1-29 Went to the memorial for rock writer Don Waller at The Short Stop, a baseball themed bar on Sunset in Echo Park. A fine tribute it was, complete with a New Orleans band.
2-3 Tom Kenny and the High Seas jumped up and down and crawled around the rafters with another hyper-kinetic show at Viva Cantina.
2-12 Hollywood Blues Destroyers - who dont destroy anything, an 8-piece band entertaining and astounding you with finely-honed jazz and rock - delivered another fine perf at the Redwood Bar & Grill in downtown L.A.
2-13 Visited ailing friend Bill Morrison (Mister Morrison, of public access fame) and his brother John, down from Eugene. Bills top floor space in the rent-subsidized Montecito constitutes one tenth of Ronald Reagans apartment from the 1940s. (Its airy with a view, but Bill says the nightly noise from club-revived Hollywood Blvd ricochets up and in all night.)
2-15 Went to the post office near frys in North Hollywood to get a sheet of nondenominational stamps. (I hate wasting commemoratives on bills. Dont you?) They had two full sheets of the b/w 50s-Elvis stamp from last year! I said Thats Alright, Mailman and bought them both.
2-17 Saw Alejandro Escovedo play a socko set to a full back room at Viva Cantina.
2-19 Viva Cantina looked like Club Lingerie in 1987 for the Gun Club tribute show. A wonderful dynamic filled the place, reunions galore. God bless Jeffrey Pierce.
Pleasant Gehman takes the stage.
Packed to the rafters.
2-20 Feted Memphis visitors Ilene and Ben with lunch at Du-Pars at Farmers Market (where I have discovered a secure easy parking space), then took them to various tourist spots and for a short walk after a long drive up to Bronson Caves, atop Bronson Avenue. In the fog and mist the atmosphere was quite lunar.
2-21 Friend Mark Leviton arrived to keep me company for a couple of days. A fine fellow.
In the evening we went to an in-home screening room to see the Bang - The Bert Berns Story, the finest music documentary I have ever seen.
2-22 Took houseguest Mark for the walk up to the Bronson Caves. A week later it seemed like just a hill with a hole in it. The draw of the site, far as I can tell, is that the small wide cave was the hole whence the Batmobile emerged at the start of the tv show. Of course, many fabulous tales around here are just that.
Answered a come-on on FB, computer froze. I was chary that the message from MAC had misspellings. Took it to Mac Hollywood and they cleared it for fifty bucks. Good deal, and it was great to get it back swiftly.
2-24 Had coffee at Gelsons with new friend Bob Clampett, son of Bob Clampet the creator of Beany & Cecil.
2-25 Attended the Don Randi anniversary soiree at the Baked Potato, his jazz club on Ventura Blvd. Plenty good music, and crowded? - You would better be in a pea-pod. Friend Scott and I arrived smartly an hour in advance of the show and got righteous seats. Dons fingers really fly.
2-27 Chased it seemed a hundred miles to resolve a ticket for not having current registration tag on my car. A simple oversight (yes, illegal) necessitated visits to THREE government agencies, though it took five, over three separate days, since two misled me. Topple the government !!!
2-28 Austin visitor Jurgen Koop analyzes my record collection in the storage unit in Hollywood. Headlamp courtesy the 99 Cent Store ($1.99).
3-4 Drove painfully - bumper-to-bumper, snails pace, stick-shift car - for an hour to Covina Bowl with Skip. The Charles Phoenix happening was an adjunct to the grandeur of this FIFTY LANE phantasm. Its Googieish glamor is about to face the wrecking ball. Homing via Burbank we supped at The Doghaus, the sausage fast-food place that inhabits the old Taco Bell across from Warner Bros.
Charles Phoenix talks to admirers and scholars.
Multiply these ten lanes by five and youve got the incredible spread that constitutes the doomed Covina Bowl.
3-5 Night shot from LA Fitness parking garage. The Capitol Tower, lit by night, will soon be unseeable from this angle, when a new giant building blocks it. (Hollywood, soon to be renamed Little Manhattan.)
3-7 LOCAL NEWS: The final level is added to the building that will wipe the sight of the Capitol Tower from the view of travelers entering Hollywood from the south on the Hollywood Freeway. (You could still see the letters CORD through the top floor. The next day, it was covered up entirely.)
3-8 Drove - and drove and drove - at Skip Hellers insistence, to take a photo in front of Louis Jordans last residence, atop a lovely street in Windsor Hills, a part of town not new, but new to me. Splendid area.
Dropping off same, 2:30, I went west on a sidestreet-with-priveleges (traffic lights at major N/S intersections) and got a burr under my saddle. Long ago, Id bought an expensive pair of running shoes? athletic shoes? whatever the hell you call them at a tiny store on La Brea. They are old but not trashed, and if that place still remained I might get another pair. I went south beyond my estimate and dang, there it was. I entered, showed the salesman my near-tattered shoes, and asked if that style was still in print. No, he said, but let me show you something similar. I sat, and he brought out one and fitted me - nope. Then another - good, but not quite right. Another - Eureka. The best fit I ever felt! Im like many people, get shoes off a rack, try on a few, get the best thats on hand. This experience, having a sales person wait on you and accurately gauge your need was incredible. A RUNNERS CIRCLE, 745 N. La Brea.
3-10 Picked up George Wendt at noon, and went to Carneys, the train-like diner in Studio City. We both had Chicago Dogs.
Joel Selvin picked me up at 5 and drove downtown circuitously led by his misfunctioning phone map. Finally we got to the Grammy Museum and I ogled the display of Jim Marshall photos, which JS had curated. He spoke onstage, with others, about Marshall. Afterwards we retreated to The Pantry and both got big hamburgers - not crowded on a Friday at 9 pm. Wadda place, though. Wadda guy.
3-11 Went to my first living room concert, featuring traveling songsmith Paul Sanchez, once of Cowboy Mouth. Word of the New Orleans-centric show was spread by email, the toll twenty bucks. I was a little woozy, and left after the solo portion, missing the tuba-and-chorus finish. Not next time!
3-12 Headed downtown to see Skip Heller and the Hollywood Blues Destroyers at the Redwood, and sat with Anny Celsi, whod performed in the earlier singer-songwriter roundelay, which I missed. Always a great time there, and great food, which I enjoyed again the next day (big portions).
Dawdled around home knowing something else was happening, but couldnt finger it - till I looked at what Id written in my notebook. I raced out to see Big Sandy at Viva Cantina, a $25 show, Sandy opening for Texas visitor Wayne Hancock. I squeezed in unnoticed and caught the last few songs.
3-18 Helper Ramon moved some bookcases from storage to my office. I must make proper space for my typed memoirs, all 8000 pages.
That evening went to Viva Cantina to see American foreigner Gene Taylor tickle the ivories. Dave Alvin was cajoled to the bandstand to pick and grin.
Pre-show posers Skip Heller, Dave Alvin, XXXX and Smilin Jack.
3-19 Afternoon (2 pm) unvicious (but $3 maximum bet - ouch) poker game at a friends on Mulholland Drive, a hill away from my place. No guns were drawn, the game got sillier as it wore on. I lost four bucks. My jar with $90 in quarters barely felt it.
3-20 Went to Home Depot relieved to find they carried those little doodad shelf supports used in pressed-board shelving. Not identical ones, better. (Did the right thing checking first at the small independent hardware store on Western, but they had but one size and it was wrong.)
Went out at 9 pm to see Dave Stuckeys outfit motivate line dancers and such out at Joes in Burbank. Saw Mike Hain, sat with same.
3-22 Six pm repast with Jim Dawson and Ian Whitcomb at Patys restaurant in Silver Lake.
3-24 Soul Jones, with Birdie Jones, played the back room of Viva Cantina along with Skip Heller. Birdie warbled.
3-26 The Band tribute at the Alex was very respectful. Garth Hudson, flown in for the occasion, was helped onstage near the end, and laid into the keys majestically. Many of the locally-based bands, while probably unknown to an audience not acquainted with the LA club scene of the late 20th century, rose to the occasion (performing Band songs) above the sound uncertainties engendered by constant switching of musicians. Starting at 8 pm, the vast majority of attendees stayed til Hudsons pre-midnight performance. The show went on until 12:30.
3-28 Took a long ride out to Chatsworth to the Cowboy Palace to attend a show raising money and consciousness for stroke-struck guitarist Jerry Donohue. Susan Rey provided Fairport Convention music. Freebo hosted and played. Ian Matthews and Andy Roberts performed.
Freebo, Chad Watson
Andy and Iain
I have come to peace with what seemed like predatory pricing for live music in small clubs.
When I first heard about bands charging, oh, $55 for front-row seats in small rooms, I thought Geez, Louise, thats a lot of money.
Now I reject this mindset. Traveling bands in the mid-range do pickups along the road for as little as gas money. Their prices tend to go way low in remote places, but here in LA we should be happy to see a middle-weight national band for $50 - because thats about the price of a concert ticket where you aren't so close you can touch them!
* I dont mean to minimize hateful gestures, but when I see vandalism, say swastikas and toppled tombstones, I first think teenagers. They are angry by nature, and have little outlet for it. Another day, someone scrawls all over a MIA veterans monument. Volunteers scrubbed it, the kids did it again. Vandalism stirs up a lot of anger. That it gets noticed validates the action. Kids feel powerful.
(I wrote the above before the kid in Israel was arrested for phoning 150 temple bomb threats.)
Kid gloves, though, is not good in every case. When a group attacks a cop, he is facing potential death. He should shoot them, if their weight cuts off his windpipe. Kids feel theyre entitled, and protected. Nobody listens to them, and they suffer injustices deeply because their brains arent fully formed, but their combined force is no less lethal than a guns. Yet the press exempts all teens like you shouldnt mind being killed by one.
* Mar 6, a woman in the NYT rued rude comments about Kellyanne Conway's couture. Looks criticism has clobbered Trump; stupid hair, fat, makeup, long red tie, a draft-dodger wearing military gear. Angry people turn to substance to criticize men. Women are easily defamed by their clothing - but only by women. Ask a man about her clothing and youll get a blank stare.
* Do I remember correctly, when German WWII Jewish eradication was mentioned, Trump muttering Everybody suffered?
LATimes ran four contemplations of Chucks life. But the four dont add up to one word in a Berry song.
Your memories imply beneficence.
The NYT book-reviewer re-reviewed Chucks autobiography from 1987. Why.
What is with qualifications-muttering? According to someone close to the person who knew two people who were briefed but requested anonymity? It is only to cover the newspaper if its a lie - or flatter the writer (I am soooo connected). No reader wants this ornate blather. Seriously, this junk just slows down everyones day.
The LAT hed rued the passing of a famed blues harmonica player. Famed? Harmonica player?
NYT, airport attacker is identified as a possible Muslim extremist. So am I. This is post-conviction by inference. Get the facts, report them.
NYT reports a backlog of rape kits in Texas. Shouldnt it be semen detector kits? Sexual activity evidence kits? Is all sex rape? Some say. Christine Hauser is one.
LAT hed refers to (NOT references!) Storied Big Sur. What is that stupid word, storied? About what is there no story? Is the story good? Anything is a story. The Empire State bldg is storied, a hundred or so.
When a famous newspaper writer, a slim faction, dies, others rush to their keyboards to rub against him, tell his story (its really, sorta, like theirs!), because, dammit, newspapers writers are terrific! Does any normal person read bylines? Why would you? The news is just facts, one hopes; demands.
Rock music reviews once were useful. Critics would go to performances north or south or east of here in advance of their LA gig. That would help readers here decide whether to attend their show. For crits to review a bands performance after its left town is pointless.
Car chases here can be pointed to as the epitome of whats wrong with tv. The cars are chased for as much as an hour, stopped finally, and no further mention made. Name? Arrested? Trial date? TV new is not spectacular, just spectacle.
CNN locks its logo onto any event it receives, then when rebroadcast the CNN LIVE tag remains, even on a daylight event shown at midnight.
That car sinking into the street during the LA rain was shown a thousand times. Look, something shiny.
Adjusting (still) to apartment living
The people upstairs get up at 6:30 am, and have creaky floors. As I am currently unemployed (since 1987) I can correct the sleep loss by catching some during the day. But it isnt 7 or 8 hours straight. I could fly to central Asia and live on my body clock.
I had 5 phones in the old big house, and here, too, just spaced closer. There are sufficient outlets to support them. I moved a half mile from the old place, yet most people call on the cellphone, and the ones who call home said You kept your old number? like its unique. Ive lived in the same square mile for 40 years. Do I seem trend-driven, with my flip-phone.
TV deaf-script translations
The Thin Man: Those punsters should be punished. (punters)
Armedix treated the victims.
I love the island Manhattan, smoke on your pipe and put that in.
I knew a woman who worked as a nurse. She went to enormous lengths to get a doctor degree, but couldnt make it. When we were at an event, a person needed assistance and she stood by silently. She said she didnt want to reveal that she was a nurse, because people didnt respect nurses because they knew they changed bed pans.
A spike in anything is of modest concern.
A spike on a graph goes up suddenly, and as suddenly down.
To amp is to shoot electricity, fast.
Amp up was the expression, til it confused people.
Ramp up - the misconstruance of amp up - is a small incline.
Modest. Maybe 15%.
Reporting stolen items being sold on the internet seems to give them cache?
When theyre sold by mail or at swap meets, less sad? less illegal? Less zingy.
In honor of its one-billionth use
Premier of Israel in a Catch-22 is the twit-written hed in the 2-28 LAT. The sensational quote-word is not from the premier of Israel, but a former associate. Who decided this worn word was special enough to highlight?
The gag is that the army has a million rules, and they all are contradicted. You can be excused from flying a bomb run if you are crazy, but the catch (THERE ARE SO MANY EXCEPTIONS THAT THEY ARE NUMBERED) is that if you ask to be taken off bombing runs you are not crazy.
I always say catch-21, and defy anyone to prove me wrong.
These Are the Times Of L.A.
1-29 Ken White cites Trumps infamous claim of pussy-grabbing. If a Harris pat means a Paris hat, OK! was written years earlier, regarding some women choosing to be put in the line of danger to get what they want. And besides, who says he isnt lying? His veracity is questioned every day! Locker room blather. (This was supposed to be a complaint about the misuse of infamous, but I got sidetracked.)
2-1 Makeda Easter didnt gather a lot of quotes from autograph-seekers at a Pasadena event. Or maybe she didnt seek them. She writes curiously that Many were nervous around a reporter. Was that another reporter? Maybe shes a Gemini.
2-6 Mikael Wood tells us that when Tony Bennett was announced as Lady Gagas special guest at some event a couple of days past, it rang alarm bells among, well, people with absolutely no lives (i.e. write about rock) because they wanted her entertainment to focus on the tumult of America after two weeks of the Trump presidency. Wood writes like HE arrived on wires from the ceiling. (To the barricades!)
2-10 I couldnt think of the newspaper term, but in college areas its town versus gown, where factions clash. Writers - crusaders! for justice! - hate the advertising department, and hone their knives keen when a big ad appears. So when I saw a full-page color ad for the new Ricky Gervais mockumentary, I nodded resignedly at the next-page hed No sympathy for this devil over a pic of Gervais. Journos hate ads. They got integrity!
NO DATE ON PAGE Joseph Serna writes that a man who was arrested in a stabbing incident had been sentenced to 11 years for a previous stabbing according to a 2002 Times article. Was this to back up its veracity, or to identify the source in case he's wrong? Maybe a retraction later!
2-27 Randall Roberts obit for Bill Paxton was sort of noncommittal. Was Roberts not a big fan, or did the paper itself distance itself?
3-1 A woman in NY died at age 97. Shed been the first baby put into an incubator to hatch. She worked as a crossing guard and a legal secretary. Full color photo. One of the biggest stories in The Nation, someone decided.
3-2 I nearly spit up my cereal when I got to the end of the first graph of the Charles McNulty slam of a new play: Critics were not invited to see the show. What outrage! We cannot buy a ticket! On the jump, this umbrage: the play doesnt come cheap. Hey, most people want to see Al Pacino, not the play. Stay home.
Richard Winton trumpets some critics who say a reform measure enabled a killer to strike again. Then he cites correction officials who deny that measure affected this case. Who prefers unnamed critics over law enforcement officials? And somealways includes the writer itself.
Three writers joined the pile-on of Uber, and to back it up cited Fabian Greyhalter, who runs a branding company (?), badmouthing the firm. For more pile-on, Duncan Davidson, some otherbody, pours more salt on Ubers word-wounds. The liberal trio (reporters) aver that the owners Ayn Rand worldview hasnt engendered much goodwill in their (LATimes writers) purview. If the writers are so smart, why arent they rich?
3-5 That the hed over a feature about a former beauty editor of a NY magazine who was drug-addicted (Cool!) and scandalous (hubba hubba!) opens with that time-and time-again and time-again-again-again sobriquet Notorious bad-girl confirms that some cliches never lose their power to nauseate. Writer Lauren Christensen bounces around New York with her, to fuel our fantasies of actually being there, yes, in that great city to which we genuflect, or do some writers.
3-10 New York club owner gets a big sendoff from Randall Roberts. The clubs brick wall was famous (!?) because PP&Mary posed before it on their debut albums cover. The somewhat-overused iconic comes roaring next, projecting that brick walls then roared in as iconic backdrops for comedy clubs worldwide. Clubs with brick walls, that is. Later, the owners investment in a kung fu movie netted big bucks, but Tragically, the star died. Whether the death was more tragic for the star or the investor seems clear.
3-11 Seema Mehta interviews Barbara Boxer, learns she is going to continue stirring up trouble with Republicans even though shes not in a government office anymore. Well, if you keep asking her.
NO DATE ON PAGE
Let me puke. The hed atop the story about Dennis Rodman going, again, to North Korea, opens with Bad-boy, and I, in the style of North Koreans, want that hed-writer shot. So childish, so embarrassing to our city. Good-boy would be equally wan, but is apparently defamatory.
3-12 Dylan Hernandez opens a story by describing a baseball players slow, measured contemplation before responding to his jabbing question; essentially, How does it feel to be demoted? What a punk. Damn newspaper dinks think theyre popular because they speak with popular figures. Like sports fans want a writer - a clod with a notepad - to provoke a sports figure whose sheen has somewhat dulled. No no no, Dyllie! We like the players, and thats why we read about them. Any attention to you is a waste of our time.
3-13 TMI. Jonathan Kaiman, in Cambodia, writes that a man who murdered someone there walked away calmly down the citys crowded streets, past languid snack sellers, low-slung French colonial homes and motor scooters jostling like schools of fish. In other words, a typical Phnom Penh street. News would be past snow men and skyscrapers.
3-14 Someone tell Jen Yamato, and everyone at every news outlet, that infamous is a great and powerful word, used best by FDR to signify the gravity of the attack and subsequent lives lost at the attack on Pearl Harbor - a day that will live infamy. I know that kids of all ages who write for newspaper like to throw infamous around because its extra syllable makes them feel smarter, but it in fact indicates otherwise. It is simply wrong. Also, theres nothing a news writer likes better than stomping on someones art, hence Yamato jumping with glee as the audience howls at a film filled with bad acting, worse continuity (!!!-AF) and an incomprehensibly soapy (!!!-AF again) plot. Live, and learn.
3-15 Randall Roberts refers, as so many do, to the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan as baby-boomer favorites, therein both distancing himself from said group and inferring its limitations. Same was said recently about Chuck Berry. If baby-boom is not a limiting category, Ill defer to his perceptiveness, but I think it is exclusive, and diminishing.
NO DATE ON PAGE - One sixth of the STATE news is that a guy stomped on a gay pride flag at a Reps office in DC. Color photo of the aggrieved solon. Big news.
3-16 A video of a cop beating a guy sparks outrage. That that reaction is on social media barely merits a breath, since social media contains experts AND kooks AND people looking to be riled so they can crow. Veronica Rocha ought to speak out without crowd-fueling. And she quotes Geoff Alpert, a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina. Why? What is the quote-source formula? In rather-large Los Angeles have we no experts? Does the cross-country reach reinforce the papers desire to be a national newspaper? She got him on the phone. Whered that phone number come from? I am so consternated.
3-17 The father of someone killed in the Oakland warehouse fire spoke at the state capitol urging better housing standards. Not unexpected. Worst aspect of all reports of this tragedy is the news medias glamorous Ghost Ship name for the hell-born death-trap.
3-20 Ivanka Trump is a disappointment to a group of New York artists. Oh, brother. Barbara Demick, from NY, reports that liberals - normally known for their hard-headed feet-on-the-ground grip on reality? - thought she was brethren. Front page.
New Yawk, New YAWK Times
1-25 I wasnt at the violent protest that Jonah Engel Bromwich cites, but the hed that deplores felony charges against journalists suggests that they were alongside people hurling bricks or insults, just watching but racing forward. Their Get Out Of Jail Free card doesnt and shouldnt apply in real life. That the charges have been deplored by organizations dedicated to press freedom falls on deaf ears when they abet a melee. And when is someone going to get the message that people who hurl stones and break windows are punks and troublemakers? Vandals love crowds. Protestors just protest.
2-25 When, in Graham Bowleys account of the days Cosby-trial developments, he avers that a judges decision was too brief to completely understand he certainly seems to be passing the buck; someone must understand it. But why does every account of this circus identify the lawyer, who neednt be named here? Is it a codicil of their permission to write about the trial, or do they actually think she possesses some exceptional moxie? (Question: Can a male lawyer accept only male clients?)
2-26 Brooks Barnes embroiders her anecdotal tale about recently-dead tv-host Chuck Woolery with cute asides like Forget about buying a vowel and a self-abnegating reference - about her damn self!- (not) watching Fox News. Her full disclosure that she did not match well with Woolery and his producer - it did not exactly end in a Love Connection. (Ba-dum-bum.) is a glaring selfie and not-unexpected slam at a guy who - gasp!- was a political conservative. A damn shame. (Her self-spotlight, not his views.)
3-4 Quarter-page obit for a rich guy who bought a lot of art. Sorry, collected. That the collection went to a museum is fine, but people are over-credited in our society, esp. in NYC, for cultured spending based on money inherited or earned in non-artistic endeavor. ALL great art should be seized by the government, and put on display to enrich the entire society, not just the ones with financial luck. Not to put too fine a point on it.
3-10 A guy apparently killed people in Brooklyn. Alan Feuer notes that a fashion conscious teenager was killed almost exactly one year after the similar death of a young woman (Doesnt almost negate exactly?) according to a person who was close to the accused murderer but declined to be identified. Does this argy-bargy distance the paper from libel? If hes not identified, why not just print his statement?
Marc Tracy and Dan Barry combine to conclude that Baylor University is down and nearly out from the shame of rape accusations against its football players. No question is raised of the veracity of the claims, and one alleged, i.e. unsubstantiated, incident is examined in minute detail as if it was filmed. It takes talent to embroider a dramatic scenario from a police report, but Tracy and Barry know their craft.
3-12 Alex Vadukul, famed for chuckles about creaky people at a history society meeting, most of whom were born before Lyndon B. Johnson was president. Who is this whelp, and how did this whippersnapper get the gig?
3-13 Matthew Haag reports that Critics say that that southern senators crack about somebody elses babies was white nationalism. Well, critics are always critical. For Haag to say outright that Steve Kings words are racist wouldnt exactly result in a suit against the paper; King would agree, Ill bet. Writers opinions oughtn't be cloaked in crowd-speak.
3-14 The teacup tempest about whether Grammy voters tilt toward white people is a totally and wholly not unexpected, given the internecine closeness of the pencil-pushing crowd. Voters voted, probably with consideration and honor. The actual categorization of music is the problem. It is inexact and absurd. Joe Coscarelli seeks order in a jar of mixed jellybeans.
3-22 One, like so many. Jess Bidgood rues a DAs fall for being embroiled in scandal and ethics violations. Turns out, he has been ACCUSED of these. Smirch him later, Jess, if you're right.
Regrets, I have a few
My first marriage's first crack was an incident in Vegas.
The wifey was feeding a poker machine and I was wandering in the casinos clingy bright-lit maelstrom when I spied a long line of black musicians heading to the concert hall. I spied Lee Allen, whom I knew from Blaster tours, and tugged his sleeve. Come with us, he said, but the trouble-and-strife was not to be found.
I could have watched a Fats Domino show from the stage!!