Archive | August, 2012

NPR or Bust

30 Aug

I feel I might be a little late to the game with NPR, or maybe I’m just finally coming of age.  Yes, that’s better.  This is a “coming of age” piece where we see our protagonist grow and learn through…ahh, forget it.  Simply put, NPR is awesome because there’s something fun and nostalgic about radio shows, well that and they’re very entertaining.  When I was growing up, I was accustomed to listening to songs on the radio interjected with brief uninteresting DJs piping up with their two cents about nothing anyone cares about.  I’d wrongly been under the impression that National Public Radio was a boring place where boring adults would tune in to get the latest boring news.  This initial image was solidified when the hilarious Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer became well-known doing their “SNL” skit “Delicious Dish” poking fun at the calm and monotonous manner in which some of the featured shows on NPR were conducted.  You could say it, “cracked people the fuck up”.  It shattered the sound barrier with laughter, especially when Alec Baldwin hosted and participated in their infamous “Schweddy Balls” bit.  Who doesn’t appreciate a healthy dose of innuendo?!  Getting back to the point – so now, now that I’m an adult (I think), as part of my adult initiation I was introduced, in a real way, to NPR.  That along with other perks of adulthood such as, eating ice cream for dinner, day drinking and being able to rent a car.

If you haven’t been sexed in to the NPR gang just yet, below are some shows that you should tune in to.  Also, they have podcasts available just in case you don’t find yourself in the car at precisely the right moment they happen to be airing (because who the F listens to the actual radio outside of the car anymore!?  No, seriously, name somebody who’s not over 50 and does that.)  Here we go…

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! – The show hosted by Peter Sagal and his trusty sidekick Carl Kasell is absolutely hysterical.  It hosts numerous comedians and other interesting guests who have the opportunity to win the aforementioned Carl Kasell’s voice on the home answering machine of one lucky listener.  How hilarious is that?  For some reason, the silliness of this cracks me up and I find myself wishing so very very hard that he would leave my outgoing message.  I would totally re-get a landline for that!  This, along with the fact they make the news shockingly appealing with their weekly trivia and celebrity appearances, has made me a believer.  While it’s always clean, it’s always funny.  I can’t pinpoint why, but I find myself laughing out loud over and over again.  I mean, that’s always a good sign, right?

Old. School. Radio. Pulled from wikimedia commons.

Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross – She is a phenomenal interviewer, one of the best I’ve ever heard.  I didn’t even realize I had an opinion on interviewers until I heard her and then subsequently Dick “blah blah” Gordon who hosts “The Story” immediately following her show.  He’s an awful and selfish interviewer. Alright, that’s a little harsh, but I bet he’s lobbied to get his time slot moved away from hers so the contrast isn’t as obvious…$100 bucks.  Even if her guest isn’t someone I would typically find interesting, I’m always captivated with them and the story she helps solicit.  On top of being generally entertained, you might get a book, movie or music suggestion out of it depending on who the guest turns out to be.  All I know is, I adore Louis C.K. even more than I did prior to listening to him on her show and I now have an interesting, shall we say, opinion of Meryl Streep.  Her manner of speaking and the content within her interview immediately took me back to her character in “She-Devil”.  Yeah, you heard me, I said it.  As much as I worship Meryl’s genius as an actress, her real-lady self isn’t as fascinating.  Oh, c’mon, she’s not really a deity, relax already.  You’d think I just told all of West Hollywood that there wasn’t a Santa Claus.  Anyway – Terry. Gross.

Car Talk – Oh, the Click and Clack Brothers, how I treasure thee.  Who knew that two guys talking about cars could be so brazenly hilarious?  I didn’t know, until I did.  They are two actual brothers who know everything, and I mean everything about cars.  They are both MIT graduates and have got it down on all things related to gas guzzlers.  It’s a call in format where guests relay their particular car issue and explain what has happened, the noise it’s making or why they would appreciate an expert’s validation of their attempt to figure out why their automobile isn’t working properly.  It’s free and impartial advice to those who seem to be stuck in a frustrating car related situation.  In my opinion, one of the best things about the show is – they laugh.  They have these great laughs and they will make you laugh.  Please catch them before they retire after 35 years in October and no longer air newly recorded shows – they had a cartoon once that aired on PBS and have fabulous Boston accents…what more do you want!?

A Prairie Home Companion – This is a classic, but I’m still far too burned from the movie to listen.

Do yourself a favor and graduate from Ryan Seacrest.  Or at least switch it up to include some of the good ol’ radio shows of NPR every once in a while!

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My Bizarre Fascination with Cemeteries

27 Aug

I’m completely fascinated with cemeteries.  Never could put my finger on why…

Challenge: Have a MINI Dance Party

23 Aug

Josephine Baker; Photo by Lucien Walery; pulled from Wikimedia Commons

Dance parties are always fun, always.  MINI-dance parties are even better.  They’re usually spontaneous and can happen anywhere at anytime.  These are safe zones.  No judgment can be passed – no one’s mellow can be harshed.  You are now free and able to contort your bodies into a variety of natural spasms and jerks.  You will have fun doing this, you will loosen up and you can stand tall knowing that you just improved your quality of life.

It doesn’t matter where you are; you can have one in a bar.  Or even better, in your car.  You can start one in the rain; you can start one on a train.  You can have one in a hotel tower; you can have one in the shower.  You can dance all by yourself or with tons of people on the twelfth (of whenever).  You can have them in a square, you can have them anywhere!  Oh snap, see that?  Dr. Seuss ain’t got nothing on me…(no disrespect Mr. Dr. Seuss, but I’m going to get a little fresh since we’re talking about dance parties.)  OK, I know I know I know, not my best rhyming, but look deeper into the kindergarten like rhymes and you’ll see my point.  They don’t need to take place somewhere specific!  This goes right along with the letting loose nature of dancing itself.  (My rhyming, much like my dancing style, clearly hasn’t graduated past elementary school.)

So what if I’ve been told semi-recently I dance like a 5th grader!?A bestowment which I now carry around with me like a medal of honor.  If you’re concerned about how cool you look while busting a move, you’re doing it wrong.  I tend to be partial to mini-dance parties that have an 80’s theme, but any genre of music will do.  Below are some songs that without fail insight immediate dancing happiness (I dare you not to jump, skip or flail around whilst listening to these.  If you don’t, we’ve got bigger problems)…

MODERN LOVE – David Bowie

 

DANCING WITH MYSELF – Billy Idol


LET’S GO CRAZY – Prince (song starts at :19)

Palm Trees a Go-Go

20 Aug

I am depressed.  This is a sad post.  Very, very sad.  Hey, stop laughing at me; I’m being serious.  This is what depresses me…

There are many things I love about LA, but an image that has always been extremely dear to me is that of streets lined with tall, skinny palm trees that are up so high, they dazzle the sky.  They’re peaceful and beautiful additions to a bustling, high-octane city.  They’re so perfect, so calming.  I choose certain streets to drive down over others just so I can see them.  Billions of people associate palm trees and Los Angeles, and rightfully so.  Of all the buildings and people who have changed over the years, the palm trees have stayed the same; they are one of the few things that tie the worlds of old and new Hollywood together.  And this is when it gets sad…because in the near future, they are going to be gone.

Trees are living and because of this atrocious fact, they also die.  This is something we learn as youngsters, usually the day our first goldfish goes belly up.  The city isn’t replanting them for a slew of stupid reasons, some of those being that their upkeep is expensive (all that trimming, etc.), this particular type of tree doesn’t provide shade (Seriously???  Is this the only reason nature exists in a city?  To provide shade??  Jeez, I feel like that’s right up there with “the dog ate my homework.”), and they’re not particularly known for their help with carbon monoxide/air filtration/cleansing the smog, etc.

This particular species of palm tree (the tall skinny kind – so scientific, I know) has a typical lifespan of roughly 100 years and the majority of these were planted back in the 20’s & 30’s.  Do the math.  I can’t image this city without them, but unfortunately they are going to start dropping one by one.  Watch out for your cars and houses.  Don’t worry about me in that capacity, I’m covered, I rent and have subterranean parking.  But, one day there will be Oaks and Sycamores lining our streets instead of the palms that will very soon be celebrating their centennial.

There is a project dedicated to replanting trees in LA, called the Million Trees Project, which will replace the fading palms with new trees.  They’ll be putting in all sorts of trees – except for palms.  Sure, some will be planted, but the amount will be nowhere near the quantity we have now.  This species of tree isn’t one of those lucky bastards that gets to live it’s remaining days in La La Land and revel in its fame.  Imagine all those little baby trees that get to see their relatives on TV and in the MOVIES!  Oooooo!!!  But no more, shade is a problem in LA and we need to rectify it.

The types of trees that are going to fill our city in 20 years.

It would be wonderful if there was a better way around this, but alas, we are going to be forced to conform to the new LA.  The sycamore and oak version of LA.  People will come to our city with stars in their eyes, they’ll see the Hollywood sign, they’ll go on audition after audition, they’ll go to Amoeba and the Cinerama Done, but they won’t see the abundance of palm trees that we see today.

Maybe Hugh Hefner will come in and save the palm trees like he did with the Hollywood sign.  He is my local hero…

The Old Zoo (aka A Spray Paint Can & a Dream)

16 Aug

This sign says it all.  No, I mean literally, it does say it all.

I associate the Old Zoo with animals and spray paint.  But, you probably saw the animals thing coming, right?  This is one of the more interesting places I’ve been in Los Angeles and I can’t imagine there is anywhere else like it.  I like places where animals have been freed from their cages and graffiti adorns the walls (and everything else) so I was bound to like this place…

Around this time last year, I went to the Old Zoo in LA’s Griffith Park for the first time.  I went early in the morning to do a little exploring and picture taking (see below) and I loved what I found.  There’s not much to it and you get this odd feeling like you’re trespassing, when clearly you’re not.  It’s eerie, fascinating, thought-provoking, dirty and completely enjoyable.  It’s so out of place and I was truly shocked at the fact you are able to meander into these abandoned and heavily graffittied animal cages, stroll the nearly condemned buildings and completely take in these seemingly forgotten grounds.  When you’re there you feel as if you are in an isolated history.  But no!  It’s smack dab in the middle of a very cherry Griffith Park, very close to the Merry-Go-Round and 17 different birthday parties all complete with bounce houses.  The cages are completely open; you can walk right into them and peer out at your faux caged world.  I didn’t expect such laissez-faireism from the City of Los Angeles; you would think this place would be locked up!  Torn down!  But, I sure am glad it’s not.

This place is a teenager’s haven and you can tell it’s not lost on them.  I got a kick out of all the beer bottles, drug paraphernalia, pill bottles, condoms (whoo hoo! they’re not procreating!), snacks and litter.  And that does nothing but add to the general sense of displacement you feel from stepping onto the grounds.

This zoo was in commission from 1912 to 1965, with most of the existing buildings having been built in the 1930s.  After it’s 53-year run it closed (or left open) it’s doors and made the 2-mile journey across the big lawn of Griffith Park and set up shop at its current location.  This is all according to their posted signs; I’m a heavy researcher.  They go on to say, “Once, bears, lions, monkeys, macaws, goats, elephants, reptiles, and turtles, among other things lived here and the sounds of their growls, roars, calls, and clamor filled this canyon.”  While I find that all very exciting, does anyone else have an issue with their general ranking of animals here?  In what world do macaws and goats (goats!) get filed in the cool-animal ranking order before elephants?!  I’m being serious.  And I love turtles, but do they really get a shout-out when we’re talking about bears and lions?!  Yeah…I’m going with no.

This is a cool spot to hit up if you’re looking for a little bit of mellow exploring in Griffith Park Proper.

Directions:  You can take Los Feliz Blvd. to Crystal Springs Drive, pass the road that leads to the Merry-Go-Round (there are signs pointing to Mr. Merry-Go-Round) and take your next left onto Griffith Park Dr. (not like there are necessarily signs to these roads), follow this into a parking lot where it dead ends.  It’s Griffith Park guys – directions are hard.  You’re going to park and walk up the hill/take the stairs up to the grassy clearing.  The bear caves are across the grass to your left, it’s a good place to start, explore away!

Entrance to the bear caves.

Inside one of the cages.

Zoo love.

People are creative.

Who knew Audrey Hepburn was a skank.

Looking down an open row of cages.

Beer: Hitachino Nest 3 Days for Days

11 Aug

These exist in my refrigerator.

This beer has a special story.  The Kiuchi Brewery in Japan (Hitachino Nest Beers) released a very limited amount, only 8,000 bottles, of a beer they’ve titled Hitachino Nest 3 Days.

A batch of beer was in the mashing stage of the beer making process when the infamous 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan in March 2011.  Parts of the brewery were damaged and the whole facility was without electricity for three days.  With something has horrific as that having happened, you didn’t think the beer would be the same, did you?  The beer, left to its own devices, began fermenting on its own.  Once those three days had passed and power was finally reinstated, they decided to bottle it as planned much to the gratification of all of us lucky enough to try it.  You now get the title…

My boyfriend and I were a little late to the game discovering this gem of a beer.  He stumbled upon it  during a trip to Vegas and bought the bar’s last bottle.  I was able to track down six bottles in San Francisco and had them shipped to us for his birthday.  We cracked one open a few nights ago and it’s lovely.  The remaining five bottles are living very happily in our refrigerator just waiting for the opportunity to delight on a special occasion (also known as a Saturday).

The New Crazy Cat Lady

9 Aug

I took this. This happened.

Crazy Cat Ladies are so last decade.  Crazy Dog Stroller Ladies are taking over crazy lady market!  You know who I mean, they are the crazy ladies that walk around pushing dogs in baby strollers.  I see them everywhere, around the neighborhood, at the park, at Target (not kidding).  Babies belong in baby strollers, you say?  No, nope, not the case.

Now, I’m not saying Crazy Cat Ladies are on the decline, in fact I think the opposite is true.  There was a study released earlier this summer in the Archives of General Psychiatry revealing that maybe the crazy cat came before the crazy lady and not vice versa.  It states that cats are likely carriers of a particular parasite, that when passed along to humans (most commonly via changing litter boxes), those people in turn have an increased risk of suicide, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  So, put that in your pipe and smoke it and make sure to have your crazy aunt get checked out.

Don’t you see?  This changes everything.  These ladies weren’t crazy on their own – the cats made them that way!  Seemingly, the chicken came first in this scenario.

Man, it makes you wonder what’s going on with the Dog Stroller crowd…

The creators of this were onto something. Pulled from iwastesomuchtime.com

Who DID Shoot Rock & Roll?

8 Aug

Mick Jagger leaving a stage that has been littered with shoes.  Photo by Lynn Goldsmith

Dear Time Travel Gods,

Please send me back to the 1960s/early 1970s.  I would totally turn slut for that.  I belong there.  Please let me know what you decide ASAP so I can start weaning myself off technology.  Also, I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb throwing around modern vernacular, so I’ll need a moment to extract it from my system. (OMG, that fugly MILF is totally rockin a whale tale.  And no, her wigger bf did NOT just give me the stink eye!?)  I would need to make sure I have the appropriate attire on hand.  No one wants to show up in their dream decade of peace, love and everything flowy wearing fluorescent anything and a bandage dress.  (Not that I wear that anyway, but you know what I mean.)  Anyway, I would be forever grateful if you could please show me to my DeLorean.

Thanks,

Red Velour

Now that we’re on the same page as far as life dreams go, we can get into what this post is really about.   I went to the WHO SHOT ROCK & ROLL exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography this weekend and was shown, yet again, why I love this time period, its music and its musicians in general.

If you haven’t been to the Annenberg Space before, this is a good time to check it out.  It’s on the CAA building property in Century City, so there’s ample parking, and it’s free.  Let me warn you, the space is small, but it’s modern and has a circular center where they typically show videos complimenting the current exhibit.  In this instance, they have a video produced specifically for the Annenberg Space and the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit (see trailer below).  It showcases many of the photographers that have pictures hung on the walls and they discuss the circumstances surrounding many of their well-known photographs.

How crazy to see Jimi Hendrix in a tux?! From popsiephotos.com

As far as the actual photography exhibit goes, there are a slew of remarkably interesting photos concentrated mostly in the 60s-70s, with a handful dating before and after.  They feature photographers like Bob Gruen, Linda McCartney, Norman Seeff and others.  Don’t know who they are?  You’ll remember those names after you see their work and realize you’ve been seeing it for years.  John Lennon in a New York City T-shirt, anyone?  There are concert shots.  Shots of outrageous behavior that could have been lost, but have instead been captured and rescued.  Then there are the behind the scenes shots, which glance into the real lives of these artists who are revered by so many.  Is my flux capacitor ready yet?  I gotta go!

Some of the featured photographers are scheduled to lecture at the exhibit throughout its run.  Check their website here for dates/times.  Who Shot Rock & Roll is showing until October 7, 2012.

Dylan with kids in Liverpool 1966. Photo by Barry Feinstein

Just watch it, it’s fun –

Carmageddon is Coming!! (Artmageddon is Coming!!!)

4 Aug

This is awesome.

Head for the hills!!!  Oh…wait.  We’re supposed to stay local and keep out of our cars, right?  OK, than stay where you are!  I’m not sure how the rest of the city felt during last year’s brief closure of the 405, but I thought it was awesome.  The whole community came together to talk about the impending disaster that would soon befall our fair city.  It was a topic of conversation on everyone’s tongue right up to the weekend that was Carmageddon.  And then the strangest thing happened…everyone did what they were supposed to do.  They stayed home; they stayed local.   The reason I know this is because I was the asshole that DID drive on the freeways that day and it was beautiful, really a sight to see, but that’s not the point.  My (and I’m sure everyone else’s) favorite picture is the dinner table set up smack dab in the middle of the 405, the parking lot, the place where Pandora’s box was first opened.  (Well that last one might not be true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be.)

This year they are closing it again to finish the construction they started last year.  Since it’s happening in super shiny Los Angeles, CA they’ve coined this year’s term – Carmageddon 2.  What I don’t understand is why, just because this is LA and this is where a good majority of movies are made, it’s widely accepted for people to act/say all sorts of things laced with douchebagery.  Every news outlet that picks up this story makes sure to mention it being titled “Carmageddon 2”, because we’re paying homage to our city’s culture of movie-making.  Ugh – really, LA?!?  This is the best you could come up with?  A digit?  I’m extremely disappointed with the lack of cleverness and surely hope you haven’t jinxed our fun Carmageddon reunion with your idiocy.

One thing I do appreciate this year is the fact that some wonderful people have designed a counter event to take place the same weekend.  A diversion to give the good people of Los Angeles something to do that doesn’t require gasoline – this being Artmageddon (I’m becoming dizzy with all the word play.)  In each LA neighborhood there will be art that one can walk, bike and/or take the subway to (see The Metro is for Lovers).  I love this!  What a way to make it easier on everyone!  There’s something to be said about being able to find something to do in your own section of the city and not feel mandated to drive everywhere all the time!

Pulled from artmageddonla.com

Do it!

A Man Named Senna

3 Aug

Pulled from Instituto Ayrton Senna

Senna.  Last night I watched the 2010 documentary of the same name.  It’s a beautiful tragedy about the life and racing career of Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, who died competing in the sport he felt so passionately about.

As someone who’s never been dedicated to watching sports, I was happy to succumb to it when two of my awesome and devoted Formula One-loving friends opened my eyes.  Now, I love it.

What you need to know is, “Senna” isn’t a conventional documentary.  It could very easily be a scripted drama with its heart, intense rivalry, sadness and intrigue. I’d known about this movie, but even with my newfound adoration of the sport, I was reluctant to see it because of my blasé attitude toward documentaries.  Then the night came when all the stars, moons & planets aligned; after it had been playing for less than a minute I was already enraptured.  You can tell almost instantaneously this film is so well crafted and cared for that you’re in for something great.  It’s so dramatic and Senna himself so enigmatic that you lose yourself in it, in him, waiting to see how his story unfolds.

This one is worth watching.

Spoiler alert: It’s very possible you’ll cry like a little bitch, mark my words.

Pulled from a tumblr acct – no information provided

Let’s Brainstorm: Olympics Edition

2 Aug

Clever. Pulled from notcot.org

The Olympics.  Yep, they’re happening.  You wouldn’t be able to escape them if you tried.  Every time they come around, I can’t help but wonder the same thing over and over – what is the next “odd” sport that the Olympics are going to recognize?

Have you ever really thought about how almost ALL of the games are just plain bizarre?  That they’re weirdly simplistic in theory?  We’ve got people taking a big stick and using that to thrust themselves over another stick.  We’ve got people jumping around on beams.  We’ve got people dancing around in a pool together and we’ve got people flipping around on rings hanging from the ceiling.  See what I mean?

The Summer Games hit both sides of the spectrum; they range from “normal” sports/games (i.e. tennis, basketball, volleyball, etc.) to more antiquated and eyebrow raising events (those that seem almost too silly to belong in such a prestigious and internationally recognized affair).  There’s no middle ground.  You get Basketball or Table Tennis.   You get Hockey or Javelin Throwing.  I mean, how does one get into javelin throwing in the first place?  However, if I’m watching, I find myself enjoying the more unconventional events.  Can you believe they discontinued tug-of-war in 1920?!  I would watch the hell out of that…

Charles Atlas & the Rockettes from smithsonianmag.com

The International Olympic Committee has approved two new sports that will be added to the 2016 Olympics, those being rugby sevens (a, you guessed it, seven man version) and golf.  But, even these are previously discontinued sports now making a comeback.  Yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking.  While the Games have known their share of scandal; you think they are too squeaky-clean!  Why not reduce the illustrious and beloved Olympics down to another episode of “The Real Housewives of Who Gives a Shit” by allowing Tiger Woods to participate?  What’s next?  Invite Mike Tyson the rapist and Michael Vick the puppy-killer to take part in their respective sports?   Let’s come up with something new and unusual!  And preferably rapist-free!

Unless we are OK with the Olympics phasing out some of the more peculiar events in the future, I say we start focusing on what the next, more unusual sport will be.   Some of the criteria for a sport to be eligible for inclusion are popularity and for the sport to be recognized internationally – great, so let’s all get into Shin-Kicking!  Haha…no, I’m not kidding, it exists, look it up here.  I vote for this one.  Any other ideas out there?

Pulled from thejetpacker.com

The Main Thing

1 Aug

Quote by Stephen Covey.  Image found on an extinct website…

My happiness and the happiness of my family and friends will win the battle over the perceived importance of daily stressors every single time.  I like this clever little quote that so simply and easily reminds me of that.

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