Saturday, January 31, 2009

My 3 favorite things about Super Bowl Sunday.

Super Bowl Sunday is a great tradition of the American people. There's nothing quite like celebrating the commencement of a season of football that says 'I am patriotic. I love the United States and my fellow citizens.' The burly men, the tight pants, the cheering fans and their consumption of concessions.

I confess to being a newcomer to Super Bowl Sunday. Once, in college, I attended a friend's house party. If I remember correctly, I got stoned and ate Doritos in the kitchen. Last year, the new girlfriend of a football fan, we went to a pal's to watch the game. I read magazines and ate cheese. It was a good time. Tomorrow, I will celebrate the Super Bowl for a third time ever and, based on previous years, I look forward to my 3 favorite things about Super Bowl Sunday.




Who am I rooting for? Well...who is playing again? The Kansas City Pigeons, no? Yes, I think I'll root for them.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sounds: Paul McCartney...and the rest of the Coachella lineup is out.

Hope to see all you happy people in the desert for this year's Coachella.

I'm especially excited about Cloud Cult (the eco-friendly, awesome band from Minnesota), Amy Winehouse (who I hope will be able to withstand the heat in her heroine haze), Antony and the Johnsons (whose unmistakable sound--you may have heard it accompanying Hercules and Love Affair or CocoRosie--is just, well, awesome) and Franz Ferdinand (spotted last night at the Heidi Klum and Adrien Brody-attended Rankin opening for The Macallan at the M+B Gallery).

And by the by, this year's tickets are available on 'layaway.' Wow.

Friday, April 17th

A Place To Bury Strangers
Alberta Cross
Buraka Som Sistema
Cage the Elephant
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
Craze and Klever
Crystal Castles
Dear and the Headlights
Felix da Housecat
Franz Ferdinand
Genghis Tron
Ghostland Observatory
Girl Talk
Gui Boratto
Leonard Cohen
Los Campesinos!
M. Ward
Noah and the Whale
Patton & Rahzel
Paul McCartney
Peanut Butter Wolf
People Under the Stairs
Ryan Bingham
Silversun Pickups
Steve Aoki
The Crystal Method
The Aggrolites
The Airborne Toxic Event
The Black Keys
The Bug
The Courteeners
The Hold Steady
The Knux
The Presets
The Ting Tings
We Are Scientists
White Lies

Saturday, April 18th

Amanda Palmer
Amy Winehouse
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Band Of Horses
Billy Talent
Blitzen Trapper
Bob Mould Band
Booker T
Cloud Cult
Dr. Dog
Drive By Truckers
Drop The Lime
Electric Touch
Fleet Foxes
Gang Gang Dance
Glass Candy
Henry Rollins
Hercules and Love Affair
Ida Maria
James Morrison
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Surkin, Para One (Live)
The Bloody Beetroots
The Killers
Thievery Corporation
TV On The Radio
Zane Lowe

Sunday, April 19th

Antony and the Johnsons
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Christopher Lawrence
Friendly Fires
Fucked Up
Gaslight Anthem
Groove Armada (DJ Set)
Jenny Lewis
Junior Boys
Late of the Pier
Lupe Fiasco
Lykke Li
Marshall Barnes
Mexican Institute of Sound
My Bloody Valentine
No Age
Okkervil River
Paolo Nutini
Paul Weller
Perry Farrell
Peter Bjorn and John
Public Enemy
Roni Size
Sebastien Tellier
Shepard Fairey
The Cure
The Horrors
The Kills
The Night Marchers
Throbbing Gristle
Vivian Girls
Yeah Yeah Yeah's

[Los Angeles Times Pop & Hiss Blog]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Pictures: 'Doubt' and mildew

I can get down with quaint--the appeal of an antique, the charm of old stuff. I get it. But do you know what's not cute? Going to your first movie in months, visiting the 'quaint,' art deco-themed Regency Fairfax Cinemas and seeing this sign as you enter your screening room...

Do you know what leaking water equals, folks? It equals the smell of mildew for 124 minutes plus previews. And while I thoroughly enjoyed 'Doubt,' I may have enjoyed it even more had the smell of rot not been so prevalent. The film was recently nominated for 5 Academny Awards. Unfortuantely, I remember the theatre's odor more than I do Philip Seymour Hoffman's potentially award-winning performance.

Regarding the announcement of Viola Davis' nomination I will say this, however. She may have been good, but one scene does not an Oscar winner make. She's being lauded for her performance in the most pivotal scene of the film. But I think people may be confusing the scene--its signifcance in the storyline and the impact of its dialogue--with the actress. Davis was good, but she was good in an exceptional scene and the two should not be confused.

And P.S. - Speaking of films, should anyone be interested in seeing 'He's Just Not That Into You,' Metromix and the LA Times are hosting an advance screening next week with an intro from the director. Pick up a copy of Metromix to find the ad with RSVP information.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Microsoft lays off the 5,000 responsible for new product Songsmith.

Microsoft has just introduced its new Songsmith product. Songsmith allows you to sing into your computer, and out it cranks a stale background accompaniment. I suppose this could be useful for vocalists so bad, no band wishes to join the act. Or really, really lonely and untalented children.

Some folks have tested out the product by feeding it legendary songs, like The Beatles' 'Lonely Hearts Club Band,' and seeing what kind of melodic atrocity is born.

Gawker: Awful Product With Awful Ad Makes Awful Music
New York Times: Microsoft Songsmith is Easy (if Painful to Hear)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Finding zen amidst a sea of slow-ass bitches.

I was going to write about the assh*les driving on the streets of Los Angeles tonight as I returned from my afternoon writing class. About the man at the crowded gas station in Koreatown who slowly cleaned his car windows as I waited to take his place, though his tank had finished filling. About the woman in my class who speaks at a rate so slow that my brain cannot process the meaning of her words, and does so [I believe] in an attempt to seem 'deep.'

But instead, I want to breathe and let it all go. I want to remember the clouds today as they drifted through the sky after the rain, revealing a stunningly blue sky. I want to recall the shadows of pink that hovered above the skyline as the sun was setting this evening as I drove home on the 10. *

* Please note: taking pictures out of one's car window on the freeway is not safe, nor advisable, nor should it be attempted at home. Um, yeah, lesson learned.

Photos: Taken on Jessie B. R.'s Crackberry, 12:45 p and 5:45 p respectively

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A musical flashback from the 1950s.

On the way into work this morning the background music to an NPR clip struck a chord. I'd heard the melody before and I couldn't get it out of my head. Later, I realized I'd heard a rendition sung in an episode of CSI Vegas.

Here, the original, and far more stunning version of the song I heard: 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' by The Platters.

It turns out the song's been rerecorded countless Julie Andrews, by Cher, by Eartha Kitt, by Jerry Garcia, danced to by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers...the list goes on and on.

And here, a version that I wish I'd never come upon...

Happy listening!

xx * Jessie. B. R.

If pigs could fly and cupcakes could get any awesomer...

...they'd look a little something like this. Thanks Daily Candy for bringing my attention to Cupcake Envy, the folks who are making already awesome desserts, even awesomer.

I'd personally like an order of cupcakes in my likeness for my next birthday. Thank you friends for taking note.

xx * Jessie B. R.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

4 year old takes hooker to school for show and tell.

The above picture was taken this morning on the corner of Vermont and Wilshire on my way to work. I was as shocked as I'm sure you are that this small child had picked up this woman on the street. He kept reaching for her hand, while she attempted to free her hands in order to keep her skirt below hoo-ha level. Kids are growing up so fast these days.

Oh...that's his mother? Well then, I have no words.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blast from the past: Cabbage Patch darlings

In doing some research for a current writing assignment, I've come across these fab vintage rings celebrating all that were Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. They're straight out of the 80's, an awesome homage to the button nosed, cloth faces many of us came to love. And with "gold" plating to boot? Fantastic.

Find these gems and other vintage finds from the '50s through the '80s on Hullabaloo.

Monday, January 19, 2009

art in LA: Gregory Bojorquez's 'The Sun Rises In The East'

I was introduced to Gregory Bojorquez' work a few years ago at Lab 101 (now the Cerasoli:LeBasse Gallery) where he then shared a show with another killer LA photog, Estevan Oriol. Like Oriol, his work is mostly in black and white and mostly focuses on Latino subjects on the streets of LA.

Just wanted to share this invite from the 01 Gallery to the opening reception of Bojorquez's new exhibition, 'The Sun Rises In The East.'

I hope to see you there!

01 Gallery invites you to the opening of
The Sun Rises In The East
An exhibition by photographer Gregory Bojorquez

As a native of East L.A., Gregory Bojorquez has always found inspiration and subject matter in his community. He began photographing the neighborhoods of East L.A. in order to document the reality of the life and death extremes of the streets. This led Bojorquez to create "The Eastsiders," a photo essay on street happenings and character portraits all framed by the backdrop of East Los Angeles. This stark yet compassionate photo essay caught the attention of L.A. Weekly who began to publish his work. This soon led Bojorquez to publish in various L.A. magazines as well as develop his photography to include celebrity portraits such as Kobe Bryant, Ice Cube, and many other Hollywood entertainers.

The 01 Gallery invites the public to view this unique and passionate slice of L.A. life as seen through the eyes of Gregory Bojorquez.

The 01 Gallery opens the Gregory Bojorquez exhibition in conjunction with the Chaz Bojorquez exhibition "Graff Since 69" in the adjoining main gallery. (No relation.)

The Sun Rises In The East
January 31st - March 8th, 2009

Opening Reception
Saturday, January 31st, 7 - 10 p.m.

Happy Martin Luther King Day. From my cubicle to your day off.

If you haven't been paying attention to your national media lately, this week is fairly historic. Barack Obama will accept his post at the White House tomorrow morning--the first black President to reign over the United States and the first President to take on such a devestatingly awful economy in many, many moons. Of course, the succession of the inauguration just a day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day has not been missed by American news reports either. Though I'd usually be quick to accuse the media of creating an angle just to cause a sensation, I'm equally impressed by the significance of this calendar coincidence. That Martin Luther King Jr. never lived to see the fruits of his labor is a great shame. But one that we should not overlook. Great thanks to this American hero for paving the way for our next American hero, Barack Obama.

I leave you with this profound holiday message, courtesy of someecards...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Xs & Os: Smart people DO get married.

The Vows Video section of the New York Times Weddings & Celebrations section (which you should know by now to be a favorite of mine) often evokes a lackluster response from me. The videotaped stories are generally cute (think: baseball games, blind dates, wet kisses), sometimes even practical (husband loses wife, wife loses husband, widows find each other in last attempt at lifelong companionship). But usually not smart--no, no, not very smart at all.

Today's featured couple, however, has proven both smart (think: ivy leagues, masters degrees) AND clever [well, sardonic, really]. Rachel Natelson and Seth Fogelman--cheers to you; you have my blessing. Because, c'mon now, you know you were waiting on it.

Watch their sort of weird, sort of endearing video here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blast from the past: Lisa Frank

In recent weeks, I've been reminded of a collection of characters and colors I'd long forgotten--those of Lisa Frank. I've been struck by memories of the colorful rainbows, unicorns, bears (like 'Hollywood Bear' above) and puppies that decorated every school supply I could get my hands on--the designs were vibrant and magical--they made the purchase of a binder exciting, the use of a notepad exhilirating. In the '80s, of course, the brand didn't include recently added characters like 'Glamour Girl'--the purple haired bobble head that looks like a hooker, likes 'getting manicures' and dislikes 'taking out the trash and camping.' But the fantastical cast of dancing bears and other magical friends were an integral part of my childhood, and one I'm glad to have remembered.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

And another one bites the dust. Bye bye Indie 103.1.

Since I've moved to Los Angeles, Indie 103.1 has served as the only station to play good music, support amazing shows, and break new local artists. Well, no more. Another great thing has folded under the pressure of a crumbling economy and new rules of business.

Read Indie's statement to its readers here on its homepage.

Farewell Indie, we hardly knew you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Even the porn industry takes a hit.

Apparently, even sex and porn are not immune from the economy's recent nosedive. BizBash reports today that Playboy will be suspending its annual Super Bowl party this year. The article quotes a Playboy representative as saying "we didn’t want to compromise the integrity of our event." Integrity. Hmmmm. Really makes you think.

This news closely follows the plea by Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis and Hustler's Larry Flynt for a porn bailout. For, as Flynt put it, "it's time for Congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America."

Well, folks--there you've got it. The people have spoken. The sex addicts and porn junkies are hurting. They are hurt and they are outraged! Can we, as a people, sit by and watch this happen? Well...yes, yes--I think so.

[BB: Playboy nixes Super Bowl Party]
[Huffington Post: Porn Bailout]

Photo Credit: BizBash

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Modern Day Prince Valiant: hunk or chutzpah?

This morning, on the way out of my early morning workout in Silverlake, I passed a gentleman getting out of his car. He smiled. I smiled. And I continued walking up the hill to my car. As I was climbing in, I noticed him all of a sudden beside me in his car. He'd clearly gotten in his Yaris, turned it around on the narrow street and driven up to meet me. He motioned to me. I gave him the thumbs up sign. He wanted my spot, I assumed, and I certainly didn't object to him taking it. I drove out, turned my own car around and noticed he was now standing outside his car. His hair was dark and longish--he was like a modern-day Prince Valiant if Prince Valiant were a bit bulkier...and Persian. I rolled down my window and he approached.

'Hello,' he said.

'Hello,' I replied.

He is really grinning now. 'I have a question. Are you married?'

I am smiling awkwardly. 'No, I am not.'

'Ah, I like you. You are so beautiful. May I give my number to you?'

'I am actually seeing someone. I'm just not married.' I wave my hand to show him my ringless finger.

And we part our separate ways--he, still grinning, me, smiling but not sure why. I can't figure out if I'm flattered or offended. Granted, my post-workout glow was surely alluring. And I had smiled. But does my friendliness seriously welcome such crazed approaches from tall, dark, accented courters? Am I a walking target for wooing until I get a diamond on my finger? Well, I'll be heading to the 99 cent store soon after work then to pick up a faux bauble to sport on my ring finger.

Aspiring beaus beware.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Toymaker Mattel takes a stab at telekinesis.

Recently, I've been plagued with the things I can't do. Not the things I never learned to do--like rise to prima ballerina status, save money, or speak Spanish--but rather, the things I can't, could never have, and will never be able to do. The other night, for instance, I tried to read my boyfriend's mind. Like, really tried. And just today at lunch, I was wondering what it might take for me to lift my tray off the table. How much energy would it take for me to lift one empty plate, some leftover corn and the cardboard box that had held my microwavable entree? My efforts to levitate the tray and its contents were failed.

I don't know if I read Matilda one too many times or if my great aunt's claims of levitation spooked me, but I've always felt my life would be a little closer to complete if I could control these body and mind functions.

Well, it appears, we are now one step closer to granting mind control powers to the masses. Mattel, the maker of kiddy favorites like Barbie and Hot Wheels, has launched Mindflex at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. The game allows users to move a ping-pong-sized ball through the space with their minds. While I'm not sure how appropriate the game is for kids, nor how long the entertainment would last, I'm intrigued. I want one. I think need to have one.

And on a side note, I'd really like to know how Mattel has not yet been condemned for separating its game list into Girls and Boys games. Seriously? It's 2009. Hotwheels aren't just for boys anymore. And last time I checked, the classic Magic 8 Ball wasn't a chick thing.

New York Times: Mattel Channels Obi-Wan "Stretch Out With Your Feelings"
Crunchgear: Hands on with Mattel's weird Mindflex Game

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Life in clubLAnd: MyHouse

The scene above is not from a slumber party in the bedroom of my apartment (no, no--not in my tiny studio). It is not from a wild orgy party in the Hollywood Hills (I forgot to RSVP to that party). The dark, blurry image above is from this evening's industry preview of MyHouse, the new venue from David Judaken's Syndicate Hospitality (Mood, Opera & Crimson). Opened in the former home of Garden of Eden, the nightclub is a welcome change from the super-small lounges (i.e. - Crown Bar) or mega-clubs (i.e. - The Kress or Versus, which I suppose we don't have to worry about anyway after it's failed attempts to open) that have become so popular in the last year. My House boasts neither uber-exclusivity, nor magnitude. It's the perfect size--large enough that there's always another person to flirt with around the bend, small enough that you can find your friends when the dude you've met turns out to be a creep.

And, as portrayed in the much superior press shots below, each aspect of the venue really does feel like your house (from the plush bedroom, to the working bathtub, to the sunken living room)...just a helluva lot nicer.

Photo Credits: Interior #1 - Jessie. B. R., Interior #2 + #3 - MyHouse

Cunning cunnilingus in Kentucky.

Some people knit sweaters for fun; others go to bazaars; others go drinking til their livers turn a shade of grayish death--all, completely reasonable forms of personal entertainment--hobbies suitable for fun and time consumption. So, when my attention was turned this morning to a Kentucky man (he calls himself Louisville Free Face) who gives head for fun--and, actually, for free--I had to wonder. Wonder if his father never engaged him with sports, if his mother never introduced him to TV, if he never discovered an interest in, oh say, film or comic books. How exactly does a man become so engaged in cunnilingus that he is compelled to dedicate a website to his free offering of the the entire region of Louisville?!

Well, he does have standards (terms, in fact)--I'll grant him that. Amongst the restrictions for candidates are cleanliness (no funky smells ladies), lack of disease (you can't call him irresponsible!) and, of course, he'd appreciate your referrals (he believes in word of mouth marketing).

In the Louisville region? Kinky? Desperate? Completely lacking good sense? Pay him a visit, why don't you. And you let us know how it goes, ya hear?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Food find: Elf Cafe

On Sunset Boulevard, near a corner strip mall featuring both a cheap burrito stand and a liquor store (a dangerous combination in the patrons it attracts--often fighting, occasionally disrobed) and yet another outlet of American Apparel, is Elf Cafe. The restaurant, opened by members of the LA band Viva K., serves up "vegan, vegetarian, and raw food in Echo Park."

The first time we visited this tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe, we were seated right away at bar stools, facing the small kitchen area. It didn't feel cramped--it felt quaint. I thought our dishes to be the richest, most wonderful foods I'd ever tried. The new-agey music, the light din of conversation, the smell of the food...well, I thought I'd found a culinary Utopia.

This past Saturday, we returned...

The food: On our first visit we ordered the Crepe and the Blue Cheese and Potato Tart. A-flippin-mazing. Last Saturday involved a Moroccan stew over quinoa that felt more Mulligan Stew than gourmet (I found three almonds, a couple of orange rinds and one olive at random) and a Vegetable Torte that was innocuous but didn't live up to its price tag. I will, however, give it up for our starter, a baked feta dish that made me, for the first time, like feta.

The service: We arrived at 8:30 and were told we'd have a 25 minute wait. We went across the street. We returned. We were told we'd have another 20 minute wait. We were patient. We watched other parties get sat (parties who I am sure were not there before us but were merely friends of the owner). We thought about telling couples they were taking too long. We didn't. We were finally sat at 10 pm. Umm, that is an hour and a half wait time last time I checked. Get it straight, hostess girl.

The verdict: If you tried heroine and it was really, reeaalllly good the first time, you'd do it again. And if the second or the third time, it didn't feel quite right--well, you'd probably still do it again because you'd already had a taste. But had you overdosed on the first attempt, you'd be done for good. Let's just say, round two at Elf Cafe was sort of like a bad trip. But since the first time was so good, I'll be back for more. (Disclaimer: I've never tried heroine. Seriously.)

Celeb sighting: Michaela Conlin, who I very much heart from Bones.

Photo Credit: James L. on Yelp

Monday, January 05, 2009

All good things must come to an end. Vacations included.

This is what it feels like to be back at work today.

But Tyra says that crying in the workplace is bad. So, I will try not to cry. I will try not to cry. I will try not to cry...

Photo Credit: Corbis

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2009 in. With resolve.

The picture above is one of the last images my poor eyes saw in 2008. Forget all the worst dressed lists in the usual rags--I am here to tell you I saw the worst up front and personal. And my corneas are still healing. In line to return some items at Target, I witnessed the biggest fashion faux pas of 2008, if not perhaps the decade. Sparkly denim pockets, a bedazzled zip-up sweatshirt, and a striped back-pack (yes, that's right, back-pack) emblazoned with an image of the Jonas Brothers. The culprit--a middle-aged woman. I pray for her.

And with that, on to 2009, a year I hope to be filled with wonderful things, people and experiences. In honor of the long-standing tradition of resolutions, I present you with mine:

Jessie B. R.'s Top Resolutions for 2009

1. To bring prosperity to my life (according to my bank statements, it can only go up from here).

2. To welcome happiness into my days (this is easy--stock freezer with more Haagen Dazs).

3. To be tolerant of people from whom I am different (this would really go smoothly if other people would stop being such biatches).

4. To eat a balanced and healthy diet (I'm not yet sure how to resolve this with #2).

I look forward to sharing my progress with you over the next 12 months. Here's to health, wealth and a kick-ass 2009 my friends.

xo * Jessie. B. R.

Photo Credit: Jessie B. R. (she wishes she could forget this image, but she took it for you, dear readers)