Thursday, January 31, 2008

Smiley Smile

So Destinee, my roommate, has decided to move in with her boyfriend. Except, her boyfriend doesn’t have a place of his own, so she’s staying at his family’s apartment. And her boyfriend's little sister is pregnant, so Destinee has to sleep on the floor. Aside from all of that, I have no idea why she would want to leave our little guest house. Not only is it in the perfect neighborhood, but it also looks like something Hansel and Gretel would’ve known about.
Since I’ve had problems with roommates in the past, I took it upon myself to conduct a vigorous Craigslist search. I would like to take this moment to thank James Tan, who graciously volunteered to stalk countless girls on Myspace, just so I could find the least psycho roommate that Craigslist had to offer. Finally, I came up with this chick named Christina. She knows gymnastics and Russian and has been to all four continents. So even if she does turn out to be a little screwy, at least I can learn a thing or two from her.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Finest Worksong

Holy crap, I just landed a gig with Laura Ziskin. Laura Ziskin. Laura Ziskin who produced Pretty Woman, Hero, The Eyes of Laura Mars, and As Good As It Gets, just to name a few. Laura Ziskin who wrote the comedic masterpiece, What about Bob? Sure, so what if it’s just two days a week? I’ll keep doing the script reading on the side to earn some extra cash. And so what if I’m just going to be getting her coffee and doing other mundane errands, like feeding parking meters. I have to do that for someone in this town to get my foot in the door, and although I’m no hero worshipper, I can think of no one else I'd rather get coffee for than Laura Ziskin.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Your Party Will be a Success

People in LA really seem to like birthday parties. The 1920’s-themed birthday party I went to on Friday, featuring a $700 cake and 17-piece orchestra, felt more like a wedding than a 25th birthday. And I passed up a party a couple of weeks ago with an Evite that boasted a $2,500 tab in Santa Monica and a guest list of 300 people. Who even knows 300 people? But then again, I guess if I opened up that kind of tab somewhere, I would have 300 new friends, too.

So it was very refreshing to do a complete 360 and attend a 6-year-old’s birthday party on Saturday afternoon in Atwater Village. In fact, I’ve never had so much fun in my entire life. The backyard was turned into a total dreamscape, with a tent, cookie decorating table, fake tattoo parlor, piñata, Mystery Machine moon walk, and even a chicken coop. Most surprising, to me, is how practiced these California kids are at the art of the piñata. As soon as it was hung, without instruction, they all lined up in perfect order, and knew how far away to stay from the line of fire. From there, it was straight out action. One kid was scolded for throwing a rock at the pinata, the little sniper; the father took a knife to the piñata when no one was looking; the birthday girl puked just before it was struck, and then, with the resilience that only a 6-year-old can muster, managed to eat a piece of her birthday cake ten minutes later. And even though there were only about 20 kids there, it felt like 50 because they just kept running around and around and around.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shared Islands

Brooklyn's High Places play lighthearted melodies with a concentrated blend of tropical percussion and laptop beats. Mary Pearson's cooing and Rob Barber's synths make a combo that sounds like the Books crossed with the Blow. Tonight, LA's Lucky Dragons join High Places with a whirl of appropriated folk samples and electro-acoustic interplays. Performing at the Smell, a venue that is equally as DIY as both bands, the show is guaranteed to be as intimate as Pearson's vocals.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Double Death

I went to two pretty lousy movie screenings this week. The first was Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind. I really wanted to like this one, if only for Michel Gondry’s future as a director. But the movie sucked pretty hard. It’s about these two dudes in New Jersey who work in a video store where all of the tapes are accidentally erased, and so they recreate all of the movies themselves. First of all, the premise is just stupid; who watches VHS anymore? But mostly, Jack Black single-handedly brings down the entire movie by monopolizing every scene. That guy has always annoyed me. There were, however, about twenty minutes of good film making when Gondry did what he does best: visual effects. I wish, though, that he would just stick to making music videos.

The second screening was a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie called The Russell Girl, which was not nearly as bad. Still, within the first five minutes of the movie, the audience finds out that a young girl has Leukemia. And then we sit and watch as she tries to hide it from her family and high school boyfriend for the next two hours. Hallmark is quite cunning, actually, and knows how to hijack its viewers’ emotions. Even though the screening did not have commercials, it was explained to me at the reception beforehand that when Hallmark shows the movie on TV, they only use Hallmark commercials. Each commercial is strategically placed at specific points in the film to provoke certain emotions. Even without the commercials, though, I still found myself crying at the end of the movie. I don’t know why. I felt no attachment to the characters or the story; I just couldn’t help but cry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Out on the Weekend

Last weekend, we drove only two hours away from Los Angeles to reach Joshua Tree National Park, one of the most drop dead gorgeous places I’ve ever seen in the U.S. It’s pure desert out there. Joshua trees are grotesquely shaped hybrids of palms and cacti that you would not be surprised to see in a Dr. Seuss illustration.

And the rock formations, too, are out of this world. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years of earthquakes, erosion, molten liquid, and whatever else, makes for a very fascinating geologic landscape. But the highlight of the trip was a horseback riding tour we took with a cowboy named Dan. Dan regaled us with tales of his teenage years – when he would get so bored, that he'd climb a mountain with no shoes on – and his time as a front man in a Doors tribute band. That’s Dan’s one true passion: the Doors. Dan had a lot of stories to tell about the crazy 90’s and the dueling Doors acts in Yucca Valley, California. Sometimes Dan’s passions trailed off to rattlesnake hunting for his taxidermist friend, or pool and spa supplies, but he always came back to the Doors. We even got our own private concert when Dan sang “Five to One” and “Strange Days” for us out there in the middle of the desert.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What a Day for a Night

Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall is the sexiest building in all of Los Angeles. I finally had the chance to check out the insides of this beauty at last night’s Concrete Frequency concert featuring Cornelius and Plaid, two highly experimental art-rock groups. On the escalator up to the concert hall, however, just as I was about to say, “You look like Diablo Cody,” I was introduced to Diablo Cody herself. The lady is very friendly and sharp-looking in a leopard skin coat, an inspiring celebrity sighting if ever I saw one.

Anyway, back to the event. The acoustics in the hall are positively first-class and the seats, no matter how far away, are plush. First up was Plaid, a British techno duo with a set of turntables and a backdrop of digital abstract art. Next, Tokyo’s Cornelius delivered a sonic performance of electronic psychedelic rock in front of a gigantic screen of futuristic visuals. Experiencing the images in perfect synch with the music produced a truly dramatic effect, especially when sitting in the concert hall felt like watching a show from the inside of a whale’s stomach.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sleeping with the Television On

I know it’s not right to wish away an entire year of life, especially in your 20’s, yet I can’t help but long for 2009. With that glorious year, we’ll see not only a new president, but also Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Okay, I’m done. Happy 2008.