EppsNet Archive: Los Angeles

Rickie Lee Jones at the Coach House

6 Jun 2014 /

We saw Rickie Lee Jones at the Coach House Sunday night. I’ve been an RLJ fan since . . . I think it was 1979, when this young woman I’d never heard of showed up on Saturday Night Live and sang “Chuck E’s in Love”:

It might be possible to watch that now and say, “What’s the big deal? I’ve heard women sing like that.”

Not in 1979, you didn’t. In case you’ve forgotten or blocked it out or you weren’t born yet, in 1979 we were listening to Olivia Newton-John, Debby Boone, and similar lame-ass bullshit. (Or Christopher Cross, Barry Manilow . . . the male singers were equally uninspiring.)

I couldn’t have been more electrified if she’d capped off the performance by whacking the Captain and Tennille across the face with her beret.

RLJ’s style influenced a lot of singers, including some who’ve been much more commercially successful, and she really hasn’t I think been properly recognized for that.

She didn’t have a band, just played guitar and piano and sang. She sounded great, reinventing some of her best-known songs with new tempos and phrasing. As I mentioned when we saw Neil Young’s stunning solo show in April, a lot of performers hide their shortcomings as musicians and singers by adding a band, backup singers, electronics and other accoutrements, but when you’re up there all by yourself, there’s nowhere to hide. It’s organic music.

She told some stories between songs, many about living in New Orleans after moving recently from LA. Topics included voodoo ladies, fireflies, impromptu parades and neighbors who sit out on their front porch and wave to you.

The venue was sold out. That’s good. I feel like we were part of something. There was a long standing ovation at the end of the set . . . people went on clapping for several minutes even after the house lights came up, which I don’t remember ever seeing before.

Here’s the set list, to the best of my recollection:

Weasel and the White Boys Cool

Sympathy for the Devil

Young Blood

The Last Chance Texaco

Satellites

It Must Be Love

On Saturday Afternoons in 1963

We Belong Together

Living It Up

The Weight

Company

Chuck E’s in Love


That L.A. Sunshine

17 May 2014 /

Also featuring the USC Marching Band horn section . . .


Neil Young Acoustic Show at the Dolby Theater

2 Apr 2014 /

We were lucky enough to see Neil Young’s solo acoustic performance at the Dolby Theatre in LA last night. I say “lucky” even though we paid for the tickets because they did sell out rather quickly.

Here’s the set list, to the best of my recollection. I may have some of the harmonica instrumentation wrong. He had the harmonica rack on for the whole show; some songs he played it and some he didn’t.

First Set

From Hank to Hendrix – guitar, harmonica. A good opener for this kind of a show: From Hank to Hendrix / I walked these streets with you / Here I am with this old guitar / Doin’ what I do. / I always expected / That you should see me through / I never believed in much / But I believed in you.

On the Way Home – guitar, harmonica

Only Love Can Break Your Heart – guitar, harmonica

Love in Mind – piano

Philadelphia – piano

Mellow My Mind – guitar (banjo?), harmonica. He played the Gibson Mastertone you can see in the right foreground of the photo. He said it’s a guitar, not a banjo. It sure looks and sounds like a banjo though.

Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin) – piano

Someday – piano

Changes (Phil Ochs) – guitar

Harvest – guitar, harmonica

Old Man – guitar, harmonica.

Second Set

Goin’ Back – guitar

A Man Needs a Maid – synthesizer, piano, harmonica

Ohio – guitar. What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? This hasn’t lost any punch over the last 40 years.

Southern Man – guitar

If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot) – guitar. A better interpretation than the original, which I’ve never really liked very much.

Harvest Moon – guitar, harmonica

Mr. Soul – pipe organ, harmonica. I’ve heard a lot of people play guitar and harmonica together. I may have even heard someone play piano and harmonica together. But I’ve never (until now) heard anyone play harmonica riffs while performing on a pipe organ.

Flying on the Ground Is Wrong – piano. Interesting story about this song: when he wrote it, he was living in L.A. at the Commodore Gardens on Orchid Ave. The Commodore Gardens is gone now. It went away when Orchid Ave. was shortened to make room for . . . the Dolby Theatre! (see map)

After the Gold Rush – piano. With a line change: We’ve got Mother Nature on the run in the 21st century.

Heart of Gold – guitar, harmonica.

Encore

Thrasher – guitar, harmonica.

He had seven or eight guitars available, several harmonicas, a grand piano, an upright piano, a synthesizer and a pipe organ.

He has an incredible repertoire of songs to choose from, his voice for some reason sounds better than ever, and he’s a fantastic musician, which you have to be for a solo acoustic performance. If you really can’t play or sing, there’s no place to hide.

Most of the guitars came with stories, related in a laconic, deadpan style. One used to belong to Hank Williams. “I got it from a guy in Nashville. Thanks to you, and people like you, I was a rich hippie. And I was able to buy the guitar.”

Two were given to him by Steve Stills. One — the one he’s playing in the photo — used to belong to a folk singer who was performing in Denver when a gunshot blasted a large hole in the front of the instrument. “That was long before weed was legalized. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. But no one singing folk songs in Denver has been shot since it was legalized.”


Geoff Edwards, 1931-2014

6 Mar 2014 /

Geoff Edwards

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Geoff Edwards, the hip-looking 1970s and ’80s host of TV game shows including “Jackpot!” and two incarnations of “Treasure Hunt” died Wednesday, his agent said. He was 83.

“Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I’ve worked with,” said fellow game show host Wink Martindale. The two were DJs at pop radio station KMPC in Los Angeles.

Shocking, shocking news . . . Wink Martindale is still alive?!

RIP Geoff Edwards


Neil Young in LA

27 Feb 2014 /
Neil Young

Neil Young is playing a couple of solo acoustic shows next month at the Dolby Theatre. Tickets went on sale Monday morning, but somehow I missed the fact that they’d been available via “pre-sale” since last Friday and were all gone by Monday morning.

What a heartbreaker. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of technology and social networks, Mr. Young and his team were able to inform me via Facebook that a third show had been added and I was able to log in and get tickets for that one.

The sold-out shows are on a Saturday and Sunday. The new show is on a Tuesday. Am I looking forward to driving in to LA and back on a Tuesday? No, but on a list of solo acoustic shows for which I’d be most willing to knock over my own mother to get a ticket, Neil Young would be second, behind Bob Dylan.

Unlike some singer-songwriters, Young also has a distinctive style and talent as a musician, plus an almost-50-year portfolio of great songs — not clever lyrics or inventive melodies, but a Neil Young song is as real as the day is long. They get a hold of you, like a meathook.

A solo acoustic performance is like he comes over to your house and picks up a guitar. Can you imagine that? Neil Young is at my house and he just picked up a guitar. “Do you mind?” he asks.

One more thought on Bob Dylan: Solo acoustic Bob Dylan is part of the iconography of America in the 1960s. I don’t expect Bob Dylan to ever do a solo acoustic show again but if he did, the significance of it I think would be second only to Jimi Hendrix playing a concert after coming back from the dead.


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

30 Jan 2014 /
Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti

The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, said this the other day:

“Some of the monies that will come from that will go to other parts of the city too that connect in with that . . .”

OK, that’s out of context and it doesn’t make any sense, but — “monies”?!

“Hi, I’m Eric Garcetti. I have a dollar bill so I have a money. If you give me another dollar, I’ll have some monies.”

No. You can have a dollar or a billion dollars. One word covers all the possibilities and that word is “money.”

“Monies” is a word used by politicians and academians and other posturing pricks who’d like you to think that they’re doing the Lord’s work and not soiling their hands with anything as grubby as “money.”


Japan, Day 0: Floyd Mayweather at Panda Express

20 Dec 2013 /
Panda Express Logo

We saw Floyd Mayweather at LAX . . .

Actually, my son saw him. When the boy pointed him out to me, all I could see was the back of a smallish man in a black hoodie surrounded by half a dozen of the largest human beings I’ve ever seen. You have to get past those guys to get your shot at Floyd.

They were all standing on line at Panda Express in one of the food courts. Normally, I don’t envision famous, wealthy people eating Panda Express, and if they do, I don’t picture them standing on line for it. I picture them sending someone to fetch it while they hang out in the first class passenger lounge.

Good advertisement for Panda Express. Better than those ridiculous goddamn talking pandas.

In other close encounters with boxing legends, I once saw Sugar Ray Leonard and his family at Juice It Up.


A $15 Minimum Wage is Not Going to Help You

6 Dec 2013 /

Fast Food Workers Will Strike On Thursday In L.A. : LAist

Fast food workers staged a one-day strike for “living wages.” More specifically, they want the federal minimum wage to be raised from $7.25 an hour to $15.

Fast food

(Photo credit: H Dragon)

You want to make a living wage? I’ll tell you how to make a living wage. I’ve had a lot of jobs and this method has never failed me.

Here it is: Before accepting a job offer, you always ask yourself, “Does this job pay enough for me to live on?” And if the answer is no, then you don’t take that job.

If you want to earn $15 an hour, do what I do: get a job that pays $15 an hour. Who’s stopping you?

If no one’s willing to pay you $15 an hour, it’s because the skills, intelligence and motivation that you bring to the table don’t allow you to do anything that’s worth $15 an hour. You need to do something about that. You need to be able to deliver $15 of value to an employer. Figure that out.

Setting the minimum wage at $15 is not going to help you. If you set the price of something at more than it’s worth, people are not going to buy it.

Imagine this: My friend Paul Epps is a programmer. Let’s say we passed a Minimum Wage for Programmers law that says that programmers must be paid at least $200,000 a year. Is that good news for Epps?

No, it isn’t.

His boss calls all the programmers into a meeting and says, “Well, according to the new Minimum Wage for Programmers law, I can’t hire any of you for less than $200,000 per year. You know what that means?”

“We all get a big raise?” Epps suggests hopefully.

“No, it means you’re all fired. Get out of here.”

Or imagine this: We pass a Minimum Price for Restaurants law that says you can’t get a meal in restaurant unless you pay at least $15 for it. What will that do to sales of Quarter Pounders and Jumbo Jacks?

People will stop buying those things. Many restaurants serve meals for which customers are willing to pay $15, but a fast food burger isn’t worth $15, even with fries and a drink, so people will stop buying those things.


The Best-Laid Plans . . .

15 Nov 2013 /
http://laist.com/2013/11/15/man_who_burned_to_death_at_weho_hal.php

As if any more evidence was needed that smoking is bad for your health.

Should I ever happen to kill myself while trying to perform a simple task — I’m trying not to, but if it does happen — please don’t publish a photo of me in a college hoodie.

Au revoir, professor!

UT alum


See You in Hell, Game of Thrones Fans

3 Jun 2013 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan -- PE]

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles had a telescope pointed at Saturn this week. Anyone who wanted to could stop by and have a look.

“It looks like I thought it would look,” one observer remarked.

HA! He wasn’t impressed AT ALL by the fact that better men than himself built a device that lets him see things a BILLION miles away.

This same idiot later pronounced himself “blown away” by the deaths of several make-believe characters on a TV show called Game of Thrones.

If your Facebook and Twitter feeds look anything like mine this morning, you know that unfortunately this is just one idiot out of many.

One of the reasons America is circling the drain is people’s inability to distinguish fantasy from reality until reality hits them like a pitchfork in the guts. Which it eventually does Satan smiley.

See you in Hell . . .


EppsNet Book Reviews: The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

9 Mar 2013 /

“Did you ever hear what J. Edgar Hoover said about justice?” she asked.

“He probably said a lot, but I don’t recall any of it offhand.”

“He said that justice is incidental to law and order.”

— Michael Connelly, The Black Echo

I love detective fiction — especially L.A. detective fiction — but like every other kind of niche fiction, it’s almost all rubbish. The Black Echo is an exception to the rule.

I have just a couple of things to take exception to:

  1. Detectives should NEVER have a love interest. They should always be loners (cf. Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe).
  2. [SPOILER ALERT] It is absolutely impossible that Rourke wouldn’t know who Eleanor Wish is. He works for the FBI. The Federal Bureau of INVESTIGATION. He’s an INVESTIGATOR. And he knows nothing about this woman? Not even her maiden name?

P.S. Don’t tell me about Linda Loring in the last two Marlowe books. She was a terrible decision by Raymond Chandler but I blame the fact that he was cracking up at the time over the illness and death of his wife.


Jerry Buss, 1933-2013

18 Feb 2013 /

I’m sad. As a lifelong Laker fan, I kind of feel like I knew the guy. He bought the Lakers in 1979, which means he was younger than I am today, and now he’s dead at the age of 80. I feel old.

Dr. Buss was a USC alum. Fight on.

R.I.P. Jerry Buss

jerry-buss


Why Kyrie Irving is a Better Basketball Player Than Anyone in My Family

16 Jan 2013 /
Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving

My son (age 19) and I are driving to Staples Center to see the Lakers take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, listening to the pre-game show on the radio. Because the Cavs are basically a one-man roster, and that one man is Kyrie Irving, there’s a lot of talk about Irving on the pre-game.

One of the analysts offers up his opinion that Irving is as good as he is at such a young age (he’s 20) because Irving’s dad was hard on him as a kid and pushed him and didn’t let him take breaks.

As always, when the topic of someone’s dad bullying him to greatness comes up, the boy gives me a melancholy look to say that my lack of abusiveness as a parent is the reason he’s not a professional athlete. “You let me take breaks,” he says.

“You know,” I say, “I think for every guy who says, ‘My dad wouldn’t let me back in the house until I made 100 layups with each hand and now I’m in the NBA,’ there’s 900 other guys whose dads tried the same shit and these guys got nowhere and now they’re extremely angry about it. You just never hear from those 900 guys because they’re nowhere, as I just said.”


MOCA Cookie Crumbles

23 Jul 2012 /

Ed Ruscha has resigned as a MOCA trustee, as have John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger and Catherine Opie, leaving no artists on the museum’s board.

latimes.com, July 17, 2012

“Art” and “artist” are words that get tossed around pretty lightly. Ruscha‘s work — and the same goes for Baldessari and Kruger — consists of modifying photos and other images, often by writing words on them.

Pay Nothing Until April

It’s like lolcats, minus the occasional wit.

Opie is a photographer whose work is less interesting than the average high school yearbook.

Yesterday, the image below was posted on the MOCA Facebook page. It’s an actual museum piece called “Earthwork aka Untitled (Dirt).”

Earthwork aka Untitled (Dirt)

Yes, it looks like a pile of dirt, but if you click the image to enlarge it, you can see that it’s actually — a pile of dirt!

This is risk-taking art, the risk being that the cleaning crew may accidentally sweep it up and throw it in the garbage.

No doubt the four retiring geniuses can put forth a critical theory, based on “the process of creation,” to explain why a pile of dirt becomes “art” when placed within the walls of a museum. I say good riddance and take your dirt with you.


The Deceased Didn’t Work and Neither Did the Eulogy

4 Mar 2012 /

Funeral program

The LA Times ran a eulogy for a young Occupy protester this weekend . . .

Alex Weinschenker was born 23 years ago last month.

He was his parents’ only child, and he was beautiful.

Man who found a deep sense of purpose in Occupy L.A. is mourned – latimes.com

That’s a very young age to die — 23 years old. How did it happen?

. . . probably from a relapse of a drug problem he’d tried to put behind him . . .

OK, wait a minute. This seems a little disingenuous. It sounds like you’re trying to say — without actually saying it — that he was a drug addict who killed himself, perhaps accidentally, with an overdose.

Occupy L.A. had filled Alex Weinschenker with energy and optimism, which makes the timing of his death even sadder, said his father.

Hmmm . . . in my experience, people with energy, optimism and “a deep sense of purpose” don’t die of a drug overdose.

He was so smart, but different. He did not go with the flow.

He had no education and no job.

Last year, Alex became a father to his own baby boy, Rivers, now 7 months old. He was no longer romantically involved with the child’s mother, but he was committed to taking care of both of them.

Is there anything he could have done that would be too irresponsible or stupid for the Times to put a positive spin on it?

“Committed to taking care of them” — in what way? A lot of us have fathered children and committed to taking care of them but we do this via something called “work.” I guess you could say we “went with the flow.” We’re not getting rich, we’re not 1 Percenters, but we made a decision to go to school, get jobs and raise our kids.

Who’s going to eulogize us?

 

Here’s how you can tell a eulogy isn’t working: It’s relentlessly disingenuous when it’s not outright dishonest. You have to gloss over the cause of death, invest the deceased with “a deep sense of purpose” that he didn’t have, and ignore the collateral damage of fathering a child with no means of support and leaving him to be raised by a single mother whose idea of a good decision is to have unprotected sex with an unemployed drug addict.

I suppose the Times is trying to bring Occupy back from the dead with a positive write-up on how they became a young man’s second family, but he was a 23-year-old addict with no job, no education and a 7-month-old son. Who or what was he protesting against?

He made his choices. What did he want?


No Photos, Please, of Obama’s L.A. Fundraisers

25 Oct 2011 /
Presidential entourage in Hancock Park

The White House wants you to see President Obama bash the rich, and everyone in the press corps is invited to cover the various rallies and speeches where he claims average people can’t get a break and the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share of taxes.

What the White House doesn’t want you to see is Obama schmoozing the rich so that he can pocket some of their money for his campaign.

So not surprisingly, news photographers were barred from both of Obama’s L.A. fundraisers Monday. . . .

Tickets cost $35,800 per person.

Actor Will Smith, looking dapper in a three piece suit . . . Magic Johnson sat at a table to the president’s right . . . imposing Spanish-style mansion of Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith . . . POTUS entered with Eva Longoria.

Meanwhile, news photographers were welcomed earlier in the day when Obama made an unscheduled stop at Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n Waffles in West L.A., where he ordered the No. 9, “Country Boy” – 3 wings with choice of waffle, potato salad or French fries for $8.90.


I Love LA

3 Sep 2011 /

Bukowski: Hollywood Tour

13 Aug 2011 /

NARCh 2011 – Travel Day

20 Jul 2011 /
Mario Williams

LA to Houston

We’re waiting at LAX for a flight to Houston when a large black man in his 20s sits down near us in the waiting area.

“I could take that guy one-on-one,” my kid announces.

I’m about to mention to him that not every big black dude is necessarily a basketball player when he says, “Wait a minute, isn’t that Mario Williams?”

I have to admit to him that I wouldn’t recognize Mario Williams if I saw him.

He pulls up a photo of Mario Williams on his iPhone. “Yeah,” I say, “that does look like him.”

“And he’s waiting for a flight to Houston? That’s got to be Mario Williams.”

The final clue is that the guy is decked out in Adidas gear from head to toe. A Google search for “mario williams adidas” on the iPhone reveals that Mario Williams has a sponsorship deal with Adidas.

So we’re pretty sure we saw Mario Williams at the airport.

 

Houston to Florida

Continental changed up the seat assignments . . . the boy ends up in Row 8 while I’m back in Row 26.

“I’m way ahead of you,” he says. “I can pick up the rental car and drive to the hotel before you even get off the plane.”


Any Lawyers Out There Want This Case?

16 Jul 2011 /
LAX

The boys arrived back from their graduation trip, but missed their connecting flight in Philly, which seems to be the rule rather than the exception for U.S. Airways.

They were able to get on a later flight — to Los Angeles though, not Orange County — so the parents drove out to pick them up at LAX at 11:45 p.m.

“We should sue the airline,” one of the moms said.

“That’s a good idea,” I replied, not because I thought it was a good idea, but because I wanted to hear the plan.

“Five sets of parents have to drive all the way to Los Angeles,” she said. “Gas is expensive! Then there’s punitive damages. Frustration. Loss of income.”

“How is there a loss of income?”

“Some parents might have to work at night. You don’t know.”

“How much do you think we should get — a million dollars?”

“No,” she scoffed, like I was being ridiculous. “Two hundred thousand.”


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