Sunday, July 31, 2005

Hear Me Roar

In that movie Parenthood, Keanu Reeves' character gets to say something really profound, like (I'm totally paraphrasing this) "You know they make people take a test to get a driver's license, but they let anybody become a parent."

With that in mind, here's my political preaching for the day:

On July 25, a U.S. House of Representatives committee held a hearing on whether pharmacies should be allowed to refuse to fill women’s prescriptions. Anti-choice Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told a witness, who had been denied birth control and emergency contraception by her pharmacist, that she had no “right” to her prescriptions - she only believed she did. Anti-choice Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) told a witness whose prescription had also been rejected by a hostile pharmacist, that her “minor inconvenience” – that is, risking an unintended pregnancy – was nothing compared to the “conscience” of a pharmacist.

As many as 20 states officially protect pharmacists like Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life, who says she’d lecture women customers to get off the pill. Other states are pursuing an even more aggressive strategy. Just last month Wisconsin passed a bill to block state universities from filling birth control prescriptions.

Please tell your Member of Congress that you expect him or her to stand up for women's access to birth control - not right-wing pharmacies that oppose birth control.

Just click on this link to learn more and take action.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

In the Eye of the Beholder

Okay, here's a selection of bad album art. I know I've seen worse. Mostly, though, I want someone to find me this record... please?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Take This Job and...

I work for a Corporation. This Corporation has gone through lots of Hard Times, Fiscal Losses, Downsizing, and, eventually, was Sold.

Somehow, I kept my job. I was middlebrow enough to not get tossed out on my ass. Lots of people I know lost their jobs. After the Sale went through about a year ago, there was a meeting with the entire company. The CEO said to us, "Well, the sale has gone through, and now I just need you all to go back to your desks and wait for a call from Human Resources. By noon today (it was 9am), about a third of you will be gone. I'm sorry."

Welcome to the jungle, indeed.

Today was the farewell party for that particular CEO. It seems that he was also asked to go, and he probably knew about it for some time before the rest of the Corporation was told, but we plebians will never really know for sure. He was a nice enough guy, a total wheel in the business, and had to do some really shitty things while in charge. So I was only too happy to have free booze and caviar on his behalf at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

I have one story about this guy that I will share... I'm pretty easy to get laughing, and he figured it out very quickly. He'd always wander past my desk and say silly things and get me giggling. This made him happy. A little while back, I had some oral surgery, which made my face swell up like a balloon. While the swelling was going down, I got a black eye and other assorted bruises from both the surgery and the whole swelling business. I looked like I'd been hit by a truck. I did my best to cover it up... Some extra makeup here and there, shaggier hair, wearing my eyeglasses instead of contacts... But if you got close enough, you could see it. I also couldn't laugh or smile for almost 2 weeks (and I laugh and smile a lot) because my stitches would bust or I'd bleed or something. Sexy.

The CEO wandered up to me during this period (I had to be at work, sadly) and started cracking a joke. I covered my mouth and held out a hand: "No! You can't talk to me." He looked at me curiously, "Why not?" "Because you'll make me laugh and I can't laugh." Then he took a good look and said, "Oh my, what happened? Are you ok?" I replied, "Well, I was DJing at my friend's bar over the weekend, and I played something a customer didn't like and we sort of got into it. But you should see the other guy." He suddenly became very concerned. "Wow, that's too bad... What did you play?"

Then I started to laugh (painfully) and I said, "You don't believe me, do you?" His eyes got big and he said, "What? Well, you're a tough girl..." "Oh my God, I had oral surgery!" He slapped me on the shoulder and smiled real big. "Yea, but I bet you could still take him."

Good luck, buddy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You, the Night & the Music

A couple Saturdays ago, me and the BFF went out for a little night on the town. This night involved booty shaking and alleged prayer circles, but we didn't actually see either.

First off, we tried to hit the MOCA. I say tried, because we didn't actually get into the place, but we hung around outside for a while. It was the opening night party for the Basquiat retrospective (which will be there through October) and it was a madhouse of beautiful people. Grandmaster Flash was DJing in the plaza in front of the museum, and there was a line of people with passes (like us) going down the street for blocks. Many, many blocks. We stood in line and checked out the crowd. There were clubby people, artsy people, hipster kids, yuppies... The whole shebang. Everyone looked a little snooty, but mostly nice. I guess we must have looked that way, too.

After about a half hour, the line had moved about a block. we still had 4 to go, and a concert to get too, so we decided to leave. Besides, we could already hear the 80's hoochie jams Grandmaster Flash was spinning, and as much as a retro delight as it may have been for some, it was mainly a playlist of songs that I had to be drunk in Tijuana to dance to they first time they came around anyway. In other words, not a big deal that we left.

Off to the sanctuary of the El Rey theatre to see Sufjan Stevens.

I've been pronouncing his name "Suf- Jan," but I guess it's actually "Suf-E-Yan," so I felt a bit like a dork. I like him ok, my BFF loves him and thinks he's hunky. (He is.) We had been forewarned that he is such a spiritual type, that there was always potential for prayer circles to bust out during his shows, and I secretly prayed for such a thing to happen. I haven't been around a prayer circle since I was at 6th grade camp back in Catholic school. Would anyone sing "Kumbayah?" I hoped so. That would be something! But it didn't happen, and instead we tried to spot all the closeted gay guys in the crowd, and count how many people were proudly wearing state shirts (since this was the Come On, Feel the Illinoize tour). I think we counted about 6, and one of them said "Brooklyn," but we included it anyway.

How was the show? It was very sweet. The band was tight, the harmonies were beautiful, and the "cheers" they came up with for each state were pretty great. Don't expect a playlist from me, as I don't own anything by the guy. I can tell you he did the creepy serial killer song. He did the zombie song also. It was a little too precious for my taste, like a cross between Belle & Sebastian and Iron & Wine... And I'll pick Iron & Wine every time. It was packed, and we saw no prayer circles.

Maybe next time. Or maybe everyone was praying at the MOCA. Prayin' on the dance floor, baby!

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Horses Are On the Track

Guess what... It's racing season! In Del Mar!

I love bettin' the ponies. Actually, I don't usually put any money down, I just tell people who I think looks good. And by that, I mean which horses are the prettiest.

I've been going to Del Mar since I was about 10 years old. The track was famously built because Bing Crosby wanted a place near his home in Rancho Sante Fe to race horses. Well, that's not completely true, but it sounds good, doesn't it? It opened in 1937, and Bing was one of the original founders of the track. It's a legendary place... All sorts of famous people hang out there, but most importantly, famous horses (like that one they made the movie about) raced there and the legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker called it home.

In high school, we used to roll in after a day at the beach (the track's nicknames are "Where the Turf Meets the Surf" and "Heaven By the Pacific") and catch the last couple races for free because they stop charging entry after a certain time. We'd place tiny little bets and try to get someone to buy us a margarita... good times.

But I always loved looking at the horses, and the sound of the announcing trumpet, and of course, the anouncer: "Annnnnnnd, away they go!" He had variations on that theme, but not too many. Best of all, there is a theme song to this track, written and recorded by Bing himself and played at the opening of each race day, 15 minutes before post time. (Hear it here.)

In the Bay area, I lived walking distance from Golden Gate Fields, which was also a fun place to take the friends on the weekends. LA has the beautiful Santa Anita Racetrack (which is what think inspired Bing to push for the lovely little course in Del Mar)and it's always a stunning place to bet. But my heart will alays be with Del Mar. And my money too.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Kick in the Eye

The letter T? TONES ON TAIL.

How sexy was this band? Pretty sexy. It was a Bauhaus side project for Daniel Ash and Kevin Askins with a Bauhaus roadie named Glenn Campling, that went full time when Bauhaus broke up. It didn't last all that long, as Daniel got annoyed with the roadie, couldn't get Peter Murphy back into the band, but got David J back and started that whole Love & Rockets thing. They only released one real album and a smattering of singles and EPs, but every time you hear one of their songs... it registers. Was there such a thing as funky goth before them? Bauhaus dabbled in it, but Ash took it further with Tones on Tail, and also included beautiful atmospheric instrumental numbers that anyone could use to dream their days away once the dancing was over. You know "Go!" from the clubs (and car commercials) with it's distinctive "ya-ya's" and tinkly percussion, but you've probably also heard the lovely midnight garden sounds of "You, the Night & the Music" or the "peppy" goth goodness of "Ok, This Is The Pops."

If you like Love & Rockets and didn't know about Tones On Tail, go get the Everything comp as it has, well, everything. Then turn out the lights.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mercury Rising

Those Brits are getting ready to give out awards again... Do we have any well-publicized national award for an album that has this interesting a selection, like, ever? Nominees for this year's Mercury Prize include Kaiser Chiefs (the bookies' favorite, evidently), Seth Lakeman, M.I.A., Antony and the Johnsons, Bloc Party, The Go! Team, Hard-Fi, K.T. Tunstall, Coldplay (huh?), the Magic Numbers, Maximo Park and Polar Bear.

I like.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Thanks, Jon

This is what I do for a living... Keep people from doing what I'm about to do. Steal someone else's shit.

Friday, July 8, 2005 (SF Chronicle)

My colleague just to the right, Leah Garchik, mentioned a few days ago that, in the new movie "Bewitched," the Transamerica Pyramid had been airbrushed out of the San Francisco skyline because the building is a registered trademark, and the filmmakers either could not or did not secure the rights to display its image.

Well, that seems silly. I mean, there it is, big as sin and taller than Coit Tower. Do we have to pay Transamerica every time we glimpse it? Do I have to pay Transamerica every time I type "Transamerica Pyramid"?

Here's a more relevant question: What are the chances the Transamerica would use its high- priced lawyers to sue a major film studio over a skyline shot? Doesn't matter. Filmmakers are required to carry "errors and omissions" insurance, which guarantees that the distributors and/or theater owners, DVD makers, television networks or whatever will not be liable for infringements of rights. Insurers, who want to cover their butts and have no particular investment in the quality of the film, set high and rigid barriers before they will issue such insurance. Which means everything, everything, has to be cleared. Logo on a baseball cap? Needs clearance. Music playing on the radio? Clearance. Clips from TV shows? Clearance. Did you know that "Happy Birthday" is still under copyright, and the estate of the composers routinely charges $15,000 to $20,000 for one verse? (ed. note... I work for the company that "owns" "Happy Birthday," and I ain't gonna tell you the kinds of rates we charge, but I'll say he ain't too far off...) Ditto "God Bless America," which is owned by the Irving Berlin estate, described by one filmmaker as "notoriously hardbargainers."

This is the golden age of the documentary, with movies about basketball wannabes and spelling bees and misguided war policies and dance contests making a splash at the box office. But it is also the leaden age of the documentary -- documentary producers are saying that rights and permissions accounts for more than 50 percent of their budgets.

We all swim in a media soup. Advertising jingles, slogans, trademarks, popular songs, iconic images; they're part of our lives. From the Pillsbury Doughboy to "Go ahead, make my day" -- it's part of the air we breathe. Documentary filmmakers want to portray society accurately, which means acknowledging the great swirl of sounds and images that surrounds us. But because the world is now run by lawyers and insurance companies, they have to pay dearly to obtain the images that define our culture.

Two authors, Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, have prepared a report for the Center for Social Media, available online at The problems it describes are brain-boggling. For one thing, rights holders are under no obligation to give permission. If one member of the chorus that sang the theme song from "The Jetsons" feels intransigent, too bad. That singer could also be dead, and the owner of her rights unclear, and then also too bad. If you want to use press-pool footage of a battle during the Iraq war, you have to find out who shot it and who broadcast it, and then you have to figure out who bought the company that owns the rights, and then who bought the company that bought the company, and the very large company that has survived the mergers and consolidations can charge whatever it feels like because why not? If it doesn't gets its fee, so what?

And if, say, you make a documentary for television and get the clearances, and then if you want to issue a DVD, that's a whole other set of clearances. And God forbid you should want to release it in a foreign country, because those countries have different laws and you need to cover yourself there too.

And so forth. I used to think grant writing was the worst arts job I knew, but we have a new winner: the rights and permissions obtainer. The irony is that, with the digital revolution, information has become more and more fungible even as the law has become more and more restrictive. The lawyers are fighting on every front -- music downloading, DVD downloading -- and they are winning their battles, but I very much suspect they are losing the war. Which means that, to use the hypothetical question asked way up there, Transamerica might very well take the makers of "Bewitched" to court over unauthorized trademark use because if it failed to vigorously protect its property, it might drift into public domain and then some, I dunno, documentary film company could use it as its logo.

By the way, I do not own this column. I could not read it out loud on a documentary film unless permission was obtained from the Hearst Corp. If you reprint this column without permission in your church bulletin or hogfarmers informational pamphlet (ed. note - or blog?), you might be subject to prosecution. And since I get a cut of any fees paid for reuse of my column, I have a dog in this fight. Wait, I have two dogs in this fight, and they're fighting each other. Rather than using historical photographs, you could just have schoolchildren re-enact the battle of Gettysburg, while an actor paraphrases the words of Shelby Foote.

(Thanks Esme, for sending me my potential lawsuit!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Donde Estan Las Ladrones?

July 20 (the official year is 1810) is Colombian Independence Day. I know this because every Sunday around that time of year, my family would head out to Balboa Park in San Diego for the Colombian Independence Day festival. My mom would teach the Colombian kids traditional dances (cumbias) and they'd put on a show in the International Pavillions - an area of the park carved out to showcase every nation that could afford to pay dues for a little cottage (or shared space) representative of their country. My mom was in the House of Colombia, and the best thing about it was the food. There would be tons of food for sale, all made by various Colombian mothers and grandmothers, like a giant bakesale... except with empanadas and arepas and tamales and platanos and yuca and yummy rice pudding and tres leches flan... Mmmm.

My mom isn't in the House of Colombia anymore - she's really pissed off at her people these days. It's always been a tough country, but now she believes everyone there is a thief, a murderer, a con man. Most of her family lives here in the States now, and she is currently a member of the House of Spain. Her father is Spanish, so she qualifies, and the Spanairds are much more cultured.

However, here in LA, I found a couple of interesting ways to celebrate Colombian Independence Day. The fabulous Scene Bar in Glendale is getting nuts with Vallenato quintet Very Be Careful, along with Shesaydo and DJ's spinning cumbia. Watch the hips swivel.At the Getty Center (for free!) on Saturday the 23rd, you can check out Andrea Echeverri and Aterciopelados, w/ Los Pinguos, Los Super Elegantes, and DJ Dark Alley. Andrea Acheverri was the front person for Aterciopelados, a Colombian sort of electronic goth indie band. Yea, imagine it. It's great. Anyway, solo she's kinda like Cat Power, and at this event you get her solo and back with the band.

It isn't all about Shakira (although that's what I'm listening to right now... where do you think I got the name for this post?).

Monday, July 18, 2005

Follow the Leader...

Ethics Test

Here is a tough ethics test, only one question . . . can you pass?

This test has only has one question, but it's a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally. The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous.

Please scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.

You are in Florida, -- Miami to be specific. There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions.

You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury.

Suddenly you see a man floundering in the water. He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar. You suddenly realize who it is:

It's George W. Bush!

At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him under... forever.

You have two options: you can save the life of G. W. Bush or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the death of one of the world's most powerful men.

So here's the question, and please give an honest answer.................

Would you select high contrast color film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Death to the Pixies

After seeing 6 Pixies shows in a week back in June, I decided that I was through. Did I tell you this? I was done seeing the Pixies. My Deadhead-like Pixies fandom, following them about the state (be it the year 2004 or 1990) was over. Why? Because it was starting to feel dirty to me. At least, last year, they were doing "reunion" shows. I could justify (to myself, anyway) needing to catch them whenever possible, because they were going to disappear again. I had to get as much as possible.

Then they came back onto the tour scene this year. But why? They already did the "reunion" thing, and it wasn't like they were supporting a new album or anything. And that meant money, pure and simple. The whole 2 shows in one night thing? Money. And I was shelling it out. I had a wonderful time, granted, but I had decided. This was it.

A friend said to me, "I don't know, Mo. You seem to really enjoy those shows. Why deny something that makes you happy?" Good point, but I guess maybe I don't want to lose any respect for myself or what I love about the band? I'm not sure. All I know, is that it starts to feel less special the more I'd think about the fact that they are just doing it PURELY for the money.

And then, this news:


Reformed alt-rock legends PIXIES are planning to record their first album in 14 years.

The band'’s frontman Black Francis has confirmed the band, who got back together last year to huge acclaim, are preparing to make their first studio album since 1991'’s "Trompe Le Monde"’.

He told The Sun: "“It's all hugs and kisses, I'm pleased to report."

"We have been discussing recording a new album lately. As happy as we are with the success of the reunion tour, we really want to make a record for the right reasons, whether it is successful commercially or not."

He added: "We would be satisfied if it played like our other records, never chart-topping but always in print."

Since the band got back together they have recorded two songs - "’Bam Thwok" - which was rejected for the ’"Shrek 2"’ soundtrack and then released as a download-only single, and a cover of Warren Zevon'’s "’Ain'’t That Pretty At All"’, which appeared on ’"Enjoy Every Sandwich’," a tribute album to the late singer.

And, in addition to that, Surfer Rosa went gold back in June, with the band receiving their fancy gold albums (which means 500,000 copies sold) at their show in Washington D.C. Very nice indeed.

So I may have to rethink that no-more-Pixies-shows business. But I'll wait for the album and see.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hip Hop Hooray

On the Dax Pierson recovery front... I was just telling a friend tonight that I hadn't heard anything for a while, and then... News! Another benefit show in SF, so check it out:

anticon. presents a TWO-DAY Dax benefit @ Bottom of the Hill Friday, August 5 & Saturday, August 6th in SAN FRANCISCO:

Fri Aug 5
Passage (solo)
DJ 's: odd nosdam, the bomarr monk & sodapop
+ special guests
@ Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th Street (17th @ Missouri)
8:30pm, All Ages, $12 and up

Sat Aug 6
Bat Rays (2/3 of Restiform Bodies)
DJ 's: odd nosdam & sodapop
+ special guests
@ Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th Street (17th @ Missouri)
8:30pm, All Ages, $12 and up

please go to Ticketweb to purchase tickets. These shows will most likely sell out.

Also, Dax is looking to come home! If you live in the Bay Area and know of any housing that would work for an amazing person in a wheelchair, get in touch with Dax. He is someone with a special kind of something that has touched many people all over the world, and it's time to give some of that back to him. Go here for more info.

Peace out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Sounds of Summer

"Troop Beverly Hills 2: Summer In Silverlake."

Want to know more? Yes!! (So click here already!) I laughed, I cried, I cracked open a PBR. Truly genius.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


My good friend Kitty calls San Francisco "Friskytown." You can never refer to it as "Frisco" to anyone who lives in the Bay Area; that is completely sacrilegious. You can call it "SF," or even "San Fran," but don't ever call it "Frisco."

Most people who live in the Bay Area refer to it as The City. "Are you going to he City tonight?" "Oh, there's a great show in The City." "I'm having lunch in The City." Stuff like that. Kitty was born and raised in Oakland, in the East Bay (where I also lived for about 15 years) and she is probably one of the few people I can think of who could refer to The City as "Friskytown" and get away with it.

There is even a little tirade delivered by Eddie Izzard at the start of his show, "Dressed to Kill," which was taped in SF and shown on HBO a zillion times. He mocks the whole "The City" terminology and how citydwellers tend to think of Oakland as the giant parkinglot to the east (A line I've definitely stolen on occasion).

Anyway, I was up in the Bay Area about a month ago and had a wonderful night in The City which I keep meaning to write about. Because, snobby as it may seem, The City is awesome.

My brother lives in the charming enclave of Noe Valley, a mere skip from the Castro and the Mission. The thing I love love love about The City is how damn close everything is... There are many different districts, but it hardly takes any time at all to get to any of them. My brother fixed dinner for me & my friend Heather Marie, who works at the Amoeba in the Haight Ashbury. After some cruising there (they still have The Gap as well as the dirty hippies) we went home for dinner.

Then we zipped out to The Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley. This area is right near Market and Van Ness, a big hub of roads, with lots of parking. Yay! This spot was a new hub of hip in town, as they offer interesting new indie bands from around the country(like Helen Stellar, Space Mountain, or Casiotone For the Painfully Alone) , fun dance nights (like the ever wonderful Bardot A Go Go) and independent hip hop. We were there on a hip hop night, which started off interesting but then got a little gangsta, so we moved on. But generally a good vibe and cool staff. And Speakeasy beer! Speakeasy beer (a local brew) is the best.

I dropped off my friend and went over to 1015 Folsom in the South of Market area. This is normally a club I would never set foot in, because it's one of those places that usually has a line two blocks deep of ditzy girls with halter tops and guys with slick hair and shiny shirts and then they charge $20 to get in on top of that. But my friend Disco Shawn was DJing, and if I wanted to see him, this was my only chance. And Peaches was DJing the big room. And I was on the guestlist.

The place was maybe 1/3 full, because they didn't advertise that Peaches was in town (because you KNOW the Bay Area crowd loves a freak like Peaches) and also because everybody leaves town Memorial Weekend, and it was the Sunday of Memorial Weekend. But Peaches was on fire... She had a posse of weird looking art fags and hags with her (one wimpy little white guy in nothing but white corduroy shorts and a headband around his 'fro was especially exciting to me) all hanging around the DJ booth, as she enthusiastically played record after record, occasionally fucking up, and singing along loudly. You know, it's always fun to go dancing if the DJs are playing good music, but it's even more fun when they are getting into it as well. And for someone like Peaches, who lives to perform, it was a blast just to watch her. She played the basic hipster stuff; LCD Soundsystem, the Faint, Fischerspooner... But when she played her pal, M.I.A., she stood on the table holding the DJ console and sang the whole song ("Bucky Done Gone"), and she even did an air horn thing for the little trumpet solo bit. Too funny.

I got to spend some time with Shawn, but it was late and we were all tired. On the way back to my brother's, I stopped in the Mission for a taco and then went on home. A wonderful night in Friskytown, one of the best Cities in the world. Really.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo

So, like, I totally got this email from this guy, and he's like, going on TOUR this summer, you know? Like all over the United States. And it's, like, totally PAID for, and he totally like, invited ME (and everybody else on his email list) to come to one of his shows, you know? It will, like, FULLY rock.

Did I mention it's a book tour? And that he's totally worth checking out? Plan your summer around it, my friends.


Tuesday, July 19th-New York City

7:30pm Barnes and Noble-Astor Place
4 Astor Place
New York, NY 10003

Wednesday, July 20th-New York City

12:30pm Bryant Park Summer Series
Sponsored by Coliseum Books

Monday, July 25th-New York City

7:00pm Borders Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY

Tuesday, July 26th-Philadelphia

7:00-8:30pm Philadelphia Free Library
1901 Vine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Thursday, July 28th-Cleveland

7:00pm Joseph-Beth
24519 Cedar Rd.
Lyndhurst, OH 44124

Saturday, July 30th-Akron

2:00pm Akron Public Library

Tuesday, August 2nd-Memphis

6:00pm Davis-Kidd
387 Perkins Rd.
Memphis, TN 38117

Wednesday, August 3rd-Nashville

6:00pm Davis-Kidd
4007 Hillsboro Rd
Nashville, TN 37215

Thursday, August 4th-St. Louis

7:00pm Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid
St. Louis, MO 63108

Monday, August 8th-Austin

7:00pm Book People
603 N. Lamar
Austin, TX

Tuesday, August 9th -Minneapolis

7:30pm Barnes and Noble Edina
3225 W. 69th St.
Edina, MN 55435

Monday, August 15th-Portland

7:30pm Powell's
2720 NW 29th Ave
Portland, OR 97210

Tuesday, August 16th-Portland

7:00pm Borders
2605 SW Cedar Hills Blvd
Beaverton, OR 97005

Thursday, August 18th-Seattle

University Bookstore
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

Friday, August 19th-Seattle

7:30pm Elliott Bay
101 S. Main St.
Seattle, WA 98104

Saturday/Sunday August 20th & 21st- Vancouver

Location and Time TBA

Monday, August 22nd-San Francisco

7:00pm Clean, Well Lighted Place
601 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Tuesday, August 23rd-San Francisco

6:30pm Commonwealth Club
595 Market St.

Wednesday, August 24th-San Francisco

7:30pm Cody's
2454 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705

Thursday, August 25th-Los Angeles

7:00pm Borders Westwood
1360 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Friday, August 26th-Los Angeles

7:30pm Skylight
1818 North Vermont
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Monday, August 29th-Los Angeles

7:00pm Vroman's
695 E. Colorado Ave
Pasadena, CA 91109

Friday, July 08, 2005

Don't Care How, I Want It Now

It's my birthday this weekend, so anyone doing any shopping for me can pick up the following:

Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991
Michael Azerrad

The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Neil Strauss, Vince Neil

Straight Whisky: A Living History of Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll on the Sunset Strip Erik Quisling, Austin Williams, Lemmy Kilmister (Afterword), Foreword by Henry Rollins

Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader

Lester Bangs, John Morthland (Editor)

Killing Yourself to Live
Chuck Klosterman

How It Ends - Devotchka
This Island - Le Tigre
Heartbreaker - Ryan Adams
I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning - Bright Eyes
I Can't Stand the Rain - Ann Peebles
LCD Soundsystem self titled - DOUBLE disc release
The Woods - Sleater Kinney
Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers - the National
Endtroducing (Deluxe) - DJ Shadow
You Can Get It If You Really Want It - Desmond Dekker
The Complete Motown Singles (Vol. 1 and 2) - Various Artists

The Maltese Falcon
Double Indemnity
Dark Passage
Night of the Hunter
The Philadelphia Story
North By Northwest
Singing In The Rain
West Side Story
Touch of Evil
Heavenly Creatures
Dead Alive
Shaun of the Dead

Thanks a bunch!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

R.I.P. Hot Snakes

"So the rather sad news to report is that Hot Snakes will be packing it in after our current plans. It was a complete thrill to be part of and satisfied my insatiable hunger for sinister, throbbing action. Thank you to all that urged us along and leant an ear for us to abuse." - John Reis

Bands in San Diego are terribly inbred, this one being no exception. Members met early on as Pitchfork, then morphed into Rocket From the Crypt, which sort of branched off into the aggresively mathy Drive Like Jehu. And from all of that sprung the Hot Snakes... Raw, edgy, defiant, intense, simple white guy rawk, built to last.

They'll be doing a few final shows; check out the website, SoCal kids - I think we get 'em.

Another great San Diego band bites the dust.

Down In A Tube Station at Midnight

On 9/11/2001 , I talked on the phone with my mother after finding out that one of my best friends, who worked in the south tower, was alive. My mom was not terribly helpful. “Well, I hate to say this, but now you know how the rest of the world lives. These sorts of things happen in most other countries every day.” My mother was born and raised in Colombia , where her family was once smuggled out of the country to Ecuador in an avocado truck because her father had not picked a political affiliation and each side considered him a traitor. Their farm was raided and their home was burnt to the ground.

My heart goes out to London; it will always hurt when things like this happen.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Office Space

I work in a decent office, lots of people scattered around, some in cubicles, some not. I'm not in a cubicle, but I'm not in an office either. I'm sort of in a huge corner, lots of space to roll around in, and 2 big walls of windows. But I also don't have any proper walls or a door, so unless I'm in one corner of my corner, I'm pretty visible to everyone who wanders by.

But I have lots of wall space above my desk, and since I work in the music biz, lots of posters and stuff too. It's my little dorm room: concert posters, band posters, promo pictures... shit like that. I also have the luxury of listening to whatever my computer will get - CD or streaming radio or what have you - all day.

Thing is, I sometimes have to listen to other peoples' music as well.

I keep mine at a level where no one else can really hear it, as do most folks. There is ONE guy, though (isn't there always?) who tends to crank his shit up. At least it's sporadic, but it's about what he's playing, you know?

It's generally either gospel or late 70's/early 80's r&b. Not that I have anything against those genres. Really, though, I don't need to hear "The Greatest Love At All" at top volume while I'm attempting to negotiate some deal. "Caribbean Queen," one of my two most hated songs of all time, still makes a regular appearance on his decks. I actually had to get crazy and tell him how I'm particularly weird about that song, and hearing it makes me want to rip things apart with my bare hands.

Best of all, though, is when he sings along. In a falsetto. Today it was Kool & the Gang's "Get Down On It," and he would happily interject with the various "so whatcha gonna do" lines. He really loves to sing along with the girls, "Let's Hear It For the Boy" really being a favorite.

Another co-worker of mine, who used to sit closer to him than I do (which is basically across a hallway - and STILL he bugs me!) used to crank up her stereo when he played something especially offensive. Her weapons were the Kings of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age, and the Stills. I'm sure this infuriated him, but he'd turn it up and then she'd turn it up and the next thing you know... the entire floor didn't ever want to hear either "The Still In Love Song" or "What Have You Done For Me Lately" ever again. She got another job, so the rest of us get sporadic bursts from the one offensive guy, but usually... it's tolerable.

I did crank LCD's "Losing My Edge" today though. I just love that song.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Sparkle That Shines

Remember how I've been doing that dorky musical alphabet thing? Well, it has been brought to my attention that I have lingered on the letter R for over a month... What can I say? There has been so much going on! Lots of shows and travel and stuff, you know.

Without further ado... S.

From New Zealand: the Straightjacket Fits.

The thing with rock from New Zealand is that it sounds like it's from New Zealand. It sounds kind of cold and harsh, with an undercurrent of warmth, surrounded by watery rip tides and fog with rays of sunshine forcing their way through. I'm serious, it really does sound like that.

The Straightjacket Fits started up in 1986, but they didn't make it to the northern hemisphere till about 1989. Rough Trade was kind enough to release their first album, Hail, in the UK & US in 1988. The band started with jangly anglo pop, but wrapped it up in noisy swirling guitars and some sneery almost goth elements to create a beautifully haunting thing that mesmerized the shoegazers before they realized that's what they were. Think the Hollies meet Tones On Tail. They were the precursors to Ride, Adorable, the Catherine Wheel and their ilk. Mean, incredible guitar work from Shayne Carter which can't be imitated, and gorgeous melodies concocted by Shayne and co-vocalist Andrew Brough to go along with them created some amazing music.

Their next release, 1991's Melt, was equally beautiful, although their third, Blow, which was released on Arista in 1993 was nice and their last. This is a band that was sadly overlooked and not given their due, in my opinion... If you like anything even remotely shoegazer, this band should be in your collection. They are responsible for one of the most beautiful songs ever written, "She Speeds." Find them, it's worth it.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Isla de Encanta

When my parents come to visit Los Angeles, they usually want to do two things: eat at a local Colombian restaurant and go to Olvera Street. I only took my parents there for the first time a couple of months ago, and they fell in love with it.

Olvera Street is in downtown LA, a short drive from my digs in Silverlake, and boasts itself as the birthplace of Los Angeles, originally known as El Pueblo de Nuestro Senora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio Porciuncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River). It's got some original buildings and storefronts incorporated into the marketplace it is today, which sells Mexican trinkets, candy clothing, leather goods, etc... There is also a really nice gazebo where you can either find some traditional dancing going on, or breakdancing busker types in front of it. Always a hub of activity, and plenty to eat, which my folks like.

(Thing is, my parents live in San Diego, and I think Old Town in San Diego - which is basically the same thing except on a much bigger scale - is way better. )

This Sunday, when I asked what they wanted to do, my father said, "Well, your mom wants to go down to Olvera Street..." so off we went. The same deal: buy some funny things, look at clothes, eat some churros. Today, the performance in the gazebo was a youngish Mexican singer, belting out the traditional Mexican tunes in the traditional Mexican flavor, and the crowd was eating it up. My mom (who is from Colombia) explained to me that these songs have been around forever, and are recorded over and over again in the same style and are hugely popular throughout Central and South America, not just in Mexico. "Kind of like lounge stuff, Rat Pack stuff?" "Exactly, " she said, "Just like Frank Sinatra's music."

The guy on stage was emulating a certain singer, and there was a crowd of people in front singing along loudly. To our right was a little old lady, occasionally getting up from her chair to gesture wildly and clap, singing enthusiatically the whole time. She was about four feet tall with crooked teeth and a big smile, big white hair, dressed in white slacks, a white t-shirt and sneakers. Eventually, her excitement got the better of her and she wandered up towards the front. The singer came down from the gazebo, danced her around a little, and then gave her an autographed poster which she proudly carried back to her family.

Musicians - always having their way with the ladies.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Just a Thought

George Carlin said it best about Martha Stewart:

"Boy, I feel a lot safer now that she's behind bars. Kobe Bryant is still walking around; Osama Bin Laden too, but they take the one woman in America willing to cook, clean, and work in the yard, and haul her butt off to jail."

Tee hee.