Surf Report: An American (Surfer) in Paris – Epilogue

BW SELFIE AT LOUVRE

Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. —  Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Paris — The month-long stay has come to a close.  That last bottle of Red Wine has been drunk and placed in my building’s recycling bin. Sheets and towels have been laundered in a washing machine (that is also a dryer) with directions in French, so fingers crossed there.

Literary Paris, meaning those wonderful books set in Paris, has nothing to do with contemporary Paris. The magic of Paris that you discovered in great books still exists, but you will not find it where you hope to find it. Nor will the hundreds of other people with your same idea and/or itinerary.

As in Life, it’s all about the Journey and not about the Destination.

I journeyed to Paris, planned my Life so that I could spend a month there and really see/feel/live some life there. Thumbs up. Am so glad I did it and am so grateful for the friends with whom I shared the experience: Walking everywhere. Stopping for Drinks anywhere. Finding that fantastic bowl of fish ball soup on a rainy day. Praying in Notre Dame. Praying in Saint-Roch. Praying in Saint Sulpice.

I did a lot of praying.  In Notre Dame, I gave thanks for my family. In Saint Roch, I gave thanks for friends who are no longer on the planet. In Saint Sulpice, I gave thanks for Creativity, for good books and stories that spark my own imagination.

SEINE NOTRE DAME SELFIE      STAIRS AT RUE AU MAIRE DIRECTOR SHOT

Realizations.

At the Musee Louvre, I had a big Realization. I mean, really big.  Here it is:

I am not really that into Religious-themed Art.

You’ve seen one gorgeous masterpiece Madonna & Child, you’ve seen them all.

Is that sacrilegious? Possibly.  At the Louvre, there are hundreds.  I was unmoved. Just not for me. I prefer Sculpture, Greek and Roman mythology. And, there were just too many people crowding around every piece of Art, angling for that Selfie (and getting in the way of my own, darn them!).

I may not be a Louvre Person.

Or, I think I would prefer to tour the Louvre at night after closing, preferably when there is a murder investigation ongoing a la The Da Vinci Code. When you exit The Louvre, you pass La Pyramide Inversee, which plays an important role in Brown’s thriller, which is very much religious-themed. Tourists crowd around this imposing sculpture and snap selfies (as one does).

So perhaps, I prefer Books to Portraits! Sorry, Michelangelo & Co.

MONA LISA SIGNAGE BW SELFIE LOUVRE

Here are a few things I would do differently:

  • Go in the dead of Winter and stay two months or longer.  May was great, but there were just too many Tourists and too many lines for every effing landmark. Also, the last few days were getting kinda toasty!  Paris has a lot of cars, and the pollution was getting to me, as well. I can see myself in Paris, wearing my Winter Coat, sitting at a café drinking something warm and surrounded by friends.
  • You cannot see everything you want to see in a finite amount of time, so don’t try to see everything, and save a few things for next time. (Looking at you, Les Catacombs.)
  • Get a Credit Card That Does Not Charge Foreign Transaction Fees,  each time you make a purchase. This requires Advance Thought & Action.
  • Find a neighborhood that prides itself on being quiet! The Oldest China Town in the Marais is not where you want to stay if you like to read in bed or on the couch or indoors. Early morning food deliveries and late night restaurant patrons are noisy.
  • Get out of Paris more often. I have friends who live in the South. If I stayed longer, I would hop a train and visit.
  • Bring an adapter that works in France (not England).
  • Leave my cool cuticle kit corkscrew at home. It got confiscated by TSA in Dallas on my return flight (having passed inspection in LA and in Paris!). I miss it even though I never used it.
  • Bring or rent a bike helmet and use the city ride share bikes to get around and to explore. (Did I mention that I have blisters on my feet from walking everywhere?!)

LE CELTIC BREAKFAST         LA PYRAMIDE INVERSEE           RUE AU MAIRE STREET SHOT            AVEC CLAUDETTE ON PONT DES ARTISTES

Exit: Stage Right.

On my last morning, I sat at Le Celtic, my favorite sidewalk café, enjoying one final Petit Dejeuner, watching the locals head to work when I noticed a very tall man standing in front of the café clearly trying to decide whether or not he should eat there.

You should eat here. It’s good.

Warily, he takes my advice. Turns out he is an American. His name is Bernard, and he is seated next to me thanks to Florian, the server, who knows to group the Americans together and away from everyone else. It’s our voices. We speak too loudly for the French. No, we do. We really do. Americans need to learn to keep it down a bit more.

Bernard has just arrived in Paris that morning. Jet-lagged and discombobulated, he is just beginning his adventure as I, relaxed and satiated, am ending mine.

It’s like a closing farewell scene from The Hobbit or The Fellowship of The Ring but without all that talk about saving The Shire, tankards of ale, or nasty hobbits. I am the wizened Gandalf.

I give Bernard all my best Paris tips (which were given to me by my friend, Claudette). His next stop that very day is Roland-Garros, so we have a robust discussion about Tennis, who will win, which court to watch, etc. The time flies by and before you know it, I stand to bid him farewell. I pay Florian and thank him (in French)  for his many kindnesses.

Pay it forward, Bernard! I tell him as I take my leave, meaning do the same for someone else on his last day of his Parisian adventure.

A month earlier, I could barely converse with a corrupt Portuguese taxi driver or correctly enter a door code to get in my own building, and now, here I am telling this blissfully ignorant American how best to enjoy Paris starting with what to eat for breakfast and the fastest way to Roland-Garros via Le Metro.

C’est la vie! That’s Life for ya.

N E X T   U P:

Is It Time To Pull Up Stakes and Move to France?

FOR RENT SIGN AT 2507 3RD     SEINE RIVER ACROSS FROM NOTRE DAME

 

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Surf Report: An American (Surfer) In Paris – Part 3

LE CELTIC BREAKFAST     EMPTY CHAIRS AT JARDIN DU TUILERIES

Week Three: In The Groove

Paris — I have got it together now. Am getting up early. Am going for walks along The Seine. Paris sleeps in. Those red wine comas have that effect on ya. This river city is really lovely when most of its inhabitants are still abed.

Have found a sidewalk café I like a lot: Le Celtic. Have been stopping there regularly for a Petit Dejeuner (juice, croissant, chocolat chaud). The morning sunshine is just perfectly golden as you sit outside at the little tables, savoring that first hit of caffeine.  Aah, formidable!

Shower. Go see a landmark. The Louvre? Sure. Or, take Le Metro to Roland Garros. Easy.

Thank you, Google Maps.  In Paris, scores of tourists walk the city staring at their smart phones, but what you don’t know is that they are following walking directions via this great App.  No need to ever get lost again. Vive Technologie!

A Moment of Zen in the City of Light.

In a vacation filled with many wonderful moments, I had A Moment at the place I least likely expected one: Notre Dame.

One morning, I got up early intending to walk along the river so as to walk off last night’s heavy cheese and bread course when I found myself at the city’s most famous cathedral. Normally, there are a gazillion tourists milling outside but on this particular early morning, no one was yet about so I had it all to myself.  There was even a door open admitting parishioners to the 8 AM service.

Bells were tolling and they tolled for me.

What a pleasure to have Notre Dame all to oneself to stroll leisurely, to read about its fascinating history (which includes its earliest incarnation as the Cathedral of St. Stephen) and to listen to the singing from the service.  A moment of Zen in the City of Light. Sitting there, surrounded by history, I could not help but think of my father, my family, and gave thanks for all who encouraged me to make this trip which was 54 years in the making.

NOTRE DAME SELFIE        FENETRE DU GLASS INT NOTRE DAME

The Road to Roland-Garros Includes A Stop for Hot Chocolate.

As a lifelong tennis player, visiting Roland-Garros (aka, The French Open) is a Thrill. I have seen this clay court Grand Slam tournament played for decades, and it’s always been one of my favorites.

I follow tennis with the enthusiasm that most Kentuckians follow basketball: I love it and can talk Tennis all damn day! Yes, I am that guy. My favorite player is Roger Federer, the Swiss Maestro.

Surfing Hollywood And Roger Federer Dress For Success

I take the subway to R-G during morning rush hour for Parisian commuters, so the train cars are packed like sardines in a can.  I let a few go by thinking one will come along that is less crammed full of humanity, but none do.  Finally, I squeeze in just like everyone else.

Amazingly, commuters can stand in a crowded subway car and read a book.  Now, that’s relaxed. I stand uncomfortably and wonder what books everyone are reading!

After my transfer, I arrive at the stop for R-G which includes a little walk to the stadium.  I pop in to a café and enjoy a Chocolat Chaud at the bar like the pro Parisian that I now am. The guy next to me wears a suit and has an R-G badge.  He is working security for the stadium. He drinks two espressos.

ROLAND GARROS       LENGLEN STADIUM BW SELFIE

The first match I watch goes three sets and lasts 2.5 hours. I unwisely choose a seat on the sunny side of the court, but hey, it’s morning sun, so I should be okay.  By the time, the match is over, I feel as though I have been burned, baked and buried by the now very intense French sunshine. It’s the hottest day of the year so far in Paris.

I am fried. A French frite.

It’s a long day, but a good day as I watch a few more matches, chat with some really fun people, stop and listen to some roving minstrels before making my way through the security gauntlet and head back to the subway for the return trip to my apartment where there is a cold shower waiting for me.

On the subway, I am Sunburned Dead Man Walking. Totally zombie-like. You know the guy. Vacant stare. Possibly mumbling.

Sometimes, I learn, Paris can kick your butt … even when you are in the groove.

N E X T   U P:

Lessons Learned. What I’d Do Differently. Unexpected Thrills.

An American (Surfer) in Paris – Continues

BW SELFIE AT LOUVRE

 

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An American (Surfer) In Paris – Continued

LOUVRE SELFIE              EIFFEL TOWER AVEC SANDY

Day 10: My Feet Are Killing Me.

Paris — I live at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, so when I think about going on holiday, I don’t want to go to the beaches in Mexico or Hawaii (usually). I crave a big city, urban nightlife and energy that is not Los Angeles (car-driven), so New York, Montreal, London, Prague and Paris are high on my list of places to visit.

Boy, my feet sure are sore from walking around so much! All that concrete and all those cobblestones take a toll on a surfer’s tender footsies. I fear I can no longer Hang Ten. Serious blisters on both feet, people!

Literary Paris.

Over the years, some of my favorite novels have been set in Paris, so it’s no coincidence that I should want to visit the city Hemingway called home during A Moveable Feast, or the museum where symbologist Robert Langdon fled a crime scene in The Da Vinci Code, or where a young man from the Auvergne was made a vampire in The Vampire Lestat.

Such is the power and influence of a good book. You can cover a lot of ground retracing these literary steps. I did exactly that, and it was pretty exciting.

Be forewarned, though: Shakespeare And Company has moved since Hemingway’s time here, and the Priory Keystone is nowhere to be found within the church of Saint Sulpice, and most notably, the infamous Theatre Des Vampires is not listed on Trip Advisor!

(Am assuming this is due to the extremely high mortality rate of audience members, but how cool would it be if it were?! Perhaps, the upcoming Vampire Chronicles television series will change that. Looking at you Christopher Rice and Paramount TV.)

One can take many a literary-inspired tour, though. Why not? ‘Tis a great way to see Paris:

Hemingway’s Paris – A Walking Tour

Da Vinci Code Walking Tour of Paris

HEMINGWAY IN THE TUILERIES      SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY

Walk Like A Parisian.

For my first week in Paris, I was lucky to spend a lot of time with a friend who lives here. I got the inside scoop on how Parisians live, how they deal with the constant roving packs of tourists (and high season has not yet begun), where they like to eat and to relax.

The surfer in me is drawn to the river, The Seine. I stroll its banks every day, enjoying that famed French sunlight, just taking it all in. River Cruises motor up and down all day packed with tourists seeing Paris by boat, people imagining what it must be like to live in one of the fantastic old buildings where most of the balconies have welcoming flower boxes recently planted for Spring.

One of the coolest things to do is to picnic along the bank, which many many people do because it’s affordable (and fun). Cheese, wine and bread. Easy.

In local news, the Festival of Bread just concluded, and an immigrant’s son won the coveted prize of Best Baguette!

One of the most helpful articles I’ve read is from Conde-Nast Traveler on How To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist In Paris Unfortunately, I read it after I arrived wearing my gaudy white sneakers and supremely unchic American backpack. Ironically, the article is entitled The Essential Things to Know Before You Visit Paris.

There are a gazillion places selling esharpes (scarves) and man-bags. Especially, bags. There are stores everywhere selling handsome bags.  It’s a bit overwhelming to choose and also a bit annoying because I have these exact items at home in Santa Monica.  I just did not bring them with me. Woulda coulda shoulda!

monet-claude-seerosen-41828-g

Dream vs Reality

When you imagine seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time, it’s just you standing quietly and gazing at Da Vinci’s portrait and wondering what all the fuss is about.  It’s a lot smaller in person.

What you don’t see in your imagination is the crowd of people behind you jostling for position trying to snap their Selfie and arguing with their companions on where to go for lunch.

Crowds. I don’t like ’em.  Paris is full of them. I can’t get away fast enough. So, it’s to the riverbank I go, to walk at my own pace on the uneven cobblestones (did I mention how much my poor feet hurt???), to find an empty bench, to enjoy that famous Parisian light that has been so much discussed in books and in film.

I lucked out when a friend and I went to see Claude Monet’s Water Lilies at Musee de l’Orangerie . It was raining, and there were only the brave few walking with umbrellas through the Tuileries.  My friend, who lives in Paris, was shocked. She had never walked right up to the museum before without waiting in a long line. These paintings are magnificent works of art that are impressively displayed for your enjoyment. Hope you can see it on quiet day.

Thank you, rainy weather.

N E X T   U P:

It took years of Practice and Hard Work,

But I Finally Made It To Roland-Garros!

An American (Surfer/Tennis Player) in Paris – Continues!

NADAL AT ROLAND GARROS

 

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Tech Surf Report: Westworld’s Robots and the Virtual Reality of Ready Player One Could Be Here Sooner Than You Think

STATION F CAMPUS EXT    CROWD AT STYT ACCENTURE STAGE

Paris — Cybersecurity. Artificial Intelligence. Ethics. Mobility. Transparency.

These are the hot button issues discussed this week at the impressive campus of Station F, home to France’s premiere private sector-funded start ups, where Bloomberg’s Technology division assembled an impressive array of billionaire Tech titans, government officials (France, Italy, the US), and social disruptors.

Make no mistake, we are already living in The Matrix. Our digitally created universe housed in our phones is more engaging than the real world around us as evidenced by Everyone Constantly Looking At Their Phone. All that’s missing is Agent Smith.

Our world is already the mind-bending setting of Inception. We are all potentially Jason Bourne. We just haven’t gone on the run. Nor have we been DELETED … yet.

300px-TheArchitectMatrix     CHRISTOPHER WYLIE

Capitulate Or Be Deleted.

One person has been deleted, though: Christopher Wylie, the American whistleblower of Facebook’s ties to Cambridge Analytica, whose appearance at Sooner Than You Think highlighted the 2-day tech summit.

After news broke in The Guardian and The New York Times that Wylie implicated Facebook selling its data, the social network banned him, effectively deleting Wylie from the internet as Facebook also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and all those sites that require you to log on using your Facebook ID. Deleted from The Matrix.

Wylie, living his own real-life Three Days of Condor, is now working with the FBI on the Russia probe as well as meeting with members of the US Congress on both sides of the aisle. He’s also calling for the British Parliament to hold another vote on Brexit citing the incontrovertible evidence of a fouled election.

Democracy is not harmed by more democracy, he says.

WESTWORLD HBO

Macron: Tech For Good.

Paris represents the gateway for Europe’s ecosystem of technology businesses and development. This week, French President Emmanuel Macron met with tech leaders challenging them to move forward with E T H I C S  front and center in their corporate agendas.

Let’s avoid the dystopian Gaming future of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, shall we? Let’s not create Artificial Intelligence that we have to destroy (Blade Runner) or that wants to destroy us (HBO’s Westworld,  Syfy’s Battlestar Galatica, Starz’ American Gods). These were the talking points with the Elite of Tech.

If science fiction authors (Philip K. Dick, Michael Crichton, Cline) can imagine this Technology, it’s because that tech already exists in some form.

Human beings started to become Cyborgs the moment we put on a pair of shoes or eye glasses, says tech futurist Jurgen Schmidhuber.

HARRISON IN BLADE RUNNER

The Internet of Things.

Globalization is here, and Technology is the tool that will enable us to solve the world’s greatest problems (climate change, mobility, space travel).

The science discussed in Source Code is real. The space trash that wreaks havoc in Gravity is already out there. Colonization of Mars using robots is where we are heading, not fiction.

And, there are Bad Guys out there in the world who wish to use Technology for their own personal gain and not for the greater good (i.e., SPECTRE). Wylie notes that Cambridge Analytica is just one of many many companies manipulating tech like Facebook.

It will all be here Sooner Than You Think .

(You can find videos of all the fantastic Speakers at Bloomberg.com)

SELFIE WITH TENNIS DAD SAIBAL       BADGE STYT

 

N E X T   U P :

An American (Surfer) In Paris – Continues

SELFIE AT SUNSET ON THE SEINE

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Surf Report: An American (Surfer) in Paris

SELIFE ABOVE THE SEINE     AVEC CLAUDETTE ON PONT DES ARTISTES

The Pacific Ocean is still really cold.  There has been very little surf all Winter.  So, while the Spring winds warm the water, I am off on holiday in search of Friends, Fromage, and A Moveable Feast.

Day One: They Arrive

Paris — At Passport Control in Charles de Gaulle airport, I feel groggy from the 9-hour+ flight from Dallas and forget to say Bonjour to the police officer and say Hello instead and am met with a frown as the woman officer reluctantly stamps my passport and moves me on and out (as there are hundreds eagerly waiting to enter France behind me).

Customs doesn’t give me a second look as I make my way to outside Baggage Claim where I am met by many gypsy cab drivers offering rides to the City. I brush pass them and head outside to join the line of people (no one) hailing official taxis in the taxi line where there are many cars waiting for passengers.

I choose Taxi over Train because today is a designated Strike Day by the railways who are protesting the government, Macron, etc. Whenever I have been in France, the trains always go on strike. The strikes are set to continue through June.

SEINE RIVER ACROSS FROM NOTRE DAME     MOTORCYCLES ON RUE BEAUBOURG

I hop in Taxi #1.  My driver is Manuel. He is Portuguese and speaks fluent French but no English. Merde. Having anticipated this exact situation, I hand him my hand-written address for my Paris apartment written on a buckslip (with my name on it). He is unimpressed and also not exactly sure of where my street, Rue au Maire, is located in the 3rd Arrondissement, known as the Marais – I exhaust all of my high school and college French in the first minute.

Thankfully, the quick 35-minute drive into the City Center is pleasant: All the trees are a verdant green and fully leafed out. Ah, Springtime in Paris.

Manuel locates Rue au Maire after a misdirection or two, and scoffs at me when I offer my credit card to pay the 50 Euro flat rate. He points to a poorly handwritten sign (in French) that should clearly explain that he doesn’t accept credit cards because of no machine. Whatever, Manuel. I pay in cash just to get out of the cab.

(Note: I brought Euros with me before leaving the US.)

RAINY COBBLESTONES     RUE AU MAIRE STREET SHOT

I walk along the medieval narrow cobbled street to my apartment found on VRBO (emailed to me as a suggestion from a friend in Kansas City): 15 Rue au Maire.  The door code does not work, so I look up and yell my friend’s name who pokes her head out of the 4th floor window, waves hello and promptly comes down and lets me in our building, my home for the next month.

The apartment looks a lot like the photos posted on the website but A LOT SMALLER.  The photographer must be brilliant at manipulating perspective, I determine. It’s clean, though: a small, yet deceptively spacious loft-style home that has been recently renovated with new hardwood floors, a new sofabed, a wall console, a very nice and compact kitchen, and very well designed bathroom with a sliding door.  The table and chairs look a little like their photo from the website but also a lot SMALLER as if hit by a shrinking ray gun. I feel three times too big to sit on them.

TINY CHAIRS

15 RUE AU MAIRE APT 4A

Welcome to the Land of Cheese, Bread and Wine

My first night, I learn that one hits the cafes from 5 -7 in the afternoon and drinks only wine (as the cafes are tourist traps and not known for great food unless it’s a great café). Dinner is at 9 pm.  I beat my jetlag by adhering to this schedule: Drinks first and a late meal somewhere else. I am exhausted and yawning, but I am now on Paris time.

Among the first meals I enjoy in Paris is a shared evening with friends visiting the City from the South.  It’s Ascension Day – one of five holidays in May in France, so many restaurants are closed, but not our destination: Pain Vin Fromage

PAIN ET FROMAGE DANS PARIS      FINE FRENCH WINE

Since we are Americans, we are seated downstairs as far away from the regular customers as possible so as not to disturb them with our unusually loud voices and dreadful accents.

The service is slow to start, but once begun, the meal is indeed a pleasure: Cheese Boards consist of selections of cheeses based on the region of France where it is produced. Lots of crusty bread (seeded with poppy and sesame) and fine Bordeaux which is perfect on a rainy evening. A 3-4 hour meal elapses, and we are the last to leave.

It’s a rainy night. The ancient streets are wet and deserted but safe. Walking. I will be doing a lot of walking.

Ah Paris, I could get used to you.

N E X T   U P:

An American (Surfer) in Paris – Continues!

LOUVRE SELFIE

 

 

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Surf Report: Another Mother’s Day, Another Onslaught of Emails Asking You To Buy Stuff (Which Is Annoying When Your Mom Is Dead!)

MOTHERS DAY

Paris, France — For the last several weeks, the emails have been arriving fast and furious urging me to not forget to buy something for Mom.

Take Mom to Brunch!

Buy Mom Some Flowers!

It’s Not Too Late to Celebrate Mom!

Important Story Point:

My mother died 34 years ago.

That’s not stopping Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, or Delta Airlines from hitting me up twice daily, though. These are just three of the hundreds of emails from other companies now occupying my virtual trash bin.

Clearly, the algorithm has not yet been invented to alert these companies to that fact that they are barking up the wrong tree, beating a dead horse, or talking to the hand.

Some days, I am merely annoyed. Other days, I feel slightly bummed knowing that people are out there celebrating their mothers, and I haven’t even heard my mother’s voice in decades.

I feel saddened that I can barely remember the sound of my mother’s voice.

This is where Dead Mother’s Day comes to play. It’s the holiday I created with some dear friends many years ago. We, the adult children of mothers who have passed on, gather on Mother’s Day to participate in the celebration.

For many years, we met at my house in Santa Monica, enjoyed brunch, lots of champagne, and hours of laughter as we shared memories of our Moms, what they taught us, how they continue to influence us, and how much we continue to miss them.

This year, I am in Paris, and on Mother’s Day, I am meeting some friends both old and new to celebrate our wonderful mothers with some very special food and plenty of fine French wine.

PAIN ET FROMAGE DANS PARIS   FINE FRENCH WINE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fellowship is a cure-all for old wounds, tightly held grievances, and emotional bruises. Not everyone remembers their mother fondly. Not everyone is blessed with a loving mother. Not everyone wants to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Hence, the annoying emails and how they can disrupt one’s life.

Sante! to my loving mother, Frances Bond, on Mother’s Day.

I love/loved her dearly and am thankful for being her youngest child. She always reminded me to Count My Blessings of which I have many, even on those occasional dark days where sometimes, it feels I have none.

This Mother’s Day, in Paris, I count my many blessings and give thanks for my mother who gave me both Roots and Wings.

MOM & DAD WEDDING DAY

N E X T   U P:

Postcards From

An American (Surfer) in Paris.

SEINE RIVER ACROSS FROM NOTRE DAME

Wish You Were Here!

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TV & Film Surf Report: (Don’t) Be Scared – Horror Is Now Trending On All Screens Which Is Great News For Killer Clowns, Swamp Things, And … Nuns!

A QUIET PLACE EMILY STFU

Santa Monica, CA — With the recent success at the box office of the innovative trifecta of movies A Quiet Place, Get Out, and Stephen King’s It, the Horror genre is on quite a roll.

So much so, I have almost forgotten Universal’s dreadful launch of its Dark Universe franchise with the miscast Tom Cruise in The Mummy. So so bad. Universal, however, is not giving up on Horror, though, as it has another sequel to John Carpenter’s successful Halloween franchise hitting theatres in October and recently won a bidding war for James Wan to produce and to direct Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers

Television knows a Good Trend, so expect TV to follow.

Or, has it already been leading?

Ahem, American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Twin Peaks: The Return, The Exorcist, The Frankenstein Chronicles, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Midnight, Texas, Hannibal, and Penny Dreadful ring any bells?

Sad news for The Exorcist at Fox which has been cancelled after two seasons as well as for Ash vs. Evil Dead fans as Starz Cancels Horror Series After 3 Seasons

Personally,  Horror is not my genre of choice (although, I loved Penny Dreadful on Showtime). And yet, I did see all of the Wes Craven Scream movies, and I do feel that Stephen King’s Carrie is a classic. I never saw any of the Nightmare on Elm Street films nor did I buy a ticket for The Conjuring franchise which is expanding each year including a 3rd Annabelle Spinoff and New Entry, The Nun

ANNABELLE 3

Annabelle 3 opens July 3, 2019, which is a major opening date so New Line expects this film to be a big hit. James Wan executive produces. The Nun hit theaters Sept. 7th and Opens to a Heavenly $135m Worldwide, per THR.

I gotta say, though, I really enjoyed Get Out, but I thought it was more Thriller than Horror film (up until the last few minutes). Tip o’ the hat to screenwriter Jordan Peele who totally deserved winning both the WGA Award and the Oscar for Best Screenplay.

GET OUT WGA

A Quiet Place is that rare hit for Paramount Pictures, so expect the studio to get in business on a long-term basis with actor/director John Krasinski who also toplines the studio’s TV reboot of Jack Ryan which is set to air via Amazon (in August! renewed three months before it premieres!):

Amazon Renews Tom Clancy’s JACK RYAN

Krasinski really made you care about that family (who we knew nothing about, backstory-wise) as they tried to survive Alien-esque monsters attracted to sound. Kudos to those child actors. Terrific. The film is still in theaters, and the studio has already Put A Sequel in Development

As for Stephen King’s It, actors Bill Hader and James McAvoy have signed on for the sequel. So, prepare for more Pennywise. Director Andy Muschietti promises It: Chapter 2 Is So Scary You’ll Need Adult Diapers

As already noted, Jamie Lee Curtis is set to return in the next installment of John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise, as well. David Gordon Green and Danny McBride scripted the Sequel

Lots of movies in this genre (including remakes of The Grudge and Pet Sematary) coming down the pike headed directly for either the metroplex or your various devices, including Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

JAMIE LEE CURTIS HALLOWEEN 2018

Meanwhile in TV, here’s what’s cooking across All Platforms:

  • Lovecraft Country at HBO. Jordan Peele (Get Out) adapts Matt Ruff about a guy traveling across America in the ’50s and coming across monsters.  J.J. Abrams EPs.
  • Into the Dark at Hulu. Dermot Mulroney and Tom Bateman (Da Vinci’s Demons)star in this unique series from Blumhouse Television that revolves around one holiday each month.
  • What We Do In The Shadows at FX.  Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnorak) adapts his own feature film for TV as a half-hour comedy which follows three vampires who have been roommates for hundreds of years. Looking forward to this! Well done, FX.
  • Swamp Thing at DC Digital. James Wan executive produces. Mark Verheiden and Gary Dauberman write and EP.
  • V-Wars at Netflix with Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) fanging up once more in a 10-episode adaptation of a novel. Haven’t read it (yet).
  • The Order at Netflix. A college freshman joins a secret society that includes a lot of monsters. 10 episodes ordered.
  • NOSA42 at AMC is an adaptation of the Joe Hill novel about a woman who tracks a man who steals the souls of young children. 10 episodes ordered.

PURGE

  • The Purge at USA/SyFy. One day each year, murder and mayhem are legalized in this TV adaptation of the Blumhouse film.
  • The Vampire Chronicles at Hulu. Paramount TV and Anonymous Content settled on Hulu for those 11 Anne Rice novels featuring The Vampire Lestat, however, they have yet to announce an international distributor, so fans worldwide await that news. Bryan Fuller (American Gods, Hannibal) was attached to EP but quickly bowed out for undisclosed reasons, so Christopher Rice (Bone Music, Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra) exec produces without a showrunner.
  • The Passage at FOX. Ridley Scott EPs the adaptation of Justin Cronin’s novel set in the not-too-distant future where a military experiment gone wrong unleashes a vampire plague upon the continental US. Really loved this book which was so disturbing on so many levels.
  • The Haunting of Hill House at Netflix. Timothy Hutton stars in this 10-episode adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel.
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch at Netflix. This spin-off from The CW’s Riverdale goes much darker. Series order (20 eps!). Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) Stars, Per Vulture.
  • American Horror Story: Apocalypse at FX.  Joan Collins toplines the newest season of Ryan Murphy’s successful franchise which promises a crossover return to both AHS: Murder House and to AHS: CovenHere’s the Trailer, Per Rotten Tomatoes. Premieres Sept. 12th on FX.
  • The Birds at BBC. Am really looking forward to this British re-make of the Alfred Hitchcock classic.
  • The Witcher at Netflix. A group of young people hunt demons in this adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books. Sean Daniel (The Mummy) exec produces. Sounds like Buffy 2.0 to me!  Henry Cavill (Mission Impossible: Fallout, Justice League) set to star. Eight Episodes Have Been Ordered, Per Nerdist.

the-passage

 

N E X T   U P:

Death of The Daily Campus at SMU

THE DAILY CAMPUS

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TV Surf Report: Super Heroes, Are We Done Yet? (Answer: No, So Stop Asking!)

DC ROBIN IN MASK TITANS

Santa Monica, CA — Are we there, yet? Are we done with the Super Hero shows? No? Well, I have a suggestion and a few thoughts, and maybe, a List.

Meanwhile, I just can’t keep up anymore. There are so many super hero and super hero-ish shows on the air right now from Broadcast to Cable to Streaming, and the landscape is getting more competitive by the day.

The current smash at the box office, Black Panther, ensures that the Super Hero Trend will continue on screens both big and small. Expect Disney and Marvel to somehow expand Wakanda to TV either via ABC, Freeform or its upcoming streaming service.

And Super Heroes are not just dudes with capes, btw. They are also Witches (Charmed, Sabrina), and Jedi Knights (Star Wars), as well as Texas Preachers (Preacher). And, American Gods (Starz). And Vampires (The Vampire Chronicles — TBD).

BLACK LIGHTNING CRESS WILLIAMS

Fox is crazy for DC Comics (Gotham, Lucifer) and has Marvel’s X-Men properties to exploit (Legion, The Gifted).

I don’t really watch The CW, so I am not really up to speed on the latest shenanigans on Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, but I am kinda interested in checking out Black Lightning though.

Pretty soon, The CW will reboot Smallville.

Am wondering why ABC hasn’t thought to reboot Batman, the classic ’60s series? That gets my vote. Would love to see contemporary actors take on those fun super villainous roles opposite a new Dynamic Duo and Batgirl. The series is owned by Fox, so that might make things difficult. And yet, a live-action reboot would fit in well with Fox’s Sunday night lineup anchored by The Simpsons. Just me?

Warner Bros. and DC are really taking their time with that Batgirl movie as Joss Whedon just dropped out of making the feature citing his failure to come up with a good Story. Writer Roxanne Gay may have booked the gig via Twitter. Good for her!

Roxanne Gay’s Cool Tweet to DC Comics

TV showcases kick-ass women far more effectively and would be a better medium for her, I think, based on these series: Supergirl, Agent Carter, Buffy, Alias, Xena, Wonder Woman.

 

BATGIRL

Here’s that List I promised.

Am way behind on watching most of these Series, mostly due to lack of interest, but that doesn’t mean I won’t rediscover them eventually, somewhere down the viewing road:

  • Supergirl is now in its 3rd season on The CW after a debut season on CBS.
  • Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on The CW continue to dominate the netlet’s schedule which expands to Sundays this year.
  • Black Lightning on The CW has made a lot of noise with its great reviews and winning casting.
  • Charmed is getting a Reboot pilot at The CW. Yes, Witches are super heroes. The original cast is pretty vocal on social media with Holly Marie Combs blanching at the reboot’s vow to be more feminist.
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hits its 100th low-rated episode on ABC thanks to that Disney synergy. Just never got into this show. I tried!
  • Inhumans at ABC has been cancelled after a dismal few months on Friday nights following the fading Once Upon a Time (also cancelled).
  • Agent Carter was not as fortunate, and yet Peggy keeps popping up in the movies.
  • Xena Warrior Princess Reboot at NBC is on ice, but give them time and a new writer. The suits in Burbank should be hopping all over the enthusiasm for the similarly themed Wonder Woman, but it sure doesn’t look like it.
  • Lucifer and Gotham at Fox are both DC Comics properties and well into their third seasons.
  • The Gifted at Fox has earned a S2 renewal continuing the studio’s X-Men relationship, but how much longer will that last as Disney acquires Fox?
  • Legion at FX earned a second season, as well.
  • Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher are each still going at Netflix, but that relationship is most definitely finite. S2 of Jessica Jones premieres March 5th with all episodes available to binge.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch at Netflix is a spinoff from The CW’s Riverdale and features Sabrina in Magic School.
  • Marvel’s Runaways at Hulu has been well-reviewed, but Future Man not so much.
  • Squirrel Girl got punted by Freeform which is about to launch a YA Mermaid-themed series, called Siren.
  • Cloak & Dagger at Freeform is also in the mix. Has that aired yet?
  • The Magicians on Syfy is now in its third season, which is a win for the basic cabler. I never embraced the casting or the adaptation of the Story.
  • American Gods on Starz is a far superior adaptation of a novel. Pity that showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green left the series after S1. Am loving the new takes on the Old Gods, though. Jessie Alexander is the new EP for S2.
  • Preacher on AMC is heading into its third season. I enjoyed S1 but need to catch up.
  • Watchmen at HBO is in development with Damon Lindelof starting from scratch with the graphic novel.
  • Good Omens at The BBC is a comedy from Neil Gaiman based on his work with Sir Terry Prachett. Michael Sheen and David Tennant star. Jon Hamm guests as the Angel Gabriel.
  • The Vampire Chronicles have yet to land at a network, but Paramount did recently hire Bryan Fuller (American Gods, Hannibal) to showrun alongside Christopher Rice and Anne Rice. My money is on Showtime due to corporate synergy (Viacom) but am hoping for elsewhere (BBC America).
  • Teen Titans, now called just Titans, will be a centerpiece of DC Comics’ digital streaming service that premieres this year. Robin or Nightwing leads the ensemble of youthful crimefighters.
  • Star Wars will be the centerpiece of Disney’s new Streaming Service. The EPs of Game of Thrones have been tapped to expand the Universe for Television.
  • Doctor Who on The BBC is television’s longest-running hit drama series, and this year, audiences finally get a female Doctor (Jodi Whitaker).

DOCTOR WHO LADY DOCTOR POSTER

 

Am sure I have omitted a few shows or forgotten some recent cancellations (Powerless on NBC comes to mind). Let me know if I have unwittingly excluded your favorite.

Meanwhile, settle in and binge away. The Super Hero trend is going to be here for a good, long while.

N E X T    U P:

Question: Who’s Up for The New Adventures of Hermione Granger

 or that Trinity/Matrix Standalone Film?

Answer: Me! Features Are Slow To Catch Up To TV When It Comes To Women.

TRINITY

 

 

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Surf Report: California Dreamin’ On A Winter’s Day – Series To Binge, Books To Revisit, and Photos for That Inevitable Surf Memoir

BW SURF MEMOIR COVER

Santa Monica, CA — I never realized just how much writing I did at my local coffee shop on Main Street, which has been closed for two months, and that’s exactly how long it’s been since my last Post.  Yikes.

I sure do miss Peets Coffee and the Dawn Patrol gang of locals, but I have made do with Home Brew, grinding my own beans, and attempting to froth whole milk and to create a Latte that is acceptable. Still, it’s not the same.

Meanwhile, it’s Winter here in So Cali and that means it’s chilly and cold at the beach in the mornings but sunny by midday. Ya gotta bundle up, wear a scarf, etc.!

California and the US are plagued by a deadly Flu virus, which I have successfully avoided thus far. Also, I am in Week 17 of growing a beard prompting lots of taunts from friends who tell me I resemble slightly younger versions of either Kris Kringle or Gandalf.

The dreaded Drought looks likely to return to these parched parts at any moment if we do not get some much-need Rain throughout the month of March, which is traditionally the last month of The Rainy Season.

I have been binge-watching Westworld (S1) and The Crown (S1). Thumbs up to both series, however, Westworld kinda unravels by its season finale after such a promising start, reminding me a bit of the disappointment I felt with Lost a few years back on ABC. One feels as if the writers don’t really know where they’re going. Presumably, HBO does.

Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy’s series also brings to mind Battlestar Galactica as well as Blade Runner, evoking that familiar premise: Who is more human, the robots or their creators? Credit author Philip K. Dick for being such an Influencer. Am not sure I will return for S2. Still, I love seeing Anthony Hopkins commanding every scene he’s in portraying an Uber-Walt Disney with quite the ruthless streak. Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, and Ed Harris really score, as well.

Meanwhile, The Crown is just sumptuous Television. I feel so sorry for those poor Windsors! Bravo, Netflix.

EARTHSEA        AT ZEROS YOUNG GANDALF

Reading-wise, the recent passing of author Ursula K. Le Guin prompted me to re-visit her Earthsea series of books, which I have thoroughly enjoyed (and highly recommend): A Wizard of Earthsea and its three sequels as well as Tales from Earthsea, which I found to be quite remarkable and reminiscent of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.

I picked up these books during my stint as VP of Development for SyFy (then known as Sci-Fi Channel) in the 2000s. One of the first things I did back then was to meet everyone at the network and ask them what favorite books they recommended for development. The Earthsea books were at the top of the list, but beyond Sci-Fi’s grasp (and still now, I think).  I would love to see The BBC take on these adaptations as they would make winning miniseries.

Surfing in Santa Monica has been kinda poor all Winter, so I have ventured North to Malibu to Nicholas Canyon State Park, aka, Zeroes. It’s a great break, very consistently going right, and just lovely to behold. Funny I should surf there whilst reading Le Guin’s Earthsea books because the topography is quite similar to how I imagine the Archipelago and the Isle of Roke, where The Old Powers and Magic are strongest: Lots of big, ancient rocks for boats to crash onto and beautiful sandy beaches flanked by green verdant hills awaiting your arrival.

A good Book is a wonder. I love writing that fuels my internal projector and ignites my own imagination enabling the story to really come alive in Time and Space. Thanks, Ursula K. Le Guin. #RIP

N E X T   U P:

The Successful Launch of Black Panther Ensures More Super Hero TV.

BLACK PANTHER AND HIS LADIES

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Surf Report: Santa Monica’s Main Street Bids Farewell to Longtime Favorite Peet’s Coffee

PEETS AT 5 AM          MARVIN AT PEETS

Santa Monica, CA — A friend of mine on Twitter recently asked that his followers (including me) to refrain from publishing photos of their Lattes in 2018 saying they all look the same.

He’s got a point, however, not all Lattes are made the same.

For 18+ years, my Lattes have been brewed by Marvin, my local Barista at Peet’s Coffee on Main Street. These not inexpensive but highly addictive coffee drinks have been made with something akin to Love and are well worth photographing/tweeting.

One more Latte for the Road, and then the Party Is Over for Peet’s.

Edgemar Center, the venerable coffee shop’s landlord, has opted to raise the rent after Peet’s long-term lease agreement ended earlier this month. Peet’s Corporate decided to pass and look for new grounds (pun intended).

Last Call is Friday, Dec. 29th.

Ya can’t blame Edgemar for seeking more income, and ya can’t blame a successful franchise like Peet’s for declining to pay more rent after anchoring that center for nearly two decades.

One wonders how much longer other stalwart Edgemar tenants like Brick & Mortar or Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream will survive at Edgemar if a high-volume business like Peet’s can’t afford the skyrocketing rent increase?

Main Street has lost more than a few businesses to this Catch-22: Most notably, the well-established Omelet Parlor, American Apparel, and Areal.

So, what’s a Local to do now that his favorite coffee shop (along with some really great employees) is going away?

Mourn. Say farewell. Learn to brew coffee at home.

IMG_1640

Surfers, Teachers, Medical Personnel, Gym-goers, Cyclists…these are the first customers to arrive at Peet’s on a daily basis: The Dawn Patrol.  At 5 AM, this is not the most verbal of crowds who quietly place their order, exchange muted greetings and either settle in or depart for the rest of their day, caffeine in hand.

Make no mistake: Peet’s Coffee has been the Central Hub of a rather eclectic Community, and the coffee shop will be sorely missed.  The coffee is great (strong!), but it’s the people who keep you coming back again and again.

(This Appreciation was written there on a sleepy Wednesday morning.)

For 10+ years, Peet’s Coffee on Main Street sponsored my cycling club, Shifting Gears , who would meet for Tuesday morning easy spins from Main Street through the Marina (and back – 15 miles). After the training ride, the group always enjoyed a cuppa at Peet’s which provided a warm and friendly environment for such gatherings.

On any given day, one can run into their friends, neighbors, tennis partners, yoga instructors, bar tenders, and elected officials while waiting in line at Peet’s. And that’s part of its charm, you never know who you will see!

TUESDAY BIKE RIDE       PINTO STANDING SURFER BEACH

Peet’s Coffee also has been home to a lot of Writers, Journalists, Bloggers, Painters, Actors, Musicians, Techies, and many other Artists seen deep in conversation whilst enjoying a cup of Dark Roast.

Book recommendations have been exchanged there amongst new friends. Heated political discussions have taken place amongst old friends. Many a rainstorm has been weathered there with new friends.

So what’s next for Peet’s?

Thankfully, the wonderful, kind, and big-hearted employees are all being transferred to other stores around the area (Montana Avenue, The Grove). Peet’s Corporate has been looking for another space on Main Street for quite a while but has not found a suitable new home.

Main Street already houses coffee emporiums Dogtown Coffee, the Urrth Café, Starbucks, Groundworks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Bulletproof Coffee.  That’s a lot of coffee shops!

The next tenant is rumored to be (what else!) another coffee powerhouse: Blue Bottle Coffee (which started out in Oakland, CA). Nearby Abbot Kinney already hosts a Blue Bottle café, which has many other stores in Los Angeles.

Next Stop: Main Street, Santa Monica.

So Peet’s, this is a Farewell for Now. And, this is an Appreciation for the good vibes, the great coffee, and for the community fostered there.

Peet’s Coffee, this Peetnik will miss you.

Here’s to one last Latte (and yes, I shall tweet a photo!):

CUPPA   Thanks, Marvin, Rich, Adrin, Cynthia, Seb, Jenny & Co.

 

N E X T   U P:

New Year’s Resolutions! Home-Brewed Coffee …

PINTO SECRET LIFE OF

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