Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fascinating piece out of East Lansing. A local graphic design firm creates an apparel line based on a well-known homeless man. He sells the shirts and keeps all the proceeds. The company markets itself by slapping its logo on each shirt. This is undoubtedly creative thinking, and raises all sorts of moral questions. The reader discussion is also worth a look. Highly recommended story.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

For Immediate Release

Contact: Craig Gaines

goatlord44@gmail.com


HANNITY & COLMES’ SATIRE PODCAST PICKED UP TO BROADCAST ON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA RADIO STATION

Local Political Rants of ‘Hudson & Gaines’ to Run as Marathon on KERN

LOS ANGELES – (May 30, 2007) – When Micah Muzio, Craig Gaines and Mike Hudson patched together a series of microphones in a Los Feliz apartment last fall to first record their podcast, “Hudson & Gaines,” none of the three would have guessed the show they created to make light of political talk radio would eventually get broadcast by an actual station.

But this Saturday, June 2, for 12 hours, KERN News Talk 1410-AM in Bakersfield, Calif., will broadcast all 16 episodes of the podcast serial, catching the underground sensation and putting it squarely in front of an above-ground audience.

“We knew we had earned some fans in the radio industry given the nature of the show, but never would have guessed this could happen,” said Micah Muzio, a 29-year-old automotive writer and producer of “Hudson & Gaines.” “For an actual radio station to give our show a platform on their airwaves speaks to the power of this age of podcasting not only as a creative outlet, but also as a minor league for original media programming.”

“Hudson & Gaines” is a 30-minute drive-time program in the Anytown-esque city of Great Haven on a local AM station called WBFK. Hudson, played by Mike Hudson (in real life, a 30-year-old marketing professional), is a small-business-owning conservative doing battle with his left-leaning, community college instructor co-host Gaines, played by Craig Gaines.

“Our show is basically a really local “Hannity & Colmes” where we just go at each other like dogs over whatever topics the locals are talking about,” said Craig Gaines, a 28-year-old copy editor. “Hudson and Gaines both pretend to be passionate about a meaningless issue for 30 minutes, completely sell themselves out to close the show and then begin the next one bragging about rising ratings. Just like the big boys.”

For more information on “Hudson & Gaines,” go to hudsonandgaines.com or search “Hudson and Gaines” on the iTunes Music Store.

For more information on KERN, go to www.kernradio.com.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorialize This

In a few hours, I'll be up in what I figure is our closest approximation to God's country: Sonoma. Very lucky to be able to spend the Memorial Day weekend in the company of family surrounded by such an awesome landscape. Have a great holiday, y'all.

Thanks to Mike for the early-morning ride to the airport.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The City Desk Shows Its Softer Side

Sara Lepro and I used to cause all sorts of trouble back in the Cleveland days, and now we're causing trouble over at The City Desk. We've reprised an old Inside Business bit wherein Sara would interview notable people around town about their personal pursuits and passions. For TCD, Slepro and I interview morning-news diva Carla Perry, who tells us how she approaches a little thing we like to call "life."
SWEET, BLESSED SILENCE: They're gone. My skull is intact.
SOMEBODY NEEDS A WEEKEND AWAY FROM THE CITY: If those guys power-cleaning the bank across the street don't turn off their damn noisy machine soon, I'm going to take a head-first dive right onto Hillhurst from my second-story window.

THE HITS KEEP ON COMING AT WBFK

HUDSON & GAINES: Episode 16 is online, and it'll kick you square in the ass with podcast hilarity. Click on over for a taste of:
  • H&G following a developing school controversy as it breaks using sophisticated, cutting-edge media technology.
  • A rad "WBFK Breaking News" intro written by Micah. If Mozart and Hendrix got into a laser battle, this is what it'd sound like.
  • Muzio, trying to atone for his involvement with the misogynistic and filthy rapper Shiny, debuts another act he produced: the R&B team of Benjammin' and Li'l D. (Music by Muzio, lyrics by Li'l D, sexy lead vox by Benjammin').

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday Morning

At the top of the staircase scaling Barnsdall Park are two men in neon-colored martial-arts garb listening to a director on the landing below. He holds a video camera on a tripod and waves about his arms; his backward baseball cap bears the words “Kung-Fu.” To the right of the men, on the small patio looking north toward Los Feliz, stand two slender women costumed in either the white dress Marilyn Monroe wore when a subway blew up her skirt or, more likely, the flowing garb we imagine on Greek goddesses. Deeper into the park at the top of the hill, two women, clothed in shiny, floral-print two-pieces that reveal Crunch-caliber abs and legs, engage in sword battle, their plastic blades clacking against each other as they twist and kick and thrust.

The park’s southeast corner overlooks another staircase and, below and to the right, a table of people taking a drawing class. I leave a message for my boy Ryan in San Diego, describing the kung-fu vibe, and then call my Pop. I’ve been meaning to tell him about seeing Ray Bradbury at the book festival a few weeks ago. Turns out Dad is in Grand Rapids at the Gerald Ford Museum, so we keep it short. For the next half hour, I read two stories from Josh Goldfaden’s Human Resources, “Looking at Animals” and “Disorder Destroyers,” which follow characters who surreptitiously peek in on the lives of others.

Between stories, I glance down at the staircase, where first a trickle and then a stream of Asian families climb up into the park. Parents stand in groups and children run around the terrace below me. Meanwhile, the sword fighters have taken their face-off to the center of the park. They are surrounded by the director, the martial-arts guys (who have yet to duel), a couple backup fighting ladies, and a baby in a stroller. The goddesses are absent.

After finishing the second story, I turn to go. The park has become more populated. Along the paths, among the trees, on the grass, the sword battle rages, pausing every so often while the director recommends a different move or position; an Indian woman holds her daughter’s ankles in a game of wheelbarrow as the girl walks on her hands; the goddesses float by; various families, Asian and otherwise, flit about; a kung-fu diva pushes the stroller. I walk through all this, and turn to see, down a path, the goddesses off by themselves, framed by the surrounding pines and hazy skyline. They look back at me. I almost wave.

I pass three moving vans during the walk home. Out of one exits a young woman in distracting shorts saying she’s stepped on something that has almost, but not quite, broken skin. Farther north, a man pushes a grocery cart overflowing with cans and bottles. One of them emits a steady leak that draws a line of drops marking the path he’s taken. The drops end after a couple blocks, where the emerging sun dries them on the sidewalk.

At home, I make a tuna-melt sandwich and play Los Abandoned, thinking, Is there any band right now that better describes this city? During “Pantal√≥n,” I consider the satisfying dissonance found in a nasally, English-speaking Midwesterner tunelessly singing along in Spanish with a Chilean vocalist from a Los Angeles band.

Later, on the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf patio, I take a seat near the most gorgeous girl in Los Feliz. She is a redheaded picture of pale perfection whose big blue eyes are protected by long lashes. Dressed in cutoffs and a tank top bearing various city names, she’s absorbed in a book, I assume for a college class. After a while, she moves to a farther, shadier table, allowing me to better concentrate on my writing.

Friday, May 18, 2007

YOUR FRIDAY READ: The City Desk. If you don't know, now you know.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Natural Disaster, the Relativity of Perspective, and a Girl in Hot Pants

That's the gist of a short piece I wrote for the Weekly in the current issue about watching the Griffith Park fire from Los Feliz. I take the reader on a stroll around the neighborhood and describe the mixture of hellfire above and nonchalance below that created such an odd, dissonant night.

In a sense, the piece is about the relativity of perspective. Watching the fire on TV from thousands of miles away, one might assume the areas surrounding the fire were chaotic -- while, on the scene, lots of people were more worried about getting a second glass of wine while at the cafe. Further, in Michigan, we think people living in disaster-prone L.A. are nuts; in L.A., we think people living in economically depressed Michigan are nuts. Funny how the whole thing works.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Image Is Everything

Many thanks to Bill "Official St. Patrick's Day Mascot for Cleveland's Near West Side" Joyce for updating the Hudson & Gaines logo. He was somehow able to actually stick a water tower bearing the image of a water fountain on that damn thing. Amazing.


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To which I say, only in Detroit.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Monday Stretch



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Scenes from the weekend:

  • A guy wearing blindingly white Run-DMC Adidas sneakers absorbed in a book titled Ca$h In on the Coming Real Estate Crash at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf patio in Los Feliz
  • Gorgeous views of Hollywood from the top of Ryan Ward's building while celebrating Nazanin's 31st birthday
  • The darkened hills of Griffith Park from the vantage point of Barnsdall Park in Hollywood.
  • A massive, expertly seasoned and grilled burger topped with muenster cheese, helped along by four refreshing martinis at the Hudsons' casa
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The Plain Dealer scores a Spartan recruit! Go green!

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Happy Mother's Day to the most gangsta maternal figure in the Midwest: Gretchen Kirby, aka Ma, aka Mootah. This woman has saved lives, traveled the world, walked all of Chicagoland to help fight breast cancer, cared for her parents in championship fashion, and passed along a treasure trove of life lessons to her two children. I don't know how she does it.

Nothing but love, Ma!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Hudson Day!


Happy birthday to Michael Hudson,
husband, soon-to-be father,
dog lover, lovable bigmouth, fine friend.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Griffith Chutes


Mike and I created a fun new extreme sport just last Saturday morning up in Griffith. We were looking for a quick way to a switchback below us without having to follow the entire trail we were on. So we found one of those steep chutes that run down the hillsides and started to negotiate the steep grade. But a combination of poor shoe traction and loose dirt soon had us sliding down the hill. It got to be like surfing after a while, because we'd accumulate so much loose dirt and gravel beneath us that we'd just ride the wave all the way down.

After riding a couple chutes, our hands were raw from grabbing on to the rough rock and our shoes and shorts were full of dirt. I also lost an American Apparel long-sleeve T-shirt that I had taken off earlier and crammed into my back pocket. It was a damn fun way to start a weekend.

And now, I'd guess, all that is gone. All those areas that we hike every week are burnt up. How long until we get our park back?

Notes From the Fire


Funny what a 600-acre brush fire does to a neighborhood. Los Feliz, and even Hollywood, was oddly quiet tonight. That's not to say it wasn't a madhouse, but the village seemed to be at the lowest volume it's been in months.

Walking up Hillhurst, Mike and I encountered patches of people standing on corners, talking into cell phones, trying in vain to take far-away night shots on inadequate digital cameras, all staring north toward our beloved Griffith Park, which lay under a smoky and orange haze. (One benefit for anyone who could think of such a thing at a time like this was the sight of Los Feliz girls who were too bothered by the inferno to dress in more than a tank top and tight shorts before spilling out onto the street.) Between the corner-standers were a healthy number of streetside diners -- Tropicalia, Farfalla, the Japanese place, Puran's -- who would crane their necks toward the hill in between bites of roast chicken or angel hair pasta.

Traffic was diverted down a couple side streets, but the whole enterprise was admirably calm. I don't remember a single horn honk all night. Hudson was particularly proud of all the city-service vehicles and equipment lining Los Feliz Boulevard, at the ready to defend the village should the fire make its way down the hill.

The quiet good naturedness that permeated the air reminded me of the blackout of 2003 when I was in Cleveland. That and the fire tonight created situations where everyone in the neighborhood was concerned about the same thing, so day-to-day or night-to-night concerns were set aside, barriers among strangers momentarily cast aside.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

'Tis the Season


Griffith FIre5
Originally uploaded by cbg_rocketfever.
There's a reason they fly the red flag on days like this. A portion of Griffith Park is in flames, mere minutes from my apartment. Mike and I go hiking up there just about every week. I'll see if I can get up there tomorrow morning to survey the damage.








More photos from the Weekly (some by me).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Now THAT'S a Lemon


This, from Alethia Calagias, Queen of the San Fernando Valley and former State Newser:

Craig,

When I saw this lemon, I knew you would appreciate it... It is just so unbelievable... the size is totally incredible... and it's something that your friends and fans should see.

I came across it when visiting someone in North Hollywood. I asked her if I could have a lemon from her tree, as it was filled with several of these gigantic fruits. She said, "Sure. I have plenty more. If you don't take it, I'll have to throw it out." I couldn't let it go to waste. So Craig, here it is for you to share with the world.

Lemon stats:

Height: 6.5 inches
Diameter: 7 inches
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
Circumference: 20.5 inches

I attached a picture of the ridiculously huge lemon next to an ordinary lemon (7-inch circumference). The world's heaviest lemon weighed 11 lbs., 9.7 oz. This lemon is about 1/3 that size, but perhaps it's one of the largest lemons the San Fernando Valley has produced.


It's certainly the largest lemon ever feature on Rocket Fever, A.C.!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

IT'S A NEW DAY IN GREAT HAVEN*

(Logo by Bill Joyce)

Hudson & Gaines Episode 15 is now, and we submit that it's going to blow you away. This show includes:

  • A blockbuster, in-studio announcement from Lynn Jepson
  • Hudson sweating bullets
  • New spots that take it to another level
  • A RAUNCHY, INFLAMMATORY, JUST-TELLING-IT-LIKE-IT-IS, KEEPIN'-IT-REAL NEW TRACK FROM GREAT HAVEN'S HOTTEST NEW ACT

If you like this show as much as we think you will, please do us a favor and introduce a friend to the show. All three of us put our heart and soul into H&G, and it means the world to us when you e-mail us (goatlord44@gmail.com) or leave a MySpace comment.

We truly appreciate the impatience shown by great fans like Brett, Mike L., the Davises, Carey, and everyone else. Keep up the pressure! You want your next episode, now, and we love that! It gives us the energy to produce/edit, compose music, scour the Net for crazy show ideas, assemble the needed equipment, cajole friends into making appearances, and do all the other things required to put out this podcast.

So enjoy the show, folks. It's a great day in the Fountain City.


*Firefox users are having some issues with the Feedburner page. No problem: Either switch to Explorer, or try us on iTunes by searching "Hudson & Gaines" from the podcast page.

Pigeon in the Laundry Room!

This is why we close the window in the laundry room. I don't know how these little rats found there way in, but there you go. There's another shot on my Flickr page of the nest they were building on a water heater. I asked to see a copy of their lease, but they flew off without a word.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Franklin Avenue Love

The folks over at Franklin Avenue were kind enough to link to my rant about the Bank of America branch. This is a great L.A. and Los Feliz blog, and I encourage you to stop by every once in a while.

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Legal-spiritual intrigue in Lansing! You know, I never heard about any of the Three Stooges suing for all the injuries they suffered during their falls.

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The Other Style Council seems to be reviving itself. Stay tuned ...

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Dr. Hot Crap, I am going to whip up a post in the nearest of futures with all lacking bits of information. I got you, baby.