Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Okay, look.

I feel like I need to explain myself, here.

Several cynical people have, this evening, commented on the timing of my "engagement" blog post, like it was supposed to be, like, "Oscar-timed" to somehow "get" Diablo Cody. Just wanted to officially and publically and very genuinely say that is horse manure of a very distinct, brown shade. Main thing, and please take note: I have no desire to "get" Diablo for anything at all. I'm proud as hell of her, and I wouldn't waste, like, time every day going onto IMDb like I got nothin' better to do and correcting idiotic trolls posting smack if I wasn't. Y'know? I totally stand behind her in every possible, conceivable way, publically and privately.

And furthermore: what kind of dickhead proposes to somebody to "get" somebody else? Ladies and gentlemen, if I know anything about myself, I am not that kind of dickhead. 'K? Seriously. Whatever failings I have as a human being, and I have many, many, many, many failings (ask just about anybody who knows me!!), that is not one of them (again, ask just about anybody who knows me). The only reason I would propose to somebody is because I love them deeply and truly. Period.

Look. The way it works is this. I was planning to do the deal next weekend in Minneapolis. We got caught up in "a moment" and I rushed things. Peeps who know me know that's the kind of guy I am. I've never been able to keep X-mas presents a secret either. It just happened to have happened on Oscar Sunday 'cause we were out drinking and having, like, the best time ever. Its not like we didn't (incoherently) text Diablo the minute we found out to congratulate her. And its not also like we didn't spend an hour that evening answering emails/texts/phone messages from friends of ours about Diablo. No, I didn't post an Oscar post on the blog because a) I feel like we addressed all that stuff in the Meatworld quite thoroughly with our entire circle of friends and b) I was kind of excited and rather damn proud about, y'know, something that happened in my own life.

I'm not sure a lot of folks' proposals have to stand up to this kind of intense scrutiny and analysis but since mine apparently does, I wanted to make things very, very, very clear to anybody who has any doubts.

One more thing: yes, I'm the type of person, as I've said here before, who leaps whole-hog into things because I feel like I am a good judge of character. I know good people when I see them, and believe me, Trix is good people in extremis. People might think I have a history of "mistakes" behind me but I do not see any of the good relationships in my life as a mistake. At all. Like ever. Okay? Just because relationships sometimes end does not mean they were mistakes, or foolish decisions.

So just to be clear: sometimes life just happens at moments that, to the outside world, may seem oddly-timed, but frequently to the people it's happening to, it makes total sense.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It goes without saying

That the staff of "Hatesexy" are very proud of Miss Cody and her fabulous trophy, which is still smaller than the one she got in like 1999 for Tae Kwan Do board breaking!

Gig Report

Okay, so you all wanna know how the show went last night, right? RIGHT?

It almost didn't happen. Twice. First off, Patrick got into a major car wreck -- he was just fine, but his car got totalled. Miraculously he was unshaken enough to still play -- but at this point I realized that holy shit, I'd left the power cable to my keyboard at the practice space. Which meant a pedal-to-the-metal blast back to the space, and even more miraculously Mr. First-Night-Jitters here was able to play also (dude, seriously, I need to get the fuck over this stage fright thing I have. Any suggestions? Folks?).

Best thing: people from all walks of life showed up, including friends I only basically know through here (Samantha! Shout out!) and friends I only know thru The Ex (Chris Biewer! Shout out!) and work folks, and of course the same awesome fucking crew from the Star Trek video -- plus a couple totally rulish Beach Boys-related folks, my pal John and a certain A. Boyd. And of course, presiding over the evening, the awesome Miss Trixi B, my (ahem ahem) fiance.

It was a blast. I'll letcha all know when the next one is. 'K?

Monday, February 25, 2008

How I Spent My Sunday

So Trix and I found ourselves in Los Angeles, Sunday, with an entire day spread out before us with nothing whatsoever to do. Its kind of a glorious feeling -- destination unknown, as the song says.*

We decided to have ourselves the Most Decadent Day Either Of Us Have Ever Had. That's kind of a tall order -- you're talking to a guy who spent most of 1992 stoned out of his mind on one thing or another, and Trix and I have, in various relationship permutations, spent many an evening highly inebriate together or in groups. But I felt like since we'd both spent months being "good" (i.e. drinking not much, eating fairly healthily, and *mostly* not smoking, though I took up the habit again recently and hopefully VERY BRIEFLY) we were owed a bit of a splurge, you know? We decided to drink our way through the entire city of West Hollywood in one afternoon -- and started plenty early, leaving the house at 9:00 AM.

We started our pub crawl at Barney's Beanery, a Hollywood-slash-Route-66 institution, famous for both its chili and its formerly anti-homosexual stance (a sign reading something like "No queers" used to sit above the bar; of course, its long since been removed). Tally thus far: 1 bloody mary, plus delicious French Toast and omelets.

From there, we walked up the giant La Cienega hill to Sunset and made our way down to the Standard Hotel, my favorite Entourage-style trashy Los Angeles hotel pool, where we had 'tinis and sat across from a couple producer-types who kept staring at us in our loud and drunken exclamations. Tally thus far: 2 very strong martinis (I had the "rockstar") for a total of two drinks each.

As we passed Whatever Hotel Was Next To The Standard, we saw Sean Penn copping a smoke. Our one celebrity sighting for the day.

Across the street to the Chateau Marmont next. Note: we were dressed in our slobbiest Rock and Roll finery (jeans, t-shirts, sunglasses) so it was under some rather suspicious stares from the other patrons and snobby waitstaff that we enjoyed cocktails in the Marmont lobby. Later that night Courtney Love would host a party in the selfsame lobby, but 'twas all but quiet around noon. Tally thus far: one French martini and one Manhattan. Three drinks each. Best Manhattan I've ever had.

From there we made our way down to the famous Hyatt on Sunset, aka the Riot House. If you've seen "Almost Famous", you KNOW the Riot House -- that's where, like, It's All Happening, isn't it? Or was for several years in the 1970s -- though today it was rather quiet, even with the festivities. Their lobby bar is now called the Riot House, and our amused and rather awesome bartender enjoyed some drunken Oscar prediction banter with us while he mixed our drinks. An assistant to the costume designer who did "Across The Universe" joined us for a few drinks and chatted about his film's chance for winning (pretty good, apparently). Tally thus far: two more martinis/manhattans. Five drinks each.

At this point we felt like we needed a bit of a break, so we headed back to my apartment.

Then I proposed to her, and she accepted.

Here's the ring:

No, I'm not joking. Jewelry fans: that's a yellow sapphire in the center, surrounded by diamonds. (That's our cat Bayswater in that last one. Isn't he a cutie?)

After a bit of a break, and some crying etc., we continued our crawl, having dinner at the Village Idiot, my favorite neighborhood watering hole / industry schmooze-fest. Tally thus far: one beer each, for a total of six drinks.

Post-Idiot, we decided to hit Canters' for dessert and a re-proposal -- see, its always been Trix' secret desire to be proposed to at Canters' Deli, because its our favorite restaurant in LA and has become a bit of a tradition for us. Every time she's in town, we hit Canters' first, and usually several times during the week as well. I actually did the whole "down on my knees" thingy, but the Russian couple across from us couldn't honestly have cared less. They didn't even pause their Dinner of Total Angry Silence to look twice at us. Tally thus far: one martini and one cosmopolitan, for a total of seven drinks.

At this point I was just about ready to collapse in a drunken heap, so we literally stumbled back to my place, where I passed out. Time: 9:00 PM or thereabouts.

Legendary!!! Absolutely legendary. We are blissfully in luuuuuv.

* Missing Persons -- you should own something by them, if not everything.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Save This Date: My First L.A. Show

Alright, folks: February 25th. TWENTY FIFTH. 9:30 PM, Mr. T's Bar in Highland Park -- er, the LOS ANGELES Highland Park.

On that date you will be graced with the debut performance of Silver Phial, my new band which stars the fantastic duo of Patrick Cleary (The Digs, Burlington Family) and Cheryl Caddick (Layer, Burlington Family). Believe me when I tell you: the chemistry between the two of 'em is astonishing, like an unholy (or rather: holy) cross between Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris and Lindsay Buckingham/Stevie Nicks. Patrick's a phenomenal songwriter and I swear to god he's the reincarnation of Gram himself, and Cheryl, as I've mentioned, is an equal-good song/lyric writer and sings like a frickin' angel. And when our three-part harmony blend kicks in? THE WHOLE THING LIFTS THE FUCK OFF THE GROUND.

Dear LA blog readers -- I'm looking at you, S&H, Ashley, Loren/Prince/Gabe/Donovan and whoever else posts here from this fabulous, decadent city -- you must come see me. Also those of you who are looky-loos, including various studio and movie nib-nobs -- Oscar, Schmoscar, I don't care if you're tired from the night before, you are coming down, K?

Did I mention it's free? Did I? It's free. It costs you nothing but a little drive to Highland Park-ish.

Again: FEBRUARY 25th. Mr. T's Bar. Be there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Like Ryan Adams

No, seriously, I do.

He's probably my favorite modern songwriter going whose name isn't "Hurley" (note to Minneapolitans: blatant ass-kissing, but true), and yet there are legions of hipsters who think they're, like, too hip for him. And I can't fathom why. There's nothing inherently unhip about his music, nor is it particularly, quote, "trying to be hip" (side note: does any artist ever try to be hip? Don't you just, like, make art, and its either with the zeitgeist or agin' it?). Its just great songwriting, full stop -- and yeah, the guy's prolific, but besides Prince I've never seen an artist so prolific and yet so consistent.

And yet how often do I get shit for liking the guy? A: all the time, from people I'd never think would care, or worse, who should like him but for some unfathomable reason, don't.

At least a few of them are mad at him for trying to sleep with their girlfriends. Fair enough.

My favorite album of his, too, is everybody else's least favorite, though again, I'm powerless to understand why. I guess its okay to like his first album because its really earnest and country and rootsy, and that's okay. And it's okay to like half of "Gold," because of 9/11, right? But my favorite is Love Is Hell which is, to these ears, one of the most beautifully sad albums anybody's ever done. It's the album people claim is a deliberate attempt to "be hip," though to me, it sounds like the guy's profoundly depressed and is exorcising some nasty demons via songwriting, right? I guess that's hip? Or trying to be hip? I dunno, I'm so out of touch with hip and not hip out here in LA, you tell me.

See: Its just such an echoey, dark, tragic album, and yet so beautiful in so many ways. It doesn't rock, except when it does (see: the title track and the tear-jerking Beetlejuice tribute (seriously) "This House Is Not For Sale"). Its mostly piano driven, which works so well on whispered, atmospheric tracks like "Political Scientist" and "The Shadowlands." Marianne Faithfull crops up on "English Girls Approximately," which is always a good sign, no matter what. And the backup band has Ian Maclagan from the Small Faces and Ricki Fataar from either the Rutles or Flame or the Beach Boys, mostly playing the wrong instruments, which is just so cool. And right smack dab in the middle it reimagines "Wonderwall" by Oasis as the saddest country song ever written, which, c'mon, no matter how you slice it, that's amazing.

My favorite song by far is the acoustically-plucked "I See Monsters" which has a magnificent melody that sounds like John Lennon on a fucking Quaaludes bender. Does he ever sing like that? Ryan Adams the rocker or Ryan Adams the country balladeer? He sounds haunted. Absolutely haunted by a nasty evil ghost, I dunno if its drugs or depression or just some chick ditching him, but he whispers in this gruff falsetto that just lifts the song into another level.

You all know ol' Braniel here is unapologetic about the shit he likes, so instead I'm just gonna recommend the hell out of this one. Heart hurting? Lonely? Sad? Dark mood? Yeah, me neither, right? But if you ever do find yourself in one of those nasty t'ings, this album's your tonic. Yeah, it'll make you worse, but its such a delicious hurt.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Hatesexy" is brought to you by...

...Dolly Madison cakes.

And now? The Charlie Brown Vernal Equinox Special!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Weird Obsession #456: Batshit Crazy 70s Musical Films

In the early 50s and 60s, Hollywood delighted in producing heartwarming musical films like "My Fair Lady" and "Oklahoma" with classy leading ladies, the best A-list actors they could find, amazing production values, and music that the entire country could get behind. They won Oscars. People bought record albums of the soundtracks, and gathered 'round the phonograph and listened as a whole family and sang along and had a wonderful, marvelous time. They even made popcorn sometimes. Whee!

Then in about 1968 or so, somebody dosed the entire city of Hollywood with a particularly hallucinogenic strain of Angel Of Death LSD and everything changed. Suddenly, Hollywood was churning out some of the most batshit crazy musical films ever made, with plots that could disturb even the most fucking debased audiences, production values that looked like community theater and frequently awesome/bad soundtracks that are the very stuff of cultishness.

I'm okay with Ye Olde Fashionede musicals -- you know, I've been in the damn things enough, and yes, I used to sit around and sing along with the Eliza Doolittle parts on the My Fair Lady soundtrack (okay -- thinking back -- how is it that I'm not gay?). But these 70s musicals? Obsessed. Completely obsessed. Here's a few of my favorites.


I have to thank my friend John Gwatney for the joy that is Toomorrow. You can trace the beginning of the Batshit Crazy 70s Musical genre to this little gem. If I describe the plot to you, you literally won't believe it, so let's (to paraphrase Patton Oswalt) recreate the pitch meeting. Writer: "So, see, there's this psychedelic rock band led by Olivia Newton-John, and they get recruited by aliens to save the universe..." Producer: "Stop. You had me at Olivia Newton-John." She'd later go on to be the defining actress of the genre, so props where props are due. Also: I'm sorry, she's hot. If you don't think so, you don't like women. The end.


Phantom of the Paradise is the fucking SINE QUA NON of 70s musicals, because not only is it one of the weirdest, craziest films ever made, its also directed by Brian DePalma so its actually completely awesome -- AND it stars Paul Williams (who, as you know, I adore completely) and Jessica Harper, who's also in the best horror flick of all time, Suspiria. The soundtrack is brilliant, and the whole thing is so amazingly dark, freaky and totally inexplicably surreal you'll wonder how it ever got greenlit.


I'm not even gonna write about this one except to say that if the only way you've seen this is in an audience with people shouting, you are missing out. Watch it at home some time, all alone, with a bottle of red wine, and actually watch it and listen for real, 'cause honestly? The songs are magnificent.


I think its the inky black dark heart of these 70s musicals that I like the best. Only in the 70s could a concept like a funkified version of the Wizard of Oz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson be turned into a dark, creepy, frequently scary, depressing, hallucinogenic terror of a film that I'm sure left most of the kids who watched it in a shaking, crumbling heap. This clip -- sorry, no trailer on YouTube! -- gives a nice touch of that. The terror in this scene is palpable -- and check out those matte paintings, they're marvelous.


Conventional wisdom has this as one of the worst movies and hugest flops in cinema history. But I'm sorry, if you can't find some fucking joy in the idea of the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton acting and singing the songs of the Beatles -- or shit, George Burns, Aerosmith, Steve Martin and Earth Wind and Fire doing the same -- then you have no heart. Yes -- the plot is stupid, it looks like it was shot by morons, and the special effects, such as they are, are risible. But c'mon -- its still gigantic buckets of totally weird fun. Give it another shot.

Okay, also it makes me cry when Strawberry Fields dies and Frampton sings "The End." I'll admit it.


I cannot defend this one except as a pure guilty pleasure. Let's just call a spade a spade -- Xanadu is an appallingly bad film. That said: its also a tremendously fun bad film. Despite looking like a videotaped summer stock theater ensemble, its such a total relic of the late disco era that you can watch it for pure camp. Love the costumes, the crazy pre-tron "glow" effects everywhere, the FUCKING MUSIC FROM ELO (which, seriously, is the best) and the gorgeous, gorgeous -- did I mention gorgeous? -- Olivia Newton John.


Again, one of the best, if not the best of the 70s musicals -- not only for the completely amazing music but for Ken Russell's hallucinogenic (that adjective is getting overused, but its honestly the only one that fits) visuals. If you're not familiar with the brilliant Mr. Russell this is a good starting point for his obsession with penii, crucifixes, and other totally obvious yet completely subversive visuals. Don't forget to see his underrated Gothic while you're there, though.


More Ken Russell, and even crazier and more indulgent than the already completely untoppably indulgent Tommy, with even more Daltrey emoting. Genius. Utter, terrible, wonderful genius.

More later as I think of them -- but this is a good starting point. Watch the trailers, rent the films, and move on from there. And a special note to Los Angeles denizens: Eli Roth is putting on the awesome Greats of Roth film festival, and showing prints of "The Wiz" and "The Apple," an 80s musical I've not yet seen but am completely and utterly thrilled to see later this month. Go. See. Love. Learn.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Do want.

A Juno video game!

I hope/pray/beg for some Most Fruitful Yuki ass-kickery. Is it too early to beg, developers?

Whatever -- I'm willing to sit in for the Marc motion-capture if Jason Bateman isn't available.

Monday, February 11, 2008

How I Spent My Sunday.

Yeah. That's the kind of thing I get up to.

I was saying to Trix today that my new philosophy is that I'm game for anything. Oh -- you have a Yoga music band and you want me to sit crosslegged and sing in sanscrit? I'm there. Oh -- we're going to this show? That show? The other show? Going to this weird bar, and then to someone's house where I don't know anybody at all? There. Helping the keyboard player for the Time pick out his Grammy outfit? There, there, there. That's my new thing. I'm there. I'm up for whatever. Call me. Take me places. Experience. Yeah. Woo.

So Star Trek: The Tour? Part of that!

(Congratulations to Diablo on her BAFTA award btw!!!)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Some More New Old Music


Since the Silvergirl stuff went down a treat, I figured I'd regale you folks with some other stuff from the Jon Hunt Vault (smaller than the Disney Vault, but much much cooler -- and minus one cryogencially-frozen corpse).

Backstory: It's six-ish years ago. I'm at the ass-end of a marriage and my then-spouse is away from the house every night visiting, um, a "special friend" shall we say? (Daily Mail readers -- it's the small details that make the story!) Leaving me alone with my snoozing then-infant daughter and, at the time, a great deal of confusion and sorrow. What better time to make an album than in the throes of crippling depression, I say! I called over some of my friends from past bands (Brandon Dalida from Medication and Chris Hill from every band I was ever in except, like, one -- shout out, brotha!) as well as my awesome friend Jennifer Wedding, and the lot of us took a stab at making a "sprawling double album" on my shitty digital 16-track.

DISCLAIMER: this was a long time ago, and I had NO IDEA how to record instruments. I was learning on the fly. Consequently these songs -- while I'm very very proud of them! -- sound like they were recorded in oatmeal. I'm sorry. You'll like them anyway.

Return To Sender
This first one was supposed to sound like Ryan Adams' "Gold" record which I was in love with at the time, but my weedy vocals, attention to pop details and inability to sound like a heroin addict put it firmly in Byrds territory, which is, y'know, to be expected. The lyrics are pretty self-explanatory, and written early-on in the breakup process -- you know, what does it feel like when your love gets pretty much tossed back in your face? "I'll get used to it, but I feel like shit" -- blunt, right?

Do You Dig Her Scene
You wonder about the gender-flip in the chorus? Yeah. Well. Again, written pretty early on in the break-up process, just that notion of "hey, what the fuck do you feel about this other person, just be honest!" "I don't know the score, 'cause every single night you walk out of the door -- I awoke to the sound of our love crashing down." And that confusing double-talk you get during an affair -- "You, you're talking in rhyme, I wonder if our love has run out of time." It ain't Dylan but it makes its fucking point.

My favorite from these sessions.

At last, a happier thing, kind of. This was written slightly later, after I met Diablo. This is just lamenting the agony of a long-distance relationship. (Yes, I'm in another one. History repeats itself, don't it?) Anyway -- there's a BETTER mix of this thing out there that ends with a repeated cry of "Hello, Chicago" which I love -- but the same ex who was out every night took it upon herself to erase all my backing vocals on the various tracks and replace them with shitty, badly-sung tracks of her own at one point and various bits and bobs of songs got erased. I made this mix on the fly as I darted the fuck out of that mess, and that's why it lacks that. DAMMIT. Again -- sorry about the oatmeal.

ENJOY. For a while I had to kind of shelve these but I figure that since so much time has passed, they're good to go again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sign of the Apocalypse #5: REM Produce a Non-Sucky Song

It's 1989, maybe 1990. I'm dating a girl named Marcy, and we're driving around in her psychedelic-spray-painted Mustang with a busted radiator that sprays steam out of it every five or six miles, blasting music from a shitty boom-box in the back seat and singing along loudly -- well, *I'm* singing, anyway, and most likely annoying the crap out of her, but the music's so good I don't even care, and it's summer and all's well with the world. The soundtrack? R.E.M., a band who, if you'd asked me at the time, I would have sworn eternal fealty to, because they literally could do no wrong -- every album up 'till that point (Green had just come out, right? Or was just about to?) had been a work of sheer marvelous pop genius. Pete Buck's sinewy 12-string jangle was fucking manna, and I was pretty convinced that whatever Michael Stipe was singing through that mush-mouth of his was something close to poetry.

That was then, and this, of course, is now.

R.E.M. have done plenty of wrong at this point -- everything after Monster has something not quite right about it, maybe several somethings, and in the case of Behind The Sun a whole fucking garbage dump full of somethings. Unlike U2 who -- I'm sorry, detractors -- still manage to put out amazing, totally unexpected music every go-round, R.E.M. have fallen into the morass of pure predictability -- strings here, totally unneccessary Brian Wilson references there, soppy melodies and shitty lyrics everywhere. They lost any aspect of danger or unpredictability they ever had -- you could just about bet your bottom dollar what the next record would sound like, and bet equally hard that it'd suck.

Except -- well, today Pitchfork posted a new song called "Supernatural Superserious" (dumb title, but who cares?) that's apparently gonna be on their new album, and holy fucking shit, its awesome. And hey, Julian Schnabel, I'm using that word properly, too -- it inspires awe, plain and simple. Pete Buck sounds like he forgot what an electric guitar sounded like and just woke up one day and remembered and slashed out a gigantic fucking riff, and Stipe went -- wo, hang on a tic, what the fuck is that? and suddenly started singing like he actually meant it for the first time in years, and Mike Mills did that vocal thing he used to do years ago where he'd soar above Stipe's vocals like a fucking bird and suddenly THE WHOLE THING WORKED AND SOUNDED LIKE FUCKING R.E.M. AGAIN even though Bill Berry was probably sipping on a mint julep somewhere, y'know?

I mean, seriously, it's like really, really good.

I suppose its too good to say that the entire new album is gonna kick this much fucking ass (though the live set they did in Dublin or wherever a few months ago was pretty damn hopeful) but I'm gonna cross my fingers both now and in 1989. Y'all do the same. In the meantime, I'm gonna play it like 2000 times in a row, okay?