Escape to Los Angeles

Here is the run-down on last week’s trip:

Tuesday – Landed, went up to this house where my cousin David‘s girlfriend was house-sitting. Turns out the house belongs to Hyde from That 70’s Show, and it used to belong to Chuck Berry. I touched a guitar signed by Chuck Berry! And I played bass by a hot tub in which I’m sure Mr. Berry committed felonies numerous and varied.

Wednesday – Went to the House of Blues to see two guitarists of whom I’ve been a big fan of since 9th grade but I’ve never seen them play live: Paul Gilbert and Richie Kotzen. And I was surrounded by LA guitar nerds, the ones who love to cross their arms and pontificate about who rules and who sucks. I’m glad I don’t live near them.

Thursday – David and I went to Amoeba Records to find my mom a Leonard Cohen DVD (she asked for it specifically because that’s how cool she is). Then we watched I Am Legend on David’s Blu-Ray hi-def wide-screen T-V and afterward we freaked out on Lost, ’cause it finally got back to Locke’s storyline.

Friday – I took the bus and walked all over town because I forgot that my Arkansas driver’s license expired in March. I let it because I figured, hey, when am I going to need to drive a car in NYC, right? Oops. Rental car agencies frown on expired licenses. I’ll get that taken care of next week, though. Anyway, I walked up La Brea, where I passed Jason Lee and his wife looking at furniture. I then had lunch at Barney’s Beanery where I sat a few booths over from Jason Schwartzman. After that I met up with my friend Meredith and we saw a really terrible band somewhere.

Saturday – Here’s a fun story. Some years ago my friend Randall gave me a CD by an Austrian guitarist named Alex Machacek (pronounced “MOCK-a-check”), and I became a big fan. He’s as underground as it gets, so few guitarists even know about him. To anyone else, he’s just another jazz-rock-fusion guitarist in LA, but to me he’s on a higher plane from pretty much every other guitar player I know. I’ve talked with him a few times via email and MySpace, and so last week I sent him a message asking him if he had any shows going on. He said he didn’t, but I was welcome to come over for coffee and hang out. So I did. He made me a couple fantastic cups of espresso and we talked about music and guitarists, and he gave me a guitar lesson. The whole thing really made me realize the dichotomy that is Los Angeles: most people freak out over meeting famous people, when perhaps they should be freaking out over truly phenomenal people – artists who do things few can, who push the boundaries of their craft, who represent the pinnacle of what can be achieved in a given medium. For musicians, Alex Machacek is such an individual. I uploaded one of his tunes to Muxtape, so check it out there. I don’t think I’ve mentioned Muxtape yet, so take a look at them, too. I have another playlist uploaded here.

That night, David and I went to see the LA Galaxy play the New York Red Bulls. I sat with the Riot Squad, the officially sanctioned corner of the stadium populated entirely by authentic football hooligans. Good times, even though the Galaxy lost. I told no one I was from NYC. For once it was better to say I’m from Arkansas.

Sunday – We went to see Rush in Irvine. I realize of course, as someone who is occasionally paid to write about rock music, that I am almost obligated to say that Rush sucks and progressive rock is a pox on the face of authentic rock and roll, but to that I say quite simply: Bite Me. If you can’t enjoy the refined Canadian flavor of Awesome that is Rush, then you can’t enjoy anything in life without wondering if someone is going to think you’re uncool.

Monday – Flew home. Took all day. Special note to Virgin Airlines: the little TVs in the seats are nice but $7 to see a movie on a tiny screen with headphones? $8 for airline food? No sale.
At least give me a bag of peanuts or something!

Here are some other photographic highlights from the trip:

Pink’s Hot Dogs are apparently spectacular
Billy Bob at Guitar Center?
Giant Magnatone amp on Sunset
The biggest Indiana Jones poster ever
99 Cent Store window display
Very old candy
Old Simpsons promo statues
Vintage Film editing console
Vintage Coca-Cola machine
German Muppets
The 50’s live on…
…in Culver City
Refurbishing LAX

3 thoughts on “Escape to Los Angeles”

  1. Hey…love the blog! You have no idea who I am, but I am from Cave City / Jonesboro, Arkansas and if you’re in the mood for a simi-long story…I will tell you how I found you and how small this world is.
    So, the other night I got on imdb and just looking around I clicked on the Independent Film section. Upon viewing this page I scrolled to the bottom and saw a list of up and coming film fest. One being Little Rock Film, I clicked on it. and it brought me to the LRFF website where come to find out…it started the next day…(this past weekend). It told of the feature film that would be showing entitled Wareagle, Arkansas. After reading about it I wanted to see it’s trailer. So I Googled it and found a blog which had it on it. Then I looked at this anonymous bloggers friends list. The top two were the LRFF and “Arkansas Independent Films,” (or something like that). Further down the list of friends was one simple word that read “Colter.” I became curious and I guess curiosity or something lead me straight to your blog. Upon further curiosity I noticed a place on your blog where you have posted curious again, I clicked on it. I noticed that there were some pictures from Harrison, Arkansas. So I thought to myself… I’ll ask my girlfriend (who is from Harrison/Valley Springs if she has heard of you. And she had!
    Um, small world after all. Anyhow, I love your subheading because it is sooo true, you lucky bastard…I mean that in all joking manner and seriousness. It is also odd how it seems that you are a “web designer or web person” as so am I along with film, print, flash, motion graphics….ext..
    Anyhow, just letting you in on a little story. Good luck with the lucky life

  2. Great recap! Love the part about Alex Machacek – for all the evils of MySpace (illuminating the fact few people understand the concept of coherent page layouts for one thing), there are several goods that come from it. I’ve gotten in touch with several bands through the site too – after growing up in a record industry produced world of untouchable stars it’s fantastic to have the ability to connect with bands you love.

    Haven’t seen Rush live in years. Actually, haven’t even listened to Rush in years, truth be told. Bet they still kick ass.

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