Saturday, April 9, 2016

Everyday Is Like Sunday (Behind the Orange Curtain)

Looking very Morrissey-esque in the OC

Just when I had just about lost all hope of there being a decent Moz event in the OC, something happened. People who live in LA (Angelinos as they are sometimes called), probably don't realize that there IS an Orange County Morrissey fan base. In fact, people who LIVE in Orange County probably don't realize there is a fan base here. Compared to our big city neighbors, the "country bumpkins" living 30 or so miles south, we have less of a centralized market for such an event. We like our 80s themed bars and cover bands, but no one has really tapped into the "Moz market." Until recently.

To be fair, we did have a Moz Disco at Original Mikes a few months back. And it seemed to be successful. But it did not become a regular thing. And the venue was so big, with so many different events held in its many rooms, that it was hard to tell if the crowd was there for the Moz event or did they just stumble upon the "Morrissey room."

Lucky for me, I got to take an Uber from my home and as I'm trying to practice some camera skills for the upcoming Mozarmy Meet Up later this month, I brought a camera to take some photos. 

A decent photographer, I think, has to decide how much they are a part of the events they are recording. And the decision SHOULD be that they are not a part of it. Merely recording the events before them. On the other hand, your passion for your subject matter may make a difference in the quality shots you take. Maybe.

Maya met me at the venue, Diego's Rock ,n, Roll Bar. But other Breakfast Champions were already there, including Nancy Q and her husband . So we had the chance to chat for awhile. 

The venue seemed a cross between Mal's Bar (location of the Moz Disco) and La Cita in downtown LA. A bit newer than both and with  a hipster feel to it. Their vegan menu included potato tacos and fresh fruit. I did not try the food this time. I tend to devour food once I get home or else make a late night pit stop at Del Taco with Maya. 

They promoted the event well in advance on social media and they even had a special backdrop of Salford Lads Club which allowed  you to take your picture with your significant other or friends. DJs Jose Maldonado and DJ Jav made it such a great night with an incredible line up of songs

It ended up with a pretty nice crowd.Even for a Sunday night.

 I took tons of pictures, danced a lot holding my camera, took people's pictures in front of the Salford Lads backdrop and sang until my voice was hoarse. 

All in all, it was a success because they have decided to make it a regular thing now and I will probably be continuing to take photos as well. 

Everyday Is Like Sunday will take place again 9 PM on May 1 at Diego's Rock 'n' Roll Bar located at 220 E. 3rd Street, in Santa Ana 92701. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

I Can Have Both

Johnny Marr at the El Rey 
Sometimes I just can't escape Morrissey. Not that I'd ever WANT to. I mean, I just doubt that there are as many events for other artists out there.

For example, there was a book release party for To Me You Are A Work of Art-a photographic book depicting  Morrissey related tattoos on February 28. This was in Los Angeles at Lethal Amounts which is a small studio. There was a DJ playing Morrissey music and on the wall there were photographs of various Moz fans sporting their Morrissey tattoos. I met up there with Vanessa and we ran into Jose Maldonado.

So Jesse Tobias walked in and while I am virtually nobody, he said hi to Vanessa and Jose as we were talking  (at least my friends are famous). I seriously could have said I discovered a cure for cancer when Jose and Vanessa introduced me to him and I doubt that he would have been impressed;  at least I got to shake his hand. Furthermore, I am pretty shy and I didn't really know what to say to him. I think he's a great guitar player? Duh!
Jose kindly posing beneath a photo of a fan from Tustin 

 I have come to the conclusion that its okay not to say much but just be happy to shake someone's hand. I feel like if I can't make a lasting GOOD impression, its best to just shut up and let others do the talking, which worked out just fine.

It worked just as well when they also introduced me to Mando Lopez and his wife that night. Its quite exciting to meet them and to tell you I met them. For, how many get the opportunity?

Mando and Jose in conversation
In addition to meeting Morrissey's band mates, I also was fortunate enough to get to meet the two collaborators and authors of the book, Anthony Amor and Julian Chavez. Both of them were lovely human beings and very pleased that Morrissey wrote the forward to the book. I don't think you can top that!

There were quite a number of fans who are featured in the book there as well. It was awesome to realize that I actually know quite a number of them. I think you can learn a lot about a person from what they choose to put on themselves permanently. You learn even more about them from which line from a particular song they chose. And if you know Morrissey's lyrics, you probably realize the impact of those lines more than most.

Vanessa posing with the book
The following weekend was a Johnny Marr gig at the El Rey. It seemed it was a pretty short tour for Johnny but we were lucky to have him here in California. In addition to the show in Los Angeles, he played in Pomona, San Diego and further north in Sacramento and Fresno.

Roland came along with me this time which was great. We ran into a couple of Breakfast Champions, Ed Navarro and his girlfriend as well as Officer Mike. Vanessa, and others were there up near the stage but we didn't meet up since Roland and I were further back.

There is just something you can't explain about hearing a Smiths song played by the original guitar player and songwriter. Its like he had this special touch that NO ONE can recreate. It's widely known that Johnny Marr is one of the best guitar players of our time, but to actually SEE him was quite special. He sang and played probably about six Smths songs: Still Ill, The Headmaster Ritual, Bigmouth Strikes Again, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby, and of course, How Soon Is Now?

There were moments when I was watching him play and I thought to myself, "This is THE guy who walked up to Morrissey's door on King's Road and asked him to be in a band with him. He saw it all happen. Everything."
Another shot of Johnny at the El Rey
So, in addition to seeing such a phenomenal guitar player, I was seeing a bit of history in an intimate venue. It felt unique.

To be fair, I have seen him play before. But I suppose what made it different this time was the band he's been with now for a few years seems a bit tighter, he seemed to play more Smiths songs and more importantly, seeing him in the more intimate venue with my friends who I KNOW appreciated the moment as much as I did made it better.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Why Is the Last Mile the Hardest Mile?

Me after completing my 3rd LA Marathon

So I'm sitting in a Starbuck's across the street from El Modena High School writing this to you. Amid sweaty high school kids after school who come here because they have no better place to go. Somewhere to be with their increasingly important friends talking and studying after being dismissed from their sports practices.

All the while I'm wondering why the hell I ALWAYS drag my feet in writing this blog. I love writing it. Yet, I always put it off. Maybe I just feel more and more overwhelmed every time that a lot of time passes because I feel like I need to share all those other things. 

In reality. I don't.

But I would be remiss in not mentioning that I was fortunate enough to see Morrissey in both Los Angeles at the Galen Center on New Year's Eve as well as shortly after that in Las Vegas on January 2nd at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Both shows were amazing and I was able to go with both friends and family to these two shows. 
Family at Hoover Dam while in Las Vegas

Many were theorizing that Las Vegas might be Morrissey's last show, but he, of course, has been working to finalize some more shows in other parts of the globe.

Moz Las Vegas
Meanwhile, I had been training rather hard for my third Los Angeles Marathon which was scheduled for Valentine's Day. 

I struggled through two of my longer runs. I was fighting a cold during my eighteen mile run and it was raining. I pulled a muscle on mile two of my twenty mile run and ran the rest of the eighteen miles with a pulled muscle. Yes, I felt pretty bad ass, but I was also pretty stupid because that pulled muscle led to another injury.

It led to a shin splint on my left leg-probably from overcompensating for the other injured leg. In a word, I was a bit of a mess. I had two weeks to recover from these injuries before the marathon.

It just simply was not enough time.

I iced it, massaged it, prayed upon it, and even considered voodoo but didn't go quite that far. The only realistic maneuver was to stop running until the day of the race and do whatever I could when I had to run.

So when it was time to run. I ran. And it felt a little uncomfortable. I won't bore you with describing the pain of shin splints. But chances are you have had them yourself or else know someone who has. So it will be no surprise that it hurt and it will be no surprise that with every mile the pain got slightly more intense.

I had wisely packed some ibuprofen and Tylenol to take as needed for my marathon. I told myself to wait until mile seven. But when I opened my pack, I could not find any meds. I realized then that when I had put everything in my gear bag while I was warming up before the race, I had also put in my water bottle and it leaked all over the bag. My pills were either decomposed or decomposing gels. I desperately licked up what was left of them in hopes that it would sustain me until the end. 

Sadly, I also didn't have any music because my phone charger decided to stop working the night before. I had 20% battery power at the start of the race. So I turned off my phone and ate up whatever music, entertainment and distraction I could until I was desperate. It gave me about an hour of Breakfast with the Smiths. 

At mile seventeen I decided to get ice at the medical tent. Mind you, I had been considering what to do up until this point. I was not sure if I was going to make it to the end. But it WAS mile seventeen. And that was a big investment. When the medical volunteer asked the runners there if we wanted the shuttle to the finish line, a few people said yes, but the young woman sitting next to me icing her leg, said, "No. I'm going to finish. Aren't you?" 

"Yes," I said, "Yes. I'm going to finish!"

So, I walked the rest. Ideally, it would have been nice to run to mile twenty at least. But the pain was bad and I wanted to finish. The only way to finish was to walk. Not very quickly either.

It took me nearly eight hours. But, I finished and I am proud of that. 

Roland and Oliver walked with me my last quarter mile. 

And  I got my medal. Finally.