The Greatest..

Thursday saw the start of my infatuation with Brea, California.

The city itself? Just a bad Irvine ripoff... but they did have one thing there this weekend that made up for everything: Norm McDonald!

Norm performed Thursday thru Sunday, and I was fortunate enough to catch his first and last performance.
God I love that guy. I wish I could just recite the entire routine here verbatim, but it just wouldnt do it justice. He is getting old and ornery, but he is better then ever. My stomach still hurts.

Speaking of the greatest, Saturday saw the first ever game for Beckham in the MLS.

He only played for 12 minutes, but it wasnt about his game, it was just about his mere presence.
The other game played was pretty good as well, Suwon taking on Tigres.

And even better, The Simpsons Movie sponsored the whole thing.

Oh right, almost forgot about the madness on Friday. We did some work for the CW again, this time here in LA. Here is the grand party we attended at the Pacific Design Center.

Then it was off the the Hollywood Bowl to see Jaime Cullum. This little guy has always been one of my favorite performers. His style: Pop Standards a la the American Songbook that are modern yet classic. And now putting him in front of an orchestra... magnifico.

And when he played what has become my favorite Sinatra song, "I've Got You Under My Skin", I just... well, I could have heard it over and over.
And finally, just for the hell of it, I swung by the Grove to check out the Harry Potter madness.

Spoiler alert: Turns out this is the book he finally comes out of the closet.



Last night was the 50th anniversary for Stax Records at the Hollywood Bowl.

God what a great label. Pouring out that classic Memphis sound of the time, with the Mar-keys, Booker T & the MGs, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Issac Hayes and my all-time favorite Rufus Thomas. If you haven't heard any Rufus, get onboard.

The world famous MGs, who made the infamous Green Onions, were also the house band, creating the sound for some of the most famous songs of that time, including Hold On I'm Coming and Soul Man. In fact, you probably know two of the MGs, Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn, who appeared as members of the band in The Blues Brothers.

So when I heard they were restarting the label after its untimely demise in the mid 70's with a tour that included many of their stars from yesteryear (at least those still alive), I literally pissed my pants.
After changing, I quickly got online and bought some tickets for what I figured would be the greatest show this year.

Now don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the show. But man, there just was something missing. Yes, of course the late Rufus Thomas and Otis Redding, but just something was off. Isaac Hayes appeared to be on Horse Tranquilizers, barely being able to play any of his songs, even forgetting that it was the 50 year anniversary of the label. The finale with all the performers from the show singing Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" sounded more like a bunch of angry drunks in an Irish Bar singing to the jukebox then seasoned and talented artists.

But that being said, I still am really glad I went. I got to see the amazing (albeit short) performances of Eddie Floyd and Booker T & the MGs. All in all, a disappointment because of my high expectations, it still was an entertaining evening.
Afterward, heading back to Echo Park, we got the hankerin' for some county health inspected F-rated tacos. And when we came upon a small grill set up on a lonely stretch of Alvarado, we just had to stop.

No truck, no stand, no nothing. Just some guy who brings out his grill every night to the same spot right next to the 101. They had Lengua (beef tongue), and oh my, was it ever tender. I have never had a Lengua Quesadilla before last night, but I can tell you this, I'll be having many many more for years to come... especially from this guy.



El Charro

Stop number 467 on my excursion list: El Charro

Located on a totally non-descript section of Venice in Mar Vista, the only way you might possibly know the place is because it is located right across the street from the world famous gay bathhouse "Roman Holiday". No joke. Look it up.
Roman Holiday aside, I have always wanted to hit up this glory hole in the wall Mexican Restaurant, whose meals are supposed to be plentiful and cheap.
The place is great. Super small, it has that cozy feeling you've all experienced growing up in your Latino household. Pictures of old Mexican heroes and locales line the walls while day workers line the counter.

And the food, amazing. For $9, I got this awesome plate of Steak Picado and a Mexican Pepsi in the old school bottle.

And if you aren't familiar with Soda products bottled in Mexico as compared with those in the States, then baby you haven't lived. Mexican Coke and Pepsi taste sooo much better. Why? Well, because they use local ingredients, typically sucrose, which the U.S. bottlers don't use (they use corn syrup). That's why the Mexican taste is so damn sweet. And come on, is there really anything better then drinking out of a old-fashioned 11.5 ounce bottle?



Worth a Thousand...

Fourth of July Party at Artist Wendy West's

Fourth of July Soccer

I finally got into the Kwik-E-Mart down the street

I have been several times since, and everytime I go, all the Krusty O's, Buzz, etc is sold out. All they have are the never-ending array of Simpsons toys. I thought this was a convenience store?

5th of July BBQ

Riding in Downtown

Sunday at the Bowl - Groove Armada and Cafe TaCuba

Taco Zone in Echo Park - the Taco Truck outside Vons:

I guess its not really a Taco Truck, but more of a Taco Trailer

Although a little more expensive then its truck counterparts, it is definitely worth it, and a great place to get that midnight snack.

Finally, Beckham is in town. I worked both his arrival press conference and his first practice. Talk about nutty, its great to finally see soccer get some love in this country.



Kwik-E-Mart invades...

Happy 4th everyone...

ahhh, you gotta love the Simpsons. The most creative show ever on television, they are taking their wit to the big screen. Will it live up to the hype? Impossible. But those creative kids have come up with some really unusual marketing.

Only 11 (yes, ELEVEN!) 7-11's around the country on Sunday were transformed into replicas of the Kwik-E-Mart from the show, sans Apu. These Kwik-E-Mart's will feature all your favorite products from the show - Krusty O's, Squishees, Buzz Cola - all save one: there is no Duff Beer. Not "melding" with the PG-13 rating for the movie, the marketing genius' decided against a Duff Beer line. Idiots! They would have made billions!

Still, an amazing idea. And, of all the 7-11 locations in the world to transform into a Kwik-E-Mart, they chose the 7-11 on Venice and Sepulveda, literally blocks from my house.

I drove by Sunday night but the line was literally around the block and up the street to get in. I went back Tuesday, and still, there was a line around the block!

But no matter, these stores will be up for a month, so hopefully the fervor will die down and I'll be able to grab myself some Krusty O's. Hmmm, I wonder what color the milk will turn...
For more about these new Kwik-E-Mart's, check out: simpsonskwikemart.blogspot.com




Sunday was glorious... the weather was beautiful and people were enjoying it.

I made my way out to the Do-Over at Crane's Tavern for their weekly Sunday Drink-a-thon and met up with a few folks to enjoy a nice tall cold beer after the long bike ride to get there.

After that, it was a ride over to Bicycle Kitchen in East Hollywood for the bike-a-thon that was the Block Party dedicated to the LA Bicycle Film Festival. Bike enthusiasts from all over LA were there, bike in tow, enjoying bagged 22s and bicycle craziness.

There was even a small (and I mean small) section devoted to live art...

I was trying to mix it up, getting into the middle of it. Check out these action shots as I almost get hit by flying bikes...

Nothing like seeing lycra-clad, helmet-lecturing bicyclists toast in camaraderie with showerless, law-unabiding bike nazis.

A ride to the 101 for dinner and then to Echo Park finished off my evening as the after-party ended up at concert booker Marisa's house. Guess she is good friends with a lot of the acts, especially from hip-hop. Here is a picture distorted on her computer of her good friend and Def Jux hero Mr. Lif on a visit from the East Coast a few weeks ago. Who knew?

Go check out his Emergency Rations EP, which has been a steady fixture in my CD Changer since 2004.

Funny story on Mr. Lif... his lyrics, for the most part, are very political and/or socially conscious. He is, to many, a sort-of next-gen Chuck D. I expected him to carry the same demeanor... but nope, there he was, all 5'9" of him, at 5pm at Coachella a few years back after he performed, walking around the grounds completely hammered with these two extremely heavy-set gals (who towered over him - dwarfing him), one on each arm. It was one of the more ridiculous sights I had ever seen... made even more by the fact that this was Lif! Hey, guess you can't be on your game 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...