Silver Lake Loses A Bit Of Its Stride

I was greeted this pre-dawn with a tweet from my friend Walt, saddened by the death of the man well-known as the Silver Lake Walker, otherwise known to his patients as Dr. Marc Jacobs.

In shock and abject sadness over the sudden loss of such a fixture of the neighborhood I then went about posting up on a bit of what he meant to me as a treasured community icon who I encountered numerous times since moving to Silver Lake in 2003, such as in the series of images above (click for the bigger picture), captured as he passed by me and other cyclists outside Trader Joe’s as we readied for a ride.

I’m going for a walk today at lunch in honor of him.

UPDATE (3:46 p.m.): Well, I did it. Took an extended lunch and logged five miles walking in honor of Dr. Abrams, stopping at Trader Joe’s to pick up a couple  bouquets of flowers in hopes of recognizing his house on Moreno Drive and leaving one there and leaving another at the mural on Sunset. Alas, I couldn’t recall the house’s location so both bunches of flora ended up at the mural.

And if there’s anyone reading this who thinks I’m making too big a deal about the man’s impact on this neighborhood, here’s a short and wonderful documentary from Lauren Malkasian made about the Walking Man a few years back:

Deaths In The Family

Friday was a sad day that just got progressively sadder. In reverse order of discovery, one of our three treefrogs died, the imminent demise of LA Metblogs was announced, and I lost a Twitter friend. It’s the last one that’s affected me the most.

Her Twitter name was @glittergran. Her real world name was Sonia and she was a retired fashion editor somewhere in England, and that’s about all I knew about her (which is a helluva lot more than I know about most of the tweeters I follow or am followed by). I’m not even sure how we found each other out there in the ether, but I fell in love with her because of her marvelous personality, which came shining through in 140 characters or less. In turn she enjoyed my tweets and my blog and always found time to encourage others Twitter followers to give me a looksee.

A few weeks earlier this month she suffered a stroke, but was released from the hospital and seemed to be recovering. Then came the news yesterday that she had passed Monday, provided by an assistant of hers who’d taken over her Twitter account.

It surprised me how much her death affected me — even moreso when I found that her final tweet had been to me.

It was sent at the end of a brief exchange (trivial even — but on Twitter aren’t they all?) that began when I sent out a brief harumph of a critique about the disappointing “The Lovely Bones.” In the tweet I said the best thing about the film was its somewhat out-of-nowhere use of The Hollies “Long Cool Woman.” She tweeted back that I made her feel old because she owned the original vinyl album that song is on. I tweeted back “Sweetheart, damn the years. If you’re old then I’m a martian,” followed up by another tweet: “PS. I have my own share of those LPs,” accompanied by a picture (at right) that I snapped of our shell-full of vinyl.

In the busy week that followed I didn’t really notice an absence of Sonia’s presence on twitter. I figured she had doctors’ visits and was doing more important things like resting and getting better. Then came the message to me Friday morning:

Hi I am glittergran’s PA. I know she tweeted to a cyclist in LA so I guess it must be you. In case you don’t know she sadly passed away on Monday. Her funeral is tomorrow at 11am – just in case you want to share a thought at that time. I know she was fond of your blog and tweets.

I was stunned, but handled the shock and the emotion until I was looking at her past tweets and found the last one she sent after I had tweeted that picture to her of my record collection:

Thanks WB. I was having a bad day, but that made me smile.X.

Then I lost it. Jeez, I just got choked up again. Whoo…

Rest in peace, Sonia. My Twitterverse has lost a lot of its sparkle, but I know Heaven’s that much brighter with you there.

Richard Sylvan Selzer, RIP

Way back in another life when I was the theater critic at-large and filing a theater review every Monday for the Pasadena Weekly newspaper, I once found myself at Westwood’s Geffen Playhouse seated directly behind one Richard Sylvan Selzer — far more recognizable as Mr. Blackwell, the self-styled arbiter of taste most famously known for his dishy annual “worst dressed” list.

Before the intermission I found myself the focus of several disdaining over-the-shoulder glances from him and at the break I was decidedly on the receiving end of Mr. Blackwell’s disgust — not because of the standard if unfashionable theatergoing sportcoat-and-slacks ensemble I happened to be wearing that night, but instead  because I was annoying him with my laughter.

Mind you, we weren’t watching “Hamlet” or “Antigone.” In fact, it was a production of “By Jeeves” by Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber — a farcical musical comedy for sure and one done well enough to suit my funnybone, but apparently shame on me for deigning to enjoy the ensuing hilarity far too out loud for Mr. Blackwell’s comfort.

Standing when the house lights came up, he spoke to the gentleman accompanying him and wearily said  loud enough that he’d be having a much better time except for “braying” behind him.

So I turned to my date and said “Mr. Blackwell thinks I sound like a jackass, but at least I don’t act like one — at least not before the third act.”

I turned back to him and met his tinted-lensed glare at me until he and his partner adjourned to the lobby. When the curtain went up they had not returned to their seats, opting either to leave the theater entirely or be re-seated among far more humorless patrons.