Monday, November 5, 2012

Stan & Ray's "Almost Lost" Interview for To Love Somebody: The Play

Stan (far left )and I (far right) with the amazing cast of To Love Somebody

Stan Matasavage and myself (Ray Ramos) were asked a few questions, to accompany a review for the play that I wrote and that we both co-produced & co-directed, called: To Love Somebody (now at The Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood for two more weekends, until, November 18th, 2012.) Our interview was cut sadly due to lack of word space... ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What are you gonna do? So why let a perfectly good interview go to waste... I ask you? So I'm posting it here for you @ That Man Ray... I'm sure he (Ray) won't mind?

The questions have the asterisks * before them.

*Ray- I notice a fondness for and one could even say that there is a bit of homage at times to Classic Hollywood and the iconic personalities of yesteryear in your writing. Orson Welles, Liz Taylor, Hemingway even Anne Frank just to name a few. “The Big Woogie,” your first effort claims the dark shadowy back streets of film noir as its overcoat. It is obvious you are influenced by the nostalgia of old Hollywood and it‘s key players and iconic locations (Ambassador Hotel). What gives?

Ray: People always tell me that “I was born in the wrong era… maybe? Truth be told, I’m a L.A. native and the old Hollywood thing has always been around me. I can relate to the old stars more than the stars of today. They were more interesting people… they were original for their time. Or maybe, it’s the beauty of their now myth? As a writer, with imagination, I have the power to bring them back. I can have Louise Brooks trying to figure out what to do with a dead body after a night of debauchery at the Ambassador Hotel. It was more fun to have her back in the shadowy world of noir, although presented in slapstick comic fashion. That hotel (The Ambassador) was a place that I knew very well too… and when the sun went down, it was truly “noir-ish.” I worked there for the last seven years when it was the most popular filming location in L.A. before it was demolished by L.A.U.S.D. So its aura was pretty much soaked up in me. I was able to give a heartfelt tribute them both in my one act, “Room 509.” And that gave me great satisfaction. People don’t know about the iconic people the way they used too. I think it’s rather important… at least for my creative purposes… I went down to Cuba a couple years back to seek out Ernest Hemingway… or at least feel his aura. The day I went to his estate, now a museum, I was reminded that it was the 49th anniversary that he’d killed himself! Of all the days… that just blew me away.  With these now mythical figures of the past, as a writer it gives you a large canvas to paint with. Look what Woody Allen did brilliantly with Midnight in Paris. These people as still damn interesting… if you do your homework, you have the character all ready to go… you can just drop them into entertaining or interesting situations and see what they do?

A little imagination & hard work
*Ray-It’s kind of a stupid question but why “love”? But maybe you have a smarter answer….so do tell.

Ray: Love’s the one thing that we all seek. The eternal quest. I went with a theme with our last show. When I wrote the first two acts, “The Pleasure of Purr Company & The Girl in the Attic,” the only thread they had was love or a longing for it. I just decided to round it off with two more love stories. Although I might add, they are all so totally different… from the comedic to the tragic.

*Ray-How did the casting process go down for “To Love Somebody?” I notice that a few of the same players have returned from “The Big Woogie.”

Ray: My original idea was to bring back as many of the actors from my last show “The Big Woogie,” as I could; but that didn’t work out quite like I planned. Peter McGlynn and Carolyn Blais are two actors from my last show, who are in the act, “The Girl in the Attic.” Carolyn was an understudy in my last show. She went on four times during the run and she was fantastic. She actually was such a positive source of light in that productions… with her “can do” attitude… think “Tinkerbelle.”  When I got a call from an actress (lead role) two hours before curtain, telling me she couldn’t go on that night; Carolyn learned her part in two hours and saved the day. Now that’s a damn actress. So at the end of our run, I told her that I owed her, and I was going to write a piece just for her. She had mentioned in conversation that she had, once lost out playing the role of Anne Frank… a role that she had longed to do. So I wrote, “The Girl in the Attic” for her… She’s Anne Frank in a totally original piece. Which I would think is more exciting for an actress? She gets to take Anne someplace, that no other actress has been before and make it her own, and she’s amazing in the role. She can make you laugh and she can make you cry. She’s this magic cross between, Audrey Hepburn and Carol Burnett. Its joy to watch her and Peter on stage together. One more thing; after all the trials we had this time out with casting...  I think that we got the actors that we were meant to have... once that happens, and you trust them... most of your work is done; all the rest is cake & ice cream.

Peter McGlynn & Carolyn Blais in The Girl in the Attic
*Ray/Stan- Did you do the whole film/theater school thing or are you coming from a DYI, self taught background or something in-between.

Ray: I’m a barnstormer. I’m mostly self-taught… I work from instant. I’m only good if I’m being a daredevil, just go do it; take the hits and learn from my mistakes. But I came to the theatre from mostly as a test… to see if I could do it? I’ve been writing screenplays for many years, but I don’t have the millions to produce them… as a playwright, I found a doable venue for my characters to come alive.

Stan here:  I went to USC and studied both English and Cinema but always knew that I would take the film route.  It was what I was interested in since I was about 10 years old, movies and the entertainment world. But along the way the idea of doing stuff for the stage was always on my list.

Stan Matasavage directs the action in Jake & Clara; which has three stories with in a story.
*Ray-You portray Richard Burton in the fourth act Dickabeth. What role do you prefer actor or director. Which to you feel most enjoy, honestly?

Ray: I’ve performed in my productions because mostly out of default… or at least that’s what I tell myself? Playing someone like Richard Burton or Orson Welles, which I did last year (in “The Big Woogie”) is a tall order, but it’s also been great fun. But you got remember all those darn lines…. and because I can’t be entertained by my actors, if I’m on acting stage with them. So I think that being the director (after being the playwright) is more enjoyable to me.

*Ray/Stan- How do you compare the overall experience of putting together a second production to your first?

Ray: This show in many ways was a lot harder to do. We had two less producers to carry the load. And we had less rehearsal time… not to mention unfortunately; I had more than my share of flaky actors to deal with this time out (who ended up dropping out in the last minute with no warning.) that set us back. But we were still able to bring the ship in the harbor on opening night… the plan always comes together at the zero hour… just gotta have faith.

Stan here:  For me putting this second show together was more stressful.  The first time around I had a better schedule in terms of the films I was working on at the time and I could get away from work more easily. Time to deal with things during the day is a real luxury.

We're kinda like the Wachowski siblings; Stan makes some suggestions to the cast of my one act.
*Ray/Stan-Any thoughts on a third Ray/Stan production. If so do you think you will follow a similar formula or do you have something different in mind? Or are we jumping the gun altogether here?

Ray: I think Stan would like to try something totally different… me, I’m a writer. I enjoy what we’ve been doing… the four acts have been a great format for me to create… the written word for me; that’s the art. But I have thought about doing something like, The Petrified Forrest, were the entire action takes place on one main set.

Stan here:  I am always thinking of the next project I plan on taking on.  Ray and I are always kicking around ideas of what to do next.  Ray tends to be a more straight forward theatre guy. I on the other hand  I like to go in the weird Avant Garde direction.  Ray and I will duke it out and see who wins. But a third show is on the way.

Ray Ramos as Richard Burton in Dickabeth
*Stan-How does your background as a digital video editor translate to directing live theater, live players. Or is it apples and oranges?

Stan here:  I’ve directed short films and music videos in the past, and actors are always actors.  One of the differences between film and the stage for me is that the stage is always a wide shot.  You have to try to isolate the audiences attention with staging/blocking and lighting but you are never really sure that is where their focus is. With film you shoot a close up and cut to it. Also that "one take live theatre" aspect of it all can grey your hair.
*Ray/Stan-So I read on the plays website that you know one another from “your stand up comedy days” what’s the story there? Did you both do stand up?

Ray: We met years ago at open mike night when they had a Comedy Store on Westwood Blvd. We just hit it off? Over the years we’ve lost complete touch with each… and then amazingly we would find each other again… like some corny romance novel. And here we are after all these years making theatre… I wouldn't have imagined. I couldn’t have done these shows without Stan. He’s a great guy.

Stan here:  I came to LA in 1978 and met Ray either that summer or in the summer of 1979 when we both showed up to the Comedy Store in Westwood (that one is long gone) for amateur night.  We hit it off as friends and would run into each other at all the amateur night comedy clubs.  Over the years, 33yrs now, we would constantly lose contact with each other but would always seems to meet at some screening or concert and then just pick up where we left off.  We have a lot in common when it comes to the arts and film, that is why the universe conspires to always make sure we don’t lose track of each other.  (Ray took stand up more seriously then I did by the way, I was more interested in getting in the clubs for free on the non amateur nights.)

*Ray/Stan-Now that you are an ingredient in the NoHo local theater scene, do you ever attend local theater in NoHo or elsewhere. Or are you strictly on the production/performer side when it comes to that sort of thing?

Ray: I became acquainted with the NoHo theatre scene, because I had a girlfriend who did a couple at the Raven Playhouse. And I ended up being the house managed for her. So when it came to finding a place to put up my first show, it was my choice venue, even though I live in Venice.

Stan here:  I have been going to theatre ever since I came to LA.  Plenty of black boxes and the major stages for me.  I’ll go to the theatre whenever the time or the invite rolls along.  In fact recently Ray and I both went to a show that a “Big Woogie” cast member was in and also a show directed by a “Big Woogie” cast member.  The BW experience was so great that it inspired one of our actors to put up his own show (Disasteriod: The Musical) It turned out really great.

Director Ray Ramos with the talented cast of The Pleasure of Purr Company: Alara Ceri, CJ Brady & Kristel Kovner

*Ray/Stan-How you feeling about the plays run thus far?

Ray: I couldn’t be happier. The audiences love the show! I have a group of really fantastic actors… to many to mention all by name. But if you come to the play, you’ll want to know their names after the show’s over. And they’re playing all these wonderful characters ranging from: a rascally cowboy named “Jake Redskon” to “Liz Taylor” to “Pinky” the black dancing cat, to dear, “Anne Frank.” You get all that in one show! Like any producer, I would just like to get as many folks in to see TLS as possible during our run. To discover the new talent we have in our show. I guarantee in, “To Love Somebody” we’ve got something for everyone!

Stan here:  The show is going great and running really smooth. My hope is that as many people as possible see it.  The actors are really talented  and deserve to be seen and cast in other plays, commercials, TV shows and films because of this.

Some of the fantastic cast (Melanie Cruz, RR, Anthony Allen, Vinnie van Hinte,Carolyn Blais, Linda Slade) & friends.
The play runs two more weekends until Nov.18th, 2012
More info on the play @

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ray Ramos Gave Good “Noir”; Now It’s “Love” By Diane Franco

It’s a beautiful Fall day near the coast in Marina del Rey, California, where I meet up with Ray Ramos, a man who wears many hats—photographer, writer, director, producer, actor—and best of all, friend. We’re at the Sports Harbour, a dive bar at the intersection of Lincoln and Washington boulevards, not far from where Ray grew up—and still lives—in Venice. It’s neither Old Hollywood nor L.A. film noir, two subjects that Ray is passionate about, though the perfect place to catch up on gossip and to talk about his latest production, “To Love Somebody,” four one-act plays he wrote that include “The Pleasure of Purr Company,” “Jake and Clara,” “The Girl in the Attic,” and “Dickabeth,” in which he also stars as the legendary Richard Burton.

DF: So Ray, you’re Mexican-American, born and raised in Venice, California. How did you get from here to the influences of Old Hollywood and L.A. film noir?

RR: Well … Venice ain’t too far from Hollywood. In fact Venice and Hollywood go way back to the silent-film days. Buster Keaton used to film down here. I just found out recently that Charlie Chaplin first portrayed the Little Tramp character right here in Venice.
My Grandpa Manuel grew up just down the road in Culver City near the MGM and Hal Roach studios …  he used to run with the Our Gang kids, including Mickey Rooney. He once told me he taught the Marx Brothers how to rollerskate. After World War II he worked at a place called Paul J. Howard Nursery in the Palms area of West L.A. that supplied plants to all the studios and the stars. He’d make deliveries to Lauren Bacall, and she would invite him in to have a glass of whiskey with her. I loved to listen to him tell those random stories …  I always felt “Old Hollywood” around me in a big way.

DF: You’re always referencing an old movie in your writing. Did you watch those, too, with your Grandpa?

RR: I kinda found movies on my own, like a lot of kids of my generation. Growing up, there were few channels on TV, and generally they filled the airtime with old movies. They had the noon movie, Ben Hunter’s Movie Matinee, and then the 3:30 movie that you caught after school … the 6:30 movie came on after the half-hour local news …  now it’s a three hour block of news. There was no Oprah or Dr. Phil—just old movies … and you never knew what you were gonna get! I’d watch a movie and think, Hey, that guy (the actor) was pretty cool … or funny or interesting. Then all of a sudden I’m hip to Robert Mitchum and Jimmy Cagney … Richard Widmark … whomever captured my imagination. It’s not like that today … I guess too many options. But if you’re into film, you need to not only study this stuff, but know it. I just searched it out on my own, I guess.

DF: Besides the movies, you have a real passion for L.A. film noir. By the way, your last production “The Big Woogie” fit the genre beautifully …

RR: Yeah, I’ve always loved film noir … even before I knew what it was! I remember the first time I saw the classic, “Out of the Past”—where I was, what channel it was on, and what time of day. After I watched I thought, What the hell did I just watch? That wasn’t The Love Bug! Same thing with “Cape Fear,” “Night of the Hunter,” “The Sweet Smell of Success,” and “Touch of Evil.” That film blew my mind because I’m watching it and all of a sudden I realize, Man, that’s Venice! That canal that Orson Welles falls into is where we take the dog swimming! That really was a distinct connection. It was like watching a dark version of the place that I lived. I’m 12 years old at the time, and these films where blowing my mind!

DF: How and when did you get started as a writer? What inspired that?

RR: I always liked creative writing. When I was in high school, I had a comedy partner named Bill Rapada, a damn funny guy. We were in drama class together, and had very similar—outrageous—senses of humor and he, too, was hip to all the old Hollywood stuff … we were on the same playing field. In class, it always seemed it was us against the rest of the class. We would write these crazy sketches, and get hell for them. We were heavily influenced by Saturday Night Live—new at the time. I clearly remember how we presented our comedy opus that we had so confidently worked on. We’re presenting it to the class, and a quarter of the way through we’re stopped by the teacher, who dubbed us as “nothing more that dirty nightclub comics”—her very words. Well, that only cemented our outsider status. Bill and I continued to write our sketches until we parted ways, for whatever reason.
Later, I started writing screenplays. My first script was a quirky action comedy that I wrote to star James Coburn and myself. It was about the macho old writer who teams up with this young guy to save his adopted daughter from a hit man and her asshole boyfriend. I wrote it specifically for Coburn; it was to be the quintessential James Coburn character … it would have been great. His character, Cash Vivian, smoked Cuban cigars, knew Kung Fu, listened to Bruce Springsteen, and lived in an old Hollywood mansion haunted by a Tom Mix-type silent screen cowboy. It had a fun little love story and a climax that took place at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I wrote it years ago—way before ghosts were popular. It’s a fun script, one I still hope to produce one day, although I’m just a little too old to play the young guy—which I find very annoying! Ha! But I do know the perfect actor—Matthew Dorio. My professional doppelganger, as I like to call him. He played the Ambassador house detective, Chico Flynn, in my last play, a part I was toying with playing myself. But his audition was so good, he beat me out of my own part! He was going to be in the new show, in the one act; The Pleasure of Purr Company, playing, of all things, a writer. He unfortunately had to drop out. I was lucky enough to find wonderful actor, CJ Brady to replace him—who's really great in the part!

DF: Tell us the kind of reading material that inspires you. Who are your favorite writers?

RR: I used to plow through biographies left and right. I always find the journey of interesting people—well … interesting. That’s a reason that I know so much quirky trivia. For example, I read a story of how George Raft walked in on Carole Lombard and found her bleaching her pubic hair. She told Raft she was just making sure the carpet matched the drapes. I’ve got all kinds of crazy stuff like that rattling around in my head—supposedly true stories. I have to take their word for it! Either way, they’re entertaining, and I’ve always enjoyed them. As for writers? I’m a big fan of Elmore Leonard. He started out writing Westerns and now does the most entertaining crime novels. What I love about him is much like what I love about the classic film director Howard Hawks: Leonard favors character over plot. If you have a great character, a weaker plot can be forgiving. There are other great writers I enjoy: Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, Cormac McCarthy, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, David Mamet, my friend John Gilmore … and, of course, Hemingway. I’m sure there are a few more. I wish I had more time to actually read—the books are stacking up!

DF: What inspired you to start writing plays?

RR: Well, a couple years ago I heard that some friends were looking for one-acts for a show, specifically noir-inspired one-acts—again … back to noir. I’m thinking, That’s a no brainer! I already had some story ideas that were ready to go—rattling around in my head. Plus, I had all those film influences—from Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, John Huston, etc. … add in Barbara Stanwyck, Bob Mitchum, Bill Holden, Richard Widmark and their famous prototypes: the double-crossing dame; the cool, but poor sap detective; the pensive gigolo writer; the sneering gangster—they’re all up there … that and the fact that I dream in black and white … so the dam just broke! I literally wrote four plays in a matter of days. I sent them off and then I waited and I didn’t hear back from anyone. Right then I decided to put them up myself. I rounded up a few friends (Gordon Alatorre, Candice Martin, Stan Matasavage) and we came up with the show “The Big Woogie” … if you’re doing something noir, you gotta use the word “Big” in the title! It was a very fulfilling experience, and we got some pretty good reviews. Let that be a lesson: Don’t wait to be invited to the party—make your own party! That’s something that I learned the hard way. If you’re inclined, go out and do your own projects. What’s the worst that can happen? Failure? It takes balls to fail … all that matters is you get the blood pumping through you veins. So, even though those friends didn’t get back to me, I owed them in a roundabout way. It kick started my engine again.

DF: What’s the easiest thing about writing for you? What’s the hardest?

RR: The easiest thing for me is ideas; my brain’s backlogged with ideas. I worry that I’m gonna die and not get them all down on paper. And really, the hardest thing for me is just sitting down and fucking writing. I get sidetracked and distracted way too often. I’m very bad like that. I read that Hemingway—who never met a rum daiquiri he didn’t like—loved to carouse and have a good time … definitely my kinda guy! But when he was working, he would go ape shit when folks like Ava Gardner would want to come over and visit. He respected his work and was so disciplined than even the chance that Ava Gardner would want to come over and swim nude didn’t dissuade him. Me? I don’t think I could have said no to Ava! I usually write very, very late at night when everyone is asleep … when the phone won’t ring.

DF: Do you work on more than one piece at a time?

RR: I tend to have that habit … again, because I’m easily distracted … sometimes by my own ideas.

DF: What are you up to when you’re not writing?

RR: I dream of sitting in a dark bar in New Orleans, listening to Jazz.

DF: Yeah, don’t we all! Let’s talk about the new show, “To Love Somebody.”

RR: Again, I chose to do four one-acts … maybe because I’m superstitious. “The Big Woogie” had the film noir theme. This show my theme is Love. A friend commented, “Ray Ramos—doing a play about love?” I said, “Who better? I got a lot of practice when you think about it. Some people’s love is a big novel—marriage, kids, and all that stuff. For me, I’m a series of short stories … maybe even a stack of comic books… some better than others …

DF: Perfect! So, I’m guessing that “To Love Somebody” is somewhat autobiographical?

RR: Well, the second act, “The Pleasure of Purr Company,” was inspired by my black cat named Pinky—who actually adopted me when I was working at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire. I do love her deeply… so yeah, I guess that’s a yes.
Jake, the cowboy in “Jake and Clara,” has a lot of me in him—though I’m not sure if that’s a good thing to admit to! Oddly enough, I somehow relate to Anne Frank in the play, “The Girl in the Attic.” I feel such a connection with her that at times when I was writing it, I had to stop because of the heartache I felt for her. I’m in love with her in a weird, strange kinda way… if that makes any sense. She was such a special person; I feel that she must remembered—and loved—even today. That’s my one serious piece in the show.
And we have a fun piece that reunites the famed couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, in the afterlife. I think it’s a pretty entertaining piece that I call “Dickabeth.”  I hope the audience understands why …

DF: What do you hope your audiences can take away from your plays?

RR: I think the most important thing for me is to get folks in the theatre! So many people have never been, or can’t remember, the last time they saw a play—some not since high school. For years I didn’t go to a play, but when I did finally find myself in the theatre … wow, what a wonderful experience! To have living, breathing actors right there in front of you, performing for you, telling you a story—it’s damn exciting.
            The story telling is how it all got started for me. Especially when you discover fresh new talent. I get tired of seeing the same twenty actors on TV all the time. That was one of the things I truly enjoy when producing a play—finding great new talent to share with the audience. And then you get to hear people who come up to them after the show and tell them how great they were! That’s what I dig. And I have a great cast of actors in the new show, I'm proud to say! I might have cast Hollywood's next big star in this show? How cool would that be! As for my plays, I try to give the audience a full night of theatre—everything and the kitchen sink!
In the new show “To Love Somebody,” (co-produced and directed with Stan Matasavage) love is the thing that connects the stories. But I’ll tell you now; they’re not your typical love stories, like what I did with the noir theme in “The Big Woogie.” They’re a bit abstract … I guess much like myself. They’re the comedy that I love to write. And then the tale about Anne Frank—where does that come from? Like many I was influenced by Rod Serling and the TV show “The Twilight Zone.” It’s theatre, and you should have the option to be experimental … the Experimental Zone, if you will. It’s the perfect place.

DF: I understand you’re taking on the role of iconic Welsh-actor Richard Burton in “Dickabeth.” How does putting yourself in the character differ from writing the character?

RR: Yes. Can I say, “What the hell was I thinking?!” Sometimes, you have no idea where something comes from. So I write this piece about Dick and Liz because I need a third or fourth act. This one-act kinda wrote itself … I barely remember writing it. So here I am with this act, and I ask myself, Shit! Who’s fuckin’ gonna play Richard Burton? Even though I was the voice of Orson Welles in “A Touch of Murder,” last year’s play, it wasn’t my intention to act in this one. But I thought, Who else? I’ve had some hard times casting actors in simple roles, much less Richard Fuckin’ Burton! I’ve always had an ear for voices and have been doing Richard Burton’s voice for fun over the years. I used to make prank dinner reservations at Beverly Hills restaurants for him and Liz in Jr. High. So frankly, I was the only one that I trusted to do the part. But it’s really tough to sustain that voice for a whole act. Live by the sword, die by the sword! It’s scary. I played Orson Welles behind the curtain, like the Wizard of Oz. Richard Burton is front and center—in the spotlight—no hiding in the shadows. I’m in it now. Nothing left to do, but go out there and give it my best shot. Who knows, I might have a heart attack and die on stage?

DF: [laughing] I think you’ll have it handled! What’s next for you, Ray?

RR: Well, I have the best damn “Bigfoot” script that I’d like to see produced. It’s more like an old Howard Hawks adventure film than a monster movie … but then again, it is a monster movie, and I wrote the best damn part for Sam Elliott! I would love to see it made. Who knows if people will ever get hip to what I’m doing?
I might also shoot a music video for this great L.A. band called I See Hawks in L.A.. They liked the music video that I did for the artist, Rosendo ( … so we’ll see …
I’ve also had this idea to do a private eye movie in Venice cinema verite style. I don’t think there’s been a film that’s captured the real Venice since the ’70s. People have been bugging me to write a full-length version of my one act from “The Big Woogie,” “Room 509” … which intrigues me … maybe even as a musical! I really liked those characters: Louise Brooks, Chico Flynn, Howard Hughes …  and let’s not forget Myron from New York. That’s the great thing as a writer: You can pull out all of these people/characters that intrigue you: Louise Brooks, Anne Frank, Richard Burton; and bring them out to be appreciated once again or maybe just to say Hi to them one more time. I dig that.

DF: You’re going to do great … good luck, Ray! Break a leg!

RR: Thanks, Doll.

“To Love Somebody” opens at The Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91602 on October 26 through November 18, 2012. For tickets, go to

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


When I heard they were going to do another Spider-Man movie… I was like yeah, whatever? The novelty of Spider-Man, had kinda worn off of me, especially after seeing the shock and awe of The Avengers movie a couple weeks earlier and now the almost mandatory viewing in the future of Christopher Nolan’s final chapter of the Batman trilogy… frankly, I though I was sick of comic book movies… but as I started to see the new Spider-Man trailers… like Peter Parker… I felt like I was bitten, by the bug… or should I say, Spider?  After all, Spider-Man and I, are roughly about the same age, so we kinda grew up together… so yes, I went out of loyalty, but came out of the theater very surprised.

It’s been about five years since the last Sam Raimi, Spider-Man flick (they were up to three) that featured Tobey Maguire as the young misunderstood web-slinging superhero. As I seem to recall, Sony Pictures (Spider-Man's Studio) had wanted Raimi to rush-out Spider-Man IV. Both Raimi and Maguire said, not gonna happen, and they parted ways. Well, it kinda turned out to be a good thing; I’m really surprised to say (and yes, I enjoyed the previous Spider-Man films.)  But did Spider-Man, need a reboot so quickly? Hell, I don’t know? How long was it between Tim Burton’s Batman films, and Christopher Nolan’s? Not sure? But it was longer then the Spider-Man turnaround, I know.

Well, 500 Days of Summer, director Marc Webb gets a handle on things quite well in the new movie (from a terrific script by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves… who knows who wrote what? They’re all credited!) Yes, we go through the same Spider-Man origins all over again, with a new Aunt May and Uncle Ben (Sally Fields and Martin Sheen) but it’s not as painful and boring to revisit again as I thought. Partly because of the casting. Although it’s hard to forget the late Cliff Robertson, as Uncle Ben in the original Rami films, Sheen’s Uncle Ben, is a bit more vibrant and seems to have more to do in the new film… and they’re a new plot twist that concerns Peter Parker’s late parents. And what about the new Spider-Man, who dares fill Tobey Maguire’s leotard? Well this English kid, Andrew Garfield (who seriously reminds me of a young Anthony Perkins… yes, there’s a little Norman Bates vibe goin' on.) this Garfield, , as both high school outcast Peter Parker and his alter ego Spider-Man, really does (yes) an amazing job… sorry, Tobester.

I love how this film features some of those iconic Spider-Man poses from the comics!
Also in the film is the "new" scratchy voiced blonde “It Girl" of the moment, Emma Stone (Scarlett Johansson watch your back!) as Garfield’s love interest Gwen Stacy … and she does have something? I’ll tell ya… she gives “the girlfriend” role a presence that little something extra. But for my money, the genius casting in this flick is surprisingly; Dennis Leary, as Captain Stacy. He plays, Emma Stone’s no nonsense, N.Y. cop father (but with the exception of the soft spot he carries for his overachieving daughter, Stone.) Leary almost steals the show in this Richard Widmark prototype kinda gruff cop role. And then let’s not forget the villain. This film is wise enough to steer clear (at least in this outing) to give Spider-Man a new “classic” villain to tangle with, in the guise of “The Lizard" (I think his name sez it all?) played by Rhys Ifans (He’s another, Brit… I'm not too familiar with him?… in fact, I don’t think I know him at all? But I'm sure he's done great stuff? Since he's in the mega-budget movie! And Ifans is really good in the movie, as the semi-mad scientist who tests (here we go again!) an experimental serum on himself... with disastrous and scaly results! And keep a look out for perhaps the best, Stan “The Man” Lee cameo ever in the new Spider-Man.

Dennis Leary's a hands on police captain.

A couple other quick things I really dug in this flick, was that it really did have a lot of the little elements that I used to love as a kid in the old Spider-Man comics, from his smart alack sense of humor, to the fact that he made his own web-shooters in this flick (a big bone of contention to fans of the Raimi Spider-Man films, where Maguire had organic webs all of a sudden?) And I just liked the basic look of the film, it truly incorporated a many of the icon “Spidey” comic poses that the film really worked for me (no, I did not want to see it in 3-D.) 
Hey! Did The Hunger Games have a nifty collectors cup? I didn't think so!
It’s funny, in the old comic books, Spider-Man would always grouse about not getting the respect that his flashy counterparts (like The Avengers) would receive from the press and the public… the new Spider-Man might not make as much money as new The Avengers movie? But, “Spidey’s” movie is doing pretty damn good at the box-office and they’re only one of him, and there are six Avengers! As Telly Savalas might say; who loves ya Spidey-baby? I just hope they title the next movie; Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and they'll finally cast R.Lee Ermey as J. Jonah Jameson... okay, I can dream, can't I?

R. Lee Ermey, still should play, J. Jonah Jameson, I think!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012



It seemed only fitting that Elmer Bernstein's rousing theme from "The Magnificent Seven" came blasting from the speakers, as the ol' Jersey "guitarslinger" Bruce Springsteen and his veteran partners in crime, The E Street Band (Nil Lofgren, Little Steven Van Zandt, Mighty Max Weinberg, Garry Tallent, Roy Bittan and Patti Sciaifa, "Mrs. Boss") strode out on stage. In typical "old school" fashion, Bruce chose to play his old favorite LA haunt, the venerable Los Angeles  Memorial Sports Arena (the largest dive bar in town, but with excellent acoustics... and crappy restrooms, which gave Bruce much comedic fodder for the night.)

The Boss, dressed in his usual; black from head to toe, came out to do  a job; rock the crowd and leave a message. Supporting his terrific new album; "Wrecking Ball", the show I saw was nothing less than... well, magnificent! (I was lucky enough to go to the show, thanks to a good friend of mine... and to that I am truly grateful! And the photos you see in this blog, where taken with  my little point and shoot, after much jocking around. I just in my nature to try and capture some of the moments.)

For those who don't know; you see Bruce (yeah, we're on a first name basis with him) it's more than a concert, or a greatest hits show, it's more like a great family reunion  (and with this show; maybe even more so?) and for three hours, you're someone from "Jersey" (and damn proud of it, I might add!) And he's got so much material, half the fun is seeing what songs he's gonna pull out on any given night (the only bummer for me is, Bruce didn't play Rosalita this particular night.)

Bruce, after all these years, still keeps it real, he's an artist who does his damnedest to speak to the people, for the people. Especially now, where times are still pretty dicey. Yeah, he can still sing out a rock anthem out like nobodies business. But, as a person, he's always been more than about that. Like his relevant depression era song, "The Ghost of Tom Joad," based on John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." He carries the torch, perhaps passed on by the late Johnny Cash, as the singer who's got the back, in his words and music of the average Jane or Joe. In fact, one of his best cuts on the new album is aptly titled; "We Take Care of Our Own." At this show, Bruce gave shout-outs to guests in the audience from various Los Angeles food banks, and reminded the crowd to support their effort.
In concert Bruce, keep an ongoing dialogue with his audience, one that (if you've seen him before) seems to pick where you left off, the last time you where in the same arena with him. He takes his audience
to heart... and with age (amazingly 62!!) he's like an old outlaw who's seemed to have found religion... but he preaches the only way he knows how, with him music... and what he preaches, is simply do unto others, and watch out for your fellow man. Not to say the he didn't rock the house with his classics like; "Born to Run" (an incredible experience to behold, and not to be missed, in a sold-out arena... trust me!) And the man truly knows how to have fun with his audience, you never know when he's gonna decide to jump into the crowd  (and be brought back to the stage on his back, as if  being carried by an enormous colony of human ants.)   Yeah, he's still The Boss! 

Not surprising Bruce, dedicated the night (and I'm sure the running theme of this tour) to "who's here, and who's not... with the caveat that if those are remembered, they're indeed still here with us. No absence being more resonant than the missing void of E Street's one man horn section, Clarence Clemons. This is his first tour after the passing of "The Big Man" (who passed away last year, also passed on is original E Street keyboardist Danny Federici) and it was a pretty strange feeling for the audience, so one could image how that amplified feeling would transfer to Bruce and the band. Befitting though, with great zeal Jake Clemons (Clarence's nephew) stepped in with his sax, and did a sterling job with his uncle's famous solo's. In tribute to Clarence, Bruce and company closed the night with "Tenth Avenue Freezeout." If you've never seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, just go (especially the new generation, Bruce loves seeing your fresh faces in the audiences.) Yeah, Bruce is about rock n' roll and more importantly "friendship"... great friendship. To watch Bruce still giving 100% after all these years, as I mentioned to my friend (after some post concert beers) inspires one across the board: artistically, physically and spiritually...that's why; Bruce and his music continues to endure... and he continues to be "The Boss."


Thursday, April 26, 2012


When Bob got back to his place, he was fried. Bob just had too many things running through his mind, and too many people on his radar all at once. He plopped himself on his old warn living room chair.
“Isabel, could you do me a huge favor and grab me a beer.. I need a beer and just don’t have the friggin' energy to move.”
“Yeah, sure,” said Isabel.
Bob mustered up a smile, he knew he truly was extremely fond of her. Then Bob lifted his hand with a little wave.
“Mamma, if you mind, I’m just gonna sit down and shut my eyes for a few minutes.”
“You go right ahead, Bobby.”
“Isabel, can you please, kinda help Mamma with...”
Bob smiled and closed his eye briefly, that’s all it took; he didn’t notice Isabel standing in front of him, with the beer. He had gone off to Dreamland.

“Don’t worry; I think Mamma would like a little tour of the boardwalk sights... oh, I'm talking to myself.”
“No, you ain't... and I sure would! After all dat sittin’, let’s go babygirl!’”
Isabel looked over at his, and then whispered to Mamma.
“Bobby looks so tired.”
“He got a lot of crawfish on his plate.”
Isabel took a second to register that one.
“You gotta tell me, what’s really goin’ on. Please!
“Shish, child,” she said, putting her finger up to her mouth.
Mamma, motioned for them to leave quietly.
The old Voodoo lady and redheaded Unicorn crept out of the apartment, leaving Bob laying there in a sort of suspended animation.

Isabel helped Mamma Basco, down the stairs.
“You gotta tell me what’s goin’ on. Maybe, I can help?”
Mamma Basco laughed. “Child, you don’t want to be tangling with what Bob’s messin’ with.”
“Does his place have a ghost? Is it Jim Morrison? That would be so rad!”
“Who dat?”
The dead singer for the Doors… they were from right here in Venice… there's a mural of him down the alley, I’ll have to show you.”
“Well, it’s ain't a man. And it ain’t his place neither! It’s at his ex-wife's joint.”
“His ex-wife? Bob was married?”
 “Yeah, she done picked up some old thing, at a flea market or somethin’ dat was possessed, and then she came runnin’ to Bobby.” Mamma basco, shook her head and let out a sigh.
Why to Bob? Shouldn’t she get help from a priest or call some of those ghost hunting guys on cable TV? You ever see those shows? They’re so corny. I’ve just felt a cold spot,” Isabel said, mockingly.
“Nah, dat’s phony baloney stuff. I'm talkin' bad juju.You know Bob’s got the gift, to tend to spirits… and I ain’t talkin’ about them drinks he serves at the bar, neither.”
“What? Really? That's epic! He's so rad!"
Isabel then looked over at the old woman, who was checking out the Venice Boardwalk folk.
And you? I don’t think you really came all the way from New Orleans to see Venice?”
“No," said Mamma Basco, " but since I’m hear, you’re gonna show me the local sights.”

Bob opened his eyes and found himself on his paradise beach. Miss Leoni was lying with her arms folded resting on his stomach there smiling at him…  so beautiful.
“It took you long enough to wake up sleepy head… where do you think you are… in my classroom?”
A smile was just about to cross his lips when, a look of sheer terror fell on Miss Leoni’s face. Before either could react, she was yanked down into the sand and disappeared from sight. Bob began to dig madly looking for her, screaming her name, as he pushed the sand back. But it was too late, she was gone.

Karen was trying to wake Bob, as he thrashed about. Finally, his tear filled eyes opened and he looked at her, out of breath and sweaty, barley able to speak.
“Bob, what happened?”
Bob looked at Karen, like a little lost boy, the blood seemed to be drained from his face,“It got her… she’s gone.”
“Who’s gone? Miss Leoni?”
Karen put her hand up to her mouth.
“No Bob, it must have been just a bad dream?”
“No. It was Willa Reese!”
Bob dropped his head down; his breathing  seemed labored.
“I can’t loose her again… I just can’t.”
Karen was at a loss, she had never seen him like this before… it scared her.
“I won’t.”
Karen wedged herself in the chair with him and put her arm around him, to comfort him.
“Bob, you’ll find her. I know you will.”
He didn’t answer her, and that scared her even more. She didn’t notice the sound of people talking, coming up the stairs. It was Mamma Basco and Isabel, Karen was startled when the two walked in the door… as were they, finding Karen holding Bob in the chair.
“What’s happened to him? Is he okay?” said Isabel, eyeing Karen. She seemed weary of Karen's presence more than enything.
“I think, He’s in shock or something?”
Mamma Basco made her way over to them. Karen looked at her and somehow immediately knew who she was.
“Mamma Basco?” Karen said with a hint of disbelief.
“The one and only. Now, what happened to my Bobby boy?”
“He had a bad dream or something…”
Mamma Basco clenched her crooked teeth and gave Karen a look that chilled her to her bones.
“What exactly, did he say?”
“He said that in his dream, the spirit of Willa Reese, snatched away…”
"Snatched who away?" Mamma Basco said.
Karen found herself, unknowingly looking over at Isabel.
“Miss Leoni… his teacher.”
Now, Isabel had no idea what was going on?
“The spirit, done took someone?” Mamma Basco, said cautiously. Karen over at Mamma Basco, and shook her head.
“Miss Leoni’s been dead for twenty years.”
Now, Isabel looked completely perplexed to what was going on.
“Oh, this one is bad,” said Mamma Basco. Then the old woman, said, “Where’s the hard liquor girl? Anything, that packs a punch?!”
“I know he's got some. I saw some Jack Daniels in the cabinet.”
“Well get it! We gots a situation here!”
“What should I do?” said Isabel.
“You just stay out of my way and sit there, young lady.”
Mamma Basco pointed her crocked finger to the kitchen cabinet.
“Pour three… no fingers in a glass?”
“Give me those, girl!” Mamma took the bottle of Jack Daniels and the glass tumbler, and poured whiskey in the glass.
“What are you gonna do?” Isabel said nervously.
Mamma took the glass and poured it down Bob’s mouth.
Bob’s immediately through out his arms, like he was directing phantom traffic, then he let out a choking noise, as if he was just pulled out of Davey Jones’ Locker.
“What... what the fuck?!” Bob said, gasping for breath. Isabel ran over to him, and threw his limp arm over her shoulder.
“Breath Bob! Breath!” She told him, as she rubbed his back with her hand in a circular motion.
“You don’t fuck around,” Karen said, looking at Mamma Basco.
“I’m old! I ain’t got time to fuck around girl! We gots work to do, we gots ta K-O dis spirit! I didn't fly out her from New Orleans to pussyfoot around!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


The Venice Post Office: Not For Long
I never would have thought that Venice, would loose its historic Post Office... but it is. One of my first memories as a child (back when I was; "That Kid Ray... From Venice") is walking with my mother from our little duplex on Venice Blvd. (off of Pacific Ave.) and down to the Post Office at the Venice Circle (the area had once been the main canal of Abbot Kinney's American Venetian recreation at the turn of the century.) The building at 1601 Main Street, features a wonderful piece of art; a mural (painted in 1941) "The Story of Venice," by artist, Edward Biberman... which is so burned into my mind; I'm sure, it'll be one of the final images that will flash through my mind, when I leave this world for the last time.

The History of Venice Mural (featuring, Abbot Kinney) by Edward Biberman
We've all heard that the Postal Service has been loosing business due to the Internet (email, electronic bill paying.) It's funny, everytime, I'm at the Venice Post Office, I find myself standing in a line for at least ten to fifteen minutes. Venice is prime real estate and sadly USPS, is trying to make some quick cash off of the community it serves. But, to do something as dirty, as taking away a community landmark, is really worthy of villainy in my book. As a second generation Venetian, I really take this sale personally. I'm not going to get into all of the USPS's reasons for its closure and sale, because in the long run it's all about dollars ($7,5000,000 of them.) I remember when MGM Studios in Culver City shot themselves in the foot, by selling all of their magnificent back lots in the 1970's (and now, they no longer have an actual studio, just an office in some building somewhere. And what's left of the studio lot is now owned by Sony Studios.) I joked yesterday, that I would personally buy property and rent it to the city, if I won last nights, roughly $300,000,000 Mega Lotto jackpot... but, I defiantly would. I just hope, whatever entity gets the building shows her the respect that she deserves... she did serve us well. Venice, is my hometown, and I would like it to stay being, "Venice." But this situation does remind me of that old Pretenders song; My City Was Gone. This little Post Office is part of the character of Venice. I hate to wonder what's gonna be left of this old town fifty years from now? I know someone who relocated to LA, and  keeps images of her hometown on her bedroom wall, to look at when she's homesick. It's ridiculous, that I might have to do the same thing, without even leaving, Venice! Well, it's a good thing I have a camera.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


The Townhouse, Venice, Ca, 2012
Karen's hair was still damp, she had to hoof it a couple blocks to her car. Finding parking down at the beach wasn’t easy or cheap. Her car was sandwiched between a BMW and a rusty old VW van. The time she spent with Bob, sent her back and she was in a rush not to be late for work. Soon, she was behind the wheel and on her way to her office in the Fox Hills area of Culver City. As she drove, she thought of her predicament, and then she tried not too. She didn’t know what to do? She’d be putting on a brave face for the past couple days, and he reunion with Bob had been a great distraction. Now, she was faced to wonder, what if Bob, can’t get rid of this thing in her apartment? She knew that she couldn’t continue to stay with Bob, as much as she’d like to entertain the thought. What was her option; move? And what if it followed her? The thought, made her sick to her stomach. Bob had to pull through for her; there was no other option in her mind… Bob had to be the man... her, George Peppard.

Bob followed Sawtelle’s advice and made his way down to the Venice Library. He decided just to walk the mile or so there. It was only the second time Bob, had set foot in the new library. As a boy, he used to go to the old one on California Avenue. The new library was bigger, it was housed in a modern looking building that sat on the middle of a cement island, which ran all the way down to the beach. It used to be where the old Pacific Electric Railway Red Car ran back in the old days. When Bob walked in, he noticed the reception desk to the left and asked the fifty-ish woman sitting behind it.
"Excuse me, where your computers?"
The woman was in the middle of something, and just pointed to the right, to where a bank of Dell pc's sat. Bob rolled his eyes when he saw that they were all being used. He then realized that he needed a new library card to access the Times archives. Bob had no choice but to bother the pointing woman again. By the time he finished doing what he had to do a computer opened up. Bob went and sat down at the computer, he looked at the woman sitting next to him, he didn't know why? But he suspected that she was a vegetarian.
 Before he could get what he needed from the site, he found himself going through the usual ritual of having to get a user name and password. Bob wondered how many of those damn things he had floating around out there in cyberspace that he couldn't remember? After a little more fumbling around,he was in. Then after about twenty minutes or so of poking around; Bob punched in the name Willa Reese and hit pay dirt. She just popped up like a weasel.
“Bingo!” Bob said a little too loud for the public library. Then next thing he pulled up, really blew his mind... and then some.
“You gotta be fuckin' kidding me?” He said, even louder, that didn’t go over well with woman sitting next to him on the other computer, who gave him a dirty look that made him think of Nellie Olson on Little House on the Prairie.
Bob sat there and stared into the monitor, there she was on the front page of the Times dated April 12,1949.
“Notorious Hollywood Madame’s Day in Court.”
A photo of the thin faced woman, sporting dark glasses, she was dressed in garb that worthy of Barbara Stanwyck in a old film noir.  The photo captured her walking down the steps of the Hall of Justice downtown, next to her was a portly man, who the caption had identified as her attorney Edward J. Packard.
“Whaddaya know, before there was Heidi Fleiss; there was a Willa fuckin' Reese," Bob said to himself, even though it didn't stop him from looking over at the presumed vegetarian lady sitting next to him.

 Bob scratched his head and sat there, carefully reading the old scanned newspapers. He read that they had nabbed her for twelve counts of pandering. What Bob found out next really blew his freaking mind.
“Oh, no, fuckin’ way!” Bob said, way too loud.
“Can you please, control yourself,” said the lady at the other computer.
“I’m really fuckin' sorry... I mean sorry,” Bob said still shaking his head in disbelief of what he just read.
What blew Bob’s mind was; the paper stated that Willa Reese had ran girls out of... and been a part owner of the Townhouse, the very placed that he now tended bar at.
Bob just sat there slack-jawed, looking at the computer screen.  Bob needed the walk back to sort out this strange information in his brain; to try and figure out. Was it a coincidence? How could it be, he thought? What the fuck?  He headed west on Venice Boulevard, it was a warm day, with a slight breeze. Twenty minutes later, he found himself standing outside of the Townhouse. He didn’t immediately walk in; instead he just stood there, looking inside. Bob jumped when his cell phone rang. The sun was too bright to see the read out of who was calling? Bob answered.
“Where yat?” He thought he heard on the other end.

“Mamma, is that you?” Bob found it hard to hear with the background noise coming from the other end.
“I’m here!”
“Huh? What?”
“I’m at lax,” Mamma Basco called it, not using its initials.
“Lax? You mean, L-A-X?”
“Ain't dat what I said!”
“You’re here? In Los Angeles?”
“Well, ain’t dat where lax is?
“But how?”
“How do you think sweet child? I was on a plane. I came to help ya out! So come and gets me!”
“What airline?”
“Southwest, the one with them yellow and red planes.”
“Okay Mamma, stay put, I’m on my way!
“I’ll be right here,” she said.
Bob hung up his cell and let out a sigh.
As Bob crossed Windward, when something whooshed by him, grabbing him by his arm, as it did.
“Gottcha!” Bob recognized the voice and its accompanying giggle.
Isabel jumped off a skateboard. She had her Venice Beach garb on, a green and pink crochet bikini top and brown khakis . Bob thought; if Karen finds out Harry Potter girl travels by skateboard, he'd just never gonna hear the end of it.
“Where have you been?”
“What do you care?" She said with a hint of attitude.
"Do you miss me?”
Bob wanted to answer her carefully. He always believed that it’s better to say less with such questions. But he often, forgot to follow his own rule.
“Something like that?” he told her.
“You did! Admit it, Bob!”
"I'm glad you're okay."
Bob smiled, and started walking toward Speedway .
“I gotta go get somewhere, pronto… LAX.”
“Since you missed me so much, can I come along with you?”
“Sure,” Bob said, not really exactly knowing why, except maybe she was right?
“And then when get back we can go to your place and have sex.”
Bob didn’t break a stride.
“I don’t think that’s gonna happen”
“Why? Do you still have a woman at your place?”
Bob looked at her and chose not to answer that one.
“I’m in a hurry to pick up an old friend, actually an old woman.”
“How old?”
“Pretty damn old. so if you come with me, you gotta be cool… promise? She enough to handle on her own.”
“Thank you.”
“Hey, why did you call me a Unicorn the other night?”
“Well because, I think you’re special,” Bob said before he could stop himself.
Isabel stopped walking. Bob stopped and turned around.
“What? You do?”
“Well, you're not Princess Diana or anything like that... ?”
“Hey, you can't take it back!
Isabel threw her skateboard up in the air, then caught it.
"Nobody’s actually ever said that to me before.”
Bob looked at her, he thought she was joking.
“What you? You just scream; I’m special!” Bob said.

“Awe, now I r-e-a-l-l-y want to have sex with you!”
"Not happin'."
Bob started walking again at a faster pace.
“No more talking. We gotta get to the fuckin' airport.”

Linda Ronstadt was belting her way through Tumbling Dice, as Bob drove his gangster mobile up Lincoln Boulevard to the airport. He never took the freeway to LAX, in his book that was strictly a non-native Angeleno move.
As they drove halfway up the hill to Westchester, Bob's mind was still zoned in on what he found on Willa Reese at the library. Isabel picked up that he was mentally out of his body. Then Isabel smiled at him and exposed her right boob. When noticed a woman sitting in the passenger seat of the car besides then looking her way, she quickly covered her boob back up.
Bob cracked a smile and thought to himself; what was it about that passenger seat in his car that made women act like they were on Bourbon Street.
 "I'm really starting to miss New Orleans, remind me to give you some beads for that later," Bob said.
He appreciated Isabel giving him a little break from his brain-lock, and then found himself mentally comparing Isabel's breasts to Karen's. They were booth about a C cup, but Isabel's nipple was pink-ish and a little larger, with freckles; he liked them both.
Bob’s Monte Carlo was stopped at the red light at the entrance of passenger pick-up.
Southwest Airlines was situated at the first terminal on Los Angeles International, and there was no missing Mamma Basco… she was the only old voodoo woman leaning on a baggage cart. She was dressed in a bright red skirt and a teal colored blouse, with a multi-colored scarf on her head.
“See that old black lady over there?”
“Uh..oh, yeah,” she said.
 Jump out and run over there and help her with the baggage cart and I’ll swing over to the curb.”
“You got it!”
Isabel swung the car door open and did a sprint like the Bionic Woman. Bob was amazed at her speed. She was all ready talking to Mamma Basco and pointing at Bob’s car before the light had turned green.
Bob pulled over to the curb jumped out of the car to open the trunk.  Isabel was all ready on it, she had Mamma big green canvas suitcase already pulled halfway out of the cart.
“She’s wild,” Isabel said to Bob.
“Thank you, dear,” said Mamma Basco as she approached the car.
“Hi Momma,” said Bob.
“Don’tcha "hi "Mamma me! Get over here and gives me a hug!”
Bob smiled and hugged the old woman, just as Isabel slammed the car trunk closed.
“You lookin’ good sugar,” said Mamma.
A second later an airport cop blew his whistle and started waving his arms for Bob to move his car.”
“Thanks Mamma, good to see you. I gotta get this car out of her or I’ll get a ticket.”
Mamma leaned over a whispered to Bob.
“She’s a cute little thing,” Mamma Basco said. Bob just looked over at Isabel and smiled. Isabel helped Momma Basco get inside the car, where she sat shotgun. Isabel came around to Bob’s side of the car to get in. He just couldn’t help but to smack her fanny as climbed in the back seat. She sat back and stuck her tongue out at him and smiled at him.
“So, Mamma...?” Bob said as he pulled on to the swirling airport traffic. She looked at him and raised an eyebrow.
“I done figured you be needing me…"
She rested her arms on her big purse.
" I’ve been meaning to come out here again, before they give me dat second line… last time I was here, I went to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. I saw them Rams play those San Francisco 49ers. The Rams whopped they're butts that day... so, now was a good a time as any to get out here? But Bobby, if you wanna to contribute to my trip, I wouldn’t about that complain none.
Bob laughed, “Well, thanks… I’m sure that I can kick in something. I’m sorry, my place is a little messy at the moment.”
“Well, dat’s okay, honey.”
The Monte Carlo stayed on course on Lincoln and crossed Manchester Boulevard.
 I remember seeing Sammy Davis Jr. at the Coconut Grove… anybody good playing there now?”
“Coconut Grove? Sorry Mamma, that place is long gone…. LA ain’t New Orleans, if it’s older than twenty years,they  tear it down… that's how our politicians pay for their campaigns here… mostly from contributions from developers.
Now you tell me where you at with dis here spirit?” Mamma turned to the backseat at Isabel, who looked a bit confused.
“Not her, Mamma. I'll tell you, I found out some shit today that's still got me spinning.”
“Oh, she ain’t the one with dat problem?  I feel so dang silly now! I told her back at the airport that she needed to surprise you with a blow job.”
“She did,” said Isabel from the backseat.
“ I’m so embarrassed now.”
Bob felt himself turning a red, as he heard Isabel laughing with delight from the backseat.
“I’m sorry child,” Mamma Basco said.
“Wait, so what is all this spirit stuff?” Isabel said.
Bob can of worms was now opened.
“That’s on a need to know basis, and you don’t----“
"Hey, that's just wrong!"
Mamma poked he head in the backseat.
“Bobby, is this the girl with the Harry Potter tattoo on her butt?”
Both Isabel’s’ eyes and mouth got real big.
“Bob!! O-h-m-y –G-o-d!”
“Gottcha, we’ll talk about dat later,” Mamma Basco, looked at Bob and then she looked back at Isabel and winked at her.
“You was already been givin’ Bobby some! Naughty girl.”
Again she looked in the back at Isabel, who was turning a bit flush with embarrassment .
“Don’t be embarrassed, if Mamma wasn’t so old… " Mamma Basco motioned her eyes over Bob's way, then gave Isabel a saucy look.
"You know… I’m just sayin," Mamma said, then she cackled with earthy delight. Isabel’s eyes got large again, and she made a face, as if she didn't just hear what Mamma Basco just said. Bob just shook his head in again in embarrassment, he didn't want to see what was going on behind his back... he just hoped he could get through this ride without Mamma showing her breasts.  Bob just kept driving down the hill on Lincoln Boulevard toward Marina Del Rey.
Redhead… huh, Bobby?… you two are kinda like, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo," Mamma said as she looked through the windshield at the view of the Playa Vista.