Monthly Archives: September 2008

Sex In My City

         

To promote her new book, One Fifth Avenue, Sex and the City  author and creator Candace Bushnell made an appearance at my fave bookstore, Vroman’s, in Pasadena last night.  I could not have been more excited for this event!!!  I was absolutely dying to see the real life Carrie Bradshaw in person.  For those not in the know, much like her on-screen alter-ego, in real life Candace Bushnell authored a column entitled Sex and the City  which appeared weekly in the New York Observer newspaper during the early 90s.  In 1996, she published a book of her greatest columns and due to that book’s popularity, a television show based upon her life was created.  The rest, as they say, is history.  🙂  

 Last night before the event began, I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see Candace in person.  I was dying to know how alike she was to the character portrayed by SJP.  I couldn’t help but wonder . . . Does she talk like SJP, dress like SJP, and most of all, what kind of shoes would she be wearing????   

The reading turned out to be fabulous and I had a blast being there!!!  Candace is SUPER tiny in person (much like SJP) and not at all as flashy as I expected her to be.  Although her feet were clad in super high Manolo’s, her outfit was pretty tame compared with Carrie Bradshaw’s avant garde wardrobe.  (Unfortunately, Candace wouldn’t allow any photographs to be taken during the reading, so I had to wait until she was finished to snaps pics.)  Candace read a bit of the first chapter of her new book (where I discovered that she doesn’t talk like SJP) and then there was a short question and answer session, where we learned little tidbits like Candace’s favorite book out of all the novels she has written is One Fifth Avenue, she thinks SJP is an “absolute doll”, and she was floored to meet Mary Tyler Moore recently when the actress guest starred on the television show Lipstick Jungle, which is also based on one of Candace’s books.  I think the audience was slightly intimidated by the real CB, because barely anyone asked questions, which led Candace to say “Doesn’t anyone want to know if there is a real Mr. Big or what brand of shoes I am wearing?”  LOL  Love it!!!  🙂  She told us that there was in fact a real Mr. Big, whom she dated for a year and a half and who did dump her for another woman after a trip to Europe, just like on the series.  The real Mr. Big ended up marrying the woman he met in Europe after only four months of dating and, like Carrie, Candace was absolutely devastated.  Unlike on the series, however, the real Mr. Big is still happily married to this day.  He now lives in Vermont with his wife and kids and several horses.  Candace is also now happily married, as well, and I must say her wedding band is absolutely gorgeous – but surprisingly simple.  It is a very understated, very modest eternity band with pave diamonds that sparkle like no other.  I LOVED it.  🙂  Anyway, Candace also told us that she did just sign a contract to pen a series of young adult novels about the early life of Miss Carrie Bradshaw.   YAY!  She has not begun writing these novels as of yet, but she is very excited to start.  I asked her how closely she worked on the Sex and the City  series and she said that was very involved as a consultant during the first two seasons, but not at all after that and not at all on the movie.  She said that after the first two seasons she entrusted her story to Michael Patrick King, who she thinks is an absolute genius.  She also said that she felt that being a part of the series was like “magic”.

         

               

After the question and answer session, Candace signed books (but no DVDs or SATC  memorabilia) for the audience.  She would not, however, pose for any photographs with the fans, so I didn’t get a pic with her.   😦  She was very nice in person, though, and I could not have been more excited to meet her!  It was a truly fabulous evening!!!!  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

 

Stalk It: You can purchase Candace Bushnell’s new book here.  Vroman’s Bookstore is located at 695 E. Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.  You can view their upcoming author events here.

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“De Plane, De Plane!”

         

This weekend my boyfriend and I hung out with Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and his fiance Jen, and we all sat down to watch some Season 3 episodes of the original 90210.   I became a bit obsessed with finding the location that stood in for the Paris garden where Brenda takes “Reek” in the episode entitled “Shooting Star/An American In Paris”.  I knew, from the Universal Studios tour, that most of the Paris scenes on 90210 were filmed in the Little Europe section of the Universal backlot, but the garden area used in the episode we watched on Saturday was definitely not a backlot.  Mike and I figured out that the scenes had to have been shot in one of three places – the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia, the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, or Descanso Gardens in La Canada.  I decided if I really wanted to find Brenda’s garden, I was just going to have to hit up all three (I told you I was a bit obsessed!), so yesterday I dragged my boyfriend out to the Arboretum for a little 90210  stalking.  Unfortunately, after walking pretty much every square foot of the 127 acre property, I realized that 90210  was not in fact filmed at the Arboretum.  But since countless other productions have been filmed there, I still felt it was blog-worthy.  🙂

The Arboretum was originally the private ranch of real estate tycoon Elias Jackson Baldwin, who first purchased the land in 1875.  He lived on the property, which at the time was called Rancho Santa Anita, and eventually built a guest home, called the Queen Anne Cottage, to house his many guests.  In 1936, the land was purchased by a group of investors led by Harry Chandler, publisher of the LA Times  newspaper.  That same year Hollywood came a knockin’ on the Arboretum’s door when producers of the film Tarzan Escapes chose to film much of their movie on the vast property.  In 1947, the property was purchased by both the State of California and the City of Los Angeles, who turned it into a public arboretum and botanical garden.  

           

                               

Since Tarzan Escapes, literally hundreds upon hundreds of film, television and commercial productions have shot at the Arboretum.  The most notable credit on the Arboretum’s resume is the television series Fantasy Island, which showcased Elias Baldwin’s former guest house, the Queen Anne Cottage, each week in its opening credits.  The Cottage was none other than the location where Tatoo proclaimed “De plane, de plane!” at the beginning of each episode.  The first few episodes of Fantasy Island  were actually filmed on location at the Arboretum, but after that a replica of the cottage was built on a soundstage to be used for filming.   You can watch the intro to Fantasy Island  here.

The Queen Anne Cottage was also featured in Meet the Fockers  as Ben Stiller’s parents’ home.  In Meet the Fockers  the Cottage was painted brown and looks very different than it does in real life.

                 

Besides Fantasy Island, the Arboretum shows up in The African Queen, The Road to Singapore, Roots, Wonder Woman, The American President, Anaconda, Bedazzled, Battle of Shaker Heights, Terminator 2, as well as a recent episode of Heroes, where it stood in for the Peruvian jungle.  The waterfall and bamboo park area of the Arboretum were also featured in the Destiny’s Child Survivor  video (pictured above).

                 

The Arboretum is an absolutely beautiful place to visit, with a very reasonable $7 entrance fee.  Even though I was seriously dissapointed that it was not the location used in 90210, I still had a great time spending my day there.  The Arboretum features over 127 acres of gardens, ponds, lakes, waterfalls, meandering pathways and forests to explore.  I highly recommend stalking it!

        

Perhaps the best feature of the Arboretum, though, are the hundreds of peacocks that make their home there and walk the property freely.  The peacocks are extremely tame (I even saw them eating grapes right out of a little girl’s hand) and walk right next to you, as if exploring the Arboretum themselves.  They were so much fun to see!!   

Until next time, Happy Stalking!! 🙂

Stalk It: The Los Angeles State and County Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located at 301 N. Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia.  The Arboretum is open from 9am to 5pm.  Tickets will cost you $7 per person, but you can get in free each third Tuesday of the month.

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Stalking In Pink

Got a challenge  the other day from Niki all the way over in Greece to stalk some of the locations from her favorite 80s flick Pretty In Pink.  I have to admit that before I got the challenge I had never actually seen the movie, so this week I made a special trip to Blockbuster to rent it.  After watching it I was in shock that I had somehow missed seeing this movie during the 80s – Pretty In Pink  is pretty much right up my alley and I have no idea why I had never watched it before this week.  Better late than never, though, right?  Anyway, thanks to Mike over at MovieShotsLA, who located all of the Pretty In Pink  locations long ago, I was able to stalk one of the houses from the movie yesterday.  

   

In Pretty In Pink, Molly Ringwald plays Andie, a girl who is literally from the wrong side of the tracks.  In the movie, Andie’s tiny home is located directly next to a set of train tracks supposedly in the Chicago area.  In reality, her home can be found just outside of L.A., in South Pasadena, right next to the Metro Gold Line tracks.  Andie’s train tracks looks much the same today as they did back during the filming of the movie.  I was actually pretty surprised to discover that the majority of the filming of Pretty In Pink took place in Los Angeles, as John Hughes usually prefers to film on location in Chicago. 

     

               

Anyway, I was absolutely amazed to discover that Andie’s house also looks EXACTLY the same today as it did back in 1985 when filming for Pretty In Pink  took place.  The only major difference I noticed is that there is now much more foliage located in front of the house than there was 23 years ago.  Otherwise the home is exactly as it was portrayed onscreen.  It is always amazing for me to stalk a location from a movie or television show that was filmed over two decades ago only to find that little to nothing has changed over the years.  I’ve never been a big fan of change.  : )                 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Andie’s house is located at 1010 Hope Street in South Pasadena.   Literally directly around the corner from Andie’s house is Michael Meyer’s house from the original Halloween  movie.

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Doc Brown’s House

Back to the Future  has always been one of my very favorite movies, so when I found out that the interiors of Doc Brown’s house were filmed at a home in Pasadena, I had to run right out to stalk it.  The exteriors of Doc’s house were also filmed at a home in Pasadena, a very famous Craftsman style home named the Gamble House.  The Gamble House was built by the famous Greene & Greene architecture firm for the Gamble Family (of Proctor and Gamble).  Formerly the Gamble family’s summer home, the Gamble House is now a museum which is open daily to the public.  But I’ll save the history of the Gamble House for another post.  Being that no filming is allowed to take place on the inside of the Gamble home, producers had to find a similar home to shoot the interiors of Doc’s house.  The home they chose is called the Robert R. Blacker Home and it is considered by many to be the finest example of Craftsman architecture ever built by the Greene Brothers.

 

Built in 1907 for more than $100,000, the Blacker House was originally situated on over seven acres of land and included a seperate garage and a caretaker’s home.  Originally built for Robert Rowe Blacker and his wife Nellie, sadly the home and its land was parceled off and sold after their death.  While the caretaker’s house and the seven acres of land are now gone, the Blacker House still sits on a significant amount of property and it is absolutely breathtaking to view in person.  Besides being featured in Back to the Future, the Blacker House also shows up in a deleted scene from the movie Armageddon, as the location where Bruce Willis says goodbye to his father before going off to save the world.  I highly recommend stalking the Blacker House if you are at all a fan of Back to the Future  or architecture in general.  The house is absolutely striking in person and pictures simply do not do it justice.

On a side note, last summer, while vacationing in San Diego with my family, we stopped in at the Lodge at Torrey Pines for a bite to eat.  I could not believe my eyes as we drove up to the resort as the exterior is the spitting image of the Blacker House.  The concierge was shocked when I asked him if the hotel was modeled after the Blacker House – he said that no guest he’d ever talked to in the two years he’d been working at the hotel had ever even heard of the Blacker House.  Apparently he didn’t realize he was talking to a stalker.  🙂  LOL  The Lodge at Torrey Pines is a beautiful hotel and another breathtaking example of Craftsman architecture.  Although no movies have been filmed there, I highly recommend stalking the hotel if you find yourself in the area.

 Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It:  The Gamble House is located at 4 Westmoreland Place in Pasadena.  The R. R. Blacker House is located at 1177 Hillcrest Avenue, at the corner of Hillcrest and Wentworth Ave., also in Pasadena.  The Lodge at Torrey Pines can be found at 11480 North Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla.

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Brenda and Dylan’s First Kiss

I think the new 90210  has been making me nostalgic for the original series, because lately I have found myself re-watching old episodes of the 90s show.   The other night, while watching one of my fave episodes from the first season, the episode where Brenda and Dylan first get together, I noticed a filming location that I had yet to stalk.  In the episode, entitled “Isn’t It Romantic”, Dylan has moved out of his suite at the BelAge Hotel and into what looks like a ritzy apartment building.  After a date at the former Fox Studio City Theatre, Dylan brings Brenda back to that apartment building only to find his father waiting for him inside – and, of course, drama ensues.   

        

While watching the episode, I happened to notice the word “L’Ermitage” spelled out on the side of the apartment building’s entrance (pictured in the above screen capture).

      

     

So I got to Googling and quickly discovered that there used to be a “members only” hotel called the L’Ermitage located in Bevelry Hills once upon a time.  Sadly, the L’Ermitage was purchased by the Raffles hotel chain in October of 2000 and was completely renovated, remodeled, and renamed.  The new hotel, called the Raffles L’Ermitage, does not look very much like Dylan’s former apartment building.  Even the front entrance of the hotel, which was the site of Brenda and Dylan’s dramatic first kiss, was gutted and changed.   But while the L’Ermitage does look very different than it did during the 90210  days, something about it is still vaguely reminiscent.  Especially familiar is the sidewalk in front of the hotel where Brenda runs after Dylan’s meltdown where he throws a potted plant on the ground.  Gotta love it!!  🙂  Standing there brought back such fond memories for me and I highly recommend stalking the L’Ermitage if you were at all a fan of Brenda and Dylan.  🙂 

The L’Ermitage is an absolutely beautiful place and I cannot wait to drag my boyfriend back there on a Friday or Saturday night to grab a drink in one of the hotel’s many bars.  The hotel’s rooftop terrace has been ranked one of the top three rooftop bars in the country.  The hotel’s Writer’s Bar, where the walls are decorated with screenplays and scripts, is also supposed to be a fabulous place to grab a drink.  The exclusive hotel is also a big time celeb hotspot – so if you visit be sure to keep your eyes peeled!  Julia Roberts, Georgio Armani, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Keira Knightley, Penelope Cruz, and Angelina Jolie have all stayed at the L’Ermitage in the past.  While stalking the L’Ermitage yesterday, I saw James Woods, who was hanging out in front of the hotel.  I absolutely LOVE me some James Woods and the TV show Shark, so I was floored to see him in person.  I would have asked him to take a pic with me, but he was busy talking on his cell phone and then his friend drove up, so I didn’t want to bother him.  I did snap a pic of him from far away, though.  He is in the above photo leaning against the Porsche.  SO COOL!  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It:  Raffles L’Ermitage is located at 9291 Burton Way in Beverly Hills, not far from Rodeo Drive.

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The Standard Hotel

     

My friend Stephanie, who is even more obsessed with Sex and the City  than I am, has a birthday coming up this Friday, so I decided to do a little post today in her honor.  In Stephanie’s favorite SATC  episodes, entitled “Escape from New York” and “Sex in Another City”, Carrie and the Girls take a little vacay to the West Coast.  While there, they stay at the uber-trendy Standard Hotel on the Sunset Strip, and it is that location that I set out to stalk yesterday.  So Steffi – this one’s for you!  🙂  

         

         

The Standard Hotel was featured prominently in both of the L.A. episodes of SATC.   The Standard’s rooftop pool shows up in several scenes – most memorably it is the location where Carrie discusses a rather painful bikini wax.

        

 The lobby area – complete with its live performance art – is also shown several times. 

         

But most memorable for me is the scene that takes place at the hotel’s front entrance – when Carrie is reprimanded for smoking. 

The Standard Hotel is an ultra-trendy, ultra-modern hot spot, with a huge celebrity following.  Originally opened in 1999, with celeb investors such as Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio (sigh!), the hotel was considered a less expensive alternative to the many other pricey West Hollywood hotels.  The Standard is a truly unique hotel – it’s sort of like a W Hotel, only amplified to the power of a hundred.  The Standard features ghost chairs and floor-to-wall-to-ceiling shag carpeting in the lobby, blue astro-turfed patios, live nude performance art showcased in a glass case behind the front desk, a roof-top pool/dessert bar, DJ’s spinning tunes nightly in the lobby, and, most famous of all, upside-down signage.  The whole thing is not really my cup of tea, but if you are into modern decor and the avant-garde, I highly recommend stalking the place.  Today there are four hotels in the Standard chain, with branches in Downtown L.A., Miami Beach and New York.  The Downtown L.A. Standard was featured repeatedly in the 2005 movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  

BIG THANK YOU to Mike, over at MovieShotsLA, for sending me the above screen captures!!

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Standard Hotel is located at 8300 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.  You can visit the hotel’s website here.   A room there will run you $240 and up per night.

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West Beverly?

 

         

A few weeks ago, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, sent me some screen captures from a Season One episode of the original Beverly Hills, 90210  series entitled “Fame Is Where You Find It.”  In the episode Brandon “goes Hollywood” after landing a role on Brenda’s favorite television series Keep It Together.  In one scene in the episode, Keep It Together’s  star, Lydia Leeds, picks Brandon up from West Beverly High in her limousine during lunch.  While watching the episode, Mike noticed that the high school shown in that scene did not look like Torrance High School, the real life locale which was used to portray West Beverly High during the first three seasons of 90210.  Mike made it his mission to find out exactly what school was used in that scene. 

          

I tried to help him out in this stalking mission, but as usual he was one step ahead of me.  🙂  It didn’t take long at all before Mike found some online photos of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and recognized it as the place that stood in for West Beverly in the “Fame Is Where You Find It” episode.  I have visited and blogged about this location once before, but I just had to run right out to re-stalk it so that I could see the exact spot that was used in 90210.  🙂  And standing there at Notre Dame High, it was easy to see that, without a doubt, it was definitely the location used in the “Fame Is Where You Find It” episode.  It is so strange to me that producers filmed Brandon’s limousine pickup at a different location than Torrance High School, especially since there were a few other scenes from that same episode that were filmed at Torrance High.  What was it that caused producers to shoot this scene elsewhere when in ever other instance I know of, all exteriors of West Beverly were shot at Torrance?  Were they looking for a specific look for that particular scene that Torrance just didn’t have?  Did they run out of time and decide to shoot the brief limo scene at Notre Dame because it is about 20 miles closer to the 90210 studios  than Torrance High School?   Perhaps we will never know, but it is these little idiosyncrasies that absolutely fascinate me when it comes to filming locations – and that will keep me stalking day after day for years to come.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Notre Dame High School is located at 13645 Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks.  The exterior of the school’s chapel area was used for the filming of Brandon’s limousine pickup.

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