Friday, November 28, 2014

The Loop

Me and Maya at The Moz Disco at Mal's Bar

I Just Want To Say, I Haven't Been Away
I feel like nearly EVERY post includes something about a Moz Disco or a Morrissey/Smiths Night. So in the off chance that ANYONE actually reads this blog on a regular basis, I won't say too much about the most recent ones I went to EXCEPT Conor (from the UK) was able to make it to one of them on his most recent visit to California AND I have another new friend to go to shows with. (See above picture).

Conor and I also spent time together during his visit to California at the Queen Mary. Things didn't quite turn out as planned. We were supposed to spend an evening at The Queen Mary Dark Harbor which is a Halloween related event next to the old ship on the dock. It was probably a bad idea for two people who don't like to get scared to pay money to get scared going through mazes, etc. But we ended up drinking a beer, eating some nachos, and talking while we watched OTHER people get scared. Then we managed to get aboard the Queen Mary and had another beer in the bar. It actually was a stroke of luck that we got on board as usually you have to have dinner reservations at a restaurant on board or staying in the hotel.

I attended a couple of Hooligans shows again, including one at The Lobster Fest in San Pedro and one at The Goth Beach Party with Stephanie at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Both shows were fantastic as always. And I had the added bonus of seeing Berlin play after The Hooligans played their set at the Lobster Fest. 

I'm Still Right Here Where I Always Was
Recently it was announced that The Cat and Fiddle pub (favorite Morrissey haunt) is due to close by December 15 because of some kind of rental dispute with the landlords. The plan is to relocate but it is a very special place because of its relation to Morrissey and its beautiful courtyard and fountain. Therefore there is a push to meet up there recently so our local Morrissey fans can get their fill before it closes. (See July 15 in this blog).

So One Day If You're Bored . . .
So, an added bonus to going to see The Sweet and Tender Hooligans is that you meet up with old friends and even make new ones.That's how I met my new friend, Maya. Requirements of being my friend: "not right in the head". Check. Not a "crashing bore". Check. Self deprecating and undignified at times for the sake of comedy. Check. Available to drive with me to various points of Los Angeles to partake of these Morrissey themed activities. Check. 

By All Means Call Me
A major event I am looking forward to is the Mozarmy Meet up taking place in Manchester in April 2015. Several Breakfast Champions have made plans to be there and I am including myself in the mix. What is the Mozarmy Meet Up? Its a gathering of Morrissey fans and special guests hosted by the Mozarmy founder Julie Hamil. Its just special because you can meet other dedicated fans and hang out in Manchester.

Many of the UK and Irish fans are getting a treat this week as Morrissey's tour comes to London and Dublin. Strangely, I don't feel jealous because I have had the honor over the last few years to see Morrissey here in California. 

Meanwhile, there is a Hooligans show coming up at The House of Blues on Sunset on January 3. Also, Morrissey/Smiths Night at The Echoplex on December 21. 

Even without the opportunity to see Morrissey on his European tour there is more to look forward to. Hell, what IS life but a series of boring events interspersed with milestones and then the non-boring events you can't wait to be a part of?

 Morrissey fans have this aspect figured out.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Edges Are No Longer Parallel: Part 3

The show at the Los Angeles Sports Arena was amazing. Not that the intimate show at The Observatory wasn't. It's just that it was a much larger venue in stark contrast AND the special guest was Tom Jones. 

For this show, my husband came along. In the past, I had left him in a cloud of dust so that I could clamber to the front of the stage to grab Morrissey's hand or something but since I'd seen him at a smaller venue, the idea seemed less appealing. Also, I didn't want my husband to feel I was abandoning him once again.

Roland and I met up with Stephanie and her friend briefly and I introduced Roland to Euan and Conor (from the UK) as well as Mason from NorCal. Actually, that is when I met Mason for the first time. Mason is from San Jose and he had made friends with Dickie and the guys when they attended the show in San Jose. He's a lot of fun and he also had plans of joining us for the After Party.

Tom Jones began after Krysteen's set, of course. He was simply an awesome performer. A LOT of energy to get the crowd going-just what the opening act should do. It was fun to sing along to songs that I knew from childhood, since my mom was a fan. I can say that I savored every moment because I knew I was seeing a legend. 

It was during this time that the venue really started to fill up. I was on the floor so there was no seating, but we could move around, at first. I began to feel like a domesticated farm animal. For, once everyone knew Morrissey would be up next, there was an uncontrollable surge forward. And once Morrissey took the stage, it was like being swept away. The only thing that really annoyed me was that there were a few groups of people who joined hands and just bulldozed their way forward not caring who or what got in their way. It was a riptide of assholes.

This was the first time I'd ever experienced such behavior from Morrissey "fans."

Morrissey was fantastic, as I stated before. Would you expect anything less?. The set list, virtually the same as The Observatory, was more for the Morrissey fan than The Smiths fan. For example, "Life is a Pigsty" and "Trouble Loves Me" are songs he has not sung live for many years and came as a welcome surprise. Also, he sang some songs from the new album. "World Peace is None of Your Business" and "The Bullfighter Dies."

Although my "dainty" feet were hurting from all the standing, I was still determined to attend the Moz Disco after party at Mal's Bar in downtown. My husband scoffed when he saw the bags under my eyes. But he underestimated the powers of my second wind.

It took AGES to get out of the LA Sports Arena parking lot! I began to worry whether or not I'd actually make it to Mal's. It was while I was pondering and going absolutely nowhere that I fell asleep in the car while Roland drove. It was a bit of genius, really. A little concealer under the eyes and a power nap work wonders!

Since we stayed in Los Angeles and Roland did not want to dance the night away, he dropped me off at Mal's. I walked in and was greeted by Dickie, Matt, Conor, Euan, and the Battis Sisters (from Boston). 

Yes, we danced our "legs down to the knees." Yes, we sang until our voices were raspy. But the most fun was just singing together and in some cases, serenading people. 

Conor was the "International Playboy" due to the numerous hickies he collected in San Jose. And, Jose is the "Lifeguard on Duty" of course. It was just great fun to be together with people who enjoy Morrissey as much as I do, especially when they had come from so very far away to see him and to enjoy themselves.

I think by the time I had arrived at Mal's I had about an hour and a half before the bar closed. But we surely made good use of that time. The sign of a good evening is waking up the next day sounding like a chain-smoking, whiskey drinking old barfly, and completely wiped out. Well, the evening fulfilled those requirements!

The only difficulty was saying good-bye to Dickie, Matt (dubbed "Young Boz" at The Cat and Fiddle), Conor, and the Battis sisters. I knew I'd miss them and strangely, I still do! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Edges Are No Longer Parallel: Part 2

Stephanie, Me, Angie, and Johnny in line at LA Sports Arena (photo by Angela Reyes)

"Is your name Dickie?" I asked the bald man loudly as Krysteen Young belted out a song with her new band at The Observatory in Santa Ana.

The man clearly did not hear me correctly or else he only hear PART of my question as his eyes irritatingly scanned me from head to toe.

"Fuck off!" He said as he stormed away holding two pints of beer.

I looked over to Stephanie who was standing on a booth chair and leaning against a wall. Not phased, I said, "Not him." shrugged, and climbed in the space next to Stephanie.

Both Stephanie and I are fans of Dickie Felton, the author of two books focused on Morrissey fans and fandom. His first book, The Day I Met Morrissey, contains fan's personal encounters with Morrissey and his second book, Morrissey International Airport is Dickie's own account of concerts he traveled to attend and the Morrissey fans he met on his journeys. 

I met Dickie through Twitter and I had arranged concert tickets for him and his traveling buddy, Matt. So, of course, I was thrilled at the chance to meet him, but unfortunately, we didn't meet him at The Observatory show. No wireless and it was crowded. Seriously, I am sure a few fire codes were broken at The Observatory show. Intimate, but if you had any reservations about being in crowds, the pit was not the place for you. 

Stephanie and I avoided it in exchange for comfy seating.

Fortunately, we had plans to meet up with Dickie and Matt at our favorite Morrissey-related pub, The Cat and Fiddle on the following Friday, the day before the LA Sports Arena show. We arranged to meet up with Vanessa (another Breakfast Champion), Jamie, Euan, and Conor.

Stephanie and I had dinner in West Hollywood before we were supposed to meet up with everyone and dinner took slightly longer than we had anticipated. We were worried that Dickie and the guys would have already had a few drinks and moved on. We didn't want to miss our chance of meeting them. I sent Dickie the message: "Are you wasted yet?" 

I mean, that's REALLY the question I wanted the answer to, isn't it?

Luckily they were not wasted yet and I  finally was able to meet Dickie. Our first conversation, surprisingly, was little to do with Morrissey and more to do with running. You know I run. Dickie not only writes books but he also runs half marathons quite frequently. "New Slang" by The Shins came on and we began to talk about that moment when you are running somewhere beautiful and the right song comes on and tears come to your eyes. Not really tears of sadness or happiness but a release. It's like the release of just knowing you are alive-something like that. So, that was our connection. I think that song will forever remind me of Dickie. Strange, because it isn't a Morrissey song.

Later Amy and Abby Battis (Breakfast Champions from Boston) arrived and joined us. Jose Maldonado, the DJ for Breakfast with The Smiths came by and had a beer or two. I think for the Battis sisters and for Jose, it was nice to meet someone whose voice you only heard and now they could place a face and a persona with the voice.

Stephanie and I said we would leave for the OC by eleven but we didn't leave the pub until 1:30 AM. This was because it was one of those nights when everything just clicks. You joke around and have another drink and the conversations just flow. It was like that.

The thing I recall as we were leaving was overhearing Jose and Matt discuss their quiffs. I heard Jose say, "When I go swimming, it stays in place." 

Tomorrow: LA Sports Arena with Tom Jones and the Moz Disco.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Edges Are No Longer Parallel: Part 1

Morrissey at The Observatory in Costa Mesa, CA
I sat in a corner in a crowded pub minding my own business during the first United States game of The World Cup. Amid the cheers and shouting, I was approached by a friend who knows my passion for all things Morrissey.

"Morrissey cancelled AGAIN!" He said pointing at me. Suddenly the pub became quiet and heads turned to look at me as I cowered.

With my head bowed and avoiding eye contact I said, "I know," apologetically.

It isn't always easy to be an obsessed Moz Head. It requires a great deal of patience and an innate ability to suffer humiliation and shame from time to time from people who don't understand Morrissey and our undying love for him.

Before it all went horribly wrong, it was incredibly right. The month of May was an amazingly busy month for Morrissey fans especially those in and near Moz Angeles.

If you have been reading my blog-ever, or even from time to time, you notice that I tend to do a lot of the things I do on my own driving from the OC usually to Los Angeles. But I was lucky enough to meet my new friend Stephanie, who lives in Orange County AND adores Morrissey and she is not as old as I am (nobody is except for Morrissey), but we are in the same age range.

I met Stephanie at the Kevin Cummins photo exhibit of pictures of Moz called Moz Goes to Hollywood at Mr. Musichead gallery in Hollywood. She just looked out of place so I correctly assumed she was from my edge of the woods. 

Kevin Cummins so very kindly took me personally through the gallery and shared stories of what it was like to photograph Morrissey at that particular time in his career. The photographs ranged from his days with The Smiths to his solo career in the 1990s.

One of the stories seared into my memory is one he told me about a picture of Morrissey early into his solo career amid beautifully wrapped gifts. He told me that Morrissey never opened his gifts. He just got so many of them that there was no point. I mean, there could be some real gems in those packages but there is no way he could lug everything around in his travels. Seemed sort of sad to me but understandable.

Stephanie and I went to dinner at The Cat and Fiddle pub after the gallery closed. We just clicked in the way that you do on the rare but precious times when you feel like you've known someone forever even though you just met. 

Luckily, we also met up at The Observatory in Santa Ana for Morrissey's first southern California concert of his tour. We stood in line together and watched Morrissey together and we both KNOW Moz was looking at us when he was singing "Speedway" because we both had tears of joy and understanding.

See, the thing about my friend Stephanie is that she is gorgeous. I mean, in my single days we used to call such girls, "bait" because a group of girls could "cast" a "hot" chick like Stephanie into a crowd of men and "reel" her in. Then, the rest of us "purse holders" might have a chance with what was left over.

So, I'm willing to risk being forever known as "the other girl" or "Stephanie's friend" because not only is she gorgeous but she is funny as hell and has a quick wit. 

So, if you carry on reading my blog-and if I could ever get my act together enough to write it regularly, you will encounter stories featuring Stephanie. 

Tomorrow Part 2 will feature meeting Dickie Felton, the LA show and the Moz Disco after party. Yes, I know this all took place in May and it's now July. But retrospect can offer better insight sometimes. Forgive me.

Yes, I know World Peace is None of Your Business is out soon. At the rate I'm going I won't get to talking about that until September!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

26.2 Miles of Morrissey

My medal from the Los Angeles Marathon (yes, I finished)

I am very proud to say that I completed the Los Angeles Marathon on March 9, 2014. I know I didn't even share on this blog that I was going to attempt the marathon, but after completing the Long Beach Half Marathon, back in October, I figured I was half way to a full marathon and it seemed a great challenge to undertake.

About five weeks into the training, however, I tore two muscles in my right leg and was out of training for five weeks. 

It was possibly the worst five weeks I've endured. Not because of the pain. It was NOT being able to run. You see, I've actually turned into a runner. I'm hooked. Seeing people run or hearing people talk about running was like being the only one not getting tickets to a Morrissey show but hearing all about it. Sheer misery. 

But I healed and with a lot of determination, I made it across the finish line. 

26.2 miles are a lot of miles to cover all on your feet. And people have asked me what it is I think about during the long run. I decided to compose this post into miles of thought-mostly to do with Morrissey since so much has happened over the time I have been training, recovering and neglecting this blog.
The start

Miles 1-2
Some people think that the "last mile is the hardest mile" but for me, its the first two. I guess its because I'm getting used the the whole idea of running a long distance. I'm kind of getting my breathing down still. 

Since his Autobiography, and the announcement that Morrissey was making a new album in France, I had been hoping that a tour would soon follow. My hopes became a reality. A full US tour was announced including a date in Los Angeles with none other than TOM JONES opening!

My shirt and number

Miles 3-4
I think miles 3-4 was when I needed to use the restroom and the line was crazy long. I mean, not to be too detailed, but if you HAVE to do anything other than pee, you haven't prepared yourself well. Seriously, what did those people have for breakfast? I waited nearly ten precious minutes for the restroom. I found myself wanting to yell,"What the hell are you doing in there?" but I didn't really want the answer.

Miles 5-6
During this portion of the run, I was thinking about how I was feeling mentally. I felt pretty good. At this point I was well into the run. I stopped at every watering stop and drank even if I wasn't thirsty and I walked a little as I drank. Because of the injury, I had to think about how I was feeling physically too.

On February 14, I was generously nominated for Teacher of the Year by my English Department. It was nice of them. Happy Valentine's Day to me.
Teacher of the Year (Me)

Miles 7-8
I was still feeling pretty good at eight miles. I was listening to my favorite radio show, Breakfast with the Smiths. I also kept getting tweets from Breakfast Champions encouraging me for the marathon.

One night in February, I went to a venue in Fullerton to see a Cure tribute band called The Curse and before they went on one of my teen idols, Richard Blade, was spinning records. I was able to say hi and get my picture with him. I also met, strangely enough, some "old timers" around my age who attended my high school back in the 80's. We had a great chat and it was fun to talk about how important Richard Blade and KROQ (a Los Angeles area radio station) were to us at the time.

Miles 9-10
I don't know how I'm feeling at 9-10 miles. I just keep going and get lost in the songs I'm listening to and what is happening around me. On the LA course, each neighborhood has something different and its full of character. You encounter mariachis, Chinese drums, disco dancing, for example. Plus, people are cheering for you and encouraging you so its easy to keep going.

My son, Miguel, has become quite a wrestler. We were very proud that he won league champion for his weight class in junior varsity. He certainly works very hard and deserves all his success. On my run, I thought about a lot about how much both our "foster" boys have changed over the last few years. Miguel would probably not want me to tell you this, but he was a chubby insecure boy when he first came to our home, and now he has so much more confidence and LOVES his sport-wrestling. No longer chubby, he has turned it to muscle and core strength.

Miles 11-12
I was just starting to get tired at this point. I wasn't  aching yet and I had consumed, at least 6 packets of Gu (sports "food"). I'm sure I also had to use the restroom again, which just adds more time because of the wait. However, the course is less crowded by this time so its a shorter wait.

Back in January, I went to see The Sweet and Tender Hooligans-my favorite and THE BEST Morrissey/Smiths cover band again. Several times. I went with Roland and I also went with my friend Madeline. Its ALWAYS fun. Can't help it. House of Blues was a venue in Anaheim that sold out and it was crazy. The other shows were smaller venues that sold out but they were certainly less crazy than Anaheim House of Blues.

Miles 13-14 
You have to become like Forrest Gump at miles 13-14. Just run. I felt good knowing I was half way there, but its also the realization that what I just did (half marathon), I had to do again. Only this time I was more tired.

Listening to music, its exciting that Morrissey has had a few re-releases of previous albums, Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I. Vauxhall and I includes some bonus live recordings and Your Arsenal is remastered and the CD includes a bonus DVD. 

Miles 15-16
At this point I have sweat, it had dried, and I had sweat again. Not pretty. I actually wore make up when I ran this marathon. I figured, "What the heck? I may as well look better than if I never wore ANY make up." But the make up is gone. All that remains on my skin is the salty dried up sweat and I dare not think of my stench. But really, I didn't care. 

I love the name of Morrissey's new album World Peace is None of Your Business. That's just the title of the album and it gets your attention. We don't even know the names of the songs on it! Can't wait!!!

Miles 17-18
I run at such a slow pace, that my breathing at this point was not a problem. But my feet and ankles were hurting. During training, the most I ran was 18 miles so I wanted to go further just to prove to myself that I could do it. Mentally, I was feeling good about making it to 18, but I had to turn off my iphone because batteries were running low. It makes running lonelier for me because music is my constant companion. This means I could hear the cheering more and it kind of made me laugh when someone said, "You're almost there!" I mean, sure, I was closer than I was to finishing at mile one, but I still had to run 8 more miles. Ha ha!

So, I was able to purchase tickets to two Morrissey shows. One in Los Angeles at the Sports Arena with Tom Jones, the second at The Observatory in Santa Ana-which is in Orange County, or more affectionately known as The Orange Curtain. I paid a fortune for the Observatory since I bought them through Stub Hub. I'm bitter so I won't go into that now. Maybe later.

Miles 19-26.2
Despite aches and tiredness, which was all over my body, I kept running. Mile 22 was rough because I had passed my goal of 20 miles and I wanted to carry on but I just wasn't sure that if I kept running, I would make it. I wanted SOMETHING left in me to keep going so that I could cross that finish line. Every time I passed a person with a hose spraying the runners or a fire hydrant, I ran to it. For some reason, the water energized me and allowed me to keep running. However, to conserve energy, I walked a little of each mile after mile 23. When I got to mile 26, though, I ran. I SAY I ran, but by the time I got to that mileage, there was little difference in my speed between running and walking. But I "ran" across that finish line albeit looking like an old man. But I did it, right? 

When I got my medal, I was so happy, but I just wanted to sit down in the shade. Even though I was offered a free beer, the idea of walking ANYWHERE to get it just didn't appeal to me. And I only wanted water to drink because my mouth was so dry. 

I had to catch a shuttle back to my hotel in downtown Los Angeles and I was confused (probably from my exhaustion) and got off at the wrong stop and had to walk 2 miles to the hotel. I was dying, but I knew once I got there I could ice my legs and rest-which I did. And then I had a beer.

Later it hit me that while it took me 6 hours and 26 minutes (an hour slower than the average), I exceeded my goal of 20 miles and I FINISHED! 

I can't wait to do it again next year and improve my time! And I'll have even more about Morrissey to keep me going.




Monday, February 10, 2014

Oscillate Wildly (at Moz Disco with Breakfast Champions)

We Oscillated Wildly (we did)

Despite the excitement in the air that Morrissey is currently making a new album in France, your average Los Angeles area devoted Morrissey fan knows they may have quite a wait for a tour so, we occupy ourselves with our local Moz events. 

On January 25th, I attended another Moz Disco but what made this one particularly different was the fact that there were quite a few Breakfast Champions (Breakfast with the Smiths listeners) in attendance this time.

Of course, you can't escape Jose Maldonado if you are in Los Angeles and are a devoted Morrissey fan. He not only is the DJ for Breakfast with The Smiths the World of Morrissey, but he also is the lead singer for the Smiths/Morrissey tribute band, The Sweet and Tender Hooligans and he also has DJ gigs in the Los Angeles area from time to time. This particular gig he was DJing was at Mal's bar which is a downtown establishment.

I arrived a bit early because, as I've mentioned before, I live "behind the Orange Curtain" which means I live about thirty miles south of Los Angeles in a suburban land which is separated from the big city by a sea of traffic. It is always hard to estimate how long it will take to get anywhere because of this traffic. So I leave early and hope for the best. Another reason I like to arrive early is because I like to scope out the establishments, get to know the important people (the bar staff, security). before the show or dancing begins.

The first Breakfast Champion I met there was Vanessa (otherwise know as @girlracer on Twitter). I have met her a few times before so it was great to see a familiar face. I tend to occupy a wall and just watch people dance normally. I love to join in, but I am generally a bit of a loner and I don't mind so when Vanessa and I started dancing, I remarked, "I'm a bit of a wallflower."

She said, "Me too."

Now if you are a regular listener to, Breakfast with the Smiths, or if you have ever seen or met Vanessa, she is NOT what you would think of as a wallflower-unless the definition has changed. In fact, Jose often refers to her as "Va-va-vanessa" (as in Va-va-voom).

 No disrespect Vanessa, but you aren't a wallflower.
Jose and Vanessa (NOT Wallflowers)

I also danced with Ana (@cowboysandaliens). She danced the whole time-she knows how to "cut a rug" and she has a great sense of humor (which means she laughs at my jokes). A week later, at The Sweet and Tender Hooligans show, we danced and sung in the ladies' restroom. Hey, there was only one stall so we had to entertain ourselves a bit while we waited in line.

Ana, Vanessa, Me

When Rosie (Clover Dean) saw me leaning against the wall NOT dancing (probably resting my tired feet and legs), she (@MozzeriansATW) had me dance with her group of friends. I thought that was very kind of her and I felt comfortable  warning her that if I lost my balance in my heels, I might have to use her for support. She, on the other hand thought I was a bit tipsy. Everyone seemed to know her. (NOT a wallflower)
@royskeith and Clover (Rosie)

  I'm pretty sure there were more Breakfast Champions there, but these are the only ones I actually met. The thing is, I KNOW we all had a great time because we walked out the door with sore toes and hoarse throats from dancing and singing so much. I am sure we will meet up again and hopefully, I'll meet and dance with more Breakfast Champions.

And, well, maybe I'm not as much of a wallflower as I thought I was.

NOTE: Breakfast with the Smiths/The World of Morrissey airs Wednesdays at 9 AM Pacific, 5 PM UK, Fridays at midnight Pacific, 8 AM UK, and Sundays at 9 AM Pacific, 5 PM, UK) on Get the TuneInPro App and download it so that you can record the show and listen to it at your leisure-HIGHLY RECOMMENEDED!!

On Sunday, February 16 at The Echo, 1822 West Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, 90026, Jose is DJing another Morrissey/Smiths Night. Doors open at 9 PM.  

Photos courtesy of Vanessa and Rosie! Thank you!!