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Can Brad Pitt and George Clooney Save A Legendary Laguna Gay Bar?

Where: 1401 South Coast Highway [map], Laguna Beach, CA, United States, 92651
June 4, 2007 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

Now here's something you never saw on MTV: Apparently Laguna Beach -- the town starring in the guilty-pleasure television series which claimed to depict "The Real Orange County" (unlike that other show) -- has a gay bar. And that gay bar, the Boom Boom Room, is in trouble, because the building that holds the club is currently up for sale, future unknown. The L.A. Times even mentioned the spot, a former clubhouse for semi-closeted actors like Rock Hudson, as an example of "heterosexualization," noting "once-blighted neighborhoods that were settled by gays--often because they felt unwelcome elsewhere--now are so gentrified, in many cases, that younger people can't afford them."

Some residents of Laguna who are actually old enough to get into the Room are looking to Brad Pitt and George Clooney, who had been in on a previous deal to buy the building (it never went through) to save their club, CBGB style--sort of. Save the Boom thinks having the actors on their side will give them a higher profile, and maybe convince a developer to leave their little corner of paradise alone. Will the lifelong bachelor and Mr. Angelina Jolie step up to the plate? Boys, it's the least you can do for Pride Month. But the bar's lease is up in September, so you have to act now.

[Photo: Save the Boom]

Related Stories:
· Hotels in Laguna Beach [HotelChatter]

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Where to Take Your Grandma in NorCal

Where: 14050 Highway 128 [map], Boonville, CA, United States, 95415
October 10, 2006 at 5:05 PM | by | ()

If you're itching for a trip to the West Coast but don't think Grandma would enjoy the AL Playoff madness in Oakland or wouldn't like the winos in Napa who think that "Sideways" was the best movie ever, take her over the river, through the woods and into the mountains to tiny Boonville, CA for a respite.

Enjoy the lush forests, sample the products of the Anderson Valley wine district and see if you can master Boontling, the area's own 19th century folk language.

Cat lovers should check out the quaint Boonville Hotel for its charming, airy rooms and simple but tasty breakfasts, which you can enjoy outside in the garden with the hotel cat. Just make sure Grammy isn't allergic.

[Photo: Catherine George/Flickr]

Related Story:
· A Paws that Refreshes [Jaunted]

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Fluffed Objects of Mass Destruction

April 24, 2006 at 9:20 AM | by | ()

In certain circles, mentioning the city of San Francisco is simply shorthand for people with too much time on their hands, none of which they spend working, showering, or eating foods manufactured by Kraft. While we think that is the point of living in California, and strenuously disagree when anyone refers to the city in derogatory terms, it's hard to explain away the following video.

A few months ago, San Franciscans--one thousand of them--came together in front of the Ferry Building to participate in the first annual meeting of the San Francisco Pillow Fight Club . And by participate, we mean beat each other senseless with pillows. Think of it as flash mobs (which were just invented by a Harper's editor anyway) with goose down. Isn't this all very 2003?

Related Stories:
·   Hundreds Attend Mass Pillow Fight [SF Chronicle]
·   My Crowd [Harper's]

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Theme Parks Tone Down the Excitement

April 18, 2006 at 12:14 PM | by | ()

Thrills! Tepid, yawn-inducing thrills! For the theme-park loving contingent of tourists who will fan out across the nation this summer, the new roller coaster season is likely to be a lot more mild than those in years past. Many of the large theme park operators have determined that whiplash and nauseating rides tend to put a dent in concessions.

Teenagers, with whom those rides are the most popular, don't spend all that much at the park anyway, but families do, and they prefer rides that are low key. Once again, the list of new rides is in the subscription-only Wall Street Journal, so here's what speed freaks have to look forward to underwhelming them this year. They seem, on the whole, pretty boring:

Pirates 4-D at Busch Gardens: Surround-sound, vibrating seats, and a voice-over by actor Leslie Neilsen all mimic the experience of watching Chinese DVD pirates make 400 copies of Maid in Manhattan in less than twenty minutes. Or there's something about sea pirates.

Killer Whale Ballet at SeaWorld: The name is entertaining enough for this one. There's a "Dine with Shamu" feature opening there this summer, too. Maybe SeaWorld is hoping to cut back on costs by feeding children to the famous Orca.

Bugs Bunny National Park at Six Flags: Rejoice at the reservations-only brunch! Nothing says action-packed quite like Eggs Benedict. Daily parades and clearly marked exits spell excitement here.

Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge at Hersheypark: Riders sit in two competing cars with a laser pointer and shoot at targets while the operators pump in the smell of peanut butter and chocolate. Then there are "sweet rewards" waiting at the end. Hmm, what could they be? Oh, right. Six peanut butter cups.

Phew. We need to sit down after all that.

[Image via Forever Souls/Flickr]

Related Stories:
·   Rethinking the Thrill Factor [WSJ]

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The Dives of San Francisco

April 17, 2006 at 3:51 AM | by | ()

The blog Dive stays far away from anywhere with crystal glassware and tablecloths -- the obsession here is low-end restaurants, especially the hofbraus, the cafeteria/bar combinations that are still hanging on in some parts of California.

"Hole-in-the-walls, the greasy spoons, [and] roach coaches" all get their due, too, and most of the photos definitely pass the "does it make us hungry" test. We're not sure what a roach coach is, but we're not exactly clamoring to eat there, either.

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Will LAX's Pottys Get Less Crappy?

April 12, 2006 at 3:10 PM | by | ()

LAX, how the people love to hate on you. The airport has often ranked near the bottom on JD Power surveys of customer satisfaction, with the gross bathrooms getting lots of special attention.

Luckily, the end is near for the piss-poor Californian commodes. There's word that the city will be spending $6 million dollars a year to refurbish the terminals and their nasty bathrooms. There's also a big budget for landscaping the grounds nearby. (With all the free fertiziler they'll be gettting now?) Here's hoping all that cash results in some major improvement.

Related Stories:
·   LAX Wants Its Image on a Much Higher Plane [LAT]
·   JD Power [site]

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April 11, 2006 at 3:24 PM | by | ()

Everyone knows that the center of the barbeque universe is not on either of America's coasts. It's in the barbeque belt, running from North Carolina in the east, through Tennessee to Kansas City in the west and Texas in the south. That doesn't preclude the rest of the U.S. from staying on top of the smoked and sauced order of things, though.

BBQ Junkie covers the yes-it-does-too-exist Los Angeles barbeque scene, from restaurants to actual competitions. The most recent visit was to Tasty Q on Crenshaw, which was rated some of the best in L.A. That's believable, though in general we are a believer in Memphis-style dry rub seasoning. Luckily, Tasty Q does have a drive-thru window, allowing Angelenos to eat ribs in the austere sanctity of their cars. Yum.