Saturday, 9 April 2011

Thursday - Day 8 L.A.

Again we had been promised a cold and wet day in L.A.but the sun was shining through when we woke up and drew back the curtains.

Today we were meeting up with our UK friends Mal Young and Mari Wilson for a spot of lunch so we drove up to Coldwater Canyon to meet them.

Thier home in L.A. was once a party spot for The Beatles and is an impressive building.

Mal took to the wheel and first stop was Laurel Canyon where Jim Morrison and also Jimi Hendrix had lived. The whole area is very hippy and you can understand why Harvey Kubernick was inspired to write his book "Canyon of Dreams".

Minty, Mari and Mal - Jim Morrison's house in the
background where all the pink flowers are

Jimi Hendrix lived above the laundry

We went around the Yukka trail which is a very narrow winding road which takes you to breathtaking views of the City no tourist buses go. Hell, we don't even know how the binmen manage to empty the bins up here!!!

Mal then took us up Mulholland, that Bette Noir film road which winds around the Hollywood mountains. Stopping off at a viewing point, we finally saw the Hollywood sign (at last - that's 8 days in LA and we hadn't seen this iconic landmark yet!!!). The view was really fantastic, despite the haze that was covering the City.

The view of Downtown LA (the skyscrapers in the distance)

Mari, The Beeb, The Hollywood sign, Mal
The next stop was lunch - at Mal and Mari's local deli, which is also a usual eating place for Brian Wilson and they often see him there in the morning. It was 2.30pm so the chances of seeing him were remote at best.......

We were tucking into our lunch when Mari and Mal both said "there's Brian" - we looked up and sure enough Brian Wilson had come in, and sat in his usual booth at the table next to us! Mari and Mal were both in hysterics as The Beeb's face was a picture. His fork stopped in mid-air for about a minute, as once again his jaw hit the ground. You can't make this stuff up! The Beeb said he was going to buy a lottery ticket as our luck is with us right now!!!!

One thing we do know about Brian is that he is a very low-key individual so we never intruded to say hi or anything. About 5 minutes later, he got up and shuffled out of the door and was gone! We think he's heard about our blog and just trying to get  a mention!!!!

Well, our jaws were right on the floor and we needed to be pinched! Mari and Mal found it so amusing, and for the rest of the day we just looked at one another and shook our heads in disbelief! Every now and again we would just start laughing at the thought of it all.

Mari had to dash to American Idol and Mal to a business meeting so we said our goodbyes and headed back down Coldwater Canyon.

As we had the car, we took in a bit more of Sunset Blvd, browsing through a couple of guitar shops. In Sam Nash, the sales guys could not have been more different from the New York ones! The Beeb had a great conversation about White Falcons and the guy was even getting to the point of ordering one in for him, pormising it would be here the next day!!!!!

Across the road was the Guitar Centre. They had a really great "hands of fame" in front of the store, with the handprints of many famous musicians, such as Brian Wilson, Jan & Dean, the Wrecking Crew, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Slash, Def Leppard to name just a few!

Minty finds Dean Torrence's hands are bigger than hers!

Minty in the handprint of Carol Kaye

Jan & Dean and Brian Wilson

The Beeb with Amoeba as the backdrop

We took another trip to Ameoba records on Sunset. This time we came out only with 1 CD - the new Smithereens CD, which was a steal at the equivalent of less than £8.

After that we headed back to the hotel to freshen up, as we were hoping we could get into the Imelda May gig at the El Rey Theatre that evening.

A $20 taxi ride and we were outside the El Rey Theatre at 5515 Wilshire Blvd. Luckily we were able to get tickets on the door and we headed in. The theatre is a really lovely venue, and we found a good position on the top of 2 steps up from the "mosh pit" with a pretty unrestricted view. Man, the beers are expensive in there! Oh, and The Beeb was asked of ID this time.

At the El Rey Theatre

The support act was Omar & The Stringpoppers - a local band which we found out later had been to the UK to play at the annual Rockabilly Rave. They were a good band - the lead, Omar, was very Elvis like, even down to the way he dressed and the band set up was just like Elvis early days. Theirs was a very tight set which really boogied.

Daryl plays a White Falcon
Right on time at 9.30, Imelda May took to the stage. The first thing the Beeb spotted was her hubby, Daryl, playing a lovely (and high-end, e.g.expensive) White Falcon.

Imelda just rocked. She looked terrific, her voice was just great and she looked like she enjoyed performing as much as the crowd enjoyed watching her. She is a real bundle of Irish energy.

Part of the show involved a famous ex-Burlesque dancer strutting onto the stage for a quick twirl. We found out later her name was Angel as we got talking to her after the show. She was a real character.

Imelda May

One guy in the band was Imelda's equivalent of Probyn Gregory in the Brian Wilson band - multi instrumentalist and very versatile. We never knew LA had such a good Rockabilly scene.

Imelda May and her fantastic band

After the show, we found out that the band had to come out of the front entrance, so we hung around for a bit along with some others which included a young lad with his parents. It was a while before Imelda came out and before then, the boy's parents had dragged him away so he never got a chance to get Imelda's autograph on the picture he was holding. There was also a family from France who had seen Imelda play in France and, like us were on holiday and heard she was playing and had come along on the chance of getting tickets!

When Imelda emerged, she looked stunning (she is also tiny), and she very graciously stopped to chat and pose for photos with her husband, Daryl.

Minty with Daryl and Imelda
This was the end of another typical day in LA for us. A day filled with magical moments and another one we will never forget!

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