Sunday, April 17, 2011

So I am back from LA and saw Big Audio Dynamite!

After the muddy walk to the terminal we got on the plane and arrived in LA to warm weather (after departing in snow... that was a first for me... never flown out of Denver in a snow, in April....) and sunshine and palm trees.

Picked up the car and drove through Manhatten Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and down to San Pedro.  F went to college there so it was fun to see some of the sights.  Stopped at In and Out burger, which I guess you have to do when in California... we decided that there are definitely better burgers in Denver.

We checked into the hotel which sad to say... kind of a dump, we were supposed to have a "king suite"... um.... not so much.  That was a disappointment, nothing in the picture I saw when booking resembled the room that we got.  Now don't get me wrong, I could have been a huge bitch, said we are out of here and moved on, but I think the overwhelming smell of bleach maybe got to me.  F laid down to take a little nap and I thought I will head out and take a little walk, I needed to find someplace to get toothpaste and shampoo so thought I will just walk up Sunset and see what I can find.

Walked in front of Hollywood High.  The architecture on the building was amazing.  Stopped and took some shots, some kids came up and asked me what I was "shooting" and I said "cornices" and one of the kids took me to the side of one of the main parts of the building and showed me some carvings that were deco and cool and unreal. He said "we have a very cool school huh?". Yeah you do.  I said, I went to high school in a big brick and metal box pretty much.  Then I said I was from Colorado.  Then I was a tourist and person non-grata.  It was very typical and funny I have to admit.  Walked up a little bit more, found a Rite Aid got my supplies and headed back.  Stopped in this really great garden shop and fell in love with this planter tree that was intricately shaped and so beautiful. Too bad you can't carry that stuff on a plane!

Hung out poolside once I got back to the hotel.  There was this group of guys who were talking in french about cheese sandwhiches.  One of them got up and came back with this giant bottle of rum.  They called out to me and said I could join them and watch the Montreal Boston hockey game and have a drink with them.  It was very nice, but I declined.  F texted me that he was napped up and we headed out again.

We drove up Sunset looking for a pre show bite to eat.  And this is where my memory totally failed me. I thought for sure that the restaurant that I wanted to go to was on Sunset. It wasn't.  So we finally looked up Barney's Beanery and found we were close but it was off Sunset and not at all where I though it was.  Walked in, got a table.  We ordered.  We had the divine pleasure of listening to this SUPER loud girl just blather on about absolutely nothing important. I was so annoyed with her and feel badly that her friends have to listen to that all the time, we only had an hour... they have a lifetime.  The food was almost even like I remembered.  Almost.  I think I built it up in my head as being so much better because it was so much fun the couple of times we were there... but it wasn't bad.  Two beers, a bowl of chili and a fried chicken was almost 50 bucks though, which I totally was surprised by.... it used to be so cheap.  Different times I suppose.

We drove over to the Roxy and got in line to get into the show.  There were these two guys behind us. One who spent about 10 minutes complaining that the show started too late and he had to work the next day and blah blah blah... there was a guy behind him who was looking to buy tickets (the show had been sold out about a month at that point) so finally they pulled the trigger and sold their tickets. Now here is the really impressive and nice thing... he sold them for face value.  I was really surprised by that.  I really expected that he would have sold them for more, he certainly could have, the scalper guy bought a ticket for 150 bucks just a couple of minutes before from someone. Anyways... nice move there dude.

Doors open, the line is moving along and we get up to the front door, get our IDs sorta looked at... I say sorta because there is NO WAY the door guy knows where to look our drivers license for our birthdays right? It was a mere glance, stamp and in we go.  We see the drummer for a rock band that rhymes sorta with The Smelly Schleppers (oh wait am I bitter?) standing out front, who looked really really super skinny to me.  Then we go in. The place is really small, maybe the size of the Larimer Lounge with a stage in a semi circle curtained in the front.  Fun and really neat.  The music is this crazy 80s mix of Depeche Mode and stuff.  We walk over to the left where there is this elevated area.  Since I am short I thought this will be a great vantage point for me, I will be about half a head taller and totally be able to see.

F goes over to the merch and I order beers.  Now here is where LA obviously differs from Denver. They had PBR on tap... ok not so different, but then I asked about if they had Heineken or Stella and the waitress said no but they have something that began with a P that is Italian (she said the name, I just can't remember it, searched under italian beers... thats what came up... could be, I dunno). Italian beer on tap?  What? Really.  Weird.  So I started a tab and went to talking to the people around me as I am known to do in these situations.  Talk to this guy who is super cool, friends with the guy who got him a ticket for knowing someone in the Clubs management and who is a pro skateboarder.  Don't know who it is for the life of me so don't ask, he came over and shook my hand though.  Very nice guy who ever you are.

I then have to go to the bathroom because apparently Italian beer is like Coors light and doesn't stick around long.  I walk back over to where we were standing and the guy tells me it's VIP.  Oops.  Yeah we just totally walked into VIP and stood there like we belonged I guess. Not our intention for sure.  So I told him I was sorry, I would find the waitress and close out my tab and we would move down to the other area.  He was very cool about it. Then this other waitress came over, now she was kind of rude about it, I get it, it's her job, I explained that it was totally our mistake, not intentional and we were just waiting to clear our tab, the bouncer guy then came over and said he knows whats up and to leave us alone until we could pay and said we could stay there until the show starts.  Which was NICE but we needed to get down and get a spot where I could see.  He said he would get us a spot up front.  He motioned to the other bouncer guy who let us up on the side area that he was clearing out and not letting people stand.  It was really super cool of them.  The waitress shot me this look... hey we didn't know.  We weren't trying to do anything nefarious.  I don't care about standing in a VIP area with actors whose names rhyme with Phenico BelJorro or Mon Musak or the bass player for the Smelly Schleppers or Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols (his radio show was sponsoring the show and he introduced the band... lamely I might add... sorry Steve.... it was lame..."ladies and gentleman...BAD?" that is the best you can do? For fucksake man.  Anyways I just wanted to see Big Audio Dynamite and not the back of someone's head the bouncer dude understood and was cool... too bad she wasn't... got our tab from the original waitress who was stressing about it and was sorry she didn't tell us it was VIP, I said it was ok, we just assumed the tables were VIP and the other was standing room and not to worry about us.  She genuinely seemed worried I was pissed. I wasn't at all. 

The show was great.  We were right in front of Don Letts who was a machine and amazing.  He was really into the show I think.  He seemed like he was having a great time and at times during the show came out and interacted with the crowd.  I was really surprised how integral what he was doing was to the overall band.  I never really knew. So that was a real treat to watch.  And it was so cool to see him so close. I wish I could have 20 minutes to talk to him, about London during the 70s, his filmmaking, his music career, his musical taste and stuff, but obviously not going to happen, so I had to enjoy watching him perform.  Mick Jones was terrific.  He came out in a silver suit like a total gentleman and rocked it for 90 minutes.  He seemed like he was having a great great time, just like how I felt when I saw him at the Bluebird and he played with Carbon/Silcon.  There seemed to be real joy there.  Sure there were songs I wished they had played but it was all good.  I took some pictures, F took the helm of the camera for a while and we genuinely had a great time at the show.

On the way out we stood out front of the building talking with some folks, went to the side of the building and thought maybe we would wait to see about them coming out.  Stood for a while and saw Smilly Scruffy from a band that played the Ogden back a while ago that rhymes with Smult.  I don't know why I am making all the "famous" people's names rhyme and be non-sensical because really I don't care.  They are real human beings. I guess I don't want to to be about seeing them as much as seeing Big Audio Dynamite right? Anyways... we are standing there and the bouncer at the Rainbow looks like Trent Reznor but with a bad bleach job.  It was amusing. The band's van eventually came up and we realized they weren't going to come out and great the small crowd standing outside, so we headed to the car and back to the hotel.

Crawled into bed with the reverberations of Big Audio Dynamite rocking through our heads... it was pretty awesome.

Woke up to a bright and shiney day.  Decided we would go over to Echo Park and Silverlake and do some shopping of sorts.

Our first stop was the Echo Park Time Travel Mart.  Yes this is a real place. And yes it is a fundraising outlet for the 826Valencia children's writing program for LA. It was a fun little store and the guy at the counter was so endearing. This young boy kept bringing things up to the counter and asking him what it did and the clerk was creative and wonderful in his answers.  It was wonderful.  I got some fun little tchokes and we headed to the next street over and got lunch at this restaurant called Masa.

The vibe was really cool.  We ordered a pizza and set in to wait our 40 minutes for the pizza to be delivered.  F ordered the Suppli which were amazing.  I haven't had suppli in so long so I was really super pleased that that was the appetizer he picked. I need to find a good recipe and make them myself.  But they have absolutely set the standard for what I aspire to. The pizza was delivered and it was really terrific. A nice cornmeal crust with some amazing sauce peppered with garlic and fresh basil and delicious tomatoes.  It was totally worth the wait!  Our waiter was a total hipster and nice to see that hipsters are the same everywhere.  He was attentive and not in our faces...I would hire him if I owned a place.

We drove over to to a store that showed that they sold eyeglass frames that F was looking into getting.  The place Mohawk General Store was really cool.  Full of vintage treasures and clothing.  But pricey...whoa nelly .... no offense, but $75 bucks for a candle is pricey....F didn't see the frames he wanted so we cruised out.  The people in the store couldn't have been bothered to even say hello so that was telling.  I wish them luck.

Went to La Luz de Jesus and Wacko.  This was like mecca... the store was HUGE compared to what I remembered.  Almost too much stuff and totally overwhelming but we had fun shopping.  I got the 3 gun vase I have been coveting since I saw it in Pheonix. Picked up some postcards.  And a Monkey Wearing a Fez cookie jar that was too cool NOT to buy.

When we were standing out side the building we saw Keith Morris walk by! Our quintessential LA rockstar moment for us! Didn't say anything because he was on his way somewhere and really it would have been rude to interrupt whatever he was doing... but we saw him and it was cool.

Went and headed over to Silverlake to an optical store to see about the frames there.  We got to the store and the gals in the place could not have been nicer.  One of the gals gave F a pair of frames that certainly were cool to try on but were a little weird on him.  But he definitely tried. 

From there we drove the canyon roads, went over Laurel Canyon, Mulholland, and Coldwater Canyon.  It was really fun and beautiful.  But the amount of honking at the second a light would turn green is maddening.  It was unreal.  There was a guy behind us in a SUV that actually yelled at us.  And we actually yelled back. As we were getting close to the PCH I actually considered along with F getting out of the car and saying I can't make the light change any faster and honking isn't going to make it happen any quicker or peacefully?  Fuck off asshole.  Finally the light changed and he sped up and went on the side of us and ended up in a turn lane that took him to a side road and not the PCH which I guess he actually wanted to go too. It was humorous. 

We drive to Malibu and go to Zuma Beach to watch the sun set.  It was beautiful and really nice. Nice soft sand, nice rolling waters.... great view.

We went back to the car, drove to Jerry's Deli.  This is where the tide turned. Ok pun intended.  I open the trunk to get out my purse.  Its gone.  So I spend the next 20 minutes or so calling my bank, my credit card company and dealt with that.  It was gross and awful and I felt like an idiot for leaving my purse in the car, in a locked trunk in a rental car.  Dumb move.  We got back into the car, F drove since my license was in my wallet in the purse. I made mental notes of what I had in the wallet and then I realized.... how the hell am I going to get on a plane to go home tomorrow?  Plus my camera with all the shots from our drives, stops and the show were gone, not to mention the camera, which I was just learning to love.  But it's a thing, and replaceable... how the hell am I going to get on a plane without ID now?

Too bad our trip to the Echo Park Time Travel Mart was not something that was real right?  Irony and humor could be found in that moment for sure!  It was kind of funny.  Sad and annoying but really funny too. What I wouldn't have done to go back in time to go back to 7PM and take my purse with me down to the beach. 


We get back to the hotel.  I do a quick google search and realize the best thing will be to file a police report and at least have that piece of paper explaining why I don't have a driver's license.  I call the Malibu sheriff's office and they direct me to file the report at the West Hollywood station.  So we head over there.  Two hours of waiting later the report is filed.

It was the most frustrating wait I have ever had.  I cried.  I was violated and had to sit and wait for two hours so that I could get home. 

Got back to the hotel finally and tried to relax and took a shower in what was the most ghetto shower ever.  Both the spikets leaked something fierce.  I just was not in the mood and that made it nearly tragic to me.  I wanted to break down, I honestly did but it wouldn't make anything better.  I went to dry my hair and the hair dryer didn't work.  It was absolutely unreal.  I wanted nothing more than to have F just give me a hug and say it will be ok but he was asleep.  I was frustrated and  honestly hearing this party going on in the room next to me just made the capper on my night.  I seriously almost got dressed and went over there to tell them that I wanted to just have them give me a drink so at least I could try and deal with this better, but just laid there annoyed.  Finally at 5:30 they went to bed.  I slept maybe an hour or so and then I got up and went to the front desk to get a copy of my copied drivers license we gave when we checked in.  So at least I have a picture of my picture ID.  Came back to the room and tried to call the TSA to find out if that would be enough.

No answer just a recording talking about what to do to file a complaint about a screening and to report a concern.  Very very frustrating. 

F woke up, we got in the car and headed to the airport.  Wanted to make sure that there was enough time to deal with any situation should one happen to occur.  We turn in the car, I tell the guy the locks don't work on the car, he couldn't have cared.  At all.  Not one bit. Thanks Budget Rental car... it seriously was disappointing your check in guy couldn't be bothered. 

Get to the TSA check in.  And here is where the tide turns.  The TSA was AMAZING.  The agents were so kind, polite and one of the guys even said "wow this is the fifth one of these".  So good to know I am not the only one.  I was congratulated for being so prepared and was sent to the xray machines.

My bag gets checked because of the vase and the plastic ray guns I got from the Echo Park Time Travel Mart.  I got two ray guns (one which was missing, so they got my purse and a toy.... hope they enjoy).  So the TSA screening supervisor Gillan I think was his name was really funny.  He said he couldn't imagine what it was that was shaped the way it was, they knew it wasn't a real gun but they were curious and wanted to see.  Then we talked about the 826Valencia store and he said he might have to take his grandkids there.  He pulled out the bottle of "Old Medicine- Leeches" (which are plastic worms... in a jar....) and laughed a little bit and then apologized because I don't know that they are allowed to show humor.  I explained what happened to us and he said he hopes we had a safe trip home. It was really completely surprising how kind everyone was.  They should be commended. It could have been awful but it wasn't.

We got a little lunch, watched a LeFemme Nikita on my IPhone (thank you Netflix! We were just talking about it when we went through Venice Beach and talked about Point of No Return which it was a remake of) so that killed some time considering we had two delays.  F ran into a friend and he chatted with him for a few minutes.  It was nice for him to run into him I am sure.  It made me smile to see them talking. 

Finally got home, got a quick bite to eat at Viva Burrito (came home to get Mexican food which was really funny!). Watched part of a movie and F scrambled home for the night.

Today I called all the credit bureaus and put credit freezes on my identity... I will be damned if they steal my identity in addition to my purse.  Tommorrow the adventure begins, I get to go and get a new driver's license, go to the bank and get a new checking account and reassign all my automatic payments.  Great.  It could be a lot worse but still a giant pain.  I want to hope that the people or person that broke into my car will send me my stuff back and I know that doesn't happen, but it would be AMAZING if it did.  OR even if the camera showed up on Craiglist (like F thinks it might) because I might be able to get the sd card but that is wishful thinking.  Oh Echo Time Travel Mart... you mock me with your not being real... oh how you mock me....!

It was an amazing trip and obviously one full of adventure.  But I won't have to go back to LA for a while, a long while now!  Happy to make plans to go some place else next... bring it anywhere else.... bring it....!

Thanks Big Audio Dynamite for a great show... thanks Wacko and La Luz de Jesus for the treasures.... thanks Echo Park Time Travel Mart for the humor in the situation... and thanks seriously F for making the gooooooood stuff happen.  Seriously.... thanks for bringing the good!

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