Monday, February 18, 2019

Where Is the Beach House in 'Grace and Frankie'?

What could be a more perfect place to retire than Grace and Frankie's fictional beach house in La Jolla?

The real beach home, actually situated at 31 212 Broad Beach Road in Malibu, is now the stuff of legends, thanks to Netflix.

Photo via Giannetti Home

The Broad Beach house has been used only for exterior shots while the interior scenes have been filmed on a soundstage.

Here's the now-famous living room as it appears on the show and in the original property:

Notice the lack of columns in the set (left) and the common areas of the original (right). Photos via Traditional Home and Giannetti Home 

Santa Barbara-based architect Steve Giannetti created the four-bedroom Broad Beach house on a 1,580-square-metre plot with the Pacific Ocean as backyard no less. 

As in the series, the interiors pay tribute to the sand and surf outside with blue walls and off-white wainscotting.

Photo via Giannetti Home

The set largely bears the imprint of Jane Fonda's character Grace, with the veteran actress telling Architectural Digest: "Most of the beach house is subtle and tidy, and that’s all Grace," with “a little bit of Frankie."

Lily Tomlin's topsy-turvy character holds court in the studio, decorated with paintings by Chicago artist Nancy Rosen, and the meditation room with its signature hanging chair, procured by production designer Devorah Herbert from Anthropologie.  

As executive producer and creator Marta Kauffman tells Architectural Digest, the house really is the show's "third main character."

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Where Can You Find the Land of the Dead in 'Coco'?

It's all beyond the Great (Border) Wall of America.

Never has Limbo been more beautifully realised in Pixar's loving Dia de los Muertos tribute "Coco." If anything, never have Mexicans seen so much of themselves reflected on the silver screen in such a long time.

Award-winning production designer Harley Jessup had the gumption to create the Land of the Dead, "Coco's" glowing city in the afterlife, after a trip to the central Mexican town of Guanajuato. Much like its onscreen stand-in, the historic silver mining town comes with colorful edifices that seem to go up to the sky.

Right photo via bud ellison/Flickr
"It's a city of terraced architecture that is  going up steep hillsides — very brightly colored and layered," Jessup told The Hollywood Reporter. "There's a network of tunnels at the base, and then  layers of architecture that go up the  hillside."

Mexico City denizens would easily recognize the marigold-littered halls of the purgatorial Grand Central station from the real-life Palacio de Correos de México. Built in 1907, the art deco edifice features interiors with iron railings, marble floors, and bronze-framed windows.

Via Bohao Zhao/Wikimedia Commons
The panes in the fictional Grand Central station are the CGI facsimile of the stained glass ceiling found in the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México. “What we also liked is that it is literally skeletal,” Jessup told The New York Times about the building, “so we could work a lot of skeleton motifs into the bases of the pillars and the stained glass.”

Stained glass ceiling of the Gran Hotel in Mexico City. Via Harshil.Shah/Flickr
Not everything in The Land of the Dead takes after Mexico’s Spanish past. "Coco" also celebrates the country’s pre-colonial heritage with pyramids that easily evoke the archaeological digs in Teotihuacán.

The archaeological site of Teotihuacan. Via paula_mondragon
As the movie shows, marigold, or cempaxochitl in Mexican parlance, helps the departed find their way back to the world of the living due to its strong scent — one you can’t appreciate in the cinema. While an actual floating bridge of marigold is nowhere to be found IRL, they are practically omnipresent in Mexican markets from mid-October to Dia de Muertos.

Marigolds cover a cemetery arch for Day of the Dead in Tzintzuntzan, Mexico. Via Tinderbox5/Wikimedia Commons
To see them in full vigor, head off to the states of Puebla and Veracruz where fields of marigold grow in abandon. Puebla is the top producer of cempaxochitl, according to government statistics.

Building bridges instead of walls — now that’s something to remember in life as in the ever-after.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Dyson Sphere Is the Closest Thing to a Death Star in Reality

Concept art of a Dyson sphere in action. Photo via

Dimming stars are part and parcel of the celestial ebb and flow. But the distant star known only as KIC 8462852 brightens right after it dims, and at regular intervals at that.

Scientists have explained away such phenomenon as the handiwork of a planet-like solar power harvester called a Dyson sphere.

First theorized in the 1930s, a Dyson sphere is a megastructure designed by an advanced civilization to completely engulf a star, thus harvesting its energy and sating an entire populace's exquisite power needs. Think of it as a death star that eats stars: the Deathbringer to Stars if you may.

KIC 8462852 was acting pretty weird last month, its light curve dwindling by 3 percent in a matter of a day before reverting to its normal brightness. The star in question is 1,280 light years away from earth, so we may never confirm in this lifetime if a star-eater is at work in our neighborhood.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Where Is Themyscira from 'Wonder Woman' Located IRL? 7 Places to Put in Your Bucketlist Now

Concept art for Themyscira in Wonder Woman. Photo via Warner Bros.

An all-women island has long been the fantasy of lusty, if not sexist men for ages, so it is no trifling feat that "Wonder Woman" has been able to turn this trope on its head.

Themyscira is an island populated entirely by women alright, but these are not your bimbos and damsels in distress who pine to be rescued or come grovelling at the feet of the next knight on his steed. Hades, no.

So is Themyscira real? For reasons obvious to you and many others, a matriarchal paradise is, sadly, still a dream for victims of oppression in this patriarchal world.

But a girl can dream, eh? Here are places where you'll find the closest thing to Themyscira in this dimension:

Via Wallora

Patty Jenkins and crew shot many of the Themyscira scenes in the famed ruins of this little Italian commune. Founded in 540 BC, Craco grew to a sizable populace over the centuries until landslides, floods, and an earthquake forced the remaining inhabitants to completely abandon it in the 1980s. The ruins have since provided a backdrop to some Hollywood flicks, including "Quantum of Solace" and "The Passion of the Christ."

Via BjoernEisbaer

The arsenal where they keep the God-Killer was filmed in the medieval citadel Castel del Monte in the Apulia region of Italy, specifically on a hill in the commune of Andria.

Via Max Pixel

Another Italian commune, Ravello, played host to the "Wonder Woman" cast and crew. Visitors to Villa Cimbrone in the Amalfi Coast would recognise its CGI-modified balcony as where Hippolyta gives thanks to the gods and shows the wondrous ocean views to a young Diana.

Marina di Camerota and Palinuro


When it comes to Italian beaches, there's nothing like those along Tyrrhenian Sea to put you in wonderment. The beach-y scenes between the Amazons and the German soldiers took place in the towns of Marina di Camerota, near the tower of Zancale, and Palinuro.


According to the comic books, Themyscira, or Amazonia as it was originally called, was sited in modern-day Turkey, specifically at where the Thermodon River empties into the Black Sea.


The Turkish iteration of Themyscira was ravaged thereafter by Ares and Heracles and eventually relocated to Paradise Island in the middle of the Aegean Sea.

Bermuda Triangle

ATLANTIS HAS NOTHING ON NEW THEMYSCIRA. The latter-day comic book depiction of the Amazonian paradise island floats around the globe

Planes mysteriously vanishing like Steve Trevor's is right up Bermuda Triangle's alley. The arbitrary area in the Atlantic Ocean has long been a hotspot for UFO activity and aircraft disappearances for years. Even DC Comics alluded to it, reimagining Themyscira as a floating island around the Triangle, specifically near the east coast of the United States. 

Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? Ooh, Elysian Fields is a place on earth.

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