“I Wanna Live in Los Angle Ease”

(Note to Facebook readers: Do yourself a favor and read this in its intended form/presentation at my blog, please. FB butchers the layout and typography)

Well, there’s some truth to the title of this post, but really it’s the result of having the Frank Black song “Los Angeles” running through my head for a lot of this trip. (when it wasn’t Flo-Rida or Unk running through my head, but there’s just no excuse for those, so I won’t try to explain)

There have been so many amazing things seen and done on this trip that it’s hard to comprehend — and the bar has been raised rather impossibly high for the next visit, that’s for sure. Did we top the last visit, which included meeting David Hasselhof and hangin’ with Seth Green for a couple of hours? I would have to say “yes.”

This trip was a combination of business and pleasure, which I think ideally most any trip should be. I was proud of this trip weeks before we even landed, as a matter of fact. That’s because it was designed and plotted as a multi-level surprise for Lucy in observation of our 3rd wedding anniversary. I’m going to have to use bullet lists to really explain some of this without getting long winded (like that ever happens):


  • After visiting Charles & Ray Eames’ Case Study #8 house on my last trip to LA, I decided to join the foundation so that I could bring Lucy for Foundation Day, the only day of the year when guests are allowed inside the Eames’ house and studio.
  • The motivation was my own ecstatic experience in the presence of the legacy of the American masters, and my knowledge of Lucy’s love of the Eames legacy, too.
  • Also, the 2009 Foundation Day fell within a week of our anniversary.
  • Also, membership was $100 and included two tickets to Foundation Day, which is absurd and insane. But kudos to the Eames for pricing it within the range of little people like us.
  • Unrelated to the Eames legacy, I knew that we could stay in the splendid company of my cousins in Silver Lake, in accommodations and community so charming and irresistable that I’ve come to LA three times in the last year never having been before in my life.
  • And after having booked the trip, I managed to arrange two interviews for my oral history project, which was the cherry on the sundae, especially since it was not in the original plan.

Okay, let’s back out of the bullets.

The initial surprise — that we were going somewhere, but Lucy didn’t know where — went splendidly. Lucy was graceful and game, and asked some questions here and there, but staved off her own curiosity until we arrived at the gate in the Cincinnati airport. She even held the ticket in her hand after a certain point. I applaud that kind of intrepidness. (Full disclosure: it turned out that she had correctly guessed our destination, but kept that private)

On a 4-hour direct flight, we looked over wonderful wedding photos by Catherine Simmons, ones that we’d been meaning to examine for over a year. Catherine has a marvelous eye. I invited her to the wedding casually in conversation at a random meeting, and I think she felt that she needed to account for her presence for some reason, which she did in spades with these wonderful photos. Also, we watched an episode of Entourage to prepare for LA. (Coincidentally, we watch the “Seth Green Day” episode, who I was fortunate enough to get to “hang with” for a couple of hours at the studios of Robot Chicken on my last visit.)

After landing and grabbing a rental, we were going to hit the hay (it was 11pm, thursday), but on the way to Silver Lake opted for midnight breakfast at the Astro, which was a great way to start the trip.

Oral history at warner brothers records
On Friday, I was somewhat anxious and eager to wrap up first interview, with Warner Brothers Records VP Peter Standish. I was nervous to be potentially “bothering” some industry big shot with questions about a Kentucky radio station that I could fairly guarantee he was going to recall just barely. What I had sort of overlooked was that I was going to be a guest a WARNER BROTHERS FRIGGIN RECORDS, with the laminate pass and what-not, adjacent to the Warner movie lot. How cool. Peter was great, his assistant Laurel was great, and since he was running about a half-hour late, I got to sit in his office amidst Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica swag and get all my wires and papers ready. Perfect. And did I mention that I’m at Warner Brothers Records for all of this? Warners signed The Everly Brothers to the first-ever million dollar record contract in 1960. (read: Everly Brothers = Kentucky)

Peter spun for me a wonderful telling of the history of college radio and so-called alternative music, barely letting up for a swig of Diet Coke in 40 minutes. After his assistant twice prompted him about his next meeting, he thanked me and we agreed to stay in touch. On the way out, I was loaded up with a spectactular booty bag of Warner’s greatest and latest. Thank you so much Laurel and Peter. I love the ski lodge! Keep it wooden, y’all.

Lucy returned to fetch me and we then did a slightly comical attempted visit to Forest Lawn (but the wrong one) by way of a spanning drive across Griffith Park. This was followed by a drive through the Hollywood Hills and some lunch at a nice little place which by coincidence Lucy had eaten at on her only previous LA trip, some seven years ago. After that, we meandered towards Hollywood and stopped for some intinerary consideration at the Bourgeois Pig, a terrifically boho coffee shop that Donna Jo had turned me on to on my previous visit. It may be the only coffee shop that I ever frequent that has a cave/forest room, and I can respect that.

Cktls: the Hungry CatAfter that, Lucy and I spent some baffling minutes locating the highly camoflaged Hungry Cat, a Hollywood restaurant/bar specializing in ultra-fresh cocktails. Excellent!

Ideally, the next stop was to be Tiki Ti, one of my favorite bars in the known world. But in fact, we needed to hustle back to Silver Lake to get ready for the night’s plan: Jon Brion playing his nigh-legendary Largo at the Coronet gig.

More on that in the next post.

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