Friday, December 22, 2006
Mostly, peace, and a stress-free moment to feel love.
Here is My Holiday Gift to You-All:
A special rock & roll holiday radio show! perfect listening for those last-minute moments wrapping presents, doing dishes, or staring into space wondering who you forgot on your list!
warm coffee and power chords,
Thursday, December 21, 2006
It's that time! But in the midst of your bustles, if you'd like a little distraction, tune into my show today at 4 pm PST at littleradio.
Some people have trouble hearing the station, so you can also listen to the podcast of it later at the LA Weekly.
I have a few things I'm excited to lay on you. And I promise not to chew gum this time!
It looks cool when John Lennon does it while singing, but it doesn't work on radio.
Have fun with your stuff!
Friday, December 15, 2006
I GOT MY TREE!
I GOT IT AT TARGET.
IT IS SHORT AND VERY FAT. IT IS ACTUALLY WIDER THAN IT IS TALL.
(THE ONE ABOVE IS NOT MY TREE.)
MY TREE IS COMICAL. ABOUT THREE FEET TALL AND FOUR FEET WIDE.
IT IS THE CUTEST AND BEST TREE I'VE EVER HAD.
IT'S SO FAT.
TO SHARE MY JOY WITH YOU, I OFFER YOU THIS HOLIDAY GIFT, FROM MY BEST FRIEND, MISS DEBBIE.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
When You Wish Upon A Star
I have spent some quality time lately at the Magic Kingdom. It's L.A.'s best-kept secret, don't you know. Few people realize how different it is in the middle of the week. It's practically empty. And when it's practically empty, you can feel some kind of human magic rolling over you like a warm wave. It has to do with the collective creativity of all the people who have made Disneyland, and those who bring their best hopes when they come to visit.
It's also very girly. I like how a lot of times the whimsical, magical forces (both good and bad) are girls -- like the Blue Fairy (above). The heart of Disneyland, which is Fantasyland — Walt Disney's favorite part — is really made to appeal to the little girl in everyone. And I think everyone does have a little girl inside them, somewhere.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
happy december, mighty mice!
Yay! it's finally Christmas time. And now, I want to tell you something about pies. Everyone says don't bother making your own crust; just buy store-bought frozen crust. Everyone says it's not worth it. But I want to tell you, they are wrong. There is a third option, and it is magic.
Betty Crocker makes instant pie crust powder--just add water. You have to roll it out. The crust it makes is the kind of crust that's so good, it's actually the star of the pie. it reminds you why pie was ever popular. it makes frozen crust seem, in hind-taste, a form of paper towel.
Pour in some pie filling and everyone will think you're martha stewart.
I also highly recommend Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass's Christmas Album.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
MY FAVORITE SONG THIS WEEK!
Happy Monday, and to warm your soul, or your ears, this early week, all rainy and shit, I recommend you go here, where you will find an article I wrote for you, and a really cool new song I'm loving. It's called "I'm Beautiful," and it's by L.A./OC soul/hiphop dude Aloe Blacc. It's sort of a children's song, but it's just a special song, period.
You will also find a song by a new L.A. guy who is funny and clever, named Benji Hughes. if you miss early Beck, this may be fun for you.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
IT'S ALL DICK CAVETT'S FAULT
Last night I was up all hours watching DVDs of the Dick Cavett Show (The Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons). It's a special collection of episodes (1969-1970) featuring rock stars. One of many great things about the show is that, according to intuition (and unlike just about every talk show today), Dick Cavett had the musicians perform, and then they would come right over and sit down and talk. Usually there was not even a commercial break for them to wipe down and go to the bathroom. And it wasn't the kind of empty small talk you get on regular shows. They'd sit for an hour and really talk, like real people. A lot of the discussion seemed to have to do with the basic day-to-day realities of their jobs. And he'd have all the guests stay, of course, even as new guests arrived, so they had to interact much like people at a dinner table. The mix of people seemed to be pretty good, too, and at times the questions were pretty blunt. At one point he's got Janis Joplin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Raquel Welch sitting in a circle, and he asks for a quick show of hands of who remembers their childhood as happy. Janis Joplin says she can't remember anything from her childhood. Everyone laughs, but it's actually pretty chilling. A lot of the things she says are like that. She says she remembers certain people's "vibes," and the way she says it is — well, you know something happened. She says she'd never go through it again; it was hard enough the first time.
There are three episodes with her on the box set, all from right before she died. It's pretty crazy: It's a snapshot of a person in motion, in youthful turmoil; someone who's being forced to be an adult when you get the sense she is equally burdened trying to get over her past. That's the hardest thing about being in your 20s. (At least it was for me.) You're just barely getting out of the hardest shit ever, being a child and a teenager, and you're reeling from what you've been through, and suddenly you're supposed to take on all the responsibilities of being an adult at the same time. It's like a second adolescence and in some ways it's actually harder than the first.
In any case, watching these DVDs was a real revelation. I've never seen such a cool talk show. Or heard one on the radio, for that matter. This is the way to do it. If I were trying to start a new talk show on TV now, this is what I'd do. And it would feel so new — and it would be so old. And it would only work on cable. Too smart for network TV, too hip for PBS. This is the kind of quality celebrity journalism that proves such a thing is possible. It makes me wonder about Conan, who has every bit the intellect and gravitas (if I may) of Dick Cavett. Is this kind of show he's thinking about whenever he belittles his own show?
One episode had a big fancy network newscaster guy who was retiring (Chet Huntley) to go live in Montana. When asked why he was retiring, he said that (among other things) he felt like everything was happening too fast, and people were required to speak about things too quickly, and wanted to have the time to sit and think about things before speaking about them. It's so true, and obviously this particularly speedy cycle in history hasn't ended. I won't see it in my lifetime, but I do long for a time when communications technology stops changing so quickly. I'm tired of the innovation, and I don't see it improving my life anymore. Phones are great; computers are great. That's it. There should be less focus on convenience of communication and more focus on quality. I can see the convenience value of the ipod, but when it comes to music, my heart doesn't generally prioritize convenience over quality.
blah blah blah,
PS: Yes, Joanna, the Bride and Groom mural (see below) is still there, thank heaven. There must be some kind of budget for preserving it, because it seems to be in better shape than a lot of murals in the area. I found a really neat short history of the mural here. This short history confirmed my memory that the mural had originally said "Monarch Bridal Shop" on it. The man in the mural is Carlos Ortiz, the owner of the Monarch Bridal shop, who commissioned the mural. Later, I guess after the store closed, another tenant in the building put the name of his store on it. Some people. I tell you.
So, the mural is on the building at 242 S. Broadway. It's on the north-facing side of the building.
PPS: I really enjoyed this blog entry by another writer who recently watched the Dick Cavett DVDs named Danny Miller.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Y'ALL!
This mural, "The Bride and Groom," is the one you could see from my dad's office at the L.A. Times during the rad '70s. (There is a large parking structure blocking the view now.) The bride and groom are five stories tall. Towering couple. Their hair flows in the hippie style of the day; they are a couple in motion, facing a wind. The man is wearing an unstoppable '70s tux.
This is one of the greatest murals I've ever seen, anywhere, including Europe. It's by Kent Twitchell, and was painted between 1972 and 1976 for the Monarch Bridal Shop on South Broadway.
When I was a child, I asked my father why the entire mural was painted in blue. He said, Because they ran out of the other colors.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
"Back then I didn't know why
Why you were misunderstood
So now I see through your eyes
All that you did was love."
--"Mama," the Spice Girls
I miss the Spice Girls. Talk about misunderstood!
And I remember "Mama"!
Oftentimes, I wonder if it isn't the fate of most creative girls to be somewhat misunderstood.
The saddest part is, so often it's other women who misjudge them.
I'm going to try to be better that way. I still believe in Girl Power.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Well, it's actually TOOsday but it feels like Monday. I went to see a movie over the weekend ("The Prestige") and virtually every preview they showed was for a film in which time-space goes all warpy. One was a sort of action-thriller version of "Groundhog Day" and one was something about deja vu starring Denzel Washington.
There was a similar fad about eight or ten years ago in European movies. For a while every movie was about the past and the future and alternate planes of existence. Since I don't put too much stock in linear time, that's all right with me.
I told you it was like Monday. I have nothing interesting to say.
This is also because of the Santa Ana winds. Some years they never show up. This year we can't get rid of 'em. The are dry hot winds from the eastern deserts and they make your hair flat like Jennifer Aniston's, and they make your sinuses feel stuffy and pressured, and they make fires and fights and eucalyptus tree disasters. They make it difficult to express cohesive concepts. They're making me anxious, and I need a lot more coffee. It's way too clear outside. You can see everything too well. The Hollywood sign is so bright white it looks slightly blue.
Here is some information on Santa Ana Winds from Wikipedia.
Santa Ana winds in popular culture:
* The Santa Ana winds are referenced in the Raymond Chandler short story "Red Wind," in which the author describes the winds as such: "[T]hose hot dry [winds] that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen." Appropriately, this Chandler passage is read by Chris Stevens (John Corbett) at the beginning of the episode "Ill Wind" of the TV series Northern Exposure. This passage is also quoted by Ed Asner in his role as Lou Grant in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" as an example of how to write prose.
* Bad Religion mentions the winds, using their nickname "murder winds," in the song "Los Angeles Is Burning" from the album Empire Strikes First. "When the hills of Los Angeles are burning/ Palm trees are candles in the murder winds/ So many lives are on the breeze/ Even the stars are ill at ease/ And Los Angeles is burning."
* There is also a band named The Santa Ana Winds Youth Band.
* There is a reference made to the winds in the Steely Dan song, "Babylon Sisters"
* The Beach Boys song "Santa Ana Winds" appears on their 1980 album Keepin' the Summer Alive.
* The song LA Woman by the Doors references taking a look around "see which way the wind blows" and contains imagery in which the city's "hair is burnin’ hills are filled with fire."
* The song Summer Rain by Belinda Carlisle has the lyrics "I remember the rain on our skin. And his kisses hotter than the Santa Ana Winds."
* The Santa Ana winds are important to the plot of the book White Oleander by Janet Fitch.
* The song "Catch My Disease" by Ben Lee has the lyrics "She told me about the winds from Santa Ana/And thats the way I like it."
* The Winds were featured prominently in the October 22, 2006 episode of the ABC series "Brothers & Sisters."
* The Santa Ana Winds are referred to in the song "I love L.A" by Randy Newmann Lyrics: " And the Santa Ana Winds blowing hot from the north"
* Rancid makes reference to the winds in the song "Brad" on the South Park Chef Aid album. "...and the Santa Ana winds make me feel alright."
* Several references made in the hit TV show Beverly Hills, 90210
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I got a phone message from Bill Clinton today (at left). It was swell. He was talking about voting. I sensed his diction had slipped since his days in the White House, though.
The OC was fantastic. And Mischa Barton was present as a ghost. I've never seen a show depict a ghost as a real thing. Cool. The aggressively emo soundtrack was still in place -- feels so last year -- and that was fine too. As I recall, last year was a pretty good year.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Baseball is over but "The OC" is just beginning. Of course, "The OC" without Mischa Barton will be like the Dodgers without Eric Gagne. But, as I recall, that worked out all right.
I played a new Kelis song on my radio show today called "Living Proof," and I "quite liked it," as some people would say. It had a "You Light Up My Life"-potential-Christian-romance subtext to it, which was a refreshing contrast to her previous great hit, "Milkshake." If a singer is going to go quasi-Christian on me, it's always preferable if it is a singer who has made her name singing about being a huge slut. See also: The immortal Donna Summer.
Of course, I could be projecting a Christian subtext onto Kelis' music. Either way, it's a convincingly romantic song. That's always a little miracle.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
i'm up writing. i have an essay in the la weekly tomorrow about getting several songs stuck in your head at the same time. or what i call "mental mashups."
you know what i mean
can i get a whuh whuh.
i am going to invent a new dance called the Pride. It's not gay or having to do with Lions. it's a dance about personal pride. pride in your own badass badassness. one thing i have learned in my professional life over the past three years: there is a lot of haters out there. (yes, you have to say "there is a lot of haters.") it's probably the worst aspect to actually having a career — and nobody ever warned me about it. but the one really cool thing about life is this -- and believe me, if I hadn't actually learned this the hard way, i know this would sound like a cliche: there's always someone "better" than you at any given skill, but no one can be you better than you. here ends the sermon, my children. i feel like a regular oprah.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Here's the list of what i played on my show today on littleradio.com
Big Bang--"Saturn Freeway"
The Cuts--"How Can I Get Through"
The Nice Boys--"Teenage Nights"
Teenage Fanclub--"What You Do to Me"
Naked Eyes--"Always Something There to Remind Me"
The Ark--"One Of Us Is Gonna Die Young"
T. Rex--"Ride a White Swan"
The Rubinoos--"I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"
The Ramones--"I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" demo
Art Brut--"Emily Kane"
The Mother Hips--"Red Tandy"
Mark Mallman--"Tell Me How a Man Gets Close to You"
Harry Nilsson--"Think About Your Troubles"
John Lennon--"Whatever Gets You Through the Night"
Scissor Sisters--"I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’"
Generation X--"Dancing With Myself"
Nine Black Alps--"Just Friends"
The Blondes--"High Five Suicide"
Dandy Warhols--"We Used to be Friends"
Colin Blunstone---"You Who Are Lonely"
The Rolling Stones--"Loving Cup"
Citay--"What Never Was and What Should Have Been"
Buddy Holly--"Not Fade Away"
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Now, a note from beyond the misty veil... I speak to you from a land called Vacation, where the trees drip with free cans of Coke and strawberry popsicles. I'm off for a couple weeks, so you may see a few fewer postings here, despite the tumultuous and impressive doings in Dodger-land.
You may see me at Disneyland quite a bit.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Sept 18, 2006
I LOVE L.A.
This is Nomar Garciaparra hitting a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th tonight against the Padres. You can't tell in this shot but his quad is busted.
This game, which included four back-to-back homeruns in the bottom of the ninth, will go down as the craziest Dodger game in history.
The Yankees better watch out because we are coming to get them. At the World Series.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Now, I just discovered a review of the awful movie Shopgirl, and am compelled to reprint it here, despite the tardiness. Who knows? I may spare some innocent video-store/Netflix customer the tedious queasiness I experienced on witnessing Steve Martin (my favorite comedian of all time) pull a most unflattering and unfortunate Woody Allen impression.
Gag me with a glove. The only reason I saw the "romantic" "comedy" Shopgirl, based on Steve Martin's novella of the same name, was because my friend and I got lost on the way to Pasadena and it was too late to see The Squid and the Whale. Now, I can appreciate a good chick flick as much as anyone, particularly one set in Los Angeles, but the entire premise of this one - that the oddball depressive Saks Fifth Avenue glove salesgirl Mirabelle (Claire Danes) is going to fall for the rich, suave computer something-or-other Ray Porter (Steve Martin), who in turn is going to crush her with his cold cold heart - seriously made my skin crawl. We are asked to find Ray the pinnacle of urbanity because he wears shiny black shoes, drinks wine on his private plane, and lives in a modern house in the Hollywood Hills that he bought already furnished. On their second date, he asks the schoolmarm-styled Silver Lake resident Mirabelle if she has a good relationship with her father (wink wink), and then says he has run out of "date questions." Already?! But she is smitten because he takes her to THE IVY and uh...did I already mention the house?
Their love making scenes reduced me to a fourth-grade maturity level. "Eeew!" I screeched, peeking through my fingers. How could they? How could A.O. Scott of the New York Times describe this film as "near perfect"? Jason Schwartzman's almost-lovable slob Jeremy was the best thing about the movie, and thankfully Mirabelle does end up with him in the end after Ray informs her, via handwritten note, that he cheated, causing her to sob bitterly, beseeching, "why don't you love me?". Meanwhile we're expected to believe that Jeremy's two-month tour as the amp tech for a shitty rock band, much of which he spent listening to self-help tapes, has turned him into some kind of sensitive guy who can afford Helmut Lang suits. Oh, and Mirabelle, who makes two charcoal drawings a year (she's "quirky," remember?) has a show at an elite Beverly Hills gallery. Ray shows up with a new, appropriately aged girlfriend and Jeremy is turned out in another $3000 suit. Such is the poetry of life.
I read reviews of this movie that said to "bring tissues"; why? To wipe the oily film off my eyeballs? I cringed for poor lovely Claire Danes. I mean, who doesn't love Steve Martin? He's a wild and crazy guy, but he is not Marlon Brando. The very reason Lost in Translation (which this received many comparisons to) was so poignant and romantic was because Scarlett Johannsen and Bill Murray didn't go there. And we didn't want them to. Clearly, this is Steve Martin's mid-life crisis movie, but it just seems to me that the Emperor has no clothes. Now could he please put them back on? -- Steffie Nelson, LA Weekly Style Council
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Ron Isley Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison For Tax Evasion
Ronald Isley, front man of the Isley Brothers, has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison for tax evasion, and ordered to pay $3.1 million in back taxes to the IRS. ...
The only thing Ron Isley should be convicted of is criminal funkytude, reckless musical chameleonism, and wielding an unlicensed pot belly.
Or as LA Weekly web maestro Mark Mauer put it:
Thank goodness that criminal Ron Isley is off the streets, while fine upstanding citizens like Frank Quattrone can avoid jail time for his conviction of funneling millions to his pals and covering up the evidence and tampering with the jury.
“According to reports, Mr. Quattrone will receive $100 million to $120 million in overdue compensation, so long as he abides by an agreement and does not break the law for a year.”
Hang tough, Mr. I.
chicken pot pie,
Sunday, September 03, 2006
A writer/reader poses an intriguing question in the comments area, which I will copy here:
How do I start without sounding like a total deuschbag... umm I'm a wannabe music journalist who has interned at OCWeekly - uh, wait I blew it. So moving on, sometimes I get bumbarded with so many new acts (Majority sucky) that I can't stand to even look at another band boy. You have been doing music writing for so long how do you keep inspired and motivated about it? I've only been attempting to write about it and I get frustrated. How do you manage to write about bands without getting disheartened by the constant assholes you have to deal with? Kudos to you for being such a strong person.
Not to be a douche bag, but I would recommend any wannabe writer to utilize the website dictionary.com if a real dictionary isn't available.
Anyway, I am unclear on the question: Are you frustrated with BAD MUSIC or BAD PEOPLE? These are two distinct problems. They don't always correlate.
In terms of ASSHOLES who are also MUSICIANS, I see no particular pattern here. True, most musicians have a dark side a mile wide. And true, rock & rollers are not famous for dependability in the areas of love and family. And true, many musicians are frauds with terrible taste in music, who are afraid of the deep void at their core, and habitually avoid it, which is partly why their music sucks. (That, and their lack of talent.)
But assholes? Nah--no more than anyone else. At least not for your purposes as a journalist. You shouldn't have to struggle with that stuff in a personal way. All you have to do is interview them. And — which may be traumatizing in its own way — listen to their goddamn record.
No musician should be an asshole to you. And if he is, that is only more stuff for you to write about. The only people who were ever assholes to me in an interview were the singer for Nickelback and Pamela Anderson. It should be noted, they are both Canadian, and neither of them are musicians.
As far as how to cope with the glut of bad music out there, I find that listening to the Beatles and T. Rex is always fortifying to the soul.
How to Hear Pop Vultures Online
So far, you can't.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I'm back! In The Saddle! Again!
I dunno. I have this other blog at the LA Weekly, the fine newspaper where I proudly work and which I love Dearly, but its blog program or "interface" (ptewy) is a bit too challenging for the techno-challenged and traditionally drunk blogger (such as myself).
I have decided for the moment to get back to Basics With Blogger, an eminently idiot-proof type of blogging "interface" (ptewy)!
So first things first.... It's been such a long time since I wrote something on this blog, my goodness. Shit. And shinola. Wow. Where to begin, really?
Well, I spose the main thing is, since last significantly posting here, I've commenced with a stoner rock phase. I wouldn't call it "metal" per se, as it is far too melodic and poppy to really qualify. I was born a Beatles person, and will remain so happily for the duration. Thus, the stoner rock/"metal" I dig is what metalheads would call "pop" in some disparaging way. Which is so retarded.
Let me give you an idea of what I'm enjoying:
1. Clearly, Wooofmother has not gone undetected on my radar. I got love for the Woof. Though they proved to be boring as near-shit live. Then again, I was not baked. As mentioned previously, the lead singer dude was dressed so fucking badass, it was worth the trip: white tuxedo jacket with tails. With well-noted afro on top. A winning combo, after all these years. As I recall, Mick Jagger did something similar in the rock & roll circus. (Or was it Brian Jones? Don't ask me: I was high out of my chihuahua.)
2. Blue Cheer, who are Playing Here In L.A. Next Week Or Something. I've heard of Blue Cheer for years, of course, but had sort of shoved them into a corner of my mental
Shitheap next to Blue Max. (Who is Blue Max? I have a memory of the name Blue Max in my head from high school, and I have no idea who Blue Max is. Is Blue Max a large chef?)
Blue Cheer is fantastic.
3. Priestess, sort of. Yes, there is a band called Priestess, and their fairly listenable new rock album is called Hello
Master (which I swear is a secret Hello Kitty reference). And I like them pretty OK. And the other day when we were all on deadline to get the paper done, I put on the Priestess in the copy editor's boombox at work, and people started coming in saying they dug the Priestess. And we actually have some people with pretty good taste over there in the art department.
As is so often the case. The art dept. is where I first really discovered T. Rex.
Of course, that was in the go-go '90s, and it was in Prague at a different newspaper. Nevertheless, I found that designers had pretty good taste.
gnight magic christians of the world!
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I recently read an article c0ncerning kiddie-diddler Gary Glitter and the utter popularity of his anthem "Rock & Roll Pt. II" at sporting events. The theme was, Isn't it weird that a child-porner gets all those royalties?
I did some research on this very question a while ago, based on the fact that America's most popular sporting anthems are all by child-lovers, homosexuals, and punk rockers.
Wjat i discovered after several emails to various people within the Dodger organization is that no royalties are paid for
So this past week I wrote out a list of various Topics to be Discussed. I wrote it on a mustard colored Post-It note like so:
2. kid rock/creed
3. kenny loggins
4. John Tesh
Intriguing, yeah? The trouble with lists is, they're useless if you can't remember why you wrote down a particular item. Example: Kenny Loggins. Your guess is as good as mine, and probably better, about that one. I mean, the possibilities are endless.
In any case, I'll try to run down the list right now, as best I can.
The Dodgers are back, and so is the music they play in the stadium at games. Couldn't be more perfect, either: The other day, Hootie & the Blowfish played a pre-game concert. Can you dig it? Hootie!