Adventures in Los Angeles: Day 3

Friday, our last day at my brother’s apartment. We were off to look at more art. This time we went to the La Luz de Jesus Gallery the epicenter of “low-brow” art. I’ve been wanting to visit the place for a few years now. I’v also got a few friends who’ve had their works displayed there recently. I’m considering submitting some of my work, so i’m brainstorming on some themes and style. The gallery has an amazing store as well, with some interesting toys, jewelry and a fantastic selection of books covering art of all sorts.

My only complaint about the place is the staff. They are jerks who apparently find it beneath them to respond to a polite “hello” or “How are you doing?”. Kristen and I were the only people of color in the store, and I’ve dealt with enough people to recognize a more discreet form of racism. Apparently being a caucasian check-out clerk who dresses like a bum in a trendy gallery is somehow superior to me. Strange they can sell statues of my gods, but can’t actually treat me nicely. I wonder if they’ll kiss my ass if I ever get my work displayed there.

Anyways we then got some lunch (back to Palm’s Thai – sorry no Elvis at lunch) and then went out in search of the Pacific Design Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was a little dissappointed. Apparently, the MOCA is split into 3 facilities and the one we went to was a very small display space covering 2 floors. We saw the work of a Cuban artist who is also an architect. He creates many models of utopian designs for educational centers as well as interesting mixed media work. Usually a diptych of blacnk and white photos of a location. One before, and one after the main building has been demolished. He then recreates the outlines of the building over the original location. Interesting exhibit but also dissapointing since that space was so small. We should’ve hit the La Brea Tarpits instead!

Now it was time to head for Torrance. We were going to stay with Andre and Miriam for the next 2 days. They’re wonderful hosts and they took us up to Santa Monica to the Monsoon Cafe in Santa Monica. Really excellent food in a setting that makes you feel you’re dining in French Indo-China!

We ended the evening rather late… Andre and I stayed up playing video games and making gin & tonics!

Stay tuned for Day 4…

Adventures in Los Angeles: Day 2

We began the day by shopping for a replacement camera. While we were out we bought some stuff for Swaga’s apartment, and grabbed lunch at the Jones Cafe. First time I’ve ever had wasabi mashed potatoes. The day was really low-key till the evening. We met up with my brother and hit a fantastic sushi joint. Wish I could remember the name of the place!

Then we were off to a special party for LA Gear shoes…by invitation only of course. A huge nightclub space, with DJs spinning their music, cameras and tons of hollywood hipsters everywhere. I think LA Gear is updating their image and they used this party to give away shoes from their new line. My brother was lucky to get on the freebie list and scored a fancy pair of shoes. The bar was sponsored by Bacardi Rum, so the booze was flowing and we only had to pay tips. Afterwards, we hit a birthday party for an ex-coworker of my brother’s. We went to the Bungalow Club. Swaga seems to know somebody everyplace we go, so it was fun to watch him in action.

All in all it was a mellow and fun day. Stay tuned for the true story of Day 3!

Adventures in Los Angeles: Day 1

Vacation. This time Kristen and I decided to hit the City of Angels.

It was a wonderfully exhausting day. Highlights included 2 hours of sleep before our flight, and me getting angry at Alaska Airlines employees (check in only- flight crew were lovely). After landing and fetching our rental car, we stopped to eat at El Pollo Loco. Nothing like going to a Mexican themed fast-food when you can get authentic Mexican cuisine everywhere you look.

We then headed out to the new Getty Museum.
Beautiful location and amazing architecture and landscaping. It’s very eurocentric and the majority of the collection is neo-classical sculpture, renaissance and later paintings and decorative arts from the 1600s and onwards. After 5 hours of looking at art depicting the suffering of Christ and the martyrs of early Christianity, we felt it appropriate to take a break and get a snack outside. We went back to finish off the final wings of the museum. In a gallery containing amazing neo-classical sculpture we met Isak a wonderful eastern european man of 50 perhaps. The man has his hair shaved short and you can see the scar where his skull was cracked. He didn’t tell us what happenned to him, but he says the doctors were amazed he pulled out of a 21 day coma, and not only survived, but seemed to have no brain damage. I get the impression he’s ex-Russian military… but i could be wrong. In any case this friendly fellow said he knew i was truly a lover of art because I scrutiniezed the work of certain statues from every angle. He then proceeded to show us how to read the the serial numbers on any work at the museum to know if it belonged to the Getty or if it was a a loaner. He asked us to come back sometime soon and visit him. Looking forward to it. If you find yourself in that wing of the museum, tell him the Indian guy with the nice watch said he will eventually have his statue in that exhibit.

Next, we drove down from the hills and dived into Hollywood. We were on our way to meet up with my younger brother. He works in television production and has lived out there for about 5 years now. We had an hour or more to kill, so we explored his neighborhood which is sort of sandwiched between Little Armenia and Thai Town. The craziest thing was the huge Church of Scientology compound just a few blocks from Swaga’s place. We walked around and took pictures of the place. Spooky. Why does L. Ron Hubbard keep publishing books from beyond the grave? Why are so many celebrities into this “cult”? Eventually we met up with my brother but while I was walking with our luggage my digital camera slipped off my belt and landed in the street. It was run over a few seconds after, but we didnt realize that till 5 minutes after we’d settled into my brother’s apartment. I ran out, frantically searched the car then saw it out int he middle of the street. I snatched it up and opend up the pouch as i walked back to the apartment. The camera was smashed up, and i’m not sure what’s holding it together. Everyone was shocked to see it, but amazingly the SD Card was fine. Instead of getting upset I decided that the next morning I’d get a new camera. (Stay tuned for the digital camera autopsy, I’ll be posting those pictures soon!)

It was just after 8 and we decided to get dinner. Swaga took us to Palm’s Thai Restaurant. This place is always packed. The prices are cheap and the food is AMAZING. Easily one of the best 5 thai restaurants i’ve ever eaten in. The place is loud and jumping with activity as the band played early Beatles covers and other pop-rock hits of various eras. After they left the stage, Thai Elvis hit the stage. I think he’s one of the owners of the place. Anyway, if you close your eyes, you’d think Elvis himself was singing 20 feet from you. Hit this place if your down in Hollywood.

Next stop downtown Hollywood. We tried to get to Mann’s Chinese Theater. We couldn’t get in due to the premiere of the movie remake of The HoneyMooners. We did see some celebrities including Ayesha Tyler, Gabriel Union and the fat bald Italian dude with the thin mustache… he’s a great character actor, and i’ve seen him in tons of stuff… as soon as I find his name i’ll update this entry.

After sometime we decided to go someplace else. We were off to The Abbey in West Hollywood. Cafe and restaurant by day, it turns into a gay, hollywood hipster and celebrity hotspot. We showed up as some show was wrapping up shooting. The place was packed and Swaga said it was a slow night! We spent a couple hours there and headed back home after 1am.

Stay tuned for Day 2!

Convoy to Fry’s

So yesterday I actually went into the office. We’re located about a half a mile maybe from Fry’s (the west coast chain of stores, otherwise known as the center of the universe for geeks). This one happens to have the B-movie Mayan Temple theme. So Rod (master of IT) says, “Hey guys who wants to go to Fry’s?” Asking this question in a room full of geeks is like shaking your keys in front of a dog. The excitement quickly grew and we ended up with a raiding party of 6. So we all piled into Rod’s MotorHome and drove to Fry’s in style.

Spices II

Also last night, Kristen and I ate at Spices II. Lately we’ve been hooked on Taiwanese food and this place is another excellent and very affordable restaurant. This place also has the distinction of being the only Chinese restaurant I’ve gone to that did not have chili sauce available on the tables. Why? Because this place is the spiciest restaurant I’ve been to. Even the water is spicy! OK, just kidding…but if you’re in San Francisco and you’re not a spice-fearing pansy, this is a place you’ve got to try! Check out Spices II.

Alexis & OLDBOY

Yesterday was fun. Kris and I hooked up with a very old friend of ours, Alexis. Thai food and good conversation were followed up by a mad drive across town to the Embarcadero Cinema to see an amazing thriller from South Korea called “OLDBOY”. This movie was intense, insane, disturbing and riveting. It helps if you can appreciate random and twisted humor. We topped off the night with cocktails at our usual joint.

So dig it: This crazy guy was once a normal family guy. Gets kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. Then he’s released and is told he’s got 5 days to figure it all out. So go see it. You can hit the official site here or read about it at Rotten Tomatoes.

The Anniversary Report

Yeah it’s been awhile since my last post. Things have been hectic to say the least. So
today is a huge double anniversay for me and the wife. 5 years married
and 14 years together. Its amazing where life leads two people who met
in highschool.

So why the radio silence? Well first there’s
work. I’m the webmaster for UltraCade Technologies, purveyors of fine
arcade gaming entertainment. Check us out at www.ultracade.com

Other highlights include my wife’s dance company, Element Dance Theater
recently peformed down in Los Angeles… Venice to be exact. It was a
great trip, and Element’s most recent work “Zoetrope” is nothing short
of amazing.

What else? Well, I’m working a few freelance gigs
including an illustration/postcard & poster design that’s almost
approved. I’ll be posting that soon. I’m also playing World of Warcraft
occasionally. Best MMORPG I’ve ever played. I say occasionally because
you can actually play for 30 minutes and feel you’ve accomplished a
small set of goals. Great gameplay and the community so far has been
fun and helpful. If you’re ever on the Kilrogg server – look me up on
the alliance faction. (my characters are Shankar and Isharah).

stay tuned for more announcements soon. =)

Middle Eastern? Who? ….What?

Random title I know. Ok, so this has been bothering me since last week, when Kris and I hooked up for dinner with one of her cousins. Cool guy, he’s known me for close to 12 years or so. We’re not super-close mind you, but we dig hanging out together and we’re family now. He was describing some Middle Eastern reastaurant on Haight Street. Hookahs, belly dancing…the whole 9 yards. Couldn’t remember the name and said, “Well it’s the only Indian place down there.” That’s when it hit me. It seemed natural to him to interchange Middle Eastern and Indian.

Sure I’ll admit I was offended a bit. Much respect to Middle Eastern people, but they would be offended a little if someone said they were Indian. It’s like if I decided to insist my cousin was Japanese when infact he is Chinese. After I corrected him in this manner, I could say from his look that he was confused. I destroyed some of his assumptions.

I was disturbed on 2 levels. First, we Indians are South Asian. India is not in the Middle East. We’ve got a whole freaking “sub-continent”. Second, for the last 12 years, he’s probably believed that I personally, was Middle Eastern. Didn’t even know that I am a Hindu. That my mother tongue is Bengali. That culturally Indian and Arabic culture have very little overlap. The little details that you’d think family would know. I guess I’m still a little bitter about it. Oh well, I’ll get over it. He’s a great guy and there’s no love lost. We’ll get it straightened out.

Pre-Oscar End of the Week Report

Well, now that I’ve come off of my bitter post entry (see the post immediately after this…) I’ve decided to go on having a good evening. In general the week was good. Hectic but still good. Work is going well and as soon as we launch the new site I’ll post the link out here.
3 weeks ago I redesigned and launched the website of my pal Tom Denmark. This guy is an amazing illustrator. You can see Tom’s work at Studio Denmark

Mose Allison, Burning Skulls and Chinese New Year

Been really busy. Hopefully I can start posting more often. The new job kicks ass. I still get to work from home, and from appearances it doesn’t seem like my life has changed all that much.  Ok, so happy Chinese New Year!  New Year’s Eve dinner with the inlaws was cool. I hadn’t seen them in awhile. So far this year has been great – I hope it’s a sign of things to come. Thursday night the wife and I went to Yoshi’s (Sushi & Jazz) at Jack London Square in Oakland. We went to see Mose Allison, my favorite jazzman. My friend Walt introduced me to Mose’s music 11 years ago. He described him as “Blues went to college.” Infact, he earned a PhD in sarcasm, irony, clever rhymes and virtuosity on the piano. Seeing him live was thrilling. After 54 years on the road, the man’s voice is beautiful and fingers haven’t slowed down one bit. I hope he comes back later this year.

Did I say burning skulls? I just finished a poster for The Skegs, a local surf band. Check it out!

Tourist Trap gig poster

 

Hotel Rwanda

Hi. Just got back from watching the movie Hotel Rwanda starring Don Cheadle. This is probably the best movie I’ve seen in the
last year. It’s an intense film, and one that shouldn’t be missed. For some reason, among its various Academy Award nominations it hasn’t been given one for Best Picture. Hollywood jackasses.

It made me think that with all the problems in the world, like the Darfur genocide in Sudan, that if the US will actually do something this time. Various people in the media have said the key to making the
world love and respect the US would be to actually do helpful things around the world instead of just showing up and blowing things up. I wish we took our troops out of Iraq (they don’t want us there anyway),
finish the job in Afghanistan (rebuild and capture that bastard Bin Laden) and help people out in Sudan and anywhere else people are being oppressed. Idealistic? Definately. Go see the movie.

2005: Chapter 1

Happy New Year to all.

That tsunami is one hell of a way to start the new year. Donated a little to UNICEF’s tsunami relief fund. We gave what we could, but I wish I could do more. If someone could pay my plane fare to India, I’d gladly help clean up. Interestingly, India has refused any official foreign aid (that is money donated by countries, not charitable organizations) feeling that it is more than capable of dealing with the domestic damage. India infact, rushed $23 million to Sri Lanka within hours of the disaster, and dispatched a hospital ship to Banda Aceh in Indonesia. Just a bit of Indian Pride for the day!

Some good news – my friend and fellow Bengali, Abir was vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami hit, but thankfully he is fine. Looking forward to his return.

So this is December…

Life just seems to get crazier by the week.
After the Infamous Ebay Massacre of ‘04, I luckily found some work at Rio Audio (they make some killer MP3 players). I really love the projects I’m working on, and I’ve created some kick ass stuff for my portfolio. And, working for my friend Tom is always both educational and fun (i’ve contracted with him a few times before).Christmas is just around the corner so my usual winter-bitterness has kicked in. I hate this time of year! Client payments get delayed, the days get shorter, people turn into world-class jerks everywhere. How about doing something nice for the people in your life instead of trying to do outdo eachother in buying presents? Idiots.

Speaking of crazy jackasses, some moron walked up on stage the other night and killed Dimebag Darrel and 3 fans at the last Damageplan concert. It’s rock n roll legend now being as he was killed on the anniversary of John lennon’s murder. I never liked Pantera’s lyrics, singers or their politics but Dimebag rocked. Talk about a serious guitarist! I was really looking forward to seeing where Damageplan went… new singer, and Darrel rocking with his brother Vinnie(drummer) again. Anyway the gunman is dead and that’s pretty much the end of the story.

Bad storm occurred on Tuesday. We lost power for almost 2 hours, so Kris and I had ourselves a latenight dinner picnic. Yeah picnic – we made sandwiches, ate chips and drank bottled water by flashlight.

Post-Thanksgiving Blues

Well, it’s certainly been a long week. Let’s just get to it. Ebay screwed me. I jumped through all the hoops to score the contract. After waiting a week and a half for my start date I received a phone call saying “sorry we ultimately couldn’t get you approved. We’ve been ordered to stop spending across the board. Have a Great Thanksgiving!” My first instinct was to yell “Go to hell!” but I kept it professional and pleasant. Welcome to my world. I guess the worst thing is they had me clear my calendar through January. Now I’m scrambling to find some new clients.

Thanksgiving itself was good, we did the usual practice of splitting time with both of our families. A bit of a health scare from Kris’s grandfather but in the end everything turned out alright.

Working on the next version of the site and a bunch of illustrations. Stay tuned…

Another Audition…

My '62 Reissue Fender Stratocaster
My '62 Reissue Fender Stratocaster

Well this was my 2nd band audition this week. Jammed with a guy named Bill McLauglin, who plays a pretty mean bass. He plays in a very aggressive manner. He wants to do a combination of surf and hard rock and punk. Anyway, we had a decent jam. Not sure if he’ll call me back for another jam. Our styles weren’t exactly similar, but it’s not entirely impossible that he may call back. In any case, I’ll keep working on my own music till I get another band together.

Excitement continues…

My '62 Reissue Fender Stratocaster
My '62 Reissue Fender Stratocaster

So last night after my last post actually, I had my “audition” with Larry Chandler of local surf band, The Skegs.  Well it was more of a get to know eachother and jam session. It was a good first meeting. Larry plays in a very flowery, atmospheric way.  Almost lyrical (if you can imagine a guitar behaving lyrically).  My approach to surf music is more angular with edgy chords. I like to play in an aggressive manner.

We mostly showed eachother some of our newer songs we had been writing, and we had a few moments of synchronicty. We both saw there would be some great potential for our dueling guitars to create some fun and exciting music. I hope he calls back and wants me for another jam.

On the job front, I just signed my paperwork with Ebay today. I can’t wait to get started!

Working on a new pinup illustration… stay tuned for me to post when it’s done.

Starting a New Blog

Well, here I go again with a new blog!

A lot of exciting things happenning right now. First I’ll be
starting a contract gig with Ebay soon. Things have been good artistically as well. I think I’m finally out of my “post-art school depression.” I feel like I used to before college – I’m actually drawing 4 or 5 nights a week again.

Last year I got into a comic book called Hawaiian Dick. Picture Hawaii around 1955. Hard bolied detectives and a splash of the supernatural makes this a fantastic cocktail. Currently I’m reading the second series and decided to post something on their official message board. The author and artist of the series said they like my work!!!

Anyway, here’s the piece I posted:

thebigtiki_001

The Incredibles, the Zoo and more Inspiration…

It’s been a busy but fun weekend. Saturday afternoon, Kris and I picked up Mom and went to see Pixar’s The Incredibles.
In a word, it was simply incredible! Taking elements from comic books and classic Bond films and creating a wonderful new world without stooping to parody. It’s quite clear to me the movie was created more out of love or as an homage to the genres. Go see it now. I can’t wait
to see it again!

Today we hit the San Francisco Zoo. I hadn’t been there since the summer of ‘82. We had a great time and saw all sorts of beautiful animals. The new grizzly bears (who happen to be sisters) were really
shy today and we never got to see them. Polar bears and spectacled bears took care of my bear fix and we were on our way.

It’s been an inspiring weekend. I’ve got a storm of new illustration and design ideas flying around my head. Going to do a lot of drawing after dinner… that is if I can stay away from Half Life 2!