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A-list gluttony

first_imgNatives of LA love to complain about it: the pollution, the superficial, fastpaced lifestyle, the total lack of history and culture. These people live in LA for business, purely practical reasons, and once out of it they’ll move elsewhere: a calm and gentle place, a place with museums and opera houses, a place where everyone isn’t chasing their first million, a place where people have some spiritual and emotional sense, a place with people whose IQs don’t equal their weight in pounds. A place like San Francisco. It’s hard to live and survive in the movie business without being one of these types, and if you’re in LA you’re in it for the movies. That was certainly the reason I’d come to LA Not the films themselves perhaps, I could see them anywhere, but the movie culture: the stars, the sets, the general milieu. LA is the movie Mecca, the place where the deals are made, the pictures are shot, the stars are born. LA doesn’t have its own Empire State building; it doesn’t have the White House or Golden Gate Bridge. It doesn’t have Aspen mountains or Mississippi rivers. But LA has one thing unlike anywhere else on earth: more movie stars per square metre than every other place in the world. And those were the people I was there to see. Unfortunately I hadn’t arrived during Oscar season. It turned out the tickets were far too expensive and hotel prices (even hostels) were in the stratosphere. I guessed every movie geek in America made pilgrimage to Mecca at this time. So I arrived in winter, still sure that there would be enough movie stars wondering around the streets to satisfy my blood-lust. I booked into a hostel as close to the centre as I could afford. I’d heard that no one walks around the sprawling metropolis that is LA and the public transport system is nonexistent; and since I needed to be where all the action was (surprisingly there aren’t any hostels in Beverly Hills) I settled in Santa Monica, the next port of call for rich and famous. I’d prepared my trip like a paparazzo professional. After months of studying Hello!and Heat, I knew all the hangouts of the stars. I knew the glitzy vegan restaurant that fed Gwynnie and Madge, the nightclub where J-Lo liked to shake her booty. All these places had been filed in my memory and locations mapped out before I even arrived. I woke up bright and early on my first morning, rising with the LA sun and donning my jogging gear from a trip to Venice beach. Of course I had no intention of doing any exercise (being an Oxford student and not an LA starlet) but I knew that Johnny Depp took his morning excursion at said beach and I was going to witness it. Depp must be the sexiest creature in show business and probably the only thing that could get me out of bed at 6 am. So there I was, decked out in lycra, the fattest sight in a fifty mile radius, waiting for a glimpse of the high–cheekboned Adonis to rush past me. I waited and waited, my exposed parts slowly burning in the LA sun, and waited and waited. By the end of the morning I’d seen someone who closely resembled Luke Perry from 90210, an extra I remembered from an episode of Nash Bridges, and a dog-walker who I was pretty sure must have had a number of famous people’s dogs in his clutch. Such was my disappointment that I debated whether or not to follow the dog-walker back to his clients’ houses, in the hope that I might catch sight of Britney Spears or Brad Pitt. But I was in no fit state to encounter any of my idols. If there was anything worse than not meeting Brad Pitt, it would be meeting him while I closely resembled Edwina from Ab Fab. That being the case, I trekked back to my hostel to gather my wits, slather myself with sunblock and begin again. The next stop was The Viper Room, death place of River Phoenix and, I’d been reliably informed, the place to be for the young celebrity about town. This time I wore my hippest clubbing gear. I wasn’t deluded enough to think I could actually get in the club but I needed to blend in along Sunset Strip. As it was I blended in very well, spending the entire evening in an alleyway holding the arm of some filthy rich, desperately drunken teenager while she vomited the entire no-carb contents of her stomach all over my fake Manolos. Not quite the Hollywood experience I expected. A week later and the situation hadn’t improved. I’d covered half the square footage of LA and still any and every remotely famous person had eluded my grasp. I had images of Gorgeous George leaving eateries a few seconds after I’d entered them, of Winona Ryder dashing out of department stores before I’d had a chance to clock her, of Cruise and Cruz engaged in a kiss and make-up snogging session only a few feet away from me at any given time. I’d taken to nipping around street corners in the hopes of catching them unawares, of looking at the world through binoculars so I wouldn’t miss a thing. I’d even begun to follow the dog–walkers’ home. Unfortunately, despite my most concerted efforts, the situation didn’t improve. Two weeks in LA and the only remotely famous person I saw was the fat bloke from The Full Monty. A bloody Brit. I probably could have seen him down Camden Market. I packed my bags and headed for San Francisco. Maybe I’d bump into Britney in Maccy D’s.ARCHIVE: 3rd week TT 2004last_img read more

First Confirmed Case Of COVID-19 ‘U.K. Strain’ Identified In New York State

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MGN ImageALBANY – The first confirmed case of COVID-19’s ‘U.K. Strain’ has been identified in New York State.Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during a conference call with the media on Monday afternoon.He says the Wadsworth lab confirmed the case of the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 variant.“Wadsworth lab confirmed a case of the U.K. strain in Saratoga County, New York,” Gov. Cuomo said. “He’s a man in his 60s who had some symptoms. He did not travel recently so evidence suggests it’s in the community.” The governor says this strain is 70% more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain and he said contact tracing is paramount to keep the spread of the strain under control.Wadsworth Laboratory, based in Albany, began research into a new strain of COVID-19, which was first spotted in the United Kingdom, in late December.“I think this strain is more prevalent than people know,” Gov. Cuomo said.New York State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker says this strain is more transmissible, but there’s no evidence yet that it isn’t affected by vaccines, or that it is more dangerous for people who are infected.Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update from the Red Room at the State Capitol. (Image by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)It was the second update of the day from the governor, following a Monday morning briefing where he provided new statewide numbers regarding the pandemic and declared the Finger Lakes region is the state’s “greatest problem” at present.last_img read more

Will Smith makes strong first impression with Dodgers, but a return to Triple-A is imminent

first_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies The Dodgers’ confidence in Smith has been evident by his playing time. Though they opted to promote Rocky Gale when Russell Martin went on the Injured List with a lower back injury in April, Smith has started four of the six games since Austin Barnes went on the IL Monday with a mild groin injury. The veteran Martin has started twice.Smith’s learning curve was sped up by a non-playing internship last September. He spent the month with the team, taking part in all the preparation expected of Dodgers catchers (though he wasn’t added to the active roster).“I think it helped a lot. I really do,” Roberts said. “Even outside the scouting and how we advance and prepare for hitters, him being around the guys last September and seeing him in this environment helped him and also those guys being comfortable with him being around a major-league clubhouse.“All that we did last September and this spring helped Will’s maturity.”Offensively, Smith made some swing changes during the off-season and showed them off at Triple-A where he was batting .290 with a .954 OPS before being promoted by the Dodgers. He had three hits in his first 11 big-league at-bats but it remains to be seen how the 24-year-old’s offense would hold up over extended exposure to major-league pitching.Related Articles Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start “I think that’s a fair question,” Roberts said. “Fortunately I don’t think we’re going to have to answer that long-term question right now.”Barnes can be activated from the Injured List when the Dodgers open a series in San Francisco next Friday. Roberts made it clear that Smith will go back to Triple-A Oklahoma City then in order to “continue the growth and let him take every-day at-bats” rather than stay with the Dodgers as part of a cumbersome three-catcher group.“Right now, I think just to get him up here for a first run-through has been a positive thing for all of us,” he said.TURNER STATUSThird baseman Justin Turner was out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup for a third consecutive day Saturday. But Roberts said Turner should be back in action by Monday at the latest.“It is a little bit more severe than I anticipated,” Roberts said of the left hamstring injury Turner suffered in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game. “With that, it’s still a minor situation. He ran today, said it felt considerably better. Could he have played today? Absolutely. But for us, the way guys are playing, just to keep him off it for another day — if it’s tomorrow that he’s back in there, great, and if he’s not, then it’s Monday.”UP NEXTPhillies (RHP Nick Pivetta, 3-1, 7.71 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Rich Hill, 1-1, 2.73 ERA), Sunday, 1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), AM 570 Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES — When Will Smith spent the spring in big-league camp, the Dodgers thought he was ready defensively to play in the major leagues and that his bat needed some refinement.As he is about to become a one-week veteran of the big leagues, that spring training scouting report looks pretty accurate.“For me, the thing that’s the most encouraging is something we expected the whole time; that his pulse was going to be good and the moment wasn’t going to be too big for him,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Saturday. “His swing has gotten a lot shorter than I recall. To be able to handle different pitches and put an at-bat together, I think that’s been exciting for all of us.“But the way he handled the staff and the throwing, all that stuff — that’s no surprise.”last_img read more