Thursday, May 31, 2007

Neighborhood #5 (Los Feliz)

Tuesday night was the big Arcade Fire show over at the Greek Theatre in beautiful Griffith Park. Due to a last minute radio record I narrowly made it all the way over there (Los Feliz ain’t like around the corner, ya know) with about 15 minutes to spare before they came on.

And then they came on.

And they played with abandon. Just like always. Even though the sound quality at the Greek was for shit, it was great. Even though our seats in the “terrace” level off to the side of the stage could have been much better, it was great. Thankfully the park wasn’t burned to the ground during the forest fire a few weeks ago so that it could happen at all.

And of course they played a lot songs from “Neon Bible” which made me think back on how (despite not loving it right off the bat) that album got me through the late winter/early spring of this year. So many things were hanging in so many balances it was crazy. It was crazy exciting but also crazy uncertain. That album became my escape every day when I’d go out running or crank it in my car or nights when I’d just listen to it on headphones at night as I’d kid myself into thinking it’ll all work out. Like you can get everything you want, right?

And then Tuesday night I watched that same band play live in LA after all that stuff happened damn-near perfectly. Careful what you wish for.

So in hindsight, I probably saw a totally different show than anyone else there. But it was good. And I think I finally realized how much Regine really drives that band.

Someone even shot a video of “Rebellion (lies)” which closed the main set.

And here’s a more traditional review from the good folks at NME:

Arcade Fire pull out all the stops in LA
Canadians sell out two nights at the Greek Theatre.

Arcade Fire played the first of two sold-out shows at Los Angeles' Greek Theatre last night (May 29).

The Canadians were in top form, swapping instruments, wailing on symbols and throwing drums and tambourines in the air during their typically energetic set.

"It's hard to resist making bad puns like 'Let's burn this fucking place to the ground,'" quipped frontman Win Butler, referring to the massive Griffith Park fire that nearly burnt down the outdoor amphitheatre, leaving it closed until recently. 

Kicking off their hour-and-a-half set with 'Black Mirror', the 10-piece band ran through several tracks from their most recent album, 'Neon Bible', as well as old favourites from their debut album 'Funeral'. 

The crowd erupted during Regine Chassagne's emotional delivery of 'Haiti', and shouted the lyrics along with Butler during several tracks, including 'Neighborhood #2 (Laika)' and 'Wake Up'.

The band closed out the night with an impressive two-song encore. During 'My Body Is A Cage', a ghostlike image of Butler's face was projected onto a cardboard cut-out of the singer at the front of the stage as he played pipe organ at the back of the stage. 

"I like to call him Win2-D2, but I'm open to suggestions," joked Butler before closing out the night with the rousing 'Wake Up'.

They played:

'Black Mirror'

'No Cars Go'


'Neighborhood #2 (Laika)'

'Neon Bible'

'In The Backseat'


'(Antichrist Television Blues)'

'Ocean Of Noise'

'Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)'

'The Well And The Lighthouse'

'Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)'

'Keep The Car Running'

'Rebellion (Lies)'

'My Body Is A Cage'

'Wake Up'

Sunday is move-in day. Word.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Play some Jane's Addiction! Or at least Porno for Pyros.

On Sunday while out riding our bikes we stopped by Perry Farrel's record release party for his new Satellite Party band. Kinda cool but really better people watching—you know, old Jane's Addiction fans who have been on the scene since the early Hollywood days. And look like it. And of course Perry looked his usual heroin-skiekness. He did rock one Jane's song. But most of that new bidness I'm afraid ain't that great. To my ears anyway.

I smiled special for that one.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It felt like we won

Yesterday we played our cross-the-street rivals in a little game of roundball. I didn’t play of course (not so good at the hoops) but a few brave guys did. But everyone went and drank beer and watched them. It was quite a scene. Each squad had our own announcer (ours was better) but they had a drumline and of course home court advantage. And they strutted out some guy who we were all pretty sure was a freelancer/ringer—the guy looked like Kevin Buth with skills to match. Curiously, he wasn’t even wearing the traditional yellow Chiat jersey either. We’re investigating further. And trying to get him on staff before the next game. We're also looking at Kobe's photoshop skills for a possible summer internship.

But let’s get on to the action!

There was a national anthem. It was very moving.

There was a little pre-game shootaround.

Then the game got under way.

And there was halftime entertainment from their HR ladies. Apparently someone’s got some spare time.

And like that the game was over. And our side of the scoreboard was missing like 20 points. Oh well. There were free beers and hotdogs.

The rest of the night went downhill from there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

At least we can laugh about it

A few words on being homeless

I gotta admit, it's getting to me.

I've been bouncing about since April 13 when I left the ATL without a place to call home. Oh sure, I've stayed with friends, I've house sat, and I've now subletted (is that the proper conjugation?) two places but the sense of not being in MY place is wearing on me. Add to that my karma has shafted me with a stampy upstairs neighbor in my current sublet who apprently thinks the world gets up at 6:30 AM and enjoys constant pacing for about an hour and a half before mercifully leaving. Fucker. I hate sleeping with ear plugs but it's a necessity unfortunately if you wanna sleep past then.


I visited my stuff in storage tonight when I went by to grab some of my camping gear for this weekend and hardly recognized it. It was like I was digging through someone else's things. Not that I'm even a very materialistic person but there's something about sitting on yor own couch, sleeping in your own bed on your own sheets, and being amongst your own books and things that provides a rudder of sorts. A rudder I've been sorely missing for about 40 days now.

I've only got a week and some change left before I move into my place but it can't get here fast enough. I'm kind of losing it even if I won't admit it to anyone. I've always fancied myself a pretty laid-back, go-with-the-flow kinda guy but I think alot of that comes from my home being in order. So no matter what happens out there, I know my stuff's in order at home. And that lets me see where the rest of it takes me.

It's a different thing when you're completely going with the flow.

That being said, we're escaping the city to the gloriously named Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park this weekend. I've wanted to go to all the California parks since I was a kid.

I can't wait.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Un fin de semana mas bueno

Apologies for taking a few days off but this city has a lot of stuff to do and it makes it harder to find time to write about it. 'Cause I'm out doin' it. You see the conumdrum.

We kicked off the weekend Friday night with a delightful dinner at a cool little spot in West Hollywood named (in pretty bad-ass fashion) Cobras and Matadors. While it seemed to be pretty highly recommended, personally I was attracted to the name. The food was good but the music was even better.

Saturday we rode bikes down to the Santa Monica airport for the AltBuild Expo in which various green building business pitched their wares and held talks and stuff. I just kinda walked around since I don’t own anything to green-up and, frankly, a lot of it was kind of old news (i.e. try not to use harsh chemicals to clean your house, filter water instead of drinking a bazillion plastic bottles, etc.). Also, and this is a whole other post I’m afraid, but the green movement needs a sense of humor like LA needs rain. So much of it is so dour at times and tends to take itself very, very seriously. I’m just saying, all this tragedy has got to be worth some comedy. Why not be the coolest, smartest, and funniest kids in the room rather than just the most forward-thinking? I’ll start that one myself. Soon.

Saturday night we biked up into the hills above Culver City to a party at a guy named Chris Paine’s house. He’s the guy who made the movie “Who killed the electric car?” which has been lingering in my queue for some time now. It was fun and he was a super nice host even if the house was totally empty of furniture for some reason. I think it was a very recent purchase and so things like furniture aren’t a part of it just yet. But then again it made for good flow, if I can drop a term like that. There were shots and beers and DJ’s and light-up hula-hoops and swimming pools and bean-bags and it was all downhill on the ride home. Oh yeah, and my totally illegal bike of death—no working lights (need to get some), no reflectors (I removed them many years ago to lower the weight) didn’t get me killed. That was good. I did kick the helmet of course. I'm not a total idiot.

Sunday morning began with some pretty advanced tailgating before heading to the Home Depot center in Carson to watch the glorious Chivas USA club take on the soon-to-be-saddled-with-Beckham LA Galaxy. The Galaxy is already the final resting ground for Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones so why not bring over Becks?

Dig the Chivas paraphenalia.

Rarely do LA’s two soccer teams play each other so it’s apparently always a treat. How much so, I didn’t know until I got there.

The fans sang and danced and drummed the entire game.

They threw out the mojo.

A guy wore this thing which I meant to get one of.

Our team scored. Then they replayed it on the screen behind us.

Red and white confetti blasted everywhere making the field look like a field of flowers. Beautiful game, indeed.

The Galaxy tried to regroup.

Then up came the Chivas flag, covering our section.

We celebrated.

Then came the bags and bags and bags of homemade confetti. Old magazines and newspapers mostly. That when the clock hot the sixtieth minute, ended up ev-er-y-where.

We played horns.

JD and I rocked some funky-ass horns.

Then we did some other stuff with horns.

Color me a Chivas fan. Them folks know how to party.
We capped it off with a couple more beers and a little parking lot ball.

And like that the fin de semana was fin.

LA rocks.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Goings on. And garlic.

My man Mike swung through town on Monday night for a meeting and we met up for some drinks at the ever-pleasant Otheroom. It’s always fun to catch up with him as he works for the company I started with about 11 years ago. So much has changed there it’s crazy. Fortunately, Mike has worked himself into a catbird seat of a position where he and a team of mercenaries go out and steal your business. Not too shabby.

We of course laughed a lot and reminisced about all the crazy times we’ve had over the past 8 years since we met. Crazy to think it’s been that long.

And Justin told me yesterday we won a National Addy for a piece we did back when I was at BBDO. He’s gonna straight up represent us in Loiusville (of all places) at the ceremony. That should be cool. I mean, aside from the whole Louisville location.

Throw that bad boy on the awards pile.

Oh, and has anyone ever been around garlic that straight-up permeates your frikkin’ skin for hours and hours on end and no amount of brushing can cure? ‘Cause I have. That’s some freak-ass garlic.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hot enough for ya?

How surprised do you think Jerry Falwell is right now?

Positive energy

This morning I sat in on a pretty fascinating presentation on alternative fuels for cars. I can't get into most of it as a great deal of it was top-secret but there were a few issues brought up that made us all talk for hours afterward.

Personally, it all seems so goddamn simple I wish I was a scientist or engine developer or something. I mean, I understand that burning liquefied dead animals seemed like a good fuel a hundred years ago. Hell, a good portable fuel was hard to come by. But for fuck’s sake, this is 2007. My television automatically tapes shows it thinks I might like while simultaneously taping the ones I do like and you’re telling me we can’t make an engine spin without burning liquefied dead animals?


Basically, research shows consumer demand for alternative fuels is essentially limitless so long as it is affordable (or at least comparable to gas) and “loyalty” to oil-based fuels is essentially zero. So from what I see, the general feeling in this country is “give us a better option and consider it problem-solved.”

But one thing that was said this morning in the presentation really jumped out at me. Most retailers who are converting pumps to bio-diesel or ethanol/biomass fuels are doing so as a response to market demand (i.e., people who live nearby are buying the cars that run on those fuels). But there were a couple of stations who were not only totally converting to only selling bio-fuels but also re-categorizing themselves.

No longer were they going to be gas stations.

They began billing themselves simply as energy stations.

Their goal was to simply to sell energy—the best and cleanest kind available. And that to me seemed remarkable. It seemed to be so liberating. So free of the system. Why not sell the latest, cleanest energy technology available? To only sell gasoline seems somewhat shortsighted anyway.

Of course those stations weren’t in California so it was easier for them to do (I’m told California is a regulatory nightmare from a retail standpoint) but still they were doing it.

And that’s what counts.

Monday, May 14, 2007

If you're having girl problems...

Saw it this weekend and thought it was funny. Good for a chuckle at least.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I could have let it go

Some of you may remember a couple of months ago when I flew out here to LA and had pretty much the worst air travel experience of my life on US Airways. It’s taken me until now but I’d pretty much put it behind me. Hell, now I live in a city with multiple carrier options and even the workhorse, Southwest. So US Airways and their staff of idiots was a distant memory. Lesson learned.

But they couldn’t let it go.

They decided to take it up a notch.

So personal, right?

I got a voucher for $200. On another airline, you say? Oh no. $200 on their airline. Which might be enough for a flight to Orange County from here. Next time why not just spit on me.

Sending me (not much) money toward the use of your crap product is like tainted dog food companies sending you a free sample bag to feed your new dog, now that your old one is dead.

It’s like offering Jackie Kennedy a free trip to Dallas complete with limo transport.

It’s like offering the remaining Kennedy’s free flying lessons.

It’s like offering Sonny Bono’s widow free lift tickets.

It’s like offering Christopher Reeves free horseback riding.

It’s not cool is all I’m saying. Like I’d go through that again. Hell, even flying to like Vegas or Phoenix could go horribly wrong. For them it’s not about missed connections but rather a total inability to do anything on schedule.

I could have just let it go.

You don't see that every day

Pulling out of the DMV yesterday:


Friday, May 11, 2007

Tip o’ the Hat/ Wag o' the Mouse-Clicking Finger

Special Friday edition!

First off, a "Tip o’ the Hat" to the California DMV.

The dreaded DMV, right? Well sure enough, California’s got it together. Somehow I wasn’t surprised. First of all, I was able to get a new license, register my car and get new plates all in the same building that wasn’t downtown or some other less-than-desirable locale. In fact, it’s about 2 minutes from where I live with a big spacious parking lot. Even better, the people inside were all competent and in really good moods. One woman even walked around and made sure everyone was doing ok and answered questions. Oh yeah, and you can make appointments. It was crazy efficient and everyone was almost always moving—on both sides of the counter. And there’s even an automated station (like touch-screen and stuff) for registration renewals. It was about as pleasant an experience as you could expect. No coffee or donuts though. Speaking of coffee, I was little nervous when they asked me to take a 30 question driving rules test and then a vision test all before 9 in the morning. You’ll be glad to know I passed. Both of them.

Sadly, someone beat me to this little idea:

So I just went with the plain ones.

I just kept thinking the whole time I was in there how the experience beat the hell out of the downtown Atlanta House of Misery where I got my license renewed (I think there was one other location in like BFE Roswell, Duluth, or Tennessee or some other remote place). I remember standing outside the crap portable building somewhere in the barren wasteland between the interstate and one of the baseball stadium parking lots for like 15 minutes before it opened only to get inside and wait for like 30 more minutes while everyone behind the counter talked and gossiped and did their nails and waddled about under their own girth before finally making me feel like I was really putting them out to ask them to do their job. As if it was somehow my fault they didn’t pay attention on career day. I myself must have missed the “DMV Driver’s License Processing Clerk” table. That’s some sweet-ass employment!

And this is gonna sting a bit but I tell ya this much, there may not be a better feeling than turning over your Georgia license and unscrewing your Georgia license plate from your car. Sorry, but it’s true.

And A "Wag o' the Mouse-Clicking Finger" to Yahoo Mail.

I opened a Yahoo Mail account back in like 1997. It was pretty cool back then that you could get a free personal email account because the other ones I had were all school or work related and couldn’t be reached from everywhere nor would I have them forever. So I tolerated it. Also because I was smart enough to never get with Spamail…I mean Hotmail. Talk about bad.

But man, Yahoo Mail is still so un-user friendly. Today! In 2007! I know, I know, there’s the new beta version which is a little better (doesn’t work on Safari, however) but it still is light years behind Gmail which to me is the best in the biz. Gmail is simple, it goes straight to your inbox, it’s intuitive, well-organized, infinitely searchable, and has massive storage. In short, it rocks. Why anyone would use anything else is beyond me.

With Yahoo Mail, it always takes no less than 3 clicks to read a message. Why can’t you click on a message in the little preview window and then read it? It’s ridiculous. Instead they make you go to your overall “welcome” page as if you might want to see what junk mail you got. “Hey look, penis pills! How did they know?” Please, let’s just go to the inbox already. Even then, you have to go and click on the message you’ve already clicked on in the preview window. Sweet redundancy. I pretty much use it as my address for when I sign up for something or buy something. That’s about it. So a big fat wag of my mouse-clicking finger there. One that’s way overdue.

Things you can find on Craigslist, pretty much the most useful website ever.

• An apartment in LA to sublet from 4/23-5/13 while you’re looking for a place

• A cool little guest house in LA to live in permanently. But you can’t move in until 6/1

• Another apartment in LA to sublet from 5/10-6/1 while you’re waiting for said guest house

• The Holy Grail

• Jimmy Hoffa

• The second shooter

• Big Foot/Sasquatch

• Nessie

• Iraqi WMD’s

• Ot just someone to pee on you. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing

I tell ya, that website’s goddamn magic. I’ve been a fan for a long time. And somehow through it all it’s still primarily populated by cool people and still governed by a common sense of decency toward your fellow man.

Back in ad school, Matt Denyer and I turned out so many ideas for ad campaigns for Craigslist we didn’t know which to produce. Neither did anyone else. We ended up producing one together and then I did another myself.

The one I did myself was a little modern take on the “Pass it on” game—kind of a refresh of the old telephone game. The overarching theme of course was the communal sense of “passing it on” that seems to pervade Craigslist. It was all to be extremely guerilla and gone as fast as it came. Kind of like things on Craigslist. Click on the pictures so you can get the idea.

We also had one pitching Craig Newmark as a kind of “good-cult leader” kind of like Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite and David Koresh could have been if they hadn’t gone nut-so. The ads ended with the line “One man got it right.” It was pretty funny and the copy talked about how cults always seem like a good idea on the surface (like minded people, a compound, sweet uniforms/robes, etc.) until it goes too far and then it’s Kool-Aid, castration and ATF agents.

Thankfully, Craigslist has stayed on this side of normal.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

So how are things on the west coast?

Pretty darn good, actually. We had a little shoot this evening at a house up in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the city and enjoyed ourselves silly checking out the place. It was pretty nuts. It made the "coke house" in Atlanta that I shared with Matt and Kevin look downright pathetic by comparison.

Check it out:

Totally senseless but totally cool and, truthfully, so LA. I did feel like we should be shooting a porno or a John Holmes bio or Boogie Nights or something other than an ad but hey, this is my business. Thank god.

Apparently the house has been in loads of movies like the Big Lebowski and Charlie's Angels 2. I didn't recognize it but that's what they tell me. You'll recognize the spot when it airs.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An open letter to the terribly unfortunate person who ended up renting out my old apartment back in Atlanta.

I got the news the other day that I was off the hook for May’s rent because apparently you took the old apartment. In fact, I’m even gettin’ some scratch back for the last week of April. Pretty sweet, right?

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot. The best part is I never have to live beneath that enormous girl in apartment 4216 again. You do. That sucks.

Man, I bet you’re already hating it. You're prolly realizing that watching tv or reading a book or thinking or other diversions aren’t really possible anymore. At least at home. Yeah, those days are behind you, pal. You’re prolly sitting there day after day and thinking “holy crap did I make a mistake! Is this bitch for real?”

True dat.

She is mad fo-real.

Some nights as I’m laying in bed in the quiet, top-floor apartment I’m subletting in beautiful Los Angeles I think about you and how in a matter of hours (you know, time difference and all) Tons-of-Fun is gonna be up stomping around. And then I think “Man, that is gonna su-uck!” For you, I mean.

And sometimes I snicker a little. Then I chuckle.

Mostly at my good fortune.

(I should probably go ahead and warn you this next part is probably gonna sting a bit given your current situation)

I myself found a dope little place last week that I’ll be moving into in a few weeks. What’s that? A first-floor apartment? Yeah, right. Surely you jest.

No, dude, it’s a back house (I’m gonna be kickin’ it Kato-style!) which means no chance of Big Mama living above me. Or that dog of hers. The one who gets like zero exercise. Unless of course you count the sprints around the apartment. And trust me, you will ‘cause that’s all he’s gonna get. Poor little bastard.

Get ready for one long-ass year, bud.

Thanks again for getting me off the hook. And don’t be afraid to visit the earplug superstore online.

Trust me. The plugs I bought from them brought me many a night of decent sleep that would have been lost because I was living in an apartment made out of fucking balsa wood beneath a fucking land whale. A land whale with massive hooves. Somehow.

Best of luck with that.

But thanks again for taking it 'cause you saved me a month's rent I didn't want to pay.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Every day is like Sunday

Yesterday the weather was incredible. It was one of those days where it was warm but not hot. Breezy but not windy. Sunny and, well, sunny. So we hit the beach for some volleyball and then some beers at the charmingly divey Hinanos and then some delicious Thai food at a new find. A more classic southern California day you couldn't ask for.

Almost makes you think you could live here.

Oh, right.