Sass and Fras


The Oscars are fast approaching, and this is one of the few years that I’ve actually seen one of the documentaries that are nominated. We went to see Searching for Sugar Man with our friend Gabi, who is from South Africa. It’s about an American singer/songwriter named Rodriguez who became hugely popular in the 1970s, but only in South Africa, and then disappeared. His music is great, and the documentary is fascinating, but I can’t tell you too much about it without ruining it. This one is worth a rental, and Rodriguez is now on my playlist.

I have two new places to tell you about. There is a new grilled cheese shop that opened at Sunset and Vine called Melt. It’s a chain from San Francisco that serves nothing but grilled cheese and soup, and it’s really good. I’m hoping that there are enough carb-eating Angelenos to keep it open.

We also recently went to Sassfras in Hollywood, and it’s awesome. The bar is like an old Savannah townhouse dropped onto Vine Street, and it’s a set decorator’s dream. They have Spanish moss dripping from the ceilings, handcrafted cocktails at the bar, and live music from the balcony. I can now walk to New Orleans!

Of course bars and restaurants are great, but the best place to see real Los Angeles is public transportation. Last week I took the subway downtown to get some information at the LA Department of Building and Safety. I was looking for blueprints or lot plans for our house, which was built in 1920, and for a new income property we are working on, which was built in 1933. I got there and learned that they pretty much have nothing for houses built before 1975, so it was a big waste of time. I did find out that my current home was built and fully finished for $5,000!

I was riding the subway home and trying not to touch any surfaces, which are riddled with the flu and other communicable diseases. I love the subway for people watching, and this ride did not disappoint. There was a big man wearing shorts and a sweatshirt, and he had a headband tied too tightly around his head. It was making his face strangely contorted. He had kneepads on both knees, and was wearing about five fanny packs. He kept looking at his reflection in the back of a CD, and then mid-ride he started rolling up napkins and shoving them up his nostrils. He would poke the napkin into his brain, and then pull it out and look at it. I don’t know if he was looking for blood or bits of his cerebral cortex, but it almost made me vomit.

At the same time, there was a crazy black lady talking very loudly to a guy who I was guessing was slow. I know she was crazy because she kept saying it.

“I am crazy. You needed somebody to talk to…and I’m somebody.”

Both of them were talking at the top of their voices, like nobody else was on the train. They both sounded nuts to me. Well, the guy finally gets off the train and the black lady looks right at me and yells, “He was drunk!” Oh my God, crazy lady just threw drunk guy under the bus, and now she thinks we’re friends. I love the subway.