Bootleg Theater

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Well on Monday night I hit-up the Bootleg Theater in Echo Park (on Beverly near Alvarado) to see Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die. If you’re a fan of the blog, you know of my love for this band (specifically the drummer) as I’ve writen about them here and of course here. Also, what better way to celebrate my first weekday of funemployment, then to stay out late and go see my favorite local band?

I didn’t bring my camera, for obvious drawing-attention-to-myself reasons, so I only got in a couple bad cell phone pics. I went with two of my friends and I totally screwed up the times. I thought DSoWD (terrible abbreviation that I must apologize for) went on at 8pm, so we arrived casually late at 8:10p. We walk in to a basically empty room, accept Harris Wittels (said drummer and full-time dream boat) was walking around with his backpack on. Considering I thought we were ten minutes late.. I was a bit confused. We got a table and chairs (the perk of screwing up and being crazy early) and chatted. We kept seeing people in costumes running in and out of the room. There was a lady in a white unitard, an old man with a backpack, a guy dressed as a clown, a super short young girl… and more. They kept running excitedly from one door to the next. Then they brought out trays full of chinese take-out boxes. They ran into one door and came back with empty trays. Who ate all that Chinese food??? SO MANY QUESTIONS! We were intrigued to say the least. Eventually, one of the doors was propped open and we could hear tons of clapping. We had no clue there was a back room, which turned out to be a filled theater. We must have seen the actors running in and out. I don’t know what play this was, but check that place out.

Finally around 8:45(?) The Californian came on stage to perform. I had also thought that DSoWD was up first, so this was very confusing too. Since I had seen HArris, and then later saw Paul Rust (bass) and Michael Cassady (piano) running around I knew the band would go on eventually. The Californian was a new band to me and my friends and we enjoyed listening to them. Here’s my crappy cell photo:

Then Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die came on and they were great. I love watching them perform live and I know they have another cd in the works which I am very excited about. They played some of their classics, I Got A Perm For Our Camping Trip, Austin and Ace, The Ballad of Bird and Fox (Which they opened with), and Central PArk (my second favorite of all their songs). They played some new ones which I’m sure will be on the upcoming album. They didn’t play my favorite song, Once In Awhile, but they played a great set and I was glad I got to see them. They’ve been doing more shows lately so Ill let you know when they have another one. Here’s a crappy cell photo I took and then tried to adjust so you can actually make their bodies out.

We ended up staying for one song of the following band, Harriet. This band is doing their residency at Bootleg and will be there every Monday. Before they performed, they brought a lot of ferns on stage. Like a lot. Like too many ferns. Also they had their own canvas backing and brought in up lighting. It was quite a presentation. The thing that put it over the top for us, was the lead singer in camo-fatigues and a shirt tied around his head in a half-turban style. It looked like a bad Nam flashback. Their music was good, but we were tired and to watch this lead singer (who also repeatedly asked the house to change the sound for them) was too much of a diva for a free show. This guy clearly thought he deserved a grammy for having his shirt wrapped around his head. It’s too bad, because the music was pretty good but we as a group agreed that it was time to go.

Shakey Graves at Hotel Cafe

Last Thursday night, instead of doing my usual walk or gym visit, I decided to meet up with some friends in Hollywood for a fun night out. We started at Hotel Cafe. I’d never been before but it’s been on my radar for a while. We arrived at 6:50p for a 7pm show. To get in it’s $5 for the night, which is a pretty good deal. We were there early enough to get seats (there were only 6 tables, so that was pretty lucky).

The band we were there to see was Shakey Graves. When I agreed to go, it was based on my friend sending me a link to some of Shakey Graves music which sounded great, but I knew nothing other than that. You can bet I was very surprised when this band turned out to be one guy. Check out THIS link to hear his music. It’s so hard to believe that that music comes out of 1 person! It’s one guy who plays the guitar and has a drum built into a suitcase that he props-up behind him with a kick stand attached linking to his right leg. And his left leg is kicking a kickstand connected to a tambourine.

Here he is setting up the drum and tambourine. It was wild. The coordination alone to play 3 instruments at once, and still sing well. So good. Check out his stuff, I’m sure he’ll be a big star someday.

 

**FYI- Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die is playing a FREE show at Bootleg next Monday (5/7)! I’ve never been to that venue before, so if you can’t make the show, check in early next week for a full blog report.

Weekend Guide April 20 + 21 + 22

So who’s hitting up weekend 2 of Coachella? If you’re like me and saving a zillion dollars by not attending Coachella, here’s a ton of stuff happening in LA this weekend to keep you busy.

FRIDAY April 20:

Tonight at The Echo Park Film Center they are screening The Silver Lake Badminton and Adventures Club (web series). It sounds hilarious and worth checking out. If you can’t make the screening, at least check out an episode HERE.

I’m very excited to tell you about an event taking place at the Moca Geffen from April 20 to May 6th called Transmission LA:AV Club. This event is about how audio and visual effect each other and is Curated by Mike D. Please tell me you’ve heard of the BEASTIE BOYS! My younger assistant said “Oh yeah, those guys are like the Beach Boys, right?” I cried a little. This 17 day festival will have concerts, DJ Nights at the museum, performances and Installations. Check HERE for all the info. You know, Angel City Brewing is not far from the Moca.. just say’in.

SATURDAY April 21:

This weekend is the FESTIVAL OF BOOKS! My librarian friend Carrie would be so proud of me, as I plan to attend the event (which is held at USC). I’m going specifically to see the comedians pictured above at 1pm on Saturday peform in “Fresh From Figment”. This FREE event will have Michael Ian Black, Michael Hitchcock, Wendi McLendon-Covy, Andrea Savage, Martin Starr & Michaela Watkins. There are a ton of other cool events. Check out THIS link for the full list of events and click HERE to see a map of all the stages. There are more events happening on Sunday too, so plan accordingly.

If you don’t like comedy and books (which means you must be insane), then hit up Santa Monica for the Tadasana Festival. This yoga + music event is happening Saturday and Sunday as well. Get your tickets online HERE. and then check out the schedule HERE to see what yoga classes you want to go to.

It’s also Earth Day Weekend! Why not hit up the Aquarium of the Pacific for their celebration!

For blog followers, you probably know about my unwavering love of Tony’s Darts Away (in Burbank on Magnolia). Well this Saturday they are celebrating their 2nd Anniversary. RSVP on facebook HERE. Tickets are $30 and includes 5 pours and you can keep the glass.

SUNDAY April 22:

On Sunday, Castle Green in Pasadena is doing their Spring Tour from 1-5pm for $20. It looks like a wedding facility… but it also just looks beautiful. and it’s called a CASTLE! It has castle IN the name!

At 5pm on Sunday, 826LA is holding their Nerdist Writers Panel at Meltdown Comics. The sessions are $15 and this weeks guest writers are Andrew Miller, Chic Eglee, and more. These are great for all you writers looking for your ticket into Hollywood.

Keep in mind that the Festival of Books and the Tadasana Festival are continuing into Sunday as well.

Because I love you so much, I’m going to leave you with this gem. Cheack out THE NEW DON’T STOP OR WE’LL DIE MUSIC VIDEO! Have a great weekend!

Largo: March 9, 2012

Did everyone have a fabulous weekend? I had to get outside of LA to enjoy the last remnants of winter, although our cross country skiing weekend turned into a snowless hiking weekend. It was still so much fun to go up into the mountains, breathe fresh air and see stars. It’s hard to believe you’re and hour and a half away from 80 degree heat and you’re looking down on the clouds from so high. More on that coming throughout the week, but I want to catch you up on my Friday night.

I didn’t head into the mountains until early Saturday morning, which means Friday night needed to be mostly about packing and getting to bed early. Oh yeah, and comedy.

I went to Largo (the photo-phobic theatre) to see Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die headline their own show. It’s about time. Although I was disappointed in the low crowd turn out. The theater was probably half-full (not half-empty like some Negative Nancy’s would say). Come on DSOWD fans! It was a great show, and if you missed it, well boy did you miss it.

Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die performed a ton of songs. They even brought out Sarah Silverman who sang a beautiful (serious) song with the band. She has a lovely singing voice and even played gutar to the song “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. She sang this song at her friend Rob Schrab‘s wedding. Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die was the band for Rob’s wedding. I’ve searched on youtube but can’t find a version of her singing it. Here’s a video of the real version. It’s a beautiful song.

Gabe Lieman and Jenny Slate (SNL) had a funny comedy set, which was a little different from the music and was a nice way to breakup the night. Since they don’t allow recording/photos in Largo, I found this video (not taken by me) online of a bit similar to what they did on Friday. It’s a really funny schtick they have. It’s rare to see 2 comedians working together on an act and I enjoyed the combo as they compliment each other well. Check out the video:

Next up was Emerson Alum, Jim Hanft who performed two songs with his real-life girlfriend and singing partner Samantha Yonack. They have such beautiful gentle soulful voices. Here is a video I found online of them singing “Lazy Love”, which is one song they performed on Friday. Buy their music!

Here is another video of them singing I found on youtube:

After this music set, Kyle Dunnigan came out and performed comedy. You probably know him best as serial killer Craig Pullin in Reno 911. I’ve seen him do whole sets in the Craig character and it was great to see him mix in some of himself into this set. I’d never heard his real voice before Friday. He was hilarious and did off-the-cuff musical jokes as he sat at a piano and played really well. It was so great to see the real Kyle.

After Kyle Dunningan, Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die was back on stage for a few more songs. They added in a one song encore, and then Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die night came to a close. It was a fun night, and I even grabbed a drink (alone) at the Roger Bar before the show. Does that make me sad? Or awesome? I’m going to go with awesome. If you’re waiting for a Largo show to start, check out the Roger Room next door.

LA Walk #6 UCLA

As a reward for your patience with my lack of posts this week, I put up info about an awesome event at the bottom of this post. NO SKIPPING AHEAD (Okay, you can skip ahead if you want).

As I am narrowing in on victory (1 more walk left!), I must recap my goal: to complete all 38 LA Walks from THIS book, in 2011. Michelle joined me for my UCLA walk which took place on Saturday around 3:30pm. Keep in mind, it’s their finals time and it is a commuter school, because the place was a ghost town. We began by parking in a lot on campus near the start of the walk. It cost us $6 for two hours, and be sure to pay for parking because even though it was crazy quiet on campus the UCLA police are always looking for a chance to ticket (plus all the hoity-toity neighborhoods nearby require permits to park).

Michelle and I started our walk in the sculpture garden which is more than 5 acres and filled with sculptures by Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Jacques Lipchitz, and Auguste Rodin. It’s such a tranquil place to come relax and read on the grass in the garden surrounded by art. We did this walk in the late afternoon, which made for great lighting and also a totally different experience from all the walks we’ve done so far (which took place at noon).

We got a little off course while in the sculpture garden because we saw so many buildings worth investigating that weren’t on the path outlined in the book, but I guess that’s the fun of it. We took a look at their art building and some well designed residence halls.

I must give credit where it is due, UCLA is kept extraordinarily clean and pristine. The lawns are all well manicured, there was no trash, and all of the buildings are either old and well kept or modern and state-of-the-art. Honestly walking that campus made me think about going back to school again. Spending 3 years on that campus wouldn’t be so bad.

I mean, don’t these buildings make studying seem glamourous instead of exhausting?

We walked through Bruin Plaza and got to take pictures with their bruin mascot (a statue). The only thing we arrived too late for was a walk through their botanical gardens. We just missed our chance to walk the gardens, but we were able to see in past the gates. The garden is 7 acres and sinks below the street level, which acts as a dividing line showcasing the contrast between the modern School of Denistry building and the lush wildlife of the gardens. Someday Ill be back there and I will bring a book, as it seems like a great haven to sit and relax after a long day in the science labs.

As the photos got darker and darker, we completed our walk and headed back to the car (so as not to go over our 2 hour parking limit). UCLA, you were a marvelous, photogenic walk and I would happily go back to see more.

P.S. Get tickets to Sarah Silverman @ Largo on Dec. 15th HERE, and you’ll get to see Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die (they are good musicians and hilarious). Follow the guys on twitter: twittels, paulrust, michaelcassady

Comedy Bang Bang Nativity Pageant

Today (exactly 20 min ago) 2011 Comedy Bang Bang Nativity Show tickets went on sale (get them HERE). I have gone 2 other years when it was held at the UCB Theatre in LA. The money goes to the LA Food Bank and they often do an Ebay auction to raise funds. This year they moved out of the UCB Theater to a much larger venue in Hollywood, so tickets are much easier to get and a lot more money can be raised in ticket sales to go toward the LA Food Bank. GO TO THIS EVENT! $30 is NOTHING to see this many comedians in one place. At UCB it was awesome being in a theater packed with comedians. Really something special. Im interested to see how this works in a larger theater. Below are photos from previous years:

Nick Thune

Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die with Scott Aukerman

Paul Scheer and Bret Gelman (as the dudes from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and Jon Daly as Santa

Paul Rust and Martin Starr

Weird Al saving Christmas

Sarah Silverman

Tom Lennon

Adam Scott in his Party Down attire

Nick Kroll and Paul F. Tompkins

Aziz Ansari

Harris Wittels as “The Butler”

These were maybe half of the amount of comedians that performed at the 2010 Comedy Death Ray Christmas Show. I had to end these pics on my comedian crush, Harris Wittels. Swoon.

To Get You Over The Hump

I’ve been in exercise mode to get ready for Denver’s 2012 Turkey Trot, where I will be running on Thanksgiving morning. Unfortunately, this means I am extremely sore and I haven’t gotten to go on any adventures beyond the edge of the treadmill. Hopefully this translates into a kickass running time. While I am on my running kick, that doesn’t mean you should be indoors on these lovely fall nights.

Now I know it’s not the weekend yet (so close!), but I thought I would tell you about some events happening this week. TONIGHT,¬†Wednesday at 7pm, the Moca is doing a cocktail reception for the opening of their Shadow Pool exhibit at the Hollywood Forever Masonic Lodge on Santa Monica Blvd. The exhibit Shadow Pool: A Natural History of the San San International is a mix of a fashion show, sculpture display, live music and more showcasing Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe‘s work. It’s worth checking out! If art isn’t your scene, check out Bigfoot Lodge‘s Trivia Night tonight at 9pm. If a 9pm starting time is too late for you, The Fox and the Hound bar in Studio City (on Ventura) has an 8pm Trivia Night tonight.

TOMORROW, Thursday at 7pm Michael Gross is doing a reading and signing of his new book Unreal Eestate: Money Ambition and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles at Book Soup. I have not read any of his books, but as a real estate enthusiast I hear about his work all the time. One of my favorite blogs on this topic is “The Real Estalker” and the writer of that site wrote a great description of the book HERE. If you are interested in high-end real estate and the behind the scenes info, read this book! I’m dropping it onto my amazon wish-list as we speak, and if you can’t make the signing order the book HERE.

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in LA is offering two shows at 8pm on Thursday for only $5: This Sh*ts for Real and Scott Rodgers: Care Bear Stare. So if you want a cheap night filled with intimate comedy, get tickets to this show (HERE) and see Paul Scheer, Rob Delaney, Jackie Clark, Danielle Schneider, Scott Rogers, and the musical stylings of Michael Cassady (Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die). All of those awesome well known comedians or $5! Such a good deal.

Reminder: The AFI Film Festival is still going on, so if you have a free night, you should check the schedule HERE and enjoy! And get ready for Friday 11-11-11!