Sometimes you go see a play or hear a band because a friend is acting/playing in it and they have invited you–begged you even sometimes–to come. We all know that this usually means that you are about to see/hear something really bad. I mean, like really, really, really bad.
Okay, so this "friend" has asked you to come and support them and you feel like a jerkoid if you say no. (At least the first time) So, you do it. You suck your teeth and grin and bear the three hour interpretive dance/play about Menstruation or the band who can't keep the beat or sing in tune, but somehow manage to maintain a 5000 decibel level throughout the entire show.
You do your "friendly" duty and then after you've paid your ten dollar cover at Spaceland or shilled out a twenty to pop into one the 99 seat theaters on Santa Monica Blvd., (all in the name of friendship) you're free to get out of going again by coming up with whatever lie/excuse you can. I'm a particular fan of the "sorry I can't come to your Shakespeare spoken word/reggae slam, but I have a date with a lethal injection over in Leavenworth, Kansas".
But, really, I've found that anything you commit to will suffice.
I've done the above like a million times in the seventeen years I've lived in Los Angeles and I can think of only a handful of times that I've been surprised. Here are a few:
An early incarnation of Rilo Kiley playing at The Dragonfly like fourteen years ago. I met Blake at a party (then worked with Jenny on a film) and I remember getting call after call inviting me to their shows and me so not wanting to go, but liking Blake and Jenny, so finally going and being shocked at how good they were–even back then.
Getting invited to see Peer Gynt at the Actor's Gang Theater. Peer Gynt being played by some then unknown actor named Jack Black...uhm, hello?
I think you get the picture.
So, it was with trepidation that my boyfriend and I went to see our friend doing this weird radio show thing called "The Thrilling Adventure and Supernatural Suspense Hour". It was at a cabaret house called The Mbar in Hollywood and you so weren't getting out of the thing cheaply. It was a ten buck cover and then you had to order dinner, too. Eek!
So, we show up at this thing, I order the Chicken Marsala and prepare myself for some dumb, poorly done play/radio thingamabob that I just knew I was going to resent having paid so much money to see.
I didn't finish my chicken...I was too enthralled with watching some dude called Sparks Nevada (Marshall on Mars) banter back and forth with his Martian tracker sidekick, Croach. This had been preceded by the alter egos of the comedy duo (two guys called Acker and Blacker – real names, not kiddin) who had actually written the show. The alter egos had called each other names, made fun of every other medium, but radio and then sung a silly song about getting on with the show....and I was hooked.
The show was hysterical. Funny, smart, well-written and acted. I wanted to be in it, it was that good. And so, as fate would have it, we ran into one of the actual Acker at the now defunct Doughboys in LA and basically babbled about how much we liked the show and the rest was history.
And now, the second Saturday of every month, you can find me and the boys from the band, Common Rotation, at the MBar, watching our favorite radio show in the whole universe. Oh, and if you stick around after the show, the boys and their friends will play a little music for you.
Just for fun...but only if you're nice.
Lesson learned: sometimes you gotta go through a whole lot of crap to get to the good stuff.