometimes called Christmas heather because of it's bloom time from late November to early March. Tons and tons of tiny black eyed blooms.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    And The Nominees Are.......

    My favorite film of the year bagged 12 Oscar nominations this morning. "King's Speech" will be one film that lives on as others fade. All the major categories are represented, including cinematography. And while the lighting is nothing to write home about, Danny Cohen's odd framing and against the grain eye lines during the scenes with Firth and Rush are remarkable.
    The whole list is here

    Monday, January 10, 2011


    With the Tipu growing beyond expectations, we are starting to re-think some of the plants that need full sun. We ventured out to Irwindale yesterday and got a few succulents from Garden View. They included 2 Echeverias, Sempervivum Jade rose and a Sedum Angelina.

    Sunday, January 09, 2011


    Big brother Steve and wife Kim came out west for a few days last week. The reason for the trip was to visit a leather store north of Santa Barbara that he has bought leather hides from in the past. We made the pilgrimage to pea soup capital Buellton, CA and the warehouse of Siegel's. Lots of hides to choose from and after inspecting a few, he made his purchase. A quick meal and some shopping in Santa Barbara, we headed back down the coast with a picture perfect sunset.

    Wednesday, January 05, 2011

    View From The Throne

    Last month we did a commercial for Hallmark in Los Angeles. Key Grip GN captures the monitor lookers crowded in a bathroom. Every seat taken. And while I look skeptical here, the footage looked very nice indeed.

    Tuesday, January 04, 2011

    He's Gone

    We arrived for a layover in Dallas last night and when I checked my voicemail, there was one call that struck us down. At the dawning of a new year and on the eve of his anticipated wedding, Dr. Thomas Van Cise was felled by a massive coronary. His veterinarian practice All Animals Exotic or Small created hope and wellness for countless pets in the southland.
    Anyone who knows of Seven's history will recall 5 1/2 years ago his body became wrecked with cluster seizures. Every three months would mean an extended stay in a hospital while the doctors would break the epileptic cycle. These same doctors condemned Seven to haze filled life of ever increasing doses of liver damaging barbiturates.
    It was our friend Amy who suggested a quirky doctor's small practice some 70 miles east of Los Angeles. Through the use of nutrition, western and eastern medicines, Dr. Van Cise's care produced results. Seven seizures are now infrequent one off events that we can manage at home. Seven loved to go on the long car ride to the office every two or three months. Dr V's paramount concern was always the animal's well being. At first his detachment from the human owner could be off putting but his intense devotion to our dog through observation and copious note taking made us converts to his ways. And at the end of any session he was always willing to answer our questions. The staff also took personal interest in Seven's life as well as ours.
    Like all his patients, next week we will begin the search for a new doctor to hopefully continue in his good work. But for this week and for the memorial service on saturday, we mourn the passing of a true talent.


    Some pre-New Years Eve frivolity at Pulino's on the Bowery as captured by west coast fotog SP. And one from me of the visiting dignitaries.

    Monday, January 03, 2011


    WL and I went to a preview performance of Spiderman:Turn Off The Dark last night. It was an unfortunate disappointment. There are some good songs and performances but when the highlight of a live performance are the clever video sequences, something is missing. In fact, it is what's shown on screens that abruptly makes you realize the short comings of reality. When Electro can menacingly shoot his lighting bolts in a well done frenetically edited sequence, it fails to impress when the actor on stage can only muster a few sparklers.
    My favorite song/sequence was called "Bouncing off the walls". It captured Peter Parker's new transformation and the choreography in the enclosed bedroom was very good. The villain of the piece is the Green Goblin which in this production relays more on Cesar Romero's Joker than the maniacal fiend of the comic books. In fact, the beginning of this musical presents us with a series of "Splats" and "Bonks" ala the 1960's Batman series. It set the tone of the night and when the Sinister Six arrive on stage, one is reminded of the rubbery costuming of the Power Rangers. And while slow motion effects are a staple of a film maker's conventions, the slowed down movements of the actors on stage here looks contrived and false.
    But ultimately it is the lack of character that is missing most. If we had cared about Peter and Mary Jane or thought there was any genuine danger afoot, all the staging tricks and shortfalls would be forgiven. But when all the audience has is spectacle, one starts to look at the wires. With no emotion to hang onto, the audience claps for the flying.
    The night ended abruptly. I might not have been paying attention at that point but felt genuinely baffled when the lights came up. In fact there was a standing ovation at the end of the performance, but in the back of the orchestra where we sat, many people were standing to put on their jackets and leave.
    I am glad I saw it. There are some great sets and visual effects..... it's just the underlaying story that is missing. Hopefully the show's production staff can remedy the lack of drama as they churn towards opening night.