RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Was I the victim of a dyslexic silk screener? Or is it just a clever Photoshop gag?
Since the entire catalog of Electric Light Orchestra songs have been bouncing around my head after the amazing concert last Sunday, it’s difficult to settle on one song to present this week. So here’s a compilation of highlights from the Jeff Lynne ELO concert at the Hollywood Bowl I shot on my little camera. Sometimes it gets a bit shaky, but I was shooting it under less than ideal circumstances, so please forgive.
Tuesday the 6th – NEW AND HOT! – About mid-afternoon I rolled out of bed and drove to my mailbox to pick up some mail. I also mailed off some bills and some autographed pictures to those who e-mailed me for signed photos. I got back home and called AT&T to have my hotline number changed. Because of my “odd” sleep hours, I have had a private hotline installed in my bedroom for years. Only a few of my agents have the number and are under strict orders to only call it when there’s work on the line. The old number had become burdened with all sorts of robo-calls and telemarketers, that couldn’t be subverted with simply logging my number on the donotcall.gov website. It had gotten so bad that I didn’t even have the hotline ringer turned on any longer, thus defeating the purpose of it. So I got a great new number, I notified my handful of agents, and it should be good for another year. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I may need to change the number about once a year to stay clear of telemarketers and knuckleheads. I also did some work for the rest of the afternoon on my computer, and then my pal Jasmine came over to visit for a bit. I grabbed a quick nap and then got up to do a ton of auditions. I did a little more work on the computer and then fed and walked Roxy. I made soup and a sandwich and watched another episode from the third season “Barnaby Jones” DVD set. I LOVE this show!
Wednesday the 7th – BACK-UP IS SCREWED-UP! – My day started at 1pm and I worked all afternoon at home. I did some last-minute auditions, typed out Wally’s Week (I was very late on it!) and then got ready to go get my mail and some dry cleaning at the cleaners. Then I got back home to unwrap all my packages. I got several new Blu Rays, a new camera case, and a new back-up drive for my computer. Every night my computer backs up all the updates on an external drive for security purposes. But the drive I had connected had become full. So it was time to retire it and replace it with a new drive. But even though I plugged it in where the old drive was, it wasn’t working. So apparently it’s not “plug-and-play,” which means I now have to contact my computer guy and have him remote in to see how we can get it working. I took a short nap, and then got up to do auditions. I made a pizza and watched more “Barnaby Jones.”
Thursday the 8th – BIKE, BRITTNEY & BARNABY! – When I got up at 1 I did some work on my computer, and then got my tires pumped up so I could bicycle over to Voice Trax West for a session. It was a gorgeous day for a ride and it was good to get out and work the leg muscles! The session was for Multi-Media Assemblies, a program that goes into schools all over the country and uses music video clips and movie clips to raise points with kids about avoiding drugs, drunk driving, and other issues teenagers are facing today. I’ve been narrating these pieces for Jim Hulihan for close to 20 years, and it’s an honor to be involved. When the session ended I biked home, grabbed a snack, worked on my computer, and then my pal Brittney Powell came over so we could go grab dinner. We met my assistant Sara at DuPar’s for some yummy comfort food. I came home to nap for a while, and then got up to do my nightly auditions. I edited some music for my iPod, which I would be needing for my upcoming trip to Palm Springs! I fed and walked Roxy, went to Denny’s to get some food to go, and came back to enjoy it while watching “Barnaby Jones.” (Did I mention that I really LOVE this show?!)
Friday the 9th – FABULOUS FRIDAY! – Just before I woke up I had a weird dream that I was on a top bunk in a set of bunk beds sound asleep. But in the dream I was awakened by the sheets around my body being tugged. I figured it was the person in the bunk below me, so I yelled out to them to stop tugging on the sheets. But the tugging around my chest continued. I got off the top bunk to go address the person below me personally. But when I stood back and looked at the person in the bunk below me, their sheets were being tugged on too by an invisible force. In the dream I thought it might be a ghost or a demonic force (I’ve got to stop listening to so many conspiracy radio shows). Just then I woke up and realized that Roxy was lying next to me. She was having a dream and her legs were going crazy, which…you guessed it…which was causing the tugging on the sheets around my chest. I just had to laugh. After sleeping for only 3 hours I got up to meet my maids. They came in to clean, and when they finished I headed out for errands. First stop was to take Roxy to the groomer’s for a bath. Then I went over to Enterprise to reserve my SUV for my trip to Palm Springs next week. (The weather has turned really nice there and I haven’t been there since May…so I was jonesing for a trip bad!) I stopped off at my bank to pick up some supplies, and then it was off to Mr. Stitch to pick up the embroidered applique for a new Tony Clifton bowling shirt I was making for a friend. I grabbed lunch at McDonald’s and talked to my folks while I drove back to my neighborhood. I went to the local hardware store with a concept sketch. A few weeks back I told you about a giant “Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed” movie poster that I mounted on the inside of my new metal garage door. I had it mounted on double-thick foam core to keep it rigid. But the double-sided Gorilla tape that I had been instructed to use was failing. The poster was starting to fall off the door. The tape is probably good for keeping a poster of that weight mounted vertically, but the constant up-and-down of the garage door was insuring that gravity would eventually win this war. The tape was great for vertical, but when the poster went horizontal it started its gradual pulling off thanks to gravity. So as I inspected the area around the poster, I came up with a great idea. The poster fit perfectly in between two metal girders, and those metal girders were bolted into the door with several bolts. I got the idea that I could remove those bolts and put in little clips that would hold the poster in place. After describing my problem to the hardware guy, and showing him my concept sketch, he said what I needed were “offset clips.” I was elated! I got eight of them and headed home to try them out. But the bolts in the door were too big for the holes on the offset clips. So it was back to the hardware store to get some 10-24 bolts and nuts that would fit. I also bought some washers too just to be safe. In the past years my friend Terry Crisp would have handled a project like this because I believe in leaving stuff like this up to the pros. But since Terry passed away over a year ago, I’ve been compelled to figure stuff like this out myself. One by one I removed the door bolts, and replaced them my new bolts, and the offset clips. I would need to bolt in the clips vertically at first, tighten them as much as I could, put the poster between the girders, and then once its secured, move the clips in to a horizontal position to contain the poster. I got all eight bolts installed, put the poster up, and started to swivel the clips. But when I got to the final clip, I realized I had put it in backwards. So…I had to swivel them all back to the vertical position, remove the poster, and reinstall the bolt. I could just hear my friend Terry laughing at what a moron I was. It made me laugh. I installed the bolt properly and then tried it again. I was working so hard I was sweating my patootie off in the garage! I realized that I would need to have another little custom piece fashioned from thick plastic (probably by my pal Kyle at Plastic Depot) to secure the poster at the top, but I can handle that next week. I walked over to the groomer’s to get Roxy, and then came home to record and audition. I wanted to get it out of the way so I didn’t have to worry about it Sunday night. I had an early session scheduled for Monday morning, and I knew I’d be up late Sunday night at the ELO concert at the Hollywood Bowl, so this worked out very well. I grabbed a nap and then got up to do some work around the house, make some stew, and watch “Barnaby Jones.”
Saturday the 10th – IN THE JUNGLE, THE MIGHTY JUNGLE! – Around mid-afternoon I got up to do some work, but time got away from me. When I looked at the clock I realized it was 5:20. I called my UPS folks hoping they were still open so I could go pick up my packages. Though they closed at 5, they answered the phone. They said they would leave my packages in a hidden cabinet if I was on my way over. I sped over and grabbed my packages. Amongst my mail were two new, amazing 12 inch action figures of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Fully articulated and gorgeous, these figures weren’t cheap, but well worth it. I marveled at the detail. Then I went over to the grocery store to get some supplies for movie night. When I got home a few guests had already arrived to swim in the pool. While they swam I put away the groceries. Sara showed up to start cleaning up for movie night, as I finished up my work. As guests arrived I decided to crack open the “Star Trek” action figures and show them off. Everyone gathered around to inspect them, including my “adopted grandma” Shirley. She stood next to me helping my open them. Then as I repacked the extra props and equipment in their boxes for storage, she stood there helping me by holding open the protective cardboard boxes. I was laughing inside, because it reminded me of being a kid on Christmas morning, being assisted by grandma with the new toys I had just received. It was a nice, fuzzy feeling. We had a great night watching the new “Jungle Book” movie on Blu Ray. I had seen it in the theatre in May when I was back in Sioux Falls, South Dakota visiting my family. The first movie I saw in a theatre was the original 1967 “Jungle Book.” My dad took me. And now almost 50 years later, it was fun to take my dad back to the theatre to see the NEW “Jungle Book.” It was unanimous that everyone attending movie night was blown away by this movie. When I saw it in May, I was counting the days until its Blu Ray release, because I knew my guests were going to love it. After everyone left I took a short nap, and then got up to do some work around the house. I made one of my Saturday night Super Salads and watched another episode of the old BBC show “The New Avengers ‘76” before bed.
Sunday the 11th – NEVER FORGET! – Just before I hit the hay early Sunday morning I checked out some of the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies on TV. Hard to believe it was 15 years ago. Later in the afternoon when I awoke, I did a little work around the house, and then I got ready to mark another item off my bucket list…seeing ELO with Jeff Lynne in concert! I have enjoyed their music for decades, and now I was going to finally experience it live! My pal Officer Mark arrived at my house at 5, and we headed to the Universal Studios subway station. The street outside the Hollywood Bowl is narrow and always busy. When there’s an event at the Bowl, it’s impossible and aggravating. So Mark and I decided to avoid all that and take the subway into Hollywood and walk over. The subway ride takes about 7 minutes. Add a zero to that and you have the commute into the Hollywood Bowl by car. We went to Hooters for dinner, and then had a brisk walk to the Bowl about six blocks away. We got to the legendary Hollywood Bowl and had our tickets scanned. We bought some merch on the way in, but since it was the last of 3 nights they were out of a few of the things we wanted. Jeff Lynne’s ELO consists of 14 other amazing musicians (most of whom weren’t alive when Electric Light Orchestra had the majority of their hits), but in this instance they were also accompanied by the 40 piece Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Conductor Thomas Wilkins came out and was absolutely charming! He explained that the music the show would be opening with, courtesy of the amazing HB Orchestra, was what Jeff Lynne was listening to when he was a kid. This music was the nucleus of ELO’s formation. He combined his love of the Beatles with his love of classical music and voila! ELO lived! As the orchestra began its half hour opening segment, playing some wonderfully beautiful classical pieces, some hag next to us complained out loud, “I came here to hear rock and roll, not this!” She might have well just said, “I’m a total friggin’ idiot,” because I took it to mean the same thing. For her to not understand that this music served as the foundation for ELO’s greatness, made me shake my head in utter shame. The HB Orchestra played from 7:30 to 8, and then there was a half hour intermission. ELO started right on time at 8:30 and played until 10 sharp. (Neighborhood noise abatement rules prohibit them from going any later in an outdoor venue such as the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre.) During the course of the ELO concert I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. The sound was utterly amazing. Unbelievable. Astounding. Perfection! Just a few of the words I used to describe the show. Jeff Lynne’s not a dynamic performer, he’s more of a studio guy, but it didn’t matter. The laser and light show that accompanied some of the greatest pop music ever to be recorded more than made for a stunning visual presentation. The hot chicks he had in his back-up band didn’t hurt either. WOW! I never knew I could find a fiddler so sexy! I had a funny thought as I sat there enjoying the show. When I first started playing Electric Light Orchestra’s music on KABR 1420 AM in Aberdeen, I started learning more about them. “Strange Magic” was one of the first 45 rpm records I had ever bought, but as I sat there in the studio cueing up “Turn To Stone” I noticed something odd. The name under the song title on the record label was of course Electric Light Orchestra. But the other name, in parenthesis, was the name Jeff Lynne. That was the space normally reserved for the writer of the song. The owners of KABR at the time were Jeff and Lynn Solem. I thought, how strange! The writer of this song has the same name as our station managers! The rest of the show was terrific, and he could have played another two hours and not even scratched the surface of some of my favorite ELO songs. The finale of the show had the entire orchestra playing “Roll Over Beethoven” to synchronized fireworks. Though the amount of money Mark and I paid for the tickets was substantial, I asked him if he thought he got his money’s worth. He said that went without saying. As we walked back to the train station we passed the bootleg t-shirt sellers trying to unload their shoddy merch for 10 bucks. I’ve gotten stung on these types of shirts before. They are made by small print shops who download artwork and graphics from the internet. But as soon as you wash the shirt once, the graphics fade and the shirt dissolves. I commented to Mark how funny it would be if some little t-shirt bootlegger didn’t fully grasp the ELO concept, and accidentally swapped the letters. I had him take a photo of me holding up my legitimate ELO t-shirt so I could photoshop it later to say “JEFF LYNNE’S LEO.” We laughed about that all the way back to Universal. Overall, the experience was entirely stress-free. The train, dinner, the nice walk, the concert, avoiding all the bottlenecked traffic leaving the concert by walking back to the train station, it all worked perfectly. As I reflected on the amazing evening, I noted that 9/11 will now hold a pleasant memory for me, as well as the ominous implications of the occurrences of 9/11/01. I made a pizza and hit the hay to be up for an early session.
In case you’re wondering, here’s the setlist from the ELO concert…
All Over the World
When I Was a Boy
Can’t Get It Out of My Head
Shine a Little Love
Wild West Hero
Turn To Stone
Sweet Talkin’ Woman
Don’t Bring Me Down
Mr. Blue Sky
Roll Over Beethoven
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK