Sunday, April 23, 2017

storytime with dave (and his mom!)

If there's one thing I've learned from being a Foo Fighters fan for almost 20 years, it's that Dave Grohl likes to talk... a lot. But that's okay, because he's Dave Grohl and he tells great stories.

Today, at the LA Times Festival of Books, I had the awesome experience of hearing Dave and his mom, Virginia Hanlon Grohl, tell stories of his early years -- like how she dealt with letting her 17-year-old son drop out of school to go on tour with a punk band called Scream -- and the similarities and bonds she's formed with the other moms of now-famous musical artists she interviewed for her new book, "From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars." (I've started to read the book already -- going through all the Dave stories first - shocker! -- and it's a great read.)

Here's a snippet of their LA Times Main Stage "Conversation" Saturday afternoon, posted by Muse.


 And here's a bunch of my photos of animated Dave interviewing his mom and telling stories (while wearing a flannel shirt in 90-degree-heat without breaking a sweat!) 

wildflowers, scenic views and sprained ankles

Back in March, my Channel Islands crew (aka Linda and James and I) decided to hit the high seas and head out to Santa Cruz Island to see the wildflowers in massive bloom after all the rain Southern California received this winter.

It was a foggy boat ride out to the island, but cleared just as we got near the island's coast. And our hike was beautiful and awesome for about two hours before klutz-o me, while walking on what I thought was a flat path looking at a field of pretty wildflowers, turned my ankle on a little dip off the path. I heard it pop, and thought it was broken. Luckily it was not and I was able to walk back the three miles to the boat. Unluckily, that probably wasn't the best idea, as here we are six weeks later and I'm in physical therapy and getting MRI results back on Tuesday because the "sprain" still hasn't healed.

But seeing un-disturbed nature in full bloom and pretty green-ness was still worth it... check out these gorgeous pics. You'll think we'd gone to The Shire :)

A wild island fox, looking for crumbs...

A long, thick layer of fog clung to the Ventura Coastline all day. The boat had to use the foghorn on the way back to make sure other boats knew we were there. 

In happy times, pre-sprained ankle


57th and 9th at sunset and argyle

Late last year I broke my "I'm too old for General Admission" concerts rule and bought two general admission tickets to see Sting at the teeny, tiny Palladium in Hollywood. 

Yes that Sting. Of The Police. And of STING. 

So on February 8th, my concert pal Lisa and I hit the metro to Sunset and Vine, stopped for cocktails at The Well, and then trekked across the street to look for a place near the back wall to lean against for the next few hours. 

But there was no leaning space left on the back wall, because -- when compared to most of Sting's fan base -- we're actually on the younger side ;) However, there WAS leaning space left against the security railing right to the right side OF THE STAGE. So we staked claim to our space there and there we stood for the next 3+ hours. And it was a good thing we were on time, because Sting opened the show... shocking everyone by walking out on stage with just a guitar and singing "Heading South on the Great North Road" under a single spotlight.

Then he told everyone the plan for the evening... introducing the two opening acts -- Los Bandoleros, and Joe Sumner (aka Sting's son) -- and saying he'd be back soon. And he was... playing tamborine and singing back-up for Los Bandoleros, just like he did last summer on tour with Peter Gabriel

The main Sting set started with "Synchronicity II" .. one of my fave Police songs / the title track of the first Police record I ever owned in 5th grade. From then on, it was awesome song after awesome song. Sting has been having so much fun on stage the last year, starting with the Peter Gabriel dual tour, and now this tour with young up-and-coming artists. And being right up front, with a great view of the man who I've been saying (for like the last 15 years) only gets better with age, didn't hurt either. Enjoy the photos...

The Set List: 

Heading South on the Great North Road (Sting solo acoustic before opening acts)
Synchronicity II
Spirits in the Material World
She's Too Good for Me
Englishman in New York
One Fine Day
I Can't Stop Thinking About You
Down, Down, Down
I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying
Pretty Young Soldier
Petrol Head
Shape of My Heart
Message in a Bottle
Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie cover) (with Joe Sumner)
Walking on the Moon
So Lonely
Desert Rose
Roxanne (with "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers snippet)

Next to You
Every Breath You Take
Encore 2:
The Empty Chair 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

random thoughts on the 2016 oscars

So no predictions this year, because my heart would conflict with my head.

All I'll say is this... please let the two La La Land songs cancel each other out so that Justin Timerlake, Sting or Lin-Manual Miranda wins for Best Song. That would make me almost as happy as Jonathan Quick returning to the LA Kings goal crease yesterday :)

Note: I'll be updating this in real time, so keep clicking refresh on your browser and help my page views that I'm not monetizing go up ;) 

The Preshow

  • Lisa is here and we're drinking champagne and eating cheese, crackers and salami.
  • So far our faves on the red carpet are our buddy Sting, and Lin-Manuel's eyebrow :)
  • Love Taraji P. Henson, Kirsten Dunst and Octavia Spencer's dresses.
  • Oh no Jessica Biel... what is that thing around your neck?
  • Robin Roberts is also having a bad gold dress day. And why did you lighten your hair?
  • Oh love the cute little kid from Lion. And love his sneakers! If you didn't see that movie, go see it!
  • Can't wait for the Jimmy Kimmel / Matt Damon feud to continue tonight. Hahaha.
  • Trudie Styler is too thin to wear a flowy dress like that. But have I mentioned how good Sting looks? Always... like a fine wine...
  • It's the thing on Mrs. Timberlake's neck again. But look how cute and fun her hubby is :)
  • Halle Berry's hair. Wow. 
  • Love Lin-Manuel and his mom. So cute. 
  • Nicole Kidman's dress is too pale for her pale skin. But otherwise very elegant. 
  • I do not love Viola Davis' dress.. not a great neckline. She's likely going to win an Oscar in that dress, preserving it for posterity.
  • Oh hi Ryan Gosling.. :) Robin Roberts tells Ryan, "I would be happy to be your arm candy." Lisa says, "You and the rest of America Robin.."
  • Is Casey Affleck ever going to finish this mountain man movie so he can shave and get a hair cut? 
  • What the heck is Dakota Johnson wearing?!?! That looks like a 1950s nightgown. Ugh. 
  • Pro Tip Michael Strahan: Be careful with your hand motions.
  • Love Naomi Harris' slick white look and mis-matched shoes. 
  • Michelle Willams looks adorbs. And love she continues to bring her BFF Busy Phillips.  
  • Emma Stone looks ready to win an Oscar that looks like her... minus the fringe.

The Show

  • Bring on JT!! Party time.. best opening ever! Can't Stop The Feeling/Lovely Day remix! LOVE!! SO GOOD! SO POSITIVE! 
  • Here we go.. Jimmy and Matt, part 1. Jimmy reaching out and healing the rift.. by pointing out that "The Great Wall" lost $80 million. 
  • And Meryl being over-rated gets the biggest applause of the night. (And I really like her dress for once.) 
  • And Best Supporting Actor goes to... Mahershala Ali for "Moonlight." I agree with this win. He was great in that film. 
  • "This is the fun part of the show.... before you realize you taped your boobs to your dress for nothing." - Jimmy Kimmel
  • Best Makeup and Hair: "Suicide Squad.." that's what I picked, even though I still haven't seen it. I picked it because Jared Leto scares me in the trailer. 
  • Kate McKinnon is channeling alt facts Kellyanne Conway and no one seems to realize it...
  • Best Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Yay!! Colleen Atwood looks shocked. Um, FYI, when you work on a Harry Potter film, you might win stuff ;) 
  • Okay. LOVE the Cadillac commercial... good will defeat evil people. Keep the faith..

  • "Algebra's Angels" (love that!) aka the women of my fave movie of the year, "Hidden Figures" -- Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae ... the real life Katherine Johnson! Standing O, and some tears. 
  • OJ continues to win things... "OJ: Made in America" = Best Documentary Feature. And classy to thank Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown and their families. 
  • Dwayne Johnson is coming out ... could it be to introduce our favorite could-be EGOT winner??
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda time... doing an original prologue to "How Far I'll Go." SO GOOD!  Lisa is freaking out on my sofa right now. She's just a sort of huge LMM/Hamilton fanatic. ;)
  • Moana girl knocked it out of the park... didn't miss a beat, even when one of the dancer's "waves" whacked her in the head.  #nopressure
  • And she's been gif'd. Poor thing
  • I really thought Jimmy's mom or Cousin Sal would bring over canoli's or something. But parachuting movie candy was a much more fun visual.
  • Best Sound Editing: Arrival. Interesting.. So far Suicide Squad, Fantastic Beasts and Arrival have more Oscars than La La Land. 
  • Oooh, and now Mel Gibson's movie has more Oscars than La La Land (so far). Hacksaw Ridge = Best Sound Mixing
  • Oh, now it's time for Viola Davis to get her Best Supporting Actress Oscar....
  • What's with the weird camera angle on Mark Rylance and his little Charlie Chaplin hat?
  • Called it. 
  • Best Foreign Language Film goes to .. the guy who can't get into America thanks to Trump's travel ban. ("The Salesman")
  • Sting performing the beautiful "The Empty Chair." Note: I saw him do this same song, sitting on a chair about 12 feet away from me two weeks ago at the Palladium. It was just as beautiful then.... probably more so because he was RIGHT THERE. But this time, he ended with this on the screen behind him. "If we don't have the moral courage to challenge authority... we don't have journalism."  LOVE (says the Journalism major.)
  • Best Animated Short Film = "Piper" Lisa is happy. 
  • "As a human being, I'm against any sort of wall that wants to separate us" - Gael Garcia Bernal. If you haven't seen Mozart in the Jungle (on Amazon Prime), go watch it. Great show. And he's a joy. 
  • Best Animated Film.... please Moana. But .... Zootopia (not a shocker). It's more fit for today's political climate... but not as touching as Moana. 
  • There's Dakota Johnson's bad dress again. Let's just look at Jamie Dornan. 
  • "La La Land" finally wins something! Best Production Design. And the winners get played off....
  • And now the tourists from the tour bus gag walk in.. and just start taking photos. Ryan Gosling and Nicole Kidman are being the official greeters. 
    • This bit was kinda lame to start, but the stars playing along is making it awesome!
  • Best Visual Effects goes to The Jungle Book. Considering every character in the film except Mowgli was a visual effect, I agree with this win too. 
  • From Mashable "Seth Rogen wearing Back to the Future shoes and singing Hamilton is as jarring as actual time travel would be." 
  • And the award for Best Film Editing goes to .. Hacksaw Ridge, which now has more Oscars so far than La La Land does.
  • Best Documentary Short Subject: The White Helmets. 
  • Best Live Action Short Film: Sing
  • ... And Jimmy Kimmel is tweeting Donald Trump. Asking if he was up and letting him know #Merylsayshi
  • This John Cho/Leslie Mann technology awards intro about the Film Tech Awards is hi-lar-ious. #gofilmscientists 
  • Best Cinematography goes to "La La Land".. okay so now it's in a tie for most awards won (2) with Hacksaw Ridge.
  • Mean Tweets.. the Oscar edition. Jeff Bridges and DeNiro's were the best! 
  • Oh god. And there's the song I can never get out of my head. UGH. 
  • And Matt Damon just tripped Jimmy Kimmel.. on accident. Yeah. HA.
  • Time for Music Awards... don't crush my dreams Academy. Don't do it!
  • Best Original Score can go to La La Land.. that'd be fine
  • And Best Original Score goes to La La Land.. okay. Fine. This is allowed.
  • Best Original Song goes to.... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! "City of Stars" wins. DO NOT LIKE.
    • "Hilary, and now this" - Erika Shen
  • In Memorium... I can't take this this year. And Jennifer Aniston almost losing it over Bill Paxton (#rip) at the beginning. Oy. At least last year I was distracted from the sadness by Dave Grohl. 
  • And now, Ben Affleck "and guest".. aka Matt Damon, who keeps getting played off the stage, to present the writing awards.
  • Best Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea. I agree with this.
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight. I also agree with this. 
  • Best Directing: Damien Chazelle... the man responsible for that friggin' song being on the big screen. The youngest Best Director ever. 
  • I have to say.... the clip packages before some of the awards this year are pretty spectacular.
  • Brie Larson is seriously glammed up this year. 
  • Best Actor will be Casey or Denzel... depending on how you feel about alleged sexual assault allegations.
  • And the Best Actor Oscar goes to Casey Affleck. He deserves it for the performance. It was heartbreaking. That whole movie was heartbreaking.
  • Denzel looks like he's gonna cry. #sniff
  • Why doesn't Ben Affleck look happier that his baby bro just won an Oscar? He's still winning in that race with two (but neither for acting... hmmm.)
  • Oh hi Leo...
  • Meryl does not look amused by her clip.
  • Best Actress goes to Emma Stone!! WOW. Now we get to see that dress next to the Oscar. 
  • Okay.. now let's give La La Land Best Picture so we can all go home. (Oh wait.. I'm already here.)
  • And the Best Picture is La La Land. SHOCKER.
  • WAIT what? Moonlight has won Best Picture!!! WOW. They read the wrong name for Best Picture!?!? Wrong envelope? What the heck just happened?
And goodnight. Is Jimmy Kimmel doing an after the Oscars show this year? I feel like we need an official follow up to that. WOW.

Okay.. I just went back and rewound the announcement on Tivo. Warren Beatty did look in the envelope for another card. He knew it was wrong. He should have said something then instead of letting Faye Dunaway read the wrong movie. Some envelope-stuffing accountant is getting fired tomorrow. WOW.

Well.. upon further investigation, it looks like a show producer will be losing their job. The envelope Warren Beatty opened said "Actress in a Leading Role." Someone said Leo put the card back in and handed it to a producer when he and Emma Stone came off stage, and that the producer then accidentally handed it to Warren Beatty. BUT in an after-show interview, Emma Stone says she had her card the whole time. BUT she didn't have it on stage when the La La Land people were accepting. #envelopegate2017..

Maybe this means they didn't win Best Song too? Hey.. I can dream... :)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

random thoughts on the 2017 grammy awards

It's time for my annual tradition of watching cool musical performances with some awards sprinkled in between. This year, for the first time in eons, LL Cool J is NOT hosting. This year, that "honor" goes to The Late, Late Show's James Cordon of "Carpool Karaoke" fame... let's see how well he can control this wild bunch..
  • Yay Adele is singing first! Can she just sing the whole time?
  • Okay the weird picture-in-picture thing going on on the screen behind her is super-annoying. Maybe they shouldn't have put the screen *right* behind her...
  • James Cordon's opening intro/dance disaster was less than funny.
  • His rapped monologue was good though.
  • J-Lo is getting political.. now you know we're in deep sh*t.
  • So John Travolta has finally admitted to not being able to read the teleprompter. (Two years too late.) Next, can he finally admit that's not his real hair?
  • The psychedelic scrolling background stolen from Real Player (or was it the Windows Music player?) behind Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood is hurting my eyes.
  • Twenty One Pilots missed the pantless LA Metro ride day by a month or so...
  • Jetsetter and one-man band Ed Sheeran.... from SNL to the Grammy stage in 16 hours (+ a 3-hour time change). I keep meaning to actually buy his music. He's awesome.
  • And David Bowie wins Best Rock Song for "Blackstar." #sniff
  • Since when do singer's moms get to do Grammy intros? I guess when they are Beyonce's mom...
  • So is this pregnancy going to be Bey's next concept album?
  • Um... how can these professional musicians (roped into a live Carpool Karaoke) NOT know the words to "Sweet Caroline"? Shame on you John Legend... for that, the two songs you're performing at the Oscars this year should lose. (Props to J-Lo for at least getting into the performance aspect.)
  • Bruno Mars looks like he's going to the Olympics.
  • And OMG.. I swear that triangle thing behind/above him is leftover from the NHL All-Star Game! #staplescenterhand-me-downs
  • If anyone can follow Beyonce, it's Katy Perry! Love the #resist armband! And The U.S. Constitution graphic. The fence makes more sense now. (Yes, it takes me a while...)
  • I'm really loving Gary Clark Jr. lately.... makes me wish I'd shown up earlier to the Foos concert he opened for on the Sonic Highways tour.
  • Adele performing the George Michael tribute. #love
  • Adele's luck with earpieces on Grammy live shows. #hate
    • Seen just now on the EW Twitter: "Only Adele could make the Grammy's start over." Yep. #queen
    • "I'm sorry. I can't mess this up for him." #sniff #love
    • She slayed. Beautiful.
  • Lady Gaga with Metallica. Not as odd as you'd think...
    • What is odd is James Hetfield's microphone not working. Someone's not getting hired as a sound tech again next year. 
  • Note: Demi Lovato was not alive when Stayin' Alive came out. Neither was Tori Kelly. Lady Antebellum was... well most of them.
  • How sad is it that they keep cutting to Barry Gibb.. the sole remaining Gibb. #sniff
  • Andra Day apparently thinks kimonos were big in the '70s. She wasn't alive then either.
  • Yay! Adele's "Hello" wins Song of the Year. #love
  • Cutting off her co-writer Greg Kurstin to intro a Tribe Called Quest #hate
  • The Prince tribute from The Time isn't nearly as sad as the George Michael tribute was... 
  • And now "Let's Go Crazy" -- my fave Prince song. Bruno has the look down. But he still reminds me more of Michael Jackson.
  • Bruno also has the guitar playing down. Wow!
  • Yay Adele's "Hello" wins Record of the Year! And yay Adele for calling the producers out for cutting Greg off last time!
  • Yay Adele's "25" wins Album of the Year! I love that album... shows her true beauty, heart and sass. #love

sunday funday: nature

Most Sunday mornings, my friend James and I go on a 3.5+ mile hike through Fryman Canyon. We've been rained (or Disneyland-ed) out the last few weeks. But today we were BACK and EVERYTHING was SO GREEN!!!  Fresh air, new life sprouting from the ground everywhere and pretty clear blue skies looking both West and East. It was gorgeous!

I can almost see my house from here! 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

sunday funday: main street electrical parade

If you can't be a Disney employee with a Silver Pass, the next best thing is having a friend who's a Disney employee with a Silver Pass... or Disneyland employee holiday party passes with an expiration date!

That was me last weekend, when my Disney employee friend Linda invited me, Daryl and James to drive to Anaheim on Superbowl Sunday (a historically very crowded day at the Park) to use her passes and free churro coupons! 

We each arrived with one specific thing we wanted to do at the Park, since we knew going in we wouldn't get to do much due to the crowds. My one thing was watching the "back for a limited time only" Main Street Electrical Parade

Some of my earliest memories of Disneyland include this parade. And while the theme song annoys some (Hi Daryl), I love it! In fact, I started jumping up and down like a little kid, bopping along to it as the parade approached our viewing spot in Town Square, at the end of the "early show" route.


Here are photos of some of my fave floats in all their light-bright glory. Enjoy :)

The lead float, driven by Goofy, with the main Mouse riding on top.

Cinderella's pumpkin with her Fairy Godmother riding shotgun. 

Peter Pan and Captain Hook battle it out!

Tinkerbell and pretty fauna.

Dopey driving the Dwarves sparkling haul down the route. 

The Elliot from Pete's Dragon float... this is one of my earliest memories of Disneyland from my first trip there when I was 4 or 5. I'm not sure if it's because he scared me or because I had the soundtrack record ;)