Tag Archive: Hollywood


Sabor y Cultura

Last Saturday night I played at Sabor y Cultura cafe on Hollywood Blvd. in West Hollywood.

Before I continue with the open mic story, I need to give a little back story for the small world part of the title. My American flight arrived at LAX about 7:50 a.m. on Thursday morning. My son, Conner, and his girlfriend, Jimena, were stuck in traffic.

Rob King

So I retrieved my checked bag in the baggage claim area. The delay was a wreck which was still ahead of Conner. I went to the Starbucks just outside of the baggage claim area – the only place I could see outside of the vending machines by the bathrooms to get food. I bought a breakfast sandwich and a house dark roast. I watched everyone in the area while I waited for my order, and ate it at a small table – I’m a writer, it’s what I do. Conner and Jimena arrived a while later when I was out waiting by the curb.

 

Dan Roark

I arrived at the open mic early. I bought a tea and a snack. Before too long, Tonde R Colle arrived to set up for open mic, as did Morgan B. – she helped with the signup and announced the performers. When they got set up, the open mic began with one of Tonde’s recorded songs, and his welcome to the open mic.

Kendra Van De Graff

Rob King, who plays with Sweet Friday – a local LA band – was the first performer. His music had a latin/folk sort of vibe. He played three nice songs, ending with his song, Pieces.

A young man, Ray Goren, was next. He had a large pedalboard with pedals, some I’m not sure he used very often. It included a harmonizer and a looping pedal. Ray is a talented young man who also has a latin musical strain. But more in the crooner type category. His songs included Maybe I Don’t Need to Know and Can’t Help Myself.

Roger Gomez

Roger Gomez, who followed Goren, is from Australia – which you would not immediately guess. He is soft spoken and friendly. Roger has a distinctive voice and some interesting songs. One of which was She’s Always Landing on Her Feet.

I followed Roger. I played Hello Out There, Peace Be With You, and Wishy Washy World. Kendra Van De Graaff came up after me. She only had one original song and it was titled Date Me.

When Kendra was leaving, I caught up with her and asked her to write down her name so I could spell it right. After she wrote it down, she looked at me.

Rodney Porter and Tonde R Celle

“Actually, I saw you at the airport. I was next to you in line at Starbucks. I saw you get up to play, and I thought, no way.”

I said that was cool and thanked her again. I had thought I had seen her before, but I wasn’t sure. By the time she cleared the door, Tonde was ready to sing his set. He had his tracks for backup. After he sang his first song, Rodney Porter joined him. They sounded really good together. Their voices blended nicely. I don’t know what genre they would put their music in, but it sounded like good soul music to me – one way or the other.

After their set ended, the performers were invited to come up and do another song. I had to leave before my turn came around. If you’re in LA, drop by on Thursdays and Saturdays for open mic. If you’re not in LA, if you happen to go there, check out Sabor y Cultura and play a few songs. You could borrow a guitar if you don’t have it with you.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Dan at Pig 'n' WhistleBefore I went to the ASCAP conference, I wanted to line up a place to play while I was in LA. While I was checking,  I found that it so happened that  the Pig ‘n’ Whistle on Hollywood Blvd., a block from the hotel, had an open mic on Tuesday night.  Not having any kind of following in LA – other than fans on Reverbnation and Facebook – setting up a solo gig would have proved difficult. So an open mic was my best bet.

But it was good fortune that it was an open mic in a historical building. The Pig ‘n’ Whistle was founded in 1927, next to the Egyptian Theatre where the premiers of movies were shown.  You can imagine the movie stars and celebrities that ate there.  The restaurant  has been restored to its original glory. What is called Backstage or the Back Room is down a hall to the back of the restaurant. There was a bar, but it was only used for parties and special events.

Backstage is a funky little room with an even funkier stage. Which is a good thing. Again, you can imagine the private parties held back there over the years. Cameron and I got there before they had everything set up. I was one of the first people on the list. I prefer to go on after a couple of people or acts to get a feel for the crowd. I shouldn’t have been concerned.

When it came time to start, everyone in the room had to pay $3. Which was new for me. If Dan Roark at Pig'n' Whistle 2there is any charge at an open mic in the Dallas area, it is a request for a drink minimum. But it was also Hollywood  Blvd. – you don’t want just anybody wandering in and hanging out.  The McDonald’s has a security guard and police patrols drop around regularly.

The crowd was made up of mostly performers, although there were a few people there to listen. When the show began, the MC asked for the hands of those who wanted to play. I hesitated, to see how  it went. About three people raised their hands. They were the first three to play – with the order corresponding to the raising of hands. The next time around I raised my hand and played in the second batch of performers.

Dan at Pig 'n' Whistle 3It was an eclectic group of people and performers, to say the least. A man who sang cover tunes a capella – in stops and starts at times.  A girl playing her songs on a ukulele, and not too shabbily. A comedian who apparently calls into the Howard Stern show and had jokes that I’m surprised Stern would appreciate. One of those there to listen was a guy made up like Will Farrell in Semi-Pro. He had been out on Hollywood Blvd. near Grauman’s Chinese Theater, posing for pictures for tips.

When I played my songs, I told them I was from Dallas out for the ASCAP conference, and introduced the songs as I always do. I felt like the veteran of the group. I received a good reception from the audience. We listened to a few more performers after I played – including a blues player with an interesting style – before we headed back to the hotel.

It was a great way to end the first day in LA. It’s a more authentic trip when you get to mingle with local people as a traveler and performer. And the journey had just begun.

Peace be with you.

Loews Hollywood Hotel

I had the pleasure of attending the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) conference in LA last week at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Things are just now getting back to normal enough that I can post about the trip and the conference. Our middle son, Cameron, went with me. The conference began on Wednesday evening with badge pick-up and opening networking reception. Cameron and I flew out on American Airlines from DFW Tuesday morning so I could show him a few things and see some sights.

We were all in our seats and ready to go at the departure time of 9:05. I was enjoying the fact that I had walked my guitar on without any problem and it was safely resting in the overhead bin. The plane had been started. We’re all thinking “here we go” and getting ready, when the pilot comes on the speakers.

“ Ladies and gentlemen, we have some liquid on the side of the plane. It’s probably just fluid that leaked when it was filled up, but we called the mechanics and they’re here to check on it so hopefully we’ll be taking off shortly.”

After a very pregnant pause, he came back on to tell us we would be changing planes. After we had all left the plane, we were sent to another gate. After we got there – some of us anyway – it was not long before they found us another plane. However, this was a considerably smaller plane. Cameron and I thought that some people would not be able to get on the plane, but there were empty seats on the plane when we took off. Some people, I’m sure, made other arrangements if they had connecting flights in LA.

The flight left without any further delays or problems. When we arrived in LA, we were just about to come in on the runway when the pilot suddenly jerked the nose up and hit the gas. We shot up and then headed out over the ocean. It wasn’t my first flight there so I was pretty sure I knew what he was doing.

Then he made a hard banking left. People were beginning to wonder if he was going to take us into the water. But he finally got turned around and told us that the air traffic controllers had switched runways on us at the last minute and we were circling around to try to land again. Which we actually did, thank God. We arrived at LAX almost exactly two hours late.

Cameron and I had a reservation for our GO Shuttle two hours earlier, so it didn’t take long to get on a shuttle. After the obligatory run back around through the airport to check for more passengers, we were on our way to the hotel. We checked in at the hotel and put our stuff in the room. Then we went to get something to eat before I played at Pig ‘n’ Whistle on Hollywood Blvd….

Peace be with you.

 

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