Monday, April 21, 2014

My Top 5 Favorite Beers

1. Allagash Curieux
(Aged in whiskey barrel this Belgin style ale has an extra whiskey bite too it. It is hard to describe why it's my favorite beer. It's the perfect sipping beer but not so heavy you can't enjoy it with a large meal and the whiskey after taste adds a certain note of class and perfection to a perfectly brewed glass of beer. It is perfection.) 
2. Midis Touch 
(This beer is brewed from one of the oldest recipes known to man and was reverse engineered. The dogfish head company brews it currently. It contains hints of saffron and the recipe is about 1'000 years old.) 
3. Hoegaarden 
(Hoegarden is a Belgin White and extremely smooth, similar to Lefe, and has a nice floral taste) 
4. Ginga Kogen 
(Ginga Kogen is Japanese and very hard to find. It tastes to me like the cross between a good stout and a good lager it has a nice lager finish but with a very malty and very heavy over taste. It is pretty smooth and the type of beer you might want to pair with a nice full meal.) 

5. Corona 
(A cheap pick I know however I love it. And at the end of a long day or one the beach a smooth simple lager to wash all your cares away one or two times.) 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Places in Los Angeles

1.) Hyaena Art Gallery (Burbank) 
 (They do group art shows all the time and even have an art vending machine.)
2.) Pinocchio's Deli (Burbank)
 (Amazing deli with amazing Italian food.)
3.) Van Eaton Art Galleries (Sherman Oaks) 

4.) Nuart Theatre (Santa Monica)

(It is my favorite independent theatre, it always seems to attract a good crowd and show off some of the most interesting films. It's also right next to an independent video store and a good Chinese Restaurant.)
5.) Farmer's Market (Hollywood) 

(If you're a foodie and spend some time there are so many things you can find.)
6.) Mystery Pier Books (Hollywood) 
(A true gem of a store. It is one of the best 1st edition book stores in the world.)
7.) Eddie Brant's Saturday Matinee

(Another hidden gem, if you're looking for a movie, as long as you have a VCR and they don't have it, odds are no one else will.)
8.) Robina's (North Hollywood)

(It's hard to find a good picture but it's basically a hole in the wall Indian place behind Circus Liquor in North Hollywood. The food there is excellent and they deliver if you live in the area. ;) )
9.) North Hollywood Diner (Not hard to figure out which part of LA it's located in.) 

(Simple diner food done right open 24 hours perfect thing after a long gig day.)
10.) L'Imagerie (Burbank) 
(Another off the beaten path gem, but if you maybe wanna purchase a Janis Joplin original tour poster or an original italian poster for "The Good, Bad, and The Ugly" odds are they have it.)

Bonus: Villian's Tavern. (Business district) 

It gets awfully crowded Thursdays-Saturdays, but for a place of sheer atmosphere, amazing cocktails live music this bar reminds me of an old church and feels like something I'd find in New Orleans. It would be higher on my list...however I don't make it there too often.

Now these are the places I picked because they aren't obvious I could easily have picked places like LACMA, THE GETTY, or THE MAGIC CASTLE. I wasn't in the mood to write individual detailed articles on these places either but merely keeping a list.

My Top 5 Favorite Music Videos.


2.)  Kenna - Hell Bent from Claudio Vera on Vimeo.




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top 10 Fictional Movie Drugs.

I wrote this article for "Taste of Cinema" for the "Top 10 Fictional Drugs in Movies".

Top 10 Fictional Drugs in Movies

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BBQ Shrimp Recipe.

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Actual photos above * * * 

Monday, January 27, 2014


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This is my crew photo for "The Jay Leno Show" I worked there from late October 2009 to January 2010. It famously didn't last that long. But it made a good impression on my life. 

The longest gig I'd ever had before working on this show was two years as an editor in a newsroom in Alabama.  Yes this one. 

In Los Angeles though the longest gig I'd ever worked was 3 months. I guess the little over 3 months would cut it. Because when "The Jay Leno Show" ended I didn't know if it would go on . . . and I didn't know it would go on for the next 3 years.  

To start things off I'd like to say JAY LENO is easily one of the most approachable and nicest people I've ever met.  NO not one of the nicest people in the entertainment business, just one of the nicest people I've ever met. 

I'll miss the crew, I'll miss the experience, I'll miss waking up with a purpose (for at least a short while) and I have too many great stories to count. 

I can't think of anything more to write. There are too many great little moments to categorize. "Tonight Show" crew and friends, I'll miss you and I'll miss the experience. 

I cannot articulate into human words what this crew and this experience means to me. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" crew is truly the best crew in television and some of the very best people I've ever met, you have touched my heart and changed my life forever in ways I can't articulate. I LOVE YOU GUYS!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Moon Taxi: Trusting Your Instincts

About 3 years ago I got a text from my buddy Briant
 (The tall guy in the photo, the one that's not me is my brother) shot me a text and said 'Hey my friend's band "Moon Taxi"  is playing in your town. Their first LA show. I'd love it if you could come and check them out. Just find Trevor or Tommy and tell them I said hi. I can put your name in and get you tickets compted.' Sure, I said. . . I mean why not, a free rock show and on the plus side I love meeting artist, at a famous venue like that, I'd never been, seemed like a cool night. So I called up my buddy Jerry and my buddy Matt and said 'hey wanna go to a free rock show tonight at the Viper Room'. 'Yeah' they said. It was a decent show. One of the two didn't like their sound at all. There were maybe 3 other people in that venue besides us. We got compted, and I doubt anyone else there had even paid to see a band that was unheard of . . . especially in LA, there were about 10 bands playing within a 5 mile radius that night. They were good, but nothing special, nothing I remembered past the name, the adventure of it and the endorsement of my long friend Buru. 

Never heard of them, but I know my friend Briant's proclivity with music. I gave them a shot, it wasn't a miss, it wasn't a hit, but it wasn't a dud, they were a good band. So what was it?

Truth is, I'd seen many great bands in my time, and I'm not talking professionals, I'm talking fun bands that get dubbed that immortal word, 'LOCAL'. They felt like a fantastic local band. Not stars, not yet.

My first gig in production was a music video for a southern band called 'Analog Missionary'.    I love them, they were a great band, but quite experimental. Not sure they had what it took to make it big.  (If you don't blink you can see my teenage self at the end of this.) Then after collage when I was just figuring out that I even wanted to be in LA I shot a music video and followed around a band called "Undertoe Hopscotch" (not kidding that were there name, and I loved them, and loved the adventure of them, still listen to there C.D. out here in LA, I keep it in my car, for nostalgic purposes and I really respected and loved those guys.)    In the span of 2 years I only missed 2 of their shows. Moving equipment, trying to set up dates with other bands, overall being a supporter and even going to a music conference with the drummer in Atlanta to try to build the bands brand. Well life took a hold of us I moved to LA, and the band split up, wives, kids, careers the whole nine yards you hear from every art story if you stay with it long enough, for the most part. Aaron the lead singer still writes and I do see him occasionally when he swings down through LA. Which is more than pleasant. But this blog entry isn't a story about lost dream fizzling out. Like I said, I still listen to their C.D. and still know several people who keep that band close to their heart, even ones that weren't directly involved. And we got tons of great stories.

You see I didn't start this blog to ramble about my past. But to establish a tone...a mood, and an understanding, that being an artist, musician, actor, filmmaker, whatever is HARD. And if you don't knock them dead the first shot out of the gate and every shot might as well stop.

But like I said, you should trust your instincts.

Oh not mine. I'd remembered the name and followed them on the Facebook, but I didn't honestly give "Moon Taxi" much thought after that night at "The Viper Room". I'm talking about my friend Briant's instincts. Over the 3 years after that he kept mentioning them and reminding me about them. Then finally without me calling him I noticed on their tour, "TROUBADOUR" . . . one of those crumby but legendary LA dive-venues that makes shitty burgers and you could probably score heroin if you tried. (I did not try) And I decided yeah fuck it, I'll go, it is their second show back in LA and I won't ask for compted tickets. I'll buy, I'll support. This would probably be a better show...I mean they seem to be picking up. You see I watch Letterman every day he records, give or take (don't ask)  (and they were on there two months ago) and Conan on Wednesday  What was I saying, they were definitely picking up in popularity.

But I still didn't expect much. They were a band from Tennessee my buddy knows well. I followed around local bands for years, none of them made it anywhere accept obscure reviews in obscure magazines no one reads. And I work in the entertainment industry and know a plethora of actors, writers, and directors who 'worked on that thing, with that guy' but none of them had 'broken out' yet. Lots have worked on huge projects, but they weren't the huge project or the 'next big thing'.

And then I sat in the Troubadour, two hours early and ate a crumby cheeseburger. I'd posted I was going on FB and invited maybe one or two of my friends, didn't make a big deal on it. And it slowly started to fill out.

It got more and more crowded and before the show I sat and talked with an old asian man who'd saw them on a trip to Tennessee and 'just had to see them again'.

Was this the same band I'd seen years ago?

 (Click to enlarge) 

Absolutely not. 

I was not just blown away but had that rush of energy I only get at stadium shows with major bands like Muse. And then that rush of seeing great live music kept coming in song, after song, after song. They had it, they had the audience by the balls. Every cord, every nuance, from bass solo, to drum solo, to keyboard solo, to jumping off the amps was perfectly timed. It wasn't just a band playing anymore it was a show. To the point you're jumping up and down and cheering and beginning to lose energy but you keep going, sweating and all. They had it. And I mean they had IT.

They had that thing that great artists, musicians, actors, directors, whatever IT that irreplaceable and unforgettable thing when you know a thing is going to succeed. The Troubadour, on the other side of the country they started in was packed to the gills, and I can imagine like a plague the word of mouth from that show would turn these men in the next coming years into a household name.

This had never happened before from cocoon to beautiful butterfly I'd witnessed over 3 years or not even over three years but like a drastic sharp cut to time, cause I'd not followed them over the past 3 years the full evolution of a band from good performers almost fresh out of the garage to soon to be legendary ROCK STARS.

I've seen probably 200 shows in my life but I was blindsided by "MOON TAXI" at the 'Troubadour' last Thursday night. They were poise, perfect, knew when to play it fast, knew when to play it slow, and knew how to move to their audience.

I'd witnessed a full transformation. It was the same style but perfected.

I couldn't recommend this band more, and I couldn't recommend seeing them live more.

I bought their album  and was blown away just as much by their album and it's variety and near-perfect mixing as I was by their show.

If you love music . . . check out "Moon Taxi" right now!

And if you're an artist remember...keep hustling, keep hustling, keep hustling.