Archive for April, 2014
April 28 – May 4
RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
I think working on my “Oz” Tin Man bust is starting to affect my contractor Terry.
Since I “jammed” on this song at Ruby’s Diner with the two travelling minstrels, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It’s the Bee Gees’ “Too Much Heaven.” DAMN these guys were good!
Monday the 28th – FINAL FOLKS’ FUN DAY! – My ol’ pal Dan Roebuck came over around 11 to show me the new documentary he wrote and directed for the upcoming DVD release of “Cave Girl.” It’s the first film he ever did after moving to L.A. back in the 80’s, so it has a special place in his heart. I did the narration for it and the whole documentary is terrific. When he took off, I got my parents ready to go grab lunch. It was their final day visiting me, so they were busy packing up and getting ready for their flight early Tuesday morning. After a nice, relaxing lunch at Paty’s, I took them over to the range so we could do some target shooting. I wanted to try out my new CZ Rami, and also see how they did with some of my semi-automatic guns. After we finished up we got some Krispy Kreme donuts at the drive-thru and then went home so they could finish packing. I did a little work around the house, grabbed a nap, and then got up around 11pm. The folks were already in bed so they could be up for their early flight. I straightened up my desk, paid some bills, did some auditions, and sorted through the mound of receipts from the previous week’s many excursions. I cleaned my guns, fed and walked Roxy, and grabbed a few hours of sleep so I could be up in time to shuttle my parents over to the airport. Even though mom wasn’t feeling well for part of the trip, it was a pretty good time all in all. It’s always nice to see them.
Tuesday the 29th – LIFE RETURNS TO “NORMAL!” – When I got up at 9 to take my folks to the airport they were all dressed and ready to go. I got the distinct feeling that they were anxious to get back home. It was a fun trip for them, but we were on the go a lot. I dropped them off at the Burbank Airport, then returned home and cranked up the AC for a nice nap. It’s going to be hot all week! When I woke up I started in on all the work I had neglected the past few weeks. But I did get a lot done! I cleaned one of my guns, worked on my display cases rearranging some of the displays, did some auditions, and worked out a different configuration for the ears for my Batcaps. I fed and walked Roxy, then settled in for the evening with a huge salad and I watched another episode of “The Saint.”
Wednesday the 30th – WONDERFUL, WARM WEDNESDAY! – By the time I got up at noon it was pretty warm out. I had intended to walk Roxy over to the groomer’s for a bath, but it seemed like the pavement was too hot for her little toesies. So I loaded her up in the Mustang and drove her over. Then I switched cars. Even though it was on the toasty side, I wanted to get my Gran Torino out for a spin. I went to my printers and had him print out the bat ears for my Batcaps. Then I had him laminate them with a thin lamination. This should give them the proper heft I need, while at the same time being water-resistant in case the cap gets wet. I drove over to Burger King and got a new Bar-B-Q Bacon Whopper, but when I drove off I realized they forgot the bacon. So I drove back into the drive-thru and exchanged it. Had they forgotten the mustard, no big deal. Had they forgotten the pickle, no big deal. But forgetting the bacon? THAT is worth a drive back through the drive-thru lane! I went over to Foam Mart to start inquiring about getting some custom foam sheets made for my gun cabinet. I want to have little shapes cut out of the foam lining for the shelves so my guns will fit in them nicely. It’ll be a big job, but totally worth it! I picked up Roxy at the groomer’s and headed home. I had picked up a sinus headache somewhere along the way, so I laid down on the couch for a little while. My pal Brittney Powell came over and we walked to the Studio Café for dinner. We spotted my ol’ pal Chuck McCann hanging out, so we invited him to our table so we could catch up. After dinner I came back home, did some work around the house, recorded some auditions, and got ready for my next trip to Palm Springs.
Thursday the 1st – BACK TO THE DESERT! – Even though I was in Palm Springs the week before with my parents, I wanted to get back to enjoy some time to myself. So when I got up at 12:30 I did a last-minute audition that was in my inbox, and started throwing stuff in a bag to head to back to Palm Springs. My assistant Sara came by to pick up my cat Spook so he could get a much-needed bath. He’s an all-white cat, and once in a while he gets a yellow-ish hue to his fur. I don’t bathe him often, but since he’s all white, he occasionally could use a good dunking. I’m not sure exactly how Spook can discern between the times Sara comes for a normal visit, and the times when she comes to take him to the groomer’s…but that little dickens seems to know her intentions when she shows up. It’s the strangest thing! Sometimes he’ll come out to greet her, but if he knows she’s there to get him for a short trip, he’ll dash off and hide under my bed. Do cats have a sixth sense for this kind of thing? I kept packing and when Sara returned she took me to Enterprise so I could rent a Tahoe for the drive to the desert. It’s not possible to pack my Mustang full of all the things I need for my Palm Springs trip (including Roxy) so I rent a larger vehicle for my trips to the desert. By the time I was packed and hit the road it was 4:00, just in time for afternoon drive-time traffic. But it wasn’t bad for that time of day, and I ended up making it to my hotel around 6:30. The regular Thursday night Street Fair had just started. I dropped off my bags in my room and met up with my pal Officer Mark and his girlfriend Connie, who had arrived in Palm Springs about an hour before I did. We enjoyed a delicious tri-tip Bar-B-Q dinner from one of the vendors, and then set about shopping. Of course we stopped at Lappert’s Ice Cream and got a pineapple Dole Whip…”Wally-ized!” Apparently I’m the only one who gets the Dole Whips made with pineapple chunks AND shredded coconut. So we call that “Wally-izing” it! And it’s catching on! Lots of people are starting to ask for it that way! I stopped by Fame Cigar and Wine and picked up a Monte Cristo to enjoy while we shopped. I stopped by the booth to see the Soap Guys, and pick up a bunch of hand-made soaps. The Beef Jerkey guy was there, and I got 5 packages of his softest, original flavor of beef jerkey. Roxy was having a great time too. I wish I had a nickel for every time somebody looked at her and said, “Lassie!” or “Timmy’s in the well!” She loves to greet everybody and everything. However I did see her exhibit a rare display of apprehension when she saw a pot-belly pig. She wasn’t exactly sure what it was. She sniffed in its general direction, but when it turned around to look at her she backed off quickly. Almost like she was saying, “What the heck IS that thing?!” It was hilarious! Normally she’s so outgoing, but not this time. She also liked seeing the horses they had there, but she kept her distance all the same. The Street Fair wrapped up and I headed back to the room to unpack. I had heard that there was a Disco Divas concert on Saturday night, and that Evelyn “Champagne” King was one of the headliners. I’ve always liked her, and have two of her songs on my i-Pod. When I went to the front desk to ask a questions there was a small group of people there. The Hyatt desk clerk was listening to “Shame” by ECK on her computer. Once I got closer I realized it was ECK herself, standing there with her manager. I introduced myself and Roxy, whom she absolutely adored. She said he has a small dog named Foxy. We chatted for a bit and I mentioned her song “I Don’t Know If It’s Right,” a blast from the past (around 1978). Her manager lit up at the fact that I knew that song. Normally she’s known for her big hit “Shame.” But I told them I was an old 70’s radio DJ and knew it well. A blonde lady in the lobby called me over so she could pet Roxy. She was there with her husband and two local friends. She had just flown in from Canada and was amazed with Roxy. We talked for a little while and then I went across the street to order up a large pizza from NYPD pizza. But when I got back to my room to settle in for some wonderful peace and quiet, I was horrified at what I saw out my balcony door. At the golf course across the street, a crew was busy setting up a huge stage. Apparently this was the stage for Saturday night’s Disco Divas concert. Greeeeeaaaaat. The good news is, I get to see a free concert on Saturday. The bad news is…they’ll be building the stage right outside my hotel room window ALL NIGHT LONG! The clanking of metal poles, the crew yelling back and forth, and worst of all, the huge trucks continually backing up with their loud BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP all night long. It was driving me nuts. So much for enjoying a peaceful desert night under the stars. They stopped just after 2am, so I managed to get a little peace and quiet. That is, until I realized that I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes! OUCH!
Friday the 2nd – PLEASE, JUST (DIS)GO AWAY! – Roxy woke me up at 9 to go potty, then I went back to bed to sleep for a few more hours. I got up at 1 and met Officer Mark and Connie at Sherman’s Deli for lunch. It was yummy! Then, like clockwork, we stopped by Lappert’s for another “Wally-ized” Dole Whip. It was a very warm day so I went back to my room, cranked the AC and Roxy and I took a nap. I got up later in the evening and watched the beautiful crescent moon high above the mountains behind my room. It was stunning. I met Officer Mark and Connie at Ruby’s Diner for dinner. Two traveling minstrels came to our table to serenade us with ukulele music. They sang “Too Much Heaven” by the Bee Gees, and they did a pretty swell job at it too. It was especially fun when I started singing the high harmony along with them. They were doing it to help raise donations for the survivors of the recent natural disasters in the Philippines. It was fun jamming with them. I stopped at Rite Aid and bought a Citronella candle to keep the mosquitoes away while I was enjoying R & R time on the balcony at night. We had a blast walking around downtown Palm Springs. We stopped in to say hi to the gals at Sinfalicious again, and of course, we indulged in another “Wally-ized” Dole Whip. YUM! I got back to the room and sat on the patio watching the guys continue to set up the stage for the concert. But like an idiot, I forgot to light my Citronella candle and I got bit like crazy! I grabbed a shower, and returned to the balcony for some more relaxation. But the noise of the workmen setting up the stage until 2am was unbearable. Luckily, they stopped again just after 2am. Lesson learned. Next time I schedule a trip to Palm Springs for some peace and quiet, Google “PALM SPRINGS EVENTS” first to see if there’s a disco concert across from my hotel room.
Saturday the 3rd – ELVIS HONEYMOON HIDEAWAY! – I can cross something off my bucket list…wake up to the strains of “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward. Yup. I woke up at 10am with “Ring My Bell” ringing in my ears. Evidently Anita Ward (who had the hit back in 1978) was doing her sound check on the stage across from my hotel room. That was…odd. I took Roxy downstairs for a potty break and two of the three elevators in the Hyatt were down…again! One elevator was inoperable last week when I was there with my folks. Now it’s down again. I fear that my beloved Hyatt in Palm Springs is getting a bit run down. It seems like stuff is malfunctioning there all the time now. Sad. Might be the end of an era for me. Sara was supposed to be at the hotel around 11 so we could go to the festivities at the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, but she called and said she was sick with sunstroke. She did an outdoor photo shoot on Friday and they kept her in the sun too long. So she won’t be joining us. Too bad too, because I really needed her to ride herd on Roxy while I was emceeing the festivities. I picked up Officer Mark and Connie at the Hard Rock hotel around 12:30, and then we made our way to the EHH at 1pm. Just in time for the show to start. At first Leonard, the owner of the house and host for the event, just wanted me to take the microphone and say, “Elvis has entered the building!” But when I arrived he said, “Wally I want you to host the show.” Since I’ve been doing stuff like this since I was about 16 it was no problem. Especially when it comes to the subject matter of Elvis Presley. So I took the stage and got the show started. The order of events was kind of in flux, so it was a constant task to try and find out what was next. But it ended up being a lot of fun and the people who attended the show were great. Rob Ely took the stage as Buddy Holly and played for about 20 minutes. I got my sister on the phone and put her on speaker so she could tell everyone her full name. Peggy Sue. She was named after the famous Buddy Holly record. The crowd loved it when Rob sang a chorus of “Peggy Sue” to her over the phone! While Rob changed into his Elvis costume, I did Elvis trivia with the crowd and gave away some prizes. Then Rob performed as Elvis for about a half hour. Rockabilly Hall of Famer Glen Glenn was there and he was hilarious! He knew Elvis when he first got started in the music business and had lots of great stories. Darlene Perez, who performs as Priscilla Presley when she gives tours of the house, just got a new Rottweiler puppy named Tank Williams. Roxy loved meeting him, but his puppy-ish enthusiasm quickly wore on her nerves. Nick D’Egidio performed as Frank Sinatra and in my opinion, he sounded better than Sinatra ever did. I was never a Sinatra fan. In fact, I rather strongly disliked him. I never thought he was a good singer. He was flat a lot of the time and his voice was very tough on my ear. But Nick was amazing! I took to the stage and said, “Backstage, Roxy confided in me that she was very disappointed about something. Rob didn’t sing her favorite Elvis song…”Hound Dog.” So we’re going to get Rob back on the stage to sing it to her.” So much like Elvis did on the Steve Allen show back in the 50’s, when he sang “Hound Dog” to an actual hound dog, Rob belted it out for Roxy. But Roxy wasn’t too sure about it and left the stage to find comfort in the arms of audience members. It was hilarious! One of the special guests was Cynthia Pepper, who co-starred with Elvis in “Kissin’ Cousins.” It was fun interviewing her and finding out about her experiences working with Elvis on the film. When day one of the festivities ended, I drove Roxy back to the hotel room for a rest. Meanwhile, Officer Mark, Connie and I went to get another Dole Whip and see our friends at Sinfalicious. I made sure to stop by Rite Aid and buy more Citronella candles, since I would be entertaining guests on my balcony that night. I made it back to the hotel and found my friends Scott and Vickie Sebring waiting for me in the lobby. We went up to my room for a bit, then walked over to Las Casuelas (the Mexican restaurant where Elvis used to dine) for dinner. Unfortunately we just missed out on getting the “Elvis” booth (where he used to sit) but it was fun just the same. When we finished dinner we walked back down to Lappert’s for another “Wally-ized” Dole Whip! We walked by a really neat collectible shop and I bought several 8 by 10 photos that I had never seen before. The owner of the shop David is a great guy, and he asked if he could get a photo with me. Stop into his shop the next time you’re in Palm Springs and tell him I sent you! We made it back to my room and got set up for the Disco Divas concert. We had a blast watching from the concert from my balcony, but the bonus was getting to watch the crescent moon set behind Mount Abe (the mountain the looks like the profile of Abraham Lincoln)! It was stunning. The concert ended with a huge fireworks display over the golf course. What an amazing event. After the concert we went downstairs to hit the street, and a lot of the performers from the concert were coming to the hotel. Apparently most of them were staying at the Hyatt. I saw Evelyn “Champagne” King again and told her she did a wonderful job. I believe I saw Maxine Nightingale whose rendition of “Right Back Where We Started From” was one of the highlights of the evening for me! At the bar I saw my blonde friend I met the night before. Remember, the one from Canada who really loved Roxy? And then it hit me! I had seen her earlier in the evening on stage. They introduced a French Canadian singer by the name of France Joli! I said to her, “You’re France Joli!” I had no idea, but we had a good laugh about it. She wanted me to make a point of giving Roxy a kiss when I got back to my room. Scott and Vickie had to leave for home, but Officer Mark, Connie and I got pizzas at NYPD and took them back to the hotel. We had fun eating deliciously greasy pizza by the pool, under the stars. When I got back to my room to settle in, I heard beautiful piano playing. I stepped out of my room and down on the main floor one of the musicians from the concert was playing the baby grand. It was lovely, but Marco the night security guy made her stop. I clapped for the lady piano player, but booed Marco. He said he was only doing what he had to do. I don’t get it. Drunks will sit outside my hotel room at 3am and yell and scream and nothing is done about it. But a very talented musician gifts the hotel guests with a beautiful song and he makes her stop? I’d much rather listen to that than the crew outside deconstructing the stage! Which unfortunately went on ALL NIGHT LONG! I tried to relax on the balcony and listen to my music with headphones, but it just wasn’t working. The loud, ear piercing sound of those trucks backing up stayed with me until I went to bed at 5am. As good as the concert was, I would have much rather enjoyed four nights of peace and quiet.
Sunday the 4th – ELVIS DAY 2! – I sprang out of bed at 11 and headed to the Elvis house to be there by noon. Rob Ely did a 90 minute show comprised of music from Elvis, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, and other 50’s and 60’s hits. He really is one talented guy! We said goodbye to Cynthia, who was heading back to her home in Las Vegas. I bid farewell to Leonard and the gang, and we headed back to my hotel. We had lunch at a wood-fired pizza place called Matchbox, and boy was it good! Of course we chased it with another “Wally-ized” Dole Whip. Officer Mark and Connie headed back home to L.A., but I still had one more night left at the Hyatt. Roxy and I grabbed a nap and we slept until 10. When I got up I got to see the crescent moon setting behind Mount Abe again. I never get tired of that! I went to get some food to go at Denny’s, came back to the room to enjoy a late dinner, then I got ready for some much-needed peace and quiet on the balcony. Though the previous three nights had their silence broken by workmen setting up a stage, this night would be pure peace and quiet. No work crews. Nothing but me and the mosquitoes. Even though I had TWO Citronella candles burning, I still managed to get bit a few times. But the most amazing thing was the thing I saw high in the sky. It was a pinprick of light like a star. Waaaaay up there. But it was moving across the sky a lot faster than any jet I’ve ever seen. In fact, it was about three times faster than a normal jet. It flew in a straight line from the left to the right of my field of vision. And it was hauling ass! Not sure what that was! But it was fast! I enjoyed a full 3 and a half hours on the balcony watching stars, meditating, relaxing and eating popcorn. Finally! Peace and quiet!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Photos taken by Mr. Awesome
Here’s some video of them performing “Too Much Heaven”
Here’s video of Rob Ely performing “Maybe Baby.”