Amoeblog

(For which you're cordially invited, mofo.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 10, 2011 11:48am | Post a Comment



"Excuse me, but is this vegan?"

I drank too much wine last night. I ate too much cake, and too much food in general. I stayed up too late and had too much caffeine. So how come the amount of fun I had was just right?

The boyfriend and I threw a small dinner party last night. Because I love to cook, I enjoy the preparation of dinner parties sometimes more than the event itself (which wasn’t the case last night, but I’ll admit I’ve sweated over a meal for days only to provide it to its intended guests, then wished I could hide upstairs with some hummus and carrot sticks and original Star Trek.)


Catering provided by Play-doh


Last night’s meal consisted of curried vegetable pasties, asparagus with nutmeg hollandaise, and a raspberry-chocolate flourless cake with homemade whipped cream. Naked ladies dancing with abandon beneath a decaying Sun*. I was most proud of the cake. You know how sometimes you’ll taste a dessert and you immediately feel that you’re doing something so wrong but it feels so right? I guess the word is sinful. You’re stomach screams “This is blasphemy!” but your taste-buds whimper, “Do it again…!” (If you’re interested, I’ve included the recipe below.)

As my regular readers would assume, I have a ready-made playlist for just such an occasion. The right music for a dinner party is a tricky thing – you don’t want anything that stands out too much and distracts the conversation, however, if talk does cease and there’s silence, whatever music playing should be delightful enough to remark upon. In a world where tastes differ so wildly, it’s important to stick to genres that some may not be enthusiastic over, but few are offended by. So no polka. I know, I effwording love polka. Who couldn’t love this…

Continue reading...

(In which... POOF!)

Posted by Job O Brother, August 17, 2009 12:41pm | Post a Comment

I realize that I, all too often, leave you feeling jealous and unfulfilled after reading my blogs. You learn about my glamorous, jet-set, Hollywood lifestyle and come away asking yourself:

“Why can’t my life be more like Job’s?”

“How come the Gyllenhaals always attend his Scrabble night, but never mine?”

“What’s that claw-like black thing headed towards my face?”


IT’S A MONKEY’S PAW AND IT’S CURSED SO
DUCK!!!


Phew! Well, now that I’ve saved your life from an eternal damnation of sorts, maybe now you’ll be a little forgiving that I once again have a story of rad proportions to share with you.

One of my fellow Amoebites* – we’ll call him Erik Estrada from the TV show Chips in order to protect his identity – is currently a pupil at the world-famous Magic Castle, located in the heart of Hollywood.


Ta-dah!

For those of you who’ve never heard of the Magic Castle, here’s a brief history lesson. (If you already know this material, feel free to skip ahead to the part where Courtney Love threatens to slit my throat open with a ventriloquist dummy.)

The Magic Castle opened as a private club for magicians in January of 1963, after an extensive renovation of what was once a glorious mansion at the turn of the century, but had since then become a dilapidated apartment complex. Today it hosts a nightly variety of magic acts for guests to enjoy in-between drinks at one of its plush bars or restaurant.

It is not open to the public – one must either be a member or a guest of one. Formal attire is required and you cannot bring in burning tires (or, for those in the United Kingdom, burning tyres).

Thanks to Erik Estrada from the TV show Chips, I gained entrance into the illustrious Magic Castle, along with the boyfriend, and another co-worker and friend, Smithy.

We arrived in our fancy dress and waited to be met by Erik Estrada from the TV show Chips. Smithy and I eagerly discussed what cocktails we would first order. She settled on a sidecar (see above) while I opted for my new love, Campari with a splash of soda. The boyfriend stuck to his standard, slightly dirty Grey Goose martini.

Great. Now I’m thirsty. Is 11:30 AM too early for a mint julep?

LOL! Alcoholism is funny. Anyway…

Upon first entering the Magic Castle, you are faced with a lobby of walls filled with books, but no doors. Perched atop a [noun TK] is a stuffed owl, for whom you must recite the correct “magic words.” I won’t tell you what they are and spoil it for you, but I will say I got it right the first time! (Hint: it’s not “Houdini deserved it.”)

Next, you are led into the first lounge. In the course of our evening, there were often magicians sitting at tables, casually performing card tricks for on-lookers. This casualness made for a chummy atmosphere, and I loved the magicians’ passion for their craft. We got our drinks. The booze made for a chummy atmosphere, and I loved the bartender’s passion for their craft.


In one lounge sits a piano, next to a huge framed painting of a Victorian girl-child. This painting is said to be Irma, the ghost which haunts and plays the piano. For a tip, Irma will take requests. The delightful but awkward ritual goes like this:

Step up to the piano, insert a bill into the golden birdcage, and say something like, “Hi, Irma. Would you play ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ for me, please?”

And the piano starts playing your request!


That is, unless you’re me. I did, in fact, request the above mentioned jazz standard by Cole Porter. For the boyfriend and I, it’s “our song." Hardly an obscure number, it’s been played and sung by hundreds of musicians and singers, so we were shocked and – yes, I’ll say it – miffed, when Irma didn’t play “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and instead began performing “Every Time You Go Away,” the one-hit wonder, circa 1985.


Now, I love Paul Young as much as the next guy – which is to say, I hate Paul Young with a passion beyond my years. Smithy and I desperately explained to Irma in heightened tones that she was playing the wrong song and to please, please stop!

She finally did and we patiently tried to educate her on what song I wanted, which must have made for a funny scene: Two people emphatically detailing the history of a song to a vacant piano.

But Irma remained silent and we became disheartened. Corey returned with a round of drinks and blithely asked Irma to play “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – without even tipping Irma – and she started performing it!


At this point, Smithy and I lost our cool and outright shouted at Irma to STOP and to NOT PLAY ANY MORE HITS FROM THE 80’S! The boyfriend didn’t understand what the fuss was about, but then, he actually likes to listen to music that was recorded by people who are still alive. Gross.

It wasn’t losing the dollar that bothered me so much as it was that this Victorian ghost seemed well-versed in all things VH-1 but remained ignorant of ditties more appropriate for the environment we were enjoying. I mean, we’re sitting in a well-appointed lounge plucked from the time of great-grandparents; meanwhile, this cheeky spook seems to be just waiting for an excuse to break-out into a perky rendition of “The Safety Dance.” Irma my ass – this piano was obviously haunted by Ferrante & Teicher!


Irma’s short-comings notwithstanding, the three of us went on to have a lovely time. We saw two shows, each in different but equally charming performance spaces, and Erik Estrada from the TV show Chips gave us a tour of the mansion, which winds seemingly endlessly, constantly revealing another lounge, another hallway, another treasure trove of spooky artifacts (we’re talking W.C. Fields’ pool table, kids!). The atmosphere was sumptuous and kick-ass, and Smithy and I frequently remarked that it was a shame we couldn’t make the Magic Castle our regular hang-out.


It came time to go. So we went. Not much story there.

If you ever get the chance to go to The Magic Castle, be the opposite of a dork-faced loser and go. And try a sidecar – Smithy’s right about them – they’re delicious!

(For those of you who just wasted their time looking for the sensational Courtney Love drama, shame on you for 'skipping ahead'! I spend days... well, okay - not days... I spend minutes writing these blogs for you. The least you can do is read them in their entirety.)

*This is what we at Amoeba call co-workers. It’s cute, it’s affectionate, and it’s a lot easier to say than “Co-moeba-ccupationalists.”

(In which Job engages in back-breaking work.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 1, 2009 01:55pm | Post a Comment

Does the glowing spine make me look fat?

The crippling pain hasn’t exactly ruined my week. My new toy has, after all, given new life to my hobby: collecting all music in the world… except for maybe Van Halen. Let me back up a bit…

Ha! “Back up.” You see, five days ago my back gave out while I was in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, battling La Alianza Triángulo de Oro – more specifically, I was in the middle of a back-alley shoot-out with that rascal, V.C. Fuentes (or, as I like to call him El Caca Bigote, which just drives him nuts!).

As we all know, you never want to fire your M4 carbine with your weaker arm, but it was past lunch time, I hadn’t eaten, and an orphaned child I had just rescued from the local orfanato offered me a fresh sopaipilla which I wasn’t about to let go stale; so I was mackin' on that with my right arm, shooting with my left and, just as I was about to send Fuentes to see his own fatal plastic surgeon, I felt a spring go loose in my back.

“Uh-oh,” I thought, and I was right.

So, for the last half-week I’ve been popping Advil like they were Skittles and walking like I was 99. My boyfriend, sensitive care-giver that he is, has taken it upon himself to make endless jokes about my situation, just to make sure I keep laughing. At least, I think that’s why he does it.


Does this statue of Æthelswith make me look fat?

My new toy is an external hard-drive with something like 99 hergozapazillogabytes of memory (give or take 2 hurquatzobytes). This will, hopefully, be enough to contain what can only be described as an obscene CD collection. In addition to this, I have recently purchased a portable turn-table (from, eh-hem, Amoeba Music) with a USB component which will allow me to transfer all my vinyl into a digital format, just as soon as I get written permission from any and all applicable copyright owners of the music. (Eh-hem again.)

As most of you know, in addition to lording over the Soundtrack Section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, I work as a freelance writer (hence the blog you are now reading which is enabling you to  procrastinate – but don’t worry, your secret is safe with me). The hope is that someday, someone with money and power recognizes how really, really, really, really, really, good I’m at writing stuff and, you know, things, and stuff and they hire me for some rad TV show or film or simply to sit next to their pool and come up with entertaining stories for their personal lifeguard – whatever. I imagine that, even then, with new-found wealth at my fingertips and enjoying a jet-set lifestyle, I will probably still have to maintain some working hours at Amoeba Music simply because I cannot survive without constant access to its inventory. I am hooked. I have an employee-discounted musical monkey on my back. Where’s my support group?

In transferring my CD collection onto my new hard-drive, I am sometimes struck by certain selections I felt compelled to bring home in the past, and I thought I'd share some of the odder albums with you.
Evita – The Japanese Cast Recording

If you thought Madonna was a far-fetched casting as Argentina’s notorious First Lady, consider 野村玲子. I did. And you know what? Madonna is still more far-fetched.



[untitled demo] – Agnès Mrugalski

I wish I could share this with you, because it’s f-wording brilliant. I plucked this vaguely packaged disc from the library music section of Amoeba. It contains 32 tracks of sample advertisements which serve to showcase actress Agnès Mrugalski’s diverse capabilities for radio commercial work. Boasting such titles as “Fabergé (voix sensuelle, complice)” or “United Airlines (voix hôtesse, fraîche, accueeillante),” each selection is a faux commercial with a description of the “type” of voice she’s using.


Internet research on said actress yielding next to nothing. I did find this one, heavily pixilated photograph. Mme. Mrugalski, if you’re out there, please supply us with more information. Nous t'adorons!

God is a Moog – Gershon Kingsley


This is a 2006 release from Moog pioneer Gershon Kingsley, best known as half the team Perrey & Kingsley, whose 1966 release The In Sound From Way Out, is considered one of the first mainstream electronic albums.

God is a Moog is a compilation of Kingsley’s Jewish music; much of it is sacred. There’s something both spooky and hilarious about the incongruous mix of Hebrew prayer intoned over (antiquated) space age sounds.

I couldn’t find a sample on YouTube, but here’s Kinglsey’s most famous composition, “Popcorn”…


He’s Able – People’s Temple Choir

This is a grisly affair, released in 1973 by Brotherhood Records, which was created by the Peoples Temple, under the directorship of Rev. Jim Jones. Taken out of context, it is a typical, home-grown, 1970’s gospel album. It sounds like most any church’s effort. When considered within the broader scope of the Peoples Temple’s fate, however, it becomes a wince-worthy, chilling listen. The first track features a chorus of children singing:

Welcome, welcome all of you!
Glad you are with us!
Shake hands! No need to be blue!
Welcome all of you!


And so on. Not recommended for cocktail parties. Or bar mitzvahs. Or anything ever.


Into Outer Space with Lucia Pamela – Lucia Pamela

This is a gem – one of those sweet moments when, in ignorant curiosity, I took something home simply because I couldn’t guess what it would be. It turned out to be nothing but sweetness.


Although a rough recording, what you get here is an eccentric blend of swing and early rock ‘n’ roll, led by Lucia Pamela – Miss St. Louis 1926, featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not for memorizing a record 10,000 songs – as she sings songs detailing her trip to the Moon and the adventures she has there.

Fans of Tiny Tim absolutely must check this out, as it features a similar sense of whimsy.


Now then, the Advil is wearing off, and there’s still thousands more albums to transfer, so I’m gonna say goodbye for now. Well, I’m gonna to type it. Well, I already did.