Friday, October 23, 2015

To Live and Laugh in L.A.

(Editor’s note: This is the last of three pieces being posted this week from The Rap Sheet’s chief British correspondent, Ali Karim, all of them related in some way to the most recent Bouchercon.)

Ali Karim with his favorite limo driver/tour guide, Carlos.

As you will undoubtedly remember from watching the final video in this post, I left behind Bouchercon 2015 and Raleigh, North Carolina, on an early morning flight to the legendary City of Angels--Los Angeles, California. My reason for winging west was all very hush-hush at the time, though I let the truth slip to a few close friends because I was also very excited. And of course, I can now reveal that I went to L.A. at the behest of author Michael Connelly, who’d invited me to watch some location shooting (at Venice Beach) for one of the Season 2 episodes of Bosch, the Amazon TV series based on his Harry Bosch detective novels and starring Titus Welliver.

Last year I was lucky enough to get a peek behind the scenes as Bosch’s premiere season was being filmed in Hollywood. With the show now having been renewed, and fresh installments expected to begin streaming in early 2016, it was fun to be back in L.A. and see Connelly and his crew further refine Bosch’s storytelling pace and style. (Click here to watch a bit of footage I shot from back of the cameras.)

Yet the fact is, I was still knackered after my time in Raleigh. Yes, the stresses of Bouchercon had been lifted, but one jet trip after another, all the way from London, had thrown off my body clock. I felt only half-awake most of the time. The night I arrived in L.A., Connelly generously took me to dinner at an exclusive restaurant near Sunset Boulevard called Craig’s. There I managed to spill a glass of red wine all over writer/filmmaker Terrill Lee Lankford (author of the novel Earthquake Weather). He was most gracious about the whole mishap, but it was direct evidence of my spatial awareness having been seriously compromised.

(Right) Ali with Bosch star Titus Welliver and writer Michael Connelly.

Afterward, I suggested to Connelly that I skip the next day’s location shooting, and instead have a sleep-in at my hotel before hopping a taxi back to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In addition to being one of the greatest living writers of police procedurals, Connelly is one really top bloke. He looked across the table at me, recognized my fatigue, and said, “OK, but I’m not having you go back in a cab.”

When we returned to my hotel after dinner, I saw Connelly go off to have words with the concierge. He soon returned and let me know that he had hired a limousine for me, an air-conditioned Lincoln Town Car, with a driver who had an intimate knowledge of the Hollywood/L.A. area and would pick me up at 11 a.m. the next morning, then take me on a tour before depositing me at LAX.

So the following day, after a deep sleep and some breakfast shared with Connelly and his sister, Jane Davis (who I have known for many years), I loaded myself and my baggage into a limo driven by a good man named Carlos. And while I filmed our travels, he wheeled us all about the city, from the Sunset Strip through Hollywood and up to Griffith Observatory, and kept up a running commentary about everything from the homes of film stars and the La Brea Tar Pits to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and extraterrestrial spacecraft. Carlos probably thought me a bit odd, but in my defense, I do no harm. And our travels turned out to be quite wonderful.

You can click here to watch my multi-segment video tour of Los Angeles. It might not be a Sundance Festival contender, but I hope it will at least make you smile on occasion.

Thanks again to Michael Connelly for his bigheartedness in inviting me out to L.A. for what I can only describe as the trip of a lifetime.

WATCH THIS:Titus Welliver Reflects on Lost and Teases Second Season of Bosch,” by Riley Chow (YouTube).

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