Monday, November 24, 2008

Moving On

Sorry, blahg, I've found a new format. For all two of my readers, please feel free to check the Tumblr from now on.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All I Need

About four months ago, I sat at my computer, strategically double clicking a Ticketmaster link for Radiohead tickets. Radiohead is the greatest band of the past twenty years, and everybody knows it. So getting your hands on tickets is no small feat, but it happened. And for the past four months, every time something I cared about was pulled out from under me, my heart left feeling like egg on bibimbap, I reminded myself that there was an event to look forward to: Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Hollywood Bowl has a grandeur that is unrivaled by any venue I’ve ever seen. Basically, it’s a colossal oasis of trees planted in Hollywood, with a picnic area for pre-show wine and baguette-brie-turkey sandwiches. The sound was so good that I honestly really did hear lyrics I never even knew existed. Thom Yorke danced around on stage in bright red pants, playing every song I wanted to hear that night. Set list here.
And even the haters, those who claim that Radiohead has become too big, had to admit that the show was just right. But I like for a rock band to be bigger than life, despite the high cost of tickets. Plus, the audience was so appreciative, since we all knew that it's survival of the fittest on who gets to see a Radiohead show. Every seat was filled, nobody talked during the slow songs, and we were all on the same page, trying to wrap our brains around how incredible it is to know that Radiohead lives on the same planet that we do. It was that good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Too Too Too Fast

Putting Los Angeles on hold, I went to New York last weekend to celebrate the union of two dear old friends, Shaw and Celeste. Their wedding was held in upstate Sleepy Hollow territory, about 30 minutes outside of Albany. I’m talking real country here, and the wedding followed as suit.

The altar was set up in front of a rolling meadow, with cows and llamas waltzing around in the background, underneath a blue sky with cartoon-perfect clouds. The guests sat on hay bails and the party was held in a tent where we danced so hard that the ground quickly turned to mud. I think I only had about two hours of sleep the entire weekend. Now, I’m not ready for that kind of ending yet, but I hope all of my close ones marry soon because weddings serve as the ideal reunion of dear friends.

Friday, August 08, 2008

My Friend Goo

There’s an art collective within walking distance from my house called The Machine Project, and once a year they hold a Fallen Fruits jam-making party. The deal is: you bring your own fruit, brew it all together, jar it, and then trade off with other jam makers. The only question is how experimental you want to get with the flavor. We went with strawberry-mint, winsome on the palette and just untried enough to pass.

When we arrived, there was a long row of tables set up on the sidewalk and the jam-making had already commenced. People were using all kinds of wacked out combinations, like lemon-fig-pepper and nectarine-kumquat-lavender-basil, so we sat down to cook. Making jam from scratch is a pretty sloppy process, but it actually takes no time at all. And there was the chance to mingle with neighbors, get involved in the community and whatnot.

One jam master in particular asked if we grew our own fruit. Typical Californian question. Like it’s not enough to be out there in the middle of the street, with the sun stabbing through you, making your own jam -- you have to grow your own fruit, too. No, I answered defensively, but was quick to tell her that we bought it at the local farmers market the day before.

Since then, I’ve been eating PB&J all week, which never really gets old, I think. And I have to admit, quite frankly, that our jam is the best. The consistency, the simplicity, the taste, no doubt about it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

All Alright


After awaking from a jet lag-fueled summer afternoon nap, we met up with friends and friends of friends at a ghetto-looking (and tasting) Mexican restaurant in the USC area. From there, we received word of a party of friends of the friends of the friends. So we split up into two cars and followed the party informant up through the Hollywood Hills. And the higher we reached, the faster the girl in front of us started to drive, threateningly close to flying off a curve and into the dusty Hollywood foliage.

We would’ve been lost without our maniac guide, so we had no choice but to follow her break-neck speed. Steeper and steeper, as the houses became more decadent and the view more luxurious, it soon turned into a high risk/high reward situation. Thankfully, I was not driving. When we finally reached the peak, it was time to park. We split with the plucky leader to find a spot of our own, climbed another hill, and reached the party.

People were out front, music was blaring, the door was wide open, and we entered. The house was built of modest size, flawless in light and space. The view was equally spectacular, probably used in one of the scenes where the dweebs of Entourage look out, throw their hands up in the air, and exclaim, “Now, boys, we’ve finally made it!”

Except we hadn’t made it. Two minutes after we arrived, Ms. Led Foot called, telling us that we were at the wrong party. We were intruders in the lives of the infinitely cool. But we stayed anyway; drank some fancy tequila and awkwardly mingled for a bit, pretending to know the host, whose name I discovered is Drew. I wanted to go home that very instant, put all my belongings in a cab, kick Drew out and take shelter in his glorious quarters. The only fault, I found, was that Drew did not seem to own any books, but I could easily supply my own. I'll let Drew keep his house, though, because I have time.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sun it Rises

I rode a camel in Israel a couple weeks ago, and it was awesome. Camels have very long eyelashes and permanently puckered lips -- quite stunning -- but the rest of the body looks like it’s been smushed together from other animal parts. When approached, the camel is sitting down, and we were given strict instructions not to kick or pet it.

Soon after we were situated on our respective humps (two to a camel, I sat in front and Chelsea in back), the camel started to rise. First, the camel sticks its behind up, placing all of its weight on the knees, then the back legs follow, and finally the front legs. It’s a peculiar process to observe and even stranger to experience: the same sort of sensation as riding a rollercoaster. The actual journey is extremely slow, probably because of insurance purposes, but once we were used to the altering hip swags, it was a very leisurely ride.

Looking back on the caravan of 40 American kids -- a steady stream of digital cameras detonating at once -- it was hard to imagine our ancestors riding these great mammals through the desert to safety so many years ago. Because it seems to me that if you get a bunch of Jews out in the desert, all they’re going to be doing is complaining.

I’m still just in the process of digesting it all, but there were other parts to the trip, of course. A Birthright trip is like boot camp, with early morning wake up calls and horrible food (schnitzel cuisine three nights in a row), and every day was chalk full of activities. We stayed at Kibbutz’s, went cave spelunking and digging at Beit Gurvin National Park, met with Bedouins, did a sunrise ascent to Masada, swam in the Dead Sea, hiked Mt. Arbel, toured a Kabbalah gallery in Tsfat, hiked in the Golan Heights, went rafting on the Jordan River, saw the borders of Syria and Lebanon, went wine tasting at the Galilee Winery, toured Jaffa, Independence Hall, Rabin Square, and Jerusalem, volunteered at a soup kitchen, City of David, the Wall, Mt. Herzl, etc.

The best part of the trip, however, was spending five days with seven Israeli soldiers, because those are by far the coolest kids I’ve ever met. Each conversation with them was like a tutorial on the confusing mess of the beautiful country. And the trip itself was more like a gigantic history lesson rather than a religious awakening. So while I’m not going to start lighting the Shabbat candles every Friday night, I’m not going to skip over the Middle East section of the paper anymore.

After the trip, I met the boyf in Tel Aviv where we spent an amazing four days exploring and eating delicious food. That’s my new favorite city; imagine SoHo before it turned into a shopping mall, then add a beach. Unfortunately, though, I did not have the chance to meet the other Toby Shuster, or see her Bed and Breakfast. I’ll probably regret this for the rest of my life, but I guess it’s a good incentive to go back. And that’s the only downside to traveling: it always leaves you wanting more.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Candy Jail

There's no better cure for a Vegas hangover than watching the newly edited HBO Roman Polanski doc on a Sunday night with a carton of Thai take-out. The film, which takes the tone of a courtroom drama, is certainly riveting, since I never realized the full story behind Polanski's exile. But mostly it's just heartbreaking, Polanski's life that is. His beautiful wife was brutally murdered, he slept with a 13-year-old girl, and he couldn't even accept his Oscar in person.

And then I remembered a Craigslist ad that caught my eye when I first moved to LA. It's for a narrative feature that some sad-sack is trying to make, but the call-out captures the melancholy cast of Polanski's life.


Roman Polanski's Life Story
Looking for look alike actors:
Roman Polanski (Close to 40 yrs old & play youger and older roll) Sharon Tate Mia Farrow John Cassadetes Anton Lavey Angelica Houston (When she was young)
Also looking for 18 or 19 year old girl who can play a 13 year old look!
Must be non-union min $100 a day Must send picture and phone number

Modern Guilt

One boon to being all smitten with a film producer is getting to be a plus one at film festivals. Most recently, the boyf's movie, VISIONEERS, premiered at the Seattle Film Festival, and went on to show at Cinevegas. The film, starring Zach Galifianakis and Judy Greer, is a dark comedy about a world in which people are so unhappy that they start exploding. The story is a dystopian satire that's a cross between George Orwell and George Saunders, scored by the Polyphonic Spree and Tim DeLaughter. It's an awesome movie, and I'm not just saying that.

Seattle went well, despite the sub zero weather, and both screenings at the Egyptian sold out right away. It was also lovely catching up with long time friends and eating delicious homemade food. Vegas, on the other hand, was much jazzier. The opening night gala was held pool side, and everybody was abuzz when Britney Spears appeared. Although I'm not sure if she even knew she was there, as her eyes were glazed over and she moved at a snail's pace.

A better sighting, though, was when I talked to Dennis Hopper while we were waiting in line for coffee. He is very distinguished, slightly dismissive, and appreciated my suggestion of getting the blueberry muffin instead of the bear claw. Gotta hand it to him, since he's the only star I've heard of who gets his own coffee. The real highlight, however, was when I made $150 at Black Jack (after only putting down $10). It's all about knowing how to stop while you're ahead.