This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"May I Put My Hand In Your Pocket?..."

I must've been five years old the first time I saw Gone With The Wind. On TV. Even on the small screen I was swept off my feet by the epic story, the cinematography, and the spirited charms of both Scarlett O'Hara (Viven Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable.)

Since then, I've seen the film countless times. I have an original paperback copy of the novel from 1939, sealed in a plastic bag. I've unconsciously memorized entire passages from the film--purely from seeing it so, so many times over the years.

But it was only three days ago, seventy years after its release, that I finally had the opportunity to see the film in its full glory-- in 35mm, on the big screen, with a sold-out audience. I saw the film Monday night in the William Goldwyn Theatre at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, CA.

The evening began with newsreels from the year 1939 and a Buck Rogers serial. Following that, the audience was given a rare opportunity to hear anecdotes from several of the remaining cast members, including Cammie King (Bonnie Blue Butler), Ann Rutherford (Carreen O'Hara), and Mickey Kuhn (Beau Wilkes). Even a firefighter who had been on-set during the historic "burning of Atlanta" sequence was in the audience. Moments before the curtains parted, Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Hamilton) offered a greeting recorded earlier in the day from her home in Paris. Then, we were off... to the the land of Tara...

On the big screen, bookmarked by large Oscar statuettes, Scarlett's world was an altogether new place. It was as fresh as the first time I'd ever seen it, yet more true, more real, more vibrant. On the big screen, I noticed things I'd never seen before... like parrots. I in two different scenes that I never recall seeing before. At the Atlanta bazaar, I was able to read a sign in the background: "Buy a hanky. Beat a Yankee." In the jailhouse scene, I could see the callouses on Scarlett's hands at the same time Rhett notices them. So much of the GWTW experience and so many details had escaped me by seeing the film on TV and VHS-- the only way I'd been able to see it up until now. I relished sharing the film with fellow audience members and cast members in attendance who were watching along with us.

During intermission, I had the opportunity to meet Ann Rutherford (Carreen O'Hara,) seated two rows behind me. I never thought I'd ever be in the position to meet anyone directly involved in the film, yet here I was, in Beverly Hills CA (at the Academy, no less) meeting Ms. Rutherford herself-- seventy years after her appearance in one of my favorite films. Ms. Rutherford is delightful-- one of the most spirited women I've ever met. I looked into her face and saw the glow that she still has after all these years. As I grow older, I want to keep ahold of that spirit within myself. So many of us lose it, over time. Ms. Rutherford says Gone With The Wind was one of the best things that ever happened to her-- as it's made her "golden years... platinum."
It's also one of the best things that's happened to me and to many people around the world.

It's a testament to the film's power that so many of us in the U.S. and around the world can become connected by our mutual affinity for such a classic film. Although many of the original cast members are no longer with us, in Gone With The Wind they vibrantly live on. For those cast members left, their GWTW experience seventy years ago is now 'no more than a dream remembered...' but oh what a glorious dream it must've been!

**I'd like to thank the Academy for offering this superb event-- especially for younger generations like me, who have very little opportunity to see classics like this on the big screen-- as they were intended to be seen.**


Copyright 2009 by KLiedle

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Might I Suggest...

It's happenend many times. I call up a friend:

"Let's do lunch or coffee or something," I say.

When they get back to me, they inevitably say:

"Sounds good. Where do you want to meet?"

Great. I have absolutely no clue...
In Los Angeles, there are so many places and yet my mind blanks out. All I can think of are chain restaurants and coffee shops that are safe and predictable and yet have no personality whatsoever.

"Let's meet at Starbucks.... no, not Starbucks. T.G.I.Fridays.... did I say that aloud? No, not there...

In many parts of the country, all that exists are chain restaurants and cookie-cutter storefronts. You got your Red Lobster and Applebee's and Sizzler and Outback Steakhouse plus all the fast-food places. If you drive far enough-- everything repeats itself eventually.

I should consider myself lucky to be in Los Angeles where we've got that and icky strip malls, but we also have tons and tons of one-of-a-kind shops and independently-owned places that have a pulse, a personality, and a uniqueness to their offerings.

There aren't many left and I'm sure it's struggling times for those that are, but I try to support them whenever possible. So, I started keeping a list of places to meet... places I'd been to or heard positive things about. I keep the list in my car, along with take-out menus, so that whenever the question comes up, I can whip out the "list" and make a suggestion.

One of those places is Pane Dolce. It's a cute little coffee shop/cafe on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA (1 blk. East of Woodman.) It's small and comfortably quiet yet abuzz with neighborhood friendliness.

They have a generous amount of breakfast and lunch offerings along with smoothies, bakery treats, coffee and tea. I don't expect much from the food offerings at most coffee places, but Pane Dolce is different. The food is good, surprisingly so... and fresh. Recently, I went there for a turkey panino and I wondered why I don't go there more often. They have both indoor and outdoor seating which makes it a perfect place to meet someone, dine solo, or grab a drink or snack while you're writing or studying. The staff is super-friendly [as though they actually want to be there-- something that shouldn't be rare, but is.]

My friend and I tried toffee samples and the cashier informed us that the baker was sitting at the table by the window. It's not often these days to be able to give compliments to the baker. Most places have bakery items shipped from commercial bakeries. This woman started out on her own--out of her enjoyment of baking. It's refreshing to meet people who are still passionate for what they do.

In the past, Pane Dolce wasn't open on Sundays. I made an assumption that they were-- I don't know... Sunday paper = Coffee, why wouldn't they be open? Well, they didn't used to be and I once had someone meet me there on a Sunday. We ended up at some sushi bar down the street which was passable, but not preferable. Luckily Pane Dolce caught on-- not only are they OPEN ON SUNDAYS but they're now also OPEN LATE... well, later than they used to be which is 8 P.M. some days-- a definite improvement.

Apparently, the owner isn't sure if the later hours are going to work for them. It's up to the community to decide. So, support this little place with the European flair in the midst of Sherman Oaks. It would be a shame for them to have to cut their hours back to the way they were.

13608 Ventura Blvd (1 blk. East of Woodman Avenue)
Sherman Oaks CA 91423
(818) 783-1384


Friday, May 1, 2009

More Smog To Go Around!

Episodes of the web series: It's Always Smoggy In L.A. are now available on and

Also check out the official website:

Let us know what you think!

Copyright 2009 by KLiedle
Official Logo: It's Always Smoggy In L.A.
Photo by KLiedle