Thursday, February 17, 2011

Living Large in LA on Valentine’s Day

Monday morning we got up to go to Scott’s house in the hills.  We didn’t really know where we were going, but he said he was about five minutes up the mountain from Hollywood and Vine.  We are all thinking, what? It turns out he lives in an area called the Oaks, over where Kevin Spacey lives and Gina Davis lived.  Yeah. Overlooking LA and around the corner from the Hollywood sign.  He thinks nothing of it and insists he is in the “slum part.” We were unable to discern how exactly he was in a slum part.

After we picked up our jaws from the floor from checking out his view, he showed us the projects he has been working on.  He started with his work with Pancake Mountain. You wouldn’t believe the cast of musicians that have been on that show from George Clinton to the 2011 Grammy Award Winner for Album of the Year, Arcade Fire, to Panic. He also showed us some of his footage from a documentary he is creating about Vic Chesnutt. He started this project about five years ago with Vic. The interviews include some pretty heavy hitters including Peter Jesperson, Michael Stipe, and Billy Bob Thornton.  He is trying to finish the project to honor his friend as well as pay tribute to a musician who is rarely compared to other musicians.  Instead he is compared to great writers, like Flannery O’Connor and Henry David Thoreau. Vic was even honored by the Kennedy Center in his lifetime. That documentary is so beautifully done that I can hardly wait for its release.  Whenever that is… Scott? Maybe Rufus will tell us!

Remembering Vic from scott stuckey on Vimeo.

We lunched in Hollywood at Figaro Bistrot where several commercials have been shot, including the recent State Farm commercial.

After lunch we went to the Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  After that we headed back to Santa Monica for a break.

The big plan for Valentine’s Day was to go to the world famous Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard for some live comedy.  According to Greg, that place was originated by Pauly Shore’s mother, Mitzi, who acted like a “den mother” for the comedians that came through.  I just love that reference. The implication of so much love, and not just a business. The list of comedy greats who got their start there is long. This opportunity came up because as it turns out, our friend Lisa Mende who lives in Athens used to be married to Dom Irerra, who now makes his home in LA.  Lisa is an actor and comedian in her own right.  She sets it up for us to be guests of Mr. Irerra.  In the meantime, I’m sure at the urging of his ex-wife, Dom decides to do a “short set” even though he isn’t scheduled to work that night because we are coming and we are important to Lisa. Lisa has arranged for complimentary tickets for our party of eight.  But now, we are a party of 10 because we have invited Scott and Christina to join us.  I don’t want them to pay, so we try to get ahead of them at the door to prepay the extra two in our party, wanting them to be none the wiser.  We explain what is going on, and the person in at the door, says something like, what are you kidding me, you are all guests of Dom. DOM. DOM.  Do you know who he is? I’m not going to be the one to explain to Dom that I took your money, yall all just come on in.  It was like a little comedy short right there.  All the comedians were great.  By the end of the night, tears were just streaming down our faces we were all laughing so hard.  Near the end of the set, Dom says, “I understand that Grammy nominated John Keane is here. I’d like to meet you before you leave.” He’d like to meet JOHN. It was great.  It was like the kingpin of comedy in LA was requesting an audience with JOHN.  Come to think of it, it sounded like less like a request and more like a summons.  The man was in his element after all.  So as Dom exits the stage, John pops up out of his chair to shake his hand and introduce himself, and Dom takes him to the back for a drink.  I’m sure it was great, but John missed one hilarious dude while he was gone. I just love calling him Dom, as though I know him personally.  On any given day, that man would have no earthly idea who I am.

Here is a song from Pancake Mountain...

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