Friday, January 20, 2012

Good Bye, Hollywood! Hello, Denver!

Outside Sony Pictures, formerly MGM
[in France] Here I'm pleasant, at home I'm vulgar, I guess it's like here you eat snails, at home you step on them.
-Debbie Reynolds as The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Happy Friday!

It is hard to believe that the second phase of my trip ends today. Palm Springs was wonderful!  And as wonderful as that was, I could not believe that it could be topped. Boy, was I wrong! Hollywood has been incredibly welcoming to me. Yesterday, I reconnected with my friend Tessa Bell, some of you may remember her from New York cabaret.
Tessa literally pulled herself up by the bootstraps a few years ago, turned her life around 360 degrees, moved to Hollywood where she is now a producer, and her daughter, Emma Bell's career is on the rise. Look for a future blog feature on her. We had lunch with the incredible Lori Donato, who I know from Palm Springs, and we toured around Hollywood.
Looking at familiar and not so familiar sites.
Tessa Bell took me to the most amazing garden I have ever seen. It is called The Land of Oz Garden. Even complete with a yellow brick road. WE called the number on the gate and were escorted in. We
were asked not to take any pictures. Like the "original land of Oz", it is to be seen by a select few. Created by artist Gail Cottman, this landscaped garden area is a folk art extravagant environment that’s comprised of outdoor public art pieces that incorporate and use a large amount of objects–especially primary materials which are mostly comprised of irregular pieces of tile, smooth stones, and beads.
Lori Donato and Tessa Bell

Although the Hollywood Garden of Oz is not well known yet–probably because most of the people venturing to this part of the city are–Hollywood Sign bound, the Garden of Oz is one of the most recent additions to the list of Los Angeles Historical-Cultural landmarks, coming in at #996.

I honored her request, and, unfortunately, have no pictures to share.
We traveled around Hollywood looking at the sites. Could not get out at Graumen's due to a premier that was taking place. Headed back home and was going to take a nap, and go out see a few more sites before going to dinner last night. I went to bed for an hour and the phone woke me from a deep sleep. It was George Chakiris! He came by for a visit and I felt as if he had been a friend of mine my whole life. What a wonderful unassuming man!

with Tom Troupe and Carole Cook
Then last night, we had dinner with Carole Cook and her husband Tom Troupe at D'Etoile in West Hollywood. I have to tell you, I don't remember when I have EVER had a night as special and as wonderful as last night was. Carole IS Dolly Levi! From the moment we walked into the restaurant, EVERY waiter and staff member came over to kiss her and welcome them in. I didn't know that Carol's birthday was the 5th. They had flowers, balloons, and gifts for her. Almost EVERY person in the restaurant came by to say hello.

Vanessa Williams was sitting across from us...looking STUNNING...surrounded by an entourage of handsome men.
Carole, however got the biggest buzz. People from the street were rushing in to say hello.
This went on ALL through dinner. I think we were there for 4 hours. I have never laughed so much in my life. Someone, book this woman in New York! I asked her and Tom if they laughed a lot around the house. They both said ALL THE TIME! No wonder!
And the love they show for each other is palpable. The stories are hysterical. MANY can never be printed. But if you ever meet her, as her and Tom about their wedding...with Robert Osborne as best man and Lucille Ball as matron of honor! One of the funniest stories I have ever heard.
Carole was the second woman to play Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly!" She headed the Australian company for 2 years and wonderful stories which will be in my book on the women of Dolly!

Danny and I and Carole and Tom barely came up for air as we laughed and talked as we have known each other our entire lives. I cannot thank them enough for truly one of the most incredible nights I have EVER had! God, I wish we were closer logistically.

This morning, Kim Coles is coming over to be interviewed for tomorrow's blog. We leave at 2PM for Denver. We come home on Sunday and then I am jumping in to a whirlwind of activities for exciting things that are happening. Keep reading the blogs for more progress!


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