[In an attempt to keep my few readers abreast of what I am listening to, The Monthly Mix Series is a monthly post featuring music that found its way into my ears over the course of the past month.]
June is upon us which means its time for another mix. This was genuinely hard to put together largely because I felt there was an influx of music coming at me this month. I am still loving the new Bjork after her Coachella performance. I keep playing the soundtrack to Once, weeks after I saw the movie. The new Spoon, Besnard Lakes, Feist, Wilco, Ted Leo and Electrelane keep impressing me. The Van Morrison song, Stepping Out Queen II, came on shuffle one day and I immediately remembered how great the Philosopher's Stone is.
23 year old, Joe Chestnut killed Kobayahi's record this weekend by eating 59.5 HDBs (hot dog + buns), setting up the biggest Hurldown in the history of the world: Nathan's July 4th Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest!
So, just who is this Joe Chestnut who took down 59.5 HTBs in 12 minutes? Well, you might remember him from his stunning 2005 MLE (Major League Eating) Rookie of the Year season. Or, you might remember his fantastic second place performance at last year's Nathan's contest against the king himself, Kobayashi, where he set the American record with 52 HTBs.
"Chestnut has become known for his simple, levelheaded approach to the
sport. Blessed with strong esophageal muscles and extremely capacious
cheeks, Chestnut is widely considered the best chipmunker on the
circuit. At the end of the contest, he stuffs his cheeks until they
look like Dizzy Gillespie’s mid-solo, in the style of a chipmunk. Many
believe that he will use this very technique, along with his God-given
gorging abilities, to beat Takeru Kobayashi in the near future, most
likely in a short form contest."
The prize for his crushing performance? A free trip to New York, a life's supply of hot dogs, and a $250 gift certificate at the Arizona mall where the contest took place. Yeah, definitely worth it!
Yesterday, during the Wall Street Journal's, D Conference [D=all things Digital], Steve and Bill shared the stage in an extremely rare public discussion moderated by Walt Mossberg and an annoying lady.
During the talk, they spoke of the early days, about how the XBOX 360 was developed using Macs, and they traded jabs about the I'm a Mac/I'm a PC commercials. Of the PC guy, Bill said, "His mother loves him."
Apple made some interesting announcements at the conference. Among them being in June Apple TV will stream YouTube content. However, they did admit that the resolution won't look so great on a high end TV.
Additionally, Steve said that they are working to allow 3rd party developers the ability to create widgets for the iPhone.
I am not going to go on and on about the greatness of Vampire Weekend. If you want some praise, you can go here or here or here or here. Just know this: the band is great and they are playing the Troubadour on July 16 as part of an ASCAP showcase. No advance tickets are available, they will be $5 at the door.
I live very close to the Westside Pavillion. When I first moved here almost 2 years ago, they entire Westside Too went under construction, closing a sub par Barnes and Noble. I was a bit upset as I wasn't walking distance to a bookstore anymore, but shortly after closing, Landmark announced the entire complex was to reopen on June 1 as a fancy arthouse movie complex. The Barnes and Noble would also get a mini-makeover and reopen with the movie theaters.
During that time, Century City also had a movie makeover. They re-did their entire mall and, while I have only seen one or two movies there since the reopening, I was impressed by the nicer chairs and a much better ambiance in the theater. Regardless of how nice Century City's new theater's are, the best movie house in all of Los Angeles is the ArcLight. I would rather drive to see a movie at the ArcLight, then see a movie at one of the old theaters in Westwood or that hellish place that most people call the Grove.
But now, it seems that when the new Landmark Theaters open in the Westside Pavillion, every theater in town will be scared out of their mind. Yesterday's LA Times ran a story comparing the new Landmark theaters to the ArcLight and the new Landmark destroyed the ArcLight. Cheaper tickets, free parking, La Brea Bakery pretzels, locally made pickle relish are among the reasons why Kevin Crust chose the Landmark over the ArcLight.
That article came only a few days after another article in the LA Times explaining how movie zones work:
The Landmark won't just be challenging other theaters for moviegoers'
affections; it also must prove to distributors that it's the best place
to show their most coveted films.
Historically, distributors have divided Southern California into a
number of moviegoing zones: Westwood is one zone, West Hollywood and
Beverly Hills make up another, and so on. A new movie typically plays
at one — and only one — theater in each zone. The Landmark will be in
the same zone as the AMC Century City, meaning the two complexes often
will be vying for the same titles.
The Landmark hopes it will enjoy equal, if not preferential, treatment.
Exactly what films will be shown in the multiplex on its opening
weekend are undetermined. "I am going to buy as many exclusive films as
I can," says Chief Operating Officer Ted Mundorff. "We've had
discussions with all the distributors about how they view the
So now, the Landmark has two very clear enemies. I am sure the ArcLight, being the leader of the movie going experience, was not enjoying the way this was playing out. Your move ArcLight (from their email blast):
We want you to be among the first to know that ArcLight Cinemas is expanding to Sherman Oaks. The Pacific Theatres Galleria 16 is transforming into ArcLight Sherman Oaks, with ArcLight’s signature amenities and guest service, including 16 black-box auditoriums with reserved seating and extra-wide chairs, a café bar, gift shop and exhibits. The renovation process begins in June and the theater will remain open during the first phase of construction so that our customers can continue to see films until August. Our plan is to unveil ArcLight Sherman Oaks during this year’s holiday season.
This is a genius move for two reasons: 1) because the valley has nothing like the ArcLight and 2) because the Pacific Sherman Oaks Galleria isn't that far from the Westside Pavillion (barring traffic) - it's just a short trip on the 405. This strategic movie by Pacific will probably limit some movie goers making that trip to the Westside.
So, the Movie Theater Wars are upon us. By Christmas time we will have two ArcLights and a two Westside megaplexes (literally one mile apart) vying for our attention. Who knows how this will play out.
My new issue of Paste arrived today (yes, its the only music magazine I subscribe to and no, I am not a dad) with a feature that is titled, America's 40 Best Music Venues. The magazine asked for submissions from readers. In the end, there were 500 different venues nominated. The magazine "weighted history, setting, sound, character, comfort, atmosphere, vibrancy, uniqueness, and their roles in helping launch careers."
Los Angeles has 3 venues on the list: The Troubadour, Largo, and Hotel Cafe. Other venues on the list are Stubbs (Austin), Tipitina's (New Orleans), The Fillmore (San Francisco), Bowery Ballroom (NYC), Red Rocks (Morrison, CO), Shubas (Chicago), and Maxwell's (Hoboken, NJ).
I have only been to 8 of the 40 venues, but I imagine living for any period of time in San Francisco, Seattle or Austin would make that number change drastically.
Kevin Bronson at the LA Times Buzz Bands Blog broke some very sad news to the East Side over the weekend. Sea Level Records, a wonderful, truly independent record store in Echo Park, is set to close its doors on June 30.
Sea Level Records, the independent outlet that in 5 1/2 years had become a locus for Los
Angeles' Eastside music scene, will close June 30, owner Todd Clifford
said. "It's not so much competition as the fact I want my life back,"
said Clifford, 32, who runs the store, at 1716 Sunset Blvd. in Echo
Park, with the help of just one part-time employee. "Yes, it's been a
struggle. But each year has been better than the last. It just got to
be too much for me."
The loss is huge, not only for the greatness of the selection, staff (anyone who hires Jeff Weiss one day a week is on to something) and amazing in-stores, but also as it was one of few alternatives in LA to Amoeba Records.