December 2, 2006

Our Duhks Save the Planet

"We didn't set out to be a political band, but we do sing about things that are meaningful to us," explains Leonard Podolak, banjoist for and founder of Winnipeg's old-timey acoustic band The Duhks.

What's meaningful to the Duhks is doing their part to protect the environment. They've teamed up with radio station Indie 103 and key members of environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Heal the Bay to discuss how individuals and the greater community can support environmental sustainability. This press conference is taking place at the legendary Cherokee Studios on Fairfax, following a four-song recording session with the legendary Bruce Robb, who has engineered albums for Ricky Lee Jones, Art Garfunkel, and Frank Sinatra. The current structure that houses Cherokee Studios is scheduled to be torn down and replaced with the first-of-its-kind "green" professional recording studio.

The Duhks themselves admit that it's sometimes a challenge to minimize their impact on the environment, since being a touring band doesn't not easily lend itself to the cause. But whenever and wherever possible, the Duhks do their part. The following are some simple (as well as more challenging) suggestions and reminders that the Duhks, NRDC, and Heal the Bay suggest individuals and bands can do to help minimize your impact on the environment:

- Eat organic and eat local. Shopping at Farmer's Markets is not only fun, but also supports local growers and farms.

- Don't leave the engine idling while waiting for that last band member to jump in the van.

- Use the towels provided in hotel rooms more than once. You'll help conserve water and energy by minimizing the amount of necessary laundering.

- Turn the lights off when you leave a room.

- Use the same paper coffee cup 16 times a day if you have to. Minimize waste.

- Use hemp products. Not only are they chemical and pesticide free, but hemp clothing also provides more UV sun protection than other kinds of clothing and lasts four times as long as cotton!

- Have a rider in your touring contract? Request organic foods and natural water for your dressing room. You'll not only be eating healthier, but also help spread the word about minimizing environmental impact.

- What to do with all those record bags from Amoeba? Take them to the grocery store when shopping as an alternative to "Paper or plastic." No need to deal with double-bagging!

- Work in an office? Start a recycling program if there's not one already in place. All you need is a plastic waste can or bin - and a sign that says, "Recyclables only." It may take some time for your co-workers to catch on (and not throw trash in there) - but once they do, you'll all be making a considerable contribution.

- Get involved with Heal the Bay or other environmental organizations. They offer a variety of time commitments for even the busiest of people.

- Join Quarter2Three Records in "Rock Your Planet" - an environmentally focused eco-music tour focusing on spreading this message to Southern California's college and university campuses. Be a title sponsor, media sponsor, donate food / drink, instruments, etc. Contact Tiffany Downey at 323-653-3412.

- Adopt an endangered species as a Christmas gift for friends and family. Save the Mantee Club and other organizations offer "adoptions" as gifts, which usually include a quarterly newsletter, adoption certificates, photos of "your" creature, plus the great feeling of knowing you're protecting our natural resources!

Posted by darlin at 2:52 PM

August 3, 2006

Happy Days Are Here Again

We all know that no one could ever compare to the cast of the original television show "Happy Days," and it would be grossly unfair to even dream of doing so. Having said that, props go out to the cast of "Happy Days: A Family Musical" that's playing at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank for the next week and a half. This was my first visit to Garry Marshall's tiny heatre which seats fewer than 150 people, and its intimate setting makes for a really great place to see a show. Andy Karl has replaced Joey McIntyre (yes, the Joey McIntyre of the-band-that-we-shall-not-speak-of, New Kids on the Block) for the final three weeks of the show, and we were pleased with the choice, because not only could we avoid NKOTB flashbacks, but also 'cause we thought Andy was cuter. Christine Lakin (who played "Al" on "Step by Step") doesn't look like she's aged a bit, which made her very convincing as the-all-too-anxious-to-grow-up Joanie Cunningham. Cynthia Ferrer as Marion Cunningham and Anna A. White as Lori Beth Allen led a delightful tap dance routine in the second act, and Fred Applegate as Howard Cunningham was the spitting image of Tom Bosley. Jackie Seiden sometimes came across as too sticky-sweet to be Pinky Tuscadero, but Jaclyn Miller and Philip Lightstone were out-of-this-world hilarious in their multiple roles, most notably the nerdy Hillary and Bag, respectively. However, the show was completely stolen by Ryan Matthew, who played Ralph Malph to PERFECTION. If it's been far too long since you've seen live theatre, this is the show to get you going again!

Posted by darlin at 8:46 AM

July 29, 2006

Live from BlogHer (Part 1)

Is the Next Martha Stewart a Blogger?: Using blogs to help commercial ventures

This weekend, some of the Barflies are at BlogHer, a women's blogging conference. Miss Jen is speaking, and Tink, Wanda and Lauren are here, as well as Erika and Megan.

Here are some notes from the panels.

Maggie Mason - moderator (editor,, writer
Pim Techamuanvivit - Chez Pim (food blog)
Marnie MacLean - knitting
Andrea Scher - - jewelry, photography, life
Gayla Trail - gardening

Experiences with big corporate entities?
Marnie - the difference is that if you want to publish a recipe, a pattern, you have to pitch it and wait for approval. But with your own online journal, you can publish immediately and that is such a boon.

Gayla - when you write for other people, they own you and your words. And people are not used to that. I wanted to get paid fairly, but I also wanted to retain my rights. They wanted to own the idea as well as the words forever. And I resisted that. If you give up your rights, someone else can make money off you forever. Raad the cotnract and be tough. Stand up for yourself. And it's not just money, it's also about their vision, which is important.

Pim - don't worry about whether or not you're going to syndicate or make money from advertising.Just get it out there and build your brand.

Maggie - but don't blog for free, especially for big sites like Yahoo! etc. One of the best things you can do is to list yourself as a freelance writer on your resume, because you are, even if you don't know it yet. If you are blogging, you are a writer.

Talking about building your brand:

Andrea - Fun and easy are core values. If they don't meet that, it won't last for me.

Marnie - In terms of the craft blogs, you need to offer people something, free patterns, a reason to come back and link to you, and forward you, and you'll be surprised at how it snowballs after that.

Pim - your brand comes when you know your voice. That sounds new agey, but when you know yourself and what your blog is about, really know your reader and what they come back to see and what they want to read. It really is important, when you write, think about how you sound, and who the people are that are out there. And the more you do this, the more you realize it's not just what you say, but how you say it. And that becomes your brand, a definition that someone can give. It's important that if you are trying to build a brand, that you have something with a catch.

Maggie - the best thing you can do is be yourself. People can smell fake a mile away online,

Anyone here gotten paid for blogging? And how much should you ask for?

A couple of people, but usually in the context of other companies (mainstream media jobs that want bloggers internally), or projects that companies want to push.

How far are you willing to push the limit with sponsorship from companies that want to reach your audience?

Gayla: Part of the reason I started this is to cut through that crap. I consider it a sell-out. I am open to sponsorship though, only in the blogging section, it's not hugely profitable, but up to know, I've been paying for the site.

Pim: I can only speak from my own position today. In two years, I might be selling out completely, but right now, the way I look at it is I haven't gone out to seek sponsorship, but the way I look at it, is I would take sponsorship from something I can stand behind, something I would use. Dannon was recruiting bloggers for their site, and they paid pretty good, but I don't eat that yogurt with growth hormones, so I couldn't in good conscience talk about that. I write about eating locally, eating responsibly, eating organically.

Does anyone have a concern about being perceived as "domestic" or "crafty"?

Marnie: Apparently knitting is very "domestic". Who knew? I was unpopular when I knit as a child, but I don't care about being unpopular now. This is a good chance to discuss with poeple how these activities were traditionally done by men, but have only become women's activities lateley.

Gayla: I used to have a problem with it, when I was younger. I just like to make things with my hands but I had a real problem with it because all my friends were really tech-y and I do still experience an undermining of that in business, but I've come around. It doesn't bother me anymore. I'm sort of the worst offender in some ways, because my site is called "You Grow Girl" and perhaps that's exclusionary, it has a female connotation.

Andrea: I wanted to be a painter, but hustling your painting sucks! Beading is, well, how cheesy is that? But it's fun and easy!

Pim: I think you can care about shoes and still be a very strong woman. I'm not worried about it. (applause) I'm not trying to temper my voice so that I speak more to men or women; I just talk.

Maggie: Martha Stewart is one of my idols, and Oprah on top of that. I mean, look at some of the eye rolls you get about Oprah, even from some advanced men. But if you can take the concept of "women's work" and make money off it, you can really blindside everyone. I mean, look at the dollar signs that are out there!

Posted by DJWanda at 11:14 AM

October 19, 2005

Gene Vincent Tribute

The Blue Caps

Gene Vincent died at the young age of 36, but his legacy lives on in the music he left behind for the younger generations who are still discovering songs like Be-Bop-A-Lula. I hear people say, but that music was so long ago, it doesn’t fit anymore. Nothing could more untrue. What is time? There really is no time in the grand scheme of things. Today, music has become “generic” and people are looking back to a time when it was still new and creative. There is something to be said about those who pioneered and paved the way for the history of rock and roll. We need to remember that always.

Thanks to the coordination of Bob Timmers, Saturday, October 15th, the Original Blue Caps: Dickie (Be-Bop) Harrell, Tommy (Bubba) Facenda, and Johnny Meeks reunited to celebrate the life of Gene Vincent. Along with family, friends and fans, the Van Nuys Elks Lodge became host to a night of rockin’ live music.

Dickie Harell and Tommy Facenda traveled to California for this special tribute from Virginia, while Johnny Meeks came from South Carolina. I hadn’t seen any of them in about four years. They were last here on a small tour, but I’ve kept in touch with Dickie for some years via e-mail.
Johnny_GV.jpg Johnny Meeks

On hand to celebrate the music of Gene Vincent were: Billy Zoom, Tommy Sands, Diamond Dave Somerville, Bob Kelly, Don Weise, Larry Merritt, Roman Self, Molly Bee, Suzy Q and her Be-Bob Boys, Tina and Brandi Craddock, Buddy Dughi, Glenn Glenn, Ray Campi, Kim Lenz, Rory Justice, Alan Clark, Pep Torres, Cherri Mae and her Rocket Boys, and more. The tribute included a very touching tribute speech rendered by Legendary producer, Ken Nelson (who signed Gene in the early years), and of course, the night wouldn’t have been the same without the music of the Blue Caps!

We may likely not see these three united again as distance and time make it difficult, but I was very happy to be a part of the audience on this very special occasion. It was so much more than just another weekend gig. I had planned on being at this one for months and wouldn’t have missed it.

Earlier in the day, a gravesite tribute was held for Gene. Later, I had a few people ask me where he is buried, because so many still think his resting place is in Virginia (his original home state) but I’ll clarify that he is buried in the Newhall/Simi Valley area nearby to where his parents lived at the time he passed on.

I would think that were he alive today, Gene Vincent, would marvel at the way his music has made a direct impact on other musicians through the years. I know that Dickie, Tommy, and Johnny would pat him on the back and say, “Ya see man, you were the real deal, and thanks for letting us be a part of it!”

Posted by CindyLu at 6:36 PM

August 15, 2005

Pennywise “Great Escape” Show

Photo By Liz Croft-Jim Lindberg of Pennywise

So to speak, I would call it more of a huge record release party.
Get on a boat at the Long Beach Harbor, head out on a 2 hour cruise on the Catalina Classic Cruises, "The Countess", see some dolphins and a seal plus awesome clipper ships, dock in Avalon, have some fun at the local bars, watch Pennywise play in front 700 people or so, get backstage and take pictures, have some more fun a the local bars and be back in Long Beach by 9 PM.

This was my first press event and I had the best time. I got the worse sunburn I’ve had in a long time but it was worth it.

Pennywise was awesome. They only did about 7 to 8 songs, I think, but was cut short by having their power cut out on them in a couple of songs. They were able to end on the traditional Pennywise song “Bro Hymn” or as one guy put it “The Ultimate White Boy Anthem” as he ran down to the pit. I think he was the same guy I saw come out on a stretcher. And it isn’t a Pennywise show, if someone doesn’t leave by ambulance.

I recommend going to Catalina (but use the Catalina Express - you will get there faster). I recommend going to see Pennywise at their next local show. And I recommend the Marlin Club!!!

Posted by Tinkinator at 10:00 PM

July 6, 2004

Fourth of July: Throw Rag at the Casbah

Is there a better way than declare your independence than celebrating the freedom to hear bands like Throw Rag, The Millionaires, Screamin' Yeehaws, and the Irish Brothers? Fourth of July 2004 set off fireworks at the Casbah in San Diego. Let Freedom Ring!

Opening band duties were capably handled by the Irish Brothers and the Screamin' Yeehaws, respectively. The Irish Brothers were high energy and rockin', while the Screamin' Yeehaws did just that with their "Southern Fried Dixie Punk." (L-R: Karl Irish, Keith Irish, Screamin' Yeehaws)

The crowd was explosive in more ways than one.(L-R: Amanda and friend; Franco; Sid and Kim)

The Millionaires felt free to dress like it was 1977, blending a sound that is part New York Dolls, part T Rex, part Bowie and part Queen, with some AC/DC thrown in for good measure. The crowd went wild!

In the end, Throw Rag could not be outdone! They played new songs that ignited the audience to a frenzy! Their performance practically set off fireworks on stage!

Photo essay and text by Wanda.

Posted by DJWanda at 11:55 PM

May 9, 2004

It May Not Be Sundance, But Its Warm - The Santa Barbara Film Festival, Part II

It May Not Be Sundance, But Its Warm
A diary of two weekends at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Part 2
By Lauren Isaacson

Day 8 Friday, February 6th

Film ~ Mayor of the Sunset Strip
Growing up as a sheltered Jewish American Princess in the Valley, I heard rumors of the mysterious Rodney on the Roq - the little imp with a perfectly unsuitable voice for radio, and an undeniable gift for finding the next big thing in music. This is his story, and it is nothing short of remarkable.
No matter what genre youre into, Rodney Bingenhiemer had something to do with your favorite bands success and they probably make an appearance in this documentary.
A highlight was the Q&A with Bingenhiemer and director George Hickenlooper afterwards. Hickenlooper complimented Bingenheimer on his selflessness, stating that success was never a priority for Bingenheimer; it was always about the music. I approached Hickenlooper after the Q&A because he had directed one of my favorite romantic movies, Man from Elysian Fields. He invited me to a private party up the street. Before, I was an official hanger-on. Now Im one level closer to being a fake celebrity, just like Kato.

Film ~ Destiny Has No Favorites
Borrowing from the Bards classic tale of Hamlet, this first time director from Peru creates a humorous melodrama about a bored and pampered housewife who must put up with a soap opera filming in her back yard while her neglectful husband is away on business.

Music ~ The Lost and Wandering Jazz Band

Fronted by a lead singer with a striking resemblance to Red Foxx, this band of street musicians from New York by way of Paris entertained the passers by on State Street. I had to stop. It was just too amusing.

Day 9 Saturday, February 7th

Film ~ Bright Young Things
A film about the vices and misadventures of the idle rich in English society during the 1930s, and boy, did they know how to dress! Subplots, cameos, and misadventures abound, making this a very worthwhile film.

Film ~ The Boys From County Clare
The 70s are back in Celtic fashion as three estranged brothers enter a Ceili band competition with their own entries and try to deviously undermine each others chances.

Film ~ Loves Brother
Giovanni Ribisis character (an Italian immigrant in Australia during the 50s) keeps getting rejected by his potential letter-brides. So, he sends the picture of his more aesthetically gifted brother instead, which receives an immediate acceptance. Now, how do you tell her that shes actually marrying the ugly one?

Did you know that on the streets of Santa Barbara you can get kids to give you back flips for $1? Being my mothers daughter, I was able to talk them down to a hug in exchange for their feat. I do my people proud.

Day 10 Sunday, February 8th

Panel ~ Creative Forces: Women in the Business
Producers Denise Robert [The Barbarian Invasions], Susan Jackson [Cabin Fever], director Mary Kay Place [The Big Chill], set designer Jeanine Oppewall [Seabiscuit], and costume designers Judianna Makovsky [Harry Potter, Seabiscuit] and Nigilla Dixon [Lord of the Rings, Last Samurai] discussed the universals of working in the movie industry.

Oppewall was my favorite: a real ball buster, and not in a bad way. You could just tell that she was capable of going head to head with the big boys and hardly missing a beat. She spoke about how anyone in this business needs Charles Atlas for the ego and being okay with terror. Fear can be your best motivator to do your greatest work.

Lunch with Panelists
After the panel, some of the speakers joined a few lucky members of the press for lunch at Left of Albuquerque. I sat with Jackson, Oppewall, and Place. We talked about product placements in film and television and how offensively obvious its gotten. We also talked a lot about Seabiscuit, and the lack of historical preservation in America. A few of the old tracks where they filmed the race scenes are being torn down in favor of housing developments, which would eliminate the one unique property in the area to attract filmmaking. Can we blame filmmakers for going abroad while we are diluting our own local color?

Film ~ Until the Violence Stops
This documentary about the work being done the with the Vagina Monologues V Day organization is a must see for all women and men. Everyone should sit through an hour of quilters talking about sexual abuse, Nigerian women opposing female circumcision, Lakota tribeswomen admitting to experiencing physical abuse, and Pilipino grandmothers coming forward to ask for reparations for being held as sex slaves by the Japanese soldiers during WW2. Violence against women is a horrible worldwide epidemic and this film helps make it visible. See it and bring tissues. You will be moved to tears.

Film ~ The Reckoning
Closing night was fairly anticlimactic -- only half the seats around me were filled. Not quite the full house of Day One. In this film, a former priest joins a band of traveling actors during the Middle Ages. Business is down, so troupe leader Willem Defoe decides to try taking a story from the town itself as opposed to the Bible and discovers the dark truth behind a local mystery.
Its a solid $10 candidate.

If you have any interest in movies, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a great choice. Gorgeous setting, lots of Q&A session with filmmakers and informative panels. High on quality and low on attitude, I can only hope that Ill be invited back next year.

Posted by Ms. Jen at 11:36 PM

It May Not Be Sundance, But Its Warm - The Santa Barbara Film Festival, Part I

It May Not Be Sundance, But Its Warm
A diary of two weekends at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Part 1
By Lauren Isaacson

Day 1 Friday, January 30th

Opening Gala Movie ~ Valentin
I anticipated glamour and was greeted with a cattle call. I thought showing up at the theater fifteen minutes before show time would be more than enough. Unfortunately, thats what everyone else in the universe had figured. Men plan. God laughs.

Thankfully, local journalist Steve pulled me in on the pretext that he was saving a seat for me. Once inside, I found a nice spot in the back and made friends with the charming couple sitting next to me, who even shared their popcorn and candy. This was a blessing, considering that the only thing I had for lunch was an orange. Where would I be without peanut M&Ms?
Valentin was delightful a foreign language romantic comedy from Argentina about a little cross-eyed boy with dreams of finding real parents (as opposed to his ailing grandmother and anger management reject father) and becoming an astronaut.
A solid $10 candidate. Too bad it didnt come out in time for Valentines Day.

Day 2 Saturday, January 31st

Writers Panel ~ It Starts with a Script
This time I was prepared and showed up early. Jim Sheridan (In America, My Left Foot) was the star of the discussion. Sheridans most insightful comment was that when writing a script, all the characters are you. You are the mother, the father, and the daughter, all trying to work out your personal issues. If youre lucky, you have enough of those issues to build a wealth of plot lines upon.
Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain) also let the audience into his secret for adapting a book for film: read the book once and then simply try to stay true to his memory of the book.

Directors Panel ~ Directors on Directing
The overwhelming theme of the discussion was the pressure: The budgets. The investments. The scheduling. Finally, Denys Arcand (The Barbarian Invasions) spoke up in his suave French Canadian accent and denounced them all for their complaining, saying that this was the greatest job in the world. Everyday you command an army of 100 men and women who are ready to kill for you. For a few months at a time you are God. Bravo.

Film ~ Noise
When youre at a film festival, the biggest problem is choosing what to see. I counted how many movies were being shown that day: Twenty-seven. I chose Noise because Alley Sheedy was in it. Now, you can toss her aside for being a Brat Pack member, but shes made some brave choices in the past few years and even received an Independent Spirit Award for her performance in High Art a few years back.
In this movie she plays a neurotic upstairs neighbor hell bent on driving her fellow tenant to insomnia, drinking, and eventually killing by making enough noise to drive rats into hiding.
Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Modern Master Awards Ceremony ~ Peter Jackson
This is the biggest event of the festival, more so because it was Peter Jacksons only personal appearance before the Oscars. The highlight of the ceremony was a surprise appearance by Monty Pythons own John Cleese, who gave Jackson a stuffed kiwi bird and said that a New Zealander being bestowed the title of Modern Master, was like someone from Bakersfield painting the Sistine Chapel.
I guess you had to be there, because it got great laughs in the theater.

Day 3 Sunday, February 1st

Producers Panel ~ Movers and Shakers
According to Clark Peterson (Monster) talent agents dont understand independent filmmaking. With Monster, the actress was essential, then the financing. Albert Berger (Cold Mountain) agreed. When Tom Cruise was attached to his film, MGM promised $80 million. When Tom dropped out to do Last Samurai, the $80 million went too.

Film ~ Ill Sleep When Im Dead

Mike Hodges made his Hollywood directorial debut with Sylvester Stallone in Get Carter. Past transgressions can be forgiven, especially if you can bounce back with the movie that put Clive Owen on the map, The Croupier.
Staying with what works, Hodges worked with Clive again with this story of mystery and revenge.
When Will Grahams brother commits suicide questions arise and the answers dont add up. Will must reenter the black market world he left behind in order to discover the truth and take care of what he left undone.
Its a very good movie, but not for the severely homophobic.

Film ~ Bon Voyage
The clothes! The romance! The intrigue! The French! The CLOTHES!!!
On the eve of the German invasion of France during WW2 a gorgeous actress convinces her lover to dispose of a body. He gets caught and blamed for his murder. She does nothing to help him and the Nazis invade. The lover escapes and mayhem ensues. Id tell you more but it get complicated.
Good movie. Great female 30s/40s costuming. I hope you dont mind reading subtitles.

Posted by Ms. Jen at 11:30 PM