Hey! My former hometown paper the Los Angeles Times published an essay I wrote about my memory of the L.A. Riots
Archive for the ‘Los Angeles’ Category
Posted in celebrities, Los Angeles, music, Musicians I've Known and Loved, Television, tagged 2011 grammys, arcade fire, arcade fire suburbs, bad romance, barbara streisand, barbra streisand, chris brown, grammy awards, grammy awards 2011, grammys, justin bieber, kris kristofferson, lady gaga, mick jagger, music, rhianna, rihanna, valentines day, what's my name on February 14, 2011 | 3 Comments »
When I was in college I had a really cool international relations professor named Brian Job (pronounced like the biblical one). I had him for an early morning class the day after Valentine’s Day once and he looked at us after lecturing for about fifteen minutes and said that we collectively looked terrible, depressed. Then he laughed and said, “My little daughter is at a fun age because she doesn’t know what Valentine’s Day is supposed to be yet.”
That’s how I felt watching the Grammys last night. I enjoyed them with the unjaded enthusiasm of a kindergartener.
See, I know who these people are because of their reputations. Rihanna is the woman who got beat up by Chris Brown on the way to the Grammys two years ago, Lady Gaga is the one who wears meat, Arcade Fire is the group that was a trending topic on twitter for a week when their last album came out.
But I had no idea about their music. At all.
Last night I reluctantly caught the last hour and a half of the awards, positive I would literally not know one artist. But of course on came Mick Jagger, Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson and I was able to recognize the others like Rihanna ’cause, you know, they’re superstars.
And to the surprise of nobody but me, I recognized the songs they performed because I’ve been to movies and the drug store in the past five years.
I loved lat night’s Grammys. It doesn’t bother me who’s overrated or underrated because I’m so out of the loop that I have no personal feelings on the matter. And Rihanna and Gaga are really good. After the show finished with a performance by Album of the Year winners Arcade Fire (who I correctly identified as being the band from the Where The Wild Things Are trailer), I hit up iTunes.
I’ve listened to “What’s My Name” and “Bad Romance” on repeat all morning. They’re really good!
Prediction: This Justin Bieber kid is gonna be huge.
I came up with a title for my new book. I’m going to call it KISSIN’ MUSICIANS! [exclamation point]
Nah, not in this lifetime. It’s not a book about dating in Los Angeles, although I will say I was surprised by the sheer volume of men buzzing around. I didn’t even remember that until I read back in all these journals. I am also surprised by the aggressiveness of some of the guys–who shows up at some girl’s door at midnight when you’re not even dating? I mean it’s not a very likely booty call if no booty ever has been (or ever will be) happening. Weird. Especially since I often had a not-too-pleased boyfriend over.
I mean it’s not like I was a stripper with regular customers. I was a temp. And a waiter. And a sales girl. And a professional Christmas caroler…
Posted in Los Angeles, Musicians I've Known and Loved, tagged giving up on music, giving up your dreams, Jason Bateman, Jason Bateman Juno, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Garner in Juno, Juno, los angeles, los angeles musicians, unsigned bands on November 8, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
There’s a great scene in Juno where Jennifer Garner says to 40ish husband Jason Bateman, “If I have to wait for you to become Kurt Cobain, I’m never gonna be a mother.”
Going through my old journals for this L.A. story I’m writing reminded me of what a painful turning point it is when you realize you have to give up your dreams of being a rock star. Sure a lot of people reconcile that by the time they’re college age, but those people probably don’t pack up and move to Los Angeles. By the time you’re 35 or 40 and haven’t made it in the arts, it seems logical to give up and move on, but on the other hand, you’ve already put so much time into the quest, it’s like it was all a waste if you quit now. Sort of like gambling–you want to keep playing to recoup your losses.
After all my years in L.A., I don’t personally know anyone who’s “made it” on the national level. By that I mean I’ve never been watching television or a movie, never turned on the radio and boom, there’s so-and-so from that financial corp. I temped at or that guy I used sneak champagne with when we were cater waiters.
I always wanted to be a singer-songwriter and I finally gave up when I realized I just wasn’t good enough. Thank god and my own creative flexibility that I fell into writing, a field that is much more right for me–it’s natural and satisfying in a way that music never was.
I do feel for the guys I knew that had to put their artistic dreams aside. (For some reason almost every musician I knew in L.A. was male, maybe partly because most of the reviewers were men, so they kept the beautiful female singers to themselves?) I know a lot of them went into production and session work, which would be fulfilling, I guess.
I think a lot of times a wife has to play Bad Cop when it comes to her aging musician husband giving up his rock & roll dreams, which is unfortunate. It also puts her in the Mommy role, which is icky.
It’s ironic or maybe just the way of the world, but a lot of the women artists I know would never have the lifestyles they do if their husbands didn’t have good jobs. Marriage enables them to pursue their creative dreams without having to worry about a sell-by date or a time-and-soul-sucking day job.
The Jason Bateman character in Juno was portrayed as selfish, but he probably would have supported his wife if she had wanted to become a full-time poet.
Posted in Los Angeles, music, writing, tagged 90s music scene los angeles, l.a. memoirs, los angeles, los angeles bands, los angeles club scene, memoirs, music magazines, music magazines los angeles, sunset strip on November 5, 2010 | 2 Comments »
The first writing job I ever had was for a music magazine in Los Angeles. I reviewed local bands at clubs about three or four nights a week. I cannot wait to get to the part of this current memoir where I revisit those years.
Half the time I bitterly complained about it–I didn’t like the way the music industry worked, I didn’t like the constant hustle, I didn’t like having to work temp jobs to make rent.
Looking back, of course, it was the most fun I’ve had as a writer by about a million. The Dating Amy project was fun in its own way because it was so high profile, but I was basically writing about regular guys in Seattle. Performers in Los Angeles, on the other hand, (and even the other music critics) were bigger than life. Because that’s the way people roll in L.A. The city itself is bigger than life, so it’s flaunt or perish.
This [as-yet unnamed] Los Angeles memoir is the most fun I’ve had with book writing, for sure. I’m working from about 50 journals I kept and even those read like gossipy paperbacks. They’re my bedtime reading and they’re keeping me up until 3 a.m.
I apologize in advance to the many, many musicians, writers and photographers I knew from the mid-to-late 90s.
Just kidding! I love you! Well, some of you!