I'm currently writing from The Coffee Gallery, a small coffee shop about ten minutes walking distance from my parents' house in Altadena. A lot happens here. Right now, there's a discussion group comprising a number of erudite, well-read (but poorly dressed) black men and their ex-hippie intellectual white brethren, talking about the provenance and appearance of Jesus. There's a little kid rocking back and forth at the front counter so that it looks like he's humping the scone display case. Several nights a week there are folk and acoustic music concerts in the back room, and there's a bus stop right outside the front door. This place is an activity hub. But I'll admit it: the real reason that I'm at the Coffee Gallery is because they offer free high-speed wireless internet service, and as of last week, when I received my beautiful baby 802.11 Airport card in the mail, I have joined the ranks of the world's restless flaneurs, wandering from place to place, experiencing urban life as it presents itself, untethered to any specific place by a sense of purpose or, god forbid, an ethernet cable. True I'm basically doing the same thing here that I'd be doing if I were sitting in my room. But the whole idea is that I'm newly free to do that thing ANYWHERE I WANT.
Except, of course, at the Disney Television Animation studio, where I just started temping on Friday. I'm not in the business of complaining, especially when I'm making $16 an hour. But if your temp is working 8 hours a day at an IT help center, and he only gets a call once every fifteen minutes or so, do you think a strict "no surfing the web" policy makes sense? I'm stuck in a cubicle wearing slacks and a tie, reading Apple One's employee manual over and over out of sheer boredom and constantly checking the company e-mail for new IT queries that never come. Everyone else wears jeans and t-shirts, spends most of their time outside the cubicles talking idiotically about their favorite Mexican restaurants in L.A. Actual overheard conversation between two Disney employess from yesterday, around 5:30pm:
"Dude, you like fuckin' Mexican food?"
"Yeah, but I haven't gone to many out here."
"Oh man, I have some fuckin' GREAT places for you to try."
"Oh yeah? Like what?"
'"I don't fuckin' remember what they're called but they're really fuckin' good."
This isn't the type of vulgarity that you'd expect from the people that bring you "Pooh and Friends" now, is it? Anyway it's only been one day, and I've only got Monday left before the guy I replaced comes back from a family emergency. Really it's not that bad at all--I'm glad to have something to do, and my supervisor was patient with all my questions and allowed me to use the coffee machine. I'm just hoping they'll tell me that I can bring something to read on Monday without my having to ask. Maybe they'll leave a James Frey memoir at my desk on Monday.
A couple music-related tidbits:
1) My review of Immolation/Immersion by Nels Cline, Wally Shoup and Chris Corsano was published on Prefix. It's more descriptive than critical, but seeing as most people that visit Prefix have little to no exposure to free jazz, I thought it was appropriate.
2) Went to the Andrew Hill tribute concert that Nels Cline and friends put on at Club Tropical on Thursday. Lots of big names: in addition to Nels, the group featured cornetist Bobby Bradford (Ornette Coleman sideman), Ben Goldberg (clarinetist with Tin Hat), Scott Amendola (Madeleine Peyroux's drummer), Devin Hoff (plays bass with everyone in the bay area) and accordionist Andrea Parkins (sister to Zeena Parkins, who is Bjork's harpist). Even with all the star power, this one didn't really take off for me. Granted I was asleep for most of it. But what I did hear, I thought was sort of under-rehearsed and not so well-conceived. The group is recording an album this weekend--hopefully they'll pull it together.
3) New website is up for Leimert Part: The Story of a Village in South Central L.A., a wonderful documentary about the vibrant, still under-appreciated community that's been a center of black culture and arts in L.A. for decades now. The film was conceived and directed by Jeannette Lindsay, longtime sweetheart of one of my fave high school teachers, Steve Isoardi. I strongly urge you to attend a screening of the film, and urge you even more strongly to go down to Leimert Park yourself. It's a happening place. Even more happening than the Coffee Gallery.