IT'S been 40 years since George Takei first joined the crew of "Star Trek," and although the original TV series would survive only a few seasons, the franchise has lasted a lifetime. Movies, spinoffs, conventions -- Capt. Sulu has seen it all.
But Takei, who lives in Hancock Park with partner Brad Altman, has more down-to-earth pursuits as well, including a guest spot tonight on a "Will & Grace" episode that also features Britney Spears. Now that's casting.
Just another fan
If I'm not onstage or in front of a camera, I enjoy being in the audience, and on a Friday night, that usually means going to the Grove or the ArcLight for a movie. I've seen two recently that were outstanding, "Brokeback Mountain" and "Tsotsi," which is a wrenching film that stars a stunning, amazing young man [Presley Chweneyagae] who some are calling the African James Dean.
After the movies, Brad and I will go to La Luna in Larchmont Village for dinner. I love the pizza fresca -- a light, crispy crust with tomatoes and bresaola, both thinly sliced, and covered with fresh arugula. Then I'll have some vegetables and my favorite pasta, spaghetti mare. It's all delicious but quite healthy too.
A running start
I've been a runner for all of my life, and I've managed to compete in six marathons, so running is part of my routine on Saturday morning. But with age comes wisdom, and I think my marathon days are over.
After exercising, I'll grab the newspapers and have a light breakfast on the patio.
Then I'll go to Little Tokyo and visit the Japanese American National Museum. They have an extraordinary Isamu Noguchi exhibit. His Akari lamps are a special feature in the gift shop there.
I'll also go to this fascinating oblong sushi bar called the Frying Fish, playing off the inability of some Asians to pronounce the letter L. But there is no fish frying -- it's all sushi, and it rotates around the place on a conveyor belt, so you don't have to order and wait, you just pluck it off the belt and eat.
In the afternoon there is usually a program or speaker at the museum related to the Japanese American experience. Then I'd go home and rest up for that evening's performance by the East West Players. They had my Sulu uniform in a display case there in the lobby for three years; then they said it needed a "rest." Now it's "resting" in my closet.
On Sunday we'll walk over to the Cafe du Village on Larchmont, where they have my favorite French waffles called gaufre -- they're big, thick and toasty.
In the afternoon, we'll go to the Grove for some relaxed people-watching. When I'm out in public and get recognized, it can turn into a mini-"Star Trek" convention in a hurry, which is fine; I enjoy it. But it's also nice to turn the tables and be the observer instead of the observed. I can put on a hat and sunglasses and then sit with a glass of wine at Morel's at the Grove and just spend hours watching people. It's part of what an actor does.
In the evening, we've discovered a great steakhouse called Dakota in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It's a transporting environment, bringing back the glamour of Hollywood in the '30s and '40s.
I'm boldly going back in time, you might say.
-- Mark Sachs