I was at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo over the weekend. Had to use the men’s room and the only stall available had a broken door latch. In order to keep the door closed, I had to press on it with my foot.
Unfortunately, I pressed a little too hard and the door broke through the restraint and flew open in a forward direction.
Granted, the Japanese had to put up with indignities at internment camps but that was in wartime . . .
Unless you reserve tickets well in advance, entry to the Broad is handled via a standby line, which, when we showed up Saturday morning, was about an hour wait, i.e., the museum opened at 10 a.m. and we got in about 11:00.
Because the standby line is in direct sunlight, Broad staff thoughtfully hand out umbrellas to anyone in the queue who wants one. (They do ask for the umbrellas back when you enter.)
The Infinity Mirrored Room is an experiential artwork . . . one visitor at a time enters the room for 45 seconds. It requires a separate reservation which you can make, pending availability, after entering the museum.
Once you get signed up with your name and cell phone, you get a text when it’s your turn to see the room. Our reservation came with a wait time of 4 hours and 35 minutes. Good to know.
That gave us enough time to take in the rest of the museum, and walk across the street to MOCA and take in their entire offering.
A couple of differences between the Broad and MOCA:
MOCA is more museum-y. It makes you feel like whispering. The Broad is more open, playful and fun.
Admission to the Broad is free. MOCA costs 12 bucks.
After wrapping up MOCA and heading back to the Broad, we were able to get an update on our Infinity Mirrored Room wait time. We were prepped to get some lunch and come back if we had to wait out the full 4-1/2 hours, but no: only 15 minutes left! Total wait was only about 3 hours.
And those that had money looked good but weren’t too happy
And those who didn’t have money didn’t look so good
And weren’t too happy either and in a city of three million
two hundred and sixty nine thousand nine hundred eighty four
Everyone was lonely
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
(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.
[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.
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.”