Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just Getting Warmed Up!

Yes, the Militant knows, nothing but Dodgers right now. But bear with him. These are some exciting times.

It's been five days since the last Dodger game and us True Blue fans can't seem to get enough. But the Militant, thanks to an operative's tip, was able to go to the Stadium (now with NLCS logo painted on the field) and eavesdrop on the Dodgers' warm-up session on a precipitous Wednesday afternoon, in the misty drizzle (fo' shizzle), as the tarps were rolled away and the Boys In Blue come out to get ready to play. So here's your Dodger fill just before the big game today. The Militant may or may not be there (Wait, who is he kidding? Of course he will be there)! GO BLUE!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Saturday, clinching the NLDS victory with a sweep and are advancing to the National League Championship Series.


They play the winner of the (currently snowed-out) Phillies-Rockies NLDS round next Thursday. So who's it gonna be, Dodger fans? Philly or Colorado?

The Militant wants the Dodgers to take on the defending World Champs Philly in the NLCS. Why? Aside from avenging last year's playoffs, if they can beat 'em, they can win the World Series. Whutchu think?

Friday, October 9, 2009

An Evening of Walk-Offs and Art Walks

Who says "Nobody Walks In L.A.?" Who says Los Angeles is not an exciting place? Not the Militant!

Part I: Walk-Off FTW.

The Militant probably doesn't have to tell you that the Los Angeles Dodgers won game 2 of the NLDS, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 on Thursday with a come-from-behind, walk-off hit in the bottom of the 9th. But he will.

First off, the 3:07 p.m. game time was a concern for the Militant. Not personally, but the fact that many people couldn't come to the game due to school or work schedules (and even a few operatives trying to sell their tickets). He feared a relatively empty Stadium shown on national television would be more diss fodder for all the Los Angeles out there. This was clearly a conspiracy created by the East Coast hegemony. And with the Atlanta-based TBS cable network broadcasting the game, the Militant rests his case.

Alas, only 51,000 showed up, with the outfield reserve bookends of The Stadium clearly empty.

But fear not, as dullsville, Dodgertown definitely was not.

The night simply oozed Los Angeles all over: The locally-raised rock guitarist Slash (born Saul Hudson, no relation to Orlando) performed the National Anthem and "God Bless America" on his (Kirk) Gibson Les Paul axe. Then came Mission Hills native, comedian George Lopez (donning a Fernando Valenzuela jersey), pitching both the ceremonial first ball as well as his new TV show on (surprise!) TBS. Finishing off the game was the dramatic walk-off RBI by the Santa Monica-born, Arcadia-raised Mark Loretta. RE-PRE-MUDDAFUGGING-SENT!

This Is My Town, indeed.

And after the score had been settled, the 51,000 fans that did come for the weekday afternoon game didn't want to leave. Whoops and hollers were heard all over the stadium for over an hour. Fans chanted, "SWEEP! SWEEP! SWEEP!" and perfect strangers donned in blue enthusiastically exchanged high-fives on their way out. They don\t call this "Blue Heaven On Earth" for nothing.

The parking lot also became a party zone, with horns honking in celebration, rather than agitation. The sound of cheers, chants, screams and whistles turned the parking lot into a party zone. Dodgertown was alive!

Part II: Art Walk OMG!

The Militant didn't feel the night was over just yet, so he set out towards Downtown Los Angeles to sample the second-Thursday-of-the-month Art Walk. Obviously not a totally new thing, having been a DTLA tradition for the past five years, it was still a new thing for the Militant.

Surely the hipster thing was a deterrent for the Militant all this time, and possibly just plain apathy, but after he got over the apparent hipsterness of most of the crowd, it really became a pretty cool event.

Certainly for the first-time Militant, walking into the Art Walk would lead one to say, "This is a hipster thing, let's GTFO of here." But after sticking around a while, the crowds are really a little more diverse than at first glance. The art aspect wasn't as much a huge deal for the Militant as was the urban scene, with upwards of 10,000 people roaming around the Gallery Row district at night, creating an undeniable energy not too unlike the one at the earlier sporting event. Galleries, restaurants, bars, cafes and some shops were open, with much of the action going on from 7 p.m. to midnight.

The local squadron of teh tr3ndy food tucks represented, such as Nom Nom, Don Chow Tacos, Skewers On Wheels, India Jones, Coolhaus Ice Cream and more (BTW, the Kogi BBQ truck was too cool for Artwalk, and had other plans tonight). A few trucks were on Spring Street, between 4th and 5th streets, with another set a block east on Main. In fact, no other local event brings so many of them to one place.

The interesting parking lot arts/crafts/food outdoor bazaar on Main near 5th brought back memories of Hong Kong's Night Market, something that Los Angeles really needs.

There's also music performances on the street, which is mostly of the lo-fi, sub-par style the hipsters just love and the Militant really doesn't care for, but that's a small price to pay for such buzzing nocturnal street energy. It's the kind of event you'd want Westsiders, suburbanites and those originally from those so-called "real" cities to come check out.

The Art Walk is definitely something to see, if even just to sample the street vibe. Besides, it'd make an awesome locale for a flash mob (But you didn't hear that from the Militant...). The next one is slated for November 12. The Militant may or may not be there!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The Militant Angeleno has a good feeling about this.

The Los Angeles Dodgers won 5-2 over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, thwarting the latter's supposedly prognosticated sweep.

Dodgers lead the NLCS 1-0.

Though Los Angeles native Randy Wolf (Canoga Park represent) didn't fully pull through as expected, decision or not, the Dodgers got the W, just as they usually have when he starts. At least the decision went to another son of the Southland, Jeff Weaver (Northridge and Simi Valley represent). The offense was on it, thanks to Matt "The Bison" Kemp's 2-run bomb to center field. Raffy Furcal going 3-for-4 wasn't that bad either. Even this guy showed up to watch the game.

After the game, Dodger fans were on a Blue high, while Skipper Joe Torre was spotted at Canter's after the game for some late-night victory noshing. And Randy Newman even earned double royalty points tonight as the other beloved Los Angeles team won their first pre-season match in the OC.

Today was a good day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

¡Bienvenido Gustavo! The Dude Abides At The Bowl

The Militant wanted to be two places at once on Saturday night - at The Stadium, watching the Dodgers clinch the 2009 NL West Title, and at the Hollywood Bowl, watching the debut of new Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel (heretofore referred to on the MA's blog as "The Dude").

The Militant, Dodger Fan he is, opted for the latter, because the ticket was free, thanks to one of his operatives. Actually all the tickets were free, thanks to a generous sponsorship by Target Stores (which the Militant may or may not be a fan of...) And besides, the Militant already has tickets to next week's NLDS playoff games!

The Militant took transit to the Bowl, of course, riding on the (M) Red Line to the Hollywood/Highland station and taking the Bowl Shuttle (free with his (M) Rail ticket!) from the west end of the complex. Miraculously, he got there in less than 10 minutes (previous Bowl shuttles took nearly 45 minutes due to traffic, no kidding).

After performances by Andrae Crouch, Flea with the Silverlake [sic] Conservatory Ensemble, Herbie Hancock with the LACHSA Jazz Band and a latin/blues set with Taj Mahal, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Los Cezontles and Alfredo Rodriguez, it was time to see The Dude.

The Bowl's video screens showed a short video montage (Even The Dude had a montage) of Los Angeles locals in Los Angeles locales wishing The Dude a warm welcome (The highlight was Pink's, which now offers the Dudamel Dog).

His first appearance was not conducting the Phil, but the YOLA Expo Center Youth Orchestra, playing Beethoven's "Ode To Joy." Fitting, since The 28-year old Dude grew up having participated in a similar youth orchestra in his native Venezuela and is a staunch advocate of music education for los niños. A lively contingent of Venezuelans, some of them dressed in the red-yellow-blue tricolor of their country's flag, gushed pride at seeing their very own El Tipo walk onstage.

Later, The Dude walked out in a white tux, conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, accompanied by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, plus members of various multiethnic choirs around town, to perform Beethoven's entire 9th Symphony. The Bowl's four (non-HD, wassup wit dat?) screens projected not only closer shots of The Dude and the musicians, but the translated "Ode To Joy" lyrics from old German to English y Español for the crowd to understand.

The Dude was energetic and animated, true to all the hype, even conducting with his eyebrows and a single pinky finger. At the conclusion, The Dude made a bilingual speech on how grateful he was with his new gig. The Phil concluded with an encore, and the Bowl's trademark acoustic shell also became a pyrotechnics machine.

It's gonna be a long-ass while before you'll hear The Dude announcing his retirement, so you can count on The Dude being an influential cultural figure in this City for decades to come. The Militant welcomes The Dude to Los Angeles!

Missed the show? Watch the streaming webcast!


This is your Hollywood Bowl bike parking...

Bowl crowd

The Bowl makes a funny face.

The Dude (is it just the Militant, or does he look a bit like this dude?)