Here in L.A., the emoji that gets the most usage is the thumbs up. It’s ubiquitous. It’s replaced “Thank you.” It’s an acknowledgment to having received a text and answer to every question. Maybe it’s the New Yorker in me, but I see it as passive aggressive. Also, people need to think for a second before they respond. Recently, a Canadian judge ruled that a farmer who answered with a thumbs up emoji he used in a text was as valid as a signature and legally binding. That’s what happens when language is discarded.
Not everything is a thumbs up. Sometimes things are a thumbs down.
You know what’s a giant thumbs down? The other day I texted Liza because I was upset. It was not a happy message. The response I got was a thumbs up. A few seconds later, she deleted it. But it was too late. I knew that she hadn’t even read the message before she responded.
I’m sure it will come as no surprise that in real life and in emojis, I rarely use the thumbs up. And the only response I use less than thumbs up is LOL. I don’t think I’ve ever used it – not once. And not just because I’m not laughing out loud at something someone is texting me. If the person has written something humorous, I’ll respond: that’s funny. Or occasionally: Ha. If it’s particularly amusing, I’ll add an exclamation point. Ha!
Also, people fake LOL all the time. Recently, I was in a restaurant when I noticed a friend on the opposite side of the room. I texted her something lame and sure enough she responded with LOL. The thing is, I watched her face as she tapped those three keys on her phone and she didn’t evince a smile, let alone laugh out loud.
So now when I see that acronym, I don’t reply. To me, LOL means I have nothing to contribute to this exchange but I don’t want to be rude.
I know we all need to conserve our physical and mental energy for more meaningful things but it wouldn’t kill people to type out a word every now and then. And if that’s too much trouble, use the HaHa option on the tapback (when you hold down on the text message and the options come up) because at least that will signal: this conversation is over.
PS. I’d like to acknowledge all the readers who have written in to say they enjoy reading this column. I appreciate that you took the time and used actual words and sentences.
Here are 5 things to do this weekend that will turn your thumb up…
The OC Fair
Okay, this fair is HUGE. Over one million people are expected to attend between now and mid-August. When I began to read up on everything that will be there, I had to take an Ativan. If you don’t like people and crowds, this is not your safe space.
If you don’t mind crowds and you enjoy fried food, cotton candy, nostalgic carnival games, and rides like Zipper, Crazy Coaster and Rocking Rodeo – this is your dream come true. It’s like a state fair on steroids.
A popular stop is the Centennial Farm. Built in 1989, it was constructed with the intention of highlighting Southern California’s rich agriculture. There are pigs and goats and other farm-like animals.
According to the website, there will be new rides this year including one called Sling Shot – “an experience that is exactly as it sounds. Riders will be strapped into a harness and rubber band-like cables are pulled back like a slingshot, shooting riders up into the air.”
No amount of money would get me on that. I feel nauseous just writing about it. But enjoy.
Opening weekend: Friday, July 14, Saturday 15th, Sunday July 16th
Through Aug. 13, 2023
Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – Midnight
Where: 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 92626
Need more help? Call 714-708-1500
If you haven’t seen Sarah Silverman perform in person, she’s just as charming and hilarious as she is in her comedy specials. Her recent special on HBO (Someone You Love) is worth a thousand LOLs. Here’s a quote: “I would never buy a German car and my parents before me never bought a German car because we don’t want to give our money to Nazis. Except I just bought a German car, but only because they’re so good, you know? Plus, I feel like all the original Nazis are dead now. And sure, there are new Nazis but they don’t know how to make a car!”
She’s been performing for over 25 years (as well as acting, producing, writing, podcasting) and her jokes are as sharp as ever. She’s an insightful feminist voice and recently The New York Times said: “she’s become an unlikely moral center of the comedy community: a Gen X Mr. Rogers, with a topknot ponytail and a profane streak.”
Largo at the Coronet in West Hollywood routinely books rising and established stars, like Tig Notaro, Patton Oswalt and Marc Maron. It’s an intimate setting and there’s no drink minimum at the bar (usual for comedy venues).
When: Friday, August 4th at 8 p.m.
Where: Largo at the Coronet
366 N La Cienega Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA, 90048
Parking: Attended parking is available next door at the Baker Building, 360 N La Cienega Blvd, for a cash fee.
Colorado Street Bridge Party
After five years on pause, this party returns. Hosted by Pasadena Heritage, the Bridge Party is a big community party commemorating the rescue of the historic Colorado Street Bridge (a 110-year-old arch bridge) which will be closed to traffic for the evening.
Most of the kid-friendly activities—music, crafts, rare cars—will take place just east of the Bridge near Orange Grove Boulevard but the party will spill over on to the bridge itself.
Live music will come from the Jimbonaires, Upstream, Mercy and the Merkettes and there will be dancing and food from local eateries like Mijares Mexican Restaurant, Robin’s Wood Fire BBQ, Pam’s Sweet Shack and Funnel Cake.
There will also be craft beers from Craftsman Brewing and Eagle Rock Brewery (what’s a party without a craft beer?) and specialty cocktails.
The event brings awareness to and raises funds for the Bridge’s continued preservation efforts.
And you can decide at the last minute if you’re going to cross that bridge when you come to it.
When: Saturday July 15th
6pm – 11:30pm
Where: Defenders Park
Corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Entrance on Orange Grove and Colorado
Parking: Free parking will be available on surface streets (along South Grand Ave. and South Orange Grove Ave., and side streets) where permitted.
Convenient parking is available at the Elk’s Lodge at the corner of Orange Grove Blvd. and Green St. (enter from Green St.) for $20.00. Flat rate parking is available in Old Pasadena after 5:00 p.m. and a free Pasadena Transit Bus will be circulating along Colorado Blvd. to the Bridge Party Stop.
Ruth E. Carter Book Signing
I don’t know a lot about the world of costume design, but I know about Ruth E. Carter. The word ‘icon’ is overused but she really is one. I heard her speaking about this book and her experiences on NPR – she recounted a transformative moment stepping inside history on the set of Steven Spielberg’s Amistad.
This conversation (moderator tab) will most likely include stories about working with Spike on the Do the Right Thing, the royal regalia of “Coming 2 America” and her work on “Black Panther” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” which made her the first Black winner of an Oscar in costume design and the first Black woman to win two Oscars in any category. She is formidable artist and this book signing and conversation at the Academy Museum should be memorable evening.
When: Saturday, July 29
David Geffen Theater
6067 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Schedule: 5–6:30 p.m. | Book Signing: Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman Terrace, outside David Geffen Theater
7–8 p.m. | Conversation with Ruth E. Carter
Parking: Valet, self-park, accessible, and electrical vehicle parking options are available for the Academy Museum. Please take valuables with you. Overnight parking is not permissible.
50th Anniversary Gala at Theatricum Botanicum
It seems like every week I’m writing something about Debbie Allen but between her contributions to tv, film, dance, choreography, directing and activism — she’s definitely earned this humanitarian award.
I’ve also written about this theater before (here) and this event is a celebration of fifty years of its existence. The Botanicum part will include food, drinks and exploring the gardens. The Theatricum part will have special readings and performances by Beau Bridges, members of the Theatricum Company, and surprise guests.
I might be biased because Pamela Adlon is a friend, but Pamela hosting — reciting a poem, doing a song, telling a story, or whatever she’ll be doing — is an enchanted evening all on its own. Plus, Wendy Malick! And it’s all outdoors. Help support making the world a better place. I hope it doesn’t rain.
When: Saturday, August 5
1419 N Topanga Canyon Blvd,
Topanga, CA 90290
Directions and Parking: Here
Suggestions? Thoughts? Write to me here: Ariel.firstname.lastname@example.org