Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
A long awaited release date has come for many Tanya fans for a new CD. This welcome arrival has Tanya exploring some of the most cherished and classic songs previously recorded and attached to male stars. I personally remember many of these songs as they were popular when I was a child and my mother would have these playing on her radio in the car, or on the jukebox in the local bar where she held down a second job as a bartender.
I have seen Tanya on various TV Shows in the 80's or 90's where she was honoring either Loretta Lynn or Tammy Wynette and sang some of their songs, and it has been a long held wish for me the have her do a cover album of the classic female songs. This however has proven to be just as powerful as that would be and seems more fitting since she was called the "Female Elvis" when I first turned on to her.
Included in this package are some very recognizable songs that most people will remember including "Oh Lonsome Me" and "You Don't Know Me". "Lonesome" was a song written and recorded by Don Gibson and Chet Atkins and covered by many including Neil Young, The Kentucky Headhunters, and many others. "You Don't Know Me" Written by Eddie Arnold first hit the charts as a recording by Jerry Vale and then charted on the country charts by Arnold at #10. Ray Charles took it to #2 in 1962. "Crazy Arms" was a hit in 1956 and established Ray Price as a star and stayed at #1 on the charts for 20 weeks. This was covered by many, but the most recognizable version for me was Linda Rondstadt's version in the 70's. "Big Big Love" is a fun song that I am not familiar with the history, but do remember this song by K.D. Lang on her Absolute Torch and Twang album. The first song being released and currently available on iTunes is "Loves Gonna Live Here". This song was recorded by Buck Owens in 1963 and went to #1 but has been covered by many. I think Tanya's version tops them all and should be a hit. Call your local country station and request it. Others song include Wine Me Up (Faron Young), Lovesick Blues (Hank Williams), Is Anybody Going to San Antone? (Charlie Pride), Walk Through This World With Me (George Jones), Ramblin Fever (Merle Haggard) and After the Fire is Gone with The Grascals (Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty) and A Thousand Ways (Lefty Frizzel)... Listen to this one and tell me if you don't think this is a Hawaiian song.
All in all Tanya proves that she can take any song and make it her own. These will be classics in my collection and should be in yours as well.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
This is a story from the LA Times regarding the efforts to save The Century Plaza Hotel which I used to work for from about 1991 until 1999. Working here gave me the opportunity to meet many stars and political figures and was a great working experience in my life. I am glad however to be out of the Hotel business.
Preservationists, developer square off over Century Plaza Hotel
Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times
New owners have revealed plans to demolish the Century Plaza hotel.
The owners plan to demolish the Century City hotel and replace it with a $2-billion commercial and residential complex. The Los Angeles Conservancy wants to save it.
By Martha Groves
April 28, 2009
Minutes after their return from the moon in 1969, the three Apollo 11 astronauts gazed out the window of their isolation chamber as President Nixon welcomed them home and invited them to a state dinner in their honor.
The setting would be a magnificent ballroom in the Century Plaza hotel in "Los Angeles' space-age Century City complex," as the Los Angeles Times described it.
Century Plaza hotel
· Most endangered historic places
· Where preservation efforts failed
Forty years beyond, that crescent-shaped monument of mid-century modernism, where guests enjoyed specially created "moon rocks" of green almond paste dusted with chocolate, is poised to become the focus of what promises to be an intense battle over preservation.
New owners have revealed plans to demolish the hotel, no longer the VIP magnet it once was, and replace it with a $2-billion complex that includes two 50-story towers containing condos, offices, shops and a smaller luxury hotel.
The Los Angeles Conservancy is determined to stop them. To bolster its campaign, it has enlisted the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which today put the 726-room Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel on its annual list of America's 11 most endangered historic places.
"By naming this structure to the list, the National Trust is demonstrating that the preservation of recent past and modern buildings is as important to our cultural record as preserving architecture that's from the Victorian period or Art Deco era," said Christine Madrid French, director of the trust's nascent Modernism + Recent Past Initiative.
Of course, there is some debate about whether a hotel less than half a century old deserves the same level of protection as century-old structures.
When Los Angeles developer Michael Rosenfeld announced his redevelopment plans last December, he said the hotel's nearly 600-foot length impeded pedestrians' connections with other parts of the neighborhood. The new design, he said, would feature an open, tree-lined area between the two proposed towers that would facilitate people's meanderings among offices, shops and restaurants.
"The naming of the hotel as a historic place is not supported by the facts," Rosenfeld said. "The building . . . does not qualify for consideration under stringent criteria for historic designation of a building of this recent age.
"We're building a landmark for the future," he added.
But the notion of razing the Century Plaza alarmed the Los Angeles Conservancy. It nominated the structure for the trust's endangered list. Previously, other sites it suggested had made the list, including the original McDonald's in Downey, the Santa Anita racetrack, St. Vibiana's Cathedral and Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House, one of the first residences constructed from concrete block.
Having seen the demolition of other Century City landmarks in recent years -- notably the ABC Entertainment Center, home of the Shubert Theatre, and the headquarters of Welton Becket & Associates, the firm that first designed Century City -- the conservancy did not want to see another mid-century building destroyed.
"This building has both architectural and cultural significance," Linda Dishman, the conservancy's executive director, said of the Century Plaza. "We really thought this was the line in the sand."
The 19-story hotel on Avenue of the Stars at Constellation Boulevard, which opened in 1966, was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, later to gain fame for designing New York's World Trade Center towers.
Almost from its beginning, the hotel attracted celebrities, with Prince Andrew credited as the first international guest of renown. Politicians and other world dignitaries stayed so often that in the 1970s the hotel earned the nickname "the Western White House." President Reagan threw two victory parties there.
More notoriously, Hollywood studio chief and embezzler David Begelman committed suicide in one of the rooms.
Dishman noted that the hotel has been an epicenter of Westside social, political and celebrity functions.
"That unique cross-section has brought many people into contact with the building," she said.
She acknowledged that buildings typically must be at least 50 years old for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, unless they have exceptional significance. A mid-century building from the 1960s, she said, "is not the first thing people think of when they think historic preservation.
"We believe this building has exceptional significance," she said.
Rosenfeld, who bought the property a year ago for $366.5 million with backing from D.E. Shaw Group, has said his idea was influenced by a proposal unveiled in early 2007 to make Century City greener, less car-centric and more pedestrian-friendly. His architect, Henry N. Cobb, contends that the new configuration would help connect key parts of the neighborhood and create a public gathering place.
National Trust President Richard Moe took issue with that.
"The owners bought it and called it a jewel in their hometown but now want to demolish it as part of the greening of Century City?" he said. "They're doing just the opposite. They couldn't do a more un-green thing."
Moe maintains that the building contains a great deal of "embodied energy," the energy required to manufacture the materials, transport them to the site and assemble them into a building. He has recently been speaking to groups nationwide about this notion to demonstrate that historic preservation can be a tool to achieve sustainability.
"It's an 800,000-square-foot hotel," Moe said. "The embodied energy is estimated to be the equivalent of 7 million gallons of gasoline. . . . If you tear the building down, you lose all that energy."
Not every old building deserves to be saved, Moe said, but if an older building can serve a new use, then preserving it makes sense for environmental as well as architectural and cultural reasons.
"We are trying to save this building," Moe said. "We're going to be fully engaged with the Los Angeles Conservancy to try to use every means possible to save this building."
Saturday, April 25, 2009
OK! I know I just lost 26 lbs in a diet contest with my c0-workers and I should steer clear of anthing in the fast food family, but I was out today at an art festival in Burbank, and found myself about ready to pass out from hunger when I stopped at a local McDonald's. I asked for two cheese burgers with no onions. The cashier was obviously on her first day, so when the manager came up and helped her out, I re-iterated that I wanted no onions as the request was not printed on my receipt. When I received the pictured burgers tagged with an asian sticker, I had to ask the manager, what's an "asian"? Both the cashier and the manager replied in tandum, "That's No Onions". Can someone out there that might work for McDonalds please tell me why this is called an Asian? I can understand if I requested Teriyaki Sause or egg noodles on the side, but no onions???
Other than that, so far it has been a fun day. I got up pretty early (for a Saturday) and went and helped out with some co-workers to handle some talent at an annual Burbank Parade. We had Jason Dolley from the Disney Channel who was the Grand Marshall . He's a super nice kid and seems to be completely unaffected by Hollywood. Also in attendance was one of my personal FAVE's. Charmian Carr who was Liesl in The Sound of Music. She's pictured here with a friend Rick, who has worked extensively with her for personal appearances for the Sound of Music Sing Alongs that may have occured in your home town. She's such a beautiful lady!
Well enough for now. Off to take a friend to dinner at the Pacific Dining Car. I've been wanting to go there forever http://www.pacificdiningcar.com/.
Here's a link to my YELP.com review -
See ya later
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I'll probably get lost in the slew of Blogs, Vlogs and everything else internet out there, but heck... I'm mainly doing this for myself, family & friends. Anyone else out there that wants to chime in and become an internet sibling, feel free to follow me and comment, vote, or otherwise give me your feedback.
I guess I should introduce myself. I am a 50 year old single gay man, living in Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in Howell Michigan and moved out here when I was 21. I view myself as the average joe ...not the Six Pack Joe that the woman from Alaska referenced in her speeches. I kind of got the impression that her Six Pack Joe was a uneducated baboon from the woods. I like to think that I have a bit more going for me than that guy. I guess I do, because I diodn't vote for her. Guess that tells you where my politics are. I am not here though to talk politics. At least not yet.
It turns out as I type this, and trying to post, I am having errors so I will close now and try to figure this stuff out. We'll see if it works. If you have any suggestions, let me know.