I’ve always wondered how tourists must feel when they come to LA. I wonder what they think about the cluster fuck of architecture, the tiny skyline, and the thick pinkish cloud of smog that encases us. Where do you even go if you’re a visiting Swedish family of 5? Hollywood and Highland? Gross. Do you take taxis? It sucks, but you can forget about public transportation. I’ve lived here all my life and I still haven’t ridden a bus (Well, once, but I don’t want to talk about it). It’s taken me 3 years of living on my own to feel at home in this city, 3 years just to be able to connect all the different patches that make up its senseless sprawl. Sometimes I try to put myself in the mindset of an outsider and attempt look at the city with new eyes, usually when I’m stuck in traffic and trying to keep myself from just ramming into the car in front of me. It’s a calming exercise.This past week I was going east on the 60 (unfortunately), when my IPOD died. I had been listening to MGMT, which must have been partly to blame for the bout of melancholy I experienced upon passing a group of homes built into a hill. Random palm trees surrounded them, and the recent rains had made the grass look fresh and green. The walls that presumably were there to keep the houses from sliding down the hill were covered in graffiti and the homes themselves were very square, very white, very 80s. Now, I’m sure it really was the grossest thing, but with the afternoon sky was gold and pink I thought it was really beautiful.LA is kind of like what you’d get if a big, 70’s drag queen got transfigured into to a county, and that’s why I love it. That being said, this is probably one of the most annoying cities to navigate in the world. I’ve just begun trying to get any real sense of what it has to offer, but I’ve already learned a lot. For instance, best green enchiladas in the city? El Compadre on Sunset. There are two of them, so go to the one on the East side. No, you won’t see as any random celebs, but the service is so much better. The last time I went to the one across from Toi an idiot hostess took my name down, told me to wait at the bar for 20 minutes, and then 25 minutes later looked me dead the eye and told me she had never seen me before in her life. It was kind of funny, but not because it resulted in me eating at Cheebo, a joint I hate for its intense mediocrity.Just to clarify, I shop on the east side of Melrose. God willing one day this whole career thing I’m banking on will happen and I’ll be able to migrate over to west half (hopefully before the Alexander McQueen store opens this Spring, but the odds aren’t looking too good). See, I’m from the hood son, don’t my obsession with all things fashion related fool you.I’ve spent the past 3 years stuck studying in South Central. It wasn’t exactly the lifestyle change I’d imagined, but soon (after getting my car/Mac book/wardrobe stolen) I found myself moving in with my BFF and some random guy from Craigslist into a cute little apartment in Los Feliz where I now reside. So stop reading this blog now if you think that shopping means Robertson, that making art is being the millionth person to take party photos of skinny, pretty people (I get the impulse, so I only sort of hate you) or if you think music shouldn’t be as catchy as it is dirty.Now, before I piece out I’ll leave you with a good and bad list.
The Babysitter shake at No Place Like Home in Los Feliz
The Saturday line up at Coachella
Pumpkin pie pancakes at the Griddle on Sunset
Vagina Dentata (If you didn’t watch Teeth last month you deserve to find out what this is the hard way.
Dieting for spring/summer clothes
Dario Argento being looked at as a serious director (what do you even say to that?)
Jack Johnson at Coachella
Fafi not being one of my friends : (
L.A. LOVES L.A. UNDERGROUND
I’d like to draw your attention to L.A. Underground, a site filled with Los Angeles centric music news, without any of the lovely bullshit that runs other sites (like my beloved Scenestar). Maybe it’s because of their ravings about the depreciation of Coachella and the music industry remind me of my older brother or because of the fact that they’re always referencing venues and hot spots down the street from my apartment, but there is something about this writer that makes me feel at home on their blog.
“So the chaos of Coachella weekend has arrived again. After attending a few times, we’re more reluctant to watch big shows like these via YouTube than make an effort to drive out to the desert. And we wouldn’t dare go into all that chutzpah about how Coachella was “so much better in 1999″ although we will say there sure was a lot more room to do the centipede back then. “
This blogger reminds me of every 26 year old I’ve met in a bar in Silverlake since I’ve moved up here. I like the familiar use of trendy cultural references, without going overboard and suffering from the Juno effect. Formatted with just two columns, the site makes for easy reading. While displaying a healthy littering of photos, the blog is still all about the writing and commentary. I can appreciate that while this blogger isn’t afraid to comment on their subjects, they usually keep the anecdotes quick and painless while focusing on information of past and upcoming concerts, festivals and release dates.There tends to be three parts to a blog that focuses on music and art: Text, images and .mp3 links. I don’t know whether Mark the Cobrasnake started this trend, or just capitalized on something that was already happening in the clubs, but wide angle, flash photography is to this generation of scene kids what high contrast/saturation photography was to the 90s.
And i’m sick of having to scroll down pages of it to get to any information on a music blog. Some blogs are built up almost exclusively by these photos, (check out KidPaparazzi). L.A. Underground has none. Maybe that’s why I like reading L.A. Underground so much. The layout and photos featured on a blog becomes a part of its voice and like a blogger’s writing, have the ability to attract readers for the same reasons that different writing styles do. There’s something about the utilitarian photographs this blogger uses that makes me feel at ease. By utilitarian I mean they’re actually photos of the artists and not of meth chic hipsters. I get enough of that nonsense all up in my face when I go out at night, I don’t need to see it while I’m just trying to find out when Patrick Wolf is playing next.
Skimming through the blogroll on L.A. Underground has linked me to so many great sites. It’s important to look at the media a blog is linking too in order to find their voice as well. A blogger’s taste is probably the most important thing about an art and entertainment blog. What music they think is relevant leads to which bands they cover and the more often that a reader finds themselves agreeing with a blogger’s taste the more likely they are to return to the site.Repeated columns like “Los Angeles Loves…” (which typically features a new, up and coming artist) also help to build up a blogger’s voice and a reader’s sense of familiarity with the writer. I think that when doing something like an art and entertainment blog it’s important to take into consideration whether you’re writing for a lay audience or a savvy audience. You should think about this when you’re deciding what to link to and what background information to include on an artist.L.A. Underground can be appreciated by almost anyone, but can also be enjoyed by the hard to reach, jaded hipster geriatric set. This is in large part due to the blogger’s focus on reporting actual information rather than just entertaining their own opinion. The tone of the blog is like that of a resource page, something like a custom made CitySearch. Overall I think the voice of the blog comes across as informative and approachable, skipping style for substance.
SO THERE’S THIS BLOG I LIKE
I want to start this blog off with quick rant, why don’t the iphones come ready for Flash? I was driving around Los Feliz with my roommate looking for a Taco Bell last night and couldn’t access their website to get to the store locator. In the amount of time it took for us to find one I had sobered up (wasn’t driving) and I couldn’t even enjoy my meal.
There are multitudes of blogs about the L.A. music scene, but in my opinion the Scenestar manages to shine brighter than most. Check the site out for yourself and soak in the spread of perhaps one of the most put together scene blogs I’ve come across. This blog is a great source for Los Angeles based music news, album and show reviews and pre-sale info. The site is run by Oscar, a resident of Los Angeles in his late 20s, and a few of his friends. All of who, from what I can tell by stalking them on Myspace, either have a heavy interest in music or work somewhere in the industry (like radio). You can find at least one new post on the blog everyday: sometimes more, sometimes less. The blog has an authority of 22 on Technorati and has yet to be favorited by any one. But I have a feeling though that this probably says more about the people that read the blog than the blog itself.With a great layout and killer photography, someone like me doesn’t stand a chance against the urge to check it for updates. I just want to keep clicking on everything because it’s so…nice looking.
In a way the Scenestar is a lot like what I hope Destroy L.A. can grow up to be. The type of bands covered might not be the same, and there’s the lack of any news relating to any of my other subjects, but I think that all in all it’ll be a good site for me to look to in the future for inspiration. The site does a great job of keepings its readers updated with important music related news and I think it’s awesome that it generates media of it’s own, whether it be interviews or photographic coverage of shows. The blogger’s insistence on doing their own interviews elevates it to a level of professionalism not found very often in music blogs. I would say that this blog relates to journalism more than your average opinion or persona-based blog. However, I feel like the lack of opinion and personal voice within the blog posts might be alienating some of it’s readers, or at least it doesn’t give them any reason to comment with their own opinions.
The updates are short and sweet, only a few paragraphs, and the interviews are plentiful. They are also full of links that can get you more acquainted with their subjects. Their readers are L.A. residents who love music and go to music events, but the writing is very accessible. I can imagine any number of my friends who work in the music industry reading it, as well as my teenage niece.This site is a great place for me to go to and check if there are any music events coming up that might be of interest. All in all though I feel like the range of bands covered by the Scenestar puts out is much broader than that of Destroy L.A. It’s like they’ll just talk about any band that’s playing a show in this city. I want my blog to be something more like a boutique. My blog is more about a certain lifestyle and indirectly about how the Internet and the expansion of media has made it possible to learn about obscure artists, musicians and designers from all over the world. I’m really interested in self-promotion and using the web to advertise, brand and sell your work. While I’ll try not to beat this topic over anyone’s head in my posts, everyone who I highlight has risen from obscurity to fame by use of the net and word of mouth.I can’t begin to tell you how reliant I am on the Internet for cultural information, it’s almost the exclusive source of music, art and movie related news in my life. So often I’ve been researching an artist that interests me only to find their Myspace eventually and find a friend of theirs that’s equally amazing. It just seems like the world is getting smaller and smaller as we keep finding new links between everything. I like that.