Five 11/18/15

Five (things of interest to me and maybe to you)

1) Macintosh Apples - Until recently I thought MacIntosh Apples were grown only in Southern Ontario. Last year I came across a fruit vendor at the Fairfax and 3rd (Hollywood) Farmer’s Market who carried them, grown locally. If anything is a trigger to my childhood it’s MacIntosh Apples - they loom large. My mother’s apple pies I can still taste (and came close to replicating last Christmas). As a Cub we sold apples door to door each fall, our baskets brightly colored with green and yellow crape paper. One bite and all this comes rushing back.
(Yes, I should have put two and two together - Apple Inc + MacIntosh Computer + from California)

2) All Things Must Pass, Colin Hanks, 2015 - I visited the Tower Records on Sunset many times, didn’t buy much there (I did find a bunch of Bob Marley Live concert CDs - quasi-bootlegs - from Japan about a year before they closed). Tower Video, both in West Hollywood and Sherman Oaks, where more of an interest (great selections of used video tapes). Better CD prices could be found at the indie shops. I was surprised when they opened in Toronto - with both Sam The Record Man and A & A at the top of there game (or just past). I remember Tower-TO having a large stack of cassettes of Nirvana’s Bleach that never seemed to shrink. Last Tower I visited was Tower-Dublin, still open, bought the Nuggets Reissue and Africa Screams LPs.

The documentary does a fine job of exploring the rise and fall of the Tower Empire. Lots of interviews with staff as well as founder Russell Solomon. It’s easy to explain Tower’s demise on the growth of the MP3 but they didn’t have any plan except to expand - no rainy day fund. 

(Side Note: One of the staff mentions treating customers a la “High Fidelity”. The best “High Fidelity-type” clerks I’ve come across was at an indie store in Boston - that was fun a visit)

3) Fargo Season 2, FX, 2105 - Season One was great but in it’s own way Season Two might be better. I love the loopy-ness of it (especially the first couple of episodes). The writing is fun. The camerawork and editing stellar. But the real star is the color of the light - it’s this fantastic shade of yellow courtesy of Calgary’s winter sun - even though it’s the middle of winter the light is warm.

Brilliant use of Jeff Wayne's The Eve of The War (from Wayne's War Of The Worlds) in Episode 2

4) Ork Records: New York, New York, Numero Group, 2015 - Reissue/Box Set of the year. This is a great listen - top to bottom. One of the ‘“first punk” labels founded by Terry Ork (details here Ork only released a couple dozen tracks (Television, Alex Chilton, Feelies among those) - all worth repeated listens. 

5) Trumbo, Jay Roach, 2015 -  good story, good acting, good TV movie


1) Little Johnny Jewel - Television
2) Tower Records Commercial 1968
3) Dalton Trumbo HUAC Testimony 1947
4) Fargo, North Dakota, Carter Burwell
5) Johnny Appleseed, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros

Bernie is still ahead on Bumper Stickers

Five 10/22/15

Five (things of interest to me and maybe to you)
Stealing a page from Greil Marcus’s Real Life Top Ten

1) Cold Brew Coffee - I don’t consider myself a coffee snob even though I have many coffee making devices (two French Presses, a stovetop expresso maker, a half dozen drippers, a Chemex, an Aeropress, several kinds of grinders, assorted scales, and at least two Vacuum/Siphon pots). Until recently I felt that the best way to brew coffee was with a Vacuum/Siphon pot (also the most work). For the past few months have been making Cold Brew - it’s simple to make, just coffee and water in a mason jar, over night in the fridge, strain through a coffee filter (might take a bit of trial and error to get the right coffee to water ratio). Great full flavour, no bitterness. On par with Vacuum pot. Even Starbucks can make a good Cold Brew (how come after 12PM they only brew Pike Place, a truly awful coffee and often burnt). Still searching for the perfect Coffee Cup.

2) Roxy: The Movie, Frank Zappa - I’m a big Zappa fan. That being said I’ve listen to so much of Frank’s music that a few years ago I took a break, an exended break. (my albums/cds are in Toronto, with most of my coffee paraphernalia, and I’m in LA). Recently I saw the four decades in the making Roxy: The Movie at the Egyptian (LA’s best place to see a movie). It’s a straight forward edit of 3 nights of shows from December 1973 - no animation, no skits - just presented as a one concert. Boy, does this band swing - George Duke, keyboards; Ruth Underwood,  xylophone, marimba, Percussion; Tom Flower, bass;  Bruce Flower, trombone; Ralph Humphries, drums; Chester Thompson, drums; Napoleon Murphy Brook, saxophone, vocals; and Frank Zappa, guitar, vocals. The musicians knew this music inside and out, they were tight, able to change direction on a dime (or on the wave of Zappa’s pinky finger). There’s Joy in the playing and Joy in the listening (and watching).The instrumental version of Cheapnis is one of the best pieces of music I’ve heard from one of Frank’s groups.

3) The Mask, Julian Hoffman, 1961 - Billed as the first Canadian horror movie (before Cronenberg), The Mask (aka Eyes of Hell), is a lot of fun (and not to be confused with Canadian Jim Carrey’s The Mask). Shot partially in anaglyph 3D (red blue/green glasses), a voice commands the viewer to “put on your mask on now” for(quoting the trailer) “the weirdest nightmare world that man has every dreamed or the screen has ever dared show”. These sequences were supervised by Slavko Vorkapich, pioneer of the montage (David Copperfield, Mr Smith Goes To Washington). This is one film you want to see with audience, thought the Blu Ray comes out next month with a bunch of cool extras (shorts by Vorkapich and a new 3D horror short, One Night In Hell with music by Queen's Brian May).

4) Sacri Cuori - Don’t much about this Italian group, Sacri Cuori (Sacred Hearts). I first heard them on KCRW - a little 60’s psych, a little Italian soundtracks from the 60s and 70s, a little blues, a little world - a stew of sounds. I have their recent album, Delone, need to find the rest. Reminds me of Calexico.

5) Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, Elvis Costello, 2015 - Read this pretty much in one go. It jumps around a bit (which seems to be the norm for rock bios these days) but his writing on his influences and likes is pretty great, so’s his writing on his own songs.


1) Java Jive, The Ink Spots
2) Delone, Sacri Cuori
3) The Blue Mask, Lou Reed
4) Cheapnis, Frank Zappa
6) Radio Radio, Elvis Costello

Side note: I drive a scooter around LA. Having to play close attention to the car in front of me, I've noticed that there are more Barney stickers then Hilary stickers on car bumpers