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Showing posts from January, 2016

Above Ground on the London Underground: Day 15 ... Dulwich Village

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I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using  my Tube guide and my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. This is Day 15. I’ve got a rough plan.   I ’ve been to the  Dulwich Picture Gallery  and the  Horniman Museum .  Now I just want to have a look around Dulwich Village,  before I  hightail it back to Kew Gardens and get back on track on the Picadilly Line. Not exactly  on track as it were ,  being that my whole point is to walk  aboveground  on the London Underground route. I ask my waiter for the check and if he knows   the best way to get from the Belair House—where I’m enjoying some mid morning tea—to the Village. I’ve heard there’s a bookstore there? He murmurs something about Lover ’s Walk. I blush and blink my head off at the idea that he’s inviting me for a romantic stroll. I should never have told him that he

Moving Day [memoir]

  I must be over it. January 17th has come and gone, and I didn’t even give that day, that Martin Luther King Day, twenty something years ago, a thought. Thinking about my son, turning twenty three this year, brought it all back. We’d moved back to LA from a year living in Redondo Beach, in an apartment just across the street from the Pacific. Our son was born a few months after we moved in and I spent my days taking him on long, quiet walks along the Esplanade that bordered the oceanfront. During the week, the sand and the sea were beige and blue stripes that stretched forever with only the seagulls, and a stray beach goer here and there, breaking the pattern. Riviera Village, a few blocks inland was full of sleepy stores, hushed boutiques just out of my price range, and cafes where I had no one to join me for a cup of latte.  In the early days right after my son’s birth, my friends found their way down to Redondo to pay their obligatory baby visits. After that it was mostly j

The art of everything [memoir]

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I went to LACMA the other day to check out the exhibit by Diana Thater before it closes in late February. Thater works primarily in film, using motion & light with multiple screens. The piece above was inspired by, and filmed in, Monet’s Gardens of Giverny, filled with beautiful natural colors that transform when you step between the screen and projector. It’s an irresistible invitation to place yourself within the art piece, to become part of the show, as these millennials were to me. It got me thinking about art, and about museums, how much they they open us up to new ways of seeing. The first famous painting I ever saw in person was the Mona Lisa, DaVinci ’ s masterpiece  hanging  in the Louvre. I was four, maybe five years old and it meant nothing. A small dark picture of a lady. For my parents the Mona Lisa was on the must-see while in Paris list, for us kids the Louvre was little more than an escape  from the cold of a wintry Parisian day.  The first painti

Above Ground on the London Underground: Day 14 ... Dulwich Picture Gallery (and Mausoleum?)

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Mary & Elizabeth Linley/Thomas Gainsborough I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using  my Tube guide and my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. This is Day 14. A couple of weeks ago I actually had a reader tell me where to go. No, no, no. Not there . Since I was in the Peckham neighborhood of South London, she told me to go to the Horniman Museum and Dulwich Picture Gallery, both nearby in Dulwich. I tackled Horniman last week , today I’m going to make the trek to Dulwich, and then—unless one of you leads me astray again—I’ll get back on the right track.  The gallery is an easy mile and a half walk down the Circular Road which runs so closely to Dulwich Park—where rumor has it there’s a boating lake—that I simply can’t resist the detour.  The lake is dotted with bright green paddle boats manned mostly by

The Die Hard Premiere: My first Alan Rickman sighting

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This appeared originally on Chapter1-Take1   where  I post my book-to-movie stuff but this memory feels more at home here. I ’ll file it under Brushes with Stardom. I woke up yesterday morning to the news of Alan Rickman’s death. This one hit hard. Like Bowie, Rickman was sixty-nine. Like Bowie, cancer was the culprit. Like Bowie, Rickman had an iconic voice. And like Bowie, there was so much more. Rickman was on my mind, the sadness of his loss, the pleasure of his gifts, all day long.  I have only been to a handful of premieres in my life. One of them was  Die Hard  back in 1988. I was working at producer  Joel Silver ’ s offices on the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank at the time. Burbank being the real Hollywood back then. Simply put, I was an office p.a., a gopher, but nobody really calls them that. My friend  Connie, an executive assistant to Silver,  got me the job when  the LAUSD teachers went on strike. I ’d been working  as a substitute teacher and was loathe t o

Above Ground on the London Underground: Day 13 ... Horniman’s Museum & Gardens

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I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using  my Tube guide and my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. This is Day 13. I try to live by  the shoulder-shrugging “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” So when a reader suggested that as long as I was in Peckham on my virtual walking tour of London I might want “to  stroll over to the wonderful Horniman Museum (due south) or the beautiful Dulwich Picture Gallery (south-west)” after a brief debate with myself about sticking with my plan, I shrugged my shoulders and said, why not? That’s the fun of travel, virtual or not, discovering new things, encountering unexpected pleasures. Thanks, Moira, for taking me along the road less traveled! Old Camberwell Cemetery/ Photo by Katie Hare via  Pearrls.com It’s a perfect day for walking, unusually balmy (wh

Twenty-four and counting

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Edward Good 1915-1992 Weird how things creep up on you. I was thinking about David Bowie, dying at sixty-nine. Sixty-nine seems young when you yourself are sixty-three. Then it hit me that my dad was seventy-six when he died and that it was twenty-four years ago today that I was in a hospital room in Sherman Oaks, California with my brother and sister and our mother, waiting for my dad to die. I’ve written about my dad a fair bit but I still haven ’ t quite hit that day yet, my sister throwing herself on our father ’s  body when they pronounced him dead, my own throat rough and raw with the ache of a   thousand smoked cigarettes. But I did write a short memorial to him a couple of years ago. Swept Away I thought he was God. Or Robert Young on Father Knows Best. Take your pick. Except that in my eyes my father was even more glamorous than Robert Young. I didn't know about God. He and my mother met at the tail end of World War II when he was home on leave in England. He

Above Ground on the London Underground: Day 12 Feeling Peckish at Peckham Rye

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I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using  my Tube guide and my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. This is Day 12. I ’ m still in Peckham in southeast London, gazing up at the house on Howden Street where my great-grandmother sat and waited for her husband and two sons to come home from World War I. Her husband never did. This old family history is all new to me and the sight of the house fills me with yearning. I ’m  thinking about going on a real trip to London and across the channel to France to see my where my great-grandfather is buried. The  Guard’s Cemetery at Lesboeufs is  just an hour or so north of Paris; a  week in the City of Lights sounds about right. My husband actually went so far as to check out airfares but we haven ’ t progressed much beyond asking ourselves  if  we go, whether we should go in la