Friday, December 31, 2004
I'm about to head out, but wanted to dash off a few thoughts regarding the past year...
I have awesome friends. 'Specially Rachael, Iiad, Courtney, Kent, Kerry, Steve, Doug & Warren.
I love LA. From my hilltop apartment in Silverlake, you can truly see how beautiful it really can be.
Blogging is fun, and thanks for reading. I hope you've been enjoying it as much as I have.
And how stoaked am I that I got to see the Pixies 8 times this year? Thank God for reunions!
May 2005 not suck. Till then...
Thursday, December 30, 2004
I have had a big and somewhat embarrassing crush on Ken Andrews (the guy in the green) since about 1993. I've met him many times and he never remembers me. Sigh. I've interviewed him three times, have friends who have recorded with him, have friends who have co-produced and mixed with him, even gone out to Mexican food with him. Still nothing. Obviously, I'm a little disappointed at my lack of impact on the guy, but this doesn't lessen the fact that I loved his band. So I will now slip out of whiny groupie mode and tell you about Failure, and why I love them so.
A friend introduced me to Failure in early 1992 via a song called "Dipped In Anger" on a 7" found at a radio station we worked at. To me it sounded like (early 80's band) Japan funneled through that era's grunge factor, and they were from the smoggy depths of LA. Their first CD, Comfort, was ok - a bit thumpy, but that was the work of producer Steve Albini. Andrews took over that job on the next two records, Magnified and Fantastic Planet. Andrews and Greg Edwards, the druggy half, switched guitar and bass duties, did some keyboard work and even some of the drumming. The songs were beautiful spaced out heroin jams, waves of melody working influences like Kyuss and Depeche Mode. Their love of cinema was reflected in the music too, as incidental tracks were included to transition you along to the next song, since they were all about listening to the album as a whole. True believers in pop, experimentalism, and all out rock, Failure's music was heavy and gorgeous at the same time.
When they finally busted up, the rumors claimed it was because of Greg's drug abuse. Seeing the band live was a testament to that; I remember being afraid that Greg was actually melting into the floor at some shows. The lyrics were very drug heavy, which further supports that theory. Since the bust-up of Failure, Andrews has done tons of production work for the likes of Creeper Lagoon, Pete Yorn, Icarus Line, and BRMC among many, many others. He also did a fabulous solo project called On - which I loved for being unabashedly new wave - and another band called Year of the Rabbit. Edwards, on the other hand, has been playing around with a band called Autolux for the last few years, a band that - in typical LA fashion - has been living off the hype of a demo that's been floating around since about and has finally released their first new CD (which, of course, contains the demos). And they're awesome live. As is Ken.
But I'm biased.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
My relatives aren't Amish (well, one uncle is actually Pennsylvania Dutch), but in regards to their modes of communication; they might as well be! It was very sprawling lawns, woods, deer, barns and the whole horse and buggy thing. My relatives live in Lancaster County, which includes those charming townships with names like Paradise, Bird-In-Hand, Blueball and Intercourse. You have to go through Intercourse to get to Paradise. Really.
A bulk of the movie "Witness" was filmed in Intercourse. This was the terrain of my holidays, which would have been quite nice except for the fact that A) I had The Flu and B) I am a city girl. So I was somewhat delirious and bored all at the same time. Perhaps if I had been in better health, I would have been able to enjoy myself. Instead, my relatives all think I'm a snob. Oh well, what can you do?
Relive the fun that got you in trouble in the first place!
I was lucky enough to have my brother and sister meet me in New York for a couple days before I was stricken with The Flu. They arrived Monday, after I had already Surrendered the Ass.
Sunday night, I was having a post Scissor Sisters duck meatloaf at a diner described to me as "hip and trendy" in the meat packing district near my friend's flat. I was being told how to handle snow: "It's worse once it has stopped snowing. Be careful when you walk around, because it will start to melt and freeze up, creating ice patches you really can't see. And when you fall, don't try to catch yourself by putting your hands out - that's how people break their wrists. Just let yourself fall - Surrender the Ass."
This was especially funny coming from two gay men, but we'll let that pass for now.
By 10am the next day, I was walking through the East Village on my way to Veselka for breakfast when I Surrendered the Ass. It was totally involuntary; my feet just went out from under me and I didn't even have time to potentially place my wrists in a boneshattering position.
Having survived that, living through the rest of the day was a cakewalk. Never mind that it was about 12 degrees the entire day, an unheard of temperature in this California Girl's past. My poor little sister had just returned from a 2 week vacation in Fiji, so she was in a bit more shock that I was. We hung out with a friend from Berlin (and her friend from Boston) and wandered around the Lower East Side in a thwarted attempt to get to Guss' while on a pickle hunt, had vegan cheesecake at Moby's Teany tea room (and how insane that it was extremely tasty cheesecake? And I love me some cheesecake!), visited with some specialized toys at Toys in Babeland, shopped for more specialized toys at Toy Tokyo, had some pizza at Ray's, went to Williamsburg to have dinner with Interpol's photographer (my brother knows everybody, I guess), and finally went home to thaw. We were assured by our New York friends (as well as the Berlin-ers and Boston-ers) that it was truly a cold, cold day, so we were quite proud of ourselves.
I didn't last much longer after that. A quick run of one of my favorite buildings, the Chrysler Building, the windows at Macy's, some Central Park and a visit with a friend (yo, Esme & Gary!I hope I didn't make you sick...)and I was out. While I faded in and out of consciousness, my brother and sister hit up the new MOMA and shopped H&M - two highlights my heart still aches about missing. At least I was around for the Pixies.
Next time, New York. Turn on your bright lights - I think you owe me one.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Adventures? Well, let's see...
Saturday night. Death to the Pixies.
The last Pixies show of the tour happened at the Hammerstein Ballroom, with the lovely wall of sonic noise that is Kristin Hersh's 50 Foot Wave opening. I was up front stage right so that my partner in crime for the night could be within spitting distance of Kim Deal once she hit the stage. The Wave rocked it hard, played tight and quick, and wowed some while annoying others. I called Billy (Kristin's hubby/ manager) just before they went on stage... He answered by saying, "Are you really here?" I responded, "I couldn't turn down Kristin AND the Pixies." He laughed, yelled to Kristin that I was there, and said, "You know, our son Wyatt was just asking about you." (Cozy as I may make this sound, that was actually very random.) "You're kidding! What did he say?" "He said, 'Hey Mom - remember that time I met your friend Mo?'" Very momentous, as you can tell.
And the Pixies? Well, they all looked like the cats that ate the canaries. Smug and smiley, almost phoning it in, but phoning it in better than any other band. This was the 8th Pixies show I've been fortunate to see this year - and I'm assuming last - unless they decide to pull an X and just keep on "reuniting" for years to come, eventually playing such show stopping locales as Koncti Harbor in Kelseyville, California and the like for their wine swilling fans. Anyway, I was indeed crushed up against the barrier in front of Kim Deal, unable to move except for the occasional uncontrollable thrashing for "Isla De Incanta" and "Vamos." (The Spanglish tunes always make me the rowdiest.) Joey did a pretty awesome "Vamos" solo, with the now standard "watch me play my guitar with a drumstick!" (ah, and the days of yore when I watched him play with stilettos) but also unplugging his guitar and feedbacking with his cable and other connectors. Rock me Joe!
My favorite part of the show? Early on, third song or so, they did "La La Love Ya." Each member of the band took a turn saying the "I love yous." It was really fun and super cute and a total treat. I love you too, guys. And thanks for a groovy year.
Okay - Sunday night? The Scissor Sisters sold out homecoming show at the Hammerstein. As Ana Matronic put it, "You know how each homecoming has a queen? Well, this one has four!" Since I was hanging in NYC with my gay posse, where else for a fag hag to be but disco dancing with her boys at a tea dance? With the exception of Ms. Ana's seemingly endless babbling about "being in the city that INSPIRES us, this dirty city filled with PASSION and LOVE" and her token mention of words like "cock" and "motherfucker" and "balls" just to get the shrieky "wooooos!" from the crowd, they were really fun and bouncy and sounded great. They did a fabulous slowed bluesy version of "Take Me out" (it's floating around on the web if you want to try and find it) and the 16 year old boy next to me wearing the Franz Ferdinand shirt in attendance with his two dads went absolutely nuts. They ended in a sweaty tranny glitter orgy; a group of naked friends in glittery thongs and headdresses (boys and girls and probably boy-girls alike) took the stage and danced around before dogpiling and dry humping on stage. It was adorable.
Other things we did? Saturday - Drinks at the Algonquin Hotel, quoting Dorothy Parker while having martinis (I did tell you I was with gay men, right?)... More drinks at Gotham... More drinks in the meat packing district at Hell on it's last night - many sad beautiful gay boys in attendance, having their last Wicked Bitch before the neighborhood hang shut down for good. (I wish there was a place LA called Hell; it was fun calling people and saying, "Yea, just meet us in Hell!" "How do you get to Hell?" "Go to Hell and I'll see you there!" The best.) Drinking Sunday afternoon at the wine bar next to the Rockefeller Christmas tree after a little shopping at H&M, Italian food in the East Village, and the first snow.
The first snow? I walked out of the Scissor Sisters show with my Australian friend Mark, and said, "You know, this is the first time I've ever really seen snow fall." He huddled up into himself a bit more and said, "Great. Let's get the hell out of here."
Friday, December 17, 2004
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
"My vote for best media/television story of the year goes to one you may have missed. Mediaweek reported on Dec. 6 that of all the "indecency complaints" to the Federal Communications Commission in 2003, a startling 99.8 percent of them came from one conservative group, the Parents Television Council.
And through October of this year, apart from complaints over Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction," a full 99.9 percent of the complaints about indecency have again come from the Parents Television Council. That means a small group of highly mobilized conservative watchdogs has essentially driven the "moral values" campaign directed at the FCC.
Hey, blue staters, this is a much smaller picture than you ever imagined. Forget about looking at that depressing election map and feeling overwhelmed, like you're on a cultural island apart from the rest of the country. The sad fact is, while you've been pouting -- and prior to that, when you were watching Jon Stewart and gloating -- you let a small group of reactionary conservatives set the agenda."
What? Go here to read more about it. And do something.
Monday, December 13, 2004
I've always thought Elliott Smith's music was very sweet, pretty, intelligent and sad. It all kind of sounds the same, distinctly his, but the same nonetheless. So I never got super into him, and I always felt a little bad about that.
One night I said to my roommate, "I like Elliott Smith, but all his stuff sounds the same." To which she replied something like: "Blasphemy! Elliott Smith has never written a bad song in his life!" (He was still alive at the time.) Again, I felt bad. Deep down, I knew all of his lyrics would hit me a certain way, that I enjoyed every song I heard from him, so what was I holding back for?
And then he died. And I surprisingly had these strange connections to the event, living in the same part of town, knowing his sister and some friends... The loss hung heavier than the smog.
The memorial went up on the mural at Solutions, a electronics repair shop up the street from my house. When friends come to visit, they often want to pay their respects. It's just as vibrant today as it was when it suddenly came to life.
And I don't take Elliott for granted anymore.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Frank was indeed one of a kind, a thuggy musician - my favorite kind. Others try to sing like him, can't. Others try to cop his style, can't. Others try to cop his attitude - forget about it! He was the leader of the pack, had charm & charisma, and could sing the pants... uh.. skirt offa ya.
In 1938, when Frankie was 23,he got busted for taking a young girl across state lines. Since you can't see it on this mug sheet, I'll tell what the crime is listed as: "Seduction."
What a badass. Tain't nobody like him!
Saturday, December 11, 2004
These were proclaimed to be Nick's "balls." Ahem. Yea.
Simon spins round and round...
Thank you, and good night!
Thursday, December 09, 2004
It also means I am often reminded of my Catholic roots, and yesterday was a Holy Day of Obligation. It was December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to be precise. This is the day Catholics honor Mary's conception of baby Jesus without the fun of having had sex first. (Because sex is not fun! Remember?)
When I was in Catholic school, this date troubled me. I took it literally (things in the Bible should not really be taken literally... but still, we are surrounded by a variety of religious wars). I thought, "If Mary got pregnant on December 8th, and had Jesus on December 25th, then she was only pregnant for 17 days? Or if she got pregnant on the 8th, and had Jesus on December 25th the following year, then she was pregnant for over a year? Does God require a longer gestation period? That would suck!" But Catholicism is all about suffering, after all.
So why would I be reminded of this because of my neighborhood? Well, our Lady of Guadalupe, of course! In 1531, the Virgin Mary herself came down from Heaven to tell a Mexican peasant (just outside of Mexico City) to build a temple on the hill. Then she imprinted an image of herself on a his battered old tilma - a cloth made of cactus - which still exists today. I guess the image is so good that you can see images reflected in her eyes! (Take that, Shroud of Turin.)
When there is a Mary-centric event, my hood takes notice. On the way home from work, I saw that a vacant lot had been lit up with holiday lights and there were tables and tarps set up to keep the rain off everyone. People were dishing up home cooked food and hanging out, chatting and playing music. And displayed in the bed of a truck was a large painting of the Lady of Guadalupe.
This reminded me that a couple years before while working in a record store in Hollywood, I had noticed a crowd of people with flowers gathering across the street in front of the Jack in the Box. We were trying to figure out what was up, when a flatbed truck drove up with the same giant painting in the back. Everyone got up and followed it away. I guess it was part of the "parade" route, leading everyone back to what is now my neighborhood, Silverlake. A small pilgrimage to honor the Lady.
Another reason why I love this town.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
I remember the first time I saw the Evil Dead... I was in high school, in a friend's living room, and the Tree Scene was about to start. People starting chanting, "Tree scene - tree scene - tree scene..." and then well, a tree sorta rips this girl apart. But it was funny. You have to see it.
And then there was Evil Dead 2, one of the few movies I find myself quoting at opportune moments. I'm really bad about remembering lines from movies, except for this one. Maybe it helps that I've also seen it a gazillion times. "You're going down!" or "Who's laughing now? WHO"S LAUGHING NOW?!" or "Give me back my haaaaaaaaand!" or, my favorite, "Groovy."
And then there was Army of Darkness, which was just plain silly.
These movies made me have a little dorky crush on Bruce Campbell, because he had to be a pretty awesome to play a part that ridiculous, you know? He was the perfect idiot who thought he was a cool guy. He was over the top and hilarious. But will he star in the remake?
Yea, evidently, Sam Raimi wants to remake his own movies. Kinda. Evil Dead is under construction once again, but with new management. While keeping the original producers (Campbell, and Rob Talpert), Raimi is developing the movie but isn't planning to direct it. Ummm.. what? I just can't imagine why - if it ain't broke, you know...
Sam, I've got one word for ya: Chainsaw.
Monday, December 06, 2004
At the show, the floor was sectioned off into three parts. My press pass had been mixed up at the entrance, so I had a "regular" admittance pass. (I got my VIP later.) Anyway, I was concerned that my incorrect pass gave me a less than stellar view, because there were a whole bunch of people up front, and roped off. Nope, I couldn't go there. That was for the fans and seatfillers.
So today, I went to the Duran Duran forums for the first time, and read some interesting things (which I later had verified). Another reason to believe that Los Angeles can truly live up to it's reputation:
"...We arrived and waited at least two hours in the cold (ed. note: our evenings have been about 40 degreees, weird for LA). Various people were being pulled from the line and were taken in beforehand. When we were finally let in, the audience was sectioned off into three areas. The seatfiller.com people (1/2 of who were not fans, but I recognized many people who utilized this service to get in who were fans, so that was a good thing) were in the front surrounding the stage. The middle area was reserved for Bailey's people and the fans from ddmusic were placed in the back. Needless to say I was very dissappointed, angry is more like it. Yes, I should have been thankful that I was even there, but to know that the fans were placed in the back really pissed me off. I asked three people from VH1 what was going on and who was responsible and did the band have anything to do with the placement of the fans. Two had no idea what I was talking about and the third production staff I spoke to said that "because this is a TV show, we need actors and model types in the front for the camera".
"...I think it is worth noting that probably 60% of the seatfillers were hardcore fans (i was one of them) who happened to be industrious and signed up. That was the only way for us to get to go to the event, if you weren't a member of ddm.com. Everyone around me knew all the words to all the songs. I think you will see that when the show airs. I just don't want some misconception going around that most of the seatfillers were not big fans, because that is not true."
"...After a long walk to the soundstage, we're told we HAVE to check our coats before we go inside because they want it to look like "warm, sunny California". I looked at the guy and told him I'm not checking my coat. (I had a leather, tailored coat on) He tried to tell me they wouldn't let me in. I laughed at that and told him if he wanted to put me up front, I'd check my coat, otherwise forget it. So we walked in and there were a shi*tload of people already in there. We were literally at the back. They then ushered in a bunch of corporate people in between us and the seatfillers. If I hadn't been in heels, I would have seen precisely ZIP.As for the seat fillers, perhaps the ones up front were fans, but the ones in front of us stood there like deadwood through most of the show and when the fans in the back got excited over anything they, along with the corporate folk, threw looks over their shoulders and rolled their eyes. The real kicker was walking out after and being behind two females wearing VIP lams. Her comment to quote it directly:
'Can you believe those fans that were pissed off because they were in the back? As if anyone wants to see their fat wrinkly asses on tv.'"
So when John Taylor made that crack about everyone being from Central Casting... I guess he wasn't kidding.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Duran Duran. Founded in 1978, they were an art school band fronted by Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy (remember that 80's song "Kiss Me?" Yea, that guy). Nick Bates was on keyboards, Nigel Taylor on guitar. There was even a clarinet.
Stephen leaves, drummer Roger Taylor joins, Nigel switches to bass and starts using his middle name, John. Nick changes his last name to Rhodes and starts wearing makeup. (This is later the reason that Andy Warhol decides he wants to meet Duran Duran when they first came to the States in 1981.)Andy Taylor is flipping burgers at the Rum Runner, a hip Birmingham club, and joins on guitar. Simon Le Bon's girlfriend is a waitress at the Rum Runner and recommends the drama student for the singing gig, and Simon wins the guys over with his pink leopard skin pants and vocal style.
Duran Duran becomes the house band at the Rum Runner (where Nick also DJs) and within a year, they are signed and off to America. They make good on their promise to play Madison Square Gardens within 2 years of forming this particular lineup. Videos, yachts, supermodels and tons of hair dye follow.
Roger leaves the band after the 1985 performance on Live Aid, the last time the original lineup played together until 2003. Roger, Simon & Nick did Arcadia; Andy & John did the Powerstation, then Andy bailed. John left the band in 1996.
But then they all got back together. I was lucky enough to meet John Taylor and chat with him a tiny bit about it a couple years ago. This evening, I almost got to meet them all.
Last week, a friend from In Touch Magazine (lots of pictures, few words - those few words are usually followed by exclamation points) assigned me to a story: Go to the taping of the new VH1 concert series, this one featuring Duran Duran, and have 20 minutes with the band afterwards. I almost fainted.
Now understand, I am pretty much an indie rock girl. I love a wide range of music, but my journalistic past dealt pretty much with alternative type bands and electronic outfits just on the cusp of Spin magazine level or something. I got to interview artists like Failure, the Chills, Kristin Hersh, Rocket From the Crypt, the Geraldine Fibbers, Discount (who went on the become the Kills), Creeper Lagoon (they were practically my house band at KALX), Shonen Knife... stuff like that. Oh, and Tracy Lords. I got to interview her about electronica though, not her filmography. Bummer, I know.
But my weakness for Duran Duran runs deep. I spent the week in a mild state of shock. I figured out what to ask them in a few minutes, but it took me days to decide what to wear. At one point, I realized I had to wear my ex boyfriend's brown denim jacket. So I called Diego Luna ex, and left him a frantic message begging for his jacket. He brought me the coat in question and wished me luck (since he had been there when I met John Taylor and almost hyperventilated). Eventually, the hair was good, the outfit chosen, the recorder functional, the camera loaded, the new Sharpie pen and Creem magazine from 1983 ready to be autographed... and off I went.
It rained like crazy today. Californians say they like rain, but they don't react to it well. As a result, Duran Duran was cranky. Andy Taylor was out due to "exhaustion." The sound stage was freezing, and at sound check, the band was worried that turnout would be low. Once the show was ready to go, perhaps 2/3 of the people invited had showed, and we were all bundled up and a bit wet. There were diehards there, and I'm pretty into Duran Duran - but I ain't a diehard. I can still laugh at them as well as with them. They played and sounded great - they really are tight and clean and rowdy... one person nearby thought it was a lip sync, but Simon's antics soon proved that it wasn't.
The show will air next Tuesday, December 14th. I'm sure that some bits of dialogue will be cut out though... Like John telling the crowd that they were so good looking that they must have come from Central Casting, and Simon retorting, "Yea, just do what we do. Act like you're enjoying yourself." Or later in the show (once everyone had warmed up a bit), Simon enthusiastically yelling to the crowd, "Is our fucking drummer hot shit tonight?" (Um, he was.)
I'm lousy at recalling setlists and such, and I'm sure their website will have all sorts of that. We heard some new stuff and some old stuff. Okay, okay... I was really happy to hear "Planet Earth," "Girls On Film," "Careless Memories," and even "Wild Boys," which I used to hate but now really get a kick out of. "Notorious" was awesome as usual, and we were treated to a beautiful rendition of "The Chauffeur," always haunting and amazing.
And then it was over, and the Wild Boys in question were tired and cranky and no press got to hang out with them. So I didn't meet them. I'm going to do a phoner either with just Simon or the whole band later this week, but that's not quite the same. Although I'm not upset about it. I'm sure I would have held it together had I met them (just barely), but after that, then what? A question still not answered, but perhaps to be answered another day. Besides, I've gotten this close, and I ain't even trying.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Okay, this obviously comes from the school of mom. But I have a guilty pleasure thing about Connie Francis - I really like her voice! Really! "Stupid Cupid!" Come on - it's cute!
What's funny to me about Connie Francis is that the thing I always liked about her is what I now like about old school Mexican divas like Lola Beltran... She can really belt it out. Dramatically. Connie Francis sang in many languages (besides English, she did tons in Italian, some German, Japanese (!), Jewish tunes, Spanish... probably more I can't think of) and regardless of whether or not you understood what she was singing, you felt it. I bet girls all over the world cried while listening to some of her stuff.
She sang in many different styles also, which is what kept her afloat after the whole Beatles thing and rock & roll truly kicked in. A true pop singer who successfully dabbled in country, jazz, standards, and even did a couple kids records. Not that I ever heard any of those.
She did some acting, which almost made me hate her, actually. She was in this horrid movie called Where The Boys Are (you know the song, I know you do!) which was about some adventurous young girls heading off to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break. They flirt and stuff, and one of them gets gang banged. Of course, this is represented by the most outgoing girl entering into a room with a bunch of guys who start to make advances, and then the next time you see her, she's with her friends and practically catatonic for the rest of the movie. No one ever discusses it, but I believe the other girls wind up with cute boyfriends while the flirtiest one winds up with post traumatic stress disorder and lifelong nightmares or something. There's your lesson learned, sassy gals! (Ironically, Connie was raped in 1974 in a hotel room after a show, and became an advocate for victims of violent crime as well as public safety.)
So give Connie a break. My brother and I were listening to one of my mom's collections of Connie Singing In Italian, and there was a song on it that could be a companion piece to Siouxsie & the Banshee's "Dazzle." Really. Not bad for an Italian gal from New Jersey.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
But the first part of this drive, the part that leads you away from my place, is the very eastern end of Melrose that starts in Silverlake and passes under the 101 freeway. This is the part with the trashy streets, homeless guys and stray dogs. This morning, I was stuck at a stoplight with about a million other cars. This morning, there were an awful lot of pigeons perched on the wires above us. I'm talking Alfred Hitchcock amounts of birds.
This morning, all those pigeons let loose on us.
It was pretty incredible. It really was like rain, because I thought we'd been splashed with a sprinkler at first. But no, it wasn't water. And for the remaining 30 minutes of my morning commute, I had to peer at the sunny streets through poorly windshield wiped bird shit. Thank God there is a guy in the garage at my work who washes cars, so that the morning will be a distant memory when I get back into my car tonight.
So this reminds me of a story.
Jon Wahl, frontman of the insane superrock band Claw Hammer (I don't think they exist anymore, but my friends & I used to see them all the time because they were so NUTS), told me a story about the time he was working at Epitaph. He worked in the mailroom (this was not so long ago, during Claw Hammer's productive period) in some scummy part of LA. One day, he came out to his car, and it was completely covered in bird shit. Like, so bad that everyone made fun of him for it. People left notes on his car about it. So, of course, he wrote a song about it. The song was cleverly titled "The Day It Rained Pigeon Shit" and involved a whole lot of yelling.
(No, this was not a roundabout way of doing the band for the letter "C." That's still to come...)
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
The English Beat, for us Yanks. This band is one of my favorites in the world, and that fact always sneaks up on me.
When I worked in the record store and was dating the Diego Luna ex, he did a really sweet thing for me. We each were able to pick out music to play in the store, and he had chosen the English Beat's "Just Can't Stop It" to listen to that day. A co-worker said, "Oh great! I love the English Beat!" And Diego Luna ex said, "I didn't pick it for you, I picked it for her." Because he knew that whenever I hear the English Beat, I am a happy gal.
The English Beat is another one of those bands that didn't sound like anything else. Yes, you could tell what genres they took their cues from, but they never sounded exactly like those genres. They were part of that second wave of ska, but they didn't stick with that "boom-chicka-boom-boom" rhythm so particular to those bands. Their first big chart hit was a cover of Smokey Robinson's "Tears of A Clown." Reggae, dub, soul, rock... it all found it's way in. The band was a total mishmash of Birmingham lads and their styles, nothing excluded - everything included.
They lasted five years and put out three full length albums. Supposedly, singer Dave Wakeling said that every band only has three good albums in them, and that's it. So they broke up after the third album.
Listening to the Beat makes me think of sunny days, the beach, convertibles, fruity cocktails, scooters, trenchcoats and snazzy black hats, little mod girls and beat boys. Their music is absolutely beautiful. They stood up for what they believed in, played with who they wanted and in the styles they felt like, and ended before they started to suck. And they had fun.
I know you already know the hits from these guys, so I advise you to seek out the rest. There is nothing so beautiful as "Walk Away," groovy as "Doors of Your Heart," and menacing as "Noise in This World." And anytime I play "Too Nice To Talk To" at a DJ gig, everyone gets moving.
Buy all their records! You'll love them... and there are only three, after all.
Monday, November 29, 2004
I'm gonna go through the alphabet musically with you kids. It'll keep me busy, at least. This has kinda been sitting in my mind... hmmm... throw a letter at me and what's the first musical act that pops into my head? It won't be logical, that I know.
I didn't love Adam Ant or anything. In fact, he's kinda lame. I really dug his early stuff with all the crazy drum action and silly lyrics.. "I'm the dandy highwayman" or whatever... Although it is fun. I can think of "A" acts I like a lot better, like Abba or ABC or Actionslacks or the Afghan Whigs. But Adam Ant - what a character, eh?
His real name was Stuart Leslie Goddard, and he was a wild punk who suddenly got the idea to dress like a pirate and do tribal stuff. (I think Malcolm McLaren was involved.) And you've got to admit that there was practically nothing else that sounded like Adam & the Ants, except maybe Bow Wow Wow. It tapped into some little wild person in you. I had a couple friends who, around 1999 or so, decided that dressing like pirates was the thing to do and took direct cues from Adam Ant. (Keep in mind - this was waaaaaay before the current Johnny Depp fueled pirate craze.) That was fun.
Anyway, I saw Adam Ant in concert around 1996. The tickets were free, and he still sucked so hard that we walked out. He did, however, start the show by swinging onto the stage on a giant black swatch of cloth tied to the ceiling. That was pretty cool, but it was all dowhill from there. Painful, actually.
A couple years ago, he was institutionalized briefly for waving a fake handgun in a bar and threatening pub-goers. Then he stormed out and threw a car alternator threw the window, hitting a musician on the head.
Car trouble, oh yea!
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Ummm... I ain't no Catherine Zeta-Jones, but that was really nice of my co-workers to think so.
Anyway, that brings me to the topic for today. The celebrity doppleganger. We all have one, kinda. At least other people try to tell you so, right? Haven't you heard that before? "Yea, you look kinda like that chick on Law & Order" or "Your dad totally looks like Dan Rather" or something like that. I generally do this when referring to my ex boyfriends.
My first boyfriend from high school and I are still super buds. Back in the day, I really didn't think about who he might have looked like, but these days, he bears an uncanny resemblance to one Jim Carrey. It's so uncanny, in fact, that people have asked to have their picture taken with him. I even have a picture of my friend making this exact expression; maybe I can sell it...
Another ex of mine used to remind me of some random actor I could never remember the name of, until this guy came along...
Julian McMahon - as his character from Nip/Tuck, anyway - really is the spitting image of that ex, personality and all. Scary, I know - but he really knows how to work the ladies. I just went to a Pixies show with him and he had some tales about young co-eds and bathroom stalls. Ick. He's always entertaining, that guy.
Then there was Indie Rock Boy. It was the early 90's, we worked at a community radio station, and were ragin' full-on indie kids. He had kinda shaggy hair and glasses on occasion, and we wore flannel. Oh yea, and he was in a band. Lead singer, guitar, wrote the songs - the works. At the time, he really looked like indie demi-god, Lou Barlow.
In fact, after we broke up, I found this very cute picture of Lou singing in a record store or something with a poster of Frank Sinatra crooning as a backdrop, and I cut it out and hung it on the fridge. People made all sorts of "Um... Mo.. you really should take this picture of So & So down... it's over." Oops.
Then there was the guy that was always told looked like David Duchovny. Being a huge X-Files fan, I could appreciate this and kinda see it, but had to disagree. He looked way too much like Ken Andrews of Failure.
But very few people seem to know who Ken Andrews is, so I just let people keep comparing him to David Duchovny.
Then there was a brief liaison with a moody painter whom a couple of my friends compared to Montgomery Clift. Oooh, how I love gay 50's icons! And they weren't too far off.
And last, but not least, another guitar player. When I tell stories about this guy to others, I refer to him as "my Diego Luna ex-boyfriend." (Everyone in my lexicon has some sort of qualifying statement - "my friend with the cars," "my friend who cooks," "my friend with the rabbits" etc.) And this ex happens to work at the record store still (romantic entanglements are also part of the story which will eventually wind up in the movie), so while we were plotting the film version of our lives - I threw that out there. "Duuuuude - don't you think Diego Luna should totally play him?" "Genius! That is so spot on!"
The game continues... who do you look like?
Saturday, November 20, 2004
H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
Thursday, November 18, 2004
One in Four Californians Consider Moving
By JIM WASSERMAN, Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A fourth of all Californians are thinking about moving — either out of state or just to another town — to bring down their housing costs, a new survey shows.
High rents and rising home prices have residents, particularly younger ones, rethinking the value of the mountain views and ocean shores they say they treasure. Of the respondents under 35, for example, nearly half say they might relocate to somewhere cheaper.
One thing you will find while living in California is that most residents aren't from here originally. Especially if you are in LA or San Francisco. The USA is a melting pot of many different countries (or so we like to say), and California represents many different countries AND states.
I was born and raised here in California, as was my father and his father as well. That's a bit strange for this state, but I know quite a few folks who go back many generations in this state. I met a guy whose family dates back to the pre-state ranchero days, and my cousins are native Americans who have major claim on the territory.
I grew up in a town called Encinitas in north San Diego county, a mile from the ocean. Our town's nickname is "The Flower Capital of the World," which I think either originated with or was furthered by the fact that a hell of alot of this country's pointsettias are grown there. All along El Camino Real, there were fields and fields of flowers - very colorful and vibrant open spaces. Now that long stretch of road is full of mini malls and condo developments. Welcome to California.
You can still find open space here and there, but living near a city? Forget it. When it gets really crowded, we Cali-kids joke around about the next earthquake since that inevitably chases some people out.
And, keep in mind that the study referenced above says that one in four folks only consider moving. I'm not sure how many actually do... Well, more friends for me, I guess!
Monday, November 15, 2004
HOWEVER... a show started up recently that I knew I'd have to catch. Bravo's Long Way Round. This is a reality show about two guys who decide to hop onto their motorcycles and ride around the world, starting in London and ending in New York City.
They went some 20,000 miles, crossing through France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada before hitting the Big Apple. These two lunatics are actors Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor.
I Heart Ewan McGregor.
Anyway, these guys took their bikes and cameras (a small truck of two or three more guys followed them to help document the journey) across some insanely inhospitable terrain, through beautiful villages, down canyons, into media traps... and that's only been the first couple episodes. Maybe this is boring to some of you who don't lust after Ewan like I do (and even my lust wanes as his beard grows on the program), but it is as close as I'm going to get to actually traveling this world for a few more years. Granted, when I travel, I try to avoid eating baked goat head or camping alongside wild camels, but that's just me. The trip, despite the tiny support crew, is pretty bare bones, rugged, and macho, to be honest. It takes a certain kind of person to do this sort of thing.
One of my dearest friends is one of these guys. Not actually on the show, but a former motorcycle boy who could just ride and ride and ride... I overcame my fear of riding with this guy. Pretty soon, I had my own helmet and boots and was nearly scraping the pavement with the best of them. Well, I think I did pretty good as a passenger, anyway.
But my friend was very serious about his riding. He was very safe, and carefully chose his routes so that we would see some amazing things. Even just in the not-so-wild Bay Area. We were wandering a back road one time and encountered a huge black bull standing in the middle of the road. It wouldn't budge. It was twice the size of us on our bike, and we wound up carefully inching our way around it as it sort of just zoned out on the street. I know that's not as exotic as a camel, but come on - we're talking Marin county here.
Currently, this same friend is riding his bicycle up and down the West Coast. Last summer, he rode across the entire United States on the same bicycle, camping out at farms and by the side of the road or wherever was going to work out that night. I was stunned after he crossed the Rockies, which was not very dangerous at all since the tourists on the road were cruising to take in the scenery. I remember him sending me a postcard which said: "There is a special place in hell for truckers." On one occasion, his arrival in a small town prompted the local press to ask if they could write a story about his journey. Because people just don't ride their bikes any further than the park or something.
His current tour has taken him from the Bay Area to Canada, and then he flipped around and came here to LA, riding on or alongside freeways much of the way down. He rolled into my driveway with a funny hat on, a bandana around his neck, gloves and a smile, having really enjoyed the trek through LA (his hometown). And he rode off in much the same manner.
So, of course, I thought of this friend when watching Long Way Round. Watching how these men are a curiosity to the people they met, not just because they are not native to the area, or even the fact that they are somewhat well established actors, but because they are RIDING THEIR MOTORCYCLES AROUND THE WORLD. And watching their very basic existence, pared down to keeping both body and machine in good shape and getting through each day, while encountering all sorts of humanity, made me a bit jealous of my friend's adventure, because I don't have the stamina to do something quite that untethered.
And then there was the fact that they also wore funny hats and a bandana around their necks...
Friday, November 12, 2004
Get back at red America -- with kinky sex, pretentious French movies and a hasty divorce.
By Rebecca Traister
Nov. 11, 2004
OK, it's worse than we thought. It's not just post-election blues. It's full-on, why-am-I-even-here depression. Who knew that last week's 48-hour cycle of hope, premature celebration and crushing defeat would have aftershocks that reverberated so far?
At first it was just exhaustion and the damaging psychological reversals of Tuesday's demoralizing polling-results debacle. We were left sore and nauseated, as if we'd taken a baseball bat to the belly. But it didn't get better after a good night's sleep. Next came rage -- at friends, family, entire states, individuals we've never met. If I could have burned Rudy Giuliani in effigy, I would have. This blinding, electric fury was at least an embrace of something vivid and alive, before the inevitable turn to existential despair. It wasn't about politics anymore. It was about life: There is no hope, no belief. Everyone and everything lets you down. There's been crying -- so much crying. At work and on the street and on subway platforms and at my friend's 30th birthday party on Saturday night at a swank private club. Just little rivulets of tears falling down the faces of people I don't know to be easy weepers. So common that no one even remarks on it anymore.
So yeah, it all sucks, elementally. We lost. We don't have anything to look forward to. We have been defeated, by our own country, by ourselves. We gave everything we had, just like our parents told us to do, and it wasn't enough. The Enlightenment is being rolled back before our eyes. We can't get a firm enough grip to hold it in place. We're dying. We're all going to die ...
So the question is: How do we pull ourselves out of this tailspin? How do we keep ourselves from the rabbit hole of despair and paralysis that will eventually smother us? How do we get ourselves out of bed in the morning?
There have been lots of suggestions already -- "Go see 'Ocean's 12'!" "Join the ACLU!" "Volunteer!" -- that are all very well and good. Yes, yes, yes, by all means, join the ACLU. But what about bringing back the pleasure? We -- whether we are in red states or blue -- need joy, ecstasy, or at least distraction, to keep us off the ledge and maybe even irritate the evangelicals at the same time. Below are some ideas for how we -- the losers, the sinners -- can throw off our comforters and scramble back to the land of the living, reclaiming whatever remains of our country, our day, our way of life -- before we're all rounded up and shot.
1) Have extremely deviant sex. Sadly, unlike the blackout, or the aftermath of Sept. 11, the post-election period doesn't seem to be bringing us much post-election sex. Where the fear and recovery from those events were about unity and embracing life, starting anew, and at the very least, getting lucky, post-election depression has thrown a soggy blanket over our libidos. We feel isolated and alienated from each other, defeated. Our eagerness to bring new life into this world has abated, and with it, the confidence that should we accidentally bring new life into this world, we might not be able to get rid of it.
But we have got to get over that. Holing up alone and abstaining from nooky is letting the terrorists -- and the abstinence advocates -- win! Plus, what better way to annoy the family values brigade than having really kinky sex. Make like Toni Bentley and celebrate your right to sodomy, now legal in all 50 states, though, let's be honest, probably not for long! Take a page from Paris Hilton's book and flip on a camera. Distribute it on the Internet, tell your friends. Feel free to dress as your favorite Bush twin.
2) Get a divorce. No, seriously. Even if you don't need one. It's a way to show your solidarity with your homo brethren, who in 11 states are about to lose whatever partnership benefits -- you know, like health insurance -- they've managed to scrape together for themselves. Besides, if you're straight, you can live safe in the knowledge that you can always remarry -- again and again, to as many different straight people of the opposite sex as you desire -- later. Meanwhile, if you and your partner are still getting it on, you'll be upping the rates of sex outside of marriage.
3) Read a book. And when you're done with it, donate it to your local public school. Start with "The Origin of Species" and move on through some other tomes sure to expand the minds -- if not the church-sanctioned morality -- of the young. Yeah yeah, make sure to include the standard baddies: Margaret Sanger's "Family Limitations," "Huck Finn" and "Go Ask Alice." But look to some of the lesser knowns for more nuanced inspiration: Pick up Maurice Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen," where Mickey shows his willy, and Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," which covers the poet's sorrow over seeing his nation divided and gay sex! Reread the whole Judy Blume canon (masturbation, sex, periods, erections, birth control, religious questioning, yadda yadda yadda) and then box it up and ship it off to a sixth grade class. You can scare yourself silly all over again by reading Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale" and then make a gift of it to the local junior high. If you still need inspiration, take a gander at one of the banned books lists online. I don't know what "Daddy's Roommate" by Michael Willhoite is, but it sounds like something my alma mater in Abington, Pa., could use a few more copies of.
But I don't mean to suggest that you have to be all pious or crunchy. Go with your gut, pick out what feels good, work your way deep into a book -- any book -- and forget the rest of world. Chances are, if you're enjoying it, it's probably pissing someone off. Even Bridget Jones has anal sex. And never forget to laugh: I recommend Woody Allen's "Without Feathers." I have no idea if it's ever been banned, but I can't be the only person whose 10th grade universe expanded -- hilariously -- when she picked it up for the first time. And come on: The man married his life partner's Asian daughter and spends time playing the saxophone in Paris! Yay Woody Allen!
4) Go to the movies. The cinema has taken our minds off of both World Wars, the Depression, Vietnam and Watergate. But please, even though it's really funny and great, don't go see "The Incredibles"! Or Shark Tale. Or anything else that is going to beam a dollar-studded message to the studios that the way to make a buck is to continue releasing good clean family fun. Slap down money for exorbitantly priced tickets to the transgressive fare currently getting beaten to a pulp at cineplexes: John Waters' "A Dirty Shame" (tag line: "threatening the very limits of common decency") or the totally offensive "Team America," or that Nicole Kidman flick where she takes a bath with a 10-year-old. Celebrate deviance, grotesqueries, cannibalism -- if you can find it in the multiplex. And you probably can't.
But you could rent "Sweeney Todd," or 2000's "Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale." I bet you think you can make yourself feel like you're doing something by renting or buying the "Fahrenheit 9/11" DVD. Please. It may lead you down the path of righteousness, but trust me, it's only going to make you cry more, remembering how you thought it was going to make a difference. And who needs more goddamn crying? Treat yourself right -- and remind yourself that the holidays are right around the corner -- by renting last year's "Bad Santa" with Billy Bob Thornton. When a kid asks Thornton's department store Santa, "Do you and Mrs. Santa have kids?" he replies, "No, thank the fuck Christ." And while nailing someone in the dressing rooms, Santa screams this sweet nothing: "Oh yeah, baby, you won't be able to shit right for a week!" Happy holidays!
5. Give in to the zeitgeist and dumb down. Stop with the Atlantic and NPR and Air America already. They'll still be there when you get back. Just take a couple of days and download images of naked B-list celebrities. We'll help you cheat a little with this video of Tara Reid's dress falling down. You're on your own from there.
6. Start writing your novel, or song, or splattering your canvases with paint. As everyone I know in the entertainment industry keeps telling each other, reassuringly, desperately, sadly: "Bad politics makes good art. Bad politics makes good art. Bad politics makes good art." Whatever. Just don't expect to get any money or anything in return. By next year, NEA reins should be safely in the hands of some of the more "creative" Halliburton execs.
7. Take a walk. Go hiking. Take some pictures of what's left of America's natural landscape. Take several. No one needs to explain why this is important.
8. Forget your big plans to boycott red states: We don't need to become condescending jerks so consumed by our own sense of what's right that we leave the economies of hardworking, thinking people in the middle of the country hanging in the breeze. All we need to do is boycott Wal-Mart.
9. Get loaded. Quit drinking? Start again. Quit smoking? Congratu-fucking-lations. Light up. It's going to be a long, strange, ugly four years. Nicotine helps.
10. We don't know how to say this, but: Exercise your choice now, girls, while the exercising's good.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I just read your Oh Baby posting and thought I'd share a scary story with you.
On Saturday, my boyfriend and I were walking up to College Avenue and noticed a large poster on a telephone pole outside our house. It had a photo and published the name, street address and phone number of a ob/gyn who does abortions. It said "Your neighbor Shelley S. is a Lesbian abortionist!" with skull and crossbone symbols. I felt nauseous and was so, so outraged. Then we noticed little rolled up "newspapers," thrown in every single driveway, that turned out to be pro-life propaganda bullshit with a smaller copy of the poster in there.
Did I magically wake up in Alabama, or what?!
My boyfriend and I ripped down the posters and collected all the propaganda from peoples' driveways for 3 blocks around our house. I felt like crying, it was so depressing. My sister told me later that she'd read an article recently about Dr. S. talking about how so few people will perform abortions in Kansas that Dr. S. flies there once a month to work in a clinic; I mean "abortion mill". (That's the term the poster used).
I'm re-entertaining the idea of moving to Canada.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Or, maybe they will fill it out, and as they hand you your morning-after pill yell "Whore!" while casting stones. Something like that.
Ummm... what century is it again?
Friday, November 05, 2004
Last night I attended the AFI Film Festival's opening night party. Because I was DJing the event. Besides free food and booze and celebrity spotting, I got to see the new Kevin Spacey flick, "Beyond the Sea." Well, I only saw about 45 minutes of it due to a seating snafu. The AFI kids gave out so many passes to the screening to both smarmy and non smarmy types, that an overflow theatre had to be set up for those who were not necessarily A-listers.
It's nice to be reminded of what is disgusting about LA from time to time, and this was a great place to do it. After not finding my seat, I stood at the edge of the Arclight Theatre's infamous Cinerama Dome waiting for someone to tell me where to go next. I did this for about a 1/2 hour, with a bag of CDs slung over one shoulder, a record box, a cup of soda and a tub of popcorn I could only eat lizard style. I watched the crowd come and go, dressed in the latest Stella McCartney or whatever, earpieces dangling from their perfecty similiar hairdos, complaining about the 12 minute wait outside. Sometimes someone would complain about not having a seat: "I mean, this is terrible. I had to wait outside in the cold (62 degrees) and I've been standing here for 5 minutes. Don't you guys know how to organize? Jesus Christ!"
At this stage, I only spotted a couple star types. The teeny tiny Giovanni Ribisi was my first sighting, fumbling for a seat. The dude from Smallville was there, looking very scruffy - ie HOT. He was working the unshaven rock star thing. And it was working.
And then Udo Kier showed up with his lady friend. I mean, his fag hag. They were denied seats too. Udo was a little taken aback: "But vee vere supposed to come. Vee shouldn't haf to stind here, did sey book too many peee-ple?" Overall, he wasn't being a bitch about it, just babbling. As he talked to the AFI woman, he was looking over at me (which was very unsettling - I mean, Udo is uber-creepy), so I just nodded along to what the lady was saying to him. No, I shook my head, there are no more seats. Yes, I nodded, it's terrible. I think I made a face at him too.
Finally, I asked this woman if I could just go to the overflow theatre I'd been hearing about, and was on my way. About an hour after the alleged start time, Kevin Spacey bounded into our little theatre with a microphone and a wave and said, "Hello, I'm Kevin Spacey. Thank you so much for waiting - it means a lot to me that you're here. So this is the overflow? Wow - at that other theatre, everyone seems so... overdressed." He then introduced his labor of love, told us all that it was filmed in Berlin (posing as LA) and that when it was over, we would love and respect Bobby Darin as much as he did. And then he was gone.
Like I said, I only got to see about 45 minutes of "Beyond the Sea." I had to move on to the afterparty and setup, but what I saw was fun. Not Oscar buzz, but fun. Anyone wanting to see this movie: be warned. It's a musical. And I mean we've got Kevin singin', dancin' and hammin' up a storm. It's a movie within a movie, and that movie happens to involve alot of spontaneous group dance numbers.
Oh yea, and Kevin Spacey is not gay.
The party at the Fonda theatre afterwards was more fun than I thought it would be. I DJed some swing and lounge numbers before the big band started and while the crowd was arriving. The band played a long time, and we were free to wander.
I know that you want to know who was at the shindig. Kevin Spacey, of course, and his beard.... Um, I mean, mom. Kate Bosworth and her boyfriend, Orlando Bloom. Sofia Coppola with a little perm. (Sorry I kept pointing at you, Sofia.) Udo & Smallville dude made it, and the real Dude - my pal Jeff Dowd. I think there were some other people too, but I'm tired and can't remember.
The drinks were good. Bartenders cute. Bonus.
There were no gift bags. In the words of Uncle Grambo... NO BUZZ.
As we wrapped up the night, my friend told me that I was being toasted by the crowd below - including Mr. Spacey. I didn't see it, but I'll believe it.
We were given a CD by sponsor Audi on the way out. It was German style electronica (surprise!) which didn't make us want to buy an Audi. I think they made it for Udo, actually. To make up for not having a seat for him, you know.
Monday, November 01, 2004
1. one to deny that a lightbulb needs to be changed,
2. one to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the lightbulb needs to be changed,
3. one to blame Clinton for burning out the lightbulb,
4. one to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the lightbulb or for darkness,
5. one to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new lightbulb,
6. one to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner "Lightbulb Change Accomplished",
7. one administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally "in the dark",
8. one to viciously smear #7,
9. one surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along,
10. and finally one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a lightbulb and screwing the country.
Please remember to vote tomorrow!
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Friday, October 29, 2004
Thursday, October 28, 2004
I don't think this is actually being sold to anyone - the company I work for administers the publishing for the Gibbs and we sometimes pitch their stuff to movies and TV. People want to use "Stayin' Alive" all the time. This collection was to send out to our clients to remind them of the vastness (and early undisconess) of the Gibbs catalog.
If I were a true indie snob, I would tell you that the disco part sucks, and the collection's strength lies in the early pretty pop days of the Bee Gees. When they were doing stuff that was more noted for vocal harmonies and all the kids who still wear straight-legged pants and ride scooters will tell you about. The liner notes in this thing are written by Brian Wilson and George Martin for chrissakes - those guys know pop.
But I'm not a true indie snob, and I love the disco.
And you know what else I love about these CDs? The third disc features little brother Andy, a boy who was hunky enough for me to have a crush on but also had enough hair on his chest to scare me into worshipping Shaun Cassidy instead. I suspect Andy was the first of my many Australian crushes. This third disc also has songs by the Gibbs performed by others, which leads you in to the fiery hell of Babs "Mecha" Streisand and Kenny Rogers and even (gulp!) Celine Dion. Shudder.
I listened to this all the way home. Really enjoyed "You Should Be Dancing" (c'mon, it's kind of a scary dance number) and "More Than A Woman." However, it was Andy that really had me rocking in the car. I love "Shadow Dancing!" My worn out 45 can attest to that. "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" - also extremely enjoyable.
There. I've confessed. I know now that you think less of me, so I'll tell this: That same evening, I went to see the Secret Machines/ Interpol show, then afterwards zipped down the street to catch Greg Dulli & the Twilight Singers. Tell you more about that later, but great shows.
I leave you to ponder the following: Andy Gibb & Heath Ledger. Both from Australia. Did mom or dad fool around? Is there something in the water? Heath Ledger - the lost Gibb brother? You tell me...
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
John Peel, legendary Radio 1 and Radio 4 presenter, has died suddenly on holiday in Peru. For more info, check here.
I have always highly respected John Peel and his always interesting and intriguing selections. His "session" recordings were great and he was presented challenging music to his audience, and genuinely loved it. One of the best DJs ever. His death is a great loss to the music industry, as there were few willing to take a chance on new, innovative, artists.
(Nic Harcourt WISHES he could be John Peel.)
Monday, October 25, 2004
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
After their sad, rainy day rendition, Greg mentioned that this song had been left off the domestic release of her album, so you really weren't gonna hear it ever. I was floored. Greg had introduced me to her Quixotic CD last summer, and that song in particular is a stand out - really beautiful stuff. But leave it to the US to fuck things up, right? The domestic version of the album, Anything, has a sexed up cover and a rearranged song list excluding three great tracks. (For those of you in the dark on Martina Topley-Bird, she sang most famously on the Tricky albums, and I'd highly recommend that you pick up the UK edition of her beautifully sexy nighttime music.)
He talked about his friendship with Elliott Smith and baseball, and then the TS crew did a pretty version of My Bloody Valentine's "When You Sleep" seguewaying into "The Rose." (Greg is the master at covering what you didn't think could be covered.) They are playing here in LA next Wednesday the 27th at the lovely El Rey - and Greg knows how to put on a show, believe me. Go.
My friend Scott used to play bass with Greg in the Twilight Singers, and is currently pursuing all sorts of things. (He used to also play with Camp Freddy and Jane's Addiction and other bands I can't even think of now.) He's been doing some kick ass photography, and one of his shots is of Greg with the infamous Clyde - his cat. Clyde is a scraggly black beast who does what he wants when he wants, and likes the ladies. Uh, he's alot like his owner. Greg is actually allergic to cats, but one day Clyde walked into his life, and Greg didn't sneeze, and it's been true love ever since. Least that's what Greg told me.
(Greg and Clyde; photo by Scott Ford @ Mediacandy)
Well, I had a cat that looked almost exactly like Clyde. Her name was Chloe, and she was pretty bad ass. She was a cranky old lady cat by the time she came to my life, with a mysterious past and a torn ear and a freckle in her eye (which I have too). She pretty much always let you know what was up. Very cool cat. You decide if they were seperated at birth:
Chloe. Kick ass.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Still wondering what happened, really. This mural is up the street from my house, and there have been candles burning and flowers left and graffiti scrawled (a la Jim Morrisson's grave) for the last year.
For news of other tributes, check here.
Thanks for the tunes.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Last Friday, Duran Duran were autographing their new CD at a Virgin Megastore in West Hollywood. A friend of mine flew down from San Francisco to be there, armed with the new CD, the new CD/DVD pack, the new album (yes, the vinyl), her book of photography by Nick Rhodes, and her Duran Duran board game (I also own the Duran Duran board game). And she commented on the fanatics in attendance.
There were two different wristbands distributed. One was "guaranteed" and the other was a standby one. 500 of the "guaranteed" ones were distributed with 250 of them going out when they did a midnight onsale 3 days prior. People started camping out at 6am the morning of the onsale just to buy the cd.
After I got the wristband I went outside and joined the lineup. First
person in line arrived on Thursday at 4:45pm. The signing wasn't until
Friday at 7pm.
Security was quickly hastening everybody along the table to get out rather quickly. Very little time was allowed to make small talk or smile, nod or in the case of one woman... cry. No, that was not me. I heard one woman had to pulled aside and forced to sit down because she was so nervous that she was trembling and worried the event staff. That wasn't me either.
So next up: I ditched work today to go to a taping of the Ellen DeGeneres show. She wins Emmys and stuff, I guess... bigger than Oprah, perhaps? Regardless, it was my first talk show taping and it was exhausting. And I was there because the musical guest was - you got it - Duran Duran. Susan Sarandon and Dermot Mulroney were also there, but whatever. Academy award winner? Just give me John Taylor!
Because I'm a lucky girl, a friend of a friend worked on the show (she was also the drummer for Luscious Jackson) and got us on the VIP list. This meant we got to sit inside while it was raining outside. Non special people waited under a tarp. I felt kinda bad, till Duran Duran started soundchecking behind the wall that was keeping us from seeing the soundstage. "Sunrise" and "Hungry Like the Wolf." Occasional comments like Simon saying, "Oh, is that me? Sounds awful." Priceless.
Eventually we were seated. Most live show tapings have a comedian come on before hand to get you warmed up, and the Ellen show also had dancing. You were expected to get up out of your seat and dance like a maniac for however long it took to get the show started. It was all booty jam 80's stuff, which I'm not super into. The writer/comedian/VH1 commentator, Greg Fitzsimmons, threatened to move anyone not dancing to the back of the seating area, so my friends and I stood up and re-enacted the song that was spinning, "Copacabana." People were amused by this. We did not get moved.
(John Taylor and my friend who took me to the taping... except about 20 years ago. Dig the hair!)
The show is taped in real time, and you are cued to yell and scream and clap constantly. Between takes, you are forced to dance again. I was wiped out about 15 minutes into it, but held on to see my boys.
When they performed, they were maybe 20 feet away. It was awesome. They looked great. Well, actually, I think John's hair is thinning and he's sporting a "oops-got-my-finger-in-an-electrical-socket" look. Simon, however, looked trim and sexy - and I'm not even a Simon girl! Roger looked like my neighbor, but it was nice to see him after all those years away.
(Notice John has gone back to hats... but not GOOD hats... sigh...)
After their first song, the sixty something lady next to us turned to my friend and said, "I don't understand why they didn't put us in the front. My daughter has loved this band since 1981! We flew all the way from South Carolina for this!" Wow - I just lied to my boss about a dental appointment. Then after the second song, a girl in front of us started bawling. Like shaking and crying. One of her friends turned to us and said, "We flew her here from Florida. She loves Duran Duran and has never seen them, and she's dying of cancer." Jesus! I felt like a poseur amongst these women. I mean, just because I listen and own most of the music and had lots of posters up and see them live all the time, regardless of quality... for me - it's always been fun. For them, it's a part of waking up and breathing and stuff. Damn.
And afterwards, Ellen gave everybody a copy of her new book and the new Duran Duran CD. Which was nice, because I was waiting for the promo copies to start flooding the used bin before I got one. See? I love them, but I'm like that.
Oprah gave everyone a car at her show... you listening, Ellen? I guess the show airs Thursday the 21st; I'll be the girl dancing with two cute gay boys and not wearing hot pink with acid wash.