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Bites of life
5-2 10 p.m. went with friend Skip to the Coffee Bean up on Sunset.
Outside was the somewhat-reduced (once a Cadillac, now a Rambler) bannered car/home of perennial movie-star hopeful Dennis Woodruff.
Inside we sat with the celebrated striver, and he spoke of jobs he missed and a few he got.
5-7 Lunch at the ranch of King Cotton and Ginger. Also there, Rob Clampett, son of the Beany & Cecil creator Bob Clampett.
It was a western idyll in the rural hills of the San Fernando Valley.
5-8 Wanted a 2010-era Macbook with a CD burner. Went to Burbank at 2 pm to meet an insane kid (dealer) who brought one with dying battery and erratic functionality. He said he would put in a new hard-drive and take $10 off the $450 price. I ran.
* At 6 pm met a guy at a comic book store on Sunset, selling a 2008 iMac for $200. He sat at a table, his dog beneath it.
As I swung a leg over, the dog sprang at me tearing my shirt-tail with his teeth; I reared back, and the re-charging dogs teeth raked my left forearm.
Is this any way to do business?
Did I mention it was a pit bull?
In fact the forearm scrape was a grotesque superficial wound. I, numb normally from the neck up, got first-aid for the bleeding forearm and continued with the Mac seller.
Daughter Jessie came to check on me, then left.
He knocked $150 off the price.
I am SO non-confrontational.
5-9 Cautionary visit to Urgent Care in Hollywood. Flesh wound the doctor said and cleaned it up and bandaged me.
Interesting side-bite: I bought several first-aid items for $35 at CVS Drugs. Later I found that four were available at the 99 Cent Store. But who economizes in an emergency?
* Went to Joes American Bar & Grill in Burbank to see Rip Masters' show.
What a scene! Swing-dancers of all ages on a Tuesday night. Life is wonderful.
* The Paladins Thom Yearsley and sweetie Laura Jane, up from Oceanside, visited the old guys (us) at Uncle Bernies and gave us the bands new CD and LP, which is/are wonderful.
Thom operates a recording studio there.
5-14 Fans and wellwishers gather to greet Harold Bronson at Arcana Books in Culver City.
Bronson signed copies of his new book, My British Invasion.
Mark Helfrich, Gary Stewart, Wallace Langham, Melissa Langham, Harold, Bill Wilner
Domenic Priore with singers Any Celsi and Tish Hinahosa
* Then at 5, the Hollywood Blues Destroyers at the Redwood.
5-16 Lunch with friend Davin Seay.
5-17 Lunch with Rip Masters, bringing his new CD.
* Bought new Michelin tires at Costco.
5-22 Went to Palomino - I mean Viva Cantina, to see Keith Morris hailed for his bday.
The back room was packed for the lineup (not a police-lineup) accompanying his reading.
5-24 Birthday gathering for friend Davin Seay at a restaurant in Burbank. Just like old times. (I wrote odd. That too.)
5-26 Didnt see fr Mark Leviton, who flew in to meet sweetheart Vicky, bec she had taken ill and he returned to Nevada City.
5-30 Early (she was born July 20) bday dinner with Baby Jessie at Patys in Burbank. We knew shed be out of town for the actual date.
5-31 Dinner at Musso-Franks with Tav Falco and twenty friends.
6-2 The LA debut (it was shown in NY, San Francisco) of Austria resident Tavs silent-with-sound 70-minute film Urania Descending.
Space was donated by the Egyptian Theater for two nights screening in the Spielberg Room.
6-3 Second nights screening of Tavs film, one-third of the final product. Before the showing, he tangoed with the films star, his wife.
6-4 Atttended Beverly Glens annual Glen Fair, a bit sparser than past ones, with local resident Kathe Schreyer.
* In the evening, hied over to the venerable Egyptian Theater to see Carnival Of Souls on the big screen.
Actress Candace Hilligloss
Other celebrities Skip Heller, Spongebob Tom Kenny, and ME.
6-6 Breakfast at Uncle Bernies, as usual. Afterward, commenced my trip to the Bay area.
I took picturesque Route 101 instead of the same-but-barren Route 5, and the 440-mile drive killed me.
Got to pal Joel Selvins around 8 pm and was served a fine meal. Chatted some and hit the bed hard.
6-7 Left, after morning rush hour, for Nevada City, California, in the mountains 140 miles north.
At 3 pm I was greeted and treated by dear friends Mark Leviton and Victoria Stanton.
Mark and I scoured local drug stores: the bouncy roads had battered my back. Bought a back belt.
Later joined Mark for his 10 pm two-hour dj show on KMVR and then we homed and I slept soundly.
6-8 We hit thrift stores and book shops in nearby Grass Valley, to my delight. Had lunch at the Pine Street Cafe. Rain.
6-9 About to depart, applying the 'belt,' Mark remembered he had a back-wedge he never uses.
That standard aid hadn't met my view in the drugstores, and Mark gave it freely, to my lasting delight.
Farewell, Nevada City
Bid them goodbye and drove south then northwest, making a stop to have lunch with ex-LA pal Sue Sawyer in Santa Rosa. Headed then to Healdsburg to the home of my host Carol, ex-neighbor sis of old (Chicago era) girlfriend Pam.
6-10 My back, spared further pain by Marks gift, still ached, and I was plenty tired. Visited shops around Healdsburg with Carol. Went to movie, My Cousin Rachel. Ladys choice.
6-11 Planned drive back to LA Sunday to miss Monday traffic, but my back disagreed. We went to Sebastopol and found that its two used book stores were gone, had lunch, and returned to Healdsburg and raided the public library for DVDs. Watched a 50s french crime drama but its incomprehensibility, or our incomprehension, gave us giggles (odd for we fans of les flics francais).
6-12 Packed for drive home, back still not friendly.
Id decided to take difficult Route 1 again because fast-track route is so barren, but in San Francisco (the coast highway pours though the city) I changed plans and crossed the Bay Bridge to Route 5. I wondered for a while if my path was amiss, but ascending the hill at Altamont (yes) knew I was "on the right road now," like Gary Lewis. The back pain evaporated and I drove four-plus hours at 80 mph (posted 70 mph limit is just a suggestion) and got to LA feeling great.
6-15 With Jim Dawson at Gelsons. (So what else is new?)
6-17 Birthday lunch with friends Kathe & David, high atop Beverly Glen.
6-18 Fathers Day call from baby Jessie -- in Rome! Who knew?
* Ronnie Mack salute at Viva.
Someone posted it as a benefit (Ronnies 25-year job ended when his employer closed shop), but he declined that angle graciously.
Me, King Cotton, Jim Dawson
Mike Murphy and Skip Edward and a whole lotta LA hicks
6-29 After 10 months in this apartment complex, spoke to a non-adjacent neighbor. He looked like a musician, so I asked. He was. Bassist Robby Pagliari.
7-1 Two warm bodies visited me on a sorta-sick day. Frank Sprague and lovely Cerise graced my warren.
Both musicians moved to LA, in Franks case back, to make beautiful music together. It was nice to re-strike an acquaintance, though no blows rained.
(They married a week later.)
* After years of urging by my fr Richard Fannan, I went to Pasadena to see Vaud & the Villains at the Levitt Pavilion, an outdoor show, free to all, one of a daily summer-long bandshell series funded by the Levitts, bless their mysterious hearts. The band is a troupe, dancing and singing in numerous combinations. Whats not to like? Hearing the emcee say LATimes guy Randy Lewis was in the house, I phoned him and joined his crowd for a while.
7-4 As is my annual wont, spent July 4th evening at Scott Meyers hillside house facing the city.
The company was splendid and the fireworks display mind-boggling. Explosions dotted the horizon we watched in panorama. Like a war zone, but a nice one.
7-6 Met Harold Bronson at National Promotions & Advertising (NPA) on Overland, the studio and business office of Gary Shafner.
Its entrance is the front of a Greyhound bus. Once youre IDd, the front door unlocks, you walk past luggage racks and seats, and enter a tiered and gala variegated office complex.
Shafner wanted a photo of me in front of his art gallery, which he named Art Fein, in reference to his word-order dyslexia, and also, I learned, to ME.
We had lunch, and a swell time. My vest buttons were popping!
Me 'n Harold
7-7 Got in a tube and had my head examined: an MRI. I'd had another recently. Later learned my brain is shrinking. One minute semi-faints crop up, not so much now.
* Headed then to Shout Factory in West LA for a mind-meld with writer Jerry Leichtling. ("Peggy Sue Got Married.")
7-8 Took Skip Heller and friend to a gala lunch at Dennys, on one of the several hottest-day-weve-hads.
* At 7 pm I went to Kulaks Wood Shed in North Hollywood for a delightful hour of music with veteran folk figure Freebo and impressive newcomer Alice Howe, whose album Freebo is producing at a studio in Bakersfield.
7-9 Fools On Stools at the Redwood featuring Birdie Jones, whose terrific new EP will soon be finished, and Scott Rankie and Kevin Laffey.
7-12 Saw the Love-Ins, a new band, upstairs at Los Globos on Sunset, near downtown. They filled the room with a joyful noise, impressive considering the absence of one member.
7-15 Big 6 pm birthday bash for Swamp Dogg (75) in Silver Lake.
His daughter Doctor Jeri Williams rented the hall and invited friends and family.
The hour-long performance included a sit-in with Swamp-friend Wayne Kramer.
Also celebratin' and cerebratin' - Miss Mercy, Miss Pamela, and Dave Alvin.
7-16 Dropped in to Jonny Whitesides bonanza at Viva Cantina, a tribute to Little Richards former partner Lee Angel. Though her imminent financial troubles were solved between this benefit's scheduling and production, we threw money in a bucket for her anyway. Good Golly.
The action swirls around Gary Myrick, becapped.
Little Richards original drummer Charles Connors sittin' in.
Lee Angel, "Woman of the Year" - ANY year!
7-25 Rip Masters always tearin it up at Joes !
8-3 Shanghaid by lovin Laura Jane Willcock & the Paladins' Thom Yearsley of Oceanside. I camped for three days at their spacious recording studio compound.
8-4 Dinner and a cruise with the coosome twosome
8-5 Still Down South, seeing the Paladins (two flew in from afar) at the Casbah
An uplifting experience, capped by onstage praise (for me!) by Paladian compadre Dave Gonzales.
Cesar Rosa's daughter Amber sits with me flanked by Paladins Dave and Thom.
8-6 Caught Laura Jane and the Tighten Ups at the Kraken, right before driving back to Hollywood.
SHE is a force o nature! The crowd goes wild for a boogie that's hot!
8-9 Dizzy spells. Next day too. Five one day, three next.
James Intveld at Joe's in Burbank
8-11 Never pass up a chance to see Tom Kenny, this time at Viva Cantina.
8-12 Seein' Skip Heller at the riverside Bicycle Cafe, in Frogtown.
His new release is filled with treasures old and new.
Head-butt with NY friend Paul Hampton at Jerrys Deli, Studio City.
8-16 Elvis show at Joes. (Good time, though Elvis's death day is NOT the one I celebrate!)
King Cotton welcomes fellow introvert Scott Page to the stage. Who'd suspect he played on 'Dark Side Od The Moon"?
8-17 Tom Kenny - like Santa Claus, hes everywhere! - at Farmers Market. Hour and a half ! The spunk of someone twice his age !
8-20 Another Jonny Whiteside to-do at Viva Cantina
8-23 Gold Star name-man Dave Gold held court at Winnetka Bowl, seeing his music-history teachers (Dave is a student) band with many friends.
Skip Heller, Dave, musician friend Arshag Chookoorian.
8-25 Seeing the Gypsy Kings with cousin Travis at the Hollywood Bowl. We walked there from Chez Me. They were OK. I preferred my companion.
8-26 Joined my happy cousins once removed (they live way north-west in the Valley) for a family to-do in Moorpark. It went well, but after I left with cousin Travis, in his car, he drove to a vapor station in Van Nuys, to fill up his vapor Honda with vapor.
Money paid, hose in tank, the sound of silence was as expected, but once done the car would not start. It was 7:15. Trav got on the phone with AAA, who said they don't tow free to his place (more than 50 miles) so it would be $300. At 9:15, dark now, I wanted to vaporize and he said "Go." I got an Uber and split. He later told me he waited til 11, in vain - then the car started and he drove home.
* Then went to Bob Merliss annual Viva Bessman do in the Bob's back yard. Tons of well-wishers.
8-30 Breakfast with Fieger-sis Beth Falkenstein and weird hubby Jim at the Good Neighbor, visiting from their digs in Ashland, Oregon.
9-6 Met dear friends Kathe and David at Gelsons on Van Nuys Blvd, and they whisked me away to Davids son Maxxs birthday dinner at Kings Fish House in Calabassas. I have a few great friends.
9-7 Man from the past John Means reappeared to fete me to dinner and the music of the Billy Vera Ork at the Catalina on Sunset.
9-9 Meet old SF friend Lee Vigil at Farmers Market. Now she lives in Florida, and sales the seas as a jewelry merchant.
9-10 Hollywood Blues Destroyers (1) at the Redwood. A grand swan song, of sorts.
9-12 Like every Tuesday at 9 am, breakfast with Dave Gold and others. When dining ends, Dave and I often sit outside and jaw. We should whittle.
Hes cornucopic. This day he talked about LA (San Fernando Valley) in the early '60s. His kids class did a "humorous" American-history musical (a la Freberg) at their Victory Boulevard school, and their historic license drew pickets from the John Birch Society ! The music director, fellow pupil-father Julius Wechter, was rattled by the unwanted attention.
9-13/14 A few more dizzy dropouts. Who needs it?
9-15 Visit with record (and feather-) merchant Ed Odel at the storage area where I keep my money (in the office's cash drawer). Passin a good time.
9-16 The new Heller-cats, Carnival of Soul, debuting a bright new footing and feeling at Viva Cantina.
Thrush Birdie, who sings purdy, has just released a dynamo 5-cut sampler of her songs.
Its a knockout, like her.
9-17 Mike Vernon, Ray Campi, Big Jay McNeely concertized at Viva Cantina. I feel like a king, or maybe a serf, in the company of these giants.
9-21 Competitive-speaking grapple with distant (Santa Monica) cousin David at Barneys Beanery. We hatched many plans - but where was the tape machine? I dont remember a thing. (David did Foley in his film editing days. An unrelated David Fein also worked in that field!)
9-22 Brunch with Domenic Priore at the Good Neighbor. A good time was passed!
9-23 Gruesome poker with Charles and friends in Burbank. Whereas I usually break even, my jar of quarters decreased 90% in this rare wish-I'd-stayed-home game. (Usually I lose, then roar back. I oughtve stayed longer!)
9-25 More good (lunch) times with Kathe & David in Van Nuys.
9-26 One of many to-dos (not all noted, my pen has only so much ink) at Gelsons with Skip and Jim Bright Eyes Dawson. (Jim had eye surgery and now eschews glasses !!!)
9-30 Revisited my Apple tech guy Spike at his place on The Avenues. Fixed up my two old MacBooks purdy !
Bombs away, like anchors away, is from anchors aweigh, removing their weight from the sea floor
Body fluids were not polite newspaper fodder last century. Whos flaunting them? Women writers. June 25, NYTs Theresa Huston flouts convention and decency calling men hormonal, bandying testosterone like its dinner-table talk. While hormonal is (too) often applied to women, hence Hustons hokey he-jab, gibes at them dont ordinarily dip to indelicacies like their writings flowor peg them as bleeding liberals by unspoken agreement. Perhaps the gloves are off ...
Is it time now to shitcan iconic? A heavy fine for a start
I dont remember whose review cited an actors emotional incontinence, but I like it ... .
Fixate is OK if you accept, oh, constructionate, interpretationing. Writers (not thinkers) extentionize (joke - see), extend to fill space ... Sod referencing. Keep referring to alive!
The warm personal word who has been ditched by frightened writers. People THAT saw it, the man THAT got away. Try and find who today. Its driven out of use. People fear feelings ...
Flipside is often errant. A records flip-side can be as good as the hit
It once was Skid Road ... Tobacco Row in Nashville got distorted by a books title
In Dial M For Murder the chief hands the detective a purse as evidence, but as he leaves he tells him to put the purse in a bag -- You cant walk down the street with that, you clot! (The words-for-the-deaf changed that colorful Britism to clod.) If another cop saw him, he might be arrested as a queer
You should not staunch bleeding. That makes it stronger. Stanch it
Would it be wrong to call my autobio Fein Kampf? Its a struggle, g-d knows.
Mid-July I saw something on tv news that Id never seen before: After a nights endles, pointless, police car-chase, there was a followup story next morning.
Incredible! Those chases are plastered on all stations lest they fall behind other stations viewer-count. Follow-thru is nil, like their significance.
Once and for all,
* I graduated - was graduated - from journalism school. Took that major because it had no language requirement.
From the first day they taught us to write facts only.
Accusations were not substantive. They were hot air till they were proven: only then they were printed.
Today anyone claims anything and the newspapers grab it if it gets attention.
(This was written before the hurricane-cum-tsunami of unproven charges in October.)
Alleged, says, claims, accuses all are flapdoodle, nothing. And as the details of claims - should they be spicy - grow, the media banner them.
Just like media in Salem, Massachusetts covered their witch accusals.
ILL CALL YOU
* In 1999 I bought a telephone (land-line!) (like God intended!) 5-pack for my big house.
When I moved to an apartment, I strewed them everwhere so Id never had to move more than two steps to get a call. So people call me on the cell.
I dont carry the cell phone in the apartment because it is too clear a sign of desperation. It screams If Id only gotten the right call, my life wouldnt be like this.
LAT runs movie reviews the same day (Friday). Two page spread, biggies atop six small splayed below. Positive reviews are risky, in case others disagree. What we end up with, as readers - seekers - is an opinion with underlying currents unrevealed.
What we need are recommendations. You dont like a film? Find another one.
What on earth value is Stay away except to deny the reader - intimidate them if theyre young or stupid - the chance to judge?
This applies to music and all arts - How many reviewers stand alone against the tide of their peers? (Funny. Tide, piers.)
I recently chatted with a vetted crit. I said I loved an album, and he said he didnt. But my word goes as far as this hidden column, and his goes into a newspaper.
Is he entitled to his opinion? Sure. But on that big platform, how about yay and nay reviews? Gives accomplishers a chance.
Lyrics are not music. Write them out - hear anything? Music is audible.
Lyrics are something to accompany the music, like a drum.
Lyrics can be bad, but if the song is good they work. Their function is mechanical.
The Art Of The Deal
I thought about the Brooklyn Bridge.
The architect specified seven times the needed cable strength because he figured the supplier would cheat the specs by 50%.
Thats business, and you can have it!
The Driving Wheel
LA drivers are artists, often. Weaving through traffic elegantly, courteous to a fault. Driving here is an adventure. But there are also clods.
+ On a three-lane street, where the left is dedicated to left turns and the right to right, the center go-ahead lane is often stone-stalled by right-turners with fear-of-the-curb.*
Cars are designed to make right turns within the confines of one lane. To that end, curbs are corner-curved, but few people trust it.
Every day I pre-dread the, well, idiot in front of me signaling a right-turn because in the majority (yes) of cases they will straddle two lanes.
+ Tuesday mornings I see two conflicting LA drivers as I head west on the 101 freeway and pass the San Diego Freeway merger lane to my right.
I am sad how the line moving at an inch-at-a-time often extends a full mile. I salute people who endure this.
Then come the butters, who sneak alongside that line to the front, stop, put on their right-turn signal and importune with pleading gestures to be let in. **
And someone always lets them in! If I were mayor or emperor I would permit winging interlopers, and paint-peppering the car body of suckers who let them in.
* Spelled kerbs in England. Why dont the speak English?
** L.A. is line-butt heaven, because it's a good bet that one portable-screen reader is not guarding their position.
I have been accused of outsizedly criticizing women writers in the newspaper-nagging column, Everybody Has One.
Women in the press are doctrinaire crusaders for their cause.There are as many types of women as men. Some are smart, some are dumb, some this, some that.
But one things for sure - most do not spend their lives assailing men. Those gals gravitate to the printed news field.
And that explains shrinkage in male readers.
A history channel offers The 50s - First Time in Color.
They dipped black and white film in a light brown bath so everyones skin is the same shade, and made the sky a constant blue.
From there, sometimes as many as five colors appear, depending on the palate of the colorists.
Its as phony as phonys root, faux.
* Trump SAYS he can grab some womens pussies. He meant women on the make for his money. They'll endure his advances, gambling on a return.
Trump, the boor, was astonished at the lengths certain women will go.
Or he could be full of shit. Imagine that.
Isnt it nice that gas pumps now have flat tops, to place your gas cap? For many years they were irregular surfaces often rounded!
* Does anyone manufacture a car with front bench seats? Once, long ago, you could enter from the passenger door and slide over
I saw a 1962 film film which cost only $10,000 to make. Cross-checking, thats $84,000 today. (Has anyone up-calculated the $16 cost of Manhattan Island?)
Who does TCM target with their Alfred Hitchcock or Orson Welles branded wines? Certainly not wine connoisseurs.
I think they make' their audience as hicks. Im not a drinker, but might buy a bottle of Gabby Hayes hooch
I have crossed my left leg over my right from time immemorial. But now I am training my other so I can be ambicrossal
Do you really want a front row seat at a play? Actors spit their lines.
I like variety in music, so my iPod plays songs alphabetically by title.
* "Street" musicians here convinced the managers of the popular Sunday morning Ivar Avenue market in Hollywood to allow them to use amps. Fie on them.
A quaint old name for LA.
The answer: La la land.
Not QUAINT, you damn Canuck.
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