Friday, October 31, 2008

BONFIRES BURNING BRIGHT




Let's face it...Christmas sucks, Thanksgiving's nothing more than a turkey slaughter and your birthday is a reminder that you're getting old. But Halloween, that's something different.

Halloween rules. We get to dress up like fools, pig out on candy and party like New Year's Eve. What's not to love?

I won't pretend that I listen to the Misfits all that often anymore, but there's no better Halloween band than the four guys from Jersey. So pop it in your CD player or iTunes or whatever the fuck you have and rock out.

Hail Satan!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

PORTLAND PICTURE ROUND UP

I've been swamped with more work than I know what to do with, hence the lack of updates. Well, some of that business (that's busy-ness, not business) is over and you are the winners! Yeah!

Here are some pics from my recent trip to Portland. I'd write more, but photos are what people want, not words.


Powell's on Hawthorne. Much easier to navigate than the downtown one. Notice the overcast sky. I can't wait to make that a daily occurrence.


















Hawthorne...I love you.


















Mt. Tabor Park is the most amazing thing in a city full of amazing things.



































































































































People ask if I really want to move to Portland. This picture says it all. I mean, come on, I'm already parking my car on the wrong side. What's more Portland than that?






























































Karaoke at Chopsticks Express II was GOING OFF! I've retired from taking the mic at home, but I had to show Portland how Long Beach do it...what? what? Also, the guy with his back to my camera in the striped shirt was sitting next to me all night. We made very small talk for about an hour. Then, out of nowhere, he leans over, and above the killer rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama", he asks, "do you smoke weed?" I said I did and he said, "you look like you do. Wanna go outside and get high?" How did he know?





























This girl was WAY-STED. She was talking to me outside the karaoke bar about something. I don't remember what it was, but she was definitely into whatever she was saying. Her arms her flailing and she kept pointing her fingers in my face. I totally coulda practiced making babies with her, but I have a girlfriend and an unreasonable fear of a girl vomiting on me while we're sharing a moment.

DAVID SEDARIS IN LONG BEACH

If you read my story in the District (and I know you did), you'd understand that readings are boring. But David Sedaris was different. He wasn't boring.

I thought he might read a bunch of his published works, but a lot of what he read seemed to be works in progress. Fortunately, they were each funnier than the next.

I have mixed feelings about David Sedaris. On the one hand, I think he's a goddamn genius and by far the funniest writer around. On the other, I am so freakin' jealous of him that it's hard to comprehend. I envy his career and wish I was doing the same. I feel like he beat me to it and if I was to write in a similar manner, the influence would be way too obvious. But you gotta admit...he lives in France, is number one each time a new book comes out and charges $45 to see him. That's the life I want.

The crowd was a mixed bag of young white hipsters, old white people in sweaters and lots of gays. I wasn't sure how many of the gays would be in attendance because of the gays I know, none of them know who David Sedaris is. Maybe he's a straight icon like Madonna is to their team.

JUBILEE'S FIRST AMERICAN SHOW



Chino? Isn't there a prison there?

That's basically what everyone who lives in Southern California says when asked about that city. Or is it a town? Who the hell knows?

Anyway, there was a show there last night, and similar to the strange mystique that is Chino, the venue was very untraditional. Held at a mini-mall (what else would there be in a middle of nowhere suburb?), the show was called the Meeting of the Minds Fest. To celebrate, I got a haircut earlier that day to make sure nothing was in the way of my brilliant melon.

I went alone and for most, that might be a problem. But I don't mind. Flying solo gives me a chance to see things in a different perspective than when I'm in a group. I've often said I live inside my head and this fits that mentality just fine.

Who played, you ask? I don't know. It was an all-day thing with bands I'd never heard of and two I have: Jubilee and Earthless. I missed the latter, but their drummer stood next to me for a while. I wanted to tell him (his name's Mario Rubalcaba) how awesome I think he is and how Rocket from the Crypt is my favorite band of all times, but I kept it in my pants. He did say "excuse me" as he passed by me and that's gotta count for something.

After a much-delayed downtime between bands, Jubilee hit. Hear you me: This band is going to be HUGE. At least they should be. You never can tell with all the idiots out there. I'm a journalist, so in keeping with my professional integrity, I have an announcement to make: I have known Jubilee singer/guitarist/Uniform Choice t-shirt wearer Aaron North since 1995. We went to high school together and he was my best friend throughout my teenage years. We were like this (I'm wrapping my middle finger around my index as I type). Aaron's one of those guys who has that thing, you know, the one that makes a certain person different than the rest of us? In tenth grade I knew he'd become something special. I also said the same thing about yours truly and look where that's got me.





Most people know Aaron as A. the guy from Nine Inch Nails, B. the guy from the Icarus Line, C. the guy from Buddyhead.com or D. the guy who broke into Stevie Ray Vaughn's guitar case in Texas. While he is (or was) all of those, my money's on Jubilee being the band he'll be remembered for. The rest of the group includes some tall bassist dude named Mikey who plays in Queens of the Stone Age, a guitarist who's quick to run out a door when a car alarm goes off named Jeff and a drummer who I don't know from a hill of beans, but based on the other two guys, he's probably pretty cool too. Jubilee travels with this other Mike. He's their sound guy/engineer/person who says "1,2" into the mics while the band gets blown backstage.

It's impossible to know whether or not I'd dig Jubilee if I didn't know Aaron, but I'm going to say I would. They combine enough of everything I like without ever overdoing it. There's the right blend of pop, dissonance and rock and I can get behind that. Imagine Mudhoney and Oasis formed a supergroup -- that's Jubilee.

So the show...Jubilee was louder than I'd expect considering they played in front of a Wahoo's Fish Tacos, but not louder than your average rock show. They didn't say much, but their songs are so good who needs talking? I've always said, "More rock less talk." They played all the hits ("Rebel Hiss," "In With the Out Crowd" and "Pioneers Get Show With Arrows," the most badd-ass bass riff I've ever heard) and a few songs I hadn't heard before.

I suck at this concert review thing, so here's a video of their first song from their first North American show and a few pictures that maybe some of you in Photoshop land can clean up. I'd try, but I don't care enough to do that.






PS As good as Jubilee was, did anyone else catch the suh-moking hot Mexican bartenders upstairs wearing matching corsets? If that's the norm, then I take back everything I ever said about Chino.
video

Friday, October 24, 2008

DAVID SEDARIS

I've been super busy, so this is all you get for now.

http://thedistrictweekly.com/print/arts/books/he-talk-pretty-friday/

Sunday, October 5, 2008

AND PORTLAND HERE I GO

Final night in Portland. I leave sometime tomorrow. Bummer. Big, big bummer.

I knew the weekend would go quickly. It did. I saw a lot, did a lot, drove a lot and am not even close to being ready to go home. Why? Because this is starting to feel a lot like home. I've got some great friends here who treat me well and I know these streets like I know Long Beach.

I told people about wanting to move in December/January. Most think it's a bad idea due to the weather. While I agree, I can't wait until next summer to do this. The time is now.

You know how I know I'm getting old? Tonight I ate dinner at friends' house. Killer vegan soup and cornbread with banana instead of eggs. Both were amazing. We caught the season finale of I Love Money (sorry Whiteboy -- booyah!) and I decided to split to where I was staying. Mind you, this was 10:30 p.m. (about 45 minutes ago) and I leave tomorrow. This is the old me:

"Damn, I gotta leave tomorrow, so I'd better get all kinds of party tonight."

This is the new me.

"Damn, I gotta leave tomorrow, so I'd better get some rest for the long drive." Please kill me.

I did a real stupid thing this morning. OK, two stupid things. First, I went to bed at 5 a.m. and woke up at 10. Fuck, three stupid things. I thought the couple I was staying with was still asleep and I needed to use the phone, so I tip-toed through the house and made my calls from the backyard (the same one that neighborhood cats use as a litter box). Make my calls and I open the back door. Except it didn't open. The motherfucker was locked. I went to the front of the house to knock on the door so they'd let me in. That's when I noticed a vehicle missing from the driveway. I knock. No answer. I'm in pajamas, it's starting to drizzle and I'm locked out. I check for potential windows to climb through. None. Then I remember that last night the guy I'm staying with told me that window opened. It might have been a pretty meaningless comment at the time, but boy did that tidbit come in handy. I took a desk that just happened to be outside and pushed it against the wall. With my left hand I pushed open and held the window because it wouldn't stay up. I wiggled the right side of my body through the tiny opening. The dog was watching the entire thing and although we've known each other for years, I thought she might attack. Hey, a guy breaking in -- isn't that what most dogs would do? Anyway, I got my torso in, but my legs were another story. I curled them and slid them through the window and the faucet while not knocking over the wine glasses in the sink. Where there's a will, there's a way. And when it's raining and you're in pajamas with shit to do, you find a way.

I gotta split. Like I said, early to bed. Massively major big ups to everyone who let me crash and showed me a good time and the wig-wearing tranny who started smashing shit from her purse in the parking lot of a karaoke bar last night. What's that? I didn't tell you that story? Maybe when I get home.