Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today's Recommendation

Lori Cullen, aka Buttercup Bugle, does exactly the same kind of jazz-inflected soft pop that the Free Design did years ago. And guess why? Yup -- stuff was arranged and produced by Free Design GENIUS Chris Dedrick. Go here and check out her frickin' BRILLIANT cover of "I Found Love," a Free Design lost classic, arranged and co-sung by the man himself. And the rest of the songs are gorgeous too. Phenomenal stuff.

More soft people, people. You need more soft pop in your lives.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Happy damn anniversary to my hot, hot, hot wife.

(Hee! Anytime anybody says "Anniversary" I think of this!)

Friday, October 26, 2007

My soul-brotha David from the Autumn Leaves, the band I was in when I lived in Minneapolis (and sadly had to leave when I moved -- sob!!) points out that there's a NEW SONG on MySpace from the FORTHCOMING ALBUM we recorded this last summer with Gary from the Monks!

SO GO LISTEN! What are you waiting for??? It's a hell of a song!
I'll tell you what -- if anybody ever says a bad thing about John Denver in my presence ever again, it will result in fisticuffs.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

By the way, in reaction to the news on Diablo's blog about "Jennifer's Body" -- the odd description of "Heathers meets Beetlejuice" doesn't quite get across how freaking twisted, and how freaking *hysterical*, this script is. Its really an animal that hasn't been made -- a smart supernatural thriller that manages to be completely funny AND completely horrifying and scary, sacrificing not one jot of either. We're both serious horror nuts ourselves, and when I read it for the first time, I proclaimed it to be *as good as Juno in every way* -- possibly even better. And yeah -- Megan Fox is the perfect choice for Jennifer. You'll see. This is the one I was most excited about, of all her projects, and I'm really glad its gonna get made. You *will* be blown away. Trust me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Certain Minneapolis Writer Who Shall Remain Nameless interviewed my wife this weekend for an Unnamed Local Publication and asked her what I think is possibly the most offensive question anybody's ever asked her -- a kind of personal slap in the face to yours truly, who ALREADY suffers from occasional bouts of low self-esteem.

The question, phrased exactly thus: "Now that you're big in Hollywood, is it bye-bye Jonny?"

Our Miss Cody's response: "That's possibly the stupidest question I've ever been asked. Bye-bye Jonny, are you kidding? Absolutely not. Everything we do, we do together. We're partners."

His follow-up: "Well, people around here are wondering."

REALLY? People in Minneapolis are WONDERING? You'll forgive me if I don't understand -- what is it about Minnesota where people there assume that they're morally superior to the rest of the country, and everybody else -- especially in, sneer, California -- are a bunch of amoral, spouse-ditching douchebags? Is the divorce rate lower in Minneapolis than anywhere else? I don't think so. There's as much adultery and cheating and fucking crazy-ass lame-ass drama in Minneapolis as anywhere else.

Maybe his point was to insult me, to basically say "The guy's not good enough for you, when are you gonna find someone better?" Listen. I may not have ripped abs or be tall or attractive or even particularly thrilling (let alone "sexy"), but I'm not exactly a useless lump, dig? For one thing, I might not be in the movies but I'm a pretty kickass music writer and graphic designer (I do movie one-sheets, that's a cooler job than most people have!) and musician, and that means I'm kinda creatively up to dating someone excelling in a creative field. And for another, I'm a kind, supportive, friendly guy that gets pretty big ups out here for being kind of generally a guileless, kind, decent human being. In some circles, believe it or not, I'm even seen as kind of a catch. I know -- quelle shock.

Or maybe the question just belies a total ignorance of how it works out here in Hollywood. Maybe he views people out here as shallow automatons from lack of real-world experience and the distortion of seeing life via tabloids and magazines. Maybe rather than seeing them as humans with lives and souls and real-life cares and concerns, he ascribes to them motives which are atypical of human beings in general; i.e. that they're completely, 100% motivated by greed and are incapable of love and affection. In which case I can tell you -- apart from a few asshole actors who continually make the press and ruin it for the non-dramatic, non-dickhead majority out here, the people we've met out here are kind, affectionate, normal folks. Some of them are even in standard-fare, Minnesota-style long-term marriages. I know! Shocking!

In any event, IN CASE PEOPLE IN MINNEAPOLIS WERE WONDERING, we're doing just fine. Out here in Hollywood, despite what you have have heard, people don't always ditch each other randomly when they get successful, okay?

(And to Another Minneapolis Writer Who Shall Remain Nameless -- calling out Diablo's "impressively chunky thighs" belies some fairly blatant sexism. And before you crow that because she was a stripper that her "body is now part of the dialog," ask yourself how many times you mentioned Peter Jackson's weight in your articles about Lord of the Rings, even though his weight loss, being a matter of public record AND his occasional commentary, is also therefore "part of the dialog," and even though he -- as opposed to Diablo's completely normal, average-range physique -- has actually had weight problems? Yeah -- exactly. I call bullshit.

MEH. Seriously, Minnesota is the sour-grapesiest, resent-their-favorite-children-i-est state in the god-damn universe.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

You know what sucks?

Absinthe hangover. Just saying.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'm sorry I haven't been around, but here's the deal. As of -- well, a month ago or so, I'm writing about music for The Daily Mole, which is the still-in-Beta forthcoming news-and-entertainment website from Steve Perry, the guy that formerly brought you, well, CITY PAGES, for a lot of years. Its really kind of been a blast to a) get recognized for music writing, which I've been doing on SUCH an underground/unofficial level for years, ever since I decided (perhaps foolishly) after college that I didn't really wanna be writing about music so much as MAKING it (we see how far that went!) and b) actually get in there and WRITE about some stuff I care about. I have a feeling I'm gonna be the crusty Christgau to whoever-else-is-cooler's Lester Bangs, but we'll see how it all pans out.

In the meantime: sign up for the beta and join me. I'll still be writing over HERE, but time is really at a premium these days!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Morrissey observations.

(I'm a-postin' this in a couple places 'cause I find it so interesting).

So. For my birthday this last weekend, my wife took me to the Morrissey show at the Palladium here in LA. There were a few phenomenons at the show that I found very intriguing.

1. First off, who do you think is the main demographic for Morrissey fans? If you said "30-something ex-losers who, in high school, wore cardigan sweaters and horn rimmed glasses" (aka ME) you would be 100% WRONG. About 80% of Morrissey's audience at the show on Saturday night were under-30 *hispanics*. Specifically, under-30 hispanic ROCKABILLY KIDS with pompadours and vintage tuxedo coats. And I'm not talking about 40, 50 of 'em -- I'm taking HUNDREDS. The place was packed, and it's a pretty large venue -- and it was 80% hispanic, and around 80% *young people*.

2. The place was elbow-to-elbow JAM PACKED despite it being one of TEN shows the man is doing in Los Angeles.

3. Here's the most interesting thing. His set consisted of about 80% material from his last two albums, "Ringleader of the Tormentors" and "You Are The Quarry." He threw in a few key older songs and one or two Smiths songs as well. But oddly? The majority of fans seemed most interested in the NEWER material! They sang along to every song, LOUDLY, even the very newest ones (well -- not the BRAND newest ones that aren't on an album yet, but you know what I mean). Is that true of any other 80s act, where if they showed up and played a completely non-nostalgic show, the people would go the most nuts for his MOST RECENT STUFF?

4. Also: it was an INCREDIBLE show. Clean livin's probably to answer for it, but the man has lost not *one iota* of vocal power. He still sounds exactly like he did when he was in his 20s. *BETTER*, in fact. And apparently he's on Letterman or one of, as he said, "your talk shows" this week playing his new single which is absolutely phenomenal. It was also the only show I've seen in a long long LONG time where the girls literally SCREAMED for him. SCREAMED.

5. Didn't much miss Johnny Marr. Boz Boorer, his guitarist, is remarkable, and plays with wit and verve, which is more than I can say for the Oasis-obsessed Marr these days. Plah!

Anyway -- it was kinda awesome, as a fan, to see him operating at such a high level AND to see that he's somehow found a completely new crowd who loves and adores him!

Happy Birthday to MEEE

I had the Hollywoodiest last few days EVAH.

1. Thursday, as I mentioned, I went to the premiere of The Darjeeling Limited. It was star-studded affair -- I'm sure you heard that Owen Wilson was there, and indeed he was, and looked very sad, I thought. Something in his eyes -- heck, its in his performance in this one too, you'll love the film but he looks rather haunted. After the movie, I saw who I *thought * was Wallace Shawn -- you know, from the Princess Bride? But in fact, it was one of my acting idols, BUD CORT from Harold and Maude, who has sorta morphed into Wallace Shawn. I shoulda known considering he was in Life Aquatic, but, y'know, its a disconnect.

2. Afterwards, we went to the Rolling Stone "HOT PARTY" -- dunno if you noticed but our dear Diablo is in the "Hot Issue" as "Hot Screenwriter," and indeed I think she's rather hot, myself. There were celebs there, but I only recognized a few -- both Ando and Hiro from "Heroes" were there (Ando was getting his grind on with a very hot chick, Hiro was chatting with friends), and Juliette Lewis, and Perez Hilton, and apparently Ja'net from "Good Times," wonder what she's accomplished since? But my favorite was actually getting to meet and talk with one of my heroes, Billy Duffy of The Cult. Now, understand -- I was a goth, right? I had a black leather biker jacket, and on the back was painted THE CULT, because they were my absolute favorite band in the late 80s and early 90s. I was too chickenshit to talk to him, but Diablo knows no fear, and dragged me over to meet him. And he was absolutely 100% sweet, friendly and gracious.

3. Saturday night, as a day-early birthday present, Diablo got me tix to Morrissey, who's doing a ten-night residency at the Palladium. It was absolutely great. I have some observations about the show which I'll post under a seperate entry. Afterwards we hit an LA strip club, the Body Shop on Sunset. Lemme just say: compared to a few great Minneapolis strip clubs, the LA clubs are LAAAAAME. Sure, the girls are cute, but its all about who can throw the most dollars down on the tip rail, and that honor is usually held by rich, flashy middle-eastern men. I can't compete without the oil dollars, so we got ignored mostly.

4. Last night we got to view the incredible private art collection of one David Gersh, head of the Gersh agency who represents our Ms. Cody. It absolutely blew me away to see this stuff up close -- he had Lichtensteins, Johns, Stellas, Currans -- utterly amazing, a remarkable collection. It was incredibly kind of him to let us look around, and even kinder for he and his lovely wife to act as tour guides for us.

So yeah -- it was a BLAST. Great birthday weekend. Heck, I don't even FEEL 30! (heh heh)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I heart Wes Anderson, and am not afraid to say so.

Tonight, I get to go to the premiere of "The Darjeeling Limited," the new Wes Anderson film.

Now, see, I frickin' LOVE Wes Anderson. He's a young(ish) filmmaker with an extremely distinctive voice, one of just a few (Charlie Kaufman, him, Sofia Coppola, Jason Reitman, Michel Gondry, and of course our Ms. Cody) who are making films which stamp themselves with an actual, notable, interesting *style*. There's plenty of great films out there, but only a very few where the voice of the filmmaker or writer -- visual or written word, doesn't matter, both are equally important -- actually matters.

And that freaks people out, and brings out the haters. It's easy to like a generically GOOD film. It's harder to like a film that drips with the filmmaker's STYLE. People's complaints about Wes are usually the following:

1. He's just "stringing together hip songs and trying to be hip and being all hip and shit." Now, listen -- if you're not actually an artist yourself you won't get it, quite, but nobody makes art to try to be hip. Seriously: nobody. If you're at the level where you're making a film -- a TREMENDOUS EFFORT -- you are making that bastard because you give a shit about the characters and believe deeply that what you're doing is art. Or else you're going for the pure commercial and wanting to make money. But nobody's just "doing it to try to be hip." Believe me -- that's such a hollow victory that its not worth the effort.

2. "Yawn! More genius from Wes Anderson." This happens any time an artist has more than one great film/record/book in a row. See, right now, Michael Chabon -- his new novel, following the exquisite "Yiddish Policeman's Union," has folks yawning in boredom because it's just more greatness. What people WANT is spectacular failure. When artists don't give 'em that, and are consistently awesome, people get bored and find someone else who's gonna do what they want, i.e. fail miserably.

3. "He's repeating himself." Plah. Peter Travers tackles this complaint in his excellent and VERY POSITIVE review, here.

He gets it, does Travers. He understands that a filmmaker can spend a LIFETIME exploring certain themes, see also: Woody Allen, or, as he says, Alfred Hitchcock, and never run out of ideas.

I mean, it's one thing to not like his style. That's fine and dandy -- if you don't like it, you don't like it. The fact that it HAS a style means its not for everybody. But it drives me bananas when people use one of the above excuses as a reason for justifying disliking the style. It's nonsense.

Anyway: will report back. I've yet to dislike an Anderson film yet -- I even enjoyed "The Life Aquatic" quite a lot, even though I'll admit its probably my 4th favorite of his 4 great films (that ain't a bad thing -- and let me just say up front that "Royal Tenenbaums" is my favorite film of all time).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


...I've never been a huge Springsteen fan. Not 'cause I hate him, not at all -- in fact, I respect the shit out of the guy, he is clearly amazing. I've just never taken the time, which is probably my own failing, but there it is.

But I'm gonna call it: Magic is the album of the year. No question. Even to a non-fan, this thing is a stunning, stunning, stunning thing. Five songs in and it has brought me to tears five times. Almost perfection. Almost perfection, folks.

YOU ALL NEED TO GO OUT AND BUY THIS ALBUM. Even if you think "oh, shit, I hate Springsteen and his whole faux-retro-saxophone-thing" it doesn't matter. You honest to god need this album right now.

I'll write a full review later. I'm really just too blown away right now to deal.