March 2007

The Red Badge of Courage - Chinatown Edition

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Sometimes "C" can be short for "Culinary Delight".


Sometimes "C" can also be short for "Diarrhea". Oh and also short for "fucking stupid Justin. stupid."

When will this war on my bowels end, China?!

Crocs DID get cute!


so I was randomly in a consignment shop the other day and what should I see, but a brand spankin' new pair of the Crocs Prima Ballet Flats in silver. hmmm....

on sale.
for half price.

Small and slim, it turns out they ARE equally as comfortable as their fugly clog-like predecessors: they're light as air and gel-cushioney, and they make my feet look very petite & cute. They go with almost anything and come in a pile of colors. I've only worn them twice so far, so this review may be a bit premature, but for right now I'd rate these Pretty Darn Sweet. LOL

21st Annual Last Remaining Seats

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The Los Angeles Conservancy announces it's lineup for the 2007 Last Remaining Seats programme, a once-a-year opportunity to view great classic films in some of Los Angeles' most stunning historic movie theatres. This event always sells out so do not wait to buy tickets!!!

May 23 - The Orpheum Theater
Special guests Eva Marie Saint and Patricia Hitchcock will be interviewed by filmmaker Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile), schedules permitting. Legendary organist Bob Mitchell performs on the Orpheum's original Mighty Wurlitzer organ before the show.

May 30 - The Los Angeles Theater
Film critic/historian Leonard Maltin hosts the evening that includes an on-stage fashion show featuring the glamorous work of legendary costume designer Edith Head, who won an Oscar for her work on Roman Holiday.

June 6 - The Orpheum Theater
The acclaimed Robert Israel Orchestra accompanies the feature, preceded by a screening of the beautiful and unusual 1920s short film "Moonland", with live organ accompaniment.

June 13 - The Los Angeles Theater
It's Oscar Night at LRS hosted by Randy Haberkamp, Director of Education Programs at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The evening includes short films from the Academy's archive, and a rare plaster Oscar statuette from the wartime years on display in the lobby.

June 20 - The Anson Ford Theater
(The Yacht Isabel Arrived This Afternoon) Actor Wilmer Valderrama will host the evening (schedule permitting). Live musical performance by the PAWS Music Afro-Cuban Folkore Ensemble in the Ford's intimate gardens from 7:00 7:45 p.m. Bring a picnic basket, relax, and enjoy the music before the screening. Food and drink allowed in the amphitheatre.

June 27 - The Alex Theater
Popular swing band Mora’s Modern Rhythmists performs tunes of the 1930s featuring music by Gus Arnheim. Also on the program is the Hearst Metrotone News from December 24, 1932.

Community vs. Trolls

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First off, I am truly sorry to hear that Kathy Sierra has stopped blogging due to creepy, threatening trolls. Kathy, please do not silence your vital voice due to un-evolved sub-homo erectus scum (no offense to our ancestors).

My first response upon hearing the news via Twitter and then reading Kathy's post on my mobile whilst driving to Las Vegas yesterday was to start singing old punk songs about self-defense and community unity. My second thought was "Let me at 'em with my steel toed panda shoes on..." My third thought was, "Hmmm... Self-Defense...Gun or karate?" Violence does not stop violence.

Here is my final response after a day of deliberation: Kathy, please keep blogging. The trolls win when you are silenced.

In March of 1998, Daniel Glass of Royal Crown Revue called me and asked, nee pleaded, that I take over the RCR mailing list. It was big and brawling. Old school punks plus hardcore swing dancers plus a bunch of tech geeks make for an interesting but at times explosive mailing list. I naively took it on and renamed the list "The Barflies Mailing List" after the RCR song. Up to 500 emails a day on subjects ranging from music to dancing to living to computers to bicycling to .... devolved into many of awful emails a day of 1 punk troll versus 1 swing-dancing-engineering troll plus their various factions warring.

In the first week of February of 2000, I took the list down and fled to Key West Florida and Nashville (Wahoo... BR549!) for a week. Upon my return, over 650 people hated me and not our 2 trolls.

In the 20/20 hindsight of 7 years, I can see that I should have trusted the community to fight for themselves and not let the trolls take over. Or maybe I should have IP banned the two trolls and let the community deal with the aftermath. What I know now is that I should have not taken the whole mailing list down.

Please, Kathy, report the event to the police (check), IP addresses and all. Ask the community of bloggers to help you (check). Wait for the community to rally and get the job done. Keep blogging about creating passionate users, as passionate users become passionate communities. Passionate communities make for an internet worth fight for.

p.s. Dear former mailing list folk (1998-2000), I am sorry.

New music to KUCI for 3/27/07

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Hey everybody,

Welcome to the BLURB THUNDERDOME!!! Several CDs enter, a couple others
leave, and the rest also leave…BUT IN BODYBAGS!!! OH CRAP!!! Was that
super intense? Good. Your faces are sufficiently rocked.

Slim pickings this week on the music front. All the promo kids were busy
getting drunk on PBR at SXSW, so they didn’t exactly bring their A-Game.
Maybe it only seems sparse after the monster,
sure-to-be-on-top-of-the-year releases over the last couple weeks. But,
there are good CDs to be had. Enjoy, tigers.

1. Los Straitjackets – Rock En Español Vol. 1 (Yep Roc)
This is easily one of your top 5, luchadore mask-clad band of surf rock
latinos. This time, tus amigos bring you a collection of oldies hits,
recorded EN ESPAÑOL!!! You get such hits as Wild Thing, Hang on Sloopy,
Whittier Blvd., etc. Bridge that gap with our neighbors to the south. Show
them you care. ¿Como se dice, “TOTALLY BITCHIN’, DUDERS!!”?

2. The Book of Knots – Traineater (Arclight)
This band has a bit of a freak-rock pedigree. Features members of
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Pere Ubu, Tin Hat Trio, Skeleton Key, Tom
Waits, etc. Basically, it’s dark-ish junkyard rock with unique trashy
grooves, with occasional darkly beautiful violin and ambient spoken word
stuff (and features Mr. Waits on one track). It’s a enigmatic hodgepodge,
for certain. Not as scary as Sleeptime Gorilla Museum, but, then again,
few live experiences are that I know of. I think the only band I’d be more
intimidated to see would be Oxbow. But that’s because I don’t want to get
the piss kicked out of me by a huge, muscular black dude in his tighty
whities. Wow. How often am I going to get to say that? (Until my birthday,

3. The Fall – Reformation Post T.L.C. (Narnack)
This band has been around for 30 years now, and Mark E. Smith continues
his weird enunciation parade, and looks more like your history professor
every day. I’m sort of at a loss to explain this band. People always said
Pavement ripped them off, but I never really heard that. Both bands have
sort of nonsense lyrics, but that’s about it. This is edgier,
post-punk-ish songs with an old British dude pronouncing words oddly over
them. I dunno, man. They’re sort of one of a kind. I’m kind of at a loss

4. Unknown Instructors – The Master’s Voice (Smog Veil)
This is Mike Watt’s 172,325th band. That dude goes door to door asking, “Yo
dudes. I’m Mike Watt. Do you guys need a bass player? Or just want to hang
out with a dude with a trucker ‘stache?” Also, this band has Raymond
Pettibon on one track. If you don’t know who that is, what kind of fucking
punk are you, poseur? Anyway: the music. Like a toned-down Minutemen, I
guess. Chill indie-jazz-rock jams, sort of. I dunno. This thing is all
over the damned place. One track is really reverb-laden stoner-rock. One’s
all jazzy. One’s all noisey-styles. I’d accuse them of dicking around, but
Mike Watt could probably get some San Pedro longshoremen to show up at my house and throw me a blanket party.

5. The Twlight Sad – Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters (Fat Cat)
When I saw this band and title, I thought, “Ewwww. Overt references to
depression and the darker seasons. This is gonna be some
eeeeeeeeemooooooooo craaaaaaaaaaaaaaap. But I flipped it over and did not
see Jade Tree Records stamped on the back, but Fat Cat, the bringers of
Sigur Ros, Animal Collective, Mum, etc. Rather, it’s a Scottish band who
mix My Blood Valentine, The Smiths (a little emo, I guess), and Interpol
into a sort of shoegaze-stew. What a trick. Aside: why do dogs put their
heads out car windows? Do you think it makes them think they’re running
like, superfast? Do you think your terrier secretly desires to reach
triple digit land-speed numbers? Hahaha. Could you imagine pugs zipping
around at 75 miles an hour? Holy shit. I’d tie a cape to one and watch the
damned show.

6. Cibo Matto – Pom Pom (Warner Brothers)
This one is subtitled “The Essential Cibo Matto”. So, hopefully, you’ve
deduced that it is a best-of of sorts. Seventeen old favs and two
unreleased cuts make up this album of chill, asian-influenced dub-rock
featuring John Lennon’s son. PLUS, they were on that episode of Buffy the
Vampire Slayer where Buffy comes back and..nevermind. Haha.
NEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDDDDD. I just talked my way right out of several makeouts that were en route to me due to the complete awesomeness of the rest of this post.

7. Limbeck – Limbeck (Doghouse)
Last I saw this band, it was at Chain Reaction. I was there to see the
Kids of Widney High. Somewhere, I have a ticketstub that says Limbeck, and
it’s signed by Cain (of KOWH). I think I left halfway through Limbeck.
Because if it’s not “The Kids”, who gives a shit? But I remember it being
a sort of pop-punk kind of indie thing, and the audience seemed made up
entirely of members of their high school or something. But, now,
apparently they’ve gotten a little cred, a decent label, an indie-twang
sensibility, and some songwriting talent. Now it seems like a sort of
dios/Oh No! Oh My! sort of chill-pop-twang thing. Plus, they’re from
Orange County. Hell. Some of you probably went to school with these dudes.
I didn’t. I went to school with the dudes from Bat Von Puddle. That shit

8. Dat’r – Turn Up the Ghosts (Hush)
Not sure how you pronounce this name. I’m guessing “D.A.T.-urr”. What do I
know? At any rate, this isn’t the normal Hush Records whispery sleeptyime
pop. This is a sort of semi-electo jiggle party. Sort of fun-energy,
percussion heavy electro-pop-rave. I guess these dudes have some old
joysticks, rigged up by dudes from MIT, to control the music with (which I
understand doesn’t make the CD any more fun to listen to, but damned if I
don’t like a gimmick). I know at 25, that puts me in the upper half of the
age bracket at KUCI, but how many folks had an old Atari? With those
rubbery joysticks that you just sort of wanted to...chew on? I played
hours of Missile Command. I commanded missiles like it was my goddamned
6-year-old JOB. Ain’t no aliens gonna bomb my base. Bitches. This is some
pretty solid music. I should probably put this higher up to make sure
folks read about it, but I gave up editing things I write for Lent.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to fight some dinosaurs with my bare
hands. If you are inclined, you may swoon at my manliness.

Why is Lil Jon on my AIM?

Undercover (sort of) at the S&M Club

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When I was getting dressed this afternoon, the only plans I had for the day were to go to lunch and to work, so tennis shoes and a Sugarland t-shirt seemed perfectly appropriate. Then, during the last half-hour at work, I received an Instant Message from my friend Kelly, who announced that she had to go to an s&m club that night as a study in deviant lifestyles for her Sociology class, that I was going with her, and that she'd be on her way to pick me up in twenty minutes. I know better than to argue with Kelly, so my white tennis shoes and lavendarish-bluish t-shirt were going to have to be my costume of choice for visiting the deviants.

Although Kelly was dressed in a sleeveless black top, black leggings, and silver cross necklace, she still looked every part the wholesome, All-American girl-next-door with her blonde hair and fresh sunburn, a result of not using enough sunblock while spending time by her koi pond. We arrived at Monte Cristo, an unmarked club in Koreatown, in Kelly's light blue VW Bug, complete with a miniature flip-flop shoe hanging from her rear-view mirror, just in time for the full Sunday night Goth experience.

Inside the Monte Cristo, we found a much tamer scene than we'd anticipated from the "S&M" club. No whips, no bondage, but a decoration not that much different from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, and every scary costume found at Hot Topic you could imagine: dog collars, corsets, full rubber suits, fishnets, top hats, studded leather vests, capes, face get the picture. Club goers filled the dancefloor, moving their bodies to industrial music. Most people danced by themselves within their own space, with their own improvised choreography. Kelly's professor, a regular at the club, warmly welcomed us, and told Kelly that she'd get even more extra credit if she joined the dancers. Still in my tennis shoes, I was not about to go on the dancefloor, but the professor's friend Rebecca led Kelly out on the floor. In fact, here's a picture of Kelly dancing:


The reason why you can't see anything is a) because my camera phone takes crappy pictures, and b) it really was that dark in there, and you couldn't see anything anyway.

Rebecca gave some suggested "arm movements" for Kelly to use, including "Turn the Lightbulb," and "Brush Your Hair." Meanwhile, I was approached by Mark, a Goth comedian with long streaks of black eye liner running in vertical lines down his face. He bemoaned the lack of good Goth radio stations, even on satellite radio, but that there were some good Goth internet radio stations. He further told me that the Monte Cristo was a fairly liberal club, and that at some Goth clubs, you're charged extra at the door if you aren't wearing all black. He invited me to "The XXX-Treme Comedy Freak Show," happening at the California Institute of Abnormal Arts in North Hollywood next Saturday. Fabulous.

We stayed for about an hour and a half, before leaving shortly after midnight, having had quite a bit of fun, despite looking a little out of place, and with Kelly bonding with her professor about how cool the Goth club is.

She's gonna ace her class.

March is National Craft Month

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March is National Craft month and I would encourage everyone to get some friends together, males and females, young and old, and make some shit DIY-style.
As of late, I’d been feeling pretty craft-deficient. I’d purchase a copy of the slickest new ReadyMade mag from my local Borders and feel…well, less than. One of the newer issues actually gave detailed directions on how to make a wood branch table with a glass top which cost $300. An older one gave directions for a rotating sunhouse designed by Todd Oldham. Are you kidding?
That was until I met some other people just like me – creativity hoarders. You likely know the type. These are the people who hoard crafts and never use them because of time or not enough money to get ALL the bells and whistles from some project they cut out of Martha Stewart’s LIVING but when you go to their homes, you are constantly tripping over blank canvases and finding beads in your socks after you leave. Yeah, them. So anyhoo, I’ve met a few of these ladies and we now have what my “best friend” Laura and I refer to as the “Best Friends Club”. It’s funny because we are each about 15 years too late to refer to people as our “best friends” and because we are embarrassingly enthusiastic about everything craft. (Julie and I squealed at this).
I just thought I’d let you know there are other gals (and guys, of course) out there, dying to be invited to your house to glue and cut and fold on your kitchen table but who are not quite ready for their own gallery exhibits.
If you need an idea, have a F*&% Hallmark party and encourage everyone to make their own cards. Make it a theme party. For instance, we all hauled over to my boss’s house a month or so before the Winter Holidays (how was that for p.c.?) to create cards and learn to use ribbon and brads TOGETHER. Believe me, it’s a lot less scarier with some other people around. I am totally afraid of eyelets but Laura and Julie have given me the courage to move through that fear to a higher form of craft. It’s a beautiful thing.
If you’d like some ideas for crafts you can actually make, look at these pictures of cards I made at my own craft party last week or check out Craft magazine. It is full of things you can actually make and with a couple friends, you can catapult through your creative fear and make things you can be proud to share. If all else fails, at least you’re not eating alone on a Friday night and you know your parents will always accept things for the fridge gallery.
-Jessa B.


This album consists of material recorded by the Ventures between 1992 and 2000. It features the final recordings of drummer Mel Taylor. I found the CD in a budget bin for three bucks. I thought, “How bad could it be?”
At first listen, I was absolutely repulsed. I thought it was horrible. Every song was practically smothered with cheesy 80’s sounding synthesizers. There were more keyboards on top of that programmed to sound like steel drums and Andean pan flutes. The fast songs sounded like action montages from bad sports movies and the slow songs sounded like soundtracks from either industrial training films or soft porn travelogues. The Ventures that created such masterpieces as “Walk, Don’t Run,” and the “Ventures In Space” album might be buried under this mess somewhere but I couldn’t find them. I immediately filed this one in my “To Go” basket. At my next record show I would sell it to some poor optimistic Ventures fan that will be as disappointed as I am.
Some time later, I gave it another chance. There was something about it that fascinated me. It brought to mind images of reading year-old magazines in a cold, over air-conditioned dentists waiting room with indoor/outdoor carpeting and vinyl-padded furniture. It wasn’t the most comfortable place in the world, but it was safe and clean. There were sharp instruments on the other side of the door, but there was also Novocain and nitrous oxide to soothe the pain. It was both disquieting and reassuring.
A strange thing happened – I started to like it. I listened to it while driving and it made traffic a little easier to deal with. I listened to it on my computer at work and it created a nice, soothing atmosphere. At low volume, the drums and trebly guitars sneak out from beneath the heavy fog and as if to say “The Ventures and hiding in here, but don’t tell anybody.”
I listen to it a lot. In fact, I’m listening to it right now. It’s now my CD of choice when I want to be left alone but don't want to be rude about it. This will clear just about any room but those in the next room will soon be tapping their toes despite themselves and their "good taste."

I have a Ventures-related story that I have to tell here. Segue-schmegway. Sometime in the late 90’s, I attended an outdoor concert in Seattle featuring the local punk rock band Zeke. Leaving the stage after their performance, Zeke frontman Blind Marky Felchtone was approached by a fan- an innocent looking young girl of about twelve or thirteen. As they walked by me, I overheard the following snippet of conversation:
GIRL: Do you like the Ventures?
BMF: Yeah, I love the Ventures.
GIRL: My Grandpa is in the Ventures.

To this day, that still warms my heart.

Holding On

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More than ten years after Jack Ingram recorded his first studio album, next Tuesday marks Jack's proper introduction into the world of mainstream country. Although last January, Big Machine Records released Live: Wherever You Are, the album was merely a re-issue of Jack's Live from Gruene Hall CD, with a couple of studio tracks ("Love You" and "Wherever You Are," both which have since become singles for Jack, "Wherever You Are" eventually reaching the top of the charts) and an additonal "live" track, taken from the CMT "Outlaws" show, thrown in for good measure.

On March 27th, Jack's full-length, studio, major-label CD will make its debut. The two previous singles, and Jack's latest single, "Lips of an Angel" (yes, a remake of the Hinder song) will be included on the album. The title of the CD, This Is It, is taken from a line in the second track "Hold On," which features backing vocals by Sheryl Crow. "Hold On" forms the core of the album, which is about striking a balance between holding on and letting go (ironically, Tim McGraw's new CD Let It Go hits stores the same day Jack's does). After more than a decade of being considered a seminal artist, it is likely that this is a struggle Jack is facing professionally as he reaches for bigger audiences. He's admitted that "This Is It" seemed like the appropriate title, because "this" is what he's been working toward for the past ten-plus years.

The theme of holding on is seen in songs like "Wherever You Are," "Make a Wish," while songs like "Measure of a Man," and "Don't Want to Hurt" are about letting go of past hurts. The album's closing song, "All I Can Do," brings those themes together as Jack's letter of honesty to the music industry.

And while he's certainly adapted his style (his "#1 hit" is arguably the most boring on the album, and even that's not all that bad, and will hopefully allow him to have future hits with more "Jack-like" songs), Jack remains fiercely loyal to finding and recording great songs. "Measure of a Man," the opening tune about forgiveness is co-written by the fantastic Radney Foster, while "Love You," was co-written by the adorable Trent Summar. And Jack's got some fabulous collaborations with Todd Snider and his former guitarist Chris Masterson (now on the road with Son Volt). Jack also includes some of his own previously-unrecorded audience favorites like "Ava Adele" and "Great Divide," to create an album that will gently break mainstream country fans into the genius of Jack Ingram, and to give his long-time fans something to be proud of.

Congratulations, Jack. Hold on to what you've worked for. This is it!


Sweet Indeed

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Planning for my "weekend" (you'll recall that my crazy work schedule means my days off are Thursdays and Fridays), I was considering walking down to the Glendale Galleria to see what all the fuss was about, and maybe having movie night later that Thursday. Then I saw a myspace posting for Pappy & Harriet's music schedule, and saw that Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter was playing Thursday night. Suddenly, I remembered that I hate malls, and that a trip to the desert might be in order.

But, Darlin,' you're probably wondering, didn't you just see Jesse Sykes open for Sparklehorse last month? Yes, in fact, I did. I went to see Jesse Sykes do an awesome show, while Wanda stayed home and made Valentine's Day cards. And Jesse did such a great job at that show, that I wanted to see her again, and not just to spite Wanda. I had never been to Pappy & Harriet's, and have wanted to for the longest time, and it just seemed like Gram Parsons' oasis would be the perfect setting to see Jesse play again.

Driving through the badlands along the 60, I almost reconsidered, thinking, "This is crazy. You're going to drive out to the middle of nowhere to see a band?! What if you break down? What if you get lost? What if it starts raining like it looks like it's going to? What if your mother's right about the crazy people that live in Pioneertown?" But then I saw a rainbow, remembered that I like crazy people, and took it as a sign that I was on the right path.

And I did, even though it DID start raining, and even though I DID miss Pioneertown Road, once I arrived at P & H's, I knew I'd found heaven. Everything that you've heard about this place is true - it really is THAT cool. I ate the best chicken tacos I've EVER had outside of Austin (and only for $5!), which Darren, a very nice (and very cute) local explained that the reason they were so damn good was because all the meat is cooked outdoors on a mesquite grille. Uh-may-zing.

Jesse was brilliant, of course. It's impossible to describe her sound, although "country noir" seems to best fit her, but who the hell knows what that means? Even Jesse struggles with it, eventually just saying, "It's just American music." Like the name of her band implies, there's an "other world" quality to Jesse's sound (which is for the most part guitar driven ballads - kudos to Phil Wandscher formerly of Whiskeytown for his fantastic licks - with titles like "Lonely Still," "Troubled Soul," "The Dreaming Dead," "Spectral Beings," and "The Open Halls of the Soul"), and with her sweeping waist-length pitch-black hair, one wonders about the possibility of Jesse casting potent spells. But Jesse smiles easily, and is as sweet and personable as you could ever imagine. Pioneertown was Jesse's last stop after being on the road for six weeks, followed by a week at home in Seattle, then on the road again for another five weeks. Her third CD has just been released, and Like, Love, Lust, and the Open Halls of the Soul is a beautiful continuation of the haunting songs she's delivered in her previous two albums.

It's a long way to Pappy & Harriet's, but definitely worth it.


They do say the higher the hair the closer to god... :P

Sunday, April 1, 2007
Ultra Lux Salon & Lounge
1312 Aviation Blvd. Suite #101
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
$10 per person
$5 per Car (Driver Only)

-Big Sandy & The Flyrite Boys
-The Hellzaboppers
-DJ Renegade Rob

-Sneaky Tiki (Clothing & Jewelry)
-Dave Sanchez (Tattoo Artist)
-Tres Noir (Sunglasses)
-Bettie B' Dangerous (Swim Wear)

Custom and Kustom Handbags

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In the ever lasting quest to look unique and cute, I love the idea of specially designed accessories that will make me stand out. Because even amongst the subcultural, things start to look alike.


I you want to flex your designing muscles, check out Freddy & Ma's interactive website, where you choose the style, leather trim, pattern and hardware of your custom handbag. Plaids and black leather? Check. Pink skulls? Check. However, I didn't see any vegan choices. Go play designer.


Kustom-with a K

But if you are looking for Kustom that Kicks ass, then you have to check out Trophy Queen's handbags. I covet Julie Wanda's beautiful kustom bag. But I am eye balling a diamond pattern for a kustom tote. Kustom orders will cost a little more, but Jenny, the designer and owner is open to your needs and is very friendly,


10th Annual Viva Las Vegas

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Funny, a few months back I was trying to find a list of the bands that played Viva 2004 (or '05 or so). I searched and searched with no luck and alllllmost gave up... until I finally hit a page that had the lineup listed. It was mine. That I posted here on Barflies.

With that said, the 10th Anniversary is too big for me to bother typing. So at the risk of screwing over my future self... I give you:

a link


The Rockabilly Party Weekend!
April 5-8, 2007

Viva Las Vegas 10 will take place at:
The Gold Coast Hotel & Casino
4000 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103

Showrooms open until 7am Friday - Sunday
Ballrooms open until 4am Thursday - Sunday

Other events scheduled at this year's VLV:
#VLV Shifters car show
# Tiki Pool Party
# Lucky Wristband Number Draw
# Burlesque Competition
# Miss Wolff's Jiving Dance School
# The Viva Las Vegas Jiving Competition
# The Charles Phoenix Vintage Slide Show
# Rockabilly Hall of Fame 10th Anniversary Show
# World Famous Artist Vince Ray will be present for autographsFree VLV 10 CD!
# Viva Las Vegas Art Show hosted by 8 Ball featuring rtwork by: Bosko; Sunny Buick; Dave Burke; Kirsten Easthope; Ewik; Doug Horne; Munktiki; David Perry; Lisa Petrucci; Mark "Atomos" Pilar; Sara Ray; Keith Weesner; Derek Yaniger; Mr. G; Makoto; Grimb; Wish; Jet Wrench; Fudemae; Dale Sizer; more TBA



If it weren’t for Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and DJ Fontana, you never would have heard of Elvis Presley. They are well known among rockabilly fans, rock historians, and record geeks, but to the general population and even some Elvis fans, the mention of their names will get an immediate response of “Who?” This book is unlikely to change that, but those of us in the former categories should be happy to learn more about these guys.
Scotty Moore and Bill Black were part-time bar-band musicians until Sam Phillips encouraged them to jam with some funny-looking kid named Elvis. Together they created “That’s All Right Mama,” which led to a few years of greatness before the evil Colonel Parker came along and ruined everything.
That’s where guitarist Moore, bassist Black, and drummer Fontana disappear from most history books. But in this book, that’s where the story gets interesting. I really liked getting a glimpse of the personalities behind the historical names. After their split from Elvis, they all took slightly different paths but remained close and occasionally collaborated. Fontana (who has a really cool name) was a professional drummer before the Elvis gig simply continued being a professional drummer and toured with Gene Vincent and Lefty Frizzell l before becoming a Nashville session player. Bill Black (who also had a cool name) became the first bass player in history to leave a successful band for a legitimate solo career. He had several decent-sized instrumental hits with the Bill Black Combo. As far as I know, the only other instance of “second-career bassist syndrome” occurred when Paul McCartney left the Beatles. If you want to be snarky about it and bring Peter Cetera and Sting into the discussion, you will only bring shame upon yourself.
Scotty Moore, being the cost complex character in the story, gets the most page time here. He becomes an embittered, reclusive studio engineer/producer who ends up selling all of his guitars and hitting the booze once in a while. For the most part, he prefers to maintain his privacy and therefore his dignity.

The third act in this drama involves the rediscovery of Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana by rockabilly revivalists in the 80’s and 90’s (Bill Black died of a brain tumor in 1965). They also receive much belated praise from big rock stars and those “give-em-an-award-before-they-die” type organizations. Moore and Fontana, separately and together, become involved in several projects that they hope will finally get them the recognition they deserve. When these projects, like the “All The King’s Men” CD fail to set the world on fire, the disappointment leads to more bitterness. In fact, the relative failure of “All The Kings Men” led to a falling out with co-author Griffin who not only produced the CD, but also acted as their manager for a while. The book is not a hatchet job by any means. The subjects are regarded with respect throughout, but they probably still won’t like it simply because they are naturally cantankerous old coots.
If you like a little dirt and sleaze with your rock and roll reading material, you’ll find a few road stories to keep your interest. You will learn that, when they were touring with Elvis, that the drummer was the real hound dog of the group. DJ Fontana’s penis was known as “The Monster” among his contemporaries.
Other than stories of Elvis’s poor personal hygiene, that’s as dirty as gets.
One thing that slightly bothered me was the unfair treatment of Elvis tribute artist Ronnie McDowell. The authors seem befuddled by Moore and Fontana’s preference to occasionally perform with McDowell and his band rather than be the subjects of the sycophantic hero worship of serious music geeks (Fontana calls them "gurms"). The authors obviously don’t like McDowell and go too far in bad-mouthing him. What they might not understand is that Moore and Fontana might simply enjoy playing with a singer that sounds as good as Elvis but doesn’t have all the weird psychological quirks. Maybe they just prefer being sidemen and not the center of attention. They don't see themselves as legends - just musicians.

Ho-hum, another couple of tired old punk bands phoning in another show at some stinky dive in exchange for some chump change? How did you get so cynical?
I had forgotten how great the Dickies are – not were, but are. I admit that I haven’t seen them live in over twenty years and that I only own their first two and a half albums. They may never have the same impact that they had in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but they’re still alive and still rocking. Singer Leonard Phillips has matured into a middle-aged man who looks like equal parts Norman Bates, Dr. Bricker from “The Love Boat”, and a post-Spinal Tap Michael McKean. Guitarist Stan Lee’s hair seems to be gaining mass as it slides down the back of his head. I don’t know who the “new” guys in the band are now, but it doesn’t matter – They’re the Fricken’ Dickies, damn it. What does matter is that the bass player wears a big plushy teddy bear suit. It also matters that Leonard wears a gorilla mask when performing “You Drive Me Ape You Big Gorilla” and uses a giant penis-shaped puppet when they do “If Stuart Could Talk.” Other props implemented during the show include a doggie puppet, an inflatable love doll, and the all-important diving mask and snorkel combo. These are not merely silly props or cheap gimmicks; they are effective tools for communication.
That’s what most of punk rock is lacking – Production Values!
Did I mention that the bass player dresses like a teddy bear? I wonder if that’s something he brought with him when he joined the band, or if they already had the suit and were looking for a bass player that could fit into it.
Never take the Dickies for granted. Think about it – they’re brilliant. They can’t be held responsible for all the horrible goofy pop-punk bands and prop comics that they inspired. That would be like blaming Thomas Edison for “American Idol.”

Fear is now Lee Ving and three younger guys. I don’t know who they are either. They’re probably all in other bands. They were just going through the motions, but they were accomplished enough to be incapable of sucking. They did them all – “I Don’t Care About You,” “I Love Livin’ in the City,” and basically the whole first album. Fear songs performed live are basically yelling with free jazz accompaniment. However, there’s something about their music that makes big drunk guys want to fight. Don't they know that Fear is supposed to be funny?

New music to KUCI

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As per usual, here is the email I send out to my KUCI DJ-folks so they are "hip" to all the "goovy" new "music" in the KUCI library.

Hey folks,

I hope you all survived the weekend. I, personally, managed to claw my way
through the weekend with a brain that still feels slightly mushy from lack
of sleep and extremely loud music. When your weekend plans involve a
concert, you are probably in for fun. If the directions to the venue
include “find the alleyway between 3rd street and main”, and you’re in
downtown Los Angeles, you are either in for LOTS of fun, or a night you
will later be describing to authorities. Since I’ve worked up plenty of
positive karma in my “reading to blind puppies” non-profit, it was the
former. The venue, known as “The Smell”, is, for those who aren’t
familiar, more of an art-space, and features generally “arty” music, which
can range anywhere from really intricate and interesting music performed
well and with passion, to folks in facepaint where you turn to your friend
and inquire, “This is a joke, right?” Our night included 8 bands, so we
got the full gamut. Bands from Japan playing 20-minute long, hypnotic
songs. Bands from San Francisco shrieking into
telephones-turned-into-microphones. Bands from Oympia playing a unique
brand of deranged blues-rock (truly the highlight). I mean, if you’re
going to dance in an alley in downtown LA, you want deranged blues-rock,
don’t you?

After getting to bed at 4am (losing an hour for DST), I crawled out of bed
and headed to KUCI to see Do Make Say Think perform in the lobby. Packing
our humble little lobby with eight multi-instrumentalists, and all their
gear, and all the DJs who showed up to watch, made for a warm little
intimate gathering. It was such a thrill to sing along with them in a
wordless choir and clap along with a band I enjoy. That number of
musicians then lets the music take a slow, cinematic crescendo into such a
powerful and redemptive wall of sound that it is blowing right through
your body in a way that I really have to assume will be discovered to cure
cancer by medical professionals in the future. I always begrudge wearing
earplugs to concerts, but that’s the only volume that this effect can be
achieved through. Anyway. Enough of that, I gotta get this shit done.

1. Panda Bear – Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)
Easily one of the best CDs I’ve heard all year. If this doesn’t make
year-end best lists, I would be horribly shocked. Panda Bear is one of
those dudes from Animal Collective. He released a solo album a couple
years ago that was this sort of ethereal singing and guitar angel-song
collection of untitled works. Now he’s back with an album that’s way
more accessible, but still as beautiful and unique. If pop died, and
it’s soul became an angel and got itself a little harp (well, sampler
in this case), and totally awesome wings, and could live in a cloud and
play you the catchiest twelve-minute songs in history, it would be this
album. Nothing I’ve added this year has as high a recommendation as
this album. If this album were a girl, I would work up my courage to
talk to it all night, and then chicken out and feel badly about myself
for days afterwards.

2. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver (Capital)
If you are still unfamiliar with this band, I am going to spend the next
few days wondering how you managed to completely escape the miasma of hype
which has completely drenched the music criticism world since well before his
debut album dropped. James Murphy has apparently ingested every krautrock
and disco album ever, and now, like a mother bird, he has regurgitated
musical nutrition to keep you alive. And when I say “alive”, I mean
“dancing forever until you are so exhausted you can no longer use verbs,
but rather need to just point at things and make crude mimings of what you
need them for.” When you put this CD on, you feel 10 times sexier. That is
based on rigorous scientific studies I have done. About sexiness. The
results are published in the “Journal of American Sexiness Studies and
General Bad-ass-ness.”

3. Cyann & Ben – Sweet Beliefs (Ever)
You know M83? No? Have you ever seen an independent movie trailer? OK. You
know that song they play? That’s M83. Well, probably. Anyway, these dudes
roll with that band. But while M83 makes these pixilated digi-scapes of
beautiful electro-drone-rock, C&B want to throw down some actual
instruments, and more singing, and come from a bit of a folkier
background. It’s from France! They have food there!

4. Low – Drums and Guns (Sub Pop)
Dude, if you’ve never heard of this band, how do you have a show on
college radio?

5. Maps & Atlases – Trees, Swallows, Houses (Sargent House)
This is like some crazy mix of Don Caballero, Hella, At the Drive In, and
Cap’n Jazz (but noisier). INSANE guitar and drums doing SICKENINGLY
INTRICATE music with TOTALLY AWESOME time signatures. I figure, if I
e-yell at you, you’ll listen to me. This is really catchy and exciting.
Like, it’s all jittery and running 1000 miles and hour, and I want to just
start kicking things and shouting! Yay!

6. Drakkar Sauna – Jabraham Lincoln (Marriage)
Ever so often, Portland, Oregon’s Marriage records drops a huge package of
their stuff in my lap, and I smile a little because their stuff sounds
so..unique...most the time that it's always a pleasant little fresh-sounding pick-me-up. This band sounds like some sort of lo-fi Beirut/Avett Bros/Animal Collective kind of thing (much more the first two). If you’re sick of the rest of the shit I add, may I point you towards this album? Man. As this album plays, and I write this, these kids
are winning me over with their charms. Damn this job, and the never ending
bitch-slap it gives my wallet (because I’m not going to just download it
illegally, you philistines).

7. Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday (XL)
“Kyle. This album is getting a lot of hype, and it’s good. Add it.” “Dude,
it’s folky indie stuff and everyone is sick of it.” “Add it.” “Fine, but
it’s gonna chart one week, and no one will play it again. Mark my words.”
Prove me wrong, kids. Prove me wrong. (Yes, I say things like “mark my
words”. Because I am a B-movie villain.)

8. Germans – Cape Fear (Arena Rock)
Did you guys see the Cape Fear? DeNiro is pretty rad in that remake. (This
sounds like Pavement, Broken Social Scene, and Flaming Lips. Can you tell
I’m tired and want to go home?)

8. Kinetic Stereokids – Basement Kids (Overdraft)
So, it says they’ve opened for Explosions in the Sky, Trail of Dead,
Secret Machines, and Wolf Eyes. That last one HAS to be a typo though.
This is like, lo-fi Elliott Smith-ish stuff. Wolf Eyes is like getting
your ears’ balls kicked by a horse on fire. It gets a little lofi-raw and
distorty, but it’s not squealing walls of metal-made noise. That’s for
damned sure.

OK. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna eat a quick dinner and go see “The
Host”. I have a particular fetish for Korean people being eaten by
monsters, and I’m glad a film has finally decided to pander to my perverse, sexual tastes. I bid you good night.


Laziness at Its Finest

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Now that it's Daylight Saving Time, the clock in my truck is correct again. If only there were awards for such laziness. Sigh.

Strong Roots

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My latest read is Gretchen Wilson's autobiography, "Redneck Woman: Stories From My Life," which is, in addition to an account of her story thus far, it's also a celebration of the strong women in her family who have gotten her to that point. With a childhood that was certainly no fairytale, Gretchen exhorts other women, "If there's hope for me, there's hope for you."

I've enjoyed the two albums Gretchen's released (bona fide country albums which I believe are greater than the sum of their parts. Standing alone, Gretchen has "good" songs. In the context of a full album, she has "great" songs), but my favorite work of hers is not included on either Here for the Party or All Jacked Up. My favorite "Gretchen Wilson" song is a cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down," included on a compilation called "The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson." There's just something about a female interpreting such a dark song that makes it even more depressing and hopeless. Gretchen writes in her autobiography, "I don't think I have ever sung a song that heavy." But according to Mrs. Kristofferson, Kris seemed to think she'd done it justice. Gretchen goes on to write that Kris's wife had called her after the recording session, saying, "I've only seen those blue eyes cry a few times and he cried when he heard your recording of this."


And maybe Gretchen was able to do it because she knows her country roots so well - and not just the classic hits. My favorite line in Gretchen's book is "People ask me all the time, 'So, what's in your CD player right now?' And the answer is, 'It's the old-timers, man, and they're making music better than ever and no one in commercial music seems to be paying attention.'"

Luckily, Gretchen is.


Tokyo Table

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Check out this Japanese fusion restaurant that just opened on La Cienega:

The pricing is decent, the service is fast, and the food is delicious! I give it five stars.

Kirk Rundstrom

I was incredibly sad to get this in my e-mail box February 23rd. It took me days to think about posting or even talking about it. Although Kirk's diagnosis was terminal and the end inevitable, his life was purposeful and he left us a legacy of wonderful music. This is one of the few bands (along with the Old 97s) that I "discovered" through college music and that kept me going through good times and bad. Not surprisingly, both bands were on Bloodshot Records. I feel like I owe them a debt of gratitude forever for recording such fine music.

From Bloodshot Records:

On February 22nd (2007), Kirk Rundstrom, the singer/songwriter/guitarist for Split Lip Rayfield and Scroat Belly, passed away after a lengthy and heroic battle against cancer.

Kirk was, without debate, one of the most dynamic and passionate performers we have ever seen. To see him on stage was to see a man totally focused on, totally POSSESSED with, the music of the moment. He never ever took his audience for granted and delivered the goods with a ferocious energy that flowed through the room. I had personally seen him play some 75 times and it was never boring, it was never phoned in and it was hard to take my eyes off him. If you left a show of theirs without sweating, without losing yourself in the joyous abandon of music, it wasn¹t from his lack of trying. Standing still at a Split Lip show just wasn’t an option. His gift was the ability to let rock and roll well up from its purest emotional state and give it to the room in all its liberating glory.

When Kirk was diagnosed last spring, he was given just a few months. It is a testimony to his incredible spirit that he was performing into this month.

The fans that came out during this time filled the venues with palpable love. To have played a part in this accumulation of affection, in this tight knit community of Split Lip lovers, over the years is truly a humbling honor. He loved playing and it showed, and the fans loved him back.

Kirk is responsible for a lot of people having a LOT of fun over the years; if everyone could have that on their resumes, the world would be a much better place.

He is missed already.

Bloodshot Records

For more information about Split Lip Rayfield and Scroatbelly, visit Bloodshot Records' Split Lip Rayfield page,
and their Scroat Belly page,
or Split Lip Rayfield's web site and Kirk Rundstrom's site.

Recent footage of Kirk Rundstrom Band performing December 12th at The Bottleneck.

New to the KUCI library

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Hey folks,

Here's this week's edition of "Kyle rambles like a retard for a while about new music at KUCI." If it's not the best thing you've ever read, I congratulate you on having read more than one thing.

Here we go:

Did everyone have a nice weekend? I used the weekend off to engage in a couple of things. Followed up on the launch of my website (HIPSTERBOOKCLUB.COM), which has had 500 visitors or so in the first couple of days, I believe, which I am pretty damned geeked on. I also attended a concert of one of my favorite bands (Matmos) at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The band ranges from really out-there experimental electronic stuff, to fun musique concrete pieces that are pretty danceable (ever dance to a song comprised of liposuction samples?). Since Friday’s show was a one-off collaboration with Marshall Allen, saxophonist of the Sun Ra Arkestra, the show was one of those really out-there ones. While I can appreciate the musicianship involved, I have come to the conclusion that I really do not truly understand avant-garde sax playing. Somewhere, Ornette Coleman and John Zorn would be rolling in their graves, were either of them dead. The audience was mostly guys, as not many ladies go in for such experimental music, it would seem. The gals that WERE there were so beautiful and hip that they seemed forever unattainable. Ever see a girl so gorgeous it makes you sad and mad? Yes, sir. That is a deeply confusing experience. Truly a chance to sup at the cornucopia of life’s emotive bounty.

Though, having seen the band three times now, and owning about ten albums/LPs/singles/etc., I’ve learned to expect anything from them onstage. I’ve seen them turn bare-bottom spanking onstage into a song. I’ve also seen them perform their “Tract for Valerie Solanas” onstage, which is something of an experience. Valerie Solanas was the ultra-feminist who attempted to assassinate Andy Warhol. She wrote a thing called the S.C.U.M. Manifesto which advocates the complete destruction of the male gender for the good of the world. Matmos constructed a song featuring samples of that manifesto being read, along with the obligatory sounds of scissors and other possible castrators being manipulated into a beat. During that performance I sat, the sounds of machetes in my ear, as a woman yelled things like “To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples!” at the audience. It was a real self-esteem boost.

Now that we're all bogged down with useless trivia, let's begin.

1. I’m from Barcelona – Let Me Introduce My Friends (Mute)
This 29-piece Swedish band’s debut album has landed on American shores with, of course, two bonus tracks to completely dick over the people who paid import prices. But, for those who waited patiently, and managed to ignore the scores of folks on the internet who were raving about this, now you too can listen to amazingly catchy Swedish pop with a huge chorus of voices singing about treehouses and love and so on. Seriously: if the song “Treehouse” doesn’t make you smile ear to ear, you can die in a fire for all I care.

2. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Living with the Living (Touch and Go)
Mr. Leo jumped off the Lookout! Records ship and got himself a bigger budget to record this one. I have a feeling I won’t really need to sell this album to you guys. It’s pretty damned anticipated. Another fifteen tracks of high-energy, political post-punk-pop. I have an ex-girlfriend who was really into this guy. Like, REALLY into. Like, I worried when I took her to see him because she spoke openly about things she would do to him in front of me. Dear Ted Leo: you should probably not have sex with my crazy ex-girlfriend. I warn you because I enjoy your music and don’t want you killed. (The bad kind of crazy, for the record.)

3. Klaxons – Myths of the Near Future (Geffen)
This band’s debut EP did pretty well at KUCI, so I thought I’d let folks decide if they like the full-length as much. UK-based hyper-energetic dance-rock is the new black, I understand. If you put this on at a party, and started dancing all cool, people would probably buy you drinks. Either that, or you could put this on and just start breaking things with a chair. Either way, that’s gonna be a rad party. Only one thing could make it MORE rad: s’mores. Am I right? You know I am.

4. SJ Esau – Wrong Faced Cat Feeding Collapse (Anticon)
So, Anticon records, a label known for it’s very forward-thinking (some would say pretentious, jerks would say awful and weird, I personally dig it lots), hiphop scored a pretty sizeable hit with 2005’s amazing experi-pop album “Elephant Eyelash” by Why? Since that did so well, they seem to have broadened their horizons to non-odd-hop. In keeping with the same forward thinking, genre-smearing agenda, they release the new album by SJ Esau (pronounced like the biblical character). This UK-based fellow strings together a bunch of bedroom-music with influences like (later-era) Mogwai, Fog, (early-era) Arab Strap, and Sonic Youth. While all those touchstones are audible, it really does its own thing, and is pretty solid. I have no idea what the title of the album means, though. Though, it still makes more sense than half the lyrics on Anticon. It’s like that time I did all that heroin and rewrote “Naked Lunch” as a mystery novel. Just kidding. I never did that. But you thought I was a total rock star for a second there, huh? No? Oh. OK.

5. Rosie Thomas – These Friends of Mine (Sing-a-long)
Who wants to hear the new album by Sufjan Stevens’ giiiiiiiirlfriiiiiiiiiiiend? I had the pleasure of seeing this gal open for Iron & Wine three years ago or so. Her actual speaking voice was this really endearing awkward chirp, as she blustered through her time speaking with the audience. It was cute. But the second she started singing, with this beautiful, round, shining and complete voice, she seemed to become another person entirely. Heavenly folk hymns with guest spots from Mr. Stevens, as well as her other friends (you know, no names like Dave Bazan, Jeremy Enigk, Damien Jurado, etc.) Put a funny closing joke here. I’m tired. No. Not like that. I said FUNNY, not creepy, furry-sex annecdotes.

6. Wolf & Cub – Vessels (4AD)
This band brings the total of “wolf” bands to roughly ten bagillion (a bagel followed by 30 zeroes). You got Wolf Parade, Wolf Eyes, Fuckwolf, AIDS Wolf, etc. Now you got one that specializes in “darkly psychedelic and danceable noise”. That “noise” is a bit too extreme, as this is hardly unlistenable. A distorted guitar isn’t noise, 4AD Records. I distorted guitar is totally awesome. Jerks.

7. Gruff Rhys – Candylion (Team Love)
Solo album from the guy from Super Furry Animals featuring poppy lyrics, electronic touches, xylophones and gameboy beats. Gruff can’t be that dude’s real name, can it? I guess it can be. With love, anything is possible.

8. Papercuts – Can’t Go Back (Gnomonsong)
Newest release from Andy Cabic (Vetiver) and Devendra Banhart’s (Devendra Banhart) label. Are you familiar with those bands? This band is a little more psych-rock than them (a LITTLE more). Basically, this is that stuff I always add.

9. Cassette – Beautiful California (Honor Roll, Inc.)
This album has 35 tracks on it. That is a higher number than the total tracks on Godspeed You Black Emperor!’s entire career-long catalog. Hell, you could probably throw a few side-projects in and it still wouldn’t be 35 tracks. Then again, one of their songs has the duration of about 16 of these. This right here is a bunch of short attention span electro-dance-rock “songs”. Can you really call it a song if it’s only :56 long? Seriously, what is that short and still considered good? Aside from sleeping with me, that is. SELF-DEPRECATORY ZING!!!

10. Maria Taylor – Lynn Teeter Flower (Saddle Creek)
Maria Taylor is one of those gals from Azure Ray. “Minus Numbers” John asked that I add this one or he’d steal it. So, here you go. Subtly electronic, Mirah-ish melancholy jamz. Like the Blow on downers. Less bedroom dance party, more rhythmic swaying while you think vaguely sad things. Like, “Oh man. I am totally out of peanut butter. This makes me a little sad.” Or “Dude. Where did my copy of ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’ go? I hope no one stole it. I’d be pretty bummed.” Now make a lady with a pretty voice sing that over slightly bouncy, downtempo songs.

OK. Time to go home, and eat peanut butter while I watch Welcome to the Dollhouse.


Better Than Exercise

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I'm not the type of girl who gets excited over nail polish at all, but then I was introduced to nail polish that CHANGES COLOR IN THE SUN, and now I have a reason to love nail polish. During a recent trip to San Diego to have dinner with a dear friend, she took me to Old Town for Mexican food and tourist traps, including a shop called Del Sol, which sells all kinds of things that change color in the sun. She went home with a pair of sunglasses; I went home with four bottles of nail polish, which I think is more nail polish than I've ever owned at one time. I got to try it out today, and when I watched the pale iridescent pink turn into a lovely shade of lavendar, you would've thought I'd won the LA marathon by the shriek of excitement I let out. Except, I dislike exercise in any form, so this is by far more exciting. Here's the best part, though - no need to drive to San Diego is required; you can purchase your own Del Sol products online!

Currently, I am wearing the nail polish color known as Vanity, but I also bought Eletrick, Rock Star, and Spike. And I may be purchasing more in the very near future. They really work, unlike cheap HyperColor t-shirts.

Vanity.jpg Electrick.jpg
Rock%20Star.jpg Spike.jpg

Freaki-Tiki Variety Show

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Freaki-Tiki Variety Show

Polynesian pop-themed sideshow freaks? oh my,,,,

March 11, 2007
6 PM
$12 - $27
Safari Sam's

For more info, see: Freakshow Deluxe

My Universe Is Spinning Out of Control

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There are some things you come to expect from your family and from your hometown. When I go home to Riverside, for example, I expect that my grandmother will complain incessantly about her gardener, but she'll never fire him. My grandmother has employed this gardener for the better part of 20 years, and not once have I ever heard her express pleasure with his work. He broke the sprinklers; he said he fixed the leak, but he didn't, he overcharged her for this and that...My grandmother, mind you, is not one of those cranky old ladies who does nothing but sit around and bitch all day. She's a firecracker, and the mantra of her life is "Keep a happy heart." She writes it on almost every card and letter she sends me, and reminds me of it every time we talk on the phone. So when my grandmother complains that her gardener is doing a lousy job, I take it to mean that her gardener is doing a lousy job. And although she's threatened to fire him, she never does. What makes even less sense to me, though, is that about five years after my grandmother hired this particular gardener (and began her two decades of complaining about him), my parents hired him, too. I must have been about thirteen at the time, and even then, I remember thinking, "Why?" And sure enough, soon my parents started expressing dissatisfaction with his work. "I told him it was too early to prune the roses, but he did anyway," was my mother's first complaint. It's not clear to me what my parents expected from this man.

Another expectation that I have from Riverside is that the service at Farmer Boys' will leave much to be desired. It's one of a handful of restaurants within a mile of my parents' house, and while it's a chain, it's not a super-huge chain, and it cooks food to order. When you're in the mood for a quick meal, when your other options are Del Taco and Jack in the Box, you can see how the sandwiches at Farmer Boys' are awfully appealing. Unfortunately, the service is terrible, but like my grandmother's gardener, we can't seem to stop giving this restaurant our money. When my girlfriends from high school fill out those ridiculous "high school" surveys on myspace (okay, I'm guilty of the occasional myspace bulletin, too), when the question about "off-campus lunch" comes up, they all seem to mention Farmer Boys' as our most frequented restaurant. My father and his friends also enjoy meeting there for breakfast on weekend mornings, despite that their orders constantly get mixed up, and that the staff always seems cranky. My dad's best friend once even got into a shouting match with the cashier over something ridiculous. The last time my mom and I went there, they forgot part of our order, but after so many years, we'd come to expect it, and weren't really bothered by it.

But something happened recently that has me both delighted and concerned. I'd gone home to visit last weekend With my work schedule, "weekends" consist of Thursdays and Fridays, which doesn't bode too well for my social schedule, but works great for running errands, like, say, closing checking accounts, which was my mission last Friday. I'd opened a checking account at this particular bank while I was still going to junior college in Riverside, and thought that having a bank that was open on Saturdays would be quite convenient. It was a small bank, with branches only in Riverside, but I liked the personal attention I got. The tellers knew my name, and always asked how school or work was going, until I started going to school in Orange County. By this time, the bank had been bought out by a slightly larger bank and no longer had "Saturday hours," so I was forced to ask my sister to make deposits for me. They were always a little suspicious of my sister, since her ID didn't identify her as Victoria Pepper, but they never could figure out the harm in letting her deposit money in my account.

I was growing frustrated with ATM fees charged not only by the machine, but also by this bank, when something much more inconvenient than lack of omnipresence happened. After my roommate moved to Oklahoma with a girl he'd met on myspace less than six months prior, I was forced to find a new apartment. I found a super-cheap apartment on craigslist and wanted to secure it right away. But the landlord would accept money orders or cash only for the $650 deposit. Since I couldn't withdraw more than $200 a day from the ATM, I'd have to go to one of the branches to withdraw the money in person. I thought I'd just go online and find out where the nearest branch was, and hope there was one near the valley. I found the website for this bank, and to my horror, saw that it was ENTIRELY IN SPANISH.

Needless to say, I neither speak nor read Spanish.

I called the local Riverside branch, and asked (in English) if they had any branches in LA, specifically, in the Valley. The nearest one was in San Fernando. My boss graciously allowed me the time off of work to make the trip up there, where, as you can probably guess, I was the only white person in sight. When I arrived at the bank, the signs were all in Spanish, and the teller was talking to the only other customer there in Spanish. Fortunately, when she saw me, she figured she'd better speak in English. I made the withdrawal, put the deposit down, and decided that it was probably time to take advantage of Washington Mutual's free checking accounts. I opened one in July.

Since then, I've been holding two checking and two savings accounts, and last weekend, I decided that it was time to only keep one checking account. I arrived at the Riverside branch, prepared to be given an argument as to why I should keep my checking account. Sure enough, when I explained that I spent a lot of time in LA, which didn't have a lot of this bank's branches, I was told, "We have a lot of branches in LA."

Clearly, this was not a woman who's ever had to live in Los Angeles. Four or five branches in LA does not constitute "a lot." When the nearest branch is twenty miles away, and takes an hour to get there, looking at other options makes a lot of sense. But I tempered the blow by reminding her that I'd be keeping my savings account there.

Following this, it was time to eat, and I was prepared for lousy service but nice, fresh food at Farmer Boys.' You can only imagine my shock and surprise when the cashiers were more than cordial, my order was correct and complete, the waitress volunteered to refill my drink, twice asked if everything was all right, and before I could throw away my trash, a waiter offered to take care of it for me. In telling my story to my parents, recalled similar recent experiences. It seems that Farmer Boys' has stepped up to the plate.

So now I'm wondering if maybe my grandmother will be getting a new gardener.

The Grammy Chicks

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In case you were unaware, the documentary about the Dixie Chicks Shut Up and Sing is now available for purchase. I'm too lazy, too poor, and too cranky to see films in theatres with a bunch of strangers and their cell phones, so I always wait until movies come out on DVD. Or sometimes still VHS.

Anyway, even though I'd bought my copy on Tuesday (the day it came out), it didn't ship until late last week, and it arrived on Wednesday.

I've since watched it twice, and was brought to tears both times.

It's about politics, censorship, music, standing up for what you believe in - both politically, musically, and professionally, and being willing to bet on yourself, even when it has seemingly has dire consequences at first. Given the recent sweep at the Grammys the Chicks enjoyed, it was clearly a risk worth taking.

Makes me proud to be a Chicks fan.


Weak-Ass Micro-Brew Fest

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This Saturday, March 3, Santa Anita is presenting a "micro-brew fest" sponsored by KROQ and featuring a weenie total of about 12 breweries. 12? Lame. I don't go to a beer fest unless they've got like 50 micros representin'. But hey, all in attendance receive a free jockey-lamp. So it's not a total loss.


Saturday, March 10th - Two Shows: 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.

Bullocks Wilshire (now Southwestern Law School)
3050 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010

$35 per person ADSLA member (membership must be current)
$45 per person non-ADSLA member

Fabulous Vintage Fashion Show at the World Famous Bullocks Wilshire Building! Saturday, March 10th! Two Showings!

Once again the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles is offering its members and friends the opportunity to experience first-hand the glory of High Art Deco Style - - this time at the iconic Bullocks Wilshire Building.

Join us for an afternoon of fun vintage fashion in an unparalleled setting as 30 Years of Pin-up: 1927-1957 comes alive! With 80 vintage garments and live piano accompaniment presented in the exquisite environment of the Louis XVI Salon at Bullocks Wilshire, just as it would have been during the department store's heyday of the 1930s. And collectors take note: A selection of these delightfully evocative garments will be available for purchase following the show. The show will also include some vintage movie costumes previously worn by Ava Gardner, Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller, Esther Williams and Julie Andrews plus many more! It will certainly be an afternoon to remember!

Restored and now occupied by Southwestern this Art Deco gem of a building is not open to the general public, and seating is limited, so you will need to act fast!

Tickets available via Paypal. Ticket purchase deadline: Thursday, March 8th, 5:00 p.m.;

Telephone: Please call 310-659-3326 and leave your name, how many tickets, show time, credit card number, and most importantly, your telephone number. Ticket purchase deadline: Thursday, March 8th, 5:00 p.m.;

Regular mail. Make check payable to ADSLA and mail to PO Box 972; Hollywood, CA 90078. Please make sure you tell us how many tickets, show time, and your telephone number. Ticket purchase deadline: Monday, March 5th, 5:00 p.m.

Parking is $6.00 in the Southwestern Law School parking lot, located behind the Bullocks Wilshire Building at Wilshire Place and Seventh Street. There is also metered parking in the area, please read signs carefully.

No tickets will be mailed. Your name will be on a list


For More Info: Art Deco Society of Los Angeles Events Page