Westworld

Being the fan of westerns that I am, I was immediately taken in by the new HBO incarnation of Westworld. Even though I enjoyed the original 1973 film, it wasn’t without its flaws, which is why I was open to a new take on it, and I can say the show did not let me down, and ended its first season with me begging for more. Parts of the show, including its jaw-dropping finale were filmed at the very accessible Paramount Ranch (which we visited before, back in 2015, you can view that post here) so I felt it was time for a revisit! I also took along my friend, Kaitlyn, also a fan of the show, who had never visited Paramount Ranch before.

If you didn’t read my previous post on Paramount Ranch, but are familiar with the 1990s TV show Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, then this will look very familiar, as it was used for Colorado Springs. It was also used in the sci-fi sudo-western, Firefly.

Between our first visit and this one, little changed, with the exception of fresh paint and the addition of the church, which was used in Westworld, and I was delighted to find still there.

Keep reading for more images of Paramount Ranch!

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A Stroll Down Mane Street

No, that’s not a typo, I really did mean “mane” like a horse’s mane, because today I’m sharing some images from one of my favorite high desert locations, Pioneertown, and it really is Mane Street there.

Just after my family left from visiting for my grandmother’s services, Patrick’s mother came to visit for a week, and when she departed, he and I headed out for the high desert of Joshua Tree for a few nights for some much needed R&R. After checking in at my favorite place to relax, the Joshua Tree Inn, we headed up to Pioneertown for dinner at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

Pioneertown was founded in 1946 a group of Hollywood personalities, but lead by cowboy actors Dick Curtis and Russell Hayden, who decided it was time for a permanent 1880s style town for filming the popular westerns of the day. It was the legend himself, Roy Rogers who broke ground for the first building on September 1, 1946. The town takes its name from western singing group, Sons of the Pioneers, which Rogers was a part of.

 

Outfit
Fringe Leather Jacket & Belt: I don’t remember!
Blouse & Boots: Buffalo Exchange
Skirt: Switchblade Stiletto
Rings: Here and there…

Countess Vibes

Last night one of my dear friends celebrated her birthday, and as a fan of the 40s and big band music, she selected one of the big band nights at Cicada to celebrate. As Cicada is house in the oldest art deco building in Los Angeles, the Oviatt Building, many people dress 20s for their visit, and I originally planned to wear a beaded 20s style number I purchased ages ago for an event in April, which was cancelled. But as I thought more about it…the fact the music was going to be more 40s, all the other people in our group were going for a 40s look, and the fact I’m on the tail of a cold, I decided at the last minute to go in a more comfy, yet still glamorous and kind of 40s-ish (but actually 70s) number that I recently acquired. Besides, it also gave me Countess vibes, which was fitting, seeing as Cicada’s exterior was used in American Horror Story: Hotel, and the interior was the inspiration behind the set for the hotel, and when the show was completed, the club acquired the chandeliers used in the show.

So, yes, this gown is 70s, I mean I think it looks it, but also still offer a bit of an old Hollywood vibe, and everyone kept telling me it had a Ginger Rogers feel. It’s also incredibly comfy, and has a cape. So…it’s a win-win. It’s one of the few pieces I kept from my grandmother’s vintage clothing collection (many pieces were too large) when I helped my sister with downsizing our grandmother’s place before her move to an assisted living situation.

Unlike our last visit, where we dined, this time we opted to just sit upstairs and enjoy the music and the bar. I can honestly say that the night ranks among one of my favorites since moving, and in life. I had a complete ball chatting with all of my other glamorous friends, and we even got down on the dance floor joined the conga line there was going for a period of time.

Hope your weekend is going well so far!

Outfit
Gown: Belonged to my grandmother
Shoes: Re-Mix
Purse & Bangles: Buffalo Exchange
Earrings: I don’t remember…

Celebrate at Cicada

Over the weekend one of my friends celebrated her birthday, and she decided to do it in style by having a Gatsby themed dinner at Cicada Club, which is located in the Oviatt Building, the oldest Art Deco building in Los Angeles. Even before moving to California I had heard of Cicada. Portland friends like Sarah of Simply Vintage and Julie of FabGabs Vintage had been during visits to LA, and boasted of its elegant ambiance. So, needless to say I was excited!

If you truly ever wanted to step back in time to a jazz supper club of the 1920s or 30s, with dinner, drinks, live entertainment, and dancing, Cicada is closest you’re going to get. With its live performances, it’s simply spectacular, and many people take the evenings quite seriously, as there were quite a few women in floor length gowns. For the evening, I pulled out my one real 20s gown. Even though I recently purchased a repro beaded flapper dress from Unique Vintage, but I’m saving it for an event in April. And just before the event I found blue velvet heels at Elsewhere Vintage! Along with repros of Daisy’s pieces from Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby.

The interior of Cicada may be familiar to fans of American Horror Story: Hotel, as its interior is the inspiration for the lobby of the Hotel Cortez, and the outside was used for the exterior shots of the Cortez. And at the conclusion of Hotel, Cicada received the Art Deco light fixtures used in the lobby. But Cicada wasn’t always a swank supper club, it actually started out as a haberdashery that many classic stars of the silver screen frequented. Speaking of the silver screen and seeming a bit familiar. A scene from The Artist was also filmed here, and prior to Cicada taking over the space, another restaurant, Rex Il Ristorante, was home here, and was the location for the infamous “slippery little suckers” scene in Pretty Woman.

Our whole party had a delightful time, and I am looking forward to returning, as it is the perfect place to go all gussied up!

Outfit
1920s Blue Velvet Gown: Thrifted, if you can believe it!
Vintage Fur Stole: Nobody’s Baby, Eugene, Oregon
Pearls: Gift from my mother
Brooch: Belonged to my grandmother
Purse, Heels, Gatsby Repro headpiece and bracelet/ring combo: Elsewhere Vintage, Orange, California

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Warner Brothers Studio is the powerhouse behind some of the greatest classic films of all time. Casablanca being at the top. But they also produced James Dean’s three major motion pictures, East of Eden, Rebel without a Cause, and Giant, along with some wonderful television series. And today the Warner Brothers continues to make great and award winning movies and  TV shows. What some people may not know is that you can actually visit Warner Brothers Studios and take a tour of its backlot and sound stages! I was thrilled when I found this out, and Patrick surprised me with tickets over the weekend.

First, I’m always happy when I can visit filming locations, but Warner Brothers’ backlot holds a special place in my heart with its ties to the James Dean’s films, the 1960s Batman series, and my favorite show, the little known series The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (Some readers may remember that my devotion extended into me making not one but two cosplays of the character of Dixie Cousins.) However, I knew ahead of time that where the majority of Brisco filmed no longer existed. Like many studios, Warner Brothers had a western area on their backlot. Built in 1957, at the height of westerns, Laramie Street, as it was called, had scenes from not just Brisco film there, but the James Garner classic show Maverick (perhaps my favorite role of his), and Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles shot there as well. But as westerns grew less popular, and family sitcoms and one hour contemporary dramas began to take over the airwaves, Warner Brothers saw little use for Laramie Street, and bulldozed it in 2004 to make way for Warner Village, “a New England-style residential street” where the homes are not just facades, but working production offices as well.

However, Laramie Street is not the only location on Warner’s backlot that Brisco used. They shot extensively on their “New York” sets as well, which acted mostly as San Francisco. Including the Westerfield Club, the Horseshoe Club and the hotel where Brisco and Socrates dangle from a window. (All of the screencaps and their counterparts below are shown respectively.)

And like all shows, Brisco also shot on sound stages. Warner Brothers Studios’ stages all feature plaques that have a list of all of the movies and shows that have filmed on that stage. We were lucky enough to pass by one of the ones Brisco used, stage 19.

We also passed by the building used as police headquarters in Batman, as well as building that acted as the police station that an intoxicated Jim Stark was dragged to in Rebel Without a Cause. Which is currently being used as a high school for Pretty Little Liars.

The tour also featured a museum that rotates exhibits. During our visit the first floor was dedicated to Batman, since the new Batman vs. Superman movie is coming out soon, as well as it being the 75th anniversary of the caped crusader. However, the floor was given to Batman films beginning with Burton’s 1989 version through Batman vs. Superman. The upper floor on the other hand was dedicated to Harry Potter. At the conclusion of our tour we visited Stage 48, part museum, part store, part coffee house, that allows guests to gaze upon items from the archives, such as costumes, artwork and props, as well as experience green screen technology, forced perspective use, and sound mixing. I was most excited over the original Scooby-Doo pitch board and the puppets used in The Corpse Bride.

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is similar in some ways to the tour at Universal Studios Guests. However when visiting Universal Studios you are mostly visiting an amusement park. The Studio Tour is a part of their heritage, and offers a peek into how movie magic is made, but they do not shy away from gimmicks. Warner Brothers’ tour is different in that it stays away from gimmicks, the tour group is smaller, and guests get to step off of their tour buses and walk along portions of the backlot, as well as onto sound stages (we walked onto the stages for The Big Bang Theory and Ellen), so overall, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour feels much more like a real working backlot, rather than a ride, as with Universal, although Universal is still very much a working set. I was so pleased to be able to visit such locations that mean a great deal to me, and I would honestly go back and do the tour again sometime in the future or when interested friends or family visit.

Other notable movies and shows that have used Warner Brothers’ backlot extensively are A Star is Born, Blade Runner, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Bonnie and Clyde, The Dukes of Hazard, ER, Friends, Gilmore Girls, and Pushing Daisies.  For those wishing to visit the Warner Brothers Studio you can book through their website.

Paramount Ranch

One of the many things I love about California is its rich history with the film industry. The movies were born here, and there is a wide array of places to visit that offer glimpses into the magic of movie making, as well as thousands of locations to visit. Some are boasted on large billboards, while others are tucked away. One of these hidden gems is Paramount Ranch.

In 1927 Paramount Pictures purchased a massive plot of land in Agoura Hills. With its sloping hilltops and looming Santa Monica Mountains the area offered solitude from the bustling city outside and thus a perfect place to film. Many sets came and went, and in 1953 Paramount sold the land to William Hertz, who built a permanent western set on the land, but sold the property in 1955. After changing hands multiple times, the National Parks Service purchased much of the original 2,700 acres that Paramount had owned, including the western film set. The set was maintained, as it continued to be used for filming, most notably as the stand in for Colorado Springs in the 1990s series, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

If you visit, you can see that the buildings have seen better days, but it still feels rich with history, and is still recognizable as the growing town in Dr. Quinn. I was able to spot out her clinic, Bray’s store, Jake’s barber shop, the bank, Robert Lee’s home, and even the area where Grace had her outdoor restaurant.

I had a total geek-out moment when I spied Dr. Quinn’s clinic. I remember watching Dr. Quinn with my mother, and loving it. Visiting locations, be it a filming location or a historical location, makes me immensely happy. I swear, as I have mentioned before, I get some sort of history geek high off of it. I’m all like “THIS THING! It happened HERE! Important/famous people stood RIGHT HERE!” Yep…

We had so much fun walking around the buildings and I took loads of photos! So keep reading for a peek at the western town of Paramount Ranch.

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That Thing You Do in Orange

Since our decision to move, we have been asked a lot of questions. One was “Why Orange?” Often followed by “Why not LA?” There are a lot of answers to that question, some practical, and others rather superficial. First off, I adore Orange. During my many visits to California over the years we would often stop in to visit the plethora of antique shops in the Old Town area. The shopping is great and the buildings adorable. Two other reasons were job related. I was seeking a position with the Disneyland Resort (which was successful!), and wished for it to be easy and quick to get to, and if lucky enough, able to get to on transit as we are a one car household, not really doable if we were to be in Los Angeles. And where we are now, we are roughly five miles from the Resort. For the move, Patrick had to agree to go into the headquarters of the company he works for a few times a week. From Orange it’s roughly 45 minutes to an hour. If we were to be in LA, tack on at least another hour to that drive time. One of the more superficial answers is that much of my favorite movie, That Thing You Do! was filmed in Orange. While the opening scenes of That Thing You Do! are portrayed as taking place in Erie, Pennsylvania, it is in reality the Old Town portion of Orange that I love so much.

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