Friday, December 8, 2006

Big Japan

The inaugural post. Here we go.

So, I used to dubiously refer to LA band Big Japan as Adam Brody’s Vanity Project, but I’ve seen them four different times now and all the guys are so sweet and talented that I feel it’s time they got their due. Also, Brody may be the least vain person ever. Big Japan. Learn it. Live it. Love it. The band was the penultimate performance on Saturday night at The Viper Room in Los Angeles (a fairly dubious location in its own right and if you were born before 1985, you know why.)

Our evening begins w/ an overpriced cab ride from the ‘SC area to West Hollywood (LA should embrace the wonder that is MUNI,) and some confusion as to how to pick up our tix. The Viper Room is definitely working the “we’re cooler than you” vibe made complete by the indiscernible street entrance. I nearly expect Miracle Max to appear behind the door. Thwarted by my geeky girl naiveté, we abandon finding willcall and walk up Sunset to Frankie and Johnny’s Pizza, famous for a bevy of celeb autographs scrawled in sharpie across the walls. Celeb may be generous. (Demi Moore? Yes. Traci Bingham? Not so much.) Good house merlot (begot through my overly scrutinized and completely legal id,) caesar salad and a shared pizza margherita that went mostly uneaten.

45 min. later and encouraged by the merlot, we’re back in front of The Viper Room. Fortunately, the doors have opened and the side entrance now features a bouncer and faux velvet rope which clears up the whole “how do we get in” quandary from before. Willcall put me on a clipboarded list (a different list experience than say, perfect attendance or registered voter.) Minimal scrutiny of id, tiny carpeted hallway, blue stamp on inside wrist and we enter The Viper Room. Small. And red.

My favorite bar in college was a place called The Red Room, a name that suggested the decor as somewhat anomalous in the world of drinking establishments. So far as I can tell, nearly ALL bars and clubs embrace red for theme and mood. A move somewhat bizarre in and of itself. Come drink at our place. Its ambiance is one of eternal damnation. And hookers. The Viper Room doesn’t stray from this den of iniquity norm. A few booths, tiny stage, bathroom stalls the size of study carrols. Next time the Lilliputians are in We Ho, they’ll feel right at home here. As the underfed, overcoked starlets who share their stature do, I’m sure. The insanely diminutive factor worked to our benefit however, when later, we were pressed up against the band in the corner of the room they had claimed as their own.

After the second band’s set (Red Skelton. Check ‘em out,) while nursing my second cranberry and vodka at the back of the room, we’re approached by the arriving band members. Ok, my friend kinda sorta knows the Big Japan guys, enough that they recognize her anyway. I’ve seen them up close and personal three times in two months so I harbor the delusion that I’m possibly familiar looking as well. (By the way, I know I’m totally not. I dubiously refer to this blog as Geeky Girl’s Vanity Project, though.) Lead singer Nathaniel approaches my friend with a hug (Aw.) and asks if we’ve “seen Adam yet?” Yes. The Adam. No, unfortunately we have not. (Current state: Just finished my third drink on a relatively empty stomach. Current mood: GIDDY!)

A few minutes later, Adam walks in and also stops by us to “Hey, how’s it goin’?” and hug my friend. (Jealous.) This is where I could go all fangirl about exactly what he looks like, but I’ll save the squeeing for our later interaction. Adam’s followed by Bret Harrison (the super cute star of Fox’s The Loop. It comes back in March. Watch it.) Full disclosure: The Brody sighting has thrown me a bit (the alcohol hasn’t helped) and I miss the entrance of the rest of their entourage including fourth bandmate, Brad. I do however notice when someone touches my arm to smile and say “excuse me.” It’s Adam’s agent, the real Kevin Volchok and he’s there with gf (and stylist of Rachel,) Nicole. If any of that means anything to you, I’m sure you’re appropriately excited right now.

The third band begins (Carina Round. Check ‘em out.) and I’m disturbed by how intensely (and unsuccessfully) the lead singer is channeling Karen O. It’s distracting when we’re trying to “be cool” AND sustain a closeness to the band. As Brody makes his way past us to the bar, he kinda waves and smiles again and I see my chance.
Bolstered by booze: “Adam, when does In the Land of Women come out?”
He can’t hear me and thus, touches my arm and leans down so he can hear the repeated question.
“April 20th.”
“What?”
Yelling closer to my ear: “April 20th. Go see it.” (As if we wouldn’t, Brody.) My friend chimes in that we’ll be stoned.
Adam: “What?”
Me: “We’ll be stoned apparently.”
Adam approves. He probably will be, too. (In the Land of Women comes out April 20th. Go see it.)

Glancing around their booth/corner, I have the completely inexplicable (and somewhat creepy) reaction to seeing someone famous; hey, I know that person. Said person is Kyle Howard, the quintessential “Hey, it’s that guy” for Gen Y. He was in Orange County and more recently, the WB’s Related (Lost fans may know it as the show responsible for foisting Kiele Sanchez onto our radar.) It’s a fairly random sighting so I lean over to my friend to confirm. She has no idea who he is and has never seen Orange County. Blasphemy. I will not take the time to enumerate all of the reasons why Orange County is awesome, but it totally is. And, Bret Harrison is in it which I share w/ the clueless friend. She didn’t know that. But, I add, (spoiler alert) he dies in the beginning. She’s truly disheartened to learn this. She’s also drunk which may account for her disproportionate response to this knowledge. When Bret passes by us, she grabs his arm to ask if he is, in fact, in Orange County. He smiles and says yeah. But, I add, you die. (Scintillating contribution, Geeky Girl.) Bret: “Yeah, I die.” This is where the alcohol contributes to and somewhat compensates for inane exchanges.

My liquor addled brain is trying to keep track of the various interaction I’ve had with the band members so far. Nothing too substantial. Time, I think, for a Heineken. While I’m at the bar, my friend is approached by Bret’s gf, Lauren, who she also kinda knows. Lauren is a sweetheart and much more generous with the hugs than any of the boys. Though, in their defense, she probably isn’t mauled and annoyed by 14 year old girls on a regular basis and thus, is less possessive of her personal space. The boys have disappeared to the stage so we make our way to the front of the room. Big Japan! Appropriate cheering and clapping. They play the new song first. A relatively short set, but they’re fantastic, high energy, and clad in Chuck Taylors. Everything you want from a performance by cute indie guys. Following the set, we make our way back to their corner. Great job, guys. They’re very gracious and appreciative.

I’ve noticed that random pretty blondes tend to accompany LA bands so it’s no surprise, two or three are sitting in the Big Japan booth. But my friend leans over to say that she thinks that’s Ashlee Simpson. This sighting is not so random since Ashlee is BFF of the aforementioned Lauren. Still, Ashlee Simpson. (And she’s fucking unrecognizable w/ her new face.) As Ashlee’s leaving, my friend grabs her arm to ask “Are you Ashlee Simpson?”
She is.
Friend: “I love you.”
Ashlee: “Oh, you’re so sweet” and holds my friend’s hand.
I manage a smile and a “hi” before she goes. Though, I do wonder at my immediately identifying Kyle Howard while Ashlee Simpson (in her new face?) Not so much.

Speaking of Kyle Howard, his back is to me but Adam is sort of facing us (my friend is talking to Bret and Lauren about something) so I finally ask, “Adam, is that Kyle Howard?” He smiles and affirms that it is. He also kind of looks at me like he can’t believe I know the guy’s name. (GG: Applying useless information in her everyday life since the early nineties.) Adam wants to get through the crowd and I touch his back as I move out of his way. It’s probably not necessary.

My friend now wants more confirmation that Bret dies in Orange County. He does. But, Lauren and I assure her, it’s funny. She’s not convinced. So we start quoting the movie. (Seriously, Orange County. Check it out.) The band is ready to take off and us drunk girls should probably move on as well. I ask Bret if The Loop comes back in January? He says, no, March. Ouch. There’s some discussion of how much Fox sucks since they keep screwing over The OC as well. Then, the boys leave and we head out to the sidewalk to call our cab, but Bret darts back into the club to get something. One painfully outdated (and drunken) Forrest Gump reference later, they’re gone for good. While we wait for our ride, a shorter, hairier, OLDER bouncer in a Yankees cap starts to talk to us. He wants my friend to take him to ‘SC parties. Creepy. An even more overpriced cab ride concludes our evening of partying like rock stars w/ young Hollywood. Well, not really. But as sightings go, it was a pretty amazing one. Also, I would guess this is the most Kyle Howard’s full name has ever been mentioned in a blog so Kyle Howard, on the off chance you read this, please comment.
Next up: If the insomnia kicks in, scenes from a Houston layover.
Otherwise, PARIS!

2 comments:

cdgeiger said...

Hee. I'm "(drunk) friend!" Also, Forrest Gump is never outdated. Nope! :P

Whitney said...

excellent inaugural entry. although i'm too old to understand most of the references, i appreciate the storytelling and witty sidenotes. keep the posts coming! also, you will probably get search traffic from random's who share an interest in Kyle Howard.