Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

TAKE US OUT TO THE BALLGAME—BEAUTIFUL PLAY IN THE CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Our national pastime can be enjoyed in an unforgettable afternoon and evening by attending a California League game, at one of eight minor league stadiums, such as the wonderful venue in the little town of Lake Elsinore, in Riverside county—halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego.

 

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STORM STADIUM, LAKE ELSINORE, CALIFORNIA

There, on the late afternoon of July 2, 2016, the home club, Lake Elsinore STORM, hosted the Lancaster JETHAWKS, for a delightful and exciting game. The Storm won, 3-1, but for a charmed spectator the outcome was less important than the fun of watching major league prospects show their stuff. For example, a right-handed pitcher, Enyel De Los Santo, seen below, may someday soon join the San Diego Padres, as the Storm is one of the Padre minor league affiliates (farm team).

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On this marvelous afternoon The Lancaster JETHAWKS, a Houston Astros minor league club, appropriately named also for its location in the California Antelope Valley, a region long associated with the aerospace industry, was the visiting ball team. Lancaster is about an hour north of Los Angeles.

For a fan who has had the privilege of seeing baseball in many major league parks around the nation and in Canada, this afternoon was as good as most of those experiences. Just to watch batting practice, followed by immaculate grounds keeping work to get the field in perfect playing shape was a treat. As the fans easily strolled into the stadium (with brief stops for what appeared to be serious security checks) the tarpaulins were removed to unveil a mix of perfectly manicured green turf, with brown base paths and a carefully measured pitcher’s mound.

Precisely at 6:05 pm the home plate umpire called, “Play Ball.” (There are two umpires running California League games, compared with four in the majors.) Soon the score was 3 to 1, on an early homerun by the Storm’s Fernando Perez, the designated hitter.

(In the lower minor leagues each team has a “designated hitter, “ a practice first employed in the American League of Major League baseball, giving the pitchers a chance to concentrate on that skill without having to worry about batting.)

As the game progressed—and the fans were clearly patronizing the concession stands for dinner or snacks—the Storm’s efficient media relations specialist, Tyler Zickel, also took to the field between innings to honor local kids and other dignitaries for civic activities. (This also provided a good chance for some fans to ignore the field and get food!)

Lake Elsinore itself, in a beautiful valley setting amid California hills and mountains, was named for a spectacular body of water quite visible from the stadium.   Now somewhat diminished by the terrible California drought, the lake is still a brilliant and lovely natural wonder. Team management schedules almost all games for very late afternoon when the heat of central and southern California has subsided.

If a spectator came to Lake Elsinore early enough to get a look around there were numerous fast food joints, but also three fine restaurants lined up to serve a more discerning taste—a Persian restaurant, next to a really good Mexican place, which was next door to an Italian restaurant with a welcoming and serious menu. For three diners at the Mexican eatery, the total tab came to under $30 for a full and memorable meal. This seemed typical of Lake Elsinore prices.

A nearby Spa advertised serious massage treatment, probably not up to the highest standards of LA or San Diego, but a tired driver could get relief there, before the game. Of course it would be difficult to be too worn out from driving since the time to get to Storm stadium from nearby big cities was a mere hour-and-a-half. Much less driving time would be required if a fan was coming from close in cities in Riverside County or Orange County, both important population centers in California.

The true designation of Riverside and adjoining counties is California’s “Inland Empire,” perhaps a bit of overstatement but one could get the royal treatment at Lake Elsinore just by purchasing a moderately priced ticket and going out to the ballgame!

SPRINGTIME AT THE GETTY MUSEUM IN LOS ANGELES

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

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     The Getty Museum has strong collections in certain areas—photography, medieval manuscripts and European paintings artifacts among many others.  Their exhibitions tend to favor the house treasures supplemented by superior contributions from around the world. 

This was the case with three fine temporary exhibits in mid-April.  But for the casual visitor the Richard Meier designed buildings, the Robert Irwin gardens and another look at the wonderful world-class ambition is always breathtaking.

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      The Museum touts its collections as featuring “western art from middle ages to the present.” 

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     On a lovely day in April we spent time looking at Leonardo DaVinci sketches for his eternal sculptures, some marvelous panoramic photos—of Iceland, Queens, NY and strip shopping centers in L.A.  All absolutely brilliant, works of brilliant art and unbelievable time-consuming craft.  Then there was an exhibit of architectural renderings and representations from medieval manuscripts.  (Fortunately we had a superb guide from the Getty Education Department to help make sense of this.  J. Paul Getty, whose fortune created all this, left special directions for emphasis on education.  Thank you, Mr. Getty.)

     The Getty has in its permanent collection some of the earliest art photography, including work from the British photographer Frederick H. Evans.  To supplement the Museums own collection many early photos from around the world were brought in to make this an in-depth presentation.  Some will be amazed with these pictures, others will wonder if we are not forced to take this look because this is a chance for The Getty to show off.  But, one must not be cynical.

     A visitor to Los Angeles could not do any better than to spend a few hours at this wonderful site, one of America’s greatest cultural destinations.  Even without world class art the experience is uplifting and ennobling.DSCN0383

In The Center of West Hollywood

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Hollywood is not only the mythic site of motion picture and television dreams but it is also a place to live and is the location of the highest-end design studios and showrooms in Los Angeles. Access to all this is comfortably provided for the visitor who stays at Le Parc, just off Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood.

Each of LeParc’s 150 rooms is a spacious suite. There is a rooftop pool and tennis court and a pretty good restaurant, called Knoll, named for the hotel’s address on West Knoll, a nice residential street with charming bungalows and a large string of condominums. Le Parc is affordable at about $200 per night with an added charge of $28 for the garage. Of course a car is almost mandatory in LA. By the way, Le Parc is very dog-friendly (with a one-time $75 fee for pooch) and there are many dogs in the neighborhood making for fun walks.

At one end of West Knoll at the most the most fashionable part of Melrose Avenue, the visitor is steps away from Pacific Design Center and its luxurious showrooms and offices housing top-end LA institutions like two Wolfgang Puck restaurants and the home of Rogers and Cowan, the number one entertainment industry PR firm. A walk through the Design Center is a pleasure, one gallery after another featuring everything you might want in the way of home and office furnishings. This same area is home to some of Los Angeles’s best restaurants, including the fine Italian spot, AGO, with its Tuscan cuisine, and with patrons from the movie studios and its backing from the great Robert DeNiro. When we visited the food and service was excellent and not too pricey but, of course, Bob DeNiro was nowhere near, probably still at his Lower Manhattan home in the huge five story building on Franklin Street.

The other end of West Knoll lets out on Santa Monica Boulevard giving the visitor a chance to enjoy several small gourmet restaurants and take-out places and to experience the real life of West Hollywood with food stores, fitness clubs and what appeared to be a rather gay-friendly scene. And, if you had occasion to visit the Wilshire District, say to visit the Los Angeles County Art Museum or needed to stop off at Canter’s, the 80-year old delicatessen on Fairfax, near CBS’s television city and the venerable LA Farmer’s Market, you would be a short drive away as a guest of Le Parc.

Quick Bite on LA's Miracle Mile at the County Museum

  When a quick bite is right, Los Angeles has food trucks everywhere, such as this one outside the County Art Museum