sábado, 29 de novembro de 2014

LA Heroes

Here you have some heroes, celebrities and fame-seekers. Here they are the inhabitants of the streets, look-alikes and manic street preachers.
Johnny Depp.

terça-feira, 18 de novembro de 2014

From Abraham to LA

Abrahamic faiths in Los Angeles.

Blessed Sacrament Church on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood.

Arvit at the Jewish Learning Exchange Center on La Brea. Russian Hassidic Minhag.

Shia Mosque of IMAN (Iranian-American Muslim Association of North America) Motor Avenue, Palms.

terça-feira, 11 de novembro de 2014

Who Stopped The Rain?

The sky is a dark shade of gray,
it looks like it's going to rain,
I try to say intelligent words,
but it is all in vain,
the wind caresses me,
emotions are flooding my brain,
I just get carried away,
on life's never ending train,
and where this train will take me I don't know,
but it will be fun to see the show...

What is my head now,
but wind that stands still
wheels under a piece of cow,
or water inside an automobile.

terça-feira, 4 de novembro de 2014


I went to Urban Ramen on Sunset Boulevard. As I watched Japanese animation films dubbed in English in plasma screens over the counter I spoke to a very nice landscape architect who told me about the Los Angeles river rehabilitation project she is working on and how it could change the city. She also told me she had been to over 50 ramen restaurants around LA and considered Urban the 3rd best.
I haven´t been to 50 ramen restaurants, I doubt I have been to more than one but I can tell you Urban didn´t impress me. I asked for the Urban Ramen (I have it as a principle to always ask for the dish in the menu with the same name as the restaurant) and I could taste the broth. Two words - too rich.

segunda-feira, 29 de setembro de 2014

The Birds

Crows are mysterious animals. Sometimes they gather around my Hollywood window crowing like there's no tomorrow. Its a strange phenomenom that makes me loose a lot of sleep in the mornings. Goes to show, Hitchcock's spirit is alive and well in Los Angeles.

domingo, 28 de setembro de 2014

Weird Ideas

Near my street in the corner of Fountain and Las Palmas there is a small Chinese grocery shop and across the street a fresh fruit cart salesman. In LA there is this strange street food phenomenon, shopped fruit sold in street corners by Mexicans who place the sliced fruit on plastic cups and add lime juice, salt and ground chile. It's 5 bucks and it's surprisingly good.
There is a farmer's market on Cahuenga and Sunset every Sunday morning. There is an Oyster stand, so my breakfast today was oyster and a Mexican fruit cup.

Water melon, strawberry, mango, lime, salt and chile. Delicious.

Fruit and oysters. Oysters taste like Portugal.

sábado, 27 de setembro de 2014


My latest obsession is architecture. The shapes, the volumes and the textures that shape our shelters and populate our dreams.  Los Angeles despite the amazing good weather is full of great architecture. Take a look.

Spiral staircase.
Post modernist building.
My courtyard during the day...
...and during the night. My building has simple practical shapes.
Square shaped window.
Triangle shaped window.
Circle shaped window.
Brusselization kind of projects grow like mushrooms.
Interesting usage of light.
30's art nouveau building entry with maritime leitmotif in the vitrals.
New building at day...
... and at night. Notice the clear influence of Venice Golden Lion Winner Ibere Camargo Foundation corner facade by Alvaro Siza (http://upmagazine-tap.com/en/pt_artigos/fundacao-ibere-camargo-2/)

domingo, 7 de setembro de 2014


The late 18th century French author Xavier de Maistre called one of his classic masterpieces "Voyage autour de ma chambre" something along the lines of "Voyage around my room". Xavier was a poor French sod and lived in rainny18th century revolutionary France, so even if he got out of his room he would probably get his head chopped off by a guillotine. Not I. I live in sunny Los Angeles so this afternoon I went for a voyage, not in my room, but in this beautiful city. Better yet, I walked!
A "walk" is a foreign concept to angelinos since they drive everywhere. Well, their loss! It's a shame people don't walk in Los Angeles. The city has broad clean sidewalks, nice parks, and amazing architecture.
Today I walked from Hollywood to Wilshire (Miracle Mile). I walked through the La Brea tarps, went to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and afterwards I went to my favorite LA pub Molly Malone's for a beer. There was a concert there today by an artist called Ali Handal so I enjoyed an unexpected side of Molly Malone's - live music.
On my way home through Fairfax I gave Curry Wurst a second chance. I had it before and found it overpriced. Today, with more time, I found this restaurant named after the typical working class German dish it serves, still overpriced (here it's 10 bucks but in Berlin it's 5 euros!) but its food a lot more soothing.
It was a pleasant night to walk. To be repeated.
The always pleasant LACMA.

A very dangerous monument to have in a city with seismic problems.

My favorite pub Molly Malone, the same from Dublin's fair city where the girls are so pretty.

Ali Handel is a great singer songwriter but her lyrics are about how she didn't make it in music industry which is sort of insulting to her audience. A nice lady seating behind my table told me Ali is the wife of a famous magician. Imagine if the husband started his acts going "I wish I had made it".

Second chance to Curry Wurst went well. From Berlin with love.

domingo, 24 de agosto de 2014


On Friday, I went to hear Azedeh at Room 5 on La Brea. Room 5 is a small bar with a lounge on a first floor. I walked in half way through the concert and found my friend Eli Ziv in the first row hearing the music and crying. I thought "it can't be that bad" but when I sat next to Eli he whispered to me "These love songs are breaking my heart because I am remembering my girlfriend." Hearing such high praise for the music made me listen more carefully to the set. 
Azedeh is a young English girl who sings love songs with guitar and piano, no band. She follows the American performing mantra, scream till you drop and abuse the high notes, but by God does she do it well. She has complete control of the instrumental part, complete control of her voice and complete control of her audience (which was full of fans). Lyrics could also be a bit more imaginative than "I love you so, so much, I can't live without you" but, alas, her target audience eats it up just as well. - Azedeh, love,  if you are looking for someone to write lyrics for you I am available and I leave here my application. - As for me, I liked the concert, I liked Azedeh's boots and was even the first one to start singing a spontaneous happy birthday to Azedeh that was joined by the rest of the audience.
I have a feeling we will hear more of Azedeh in the future.

Loved the boots

sábado, 23 de agosto de 2014

Black Food

Whenever I get back to Portugal I always hear stupid stereotypical shit like "You need to eat here, before you go back to America and eat those hamburgers". The notion that just because corporate America exports a particular German dish then all you eat in America are German cow meat dumplings, is ridiculous.
 There is an unparalleled variety of ethnic cuisines represented in the United States, on this post I will focus, nevertheless, on this morning's brunch (another unique American invention the fusion of breakfast and lunch). There is a universe of typical American cuisine areas of expertise, from the roasts, to pies all the way to cajun.  But today I went to one of the best African American fried chicken joints around. That's right my European friends, there is such a thing as African American cuisine, though I'll just call it black because I am not PC. Black cuisine basically involves fried chicken with various types of gravy and soft bakery, from biscuits (American for scone) to pancakes and waffles.
I went for brunch at "Roscoe's  Chicken n'Waffles" in Hollywood. In LA it's very hard, almost impossible to find a restaurant that is not a chain even if it's a chain of two, so this is not the only Roscoe's around. I was seated as soon as I arrived, I ordered an Arnold Palmer to drink and an Obama's Special - it wasn't an Italian restaurant or else it would have been the Scalia veal.  The Obama had three pieces of chicken wings a waffle with butter and maple syrup. The flavor fusion may shock some of you on the other side of the pond as it shocked me when I got here, but I assure you it is delicious.
The only problem with Roscoe's is the price, 14 dollars plus tip is not a good price, specially when another black restaurant that uses biscuits instead of waffles,  Honey's Kettle in Culver City, matches the quality and portion size for less than 12 dollars.
You can see the Obama Special.

Butter and maple syrup for the waffle and three chicken wings. What it lacks in sophistication it makes up in flavor.

A bass player outside, sharing his groove with the surroundings.

Honey's Kettle chicken with biscuit and gravy, just as good and much cheaper.

terça-feira, 19 de agosto de 2014


They call them drones but they are not automatic mechanical devices resembling a human or an animal. Drone is the pompous name given to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to make them sound less threatening. UAVs allow surveillance and occasional attacks (with missiles) on the enemy. They have been in vogue in Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza. They spare costs, risks and to a lesser degree lives in the security forces using them but they have been highly criticized by human rights organizations who find the capacity of a bureaucrat to kill people in a different continent with a joystick, reckless and dangerous.
Everyone who lives in Los Angeles is familiar with the extremely noisy helicopter flights over the houses that bother people in the middle of the night and help create the XXIst century concentration camp mood of the city. Once, when someone broke into my building's garage and got inside my car the police had nothing better to do than to fly an helicopter over my building the day after the break in happened. I don't know if the thieves were scared wherever they were, but my neighbors were certainly bothered.  
When you study the history of empires, from Rome to America passing by Portugal, Spain, Holland and Britain, you learn that military technology developed to be applied on the far corners of the empire is always applied later on back home in the center of the empire. It is no secret that LAPD officials have recently travelled to Israel to get training and to purchase drone technology. Yesterday while walking down the street I spotted my first drone. Small and silent, I almost missed it. Big Brother is watching us a lot closer.
Things might not get safer but they will certainly get a lot less noisy.

Can you spot it?

Silent Big Brother in the sky.

domingo, 17 de agosto de 2014

Sonos Studios

I called my friend Eli Ziv this evening to meet at Sonos Studios an acoustically designed gallery that celebrates music listening. So I got in Sonos Studios and saw a bunch of people lying down in mattresses hearing repetitive new age music (weird sounds but I will call it music) and elliptical art videos projected on big screens. It was as if I was in the Twilight Zone. The environment was exotic and I even tried to meditate but the reason for the line outside will remain a mystery to me. Conversation about the Middle East conflict was interesting but Eli tried to throw a shoe at me. Considering his object selection I think Eli is becoming an Arab, who says there is no hope for the Middle East conflict?
The DJ was an old fart in a cathartic state, and if you heard his music selection you would understand why.

If the video artist was trying to hypnotize the room she achieved her goal. I myself saw her work and felt like going to sleep.

Sphere with lights, everything new age.

People laid on mattresses on the floor hearing repetitive new age noises (music) and watching repetitive patterns projected on the screens.

Aspect of the room.

Sorry for the bad quality of the picture, but when we left the Sonos Studios there was a Grammy winner trying to get in. I would have loved to see that suit lying on the floor with the other hippies but, alas, one can't get everything.

sábado, 16 de agosto de 2014


There are three signs of the arrival of the apocalypse, Snoop Doggy Dog making a reggae album, RuPaul coming out as straight and me writing a post about underwear. So, in face of the title of this post, we arrive at two conclusions, one the end is near, and two the future of the world is in the hands of RuPaul. If the first conclusion worries me the second leaves me extremely comfortable with the future of our species.
Today, I woke up and said to myself "it's time to buy underwear", I could have said something else like "it's time to watch a movie", or "it's time to get a foot massage" but instead I thought I might as well buy underwear. Social norms tell us that underwear has a sexual connotation and as such it is mainly a female concern. Women worry about which underwear they should use, so they can look more attractive to their partners, though for most men lingerie (if it's a word for fancy underwear it should be in french) is a hassle and something that is separating them from a naked woman.
Straight men don't care about underwear, specially theirs. There is in the US nevertheless, a rule, a female imposed rule - NEVER WEAR SPEEDOS. Now Speedos is a brand of swimwear but what Americans mean with this expression is don't wear jokey briefs. Women in America think jokey briefs make men look effeminate, just like scarfs. Whenever you use a scarf in America women always ask you if you are European or gay. So men don't care about male underwear but in America women do. American women don't want men to look gay or European when they take their clothes off to have sex with them - making sense?
Because boxer shorts are a fashion statement that disappeared in the 90's, Americans came up with the boxer briefs, which are jokey briefs that go slightly down the thigh covering a bit of the upper leg. That small piece of fabric makes the difference between a gay, European man and a MAN. H&M has specialized in boxer briefs and it struck up contracts with David Bekham (who played soccer in America but actually played football in Europe) and film studios like Warner Brothers and Lucas Film to produce movie themed boxer briefs. That's right. Not only won't you look gay and European with H&M underwear you will also entertain your partner with film commercials before you have sex, or at least make her think she is getting laid with David Bekham (who is European). I have some boxer briefs from H&M but they don't last long and soon get holes in them.
When visiting American Apparel some years ago I found out they had really cool jokey briefs. Now they are back in fashion because of the whole retro thing. I bought a pair then. They were comfortable, and really well done - they are produced in downtown LA. I still have the pair I first bought and I have bought many American Apparel jokey briefs since and they have all lasted years.
So this morning I went to American Apparel to buy another pair of jokey briefs but I bought them with the colors of the American flag because I don't want my female partners to think I'm European!

Red and Blue like the stars and stripes!

The Dirty Babayan

I met Sam Babayan a year ago on The Euro Luau For Carmen (http://thewayiseeitla.blogspot.com/2013/07/yesterday-my-friend-benjamin-organized.html) a gentleman and a scholar Sam played then a great set under the LA night stars and I promised him I would comeback for more.
As I am a man of my word, yesterday, I went to hear Sam's band The Dirty Diamond play at the Harvelle's, a small Rock and Blues joint on 4th Street, Santa Monica. The diamond may be dirty but the sound was as clean as a marine latrine after inspection. Dirty Diamond has a tight sound, a great lead guitarist and Sam's astonishing voice. It also helped the fact the previous act Duane Betts and his band were also pretty good.
The environment was OK, though it wasn't exactly a rock crowd attending. It was more older people and some slick thirty year old rich boys, but as long as I can find my beer and hear the band, alles kosher.

Sam talking to his audience.

Techno club babes? No it's just Duane Betts schmoozing after his gig.

Make no mistake The Dirty Diamond is a great band.

Don't look at the camera, dude!

And the concert's alignment, what else do you want?