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Showing posts from October, 2016

Dreaming of France: parlez-vous français?

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I get such a kick out of hearing Alex Trebek using his perfect, if ever so pedantic, pronunciation of French on Jeopardy. French isn’t a language I hear too much of in Los Angeles, Trebek’s occasional forays into French on Jeopardy are often the only time I hear the language in any given week. In LA, it’s Spanish that informs a huge part of the soundtrack of my life in the city. I hear it on the streets, in the stores, in restaurants and on television stations like HBO Latino where I stumbled onto Judi Dench speaking Spanish on the Tracy Ullman Show a couple of days ago. Turned out it wasn’t Dench at all, it was Ullman channeling Dench; something I might have figured out for myself if the program had been in English. Despite living in Puerto Rico for a year when I was fifteen, despite studying Spanish for four years in high school, my Spanish is mediocre. Hola. Donde esta la biblioteca? 

I can ask where the library is in French too, but my Français is much, much worse than my Spanish. …

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 47: Kensington Palace

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If it's Friday we must be back in London.Every Friday I take a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings We're currently following the Central Line. Here are the previous days. This is Day 47.

Last week we visited the remains of the Japanese Garden at Hammersmith, left over from the Japan-British exhibit from 1910. Today we’re going to stop off briefly at the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park. Briefly because I want to spend more time in Kensington Park, where Kensington Palace awaits, as well as Princess Diana’s Memorial Playground. 



The Kyoto Gardens were given to London in 1991 by the city of Kyoto in honor of the longterm relationship between Japan and Great Britain. In addition to waterfalls, there are charming little bridges, stone lanterns and koi. And sometimes spectacular peacock…

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 46: White City

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If it's Friday we must be back in London.Every Friday I take a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. Here are the previous days. This is Day 46.
Today we’re walking from the Ealing Broadway underground station to White City. The trek is 4.2 miles which should clock in at just about 10,000 steps. 

Back in 1908, the area was transformed from Shepherd’s Bush farm land into the location for the Franco-British exhibition and the 1908 Summer Olympics. Called the white city because of the white cladding of the ornate exhibition buildings, the area was used for the Japan-British exhibition in 1910, the Latin-British exhibition in 1912, and finally the Anglo-American exhibition in 1914 when WWI put an end to it. After that the White City was left to fall into disrepair and ultimately cleared…

HOLLYWOOD WIVES & MOTHERS: memoir (Also on iTunes and SoundCloud)

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Originally published in the Daily Breeze.



On the set of Free Willy II with my son at 14 months. May 1994
I thought you might get a kick out of this old piece about being married to a guy in the film biz. How old? It’s so old it goes back to the days we used pagers to communicate.  It’s so old my then-four year old son turns 23 in a month, We’re talking old. What’s new is that you can listen to it on SoundCloud and it clocks in at under 5 minutes.


HOLLYWOOD WIVES & MOTHERS


I'm not a single mother but sometimes I feel like one.

My husband works in the film business. If you're thinking screenings, A-list parties and hobnobbing with the stars, think again. Think 16 hour workdays, dinners without Dad, two minute sound bytes that have to pass for conversation and late-night, long-distance phone calls from a burned-out spouse on location.

Think about the grilled swordfish he had for supper on the set versus the Kraft dinner I split with my kid.

"The swordfish?" he says, whe…

Have Broom Will Travel

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Halloween 1995, Batman and me
My history is littered with Halloween fails. Before I became a mother the question of what I was going to be for Halloween terrified me.


1958:  Halloween on a blazing hot afternoon in Tripoli, Libya. Age 5 All the military brats from Wheelus Air Force base were going to a Halloween party in an airplane hangar just outside Tripoli. Lots of civilian kids—mostly Brits and Yanks—whose parents worked on the base in various capacities were invited which meant my brother and I got to go too. Our dad, who spoke Arabic fluently and had been with British Intelligence during the war, had something to do with managing the PX on the base. My brother went dressed as a hobo, his cheeks smeared grey by my mother with a piece of burnt cork, while his friend, the older boy who lived next door, dressed up as a woman—a pillow stuck down his sweater shaped into clownish balloon-sized breasts and big red sticky lips. I went as Minnie Mouse in a cheap, cellophane-thin, store-bough…

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 45: Walpole Park, Ealing Broadway

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If it's Friday we must be back in London.Every Friday I take a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. Here are the previous days. This is Day 45.

We’re finally going to follow a route other than the Piccadilly! Today we’re walking from Southall—where my grandfather had his shop—down the Broadway to the Ealing Broadway Station where we’ll catch up with the Central line, the longest, busiest and fastest line on the London Underground Network. 



It’s an almost-four mile walk which should take the better part of an hour and a half. No worry, when we get there, I’ve been told there’s a great pub—The North Star—which boasts burgers and craft beer. And an outdoor beer garden. 



Before the burgers we’ll take a very quick turn in Walpole Park, home to Pitzhangar Manor. Lucky for those of you bor…

Dreaming of France: Finding My Faux French Fix

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Image via thestudiotour.com
One of the perks of working as a tour guide at Universal Studios was being able to tool around the backlot, getting up close and personal with the facades, mostly mere painted pieces of plywood, nothing more than shells supported from behind by some 2 by 4’s. Sometimes the buildings were decorated with slabs of foam molded in the shape of bricks. On camera it works. Up close, the faux brick is slightly spongy to the touch. Just a bit of fakery. 

While New York Street probably got the most use as a filming location, it was Little Europe that fired my imagination. Walking along the cobblestone road, passing the charming shopfronts, it’s easy to imagine French cafes and patisseries come to life. 

The last time I saw Paris—and the Universal backlot—was in the mid to late eighties. These days I can conjure the same feeling of being transported to another time and place on my daily walks around my own neighborhood. 


Built in 1931 in this  ‘Chateauesque’ style buildin…