Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Tomorrow I voyage to Portlandia, and in order to properly enjoy the flight, I need a Marvin Gaye biography and a bevy of enticing sounds.

While in the midst of (procrastinating) making an knockout travel mix for my journey, I thought I'd pull a little mini-mix together (procrastinate) for you, courtesy, the post-Muxtape online mixtape....

The Anomalies - "1830"
Two dope MCs explore a textured sonic soundscape of rock & hip-hop, with poppy Franz Ferdinandesque undertones...

The Field - "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime"
This 1980 Korgis hit has been covered by everyone from Beck to Erasure, but homeboy gives it a haunting pulse and a new life...

Hesta Prynn - "Seven Sisters"
Dude, sorry people went sour on Northern State, but if the result is this kind of trip-hip-hop sing-song jam, I'm totally down with Miss Hesta doin' her own thang...

Moray McLaren - "You Make Me Feel Like A Star"
Man. This song is just so pretty. I probably like it so much because I wish someone would sing it to me...

seagull - "End Could Come"
A supberbly fuzzy, anthemic, smart Aussie indie rock earworm...

Wardens - "xxyl" & "Enjoy The Show"
This wouldn't be right if I didn't include a pair of my absolute favorite songs right my own band...

Woods - "Rain On"
I cannot get enough of lo-fi folktronica; it's like sonic bacon or Twinkies or Coke Zero or whatever your vice is...


Monday, May 11, 2009


This weekend was transformative. The air shifted; the taste of bittersweet so tangible.

As most weekends do, it began on Friday, innocuously enough. And then, just past noon, it soured on a dime. My mother lost her job for the second time in a year. I offered her words of encouragement - the type that promise that these things happen as they do so that you're propelled forward in life. She and I both know that she'll move onward and upward, but that doesn't mean it doesn't sting.

Then an hour later - the souring day turned rancid. My aunt Karen, like my uncle Roger - her husband - not three years ago, suddenly collapsed at home and died. Found by one of my cousins each time. The shock hit my abdomen like a medicine ball. What happened? No one knows. But it's heartbreaking.

I've never felt compelled to divulge this kind of intimacy on a blog, over the internets, for all of you friends and strangers alike, but this weekend evolved into something profoundly affecting, and it seems right to write.

Later that evening, after I broke my eyeglasses and after my cat sailed out of my window like a flying squirrel by attaching himself to my screen with every claw and pushing outward on his magic carpet of freedom (I found him some time later), I went to bed puffy-eyed, tear-stained, and concerned that there was no way in holy hell I would be able to run a 5k - my FIRST 5k - in the morning.

But I got up, laced the shoes, and went.

I stood in line, waiting for the race to start, earphones in, conscious of the shirt I was wearing - a T-shirt made by a friend, of a friend - Lowry - who just endured a bilateral mastectomy and is in the process of kicking cancer's ass, preparing for an unanticipated and unexpected round of chemo to start in a few weeks. I was proud to run for her.

As Miley Cyrus cried out that the race was on (this is L.A., after all), I slowly churned through the throng, reading the backs of every T-shirt in my eyeline - "I run to support my mother," "I am a survivor," "I run in memory of my sister." Then there were the photos on the T-shirts. The words, the photos, the dates commemorating a loved one's death... "Running Mix" kicked off on my iPod and it was then that Lykke Li caught me off-guard:

"And don't you let me go, let me go tonight..."

And I started to cry. Big fat tears carving through the thin layer of sweat I was already accumulating. I cried for everything - for my aunt and my family, for my mother's job loss, for Lowry, for these people on this course, and the people who couldn't be on this course, and for myself, somewhat in awe that I was even attempting this race in the first place.

That moment forever redefined Lykke Li's "Tonight" for me.

It's an amazing thing when a song's meaning morphs so utterly and completely - and instantly. Just a week ago, that song propelled me around the reservoir, thighs and butt pumping in rhythm with its assumed metronome. Not an ass-kicking song, by any means, but it was a running anthem for me, nonetheless.

Now it sits in my iTunes, overtaken by the powerful moment at that Start Line, weighed heavy with emotion.

My tears soon dried, my mind refocused, and I continued running, more benign fare pumping through my earphones. I made it all 3.1 miles to the end of the race without stopping once, and I decided to turn off the music as I entered the Coliseum. I didn't want an artificial soundtrack for the homestretch. Then I saw my friend Bella waving me on, I saw the finish line, and I heard "Tonight" in my head, and I cried this time, totally overwhelmed and elated.

I cried once more this weekend, very quickly, silently, and unnoticed, while hiking up to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, with my friend Rebecca. After several hours of mildly strenuous hiking, and a steep scramble to the top, we stood on the peak, looking out over miles of mountains, towering over the clouds. While Rebecca climbed over the monument at the top, I felt the familiar sting welling in the corner of each eye. But this time, it was not preempted by any sadness; it was sheer exhilaration. The sting retreated as quickly as it came.

If I - afraid of heights as they come - could climb to the top of this peak, one day after running my first 5k, and two days after receiving some emotionally draining news, I must be stronger than I think, both physically and emotionally.

I think I'll reclaim "Tonight," not as a song reflecting a moment of gut-wrenching emotion, but rather, a moment of mind-boggling triumph.

I will.

Lykke Li - "Tonight"

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Coachella was about two things for me:

1. Sir Paul McCartney
2. Other Stuff

I've already waxed on about how Macca stole the show, from loving tributes to Linda (on the 11th anniversary of her death) to the fireworks spectacular of "Live And Let Die" to thousands of people singing "Hey Jude" in perfect unison, but in the category of "Other Stuff," we have:

- M.I.A. (well, mostly her dancers and Rye Rye, who was thankfully there to pick up the rap slack left by M.I.A.'s underperformance)
- Hipster craptards who spent the entire day in the VIP area drinking, admiring one another, and waiting for Jared Leto to sulk by, instead of actually checking out bands
- Horn section from Antibalas + Tunde's badass Latin shuffle = another great TVOTR performance
- Peeing in an air conditioned bathroom behind the stage, only to emerge into a delicious photo op with Kanye "Fishsticks" West
- Getting a contact high at the Fleet Foxes show
- 10pm pizza salvation


When Tanya and I checked in to the Hilton Garden Inn in arid, beige, geriatric Hidden Valley Rancho Mirage, California, we were told that our room was given away due to our checking in a day late (never mind the fact that management okayed the late check-in). We sulked, we pleaded, we finally got a room. Before we left the front desk with our hard-won room keys, Snarky Front Desk Guy slipped us each a small grey bag that said "Welcome." He kind of smirked and half-winked and sent us on our way.

When we arrived in the room, it was a suite...with one bed. There was certainly a pull-out couch, but considering it was upholstered with slippery old-man-polyester circa 1972, we thought it wise to ask for a room with two beds, instead. Snarky Front Desk Guy said that the hotel was booked solid, and shooed me off. I sulked back, buoyed only by the promise of Macca later in the evening...and the "Welcome" bag of free stuff. You know how much I like free stuff.

Tanya peeks in hers - "Eh. Coupons." I look in, shampoo/conditioner samples, ponytail holders, Aleve, Pepcid AC, and...

What? No. What?? Noooo. What???

....Silky Glide K-Y Jelly. For Her Pleasure.

Needless to say, upon checkout, we both left our samples for the housekeeping staff.

The next day, Tanya and I hopped into Ruby to pick up Cornflake and head over to the festival. While admiring the relative non-tackiness of Cornflake's room, we saw a menu of spa options for Spa Esmerelda. Curious, we opened it...and then saw this offering:

Experience this romantic treatment in the spa garden and enjoy the warm desert sun, flowering gardens, and the soothing sound of cascading water. Your therapists will prepare a private bath of herbal elixir to soothe. While soaking, you and your partner will be able to "play in the mud" with an interactive facial mask. Your treatment sanctuary will be adorned with rose petals as you enjoy an aromatic massage.

Two questions immediately arose:

1) How exactly will you and your partner "play in the mud?" Why is "play in the mud" in quotation marks? Is the massage therapist hanging out with you? In the mud? "Playing?" Is "playing" just a euphemism for "sexing?"

2) What exactly is an "interactive facial mask?" While you're "playing," are you using your pointer finger to trace funny things in your partner's facial mask? Is the therapist tickling you while you have the mask on?

I think that my friends who went to the Michael Jackson auction exhibit today were less creeped out than I was after reading that.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Ridiculous Amount Of Time It Took Me To Get Home From Culver City At Noon Today: 50 minutes

Ridiculous Amount Of Time It Took Me To Drive From My House To Just East Of Palm Springs Today: 4 hours

Artists I Wanted To See At Coachella But Missed Because Of Said Traffic And Also Because The Stupid Hotel Totally Screwed Up Our Reservation And Wasted Thirty Precious Minutes Of Our Time: The Black Keys, Leonard Cohen

(Supposedly) Gay Celibate Husband I Finally Got To See Perform For The First Time And During Whose Performance I May Have Immaculately Conceived Said GCH's Baby By Way Of Osmosis: Morrissey

Reason All That Driving And Shit Was Worth It: Paul McCartney

I wasn't even going to come out to the desert at all (keywords: desert, dry, hot, people on drugs flailing around with glowsticks), but then tickets and super VIP passes magically worked their way into my paws and I couldn't say no. Tanya and I piled into ole Ruby and crawled across the 10, only to arrive at our hotel and find out that they gave our room away due to some front desk misunderstanding/malfunction.

We missed the Black Keys, and we arrived just in time to catch a few Leonard Cohen songs. What I did hear was deep and dark, and did nothing to belie his 73 years. Break it on down, brotha!

Then on to the main stage for Moz, a man I've pined for since the Smiths served as part of my high school trifecta of mopedom. My impressions, you ask?

a) Morrissey is one hot bastard
b) His voice is still panty-droppingly torchified
c) Multiply that by 20

The only odd moment for me? When he started pinching his nose and grimacing and cutting short lines to his songs, explaining, "I can smell burning flesh, and I hope to God it's human."

Dude, I know you're a veggie, but a) that was creepy, and b) have you never performed in a festival setting before where there's meat a-cookin'?

He ducked offstage, presumably to vomit, then returned and said, "The smell of burning animals is making me sick; I just couldn't bear it," then proceeded to swagger around, grimacing a bit. It totally unsexed the whole thing for me...and oddly, caused me to crave an In N Out Burger, plain, protein-style.

But Paul, OH PAUL!
If you've never seen Paul McCartney live - which I haven't, until tonight - you MUST. He is the consummate performer, he has a catalogue spanning over 40 years (and he performs songs from across the spectrum), and his band kicked all of the ass.

Ok, and there were fireworks. Fireworks always win in my book.

But really - Paul McCartney? PAUL MCCARTNEY?


I must admit that I kind of wrote him off in the "old guy milking his iconic status for dollars" category, but tonight - all three hours, three encores of it - proved me entirely wrong. His performance was simply the best rock show I've ever seen. EVER.

I just want to hug Paul McCartney and never let go.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


When I think of Ryan Gosling, my mind naturally darts to The Notebook - not because I have some sort of estrogen-wired theatrical hard-on for chick flicks (I don't), but because I met him on the set of that movie.

I answered an open call listed in the Charleston City Paper, and though I had to pass up the opportunity to be cast as Nurse due to a work conflict, I was later granted the meaty roles of Moviegoer, Soldier's Girlfriend, and my pièce de résistance, Swing Dancer.

Yes, Swing Dancer.
You had no idea that I could swing dance?
Oh...that's because I CAN'T.

I was on set one day, preparing to channel the inner-workings of Carnival Girl's soul, when the casting director started pointing at me, then walked over to me, followed by director Nick Cassavetes.

Casting Director: We like your look. Can you shag*?
Dumb Me: No.
Nick Cassavetes: Well, can you swing dance?
Quickly Wisened Up Me: YES!

* If you're not familiar, shag is a type of dance popular in the Carolinas (esp. mid-century), popularized by the most awesome Phoebe Cates vehicle of the same name

And so I found myself wearing half-size too small shoes from the 40's, working with an impatient choreographer who assumed I actually knew how to swing dance when I said "Yes" to Nick Cassavetes.

One day, we were rehearsing some very important background dancing for a carnival scene in which the Ryan Gosling character dangles off of a Ferris wheel, trying to get the Rachel McAdams character to take him up on his offer of a date. In between scenes, Ryan planted himself at the side of the stage and worked his way through a cup of ramen noodles.

Shy Stupid "Oh, wow, he's so cute" Me: Oh, ramen noodles! Yum!
Ryan Gosling: Yeah, they're pretty good.
SS"OWHSC"M: Man, I just LOOOOOVE ramen noodles!
RG: Right. It sounds like it. You can get some in the catering tent if you're hungry.

And then I walked away, mortified by the exchange that had just occurred.

I saw Ryan oot and aboot once at a photo show here in L.A., and my gut reaction was, "OH SHIT, that's the guy I orgasmed over ramen noodles to." Then I remembered that I was probably one iota of one speck of his memory, and I slunk away.

Long story short, I'm thinking about Ryan Gosling because he has a band, Dead Man's Bones, with Zach Shields, and they posted a new video just this week, and it's pretty great.

On a visual level, the vid totally appeals to my undying desire that Alfred Hitchcock rise from the Great Beyond and continue making cheeky, yet haunting noir (dream setting: Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery). I keep hoping for a starring role when this film is made, but sadly, ole Hitch probably hasn't seen my epic turn in The Notebook, and also, he's still dead.

On a musical level, the song is a lo-fi, funereal barge of beauty that morphs into a tambourined clap-along folk barbershop revival, then transitions back into a raw tape-rolling, wind blowing twilight lament.

AND it features the children's choir from the Silverlake Music Conservatory. Five outta five stars for this alone.


DEAD MAN'S BONES - "NAME IN STONE" from biz3 publicity on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Today I earned the privilege of becoming Headmistress of the School of Stupid Stupids.

I received an unsolicited package in the mail yesterday from I sized it up, gave it a few squeezes, and concluded that it kind of felt like a package of sanitary pads, which would technically make sense coming from, even though I never have and never will order pads from the internets.

Curious, I ripped through the weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing the pad-feeling things were wrapped in and I was pleased to find that inside, it was decidedly NOT pads, but rather a set of photo-coasters that my mom sent.

[My favorite photo-coaster, you ask? The one featuring my lil sister and I sporting our Ralphie For The Modern Era very shiny Candies tracksuit pajama Christmas presents. At the time the photo was taken, my sister put hers on and said, "I feel like a 12-year old Mexican girl." When Kevin saw that particular photo-coaster, he said that she looked like Lady Sovereign. Six or a half dozen, I say.]

Anyways, back to that Headmistress of the School of Stupid Stupids business.

I keep a shredder in my office so that all of those identity thieves prowling the dumpsters outside my apartment can't, you know, steal my identity, and I use it to shred anything with my name and/or address on it. The weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing containing the photo-coasters totally qualified as bearing both.

Before feeding it into the shredder (the 2nd cheapest one available at Target, by the way - I figured the cheapest one wasn't a good idea, but also didn't feel like springing for anything moderately expensive, so 2nd cheapest won out), I paused - should this go in there? Should I just go mental on it with my scissors to prevent identity theft?

No, no, no. The only way to keep my precious personal information private would be to put it in the shredder. I'll just fold it a few times and pass it through.

So I feed it in slowly...and the shredder starts chewing at it...and chewing...sloooooowly...and then I notice a bubble forming at the top of the weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing...and it begins to feed even mooooore sloooooowly....

And then it just stops.

I try reversing. I try using another piece of paper, then an envelope, then a folded-up cover of some magazine I got from Mo's swag bag at SXSW. No dice. This bitch is stuck.

It dawns on me - maybe I shouldn't have stuck a weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing into a paper shredder.

I unplug it and look at the 6 diagrams printed on top of the shredder and decipher their meanings, in order to see if this guy was meant to handle anything other than paper:

- Danger! Warning!
- Don't put babies in here
- Don't high-five the machine while in operation
- Don't put neckties in here
- Don't put 80's hair metal bands in here
- Don't spray paint graffiti on here

Long story short, I ended up sitting on the floor for well over 15 minutes, using a dull pair of scissors to dig out every last stretchy piece of weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing from the shredder's teeth. Eddie Cat Halen watched on in fascination.

If a piece of machinery indicates that you shouldn't feed it babies, neckties, or 80's hair metal bands, you probably shouldn't feed it weird mylar baggie envelope-y things, either.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Local Natives opened the show I attended at Spaceland last night,but due to working late on ye olde podcast and driving around for what seemed like ten hours looking for a parking spot, I missed them.

Thankfully, Laurie saw them and told me how amazing they were, so I checked them out online today and was incredibly disappointed...

...that I missed their damn set yesterday.

I'm sure they get the Fleet Foxian (and possibly even Bon Iverian, during their slower moments) comparisons (sparse songs, harmonizing), but thought I really love both of those artists, Local Natives have something a bit different goin' on - more of a pop sensibility, a bit more flair for the percussively dramatic, and the potential to be anthemic.

NEXT L.A. SHOW: Bordello, Wednesday, April 8 (tix)

This vid is them doing one of their songs ("Airplanes") acoustically in an abandoned floor of a NYC building. Pretty, sparse, haunting, and kinda down home all at the same time...