Bringing you the North Hollywood News

Elaine Luddy Klonicki, Columnist

Thanks to wireless technology, this month I’m coming to you poolside from Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn in North Hollywood. We’re visiting our son, Doug, who moved to the Los Angeles area last June to become a rock star. With a day job at Universal Music, and regular gigs with three different bands, he’s on his way.

Like most big cities, there’s a little bit of everything in L.A., and we’ve seen a lot of it on this trip. From the views of downtown, to the Hollywood glitz, to the wide beaches, we’ve enjoyed it all. Here are some of the highlights:

MOST AMAZING: The tax value on the 800 square ft. house in Echo Park, shared by Doug and his three buddies: a half million dollars! Although it is in a gated community, almost all the windows and doors have bars on them. With a converted garage for a band practice space and a backyard for the dogs, the guys think they have it made. The $1,800 monthly rental fee is partially offset by the occasional “guy on the couch.”

MOST FUN: Watching a major-league baseball game at the newly renovated Dodger Stadium. The game was exciting, but unfortunately the Cubs won 5-4. Gary’s Chicago-born co-worker has already rubbed it in via email.

MOST SCARY: Taking the wrong exit out of Dodger Stadium and walking for a half hour before winding up at Elysian Park at night. Doug responded to our frantic cell phone call and saved the day, but not before we heard his buddy in the background saying, “Get them out of there, now!”

MOST DELICIOUS: A tie between the pumpkin pasta at Ca De Sol and sushi at Universal’s Citywalk. Doug and his buddies were grateful for a break from the Mexican food they eat twice a day to save money.

MOST FREQUENTLY HEARD SAYING: “Are you in the business?” Translated, it means, “in TV and films.” The bartender at our hotel moved here with her son who, according to her, had been wanting to come to L.A. for five years to try the business. He’s nine.

MOST FUNNY: The Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie wannabees on Rodeo Drive with a stroller for the tiny dogs which have become the new accessory in L.A.

MOST SAD: A man on Santa Monica Pier with a folding chair and a small boom box, playing FM radio, and asking for donations for providing “entertainment.”

MOST WEIRD: On Venice Beach, watching the Santa Monica Pier disappear before our eyes as the marine layer fog rolled in from the ocean.

MOST GREEN: An apartment complex that used Astroturf in place of real grass.

MOST WASTED: The traffic reports. There is traffic, everywhere, period. Despite the lack of turn arrows and the double flashing red lights which apparently mean “go,” Gary’s driving has been impressive.

MOST BEAUTIFUL: The campus of U.C.L.A., located near Bel Air and Beverly Hills. No student housing in sight. But plenty of flowering bushes and swaying palm trees.

MOST AMAZING VIEW: The winding drive through Topanga Canyon, not far from where the TV show M*A*S*H was filmed. The view from the overlook at the top of the mountain was great, but when the steep, rugged terrain opened up to the Pacific Ocean, it was awe-inspiring.

MOST THRILLING: Lunch with our dear friends Earl Hamner, Jr., creator of The Waltons and Falcon Crest, and his wife Jane.

With our L.A. adventure almost over, we’re starting to think about our trip home. Saying goodbye to Doug will be difficult, as always. But he’s happy, he’s working hard, and we’re confident that here in this city of dreams, success will find him.

This article first appeared in The News and Observer, April 28, 2006
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