Friday, April 13, 2007

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From March 14-27, 2007 Marti & I were on the road again. We spent a long weekend in Scottsdale AZ with my cousin Lisa, her husband Michael & daughter Sophia. We took in Cactus League baseball, Sedona, the Grand Canyon & a biker bar in Jerome. They are marvelous hosts & we all enjoyed a fun time.
Next stop for my bride & me: North Hollywood. We were pimped out with a rented Mustang convertible & lots of places to go. On Tuesday night March 20 we collected a few LA Krew friends & family for cocktails at a lounge called Match. Then we went to dinner at Sardo's, home of Tuesday night Porn Star Karaoke. Our favorite network TV star Jonathan let rip with "Roadhouse Blues." Marti visited the Huntington Library & Gardens with her cousin Pam while I hit Amoeba Music on Sunset. Marti & I had a fab dinner at the legendary Chateau Marmont. We tooled down Mulholland Drive, visited Malibu, Zuma Beach, the Santa Monica Pier & Venice Beach at sunset. Then we were off to rock the Inland Empire, basing ourselves in Ontario.
On Friday Marti & I drove to the OMC Gallery in Huntington Beach to the opening of Rolf & Roxanne's excellent retrospective of Harold Chapman's photos of The Beat Hotel in Paris & other work. We ended the evening at a bar called Fitzgerald's, where the Michael Ubaldini Band was entertaining an unique O.C. crowd of rockabilly-era wannabes. You could cut the pompadours with a knife. Saturday afternoon was a trip down Memory Lane for Marti. We stopped in Upland to see her grandmother's former home, which is currently under renovation. Then we visited the Graber Olive grove, where we bought gifts & goodies for ourselves & were guided on a tour of the curing/packing plant by a sweet woman named Betty. She tipped us to a family restaurant nearby where we enjoyed a late lunch. Marti & I spent Saturday night in Hollywood. We went to the fabulously restored El Rey Theatre to see The Sadies & The Tragically Hip, cruised Sunset Boulevard afterward, stopping for a 1 a.m. burger call at In-N-Out.
Marti & I took a little road trip on Sunday. We went to Joshua Tree, had super lunch salads at a restaurant called Crossroads. There we met Tiffany & Stephen, who were driving that evening to Las Vegas to get married! Before they left Stephen, a park ranger, told us where to find the spot in the desert where Gram Parsons' body was burned in 1973. From During the funeral ceremony for Gram's close friend Clarence White, Gram was overheard stating that when he died, rather than being buried in the ground, he would like to be taken out to The Joshua Tree desert of southern California and burned. After Gram died in The Joshua Tree Inn, his body was taken to the Los Angeles International Airport in preparation for being flown to Louisiana for burial. Gram's road manager Phil Kaufman and a friend, Michael Martin, got very intoxicated, borrowed a broken down hearse and drove to LAX to retrieve the body. When they arrived, they told the shipping clerk that Gram's remains were to be sent out of another airport, flashed some bogus paperwork and falsely signed for the body. After crashing into a wall and almost being arrested, Phil, Michael and Gram drove back to The Joshua Tree Desert, stopping only to buy more beer and a container of gasoline. They took Gram's remains into the desert, poured gasoline inside the coffin and set him ablaze. The two were arrested several days later and fined $700.00 for stealing and burning the COFFIN (it was not against the law to steal a dead body). Gram's partially burned remains were finally laid to rest in a modest cemetery near New Orleans, LA. Marti & I visited the Joshua Tree Inn, now a shrine to the great country-rocker. A sweet young woman named Kimberly showed us Gram's room & the walls of memorabilia. We also searched & found the "Beat Hotel" in Desert Hot Springs. Steven Lowe, who died last month, was a former associate of William S. Burroughs. The beautifully-restored 1957 motel contains his personal collection of Beat books, artifacts & art. Before returning to Ontario, Marti & I dined on the terrace of the Azul restaurant in Palm Springs. We loved the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, which featured the likes of Ruta Lee & Leslie Nielsen. On Monday we did a bit of shopping & paid respects to Marti's grandparents & great grandparents at the local memorial park. We packed for Tuesday's flight home, then enjoyed a delectable Mexican dinner at a little restaurant called Don Julian.
On our last afternoon in L.A. Marti & I went to lunch & shopping on Robertson Boulevard in Hollywood. We were lucky to get into The Ivy without a reservation. A jammin' restaurant. Fabulous food. Then we shopped at Kitson, American Apparel & other shops along Chic Street. It was a sweet way to conclude our trip.

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