Day 1 – Not In Kansas, But Assuredly Not In New Zealand Either.
The road to New Zealand inevitably passes through the City of Angels. Usually on a stopover of hours but sometimes, as in our case, a couple days. The morning series of ad agency drive-bys went swimmingly. And our lunch with the splendid Clare Grant (better known to some of you as Miss Sir Terry Pratchett, to others as a member of Team Unicorn) took place at one of her old LA haunts. Stories of our glamorous backgrounds were exchanged, and travel tips offered all around. We headed off to a meeting with Samuels Advertising, for whom I had many years earlier painted 6 Laurel & Hardy DVD covers (the old neighborhood off Hollywood Boulevard always has me hearing the live version of the classic Kinks song in my head). While there are still amputees using Brasso on the stars’ names, and people selling badly-copied and continually-outdated maps to the homes of the rich and famous, in other ways this neighborhood has come up in the world. My recent painting of Amanda Palmer as Neil Gaiman’s Media was called to mind by this certain star….
After a marvellous meeting with David Samuels, we headed to Universal Studio City and the new home of Paul Komoda.
Paul’s huge Predator figure is as yet unfinished, but it promises (amid numberless wonders and horrors) to be his finest piece yet. Also, one of his largest. We absconded with him in pursuit of gelato, but other wonders (including blazing orange stuffed sheep) were also on the menu. Here’s a glimpse or two of Paul and his ménage.
From the House of Komoda, we ventured on, traveling toward the setting sun through the Valley of the Shadow of Mulholland. Finally stopping only at Jason and Kemi’s. Conversation, delightful food at Pho21, and successful campaigns against my hosts at Scrabble and Anagrams followed.
Day 2 – LA Confidentially
To avoid the morning commute madness on the 101, we nipped up Ventura and crossed into Hollywood through Laurel Canyon to meet with the proprietress of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwear. We got to meet the oft-absent Drew, dine on sumptuous brunch, and talk about the omens for our trip. They were good. With a brain filled with ideas for the work ahead once the trip is through, we set off once more for distant agencies – this time in Santa Monica, where we haunted the promenade and overlooked the creation of some radical new signage. Chow with Bino at his favorite Indian cafe where the Saag Paneer (among other faves) was the best we’ve ever had. The massage that followed was the perfect end to a whirlwind visit. Then off to LAX. Just in time for the Air New Zealand computers to go down…. We were there for less than 15 minutes before it came back, but the suspense was palpable. Finally onto the plane at 10, and out of the country not so long thereafter.