Bon Voyage, Palms Thursdays :: The End of an Era

So the time has come. We always knew one day it would. But as much as James and I love making enough money on Thursdays to buy a post-shift brew, we must bid a warm adieu to our maiden DJ shift. For almost three years now, we've been skipping up to Saints in the daylight hours and stumbling home at night, our liver meat spruced and made ready for Fridays. It always struck us as strange how many Friday regulars DIDN'T know we DJ'd on Thursdays....but that's where we got our start, and in alot of ways, Thursday has been our favorite night. It was the perfect training grounds. Unfortunately, there are tours and shows to book, albums to release, empires to put finishing touches on, and Westwood babies to feed soon...so we gotta chalk up what aint makin cents.

So next Thursday, June 4th, we invite those of you who have never hung with us on a Thursday afternoon to come see us make magic happen one last time. And if you're one of our Thursday regulars, come on through for old times sake.

To give you guys a little historical perspective, here are some Phun Phacts about Palms Thursdays that you might find of interest. And yeah, I typed "Phun Phacts", what the phuck is it to ya.

Phun Phact #1)
Chip James Gave Us Our Break

Yeh, that guy. So one crisp Indian Summer day in 2006, I walked in to Saints & Sinners to follow up on a mix CD that James had dropped by the bar. It was my second time at the bar, my first being the night before, when Nzinga and I breezed through impromptu to be spellbound by the demonic charms of Jeffrey Dammit. For the newbies, I can only describe Mr. Dammit as a hellspawned scarecrow with a voice like two baby tigersharks rubbing against each other in a sandbox. He poured at least two pints of Jameson in his mouth that night while Q Lazzarus' "Goodbye Horses" played for what seemed like hours. Needless to say, I was sold on the bar and had to DJ there.

The next day, I walked in to follow up on the CD and Chip James was there. I think I said "Hey man, my boy dropped off a CD here a few weeks ago and hasn't heard back from you...." or something like that, and he just replied with a curt "Well, I didn't like your boy's taste in Rock so much, but fuck it, you guys are hired. You start next week." I couldn't understand how we got hired so easily.

At the time, I thought it was because I was a bearded Black dude in a shirt that said "Brooklyn Brewery" and a hat that said "Harlem" and I was reeking of New York City. Maybe he figured I had to be at least a half-decent DJ, which he would've been grossly incorrect about at the time. But now, looking back, I think he just saw in me a chance to endlessly request Rappin' Fortay's "Playaz Club" every gotdamn week and sexually harrass James.

And he did both, and continues to do so whenever he sees us.

So we started that next week, and the rest is history. Thanks, Uncle Chip. This one's for you:

Rappin Fortay - "Playaz Club"

Phun Phact #2) We Had A Palms Thursday Commercial

Ever seen it?

Phun Phact #3) I Didn't Know Crazy Jason's Name For Like, 2 Years

As indicated by this flyer I made, in which I tagged him as "Chris", nearly a year after we had been kickin' it. Judging by his face, he could give a flyin rat's ass what I was calling him.

Phun Phact #4) Jorge's Real Names are "Kaptain Kickout" and "Brian Seltzer"

On a Thursdsay night near the beginning of our tenure, a night that reigns as the Valhalla of Jorge antics, our fair local fairy earned two names. "Brian Seltzer" was the first. On this night, one of our regulars brought through a lady friend of his, who by the end of the night was basically masturbating in a chair and sucking the skin off some random dude's fingers while a topless Whore-hay groaned and massaged her ankles. In an attempt to keep some civility afoot, Chip sprayed Jorge with the soda-gun, which prompted him to get on the bar and start furiously rubbing seltzer water into his chest. It was some Passion of the Christ shit.

Minutes later, Jorge was rubbing on himself all over the bar, entirely bathed in water.

Chip kicked him out.

And Brian Seltzer/Kaptain Kickout was born. I think we figured out that his name was Jorge a few weeks later.

Phun Phact #5) DJ Lee Would DJ After Us

Just thought yall should know. We never really mentioned it. I guess better late than never.

Phun Phact #6) One Summer, We Brought $1 Tacos to Saints & Sinners

Yeh, now THAT was a magical summer. Southy on drinks, me and James on decks, and regulars galore. And we had tacos to make you punch ya moms in the face on the patio....if you weren't there, sorry ya missed out. We had plates like this for four bucks. Shoot yourself:

And the most killer Lemon Drop in the business (courtesy of Southy, the OG Thursday crew bartender). Those were the days....

So come hang out with Nick Amado and ya boys for our last two Thursdays at Saints. We'll put up some toasts to old times and welcome the new, as we open up some time an energy to figure out new ways to entertain you while simultaneously killing ourselves in a new setting when Big Foot West gets crackin' down the street. Ever heard the sound of a coffin opening?



kindly note the worker not behind counter.

UNTIL RECENTLY, I ALMOST ALWAYS FIXED MY MORNING CAFFEINE DOSE AT HOME on my Tarje coffeemaker, a.k.a. Fisher Price's My First Coffee Machine. A carton (well, cylindrical container) of coffee from Trader Joes is $7, and that normally lasts me a couple of weeks, unless it's Crunch Time, which it's never not. But for the last few months, I have been acquiring my morning mug 'o mud from the new Coffee Bean stall inside the Ralphs in the Culver Center across the street.

Now, why would the man whose last post made it clear that his finances are currently best measured in cents spend almost ten dollars a week on coffee? Three reasons. First, the coffee I make at home tastes like shit. Hot, heavily diluted motor oil comes to mind. Obviously, or maybe not so obviously, I've never (yet) drank hot, heavily diluted motor oil, but it comes to mind nevertheless. Second, since I "work" from home, that morning walk down the block is often the only air I get all day that isn't loaded with marijuana smoke, swine flu germs and the scent of beagle-chihuahua crap. Finally, the Coffee Bean stall in Ralphs is a fucking hoot, from the lawn furniture thoughtfully placed in front to the surly young security guard who eyes me murderously whenever I walk in wearing my blood-red Alife shoes.

Consider this morning's outing, if you will. Waiting for me at the sliding doors was a crusty, middle-aged man of homeless origin, looking and acting distinctly less insane than he was last time I saw him in much the same spot, yammering away to himself through slobbery lips, dressed something like Jesus after a long fall down a filthy hill.

In a stroke of luck, Dolly, the woman who works the Coffee Bean stall, was behind the counter when I walked up. Normally when I show up, several grumpy people are milling around the cashier area straining to look like they're not being helped, at which point one of the Ethiopian or possibly Eritrean deli women will beg Dolly at least several times via supermarket intercom to return to the CB counter. Eventually she will show up, explicitly remind everyone in line of her daily break time, which always changes, and serve us our drinks in cups bearing the faint yet unmistakeable aroma of Marlboro Red.

When I got there today she was chastising a man in fluorescent shorts for spending thirty minutes taking the morning paper apart, reading it front to back and attempting to stealthily place it in a crumpled mass atop the pile of neatly folded newspapers he picked it up from. Then she regaled me with a story about a loud kid with Down Syndrome who was really getting on her nerves in the doctor's office yesterday.

But this morning's highlight was when the aforementioned hobo suddenly left his post by the sliding doors, sailed past me and Dolly at the CB counter and strode purposefully through the swinging kitchen doors behind the deli counter to a chorus of wails from the deli women. Seconds after Dolly tore him a new one via intercom, he walked sheepishly back out, claiming he "didn't see anyone behind the counter to pay". Mild disbelief aside, none of the staff seemed to particularly care. They even let him buy a chicken wing, which he ate on one of the lawn chairs. He left the bones on the table.

I kinda didn't wanna leave.



I'LL ADMIT IT. I didn't think much of this recession. BMWs still in the streets, and no babies floating in the river (and any parent who would throw their baby in the L.A. River is a special kind of sick), so to quote Sum, shut ya bloodclot whining. Well, today I see it like this: you can't eat a BMW, but you can eat a baby. So maybe it really is time to jumpstart the Westwood Baby project, even though I think we've missed the train for this Thanksgiving, even if two of us were to get started now. The fact that I have begun to subconsciously separate all the physical objects around me into what can, cannot, and could theoretically be eaten makes things plain. A man on talk radio was, um, talking about how his pet grooming service is on the skids the other day, and the host said people nowadays are more likely to eat their dog than pay to get it groomed. And truthfully, it does have me looking at my sisters' chihuahua/beagle in a different light. C'mon, you guys know you're tired of the little fucker.

Yep, I'm broke. No, I'm braowk. And while the last two weeks have been even more of a juggle than usual, the severity of my predicament didn't become clear to me until my grocery run this morning, which was inspired by a look in my refrigerator, whose contents then were:

limes (3)
garlic (cloves, 2)
unsweetened soymilk (half carton)
Greek peppers (half jar)
pasta sauce (quarter jar)
Korean quince tea sauce (jar)
South Indian mixed pickles (half jar)
barbecue sauce (half jar)

Some crunching of numbers thereafter, I concluded that a trip to the market was essential, even if it did mean some essential bills were going to remain unpaid by 5pm. They would have remained unpaid anyway, so hey. An hour later, I returned with

water (1 gallon)
corn flakes (1 carton)
oranges (3)
potatoes (5)
green beans (1 handful)
I prefer broccoli, but today's selection was all stem and no floret, and I can't be paying for all that dead weight.
salsa (1 jar)
tinfoil (1 roll)
paper towels (2-pack)
total: $14.06

I think I was pondering buying toilet paper AND paper towels or just paper towels since they're good for, you know, everything, when I realized I was at probably one of the lowest points in my 30 years of life. Which means I'm not having such a bad life. But still. Then I ran into Janet, who told me she went to sleep at 8:45pm last night because she had nothing to eat. The final straw was the news that Coppelia's has raised the price on their rotisserie chicken from $5.95 to $7.95. Granted, six bones for a succulent winged lizard was such a good deal that it bordered on the suspicious, but I still feel violated.

The term 'overdraft' is one that I remember hearing a lot in my household from as far back as memory serves me. Even hearing the word reminds me of my old Paddington Bear bedsheets. Debt is a fact of life - at least, a fact of MY life - and ultimately I'm at peace with my load. I live alone; single income, and nobody to split costs with. I'm self-employed and a bit daft, so a lot of my money goes into promotional projects that at least in the short-term seem ill-advised at best, like going even deeper in the hole to press up a shit-ton of copies of a record called Bankruptcy, and giving it away for free. Section 102.88 of The Hustler's Code says "a bad week only means you're one week closer to a good one", so next time I see you I may be back to my usual self, laying on a pile of bacon and avocado paninis while a buxom woman tries to aim truffles into my open mouth. But as for today, I'll sign off, as I think my potatoes are almost ready.


Legends at 30 Years Old...and Beyond

Sum here. Being that I'm an artist, I happen to hang out with a lot of artists. Not just rappers and DJs, but actors, photographers, film makers, and other various other creatures from Bohemia. Now that we're all getting a bit up in age, I'm starting to hear alot more whining about ticking clocks. Especially from rappers. In the hip-hop, there is some kind of unspoken rule that once you're over 28, it's time to throw in the towel. Understandable, because hip-hop has traditionally been the voice of the youth. At least that what it was when it started. But hip-hop is now a statesman among genres, and it's time for that to change. Especially if Sumkid has anything to do with it.

With all that said, I could give a fuck about being a 32 year old rapper, or rhyming at 58. It's what I was put here to do. Carpenters don't stop cutting wood, fishermen don't stop trapping trout, and the sun don't chill. So why should I? And I guarantee that I'm always going to be fresh, on the edge and one-of-a-kind. And I'm confident in this fact because I wouldn't be the first to hit with a gray hair in my beard. Here's a gift-list of influential and legendary artists that got mother's milk off their breath before they snatched their respective crowns.

Artists, shut ya bloodclot whinin', and take note.

Ghostface Killah


Ghostface was exactly 30 years old when his seminal sophomore LP Supreme Clientele dropped in early 2000. A twenty-something couldn't write Apollo Kids. Nowadays, he's easily the most consistent and heroic MC of our era...and it sounds like he just keeps getting better. He's on some Howlin' Wolf shit.

Joe Strummer


Joe Strummer, lead singer for The Clash, activist and spokesperson for the downtrodden was exactly 30 years old when Combat Rock dropped, widely considered his and The Clash's best piece of work, and definitely made the most waves. You might remember a single from that album called "Rock The Casbah"

George Clinton (w/Parliament)


George Clinton was 29 or 30 years old when he officially FORMED Parliament, and it was at least a year or so before they made real noise.

James Brown

James Brown was exactly 30 when he released his self-financed Live at The Apollo project, which effectively blew him up and began the waves of modern funk.

Johnny Cash


"The Man in Black" was 32 when he finally hit the charts with "Ring of Fire", hands down his biggest hit after years of trial and error.

Bruce Lee

The "Little Dragon", a martial artist but artist nonetheless, spent his whole life training for his 30s. He finally perfected his own style and workout, then maximized his strength by 31. He was deadliest at the time of his death, while filming his most popular film Enter the Dragon. He was just hitting his stride at 33.

Fela Kuti

The "Father of Afrobeat" was 29 when he dropped his legendary album Zombie and continued to make noise well throughout his 30s, revolutionizing music and message.

Marvin Gaye

Sure, Marvin had been around doing his thing since his 20s, but all the joints we really care about, he didn't write until his 30s. What he wrote as a youth made him a star, what he wrote in manhood made him a legend. He was 29 when he penned "I Heard it Through The Grapevine", and 32 when he scribed "What's Going On", the first in a string of masterpieces he would create in his 30s.

Muddy Waters


Muddy didn't get on until he was FORTY. He kept trying for two whole decades and kept running into road blocks. He moved back and forth between Chicago and Mississippi like twenty times and ate shit from the bottom of no-name blues players shoes'. But I guess that's what you gotta go through to become the Father of Chicago Blues. Can't get that kinda crown easy.

Martin Scorsese

Scorsese was 34 when he dropped the iconic Taxi Driver on us. It took him a while to get rolling, even though he was rollin with filmmaking royalty and had mad hook ups.

Tom Waits

Tom Waits was making albums forever before he got recognized for it. And much like Marvin Gaye, everything he did before Swordfishtrombones was just practice. He was 42 when he dropped that album, and from there, he became the experimental legend we know him as today. And it was at 42 that his career took off.

Willie Nelson

The "Red Headed Stranger" was 29 when he penned and dropped his first real hit "Crazy" with Patsy Cline. From there, it was smooth sailin, fresh braids and only the stickiest bud.

Leonard Cohen

I mean, Leonard Cohen didn't even THINK about recording music until he was 33.

And finally,

Chuck D

Where would we be if Chuck D told himself he was too old to rap? Dude didn't start his professional career until he was 28 when It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back dropped and 30 when Fear of a Black Planet hit.

Now...let's put some things in perspective...


thoughts on THE WESTWOOD BABY.

GUYS, IT'S ALL TOO MUCH. This is officially all too much for me. I like to think I'm more resilient than your "average" "thirty-something" "creative type" "working" at "home" in his "underwear", but resilient doesn't mean stupid, although in my case maybe it should. Even Superman needed help every now and then from that one crippled guy in the wheelchair. Wait, that was Superman. Okay, no analogies. I need help.

Those of you who know me know that I have more jobs than a Jamaican living in a city with a very low unemployment rate, but my favorite job is being the greatest rapper of all time, and I'm working on what will doubtless be the greatest album in the history of albums or history, Flighty. It will be the the definitive expression (and defense) of my lifestyle in 2009, and as such, I must focus. I must focus on being flighty. Led Zeppelin didn't record Houses Of The Holy on their off hours between working at the local Subway and selling pet insurance. They did it in a big building full of women and drugs and alcohol - which pretty much describes the building I live in. So I've almost got it right.

But this whole 'rent' thing is really chaffing my wick, you know? Really sloshing my flange. Actually, that sounds kinda fun. But you get the point. I have God's work on my plate, but ends still gotta get met. So I need reinforcements. Yes, dear Facebook poets, the answers to the mysteries of life and the universe lie within, but the keys to business and success are unattainable without the help of others. We all help each other out here on Westwood Block, but all too often it's too little, too late. And now that my youngest sister, next-door-neighbor, and former employee Frank has walked away from the family business like I was selling swine flu handshakes in the street, I do believe that it is time we Block residents start putting some serious thought into the idea of a Westwood Baby.

The term was first coined by Sum during a conversation in which Janet asked me if I thought I might have a passing interest in artificially inseminating her in the event that, somehow, no other member of the human race could be forced or otherwise persuaded to procreate with either of us in the span of the next five years or so. I told her the same thing I tell her every week when she asks: she's gonna have to get it outta me the old-fashioned way. No baby of mine is coming out of a bottle. But ever the pragmatist, Sum instantly saw the numerous practical applications of having a child on the block, which could be raised to log e-mail addresses, organize hard drives, hold camera lighting equipment, and all the other tasks that divert artists like us from fulfilling our destinies. We would obviously have to continue with our current workload until the baby is at least mobile enough to push staplers across the floor with its face, things of that nature, at which point it would be able to start taking some of the burden off us. But once it's old enough to make it from the couch to the TV without falling on its little baby hands, it's on and cracking. I'm never touching a cartridge of printer ink again.

I think it's time to take this serious. This is a recession. And President Powdered Toast Man said it's gonna get worse before it gets better, so let's get a drop on the situation. I don't know if Janet and I are necessarily the parents for the job; it's only logical that the newlyweds up the block take the reins on this one. All eyes on Sumzinga. Your baby will be big and strong from the finest wilted vegetables Habib's market has to offer. Jesse the bum from the Cafe Brasil parking lot will teach it how to box and change sparkplugs. And in return, the Westwood Baby will allow us all to realize our dreams of stardom by the time we're at least 50.

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