It’s nice having a downtown movie theater. And it’s nice having a downtown movie theater with a bar. Having a drink while watching a good movie feels so adult. So cosmopolitan. It’s a very good experience.
I love going to movies. Adrienne, having grown up in Los Angeles, doesn’t care as much about it. I guess for her, Hollywood isn’t magic. It’s just everyday life. Movie stars aren’t iconic American legends — they’re just people in ballcaps and big sunglasses clogging up the store’s checkout line with their paparazzi cloud.
At any rate, I can sometimes convince her to go to the movies with me. Last week, we saw “The Company Men,” which is probably a great movie if you’re not a barely-hanging-on journalist just one “reorganization” away from eating out of Dumpsters. I give it a solid B.
But what I’m interested in talking about isn’t the movie. It’s the theater. Kimball’s Peak Three, which is perfect in so many ways, for some reason doesn’t accept credit cards. It’s a big deal.
When a business doesn’t accept credit cards, it’s an insult to customers. It’s a business saying: We’re too cheap to pay the percentage fee on our overpriced goods, so we’re going to inconvenience you to pay our markups with cash. It’s a business saying: We don’t care about you.
Here’s the thing: I’m going to go to the movies more often if you accept credit cards. I’m going to have some popcorn if you accept credit cards. I’m going to have an extra drink if you accept credit cards. And that fee you pay? Charge me extra. I’ll pay it. I already paid $2 to my bank and $1.75 to your ATM in the lobby to get some cash to pay you. That’s money you’re not getting. How about raising my ticket price $2, and you get $2 and I save $1.75. Win-win.
Back when credit was a novelty and everyone carried around cash, it wasn’t a big deal. But that was a generation ago, and it’s apparent if you look at who’s going to Kimball’s. For those of us who don’t pay everything with change and who don’t use walkers, it’s a huge hassle that Kimball’s doesn’t take credit cards. So, please, Kimball’s, I’m not asking you to leap into the future. I’m just asking you to catch up to the present.
On the way to the movies -- I hope they take all our coins!
We were in L.A. with my daughter, Tori, over Christmas and New Year’s. Since the kid has never been to L.A. before and since it’s such an interesting place the first time, we wanted to give her as grand a tour as we could in the time that she had.
The best view of the Hollywood sign without having to hike is on Mulholland and Canyon Lake drives. You can park there, and on one side is the Hollywood sign and on the other is a great view of the city. Click here for a map.
Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with Adrienne's camera phone
Me and Tori at the Hollywood sign, taken with Adrienne's camera phone
Later we went to Miceli’s on Hollywood. It’s an old Hollywood Italian restaurant where movie stars like Marilyn Monroe used to hang out. The food isn’t very good but the atmosphere is pretty neat. The ceiling is covered with chianti bottles, and it’s very dark in there.
But the service was terrible. I guess when you’re famous, you don’t have to try anymore. Seriously, man, bring me my Coke already. Damn.
Me and Tori under a ceiling of Chianti bottles at Miceli's, Hollywood
Exceptionally ordinary spaghetti and ravioli at Miceli's, Hollywood.
While in Hollywood we walked around along the Walk of Fame, with all the stars, and went to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and looked at all the handprints in the cement. I think you’d be surprised at how tiny celebrities are. Their hands and feet are itty-bitty.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood
It never occurred to me to visit the La Brea Tar Pits, but Tori suggested it. Good call, kid. What a neat place.
Some creature stuck in the tar at La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles
It will shock you to know that we also went to a bunch of restaurants.
Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA
Mike at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA
The famous Big Boy Combo at Bob's Big Boy, Burbank, CA. Some seriously good food here. Burgers, shakes, fries. What a treat.
Here’s a picture of Adrienne in high school at the other Bob’s in Glendale. Wooo!
Bob's Big Boy, Glendale, 1983. Adrienne is top right.
We also went to Pann’s, another mid-century diner. Pann’s was the restaurant in Pulp Fiction — different location, but they’re both identical. I did not yell: Everybody be cool, this is a robbery! Figure they’ve probably all heard it before. I did call Adrienne Honey Bunny at one point, but she just glared at me, so I stopped.
Pann's, Los Angeles
Tasty burger and fries at Pann's, Los Angeles
Dinah's Fried Chicken, Glendale, CA. Surprisingly, Dinah's wasn't very good. It was only OK. It did, however, get us on a great discussion about our grading methods. I gave Dinah's a solid C: Not bad, not great; it was OK. Adrienne gave it a B-minus. Apparently, I'm a harder grader than she is.
Mmmmmm, ambrosia, Dinah's, Glendale, CA
Something else we did that was unexpectedly cool: Backstage where the Rose Parade floats were being made. I’m not much of a parade person, but this was fascinating. Never realized how huge these things were. And I also didn’t know the rules about how every float must be 100 percent covered with plants. Weird.
Rose Parade float in progress.
A huge room full of roses getting ready to be put on floats, Pasadena, CA.
Another float in progress, Pasadena, CA.
On the catwalk overlooking the Rose Parade floats being built. Not entirely sure it was OK that we were up there. But nobody said anything.
Samples of some of the plants being used on the floats.
Tori and me in front of the real Chinese Theatre and in front of the Hollywood float version of the Chinese Theatre.
Overall, I had a great trip. I think Tori did, too. She seems to enjoy herself wherever she happens to be, which is a nice quality.
I’d also like to thank all of Adrienne’s family for putting up with all the dumb touristy stuff we wanted to do. Thanks, too, for all the hospitality.