It’s Good to be the King- An Evening with Mel Brooks

If you read my last post I mentioned my love of the American Cinematheque.  Throughout undergrad I was known as the human Blockbuster (a fact a majority of my sorority took advantage of on a regular basis).  My love of movies started in high school and is a story I’ll save for another blog, but suffice it to say that my film collection is in the top three of my favorite possessions and the first piece of furniture I ever bought for myself was a giant display cabinet for my collection.

I’ve always had a particular fondness for Mel Brooks films. I can remember my dad quoting Blazing Saddles- “Badges?! We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!!”**- from when I was but a wee tot and I was quickly enamored with the musical numbers in Robing Hood: Men In Tights and The Producers.  Once in high school I had the opportunity to go to a taping of  Late Late Night with Craig Ferguson and his guest was Carl Reiner, famous for his 2000 Year Old Man sketch with Mel Brooks. He was amazing and I made it a life goal to eventually get to hear Mel Brooks speak.  I even wrote my final paper in undergrad on Mel Brooks and his trademark use of sight gags (titled It’s Good to be the King: How Parody and Sight-Gags Define Mel Brooks’ Films; yea I like how this all just came full circle).

(** Yes I know this is also from Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but the Blazing Saddles parodied it)

2000 Year Old Man:

On Friday I finally got my chance! This past week was the TCM Film Festival, it takes full advantage of the films in its library and the slew of celebrities that live in LA and puts together (in my opinion) the most consistently impressive film slate of all the festivals. It’s a rare opportunity to get to see a classic film presented by the director or lead actor and in the company of a fellow group of film lovers. On Friday night the festival was showing Young Frankenstein along with a Q&A with Mel Brooks so I roped my best friend Megan (another resident cinefile) into going with me.

Program and ticket stub

Mel Brooks! Sorry for the poor quality, that light shining on them kept messing up the pictures 😦

It was such a treat to hear Mel Brooks talk about the making of the film (how he gave all of the execs at Fox a heart attack when he told them he was filming in black and white) and stories of his other films (Gene Wilder filling in after filming had already started on Blazing Saddles). The movie was obviously spectacular and brings together some of the funniest people (Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Teri Garr). I cannot emphasize enough how different an experience it is to watch movies on such a large screen (with a beautiful print) and with a group of people who love the film. Movies are supposed to be a collective experience and it truly enhances the experience to watch it in a setting like that.

In closing- everyone should attend a screening at The American Cinematheque (calendar), go with your parents, your friends, or make new friends there!

My favorite scene from Young Frankenstein- Gene Hackman and Peter Boyle ❤

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A few obsessions…

I always really enjoy when bloggers post a few of the things they are currently obsessed with so I thought I would do the same! There really is no unifying theme here other than they are all things I use/eat/see/do on a regular basis and wish I could use/eat/see/do more often. If you know me you’ve probably had to tune me out more than once while I lecture you about the amazing-ness of each of these.

Josie Maran’s Aragan Oil

This stuff is like nectar from the gods. Yea it’s a weird concept- here take this oil, it does magical things to your face, hair, nails, and fine china. I don’t know what makes this any different from olive oil or really any other oil BUT IT IS. I wake up looking tired and dry and gross… a few drops makes me look awake and bright. And kind of like this.

Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese

I mean… does this even need a description? It’s like what I’m pretty sure the baby of awesomeness and perfection tastes like. It’s the main ingredient in the BEST and most addicting macaroni and cheese ever, which literally could only be better if it actually contained crack. That mac n’ cheese recipe was the first one our Fat Kid Posse conquered. The Fat Kid Posse (consisting of Cindy, Ketakee, and Michael) started as a study group during 1L finals… but we spent most of our time discussing food (mainly cheese and various baked goods) and we quickly evolved into just a group of people who appreciated anything heavily caloric. This might explain our grades first year, and our expanded waist lines.

The Fun. Album “Some Nights”

This entire album is just UNBELIEVABLE. Yea, I know that I’m passenger #6,872,545 on that bandwagon. But I don’t care. I tend to be that person who listens to the same song OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. In high school I spent 6 months listening to The Goo Goo Dolls album Dizzy Up The Girl… fine it was closer to 9 months. Yea well this Fun. album may surpass that. I listen to it mostly when I’m studying but since I’m a law student that’s a large majority of my time (ok I’m totally lying, 2Ls don’t study), but I do listen to this album all the time.

Ray Ban Aviators

I got these over Christmas and pretty much wear them everywhere, and the fact that I love them is only partially motivated by the fact that Jen Aniston owns the same pair. They are instant cool and efficiently cover up a significant lack of makeup or allergy abused eyes. Added bonus:  I wear them as I walk to work in Beverly Hills and whenever I walk past Urth Caffe people always do a double-take thinking only someone really famous could be wearing such awesome sunglasses. A paparazzo took my picture once. True story.

American Cinematheque Screenings

I have always had an obsession with old films. For pretty much all of high school the only things I watched were TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and TGIF on ABC (Sabrina The Teenage Witch was AWESOME). The American Cinematheque keeps a slate of film revivals and special screenings going all year round, and with a theater in the heart of Hollywood and one in Santa Monica there’s always something awesome to see! Where else can you go to see a remastered version of Strangers on a Train, see Rudy literally WITH Sean Astin and Jon Favreau (who then invited us all out for drinks), and see My Week with Marilyn followed by a Q&A with Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh?! The work they do with preserving films and doing screenings of hard to find films is just amazing. Plus concessions are reasonably priced. Gotta love a Big Gulp sized Diet Coke for $3.

What are some of your obsessions???

Ok I couldn’t help it… one more Fun. song!

Call me… maybe?

WOW! This week was super busy! I always feel like when finals are approaching there are that many more non-school activities trying to take my attention… or maybe I’m just more receptive to them.

This was a big work out week, I worked out every day and capped off my Lenten promise to run 20 miles per week with 23.5 miles this week! It’s actually amazing how changing up your workout routine (I added 4 Pure Barre classes this week; and 2 6-mile runs around the Rose Bowl) really helps to keep you motivated and interested.

I also finally gave in to Gillian’s nagging to sign up for a race and signed up for my first half marathon! I was really super inspired by my friend Morgan completing her first half marathon with the Hollywood Rock and Roll Half marathon. So January 5th I will be running 13.2 miles through Downtown LA at NIGHT! It feels kind of like a loop hole that it’s over 6 months away… I guess that means I can’t use the “I didn’t have enough time to train” excuse when I give up and start walking at mile 7. Now I just need to get my shin-splints under control.

I also feel like I went out a lot this week, even though I declared that I was going into finals hibernation mode and being a no-fun Sally.

Last Sunday I headed out in WeHo with my friend Ryan. It was his “cheat” day and he was craving some terrible looking fried burrito thing from Fiesta Cantina. I’m always down for some WeHo fun so I tagged along for the promise of a diet coke. We also hit up The Abbey which was RAGING  and Ryan introduced me to their BAKERY. Yes, the arguably most well known gay bar in all the world which caters to a culture that shuns all carbs has a full bakery that’s open until the bar closes. We split a cookie and watched half naked muscle men dance to bumping techno music. It was magical.

Sunday night rage fest in WeHo!!

Tuesday I grabbed drinks at perennial hot spot Father’s Office. Which was definitely an experience and I got to try a few new beers! Unlike Gillian I don’t take pictures of my drinks… nor do I actually remember the names of the beers. But since I was with a beer enthusiast you can trust me that they were pretty good.

Thursday I started early by drinking IN class with my friend Derek. If I haven’t explained it before, USC Law is pretty much like going through undergrad again. But instead of frats providing free booze, the school does. So Derek and I decided to make Employment Law a bit more fun by adding in a bit of liquid courage. I think we shocked our professor with our rate of participation… and giggling. I then went bowling with about a dozen of my closest friends, where I realized that I suck at bowling. But I did get to wear awesome hot pink pants and drink wine that was poured from a single serve plastic bottle.  Pretty much it was the classiest night I’ve had in a while.

My classy single-serve plastic bottle of Sutter Home

Friday I got roped into attending our weekly “Bar Review” which was an after party to the annual USC/UCLA basketball massacre. I’m ok with them beating us in basketball so long as we keep beating them in bar passage rates. USC/UCLA rented out a club in Hollywood called The Agency. The bouncers wore bow ties (awesome) but the club was empty and I was sober so Derek and I left about 30 minutes later and preceded to have a dance party in my car. Lets just say we both should be embarrassed at how well we know this little diddy: 

Saturday was way more low-key, I went to see Titanic 3D with my friends Blanca and Marjorie! It was TOTALLY WORTH IT. Blanca cried with the gay couple sitting next to her and Marjorie and I nerded out over the trailer for one of our company’s upcoming blockbusters. A large part of why it was so great was that I was 9 when Titanic came out the first time and never saw it in theaters… plus Leo is HOT and Kate is gorgeous. No one minds seeing their faces on a 3 story tall screen. It’s always great to see movies like that on the big screen, and while I HATE 3D for movies and think it’s the worst thing to happen to films since smell-o-vision, James Cameron is truly a perfectionist and used it to create depth rather than height on the screen which seriously draws the audience in.

Best part is the company logo at 0:40

Sunday (in addition to family Easter Linner) I got to catch up with my 3 best friends from childhood- Rachel, Rebecca, and Megan. Rachel, Megan and I get to hang out pretty regularly (as in getting our nails done and having lunch like once a month) but Rebecca is currently working at a hospital in Pennsylvania so catching up with her is a rare and delightful treat!! One day soon I’ll do a longer post about these three fabulous ladies, I’ll even include a few childhood pictures. However, due to a minor misunderstanding in 4th grade I don’t have any from that time with Megan’s head still in the picture.

I ended the night with the weekly tradition of watching The Amazing Race and The Good Wife with Gillian and Matty!

A few random things:

I realized that I am definitely never going to be a litigator. In a settlement exercise this week when the plaintiff requested $157,000 in damages…. I countered with $690 out of principle. My professor sighed and said, “you’re going to make this a really long night aren’t you?”

Urth Caffe smoothies and quiche make the best Saturday brunch.

Parents should be banned from sending emails titled “EMERGENCY!!” when they are out of the country. Not cool. I thought my mom had been kidnapped by the IRA and I was going to have to hire Liam Neeson to find her.

Kanye’s New Workout Plan- Pure Barre

I obsessively check “deal” sites like Groupon and LivingSocial every morning… terrified that I’m going to miss some awesome deal like the case of wine I bought for $25 or wake-board yoga. In one of my hunts I came across a LivingSocial for Pure Barre, $35 for 2 weeks of unlimited classes. Since a month of unlimited classes usually goes for $225 it was a pretty good deal, especially for something I have been wanting to try.

I’ve gotten pretty good at convincing Gillian to do things. Threatening to write an embarrassing blog post usually has that effect on people. And I’m happy this blog has a duel purpose.

So up we were at 6:15 am to make it to our 7 am class. We made our way down La Cienega to find the studio which was “behind the Subway.” We found it… and of course were there before the studio was even open. Soon a tiny woman who looked like one of those women who are posted as “fitness inspiration” on Pinterest rolled up in the most intense workout pants I’ve ever seen and with her hair in a giant top knot.

It really was BEHIND the Subway. Looked at bit sketchy at first.

We went into the studio, both expecting something small and modest. We were greeted with a beautiful carpeted studio and a storage room separate from the workout studio and the main “lobby” area where $12 no slip socks were sold along with various sweatshirts that looked like something from a high school Flashdance stage production.

We grabbed a resistance band, some 2 lb weights (we were told by another attendee that we would regret it if we used 5 lb weights… Gillian switched hers out haflway through. Guess they aren’t used to JACKED girls doing Pure Barre), and a small ball and sat in the carpeted studio.

Pure Barre is a mix of pilates moves and more traditional ballet exercises at a bar. We started with arms, moved to some ab/arm combos, did legs, glutes, and eventually ended with a 10 minute ab session. The whole class is done to some bumpin’ beats that even Gillian approved of, with plenty of stretching thrown in so as “not to get too bulky.” The goal seems to be muscle fatigue through small and controlled movements.

I had some issues picking up some of the moves (at various times I wasn’t quite sure what exactly I was suppose to be tucking) but I figure prowess will come with time. I expected the class to be full of Beverly Hills housewives and former USC communications majors that look like extras in a spring break movie. But was surprised that the class was mostly made up of young professionals (though I didn’t take a survey on undergrad and major) who didn’t completely make me feel like the actual elephant in the room. I also really liked that it wasn’t danced based. Since I have no rhythm and a poor short term memory anything based on repetition and dance (like kick boxing and walking while chewing gum) is pretty much out of my league.

I left sufficiently sweaty, though not as sweaty as I get during my normal 5 mile morning run (or like I did in Zumba classes in undergrad). While leaving the class and grabbing some Starbucks both Gillian and I agreed that it wasn’t the hardest workout either of us had ever done and we definitely needed some time to pick up some of the more nuanced moves. We particularly needed to work on making smaller movements as part of the philosophy of pure barre is using small/targeted movements, and well neither of us are very good at doing anything small. We both commented later in the day that while there was a bit of residual soreness neither of us felt like we had REALLY worked out.

Then we woke up this morning. While stretching for my run I realized that what I thought was a stomach ache was actually my abs BURNING. It made sitting up straight rather difficult. And reminded me that digesting a giant plate of pasta is not ab exercise.

All in all I enjoyed the class and Gill and I are going to finish out our 2 week stint by trying to attend at least 6 classes (3 a week). I might do their new member special which is one month for $99 (still a huge discount). It’s a great way for me to work in some weight lifting and muscle work into my running routine.

Have you tried any new workout routines?