Posts Tagged ‘Metro’

Growing Transit Alternatives in LA

July 25, 2009

A recent press release from Metro, the local transit authority here in LA, suggests a high speed train from downtown to Anaheim may soon be a reality in the next decade. Suggested time from downtown Los Angeles’  Union Station to Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center Station would be a mere 20 minutes, something you just can’t do under normal freeway traffic conditions. Read here for further details.

Now the question I ask, is does this give an unfair advantage to being an Angels fan? Is this an Angels conspiracy? If I can get to Anaheim from my apartment in something less than an hour for an Angels game, but am still reliant on buses or the current guaranteed parking lot gridlock of going to see a Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium approximately 3 miles from me, guess which one I would choose to go to? Maybe I should consider riding my bike. Or walking, that hill up to the stadium is rather steep.

It has been brought up before, by others, that something LA lacks is easy access to Dodger Stadium, like any other self respecting internationally renowned team has. Do you think that in Chicago you can’t get to Wrigley Field via the El? Or that you can’t get to Yankee Stadium (old or new) in New York City on the subway? I know, these are East Coast (and Midwest) ideals, and Los Angeles is a West Coast city. But that hasn’t stopped Seattle, San Francisco or Portland from having excellent public transportation, such that one can easily live in any of those cities without a car, and get anywhere you need to go. Including the stadiums of all their important home teams. LA, a little trickier, but with a well planned home base, and a well planned life around the Metro, it can be done.

Why do you think I bought a place a mere two blocks from a subway station in LA? News like this that tells me I could soon easily get to Orange County without a car (I actually already can, using Metrolink, but this would be way faster!)  just makes me thrilled to pieces. It also might make my home worth a little more, especially when the oil industry eventually collapses!

A Night Out in LA (5) part 2

March 13, 2009

Since it was only a little after 10 pm, I hurried on to my next destination.

My Tuesday Night continued, Part 2: Fish Circus again

Thanks to myspace, I knew that Fish Circus was playing once more at R Bar. And having taken the Metro to get to Hollywood & Vine, I noticed that if I switched off the Red Line and got on the Purple Line, one stop more and I would be at Normandie and Wilshire, a couple blocks from where the R Bar is. I had no idea I could actually take a Metro line to my nearby bar. I always forget about the Purple Line, since all but two stops are the same as the Red Line. Though it might still be quicker to walk at night, since the waiting for the Metro is agony enough, since frequently there is no time table to refer to when the next train is. It’s an LA thing, to always be late, or not to show up at all for things, blaming the traffic or lack of parking, but to not have time schedules for those of us avoiding using a car, thus increasing the chances we too will be late, or at least wasting our time like everyone else? Whatever! We are definitely not equivalent to the cities in Europe, where if a train was late by a minute, the gathered boarding crowd would start to grumble. I have seen it. Later than a few minutes, and I would expect a riot in Europe, from the respectable business folk trying to make meetings on time.  But no one kicks up a fuss here in LA. We just tack on an additional half hour or hour to make sure we get to places on time. Or don’t predict when we will arrive.

The myspace notice had said they were doing a double set, starting early at 9:30 pm. Having watched them set up the last time, I suspected I could make it to their second set no problem, as I guessed they would start late.

I walked in, there was silence, and I asked, and sure enough, they hadn’t started the second set yet.

I had another reason to seek Fish Circus out, besides the fact I enjoyed them so much the first time. On my computer, there is a feature that scrolls randomly through all the photos I have saved on my hard drive and displays them as I play on my computer. One day, after seeing Fish Circus the last time, I noticed that the violinist sure looked like the guest member of another band I had snapped pictures of, Ninja Academy. And when I had seen Fish Circus set up last time, I had that feeling the violinist looked extremely familiar, but I couldn’t place from where at all.

Here was my chance. I saw him and asked.

“Did you perform with Ninja Academy when they performed at Spaceland recently?”

“Was that with the King Crimson band?”

The Great Deceivers? Yeah.”

“That was me.”

“I knew you looked familiar!”

 Dan, Sarah. Sarah, Dan. We shook hands.

“Do you recognize the drummer?” he asked.

No, I nodded, puzzled.

“No, you wouldn’t because they wear their ninja masks. Anyway, the drummer here is in Ninja Academy.”

Fascinating. The music world is a small place. The LA music scene is an especially small place.

Fish Circus played their second set, making it up as they went along. This was a smaller audience than last performance, but I think more appreciative. We did not talk during the performance, for one (a major pet peeve for me. Why go see a band and then talk through their show?) I saw at least one person dancing, and more than one of us swayed energetically to the beat. The singer was once again mesmerizing, especially her eyelashes. They were super long and fake, and white speckled, like white speckled bird feathers. I am fascinated by what she chooses to wear and how she presents herself.

Fish Circus at the R Bar March 10th

Fish Circus at the R Bar March 10th

And then, it too, was over. Time to walk home, back along the same route I walked earlier in the day, for the third time.

For a night out in LA, I did extremely well. Action packed, enjoyable, filled with sights and sounds that were exquisite and unique. Total cost? $2.50, and that was strictly for transportation. How awesome is that, in one of the nation’s more expensive cities? And isn’t the internet a marvelous thing, letting me know that these events were to be attended? Gotta love technology.

The New Year Again

January 7, 2009

It’s that time again, for the new year to be acknowledged. 

I don’t really want to, because I feel like I still have so much incomplete about the previous year. Like still not having a job. Shouldn’t that have happened in the months I have been looking for one?

But alas, time moves on, whether I am ready for it or not. 

And I always try to do something unique for the new year, to start it off running in new, untried directions. So this year, I did that. 

I started by actually having something to do that I couldn’t flake out of. (Last NYE I had a ticket to a show that I didn’t go to. I decided the couch and DVDs were more inviting. Silly me!) I had a job. Coat check girl. From answering an ad on Craigslist, and interviewing back in late September for the gig. I figured regardless of what job I obtained in the intervening months, chances were good that working New Year’s Eve would not be part of it. At least most of the jobs I was applying for. 

The view from the coat check room, NYE 2009

The view from the coat check room, NYE 2009




This was the view. All the action was out there, through that door. I got to help set up the bars, the VIP area, and the coat checking. I kept fiddling with the lights in my room, to make it less contrasting. But strangely enough, my room was the place all the staff ducked into to get away. I was the calm oasis away from the storm. And also the place to check one’s texts, emails and lipstick. 



It was pretty much what I thought being a coat check girl would be like. At $15 an hour, I was happy to walk out with cash in pocket. And a few tips. At 2:45 am, I went home, after all the guests had been kicked out. 

At home, I could still hear the BOOM * BOOM * BOOM of Giant Maximus taking place in downtown LA, three covered tents for three different djs doing their thing to ring in the New Year. Kinda wanted to go look at it, but also really wanted to take a nap. Nap won. 

Because at 4:30 am, I was catching a Metro train to meet up with my friend at Union Station to go to the Rose Parade in Pasadena. The floats are there to be viewed before the parade begins. No tickets required. 

The floats were awesome. This was one of my favorites, for the vibrant contrasting colors, and exotic subject of Bollywood. Turns out someone I know worked on it, just got her email today about disassembling it, do I want to help in a few weeks?

Sierra Madre Float

Sierra Madre Float

Yes, those are flowers, all flowers. Amazing, and also a little sad. Again, back to tree torture: plant torture. Couldn’t these millions of flowers had fuller lives, not been forced to bloom out of season, not plucked in the prime of their lives? As long as you don’t think about the sheer wastefulness (again, don’t think about the pointlessness of Christmas trees cut down every year….), it really is beautiful. And there were dancing Indian women in blue/purple saris, when the float really started down the parade route. 

I didn’t realize it, but when the parade started, I was at the back of the line of all the floats, and the bands and winner banners, horses and baton twirlers and dancers and all that sort of stuff gets added two blocks up from where I was, so I only got to see the floats and their people on them. Now I know better for next year. Del Mar and Orange Grove is the corner the parade really starts at. 

I had always wanted to go see the Rose Parade, so I was so happy my friend called and asked me to accompany her. I’ve lived here in LA for 9 years, and still hadn’t been to the parade. Kinda like living in Manhattan and not going to Times Square for NYE. Not like you have to go EVERY year, just once to at least say you’ve done it. That way when your friends come to visit to be a tourist, you can sound jaded but at least you have some local pointers for them. 

After the parade was finished, we caught Metro again back to downtown. We were both famished and starting to get in that snippy mood when each other’s suggestions are inadequate. Definitely time to eat something. My friend was amazed at my getting on Metro technique, despite it looking like there would be no room. (There was no room where everyone crowded, plenty of room where people weren’t, further down the platform.) This is one of the amazing things I have learned from dealing with large public performance events and public transportation. Most are tourists when it comes to using public transportation, and most are locals who just don’t use it themselves! LA is definitely not an exception on that score. 

As we left Pasadena and entered downtown, increasing numbers of people were coming in as we were leaving the Metro stations. A lot were dressed in USC colors, not unusual for downtown LA, which is close to the campus. Oh, we realized, they are going to the game! Having no shame and no allegience, we started saying loud things like “Go Penn!” for no particular reason other than to annoy people.  My friend actually is a UCLA fan, so any opponent of SC is a friend to her. Whatever. I just don’t care, having no fondness for football anyway. And not having attended a large University, I don’t pay any attention to collegiate sports. Then again, I mostly don’t pay any attention to any sports. Except maybe the Olympics. Sometimes.

There we were, in downtown LA, hungry and looking for someplace convenient to eat. The Pantry! My friend had never been there for breakfast. I had never been, though I pass it every time I walk into downtown. The line was enormous. But if you walk right in through the clearly marked exit door, you can stand in the shorter line for counter space. Which my friend did. And I stood in line outside for table space. She won and we got two counter spaces together. And a very kind gentleman who lived south of USC proceeded to tell us his life story, and future plans. He was fascinating and says he comes every Sunday and holiday, that coming to the Pantry for breakfast on those days were his social interaction for the week. 

Fed, we realized we were sleepy and our feet tired. Despite an attempt to come back to my place and work on cleaning it up, my friend decided going home was the best plan. I went with her back to her car at Universal City, to make sure she managed to make it to her car. She was definitely dragging at that point. The last lifting of the foot into the car was a struggle. I closed her door. She was thinking of calling her son once she got home to have him help her out of her car and into her house. She didn’t, but it was worth a laugh contemplating being that lazy. She gave me her day pass for my efforts. 

One hour naptime for me. And off to Long Beach.

In recent years, I have tried to do a tour of Southern California on New Year’s Day to remind myself of why I live here, and all that is so easily available. One year I sat on a berm at Venice Beach as fireworks announced the New Year, then drove up the coast to Oxnard up Highway 1 along the ocean and then into the mountains of Big Bear and Blue Jay for a glimpse of snow, and then out to the desert of Palm Springs by lunchtime.  That was one year. 

This year, to make up for all the summer cross country driving I did, the car was staying put. That and lack of renewable funds. Besides, I had a day pass burning a hole in my pocket. Long Beach it was. 

Long Beach Marina

Long Beach Marina


The sun was just setting by the time I got there. In fact, I never actually saw it, so perhaps it was already twilight. There was a slight haze in the air, adding to the feeling of other-worldliness, or other-timeliness. 



Of course, the cruiseliner Queen Mary looming out of reach and the pirate ship also added to the feeling of unreality.



Queen Mary looming

Queen Mary looming










It was nice. Here is where a ferris wheel turns. And a variety of restaurants and shops. Across a busy street, and here is where the Long Beach Aquarium is, shaped like a gently rolling surf, another place I have never visited. And walking along the boardwalk of Shoreline Village (more restaurants and stores and knick-knacks a-plenty), it slowly leads one to the lighthouse atop the hill. People were strolling, skateboarding, staring at the descending darkness, saying good-bye to the first day of the year. 

Lingering Remains of the Day

Lingering Remains of the Day

And so ended my day. My first day of 2009, my last night of 2008. May the New Year bring continued delights. May we never forget how beautiful the world is, how special, fragile and unique.