Yes, colours, with the extra fancy continental U! Rupert Pupkin Speaks and I had a good time with the last Cinema Alphabet list, so why not try something…even more limiting and frustrating, like your favorite movies with colors in the titles? Shall we start, with the most obvious first 3?
Raise the Red Lantern
The Thin Red Line
The Lavender Hill Mob
The Pink Panther
Golddiggers of 1933
The Scent of Green Papayas
The Blue Angel
The Brown Bunny (HA! I just like to antagonize you)
The Bride Wore Black – and my favorite movie on this list.
And the sneakiest one of all, Eric Rohmer’s Summer – in French, Le Rayon Vert. Ha! I fooled you all! A little!
If you give it a shot, let me know, tweet it at me, yo. @citizenrobot
My comrade over at Rupert Pupkin Speaks loves a movie list. He’s the KING of movie lists, hit up his blog, it will blow your mind! It’s been a while since we did one together, so here we go again. The Cinematic Alphabet – 26 movies, one for each letter of the alphabet – personal picks, so if you don’t like mine – do up your own list! That’s how the internet works, yo.
A is for Auntie Mame
B is for The Big Lebowski
C is for Chungking Express
D is for Dead Man
E is for L’eclisse
F is for Female Trouble
G is for the God of Cookery
H is for Hard Day’s Night
I is for It’s a Gift
(List overlap with Rupert Pupkin Speaks! Deal with it. This movie is hi-larious.)
J is for Johnny Guitar
K is for Kiss Me Deadly
L is for Léon, the Professional
M is for Mulholland Drive
N is for Nashville
O is for O Brother Where Art Thou?
P is for Paris is Burning
Q is for Queen Christina
(Q was the second hardest letter, by the way.)
R is for Rome, Open City
(100% chosen for Anna Magnani)
S is for Shaun of the Dead
T is for Tokyo Drifter
U is for Up in Smoke
V is for Valley of the Dolls
W is for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
X is for Xanadu
And slightly against my will. Hollywood needs to make more movies starting with the letter X.
Y is for Young Frankenstein
Z is for Zatoichi VS. the Blind Swordsman
If you join in the movie list fun, please tweet at me! @citizenrobot
Deerhoof is one of those bands I have seen so many times I have lost count now. First show: All Tomorrow’s Parties, Long Beach. Then gigs at these places – Troubador. Avalon. Coachella. Natural History Museum. More than a few times at the Echoplex. The ticket stubs are lost to time, the precise memories destroyed by substance intake – yet every time I’ve seen them they put on a stellar show. Top notch energy. I’ve never seen Deerhoof’s B-game, if they have one.
This appearance coincides with the release of their newest album, Deerhoof Vs. Evil. If you’ve been following the ‘Hoof, you need to check out this album as it contains many departures from their ‘usual sound’ but it’s all woven carefully into their signatures – the nearly heavy-metal guitars, surreal, childlike lyrics and powerful (yet often jazzy) drumming.
Honestly, is this man one of indie rock’s greatest drummers or WHAT.
I should mention, I believe they did at LEAST 4 encores last night.
Time for hipster hyperbole. If I could magically Inception myself into 3 bands, they’d be Deerhoof. Sonic Youth. The Kills. In that order.
11 songs. Sorry. I couldn’t cut out 1, and hell, why not 11?
“Riot Rhythm” — Sleigh Bells
One of this year’s personal sorrows was being stuck on the damn Hollywood Bowl shuttle bus while Sleigh Bells was rocking the venue miles away, as they opened for LCD Soundsystem. Note to self: you suck, Sherrie. You missed hearing them execute this noisy beat driven stuff that brings to mind M.I.A. and a marching band of white girls colliding into each other. You. Suck. Sherrie.
“10 Mile Stereo” – Beach House Yes, this will tide me over until the next Grizzly Bear album. Is that a mean thing to say? That some bands can fulfill your desires for other bands? Or is it better to say that I clearly like echo-y, misty albums with shimmering layers of sound that conjure up gray introspective days and the distant rumble of waves breaking on an empty beach? Man. That’s good stuff.
“Giving Up the Gun” – Vampire Weekend
It’s very fashionable to bash this band, but it’s also very fashionable to be a pretentious unlikeable blowhard who wears a knit scarf regardless of the weather, okay. It was a worry of many fans that they would be unable to top their ineffably bouncy smash debut album, but there’s a lot of maturity poking through the sunshine on this second album: “When I was 17, I had wrists like steel, and I felt complete – and now my body fades behind a brass facade, and I’m obsolete.” One’s inevitable aging is a lot easier to acknowledge with a catchy beat, yes?
“Anyone’s Ghost” – The National Matt Berninger Sings Wikileaks. I would buy that album.
“Looking at the Invisible Man” – The Dead Weather
This smoking, dramatic and over the top bluesy album put together by this super group kind of slipped under the radar, which is RIDICULOUS considering how hard Jack White and Alison Mosshart are screaming and sweating to make you FEEL this stuff. And nothing beats this sardonic little comment on our post-media society – “I’m like a newspaper, YOU CAN’T READ ME.”
“I Want the World to Stop” – Belle & Sebastian
This band is still at it, dropping little poppy sweet gems into our laps, coming up with adorable album names, and making us hold ourselves and sway. Who knew twee Scottish chamber pop was going to have such serious longevity?
“Dancehall Queen” – Robyn
Robyn put out a LOT of music this year. 3 albums worth. That’s a lot of downright-perfectly-crafted dance songs to choose from, but I’m rather fond of this slower number because its chorus has that kind of simple melody that burrows into your head; you will most certainly find yourself whistling it later on in Trader Joes as you peer into the freezer dessert section. Its eye-popping and sexy video is the icing on the cake, especially if you like buttockses.
“hahahaha jk” – Das Racist
Alright, nothing, NOTHING that man could ever produce can top their other word of mouth hit “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” – that song’s banal lyric, repeated over and over again is probably the greatest anti-corporate anthem of recent times, an ode to how bored to death we should be by our own consumerism. This song off their new mixtape is full of more of their trademark deadpan delivery and humor. Are they joking or not joking or just joking? “Call me Dwight Shrute the way I eat beats – no beet farm, just farmed beats.” And THEN, all those soap operas references? Stop it, you guys, you’re fucking killing me.
“Zef Side” Die Antwoord I had the pleasure of seeing this South African “zef” hip hop act at the Henry Fonda. The experience was slightly dampened by the world’s most incredulous girlfriend, standing next to me. She kept repeating “Is this for real?” “No way, I can’t believe this.” “OMG this is the most amazing thing I’ve…IS THIS FOR REAL?” Shut the FUCK up sister, yes it’s real, people from South Africa are real and some of them are capable of most excellent flow.
“Goodbye” – Best Coast
Those girl group harmonies. That echoing vintage sound. All that teenage longing + a love of cats? It pairs so well with our Southern California sunshine that I’m convinced the rest of you just don’t know. Yeah, this is probably my 2nd favorite album of the year.
“I Can Change” – LCD Soundsystem
Once again, James Murphy and his gang of merrie music makers have crafted another seemingly effortless album that slid right into that first place spot in my heart – dance music for the heartbroken, the too-drunk, and all the sinners of the world who face all those bleary post-party mornings. This particular song is truly epic in its depiction of a crumbling romance. Notice how it goes from “Never change, never change, never change, this is why I fell in love” to “I can change, I can change, I can change, if it helps you stay in love.” It’s an honest song about how much love can hurt you, and it even lands a few zingers in there: “Love is an open book to a verse of your bad poetry – and this is coming from me.” Here’s to hoping Murphy and company keep these soulful tunes coming (and stop threatening to take a hiatus).
(The Wild Flag / Grass Widow / Eux Autres show at Spaceland last night was one solid show. It’s rare I see the opening acts, and especially rare I see the *first band* at a show nowadays as old age and infirmity lay me waste – but each one of these groups featured 1 or more women who rock. I highly recommend all 3 of these bands.)
Step 1: Black jeans, purple boots.
Step 2: Play a bad ass blue Gibson.
Steps 3 to infinity: Thrash like you mean it. Maybe get down on Spaceland’s grotty gray carpet.
Tony was taking some stuff to the thrift store today – including an old box of plates from my first apartment days. He opened up the box and found that I had stuffed plastic bags in between the plates in order to cushion them. But then, we realized what bags they were, and we felt a little wave of nostalgia for these 3 record stores that don’t exist anymore.
I used to go to Rhino to look at expensive import CDs I couldn’t afford, and ogle all the cult DVDs and assorted merchandise. I think it’s a lamp store now. Sigh.
Aron’s Records could really smell on a warm summer afternoon, but the used CD selection was good and cheap (cheaper than Amoeba’s almost-new used prices). I bought a lot of electronica and trip hop stuff there in those days of the late 90s. I probably bought my Portishead CDs there. They also had a gargantuan warehouse sale from time to time where you could spend hours picking through the selection. Good days, even with the record store armpit funk.
I wasn’t emotionally attached to Tower Records on Sunset…until I realized they were gonna put something super douchey and pointless there, and that is EXACTLY what is there – some kind of designer clothing boutique. I never knew how excellent it was to work near a record store until it was gone. We used to walk to Poquito Mas for lunch and stop on the way back to the office to browse the sale CDs. I once saw Paris Hilton in the parking lot. Not nostalgic for that though.
Do you remember these places? Share some memories.
I am going to try to fly through this and not bore you to tears with metaphors. It’s been a great couple of weeks.
September 30th – Pavement, Sonic Youth, No Age – Hollywood Bowl
No Age is a much “tighter” act since they dropped a band member, and I can safely say they were the loudest group I have ever seen at the Bowl. I especially liked the long chaotic descent into pure noise that was their closing song. Sonic Youth is always ineffably cool, Kim Gordon – my favorite old lady of rock. Pavement sounded even better than they did at Coachella. “Shady Lane” makes people happy.
October 3rd – Belle & Sebastian – The Palladium
The band seemed tired, they had come from Las Vegas where they played the big Matador anniversary orgy – but despite this, they managed to be in good spirits. The minute the crowd heard Stuart Murdoch’s trademark gentle Scottish twee-croon, they broke into cheers. It’s amazing how well material from just a few albums back has aged. “Step Into My Office, Baby” sounds like a classic now. Whoah, it *is* 7 years old!
October 13th – Corin Tucker Band – The El Rey
I think the audience was kind of in awe just looking at Corin Tucker, and hearing her voice again. And there certainly was nostalgia in the air; lots of fans came wearing old S-K shirts. Tucker seemed downright shy, not a veteran at all – as though she were starting all over again in a little no-name band. Some of the songs are great, especially the high energy tunes, but the softer, more intimate stuff outnumbers the rock pieces. We look forward to seeing the other 2/3rds of Sleater-Kinney next month at Spaceland, in the band Wild Flag.
October 15th – Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem – Hollywood Bowl
Hot Chip does not look like a band that makes dance music. It’s kind of interesting. One of the guys looks like a nice English guy who would know a lot about tax codes, and not a guy who sings a song that goes “Bendable! Poseable!” to a robotic Kraut-ish beat. But LCD Soundsystem was the real star of the night. This was the 3rd time I’ve seen LCD-S this year and this was the most solid performance. They seemed a little punch-drunk or just downright drunk at Coachella, and the Palladium show was lots of fun, but this was the show where the band seemed to be playing their hearts out. I got a little verklempt during “All My Friends”. (More proof the show was great – I managed to not take a single picture – see also, next entry!)
October 17th – Die Antwoord – Henry Fonda Theater
WHY. DID. YOU. MISS. THIS. SHOW. These people are no gimmick, they are the real deal. They have real flow. They have solid braggart-y rhymes. They have great beats. Their DJ wears a monster mask. WHY. DID. YOU. MISS. THIS. SHOW.
Hard to resist a sale that’s nearby – this one was in the hills of Silver Lake off Griffith Park Blvd., north of Hyperion. The house was a 40s or 50s 2-story cottage, in a neighborhood full of happy and young yuppie families (we were heckled by a child living across the street as we waited in line). It’s always interesting to gauge the reactions of neighbors as they realize someone has passed away and left their home open to weirdo vulture types.
Anyhow, it’s always a little game to learn something about the occupants. This home used to contain a magic-fan – there were plenty of magic VHS tapes, magic kits, and magic books cluttering the shelves. There was even a beard containing fake vomit (no I did not buy it, sorry). Someone was also probably a recovering alcoholic, lots of tomes about acceptance and moving on tucked away between card trick tips.
The haul: we ended up buying the nearly the entire Dean Martin Roasts DVDs, more than what’s pictured here. A fellow estate sale junkie implored us not to leave the Don Rickles episode behind. I also needed a deeper pie dish. And. A Christmas ornament of a mouse wearing a suit. Is it weird to buy a dead lady’s Chanel lotion? You might think so, but it was barely used and this lady kept her beauty supplies in impeccable order. Doesn’t matter anyhow, this button removed any feelings of estate sale weirdness:
I showed it to a woman in line, who responded, “Only an impudent snob would have a button about being an impudent snob.” (She had snatched up a bunch of their vintage Christmas decorations. Jealous.)
This was my first Lobsterfest. I’ve been down to the Port of Los Angeles a few times before. One of those visits ended in a mild case of food poisoning from possibly-rotting shrimp. Ever since then I’ve been scared off the place and paranoid about only eating de-veined shrimp. People, if they show you how to de-vein a shrimp in almost any seafood episode of any Food Network cooking show, it’s probably pretty important.
Fears of a toilet-based death aside – for $18 (on top of the price of admission) you received a lobster, a cup of strange always-melted butter, a side of potatoes, coleslaw, a bread roll and one tiny handiwipe. I’m always a little worried about having to deconstruct your own seafood – all those tiny flying bits of shell! The splatter of juice! The sheer violence! Julia Child was REALLY good at it. I was doing just fine until I got into the really gnarly green guts of the bug – which grossed out two possibly vegetarian girls standing at the table next to us.
Apparently we lucked out walking up and picking up a lobster within 10 minutes. On the way out of the ‘fest, we noticed extremely long lines had formed for food.
Getting a drink proved to be another queue-up. I don’t drink Bud Light or any derivatives there of, so I drank two of those “mojitos” you can buy in a bottle now. The kind that get 19 year old girls drunk at frat parties. Classy.
But fuck the lobsters and whore-mojitos (whore-itos?) and people wearing lobster hats. I came to see the Growlers!
I’ve seen these guys a few times before, most notably, when they opened up for Devendra Banhart in small club in Santa Barbara last year. I’ve also seen them play the Echo – a thick crowd of young girls immediately swarmed the front of the stage when they came on.
This here’s my favorite Growlers’ song – Old Cold River – the one that truly feels like sexy humid swamp rock.
Things girls notice? The guy who plays the bongos and additional percussion has a heart tattooed at the corner of his eye where a cholo/a would normally have his teardrop tat. Just a detail. (He also kind of looks like a pirate.)
The crowd down in front was very young. I’m talking zits-all-over-their-faces-get-excited-by-the-smell-of-marijuana-smoke young. The combination of the realization of my own inevitable aging plus the realization that I was going to have to line up for another bottled mojito was enough to drive me away from the rest of the fest. We did not stay until Dengue Fever. Pal InlandEmpirical had more patience though.
So Lobsterfest next year, yes or no? Totally depends on the bands. The lure of lukewarm lobster devoured standing up isn’t enough to bring me back – though if I return – next time, I’ll be armed with a flask.
I have a problem with books. I’ve always wanted tons of them. I want one of those stuffy Englishy libraries you see in movies with the spiral staircase that takes you up to the second floor of books. I think that library needs a huge globe too. Anyhow, my house doesn’t have a nice Englishy library, nor does it have an infinite amount of space, but that doesn’t hinder me (us, counting the BF who also has OCD-ish thrifting/collecting habits).
Here are some recent buys from the PCC swap meet, which happens the first Sunday of every month. It’s less attended and therefore more manageable than the Rose Bowl swap meet, which is the weekend right after. A lot of the same vendors appear at both swap meets too. Besides, you have to pay to get into Rose Bowl, and on a hot summer day, the Rose Bowl and its miles of asphalt JUST SUCKS. PCC swap is FREE, and is half outdoors, half inside a large parking structure, so you can escape the relentless sun while digging through boxes of records.
I’ve discovered now on the last few PCC runs that there is a rather handsome young bookseller who doesn’t have a booth. He just puts his books out on a huge blanket – and the books seem rather curated too, mostly history, art/photography, cookbooks, everything in good condition and not ridiculously priced either. The last time I visited to this fine fellow I picked up a nice copy of Martha Stewart’s hors d’oeuvres book for $4.
Look for him next month! He’s inside the parking structure. Here are my last book grabs:
Buster photobombed this set up.
AND this one.
This book was a gift for the BF, who this year joined the Los Angeles Mycological Society.
Purchased almost completely because I’ve been playing waaaaay too much Assassin’s Creed 2 on the PS3, which is set in Renaissance Italy. (Ending another blog post with an admission of dorkiness.)