My Social Standards
Live Up to Your Standards

My Idol Standards (Final 5)

Posted In: , , , , , , . By My Social Standards

A chat by Jeff Walker and Steven Frith

Big news from last night's Idol was Paula's big mistake, but that wasn't the only mistake of the night. My Social Standards discusses if Idol is rigged, if it even matters, and who should go home for good tonight.

Jeff: so the biggest story of last night's Idol was Paula's big mistake - critiquing Jason's 2nd song when only one had been done
Steve: yea, what was that about, I thought the show was live - or was last night not. I actually remember thinking that Seacrest didn't say live at the beginning like normal

S: Paula's gotta be on drugs or something haha
J: i think that's a part of it
S: Also, before we get too far into it - did you notice that a couple of Hef's girlfriends were sitting front row?
J: yeah, two of them were there
S: How did you notice? I thought I would have been one of the only ones to notice haha
J: they panned past them a few times and came back to them after a commercial. they stand out just a bit
J: but even they couldn't get Archie out of his robotic state
S: you put Ricky Martin in the front row and Archie would have been out of his state
J: who knows, maybe
J: so speaking of "out of state" Paula's explanation has been a bit odd too. she says fox basically threw them for a loop and she had seen jason's second song in rehearsal and took notes due to the rushed nature of the show
S: That's probably the best they could come up with. It seemed like there was some kind of inside joke throughout the show though. There was something that we were just missing
J: some people are claiming that the show is now rigged and that she was reading producers' notes
S: I don't think so just because I don't think that Paula could have pulled if off for this long even
J: that is true
J: if producers notes are involved, I still think it isn't a huge deal. the producers always subtly try to draw interest to certain contestants who generate attention or would sell albums
J: and i think as long as the votes themselves aren't tinkered with, editing and production is always going to have some influence
J: it's not as bad as the Hills, but with that much money and the brand image involved you can't be naive to manipulation from producers
S: There have been surprises anyway you look at it though, but yea, if there is fraud with the voting, then there will be an issue. and a lot of ex contestants suing the producers and FOX
J: yeah. i'm sure the producers didn't want Michael Johns to leave so early. if they wanted him to stay, they would've had everyone safe for the week
S: exactly what I was thinking
S: Who got saved last year because of that?
J: not sure, but i don't think it mattered in the long run - i.e. wasn't a top contestant
S: Anyways, about the actual show - thoughts?
J: considering each sang two neil diamond songs whether it was the fast pace of the show or some decent singing, wasn't as bad as i was expecting
S: yea, it wasn't great, but I was expecting worse too since I am not a huge Neil fan (which ironically my mom just bought tickets to his show today)
J: he's definitely a favorite of our parents' generation - mine have seen him several times
S: My dad can't stand him haha
J: i thought david cook and syesha were the most consistent over their two performances. though the second half of david's second song is when he really came alive - despite the title of the first one - i'm alive or something
S: They have been the most consistnet over the past several weeks
J: for sure
J: Archie wasn't bad, but his voice isn't strong enough to sing "America"
J: and as Simon said, genius song choice. with the American flag behind him
S: No, I also didn't really like Sweet Caroline either
S: That's the only Neil song I liked, it was very karaoke
J: yeah, i just don't think it can really be done as a serious singing song
S: I actually would have liked to see Cook take it on
J: yeah, me too
J: Brooke's first song was like the worst karaoke you've ever seen
S: God, Brooke and Castro were bad AGAIN, they have to go - at least one this week.
J: Brooke's facial expressions are so bad
J: yeah. castro would've been bad even if paula didn't criticize the second one before he performed it
S: hahaha yea
S: I'm surprised that they didn't edit that for the west coast showing
J: yeah, though that maybe would have just made the situation worse like they had more to hide
J: so who are your bottom 2 (since I think that's what they're continuing to do from now on) and who is leaving?
S: What I think and what I think it is going to be are different. I think it will be Syesha and Brooke with Brooke going. What i hope it will be is Castro and Brooke with Castro going.
J: I agree with you on both actually. I think Castro's fans will be too ticked at the Paula debacle to let him go and I still wonder how large Syesha's fan base really is, though she seems like the best choice for #3 and maybe even #2 over Archie
S: Couldn't have said it better myself
S: next week's theme - Songs that Shaped/Inspired Rock n' Roll
J: not sure that modernizes things, but could be interesting
S: this whole season (with the exception of Mariah) has been past masters
S: They should have a Boyz II Men theme night - they work with Randy Jackson anyway...
J: yeah, may as well. it'd probably be entertaining. and gwen stefani was on last year, so it doesn't have to be Hall of Fame type musicians
S: Boyz II Men have twice the hits of Stefani!
J: for sure. well, i think that about wraps it up this week, but will be interesting to see how Paula's mistake is addressed tonight and if they even keep everyone safe
S: Do they do that every year?
J: really only if they feel there's been a mistake that may have affected the results. Should actually be a results show that doesn't need to be skipped through on DVR.
S: Until next week...
J: My Social Standards...out
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Reviewed by Jeff Walker

My Bar Standard – Busby’s West (Santa Monica)

Visited: Friday night – April 11, 2008. Have also been here a half dozen times over the past year.

Location: 50A Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 (on Hermosa pier)(map)(link)
Phone: 310-798-9762

Patrick Molloy’s offers a solid mix (patio, dancing, drink specials) and good value for the Hermosa pier, even if it is overly cramped at times and lacks a unique or must-see quality.

Deeper Insights:

With an array of choices near the Hermosa pier, Patrick Molloy’s is a good in-between place. It is larger than Blue 32 and The Shore, cheaper than Sangria and Dragon, and a livelier nightspot than Lighthouse or Hennessey’s. There’s nothing in particular that stands out about Molloy’s, but they do offer good drink specials and dancing amidst the laid-back atmosphere you come to expect in Hermosa.

If anything, the remodel done last year could have been more extensive. Some cosmetic changes were made, but the dance floor is still small and the bar area gets crammed with people on Fridays and Saturdays. There usually is room to sit in the table section, but most prefer to stand where space is limited and the walkway moves at a snail’s pace . Even the patio is subject to capacity issues as bouncers will often force those standing to find a seat or go inside.

Patrick Molloy’s attracts a young, attractive crowd of personable people. There is a good mix of ethnicities, lifestyle, and attitude, even if the age tends to stay below 30 on Friday and Saturday nights. In addition, the vibe is laid-back as many come in shorts and the dress code is lax. Molloy’s doesn’t try to be a club or ultra lounge, which is nice, considering it is the Hermosa Beach pier after all.

Although there is nothing distinctive about Patrick Molloy’s, it is a solid spot to go if you can’t decide where to go and don’t want to wait in lines, but are still seeking a fun night out.


Attire: Varies widely between T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops to casual collared shirts and jeans. Dress any better than that and you’ll likely feel overdressed. Casual for girls.

Attitude: Casual Irish bar that likes to let loose with great drink specials and dancing.

Bar/Bartenders: 1 bar with 3 to 4 bartenders. The area around the bar jams with people, so it can be an effort just to get up to the bar. Expect an average of 5 minutes for a drink.

Bathrooms: Back left side down the hall past the bar. Men’s room has one stall and two urinals.

Bathroom Attendant: No attendant

Bottle Service: Starts at $150 per bottle, with most bottles $175-225 each. Tax and 20% gratuity added. Includes two mixers (energy drinks not included).

Cover: $5 after 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Crowd: Local beach bums looking to converse, dance, and have fun without having to dress up and spend a lot of money. Tends to get very packed on Friday and Saturday nights around 11 pm. 60/40 guy-to-girl ratio.

Dance floor: Small rectangular area raised up from the rest of the place. It can fit maybe two dozen and tends to spill out into the surrounding area.

Tip: Make sure you feel comfortable having people see you dance, as the dance floor is right by the front windows, thus people on the patio can easily watch.

Décor: Lots of dark wood, exposed brick, and dim lights. At times, the dozen or so plasma TVs seem to be the only source of light. Patio in the front, dance floor to the right when entering, long bar with a divider in the middle, separating the walkway from the seated section.

Beer: 14 different beers on draft, 19 different bottled beers. $4 for cheaper domestics (Bud, Coors, Miller), $4.50 for other beer.
Liquor: $4.50 for well, $5.50 for call (Absolut, Bacardi, Jack), $6.50 for premium (Crown Royal, Ketel One), $8 for super-premium (Grey Goose, Patron), $8.50 for energy drink bombs.
Wine: $6-8 per glass

Drink Specials: Monday, 9 pm – close: Beer Pong and $6 pitchers
Tuesday, all day: 2 for 1 on well/call tequila, $2 tacos, $2 burgers,
$2 domestic pints
Wednesday, all day: 2 for 1 on well/call whiskey
Thursday, 9 pm – close: $3 Pyramid, $3 domestic drafts, $4 well
drinks, $5 martinis
Friday, all day: Any 4 well/call shots for $20
Saturday, 4 pm – 9 pm: $4 pizza, $15 bucket of domestic beer, $20
bucket of imported beer, $15 Stop Light Shots (Scooby Snack,
Kamikaze, Washington Apple)
Sunday, 4 pm – 9 pm: $4 pizza, $15 bucket of domestic beer, $20
bucket of imported beer. 9 pm – close: ½ price on all bombs
Saturday & Sunday, until 2 pm: $2 mimosas, $12 champagne bottles.
Until 4 pm: $4 Bloody Mary & Screwdriver pitchers

Happy Hour: Monday: 3 pm – close; Tuesday through Friday: 3 pm – 7 pm
Food Specials and 2 for 1 drinks (must be same drink and does not include
top shelf, bottled beer, pitchers, martinis, frozen drinks).

Hours: 12 pm – 1:30 am

Line: On Friday and Saturday nights, it can be up to 10 minutes, depending on capacity. Expect 5 minutes normally, but often you get in immediately.

Music: DJs spin the usual mix of hip-hop and Top 40. DJs on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Live bands on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Parking: Free parking (after meters stop) along Pier or Hermosa. Paid lot on Hermosa (usually $6-8 on Fridays and Saturdays).

Payment: Cash and all major credit cards.

Patio: Outdoor patio with tables and chairs in the front. At times, they restrict the number of people on the patio, so if you don’t have a chair, you have to go back into the bar.

People Watching: If you’re looking for tanned, possibly out of work surfer-types, you’re in luck. People here tend to be unpretentious, but still look good, especially on the female front.

Seating: Patio, bar stools, several stools along the middle divider between the bar area and the seated section, about a dozen tables with chairs.

Smoking: On the patio.

TVs: A dozen or so flat-screen TVs scattered throughout the bar. Usually have sports on, but often will have surfing or random designs later on in the night.

Water (free): Yes.

Related Links (Check the Categories in the Right Column for More):

NightSpot Review – The Garter
NightSpot Review - Busby's West
NightSpot Review - The Parlor

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Reviewed by Steven Frith

My Romantic Comedy Movie Standard – Forgetting Sarah Marshall **New Standard**

Viewed on: 4/19/08

The guys of the Judd Apatow camp strike comedy magic once again as Sarah Marshall is the perfect blend of “toeing the line” comedy and a story about the aftermath of a relationship.

Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, and Paul Rudd

Rating/Length: R / 1 Hour 52 Minutes

Directed By: Nicholas Stoller (no major previous direction that I could find)

Written By: Jason Segel (no major previous writing credit that I could find)

Synopsis: Recently dumped musician, Peter Bretter, goes on a Hawaiian vacation (thankfully not on Aloha Airlines) to get away from everything that reminded him of his actress girlfriend, Sarah Marshall. Once in Hawaii, it doesn’t take long for him to run into, none other then, Sarah Marshall…with her new boyfriend. The aftermath of the encounter will shape the future of both of their lives.


Honest Opinion: All good things come to an end, and because of this, I know it’s only a matter of time before these Judd Apatow movies lose their luster. The seemingly endless list of recent successes that he has touched include Superbad, 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Talladega Nights, and Anchorman. When you put those together with his TV successes, you are assembling one “fairly” impressive resume. Well, after viewing Sarah Marshall, it looks as if we (thankfully) are going to have to wait a bit longer for that “end” to happen.

Director Nicholas Stoller and writer/star, Jason Segel combine to create the perfect romantic comedy that satisfies both the guys and the girls in the audience. The raw comedy may not have been as high as Superbad or the 40-Year Old Virgin, but that doesn’t mean that it was lacking as I laughed from beginning to end. As a writer, Segel made the characters extremely likeable and easy to relate to. The magic in this movie is that you could sympathize with everybody from Peter (our main character), Sarah (the actress/ex-girlfriend), Rachel (hotel front-desk clerk), and even Aldous (the European rock-star new boyfriend of Sarah who may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but still seems like a cool guy) as they suffer from heartbreak, embarrassment, confusion, awkwardness and grief.

I actually had the chance to partake in a focus group for the previews of Forgetting Sarah Marshall a couple months ago, therefore watching the many forms of the trailers several times (at least I got paid to do it). While some of the previews make the movie look like your classic “girl breaks up with boy and boy getting back at girl,” (without getting into too much detail) Segel’s script did a nice job of steering clear of that as life rarely allows us to act in such a way. Instead, that is replaced with criss-crossing relationships and complexities that even the best of us can relate with. And other then being forced to look at Jason’s prosthetically enhanced 11th appendage about five times too many, I was very happy to be involved in these characters lives for the two hours of this movie, and there is a good chance I will see it again soon.

Directing: As I have mentioned before, I feel like directing a comedy is more not messing it up rather than forcing something to happen. That being said, Stoller did just that. While there was really nothing original or groundbreaking, he kept the story moving and got solid performances out of his actors.

Writing: Writing a comedic romantic-comedy can’t be easy. The genre has been done so many times that usually either a) they are all the same jokes or b) everyone tries to be so original that it just comes off as corny and unrealistic. While not a perfect script, Forgetting Sarah Marshall does well at keeping the characters real, not allowing the story to become too predictable, and including well placed one-liners to keep the audience off-balance.

Acting: No one is going to win any Academy Awards from this, but just about everyone was very realistic and likeable. There was good chemistry between all of the four main characters and most of them acted how a lot of people would if put in the same situations.

Music: There may or may not be a soundtrack to buy, but music did have a large part of the overall movie. Peter is a musician for a crime show that pokes fun at, particularly, CSI Miami (you’ll see what I mean). Sarah’s new boyfriend is a very promiscuously influenced musician and lets that come out in his performances. There are other parts too, but I don’t want to give away major parts to the movie.

To Quote the Movie: Matthew (played by Jonah Hill): I have a question for you real quick. What did you think of my demo? Did you get it?
Aldous Snow (with English accent): I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life.
(Many of the best quotes weren’t appropriate for my little review here)

Verdict: SEE IT TONIGHT. Bring a date. It is worth the price of admission…and an overpriced popcorn and Coke – it’s only 25 cents more for the large after all.

Related Links: (See Categories on Right Panel for More)

Movie Review: Vantage Point
Movie Review: Semi-Pro

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My Idol Standards (Final 6)

Posted In: , , , , , . By My Social Standards

A chat by Jeff Walker, Steven Frith, and Danny Walker

Idol takes a stroll down the Great White Way as the six remaining finalists take on the tunes of Andrew Lloyd Webber. It wasn't the most exciting theme, but it provided one especially memorable moment for Ms. White. Check out what Steve, Jeff and Danny had to say about her, the episode as a whole, and why Kristy Lee Cook was smarter than previously thought.

Jeff: so, first things first. biggest surprise of last week - kristy lee cook being engaged?!
Steve: Huh? I didn't know that?
Jeff: yeah. apparently had been engaged for a month
Jeff: so best to keep personal life a secret if it helps your vote count? or in the case of david cook, say you're single and possibly get more votes?
Steve: I'm not surprised she kept it a secret, I would too on a stage like that where you are depending on good ol' country boys votes from Texas - you want them to think they have a chance with you.
Steve: It's been proven with actresses that their popularity goes down once they marry.
Danny: exactly
Danny: especially when she's not a good singer
Jeff: she had been improving, but still
Jeff: way past her time
Steve: yea, she wasn't going anywhere anyway, so while I thought it was the wrong call last week, I think it'll be made up this week
Danny: yeah thanks to forgetting the lyrics
Steve: First of all this week - Why the "F" did they want this kind of theme, these people are presumedly going to be top-40 pop artists, this isn't Broadway Idol!
Jeff: they always have a broadway-style theme every year. and the fact that they were able to land a big name as "mentor" probably helped as well
Jeff: danny and I were actually surprised that a number of the songs didn't seem like stuff from musicals. for the most part, the arrangements fit the pop genre
Steve: Oh, lame idea in my book. I don't hate a lot of broadway songs, I just don't think that it makes sense for what they are doing as a show - do you see Kelly Clarkson, Underwood, or anybody going to Broadway?
Steve: Yea, a few of them were "popped" up
Danny: sadly no "that sounded caberet" comments from simon though
Jeff: yeah, like danny said, simon always compares performances negatively when they sound like broadway
Steve: Speaking of Simon, I actually agreed with every comment he had for everyone tonight
Jeff: yeah, he was pretty on point
Jeff: how about brooke's start-stop-restart?
Danny: it was about time that she finally gave an easy reason to boot her
Steve: I finally thought we were going to get rid of dreads, but then Brooke blew any thought of him out of the way
Steve: I thought it was the right thing to do, would have been worse for her to try to find the lyrics mid sentence. If she was IN the musical that would be different, but just singing one song, right move
Jeff: or will she get enough pity votes to stick around?
Steve: nope. I don't think so, too late in the game.
Danny: except maybe with vote the worse
Jeff: yeah, possibly brooke's only savior
Steve: I don't even think Brooke sounded good once she started
Jeff: yeah. pretty painful throughout. and she seems so fragile the whole time and then tries to talk over the judges
Danny: I think she's always sounded that way
Steve: I've never been a big fan myself
Steve: She's had one good song, with "let it be" the rest have been the worst of the week or close to it every week
Jeff: just keeps falling apart and this should be the end of her run
Danny: I think they've all been bad from her
Danny: I find her annoying and rather kind of fake
Steve: Annoying's a little strong, and I do think she is genuine - just isn't that good.
Jeff: i think she attempts to be genuine, but it comes across as trying too hard
Danny: definitely trying too hard
Steve: I think there was a clear top and bottom here
Steve: Syesha and Smithson definitely stole the show tonight
Steve: Cook and Archuleta sang well but were both forgettable
Steve: Dreads and Brooke sucked
Danny: well they were the only ones that did the songs broadway style, being syesha and smithson
Steve: They are the only ones where I didn't have to resist hitting fast forward on my DVR too
Steve: I think we all agree Castro and White are in the bottom 3, the tougher question - who joins them?
Jeff: carly was a big surprise this week, so she's safe
Steve: I agree
Jeff: i think syesha joins them since she's been hovering on the bottom for awhile. The Davids seem to have strong enough fan bases and Carly stepped up
Steve: Syesha was very good, but she went first and Cook and Archy aren't going to be in the bottom 3
Steve: So I would say she is in
Jeff: yeah, Syesha was in the death spot - going first
Steve: Ok, so we agree exactly, what about you Danny?
Danny: I'd put archy in the bottom 3 for sure
Steve: Wow, is this from you - or what you think will happen?
Danny: both
Jeff: so you think Archie, Brooke and Castro?
Steve: Because that's what I want but I don't think there is any way it happens.
Jeff: me neither
Danny: I think archy's in bottom three but brooke goes
Steve: Archy and Cook get 3 times the votes of the other people if you ask me
Steve: Everyone else is fighting for the top 3 right now
Steve: the one spot left at least
Jeff: although we need to send ricky minor back to his perch. He wasn't conducting and he kept hogging the performances with his dancing
Steve: I didn't even really notice except for Syesha.
Danny: oh yeah, top performance definitely goes to ricky minor
Jeff: he was pretty bad during carly as well
Steve: Missed that. So does boring, yet popular amongst 15 year old girls make the bottom 3? Or Is it under-appreciated Syesha? We'll see.
Jeff: but brooke needs to go home especially with the perfect swan song - You Must Love Me
Jeff: and hopefully we get a better theme next week
Steve: PLEASE!

Related Links:

My Idol Standards (Final 7)
My Idol Standards (Final 8)
My Idol Standards (Final 9)

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Reviewed by Jeff Walker

My Bar Standard – Busby’s (Santa Monica)

Visited: Saturday night – April 19, 2008

Location: 2536 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291 (map)(link)
Phone: 310-577-3741

With DJs, attractive crowds, and an upscale, if small location, The Garter continues the Westside renaissance towards a more sophisticated nightlife that still manages to avoid the hassles and costs of Hollywood.

Deeper Insights:

Unless you know where you are going, it is easy to drive past The Garter. There is no sign and the place is only distinguished by a small red carpet leading through a metallic corrugated fence into a non-descript building. Once inside, you may think you are on the set of David Lynch’s newest film. Red walls are adorned with pin-up pics and dim, antique-style lights, creating an almost seedy, speakeasy feel.

The Garter is essentially one large room with a bar, pool table, limited seating, and small dance floor. It feels cozy, but a bit over-crowded past 11 pm. This is only made worse by the main walkway forcing you to walk through crowds (shades of LAX – Vegas), dancers spilling into the bar area, and the slow bathroom line snaking out to the bar. Still, the compact environment is conducive to socializing with attractive Westsiders whether on the dance floor, by the bar, or on the patio.

Overall, The Garter is a good in-between place when compared to nearby nightspots. It is nicer and more lounge-like than Sports Harbor or Brennan’s, has the dancing that Beechwood lacks, and is cheaper than Air Conditioned, while still featuring the same funk and old school hip-hop music.


Attire: Casual, but stylish – collared shirts, nicer T-shirts, chic hoodies, jeans. Ladies just have to look nice and you won’t feel out of place or underdressed.

Attitude: Aims for a laid-back Westside lounge, but the DJ, bottle service, and some full-on-themselves people bring a club vibe.

Bar/Bartenders: 1 bar with four bartenders at peak hours. Two guy bartenders and two girl bartenders who were attractive, friendly, and served quickly. A lot of people crowd around the bar, so if you can make your way through, expect 3-5 minutes to get your drink.

Bathrooms: Head straight back to the left and there are three bathrooms. One co-ed, one for men, and one for the ladies. Each only fits one at a time. The men’s bathroom is stylish – lots of black and red – and has a toilet (with a seat that refuses to stay up) and a lock that takes a certain touch to get it to work. When crowded, expect at least 5 minutes to use the bathroom, especially since girls will often try to use the guy’s bathroom.

Bathroom Attendant: None

Bottle Service: Yes – starts at $225/bottle (Jager, Jack, Bacardi). 20% gratuity added.

Cover: None

Crowd: Given the old school hip-hop and funk, The Garter is less ethnically diverse than one would expect. Lots of attractive Westsiders in their twenties and thirties, but some have an air of superiority that feels out of place. Older patrons probably wouldn’t feel out of place, with the music and vibe of the place. Fairly even guy-to-girl ratio.

Dance Floor: Small square dance floor that fits a couple of dozen people. Can feel cramped at times and the lack of specific boundaries on the dance floor leads dancers to flow into the bar area.

Décor: Feels like a classic speakeasy or house of burlesque. Dim, antique-style lights, red walls and pictures of classic pin-ups.

Drinks: $5 for domestic beer (Bud, Coors, Miller), $6 for imported beer, $8 for mixed drinks (Jack and Coke), $10 for Patron shots. Mixed drinks were of average strength.

Extras: One pool table.
Sunday nights – Wii Bowling
Monday night – Wii Rock Band
Tuesday nights – Ladies night – DJ, $2 champagne, $4 martinis
Wednesday nights – DJ, $3 beer and $5 shot specials

Hours: 6 pm – 2 am Daily

Line: None

Music: Old school funk and hip-hop that veered into more modern hip-hop hits as the night progressed. Digital jukebox available when DJs not spinning.

Parking: Street parking. Valet parking available Wednesday through Saturday.

Payment: Cash, MasterCard, Visa.

Patio: Narrow patio at front entrance with seating. Tends to get crowded.

People Watching: It’s a bit dark near the dance floor, but on the whole most patrons are attractive and friendly enough to go for a spin on the dance floor.

Seating: Stools available at bar, scattered seats and benches by the pool table and dance floor, plush chairs and couches off one side of the dance floor. Private area upstairs for parties and special events.

Smoking: On the patio.

Water (free): Yes.

Related Links (for more, see Categories on the right):

Busby's West (Santa Monica)
Busby's East (Hollywood)
The Parlor (Santa Monica)

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Kanye West Live: The Glow in the Dark Tour

Posted In: , , , , . By My Social Standards

Reviewed by Steven Frith

Date: 4/18/2008 (Other Dates)
Venue: Arco Arena, Sacramento

My Rap Concert Standard - **New Standard** Kanye West

Kanye’s creativity, ego, music, pursuit of perfection and humor all have a part in making this one of the best performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.

Headliner: Kanye West

Opening Sets: Lupe Fiasco, N.E.R.D., and Rihanna

Time of Whole Concert: about 5 hours

Ticket Prices if You Didn’t Buy From a Scalper (aka retail price): $39.50 – 72.50

Crowd: A surprisingly young crowd with a lot of high school kids. But there were plenty of adults though too, which was evident in the long beer/alcohol lines. I have to admit that I was surprised that the crowd was as racially balanced as it was. When going to a DMX concert some years ago, I was among the only white kids there, but no one would feel uncomfortable or in the minority at this show.


Opening Sets:
With all of the opening acts, the concert actually felt a bit like a radio show concert. Each act had about 30 minutes, and then there was about 15 minutes of setup time in between performances. The one thing that was nice was that the concert actually started on time. I got to the POS that is Arco Arena at about 7:15 (with the show scheduled to start at 7) and the music was already playing.

I have to tell you starting out that I wasn’t very interested in seeing any of the opening acts. I had heard of Lupe Fiasco, but couldn’t name any of his songs prior to the show. N.E.R.D. featuring Pharrell Williams has a couple songs I like, but I’ve never been able to get into the group too much. And Rihanna is actually a bit of a guilty pleasure as I really like a couple of her songs – but not enough where I would actually go to a concert just to see her.

Lupe Fiasco started things off, and his energy was contagious. I had never even heard of anything he was performing until his final two songs, yet I was very intent just watching how he took energy from the crowd and how the crowd took the energy back from him. Lupe squeezed as many songs as he could in his 30 minutes, and had Matthew Santos join him about halfway through to help him finish out his part of the show. I feel like Lupe’s performance was actually the second best performance of the night. When he played “Superstar” and “Daydreamin’” to close out his set, even I was getting involved. I might actually look at picking up his disc after this.

N.E.R.D. and Rihanna were somewhat disappointing in my eyes. N.E.R.D. went 2nd and had a lot of energy, but Pharell is rap’s version of Britney Spears. Not in the crazy, rehab kind of way, but in the studio magic making your voice sound better kind of way. I know the acoustics in Arco are horrible, but you could still tell that it just wasn’t quite right. “Lapdance,” “Rockstar,” and “She Wants to Move” all had people excited, but they just didn’t sound great. And may I go on a mini-rant asking why do some rappers have like 30 people on stage? Seriously, most of those guys weren’t doing anything and it was almost distracting. Also, why do some rappers (N.E.R.D. included) constantly TRY to involve the crowd? Don’t tell us what to do, we are paying to see you, if you put on a good show, we (as the crowd) will do what we can to show you we are having a good time anyway. Sorry, but it annoys me when someone keeps telling me to wave my hands, or say this or say that. Moving on…

Rihanna’s performance left a little to be desired. She didn’t do a bad job, but the crowd just didn’t seem connected. It may have been the 3 or so ballads she performed, but even when “Please Don’t Stop the Music,” “SOS,” “Umbrella” and “Shut Up and Drive” came on, the crowd just seemed marginally into it – which surprised me. The prop cigarette on one of her slower songs was unnecessary too.

Main Act:
Let me just start off by saying that sitting through the 3 hours of opening acts, the long setup time for Kanye’s stage, and all the breaths of second-hand, diluted weed smoke were more than worth it for this show. The sound effects before Kanye was even introduced set the stage for the entire show. Thunderous sounds of a rocket went from one end of the arena to the other, rocking the entire place as if an earthquake just hit. This began the journey that took the crowd through a spaceship crash on an unknown planet because as Kanye put it: “Earth has lost all of its creativity.”

The lights, video, smoke, and a moving stage was all Kanye had to work with for this 90 minute show of 19 songs. A tight script didn’t allow for a lot of veering off to conversations with the crowd or any free-styling, but this was a live action musical. There were no back-up dancers or singers to support him. The band wasn’t even on stage, as it was in an orchestra-type pit in the front of the stage. This show was all about Kanye and he didn’t disappoint. His energy was incredible and I caught myself wondering, not only how he is going to be able to do this for a long tour, but how he was going to finish the night. He was dripping sweat after about four songs and was running around the entire time.
I won’t go over the set list (although almost all of his hits are included), but as you can imagine, he gave a nice tribute to his recently passed mother. After “Hey Mama,” Kanye sat in reflection on the side of the stage as a Kanye-fied version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey played and took you to the beginning of the finale of the show. At the end, there was no encore, but he left so much on the stage, that there was no need.

Some of Kanye’s known intricacies did come out in the show, and he was big enough to even poke fun at some of them. First of all, as part of the performance and wanting to “come home” he gave a short prayer (based on the story of the show) before “Jesus Walks.” As he talked to God, he promised a couple things, such as that he “would stop talking so much shit.” He also said, “God, if you get me off this planet, I’ll stop spazzing out at award shows. Just help me get home.” While I really liked the whole show, it was obvious that it was the 2nd show of the tour as there were some glitches.

There were a couple times that you could see Kanye the director, as he was telling people when to start the smoke when it should have been going already. During one song, there was a screen in his way, and n the flow of the rap he said, “get this shit out of my way.” He even apologized for mistakes at the end. Some probably didn’t think this was necessary and he shouldn’t have said anything, but I think it shows his pursuit of perfection and his frustration in giving us anything less.

Verdict: As if it isn’t clear enough already, I suggest finding any way to go to this concert. I know a lot of venues are sold out, but Stub Hub is the right route to take, because you don’t want to miss this. If you aren’t into the opening acts, Kanye’s show didn’t start until nearly 10:30, so you probably don’t have to be there at 7 if that’s the case.

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My Idol Standards (Final 7)

Posted In: , , , , , , . By My Social Standards

A chat by Steven Frith, Jeff Walker, and Danny Walker

After the shocking exit of Michael Johns last week, we are down to the Top 7. Danny joins us to discuss the performances during Mariah Carey week. Was it one sweet day or a disaster to rival Glitter?

Jeff: so first up - Michael Johns...
J: surprised to see him go?
Danny: pretty unexpected, I actually thought his last performance was one of his best in a while
J: steve didnt think so
Steve: I was about as shocked as everyone else in the audience. I couldn't believe it. He should be top 3
J: for sure
J: why do you think he was sent home?
D: doesn't appeal enough to the younger crowd
S: I think it's because he went first
D: younger female miley cyrus crowd
S: i think he has enough of a crowd that would have kept him in.
S: People just thought he would be fine and move on
D: I just don't know that his crowd is the crowd that's voting a lot
S: Anyways, what about tonight - first thoughts?
D: tonight, I'd say best performance was david rocker
J: yeah, i definitely agree
J: most unique performance
D: david archuletta is who we thought he was in picking the typical song everyone was expecting
J: and i agree with simon that guys were definitely better
S: Yea, it was really good. And I hate to admit it, but Archuleta was very good. - Honestly everyone did pretty well, there were no horrible performances
D: archuleta is boring though
D: I've already forgotten the song he sang
S: Usually I completely agree, but I didn't think so tonight
J: archie is good but ultimately forgettable
S: Danny, since this is your first chat, who is your top 3
D: favorite or expect to win?
S: either, just say which one
D: david rocker, ummmmm
D: michael johns lol
S: haha
D: but seriously ummm syisha and jack johnson as the other two I'd expect in the final three
J: really? i think archie is for sure in the final 3 and KLC is a strong dark horse
D: yeah I guess archie is more likely than syisha
S: I really really like Syesha, she might be my favorite behind David Cook, but I just don't think she will get the votes.
S: Yea, those are pretty surprising.
J: what'd you think of your boy jason castro tonight
S: Sucked again. I was talking to Amy and she said the same thing I have. That he sounds like he is at an open mic.
D: ummm but castro probably sees this as a giant open mike
S: I hate hate hate Castro - his look, his voice, everything
D: I hate his genre
J: they need a back drop for jason - like either a dorm room or some trees and a meadow
D: lol and use way more smoke machine
S: haha
J: that's the problem with his genre. tough to be distinct
J: which is why randy's comment about feeling like he was at a luau is so fitting
S: Yea. totally.
J: b/c we've been in hawaii and you're sitting at the bar and there's some decent music, but you're not going home telling everyone to get their ass out to hear this guy
D: and why snl's gotta include him on the mellow show with jack johnson as soon as possible
J: for sure
J: do you think tonight being decent is more a testament to the performers or mariah's songs?
D: ummmm mariah's songs...maybe?
S: I think it has to be Mariah's songs too
D: I mean shit I'lve always enjoyed always be my baby
D: though cook's performance did take it to another level
J: yeah, totally
D: but what about archie in pleather pants?
J: he's so robotic he probably wasn't even sweating in them
S: I thought I saw that - that was horrible
D: or sexay?
S: yea, not so much
S: Jeff - who's your bottom 3 and who leaves?
J: bottom 3 - brooke - who has been falling apart lately and was shaking throughout the second half of her performance, carly - worst of the night, and syesha - since i'm not sure she has a big fanbase. i think Brooke leaves
J: i do think Carly should go home
S: Danny?
D: I'm going with brooke, carly, and archie as bottom three with brooke finally going home
S: Wow, you really think Archuleta will be bottom 3? Not a chance
J: yeah, i don't see it either
D: I'd like to believe that people will be actually listening to the show and will get annoyed with his selection
J: archie being predictable with his inspirational tunes?
D: yes
S: I disagree, I think Brook should go home
S: Brooke has turned into the Karaoke singer
J: i like singer-songwriter types enough and could see her opening for some concert i'd go too, so i don't mind her as much
S: The other two...
S: this is tough, but I say Syesha and Smithson too...I think that it should be dreads instead of Syesha though.
J: and do you agree with Brooke going home?
S: yea, I already said that
S: Archie will be in the final 3, I'll bet on it with anyone that wants to take the bet
J: hell no. too big of a fan base and appeals to the young and the old who vote
S: Danny...maybe?
D: no I'm not stupid, but I can still wish that the voting public will come to their senses I just wouldn't put money on it
S: Nice...ok I guess we'll see what happens. Until next time...

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