Saturday, September 18, 2010
2001 in 2010
Musso and Frank's is a restaurant that has catered to Hollywood stars since 1919: Humphery Bogart, Edward G. Robinson; Charlie Chaplin even had his usual table where he'd dine with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. The prices were a bit high for us but we couldn't help ourselves. We ordered oysters and a porterhouse to split and ordered two waters. The service was total old-school class: red jacketed waiters and attention to detail. The oysters were delicious, like eating the ocean itself (as Deb says) and the steak was sublime. I never wanted to stop eating it and with every bite I pitied vegetarians all the more. I don't know how traditional oysters and steak is to L.A., but eating in such an institution made it all the more memorable. I was disappointed that such a fantastic place was half empty during dinner on a Friday night which the trendy places we passed had lines out the door, but L.A. has always been about what's next, what's new and I was comforted by the fact the Musso and Frank's is alive and kicking.
There are two classic movie theaters within blocks of each other on Hollywood Boulevard: Mann's Chinese Theater and the Egyptian. Mann's (formerly Graumann's) has all the handprints out front but plays new releases while the Egyptian is less famous but plays the classics. The night we were there they were playing "2001: A Space Oddessy" which I've somehow never seen on the big screen. I decided to visit the lobby and they had a wonderful museumesque display of photos and models from the film in glass cases. Suddenly, people began rushing out of the theater in a panic, first a few people, then dozens more. "Call the police," someone shouted, "I already did, they're on their way," came the response. As I made my way outside with the other patrons the cops started pouring in. Turns out some guy had been ranting during the film, then became physical and started choking someone. It sounded like a drug trip gone south and we were relieved that we had opted for dinner instead of a movie.
We headed over to Mann's to check out the handprints of Hollywood stars past and present: Bette Davis, Jimmy Stewart, Harrison Ford, R2-D2 & C3-P0. It somehow reminded me of when I saw the Last Supper in Milan not because of it's artistic importance but because all those stars had stood right where we were standing all those years ago. The Walk of Fame is like an art gallery while Mann's courtyard provides historical proof in the form of hand and footprints and in the case of Jimmy Durante a noseprint as well.
As we made our way on Hollywood Boulevard out of town we put the top back down and blasted some tunes: Sir-Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" to be exact. People stopped and stared because we were so damn hip it hurt. And even the trendiest folks waiting in line at the hottest clubs could not hide their envy.