Cave Dweller

According to family lore, my great grandfather used to live in one of these caves.


Happy Independence Day!

Quality's not so great, and it's not X, but it's the best I could do.


On Sunday we went to the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. Since it was past lunchtime, we started our visit with a trip to the cafe. As I was sitting there among the German tourists and local sophisticates, enjoying the ocean view and sampling our artisanal cheese plate, I felt a familiar sense of longing. I feel it when I go to the Philharmonic, or a museum, or when we visit Italy. It's the sense that there is a world of beauty and culture out there that I don't make enough use of. Instead of immersing myself in the finer things, I read Perez Hilton, or fall asleep on the couch while paying partial attention to "Forensic Files." While I clearly have no objection to lowbrow culture (see the rest of this blog), I do feel that I'm wasting my time on earth by not enjoying places and offerings that might require a bit of effort.

This new concern arises in part from reading The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. Though the book veers too far into religion for me toward the end, the first section was like reading the story of my life. It describes the very human struggle against what he terms "Resistance," which encompasses the forces of fear, laziness, and simple confusion that prevent us from doing the things we want to do. The book plunged me into an even-deeper-than-usual self loathing, enough that I might even write something once and a while. Read it if you're looking for a kick in the ass.

Little dude can put on a show!

On Friday 6/29 we went to see Prince at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

They started the show at 12:30 am, and ended at about 2:30 am. Afterwards, from about 3 am to 4 am, there was a jam session in the lobby. Prince played guitar with his horn section, keyboardist and drummer. The horn section was made up of amazing jazz musicians.

The night of the show was run expertly by the Roosevelt staff, but the ticket sales were a mess. It took me days and many emails to figure out whether I actually had tickets, and there are rumors of credit cards being wrongly charged.

There were probably about 200 people in the audience. It was an older, more white crowd than I expected -- mostly hipster doofi. I wasn't under-dressed in jeans. About three quarters of the room had booths for the landed gentry, and the peons stood in the back. The view was still fantastic from the rear of the room.

Celebrity sightings: Jessica Biel with a bunch of girlfriends. Marisa Tomei with a couple of guys. Chris Rock. Tommy Lee (was that why Prince played "Dr. Feelgood" later in the lobby?) Eve. Peter Gallagher. Niki Hilton.

The show was sponsored by Verizon and there were screens showing Prince's new video and commercials for V-cast. Entering the show there was a purple carpet and photographers looking for celebrities. The Eyewitness News truck was parked outside. There was a woman with a microphone who looked like a reporter. Mostly she and her camera man looked bored.

The show was very slick and well-rehearsed. There were two keyboardists, a bassist, a drummer, a sax, a trombone, a trumpet, a backup singer, and identical twin dancers/singers. Prince played guitar. One of the (male) keyboardists wore a gauzy white church lady hat. The dancers weren't that great, but they were gorgeous and fun to watch.

The horn section began the show with a Dixieland version of "When the Saints Go Marching In", with the musicians (not Prince) walking through the audience. During the show Prince was super cheerful and walked through the audience several times (followed by a bodyguard of course). He played guitar out among the booths and visited the SRO crowd in the back. There was also a guy in a suit and fedora who was going through the audience and picking out people to dance on stage. (Fortunately he only picked people who could dance. That is, not me.)

Among other songs, they played "Cream," "Kiss," "Lolita," "Black Sweat," "3121," "Take Me With You," and Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" He played my favorite Prince song, "If I Was Your Girlfriend," and ended with "Purple Rain." Together we all sang the "woo-ooh woo-ooh woo-ooh-ooh" part.

Prince smelled good at the concert in the lobby afterwards. (He walked past us a couple of times and came within a few feet.) He wore an orange silk suit with a sequined collar. He had a little smile on his face and did the doe-eye thing. He kept going to the back of the room to fiddle with the soundboard. On stage he wore a white satin suit. During intermission he took the jacket off and wore a green blousy shirt with a couple of big gold necklaces. He's as tiny as you thought.

One question to my fellow concertgoers: Who are you text messaging at three in the morning?

No iPhones sighted.

It was all well worth $300 a person.