Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This and That

A mid-week roundup of links with a focus on Southern California news...

...The granddaughter of the late Kathryn Grayson will be starring in a new stage production of KISS ME, KATE in San Pedro, California. Kristin Towers-Rowles will appear as Lilli/Kate in the role her grandmother played in the classic 1953 MGM musical. The show is presented by the Relevant Stage and opens at the Warner Grand Theatre on February 17th, the one-year anniversary of Grayson's death.

Towers-Rowles can be seen singing in YouTube videos of several performances, including this rendition of "Vanilla Ice Cream" from SHE LOVES ME.

...I recently mentioned I'd stopped going to a Borders bookstore I liked when they stopped stocking the shelves and CD racks adequately. Just read that that store, in the Los Altos Center in Long Beach, will be closing as part of the company's bankruptcy.

The irony is that when that Borders opened, in a very YOU'VE GOT MAIL scenario, my favorite independent bookstore in that center closed. The Book Emporium was a very special store where the employees knew their regular customers and would set aside new books of interest for us to review -- there were actually shelves labeled with our names behind the counter! As soon as word came that Borders was opening, the Book Emporium closed.

There's a lot to be said for the book superstores, and I wouldn't go back to the days before Amazon -- Amazon performs the same service as the independent store by giving customers targeted recommendations -- but I do miss that little store sometimes!

...Did you know that the "Miami" of CSI: MIAMI is actually Long Beach in Southern California?

For that matter, the New York of CSI: NY is in San Pedro.  My daughter's done some background work on both shows, and it's fun to hear about the ways they try to turn Southern California into Miami and New York. On CSI: NY they actually import New York sand and bushes for waterfront scenes.

...Susan King of the Los Angeles Times recommended some classic films for Valentine's Day. I was delighted to see the plug for Frank Borzage's HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT (1937), one of the great relatively unsung romances of the classic film era. My 2008 review of the movie, which stars Charles Boyer and Jean Arthur, is here. It's a truly unusual film blending comedy, tragedy, romance, and disaster movie all in one package. One would have to be made of stone not to be moved by the movie's final scenes.

...Sidney Harth, the former concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has passed away at the age of 85.

That's a name I remember from concert programs of my childhood.

...I encourage reading the obituaries of David Garcia, a Long Beach police officer who recently passed away after a nine-year battle with cancer -- and just days after the birth of his first child.

He sounds like a remarkable man with a great deal of compassion for citizens and animals alike. The world could use more people like Officer Garcia.


Blogger Batman said...

I've been thinking a lot about Kiss Me Kate lately, since I saw it on TCM in December. Especially interested in "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" sung by Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore, however, I didn't find that clip on YouTube, although, there were other performances from various productions. Thanks for the info, I'll try to make it out there....

PS, I thought everyone knew CSI was filmed in LA?!? I started calling it CSI: Santa Clarita when I found out where they're based out of :)

2:30 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Delightful to read your mention of "History is Made at Night". I especially love the review you linked (which I've read before) with the line: "to watch her dance with Boyer is to witness a woman falling in love in real time."

That's got to be one of the best interpretations in reviewing a classic film I've ever read. I just love that line.

I'd love to tackle "History" myself, but it's such a gossamer film, the way I trowel on words like bricks on mortar, I'd ruin it. As you point out in your terrific review, how do you discuss a film like this? Not only do you risk exposing too much, but you risk trampling on something fragile.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'd love to have you take on HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT, Jacqueline -- I think your up to the challenge, and I'm sure others would agree. :) It really is tricky, though! Its twists and turns are quite unexpected, and there really is a sort of delicate magic to the whole thing.

I realized looking at my review it's been three years since I saw it...time for a rewatch!

Best wishes,

3:59 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

As the article mentions, CSI: Miami's exteriors are in Long Beach and the interiors filmed in Manhattan Beach (both in L.A. County). CSI: NY shoots interiors in Studio City and exteriors are frequently filmed in San Pedro.

I believe it's the original CSI that's been filmed in Santa Clarita, just for clarification for anyone who may be curious. They used to have a studio there, though I believe they're now at Universal Studios.

Hope you get to see KISS ME, KATE!

Best wishes,

4:08 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Oh, sure. Me trodding about that lovely film in my muddy Wellington boots like a deranged tour guide talking about, oh, by, the way, the use of the guillotine in 20th Century France, and the significance of lobster cardinale in pre-War Europe cafe society. The very thought of it makes me sob.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

LOL! That response is why I'd love to see you write about it, Jacqueline. :)

Best wishes,

5:01 PM  
Blogger Raquelle said...

Wow some great links and stories here. I didn't know about the locations for CSI Miami and NY. Great work your daughter did researching that! Was it for school or just for fun?

I never knew an Independent book store growing up, was always used to chains. But then again, You've Got Mail was what got me in the business in the first place. Where I live now there are some really great Indies and one of them was able to survive and actually brought down the B&N nearby. I guess indie bookstores work in some areas whereas in others chains dominate. Borders closing will adversely affect the book industry as a whole, even will affect the indie stores, but I think the effect won't be as massive as if this were to happen a few years ago.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Raquelle! I should have clarified the term background work, as it wasn't clear in context -- she's actually worked on the shows as a background extra. She's been in a multiple episodes of both shows -- most recently she was both a crash scene medic and a lab tech in a CSI: NY show about a mobile party on a truck going into the Hudson River (which was filmed at San Pedro Harbor). However, as is par for the course in that line of work, she's only on screen a few seconds per episode. :)

Very interesting to hear that in your area an indie was so successful the chain didn't survive! It's always sad when there are fewer outlets for books. :(

Best wishes,

5:28 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

The Memorial Service for the police office, David Garcia, was at Bethany Lutheran which is right down the street from where I work. Our school was told there would be a 21 gun salute at Noon and wanted us to have a heads up. I got off work around 11:45 so drove by the church and the parking on the streets surrounding the area was full of police cars, police motorcycles, a K-9 unit car and even parking control vehicles. I drove around thinking I might see the salute but by Noon there was nothing to be seen. I expect the service was going long. He sounded like a remarkable and caring police office and really nice guy.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks much for sharing that, Irene. I drove past Bethany yesterday afternoon and was wondering how the service had been.

Best wishes,

10:41 PM  
Blogger Java Bean Rush said...

I had no idea about the Kiss Me Kate revival.

Thank you so much for these links!

Did you know that Mickey Rooney is suing his stepchildren for abuse?

9:29 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

You're welcome, Java!

That's a sad story about Mickey Rooney's family problems -- thanks much for sharing the link.

Best wishes,

9:41 AM  
Blogger panavia999 said...

I love "History is Made at Night" Colin Clive was especially good. He doesn't get enough credit these days. He died young and people only remember him as Dr. Frankenstein and maybe "Hands of Orlac". He plays another rotten husband in "One More River". He also gave a nice performance as Mr. Rochester in a Monogram Studio version of "Jane Eyre".

1:55 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I picked up that version of JANE EYRE for a low, low price. Looking forward to it!

Best wished,

2:00 PM  

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