Friday, August 3, 2012

Hedwig and the Fabulous Inch

Last week I was invited to see a live performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch by my band's guitar player, Troy, who was in the show.  Meet Troy:
He says hey.

For those of you who don't know, Hedwig is a rock musical about a transgender singer who undergoes a sex change operation in order to marry an American soldier and get over the Berlin Wall.  The operation is botched and Hedwig is left with an "angry inch", hence the title.  Hedwig sings emotionally charged and beautifully written songs about the search for her other half; her true love. 

Troy is an amazing guitar player and Hedwig is my favorite musical of all time, so my hopes were high.  However, when Dan and I arrived at the venue, a few doubts started creeping up. 
The open door on the right was the entrance. Upon entering, we found this:
Ok, art gallery for a lobby - getting cooler. 

In the back was a mini courtyard with a BYOB arrangement.  Very nice.  Any place I don't have to hide the ever-present flask in my purse, is my kind of place.
She knows what I'm talking about.  The guy in the hat?  Maybe not.

I was still a tad dubious, but the small part of me that wishes I was living in New York was loving the vibe of the place.  Then... drum roll... Adam Enright walked on stage and Hedwig had arrived.  The whole performance was perfection.  I was transfixed the entire time and affected for hours afterward.

I come from an old-fashioned land where taking photos or video of live theater performances is a no-no, but I did find some video on Youtube, which I don't feel too guilty sharing.  Enjoy.

Friday, July 27, 2012

In Defense of Hollywood

My friend Patrick has done it again.  That is, re-named his band.  (Band names post here.)  Nerds & Jerks is the new name and it's lasted for a few months - I think this one is official.

The newly-ish christened Nerds & Jerks has entered a songwriting contest to win a trip to LA.  Excellent.  The song had to be about West Hollywood. In it, Patrick sings that Hollywood is "dirty and bleak."  While he has a point about a certain stretch of Hollywood Boulevard that contains the Walk of Fame and is perpetually flooded with tourists and all the "low-lifes" who prey on them, that is not all my neighborhood has to offer.

CLICK HERE to see the video of their song and I suppose, if you must, click the vote button to show a little support - for the band, not their dismal view of my neighborhood.  Sigh.

I must admit that Hollywood does not have the best reputation as far as LA neighborhoods go.  When we were first looking to move out of downtown, Hollywood is the one place I was sure I wanted to steer clear of.  So, of course, that is where we ended up.  However, it turns out Hollywood is fabulous and I absolutely love living here. 

I spend just about every day exploring Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon, and the Hollywood Hills - all without ever having to get into my car.  I can also walk to a ton of bars, restaurants, retail shops, the post office, the farmers' market, and the all-important Trader Joe's.

So, aside from the nightlife, which is always "poppin" as the kids these days may or may not say, Hollywood is a land where, as evidenced by my phone, morning workouts and afternoon walks look like this:

and this:

And grocery shopping looks like this:

Nothin' but love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Conversations with Art

"You may want to consider new uniforms for your Ultimate Frisbee team.  Just a suggestion."

"Well, f*ck you too."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Drinking in LA

There is no question that drinking in LA is a lot easier than drinking in Utah, for instance.  A few years ago I was driving back from Park City, Utah after attending the Sundance Film Festival when my car broke down.  Did I mention that I was alone and it was in the middle of a snow storm?  I ended up staying in a tiny hotel in the middle of nowhere. I will sum up my mental state by saying that I really could have used a drink.  Did I get my drink? No. It was after 11pm and the gas station (the only sign of life for miles) couldn't sell me any by law.

So, drinking in LA. Easier? Yes.  Cooler? Also yes.  This town is filled with mixologists (yes, that's a real job) and impressively creative bartenders.  I have looked down to find everything from bacon to basil in my glass.

Last week I went to Ford's Filling Station in Culver City and ordered:

This is a shot of jalapeno-infused tequila served with a PBR topped with a jalapeno "funnel". Surprisingly delicious.

My friend Gabrielle ordered a thyme infused drink that was freshness in a glass.

Adding to the cool factor, Ford's Filling Station is owned by Harrison Ford's son, Ben Ford, who is a brilliant chef.  (The bacon-wrapped dates were to die for!)


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Talented Friends Part Five

Most of "My Talented Friends" happen to be musicians; however, I do know a few people outside of the sound booth.  Maybe even a designer or two. Maybe even the designer Debbie Talanian of stella proseyn.  (You may remember Debbie from last year's post about Brenna Whitaker.)

A few years ago Debbie gave up a successful career as a journalist to pursue her passion for fashion.  (Debbie, if you're reading this, I'm sorry about the rhyming.)  The result is stella proseyn, her independent design label. 

She is founder, owner, and designer of stella proseyn, a rising star the LA fashion scene that focuses on using locally sourced and environmentally conscious materials to produces such minimalist masterpieces as:

{ the rorschach tee. one of my favorites. }

Another favorite of mine is Debbie's version of a tribute: the "Howl" wrap skirt. 

Allen Ginsberg never looked so good, right?

{ this is what hand-made in LA means. }
If you want to get your hands on some of Debbie's fabulous threads, you can head downtown this Saturday or Sunday to the Unique LA spring show.

If you can't make it to the show, definitely stop by her website.  And while you're at it, you could like her Facebook page too.

Friday, March 9, 2012

To Those Who Wait

Organ. Trombone. Saucy redhead.   Pair with soul-stirring performances of  insightful music and you have the experience that is Ruby Friedman Orchestra.  I first saw RFO at the Bordello Bar in downtown over 2 years ago.  I fell in love immediately.  Being transported by raw and penetrating verse can do that to a girl.

Last week I went to see RFO perform at The Hotel Cafe on the eve of their entry into the studio to record their debut album.  It was a stripped-down acoustic set that packed a full Ruby punch.

The fact that they still have not released an album has been a source of consternation for me since that night at the Bordello.  Every time I check their Facebook page I gasp, "Still?!?!"  When will they appease the frothing masses? (Read: the frothing me.)  Apparently, Summer 2012.  They are waiting until 6 months before the end of the world to release their debut album.  Honey badger doesn't give a shit. (Ruby would be the honey badger in this scenario.)

I have heard that good things come to those who wait.  In this instance, I'm inclined to believe it.  Here's a little something from last week's show to hold us over.

Like Ruby and the boys on Facebook.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Melancholy for Melancholia

I like reading up on the Oscars to see all the pretty dresses.  I often internally contest the worthiness of the nominees and ultimately I don't care who wins.  Billy Crystal hit the nail on the head when he called the Academy out for the ridiculousity of millionaires giving each other gold trophies.  I may have added the ridiculous part, but it was implied.

That being said, how did Melancholia get completely ignored?  Seriously.  Melancholia was my favorite movie of the year, followed closely by Midnight in Paris, which also got much less attention than the big winner, The Artist.  I saw The Artist and enjoyed it but, in my opinion both Melancholia and Midnight in Paris had much, much more to offer.

I saw Melancholia twice in the theater and could have seen it twice more.  I found it beautiful, original, and impactful.  I've always been a fan of sensationalist end-of-the-world movies, but this affected me in a much different way because it did not take the usual "panic in the streets" approach.  There was a sense of dread permeating the entire film, but it was tempered with a calm that arose partially out of the solitude of the characters. Melancholia perfectly blended depression and dread with beauty and acceptance. Every time I think about Melancholia, the feelings I had in the theater immediately return almost like sensory memories.

The film opens as an opera would with an overture.  The haunting music is from Wagner's opera Tristan and Isolde and plays over a montage of ultra slow-motion, almost still-frame shots that foreshadow the coming events of the film.

Both Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg were wonderful in the film, but I found Gainsbourg especially so.  She conveyed the internal conflict of the character brilliantly.  Gainsbourg, the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg, is - like her father - a musician as well as an actor.  I leave you with a song...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Talented Friends Part Four

Most of you know that I joined a country band, The Hixters, last year.  Best. Decision. Ever.  It has brought nothing but fun and love into my life.  This post is not about the Hixters, but don't worry, I will be writing a lot more about us in the future.  This post is about a friend I met through the Hixters: the handsome, sweet, funny, and yes - talented - Justin Carter.

Justin has a voice.  Does he ever have a voice.  He has been a contestant on American Idol, Star Search, and X Factor, but this year he decided to do his own thing.  Best. Decision. Ever.  Here is the video for his song "Circles" which was released after Christmas...

I played the keys for Justin on Sunday during his performance for talent manager Mara Santino's birthday party at the W Hotel. 
{ Me and Justin at the Dub }
Now, I have always appreciated the W for sharing the lovely and talented Hollywood jazz maven Brenna Whitaker with this town every Sunday night (for free) and I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me, as it were, but wow.  The sound guys were awful to us! They had all the equipment to accommodate us, but insisted on giving us a hard time.  "We weren't told there would be performers."  "We weren't told there would be a keyboard."  I wanted to ask them if they refuse to use an umbrella when they were not told it would rain.  I wanted to follow that question with something akin to "Roll with the punches, people!  You're supposed to be professionals!"  However, I held my tongue because I recall hearing something once about getting more flies with honey than vinegar.  Sigh.

Justin, being what rock stars are made of, handled himself amazingly well and brought down the house.  

His next performance will be at the Viper Room on January 21st.  If you are in town, you want to be there!  You can follow him on Facebook here and subscribe to his YouTube channel here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Tom Waits Kind of Week

I am at the end.  At the end of a Tom Waits kind of week.

Today's Bedhead Theater offering is Mr. Wait's "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis." It comes to you raw and after a 3am kind of night.  My beautiful friend Matt Tomas is helping out on piano, so this is Bedhead Theater's very first special guest!  Exciting developments, no?

I had intended this song to be a Christmas present for Matt and if you can look past the fact that it is a month late and Matt had to help me wrap it, I suppose it is.  Merry Christmas, Matt.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Top 5, All Time Favorite... or so

I just watched High Fidelity for the first time in a long time.  Ah, John Cusack.  No one does strung out better.

High Fidelity is all music and lists.  So many lists in that movie.  My favorite list (although not itemized and only a list of 3 instead of the movie's standard "Top 5 All Time Favorite" lists) is Jack Black's character's 3 band names at the end of the movie: Sonic Death Monkey, Kathleen Turner Overdrive, and Barry Jive and his Uptown 5.

My friend Patrick has a similar "problem" deciding on a band name.  In his last 3 shows he performed as Skinny P and the Destroyers; Skinny P and the Birthday Bash; and Skinny P and the Handicaps. (See My Talented Friends Part One.)

Band names are fun, but so darn hard to choose.  You want the name to reflect the music, but also the personality of the band members while making sure that it is memorable and of course, clever in some groupie-procuring way. 

Do you remember being asked how many kids you wanted when you yourself were a kid?  Your answer would be directly correlated to the number of baby names you thought were cool.  "I want 6... Peter, Parker, Posey, Punxsutawney, and Bob."  If I could start as many bands as I have cool names to name them, I would have 4 bands:
  1. The Sister Karamazov
  2. Fifths and Giggles
  3. Color Me Wicked
  4. Whole Notes from the Underground
Originally, I had 5, but the 5th was "Tequila Mockingbird" which I thought was so clever.  Yeah.  It turns out that there are bands, restaurants, bars, and design companies with the same name.  Not so clever after all.  Thanks a lot, Google.  I was feeling pretty good about myself today.

Santeria, Santeria, Santeria, let me go!

Yesterday's Bedhead Theater selection was brought to you by "a growing headache, a fading warmth, a sense of regret that should be stronger than it is, and a recurring apocalyptic dream."

Today's selection is brought to you by "OMG, I did karaoke last night for the second time in my life and it may have been a little too fun to not do again.  Who have I become?"  And if you're thinking that the title of this post means that I did Bohemian Rhapsody during the aforementioned karaoke night, you would be right.  I also did Santeria by Sublime.  It went a little somethin' like this:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Here's Something New

For my first post of 2012 I was going to list the things I learned in 2011.  However, despite all of the amazing experiences 2011 granted me, I could only think of one: I learned in the women's locker room at the YMCA that I fully support cosmetic surgery, specifically breast lifts.  Other than that, I'm drawing a blank.

So, instead of rehashing all the glory and pain that was 2011, I'm going to start something new.  Now, everyone knows it's not cool to make New Year's resolutions, so I'm not going to.  Because I am the coolest person you'll find.  For realz, yo!  Chickety check it.  (See?)

This is not a resolution, it's just something new: Bedhead Theater.  For those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning, you know I love music, but have a discorded love/hate relationship with my own music.  I can go for days without even touching my keyboard.  In an effort to change that, I offer you Bedhead Theater. Every morning I will wake up, roll out of bed and immediately record myself singing and playing a song.  PJs and all.  No procrastination allowed.

I probably won't be sharing every video I make, but I will try to have 2 or 3 a week that are watchable enough to present to my esteemed readers.

Numero Uno: my slow morning spin on "Boston" by Augustana.