Things I’ll Miss About Westwood

Today I am moving out of my apartment in Westwood and to a new place in Whittier—30 miles east of here (to be closer to my job at Biola University). It’s exciting to move but also bittersweet. I really enjoyed my two-year stint here while attending UCLA. Westwood is a really great section of Los Angeles, with loads of history and culture. I’d highly recommend living here if anyone ever gets a chance.

Here are just a few things I’ll miss about this place:

  • Tons of great, unique restaurants and hardly any chains. There are chains galore where I am moving (not to knock chains or anything…).
  • The fact that I was within a ten-minute walk of a bus that could take me most any place in L.A. (this is totally a rare luxury in Southern “we drive” California).
  • Being ten minutes away from the Getty Center. It’s definitely my favorite place in L.A. I enjoyed going there to study in the gardens and get lost in the overwhelmingly zen peacefulness of that place.
  • The diversity. There is every ethnicity and income range imaginable on a city block in Westwood. I can walk three blocks up my street and see ridiculously luxurious condos or walk a block and find a homeless person living in a bus shelter. Not that this is a good thing…
  • Diddy Riese Cookies. The best little cookie shop in the world.
  • Being able to walk to an AMC 15 complex in Century City and being a five-minute drive from L.A. nicest arts theater—Landmark Westside Pavilion. And having historic old Hollywood theaters just blocks away (like the Majestic Crest, pictured above). It’s movie heaven in Westwood!
  • The cemetery in my neighborhood where Marilyn Monroe’s is buried (and Natalie Wood, Truman Capote, and countless other famous people).
  • The enormous numbers of naturally occurring hipsters.
  • The cool temperatures. Westwood is about 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean, which means we never really get too hot or too cold. Inland (where I’m moving), the temps are a bit more extreme.
  • The huge, daunting, slightly creepy Mormon temple that loomed large in my backyard (literally).
  • My insane landlady. She was a very scary person and reminded me a lot of Ma Fratelli, but, God bless her, I will miss the excitement of always fearing her wrath.

New Mediascape Website!

For those who don't know, I have been the editor in chief of the scholarly e-journal, Mediascape, for the past year. It's UCLA's graduate journal of cinema and media studies, and it publishes once a year in online-only format. We've been hard at work these past months rebuilding our website and getting our new issue together. I'm proud to announce that it is finally done, and I urge you to take a look at it here: http://www.tft.ucla.edu/mediascape/

The pseudo-theme of this issue is comedy, and we have some interesting articles about The Darjeeling Limited, Vince Vaughn, frat-pack movies, multi-camera sitcoms & How I Met Your Mother, Jewishness and comedy, Brothers and Sisters, and Jon Stewart... among many others.

If you like scholarly approaches to film/media/pop culture, check out these articles. They're quite interesting and I'm proud of our staff for putting together such a strong journal issue.

Ruminations on a Graduation Day

Today I get my Masters degree in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA. It’s been a quick but rigorous two year program, and for the most part totally worth my time. This is my third graduation in seven years (the others being high school and Wheaton College), and I have to say that I love putting on that cap and gown every time (and this go ‘round I get a special hood!). There’s something nice about inserting yourself—even for just a few hours—into the centuries-old lineage of academic decorum that is represented in the four-point hat and gown regalia.