Sunday, April 29, 2007 

Brian Wilson Interview on Rock & Roll Kitchen

Another blast from the past, folks. It's a long story, but after my initial meeting with the guy (under tight wraps from this Eugene Landy character), I didn't think there was any way this interview could be any good at all. So imagine my shock when Wilson opened up to me on camera - I didn't really know how to best handle it. I probably could have and should have talked to the guy for a much, much longer time.

I caught a lot of crap from the producers on this show for joking around with Brian, using the word "nuts," etc. But to me, it seemed pretty genuine that the guy had a real fun time, and said so. Pardon the time code window burn, it's from the only copy I have.


Monday, April 16, 2007 

The Rock & Roll Kitchen | Teaser For Pilot

I’ve been converting some old VHS tapes lately to digital, and have started digging into some footage that's a big part of my past (no, it's not porn).

For whatever reason, I didn’t think about posting content from my “pilot” episode of RR Kitchen until I read recently that Brian Wilson’s old shrink (Eugene Landy) had kicked the bucket last year. As both Landy and Brian Wilson are part of the forementioned past, it occurred to me: Why not put some of my stuff online?

Anyway, it’s been a real long time since I’ve looked at this footage, and I have to admit it’s bittersweet to see it again. Time & distance are two powerful forces; they’re not necessarily your friends, but they do at least offer you one last cigarette as you realize the feelings you had at one time have circled the drain, leaving you with little more than cold perspective (okay, I admit it - this stuff got me worked up all over again). FYI, as a little hint of what you'll hear about on this whole experience: you may notice how the piece hardly even touches on the creator and owner, the whole reason the thing even existed...

And so, I realize I have a lot to show & tell about the experience, which was my last hurrah after giving it a go for 5 years in Los Angeles. But for now, I'm putting up what it all got boiled down to after two shoot days and $75k spent - a short teaser clip. The clip does feature some great musicians, including Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), Ginger Baker (Cream), Tower Of Power Horns, Jim Keltner, Lee Sklar, Mike Finnegan, Mark Andes and - much more on this guy later - Scott Page (Pink Floyd). Oh, and the theme song that killer band is jamming on is called "Let's Turn Up The Fire" - a tune I wrote for the show.


Saturday, April 14, 2007 

Rock & Roll Kitchen, Jr. | Knife Demo

HERE'S ONE THAT'S SURE TO GET SOME ALARMED (FAUX) CONCERN. By the way... anyone else notice how the people who usually know the least about a topic are the ones who whine the loudest? No offense, but a perfect example was watching my sister freak out when our young niece was cutting things with a seriously sharp chef's knife. The real story: My sister knows nothing about using knives, and was projecting her own insecurities and ignorance onto a little kid - I have a real problem with that, folks. Fact is, my niece has been boldly using BIG, sharp knifes for quite awhile, regardless if an adult happens to be around or not (good luck holding back a motivated kid). At that point, I figured: The kid is already using knives whenever she feels like it, with or without adult supervision; might as well teach her to use one the right way - right?



The Hot Spot | Chicago Restaurant

HERE'S THE STORY ON THIS SHORT CLIP OF THE HOT SPOT, a groovy little restaurant close to Logan Square & Humboldt Park in Chicago. They don't have a website, and the owner (Stacy) tells me she's unconvinced about the value of online marketing & video...

Regardless, I like her & her place a lot, there's not many places around here like hers, and I admit I'm selfish about wanting her to stay open for a long, long time. And so... as an experiment and as a fan, I shot & edited this freebie piece today for Stacy and her place (okay, she did buy me breakfast). Part of this is to "put my money where my mouth is," so to speak, and see what results it gets; The other part was to see how quickly I could shoot, edit & post a (halfway decent?) video piece. Don't forget (for all those who talk, but never do anything, yet somehow feel entitled to let me know how much better THEY could have done it): f r e e b i e....

A nice surprise was the three random people who agreed to appear on camera (Brendon, Marilyn & Heidi) - they obviously dig the place, too, and I think their segments came off WAY better than any paid actor ever could - thanks, guys! That said, although the breakfast burritos are great, I do wish we'd talked about some of the other stuff on the menu, which is also mighty tasty.

Finally, if you see (and hopefully like) this segment, do me two favors: PLEASE tell Stacy you saw it; maybe she'll change her mind (and let me do a segment piece for real) and 2. Convince her to appear on camera (here's wishing you better luck than I had on that).


Friday, April 13, 2007 

New Wishbone Restaurant In Berwyn

EVEN BEFORE I WAS PALS WITH WISHBONE CHEF/OWNER JOEL NICKSON, I was a fan of his. His first Wishbone was a small but busy breakfast spot on Grand & Wood, serving southern-style food (cheese grits, greens, hoppin' john, etc.). Lines-out-the-door kinda place. He then moved to a much larger space on Washington Street, pioneering what was then a pretty rough part of town (along with his neighbor Oprah Winfrey, whose studio is 1 block east) called the West Loop.

His newest (3rd) spot is located next to FitzGerald's Nightclub in Berwyn, IL; I went out there yesterday, shot about 90 seconds of video; here's a down & dirty clip I put together after I got home. FYI, that's our version of "Jambalaya" playing underneath...


Monday, April 09, 2007 

Totally Chipotle Quesadillas | Rock & Roll Kitchen, Jr.

A REAL BUSY WEEK OR SO, BUT IT'S BEEN FUN. Since last week, I've shot 3 separate cooking demos; I did manage to edit one as somewhat presentable.

I've been looking far & wide for something - anything - that resembles a respectable kid's cooking show. It's a wasteland, and that's both bad & good.

It's bad, because it's going to be a real uphill battle to try and pioneer kid's cooking lessons that aren't incredibly lame, condescending, patronizing and downright annoying. And is there some rule that says the music for these things also has to be lame as hell?

It's good for the same reason: Anything halfway decent will stand WAY out.

And so... my 8 year-old niece Hannah was in town over spring break, and we decided to have some fun with the Canon GL2 camera I'm using. Hannah is the perfect kid's cooking student: Fun, funny, fearless, smart, a real fast learner and a gamer. We shot line by line, and as she'd never done anything like this before, I think it came out pretty well.

Although we know there are lots of "grown ups" who're gonna freak, wait 'till they see the full-on "how to use a knife" demo we shot, too...

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Sunday, April 01, 2007 

Rock Star Lunch

YESTERDAY, WE STOPPED WAITING FOR EVERYTHING TO BE PERFECT, WAITING UNTIL THERE WAS A "REAL" BUDGET, WAITING FOR SOME BIG-TIME PRODUCER TO GIVE US THE GREEN LIGHT. We did something I've been wanting to do for a long time: Shoot Chip Znuff cooking & playing with me in the kitchen.

So, along with Leigh Hanlon, Chip and I got together for a few hours at my place, cooked & played & chatted in front of a couple of Canon GL2 cameras, and had a blast knocking out a home-grown segment of "Rock & Roll Kitchen."

Not sure exactly how all the footage will cut together for a final segment (or segments), but meantime, here's a quickie of Chip doing his "Rock Star Lunch" that offers a quick peek into how funny this guy really is:

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First... if you haven't heard about this site, it was apparently created by some Chicago-area guy that loves being a burr in the saddle of American Idol; the site encourages people to vote for who they think is the worst contestant on AI. Whether or not it's effective, who knows? But I do know it's entertaining as hell to read both the insightful, opinionated commentary by the site's owners and the (mostly hate) email and threats they seem to get a lot of. I especially always enjoy seeing an email from someone who can barely spell, threatening lawsuits and criminal charges.

To me, VFTW is invaluable in pulling back the curtains on a lot of different things all at once: Most people's jaggedly vicarious need to live a dream through someone else, and how viciously they'll attack anything or anyone who appears to put a stain on that; American consumer's belief that the show is about something other than money (ratings); the quality (?) of commercially successful music (they really went after No Doubt's Gwen Stephanie); and how people seem very comfortable saying things via computer (hate mail, veiled threats, death threats, etc.,) they'd never in a million years express in person, or if their real names were known.

One particularly noteworthy email was from somebody who based their whole position on the good ole "our troops are putting their lives on the line" routine, and how dare VFTW be wasting time on stuff like this. Wow. VFTW is a lot of things, but... unpatriotic? If that person was really concerned about our troops, maybe they'd spend a little time actually doing something that would be beneficial to the troops, vs. venting on some entertainment-related site?