Tuesday, November 28, 2006

God love Leslie Sansone. Can't you FEEL the exercise MAGIC?

No, seriously, though. I absolutely adore Leslie Sansone.

She's absolutely fantastic.

Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow!

Or, as Leslie Sansone would say, WALK ON!


Monday, November 27, 2006


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.

rock it


Saturday, November 25, 2006


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


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.

rock on

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.

TV time,