The night I saw a piano frozen in a 13-ton block of ice hacked at with pickaxes and set ablaze


(Photo by Ryan)

As posted at losanjealous.com:

Parris Patton never learned to play the piano. But it wouldn’t befit the artist to just take lessons and be done with it. No sir. To work through his aggression, Parris found it necessary to freeze an antique piano inside of a 13-ton block of ice, spend an entire day and evening hacking away at it with a number of sharp metal implements, and aimed to send it off to piano heaven by setting the traumatized instrument ablaze, appropriately dubbing the project “Because I Can’t Be Beethoven.”

Naturally, witnessing such a ridiculous and completely unnecessary endeavor seemed a good way to spend my Saturday night.

My friend and I pulled up to the Dangerous Curve gallery downtown at about 8:45 to find there was no parking. Who knew so many other locals shared my intrigue for the bizarre? We finally found a spot and made our way through crowd in front of the giant ice cube, keeping an eye out for Ryan, who’d described it thus far as “incredibly foolhardy.” We agreed this was a fair assessment. Streams of water trickled past our feet as men wielding blowtorches doused the block in flames in an attempt to get the damn thing to melt. Though pickaxes and sledgehammers had been pounding away at the ice since at least 7pm, the piano remained completely encased in the still-enormous frozen block.

After watching that for a bit, we decided to find the booze. Complimentary two-buck Chuck was being served inside the gallery. By the looks of the crumb-ridden table inside, it looked like there’d been cake and cheese and crackers and such earlier. Lucky for us the Firefly catering van slinging pulled-pork sandwiches, sausages and baked potatoes hadn’t left.

After grabbing a bite and some more wine we returned to the ice. The front of the piano, charred and dripping wet, was now visible. Progress! Lots more people showed up. Lots of my friends showed up. Things looked promising.

A soaked-to-the-bone and visibly exhausted Parris continued to intermittently hack away at the block. From time to time he’d recruit adventurous onlookers to have a whack at it. A couple of my friends grabbed the pickaxes and hammers and went to town. Though normally pretty participatory, having just downed my third glass of wine I opted to sit this one out.

Another hour came and went. It was now 10 p.m. The fiery finale didn’t happen. The huge ice block was nowhere near gone by the projected time, and the fire marshal had to leave. No more fires. People started actually contemplating the flyers they’d been handed for various parties around town. Everyone started to leave and we did, too. Ryan went to Art Share for more performance art. My friends and I headed over to Bar 107 to start phase two of our evening.

Though it didn’t go down in a blaze of glory, Parris Patton’s oddball display of performance art was an interesting way to start off a Saturday night. And thanks to his handy official program for the evening, I now know what to do should I decide to freeze my own piano inside a huge block of ice.

Malajube @ the Echoplex 3/3/07


(Photo courtesy of 12-596/icecreamman.com)

My first proper assignment for Losanjealous couldn’t have been more splendid. I was expecting a good show out of French-Canadian rockers Malajube, but they really blew me away. And though I didn’t manage to get any decent photos of my own, among the swarming mob of SLR-slingers in the front row I managed to make friends. Greg, who was there shooting for Ice Cream Man, graciously allowed me use of his photos. As posted at losanjealous.com:

This past Saturday was my first time venturing into The Echo’s ominous downstairs space, The EXPLX. I must say, despite its massive space and zero level of light, it’s quite cozy. I especially like the high stage, which makes for good viewing wherever you are in the club.

I arrived just as Southern rockers Snowden began their set. By the number of SLRs clicking away in the front row, it was evident that every single blogger in Los Angeles was at this show. Snowden was frantically energetic and a pleasure to experience live, especially for that one guy in the front twitching around in an awkward attempt at dancing. Got to give him credit for at least moving, not just standing there with arms folded, eyes closed and head down in the universal hipster stance denoting he was “feeling” the music.

After Snowden’s wonderfully raw set, any doubt that I’d arrived in Hipsterville was removed when Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks” came on and was greeted with a massive cheer as drunk girls began fumbling in failed attempts to whistle to the catchy intro and dance at the same time. But no matter. Once Montreal’s sassy quintet Malajube took the stage, such vain attempts at hipster coolness ceased when the rawkage began.

The young French Canadians seemed to be excited to be in glamorous Los Angeles for the first time. They made some jokes about the fakeness of our city, told us we were all beautiful and had movie star faces, and then went off on a weird tangent about how we should get fake boobs on our knees. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume something was lost in translation.

Once the music started, however, any hint of lameness melted away. To say that Malajube’s set was high energy would be the understatement of the century. The band’s loud guitars, driving drum beats and harmoniously synthy keys churned out a seamless blend of punky rock and indie pop chock full of sugary hooks. The way the lead guitarist and keyboardist took turns playing off each others vocals was nothing short of brilliant.

Did I mention they sing in French? Très sexy.

How Neil Hamburger made me drink out of my shoe

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Neil Hamburger guest bartended at my beloved Cha Cha Lounge on Sunday night. Here’s my tale of the evening as published by losanjealous.com:

Neil Hamburger served up drinks with his inimitable brand of humor last night as guest bartender at the Cha Cha Lounge. Continue reading