Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - a year in review...

Okay, it's official time is speeding up and the year's passing by unnaturally fast. Just where did 2011 go? This year has been my most 'Hollywood' yet, attending movie World Premieres, meeting movie stars, getting up close with fantastic film props and costumes, achieving personal goals and more. Here's a few highlights to help explain why the past year flew by...
Priscilla Musical Palace Theatre London
At the beginning of 2011 we returned to the U.K. to visit friends and family and I even got to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert on London's West End, whilst months later in November I also saw the Broadway version in New York too. It's still one of my all time favourite movies and makes for a great stage spectacle, even if the music changes from Kylie to Madonna as you cross the Atlantic.
Priscilla Musical billboard NYC
Our Yellow Labrador Cooper continues to be a wonderful partner in crime, but this year he was a poorly pup, pulling a muscle in his leg early in the year and managing to get a nasty foxtail up his nose requiring surgery in the Spring. He's as fit as a fiddle now though.
Poorly Labrador Cooper
In March after five months of training I achieved one of my dreams of running a marathon. Not only did I raise $2,800 for AIDS Project L.A. in the process, but I also endured torrential conditions on the day and finished in under four hours.
Jason LA Marathon finish 2011
Here's me crossing the Finish Line in victory in blustery and freezing Santa Monica, plus also how I felt immediately after, which was not so joyous. On March 18, 2012 I'll do it all again (hopefully in dryer conditions).
Cold Jason after LA Marathon
In April I visited Las Vegas for the first (and probably the last) time. The highlight of the trip being to meet up with my best friend and his partner visiting from the U.K. I stayed at the Bellagio Hotel and saw Cirque du Soleil's 'O' spectacular, but the rest of the smoking, gambling and never-ending air conditioned casino/hotel/malls I didn't enjoy. What happens in Vegas can truly stay in Vegas in my mind.
Paris HOtel Vegas fountains
On a brighter note I attended Marvel's Thor premiere in May and got to see the Thunder God in action. Being a long time Marvel fan, I wasn't disappointed.
Thor premiere El Capitan
I even got to meet one of the stars of the movie too, the 'Lady Sif' herself, the wonderful Jaimie Alexander did a signing at my local comic shop, Golden Apple Comics.
Jaimie Alexander Sif Thor signing
In May I also travelled to San Francisco to take part in the 100th Bay to Breakers 12k race. This year I embraced the fancy dress theme and ran the 7.4 mile course as Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman Jason 100th Bay to Breakers
Kylie Minogue returned to the Hollywood Bowl in May for her Aphrodite Tour and wowed the crowds, and me, again.
Kylie Minogue Hollywood Bowl 2011
In June we watched the annual West Hollywood Pride Parade from a new location further along Santa Monica Boulevard as we'd moved house since the last festivities.
Johnny Weir WEHO Pride Grand Marshal 2011
Olympic Ice Skater Johnny Weir presided over the colourful parade as Grand Marshal this year.
Gaga WEHO Gay Pride monsters
We attended our first Hollywood Bowl opening night in mid-June and got to see the likes of Helen Mirren, Hillary Swank, Harry Connick Jr., Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan and a sneak peak of Cirque du Soleil's Iris show.
Hollywood Bowl opening fireworks 2011
In June I also saw Britney Spears in concert at the Staples Center on her Femme Fatale Tour. She put on a good show, but it would have been nice if she could have sang a few songs, rather than mime her way through the pop extravaganza.
Britney Spears Femme Fatale concert
In July I had the amazing opportunity to walk the stars and stripes red carpet of the Captain America World Premiere alongside Chris Evans and the stars of the latest Marvel Comics movie.
Captain America Hollywood premiere carpet
That same week I also saw British comedian Eddie Izzard perform to a packed house at the Hollywood Bowl.
Jason at Captain America premiere
At the end of July and beginning of August we journeyed over the border to Canada for the first time and took in the sights of Vancouver.
Vancouver Celebration of Light fireworks
Not only did we get to see the fabulous fireworks of the Celebration of Lights, but we also got to enjoy Vancouver's fantastic 33rd Gay Pride Parade (which really put West Hollywood's to shame).
Vancouver Loud Proud Pride Parade
We'll be returning to the city in 2012 to enjoy more of its delights.
Unicorn bubbles Vancouver Pride Parade
In August Charlie and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary together. I'm hoping 2012 will see a change in Federal gay marriage laws in America and if not, at least a recognition of international same sex marriage rights, especially after Hillary Clinton's powerful LGTB equal rights speech before the United Nations in Geneva in December.
Charlie and Jason
In August I also visited the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim and was thrilled by all the Disney movie and TV costumes on display there, like these original Tron outfits.
Original Tron film costumes
September saw me complete my second Disneyland Half Marathon and achieve a new Personal Best time of 1:37:00 for the 13.1 mile course (even though it was a hard race).
Jason Disneyland half marathon finish
In October I got to meet the animatronic robots of Real Steel, which were on display at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
Jason with Real Steel animatronic robots
Continuing my running exploits in October I signed up to run the L.A. Marathon again with T2: Team to End AIDS and joined my team to run the annual AIDS Walk through the empty streets of L.A. and West Hollywood.
Jason Rock n Roll LA half marathon
At the end of the month I ran my second L.A. Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon through the streets of Downtown and even though I didn't break any records I lived to run another day.
WEHO Halloween Wonder Woman busted by cops
I had the best time ever at West Hollywood's Halloween Carnaval, making use of that Wonder Woman costume again.
WEHO Halloween Wonder Women
November saw us return to New York for a long weekend and get a chance to enjoy an Autumnal Central Park, a refreshing change from L.A.'s palm trees.
Autumnal Central Park lake
Since my return I've been training, getting injured and fundraising for my chosen charity for the L.A. Marathon 2012. I've already raised $1,150, but you can still donate and show your support for AIDS Project L.A.
T2 Marathon fundraising
We had a fabulous Christmas with Cooper and look forward to many more.
Christmas Labrador Cooper
Merry Christmas Jason
Finally here's a spectacular Santa Monica sunset to help end this amazing year. Wishing you all health, wealth and good fortune for the year to come.
Sunset Santa Monica
Here's to an eventful 2012...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eye-catching TV, movie and game billboards around L.A. in December...

For some reason this year the Hollywood studios decided to keep a lot of their movies for a Christmas release, meaning there were loads of fantastic film billboards around L.A. this month, with far fewer TV and video game ads.

Movie billboards
Arthur Christmas movie billboard
Even though it opened in November, Arthur Christmas still continued to draw cinema goers with its festive tale.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo billboard
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake was slightly less festive (although it did snow a lot in the film), and even though it was harrowing at times to watch, it probably had the most intriguing billboard around town before its release.
Ghost Protocol movie billboard
For the fourth installment in the film franchise, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was action-packed from start to finish and real seat of your pants viewing. Such a great holiday movie. If you're a fan, be sure to check out these original costumes worn by Tom Cruise, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner from Ghost Protocol on display.
Zebra We Bought a Zoo billboard
For the family this season, there was We Bought a Zoo, which had a great ad campaign with gift-wrapped animals - a zebra, lion and tiger.
We Bought a Zoo lion billboard
Plus the third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, Chipwrecked, with this fun and colourful lifesaver ring creative.
Chipwrecked movie billboard
For a bit of a tear-jerker, there was Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, a post-9/11 tale which had this arresting billboard.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close billboard
Steven Spielberg also had two big movies opening this christmas, the motion-capture movie The Adventures of Tintin, based on Hergé's popular comic book character. Be sure to check out all the different Tintin movie billboards, especially the cool seaplane billboard.
Giant Tintin movie billboard
Plus to be greedy, the infamous Director also brought us the World War I drama about a boy and his horse, War Horse. This giant billboard for the film graced L.A.'s Sunset Strip this month, whilst these actual costumes featured in War Horse were also on display at ArcLight Sherman Oaks cinema.
Giant War Horse Sunset Strip billboard
If you fancied a darker slice of sci-fi for the holidays, this billboard for The Darkest Hour was a refreshing change from all the festive frivolities.
The Darkest Hour movie billboard
This month also saw another sequel, this one for Sherlock Holmes. If you're a fan of the infamous British detective, be sure to check out all the different Sherlock Holmes 2 movie billboards and also these original costumes worn by Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in A Game of Shadows.
Sherlock Holmes 2 movie billboard
This month also saw New Year's Eve arrive before Christmas in an ensemble film which didn't really wow the box office.
New Year's Eve movie billboard
Plus we got a sneak peak at the forthcoming Snow White and the Huntsman movie billboard.
Snow White and the Huntsman billboard
At the end of December new billboards started popping up for movies released in January, like Mark Wahlberg's Contraband.
Contraband movie billboard
And this giant billboard along Beverly Boulevard for new action-thriller Haywire.
Huge haywire movie billboard
The Hangover Part II chose to capitalise on it being the gift-giving season, with these eye-catching special extension billboards for the Blu-ray release.
Hangover 2 Bluray billboard
The version with the monkey is such fun and really stands out.
Hangover 2 Bluray movie billboard
And as we go into awards season, more studios chose to plug their Oscar hopefuls, like DreamWorks The Help. If you loved the movie as much as I did, check out these costumes worn by Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain in The Help.
The Help Oscar consideration billboard
Whilst Warner Bros. Studios added this Hagrid creative to their Harry Potter Oscar consideration ad campaign.
Harry Potter Hagrid billboard
Plus Disney Pixar invited consideration for Cars 2, which is probably one of their weakest entries in recent years which have previously boasted such masterpieces as Toy Story 3, Wall-E and Up.
Cars 2 Oscar consideration billboard

TV billboards
Hub holidays cartoon billboard
For television, The Hub got all festive with this wintery train ride for its kids cartoon shows.
Switched at Birth billboard
This month also saw the billboard for ABC Family's Switched at Birth return to the skies of L.A.
The Soup child beauty pageant TV billboard
I really loved The Soup's witty campaign to publicise the show's move to Wednesday nights.
Adult Swim Personal ad billboard
Adult Swim continued to bring us wacky and surreal billboards in December, with this cool 'personal ad' themed ad for the channel.
Dustin Hoffman Luck billboard
And it looks like Dustin Hoffman is continuing the trend of big movies stars appearing in TV series, with the new show 'Luck'.
Just want my pants back billboard
And finally for television, this MTV billboard for a show with a fun name, I Just Want My Pants Back, debuted at the end of the month, appropriately along the Sunset Strip.

Video game billboards
Batman Arkham City billboards
Then just in time for Christmas, this spectacular super-sized billboard appeared for the Batman Arkham City video game, which is a real visual delight.

As you can see it's been a busy month for entertainment around Los Angeles. Be sure to check out my Daily Billboard blog every day and come back again next month (and year) for another fantastic billboard round-up.

Keep your eyes to the skies...