Friday, March 14, 2014

Adventures in Ghana No. 1 - Are You A Learner? And Other Music


Begging your pardon in advance with these, as there's pretty much no way for me to go chronologically through my Ghana trip with any sort of narrative intrigue. So I'm splitting up the tales in my own strange fashion. Today, is an amuse-bouche since it relates little to anything else that happens, but will introduce you to some of the key elements of the trip. Plus, it's fun and I need to get on the road to San Francisco in a minute here. 

About three days in, we headed off on our road trip to the Cape Coast region of Ghana. Much more about Cape Coast in future posts, but the basics of this outing are thus:

1. We were in the capable hands of our bomb-ass driver, Toufiq, who would go on to become, essentially my new best friend. I don't know that I know anyone cooler than Toufiq. He is so naturally fly. He truly belongs in Hollywood. He has no idea how popular he'd be. 

2. We started a day late because a.) Gordon got food poisoning. b.) what we thought was a perfectly timed trip was actually supremely poorly timed when Gordon's work deadlines changed and he was actually quite stressed most of the time I was there. 

3. Gordon is the project director for a joint education initiative called MGCubed, or Making Ghanaian Girls Great and Wonder Women, which focuses on girl-child education, along with generally raising education standards in rural Ghanaian areas by solving teacher absentee-ism, encouraging student attendance, etc etc. It's a genuinely inspiring project and I'll for be talking more about it in posts to come. Gordon is admirably devoted to the project 24 hours a day. 

So. We're weaving through the hawkers and impressive ladies who can balance huge loads on their heads whilst chatting on cell phones and handling cash. Toufiq is blasting Accra radio and at some point, a supremely catchy song comes on. 

Through the thick accent, I'm thinking the song is called "Are you Elena?" I ask Toufiq about this. He says it's "Are you a learner."

G and I, in our white naïveté decide we should use this song as a cool theme song for his program. Toufiq tells us it's kinda scandalous because it's kind of talking about teen pregnancy and slut shaming. 

Fair enough, we decide. We'll make up new catchy verse lyrics that are less scandalous, but keep the basic awesome hook! Education theme song, huzzah! We were pretty pumped and G fired off an enthusiastic email to the rest of his project colleagues.

G isn't often enthusiastic, which is why he was especially bummed when his colleagues eventually told him that "Are you a learner?" is actually slang (probably Nigerian slang) for "are you retarded?" So... not salvagable at all. WHOOPS. It became a joke for us though-- to make fun of ourselves, but also as a moment when G, T and I became real road trip buddies. Which was all going to come in handy later, when we got to the Monkey Sanctuary (of oddities) among many other key moments. 

Despite it's crude lyrics (and really, I suppose, what rap song is without crude lyrics and probably some form of a crude premise) this song is the jam. I will always think of cruising down the road towards Cape Coast when I hear it. 



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In case you're digging any other Ghanaian rap, here's some more Bebelino. I have no idea what Ofee Dull means. I googled it and got nothing. I'd ask Toufiq, but he lead us super astray the last time. 

And if your hankering gets well past that, I do actually recommend this African music playlist no doubt put together by the infinite number of white people over at Anthropologie. I've got more thoughts on their African-inspired March Catalogue coming for you later this month. Stay tuned. 

More of the pop culture goodness you might find on the George W. Bush Highway out of Accra  (Yeah, we bought that shit. And put that name on it. Le Sigh. Though! It is easily the nicest road in Ghana) after the jump:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

St Vincent - Digitally Witness A Birth In Reverse


Annie Clark is a goddess. That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter. I think everything about her look, sound, and general presence to be made of its own peculiar, perfect magic. I love her forever and you should too

First Africa post coming atcha tomorrow!

Monday, March 3, 2014

You're Not The One


I promise I'm getting to the stories from Ghana. Seriously. But it was an emotionally dense trip. And it didn't help that almost as soon as I returned, I got struck down by some kind of Dengue Fever/ West Nile hybrid plague. (It was perhaps only a common cold, but nevertheless, I was down for the muthaeffin COUNT.) 

In the meantime, I will sadly leave you with this teaser courtesy of Sky Ferreira and good old Mr. Strickland, on whose recommendation it entered my world. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Oscars - All Is Lost


Ah, Hollywood on Oscars day. While I think this was a strong year for film, I'm almost boycotting the awards this year. Not boycotting exactly, but watching under duress. And that is because of the lack of this man. My Main Man. Our Man, Mr. Redford. 

I don't think acting is about losing a bunch of weight or pretty people making themselves look ugly or wearing a skirt when you're Jared Leto. I think actions speak louder than words. 

This was an epic snub to the most watchable man alive. That's all I have to say. Good night.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fire & the Romance on Alt 98.7


This Sunday will be the mash up of two of my favorite things... and none of them will be the Oscars, so sorry about that. Nope, I'm talking about two of my oldest friends from opposite coasts and sides of my life gettin together to broadcast some new music. 

Dion Roy, one of my oldest friends in NYC (you might remember when I spoke at his and Aly's wedding in Aug 2012) has a new music project, Fire and the Romance. It's a pretty huge and ambitious departure from his previous (and super successful, I might add) efforts in the singer/songwriter genre. And I gotta say, I am loving the results!

He and Pete (of subway friend fame and awesome photog skillz) made this baller video for the first single, "Way Down Below." 

And NOW, THIS SUNDAY, Dion will pair up with one of my oldest friends from the Vegas days and my current LA partner in mischief and mayhem, Kade, to premiere "Way Down Below" on Kade's New Music Discovery Show on ALT 98.7, LA's Alternative (aka the only radio station I listen to.) 

It's at 7PM Pacific time. So make sure you tune in during the boring speeches and endless awards. 

Tune in on Sunday, support Kade and Dion and check out all the offerings from the King Of Tacos, Dion Roy aka Fire and the RomanceTweet the guys (@fireandthemusic @alt987fm @kadeshow) when you hear “Way Down Below” for a chance to win a ONE of a kind hand-pressed Vinyl of the song!



Sunday, December 29, 2013

On approaching another new year....

In Los Angeles
Sometimes I forget about poetry.

I forget that it exists even still, though I've ceased to believe in it that day--

that beauty of the mind made manifest.

But still, I reason, not carnal, 

not incarnated; not flesh.

Instead, I quest ahead to live in my flesh in Los Angeles

and bask in the tangible sunlight there.

Wholly in my body, my mind is finally free to flutter away 

at last.

So then, I wonder

how on Earth might I have misplaced poetry?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Milkshake, Boys,Yard Friday Links


We have officially entered crunch time for NYC trip/Nicholas & Alexandra reading extravaganza. I don't have much else to say besides that. This time next week, I'll be in NYC. In between now and then, I have to show a reel, finish editing a pilot, figure out my place, where I'm staying in NYC, hang with Scottish pals in LA, pass off my car, rewrite a song, go to therapy (bless) get a wedding gift, and come to terms with that fact that (other than that one time where I drove Kiki Vandeweghe's Mercedes SUV without a license) I'll be driving in Manhattan for the first time ever. 

Also, I have placed the milkshake in the yard. So far, no boys. 
Your links:

- Brides Throwing Cats. You're welcome. 
- Pretty cool NY story about a theatre & the rent controlled apts that go with it
- Alice Munro, ol' girl! Way to win that Nobel!
- Old movies more creative than new ones. No shit?
- Walter White's getting a real funeral
- Everything my Franzy currently hates
- I can't wait to read Michael Hastings' novel!
- I finished Dave Eggers' The Circle in less that 48 hours. 
- I love this Guardian review of it. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

En Puntas - Javier Perez - Knife Ballerina


You guys. I am reading a disturbing book at the moment and feeling a lot of feelings. So is Amelie Segarra in this amazing performance En Puntas. Certainly, it is the point of art to provoke feelings, and to illicit a kind of visceral reaction. But with our level on inundation, how often does that really happen? Rarely. Even for me. And I'm ripe for the picking. I'm basically standing, waving my arms up and down and begging for you to manipulate my emotions!

Which is why it's so nice to see something that actually blows my hair back... or in this case, makes me gasp and clutch at my throat. No reaction I thought I would have from what I assumed was nothing more than a visual statement. OH NO, my friends. That is a sore underestimation. 

Watch for yourself Spanish artist Javier Perez's beautiful, arresting video. And his others


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tori Amos & The Light Princess at the National Theatre London


Of all the new musicals I've been eagerly awaiting this past year, London-premiering "The Light Princess" is the one I'm kicking myself I'll miss. With music by Tori Amos and based on Scottish Fairytale by George MacDonald, it basically has the potential to be perfect.

As produced by the National Theatre, I'm not sure it is though. 

There are already some interesting similarities between the storyline and The Little Mermaid-- and I don't just mean a red-headed heroine. But one thing I'm sure all theatre-goers can agree on is that no show should share production design with The Little Mermaid. Especially not this one. It, like TLM, seems to vacillate between up-scale ethereal, and plastic toy cartoon. For the record, I think the first is the way to go. See above. And the lowest photo below. 

It's interesting because Tori's aesthetic is pretty much perfect. But then again, knowing personally how little control most musical theatre writers have over design elements, I suppose it's not surprising she'd lose at least a few creative battles. 

 Anyone have a bootleg? I'd kill to hear some of this.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Music Monday - The Other Guys - St Andrean Skies



Favorites The Other Guys perform the original commission by Oscar Foxley for St Andrews 600th Anniversary, "St Andrean Skies." 

I was never a fresher, or an undergrad at St Andrews at all, but I remember those first few lit-on-fire days there. The wind whipped up every possibility I'd ever considered for myself. I remember my friends, knocking on my door, calling me out from within myself, to new places. I remember frolicking on steep hillside slopes with my hair blowing everywhere, my wellies sinking in the sand, beneath a huge Northern moon and ripped open, flood lit, St Andrean skies. Even at midnight. Even in Autumn. You could see everything. And nothing.

I often wonder if I'll ever have a year as happy as that. But the seeds of that time continue to crop up every day. Even here in Los Angeles. 

What I'd give to relive the days spent 'neath those St Andrean skies...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Keep.Com Friday Links


This was a week of rebalancing for me, and it felt good. I normalized some routines, switched some up, made chili and baked an almond apple whisky crumble for friends and neighbors that was delicious, got locked out of my apartment and hung out with my neighbor Camellia who turned me on to some new music, decided to seriously shake up my bedroom (turns out it's gonna be like zero work,) deleted my okcupid profile (again) and started to allow myself to get excited about the workshop of Nicholas & Alexandra later this month. Huzzah!

Each changing of the seasons is a dual re-set, renew. Both normalizing and radicalizing, if necessary. Duality is good. 

Here are your links.

- The Painted Ladies of LA
- Even more reasons to love it here: Taco Day!
- I'm a fan of almost all of these 20' slang terms. "Bank's Closed, Guys!"
- This chair.
- Bullfighting in France
- Did I already post this? It's the scariest thing I've ever read about being a mother in the US
- Scottish children portraits! (I'm kind of tempted to buy these??)
- Writers on failure.
- Subscribe to this amazing Vimeo channel
- This is amazing. How Rhett Butler was the original Silver Lake Hipster.

- This has been making the rounds. And I super agree. Hocus Pocus is the best! And I'm not just saying that because I'm going to Vinessa's house later. Hey, girl!

- Keep.com. I love it! It's like pinterest, but with a built in purchasing mechanism like luvocracy. My bank account might not love it as much as my brain does. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

REIGN Takes on Mary Queen of Scots




Let's just say that the mixture of excitement and extreme skepticism I feel about CW's Reign, the quote unquote untold story of Mary Queen of Scots rise to power, mirrors my feelings when I found out they were turning Gone with the Wind into a musical. (And I don't just mean annoyance that I'm not the one writing it!)

As you know, it's tough to say which I love more: musicals or Gone with the Wind. Costume dramas or Scotland (and esp. the problematic Mary Stuart). HOWEVER. To use the comparison I used back in the day for GWTW musical, it's like introducing your childhood best friend to your best friend from college. You love them both. They're both AMAZING. And yet, you have the nagging suspicion that they are NOT going to get along. (Spoiler alert: GWTW as a musical was about as bad as it gets.)

So, I mean, listen. Almost everything about this show is historically inaccurate. Like, everything. To the point that it's not even worth detailing all the many and egregious inaccuracies. And while, I'm mostly ok with that, I'm not thrilled about the casting. I like Adelaide Kane kind of, ya know, in general. But I just am not digging her as Mary (wrong coloring entirely!). I'm really not thrilled about the men. I don't mind making Francis kind of hot. But just... I dunno. Maybe they'll grow on me. And, I know it's not the history channel. It's the CW. That's fine. 

And OBVS, despite my misgivings, I'm still going to watch the shit out of this show. 

The most appealing factor, based on the below extended preview is Mary's relationship with the very historically accurate 4 Marys (Beaton, Seton, Fleming & Livingston, though in Reign, they're condensed to 3 and given insane names like Kenna and Greer) which lasted throughout her life. I like the idea of these 5 (4) women navigating the waters together. 

The least appealing things I can surmise from the below is 
1. Please get someone else doing your copywriting for those text tags in the promos. They are ominous, but do not even make sense.
2. Why do all the French people sound just plain old British? I mean, I guess really they're all speaking French including her, because that's her first language,  in which case British is just the standard, okay. It's murky territory, but it bugs me. I'll elaborate further once I see how they handle some things re: using French at all. 

Reign premieres Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. on the CW.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Cups" in Gaelic

Nothing cheers me up when I'm down like group singing and Gaelic. When an entire group of grown, elected, old politicians refuse to work together (or bother to learn how bills work) it's nice to think of large groups (600!) of Celtic kids coordinating cups and harmonies together in my favorite language. These kids are Irish (from a school in Conamara), not Scottish, but no matter.

Makes me long to live again in a country where people don't shut down the government about the right to affordable, universal health care. SIGH.

Bonus: "Can't Hold Us" in Gaelic.
PS- I'm off to see Frighted Rabbit. Oh, how I love them.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Music Monday - Madness & The Film


Normally, when it comes to friending strangers, I am the one who knocks. And normally, it's on the subway. Planes are good too, though. And in this particular case, I wasn't even the chatty blonde doing the friending. That was all David Breeze. Well, maybe not ALL

On a flight from NYC back to London-- a flight I NEVER should have made...I STILL can't believe I talked my way onto that flight, I was so late-- I was seated next to the friendliest, most America-loving Brit currently living. Even though I had taken a sleeping pill right before he sat down (as is my usual pre-flight ritual) we ended up talking the whole 8 hours.

And we are still friends to this day! Despite frequent moves and job changes on both our parts, and that one time where I threw up on the street in front of him, (whoops!) he still comes to see me! In fact, it's almost like he's following me. (Just kidding.) We've hung out in NYC when we both lived there, and now we rock it Cali style. Funnily enough, the one place we've never hung out is London. But I digress.

While living in New York, David became friends and later band mates with the young Caroline Gorman. And by young, I mean 17. They recorded an EP that's getting more press than you can shake a stick at-- I'm talking New York Times, New York Magazine, and 2 songs (TWO!) featured on the MTV show, Friendzone that aired last week. 

You can stream and download Madness & The Film's EP, Scrapbook, for free. But don't let that stop you from buying it, either. Because... support the arts, people. Even banking honchos are realizing it's important. 


Photo by Kristin Hoebermann, Hoebermann Studios

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Throw Back Thursday - High School Reunion


I didn't go to my high school reunion. It wasn't a deliberate snub. I had just moved to Scotland a few weeks beforehand, and it seemed like a pretty superfluous trip back. The pictures and stories were enough. (My favorite was Big Wang offering to kill Mike for Emily... and Wang's wife, nodding her support for the plan.) Plus, the age of social media pretty much mitigates that mixture of curiosity and velleity about peripheral classmates. 

The funny thing about that, and about my entire attitude about my childhood in Vegas, the people I grew up with, etc, is that as little credit as I gave them, as much distance as I've often tried to put between myself and them, they're still the people that require the least amount of explanation from me. The comfort level is intensely cosy. 

Last night was a kind of representative high school reunion for me in a more important way. Only a few of the key players were there actually. They were good ones though. And the build up was full of many more: from Emily, to a phone call from Brandon (on his way to state execution, natch!) to some digging in my high school boxes. More than that, I was reunited with the way I felt when I was seventeen or eighteen. Thanks to these friends, for sure. But also because we were at Jimmy Eat World. As Petie and I screamed lyrics at each other, I remembered how hopeful I felt then and I felt it again. 

Oh, our youthful loves. They die hard, don't they?




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Schneider-Studio Photography


Just when I think it's impossible for me to have another talented photographer friend.... way to go, Eric Schneider! He's been building up to Schneider-Studio for a few years now and I'm so happy he's got his own studio now for whisky-fueled late night photo sess-- I mean, his moving, meaningful, professional work. Or both! 

Check him out! I love that he mentions his golden doodles in his bio. I have personally met them and I can assure you, they are both sweet and dumb. And cuddly!

ERIC SCHNEIDER
ERIC {at} SCHNEIDER-STUDIO {dot} COM
+1.323.333.2747
LA|NY

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I ♥ House of Hackney


With the return of Downton Abbey to British television this past Sunday, my deep longing for the United Kingdom has kicked in with full, panging force. All the more reason to pseudo-shop the new collections from House of Hackney

Hackney is one of the (best) boroughs in London, and my home for the time I lived there. In addition to being an up and coming, largely tube-free region of Northeast London, it's also the name sake of husband and wife team Frieda Gormley & Javvy M. Royle's (SO British.) two year old brand. With a flagship store in Shoreditch (jusssst on the border of Hackney) and placements in Urban Outfitters, etc etc, they've accomplished a lot for such a young brand. 

I was immediately drawn to the Dalston Rose line, Dalston being my primary hood. It's super girly, but I could see little flourishes of it even in very contemporary homes. Personally, I'd make tea every afternoon in that little mug there. But I also think the Hackney Empire collection has the most punch. 

In many ways, their home goods sensibility and aesthetic reminds me of Timorous Beasties. They seem to thrive on putting a modern and/or cheeky twist on what it quintessentially English or Scottish. The word they always throw around about both brands is "subversive." But in addition to home fabrics, etc, House of Hackney also does clothing-- something I just dream that TB will expand into one of these days. (Please, please, pretty please.) H of H describes themselves as Colefax & Fowler on acid... okay! While no one will ever replace TB in my heart, you know I can get behind a "more is more attitude."


Monday, September 23, 2013

Music Monday - Sophie Ramsay - The Glassy Mountain


Of all the creative processes I've witnessed, or seen up close, or felt a part of in peripheral ways, watching Sophie, hearing her stories, having soul-chats, and being her friend while she was writing this album, I count among my greatest life honors. Now you can be a part of it too! (And I hope you will.)

This is a really special album from someone who sees the world in a very special way. Describes it in a vibrant style. And conveys it with vulnerability and such a seeking spirit. I miss Sophie and Scotland and thinking about the world the way she does every day. I hope you can contribute to this. I've never heard anyone articulate grief like Sophie. 

Give a look at her indigogo and hear some tracks from the album here
(For the record, I'd encourage you to go in for a donation level where you get some of Kate Aspinall's gorgeous gorgeous artwork. Sigh.)

The album is a powerful personal exploration of grief. The songs vary in their style from intimate, folk songs that feel a bit European, to moments of visceral lamenting, to gently upbeat pop songs. It was produced by Jim Sutherland, and features performances from some of the best musicians in Scotland in the realms of folk and jazz: Euan Burton, Steven Christie, Pete ClarkFraser Fifield, David Hart, Chris Peacock, Matheu Watson and also brilliant Jim Rattigan from London. Most of these musicians will play at the Edinburgh launch at Scottish Storytelling Centre on the 2nd November. 


Friday, September 20, 2013

Greetings From Vegas Friday Links


So much Franzen this week. Okay by me. 

- First, his awesome essay in the Guardian promoting his new book, The Krauss Project
- The hilarious non-backlash backlash and what that means for Franzen haters
- Finally, this. Franzy, join us on the internets.

- When a man writes a woman

More aspects of Modern Living:
- The terror that is Whole Foods
- The wonder that is Trader Joe's. (They're not really cutting their benefits. Just read.)

- I scroll through this every day. Sigh.

I finally met and hung out with one of my fave writer/blogger folks, Anne Sage of The City Sage this morning. If you aren't reading her, you should be. I have her to thank for this cool website recommendation, The American Edit. Check it. 

Peace out for the weekend, ninjas. My head hurts and it's Tiger Time

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Burberry Shows Us London Via iPhone 5s


If London really looked like the above, there's nothing that could have made me leave. 


Speaking of London, though:
- If Breaking Bad were set in the UK
- Sienna & Tom for Burberry
- And more

For your London daydream, I'm out.
Happy Hump Day. Hope it's dreamy.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Autumn Reading

So far this year, I've felt deprived of novels I was genuinely excited to read. Missing was that giddy, luscious feeling, knowing I'm about to devour one. Luckily, this fall, there's finally some stuff to look forward to on the novel front. Here's what I can't wait to buy:

Wally Lamb - We Are Water
Oct. 22
He gets a bad rap as too populist, but I still think Wally Lamb is the shit. And I can't wait to be knee-deep in it again.

Elizabeth Gilbert- 
The Signature of All Things
Oct. 1
Also getting a rap even worse than Lamb is Liz Gilbert. But I still think about how much I liked her first novel, Stern Men, and I'm glad she's back to writing on another subject besides herself. 





Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch
Oct. 22
I still have adolescent reader scars from The Secret History and I always come back for more trauma

Not novels, but:
Roth Unbound. A Writer & His Books
Oct. 22
Because... Philip Roth. Nuff said.

The Bernstein Letters
Oct. 29
Oh, Leonard. You are a man of wonder. 

For a longer list, check out this one compiled by The Daily Beast

For good measure, thought this headline is impossible, because you cannot qualify unique, here are some bitchin' libraries around the world

** also, I continue to feel ambivalent about posting links to amazon instead of other book sellers like Barnes & Noble. I think this is the last time I'll do it. Damn you, Franzen. But I have 3 more months on my amazon prime membership, so... ack. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Music Monday Megamix


Since I've been away awhile, I feel it's only right to come at you with a whole truck load of musical tid bits. It's been a weird time, dear lovely readers. I encountered many opportunities (or what seemed like opportunities) that ended up being loaded with unprofessional folks, a few broken promises, and a failed television network. But hey, I ate, I paid my bills, and added a few new clients to my roster. Life goes on. 

And they keep putting out records. Thank god. 

- First of all, while the CHVRCHES album, The Bones of What You Believe (for the record, I don't like the title) isn't out until later this month, we can finally preview it thanks to the always good people at NPR. I heard most of this at their show at the Fonda. I like it as much as I remember.

- While we're at it, here's the Blood Diamonds remix of "The Mother We Share."



- Vegas homeboys The Killers pair up with M83 producing for "Shot at the Night"-- a combo full of promise with lackluster results.

- Kings of Leon covering Robyn for the BBC was a nice highlight of last week. 

- Speaking of which, stream their new album Mechanical Bull right now. 

- New Lorde. "Team." It's legit. 

- New(ish) Frighted Rabbit track, "Candlelit."

- These isolated Beatles vocals are killer. I keep listening to them. Just over and over. 


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Giada - Inaugural Issue FREE



Hey everyone! So part of why I haven't been around as much these days is that I've been working on some other projects that are similar, but far more lucrative and have way more readers. (Props to you, core group of awesome ones, though.)

And one of those things launches TODAY! The inaugural issue of Giada, a digital weekly is available for FREE for your ipad in the itunes store. It's coming soon to other digital platforms. But for now, if you have an ipad, please give it a try. 

There's tons of amazingly delicious Giada recipes, music playlists, style and beauty tips, and tons and tons of travel stories so you too can live the good life. I've tasted these recipes, I've seen these tips in action, and I can tell you... WORTH YOUR TIME.

I want to be Giada when I grow up and this emag will make you want to as well. Super thanks to everyone involved for the opportunity to be a part of this. (Especially you, Ashley Reed!) 

Launching things, being there when it all starts is my most favorite part of life and especially of any sort of artistic/professional experience. With all your help, this can be the start of something really fun and special. We'll keep working hard; you keep reading. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Radio Silence Friday Links


Still here in Vegas. Movin and shakin and whathaveyou. There were some good links flying around lately though, so I present them to you now. Haviland gets here later! Yay! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!! 

- Despite not being the biggest fan of Marisha Pessl, I still have high hopes for her latest, Night Film. There's also an app, which seems kind of cool. Her website for her first novel was one of my faves. 

- Aerin Lauder home collection, you excite me. 
- Also, these home items at Waiting on Martha. Good stuff here. 
- The collected wisdom of Chris Rock.
- Infinitely better casting for Lady M in this Scots version of the Scottish Play.
- Building creative confidence
- I love stories like this. Artefacts being returned. The human element.
- Cool video about the history of Santa Monica
- New Frightened Rabbit "Radio Silence." Preorder "Late March, Death March" EP.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vegas Today


Me thinks it's time for a little Vegas, so I'll be in the car today, headed East into the desert for some Dad time and songwriting time with the Haviland. Being in Vegas is normally a pretty good motivator for me to do something with my life. Maybe I'll even stop tinkering with this pilot and cowgirl up to showing it someone. Giddy up.

(PS - I stole this picture from one of my friends. I don't remember which one. If it's you, thanks! And...hope that's okay.)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Music Monday - Dolly Parton Covers Herself. Sort of.


While covers and re-interpretations of this song abound, leave it to Dolly herself (well with the help of some basic technology) to be capable of perhaps the best rendition. Jack White, Ellie Goulding, Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Fiona Apple and even Miley Cyrus, you can all take a seat. Turns out, all you gotta do is slow the original down by 25% (33 rpm) and you get a soulful, amazingly organic sounding piece of music. I can't stop listening. 

I do have a weak spot for A. this song. I was very nearly named Jolene. (I think we can agree it's probably best I wasn't.) B.) The country music and C. The Dolly. She is everything. If I could be a version of Dolly for the new millennium, I could die happy. She's blonde, has big boobs, gives herself permission to be sweet and even a little ditzy, but she's laughing all the way to bank as the most successful female songwriter of all time. No need to cover Dolly. Just let Dolly do it. 

Beauty, boobs, and heart, Ladies & Gentleman. And SKILLZ.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Celebrating G-Dawg in Town with CHVRCHES


Because I'm about to go pick up the amazing Gretchen from the airport after her months-long sojourn back in the land of Scots (and other celts-- she was in Ireland jaunting around with Mr. B. Kearney) I'm going to post the new video from CHVRCHES. 

I know I know. Sometimes I feel like this is an all CHVRCHES all the time kind of channel, but to be fair, this is their first real video, and... as I mentioned, The Gretchen. I'm pretty jealous she was back in paradise and something about the lovely, spritely Lauren Mayberry makes me feel like I never had to leave. I plan on hugging Gretch, using the words man and dude a lot and remembering the happiest time in my life. 


The Mother We Share Out Now (UK out Sept 16)
The debut album The Bones Of What You Believe is out Sept 23 / N.America Sept 24.
Pre-order Standard: http://po.st/TBOWYB II Special: http://po.st/TBOWYBSpecial 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Monday - Capital Children's Choir Covers Crystal Castles


Do you like alliteration as much as I do? Let's hope so because here's London's Capital Children's Choir covering Crystal Castles. I think I prefer this version of "Untrust Us" to the original. 120 Children singing. Oof. This is some ethereal shit, people.


Friday, August 2, 2013

A Year Ago Today...

A year ago today, I cashed in my permanent resident alien card to the UK and flew back to the United States. I had no idea what I would do next. Heathrow seemed like home at that point and I remember fighting with my grandmother via email even as I stood in line to check my bag and say goodbye to London. 

I still hate that I had to leave the UK. But I'm happy I live in Los Angeles even more than I ever I thought I could. I recently rediscovered some thoughts I wrote in a journal around the time I left. I'd like to share them with you, but I'll wait until tomorrow since today is Friday and it's time for Friday links. 

- I want this. I'm starting to feel sad. 
- Get it, George Clooney. Eff the hedgefunds. 
- I'll always have a soft spot for my first job out of college. The End of Saks Fifth Ave.
- I feel like learning more languages. I miss Europe. 
- This bag is hot
- These pictures of my cousin, Tennessee Williams, are lovely.
- My next read is David Rakoff's final piece: a novel in iambic pentameter.
- Haim. The Wire.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Watch Out For Mattresses


So... I had a real blog post planned for today, but turns out, I ended up spending most of the day dealing with this disgusting mattress which got lodged in my wheel axel on the 105/405 junction. I didn't see it fall off anyone's truck and I didn't see it at all until it was too late because some giant SUV was blocking my view and veered away from it only at the last minute. Special thanks to the amazing Highway Patrol Officers who worked to free me and kept me company. 

(PS- Yeah, before you ask, I'm pretty sure that's urine.)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mari Vanna - West Hollywood & My Russia Problem


Russia, Russia, Russia. You're killing me, Russia. But what to do when I've already got so much invested in you? Six years of my life writing a musical, learning everything I can about the culture, the politics, language and food... You're making it very difficult for Steven and I to take our trip there. Basically, you're an embarrassment. 

In some ways, what's going on over there with the INSANE LGBT laws-- which apply to VISITORS even, and not just gay visitors, but visitors they SUSPECT of being GAY SYMPATHIZERS!!-- is part of the strange cultural conflict and karma that interests me about Russia in the first place.

But let's table my desire to boycott all things Russia for the moment and celebrate Brie's birthday, which happened to be at new West Hollywood hot-spot (oh, the irony!) Mari Vanna. Named for a supposedly real Russian woman with a flair for cooking that turned her home into an un-intended scene, the ambience reflects a Russian cottage complete with knick knacks, garden boxes, and fluffy blankets to snuggle up in in case you get cold. 

The vodka was truly amazing-- the perfect buzz, no hangover. And while I didn't love the chicken and onion jello that is a Russian staple (Sorry!) their beef stroganoff was about the best I've ever had. 




Brie looked crazy beautiful and glamorous, as per usual. And Mari Vanna is one of those key-ed places where you have to have one in order to get into special VIP nights. I'm not normally into exclusive key type stuff, but I got one. And it comes on an adorable blonde matryoshka doll key chain. 

Okay, but seriously, I think boycotting Russian food and vodka isn't the way to go. I generally try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I do think we should be pressuring events like the Olympics to relocate and sponsors to pull out of places with inhumane laws. Here's how you can get involved with that: 


Petition Coca-Cola, VISA, Procter&Gamble, Samsung, and Panasonic to stand for Human Rights and pull sponsorship from the 2014 Winter Olympics.
https://www.change.org/petitions/coca-cola-visa-procter-gamble-sams...


Petition Team USA/United States Olympic Committee to boycott the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi Russia
http://www.change.org/petitions/united-states-olympic-committee-boy...

Petition the UK to boycott the Russian Winter Olympics 
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/52656

 Petition to Boycott Winter Olympics 2014:https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/calling-us-boycott-2014-w...


Petition Winter Olympics 2014 Sponsors to condemn anti-gay laws
https://www.change.org/petitions/stand-against-russia-s-brutal-crac...


Petition the IOC to relocate the 2014 Winter Games to Vancouver

And listen, who knows how long this kind of disgusting lawmaking will last in Russia, or how long Americans with short attention spans will decide to boycott. But just, in the long run, can I say, whatever you do, please don't boycott any musicals about massacred Russian royalty. Okay? Thanks. 

Why Stop Now?

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