Archive for August, 2006

Def Leppard / Journey

August 26, 2006

Def Leppard — Yeah!

Genre: Rock
Venue: Sleep Train Pavilion / Concord CA

I grew up listening to Def Leppard, and it’s incredible to see them more than 20 years later reunited and rocking just as hard. My older brother was hard-core into Def Leppard. And though I’m a rocker at heart, he’s the real rocker. In high school, while I transitioned to 80’s rock, ska bands and friends in Marin, my brother remained a true Sunset boy. For those of you who grew up in San Francisco during the late 70’s/early 80’s, you know what I’m talking about—true old school Sunset.

Growing up my brother and I shared a room. It was sometime in the early 80’s when my brother painted a huge mural over his bed. It must have been at least four feet tall. It was the Def Leppard logo inside of a triangle—black, red and yellow—similar to the logo on the cover of On Through the Night. Today that room is one of many storage rooms in my parents’ house. And though my mother is a collector of all things nostalgic, this mural wasn’t something she couldn’t wrap and box up, and I’m sad to report that wall was painted over many years ago. And although my brother lives back East, every time I hear a Def Leppard song, I always think of him.

In early 2005 Def Leppard started their comeback Rock ‘N Roll Double-Header tour with Bryan Adams. The concerts started out in minor league baseball parks, and by the end of the year they were playing mid-size venues. 2006 rolls around and they start touring with Journey to sold-out arena shows all across the country. There’s been such a demand that they’ve added more shows through the end of the year. I can’t even estimate how many cities—the list seems to scroll down forever.

So last night I went to see Def Leppard and Journey—floor seats, 2nd row center. No shit. Journey sounds as good as ever, but they’ve got a couple of new faces. Def Leppard has to be one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live. They put on such a awesome show, like no other.

Here are some notes from last night’s gig in Concord CA.

Journey opened with—

Those crazy nights I do remember in my youth
I do recall those were the best times most of all
In the heat with a blue jean girl
Burnin love comes once in a lifetime
She found me singing by the rail road track
Took me home, we danced by moonlight…

[ Everything in between, coming soon… ]

Def Leppard‘s 2nd encore took us home—

Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on
Livin’ like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin’ like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man
Your man — Hey! hey!

Check out Joe & Phil’s 2002 Pour Some Sugar on Me (stuidio acoutsic)

DJ Radiohead’s review of Def Leppard
and Journey’s 07/16 show in Nashville TN

Kilgore Trout

August 25, 2006

Kilgore Trout 

Things are starting to get messy. The beginnings trace back to earlier this year when I started reading books again on a regular basis. I picked up my first Chuck Palahniuk novel, and I didn’t stop reading until I read them all. I became desensitized to most things gross. Years ago if you aksed me what I thought about making soap out of liposuctioned fat, or a guy who can belch in an elevator from the 3rd floor to the 12th floor, I would have told you—I’ve never heard of anything so heinous. Now I think that’s kinda neat.

Last month I read my first Henry Miller novel. For eight days straight I showered 3-4 times a day because I felt like a dirty old man. I couldn’t get Black Spring out of my head, not even with expensive shampoo.

And I blame Mindy (aka Madness) for my new insecurity. I was once just a simple man, now I think I’ve become complex. Madness gave me the book Running with Scissors but failed to warn me about reading it in public. I would read it on the streetcar on my way to work, and behind my back these junior-high kids from a trashy private school would tease me and call me names like Oprah-Book-Club-Biatch. All along I thought they were making fun of this woman with a fake Lithuanian accent. She works at Banana Republic corporate and no one will sit next to her because she’s always reading either A Million Little Pieces or My Friend Leonard out loud. I- know! Then one day I show up at the office, take off my jacket and find a piece of paper taped to my back that reads “Kick me. I like to cry.” That’s where I draw the line. Sniffle. Those kids just crossed it.

But wait, it’s gets messier.

I read my first Kurt Vonnegut novel. In Slaughterhouse Five the main character is Billy Pilgrim. Billy’s favorite author is a guy named Kilgore Trout, who at one point lived in Billy’s home town of Ilium NY. I looked up Ilium to see if it was on Long Island, but I couldn’t find it. I read somewhere that the town of Ilium doesn’t exist, and neither does Kilgore Trout. 2am—I read that Kurt Vonnegut is Kilgore Trout. 3am—I’m still surfing the web. Kilgore Trout is the main character in Vonnegut’s book Cat’s Cradle. On another site I read that Kilgore Trout’s real name is Philip Jose Farmer. 4am—I google Kilgore Trout. Apparently Kilgore Trout is also the name of a couture fashion line for him or her out of Cleveland. And Kilgore Trout is also the name of a grunge band from Seattle. Who’s fucking with me?

Kilgore Trout. Kilgore Trout. Kilgore Trout. Try saying that three times quickly.

This one old lady at Home Depot told me the only place you would find a Kilgore Trout novel is in dirty bookstore. And his short stories were published in between pages of luscious ladies in Hustler magazine. To that hater I say—You’re wrong. I found a Kilgore Trout book on eBay. It’s called Venus on a Half Shell. And yes, the cover kinda resembles soft-core intergalactic porn, but I guarantee you it’s not. I would know.

I’m almost done reading this book, it’s my first science-fiction book. And have I got a lot to say about it. Stay tuned for all the messy details.

Venue on a Half Shell

mopatrol vidcast reviews

August 19, 2006

 mopatrol featuring Dana and Julia

This hot chick Dana from the LA-Hollywood area emails me every so often to rub things in my face. Her recent rub-in is another collaboration with her “best friend” Julia. It’s called mopatrol (www.mopatrol.com).

This how Julia and Dana describe mopatrol:
We’re here to bring all things mobile to your home. Everything for your computer, your iPod, your cell phone… There’s so many channels out there, where do you tune in? That’s why we’re here. We’re like, a TV guide for all things mobile.

Since I am your typical shy high-tech Asian-American, I immediately went to iTunes and subscribed to their podcasts.

Dana, thanks for the 411 on mopatrol. I’ll ping you back later. Piece out!


mopatrol episode 1


mopatrol episode 2


mopatrol episode 3

———————————————

Dana & Julia
present

The Adventures of Helen & Ellen: A Play

  Thursday Aug. 17 @ 9pm
Thursday Aug. 24 @ 9 pm
Thursday Aug. 31 @ 9pm

Improv Olympic — IO WEST
6366 Hollywood Blvd
323-962-7560 for info n rezzies

www.iowest.com
valet parking .
full bar . horny bartender

www.myspace.com/thedanaandjuliashow

Running with Scissors

August 15, 2006

 Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Author:  Augusten Burroughs
Genre:  Memoir

A month ago I left the book Haunted on  Mindy’s desk with a sticky note that read—You know you haunt me. After reading Guts in the first chapter, she claims she couldn’t sleep for a week.  As payback for her week of nightmares, she gave me Augusten Burroughs Running with Scissors. My assignment was to read this book before the movie comes out. I think it’s scheduled for release in September. I scanned IMdb, and the creatures featured include—Annette Benning, Paltrow, a Baldwin, even Leslie Grossman.

RWS is chaotic, but not like Britney and K-Fed, more like John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire, one of my all time favorite books. Knowing that THNH is fiction makes it easier to swallow. RWS is a memoir, so these things really happened. Even though I LOL’d throughout the book, parts of the book are so disturbing, I was thrown way off balance. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the book a lot. I love the voice young Augusten and admire him for telling his story. It just feels so unfair that a child endured that much twisted emotional drama. Adult drama. Dramarama. Baby-mama drama.

I bet if you searched Augusten Burroughs on Amazon.com and scrolled down the results, at the end you would find—People who liked RWS also liked… David Sedaris. Since I’m feeling psychic today, I also predict Burroughs probably runs around in real life with Sedaris. But not David. Amy.

Augusten Burroughs interview 
 Bill Maher interviews Augusten Burroughs

Joe DiMaggio’s

August 13, 2006

Joe Dimaggio's Italian Chophouse

Flavor:  Italian country club steaks and chops
SF Neighborhood:  North Beach

When I heard that a Joe DiMaggio’s was opening at the old Fior d’Italia corner of Union and Stockton, immediately I thought—What? Another sports bar in North Beach? Fortunately I was way off base. It’s a steakhouse. But considering the restaurant’s overall design and special menu, the brand new Joe DiMaggio’s Italian Chophouse is far from your typical upscale franchised steakhouse. It’s a completely different experience. 

Let’s start with first impressions. The plush architecturally designed space features a huge bar, a lounge with a grand piano, and several dining rooms complete with tall leather booths and a variety of different sized tables, all with formal dinner settings. Throughout the restaurant, the dark mahogany walls are covered with intimate black and white photos of Joe DiMaggio’s life. It’s American nostalgia at its best. See examples below.

Joe DiMaggio's Italian Chophouse
Photos taken from joedimaggiosrestaurant.com

On to the menu. Along with fine steaks, the menu also includes Italian classics that make Joe DiMaggio’s a good place to entertain business partners and out-of-town guests, and an even better place for celebrating family and friends.

Last night 11 of us went to Joe DiMaggio’s for dinner. Can I be honest about the service? Although we made reservations well in advance, seating that large of a group on time was a bit of a challenge for the host. But that’s understandable, so we each had several martinis in the lounge. An hour later we were finally called. Okay… Are you ready for this? To make up for the long wait, when we arrived at our table, there were eight appetizer platters waiting for us. Apertifs were also set so we could immediately clink! clink! to my sister on her 32nd birthday. That kind gesture from the house was the beginning of flawless service throughout the entire dinner.

After appetizers, we placed our orders. The staff was extremely helpful in helping some of us decide. With two exceptions, the entire table ordered cuts ranging from 12 oz fillet mignon to 24 oz porterhouse. The two lightweights at the table had scampi and gnocchi. Best gnocchi I’ve ever tasted. The house had a selection of more than 200 exclusive California and Italian wines. We ordered several bottles of a nice red zin, and I was impressed that the servers decanted before pouring. Our dinners were simultaneously served by what seemed like the entire wait staff, and each steak was prepared perfect temperature. Parmesan potatoes and mixed vegetables were included. And for dessert? We all sampled three different desserts. Each one was a hit, the tiramisu being my favorite. By the end, I was definitely fat and happy.

Quick summary — The warm cozy atmosphere at Joe DiMaggio’s takes you to another place and time. Though priced like most 5-star restaurants, it’s worth the paper (or plastic) because the food is excellent. I can’t wait to go back and try other things from their menu. Most important, thank you to Jeremiah, Josh and their team for service that was like no other. You made my sister’s birthday celebration a little extra special.

Visit the Joe DiMaggio Italian Chophouse website for photos of the restaurant and their menu.

SF Shorts

August 12, 2006

SanFrancisco International Festival of Short Films 

1 Liar (US Premiere)  2 Actors  3 Mario Makes A Movie

Fancy  5 Film Noir  6 Derek's Appeal

And the Sun Stopped Shining  8 Coney Island  9 Hair Lady

PROGRAM 4 — Saturday, 8/12 at the Victoria Theatre

1  Liar – China Moo-Young, UK 
Actors – Joe Leonard, Zach Evans and Drew Masters, USA 
3  Mario Makes A Movie – Roger Deutsch, USA 
Fancy – Lori Grossman, USA 
5  Film Noir – Osbert Parker, UK 
Derek’s Appeal – Peter Malof, USA 
7  And The Son Stopped Shining – Barry Stricke, USA 
8  Coney Island – Jeremiah Zaga, USA 
9  Hair Lady – David Birdsell, Canada

See a description of each film.

Do-it-yourself LASIK

August 10, 2006

Lasik @ Home

Procedure:  LASIK@Home
Founder:  Dr. Amir Khadim, MD, PhD

Our team had just moved to another building in downtown San Francisco, and my eyes were irritated after unpacking boxes. After hearing me agonize over having to change my contact lenses, a friend at work passed along this website. He knows how cost-conscious I am, and how I like to do everything myself, so it seemed like the perfect thing to brighten up my day. And to shut me up.

When I saw this do-it-yourself LASIK website, I said to myself out loud—Wow. My friend replied—I know. Then we thought of another friend of ours, who had LASIK done a couple of years ago. I wondered if maybe he did-it-himself at home. And without skipping a beat, my friend said—No, he probably did it at a friend’s house. 

From www.lasikathome.com 

Affordable in-home LASIK surgery you can do yourself! — In the past, LASIK surgery was an expensive procedure that could only be performed by skilled professionals in a doctor’s office or eye clinic. Often costing upwards of $1000 per eye and almost never covered by insurance, Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) was beyond the reach of most Americans. Now the revolutionary LASIK@Home system makes 20/20 vision affordable for just about everyone.

The Procedure — LASIK@Home is the same patented surgical procedure performed at eye clinics around the world, but without the unnecessary equipment and staff. Find out how it works.

Instructions are simple — Just 4 easy steps

  1. Find a quiet place with no distractions
  2. Unpack your LASIK@Home kit
  3. Perform the painless procedure—DON’T BLINK!
  4. Enjoy a life of clear-signtedness

About LASIK@Home — LASIK@Homewas founded in 2004 by Dr. Amir Khadim, MD, PhD [photo]. A pioneer in the field of LASIK surgery, Dr. Khadim performed more than two thousand LASIK procedures at the prestigious Bennett Eye Care Institute in New York City before leaving to develop LASIK@Home. He has received awards for excellence from both the Optical Surgeons of America (OSOA) and the Manhattan Ophthalmologists Association (MOA). 

Black Spring

August 6, 2006

Black Spring by Henry M ller 

Author:  Henry Miller
Genre:  Memoir and social criticism woven with heavy doses of dark poetry

I just finished reading my first Herman Henry Miller novel—Black Spring. It blew me away. Miller’s storytelling style is so personal and direct. It’s kind of like taking an unexpected medium punch in the gut. The geography becomes local, the imagery is rough, obscene and poetic, and goes on for pages at a time. Miller becomes larger than life, powerful through his honesty and vulnerability. I am amazed with his unique ability to effortlessly paint such vivid pictures, wander aimlessly through haunting nightmares, and relive pleasure and passion. From sitting around in the Parisian home of friend Jabberewohl Crondstadt celebrating each other’s conquests and madness, to wandering the dark bum-piss hooker-lined streets of forbidden America, I found myself constantly stopping, re-reading and wondering how he took me there. Eventually I stopped raising my hand to ask questions, and just sat back and listened.

The Henry Miller Library


Henry Miller, NYC

Little Miss Sunshine

August 5, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

Genre:  Indie / Dark comedy
Directed by: 
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Starring:  Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Paul Dano
Playing Olive:  Abigail Breslin

Wife and husband directing team Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton are best known for directing rockstars, including—Weezer, REM, Smashing Pumpkins, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Janet Jackson. Their first major motion picture has already won an award this year at the Sydney Film Festival, and received a standing ovation closing night at Sundance. 

This film is an offbeat dark comedy about the Hoovers—a dysfunctional family in a dysfunctional yellow VW mini-bus on a shotgun journey from New Mexico to California so 7-year old Olive can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. This bumpy ride is packed with laughs and genuine tender moments from start to finish. The chemistry between characters is so on. The writing is brilliant, easily the smartest movie I’ve seen in years.

Each actor delivers outstanding performances, including:

  • Greg Kinnear as Richard, the motivational-speaker-from-hell Dad that can’t tolerate losers or fatties
     
  • Toni Collette as Cheryl, the loving, fair and level-headed Mom everyone wishes they had [ You’re terrible, Muriel! ]
     
     
  • Alan Arkin as foul-mouth drugged-up horndog Grandpa that hands out sage advice from the heart
     
  • Steve Carell as suicidal gay Uncle Frank, who may be a 40-year old, but I doubt he’s a virgin
     
  • Paul Dano as the rebellious teenage Nietzsche-freak who by choice hasn’t uttered a word in nine months, and also has no chin
     
  • Abigail Breslin as the irresistible old soul in a the body of a could-be-chubby 7-year old girl with big ol’ glasses who simply wants to understand the true meaning of being beautiful

If you’re looking for a campy movie with evil little girls dolled up to look like expensive bratty midget Barbie hookers, this is NOT your movie. Little Miss Sunshine is a quirky film about a quirky family dealing with the importance of accepting each other as they are so they can grow to accept and love themselves, as well as others.

Go see this movie. And if you need a date, call me.

Chad is rad

August 4, 2006

Chad is rad 

Thursday, 8/3/06: It’s true. Chad is rad. And while we will miss seeing Chad every day, we’re happy he’s moving on to UC Berkeley to be the big man boy on campus. Transitioning from from an eBiz application UI designer to studying international political something-or-another, Chad will have endless opportunities to discuss politics as much as he wants. And while a top-notch 4-year university has a lot to offer, he has a lot to offer in return. Chad works hard and stays driven, and is clearly an individual with his own sense of style. These 18 year old kids at Berkeley need role models like Chad around—especially when they need someone with an ID to buy them beer. 

On Chad’s second-to-last day with Wells Fargo, Gianna arranged the Chad Is Rad farewell party with 25 or 75 of Chad’s closest friends. We reserved Pasta Paradiso on Spear Street, a local restaurant some refer to as IPND—the Italian Place Next Door. After IPND, a dirty dozen took Chad to Zebulon on Natoma. And in the homestretch, a handful of diehards dragged their asses to The Attic on 24th and Mission before throwing Chad on the last BART train back to Oakland.

Friday, 8/4/06: Chad’s last day with the Bank ends with a recovery party at Beale Street. Watch how Chad entertains his friends—click on the two-part series below, and turn the volume way up! 

Chad on MySpace

Slaughterhouse Five

August 2, 2006

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut 

Author:  Kurt Vonnegut
Genre:  Fiction

Slaughterhouse Five is the first book I’ve read by Kurt Vonnegut, and definitely not the last. It’s the story of Billy Pilgrim. My initial thoughts about this name—BILLY is the name of someone fun and approachable. I never met a Billy who was a jerk. PILGRIM is a someone on a religious journey or an a quest to find something new or sacred, like the pilgrims on the Mayflower. Well, this Billy Pilgrim is an eye dentist who is sent to fight in World War II. He becomes unstuck in time and travels to and from different stages of his life and the far far off planet of Tralfamadore, where he is caged with a Hollywood pornstar for observation and on display in a Tralfamadorian zoo.

So it goes.

While reading this book, I felt as if I was quickly riding through Billy Pilgrim’s dreamy stream of consciousness. I can’t picture his face, but I can vividly picture him in a cold gray war living in an old slaughterhouse in Dresden with other American prisoners of war, spooning honey into everyone’s mouths. Cut to Billy stumbling across Russian or German soldiers while wearing long silver boots and a long fur military coat that’s six sizes too small for him. Cut next to beefy soldiers all dolled up as Cinderella and her step-sisters waiting for their cues backstage—it’s frightening, but in a good way. Now cut to Billy late for his own daughter’s wedding because he’s stuck in inter-galactic traffic on the way back to Earth from Tralfamadore.

The time travel aspect of this story is what kept me engaged, and Vonnegut’s storytelling style is brilliant. He’s got a unique way of skillfully blending political satire with the twisted personal reality of Billy Pilgrim. I didn’t know that they’ve already turned this book into a movie. Doing my IMdb research, turns out George Roy Hill directed Slaughterhouse Five, as well as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Slapshot and The World According to Garp. I’ve already gone online and ordered the DVD, so stay tuned for notes on the 1972 movie.

Jon Stewart interviews Kurt Vonnegut
This interview is AWESOME.

Kathy Griffin—Allegedly

August 1, 2006

Kathy Griffin — Allegedly DVD 

Genre: Comedy DVD
Year Filmed: 2002, released in 2004

Kathy Griffin serves it raw in her DVD Allegedly. But I have to say she’s funnier now, ie her recent gig at The Warfield in San Francisco and recent appearance on The View (see video below). In this set she’s almost too focused. Perhaps it’s because they were filming it for DVD release? I don’t know. The more scatterbrained Kathy is, the more her personality shines through. In Allegedly, it feels over-scripted and she looks too pretty. But she still kicks ass.


Clip from Allegedly 


Kathy Girffin on The View 7/27/06

Recent show at The Warfield | Eminem video ft. Kathy | Star Jones News