Saturday, February 23, 2008

Little House on the Hotel Vancouver Roof

It's not every night in Vancouver that one meets the legendary Nellie Oleson.

Yup, that Nellie Oleson - the nasty, blond girl from Little House On The Prairie who terrorized Laura Ingalls and the rest of the kids in Walnut Grove for eight glorious television seasons.

Alison Arngrim is the actress who portrayed Nellie Oleson, ringlets and all. Arngrim was just here in Vancouver to appear at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Way up, at the very TOP of the hotel.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is well-known for great service, a fabulous lobby and one of Vancouver's top restaurants and lounges. There's even talk of a ghost in there, too. However, what many people don't know is that it also has a rarely-used Rooftop restaurant, reserved only for special events.

I didn't know their Rooftop restaurant even existed until I saw it for myself. And here's some proof ... the actual menu from the good 'ol days. Check out the prices - only 1 dollar for caviar or a salmon steak!

(That's an actual scan of the restaurant menu - many thanks to local historian Danny for sending it to me)

The Rooftop restaurant was the site of a swishy-do the other night - the Vancouver Men's Chorus 3rd annual Legacy Gala & Auction fundraiser. And the headline entertainer at this fun, charity event was Nellie Oleson herself... a.k.a Alison Arngrim. These days she's a stand-up comedian and I gotta say, she's pretty darn funny.

Alison Arngrim's show is called Confessions of a Prairie B!#*h. Let's break it down: her act is actually very, very funny and really, really crude. This here blog is a family show so I'm going to refrain from relaying her jokes to you, but if you're really curious, check out YouTube and just search for a video clip of this show by entering "Confessions...(rest of name)". But here's a pic of her in action the other night - you can clearly see how easy it is to re-work an old gimmick.

She riffed for a good hour on things like growing up in Hollywood with a father who managed Liberace for a living, a mother who voiced the animated Casper the Friendly Ghost, and being called very bad names by every girl at her school after they saw her play the nasty Nellie Oleson on primetime TV.

She had some good dish on other Little House cast members. She said that while the late Michael Landon (Pa Ingalls) was a great man, he was also a great drinker. And, while "Nellie" was definitely the nasty one on the show, the nasty one in REAL life was the actress who played poor, blind Mary!

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was a fantastic venue for this event and I have no doubt will help it continue to become one of Vancouver's must-attend annual fundraisers.

Here are some pics from the Rooftop restaurant. The first one here shows Vancouver's famous Robson Street, stretching left to right in the photo...

And the next pic shows the shadow of one of the gargoyles adorning the exterior of the hotel, with Sears department store all lit up in the background. A very interesting perspective that was completely new to me despite the zillions of times I have seen both the gargoyle and the store sign.

For dessert, we were treated to an exclusive item on the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver menu, the Chocolate Saxophone with Passion Fruit Mousse, Fruit Coulis and Fresh Berries. Y-U-M. Here's how it is presented:

Last but not least, Andrew and I were lucky enough to have our pic taken with the legendary Nellie Oleson:

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