THE PERFECT PLAY

Work Edition

By Duck Kolenik

Over here at The PLG we take what we choose to fill our ears and brains with during the workday quite seriously, so building a perfect playlist is tricky business!  You can’t just throw something together willy-nilly like you would for a backyard soiree with pals, mimosa-fueled brunch or last minute Vegas adventure.  Everything feels fine in those situations.  Work mixes get a tad more hairy to concoct.  You have to dig deep, in terms of setting a mood and sustaining the right amount of energy until closing.   It’s like running a marathon.  You don’t just show up wearing Converse drinking an orange juice.  Sneakers and liquid.  That’s seems almost right, but really it’s just not right at all!

You have to think things through, calculate.  For instance, you can’t go spinning ALL hits.  Though the intentions are great, the outcome not so much.  There’s nothing worse than trying to craft a critical email, when you suddenly realize you’re typing the words of whatever famously catchy chorus is blasting.   “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” is probably not a great valediction when writing a client.  A song can have all sorts of issues for productivity; too bass ridden, too dissonant in tone or peppered with one too many expletives.  Those should be kept for weekend mixes involving cocktails or kites.    

The key is to have a delicate balance of mind-soothing sounds with upbeat undertones and nothing that snaps or lands too hard.  I do however, like to channel Franz Joseph Haydn (in his composing of the ‘Surprise Symphony’ just to wake sleeping Royals in his audience)… and toss in a semi-jarring song to jolt anyone potentially about to doze off.  Abel, by The National, is perfect for such a task.  It’s healthy to act as a human shot of espresso for others, now and again, right?  Finally, I like to close shop with a whimsical and relevant tune.  Everyone can go back out into the world calm and refreshed.  California Stars, by Billy Bragg & Wilco, usually nails that sentiment.    

Enjoy and circle back for more of the PLG’s Perfect Plays to come! 

Big Thief – Shark Smile

Amen Dunes – Believe

The War On Drugs – Holding On

Ryan Adams – La Cienega Just Smiled

Cat Power – I Don’t Blame You

Handsome Furs – Dead + Rural

The Walkmen – We’ve Been Had

Father John Misty – Ballad Of The Dying Man

The Kills – The Last Goodbye

The National – Abel (to pull a Franz Joseph Haydn)

Grizzly Bear – Mourning Sound

Cass McCombs – City Of Brotherly Love

Sharon Van Etten – We Are Fine

Dr. Dog – Where’d All The Time Go

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

The Magnetic Fields – The Dreaming Moon

Jenny Lewis – Just One Of The Guys

The Replacements – Swingin Party

Phosphorescent – Song For Zula

Billy Bragg & Wilco – California Stars

 

 

 

 

Peter Lorimer
AN UNLIKELY LIKE

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

By Duck Kolenik

Do you ever hear about a remake of a movie you loved as a tot and immediately flutter your eyes so far into the top of your skull you think for a second they may get stuck?  I do.  And way too often these days.  The case was certainly no exception when I heard that my beloved Jumanji was being taken out for a spin.  I always get the same pang of betrayal in my gut, followed by a breathy “why”? The whole purpose of special China is for it to actually be special.  It can only stay as such if it is kept safely on display and only used once in a while.  This way, the meaning and fondness of its specialness remains.  If say, you took it out and painted another pattern over the original pattern you knew and loved for your entire life, it would become something completely foreign to you and ugly.  Memories and dishes destroyed! 

Okay, enough about China sets.  The point is that 9 times out of 10 there is no reason to remake something that was already made well, in my opinion.  Make something new.  If it sucks, at least it was original.  You can go down in flames, proudly.  So, when I was forced to watch Jumanji : Welcome To The Jungle, by my twelve year old godson, imagine my surprise when I found myself cracking up not five minutes in.  This film isn’t a remake of the original, it’s a complete reconstruction.  An origami crane turned into an elephant; both animals, but that’s about it.  The only sincere constant is they both involve a game.  Everything else has been reimagined.  Honestly, they didn’t even need to make it a second Jumanji.  It could have worked independent of the franchise.  Think of it more as an homage to the first one, and trust me that it’s real easy to get behind once you jump on that bandwagon.

The first part of the movie takes place outside of the game.  It’s a fast dive into the lives of four high schoolers who are about to have their adolescence paused, while they are accidentally pulled into a videogame.  The scenes are packed with talented teens in all their hormonal glory (Alex Wolf, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner).  Cut to the second bulkier part where we follow the kids in their new bodies.  They unknowingly chose these avatars while messing around with the body-sucking videogame during detention, hence how the madness transpires.  Dwayne Johnson is endearing and actually adorable in his typecast, while at the same time against typecast, role (when you see it you will understand).  I haven’t seen Jack Black in this light in quite a while; he’s pure joy and effortless.  Kevin Hart is Kevin Hart, but he is complimentary to the other character’s quirks.  The stand out of the bunch though, comes in the form of the lesser-known name and only female in the ensemble.  Karen Gillan plays the unsure of herself ass-kicker.  She’s all kinds of awesome; deadly and kind.  An alluring mix.  Bobby Canavale, Nick Jonas and Rhys Darby all add to the amusement with smaller, yet wildly effective roles. 

The conclusion is, I went into the movie thinking it was a remake, and had my obvious apprehensions with the concept.  After seeing it, I’m still not quite sure exactly what it is (revamp, reboot, sequel), but I decided to toss aside terms and crush boxes and just accept it as an entertaining ride.  My beloved Jumanji has stayed untarnished in my mind and has retained its specialness (like my childhood China).  Jumanji : Welcome To The Jungle is a whole new design.  I’ll take if for what it is and even retain some hope that if “remakes” continue to be made, that perhaps they can veer off in the direction this one did. 

“Welcome to the jungle we’ve got fun and games…”  Guns N Roses

 

Peter Lorimer
THE DREAM TEAM : Get Away With Murder

Puzzle Edition 

By Duck Kolenik

We love our TV shows over here at The PLG!  And, I will confess that I watch an almost embarrassing amount of them.  I say almost, because it’s equal parts work and equal parts escape.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  Regardless of why you tune in, it’s truly the ideal time to be a fantasy seeker in the often utterly surreal and hectic times of today.  TV is an easily accessible distraction that we all deserve to get lost in some of the time. Or even a lot of time.  Here’s to having unity through TV!

I was watching How To Get Away With Murder, the other night, and I had an overwhelming feeling that I desperately wanted Annalise Keating in my life.  (If you are unfamiliar with the show, she is the slightly unhinged, slightly wicked insurgent and brilliant protagonist).  I thought, “If anything bad ever happened, she would save me.”  A modern day Prince Charming, only Charming is a Princess and would be rescuing me from prison, not some curse or furnished tower.  You get the point.  I then sifted through the catalogue of consumed “TV saviors”, filed away in my brain, and pondered...

Who would I pluck from all of my favorite (current) shows for the sole purpose of creating a fictitious dream team to get myself out of a jam - a big, fat, I’m wrongly accused of murder, type jam?  Taking a page out of Annalise’s playbook, I now ask you, how would YOU try to get away with murder (one in which you didn’t commit) AND whom would you want by your side?

Of course you need to have a proper defense team, the true detective and trained professional, but you also need a couple wild cards.  My thinking is, in order to get out of a shady situation you probably need a shady soul on your team, preferably with a benevolent side.   

Find my picks with the hints above & below! Enjoy. 

(Look for the full name of the character on the show.  Answers below!)

HINTS

1- The Queen of the courtroom

2- Conman with a conscience

3- She’s not a virgin, but someone she knows is…

4- Pregnant Detective in London

5- He makes trial science cool

6- Raised 5 kids who weren’t hers

7- The ultimate fixer 

Puzzle.jpg

 

 

ANSWERS  1- Annalise Keating - (How To Get Away With Murder) – Viola Davis, 2- Marius Josipovic / Pete (Sneaky Pete) - Giovanni Ribisi, 3- Petra Solano (Jane The Virgin) - Yael Grobglas, 4- DI Kip Glaspie (Collateral) - Carey Mulligan, 5- Dr. Jason Bull (Bull) – Michael Weatherly, 6- Fiona Gallagher (Shameless) – Emmy Rossum, 7- Ray Donovan (Ray Donovan) – Liev Schrieber

Peter Lorimer
FINAL FRIDAY

A special feature posted on the final Friday of every month in THE PLG's +1 blog!

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JUAN'S BASEMENT 

By Duck Kolenik

(Juan pictured above with the band Homeshake)

I’m super tickled to kick off the ‘Final Friday Feature’ (end of each month on PLG’s +1 blog) with this interview.  I recently got to gab with the host of ‘Juan’s Basement’ and serve him my best concoction of thoughtful, yet tasty questions.  For those of you who don’t yet know Juan Pieczanski, or his basement, the show is a live video series currently airing on Pitchfork.  And for those of you who don’t yet know Pitchfork (and live below a boulder?) it’s essentially musical gospel; a must read with all the cred and all the chops.      

The skinny premise is Juan invites a rad band to come over to his house in Brooklyn and jam out in his basement, then have a chilled chat to conclude.  My fantasy interview series actualized!  He has already nabbed some of the brightest bands on the block: Vampire Weekend, Deerhoof, Beach House, Broken Social Scene, Dr. Dog, Iceage…  just to throw a few of my favorites at you.  I can’t divulge exactly who, but there is a collection of gems set to stop by this season, so be sure to tune in.

A little backstory: I’ve known this musical mastermind (who is quite humble and will be embarrassed I wrote that, but it was worth it) for over a decade.  He is the wildly clever bassist in the band, Small Black, a record producer, sound engineer, Extraterrestrial enthusiast and an extremely charming show host.  I spent many a nights sweating and swaying in the now notable Park Slope basement, and I’m still at heart just a big admirer of Juan and the show.  Unabashedly borrowing a descriptive from ‘Almost Famous’, Juan’s easy vibes mixed with the diverse talent he interviews is... incendiary!

Check out the interview below, then rock on and click to see an episode of the show! 

DK: What’s your favorite moment from any season of Juan’s Basement?

JP: The moment David Berman from Silver Jews wrote and recited a new poem in my backyard :)

DK: Since your show combines two worlds… What are you watching on TV right now? AND what record can you not stop listening to? 

JP: I’m obsessed with Masterchef Australia, it’s the most relevant and passionate cooking competition on TV. I’m also very into food, I wanna add a cooking segment to my show one day. I also love Grace and Frankie!

DK: Something no one knows about you? For instance, when I scratch me knees I cough. Bizarre, I know.  

JP: Hmmm… I’m very double-jointed, and highly ticklish. 

DK: Favorite song recorded by an artist on your show? 

JP: It’s gotta be The Walkmen playing “The Rat”, for nostalgic reasons. I grew up with their music and they’re from the same area in DC, so it was a everything coming full circle. 

DK: The best piece of advice you were ever given by a fellow musician?

JP: I’d have to say the best advice was to remember the sound guy’s name!

DK: What was the last thing you laughed really hard about?

JP: I really enjoyed a standup set by Aparna Nancherla on Netflix’s show “The Standups”.  She’s phenomenal. 

DK: What’s the most irritating thing you hear in a song these days? For example, as a writer, it drives me crazy when in a script someone at a bar says, “I’ll have a beer”.  No specific kind or anything.  Why! 

JP: I really hate anything with that millennial whoop, especially in indie music or mainstream pop that references folk music. I won’t name names… 

DK: What is something you’d like to be asked in an interview but never are?  Answer it …

JP: What would my final meal be? Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, a chocolate milkshake, and a slice of red velvet cake.

DK: What’s your main motivation for creating? Reason behind deciding to start Juan’s Basement?

JP: It feels like the best use of my limited time here. I dabble in a lot of areas, playing live music, TV production and sound engineering. I don’t feel like a total master at any but I also couldn’t commit to just one.

DK: Any fun & embarrassing stories that happened to you during a taping, interview, show, outing, etc.?

JP: Tons! Kevin Drew from Broken Social Scene showed up still drunk from the night before, he really gave me a hard time on camera, but I was such a fan and happy they played that I just went along with it to the best of my ability! Their performance rocked though which is the most important thing, but you can never predict people’s moods and it’s live TV, so you gotta just roll with it…

DK: Is there anything you’d like to get off your chest about anything happening in the world right now?  This is your chance to be free!  

JP: I think I’ve said it all, I’ve said too much! Lol.  No, but seriously, let’s get UFO disclosure happening for everyone! People have the right to know. 

DK: Any inside tips about this new season?

JP: I really want to diversify the show into other genres like Rap, Pop, R&B, Jazz, so hopefully you’ll see a surprising booking sometime this year!

BONUS

DK: Favorite house/ apartment / whatever you ever lived in?  What was magical about it?

JP: Obviously my favorite is MY house! It contains my much needed basement space!

DK: If you could buy a house anywhere on the planet where would it be?

JP: If I could get a place anywhere it'd be... hmmmm... I hate to say it, but a house in LA. I love it there but always am drawn back to NYC. But having a place out there would give me access to Vancouver, all of the beautiful areas in CA, and Mexico. It's a no-brainer for me.

Peter Lorimer
THE PLG’s + 1

PLG is pulling it all together with this one, a blog a la mode style.  Real Estate with a hearty topping of entertainment.   

We’re an imaginative bunch, woven as one by the very particular stitches that make up Los Angeles.  Initially, we fell in love with finding and sharing the magical homes that fill this glorious city, but quickly became smitten once again.  This time, with the “who and what” that fill those enchanted homes in which we sell.  

Entertainment reigns in this perpetually chipper city-of-stars, and the sky never does.  Always sunny and always exciting.  Just the way we like it!

This blog is essentially a privileged peak into the world that is all things creative and we plan on tending to all; those with a film fixation, TV addiction, the pro-concert-goer, house porn voyeur, new music glutton, cultural connoisseur and anyone who is simply as intrigued by extreme talent as we are.  This is an exclusive backstage guest list that you’ve landed a spot on.

A place where all of our daily worlds morph into one and we grab hold of that thrilling thread that ties them all together, creativity.   

Come be our +1! and check back every Friday for a new post!

Peter Lorimer