Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back from Coachella

And I'm a bit bummed that I left my digital camera at home. I bought a couple of disposables and I MIGHT have some pictures to post if anything turns out, but I'm not holding my breath. I was going to post a youtube vid of Prince playing "Creep," but I can't find one with both good video and audio. Feel free to go search for it if you want; there are a lot of them on there.

Honestly, I ran hot and cold for Prince, but he's still Prince. "Musicology" was probably my favorite performance of his, which I didn't expect. He lost me during the screamy "Come Together" cover, I'm afraid. I listened to "Purple Rain" and "Let's Go Crazy" from the parking lot.

Other highlights:

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings -- I WAS SO CLOSE FOR HER. I LOVE HER. And her cover of "What Have You Done for Me Lately?" was CHOICE.

Santogold -- I had no idea who this performer was and only wandered over to her tent when I got bored by Goldfrapp (which didn't take long). Santogold was a great surprise; she's cool and cute and gets the crowd moving. And I want to be one of her dancers.

Yelle -- I heard a whopping ONE song by this French singer, but it was a great one. Also really cute and put on a fun show (at least on that one song...we wandered over too late to catch more of her set).

Metric -- I heard about 1/3 of their set and really liked them live, sound problems and all. Emily is a good front person and sports a shiny silver hotpant jumpsuit thingy with ease. I was baking in that late afternoon sun and didn't mind; I only got pulled away to see an only semi-coherent Sean Penn lecture the youth of today about volunteerism.

My Morning Jacket -- The upside to catching Sean Penn was it had me in place for My Morning Jacket. They're one of those bands I've always been curious about but never heard much of. That lead singer is phenomenal though. His track on the I'm Not There album is the best one -- this side of Bob Forrest's "Moonshiner," of course.

The Raconteurs -- I caught the beginning and end of this show when I wasn't bored by Goldfrapp and surprised by Santogold. These guys are total rockstars; I know you all knew Jack White was, but the whole band sounds really solid live and puts on an engaging show without having to rely on Roger Waters-style spectacle or even running around the stage (like My Morning Jacket...not that I mind running around the stage...that can be fun too). And stage presence is really important when you're playing to a bunch of tired, sweaty freaks with heatstroke. And 32-year-old theater geeks just looking for a performance that'll make them forget about their sore feet for a little while. It's part of why I'm being a little hard on Goldfrapp; I might not have given her a fair shake, but she just wasn't reaching me way in the back....

Kraftwerk -- Mostly for their visuals, but the music was cool too.

"Cannonball" and "Divine Hammer" by The Breeders. The rest of their set was just okay, and the sound frustrated me. But it's hard to beat those two songs.

And I know you're expecting me to say Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, but I was kind of hot and not into the new stuff in that environment. "Real Emotional Trash" is great live, though, as I expected. I just look forward to them playing The El Rey again so I can see a proper show and get a little closer to the action.

Date shakes at both Shields and Hadleys were also highlights of the weekend. And the t-shirt I bought at the GayMart USA in Palm Springs. I love it almost as much as the fact that I bought it at GayMart USA.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Come see my play

So "A Little Light Roleplay" was all set to go in an evening of ten-minutes with a fun group in Culver City, but casting proved difficult and the evening fell through. The consolation prize has come in the form of a presentation at Celebration Theatre on Monday, May 5.

It's more than a consolation prize, though; I'm actually really excited to have my writing at Celebration. I've seen more than one show there this year and planning to see Coffee Will Make You Black soon; I have to say they're doing really fine work!

Anyway, details below:

The Celebration Theatre literary committee proudly presents…
theSALON
STORIES: Short, Sweet & Simple


Make a date to join Celebration Theatre’s new works program: theSALON
This month, we will be featuring new works written by some of Southern California’s finest writers. Witty, intelligent and thought provoking, these pieces are sure to inspire, entertain and tickle your artistic bones!

Frontiers Magazine: “The best gay artistic event in LA!”
WestHollywood.com: “A go!”
RealGayLA.com: “Not to be missed!”


Monday, May 5th 2008
Doors open 7.00pm ~ Show promptly at 8.00pm


Featuring the Talented Work of…

Allain Rochel
Michael Anthony
Rick Heintz
Andy Black
Michael Carrier
Ellen Lewis
Brian Polak
Kyle T. Wilson
& Celebration Actors

Admission: Suggested $5 Donation
Bottomless Wine Glasses: $5
Dessert Buffet: Complimentary
Reservations Suggested ~ theSALON2008@hotmail.com


Celebration Theatre
7051 Santa Monica Blvd, WeHo
(1 block east of
Santa Monica Blvd & La Brea)
www.CelebrationTheatre.com

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I went to see Mask

A New Musical at Pasadena Playhouse last night. Let's just say I immediately pulled out my Susan Sontag and reread "Notes on Camp" when I got home.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hayes Carll in the LATimes

I've been having a Hendrix College month, as I just got back from my 10-year reunion, and today I opened the newspaper to find a really good review by Randy Lewis of my fellow alumnus Hayes Carll's album, Trouble In Mind.

* * *1/2 It's hard to decide right away which is more impressive, this 28-year-old Texan's delightfully crafted tales of life in the bars and side roads of rural America or the vibrant music he couches them in, a rootsy, country-based stew thick with roadhouse blues.

So why choose? Carll, who plays May 3 at the Stagecoach country festival in Indio, follows in the mighty footsteps of such Lone Star State country-folk-rock luminaries as Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and Joe Ely. There's a bit of Steve Earle folksy philosopher lurking there too, but Carll's voice, as a writer and a singer, is as uncommonly distinctive as it is assured.

The drawl notwithstanding, this is no simple-minded party-hearty Southern country rocker. This honky-tonk troubadour tosses off witty couplets with disarming ease: "Well, I'm wild as a turkey, higher than a Christmas moon / Empty as my wallet on a Sunday afternoon," he sings in "Wild as a Turkey." Describing the dive he plays six nights a week in "I Got a Gig," he observes, "Burnt fried chicken and Lone Star beer / Cops and the kids drink free 'round here."

Dylan clearly is an influence too, perhaps a tad too clearly in the "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35"-inspired "A Lover Like You." But even when Carll's sources are showing, it's too much sloppy fun to grouse about for long. And "She Left Me for Jesus" is a brilliant example of how to simultaneously salute and parody a time-honored musical genre.

Whatever they've got in the water down there is golden. Or maybe it's just the beer.
It's funny; the last time I saw Hayes was at a Dylan concert in Houston a year or two after we graduated. I always knew he was a rockstar. In our theater department's production of Our Country's Good he even made his Redcoat costume look cool.

Congrats Hayes! Now I'm wanting to drive down for Stagecoach so I can say hi!

UPDATE: I bought the album on itunes and I really like it; it's worth checking out if you like smart country or rockabilly. My favorite song so far is "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I'm prepping for

my New York trip in May and I'm excited because I got my $20 tickets to see Albee's Occupant at the Signature. It's the only thing I can really settle on. I want to see A:OC, of course, in part because it shares its initials with a lovely restaurant on 3rd Street here in Los Angeles, but I have reservations about it because it's so long and I'm only there for three full days and everyone I know has seen it already. Maybe I'll just wait for it to show up out here in a couple of years. I dunno. Passing Strange probably needs my business more anyway. Will there be any weird, cheap, Off-Off mess I should check out the weekend of May 15-17?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It's all too much!

CHECK THIS OUT!

First LAWeekly breaks my heart by canning Alan, then it breaks THAT story? From classical lows to pop highs all in the space of a few hours? TOO MUCH.

Oh no!

Poor Alan!

Get that website up, Alan. I'll link to you!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

We here at

Frank's Wild Lunch don't really like much of the singing on American Idol. In fact, I (I'm dropping the royal "we" now because it's pretentious and I know I won't be able to keep it up) was imagining how long I would last if I went on that show and sang songs I found inspirational. I can't think of a song that I find inspirational. Maybe because I mostly listen to music that's depressing or too clever for its own good. And that Laura Nyro and LaBelle album I love so much. That always cheers me up.

I've been on an Elliott Smith kick again lately, in part because I'm considering incorporating him somehow into the 2nd draft of the mess of a play I'm working on; those songs are hardly inspirational. Except maybe "Say Yes." It's so sweet. Part of me wants to keep writing on this play because the whole Elliott Smith elegy angle is somehow energizing, and part of me thinks I'm digging a perfectly grave-sized hole in continuing to work on it. Which means I'll probably revise it for the next five years or so just to be contrary and make sure the hole isn't too shallow, etc.

But wait, I was talking about American Idol. Because I tend not to like the singing, I always root for whoever I think is hottest. (Whomever? It's "whomever," right Meg? Or no?) And the blonde who sings country is HOT. WOW she looked good tonight. Syesha is a close second because she's pretty, but Kristy-what's-her-name is HOT! White jeans and all!

You might think I would go for the Australian, but "Dream On?" With a silk scarf? NO. Unacceptable.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I got a mention

in a Steven Leigh Morris article in L.A. Weekly, which was right nice of him. You can read it here.

It makes me want to do a big local theater post, since I don't really do those as much as I used to, but I can't say I have that much to offer. I saw a gay-themed play last night that made me a little crazy, but I don't really want to name names. All the critics seem to have loved it, except the L.A. Times, who got things right. I like that F. Kathleen Foley, at least in this instance. Anyway, email me and I'll tell you about it if you want to know to steer clear.

Oh, and I loved Sweeney Todd, but I didn't get the white baby coffin. Seemed a bit much.

More Gustavo tonight! And Bartok! I'm excited!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why didn't anyone tell me

that there was a lovely article in The New Yorker about Frank O'Hara? It's a book review by Dan Chiasson of a new compilation called Selected Poems. There are a lot of good passages, but I'll single out a favorite.
O’Hara didn’t introspect or recollect much. His poems lacked the formal appliqué of rhyme and meter, and, where most poets deposited words with an eyedropper, O’Hara sprayed them through a fire hose. He had entered Harvard on the G.I. Bill, at a time when overflow freshmen slept on cots in the gym, but soon he and his roommate, the artist Edward Gorey, established their rooms as (in the words of a home-town friend) the spot to “lie down on a chaise longue, get mellow with a few drinks, and listen to Marlene Dietrich records.” When he wasn’t reclining on the chaise, he picked fights about books and music. His crooked nose, broken in his youth, suggested the pugilism he brought to aesthetic disputes. He held scrappy, apostate opinions: he liked Rimbaud, Kabuki, Looney Tunes, Ronald Firbank. Poulenc was better than Wagner; Auden was better than Yeats. These opinions, decanted from a complex personality that partook equally of passion and parody, were essentially a social tactic, a means of drawing a line between those who, like Ashbery and Gorey, were subtle or hip enough to hear all the tones and those who, like the poet Donald Hall, weren’t.