Billboard Bang for your Buck

Recently I discovered how easy it is to spend invisible money on iTunes in one sitting.  I mean really, without knowing it, or choosing to pretend the songs didn’t cost a thang, I purchased $26 worth of songs like it was nothin’.  And then it hit me, why would I continue spending money on music?  No, no.  Not that I mean to steal it.  I may be many things (Jewish), but I am not unethical.  Of course I’d pay for it, but pay for it smartly guys!  Jeez.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Spotify is a new music application that’s essentially the love-child of iTunes and Pandora and it’s FREE!  Spotify will literally change your life.  Consider this, unlimited music streaming ALL DAY LONG on your computer.  Now, for a measly ten bucks a month, you can have that same never-ending bank of unlimited tunes on not only your computer, but your phone too.  And you can play your beloved playlists offline, just as you would if you purchased songs from iTunes and had them readily available to you whenever you so chose, ad-free.  Yea, by now you’re doing the math.  That’s $120 for the year, for UNLIMITED songs.  Not 30, not 50, not even 100.  Unlimited songs yo!  Gym, car, party.  You name it, you’ll have your rad playlists wherever you and your digital appendage go.

This brings us to the Billboard Music Awards this Sunday.  Now you’re probably wondering how the Billboard Music Awards have anything to do with being budget friendly.  Time for some more math.  Let’s say you are a music fiend like me and want to purchase and download all of the nominees’ songs.  That’s over 40 categories with five nominees in each, hello! We’re now at at least 200 nominees, but what if you want to hear a whole album or even just a couple of an artists’ songs?  Wowza.  At this point, if you weren’t already, you’re probably singing a different tune.  Pun completely intended.

And here, kind Growing Up Golden readers, I give you a complete Billboard Music Awards Spotify playlist.  Give your ears the party they deserve.

Happy listening!

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JTJ: Walk this Way

Calling all art lovers sans plans for the evening!

Tonight, and the second Thursday of every month, is the free, self-guided, public art phenomenon known as The Downtown Art Walk.   The DAW brings art lovers and community folk together to celebrate the arts in Los Angeles’ ever evolving downtown.   Many of the DAW activities take place in and around the galleries predominantly on Spring and Main streets between 2nd and 9th streets.   However, there is a plethora of other activities should you choose to venture outward.  For the true art aficionados, early arrival to the DAW offers a more relaxed pace throughout the different galleries and art exhibits as many eventual attendees are still leaving work at that time.

When in Rome, or Downtown LA, make like the locals and veer off the art path and visit the surrounding shops, restaurants, and bars for the full downtownee experience.  If you’re feeling frisky and want a more upbeat scene, head over to the Art Walk Lounge for the SoBe “Try Everything Experience,” featuring DIY t-shirt screen-printing, full-sized free samples of SoBe’s 31 flavors, Spin Art by DJ Scratch Academy, Live art by CHASE, free bike valet service and free art walk maps!  Free, free and more free.

The lounge features a different theme each week and is located at located at 529  S. Spring St. and is open from 6-10PM.  The art walk galleries are typically open from 12-9PM during the event, however click here for more information on hours of operation and special exhibits.

Happy day before the weekend!

JTJ: Canon Concerts

It may be very last minute, but if you’re looking for something fun, festive and free tonight, then head over to the Beverly Canon Gardens for Concerts on Canon, featuring a variety of upbeat music from jazz and classic standards to Latin, Folk and Reggae.  Similar to the aforementioned Jazz at LACMA…but under the stars in the heart of Beverly Hills.

Set up camp in the Gardens with a picnic blanket and dining accoutrements, snag one of the first-come first-served seats, or enjoy this magical California venue from one of the surrounding outdoor restaurants, Montage, Bar Bouchon and Bouchon Bistro with full beverage service.  Decisions, decisions…

Dinner reservations are recommended for before or after showtime since this is a happening event amongst locals and not-so-locals.  For a complete list of nearby restaurants, consult the Canon Drive directory.

You’re probably wondering what the catch is to attend a free jazz concert in Beverly Hills.  Zip.  And get this, there’s even free parking under the Gardens with validation from the Information Table.

Concerts on Canon is every Thursday night through August 25, with shows at 6 and 7:15PM.  For the full summer schedule click here.

If jazz is not your bag, but you can’t resist live music, The Damnwells are playing at The Mint tomorrow night for a whopping $10 bucks in advance, or $12 at the door.  Can’t wait!

See you there, or see you at another time.

JTJ: I See London, I See France

If you are one of the lucky LA-ites that’s out of work or free after 6PM on a Wednesday, then head over to the lavish London West Hollywood where you can socialize, sip, savor and most importantly…SAVE.  That’s a word you don’t hear often in reference to a Hollywood hotel!

The London West Hollywood’s Wednesdays at Sunset is a chic and sophisticated, open-air twist on the traditional happy hour, with gourmet bites, the most special of specialty cocktails and of course, DJ-curated tunes.  This event takes place from 6-8pm through the end of the summer and is the only time outside guests are granted access to the hotel’s exclusive rooftop Pool Deck.

Entry to Wednesdays at Sunset is free, however a reservation is needed.

Panoramic views and personal space.  Love!

Music Monday

White men may categorically not be able to jump, but a few of them sure can rap…and this one will definitely surprise you.

Check out the first four tracks from Jared Ryan Shaw, and be on the lookout for his music video releasing soon!

It’s okay, you can claim you found him first.  I won’t mind ;).

JTJ: Fancy Friday

“…it’s Friday…you ain’t got no job…and you ain’t got sh*t to do.”

Okay so maybe you do have a job and things to do.  But if you don’t already have plans for the evening and like jazz, being outdoors, and avoiding the looming Carmageddon nonsense, then here’s a fun, le fance and free option for your Friday night!

Jazz at LACMA features a different jazz band each week – this week featuring the tribute band, Luther Hughes and Cannonball/Coltrane Project.  This evening’s concert will also feature a special Photographic Retrospective of the 20 years of “Jazz at LACMA,” showcasing eight LA photographers’ work capturing some of LACMA’s most magical jazz moments.  So if you haven’t been to JAL before, you can catch up on everything you’ve missed at this one-night-only exhibit!    And, to make Jazz at LACMA that much more enticing, Ray’s and Stark Bar is on-site so you can grab a bite to eat or an after-work beverage or seven while Luther Hughes and Cannonball/Coltrane Project jam out on stage.  I mean really, what could possibly be better than sitting, eating, drinking, and listening to some snazzy tunes?

For more on Luther Hughes and Cannonball/Coltrane Project, check out the band’s website for music and video samples.

Jazz at LACMA takes place every Friday through the end of the summer from 6-8PM and is free to the public.

BP Grand Entrance – 5905 Wilshire Blvd. (Central Court Area)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
lacma.org
(323) 857-6115

Click here for the complete summer jazz schedule.

JTJ: Music to Free Your Soul and Wallet

I find myself to be quite the little music aficionado frequenting live shows, constantly listening to Pandora, and always on the look out for new musical gems.  In the spirit of deals, I will add that Pandora is probably my number one way to discover new music being that it suggests similar artists or songs to the ones you already like.  Way to take the thinking out of it Pandora!  I mean really, we are forced to think about every other little thing, why think about which music you like?  I kid.  Sort of.

This brings me to my new love: Malbec.  In this instance I refer not to the wine, but the band.  However, I do love me a nice glass of the wine, but let’s stay focused.  Just yesterday I came across a song I instantly loved and listened to on replay.   The song I speak of was presented to me while listening to my new Pandora favorite, the Freelance Whales station.  Talk about great ambient sounds.   I unfortunately can’t take credit for the Freelance Whales find, but I am in love with their songs Hannah, Generator 1st Floor, and StarringThis ultimately led me to Malbec’s The Visit.  Check ’em out and let me know what you think!

Now, here’s another tip.  Once you’ve figured out the awesome new music you can’t live without and can’t afford to buy all of, visit this free iTunes substitute to create playlists and hear more of what your new fav bands have to offer.

Happy almost weekend!

JTJ

Welcome back to Growing Up Golden self and hello readers!  Yea, I disappeared, I know.  But hey, I’m back!  Whilst on my very extended hiatus, it occurred to both my bestiekins and I that I am neglecting my readers of some valuable knowledge I possess and it would be a crime to keep it from you.   So, without further ado, I present to you “Jen the Jew.”   What?!?!   How dare I use that word in jest?  But I do because it is just so perfect.  And well, we all know I love a good stereotype when I see one.  So it stays.   It’s origination comes from countless conversations with friends about deals I’ve found that are…to put it bluntly, cheap.  Don’t be confused though, cheap does not mean you can’t keep it classy kids.  I have a special talent for finding the most le fance food and fun for almost free.  So there you have it, cheap deals plus a Jewish girl named Jen equals “Jen the Jew.”  Voila!   JTJ segments will detail my latest and greatest finds throughout LA and the country, so stay tuned and find out how to be le fance on a budget.  Now, let’s all take our white wigs off and be honest…we’ve got a little Jew in us!

Mommy Issues

As you know, I recently graduated from the Second City Training Center in Los Angeles.  You may not know though that such people as Steve Carell, Jim Belushi, Tina Fey, and Mike Myers, those nobodies, are also products of Second City.   So is John Paul Karliak, whom I was fortunate enough to be in class with and perform with him on stage.  Talk about talent.  I mean I always knew he was a great improviser, but after seeing his one-man show that he also wrote, I’m just in awe.

J.P.’s Donna/Madonna is an incredibly moving nature vs. nurture story about his life, or semi-secretive life, with both his adopted mother, “Donna,” and his birth mother, “Madonna.”  Through storytelling, reenactments, song a la Bette Middler, and dance, J.P. keeps you at the edge of your seat waiting to see what will unfold next in his story.

Now although one-man shows are usually not mah thang – unless referred to as stand-up comedy – J.P.’s changed my perception altogether.  The entire show may be performed just by one person, however each character he plays feels as significant and well-rounded as when he is playing himself and you quickly forget you are watching one person do an entire show. That is called acting my friends.   This show is truly lovely and translatable to anyone who has a mother.

You don’t want to miss his last show, trust me.  I’m not giving my seal of approval because my friend needs help filling seats.  He by no means needs help doing that as it has been sold out weekly.  You should see it because it is talent, creativity, honesty and heart at its best.  See it…and then call your mom.

Celebration Theatre – August 31, 2010 @ 8PM
7051 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA‎
(323) 957-1884‎

The Sundance Shore

Now that I have fully recovered from my adventures at the Sundance Shore (clearly we were all very into the Jersey Shore and it made its way into many things following the finale), amongst other things I encountered when I returned back to LA, here is the complete rundown.  After surviving my flight to Salt Lake City that got struck by lightening mid-flight, I knew things could only go up from there.  Upon arrival, my girlfriends and I took a car into Park City and headed to the house that would become home for the duration of our stay, and let me tell you what an incredible house it was!  We met our roommates and soon after the festivities began.

I definitely tried not to spread myself too thin this year and plan my Sundance schedule reasonably.  I kicked off the weekend at the Gen Art 7 Fresh Faces in Film party co-hosted by 7 For All Mankind and hosted by actress Malin Akerman (“The Watchmen,” and “Couple’s Retreat”).  The 7 of the Fresh Faces being honored were Shawn Ashmore (“Frozen”), Amy Ferguson (“Douchebag”), Shiloh Fernandez (“Skateland”), Zoe Lister-Jones (“Armless”), Zoe Kazan, (“happythankyoumoreplease”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) & Kevin Zegers (“Frozen”).  After the Gen Art party I called it an early night to save my energy for the long days to come.  The change in altitude really does a number on you.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early to begin my day.  Sundance is not exactly a relaxing vacation, but more a weekend to cram in as much fun as possible.  Off I went to the Village at the Yard, one of the most popular gifting areas which also houses the T-Mobile Diner.  One of the best things about Sundance is that all of the festival food and beverages are free so I made sure to eat my meals there during the day.   The food was great and to order your drinks you either text or called the Beverage Station on one of the new T-Mobile myTouch phones at the center of your table.  The only negative about the diner was the hostesses.  Apparently customer service was not one of their concerns unless you happened to be a celebrity.  Speaking of celebrities, I definitely spotted a few while running around one of my favorite gifting suites there, Fred Segal Fun.  I stood face-to-face with Kareem Abdul Jabar, well more like face-to-knee that guy is so tall.  I also saw funny guy Jonah Hill, football player T.O. and a few of the Glee actors.  The Fred Segal Fun suite is always a big hit because it introduces many of the new lines that Fred Segal carries including George Gina and Lucy, Emu, Kr3w, and probably the coolest thing I saw during Sundance, The Poken.  Once we finished our drinks at the Village’s Philadelphia Industry Lounge, we made our way to the next gifting area at Talent Resource’s Sky Suite.  There we scooped up things from Axe, AMC Movie Theaters, UrbanEars headphones, Rebecca Jewelry and Jenny B Clothing.  My favorite things were definitely the awesome green long sleeve burnout animal print tee and “I just might snap today” message tee from Jenny B and the gift certificate to Rebecca because half of the proceeds from my certificate went to charity courtesy of Giiv.com.  I was very happy to see that Sundance was not all about taking this year but giving back, especially to the Haiti Relief Fund.

After a full day of seeing what was hot and flying off the shelves at this year’s suites, I parked myself on a couch at the Tao cocktail party and shoveled sushi into my mouth.  From there we headed home to regroup, change and devise a plan for the evening.  We started the night at Gen Art’s big Kenneth Cole Vintage Black party hosted by Kenneth himself and honored 4 champions of independent film: Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis, Diego Luna, and Michael Shannon.  Next stop was the Axe party at the Sky Lodge where we met up with Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, and saw celebs like Simon Rex, Shane West, Adrian Brody, and Mario Lopez.  Then we headed home to our roommates for some bonding time and finally hit the hay.  Sunday would be another long day.

Up again bright and early for our last gifting suite, the Kari Feinstein Style Lounge.  This suite just might have been my absolute favorite because they offered so many different types of products, new and old.  I scooped up a great pink hoodie from the folks at Superdry, Fake Bake tanning lotion, Usana vitamins, stationary from Linda and Harriett, a vintage Miami Dolphins tee, a yoga mat, and more.  I walked out of there with bags upon bags of awesome items.  Once the gifting was all said and done, I caught the last bit of the Gen Art and K-Swiss Ping Pong Classic where cast members and filmmakers from four festival films including “Douchebag”, “Lovers of Hate,” “Obselidia” and “Skateland” battled it out on the ping pong court.  After a short nap back at the house, I stopped by the “High School” premiere party at the House of Hype and watched the Michael Chiklis Band perform.  I didn’t even know he had a band, but hey, they were pretty good.  Then it was back to Tao where I talked with one of my favorites, John Legend, and hung with my friends who produced the film “Teenage Paparazzo.”  Another great thing about Sundance, everyone is essentially on the same level and attends the same parties, no matter how famous or VIP you are.  From Tao, we went to the Flaunt party and then to bed.  Another endless and amazing day at Sundance.

Finally, it was Movie Monday and time to get down to business.  I started the day off well with the witty film “Douchebag.”  I enjoyed it and thought it was interesting and had many funny moments, especially because the lead, Andrew Dickler, really portrayed the quintessential douchebag.  Next I saw “Skateland” and to continue with honesty, I was not impressed.  Not by the actors Shiloh Fernandez and Ashley Greene, not by the directing, and not by the script.  Harsh, I know.  It just felt cliche, forced, meh.  The remaining two films I saw were horror films and by no means my kinds of movies.  The first was a dutch short film whose name escapes me, but watching it was literally like nails on a chalkboard.  I’m pretty sure in the actual film, one of the scary, disformed children was dragging her nails down a real board.  Painful.  The second was the feature film, “The Violent Kind,” which I went to see in support of my friend who produced it, and another friend who acted in it.  For me to judge it would be unfair considering I generally hate horror and torture porn and that’s what this was.  However, if that is your cup of tea, you should check it out.

Being that this was the final night in Park City with my roommates and now close friends, we all went out for “family dinner” to be together one last time as a group and say our goodbyes.  It was very “Jersey Shore”-esqe and fantastic.  All in all, I’d have to say Sundance 2010 was amazing and I can’t wait to go again next year.