- February 2016 -

Other Fein Messes
Now Playing: It Goes By Fast -- FREEBO

Poker Party Store

Buy Art's Stuff !

Photos by
Jennifer Stockert

Photos by
Patricia Tyson


Another Fein Mess
AF Stone’s Monthly
February 2016

1-10 The 31st annual Elvis birthday (- plus two days) celebration at Pickwick Hall in Burbank was a stone blast. The place holds a hundred, about right for the ‘do’ these days. Nonstop fun was had, except for people with normal, not leather, eardrums. Guitarists should not be allowed to control volume. It’s like giving a kid a gun.

Tex from the Groovy Rednecks meets his people.

Lisa Finnie’s smooooothe ensemble.

The Skip Heller Experience, a/k/a The Hollywood Blues Destroyers, taking a bite of “Crawfish.”

Jimmy Angel pauses for Jason Gutierrez to strike up the band. The dynamic foursome performs often at the Smoke House in Burbank.

1-11 After David Bowie’s death, dear Diane dug out the custom t-shirt that a girlfriend's brother made for them to wear at his 1976 concert.

1-14 Went with Diane and Skip and saw screenwriter Phoeff Sutton speak before a screening of “The Big Sleep.” Phoeff, my old neighbor from El Cerrito Place, a successful screenwriter for eons, was autographing copies of his new novel. (His name is not the female of Phoebe, it’s made up.)

1-17 Skip Heller’s Hollywood Blues Destroyers played at the tiny Piano Bar, by the post office in Hollywood. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top talked to Skip after the show. The previous night, Tom Jones was at the club for Chuck E. Weiss’s show.

1-22 Lunch with Doug Fieger’s sis Beth at the Good Neighbor restaurant. During our chat, she paused, and then said something as Doug, in his voice. It was like a lightning bolt; I asked her how she did it and she said she didn’t know. It was probably a natural phenomenon, like sun spots, but it rocked us. He was there.

1-25 Bobby Rush, 83, did a free show at Amoeba Records, giving the small crowd a taste of his full-length show later that week.

Bobby talkin’

Signing his new album.

Sally Jo, Deke Dickerson, Tom Kenny, AF

1-28 Phoebe the dachshund snatched a cupcake wrapper that fell to the floor, and ran. I tried to retrieve it from her mouth, but it was gone. If it had been chewed to pieces, OK, but if was whole ... the vet induced vomiting, for $200. A good thing. It was whole, and had it entered the intestines it would have blocked all. Bad girl, old Phoebe. We love her.

They’re dropping like Freys

All these guys around my age dying are making me nervous. Of course, several endured long deterioration.
I’m losing just my mind.

There have been unkind things written about the Eagles on FB, the nation’s outlet for riskless assault. While I don’t want anyone dead, I share unease about the band.

I wouldn’t single out Frey because I don’t know who sang what. I know the band owed a former member $70 million and paid him $40 million, but I don’t cry for the guy.

The song “Hotel California” burned my hide. I heard the words about drugs and decadence and what? - too much money? - and thought that outside of a small group of successful entertainers, this won’t fly. No record buyer shared a life of limitless drugs, money and sex - and complained about it! Apparently I was wrong.

But the Eagles seemed smug. How can a song telegraph that quality? I remember the drummer saying, in essence, “We’re not writing what you want, we’re writing what you need.” I thought him a pompous pisshead, but then, people need guidance. Mussolini knew it.

There was an Eagles album-cover featuring sepia-tone photographs of the band in the style of Billy The Kid-era photos. I read one Eagle saying that being on the western movie set that day, and being loosely tied up, “We really got to know the actual feeling of being desperadoes.” That really got my goat.

But I read too much.
And people tell me I don’t listen.


I have lots of thoughts about records less than fifty years old, but today none come to mind ...

A big letdown: “Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35.” This was high schoolers, giggling about being stoned, tee hee ... My copy of ‘Bye Bye Love’ has an audible guitar wrap-up by Chet Atkins long into the runoff groove ...

Fifties/’60s singles of “Blueberry Hill” by Fats have a slowdown in the second verse, where it goes “The wind, in the Wil-LOOOOW-plays,” like someone disconnected the turntable for a second. The original tape was stretched there, and nothing could be done til ‘70s technology corrected it. I miss it, like the bump they took off grandpa’s forehead.

Amoeba Records printed a flyer listing the 100 Essential albums. I do not disagree with any except the debut “Elvis Presley” album. No hits, no Sun cuts, he got better with time (except for the lousy second album.)

When fishing in a record store’s $1 pile, I choose CDs that pique my interest, unless they’re on a major label ... Sometimes when a tune from the ‘Something New’ album play on my iPod, I think it’s a Beatle soundalike, so rarely are some of those cuts aired ...

Remixing has spoiled the Chuck Jackson song “Tell Him I’m Not Home.” The girl’s response, is no longer at lower volume, (like from behind a door!), but equal. The record is ruint ... Jay & The Americans’ first album is great. It’s the old Jay, before the operatic guy. Nice Leiber & Stoller stuff. “Dawning”!


I talked to a guy 23, who said he’d probably settle down and have a career when he’s 30. I always thought 30 was the year when I, too, would find my rightful place. But I skipped that year AND maturity and went right on living an idiot’s life. Then I rejiggered my goal to 40, and waited in vain. Success? Understanding life? There were a lot of people hitting that age, maybe not enough wisdom to go around.

During the time of struggle - my life - I would look at other people with homes, careers, families and think they knew something I didn’t. When speaking to someone in AN OFFICE, I was awed by the code they knew to get there. And since I didn’t actually speak that language, when someone who’d “made it” spoke to me one-to-one I always felt like it was one-to-nothing. Though we in fact were equal, the difference in station roared like the Big Bang.

Reminds me, too, of age difference. I find now that many around sixty share none of my early rock & roll enthusiasm. It started with the Beatles, they believe. The ‘50s were merely a lead-up to the Brit Invasion.

To this day I harbor a feeling of distance from people not exactly like me. And that’s a considerable field.


What are they good for?
Absolutely nothin!

In the 8/10/15 New Yorker, Andrew Marantz fawns over a book by crit (‘in loyalty to our kind’ ...) A.O. Scott, who fairly falls to the floor giggling about a Frank Rich pan of a movie. Rich, he writes, “strafed it so gleefully” that he “became known as the Butcher of Broadway.”

Fucking jerks snort and heehaw about their jagged words, not realizing their value (0) . There are thousands of ways to be cruel, while words of praise are far less numerous. That pot you bang on makes noise because it’s empty.

These Are The Times Of L.A.

1-6 In the obit for a reporter, Jill Leovy writes that “His wife said” he covered the Patty Hearst kidnapping, and another event. Well, did he? Are all the fact-checkers furloughed? ...

1-9 WHOLE PAGE of blue-sky and emptiness about how and when and why someone will win the Powerball. Think of the money you save not having to buy the National Enquirer ... In anticipation of another Hollywood Awards tv show, Christie D’Zurilla contemplates, for a quarter-page, whether or in what ways Ricky Gervais will be funny, filling space with nothing. Impossible in science, but ... “Affluenza” is another journalist made-up word which is bandied brightly like by a proud student. Crap ...

1-10 Matt Stevens and Stephen Caesar take up space to tell us nobody from California won the Powerball, in long and dreary detail. Who wants this pseudo-news? Everyone lost! ... A man in Sri Lanka claims to have the world’s biggest sapphire. That’s all. It’s a claim. Like news, but not ...

1-12 Did you hear about the Powerball drawing? Sarah Parvini profiles a man - describes his clothing, car, occupation - who hopes to win. Quotes him. What good does this contest do? Does any media person address its cravenness? Sarah is as gaga as her editor ... Natalie Cole is remembered for soulfulness (she was black) and overcoming adversity, meaning wanton drug consumption equivalent to hitting her head repeatedly with a hammer. Only persons of nobility assume and surmount that challenge ...

1-13 Patt Hatt Morrison’s print swan-song relieves our fears, saying her online column will give you a new seat “at my conversational table.” Indeed ...

1-14 More Powerball. Winner is quoted “I’m really happy” by crack investigators Taylor Goldenstein and Joseph Serna. (Which reporter snagged that immortal quote? Maybe it was shared; later in the graph the winner says “It’s very good news.”) Sickening, harmful piffle ...

1-15 Mikael Wood is invited, albeit grudgingly - Who really wants a press person at your party? - to an Elton John concert at smaller venue, Eltonwise, and he reports with stunning ageism and idiocy that his new music is so wan “You hardly envision a generation of bed-wetters hearing this and being shaken out of their frailty.” This was built gracelessly on a graceless Elton comment that “Nobody rocks out anymore. They’re all bed-wetters.” Reviewers - rhymes with skewers - embrace easy shots like emeralds ...

1-19 Tuesday Business Section: “Three Seinfeld Porsches go to auction.” I don’t know that model. Reporter Charles Fleming couldn’t mean owned by Seinfeld, could he? That would be craven ... The front section, all eight pages, contained a full page about Glenn Frey, and many inches about Spike Lee’s boycott of the Oscars. With all this entertainment news, it’s a wonder there was more to put in the Calendar section. (Or was that where they moved the real news?) ...

1-21 Gun-hater Steven Zeitchik cites the Sundance Film Festival being “long a ground zero for cultural movements.” Plural? I can’t think of one, maybe Steve listed them on the online version. Nope ... 1-22 American Apparel guy was fired after “an investigation uncovered allegations” of misconduct. That’s all it takes - allegations? Stenographers Ashley Powers and Shan Li never seek verification of the charges ... Big sendoff for a gay disco: a dancer reminisces about his lovely time there. Was there such a sendoff for Raji’s? ...1-25 New York is digging out from big snow. Didn’t all cities dig out after the snow? Two LAT reporters got this exclusive. New Yorkers, they’re special ...

1-27 Big weddings are expensive in India. A LAT reporter goes deep, for a half page, and you know it’s news because that reporter is “On The Ground.” Finally, no more stories by people suspended in midair. (Kinda like Mae West, the LATimes never met a cliché it didn’t like.)

New Yawk, New YAWK Times

1-10 Hed above story about a new tv show with female comedian Samantha Bee: “Hey Guys, Watch It.” She is funny, she’ll host a show, let’s see what happens. Stop the war-of-the-sexes chant. It implies that men hate women as much as women resent men ... Different Section, Sunday Review, front-page hed: “It’s Payback Time For Women.” Now you see why men read only the Sports section ...

Sheila Marikar laments the closing of a store in West Hollywood that once catered to star trade, “in the early aughts when paparazzi thronged the chain’s outposts to catch Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and their ilk post- or even midshopping sprees” “evoking the full flush of hedonism before the financial crisis.” If you wonder why LA has a permanent stink in The Big City, it’s because they send their idiots to gush at ours ...

1-22 A murder in Scarsdale finds the NYT agog that it happened in a “placid suburb” on a “quiet street.” Murders are usually committed in murder-centric neighborhoods with loud streets. Apparently Scarsdale has a murder-forbidding ordinance.


I buy Postum, no longer sold in stores, online. I always go to the manufacturer. Why give a second party the money? ... Rx taken daily for a few years tripled in price this year. Hope Eli Lilly lives in a gated - and armed - community. There’s a lot of angry fat-blooded people out there ...

Tall cereal boxes seem to be pretty cheap right now. But oh - they’re as thick as a 1910 phonebook ... New cars don’t have CD players. Everyone is now singing or whistling, good trend ... The Glendale Mall (maybe all malls) reminds me of Maxwell Street in Chicago. Booths are set up in the middle of the walkway, and people assault you with sprays and pitches as you go by ...

The owner of a shuttered small-town grocery store, interviewed on tv, asked whether he would reopen now that Wal-Mart has closed. Not on your life, he said. His old customers dropped him like a hot potato when the big-box boys came to town. Kudos to him. “Let’em go hungry” is refreshing ...

Why did I subscribe to the NYer? The cartoons haven’t been funny this century, the articles are - well, for someone else. The one about the movie star and the art he is buying for investment was the sand grain that tipped my scale.

Mea Cuppa

This take-along thermal cup is old fashioned. Debuted in the 1970s for use on boats, they were ceramic, with a rubber base to hold steady on slushing seas. When the style dumbed down to plastic for use in cars, the stability vanished and the cups rolled over on turns.

Today you can’t hardly get them no more, replaced by vertical thermal cups that fit in car holders designed for them. But I didn’t like that style. I bought a squat one online last year, and then found a passle of them at old-fashioned Albertson’s in Hollywood. Now I need to weld some iron to the bottom, because it rolls over on turns.


What happened to that guy who wrapped canyons and buildings? Rich people run out of money?

Movies (Interesting)

Griff, the Invisible

So that’s entertainment?

* I saw a comedy-club clip from 1995, and noticed the silence as the guy walked on. The audience waited for him to say something funny.

So OUT! Today everyone whistles and barks when anyone walks out. The grandstanders make the new-century statement: “I’m in this show, too. Look at me! WHOOO!!!!”’

* Am I am alone resenting movie credits? We slowly must look at nine production companies’ names, casting director, associate director, assistant to the caterer - Wait, that one comes at the end!

“Well don’t you want credit for what you do, Mister Smarty Pants?”

Yes. I care about music, and must wait for those credits at the very end - the back of the bus after Second Unit Livery Captain and Union Representative, Tucson.

I’m more egotistical than the next guy, but my self-love’s under a bushel compared to movie people !!!!

*Funny/sad watching a french comedian on the Daily Show in late January. An English speaker, he’d make an obscure or personal reference and when an audience member yelled “Whoo!” he thought they knew his work, not the shouter’s crying need to be noticed

* Docu, Hist Channel, ego-mad cameramen shoot speaker’s face and profile, rapidly switched back/forth by editors, so remote-clicking viewer won’t get bored simply seeing him speak. Another speaker is filmed from behind, so you see his mug in a bottom right mirror. Art directors, kill them. Closeup of chin and lips is vile. Urgent sounds and soft explosions beg to retain your attention during speech, while viewers with adequate concentration flee.

* TV in 1956 had a blackout, then pause, for commercials. Three indiviual minutes per half hour. Today they’re inserted seamlessly so you can’t tell when to stop listening and start screaming.


I noticed that a few years into the run, “Columbo” introduced a young blonde guy to help him solve crimes. He didn’t last long. Maybe the producers were worried that no young people watched.

Then recently I saw a young blonde guy - the same? it’s Universal - pop into a “Rockford Files” episode to help him solve crimes.

It’s a crime the kid interfered with the few shows he did.

Local focus

This half-built square-block Target on Sunset & Western in lower (-class) Hollywood has sat in place for a couple years, after the corporation ramrodded its construction in this needing-it area in defiance of certain city codes. It could house a couple thousand homeless.


British movies sometimes refer to someone getting the cold shoulder being “sent to Coventry.” No historical reason is given for disparaging this English city ... “We’ll conference” is an exciting new nounism. I approvalate ... Narrator: rolling a 7 or 11 was ‘fortuitous.’ True enough, like every number combination ... Paul Kantner quote: “San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by sanity.” Cool.


Jon Stewart barging in on the 12-9 Daily Show was like an unwelcome man from Mars. Bearded, in a gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans, he is reduced to one of us, or less. His tsuris about New York firefighters is sincere but remote. He does well to hide ...

When I was on Split Second tv game show in 1973, I won the game but picked the wrong car (five were there, one had a key in the ignition). When my friend Ken Sasano asked how I got on, since he had tried and didn’t pass the entrance test, I told him that when I didn’t know an answer I wrote something funny.

But I didn’t add my suspicion that they gave him a harder test to weed him out. He was of Japanese ancestry, not desirable WASP or -adjacent ...

TV news

“Look at these cars stuck in the rising water.” I can’t, the “Cars stuck in rising water” banner covers them up ... Police car chases on tv run for an hour, then stop. No further mention is made. What good is that hour when no products are being plugged? Maybe the lock-up of viewers translates as ratings. (“Look, he ran another stop sign”) ...

Woman mic-holder on CNN reports excitedly about east coast snow, and walks off to show it is up to her ankle. Must be from Florida. Coverage before and after that storm far exceeded the storm itself ... If ever I lose all my clocks, I will set the time by the tv. I will watch until I see a baby panda, and I’ll know it’s the 5:00 news ...

The gal introing the speaker on CSPAN Sunday 1-31 employed ‘uptalk,’ the teenage phenomenon of the ‘80s, which has all but disappeared:

Our next guest is Wilfred "WILLIAMS"?

He’s going to talk about "HIS NEW BOOK?”

(Hard to capture on paper. As if this is.)

Thoughts while driving ...

Four block-apart bright green signs promised a garage sale. Get there, nothing. Signs were not taken down from last week. Note to self: Revive the “Garage Sale Murders” idea ...

Drivers here are either acute or awful. I see heartening cooperation when a facing car stops before a jammed intersection so a car can turn across it. On the other hand, most drivers think their car requires 1.5 or two lanes to make a right turn. People in the lane they block would blast them to hell if we - I mean they - were allowed to mount cannons on our - their - cars ...

When you drive on one of LA’s six-lane freeways, people push you out of the fast lane if you’re going below 80 mph. It’s the Old West...

Profound thought

Some unreleased musical recordings by people now dead are hailed as lost masterpieces, when in fact they were shelved for being inadequate.

Crit cutup

Pauline Kael, bewildered at the lack of audience hooting at the film “Johanna” :

“though I kept listening for snorts, every time I heard one I could feel the breath on my hands.”

Here’s a song I wrote by Cole Porter

“Bowie’s legacy is the art he collected” is the saddest and stupidest thing written about him.

Old-freak out

My friend’s band performs at retirement homes. They got complaints about the volume, and turned down. Next they heard piercing sounds like giant grasshoppers coming from the audience.

Listeners had turned up their hearing aids and the amassed screeching filled the room.

But normally musicians like to get feedback ...

- 57 -

Mark has moved, and will be missed.

Email Art Fein

Other Fein Messes