Saturday, November 29, 2008

Arclight and the Airport

I tell you - all you have to do is stand still at the Arclight and you are guaranteed celebrity sightings.

Yesterday we went to see Milk (go see it right now - it is fantastic). I guess it was opening day, plus the day after Thanksgiving, so the theater was packed even at the early bird 5pm showing. KD Lang was there, all decked out in flannel, with her girlfriend. I heard someone say that Sean Penn was in the audience, too, but I didn't see him.

Waiting in line to validate our parking ticket, one of the Olsen twins and Kate Bosworth both walked by me (separately). Don't know if it was the anorexic twin or not, but she certainly looked healthier than Kate Bosworth who is one of the skinniest people I've ever seen.

On my previous trip to the Arclight to see Synecdoche, NY, I saw Sarah Silverman and Doug Benson going to a movie together. Actually, I heard Sarah's voice before I saw her. She looked very cute.

Finally, last month I spotted Martin Starr of Judd Apatow fame at LAX waiting for a ride. Yes, he was sporting the beard and long hair look.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Championship Vinyl

Saw Todd Louiso (Dick from High Fidelity) on Larchmont last night. He was walking to get pizza with a very cute little girl.

Bonus dialogue from the movie:

Dick: I guess it looks as if you're reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?
Rob: No...
Dick: Not alphabetical...
Rob: Nope...
Dick: What?
Rob: Autobiographical.
Dick: No fucking way.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Peter Sellars on L.A.

Why L.A.:

Because it’s the best and worst of the future.
It’s what New York was in the 1880s.
It’s the place of immigration and big-time violence.
It’s the place where it’s all happening, which is painful and brilliant.

Friday, September 26, 2008

fuck yeah I'm making an emergency kit

I've become obsessed with making an emergency kit. Earthquakes. Financial disaster. If I was not an atheist, I'd totally believe these are The End Times. But Jesus isn't gonna take me up in the Rapture - I'm definintely gonna be left behind. Plus, living in LA, I know there's no way I'm getting myself out of here in an emergency situation. Best to hunker down with my collection of canned beans and Clif Bars.

Forget the governmental lists for building your emergency kit. Wired has the best one. I mean, they're the only ones who mention duct tape. Duh.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What are you doing right now?

One of my favorite short stories of all time is Rick Moody's "Wilkie Ridgeway Fahnstock, The Boxed Set," which tells the story of a life through liner notes to a mixed tape boxed set. Brilliant.

Finding myself as of late to be constantly mentally updating my Facebook status, I thought I would attempt the following "day in the life" as told in status updates. People's statuses are such a funny combination of the literal ("Bobby is eating dinner. Sally has a cold") and the poetic or cryptic. Seems like a good basis for a story.

(Not comparing myself by any means to Rick Moody, by the way. Cuz he's, like, wow.)

September 15, 2008

Rosemary is high off the James concert.

Rosemary is catching the last orange line of the night and reminiscing about the beginnings of a friendship.

Rosemary is Happy Birthday to me.

Rosemary is packing. :(

Rosemary is enjoying one last walk down to Centre Street.

Rosemary is figuring out the best way to avoid people with clipboards.

Rosemary received the best birthday present.

Rosemary has the most awesome-est friends ever.

Rosemary is fighting back the tears.

Rosemary is talking to another Kalamazoo native on the T.

Rosemary is Leaving on a Jet Plane

Rosemary is Going Back to Cali

Rosemary is filled with things to say, but at a loss for words.

Rosemary is saying goodbye to green, lushness, and moisture.

Rosemary is sea to shining sea.

Rosemary is coast to coast.

Rosemary is speechless.

Rosemary is Go Speed Ra...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Rosemary is laughing at the memory.

Rosemary is going to see what she can do to make her dreams come true.

Rosemary is peering through cracks in the earth.

Rosemary is shaking but not scared.

Rosemary wants to find happiness in the absurdity,

Rosemary is worshipping Wilco.

Rosemary is flying into the sunset.

Rosemary is moments away.

Rosemary sez Who cares about "Snakes on a Plane"? What about "Babies on a Plane"? Now that's scary!

Rosemary is not going to get to pee before we land.

Rosemary is glad to see Karl, but is not sure how she feels about seeing LA.

Rosemary is swinging at Swingers.

Rosemary is enjoying the end of a 27 hour birthday.

Rosemary is Wait a minute! it's 3am in Boston. Why am I still up?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tom Morello on cynicism and change

From Under the Radar magazine:

"People should be cynical about the election process. All you have to do is look at its history. But I don't believe people should be at all cynical about the possibility of creating real, substantive change. Great miracles have happened in our lifetime - apartheid was ended, the Berlin Wall fell, huge strides have been made in the area of civil rights and women's rights in our country. And those things happened. Those things didn't fall from the sky or they were not preordained. They happened because people made them happen."

Starhawk reports on the RNC convergence center raids

From Starhawk's listserv:

RNC2—Raid on the Convergence Center

By Starhawk

It’s Friday night. Our Pagan Cluster is sitting on the bluff of the Mississippi having our first real meeting, when Lisa gets a call. The cops are raiding the Convergence Center, where we’re organizing meetings and trainings for the protests against the Republican National Convention. It’s not a role play, the caller says. It’s real.

Instantly, we jump up and hurry back the six or eight blocks to the old theater we are using for meetings, trainings and social gatherings. I ‘ve spent the last two days doing magical activism trainings, teaching people how to stay calm and grounded in emergency situations and when things get chaotic. Now it’s time to put the training into practice. Aaron, a tall, red-headed young man who could be one of my nephews strides along beside me. “Are you grounded?” I ask him. He nods, and runs ahead.

Nobody can keep up with Lisa, who speeds ahead like an arrow, walking, not running, but still covering the ground quickly. Andy and I trail behind. We’re often street buddies, because we’re both big, slow, and supremely calm and stubborn, willing to wade into almost any situation and become the immovable object.

We’re stopped by a line of cops just before we reach the building. They refuse to let us through, or to move their van which is blocking Scarecrow’s car. There’s an investigation underway, they say, and won’t say more.

Brush, our dear friend, is inside, having gone to a jail solidarity meeting, ironically enough. So are two very young people who had just joined our cluster that night. I try calling Brush’s cell phone, but get no reply.

We wait. That’s what you do when the cops have guns trained on kids inside a building. You wait, and witness, and make phone calls, and try to think of useful things to do.

We call lawyers. We call politicians. We try to call media. We call friends who might know politicians and media.

Through the kitchen door, we cansee young kids sitting on the floor, handcuffed. We walk across the street, back, made more phone calls. An ambulance is parked in front, and the paramedics head into the building, leaving a gurney ready. Susu, from her car around the corner, reports that the cops have been grabbing pedestrians from the street, forcing them down to the ground, handcuffing them.

Song, one of the local organizers, calls her City Council member. She wants to call the Mayor, Chris Coleman, who has promised that St. Paul will be as welcoming to protestors as to delegates, but no one has his home number.

What I have forgotten to tell people at the training is how much of an action is just this: tense, boring waiting, with a knot of anxiety in your stomach and your feet starting to hurt. Song talks to a helpful neighbor, who’s come over to find out what’s happening. He knows where the mayor lives, says it’s just a few blocks away, and draws us a map.

We decide to go and call on the Mayor, who could call off the cops. About five of us troop down there, through the soft night and a neighborhood of comfortable homes and wide lawns on the bluffs above the Mississippi. The Mayor’s house is a comfortable Dutch Colonial, and lights were on inside. We decide that just a few of us will go to the door, so as not to look intimidating. Song is a round, soft-bodied middle-aged woman with a sweet face. Ellen is a tiny brunette with a gap-toothed smile, and Lisa, formidable organizer though she is, looks slight and unthreatening. The rest of us hang back. Someone opens the door. Our friends have a conversation with the mayors’ wife, who is not pleased to be visited by constituents late at night, and who tells us we should call the office. The Mayor, she says, is asleep, and she will not wake him up.

We think a mayor who was doing his job would get up and go see what’s going on. Nonetheless, we head back to the convergence space.

A protestor has been released from the building. A small crowd has gathered across the street, and Fox News has arrived. They interview Song, who does her first ever Fox media spot. She tells them the truth—that people were in there watching movies—a documentary about Meridel Le Seuer. Meridel would be proud, and I’m glad she is with us in some form.

One by one, protestor’s trickle out. Now we get more pieces of the story. The cops burst in, with no warning. They pulled drew their guns on everyone—including a five year old child who was there with his mother, forced everyone down on the floor. It was terrifying.

They had a warrant, apparently, from the county, not the city, to search for ‘bomb making materials.’ They were searching everyone in the building, then one by one releasing them as they found nothing.

They continue to find nothing, as we wait through long hours. Meanwhile, more and more media arrives. These cops are not as creative as the DC cops during our first mobilization there against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Those cops confiscated the lunchtime soup—which included onions and chili powder, claiming they were materials for home made pepper spray.

We wait until the last person gets out. He’s a twenty year old who the cops have accused of stealing his own backpack—but apparently they relented.

And now it’s morning. I wake up to the news that cops have been raiding houses where activists are staying, bursting in with the same bogus warrant and arresting people, including a four year old child. They’ve arrested people at the Food Not Bombs house—a group dedicated to feeding protestors and the homeless. They’ve arrested others, presumably just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Poor Peoples’ Campaign, which had set up camp at Harriet Island, a park in the middle of the Mississippi, has also been harassed, its participants ordered to disperse and its organizers arrested.

Let me be perfectly clear here—all of us here are planning nonviolent protests against an administration which is responsible for immense violence, bombs that have destroyed whole countries, and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

This is the America that eight years of the Bush administration have brought us, a place where dissent is no longer tolerated, where pre-emptive strikes have become the strategy of choice for those who hold power, where any group can be accused of ‘bombmaking’ or ‘terrorism’ on no evidence whatsoever in order to deter dissent.

Please stand with us. Because it could be your home they are raiding, next.

Call the Mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Tell them you are outraged by these attacks on dissent. Urge them to let Poor People encamp and to let dissent be heard.


St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak
(612) 673-2100
(612) 673-3000 outside Minneapolis

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hollywood Squares Goes to Boston

Bruce Vilanch was on my plane to Boston last week. I was reminded by Tom Daschle's new red glasses tonight, and my friend Helen identified Vilanch as a Hollywood Square based solely on my description.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Holy Postage Batman!

Got this from a posting by Political Research Associates:

"Now Americans can buy postage stamps with religious themes through The Apostolate, Inc. Stamps oriented towards Christians and Jews are available for a surcharge over U.S. Postal Service costs, but can be used for U.S. mail under its "customized postage" program. This "outsourcing" allows the company to ignore the separation of church and state, and issue stamps with Isaiah, the Torah, star of David, an angel emblazoned with In His Name or a beacon with the banner IGWT (In God We Trust) are among the stamps available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, and Gaelic."

Saturday, August 09, 2008

OK, so it wasn't Mary Louise Parker...

But we did have a Weeds sighting at the ArcLight last night: Allie Grant who plays Isabelle Hodes, Celia's smart-as-a-whip lesbian daughter.

(Blogger just will not upload photos for me lately. I don't know what's wrong.)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Of Polygamists and Punk Rockers

Saw Grace Zabriskie, currently of Big Love, in Little Tokyo this weekend.

There were stars galore at the Johnny Ramone memorial event/fundraiser at Hollywood Forever on Friday. There were of course all the ones I saw at the broadcasting tent (Flea, Tommy, CJ, and Marky Ramone, Rose McGowan, Slim Jim from the Stray Cats). But while I was waiting for Karl to arrive at the main entrance, I saw John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers get out of a black Mercedes. He called over to the person at the gate, "10 bucks a person, right?" Yes, John Frusciante paid to get in.

(Blogger seems to be having problems uploading photos right now... visuals coming ASAP.)

Malibu Public Beaches Safari

We just did this great program yesterday with the LA Urban Rangers. While CA law mandates that coastline is public land, beachfront communities like Malibu do their best to try and limit public access. For example, Malibu stretches along 27 miles of the coast, and 20 of those miles are lined with private development. So how do you get access to those stretches of coastline? The LA Urban Rangers lead "safaris" to Malibu beaches and teach you how to know what part of the beach is in fact public (wet sand, for example is always public), how to tell which of those threatening signs on multimillion dollar homes are blatantly untrue and which are partially true, and basically how to access shore line that de facto only rich people are able to enjoy. It's a great subversive and witty tour that I highly recommend for next year! Or if you're out in LA, we love to share our new-found knowledge with you!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Family Claims to See Jesus in Cat Fur

This is the text of the story from ABC below. Click on the link to watch the video, and of course to see the manifestation of Jesus on a kitten's back!


You could call her a holy cat or a feline with Jesus on her side... An Indiana family says if you look closely at their pet, you can see the face of Christ.

"In this window well down here was 4 baby kittens... stuck together."

Lori Johnson couldn't help but take in two kittens, she found abandoned outside her house on mother's day.

"Oh no, i couldn't imagine giving them away now. I've worked too hard. They are a part of me now. I love being a mom."

The two kittens, brother and sister, now named sissy and bubby -- could also be called opposites... the female has striped fur. The male is all black.

"Maybe one's an angel.. and the other one' is not. Yeah, we have the good and evil." Recently, lori's husband was petting sissy when he noticed...

"He says 'i swear that looks like jesus with a shroud on' and i'm like 'ok,' and then my son took that picture, and it was like 'wow!'"

"After looking at the picture and stuff, it was like 'oh, there it is.'"

"See the eyes beard. here's the shroud."

After a closer look, you might see the "shroud of turin." And even if you don't... "then they might think we are weird crazy or something."

Something this family is fine with. To them, sissy's fur is a sign from above of joy and blessings to come.

"We've had a lot of things happen in our lives. This was a good sign that uh..
everything's ok and got somebody looking after us."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Where's Andrae?*

At Pilates Westwood, that's where! He was working out at the same time as me this week.

*Project Runway reference, for all you non-fans. If you've gotta watch a reality show, this is the one. Or Miami/LA Ink. At least they create things, and don't just sit around a mansion getting drunk and causing drama.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Theorizing the Fist Bump

OK, I think it's a sign of our 24-hour-news-channel-instant-blogging culture that so much has been written about "the fist bump heard round the world" or the "fist bump of hope." That said, here are some of my favorites.

I still can't quite believe that Time has an article called "A Brief History of the Fist Bump," which really does attempt, well, a brief history of the fist bump.

And check out this page, with some amusing sports-like instant replays and priceless "fast facts" about the Obama fist bump.

The Baltimore Sun, unlike the previous two sources, analyzes the significance of the gesture in African American culture, and places it in the context of Obama's other displays of gestural currency.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why do people with money always look like it?

Can't believe I forgot one of my Buffy-related sightings from a few months ago. I was hanging out in the Casbah Cafe in Silverlake, and Emma Caulfield was there hanging out with a friend, dressed very simply, but looking quite good (and quite tiny). Why is money always most evident in people dressed in jeans, flipflops and a ponytail? Sigh.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

He drives a Prius and supports Obama

Yep, that's Kal Penn, star of the Harold and Kumar movies and The Namesake. I passed him on my bike, as he was on his way into the Fox Studio compound on Pico early one morning.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

RIP Robert Rauschenberg

“I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop,” he said in an interview there. “At the time that I am bored or understand — I use those words interchangeably — another appetite has formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore.”

Friday, May 09, 2008

I Spy pt. II

Meredith Baxter at Sojourner Cafe in Santa Barbara, looking mighty fit and hot at 61, I might add!

Picture won't upload for some reason, but trust me, she looked good! Kinda like this.

I Spy with my Little Eye

Seth "Shifty" Binzer of Crazy Town and most recently of Celebrity Rehab looking healthy at the Hollywood Farmer's Market

Paul Scheer from Best Week Ever at the celebrity magnet, the ArcLight.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

BILL rocks!

My friends John and Galen, and of course, Bill...


Rough power

Bill Gage has Down syndrome. And his band rocks


3/27/2008 4:42:46 PM

Watching Bill Gage perform with his band, BILL, is an eye-opening experience. You go in not knowing what to expect, maybe even a little nervous on behalf of everyone involved — the crowd, the band, yourself. But then you’re witness to a sizzling and raw hard-rock display, and your reservations vanish.
Gage doesn’t so much sing songs as tear through them, his vocals occasionally sounding as if they’re coming from someone twice his size. As he sings “Big Foot,” a track off of the band’s second and most recent album, Bat Man, Gage bellows the title line over and over, all the while pacing back and forth like some caged beast, swaying to the ominous, industrial-ish score. You think for sure his voice is going to give out any moment, but it never does. It’s magnificent.

“I had a boss once who’d seen Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, James Brown,” notes Gage’s older brother, John Gage, who plays guitar, among other things, for BILL (the band, he insists, is spelled in all capital letters). “So I was playing a tape of Bill, and he had just walked into the place where we worked, and he says, ‘Who is that — Muddy Waters?’ And I was, like, here is a guy who has seen James Brown, and he’s saying Bill sounds like this 40-year-old black man.”

Bill isn’t Muddy Waters, obviously, and he isn’t James Brown, either. But he is a rock-and-roll trailblazer in one respect: though he is an exuberant performer and a natural rock vocalist, Bill has Down syndrome.

A pretty good time
I’m sitting with most of the band in the TV room of BILL guitarist Greg Ansin’s spacious two-story South End apartment. Ansin, Bill and John, drummer Daren Follower, and bassist Gaylen Moore (John’s fiancĂ©e) have recently finished taking some publicity shots. Instruments are scattered throughout the apartment. The band (minus guitarist Eric Morin, who’s not around today) will be playing together after I leave. Bill seems very excited about this.

As for our conversation . . . it’s odd, even by rock-band-interview standards. John had warned me by e-mail that his brother isn’t “much for small talk and storytelling (outside of some of his songs).” John, on the other hand, loves to talk. Which is fine. Because nobody knows BILL better than John, who has collaborated with his brother on the project for more than 20 years.

According to John, the brothers — who, at 46 and 42, are no youngsters — each developed an interest in the arts in the late ’70s while growing up in Laconia, New Hampshire. “You’d go by Bill’s room and it would sound like there’s a couple of TV shows going on at the same time. He’s performing little skits and doing characters back and forth, and he’s got music playing.

“So there I was, this lonely teenager, without a circle of friends. I was like, ‘Wow that sounds like he’s having a pretty good time in there.’ ”

John would eventually move to Boston and play in rock bands, including, briefly in 1986, the Zinnias, with Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt. Bill would sometimes visit from New Hampshire. In 1987, John had the idea of putting together a band fronted by Bill to play an open-mic night. The fledgling band went on without any song list. “It was like we were going to put a backdrop up and let Bill do his thing,” recalls John.

It was a few years later that BILL coalesced into something more serious. In 1991, the band released its first album, the free-form Beatles Chinese. Before long, BILL began to cut into John’s time — mostly because, in order for the group to get together, John would have to spend a few days ferrying his brother to and from Laconia. (Sure enough, that’s how Bill got to our interview. He still resides in New Hampshire, living in a shared home and working a custodial job through Lakes Region Community Services.)

It also stressed out his family. “It was a big production whenever we’d do something,” says John. Eventually, though, the Gages warmed to the idea of the band, John explains. “My mom in the beginning . . . didn’t see artistic merit or therapeutic [merit] in it, now they do see it. They see how happy it makes him and how happy it makes other people.”

In search of big foot
Ironically, Bill, who essentially cannot read or write, is also the group’s songwriter. In fact, the band was named after the one word he can write legibly, “making it simple for him to create the logo (and sign autographs),” notes John on the band’s MySpace page. Bill’s is an internal sort of songwriting — one that, John continues, “is always in flux.”

As a result, the rest of the band has adopted a creative approach to working with Bill. For Bat Man (2005), John and company prepared their instrumental lines beforehand and had Bill sing over them, impromptu, in the studio. The back-up tracks ran the gamut of genres from metal (“Steve Pepper”) to punk (“Bad Clothes”) to acoustic lament (“All My Heart and All My Life”) — the idea being that variety would inspire and entertain Bill.

When it came Bill’s turn to record, much to everyone’s surprise, he nailed most of his vocals on the first take. “We thought we were going to do multiple tracks and maybe edit the best parts together, but a bunch of them were, like, ‘Wow, how are we gonna top this?’ ” says John.

The “Steve Pepper” take was an exception. “The thing we discovered is don’t put headphones on him,” says Follower. “We tried early on with him wearing headphones as any other vocalist would do. And it just apparently wasn’t visceral enough.” So Bill delivered his vocal sans phones while facing the speaker.

Bill himself, sandwiched between Moore and Ansin on the couch, is affable, small, and compact in a gray hoodie. With another band, I might ask the songwriter what inspired his lyrics. Bill, though, isn’t about to launch into a pretentious anecdote about how he was influenced by some Milton poem. Bill’s vision is much more direct — and refreshing.

JOHN Hey Bill, you know that song “Big Foot”?
BILL Umm, “Big Foot” [growling].
JOHN Why did you name that song “Big Foot”?
BILL ’Cause “Big Foot.”
MOORE It just reminded you of Big Foot, the music reminded you of Big Foot?
BILL [considering this] I sing, the bass guitar . . .
JOHN Yeah, the bass goes boom, boom, boom.

Sometimes it’s as simple as that. A bass line that inspires him. Other times, John says his brother, like the rest of us, takes ideas from the radio, overheard conversations, and records. Bill is a fan of David Bowie, Yoko Ono, and especially the Beatles, whom he references on “All My Heart and All My Life” (“And my heart is thumping to watch the Beatles”).

To the extent that he can control the factors contributing to Bill’s creative process, John does his best to make sure that the songs are Bill’s and Bill’s alone. He and his bandmates never interfere with Bill when he’s recording, and they don’t ask him to sing lyrics he hasn’t thought of on his own. Neither do they edit him too much — even when he goes on long after a song has ended (like at the end of “Big Foot” where Bill begins thanking “Stephin,” “the Lord,” “Itchy,” “Big Foot” himself, and “Nikki”).

BILL are a band!
Glancing at Bill, sitting with his hands on his knees, his eyes — as they’ve been for much of the interview — focused downward, it’s hard to imagine him laying down vocals over a blustery metal cut. He hasn’t said very much, and then only at his brother’s prompting. It occurs to me that he may not understand the purpose of my visit.

“I was trying to tell him we were going to be talking to somebody from a newspaper,” says John, “and he was, like, ‘Ohhhh okayyy.’ Then I said, ‘Maybe after we can come up with some new music we can do with the band’ . . . and he kept on talking about that.”

Such innocent incomprehension is at the heart of criticisms that
have been slung at BILL. There are folks — “both young and old,”
says John — who send nasty letters, even the occasional death threat
to his Youtube account. Their complaint springs from the notion that
John and his cohorts are exploiting Bill — that the band is some
kind of freak show.

A visceral example of this revulsion shows up in the Gage brothers’ “Big Foot” video. As Bill is belting out his lyrics on a residential street, a neighbor complains about the noise, then chides John, “You’re embarrassing him.” Still filming, John asks his younger brother point blank if he’s embarrassed. Bill answers, “No.”

John understands the criticism and the fact that BILL can make audiences uncomfortable. “It’s a little like when you see someone who has a porcelain scar covering half of his face. You’re like, ‘Whoa!’ . . . The human brain says, ‘Bing, bing, bing, this isn’t normal,’ ” he says. But far from humiliating or harming his brother, he counters, new experiences and activities like the band are good for Bill.

On the new-experiences front, Bill has taken guitar lessons, and he and John are now working on a film that’s a take-off on Elvis Presley’s classic/cornball 1960s musicals. Bill, in what to me was a bloody brilliant casting decision, plays the pop icon himself.

“I think this is what [people with Down syndrome] need,” says John. “Not necessarily to be a lead singer in a band, but . . . by constantly replenishing him with new events and various things, it helps [Bill] build new neural pathways. Because otherwise [people with Down] can suffer from sort of an Alzheimer’s.”

“It’s just like anyone,” interjects Moore. “I can’t speak German any more. Even though I took five years of it.”

“Yeah, Bill’s like that,” says John. “He’s just on a slightly accelerated pacing.”

Not long after this exchange, something remarkable happens. Moore has been playing a staccato bass line tentatively on the guitar. Bill begins humming and slapping his knees in time. Ansin and John grab guitars to join in. After Follower bangs out a drum solo on the arms of his recliner chair, the entire band jumps with the song’s verse. Bill starts singing vocals. It’s the happiest I’ve seen him all afternoon.

BILL are playing the Abbey Lounge at 9:45 pm on April 10, along with Fake Boys, Gozu, and Death Defect. Ian Sands can be reached at

Monday, March 03, 2008

I Love L.A.

I have to admit, it was pretty cool to hit the roads for the LA Bike Tour yesterday to the sounds of Randy Newman's "I Love L.A."

"Century Boulevard? We love it!"

15,000 bikes taking over the roads already closed for the Marathon later in the day - a great sight! Of course, only in LA could you sit in traffic on the freeway at 5am trying to get to a bike ride... but no matter. We watched the opening fireworks from our vantage point on the 110, and hit the road a little after 6am with all the other people who were stuck in traffic and also missed the opening. Throughout the route, families stood on corners or in front of their homes, cheering us on in the early morning. Can't wait to do it again next year!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Make Art!

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won best original song for "Falling Slowly" from "Once"... at the 80th Academy Awards last night in Los Angeles (Feb. 24).

"This is amazing! What are we doing here? This is mad!" said an exuberant Hansard in his acceptance speech, recounting how the film was made in three weeks with two Handi-Cams and $100,000. He exhorted the audience to "Make art! Make art!"

Irglova, who was hastily played off by the orchestra at the end of Hansard's speech, was brought back out by host Jon Stewart after a commercial break with an apology, giving her the chance to finish her remarks.

"This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all independent musicians and artists who spend so much of their time struggling," said Irglova, who plays with Hansard in the Swell Season when the latter isn't on tour with his main band, the Frames.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Abba won't "take a chance" on McCain

19 February 2008

Hannah Strange, Times Online

He battled the Vietcong but now John McCain has apparently come a-cropper against the Swedes.

The Republican candidate, who had already been banned by John Mellencamp, the American rocker, from using his hits 'Our Country' and 'Pink Houses', found out that he has few fans in Scandinavia when he tried to adopt Abba's "Take a chance on me" as his campaign song. After running into difficulties with the Swedish supergroup, McCain lamented to reporters on board his plane that it wasn't as easy to play the song as he thought.

“It gets expensive in a big hurry and if you’re not careful you can alienate some Swedes,” he joked.“If word gets out to Stockholm that we’re using Abba music, then there’ll be a
worsening in U.S.-Swedish relations.”

He'll just have to pray that the conservative wing of the Republican party doesn't similarly reject his advances...

But McCain's not the only candidate whose choices of campaign song have proved problematic:

Hillary Clinton held an online contest to choose her anthem - and proved that the democratic system has its failings when she got landed with the schmaltzy Celine Dion ballad "You and I". After a thorough panning - the Huffington Post declared it the worst campaign theme song - she ditched the Canadian songstress' tune for Big Head Todd and the Monsters' "Blue Sky".

Barack Obama likes to play DJ at his campaign events and reportedly flicks through his iPod for his favourite Stevie Wonder or Aretha Franklin tune before handing it to a junior staffer to play. But his micromanagement failed to prevent a rather unfortunate gaffe at his New Hampshire primary night rally when, convinced by the polls he was headed for victory, he cued up Stevie Wonder's "Signed, sealed, delivered." And we all know the rest.

(Obama's also picked a few unofficial campaign songs along the way: the surprise YouTube hit "I got a crush on Obama" by Obama Girl - including the catchy line "I saw you float onto the floor at the Democratic Convention 2004, I never wanted you more" - and's slightly more intellectual effort "Yes We Can".)

Mike Huckabee got a public dressing-down from Tom Scholtz of rock band Boston after he played their hit "More than a feeling" at campaign events. Scholtz left no one in any doubt of his feelings about Huckabee, who, he said was "the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for." Adding that he was supporting Barack Obama, Scholtz complained: "By using my song, and my band's name Boston, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I've been ripped off, dude!"

Do you see what I see?

Giovanni Ribisi, while we were waiting to pick up friends who were flying in from New Zealand. He was "upstairs" on their 747 flight, and exited early, lugging a huge long bag, too big I think to be a surf board.

Tim Russ, better known as Tuvok, at our favorite movie theater, the Arclight, with a little girl.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You are soooo money

Saw Davey Havok from AFI at M Cafe de Chaya last night, a hip Melrose macrobiotic eatery. He looked very money, not at all hard core.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Replicate Me

Forgot to report this celeb sighting a while back...

Morgan Spurlock and his vegan chef honey, crossing the street in a residential area, pushing a baby carriage. Yes, they were walking in LA!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How I feel about the elections...

Excerpt from the January 08 Statement from World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime. Read the full statement here.

There will be no savior from the Democratic Party. No "viable candidate" is calling for the immediate repeal of the Military Commissions Act or the Patriot Act. Clinton and Obama are not planning to dismantle the Department of Homeland Security’s domestic surveillance apparatus or the permanent U.S. military bases newly strung across the Middle East and Africa. The candidates for Commander-in-Chief are campaigning to better prosecute, not end, the so-called war on terror, a war promised to span generations. The election of 2008 will not be remembered for the candidate who campaigned to return the diaspora of black families displaced by natural disaster and criminal neglect back home to New Orleans. It is already remarkable for the regular bashing of immigrants.

There will be no pendulum swing when Democratic contenders join Republicans in lacing their speeches with professions of their faith, when Democrats seek common ground with religious fanatics who do not believe in evolution and want to see the church as state. There will be no pendulum swing when Democrats show tolerance for judicial nominees and “moral” agendas that are targeting the most fundamental rights of women to abortion and birth control for obliteration.

Official politics have proven to be a disaster. Your government does not want what you want and the Democratic nominee of 2008 will not speak for us.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Don't Hassle the Hoff!

Saw David Hasselhoff in the Honolulu airport on Christmas Day, with a teenage girl - possibly the daughter who filmed the infamous drunken hamburger clip? Wow is that man tall!


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