Tenacious D, OK GO, and more added to the Winston Calling benefit, December 8th

winstoncalling8Remember the bad ass two night benefit show I mentioned a couple weeks ago, headlined by members of the Pixies, Michael Penn, Flea, Tim & Eric, and more?

Well, it just got a whole lot badder asser.

Now added to Tuesday, December 8th rock lineup: Tenacious D, members of OK GO, and The Muff’s Kim Shattuck.

And some inside bits on the evening’s set list: “Weird Al will be performing ‘I Bleed’ from (the Pixies album) “Doolittle” with member of the Pixies and Flea on bass. David and Kevin from Love & Rockets will perform ‘All In My Mind’ with Black Francis (as featured on the recent Love & Rockets tribute album).”

To repeat, all male members of the Pixies (Black Francis, Dave Lovering, Joey Santiago), Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass), Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Love & Rockets, She Wants Revenge, Weird Al Yankovic, and Grand Duchy (Black Francis and Violet Clark), all on one stage, December 8th, 7pm… for only $20!

And for $35, get the above AND the following night of comedy on December 9th at 7pm (or $20 separately): Tim and Eric (music set), Bob Odenkirk, Brian Posehn, and Dave Lovering (drummer of the Pixies performing his mad science teacher magic act).

The whole thing is a benefit for the family of 8 1/2 month old Winston Bertrand, who was born with Lymphatic and Venous Malformations, two rare, life threatening conditions requiring the constant care of his parents and a heavy financial toll.

Violet Clark, wife of Black Francis as well as his Grand Duchy collaborator, established Winston’s Village to assist the Bertrand family with aid for the lil chap. (You can also catch Grand Duchy one night before the benefit as a special guest at the Mere Mortals show at Spaceland on Monday, December 7th, kicking off the Mere Mortals monthlong residency there.)

Parachute Performance Tueday 12/1-free with Metblogs password

Simply show up at the Palladium 8PM and give the secret code word “Hank Ford -Metblog List” and you are in.  This deal is for Metblogs readers only.

A caveat. Ford is putting on the show in celebration of the work done by their “Agents” who have been driving the Euro-spec version of the new Fiesta the last 6 months. They will be given awards for their various video, music and other activities missions. During all of this they will be tweeting it live promising what should be the largest Corporate “tweet up” ever. All of this will culminate in the reveal of the US Spec version of the Fiesta (and I hope they don’t change it from the EU version).

Also performing for your entertainment will be DJ Pesce with his repertoire of mixes.

For those of you who like something a little more concrete you can get actual tickets from “Hank Ford” on facebook.

Deets. December 1, 8PM-midnight. Hollywood Palladium, 6215 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90028.

Esotouric Founders Resign from Downtown Art Walk

Now, full disclosure: I loves me some Bert Green, downtown gallerist & founder of the LA Art Walk. [waves] And I loves me some Gallery Row Organization (some stories I assigned & edited for the LA Alternative Press back in 05 & 06 brought me into repeated contact with the original GRO). And I really love Kim Cooper & her husband Richard Schave (founders of literary/historic tour company Esotouric), who for some time now have functioned as the burgeoning Downtown Art Walk’s curator & director, respectively. But now they’ve both resigned over the addition of Russell Brown, head of the Historic Downtown Business Improvement District, to the Art Walk’s governing body.

I’m currently reaching out to all involved parties & should have more info soon. It does strike me as odd that a nonprofit org, designed to enhance the cultural vibrancy of the area (independently of commercial enterprise) should now have as its head a leader of the Historic Downtown Business Improvement District. In a brief phone call with Richard, he mentioned it heralded a “privatization of the public space of downtown.” Is downtown public? Private? Both? I’m hoping someone can explain to me how and why this happened. I’m trying to keep an open mind.

Either way, all of Esotouric’s offerings have been removed from the monthly artwalks, so those expecting shuttles, knowledgeable tour guides, food tours from foodblogger Javier (TeenageGlutster) Cabral, historical-literary discussions and more will be disappointed.

Housing Market WTF

IMG_1498A friend of mine was all psyched a couple of weeks ago when she signed a contract for a condo in the Culver City area.  She had been shopping at or near the “low end” of the Los Angeles area housing market — $300k or less.   I have heard from more than one prospective buyer that, at this price level, there has been a bit of a buying frenzy.  Sellers are listing the homes for lowball prices in order to attract interest, and then buyers are bidding up the prices, offering cash, avoiding contingencies in their contracts, etc.  And the federal $8k tax credit is bringing in a lot of first time home buyers, such as my friend, at this level.

But my friend’s excitement turned to frustration and heartache as her lender’s appraisal came in many thousands below her contract price. Continue reading Housing Market WTF

Annual Lamplighting, Hot Cider & Festivities at Heritage Square

victorian_treeI’m a big history geek. I even got a national merit scholarship award in high school for the subject of history. Needless to say, this did not make me any cooler back then, but nowadays I have no shame about being totally gay for history (is that offensive? If so let me know).

So I’m crazy in love with the Heritage Square Museum in Highland Park. If you’ve never been there, what it is is a collection of historic homes & architectural wonderments, all transported from locations where they surely would have been razed to their foundations–instead deposited safely in the Arroyo south of Pasadena, in a neat little collection. They host lots of historical-reenactment living exhibits and do a great job of showing you what a Victorian-era home would have looked like. And on December 5 & 6 they’re hosting their 15th Annual Lamplighting Celebration for the holiday season.

With each charming home illuminated by lamplight, you can jump into the dancing, sip some warm apple cider and nosh on tasty holiday goodies. There will be period-style dress & festivities and the homes will be decorated in holiday decorations typical of the era in which each home was built. Additionally, guests can check out “Holiday Heritage: A Southern California Christmas,” a photographic exhibit offering a glimpse of the culture, commerce, and art of Christmas in SoCal from 1880 to 1950, listen to classic tales from a “special visitor,” and shop for adorable period crafts & gifts in the Museum Store–hello, stocking stuffers!

Don’t Breathe on Me!

I would like to avoid getting swine flu.  Or any flu for that matter.  Or a cold.  And I suspect, just by living in LA, it may be a losing battle.  Everywhere I go, people are coughing, sniffling and just plain breathing on me with their damn germs.  I know, I know… I could just stay home and isolate myself for the next six months…. but here’s a novel idea:  If YOU are sick or even more importantly, if your kid is coughing and hacking…. stay home!  Spare your fellow passengers!

Yesterday, I wanted to treat my mom to a manicure/pedicure and lunch… a nice stress free girls day out for an out of towner.  The nail salon was pretty busy, about 12 people strong, and in walked a smart looking, upscale young mom with her four year old in tow.  Appearences can be decieveing.

The mother sat down and the kid proceeded to start coughing… of course she was to young to know to cover her mouth.  And when I say coughing, she was hacking, nose dripping, wheezing.  Being a kid, she touched everything she could get her hands on.  Grabbing nail polish bottles to show her mom (picking every single one up), running around talking to everyone… coughing, spewing spit and infection everywhere.  Bummer.

I wondered… If I were to nicely, very politely, ask the mom to keep her germ machine at home away from the general public, would she understand?  Would she react with care and consciousness to her fellow neighbors? I mulled it over for 1.5 seconds, envisioning various responses…but knew the answer.  The best outcome would probably be a glare.  The worst would be a screaming harangue.  I didn’t say anything.  I pitied the poor nail stylist who had to sit mouth to mouth with the young infection bomb who finally curled up panting and dripping mucus onto her moms lap.

Yet, really.  Isn’t that the thing to do?   Put aside your desire to go out and mingle and stay home and care for your sick child… or yourself.  It’s just plain courtesy.  I know I’m bitching here.  But this is a real problem.

Then we went to LAMILL, great coffee and snacks.  Safe at last.  But wait!  There, two tables over, was another hacker.  A guy, out having his coffee.  At least he covered his mouth and used the napkin when he honked uncontrollably.

Empty LA

melrose I was shocked to see a nearly vacant Melrose shopping district today. Around noon I took my shoes to the Fluevog store to be repaired, expecting to deal with the post-Thanksgiving shopping masses, but parking was easy, the sidewalks were free and the stores I walked by were virtually empty. At first I was happy to not have to deal with the usual Saturday shopping crowd, but as I looked around I began to worry about the economy. On a positive note, most of the restaurants in the area seemed to be busy. Maybe it’s just because a lot of people are out of town for the holiday weekend, but what do you think?

Found on Road Alive: 1985 Chrysler New Yorker.

85 new yorkerForget the little old lady from Pasadena, check out this original owner “retirement car” for an elderly couple in Arcadia.  The gussied up “K-car” with a 2.2L turbo under the hood and re-badged as the flagship “New Yorker” for the Chrysler line up.  The car is at Roy Gasparini 76 for some work as it failed its first smog test in 24 years.  (If anyone can fix it Roy’s guy can…check their yelp).  Quite the little testament to their love of the car and its “durability“.

The 1980’s was a tough time for American manufacturers.  Tightening smog regulations and increased fleet fuel economy regulations meant the end of the traditional huge V8 as the standard of the industry.  Smaller cars with smaller V6 and 4cyl engines, some turbocharged such as this version became the norm.   Sounds much like what we are facing now, particularly in CA this time its increased fuel efficiency as well as lowered CO2 fleet averages already approved by the legislature.  I doubt we’ll have the lackluster cars this time around as we had in the 80’s simply because the technology is different now than it was then.

Pic by me with the trusty cell phone, does get bigger with a click, but not much better.

ICME: Free at Last

Free People on Sale

Sometimes this city’s cement river boundaries can be horrifically isolating.  So, when you see signs like these during times like those, it’s like the universe is saying, “Yeah, I know.  Sorry.”

(Caveat: I know Free People is a line of clothing.  I know it is.  It’s still pretty damned funny.)

Cross-Town Rivals Face Off Tomorrow

"Burn Joe, Burn!"
"Burn Joe, Burn!"

The Bruins of UCLA and the Trojans of USC will be competing on the football field tomorrow night. The Los Angeles Universities have a long-standing rivalry that is important to a lot of the city’s residents. Personally, I’m not really interested in the sport or who wins. Maybe I should be since the company I work for is highly affiliated with USC. In spite of not being a fan, I somehow ended up at The Trojans’ big pep rally, called Conquest, last weekend. (I was solely there to see the closing band, OK Go).

The event, held on the USC campus, was a big deal complete with a ferris wheel, food trucks, Jamie Kennedy introducing a variety of the school’s sports teams and coaches, and a very impressive fireworks display. Most of the “Yay Team!” (or “Fight On!” as they say at USC) stuff was lost on me, but I did thoroughly enjoy The Trojan Marching Band, otherwise known as The Spirit of Troy. They are excellent and their rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” was a huge treat.

The Spirt of Troy
The Spirt of Troy

It appeared that the highlight of the night for the students and alumni was the burning of Joe Bruin, UCLA’s mascot bear. There were chants of “Burn, Joe, burn!” It can only make me wonder what they light on fire at UCLA. Hopefully, it’s not what we all think of when we hear USC’s mascot because the smell of burning rubber is rather unpleasant.

There have been shenanigans this week with UCLA’s Bruin statue getting painted with Trojan cardinal and gold. So much for sportsmanship.

Are you into the big game and if so, who are you rooting for? I really hope your team wins.

Art Receptions and Parties in Old Town Monrovia Saturday Night

photo by Stephen Coleman
photo by Stephen Coleman

As an alternative to the “Black Friday” frenetic activity Monrovia Association of Fine Art and the Monrovia Old Town Merchants paired up and are putting together a festive party atmosphere in Old Town Saturday 11/28.  Two of the art galleries in town will be featuring artists receptions with free nibbles and wine to lighten up their events.  Numerous merchants and restaurants will be hosting “open house” receptions as well.  Expect carolers to out and about in Old Town Monrovia as well.

Segil Fine Art (110 W Lime Avenue, Monrovia 91016) will host a reception from 6-10PM.  The reception will celebrate the current show “Peace and Light” with the works of Laura Wambsgans.

Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery (418 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia) will be hosting a reception for featured artist Dino Rassmussen and his nostalgic, kitschy “Mostly Christmas” series.  Also present will be nearly a dozen of other artists represented by the gallery (me included) to share in the holiday cheer and their particular art.  There will be ample nibbles and wine to add to the festive atmosphere created by the music of “Rat Pack” musician Tony Millot. Continue reading Art Receptions and Parties in Old Town Monrovia Saturday Night

Living In LA = Thanksgiving: Top Ten Reasons I’m Thankful I Live Here

images-1 #1:  Super easy choice..THE WEATHER!  I mean, come on!  Look at this glorious day… November 26 and it’s crystal clear, 80 degrees, sun shining, blue skies, rolling waves.  Yep.  I’m super thankful for living on this earth and in this city where I can stroll down to my local cafe, sit outside soaking up the rays and enjoy an espresso before tucking the turkey in.  The quality of gold light that rains down on us is awesome!  Thank you universe!  I really appreciate landing on this particular piece of real estate!

#2:  The General Population:  By and large a good part of the population is cool, friendly and really work at making a difference.  Maybe it’s in catching the perfect wave, maybe it’s trying to make medical marijuana accessible, maybe it’s creating and sharing the coolest movie on earth, maybe it’s brewing the best espresso.  But we have hardworking people here who are groovy.  Thanks everyone.  I appreciate how wide the variety of opinions, options, colors and types of all the people who live here embody.

#3:  The Biz:  Face it.  We live in the Entertainment capitol of the universe and we get major benefits from it.  From glitzy openings, to industry gossip, we’re on it first and get the glitter.  It’s practically a Renaissance city.  So many highly creative creatures roam around that between the writers, the dancers, the musicians, the DJ’s, the artists, the actors… somethings is always entertaining.  Just walking down the street is a treat.

#4 The Men.  They are simply more fun in LA.   I met my fiancee, Dan Mapes here, and he’s the quintessential LA Guy.  Hi-tech, low-maintenance, fun, intellectual, artistic, open-minded, good looking, sensitive, spiritual.  He embodies all the cool daddy qualities of the classic “LA MALE”.  Yes, he also embodies many of the not so cool qualities…. massive flirt, uber sensitive…. but those are also what makes him and all LA men, so great! Go figure.  The things we like the most about LA men, drive us mad!

Continue reading Living In LA = Thanksgiving: Top Ten Reasons I’m Thankful I Live Here

Hello LA! I Miss You So!

LosAngeles!Oh Los Angeles. I’ve missed you so much! Finally last Saturday I got to return home to you for a moment. This was the first sight I saw on our final approach and nothing made me happier after two months away. Smog, who cares? I’m home.

Of course I’m gone again and won’t be back until December 4th, but this little glimpse of heaven has kept me going.

Can’t wait to be home for good, LA.

When Public Safety Becomes Governmental Ass Covering

Walterrrrr spoted this gem at the Figueroa Metro crossing: Safety
He writes about what is going on:

Metro has these manually operated gates at the Figueroa Street crossing. Just around the corner on Avenue 61 they have an automatic crossing guard. To their credit, Metro did install one here for a while, but because this is a route used by schoolchildren from Luther Burbank, and the human crossing guard that there wasn’t enough, they re-installed these cumbersome pedestrian gates.

So what happens is pedestrians, including myself, will instead of bothering with opening the gates, simply step into car traffic and walk around them.

This is a perfect example of someone trying to cover their ass by putting all these precautions into place so they can say they did everything they could to protect people, but in reality they made the situation more unsafe because it’s too much of a pain in the ass so as Walterrrrr notes people will just walk around it. Of course when those people walk out in traffic and get hit someone behind a desk somewhere will be able to hold up their hands and say it’s not their fault because they did everything they could to make things safe by putting in all those gate. So stupid.

LA Metblogs Wants YOU

famous_bloggerHi! Do you think you have something important to write?

Um, don’t answer that. How about this instead: Do you think you have something important to write about LA, AND can you write that stuff consistently, on a weekly basis?

If the answer is yes, then Metblogs is in the market for new bloggers to add to our roster. You must be conversant with blogging at least a little bit, and I’d like to see proof that you can, and ideally have, contributed stories, blog posts or columns on a weekly basis to publications (print or online).  We expect our bloggers to write about two blog posts a week (preferably more), and this isn’t a place to flog your own personal cause or activities (although if you have insight into a particular element of LA, that’s great); all posts must be about LA, not about you.

I used to look for passion about LA as they key deciding factor, but now y’all should know I look for consistency first, passion second. You must be reliable AND full of energy about the city.

If you’re still interested after all those caveats, send a few links to your work or writing samples–plus a bit about yourself & why you’d like to be a Metblogs author–to me at lucindamichele (at) metblogs (daht) com.  Happy Turkeycide Weekend, Los Angeles.