Monday, December 6, 2010


The past couple of weeks have been hectic what with our finally moving into the Rancho Mirage house. Number one, the house, grounds and pool are fantastically beautiful (If I may say so myself). M stuck tooth and nail to his vision - prodding me to not compromise. He worked diligently with the Pool designer and the Landscape architect, searched online for the optimum design of appliances, faucets, toilets and you-name-it. I am sure I might have settled for less but he persisted and our compromise (which I never believed I could do) turned out very well. Although the carpeting for the bedrooms is still somewhere at sea on it's way to us, over the Thanksgiving holiday we had our first guests: M's sister and bro-law. Stressed as I was with the move and prematurely having guests I made an attempt to behave and not get snarly. Thanksgiving dinner was at the Palm Springs restaurant Le Vallauris with J & C from San Fran, D & C who live in Palm Springs, the relatives visiting from Denver, M et moi. We had a great time and it was terrific to go home to our own house and not have to bother friends hosting us or check into another Gdamned hotel. I must admit moving out of Paris and into Rancho Mirage were not exactly dissimilar. Stress Stress Stress, but on many different levels. I vow to never do it again. Said he.
Now about the title of this blog: I wear what I call "Audio Enhancers", very commonly known as "Hearing Aids". Last evening, dining here at home, I took one of them out of my ear and placed it next to my plate. M had put almonds on the plate and without looking I mistakenly thought the Aid was an almond that had fallen off the plate (I wasn't wearing my glasses) and popped it into my mouth. One loud crunch made me realize I'd tried to eat my Hearing Aid. As I said: "I have been very stressed out"!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


"'re making a mess of me...". There is so much going on in my life right now that I actually feel I am doing nothing and accomplishing nothing. Yes, I voted! I can imagine Meg throwing down a couple of martinis at the conclusion of the results. "Waiter! Make it a double and hurry!" The endless renovation on house in RM is almost finished - moving in on the 18th,("God's ears" as my dear old grey haired mother used to say). The other evening Barry Krost was deservedly honored at an Aids Project Los Angeles cocktail reception held at Nieman Marcus Bev. Hills. Barry has, since the 80's, donated his time as a volunteer producer of many high-powered events and has raised thousands of dollars for the agency. Jackie Collins, Sidney and Joanna Poitier and many other donors warmly acknowledged our friend: the guest of honor. Nieman M generously provided booze, nibbles and eye-candy bartenders and waiters. Last night the Los Angles Symphony was conducted by the energetic Pablo Heras-Casado in an evening of music usually only programmed in a European city. The reason I say that is, for example, Debussy's Jeux is rarely played in this country. The rest of the program had the pianist Peter Serkin dynamically performing with the orchestra the Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds and, a favorite of mine, the Takemitsu piece: Riverrun. The sensational evening ended with the beautiful Stravinsky Suite from Firebird. When I am in Paris I often attend concerts at either the Theatre Champs-Elysee or the Theatre Chatelet where I hear a certain type of musical fare. Last night I reflected on those Paris concerts and realized how fortunate we are to be listening similar music in Disney Hall. I guess after a while it all becomes a blur and the run run run is balanced by the quiet time. Doing nothing and accomplishing nothing isn't so bad, after all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The week began on Sunday last with a dinner here at home. JP, a lovely and very vivacious lady I've known for many years and who is always a joy to be around, MC, M's good friend who is a lady that is a true free spirit, B & S, husband and wife who are indirectly responsible for my meeting MM, and are warm and wonderful. Yes, old friends. "What d'ya say old friends?" (Sondheim). The next evening I dined at Etoile with DG, a good and giving friend, followed by an evening spent with MG, whom I hadn't seen in 14 yrs and it was as though it was yesterday. He was visiting here from Kansas City and was funny and spirited as ever. To begin the weekend there was dinner at Trio in Palm Springs with four friends (yes, again, friends) and the following night a Luau given by DG and her partner C. DG was my sister's partner for 8 years. I call her my ex-brother in law. Sunday JR celebrated his 88th birthday and there were four of us for brunch at Spencer's in Palm Springs. Just friends.

Friday, October 8, 2010


This past week was filled with Events. We belong to a Documentary club. A film is shown each month to members at a home that can accomodate 40 or so persons watching it on big screen TV's. The past one was at PK's contemporary house. Buffet dinner, wine and the movie. Next night it was off to the Member's opening of the new Resnik Pavilion at LACMA. Absolutely first rate building designed by I.M. Pei. Three rooms of exhibition. OLMEC, Impressionist paintings and Period Costume. My favorite being the costume exhibit which outshines anything I have seen in Paris, in regards to restoration, placement, mannequins and lighting. As far as I am concerned the French just don't get lighting in museums. Guests were entertained under a huge tent with dinner and drinks. Following evening was dinner at the restaurant EVA with B & D. We were the liveliest table in the place with the food and wine flowing. Sunday afternoon was a benefit for the upcoming Los Angeles Modernist Museum given at an Eames owned and simply designed house - with a killer view of the Pacific ocean. And then, other than my usual gym, dentist, physical therapy, piano lesson, French lessons, DG gave a rainy Wednesday lunch of good soup and sandwiches. You may not believe this but M and I spend the majority of evenings at home. But now and then "we dip".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


This past week was filled with unexpected events. A car crashed into the rear of the new BMW loaner car I was driving. Full moon = crazy drivers. Also due to circumstances beyond my control I missed the dress rehearsals of two operas: Il Postino and The Marriage of Figaro. But! Things took a turn for the better with a delightful dinner at T & L's penthouse apartment in West Hollywood where the food was great and conversation lively and controversial. (My big mouth, as usual). Then the topper of the week was the opportunity to spend an evening, at dinner, with M's friends who were indirectly responsible for his and my meeting and whom I had never met. B and S are a warm and inviting couple who were married in France with M tagging along to Monaco for their honeymoon. Being with them in France piqued M's curiosity about the country and contributed to our meeting. Long story. M chose a restaurant midway Camarillo (where B and S live) and Benedict. The Italian restaurant, Adagio, was warm and confortable and a perfect place for us to have experienced "getting to know you". In fact, we got to know one another so well, time went by too quickly and we closed the place. It was not about the food it was about us. "Us" loved spending an enjoyable time with one another. Expect the unexpected. (Confucius).

Sunday, September 26, 2010


When I was 16 years old a younger boy selling newspapers in downtown Minneapolis addressed me as "Thank you sir". At that moment I was shocked to be called, what I imagined to be, and older person's title of respect. For some strange reason I have always bristled at being called Sir. Last evening upon leaving a restaurant with persons much younger than myself one of them said he was "Happy to meet you, Sir". My retort was "only older persons are called "Sir" and I Am Not That Old!" Of course, I am an older person and later on I realized how ridiculous my comment must have sounded to a person being polite. I do find it rather silly for a clothing designer to have the title of Sir Paul Smith. However, in Britain that is a given name bestowed by the Queen of a person who has extraordinarily contributed talents to the country. Letters are written beginning with Dear Sir. An employee will address the boss as "Sir, may I have a raise in salary"? And on and on. In France my name, Laurence, is considered to be only a woman's name. Often my mail was addressed to Cher Madame. Perhaps being called Sir stirs in me something only the French know, and that is that I am really not a Sir at all. Just joking.......

Sunday, September 19, 2010


This is not the Jack Kerouac version. It is a life on the road - well led. This past week M and I took a two hour driving trip to Rancho M., spending a couple of days in a glamorous complex named Morningside as guests of R & J. After perusing the work done on the renovation of our house, M met with the Landscape Contractor and went rock shopping while I lunched and furniture shopped. After spending our days and nights in desert splendor we drove back to Benedict Canyon for the night and the following morning drove up to Carmel, stopping in Montecito for lunch at Via Vai, a great little Italian restaurant. We arrived at the Pine Inn in Carmel a few hours later, wandered around town, had a drink at Doris Day's (yes, THE Doris Day) Cypress Hotel and an easy dinner at La Bicyclette restaurant: drinking good French red wine and hitting the sack (passing out is more like it) at a very early hour. The following bright and sunny morning we motored up to San Francisco. The new California Academy of Science museum in Golden Gate park was our first stop upon arriving. This is definitely a "Do Not Miss" museum. The nature exhibitions are beyond compare. A Green rooftop, a rain forest, an Aquarium. Our afternoon visit ended with a spectacular Planetarium show. Checked into the hotel Ritz Carleton Nob Hill and later joined CK for dinner at the lively Wayfarer Tavern. The next morning, luckily, we caught one of the final days of the sensational exhibition of the Fisher Collection at the Modern Museum. Many big name American artist were shown on two floors comprising of only a segment of the 1100 pieces left to the museum by the founder of the Gap - Donald Fisher. After, we rested our feet in the bar of the Sir Francis Drake hotel where I had a very San Francisco drink - an Old Fashioned. Dinner that evening was at Boulevard, hit a couple of bars with CK,and ended our jam-packed SF weekend. Saturday we drove down Highway 101 stopping in Montecito to dine again at Via Vai for pizza and antipasto della casa accompanied by Chianti Classico. Exhausted, we arrived safe and sound in BH. No more road trips 'till the next saunter down to the desert. Enough is enough!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Yes, I know it is not the 21st but for me and countless others the summer ends on Labor Day. Remember the adage "No white shoes after Labor Day"? The French call the end (after a month) of summer holidays, "Le Rentree". The Return or Re-enter into the real world. School, work and waiting until the next round of holidays. Yesterday was a beautiful day and a beautiful way to end the sumnmer and today the warm weather came to a crashing halt with drizzle, fog and 64 degrees. M and I had hosted a Potluck Labor Day party for 18 good friends. Each person was given a category of food or wine to bring to the festivity. Festive it was with lots to drink, and believe me this group drinks, and good things to eat. Today, M is back at his Landscape Architecture school project and I am looking forward to another holiday. After all, every night can be New Years Eve.....can't it?

Monday, August 30, 2010


During the "Season" M and I enjoy countless exciting classical music events at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Disney Hall. In the summer our musical life comes to a screeching halt. I have never cared for the Hollywood Bowl. Rarely is there a program I will beat-the-traffic for, and after numerous renovations the sound system still sounds like two tin cans with a string attched. I guess the point of the Bowl is to enjoy an Evening Under the Stars drinking, dining and listening to music, but somehow to me it just ain't worth the effort. So what do we do socially in the summer? We see friends and relax. J&T recently gave an enjoyable cocktail/dinner for two guys visiting from Australia, JP joined us one evening at Waterloo Cafe, visited other restaurants with friends, and have given dinners at home. M has become the Chef de la Cuisine. He enjoys being a grill-er. That sums up our summer social fare. However, there is a serious side to our lives - believe it or not. M has Landscape Architecture classes at UCLA requiring an inordinate amount of homework, I am learning the three movements of a Mozart Sonata: K333 and a Chopin Nocturne. Also, we drive down to Rancho Mirage once a week to checkout the progress on the renovation of our 1957 Wexler house. Life is good, the champagne pink and the chicken greasy. Who could ask for anything more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I never enjoyed celebrating my birthday when I was a child. I won't bore you with the psychological problems I endured, but the most important thing is as an adult, I LOVE MY BIRTHDAYS. To me, every new year is an achievement. Learning new pieces on the piano, speaking French like a native (dropping letters), learning to accept the differences between M and me and realizing that I am healthy and happy. This year was a 3 day celebration. Dinner the 14th was with two visiting French friends at Lucques. An amiable experience. The 15th I hosted, as I like to do on my birthday, a small dinner at Enoteca Drago. As a gift DG brought a bottle of 1990 Lafitte Rothschild. Superb! Quelle robe! Quelle bouquet! We began the dinner with an aperitif of Prosecco/Apero. Conversation was lively and the Italian food matched perfectly with the French wine. The 16th, my actual birthday, M took me to lunch at the restaurant of my choice: Etoile. That evening our friend from Florence Italy, FF, gave a beautiful dinner in my honor at his Los Angeles pied a terre. He entertains on the roof top of his Hancock Park apartment building where the view is extraordinary. Last evening there was a clear sky and a bright half moon. The dinner was the topper to the 3 days of celebration. Italian wine, Panzanella salad, Patate Tonato, etc. Good friends, good food, good ambiance. Another beloved birthday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This past weekend M and I spent the weekend in Palm Springs. I would have never imagined I would experience desert life during this time of year however, what with the never-ending restoration on our RM house we opted to live the desert life as guests of a friend. True, the days are hot but the soft desert breezes cool the evenings. Although many restaurants were closed for the month, those that were open - such as Tropicale - were booming. Even the locals commented there were an unusual number of visitors for this time of year. During the day we managed to checkout the "in" Resale Consignment furniture store, visit an art gallery, take a test drive in the new 2011 BMW x5, visit the world's gayest True-Value hardware store and hit a few cafes. It ain't St. Tropez but then what is?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

THOSE WHO INFLUENCED OUR LIVES: Clarise Etscheid - Teacher

Mrs. Etscheid, a high school teacher of mine, was a chic and striking woman. Think Maria Callas when she looked good. Mrs E. arrived at our school from New York when I was a Junior at North High to teach Choir and English. The first time I saw her in the Choir class I noticed the gray one button suit she was wearing was designed by the English designer Edward Molyneux and the diamond ring on her finger was a Marquis cut - minimum 3 carat. Yes, a budding Gay noted those things. Rumor was that she had been the rehearsal choir director of the Metropolitan Opera and often I wondered what the hell was a woman like that doing teaching in a Minneapolis high school. Mrs. Etscheid had a no nonsense approach to teaching music. She would keep time clapping her hands together in a loud strict military tempo. One day, questioning me in front of the class about a Chopin Polonaise, I purposely mispronounced the word Polonaise because I was embarrassed to say it in front of my classmate in the correct French. She demanded I repeat it correctly and then said a simple phrase I never forgot. "Back your convictions". In my senior year I met some unsavory Drag characters from Miami and one morning she observed me being dropped off (shocking for the time) in a white Lincoln convertible. Later that morning she called me into her office and said "If that is the kind of life you want, there are much much nicer people out there". Two years later I walked into a store in Santa Monica and encountered Mrs E. with her rather effeminate husband. Upon being introduced to him for the first time, I realized he was undoubtedly Gay and she was probably a Lesbian. How wonderful it was to have a teacher who understood and who influenced my life so positively.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


At 10AM this morning 6 of us were watching the Metropolitan opera Zeffirelli designed production of Puccini's Turandot at the Century City AMC movie theater. The production was the epitome of what this opera is about. Lavish sets and costumes, cast of thousands (hundred?) exhilarating singing and the most beautiful arias and orchestral arrangements. As in many operas the "beautiful and desirable" feminine lead was not at all either one. In fact in this production she looked exactly like my aunt Fanny. Nevertheless the voices are what it is really all about. Sitting in a very comfortable seat watching a big screen performance is not without its rewards. Good sound, the ability to see the details of the costumes and sets and the whole thing is over in about two hours without intermission. During the Salzburg Festival it is the usual to go to a performance in the morning. Here in Los Angeles the unusual is usual to begin one's day. Opera in a mall is very LA.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Variety! It keeps the blood flowing. There was plenty of it this past week. Why oh why didn't I do it before? I had an epidermal on Monday. Finally after years, the pain is gone. Not the thrill is gone - the pain is gone. On the 14th there was a small dinner at Le Petit Bistro given for DH celebrating his 50th birthday and coincidentally Bastille Day. Just 4 of us. Then what with me having physical therapy, piano and French lessons and M going to UCLA studying Architectural Landscaping, it was an interesting week. Even had a big quarterly meeting at the bank (where does all the money go?). The topper was DH's big birthday party (like the Queen celebrates all week) given by his partner BH at their art filled abode in Hancock Park. Lots of very good champagne and a tasty dinner served in the garden. Thirty five happy guests toasted and celebrated. There were warm, emotional speeches by D and B that brought a tear to my old "Irish" eye. And you thought Variety was only a Hollywood trade paper. It is the spice of life - as if you didn't already know that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The big number from South Pacific, now playing at the Ahmanson Theater, typifies that particular evening, However, this past Sunday evening M and I hosted a dinner here at home that was another enchanted evening. We celebrated M's good friend DQ's belated birthday with five other friends. Total 8 of us. As the guests were arriving I realized that each and everyone of them had a unique personality. Unique in that they are vocal in their opinions, singular in a their sense of personal fashion and interesting in their daily experiences. Two of the guests, B & D, were married to each other during the Legal to be Married in California if you're Gay period. They have been together over 43 years, travel quite a bit, are obsessed with their new little dog, donate lots of money to charity, enjoy a martini or two and are all around sincere and fun persons to be with. Another, DG, is a the kind of a guy you could call if you were in a pinch. He pays attention to friends comings and goings, birthdays and wants and needs. He is also the "other man" at a party you know is going to keep things lively. A warm and sweet person. B and R have also been together quite a while. Each has a distinct personality difference. B is a raconteur, loves: good fashion (specially from Neiman's), good wines, art, and is a terrific cook and patissier. R is an artist. He is the Greek Chorus to B's stories. His background commentary is ongoing and adds to the drama of their relationship. He is lovable. The birthday boy, DQ, has a memory of trivia, names, wines, etc. that is remarkable. His cache of information is a welcome addition to every subject. He brought a Laurent Perrier pink champagne with which we toasted his B'day. Dinner was M's sister's salad, his grilled strip steak, my fantastic roasted potatoes, zucchini, Trader Joe's chocolate cake and a great Spanish red wine. Of course, there were lots of cocktails before dinner was served. Some Enchanted Evening.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


For me, the best thing about Palm Springs has always been that one can find parking. "God is love when you find parking" in Los Angeles. Over the Independence Day weekend I have had an epiphany. Palm Springs is indeed an oasis of goodwill and happiness! Desert living has given people a more relaxed and forgiving attitude toward one another. Drivers don't come to a screeching halt at red lights. Employees in stores smile and are helpful. There is always an holiday atmosphere in restaurants without the haughty attitude of a host/hostess, but rather a smile and we are happy to see you body language. Residents are always curious to know where you are from (just about everyone is "from" somewhere else), and are you permanent or a weekender? There seems to be a sort of camaraderie among them wanting to welcome newcomers to the easy life. A friend admonished me for not wanting to live full time in the desert by saying I just don't want to be happy. Now I understand his point. Not that I would live there full time 'cause as Leontyne Price once said about the United States at the beginning of her career while singing in Europe: "There ain't no culture there". However, culture can be defined as a refined understanding or appreciation of our surroundings (Webster). They understand it and now I must admit I do, as well. Noooo....I'm not going to be a full timer - at least for now.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Too often we forget to take time to reflect on those persons who have been important in our lives. Be they ex-lovers, teachers, mentors, good friends or relatives. There are those whose advice or understanding or confidence or love have attributed to our success or wellbeing or sophistication. It would be interesting to read stories of how, when or why those individuals have changed attitudes, opinions or circumstances and influenced our experiences. I plan to occasionally write about some of the influential persons in my life. Lest we forget!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I've always tried to avoid going to partys arranged for venues such as: business, gallery openings, etc. where people crowd in for a free drink and try to eat enough tidbits to suffice for dinner. Number one: I don't like eating standing up. Also, standing in line to get a drink I feel is awkward. Valet parking at these affairs is always difficult. The point being is: FB invited me to a launch party of BEL AIR magazine being held at a house in...duh duh...Bel Air. He stated if we didn't want to stay we could leave and go on to dinner however, because of his business (hotelier) he felt obligated to make an appearance. Friday evening we wound our way up the streets of BA following a line of cars to what was the VALET parking meanwhile other cars were turning around and heading back down toward Sunset Blvd. Upon arriving, the valet, dressed in obligatory black and an earphone asked FB if he was On The List. Seems one had to be On The List to be valet parked. If you were not On The List you had to go to Parking Structure 11 at UCLA about a mile away. A noticeably beleaguered PR girl recognized FB and told the valet that he was On The List. Gratefully and kiss kiss, we entered the gardens of a stately Paul Williams designed house where many guests, ladies in very short black dresses and men in black suits with open neck shirts, were already drinking and gorging. Having finally obtained a drink, we wandered around the gardens and observed people entering the house and we decided we'd like to see it as well. A gentleman with a clipboard asked if we were On The List. Being told FB was On The List, he said, "Oh have to be On The VIP List." Hysterically laughing we fled the party to go on to a delightful dinner in a restaurant. Seated and paying our own way.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Google was censored in China and now I believe, me with my big bad mouth was censored by Google for a blog I wrote a couple of days ago in jest. As Bill Maher often says "I say it in jest".
You can always catch me at my website: I am a baaaaaad boy.


The opera AIDA is about as grand as they come. This morning at 10AM (would you believe) I went to the movies in Century City where FB and I saw the repeat of the Direct From the Met film directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Wow! What a production. Singers, dancers, horses and a cast of thousands. The Met transmits the operas on the Saturday of the performance: live from New York. This summer there are repeats of about 8 operas. Very comfortable sitting in good seats and being able to inspect every detail of the costumes and sets. Wonderful sound. How fortunate we are in this age of audio and visual magic.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I am having a "John Waters" moment this morning. For those of you unfamiliar with him, look him up on Google.

Have you ever wondered how many bowel movements you have had in your life? Something to ponder.

Oh! Lighten up!

Monday, June 14, 2010


"The consciousness of one's own dignity." That phrase perfectly exemplifies GAY PRIDE festivals around the world. The first Gay Pride parade in Los Angeles was in 1983 on Hollywood Boulevard.
My friend R and I went to see it, sitting on a curb, wondering how the spectators would react to so many Gay men and women parading in the middle of the boulevard. The crowd was silent as the participants passed by and at the very end of the parade some of our fellow spectators got up to walk with the marchers. R and I got up with them and began our march. I saw persons I knew sitting on the curbs - their mouths dropping when they saw us walking along with the others. The feeling of personal liberation was indescribable. We were no longer hiding or ashamed of who we were. The memory of that day still brings tears to my eyes. Yesterday, in the West Hollywood Gay Pride parade a float went by with singers singing "I am what I am", the thrilling song from La Cage aux Folles. The tears were flowing.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Musings will be a posting of a variety of thoughts that come to me: usually at 4AM.
The new issue of Architectural Digest:
   Paige Rense - Retiring longtime editor.  When I was living in Montecito I had a phone call from a woman announcing herself as Paige Rense.  My first thought was:  OMG!  She wants to photograph my house for the magazine.  However, she went on to say that a mutual friend told her I had a very good Cleaning Lady and would I give her the phone number.  My one and only encounter with the admirable editor.
   Cher on the cover.  Cher has discovered Buddism and she has had her entire apartment decorated to give the impression of what her idea ithe religion is all about.  Far Eastern furniture and art.  Just another celebrity with absolutely no personal (or is it very personal) taste.  I would have loved to know what went on in the head of the renowned decorator.  But after all, a guy has got to make a living.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Oops!  Neglected to say:  Zurich is a beautiful town.  The Swiss are polite and charming.  Sorry if I gave the impression otherwise with my opinion of SwissAir.

Stay tuned.


Some find it boring being regaled with friend's tales of trips abroad.  I won't attempt to go into detail, but will give an overview of a very good trip with a few of my own succinct critiques that begin with a big gripe.

M and I took a 10 day journey to Zurich, Munich and Berlin.  We flew SwissAir business class.  SwissAir has the most uncomfortable seats of all the airlines I have flown.  The seats position your body so when they are in a reclined position the tendency is for one to slide down to the floor.  (I was constantly changing the seat position).  The food was slightly more than Economy class and very poorly presented.  (Sorta of like a TV dinner from Swansons).   Service is brisk and very Swiss.  I give the airline a "D" for "don't". 

Now for the good:  Zum Groben Ernst is a small, charming restaurant in Old Town Zurich.  Local food, fairly priced, perfect service.  The second day after touring we joined a Swiss friend, P, for aperitifs at the famous Odeon cafe - dinner at Sterne Foifi and after dinner drinks at - would you believe - Jules Verne.  Yes, the same name as the one on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris:  only this one is on top of an office building.  

Took the train up to Munich where we joined 40 of our Gamma Mu members for a 3 day visit.  The Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten is an old and beautiful hotel and upon arrival we were upgraded to a larger room: thanks to our hotelier friend FB.  This was my second time in Munich and because of a well arranged tour, we saw the crazy castles of crazy Ludwig II (I think he was a frustrated interior decorator), went to a variety of restaurants (enough with the Wienerschnitz, already), and walked the city.  One of the most unusual sites are the surfers in the middle of the city on a river rapids. Yes!  Hot surfers!

Great flight on Lufthansa to Berlin.  Comfortable!  My first trip to Berlin was 1971, second 1994 and 16 years later the change is incredible.  What was East Berlin is now a thriving newly built city with well designed buildings and restaurants.  The section is named Mitte.  We checked into the Concorde hotel just off of the Kurfustendam: one of the most important boulevards in the West area. The hotel is one of the many properties owned by the group which owns the Crillon in Paris.  That night we were able to snag a reservation at the Wein Bar Rutz in Mitte.  A 4 star restaurant if ever there was one.  Touring Berlin for 5 days was an exhilarating experience.  Being with over 100 GM members was fun.  One of the highlights of the Berlin visit was the Bauhaus museum.  The Bauhaus movement is the inspiration for so many architects.  Simplicity be thy name!  But isn't that what I always say life is about?  Keep it simple.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Having dinner at the Sunset Towers Hotel the other evening with JG had me thinking about another time and another place when life was more calm, drivers were not as rude, and we dined at nine not at 7:30 (at that early hour it was called "eating" not "dining").  Also, the hotel brought back memories of when it was an very upscale apartment house.  I had a friend, Lloyd Pantages, who lived there and gave wonderful parties with a mix of guests such as Doris Duke, a Roosevelt or two, musicians, artists and the likes of FT and me.  Cocktails were at 7:30 and a simple buffet dinner was served at 9:00.  Nibbles were nuts or cherry tomatoes.  No waiters running around, interrupting your conversation with a tray of strange looking unwieldy bites.  Dinner was usually prepared by the host or a friend.  Civilized!

Republicans were of a different breed than those rabble rousers of today (Sarah Palin).  Some were our friends and lovers.  The men all wore blue blazers, khaki pants and heavy brogue shoes, with their hair always perfectly parted on the right side.  The women wore cloth coats:  not fur.  Pearls, cashmere sweater sets and pleated grey flannel skirts were the style.  Hair was usually worn straight, just grazing the neck of the sweater and parted on the right side.  (Maybe just a bit boring)  Civilized!

Which brings me back to our Sunset Towers dinner.  JG and I had our cocktails at the bar before being seated, the piano was tinkling in the background, the crowd was attractive and animated, and our conversation was interesting.  A real honest to god Maitre d'Hotel showed us to our table, the waiter was attentive and the food was understandable (not some chef's culinary wet dream).   Civilized!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I have a file labeled Entertainment.  Each year I keep credit card receipts filed under different file labels just in case the IRS decides to require substantiation of expenses that will be deducted from my taxes.  Unfortunately, I no longer have those deductions because if one does not show a profit after three years of doing business, the government deems it as a hobby.  I no longer have a business. What made me think of this is this week there was plenty of entertainment.  This week I had two French lessons, two piano lessons with two different teachers (learning Mozart and Chopin with one and Rachmaninov with the other), dinner with M, C and S at BLD: a casual restaurant, lunch at Lucques: a superb restaurant, dinner at L and R's house (there were 10 of us), M and I discovered an interesting artist exhibiting on Beverly Blvd., and we went to a  play at the Ahmanson Theater: THE 39 STEPS.  The very funny, clever play has been running continuously in London since 2006 as well as being presently performed in a number of world capitals.  Plus!  Drinks before and during intermission in the Founders Room of the theater.  That is an entertaining week.  Guess I don't really need those files for the IRS, but at the end of the year they are a reminder of what a full and enjoyable life I have.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


The perfect setting for a birthday party with an Arabian Nights theme is the oasis in the desert: Palm Springs.  This past Thursday evening O celebrated his 50th birthday with 80 costume clad friends at the restaurant Vallauris.  (In my costume I could have been mistaken for Mother Theresa.)  A small orchestra played Arab music, a belly-dancer belly danced and the birthday boy gave a warm heartfelt speech thanking certain persons who had been important to him since his arrival 15 years ago from France.  The French know how to give a good party.  Food, wine, music and interesting guests.  A DJ played music for the partygoers and we danced till "dawn".  (Dawn being 11:30 PM Palm Springs time).

Friday and Saturday afternoons M and I buzzed around the desert discovering an interesting diversification of small shops and restaurants while we were driving from Palm Springs to La Quinta.  Dined at restaurants "Shame on the Moon" and "Trio" with friends and ended up after dinner Saturday night at a fun bar on Highway 111 appropriately named "One Eleven".  I think the name means that one out of eleven persons is under 60 years old.  They don't call Palm Springs "The Elephants Graveyard" for nuthin.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Friday evening we had 4 friends in for dinner.  M, who is grill-crazy, prepared a tri-tip steak and asparagus and I made a Panzanella salad and roasted Rosemary potatoes.  For dessert we gorged on Trader Joe's Mud Pie.  All accompanied by a sensational 2007Juan Gil red Monastrell wine from Spain.  The dinner was a success what with lively conversation and the guests staying at table until midnight.  Another great evening at 1584 Benedict.

The 26th annual Stage event benefiting AIDS Project Los Angeles , was held Saturday night at The Luckman Theater.  Named "Original Cast", the musical extravaganza featured numerous stars of   Broadway musicals doing a one number "turn".  The night was a night to remember.  Just to name a few, Betty Garrett, Tyne Daly, Ronald Dennis, Charlotte Rae, Joan Ryan, Patricia Morrison (who celebrated her 95th birthday singing a song from Kiss Me Kate), Constance Tower, Donna McKechnie, Melissa Manchester, Dale Kristien and many other outstanding performers.  All directed by David Galligan.  A rare musical event!

Sunday was what is becoming an almost weekly drive down to Rancho M.  We are becoming regulars for lunch at Spencer's in Palm Springs.  R & J joined us and I picked up the check 'cause I lost a bet with R that the house would be finished by May 1.  I must have been crazy to choose that date.  How about August or September?  Even tho' we wouldn't go down to the desert during July, August or September (115 degrees of heat), it would have been nice to have had my Paris belongings released from storage in San Pedro.  We spent over 2 hours with the contractors finalizing all types of details and realize the Housewarming will probably be October first.  So those of you who will be visiting for the weekend:  unpack your bags.  The weekend is long off.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Lunched yesterday with a group of friends at the newly relocated Hatfield's.  The restaurant is located in the old Citrus site on Melrose.  The room is stunning!  Soft beiges and browns.  Comfortable contemporary.  Needless to say, the food is terrific.  Mr. and Mrs. Hatfield do good cooking.  There is a prix-fixe 3 course menu for $19.00.  Portions are quite tiny, so beware.  The dessert was a raspberry sorbet ball about the size of a golf ball.  I tried a clear, crisp Portugese white wine that had a hint of the taste of lemon.  Unusual and very good with food.  Wish I could remember the name.

Our Documentary club meeting last night was at P's Malibu house.  There were about 30 of us for dinner and a movie.  The movie was about the Funk Brothers.  A Motown group that recorded backup for many of the Motown singing stars.  The music brought back wonderful 60's and 70's memories.  Dancing with our shirts off at Studio One in West Hollywood, for example.  A couple of the  members got up and danced to the music.  Shirts on.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Back in the Olden Golden days when there were live-in maids (politically incorrect term that is now called "housekeeper"), Thursday night was unofficially known as MNO.  The restaurants were packed with diners who wouldn't be caught dead being out on the weekend.  The weekends were for "getting away" or dining at home.  This past Tuesday we went to the Sunset Strip restaurant Le Petit Four for a quiet dinner with F and R.  The restaurant is a convivial and casual place originally owned by a former boyfriend of Princess Stephanie of Monaco.  This particular Tuesday it was not full but the crowd was interesting.  We ran into friends and acquaintances such as: J, a famous dress designer, S, the recent widow of a producer whom I knew from Paris and LA, and B, a well known coiffeur.  Seated next to us was a charming young couple from Melbourne Australia.  She was lovely and quite animated and he good looking and jet lagged.  Conversation was lively and the wine was flowing.  Unbelievably, it was only 10PM when we left the restaurant but it has been a stimulating evening.  Could Tuesday be the new Thursday?

Monday, April 26, 2010


Thursday past M and I took a long weekend and flew Mexicana Airlines to Puerto Vallarta.  Our friends, JB and CK invited us to their magnificent house on the beach an hour north of the town.  Upon arrival at the house we were offered Welcome Margaritas.  That was the beginning of a relaxing, sun kissed weekend.  The name of the house is Casa Canta Rana.  (The House of the Singing Frog.)  Lunch nearby at a restaurant on the beach and eating freshly caught grilled fish was a perfect beginning to the Mexican experience. Doing absolutely nothing, lazing by the pool and imbibing a bit was relaxing and rejuvenating.
Ah, the simple life!

I'm reading ALMOST FRENCH by Sarah Turnbull.  The writer is Australian and tells a story of her new life in Paris.  Her observations of the difference in cultures is remarkably the same as my interactions there. Some are hysterically funny.  I would love to read a book written by a foreigner  experiencing our customs. As a tourist one doesn't really encounter or recognize so many differences between us.  There are many wonderful things and many frustrating.   Viva la difference!  Oh yeah?

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Lots of small stuff went on this week.  Small, but important to maintain interest.  Had a fun catch-up lunch with R, a very old friend visiting from Tacoma.  Couple of French lessons and a good piano lesson.  Mozart with one hand and Chopin with the other.  (Just joking).  Lunch at Cecconi's with 4 talking the most, as usual.  Visited the newly purchased beautiful Bel Air house of T & E:  the garden is enchanting....then went to a favorite restaurant of their's:  Brentwood Bar & Grill for a comfortable dinner with good chatter, too much wine and mmmm food.   Checked out the Bonhams/Butterfield auction preview of 20th Century artifacts.  Auction is the this coming Tuesday.  Sauntered down to Enoteca Drago to meet NN for dinner.  Food is always a Drago dependable delight. DDD.  We were going to go to an organ concert this afternoon, but after lunch we opted to stay home.  After all, home is where the heart is.  (Where did I hear THAT)?

Monday, April 12, 2010


When Madame La Fortune, the owner of the Hotel de L'Abbaye in Paris, was told we bought a weekend house in the desert she was aghast:  thinking the desert of Palm Springs was similar to the Sahara.  Well, it sure ain't!  The weekend before this past one was the Dinah Shore weekend in Palm Springs with thousands of lesbians from all over the world drinking, dancing and god only knows what else.  This past weekend was the White Party with thousands of Gay men descending upon this oasis in the desert: drinking, dancing and god only knows what else.  Avoiding the  debauchery we had a proper  lunch with CG at Spencer's and then checkout the progress on our house in RM.  Quelle bordelle!  In other words, What a mess!  Walls torn apart, wiring exposed, bare bones anticipating its face-lift.   A few of our new neighbors came over to see the demolition and progress.  M has his tour-de-maison down pat; explaining what will occur with the redo.  It will be wonderful.  On the way back to BH we stopped at the condo of French friends who own a desert pied a terre..say bonjour..have a glass of wine and share a lovely hour.  Madame La Fortune the desert is happening!  Venez!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Yes, you read that correctly.  Last evening was the dress rehearsal of a German opera by a Hitler-banned composer, Franz Schreker, who mercifully died in 1934.  I say "mercifully" because he did not have to endure the Nazi regime.  James Conlon, the renowned Los Angeles Opera conductor, has the past few years presented Recovered Voices.  Operas that were not allowed by the Nazis.  THE STIGMATIZED (English name) is one of those operas.  Seeing it was an intellectual (whatever that means) experience.  Voices and production were superb.  I invited F, an Italian friend who usually believes the only real operas are Italian operas.  Perhaps he is right.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Disney Hall tonite!  Bychkov is conducting Mahler's 5th.  So who knew he was married to Marielle, one of the Lebeque sisters?  I play the piano and M sings a little.  Not quite the same.  Tomorrow, Easter, we go to B and R's for their annual luncheon.  B is a fantastic cook and R pours the wine.  I always eat and drink too much is so good....and so good for you.

We belong to a Documentary club where once each month a current movie/DVD is shown at a member's house.  The other night was  a bio of Mike Tyson.  The group (of about 40 or more members) and the film is always interesting and often a few of the principals of the production attend the evening to conduct a question and answer session.  Tyson was not there.   P, one of the organizers of the group, hosted at her Malibu house.  The sunset and view of the ocean were extraordinary.  Sorta makes one appreciate living here in Southern California.  Cancel my Air France tickets!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Commies accused me of leading a frivolous life - can you imagine?  Saying this,  I'm joking about their party linkage however, some do think I am oblivious to the "real" world.  The real world being the homeless, out of work, abused, immigrants and Republicans, etc.   Those concerns of mine are not in this blog but private in my approach to dealing with them.  It's not my intention to rant and rave.  I intend to amuse (thank you Noel Coward).  Those who know me: get me and my humor.  In the 50's there was a musical revue in New York called Upstairs at the Downstairs.  A few of the performers went on to become big musical stars.  Dorothy Lowden for one.  The point is: they sang a song called Man's Inhumanity To Man.  A satire on exactly the same social problems we experience today.  Lighten up people.  Do what you can to help but stop broadcasting how socially aware you are.  In former days people quietly donated to charities with either time or money.  Just give already.

Happy Passover - Happy Easter.  Happy is the key word.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Spring Break!  Ooh La La!  Well, give me a break.  M and I had a fun filled weekend:  Staying at the Riviera Hotel (we had an extravagant Gift Certificate) in a suite, having a massage, dining on wonderful food and relaxing.  EXCEPT!  The pool area was crowded with college age kids drinking, cruising and showing of their beautiful bodies.  This old grump could barely handle it.  Not an ounce of fat on any of them.  Seriously tho', the staff at the hotel is first rate, the chef is first rate, and the hotel is first rate.

Saturday we went to a Gamma Mu cocktail party (don't even bother to ask what GM is).  There were about 100 guys drinking, no cruising and lots of good conversation.  Then on to dinner at Trio with a couple of good friends.  Who said there is still a recession?  The place was packed.  Good food, fair prices, lively atmosphere.  Can't complain.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I believe I mentioned we had purchased a weekend getaway in Rancho Mirage.  Also, that we are fortunate to have secured the advice of a superb architect, Lance O'Donnell  (See his own house in DWELL magazine) and the services of 2 very savvy contractors, Fred and Mario.  With all things "top" the renovation of the 1957 Wexler designed property is going to take time.  As we used to say in the clothing  business, we had wanted it finished "yesterday".  However, Terrazzo for the flooring takes 8 weeks after ordering, plans needed to be approved and when you told the architect that there should be 2 hooks in the guest bath:  the plans were changed again!  Now all is go: what with the flooring being ordered today, plans approved and, of course, knowing we will be way over budget.  Luckily, M is very good at finding appliances and fixtures at a reasonable price on the internet, so that will help with overall cost.  If Paris was a trial selling and moving out of; this project will be exciting and moving into.  Demolition begins TODAY!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Immediate Benefits
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act include health insurance market reforms that will bring immediate benefits to millions of Americans, including those who currently have coverage. The following benefits will be available in the first year after enactment of the two bills.
Small Business Tax Credits
Offers tax credits to small businesses beginning in 2010 to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage. The full credit will be available to firms with 10 or fewer employees with average annual wages of $25,000, while firms with up to 25 or fewer employees and average annual wages of up to $50,000 will also be eligible for the credit. Effective calendar year 2010. Later, when Exchanges are operational, tax credits will be up to 50 percent of premiums
No Pre-existing Coverage Exclusions for Children
Prohibits health insurers from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for children. Effective six months after enactment, applies to all employer plans and new plans in the individual market. (This provision will apply to all people in 2014).
Access to Affordable Coverage for the Uninsured with Pre-existing Conditions
Provides $5 billion in immediate federal support for a new program to provide affordable coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions until new Exchanges are operational in 2014. Effective 90 days after enactment.
Closing the Coverage Gap in the Medicare (Part D) Drug Benefit
Provides a $250 rebate check for Medicare beneficiaries who hit the ‘donut hole’ in 2010. Effective calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50 percent discount on brand- name drugs in the donut hole; also fills the donut hole by 2020.)
Patient Protections
Protects patients’ choice of doctors by allowing plan members to pick any participating primary care provider, prohibiting insurers from requiring prior authorization before a woman sees an ob-gyn, and ensuring access to emergency care. This provision applies to all new plans. Effective six months after enactment.
Re-insurance for Retiree Health Benefit Plans
Creates immediate access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees, helping to protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees. Effective 90 days after enactment.Extension of Coverage for Young Adults
Requires insurers to permit children to stay on family policies until age 26. Effective six months after enactment, applies to all plans in the individual market, new employer plans, and existing employer plans if a young adult is not eligible for employer coverage.
Free Prevention Benefits
Requires coverage of prevention and wellness benefits in all new plans and exempts these benefits from deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements in public and private insurance coverage. Effective six months after enactment.
Free Prevention and Wellness Visits in Medicare
Medicare beneficiaries will receive a free, annual wellness visit and will have all cost-sharing waived for preventive services. Effective January 1, 2011.
Access to Quality Care for Vulnerable Populations
Makes $11 billion investment over five years in Community Health Centers to provide the funding needed to expand access to health care in communities where it is needed most. Effective Fiscal Year 2010.
Ensuring Value for Premium Payments
Establishes standards for insurance overhead and requires public disclosure to ensure that enrollees get value for their premium dollars, requiring plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on clinical services and quality activities, and 85 percent for plans in the large group market. Health insurance plans that do not meet these thresholds will provide rebates to their policyholders. Effective January 1, 2011. This provision applies to all plans, including grandfathered plans, with the exception of self-insured plans.
No Lifetime Limits on Coverage
Prohibits insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits. Effective six months after enactment, applies to all plans.
Regulated Annual Limits on Coverage
Tightly regulates plans’ use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care in all group plans and all new individual plans. These tight restrictions will be defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Effective six month after enactment, applies to new plans in the individual market and all employer plans. (When the Exchanges are operational in 2014, the use of annual limits will be banned for new plans in the individual market and all employer plans.)
Protection from Rescissions of Existing Coverage
Stops insurers from rescinding insurance when claims are filed, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact. Effective six months after enactment, applies to all new and existing plans.
Prohibits Discrimination Based on Salary
Prohibits new group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective six months after enactment.
Public Access to Comparable Information on Insurance Options
Enables creation of a new website to provide information on and facilitate informed consumer choice of insurance options. Effective not later than July 1, 2010.
Health Insurance Consumer Information
Provides assistance to States in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance or health insurance ombudsman programs to assist individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals, enrollment in a health plan, and, eventually, to assist consumers with resolving problems with tax credit eligibility. Effective Fiscal Year 2010.
Appeals Process
Requires all new health plans to implement an effective process for appeals of coverage determinations and claims. And, states will provide an external appeals process to ensure an independent review. Effective six months after enactment.
Increasing the Number of Primary Care Providers
Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. Effective Fiscal Year 2010.
New, Voluntary, Long-Term Care Insurance Program
Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become disabled. Effective January 1, 2011.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Geez, when I think of all of FT's 40's Danish Modern furniture I put up for auction at a mediocre auction house here in LA:  I could "you know what".   M and I feel the simplicity of the furniture to be in accord with the house in RM we are renovating.  Not lots of it, but a couple of important pieces.  Wouldn't you know that the stuff is trendy again and with "trendy" goes an escalation in prices.  Finding pieces that are not so expensive will be an adventure in decorating.   Today we high-tailed it over to Silver Lake and discovered a small store with furniture that was not only of good quality but fair prices.  (Kinda renews our faith in honest merchants.)  There are a number of stores in Los Angeles dealing in Danish Modern and there is a terrific one in Portland Oregon.  But!  Why not just get on a plane and go to Denmark.   I am researching prices there too.  Aquavit anyone?

Friday, March 19, 2010


"That face that face that fabulous face."  In Beverly Hills everyone sues for just about anything.  If I hadn't signed the disclaimer I think I might have called my lawyer.  Each day is a different "look".  Three days of ice packs and one day of heating.  Now I am told that in "a couple of weeks" all should go back to normal. A couple of weeks!  I gotta lot of shopping to do.  M has insisted we go for a walk this evening.  I insist on wearing a big hat, dark glasses and a huge scarf around my face.  If I go to Whole Foods, Beverly Hills, I will probably blend right in with all of those ladies and their grotesque face-lifts.  So why should care?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Tucker died.  He and his then partner, Chuck, and I were close friends in the 50's and 60's, but as often happens, we drifted apart.  Chuck, who later on preferred to be called "Charles", became an alcoholic and Tucker joined Al Anon: better to cope and understand Chuck's alcoholism.  Through the past years I rarely saw Tucker and the last time was in a coffee shop.  He said "Larry, there aren't many of us old friends left".
I am now reminded of Sondheim's song from Merrily We Roll Along: Old Friends.


Had some dental surgery on Monday where the eminent Dr. Moy performed a synthetic bone transplant to later replace two missing teeth with implants.  Nobody ever really tells you what the recovery of surgery will be.  Oh a little swelling.  Today I awoke and my face looked exactly like the Hunchback of Notre Dame but without the Hump.  I called the doctor's office and was told that the swelling would recede  in about 2 - 3 weeks!  The positive side:  I can only eat soft food, no alcohol - Think weight loss.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Sole Meunier at 38 dollars?  You gotta be kidding!  Had the roasted baby chicken .   Didn't really "have" the chicken but ate the chicken...Oh!  Whatever!  Perfect!


Just the same old same old this weekend which isn't bad.  Dined at Le Petit Four on Sunset Plaza with M and two friends.  The place is congenial, good food, not expensive and good service.  A pleasant and casual experience.  Caught up on my piano practicing today- reading some Beethoven Sonatas, Chopin Nocturnes and a couple of Albeniz pieces.  Tonight we go to Pane Vino.  I love their Sole Meuniere and am looking forward to having it.  Tomorrow we go walking on the Palisade in Santa Monica (sounds like a big deal but it is good exercise and the view of the ocean is beautiful).  Sunday an early dinner 'cause I am having dental surgery early Monday morning, a movie on the Tele and early to bed.
Ain't Life Grand?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Last evening was memorable.  The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (yes, I still am a Francophone) gave a superb all Ravel performance at UCLA's Royce Hall.  It opened with Ma mere l'Oye (Mother Goose Suite.)  Then the ethereal Swedish soprano Anne Sofie von Otter sang 4 songs in the loveliest of voices.  Her cool calm is completely suited to the other-worldly configurations of Ravel.  And then!  My favorite - Daphnis et Chloe': Suite 1 & 2.  A magnificent performance utilizing the wonderful acoustics of the Hall.  The program ended with an absolutely smashing La Valse.  The physical restraint of the conductor Myung-Whun Chung  is refreshingly in contrast to the conducting of Dudamel: while still obtaining the multitudes of musical colorations from the orchestra.  An exhilarating concert!  What luck to have experienced a first-rate musical evening without the jet-lag.  I have heard this orchestra at the Salle Pleyel in Paris and often wondered why there is a remarkable difference in the sound of French orchestras in comparison to American orchestras.  I'll be damned if I know!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


After my being in bed for 5 days with a horrible cold, rainy Saturday night we went to a party and to Vermont - the replacement restaurant for Marks.  Bustling with a very mixed crowd.  Too bad it's so far away in Hollywood.  Horrors having to go East of La Brea!  I paid for the fun on Sunday with a relapse.  Early Sunday morning we went to our first HOA meeting in RM  (tired of writing 'Rancho Mirage') and feeling a bit under the weather I endured, what with M doing the driving there and back.  We met our congenial new neighbors with me minimally participating in the meeting, cadged a quick sandwich at friend's,  and got back home just in time for the biggy Oscar movie awards.  None of which I've seen.  Back again last night at Piccolini for a comforting meal.  The Special was veal sausages with spaghetti Arrabiata.  Mmmmm good!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


How about a restaurant with good service, terrific ambiance, very good food and absolutely nothing to complain about.  That restaurant is Piccolino on Robertson Blvd.  Silvio, one of the owners, is charming and attentive:  unlike that jerk at Sur.  The tables are placed spaciously in a fairly compact area and you never have the feeling of being crowded.  Service is delightful all the way from the owner, hostess, waiter to the busboy.  I had a sensational Linguini with lemon and sage.  Simple and delicious.  There were 7 of us for lunch and everyone enjoyed their choices.  I ordered a house Toscana chianti which was a perfect compliment to the pasta.  For desert, Silvio sent over a gift of a large bowl of dark, rich chocolate Mousse.  I realize these accolades are a bit over the top, but after my experience at Sur - it was a revelation.

I've booked for dinner this coming Monday, looking forward to Fegato ala Veneziano.  Holy cholesterol!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Have been bedded with a very bad cold but there have been some bright spots in this day.  Cough Cough.

I heard from 3 persons long out of my past - all because of being on the web.  How wonderful it is to hear from old friends.  We forget what they meant and do mean to us.  Of course I paraphrase when I say "Does anyone still write a letter"?  (Or wear a hat?)  Our lives move on but there are no friends like old friends.

M is making dinner to be served to me in bed.  There are some perks to being ill.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

SUR correction

Sorry folks.  I made an error.  The prices were not high.  It was all of the martinis we drank.  They add up. Specially with this group!

Sunday, February 28, 2010


This is more of an opinion than a review.  It is my opinion that Sur is one of  the most overrated and uncomfortable restaurants in Los Angeles.  The reason for this is as follows:
1/  To enter the restaurant you are stopped at the door by an officious man demanding to know your name and if you have reserved.  Seems this is the owner.  The entrance to the restaurant is foreboding in its over the top decor with a statue of some sort facing the door and dividing the restaurant rooms in two.
2/ When I gave my name I was told I was to go to the bar to wait for the rest of the guests.  I explained I was the host for the 5 guests and I would prefer to be seated at the table where I could greet them as they would arrive.  In my little world this is called "good manners".  In no uncertain terms the owner stated that the policy of the restaurant was not to seat anyone until all guests had arrived.  (Good way to get you to buy drinks.)  While explaining my position as a host, a friend who happened to be a frequent customer of the restaurant greeted me, and only then did the owner, seeing I knew "J", begrudgingly seat me at a very large table on a sort of dais  with 6 velvet covered chairs crowded into a much too small place.
3/  While waiting I was approached by a pleasant waitress named Stassi, requesting my drink order.  Being a bit early gave me the opportunity to relax, enjoy my martini and peruse the restaurant scene.  There was literally a "sea" of tables crowded into the two rooms and a terrace, all with white table clothes and candles blazing and the staff bumping into one another and oncoming diners.  My view of the front door allowed me to see who was arriving as well as the frenetic goings and comings of the owner.  I noted how confusing it was for persons entering  the restaurant.
4/  Bit by bit my guests began to arrive except for the guest of honor who was bedded with a cold.  Getting into their respective seats in the small dining area was a feat in itself.  Drink orders were taken by Stassi and  menus, covered in a zebra patterned cloth reminiscent of the old El Morocco, given to us.  Specials were rattled off with of course no one remembering a word after, except for one guest who later repeated the entire Special list.  The menu list was without any dish not already found on the most ordinary of restaurants and without of course, the most ordinary prices. The wine list was similar in lack of creativity.  Beet salad anyone?
5/ The food arrived sorta plunked down on the plate.  There was absolutely nothing outstanding or inventive, which I believe is the usual reason for going to a high priced restaurant.  Or am I an old fashioned grouch?
A good time was had by: good friends, martinis and an "OK" Argentinian 2006 Malbec wine and of course the lovely Stassi.  Will I return to Sur?  Jamais bebe, jamais!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Rain!  Rain!  Rain!  M has been bedded the last couple of days with a bad cold.  Had him take lots of L52: the miracle homeopathic medicine I had brought back from Paris.  It is a good day to play with my new iMac fantastic computer.  Watching Netflix movies on it.  Now I have to get a more comfortable desk chair.  JOURNEYMAN ARCHITECT is a wonderful documentary CD about the man who created our new abode in Rancho Mirage.  We are so lucky to have found the house, met the architect and to be working on the restoration with his protege'.  Tonite we are celebrating M's birthday with a dinner at Sur.  Then tomorrow we go to Hidden Hills (bout 45 minutes from here) to join our friends at the Documentary Club.   The simple life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Yes, that is what I call Beverly Hills and I am happy to be back here.  Lots has happened this past 10 days. Detoxing after my Paris sojourn, went 2 times to Rancho Mirage to meet with the architect and get the ball rolling. attended a cocktail party at a fantastic Lautner house (Google him), caught up with my desk work, heard an exciting concert at Disney Hall of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with the Canadian pianist Louis Lortie playing the Beethoven "Emperor" Concerto and appreciated how great my life is with M here in California.  Began to practice the piano yesterday.  Lortie was inspiring.  Beethoven is in my repetoire (as they call it).  M's birthday is this week and will have a surprise for him as well as hosting 6 for his birthday dinner at the restaurant Sur in West Hollywood.  Where else?

Friday, February 12, 2010


Had a good flight home.  Am exhausted what with the jet-lag which gets worse each trip.
Nothing but rest today and a good massage at Brooks Baths on Beverly Blvd.  Love all the B's.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


During breakfast in the lovely breakfast room, it began to snow in big fluffy snowflakes.  Beautiful.  Then, in came Isabell Huppert for a meeting, and shortly after, Natalie Baye escorted by a television team for an interview.  Two of my favorite French actresses.  There is also an Afghan woman here who has written a book and is being interviewed, as well as, Anouk Aimee who will be arriving this afternoon.  WOW!  This hotel is so chic.

Thought it best to check that my phone in the apt. had been disconnected.  Sure enough, they had the wrong date.  It is unreal the stupidity of the employees of these companies.  Of course, they have their jobs for practically their entire life.  Too expensive for the company to fire them, what with the compensation the company has to pay.  Almost like our civil employees.  Took the damned box with the Umericable cable boxes down to a shop where they will be returned to the company so that I am not charged for them.  The shop is a children's clothing store on the rue Dauphine.  The owner makes a little money on the side accepting the cartons to be returned to the cable company.  Hope all is over now with the shutting off of the phone, electricity, cable and internet.  

I have been invited to dinner at ALCAZAR this evening.  An American acquaintance writes a newsletter called Paris Perfect and he is reviewing the restaurant.  Should be interesting.

Had not been to the restaurant in a long time.  In the 70's it was a fabulous night club.  Now, it is a booming, big brasserie.  Good service, good food and reasonable (by Paris standards) prices.  It had evidently snowed while we were dining and the streets were gleaming with the new snow.  My last night in Paris was a joy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Bought a gift for Lionel.  A pair of cufflinks at a favorite shop of his on the rue Bonaparte.  I really don't know if he wears French cuffs, but if not, he can exchange them.  Then went to my meeting to sign the final papers.  Wouldn't you know......they gave me the wrong address for the Notary.  So typical.  The meeting went well and we signed.  The buyer was a nice lady, determined to get every I dotted.  I was my most charming.  GLAD IT IS OVER!!!  Had a quiet dinner with Eric (Laurent was ill....seems to be going around), and to bed early.  Slept like a baby.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Am wrtiting this on Wednesday.  THE BIG DAY.  Yesterday morning it was foggy and cold.  First thing, I high tailed it to the Air France office nearby.  Sign on the door said it opened at 10:15 NOT 10:00.  Again, an enigma Francais.  No seats available for an earlier than planned departure.  So I am still on for Thursday.  Then decided to look for a present for Lionel.  He has been so supportive and helpful the entire time I have had my apartment.  I really appreciate all he has done.  Went to Hermes, rue Saint-Honore.  Nothing in stock that seemed suitable.  Wandered down the street to Loro Piana and found some v-neck cashmere sweaters but still not sure, and then to Zegna where they had the new collection of cashmere polos in pastel colors.  Still undecided.  After a long nap here in the hotel, Lionel and I went up to the apt. to take down the portable air conditioner that he will take to his new apartment.  Joined up with buddies Olivier and JC and Lionel for one last dinner at Trois Petit Cochons.  We have noted that the Chinese have replaced the Japanese usually traveling in tour groups.  Table of 12 very well mannered young Chinese ladies at the next table.  Nice for them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Another gray, cold Sunday.   Not my favorite day here.  Went to the Musee Maillol for an exhibition called Vanities'.  Extensive collection of paintings, sculpture and jewelry all pertaining to and showing skulls.  Yes!  Skulls!  Classic artists, modern artists, etc.  Very strange.  Then to the Museum of Photographie to see a very good show of an American photographer whose name just slipped my mind.  More on him later.

Am heading to the Theatre l'Archipel to hear a 6PM piano recital of music by Jewish composers who perished at Auschwitz.  Meeting Chris and Didier at the theatre and after the concert we will have dinner.  A quiet Sunday in Paris France Europe.

I wanna go back to LA!  Biding my time to sign the final papers on the apartment and catch an Air France flight home.  Seems strange to say but for me in Paris "The bloom is off the rose".

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Had dinner last night with Eric and Laurent at a small restaurant named PIGZ; near Les Halles.  I don't recommend it.  Conversation was interesting and made it back to the hotel at 11PM by Metro.

Pouring cold, icy rain this morning.  Not the best time to be in Paris (at least this year's weather wise).  Then  joined Olivier and Jean-Claude at our usual lunch haunt, Cafe' Beaubourg.  Very amusing when we look at the menu, trying to decide, because each one of us always orders the same thing we've ordered at previous lunches.  JC and O order the Tartare and I order the Penne.  It's always fun and lively with the two of them.  Great time with old friends.  Trying to get a word in is a feat in itself.  And for me, that is saying something.

Headed back to the hotel for a nap and think I will just hang out alone tonight, have a quiet dinner somewhere and count my blessings that all is turning out well.  Except for the drop in the damned Euro!


I can't watch.  They have taken the legs of the piano, swathed it in quilts and at this moment it is being lifted by a huge crane, over the rue de Rennes and put into an enormous truck.  The international movers, Seegmuller, were here just before, packed 28 cartons and "tout vas bien".  The living room looks enormous.  Now the guys are here to weld back the famous "barre".  As I think of it, that was the name of a department store:  Famous Barr.  Might have been New Orleans.  I don't remember where.  They used to buy dresses from me when I was a designer.  You cannot imagine the relief that this part is finished.  Not to deal with the cable/internet company about returning the boxes and their documents that have never arrived.

Immediately after everyone left I dragged my suitcase up to the Hotel de l'Abbeye at number 10 rue Cassette.  Just up the street.  It was a homecoming, having stayed there for 26 years prior to my buying the apartment.  I was given a charming room and waiting was a gift of chocolates from the owner's wife with a note that said "Welcome home".  I will stay there for 6 days and then this part of my Paris Life will have ended.  A very nice ending indeed.

Friday, February 5, 2010


This is supposedly the day of the move.  My luck it is raining this morning.  Also, my luck the euro has dropped.  THINK POSITIVE!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


The Big-Move is beginning.  I took down the art and began arranging all that is to be shipped to the States.  Amazing that after all these years the walls have not changed color under the pictures.  Must be the electric heating.  Grabbed a lunch at a place I have passed hundreds of times on the Blvd. Saint-Germain named Le Rhumerie.  A bustling place specializing in what else?  Rum.  Had a very good salad of smoked salmon and a glass of Sauvignon blanc.  Too early for rum.  The place is run by very animated Jamaicans.  Good find!

Read through a book of Chopin Mazurkas that I'd not played in years.  My piano's Swan Song.  Olivier popped by to take me down to the Cafe' Flore for a cup of tea.  We sat inside where the cognoscenti sit, not on the terrace with the tourists and wannabees.  Olivier was his usual good humored self....full of stories...wearing a 50,0000 euro watch (Yes, you read that right) and making certain everyone in the place could see it.  He is with LMVH and has a HUGE employee discount.  I always enjoy spending time with him because he is an original.  And that is hard to find these days.  He told me an interesting story about Coaches here in Paris who train people for future career advancement.  Positive thinking in business.  Do we have that in the US?  I sure could have used one when I was working.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Not to bore you anymore but they took away the barre.  Piano will leave at 7:30 AM on Friday.  YEAH!
I will move to the Hotel de l'Abbaye on Friday.  Tel:  011 33 1 45 44 38 11.

Went over to the 'other side' today.  To the Marais.  It's called the Right Bank but for me it is the wrong bank.  There are too many people and cars in a town this small.  People seem to be rushing around absolutely frantic!  Frantic to get the bus....frantic to go to lunch....frantic to shop.  They are wild-eyed in their pursuit of something or other. I managed to have a quiet lunch in an Italian cafe' and was happy to get back here on "my" side of town where is seems to be more calm .  Also, there is a rail strike today.  So what else is new?

Laurent and Manuel came over for a last glass of champagne in this apt.  I bit sad.  But! The evening ended on a high note, our having dinner at Chez Fernand, laughing with the serveuse (commonly known as the waitress) and drinking wine.  Paris ain't so bad after all.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Woke up this morning and said to moi-meme, "Think positive"!  Chris had arranged for a different transport company to come to the apt. and see about the removal of the piano.  The guy arrived practically on time (positive thinking works, n'est pas?).  He called his mason about the rail and left a message on his voicemail.  I am praying.

Praying has paid off!  The contractor and mason are coming here tomorrow morning and the move is to be made on Friday.  I have decided to send the piano to our new digs in Rancho M.  I hope it is a slow boat 'cause  the house won't be ready until May/June.  I won't believe it until I see the piano floating over the rue de Rennes.  When they brought it in 11 years ago, I couldn't watch.  Stomach churning.  I don't even bother now to depend on whether they will be on time.  Just hope they show up.

This morning Delphine called and said Dominique's boss at the POLO CLUB/Bois Boulogne does not want a black piano.  He wants a brown piano because the leather banquettes are brown.  Would you believe it?  Not really putting them down, but face decoration the French have not done anything since the last Louis.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Today was another frustrating day with the story of my piano.  Getting the piano out of this apartment is a saga in its self.   Now, my understanding is that the rail (barre) is too dangerous to be moved from the window.  How they will get the piano out: I will never know.  Lunched with Catherine, a very longtime friend and she explained that as in the USA, nobody shows up for their appointed appointments.  Electician, workmen, whatever.  Then tonight, Lionel explained the machinations of the French mentality.  Each culture is different - true.  He explained that the French do not go from A to B, but wander around in between until they get to B.  It is all "maybe" not yes or no.  Anyway, enough of this complaining.  I can always chop the piano in two and throw it out the window.  Am having a glass of Baron Rothschild bordeaux.  Not a great wine but enough to keep me from joining my piano out the window.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Thought I'd finish with my Sunday report.  Jeremy went back to Madrid at noon and I grabbed the Metro to go to lunch at Christopher and Didier's apartment in LeVallois. Had an aperitif I had seen in the shops but never had had called Byrrh.  Sorta like a red sherry and very good.  Chris prepared a tasty lunch of roast chicken, small potatoes, etc.  We laughed, ate and had a warm, happy afternoon.  Typically French, lunch lasted 4 hours.  No need to go to dinner tonight.  Good night.


Yesterday was a busy day.  Exhausting!  Took my nephew Jeremy to the Pompidou Museum to see the wonderful exhibiton of French furniture design 1979-1999.  Admission was free.  There weren't many pieces but what was there was important.  I had Jeremy photograph a chair and a sofa.  Soon to be "adapted".  Then walked across the plaza to the Cafe' Beaubourg for lunch where we were to meet my good friend, Olivier.  Olivier was very charming with Jeremy (but who could not be).  While they walked back to my side of the river, I grabbed my 96 bus to hurry home where I was to meet Delphine and her husband Dominique, who were to photograph my piano for a possible purchase.  Getting the piano out of the apartment has been a perpetual crisis.  Olivier and Jeremy arrived and then Delphine.  Poor Dominique had to wait in the car while Delphine did the photo: being Saturday there were no parking places available. Finally!  Everyone left and I had what the English call, "A bit of a lie-down".  Shortly after Lionel came directly from the hotel and began to call restaurants for a booking.  Only 10:30 tables were available.  Paris is jumping on a Sat. night.  So we toddled up to the small, friendly, typically family French restaurant Le Mascotte on the rue Cherche Midi.  Our waitress spoke English and she explained she had lived in Malibu.  Perfect ending to a perfect day.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Seem to be running a day behind.  Was sort of a 'clean-up' day.  My good buddy Christopher and I went to the Luxembourg Jardin post office to send the required registered letter to Numericable for the cable/internet cutoff request and to arrange the forwarding of my mail ( not that there is much to forward).  Cost of forwarding was an astounding 55 euros.  I really wanted to say "just junk it", but Chris had gone to so much trouble of filling out in advance all of the required forms, that I went along with it.  After all, what are 55 euros in the scheme of life?  Then I took him to my neighborhood cafe' for a very good lunch of Cuisse de Canard (roasted duck leg) with heavenly mashed potatoes, and a good glass of red wine.  Rushed back to the apt. to cancel my 2 o'clock appointment with the real estate agent and the buyer.  Figured that I would leave all the stuff she wants: kitchen, et al anyway.  I mean, how much would I charge for dishes, silver and glasses.  Also, I thought she might see the apt. again and change her mind.  If she did she would lose her 5% down payment, but then again that is alot cheaper than the sale price...and I don't want to have to put the apt. on the market again.  What is done is done!

Went to Orly to pickup my nephew Jeremy who was coming in on Iberia from Madrid.  He is going to school there this semester.  We went to the very casual, always crowded restaurant; Chez Fernand.  An extremely convivial group of 4 guys were seated next to us and one informed me he loved America and especially the West Coast.  It was fun chatting with them, drinking a good Chinon wine and knowing they understood my French.  Then Jeremy, whose 21st birthday is today, and I headed back to the apt. where we drank Vielle Prune liqueur and talked until 2:30 AM.  Kids keep you up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Didn't write anything yesterday. Posted documents to the shipping company, SEEGMULLER. Then met Christopher on the quai of a Metro stop to go directly to CENTRE CHOPIN. I decided rather than wait for their never coming telephone call, I would go to their store to arrange for the pickup of my piano. Jeremy, the sales rep could not have been more charming and helpful. Apparently, my contract for the sale was already in the computer and why it never got mailed to me - God only knows. Now I am waiting for a call from the company that is to pickup the piano. The name is: Service Poids Lourd. Does that not say it all? Service Heavy Pounds. It will be a nightmare getting the piano our of my 4th story window. When they brought it in in '99, I couldn't look. The piano was swinging over a busy street. Somehow they managed.

Well, like I said: "It ain't easy here". I have to cancel my tv cable and internet with a company named NUMERICABLE. I went to one of their offices (don't even try to get through on the phone) and was told that a registered letter had to go to their main office (in some mysterious post box) with a document stating that I was moving out of the country. Only then....they will send me a letter telling me where the cable and internet boxes have to be sent. Also, it seems my contract runs until September. If I skip town on the payments the passport control will arrest me the next time I try to enter the country. This procedure of trying to leave town is like a Kafka play. Or is it Alice in Wonderland?

Monday, January 25, 2010


Now that the jet lag is subsiding, I am getting back to my old Parisien self. Pulled about 20 books off the shelf and took them over to San Francisco book shop for a donation. Have decided to donate unwanted clothing to Eglise St. Sulpice , which is just around the corner. That is the church in the DA VINCI CODE. Never realized I bought so much stuff at Emporio Armani. Had a great 10 euro lunch of curried chicken (Blanc de poulet au curry) at my favorite zinc countered cafe: Le Vieux Colombier. Then to the Notary for a final private meeting before the signing of the sale on February 9th. Stopped at Colette on the rue St. Honore' on the way....the most incredible store...packed with trendette shoppers. Last week and this are the weeks of the Men's Fashion openings and they all rush to Colette to see what is ahead of the curve. A more sober stop was the book store Gallieni. They have been on the rue Rivoli since 18 something or whatever. My French friend Catherine says it is "very nice". That says it all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


For the past 2 1/2 years we have been looking for a weekend house in either Palm Springs or Rancho Mirage, CA. We wanted a house we would be excited about as a destination. Unfortunately, there are many faux Spanish places in the desert and our dream was to have a "modern" (what is laughingly referred to as Mid-Century - meaning 50's) place. Each time we saw a place we liked it was more often designed by Donald Wexler, who was among a few others, an important architect in that area. Unfortunately, those houses were beyond our budget and they are rare in Rancho Mirage. Matthew spotted it on the internet before it actually was in the listings and had been owned by a woman since '57. As the actress Bette Davis would say, "She died"! We bid and the heirs accepted. Googling Wexler, I discovered he was from my home town of Minneapolis. I wrote to him in Palm Springs and asked if either he or an associate would consider consulting with us on the restoration of the house. It had been untouched since '57. Surprisingly he called and invited us to lunch just this past week. He and his associate came to the house and Lance, his associate wunderkind, will work with us on the restoration. But! it also seems that Mr. Wexler, who is now 84, and I went to the same Grade school, Junior High and High school. It is Fate....Destiny....Bishert. It will be a stimulating creative project. So y'all come. (only bring you own liquor please)


Sundays in the winter in Paris are dismal. Dark, gray and wettish. Today is no exception. I have no plan other than to prepare for tomorrow's meeting with my Notary (like a lawyer). Had an omelet at my neighborhood cafe; Le Vieux Colombier, then wandered down to the Blvd Saint-Germain to checkout the news stand. Noticed CELINE was gone. Too bad cause I loved looking at their windows. The clothes were always beautifully designed. Rock and Roll is what EMPORIO ARMANI has become for menswear. However, it is a good marketing choice because too many of the Armani customers were buying at Emporio for a similar product to GIORGO ARMANI, the expensive store known for simple clothing in beautiful fabrics. No mistaking one for the other now.

Matthew called from Rancho Mirage. There is a tribute to the architect Donald Wexler with a WEXLER WEEKEND in Palm Springs. Tours of houses he designed, showing of a documentary on his design career, parties, etc. I think I should write about the Wexler experience. To explain what that is all about.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Just received a phone call from Christopher. He is helping me contact the various agencies requiring cancellation of contract before my vacating the apartment, electric, phone, insurance, etc. I say helping. He is doing it! Monday we will toddle up to the Blvd. Montparnasse to the office of the television cable company; NOOS. cannot do it by phone. That would be too simple. Only then will they tell me what I have to do with the cable box. Hmmmm.

Went over to the very interesting San Francisco Book Store to see if they are still buying books. I have filled a trolley of books I don't want to ship. With sad eyes the owner informed me that "things were a bit tough now" and they were not buying any at the present time. Passing a female beggar on the street I was thinking "Honey, you ain't the only one". Meanwhile, the streets are filled with wild-eyed shoppers desperately loading up on the last dregs of the waning days of "SOLDE" (sale).

Had dinner to night with a good friend, Lionel. We went to a casual, chic, well designed and good food restaurant; PINXO. Each dish has three small portions meant to share with your dinner partner. I don't care to try other persons food but am perfectly OK about them trying my choices. We didn't share. Like two gourmands we ate all of our own food. I ordered a wine from the south of France. Perfect! If ever anyone is in Paris, try this restaurant. It was my second time and I have dreamed about it since the first. Happily going to bed. As Julia would say, "Bonne Nuit!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Yesterday evening, after rushing to the Hotel de l'Abbaye to sign more documents for that stupid lender in San Francisco, I meandered among the throngs of people,down the rue de Buci, to the apartment of a fascinating American acquaintance, Blake. His art filled apartment is on a beautiful quai. The view of the Seine with the lights of the Louvre on the other bank is Paris at its best. Dinner was to be prepared by an American ex-pat. The invitation was for around 7:30PM, but typically French, the guests didn't begin to arrive until well after 8:00. God forbid someone should be the first to arrive. There were 10 of us seated at 2 round tables. On my right was a conceptual artist who's career is climbing, and my left a young art consultant. Conversation was stimulating. The Boeuf Bourgignon delicious, lots of good red wine and an apple pie dessert. The evening ended at past midnight. Upon arriving in the apartment, there again was an email requesting I go to the hotel the first thing in the morning and sign some more damned documents to be sent to LA. Not the greatest way to get a good night's rest. In fact I awakened at 5:45; unable to go back to sleep. Thank God my dinner tonight was cancelled. Laurent flew off to Rome and forgot all about it. Always a surprise at every turn.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


At about 11PM last night I received a message from Matthew that the lending company for the house we are buying in Rancho Mirage, needed additional information. We are supposedly closing escrow on Friday the 22nd. This company has been nothing but a f...k up. James, the brokerage lender, supposedly sent a fax to a nearby hotel with pages for me to sign and return. This morning at 9:30 I went to the hotel and the pages had not been received. This is probably the worst bit of business I have ever encountered. As it was, I had to sign 101 pages! As they say in Hollywood: "Soon to be a Major Motion Picture".

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Arrived in Paris to finalize the sale of my apartment. I have had the apartment for 11 years - living a dream to spend more time in this incredible city and to study French piano music with a French teacher. Now I find that I am spending less time here for a variety of reasons. One: My partner Matthew. Two: I find the "charm" of the restaurants, museums, concerts, et al, have lost a bit of interest. Three: Paris is just too damned expensive. Four: The quartier of Saint Germain has changed so much. Plus! I'm not walking like I used to and after coming to Paris for 50 years! It has finally become common-place. I intend to come back and live as I did previously. Stay in a hotel or rent and apartment for a short period and go go go - see friends, do the hot restaurants and rediscover the city.

Today I began the move. The shipping company rep came to take notes, a good friend, Christopher, arranged with all of the agencies to turn off whatever needs to be turned off and I threw away countless files filled with every imaginable travel bit about Paris and Europe. Files dating back to 2000. I even played my piano before the restricted time of 10AM. Specially since I just found out there are only two apartments occupied by owners and the rest by renters. Moving won't be easy but then again, nothing here is easy.