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...