Wednesday, August 31, 2005

King Creole

New Orleans is a truly original American city. The US has no other place with such a distinct character, an interesting history, a vibrancy and decadence that make for a very alluring place to be.

I've spent some wildly drunken time in New Orleans, some contemplative time along the river, some boisterious time in the clubs, some daydream time among the old mansions... It will be a long time before the city completely gets its mojo back, but it will. Those folks love life, and love their home town.

Here's a pretty comprehensive list of ways to donate.

Kristin Hersh and her band 50 Foot Wave are donating all of their sales through CD Baby to the cause as well, so if you were curious about them, now would be a good time to check it out.

And if you're shopping at Amoeba anytime soon, any of the three stores, make a donation to the Red Cross and Amoeba will match it dollar for dollar. So double your love.

OMFUG - Hell Yea!

I'm sure you've already heard alllllll about this, but it never hurts to spread info around, right?


After months of trying to negotiate a new lease and court battles with our landlord, The Bowery Residents Committee (BRC), we still do not have a new lease and need your help.

Even though the Manhattan Court ruled in our favor and clearly stated that we were mis-billed and do not owe any back rent, enormous legal fees are mounting and The BRC is appealing this ruling. In addition to these expenses we may have to fight an eviction process starting this Thursday. Please help us defray these costs and donate to Save CBGB today!

All money donated to help Save CBGBs is going directly into a separate Save CBGB account and will be used only for the purpose of saving the club! We have again asked our landlord to meet with us and have stated we would pay a fair percentage increase in rent in addition to helping the BRC raise significant money through ongoing benefits. So please help us today by:

Ways to help:
Donate a few bucks to Save CBGB to help with legal bills.
Contribute through going to one of our benefit concerts
Contribute through our online auction (tons of items going up tonight!)
Contact the Mayors office.(see draft letter below)
Write New York Newspapers Editors and tell them why CBGBs is important to you (please include your name and contact info so they will know it is you)
Ask all of your friends to sign the save cbgb petition (we delivered over 30,000 signatures to the Mayor of New York)
Wear your CBGB shirts (new or old) this week to show your support
E-mail all your friends to take action!


Contacting The Mayor's Office:

If you have not contacted the Mayor of New York's Office and asked them to get involved in Saving CBGBs - please use the link below to write the mayor a friendly letter (we are asking for his help to save the club)

Click here to write your letter.

Please read the following draft letter:

Draft Letter
The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of New York City
City Hall
New York, N.Y. 10007

Dear Mayor Bloomberg, We ask that you use your influence to ensure that CBGB's receives a new lease from the Bowery Resident's Committee (BRC) that has been unwilling to negotiate a new lease.

As you maybe aware, Judge Kenney ruled in a Manhattan Civil Court last week, that CBGBs does not owe the BRC money - and yet the BRC still refuses to sign a new lease.

CBGB's is not only a cultural icon, it is an important and vibrant tourist destination, and a live music venue for over 75 bands every week! Furthermore, the rock bands it develops includes: legends like the Ramones, Blondie, B52s, Talking Heads to modern day bands like Strokes, Bouncing Souls, Goo Goo Dolls, and Thursday.

CBGBs evolving art and music have helped generate thousands of jobs for the city while the BRC is non-profit charity almost exclusively funded by the city and state.

It would be inappropriate for taxpayer money to be used to evict this important NYC landmark. Thank you for your time and consideration.


(please include your name, address, and phone number so the Mayor's office knows you are a real person that cares)!

Other ways to contact the Mayor:

Please call the Mayor's Office directly at: 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC or 311 in NYC

You can also FAX your letter to Mayor Bloomberg at: (212) 788-2460



The benefit shows are going great and it is amazing to see so many bands coming together and helping the cause.

Save CBGB Campaign Today (Save CBGB T-shirt designed by Ramones Artist Arturo Vega!)

Dozens of new items will be posted tonight! Autographed items by: Sting, Motorhead, Anti-Flag, The Bangles, Elvis Costello, and many many more - visit our online auction!

To read more about the ongoing battle and the support we are receiving visit:, Bloomberg News and Little Steven's Underground Garage!

All donations will be used for CBGBs efforts to renew their lease and solve their landlord/tenant issues - All additional funds will be donated to the homeless once this dispute is settled. Contributions to are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Thanks for all the help and support - we will keep you posted!

The Save CBGBs Team

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star?

A couple Sundays ago, I went to a party at this mansion up the street from my house. It's called the Paramour, and it's owned by a savvy local businesswoman who bought it for a steal and now rents it out to film and tv productions. Currently, it's being used by the show, Rock Star Inxs, to house the contestants. I guess. I don't watch the show. I work on the music for the show, and I try to get to their parties. Free booze in a mansion with 360 degree views of LA is nice.

It was at this party that I got to rub elbows with some sort of celeb types: Seth Green, Lauren Holly, Hank Azaria,Brooke Burke (with kids!), Dave Navarro, and Matthew Perry. There were maybe about 50 people there, drinking and jamming and shit like that.

Eventually, I got to speak with each contestant. They were easy to pick out, because they were the flamboyant ones. Then they all did a little performance with the piano and/or guitars, they're signature songs, I guess. One girl (Deanna?) did "Piece of My Heart," Marty did "Mr. Brightside," Doris did "Man Who Sold the World..." I think Mig sang "Don't Change," which is appropriate because he's the only Aussie in the bunch. That J.D. character did "Mystify." My guess is that he'll win, because he was doing the full Michael Hutchence.... But what do I know? never watch American Idol either. I don't know what the people in this country want; our tastes tend to differ.

Anyway, I wanted to talk to these kids because I knew this mansion was haunted. I'd heard stories about it from friends of the owner. And yes, each contestant had a little tale to tell! Nothing too shocking, though. Marty swears that every night, he is awakened by something at exactly 12:34. (My question is - how is a wanna be rock star even in bed at 12:34?) A couple other contestants had similar being-awakened-at-the-same-time things. Although, 2 people in two different rooms were woken up by two different dreams at the same time. Repeatedly. There was one story of a roaming watch, and finally a pair of slippers giong missing for quite a few weeks only to appear sitting in an open space directly under the pool table in plain view of everyone. That's when the 8 ball went missing.

Pretty harmless stuff. But I betcha they don't edit it into the show!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Sunset Junction is my favorite time of year, right after Halloween.

Sunset Junction is the one time of year when people in LA walk around and be social. Well, there are other opportunities for that, but those tend to be parade/holiday type evets, like Halloween or New Year's or Gay Pride or something. This is pure street festival: hot dogs and gyros, tie dye and chunky silver, dangerous metal rides, drinking in the streets, posters and politicos, kids, gays and hipsters. And lots of fauxhawks (aren't those tired yet?).And lots of music.

Summer finally hit full force over the last couple days, with temperatures hitting 95 degrees by noon, only to get hotter as the days wore on. That made it tough to stand on asphalt and watch bands, but some of us trudged through anyway. On Saturday, Jason Falkner delivered his indie pop goodness... catchy as hell, that guy is. And cute to boot. (What a bonus!) The Walkmen also delivered, really rocking hard as the sun went down. They opened with "The Rat," which almost seemed a bit like shooting their wad early, but they pounded out a rough and tumble set that was just as impressive as the opener. And then there was John Cale, who has such a huge catalog that he could do any style set he wanted, chose to do a rowdy summer set that kept the crowd bouncing through the night. He opened with "Venus In Furs" so that people would remember who he was, I suppose, and closed with "Pablo Picasso" which was a completely unexpected (but logical, considering he produced the first Modern Lovers album).

Sunday, I just couldn't motivate to the fair till The Gossip hit the stage at 5:45. (I live 2 blocks away, but the heat and idea of dehydrating on that asphalt kept me perched in front of my fan with margaritas in hand.) The Gossip RULED. Grrrly rock from the south, fast and funky and screamy, really hit the spot. They were followed by the Eagles of Death Metal, which I couldn't watch because that Jesse guy (the singer) has been an asshole to too many people I know, and besides... Sharon Jones was playing down the street! If you like old skool soul/ r&b, like 60's style, do not EVER miss the Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings Soul Revue. She dances, she screams, she shimmies, she croons - a pure entertainer, frontwoman supreme, with the pipes to back that shit up. She belts out the funk with a power I haven't heard in ages, and the shows are always a blast. And then... The New York Dolls. Or rather, the New York Doll (as we called it) because 2 members are dead and Sylvain Sylvain wasn't there. David Johansen started the New York Doll show, and we were crushed by the massive crowds and decided it wasn't worth the trouble and fled. Straight to Chaka-Chaka-Chaka Khan. I kid you not. I'd totally forgotten she was there (as was Jody Watley at some point), but we stumbled into a much looser and groovier batch of people and hung there for a little while before walking home.

And that was just the music. I can't even start on the people and parties all around the neighborhood this weekend... I'll just say, an extremely wonderful time was had.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Up the Junction

Well, this weekend is Sunset Junction. The best street fair in LA. 2 days of food, funky clothes, booze in the streets, and music. Tons of music. For a complete schedule, go here. I'm really interested in... Saturday: Gravy Train!!! @ 5pm, The Walkmen @ 6:30, John Cale @ 8pm. Sunday: the Rolling Blackouts @ 1:30, The Gossip @ 5:45, Sharon Jones @ 7pm. Oh, and I'm curious to see how the New York Dolls (rather, the surviving memebers of) will wrap it up on Sunday night.

But of course, there is pre-party action...

I'll be DJing at the Burgundy Room, at 1621 1/2 Cahuenga in Hollywood from 10-2 tonight if you'd like to say hi. It's my last gig for a while, as next week I'm off to BERLIN for two weeks! Posts will be sparse; sorry about that.

Also tonight: Little Radio Presents - The Photo Show at Sea Level Records - 1716 W. Sunset Blvd (Echo Park). Free Booze, great photos and DJs Nikki (Silver Sun Pick Ups) Jason (Warlocks) and Kelsey Short Shorts (Adeline), 7PM-11PM. Check it.

And the Junction ain't enough for you? Try this: Saturday, August 28 - Sunset Junction After-Party with great bands!! Performing are: Black Mountain, Dios Malos and the Rolling Blackouts... at Hanging Jury, 1023 Santa Fe Ave, Downtown L.A., from 10:00PM -- ??* BYOB! (

Time to get our drink on. Summer's almost over my friends...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cartoon Networking

Sunday night, I was having a drink with Seth Green and I got to tell him that I think "Robot Chicken" is genius.

You think I'm kidding. I'm totally not! "Robot Chicken" is brilliant! It's a stop-motion animation show on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, which uses old toys and claymation and the like to skewer current pop culture, all in tiny little segments barely a minute long each. Sometimes there's a common thread, sometimes it's just... "Wha..?" I love that. Favorite clips of mine include the Zombie American Idol, Michael Moore's search for the action figure heroes of yesterday (including a transformer that goes from fighter robot to port-a-potty) and the sci-fi/comic geek rumble. Seth Green is co-creator of the show, which features tons of celebrity guest pals of his. It's hilarious. And only 15 minutes long, so it never wears out its welcome.

So then Seth says to me, "Awesome! Thanks! So you like cartoons?" And I said, "I totally LOVE cartoons, but I love warped claymation even more!" And he started to laugh and said, "Wow, thanks! It's doing really well and we're having a lot of fun." "Well, cheers then!" I said, and we clinked margaritas.

Then I kicked Dave Navarro in the leg. Discreetly, but he noticed and I pretended that I got something in my shoe and was trying to shake it out and that was how I kicked him. But really, I did it on purpose because a friend of mine asked me to kick him if I saw him.

Oh, you probably want to hear this whole story. Okay, I'll tell you later, but mostly I just want you all to watch Robot Chicken.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

She's Gonna Take Me For A Ride

U... Remember my alphabet thing? Okay, we're at U.



Well, that's what it says about them at TeenBeat, the label they are on, which was started by founding member Mark Robinson.

Unrest are Mark Robinson, Phil Karuth, Tim Moran and Bridget Cross. They branched off with Phil's solo work, as well as the Bridget & Kathi project, and also Air Miami - which had a more mainstream MTV type success than Unrest did. But Unrest is awesome.

When I started doing this A-Z thing, I said I'd write about whatever popped into my head, and why. Unrest pops into my head at U because of the song "Make Out Club" from their last album, Perfect Teeth. Now the band had done amazing staccato pop punk funk weirdness for a few years, but this song was so sweet, so unnervingly catchy in that white boy groove sort of way... And lyrically? "
You were the first one, I'll love you someday... you will be the last one, please come back someday... All the time & all the day, into your eyes - deeper the day... Perfect teeth in ninety-four, you kiss me more & I will kiss you..." Dreamy. It has always made me think of my Beatle, my absolute dearest friend in the world, who also happened to be my first boyfriend (for a gazillion years). This agit punk noise pop band from D.C. perfectly captured my romantic youth, in a slightly jarring, but really catchy, tune - and then disbanded.

Viva la Unrest.

Monday, August 22, 2005


The best television show ever. Thanks, Alan Ball.

Rest In Peace. And may I one day hook up with Peter Krause.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thanks and Welcome!

I wasn't brought up in a barn. Really. But I also am very, very slow sometimes.

So an extremely belated Thank You to the wonderful folks at LAist for letting me drink on their dime at their 1st Anniversary shindig back on the 4th. It's truly a quality site for anyone living in LA and anyone thinking about living or visiting here - chock full of all kinds of newsy bits, culture (we DO have some!), history, reviews - all well done, interesting, fun to read, and valuable. They know their shit. So check it out already! I also got to hang with a Jason, who edits the thing, and is possibly the sweetest most adorable boy around these days. Negro, please! We all had crushes on you by the end of the night. (Maybe the free booze helped.) I was also honored to meet the ladies of Go Fug Yourself, a truly helpful, clever, and freakin' hilarious read. They are the true "what not to wear" women. Hi Jessica & Heather!

Bloggers unite. Geekdom rules!

On another note, any of you Eastsiders who want to brave the Hollywood parking jungle should do so, and come on down to the Burgundy Room tonight! I'll be DJing with my pal, Mr. I, and we tend to rock the house. It'll be a VERY good time.
The Burgundy is on Cahuenga between Hollywood and Sunset, near all those other bars. We'll be there at 10pm, so come get your drink on!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Oh, oh, so Lazy

This is totally stolen from The Sneeze, and my friend Scott sent it to me (thanks, Scotty!). I can't find the original post, so here it is for you. Thanks, Sneeze dude!

The other day I bought lunch at McDonald's. My receipt was attached to the bag with a small sticker proudly proclaiming their latest slogan: "i'm lovin' it."

As I gnawed on a so-so fry, I wondered exactly who was lovin' what. Apparently I was lovin' McDonald's, I guess. I don't remember being consulted, but there it was in sticker-form. It was even trademarked, so I guess my lovin' must be heartfelt and true.

Granted, McDonald's and I have a history, but isn't this all a little presumptuous? And do they really need to be dragging the L word into it? They didn't even have the courtesy to say they were lovin' me back! (I won't lie. It stings.)

I thought I'd help Ronald out and whip up my own set of McStickers that cover a slightly larger emotional spectrum...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More Cowbell!

Dude, is this for real?

"Our great country is in a terrible downward spiral. We're outsourcing jobs, bankrupting social security, and losing lives at war. We need to focus on what's important-- paying attention to our children, our citizens, our future. We need to think about improving our failing educational system, making better use of our resources, and helping to promote a stable, safe, and tolerant global society. It's time to be smart about our politics. It's time to get America back on track."

The Official Homepage of the Walken 2008 Campaign

Here's one you might recognize:
"Easy guys...I put my pants on just like the rest of you - one leg at a time. Except once my pants are on, I make GOLD records. Alright, here we go: 'Don't Fear the Reaper,' take one..." - Bruce Dickinson, Producer

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Red Tides At Night

Please tell me you're humming The Fixx right now. I'm not the only old person who couldn't help it after reading my title line - I'm an 80's child, so sue me.

I went home to SD a couple of weekends ago and brought a friend who had never been. I'm from north county, which is the beachy part of town. Well, San Diego in general is pretty beachy, but the north coast has all the good beaches. (No, I'm not snobby about it at all.)

We took the train down, so we could get full view action. It was his idea, but we were both so sleepy from a long night that had only ended a few hours before we got on that train, that we almost slept through it. The Pacific Surfliner route goes through icky LA and eventually wanders to San Juan Capistrano, turns a bend around San Clemente, and then you' re just cruising past the beach for the next hour. It was lovely. As we made that turn, I taped my friend on the shoulder and kinda grunted. "Oh!" he said, remembering why we had gotten up so goddamn early in the first place to take the train.

Lucky us, it was overcast and dreary. There were no waves, and from what we could tell, the water looked pretty dirty. It was still really warm, though, so we figured we'd try to get some beach time once we got into town. My sister picked us up, took us to Roberto's for a proper breakfast, and told us it was red tide.

"Red tide?" my friend asked. He's from Boston, and although he's spent 12 years or so in LA, wasn't totally familiar with red tide. All the beach kids, know, though. (Besides, I have the advantage of having a dad who teaches earth space science, so we have extra clues.) Red tide is what happens when there is an algae bloom, usually brought on by rapid changes of temperature in the water, which then kills the algae once the temperature changes again. Got it? Quiz later.

Red tide is kind of tough on fish, but doesn't really affect people unless you guzzle it like upsidedown margaritas at a frat party. The algae produces a neurotoxin that can paralyze fish, making it hard for them to breathe. So my friend didn't want to go into the water. I played around in it and lived, so it was his loss. Felt great, actually, just a little mossy.

That night we had dinner at a seafood place right on the water. Red tides at night are pretty cool, as the algae gives off a bit of a rusty glow... There was a sliver of moon too, so it was a wonderful view. The next day, the whole ocean looked red - very biblical. We were back off to LA, though, where the tides are simply rusty looking because they are full of garbage. Sigh...

Monday, August 15, 2005

More Community Service

Hipsters need a place to dance too! The Echo is a great place to have fun... so check this out:

The Echo, located at 1822 Sunset Blvd in Echo Park, has provided the neighborhood with entertainment 7 nights a week for the past four years. With an eclectic booking policy, the venue presents live and recorded music shows with: local bands, djs, dance nights, country nights, Latin, underground hip hop, film screenings, book signings, wine tastings, and all ages shows. We plan to expand the business to an additional space which will hold 700 guests. We have a great deal of support but are also getting some opposition. We need your help. Please sign this petition in support of Echo's growth and what they bring to the Echo Park community. Thank you!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Wonderful You

Check out my favorite email in recent memory... This is why I love my friends:

Okay, so all of you know of my near-obsessive love for the Dandy Warhols, but few of you may know of my similar love for dogs wearing clothing, and also my love for crowns.

When I'm old, I will wear a crown full-time, listen to the Dandys constantly on my fingernail sized iPod and dress (his chihuahua) Jack-Clone v.3.0 in harajuku fashions and the occasional top hat. Life will be grand.

Until that time is upon us, here is the unlikely intersection of my three obsessions, in a pop video that had me laughing out loud and
squealing in delight. They really are the best, coolest band ever.

Go here:

and click on "Smoke It"


Friday, August 12, 2005

Dress Code Strictly Enforced

From the "Los Angeles Destroys Its Own History" file:

Friends, fellow Los Felizians, members of the media & other cool folks:

I am reaching out to inform you of a horrifying scheme now moving forward to demolish the world-famous Derby nightclub and adjacent Louise's restaurant and replace them with a generic five-story condo / retail development in the heart of wonderful little Los Feliz! With zero publicity and notice to neighborhood residents thus far, Woodland Hills-based Alder Realty Investments Inc. has purchased the property and is quietly navigating the zoning approval process necessary to carry out their dastardly plans.

I doubt I'll have to sell many people on the coolness and historical importance of the Derby in the Hollywood community. Built as the Willard's Chicken Inn restaurant circa 1928 -- with the backing of none other than longtime Los Feliz resident Cecil B. DeMille -- it eventually became one of the five legendary Brown Derbys where Tinseltown's elite gathered between 1940 and 1960. Joan Crawford famously tended bar there in 1945's "Mildred Pierce." And of course Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau memorably entered via the kitchen in 1996's "Swingers" -- helping to trigger a nationwide swing craze with the Derby as its indisputable epicenter. Whether you're into swing dancing or, like me, have enjoyed seeing local music acts play under its distinctive wooden dome in recent years, the Derby's place in the thriving local arts / nightlife community is unassailable. It's the Derby, for cryin' out loud!

This is the unique historical venue the developers feel they must destroy and replace with condos and chain retail space that could be found on any corner in any city in America. And with the Derby would die one more place in the world with a special character and energy all its own. Another piece of L.A. history gone forever. And that could be the beginning of the end for the Los Feliz we know and love, which is already fighting to hang onto its special vibe in the face of encroaching Starbucksization.

The good news: Resistance to the Development From Hell is already forming! Last night, I attended a meeting of the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Planning/Zoning and Historic Preservation Committee -- an advisory board to the city of L.A. -- and I was encouraged to learn that a group of concerned local residents and Derby fans has begun organizing the Save the Derby Coalition to focus local opposition to this horrible idea. But they're going to need a lot of help to win this David-V.-Goliath battle.

As I understand the situation after the meeting last night, this thing is a freight train moving on well-lubricated rails toward a destination that will turn a fat buck for people who really, really love money. The only thing that will stop it is a loud outcry from the community -- loud enough to get the city council's attention and make them think twice about the cost-benefit ratio. They need to know a lot of people will be fighting mad about this or it's goodbye, Derby.

With that in mind, I urge anyone still reading this e-mail to:

E-MAIL L.A. CITY COUNCILMAN TOM LaBONGE (who represents the Los Feliz area) at:

As I understand it, LaBonge and the council are the crucial pressure point for this deal. While various committees will be weighing in over a long process, the development will ultimately require city approval to go through. If LaBonge and others on the council see the outcry against it as dangerous enough to themselves, the Derby just might be saved. So outcry today and outcry often! (LaBonge's website:

Members of the media: You know what to do.

The Save the Derby Coalition website and e-mail list should be operational soon.

The Derby's webpage on their history:,15

Alder Realty's webpage on their plans for the Derby property:

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Be Good Johnny

Last Friday night, I DJed at the Burgundy Room in Hollywood with my soul brother Iiad. The Burgundy Room is located on the Cahuenga Corridor, with a hub of other interesting places like the Hotel Cafe, the Beauty Bar, The Room, Velvet Margarita, and Tokio... and just spitting distance from Star Shoes and Amoeba and Cinespace and a bunch of other places.

But the Burgundy was there first. It was actually a speakeasy at one point, so there! The Burgundy was a home away from home when people were too scared to hit up the seedy streets of Hollywood because somebody could pull a knife on you at any moment, steal your car, or vomit on your jeans.

It makes sense, then, that the Burgundy has been and remains a regular hang of the "Jackass" crowd.

Loomis, he formerly of the band Wax with a very tailored in a peculiar way beard and a cap worn low over his eyes, is a regular DJ at the Burgundy and former neighbor of mine. And a really sweet guy. He also hosts and participates in many "Jackass" (and "Jackass" related) type shows. He recently had his nose broken while playing in hockey in Russia with some nationals who double teamed the little guy, and now he's going to require major surgery to fix the damage. He claims that he's going to get some reconstruction done, so he's just decided to get Johnny's nose.

Johnny, as in Knoxville. Star of the (horrifyingly) number one movie in America this weekend, The Dukes of Hazzard. (Hey, well, Bush got re-elected too. Don't ask me to explain my countrymen.) Friday night, Johnny and crew stumbled down to the Burgundy, where he could be amongst friends in his time of nerve-wracking opening night anticipation. I've spent many a night at the Burgundy with these boys, and Johnny is like Dad to that crew. Someone is always wanting to jump from the bar to the space over the door holding the fan, or from a ceiling ledge to the booth table, or run naked down the street (which has happened and occasionally flashed on MTV).

The guys were sweet enough to come and support my very first Burgundy gig, which was my first ever DJ gig in LA, when I moved here a couple years ago. They were a blast and we all had a good time, as we did Friday. Johnny was packed in next to me for a while, so I asked him, "You nervous about the movie?" "Hey, whatever happens happens," he said. "I'm just gonna keep riding this train till it ends and pack away some money for later." Good thinkin', my man.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Babes In Toyland

Last night, the BFF & I went to the "grand opening" party for this new music space in Hollywood called the Vanguard. As is usually the case with events like this, the club has already been open and having the occasional show for the last month or so, and evidently this party was to create awareness for the new place and get people in there to check it out. Plus, there was free booze and sushi.

The hot gossip around town was that the folks who book the bands at Spaceland, LA's hippest of the hip of indie rock venues, were behind the whole thing. They had been booking occasionally at the Fonda, a larger venue in Hollywood, when a show too big for Spaceland would play (like Kasabian or Metric or something). Folks say there was a falling out of sorts between the Spaceland kids and the Fonda kids, and the Spaceland kids took their show to the Vanguard.

The place is pretty slick, and right away made me think of the Hacienda in Manchester, if the Hacienda had fake stone walls around the bar near the entrance. It's a high ceiling-ed, fancy dance floor-ed, curtains and cabanas kind of place. A bit classy for the Brian Jonestown Massacre, but that's who they've got next week. The Crystal Method will have a club night, Marques Wyatt has a club night, and super tripster Devendra Banhart will play there in October.

The Vanguard, however, is all about its smoking patio. That's practically half the size of the club itself - a huge, lushly landscaped outdoor area with lots of benches and private tents (where one can pay a fortune for bottle service and close the drapes for the night). There are fountains, a giant Buddha, lovely lamps and lots of space to mingle. That's where everybody is going to be, my friends. It made me wish I was a smoker.

The Buddha was a bit much, though.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Meow Meow Crazy Meow Meow

I am a cat person. Love 'em. But I will NEVER be these people. (And many thanks to Julia for sending this my way!)

Dead Cats Hear No Screams/House smell a little sour? Hear strange mewling in the walls? Maybe you, too, can be a crazy cat lady...
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

So you'd think if you lived in a densely populated town in Virginia and were 58 years old and spent a good number of your postmenopausal years hoarding feral cats to the point where you finally reached a grand total of 88 diseased and inbred felines all flopped like used rags around your house, well, you'd think you might have accomplished something just a little special. Especially if 29 of your cats happened to be, you know, dead, and your neighbors finally complained of the smell so aggressively that the cops and animal control finally showed up, and they knocked on your door and you opened it and the Great Wall of Cat Stench hit them and they exclaimed oh my freaking God what the hell is going on here?And hence they hauled away all the diseased feral cats and charged you with animal neglect and went so far as to condemn your house and kick you out because of all the toxins and bacteria and animal waste and just overall reeking grossness -- well, you'd think you might at least win the award for Creepy Sad Cat Lady of the Month. Right?

Alas, you would be wrong. Because then you discover that, just down the road in Burke, Virginia, a woman 25 years your senior, a woman named Ruth Kneuven, clocking it at 82 years old, has managed to rack up a staggering total of not 100, not 200, not even 300, but over 420 diseased feral cats (some reports put the number closer to 500) spread over two separate homes. And a whopping 100 of her cats are dead (that's more than you had, alive or dead!), and the dead ones are stuck in plastic bags and in bins and jammed behind walls and lodged between the decaying brickwork all over the house, and the stench became so otherworldly that the cops and animal control finally came and hauled away all her cats, too. And they condemned both disgusting houses and told Ruth and her husband and her daughter to leave ASAP, or else, thus completely obliterating your otherwise very impressive accomplishment.

And now you're all, like, oh man, what was I thinking? My collection of 88 cats was so lame! A pittance! Child's play! I am ashamed and humbled and I stand in awe of Ruth Kneuven's creepy sad crazy-cat-lady greatness!And what's more, that Ruth woman had a husband and a daughter living with her, among all those reeking cats! A triple-threat of creepy weird sadness! Amazing!

It is then that it strikes you that 82-year-old Ruth Kneuven from Burke,Virginia, had the advantage of a whole extra house, thus giving her far more room to pack in far more inbred mangy cats than you, 58-year-old Jane Baldinger of Falls Church, Virginia, and she could build her morbid collection with ease and just stuff the little diseased fur balls into every nook and cranny and cupboard space and domestic orifice, thus making you scream "unfair advantage!" in a strange cackling mewling voice, and rightly so.

But it is too late. The cats have consumed your soul, your psyche, your tongue. You cannot emerge from your dystopian cat nightmare and this is a grand shame indeed, because it means you won't be able to take a long and stupefied gander just across the proverbial street at the famous Internet-fueled tale of yet another world-class hoarder, one who is just like you only, you know, completely different.You cannot, in your distressed cat dementia, know the legend of the CrazyeBay Mom.

Oh my yes, Crazy eBay Mom. She is your soul sister, your comrade incollectibles, the flip side of the same disquieting little coin. But she is not, as you are, a collector of a simply lethal array of sickly and inbred cats, but rather, she is a bizarre and inexplicable gatherer of mountains and mountains of stuff. Crazy eBay Mom. Hers is story that's been making the Net rounds for oh, about four years now. We do not know her name. We do not know where she lives. Hers is a tale told by her laid-back and perpetually confused son, a kid who took it upon himself to document, in over 100 photos and hilariously deadpan captions, his home, his odd life, his wildly OCD hoarding mother, her piles and mountains and stacks of crap. Christmas crap. Glass crap. Kitsch crap. Cookware crap and dishes crap and toys crap and magazines crap and hundreds (thousands?) of well-taped boxes of crap from years of obsessive buying on eBay that haven't even been opened yet, packages that nevertheless have been added to one of the huge yet neatly stacked piles of unendurable massively cluttered insanely claustrophobic crap, floor to ceiling and wall to wall and covering every counter and cupboard and every shower and drawer and table and every possible cranny, blocking out the light and stifling joy, and if you have never seen these photos, you must look and be amazed.

And then maybe, in your investigations, you discover that this sort of obsessive hoarding is, in fact, a popular enough subset of the OCD affliction that it's a rather fascinating psychological condition unto itself, and furthermore many cities and counties in the nation appear to have some sort of hoarding task force and/or informational Web site about, say, how to distinguish a true hoarder from people who are merely annoying sloths who never take out the garbage (hint: true hoarders never recognize any sort of problem) and that animal hoarding is actually a certified and slightly disgusting subset of the OCD hoarding compulsion and you're finally like, oh holy hell.

It's just so true, isn't it? How we just have no freaking idea what the hell people are doing out there, over there, just down the street and just next door and just behind those closed doors and that creepy cat lady or that crazy eBay mom could be, of course, your mom, your grandma, your sister ... or, of course, it could be you. Yes, you. It is enough, I know, to make you shudder. Recoil. Scream out your feline revelation. And yet, no one can hear you scream, because you are, in fact, dreaming, and in your dream you are wearing a huge ungainly cat suit, and it's hot and smelly and something is amiss and you realize you are wandering around some strange reeking house and you are stepping over just an insane number of piles of dried cat waste and everything smells like rotten asparagus. And there are about a million other cats there and most of them are dead and the rest look deranged and insane and are silently screaming for help and pawing at the windows and praying for quick cat death. And you look up and there is this woman walking toward you, and she's in a massive pink housedress covered in mysterious stains and wearing a creepy sad grin, and you're like no, wait ... no, no, it can't be ... no, no, NOOOOO!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Get Down Tonight!

Come brave the wilds of Hollywood... because Iiad & I are ripping up the turntables at the Burgundy Room tonight! And (especially for those of you who keep on bugging me about it!) you know it's been a while since I've done any DJ action at my old stomping grounds and this promises to be a really good time. Really good.

The Burgundy Room
on Cahuenga between Sunset & Hollywood
10pm - 2am

...and I promise to wear a very short skirt. Is that enough?

See you there!

The Harder They Fall

Hey kids - my computer is on the blink, so we may get sporadic...

Today, cuz it's friday, I simply offer you a goofy link sent to me by my wonderful friends. It's Kelsey Grammer walking straight off a stage during Disneyland's 50th Anniversary presentation/celebration or whatever. Here's what my friend (who was there) had to say about it:

The best part is that as soon as Kelsey fell, he screamed "SHIT!" at the top of his lungs. Then as he was writhing in pain in that crevice, he yelled "GOD DAMN it." Bear in mind this was for a press event celebrating Disneyland's 50th anniversary. Classic.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Car Trouble, Oh Yeah

My car was broken into, right in my driveway. This happened, like 2 months ago, so I've dealt with it, but I've been meaning to tell you all the story at some point.

I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner, actually. This is my first break in since moving to LA 4 years ago, and second break in since I've had this particular car (1994). I haven't done too bad. One of my best friends has been living in the slightly swankier enclave of Los Feliz and has had her car broken into 3 or 4 times this year.

I'm in Silverlake, where the neighborhood can be really great or really dodgy, depending on which block you are on. About half the time I park in a garage, as my roommate and I stack park in our driveway. My car is not so fancy... bad paint job, front right turn single generally hanging from its socket, busted sunroof, but ok.

The perp in question snapped off a plastic side panel alng the drivers side window and pushed the window down to get in. Interesting technique, and no glass repair for me! I noticed because one of my best friends had just replaced that panel - it had fallen off and the visible infrastructure was making my friend nuts, so he ordered me the new piece and popped it on himself. This was about a month before the break-in. I walked out to my car that morning and thought, "Heeeeeeeey! We just fixed that! Jeez."

I unlocked the car door and saw a homemade CD sitting on my seat. "OLDIES... ELVIS" it said. Hmmm, curious, because it wasn't mine - but I love Elvis. I thought it was a joke. Someone had somehow slipped the CD through some crack in my car. That's when I noticed the stereo was gone.

Well, it wasn't really. This is where it gets pretty amusing. My car is older, so it was equipped with a cassette deck. This was ok with me, as I had a CD player with an adapter that I'd use most of the time anyway, and I have tons of cassettes from my radio days lying around anyway. The thief took the FACE PLATE of the cassette player. They didn't even bother prying the rest of it out, just took the detachable face. Then they went through my glove compartment (which I keep my registration, proof of insurance, and napkins in) and took the CASE for the face plate. They also took a $5 pair of sunglasses (kept in the car in case of emergency) and a pack of gum.

But best of all was the fact that behind my seat (the car is a two seater) is a compartment that held my CD player, the adapter and a whole mess of CDs. Those were all still there, because they didn't bother checking there, luckily for me.

I was mostly upset about the pack of gum. And the CD was too scratchy to play anyway.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

For the Record

...Mr. Eugene Record.

He passed away on July 22nd, after a battle with cancer. Eugene Record was a major contributor to Chicago soul, a style of r&b in the 60's and early 70's which is mainly defined today by fellow contributors Jackie Wilson and Curtis Mayfield. It's a sweet, laid back style (with horns!) that may not have been as huge as the Motown or Philly stuff, but soul kids recognize the brilliance of other contributors like Tyrone Davis, Barbara Acklin, Major Lance, and the Chi-lites - a band fronted by Eugene Record.

He was responsible for many of their hits, including "Oh Girl," "Have You Seen Her," and "Are You My Woman," which Beyonce made even more slammin' by barely changing a thing with "Crazy In Love." With Barbara Acklin, he created some sweet soul pop (like "Have You Seen Her" and "Stoned...") for many bands, but mainly Brunswick label artists, the label that truly represented the Chicago soul sound.

After leaving the Chi-lites in 1976 for a solo career (which included some disco - ugh) he rejoined them in 1980, and then left again in 1988 to become a minister. You know the Chi-lites, so check out some of their early work, dig up some marvelous Barbara Acklin, try on a little Tyrone Davis... and thank Mr. Record for giving us such a wonderful catalog. Would ya?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Happy Birthday to You

Tuesday, August 2nd is Dax's birthday. Here's info on the latest benefits for him:

This time, in Chicago, featuring Thrill Jockey's own Tortoise....

Fri Aug 12th @ Empty Bottle
1035 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL
10:00pm, 21+, $12
and don't forget about Anticon's massive 2-night Dax benefit at Bottom
of the Hill in San Francisco August 5th & 6th:

Fri Aug 5 @ Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th Street (17th @ Missouri), SF
8:30pm, All Ages, $12 and up
+ special guests...
& DJ's:

Sat Aug 6th @ Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th Street (17th @ Missouri), SF
8:30pm, All Ages, $12 and up
WHY?, ALIAS, DOSH, BAT RAYS (passage & the bomarr monk)
+ special guests...
& DJ's:

Go here for more info on how you can help.