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Voyage to La-La Land, Pt. 1

Since there was only one movie watched this week (Miller’s Crossing, excellent), I won’t be doing a Flick Clique. Instead, I will be doing a little writeup of what occupied most of our time this week, a road trip!

We left on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, to take a four-day trip to Los Angeles, Burbank, Sherman Oaks and Palm Springs. Much of that first day was spent driving in the dark (we got up at four a.m.). At around 11:00, we needed some gas and I was getting hungry for some sustenance, so we stopped in Azusa and drove around a bit. It was a lovely town, and the affordable eats at T-Burgers got us rearin’ to move along. Arriving towards L.A., we made a second stop in Pasadena to look around. The bungalows are beautiful there, and they have a nice (if too chain-store heavy) downtown. We got out and shot a few pics of Christopher with the Colorado Boulevard sign:

It was a nice, sunny day and the traffic was strangely not congested. We ended up at our destination, the Best Western in Sherman Oaks, ahead of schedule. I ended up picking this particular place since it was at a perfect right angle to our two main destinations, the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank and the J. Paul Getty Museum high in the L.A. hills.
After checking in and having a light lunch in the Denny’s at the hotel, we were all set for the TV sitcom taping that we’d reserved tickets for a month earlier. In 2009, we attended a Big Bang Theory recording. This time, we decided on 2 Broke Girls (which happens to be one of our faves). As we got shepherded onto the studio grounds, it struck me (again) how gorgeous the grounds at W.B. are. Everything is so well-manicured and beautifully maintained there — and it’s one of the few places around L.A. that still has that aura of the classic Hollywood 1930s-40s period. As we waited in line, we both marveled at the studio and expressed wishes that we could work there someday, somehow. The afternoon we were there, The Big Bang Theory was also taping an episode and we saw the cast members discreetly going about their business — Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco passed by our line walking to the studio Starbucks (named after Friends‘ hangout, The Central Perk) and we spied Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayaar going to get some grub at the W.B. commissary. The taping itself was a ton of fun. Long, but fun — this one required multiple retakes for every scene. Luckily the script was funny enough to survive three, four, and (in one butt-numbing example) eleven takes. The warmup comedian was the same one we saw at a Rules of Engagement taping in 2009 and he surprisingly recognized Christopher when we went to chat with him after the taping was done (four plus hours later!). We hung around, got autographs and a chocolate cupcake. Christopher wrote about it here.

The following day, Wednesday, was our daylong trip to the Getty. I personally picked this over Disneyland for this trip for the simple fact that I’ve never been there and always wanted to go. The Getty complex is located atop a mountain overlooking the ocean and the rest of the city. Patrons visit by parking in a lot at the base of the mountain and going by tram to the top. That day was really cold and windy, but we enjoyed it — and the crisp air offered some really outstanding views. The museum is divided into about five pavilions. Each pavilion deals with a certain historical period with changing exhibits and decorative art on the ground floors and painting/art on the upper floors. In the morning, the place was swarming with school groups, but those thinned out as the day went on and we were able to enjoy most of the exhibits in solitude (many of the guards can get touchy, however – be warned!). We got to see paintings by Sergeant, Titian, Rembrandt, Cezanne and Van Gogh (Irises in the flesh!). The decorative stuff was even more interesting and enlightening. Those Getty folks run a nice, state-of-the-art museum. Although many insist that two or three days is optimal, we saw everything we wanted to in a single day. Probably the funnest part of that day was goofing around in the outdoor sculpture garden by where the tram deposits visitors to their vehicles (see photo below).

After our whirlwind Getty day, we ended up checking out the sights around Sherman Oaks. Although we passed by the famous Galleria (like, totally, fer sure) a few times, most of our exploring centered around Ventura boulevard and its funky shops and restaurants. There’s a fair share of bland chain businesses along that stretch, but it’s good to know that the city’s bread-and-butter comes from locally owned places with unique charm and character. That night, I wanted to eat at a Thai place called Anajak. It took a while to find it (we forgot to write down the address), but once found it was a wonderful experience. The dining room was tiny and romantically lit, and Christopher chatted up some of the other customers. Service was excellent; the chef even brought us a free appetizer dish.

This portion of the trip ended up taking so much space that I will resume writing about it later. The part of our trip where we explored downtown Los Angeles and Palm Springs will come tomorrow. Stay tuned!

2 Thoughts on “Voyage to La-La Land, Pt. 1

  1. So glad you made it to the Getty. I myself was also taken with that particular painting:

    And I can’t help but notice how much that woman looks like Dana Cowin, Top Chef guest judge and editor of Food & Wine magazine.

    It’s actually a fun game to play: walking through all that old art and pointing out what looks like whom.

  2. Christopher on February 20, 2012 at 11:29 am said:

    A few clarifications: I wanted a pic of myself with the Colorado Blvd sign because that is a street Sheldon and Leonard mention a lot in “The Big Bang Theory.” The hippo in the pic of the Singer Sargent is me; the cute guy in the shape of a “T” is Matt. I made him pose for the pic that freezing cold afternoon at the Getty. He didn’t want to, but I think it’s a cute pic of him. Agree?

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