The brief news snippet in the morning paper - reporting that the Sahara Hotel & Casino was closing its once-celebrated doors - didn't surprise me one iota!
Tattler readers may recall that I posted a consumer alert about the deceptive business practices at the Hotel last year, with the dire warning that they book lodgings elsewhere, to gurantee a fun-filled vacation frolic in the desert oasis free of headaches.
Film buffs will recall that in its glory days, producers for the successful feature - Ocean's Eleven - shot on location in the exotic environs of the Morocccan-themed resort situated at the end of the main strip in glitzy Las Vegas.
SBE Chief Executive officer Sam Nazarian (a Los Angeles-based hospitality and entertainment group and Stockbridge) snapped up the Sahara in 2007 and vowed to invigorate the sagging investment property.
But now, it appears that the ailing Hotel will slip into obscurity when it is shut down in May.
No doubt, the ghosts of the rack pack (Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.) will continue to haunt the premises 'til then.
Poor quality food, over-priced rooms - and a failure to keep up with the heartbeat of "Sin City" - spelled doom (as I predicted many moons ago).
I trust the place will be imploded, sit empty for a year or two, or be revamped by ambitious optimistic investors with money to burn somewhere down the long-and-winding road.
Well - there are blatant ads on City park benches, the dividers at Supermarket counters, you name it - so why not a slick (lubricated) graphic on a latex condom?
According to News reports bright-and-early this morning, the FDA has approved a condom which will feature the "tongue" of the KISS lead front man - Gene Simmons - in all its (um) potent thrust and glory.
It may be an enticing investment for those into sex toys and party favors, provided a dude measures up, that is.
If 'ya have a small weenie, you may put Gene to shame, but it's doubtful he'll sue for damaging his sexy persona in the heady world of Rock 'n Roll!
After all, his reputation precedes him!
Just ask Shannon Tweed - and a bevy of bodacious groupies over the years - eh Gene?
Can Mick Jagger be far behind in negotiations for a stake in the burgeoning sex market in the U.S. and abroad?
Sales may not be so great, though, especially when you consider Jagger's most memorable hit song.
I mean, who wants to sport a condom from a guy who laments:
The Dalai Lama (a friend on MySpace) announced on the anniversary of the Tibetan uprisings yesterday afternoon that he intends to follow through on a long-time inner wish to step down as Tibet's political leader so that he may primarily focus on his loftier mystical role as Spiritual advisor.
Analysts on the sidelines are conjecturing that His Holiness has chosen to journey down this path with the express hope that there will be a move in the Tibetan refugee community away from theocratic rule towards a democratic society when Tibet is at long-last liberated.
"My desire is to devolve authority has nothing to do with a desire to shirk my responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run," the Dalai Lama calmly noted to a posse of followers and tourists in recent days from a safe perch in his homeland.
In addition, he underscored that he would also ask the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile to change the existing charter to reflect his wishes - with the ultimate aim - of handing over authority to an elected leader in the near future.
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, was born Lhamo Thondup on July 6th (1935) to a poor family in the small village of Taktser in the province of Amdo.
The name Lhamo Thondup literally means ‘Wish-Fulfilling Goddess’.
His Holiness is held to be the reincarnation of each of the previous thirteen Dalai Lamas of Tibet (the first having been born in 1351 AD) who are in turn are considered to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara - or Chenrezig (Bodhisattva of Compassion) - the holder of the White Lotus.
Thus, His Holiness is also believed to be a manifestation of Chenrezig.
In fact, he is the seventy-fourth Dali Lama in a pure lineage that can be traced back to a Brahman boy who lived in the time of Buddha Shakyamuni.
When Lhamo Thondup was barely three years old, a search party - that had been sent out by the Tibetan government to find the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama - arrived at Kumbum monastery once it was discerned there had been a number of auspicious signs reported in the region.
One of these omens concerned the embalmed body of a predecessor - Thupten Gyatso (the Thirteenth Dalai Lama) - who had died aged fifty-seven in 1933.
During a period of resting in state - the head was discovered to have turned from facing south to northeast - for some inexplicable reason.
Shortly after that, the Regent - himself a Senior Lama - had a vision.
Looking into the waters of the sacred lake - Lhamo Lhatso (Southern Tibet) - he clearly saw the letters Ah, Ka and Ma float into view.
These were followed by the image of a three-storied monastery (decorated with an exquisite turquoise and gold roof) nestled alongside a path which merged inside a nearby hill.
At this juncture, the scout caught sight of a small house with strangely-shaped guttering, as well.
He was sure that the letter Ah referred to - Amdo - the Northeastern Province.
So, it was there that a search party was sent to explore the possibilities.
By the time the excited entourage reached Kumbum, they instinctively felt that they were on the right track.
It seemed likely that if the letter Ah referred to Amdo, that Ka must indicate the monastery at Kumbum (which was three-storied with a torquoise-colored roof).
Now, the seekers needed to locate a hill and a house, with peculiar guttering.
So, they began to search the neighbouring villages.
When they saw the gnarled branches of juniper wood on the roof of the one particular dwelling, they were certain that Dalai Lama would not be far away.
Nevertheless, rather than reveal the purpose of their visit, the group asked only to stay the night.
The leader of the party, Kewtsang Rinpoche, then pretended to be a servant and spent much of the evening observing and playing with the youngest child in the house.
The child recognised him and called out the name:
‘Sera lama, Sera lama’
Sera was Kewtsang Rinpoche's monastery.
The following morning the contingent left; then, returned a few days later as a formal deputation.
This time they brought with them a number of things that had belonged to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama (along with several similar items that did not).
In every case, the infant correctly identified those belonging to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, as he cried out:
“It’s mine. It’s mine.”
The search party was jubilant!
The boy was taken to Kumbum monastery and later recognized as the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama.
At 15, the Dalai Lama found himself the undisputed leader of six million people, facing the threat of a full-scale war.
For nine troublesome years, His Holiness tried to evade a full-scale military takeover of Tibet by China on the one hand - and the bold-faced effort to placate the growing resentment among Tibetan resistance fighters against the Chinese aggressors - on the other.
His Holiness made a historic visit to China from July 1954 to June 1955 for peace talks with Mao Zadong and a handful of Chinese leaders such as Chou En-lai, Chu Teh and Deng Xiaoping.
One winter day in 1959 - General Chiang Chin-wu of Communist China - extended a seemingly innocent invitation to the Tibetan leader to attend a theatrical show by a Chinese dance troupe.
When the invitation was repeated with the conditions that no Tibetan soldiers were to accompany the Dalai Lama (and that his bodyguards were to be unarmed) the Lhasa populace became suspicious.
Soon a crowd of tens of thousands of Tibetans gathered around the Norbulingka Palace determined to thwart any threat against their young leader's life.
On March 17th, 1959 - during a consultation with Nechung Oracle - His Holiness was given explicit instructions to exit the country immediately.
The Oracle's decision was further confirmed - when a Divinity performed by His Holiness - produced the same answer (even though the odds against making a successful break seemed terrifyingly high).
A few minutes before ten o'clock, His Holiness - now disguised as a common soldier - slipped past the massive throngs of people with a small escort and proceeded towards Kyichu river (where he was joined by an entourage which included immediate family members).
Sci Fi fans in the Bay area will be trekking out to the Airport Hyatt tonight - and over the weekend - to get-up-close (and personal) with two of their favorite Star Trek characters - namely - Dr. Spock (played expertly by Leonard Nimoy) and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nicols) at a convention that rolls around without fail each time this year.
Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Nimoy was forced to cancel a special "Night with Leonard Nimoy" event due to emergency surgery - which was a very disappointing unexpected turn-of-events for fans - anxious to meet-and-greet the respected actor.
Looks like Nimoy is on the mend!
In addition to the two popular leads, the organizers have promised that a few other notables such as - Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Bobby Clarke (the Gorn), and Grace Lee Whitney (Yoeman Janice Rand), for starters - will also be on-hand to chat up the throngs expected to beam themselves out to the location with little ado.
The entertaining - at times eye-popping extraterrestrial extravaganza - will also feature a bevy of vendors, informative seminars and workshops, and festive parties sure to be worth the price of admission!
See 'ya there!
San Francisco International Airport
'Ya never know when lady luck will smile your way and grease the old palm!
For example, just before I boarded a tour bus headed back to downtown San Francisco the other night, I plugged a dollar into the slot machine at the Red Hawk Casino.
I won a whopping $17.00 bucks (approximate) with a 3-cent bet!
Needless to say, I trotted back to my Hotel feeling like a winner!
If you're a local - or a tourist jetting off to San Francisco for a gander at the picturesque sights - take in the Red Hawk Casino just outside of the perimeters of the historic city.
At Clay & Kearny Streets a tour bus pulls up at specified times of the day to whisk folks away for a brief respite from the hectic traffic and hustle-and-bustle of the thriving metropolis that is San Francisco.
In the evening - at 8 o'clock - the two-way fare is a paltry $5.00!
And, when excited gamblers tumble off the coach to head indoors to the Casino once they've arrived, they are treated to a coupon for $15.00 of free slot play.
I actually spent an entertaining evening on the slots using up the house money alone.
No treks to the ATM for moi!
But, you may die of thirst before gambling away all the moolah!
Unfortunately, the waitresses on the floor are slow on-the-uptake.
But, for those who don't mind jumping up-and-down - and taking a jaunt around the Casino floor - refreshments (non-alcoholic) are available for free (on a self-serve basis) at two locations at Red Hawk.
In addition - thirsty patrons anxious for a gulp of cold refreshing beer - can snap one up at the cafe for a scant $2.50 a pop.
Although the pastries are pricey - french fries, on the other hand - are a great bargain to jockey in line for.
When the waitress sauntered over with a large "to-go" bag in her sweaty little palm, I thought she'd mixed up the orders, or something like that.
For $1.50 I ended up with a mound of tasty french fries that quelled my late-night munchie urges, alright!
The Casino ride down on the highway (during daytime hours) is pretty and takes about two hours.
And, the grounds of Red Hawk, are an uplifting sight for the eyes - too!
A large rock formation - featuring an awesome waterfall at the entrance (topped by two grand trees) - is soothing to sit by if you want to contemplate life for a moment or two after the adrenalin rush of gambling inside has worn off a tad.
As the battle rages over the legality of pot dispensaries around the country (in respect to licensing, for starters) growers are braving the political (and economic) storm by reaching out to consumers first-hand (and cutting out the middle-man in the process).
For example, yesterday, a casually-dressed pedestrian offered me a joint for a buck on Market Street.
Although I didn't take the enterprising marijuana salesman up on his offer (if I toke on a joint, I get lost in the pattern of a carpet) it did cause to me pause and wonder to myself.
Are the dealers checking for legal papers (prescriptions that verify the individual is entitled to partake by virtue of the compassionate use of medical marijuana laws in California) before they wrap up the sale?
Notwithstanding, it should be noted that the pungent aroma of the green leafy stuff wafts daily beyond the fringes of outdoor cafes, and hangs thick in the hallways of quaint boutique Hotels around San Francisco.
This picturesque respite by the bay is going to pot, alright.
Should city officials (and law enforcement, too) just throw up their hands in despair and look the other way?
Lindsay Lohan trotted into court bright-and-early this morning to face the music, but - if anything - ended up participating in a hearing that amounted to little more than a brief intro of bigger things to come.
In fact, judging by the proceedings that took place in a Los Angeles courtroom today - and in view of all the ifs, ands or buts - it is fairly obvious at this juncture that the court-room drama is not going to be an open-and-shut case for either side.
For example, at one point, Lohan's attorney quizzed the Judge about one issue when she appeared to be perplexed by a ruling.
"Your honor, you said my motion was partly denied. Does that mean that it was partly granted?"
"Yes," the seasoned bench-warmer responded in the affirmative without hesitation.
Then, the hearing got curiouser and curiouser.
A court date was set for March 25th, for instance, but - whether the parties show up or not - depends on Lindsay's decision to accept or reject a plea offer.
Armchair viewers at home - without a law degree under the belt - may have trouble fathoming the particulars on television (unless they're fans of "Law & Order" or "Perry Mason").
Then, the Judge expressed his frustration over leaks in the legal proceedings - that have been baffling Los Angeles Superior Court officials in recent weeks - and running interference with his directives.
To help combat the dilemma, His Honor requested that Lohan's attorney submit all documentary evidence and legal briefs under seal - "for his eyes only"- in the future.
Golly, the details surrounding this felony charge are turning out to be intriguing top-secret-stuff!
Bottom line, it was gut-wrenching for folks seeking closure for Lindsay Lohan.
An outcome appears to be far off on the horizon down a long-and-winding bumpy road!
In response to a post I published last week on the inappropriate conduct of library staff at the main library in San Francisco, security guards have attempted to intimate patrons in a bold-faced effort to silence their criticisms.
For example, when I popped into the Library this morning to check the catalogue - near the express Internet computers locals and tourists check e-mail and conduct travel research at - a surly overweight African American female security guard shuffled over and started to glare at me (and others) from a standing position near the rail.
Lady, if you're trying to intimidate me - or silence my voice (quelch my right to free speech) - you're barking up the wrong tree!
I'll haul your sorry a** into court and make an example of you!
Vacation marred by threatening security guards @ Public Library!
Slum landlords - like the ones who own the Olympic Hotel at 725 South Westlake in downtown Los Angeles - are playing fast-and-loose with tenancy laws and violating renter rights in the process.
For example, tenants have complained that owners at the seedy Olympic Hotel have failed to provide heat, hot water, or alleviate nasty bug infestations when they rear their ugly often (monthly!).
And, when a demand is made to to make the quarters livable, management ignores the requests.
On occasion, when a tenant attempts to assert their rights, employees at the run-down Hotel pack up the complainant's possessions, change the locks, and turf the disgruntled individual into the street without proper legal notice.
The outrageous inhumane acts are accomplished by deceitful maneuvers - and the manipulation of existing Landlord/Tenancy Laws - in the State of California.
For example, when a room is rented by the week or month, the tenant is not provided with any written terms of agreement (nor are they apprised of their legal rights).
Somehow, the unsuspecting renter is expected to fathom his-or-her obligations out-of-thin air!
Once installed on the premises, tenants are left to fend for themselves without so much as a hello - or, how are you? - until next rent day rolls around.
In sum, ccomplaints are generally ignored, in spite of the fact the well-being of the tenants may be in jeopardy.
With a bit of arm-twisting, the manager may be inclined to a pesky complaint issue on a fix-it list, but chances are the problem will never be addressed (not in this lifetime, anyway).
The shocking violations of the law are simply shrugged off (or swept under the thread-bare rug in the garbage-ridden halls).
In the event a tenant holds back on the rent, in a last-ditch effort to rustle up some action, they'll get a rude awakening!
The landlord will simply toss the tenant into the street without legal notice or observance of any of their tenancy rights!
What just happened?
The landlord has taken advantage of the landlord-tenant provision that stipulates that an individual does not have any legal rights until he has resided on the premises for at least thirty days.
The beauty of it all?
The landlord is keen to the fact the tenant can ill afford an attorney - and that he/she lacks the wherewithal - to pursue their rights because they are impoverished and lack the funds to do so.
Joan Rivers may not be a sexy senior citizen, but she sure is an energetic one!
Flip the dial on your TV, and you're bound to stumble across her overly-stretched over-the-top mask-like persona on Fashion Police (where she roasts celebrity style victims each week on E Entertainment) or run smack-dab into the outrageous funny lady alongside daughter Melissa at a Red Carpet celebration at the Oscars, or the opening for a local supermarket (you-name-it).
In spite of her hectic non-stop TV schedule, Ms. Rivers still finds time to jet around the country for personal appearances, too!
Undoubtedly, Joan's comprehensive file - consisting of every joke she ever quipped over the last half-century-or-so from Vegas to Timbuktu - gets her through the fast-paced whirlwind of high-profile engagements (and the vigour's of coming up with zany entertaining material at-the-drop of-a-hat).
It's anticipated that when Ms. Rivers takes a trek up to the Castro Theatre on the Weekend (Saturday March 12th) - in fact - that there will be a bevy of stinging barbs aimed at celebrities in the glare of the spotlight sure to bust a gut or two.
I did a double-take bright-and-early this morning when a headline in the daily caught my eye.
Believe it or not, the caption read:
"Players to testify on steroids"
Was the reporter who penned the feature insuating that a posse of Sports figures were going to testify in court while "on" (under the influence) of body-and-mind-altering steroids?
I expect that to save space, the quickie headline was drummed up by either a sleepy editor - or a sly cheeky one - who thought no one would sit up and take notice!
In all truth, the feature article revealed that a handful of athletes would be called to testify at the upcoming Barry Bonds' perjury trial, in respect to the alleged widespread use of the magic muscle-pumping formula that has become pablum for a galaxy of professional ball players on-and-off the field.
If not, I expect, the unsuspecting lug-heads will be tested at the door of the courtroom when they either enter (or exit) the legal proceedings.
There once was a time when actors, business folk - and advertising reps, too - flocked to Kinko's to meet all their copying, printing, and packaging needs!
The effervescent workers were outgoing and quick on-the-uptake!
Then, Fed Ex put the muscle on Kinko's, and maneuvered a slick take-over.
It's been downhill ever since!
My readers will recall - that I previously reported on the Fed Ex effort to guarantee no customer would be able slip out the door without paying for one measly copy - or heist a office supply or two when the staff weren't looking.
Now , due to a piss-poor attitude - and incompetence of staff on duty - smart individuals are turning elsewhere to add a bit of spit-and-polish to their projects in San Francisco (and around the country).
At outlets like those at 726 Market Street (at Kearny), customers are forced to daily endure frowns across the counter - and left to fend for themselves - as scruffy smelly lay-abouts under the employ of Fed Ex stand around twiddling their thumbs (and scratching their fat asses).
And, customers would like to pick a bone with the giant corporate entity on another issue, if they had their druthers.
For instance, Kinko's used to stock the counters with an ample supply of staplers, paper clips, rubber bands - even highlighter - but in the aftermath of their take-over - those perks have gone by the way of the dinosaur!
If you trot over to cut a few storyboards on their equipment - chances are likely too - that the presentation will be ruined because of a dull blade (or two).
For the past week, the staff hasn't even bothered to sharpen the cutter, so unsuspecting victims are usually left in a lurch with a last-minute damage project.
Notwithstanding, consumers at the Market Street outlet, are also forced to endure the likes of a sloppy overweight mid-thirties gal (who appears to be stoned on drugs) and a snippy little Asian staffer (who thinks she's the cat's meow).
She's more like the bit** from hell, dudes!
Needless to say, customers seeking to complete a professional job, are warned to avoid this unprofessional Fed Ex store like the plague.
In response to Charlie Sheen's laments over the weekend that the brass at the Network failed to return his telephone calls regarding the production of - "Two and a half Men" - the execs at Warner Brothers finally ended the suspense.
Instead of a jolt in the arm, the suits delivered a lethal blow.
In the words of the immortal Donald Trump, they were inclined to utter up:
Since the fate of the show is still up-in-the-air, pundits have been quick to drag long-in-the-tooth actor John Stamos into the frey (a possible replacement) to underscore a Hollywood reality.
Everyone can be replaced!
That's usually a given, when disputes arise with tempermental talents on the creative end, and especially rings true when troubles arise with vain egotistical actors starring in the hit shows.
Except with one notable exception in recent years.
If you recall - the cast of "Friends" were able to hold out - and achieve their big buck demands.
Why, pray tell?
Because all of the actors held their ground and stood together in the good fight.
Charlie Sheen should have reached out to the other one-and-a-half men on the popular TV sitcom.
On Thursday March 9th, music buffs and collectors alike, will be able to bid on a rare collection of personal effects belonging to legendary musician Eric Clapton.
The auction titled - "The Art of Rock & Roll" - will benefit a Crossroads Centre charity.
An Clapton Signature Model 2008 Fender Stratocaster is expected to fetch a whopping sum (upwards of $25,000 to $30,000).
Included in the sale are one-of-a-kind artworks such as a large-scale album cover by celebrated artist - Alton Kelley - sure to rustle up big bucks with astute collectors (appraisers say the gavel may drop at $35,000 smackeroos!).
Illustrated catalogues may be snapped up for a mere $35.00, however!
The items may be previewed on the following dates:
March 5th - 6th
(12 pm to 5 pm)
(10 am to 8 pm)
(10 am to 5 pm)
Auctioneers & Appraisers
580 Madison Avenue
New York, New York
On a rare occasion, troubled starlet - Lindsay Lohan - threw open her doors and invited a film crew in to shoot an exclusive interview with "Extra" (Tabloid News Show).
In recent days, her handlers have run interference with the press - especially when it came to one-on-one interviews - in view of pending legal matters before the court.
In the comfy environs of her home near the beach, the "Mean Girls" star let it slip - for starters - that she loves to cook.
"I find it so therapeutic," she fessed up matter-of-fact.
The stylish sexpot doesn't appear to be packing on any extra flab, in spite of tasting the dishes, during the course of whipping 'em up.
In fact, in contrast to drug-addled bad-boy - Charlie Sheen - Ms. Lohan looked fresh-faced and relaxed as she spoke candidly before the camera.
Lohan, about half-way through the tell-all, was quick to underscore that she's anxious to get back to meaningful work.
Of course, that tough proposition will depend on the power-players in Tinsel Town (is she an insurance risk?) and a Judge presiding over an upcoming trial which looms on the horizon in respect to a felony charge of grand theft.
Ms. Lohan is quite adamant that she intends to "face the music" - and a take a shot at a played-out court-room drama - rather than accept a plea bargain which includes a stint at the local jail.
The ball may be in the recovering addict's court, though.
Over the weekend, it was revealed that her accusers may have sold an incriminating piece of evidence in the case (a video which allegedly caught Lohan in the act of lifting a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery valued at $2500.00) which may have harmed their credibility and tainted the prospects of a guilty verdict at trial.
There may be some wiggle room for Ms. Lohan, after all!
That was a curious sight at Grace Cathedral bright-and-early this Sunday morning.
Church-goers turned out in their best finery an hour-or-so before the service was to commence to secure a seat in the grand house of worship on Nob Hill. Why, pray tell? As I noted in a post last week, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was slated to paticipate in a Mass at Grace to celebrate - "Last Sunday After the Epiphany" - as the Holy season of Easter commenced.
Post: 02/28/2011 http://ijulian.blogspot.com/2011/02/archbishop-desmond-tututo-participate.html As solemn parishioners scurried inside the awesome environs for coveted seats, I couldn't help but notice (with a little disappointment, I might add) that a few pews at the front of the Cathedral were roped off and reserved for special guests attending the much-anticipated event. We're all equal in the eyes of God, after all, and no one is entitled to pull strings - at the expense of another - to nab a special perch (at least not in the Lord's sacred place of prayer). Personally, I feel that if the faithful want to get an up-close-and-personal gander at someone like the Archbishop, that they should arrive early like the rest of the common folk to guarantee their cushy spot.
Don't 'ya think? I was surprised that this wasn't at-all obvious to the powers-on-high - the most pious - who run Grace! If any of the Grace regulars (or tourists) were miffed, however, they weren't inclined to express their feelings (not outwardly, at least). Indeed!
Once inside the impressive carved doors, the faithful throngs - lookie loos, too - snapped up all the available seats willy-nilly (as the Choir rehearsed gloriously in the background out-of-sight at the front of the Cathedral and the organist struck up a riveting note or two). By the time the service began at 11 o'clock, there was standing room only, by golly! The Mass amounted to a lot of high drama, and pomp and circumstance, performed with a lot of calculated ritual. I joked to one bloke about the rousing hymns being banged out melodramatically (and with great fervor) by an overzealous organist. "So - "Phantom of the Opera" - eh?" "Dark," he gleefully quipped, as we both broke into a little chuckle (which signalled we were both on the same wavelength (and of like mind and spirit). Surely, I don't have to remind anyone, that the devout are capable of communing with God in the calm serenity of their home or in natural surroundings at the local park. And, always be mindful that God frowns upon those who make a show of their prayers in public! Just before the service commenced, I asked a fellow next to me to pass over an envelope for my offering, from a raft of papers in a cubby-hole just opposite his seat. But, as it turned out, the pews were only stocked with a few Hymn books and Informational cards to fill in for the express purpose of requesting a newsletter and/or details on programs and services at the respected Church.
"They probably want you to fill the card in," he whispered.
So, I complied with his suggestion, right off-the-bat.
When the collection plate was handed to me, I plopped the card and my donation inside, with little ado.
A few short minutes later after the "spoils" were emptied into a larger basket - and paraded down the center aisle - I caught sight of my request card a-top a mound of cash as it floated by a few feet away in a young priest's hands.
"What a good omen," I thought to myself.
At this juncture, the Archbishop took the occasion to offer up a chat on the meaning of "Transfiguration".
The well-received - diminutive man-of-the-cloth - spiced up his sermon with a handful of humorous quips which appealed to the congregation.
A bit of levity goes a long way, after all.
"If you're walking down the street, give the sign of the cross to a passer-by," he urged.
"Inside, quietly. So you don't get clobbered."
The parishioners roared!
"And, when you're stuck in traffic, bless all the drivers around you."
At the end of his inspiring sermon, the mesmerized crowd jumped to their feet, and gave the beaming speaker a rousing standing ovation!
"I thought you retired," the Reverend quipped, in the aftermath.
In response, a ripple of laughter trickled through the pews.
"Well, you're welcome to visit us at Grace, anytime."
A few moments later - when the procession filed down the center aisle - I managed to reach out and shake the Archbishop's hand.
"God Bless you."
He responded in kind.
After the service, volunteers at Grace offered up delicious pancakes, mouth-watering fruit, and strong jolts of coffee in paper cups.
The room was electric and the spirits were high.
On that note, I departed, with a bounce in my step.
Then, guess what?
On the sidewalk below, I spied $10.00, waiting to be snatched up.
Julian first sauntered onto the stage in a production of "The Marriage Proposal" in 1968 (Chekhov).
First-time out, Ayrs won an "Award of Merit" from the Simpson's Drama Festival for his portrayal of the nervous suitor "Lomov".
Essentially, though, he started his career as a painter.
Ayrs was part of a group show of West Coast artists at the Galerie Allen (Gastown) in 1970.
On the heels of that exhibition, he was commissioned by the City of Vancouver to create kiosks for the downtown core (1972).
One-man Exhibitions followed at the Contemporary Royale Gallery (Vancouver) and Open Space Gallery (Victoria).
In 1973, Ayrs made an entrance onto the International Art scene when he was invited to exhibit his abstract-expressionistic paintings at the San Francisco Arts Festival.
During a brief visit to New York in 1974, Ayrs appeared off-off Broadway in a "Hot Peaches" spoof on the Andy Warhol stars.
The production was titled "The Magic Hype".
After his short stint on stage in that successful musical comedy, Warhol Star Jackie Curtis
invited Ayrs to appear in a special New Year's Show at the Fortune Theatre in the East Village.
Ayrs was first published in IS8 - a Coach House Press publication edited by Victor Coleman (Toronto).
In addition, a short story - Cottage Cheese - was broadcast on CBC Radio (Robert Chesterman / Producer).
Julian modelled in the early eighties.
His face has graced the pages of National ads for American Express, the Bay, Eatons, Big Steel, and Sears (to name a few).
Ayrs' fashion column - Dressing Right - appeared in the morning newspaper "The Province" (Southam News) for approximately two years after he gave up the fashion runway.
An acting bug catapulted the struggling actor into the exciting Film & TV industry full throttle when he moved to California.
Ayrs has appeared in parts on the popular soap "General Hospital"(Reporter), "Victims for Victims" (Doctor), "Murphy Brown" (Doorman), and Fox Studio's big-budget comedy "How I Got into College" (Harvard Recruiter).
Drawing on his background in writing, Ayrs pursued a career as a Literary Agent for the next two years at Wallack & Associates and the Camille Sorice Agency respectively.
An opportunity to pen a blog for a Fox Network Show "On the Lot" - not only opened up a new well of creativity - but the opportunity for Ayrs to flex his visionary skills in several areas of the arts such as writing, film & video, web design, etc.
Then, Ayrs sequed into film reviewing.
Currently, he is a well-known film critic in the Los Angeles Area.