The Doctor is IN.
I didn't grow up on the East Coast, but I am an East Coaster at heart. So, it was with distinct pleasure that one of my caffeinated dreams finally came true yesterday when Dunkin' Donuts opened its first location in LA, right in my neighborhood. The first person in line won a years worth of coffee (he waited at least 15 hours); This is LA after all. Motivated and competitive as I am, the best my husband and I could do was listen to media helicopters from bed at 5 am. And what a circus it was. 300 people waiting when the doors opened, full media coverage, giveaways, the works. Even a Dunkin Donuts "red" carpet. The Mayor made an appearance and Dunkin' Donuts donated $5000 to the LA Regional Food Bank. I couldn't resist waiting in line yesterday (benefits of free-lance work) and indulge in a favorite taste of the East Coast. Even though I recently worked in New York and was able to make a daily trip to the ubiquitous coffee shop, the need was still there. The first time we tried DD's coffee was on a Jet Blue flight to Boston, seven years ago. It was our first trip. The Boston Red Sox had just won the World Series, and everyone on the flight was celebrating, jubilantly singing "Sweet Caroline" with the Captain, played over the loudspeaker. When the flight attendant announced that Dunkin' Donuts would be served, the passengers erupted in cheers. I was perplexed - what's so great about a crappy cup of donut shop coffee? But it wasn't. It was the perfect cup of coffee, and to these guys, it was home. And ever since that magical trip to Boston, it's been my favorite cup of coffee, too: bright, delicious, inexpensive and unpretentious. Hits the palate just right. The perfect antidote to the $6 cup of attitude that permeates so many modern cocktail-culture coffee houses. That's why I seek DD out at any given opportunity, most often to my husband's chagrin, and why I waited so long for that cup with milk and sugar. Not all Californians get it, and that's okay. Because to many transplants, even me, it is a piece of home. And Los Angeles is now improved.
More coverage here: http://www.boston.com/business/news/2014/09/02/santa-monica-really-excited-about-their-dunkin-donuts/tnlB807DUKoW1vgOzxqsHJ/story.html
Travel kept me out of Los Angeles for most of the summer (more on that in later posts), but this Monday I woke up to a photograph of myself getting a tattoo in the LA Weekly. In glorious black and white. After the jet lag wore off, one of my first welcome home experiences was a Sons of Anarchy bikini bike wash. I realize there's a severe drought (and hadn't washed my own car in months), but made my way to Bartel's Harley-Davidson in the heart of Venice. Not least because I'm a massive fan of the FX show, but also due to the fact that free T-shirts were involved, which is irresistible. Celebrating the show's series finale and DVD release, Bartels' lot was filled with weekend warriors, soapy bikes, bikini clad women, complimentary food truck burgers, and guys slinging the desired licensed schwag. No cast sightings, although I swear I've met "Opie" at the Gaslight karaoke bar. There was sunshine and soap bubbles, and only enough misogyny to scratch the surface. Despite all that, it was a perfectly silly, fun return to LA and celebration of episodic work I admire. Written by Kurt Sutter as a modern day Hamlet set in Lodi, SOA depicts one of the most fascinating deviant subcultures: biker gangs. Some striking themes in this series are loyalty and family, lead by seriously strong female characters who do more than wear bikinis. Katey Segal's character "Gemma" has a feistiness and biker old lady aesthetic vaguely reminiscent of my Eastern European mother, though my mom has legendarily tyrannical views opposing tattoos. After getting my own miniature "Tig" motorcycle, the damned T-shirt, SOA bracelets, and a stack of fake tattoos, I was approached by a healthily clad promotions girl who proceeded to get me temporarily tatted up on site. Currently, I do not have any real tattoos, but have been debating getting one for over a decade. Now that I'm in the papers, consider me one step closer to being inked. Just don't tell my mother.
Where I heard: The Los Angeles Film & TV Meetup Group
Total cost: $0
Ultra-luxuriousness rating: 8
More of LA Weekly here: http://www.laweekly.com/slideshow/sons-of-anarchy-bikini-bike-wash-41804501/2/
Photo credit: Gustavo Turner
The New New Deal: A chicken car in every wash.
I came across this car wash in Nevada, and realized it was the perfect counterpart to Santa Monica's hilarious roving icon, The Chicken Car, also known as "El Gallo Grande." IT FINALLY ALL MAKES SENSE.
Photo credit: Scott Beale/Laughing Squid at http://laughingsquid.com
Getting lei'd at the Island Hunters launch party
Part of going out in Los Angeles means knowing that you may appear on camera. It doesn't hurt to be a little camera ready. I recently attended a tiki-themed party for the World of Wonder television show "Island Hunters" and had a blast mingling with the crew at Boardner's, a purportedly haunted bar frequented by The Black Dahlia. I love this production company (they do RuPaul's Drag Race, after all), the new show is fabulous, and it only goes to show you that there's ALWAYS interesting people to meet if you know where to look. Just have your answer ready, in case James St. James ever asks where you'd buy your island.
Check out the WOW Report here: http://worldofwonder.net/watch-now-wow-report-mixer-celebrating-island-hunters/