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February 11, 2008:

THE TAPPAS BAR

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I’m going to say one word to you and that word is Tappas. What the HELL is going on in the world? We have been invaded by Tappas Bars. I noticed it in New York last year, and now LA, but most especially the San Fernando Valley has been inundated with these things for the trendy and hip. I mean, I’ve heard of Topless bars but Tappas Bars? When did this oh so hip Tappas thing begin, because I am here to inform you that three years ago in the city of Los Angeles there wasn’t a one of them, at least that I knew about, and I’m pretty savvy, restaurant-wise. And some Tappas bars have two ‘p’s and some have one ‘p’ – what’s up with that, as the hipsters say? Make up your mind, you damn tappas/tapas people. In any case, I know tapas bars have been around for many, many years in Spain, but why have they suddenly become the hip and trendy thing in LA? Because it had become the hip and trendy thing in NY? Certainly mac and cheese became hip and trendy in NY the last couple of years, and I can see its doing the same now in LA. I want to know how these food fads begin – who engineers them, why do some work while others don’t (noodle shops, for one)? Why have I written a long paragraph on tappas/tapas bars? Because they BUG me, that’s why. I gotta tell you. I don’t believe I shall ever be frequenting either a tappas or a tapas bar, but I will admit that I was once in a topless bar, back in 1971. Speaking of 1971, yesterday was a nice, relaxing day. I slept in a little (until 9:45), then got up and puttered around the home environment. I did a little work at the piano, went out and got a couple of poached eggs at Du-Par’s, and then took a drive to Van Nuys Blvd. to check out the location of what was once Ontra Cafeteria. I’d seen a marvelous shot of it in a Fugitive episode and thanks to my pal Richard Jones, I finally learned where it was. I knew it was one of the major Valley streets, that much I could tell, but wasn’t sure which it was. In the shot on the TV show, you could see a car wash, then Ontra, then a building with San Fernando Valley Bank on it (and beyond that, another ten story building being built). Well, at Van Nuys and Chandler, the car was is still there. Beyond it are all car dealerships – no bank building or other buildings in sight. I find it decidedly peculiar that they would raze office buildings built in 1962 and replace them with car dealerships, but that seems to be what happened. In the same episode, there’s a wonderful shot of Steele’s Motor Court on Ventura Blvd. I thought that must have been near me, but Richard identified that one, too – it was on Ventura near Colbath – somewhere on that block that now houses a McDonald’s and CafĂ© Cordiale. After that, I came home and sat on my couch like so much fish.

Yesterday, I watched two count them two motion pictures on DVD. The first motion picture on DVD was entitled Madame X, starring Miss Lana Turner, Mr. John Forsythe, Mr. Ricardo Montalban, and Mr. Keir Dullea, along with Miss Constance Bennett. It gives sudser and potboiler a whole new meaning – what they were thinking of making this film in 1966 is anyone’s guess. It’s entertaining, to be sure, and I must say Miss Turner gives one of her best performances (if not her best). She really seems to go to deep places with her character. I certainly liked it better than the awful Portrait In Black. Sadly, the transfer is brown and pasty-looking (fleshtones are awful) and flat and looks nothing like the lush Ross Hunter productions looked when they were originally shown. It’s shocking that someone sitting in a telecine room doesn’t know better – twirl a few nobs and they could certainly bring this much closer to what it should be. I then watched a motion picture on DVD entitled Tammy And The Bachelor, starring Miss Debbie Reynolds and Mr. Leslie Nielsen, along with Miss Fay Wray, Miss Mara Corday, Miss Mildred Natwick, Mr. Sidney Blackmer, and Mr. Walter Brennan. I haven’t see this film since I saw it on the day it opened, at my beloved Wiltern Theater. My mother took me, and Miss Debbie Reynolds was there in person, giving out signed 45s of the title song (I got one). I quite liked the film back then, and I must say I quite like it now. In fact, it’s simply delightful in every way. Warm, funny, winning, and human, well directed by Joseph Pevney, and oh, that Livingston and Evans title song. Now, Universal, who released the two mundane transfers of the Turner films, here gets the transfer perfect. Why? Surely they can see the difference between the gorgeous and true color of the Tammy transfer and the brown ugliness of the Turner films. Then again, I looked at the other two Tammy movie transfers (the Sandra Dee films) and they’re even uglier than the Turner films. Someone should be retired and these studios need to stop doing this shoddy (unnecessarily so) work. The Tammy transfer is splendid – reasonably sharp (especially in the close ups and the medium shots) and with perfect color. Want to see what blue and green should look like – look no further than this transfer. And before anyone says “but there are a few shots that don’t look good” – those are opticals and they never looked good because they are comprised of dupe footage.

What am I, Ebert and Roeper all of a sudden? Why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I must get up quite early and do a lot of work in conjunction with the production meeting I’ll be attending this evening.

Last night, we had a lovely hainsies/kimlets get-together with dear reader MBarnum at our favorite Chinese jernt, Genghis Cohen. It was shockingly crowded for a Sunday night (I’ve been there many Sunday evenings and it’s never been crowded). Our party consisted of me, Mr. Cason Murphy, Miss Adriana Patti, MissSingingNymph, and MBarnum himself. We had grand food, fun conversation, and it was all lovelier than lovely. MBarnum did take photographs, but our upload folder is currently full, so until Mr. Mark Bakalor gets time to purge us, we won’t be able to see said photographs.

Today, I will do a lot of organizational stuff for the meeting I’m attending this evening in Anaheim Hills, plus I’ll be doing some errands as well. The meeting is at seven, which means I’m going to have to leave at about five to insure that I’ll get there on time. It should be a two hour meeting and then I shall hie myself home.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, not eat in a tapas or tappas bar, I must organize and have things ready for tonight’s meeting, I must do errands, and then I must drive to Anaheim Hills for said meeting. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite and least favorite trendy foods and restaurants – I want to hear them all. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I avoid the word tapas/tappas like the plague.

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