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Tag Archive: LA


My show at Tribal Cafe on Sunday, November 12 was my second show there. I played a show with Gary Stockdale there back in April. It’s a funky little place in the Echo Park area of LA, not far from Dodgers Stadium.

The menu is healthy, expansive, and all over the wall by the order window. It’s best to ask what they recommend – the choices are overwhelming.                                                                           

The crowd was not as big as in April, but was just as enthusiastic. Neighborhood folks came in and lingered for a song or two while they waited for their order. Some stayed for a few songs. And the staff is always receptive to music.

I played a set of songs that included most of the songs on my new cd that I was to begin recording the next day. From the title song, Hello Out There, to the Aardvark Song, to Wishy Washy World and others.

Dan Roark

The upper picture is from my April show. The  picture to the left is my look this trip. After my set, I hung around to listen to the first few performers in the open mic. My thoughts on the performers will be in another post comparing Dallas open mics to LA open mics.

But if you’re in LA and want a funky neighborhood place to eat, check out Tribal Cafe. Friendly service, good food, innumerable choices – great place for coffee or smoothie. Entertainment pretty much every day of the week.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

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When I knew I was going to be in LA to see Conner and record, I contacted the Tribal Cafe and Gary Stockdale and booked a gig. I was trying for Friday, but Gary was busy, so I arranged for a Sunday afternoon show. The Tribal Cafe, as you can see, is a funky little place in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. It has an extremely varied menu and the food is really good. They have an open mic five days a week.

The show was from 4:30 to 6:30. Gary played first because he had an obligation later. I really wanted to do a show with Gary and hear a full set of his songs. I met him at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance in Austin a few years ago and see him there each year. But I only got to hear a few songs at a time. Gary is the consumate folk entertainer. He has some really good songs which you can find through his website.

Gary Stockdale

Fortunately, he had a couple of friends show up to hear him play. There were few other people in the cafe. Gary played a good, full set which included a song from his show, Bumpersticker – the Musical. He also played my favorite song – so far – Who’s That Old Man. I think that’s the title.

After his set, Gary was able to listen to a few of my songs, but then he had to leave – a couple of songs after Conner and his girlfriend, Jimena, arrived.

A few songs into my set, people began to arrive. For the last half of my set, I had a full crowd. Granted, it was not a huge place, but a full group of people for my first show in LA felt really good. And they liked my songs. I almost always adjust my set list when the crowd isn’t the type or size I expected. I switched places with a few songs, but I actually played the set as planned and even did the two standby tunes.

The fact that Conner and Jimena were there was a bonus. It was the first time she heard me play. She’s quite the guitarist and songwriter herself. Jimena Fosado is one of the angels in Corey Feldman‘s band. I also have her to thank for the pictures of me playing.

I spent the rest of the evening grinning quite often. All in all, my first show in LA was a success.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

barbequeIn the shuttle on the way to LAX after the ASCAP Expo last year, Cameron and I were chatting with the driver. In the LA cross town traffic there was plenty of time to chat. There were the usual comments about the traffic, the weather, and the drought. When I told him we were from Texas, the conversation turned to food.

“What do you eat in Texas? I know it’s barbecue in Kansas and Tennessee, but what do you in Texas eat?”

When Cameron and I quit laughing, I decided to forego the pig-cow debate. He might not understand.

“We have barbecue, too. No matter what size town you go to in Texas, you can be sure there’s a barbecue place.”

“Oh, kind of like burritos out here, huh?”                                 Burrito

I guess it’s all in your perspective.

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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