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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in los angeles (16)


In Which These Are All The Hot Places In L.A.

72 Suburbs In Search of A City


Curious about some of the hot L.A. places you've heard about from the point of view of someone who's not famous? You're not? OK then skip this.

EDISON: This place is popular for its "steam punk" theme. What in the fresh hell is steam punk, really? An old warehouse covered in Tim Burton posters? I don't know. But I do know that they don't fuck around with their martinis, there's burlesque shows about every 20 minutes, sometimes right on the bar, and there are women in fairy wings who pull carts of absinthe around. It's like Disneyland through Helena Bonham Carter's eyes.

MANDRAKE: Every time I come here I find myself lying. For example I was trying to impress a guy at the bar, one of those kids you meet a thousand times but you're never quite sure if they remember you, so I told him that I was celebrating because I got a callback for Mad Men when really all I did was register at central casting to be an extra for the show. I made up an elaborate plotline about how I was reading for the part of a new secretary who finds something out about Roger that Joan doesn't want her to know. He seemed really happy for me which made me feel bad. One of the Phantom Planet dudes hangs out here, the one that isn't Jason Schwartzman, so that's almost cool.

LES DEUX: I've never been but I hear Les Deux is Latin for an old wooden ship.

BARDOT: Honestly most of the guys who go here are a hair above ugly but the women are stunning. Sometimes bands show up to do secret sets. I went there on a night that Chairlift did a surprise performance. After their set I saw a cute guy who looked sort of familiar, so I went up to him, introducing myself with, "You look kind of familiar." I name dropped a bit to see if we had anyone in common and he told me, "You look familiar too." Then this guy that I know came over and we started talking and the cute guy left. Then I realized that he looked familiar because HE WAS IN THE BAND THAT JUST PLAYED. Duh/d'oh.

CINESPACE: This place is famous for being home to The Cobrasnake guy and his buddies. On Tuesday nights they have parties where a lot of, yes, hipsters gather in hopes of being shot...with a camera. Yes, Cinespace is a fresh slice of 2005. It's cramped and gross and once Steve Aoki came up to me and wordlessly pet my hair. This place is just weird. 

TEDDY'S: Located in the Roosevelt Hotel and frequented by B-list celebs, I'm pretty sure that Teddy's is Spanish for "A Whale's Vagina." If you feel like dealing with this mob scene it's usually worth it for the DJ who spins Beatles. 90% of the time I come here I have a good time.

Have fun but remember: leggings are not pants unless you're really, really thin. If this shocks or upsets you then I'm sorry.

Almie Rose is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She blogs here, and twitters here.

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"Bottom Your Way To The Top" — Logan Lynn (mp3)

"Write It On My Left Arm" — Logan Lynn (mp3)

"Prey On The Power" — Logan Lynn (mp3)


In Which We Get Inked

As Lightly As Possible


Barbara was a bad influence, and conveniently I was bored of suburban life and craving a bad influence. We became friends quickly. Her favorite band was Stone Temple Pilots (this was in 1993, so I'd never heard of them), and we bonded over our all-encompassing, flannel clad obsession with Nirvana. Everywhere we went, we'd do so with our arms linked - mine looped through hers - and our heads tilted towards one another so our conspiratorial conversations wouldn't be overheard.

Do you remember what it felt like when you first discovered that there was a life away from your parents? When you first realized that you weren't a child anymore? For some of you that may have been later in life - in college or when you got your first car and had that taste of freedom — but for me, because I was a latchkey kid with a wild imagination, I experienced that when I was 13. I couldn't have picked a better (or worse, more likely) person to expose me to that life than Barbara.

photo by jonah ray I remember straddling her as she lay face-down on her couch one afternoon. We had ditched class like always, and her single mother was at work. She wanted the word "Love" carved into her back, she told me as she held a lighter to a razor blade to disinfect it, before handing it over to me. I pressed as lightly as possible, barely drew any blood, but I remember thinking how stupid she was for doing that. She was the dominant one in our relationship though, more of a boyfriend to me than a friend, so I didn't tell her this.

That's a whole part of my life that I'd like to forget. The girl I was back then is a stranger to me now, and when I see girls who are the age I was when I did those things I'd like to forget - the drugs, the sex, feeling invincible - I'm always shocked at how young they look. It doesn't jive with the image I had of myself back then.

Underneath the large tattoo on my leg, now covered by a Japanese flower, are her initials. With a safety pin and Indian ink, we carved each other's initials into our legs at the height of our friendship, which not long after came to a screeching halt over a guy.

Georgia Hardstark is the contributing editor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. Georgia also blogs here and tumbls here.

"Winter Games"  — Foreign Born (mp3) highly recommended

"Early Warnings" — Foreign Born (mp3)

"Vacationing People" — Foreign Born (mp3)

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In Which We Give You A Little Personal Information

Everything Is Less Than Zero


A little background, and some personal information (there's always personal information, you should know this by now). I went to private school in Los Angeles. I did not go to the same private school as Bret Easton Ellis, but a couple of my friends did and so did Rashida Jones.

Less Than Zero is one of those rare instances where the movie surpasses the book, in that it is CAST PERFECTLY. Robert Downey Jr. plays the same character (himself) in every movie. It's what makes him such a great movie star. He makes the character of Julian three-dimensional, which he isn't in the book. In the book he's more of an offscreen presence, a cipher, the Tino of the piece.

Downey plays him as himself, and thus somehow makes a junkie rentboy lovable. You actually care that the other two dull protagonists (Clay and Blair) are trying to rescue him because he's Robert Downey Jr. and we already know how the next decade of this brilliant young actor's life is going to turn out (not so good).

There's no sexual tension whatsoever between the leads. Jami Gertz plays Blair like a less butch Demi Moore. Andrew McCarthy plays Clay exactly as he's written; a closeted gay. All the sexual menergy is between Clay, Julian, and Rip.

Clay is still two-dimensional, which is why Andrew McCarthy is perfectly cast. He's a two-dimensional actor, cute and empty. But he's neither as cute nor as empty as James Spader, King of Pervs, who plays Rip the coke dealer.

Is there any movie in which James Spader doesn't play a glassy-eyed lech? Oh, right, Stargate. The movie I found him most attractive in, and that had to do more with my love for Egyptology and guys that resemble Encyclopedia Brown.

I can't believe he won the Emmy for Boston Legal. He fucking BEAT GANDOLFINI WTFFF. Was he the one who said "I don't know who votes for these things" because that was sort of charming. Boston Legal, jesus christ. Considering that show is even still on the air, I think it should get a new title:

I guess I disliked Less Than Zero because it wasn't at all representative of my experience as a teenager in Los Angeles. I read Less Than Zero and Play It As It Lays and The Day Of The Locust and they're all fine, but I didn't relate personally. None of them pinged with me the way good literature should.

They're all about ennui, which is hard to write about anyway. My experience in the suburbs of L.A. was more like American Graffiti or Dazed and Confused than Thirteen. You can feel displaced anywhere. People still confuse Hollywood with Los Angeles and Los Angeles with Disneyland.

My Top Twenty L.A. Movies

1. Shampoo

2. The Long Goodbye

3. Clueless

4. Chinatown

5. Boogie Nights

6. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

7. The Big Lebowski

8. Valley Girl

9. Pulp Fiction

10. Friday

11. Singin' In The Rain

12. Double Indemnity

13. Ed Wood

14. Sunset Boulevard

15. Barton Fink

16. Repo Man

17. Menace II Society

18. The Player

19. L.A. Confidential

20. Slums Of Beverly Hills

"Well, what I really want is to suck his cock."

The problem with movies like Less Than Zero that glamorize drug use and promiscuous sex is that nobody likes the third act of those movies, the redemption act. It's always all about the first two, the escalation and the spiraling out of control.

The only movie with this arc (the "Behind The Music" arc) and a great third act is Boogie Nights and that movie defies most classifications. Alex thought it was weird that P.T.A. wanted to make a movie about oil from an Upton Sinclair book but duh it's brilliant. Los Angeles was an oil town and it's a trope of historical Westerns, like the Gold Rush. I could certainly stand to see more Gold Rush movies.

The glamorous, the flossayyy flossayyy

And back to Less Than Zero: I know they mutilated the book and it's much more gray about it blah blah blah but guess what, jaded is a terrible cinematic emotion. French New Wave to the contrary, blasé is generally boring and doesn't read. It's indemonstrable and therefore can be acted well by people like Ryan Phillipe.

I'm just unbelievably sick of decadent super-rich people. In fiction, in film, in life, anywhere they exist. I am tired of their monopoly on culture and life. I'd rather read, hear, and see art about anything else. Except for like, boring married people having unfulfilling sex and intimacy issues.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She tumbls here.

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"I've Got Your Number (live)" - Passion Pit (mp3)

"Sleepyhead (live)" - Passion Pit (mp3)

"Live To Tell The Tale (live)" - Passion Pit (mp3)