Between My Headphones: The Land of (fa la la la) LA I’m inspired
Ok so last night BLEW! Just one of the many pitfalls of being single in this new era of technology but I guess one of the cool parts of 2009 is that I can put on blast or praise someone via this blog. In my action packed weekend I spent a lot of time talking about my adventures on Saturday & Sunday & although everything went so well on those days my favorite & probably one of my favourite days all year was on Friday. Now for the upside of being a single chick in the Land of LA. I hung out with this sweet, sweet guy for a second time. The first time we hung out we played records all night… VINYL!!! Who does that anymore?!?!? It reminded me of the Sundays I had growing up when my dad would take a dip in the pool in the morning grab his towel come back into the house & sit on his towel on the floor for hours playing his records.
He’d play thee widest range of records from Haitian standards like Tabou Combo to Patsy Cline to Stevie Wonder to Gato Barbieri to Redd Foxx comedy albums to Charles Aznavour to Oscar De Leon to Roger Whitaker & Earth, Wind & Fire. My brother & I didn’t dare speak to him during this time, for hours it was just him & his music a world he so gladly wanted to reside in for just those few hours on a Sunday & we all respected that, hell we were being entertained also by the vast array of recorded brilliance. I definitely inherited this ability from my father to live between my headphones. To hear the popping sounds of the vinyl on this guy’s speakers as we kept the volume low in order not to wake anyone because it was late was a sense memory I greatly missed. He introduced me to an incredible country crooner Ray Price. I adore musical discoveries & learning about someone I would have not had the opportunity to know about.
The whole night I was mesmerized by him & kept referring to him as this old soul. He was 27 at the time & I was just in awe of how much musical knowledge he had & that he still played records I mean in this day of texting to start & cancel flipping dates I mean really… WHO DOES THAT ANYMORE?!?!?!? He was a perfect gentleman the whole night, it was really sweet. Cut to Friday night I went to his new place he made me a drink & asked me all sorts of questions about who I am & where I’m from & what I want from life… that was cool. Living my life publicly online I have so many people that think they know me & I share blood with people who have absolutely NO CLUE who I am so it was really nice to have someone ask & gauge by their expression whether they gave a hoot or not as I peeled away the layers of myself. He asked me all these questions as we stood in the kitchen, he had a red KitchenAid food processor the same one I have & exclaimed Sur La Table was one of his favorite stores & that he had mad skills in the kitchen that was pretty cute also. I asked him to show me around his new place & he gladly accommodated.
When we got to his room there were Blackbirds he stenciled all over his walls, a futon mattress on the floor smack dab in the middle of the room, a closet full of bits & pieces of motorcycle parts, a massive desk with every gadget known to man, a big screen TV & a wall of books loaded with the classics. I sat at his desk facing the Blackbirds & the books trying to absorb every piece of this space I was in. John Steinbeck, Ayn Rand, Ray Bradbury, Chuck Palahniuk I mean the lists of books can go on & on & I could smell them from across the room as if I were in the library that’s how many times these books had been open & shut shaping this young man’s perspective about life, loss & love. I was in absolute awe & wasn’t hiding this fact. He asked me what I liked to read & I told him although it was something I have always wanted to do when I was younger, aside from reading poetry, I never built up the confidence to read, I mean to lose yourself in a book is a very intimate experience & I still kick myself for never trying. I let my ADHD get the best of me. I asked what he was reading & sure enough he pulled a dog earred riddled book from his satchel… a book by one of his favorites Ray Bradbury, he opened it took a whiff of the book, flipped the pages, closed it & then held it near his heart. A sentiment I understood just by watching him do it but never personally experienced.
Now it was my turn to interview him. He’s from the Midwest, Minnesota the home of Prince. Attended art school at Cal Arts, by trade he sketches & designs rugs for high end clientele & on the weekends he fixes & builds motorcycles. Sitting on his dining room table was this huge old engine he used for practice this thing was loaded with carbon deposits & high speed glazing… some of the spark plugs were removed as if he were piecing together pieces of the puzzle to understand how to make his engine better for when it came time to & he was confident enough in what he did to this old engine he can go off to soup up his baby that was waiting for his care. I thought that was pretty damn cool too! Even though motorcycles scare the crap out of me & I’ve lost 4 people to accidents on those things. It was another thing I could identify with even though I didn’t understand. Then he said his real passion was music… he’s a musician *tire screeches* ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR HOLD UP?!?!? Besides being passionate about books, art, vinyl records & motorcycles there’s still room for you to make music?!?!?
His G4 was playing his itunes the entire time so I asked did he have anything on his itunes? He said yes. I asked “can you play something”. He got all coy & humble & was like it’s on shuffle, something will come up… I was insistent “NO, I want to hear something of YOURS”… again he gets all modest “don’t worry something will pop up” he says. I was like screw that I start typing a K in the search of his itunes, he pops over & was like “fine” he finished typing his name & literally HUNDREDS of songs popped up… he was like the White Tupac there were so many! I had one of those cartoon moments when my eyeballs leapt from my eye sockets & then he played a song called the “Twelfth of Never” this old Johnny Mathis song my Mom loved & a cover from Jeff Buckley that I absolutely adored from his Live At Sin-e album. It took everything in my power to not burst into tears, the haunting sound of his voice was so reminiscent of one of my very favorite artists of all time & a live version of Jeff Buckley’s Elton John cover We All Fall In Love Sometimes that I listen to every other day… it’s my therapy
Hell I LOVE a lot of music & have a hard time listing who my favorite artists are in order not to leave anyone out but I ALWAYS name Jeff Buckley as one of them, hey it’s even on the profile description to this blog, he Chris Cornell & Stevie Wonder keep me sane… ok rambling again.
You can tell in his stylings that Jeff Buckley is a HUGE influence on him but as we went through more & more of his library his voice changed & adapted to whatever mood he was in or what his song was about & what inspired him at that exact moment. At one point he played one of his live songs & I was like “WHOAH you can totally tell your eyes are closed here & you’re standing in a room of strangers with your eyes closed baring your soul.. singing, how freaking ballsy is that?” Again with great humility he brushed this off as no biggie. We must of went through 50 or 60 songs every one of them as fantastic as whatever preceded it. He played the guitar, the piano, the flippin’ violin & wrote & arranged every single one of his songs & recorded them in his bedroom, hence the mattress on the floor… he needs the space for his creativity to flow. At one point I just grabbed his head my fingers ran between his vaguely salt & pepper curls & said “all of this is in your head”, he was like “what do you mean?” I replied “All this passion & respect for literature, art, music & flipping engines are in THAT head?!?!?” He laughed & replied “yeah”.
I stayed there until 3 soaking every ounce of this Man’s creativity in. His birthday was the week before he’s now 28, he made it past Saturn’s return & I see nothing but greatness in his future. Before I left I excused myself to the bathroom, there was a book of haikus in there, I flipped through it took a whiff & placed it against my heart… hell I guess I can do that too… they’re 3 line phrases of 5 then 7 then 5 syllables my ADHD behind can handle that!!! We exchanged blog addresses. I thanked him profusely for sharing his gifts with me he walked me to my car & we hugged.
The whole way I drove home a little past 3 am I was so happy to be this single chick that gets to experience meeting someone like that only in the Land of LA… yeah this place has it’s perks & that’s definitely the best part of it. All these young, brilliant & ballsy people all within this creatively palpable radius it was such a treat & an experience I will never forget. We’re all just trying to make a difference it’s the getting there part that’s super difficult but man when we reach our destination… finally I wouldn’t exchange a single experience I have had for the world… BELIEVE THAT! Sure enough when I got home & checked out his blog he submits a haiku a day… *swoon* this boy is good, he is damn good! Check out http://kenchristianson.com/. Thank you Ken Christianson for sharing. If any of you lasted this long please check out his MySpace & get the chills for yourself