Category Archives: TVD Los Angeles

TVD Live: Retra
and Death Machine II,
at Maui Sugar Mill Saloon, 7/3

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | A couple of years ago I sat down my favorite LA dive bar, Equal Parts, and ordered a very well crafted $10 whisky sour. I came to Equal Parts for the jukebox: Danzig, Patti Smith, The Talking Heads, ect. There’s nothing better than listening to The Stones’ “Sister Morphine” in a red-tinted, dimly lit bar, drink in hand.

But on this particular night, karaoke was ruining my sanctuary until this enigmatic androgynous being jumped on the bar and smashed “What’s Up” by the 4 Non Blondes. I peered up at her speechless as she stomped from one end of the bar to the other in combat boots and a fresh crew cut killing every high note of the infamous “and I said hey, what’s going on,” chorus. “Holy shit, she’s actually giving Linda Perry a run for her money,” I thought to myself. The packed bar gave her a standing ovation. I wondered about this person with this mega voice, but this is LA proper and good manners dictate not to be intrusive to the talent around us. I sipped my drink instead.

Flash forward to the night before our first 4th of July without Covid restrictions, and everything comes full circle when I walk into the Maui Sugar Mill Saloon to check out Retra, a rebranded version of the Glam Skanks who once toured with Adam Ant. To my great surprise, I find the Glam Skanks’ founding members Veronica Witkin (guitar, synth, vocals) and Millie Chan (bass, vocals) have paired up with the girl with the mega voice, Audra Isadora (lead vocals), and formed Retra. With Shaina Mikee Keiths on drums, Retra did what they came do: glam/soul rock the night out.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Got a feeling inside (can’t explain) / It’s a certain kind (can’t explain) / I feel hot and cold (can’t explain) / Yeah, down in my soul, yeah (can’t explain)

I said (can’t explain) / I’m feeling good now, yeah, but (can’t explain)

Dizzy in the head and I’m feeling blue / The things you’ve said, well, maybe they’re true / I’m gettin’ funny dreams again and again / I know what it means, but…

Heading into July 4th weekend I’m still trying to set my head straight. Last week I hit the high seas fishing with a couple of pals, but I still can’t seem to shake 18 months of pandemic isolation.

Next Friday I’ll be crusin’ my home turf of NY with Susan and Jonah in tow. Time to eat a few burgers and follow my son’s lead—and shrug this past year off and rock ‘n’ roll.

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The Best of Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Oh I am a lonely painter / I live in a box of paints / I’m frightened by the devil / And I’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid / I remember that time that you told me, you said / “Love is touching souls” / Surely you touched mine ’cause / Part of you pours out of me / In these lines from time to time

Just the other day a number of female writers at NPR posted a list of “the greatest albums made by women between 1964 and the present.” They said it’s to be an “intervention, a remedy, a correction of the historical record and hopefully…”

…the start of a new conversation? Well, hey ladies! Let’s get our playlist on!

Although some of the selections are obviously political—therefore “whack”—everyone loves a playlist in the summer 2017. Even if it puts Beyonce up there with Joni and Aretha…no stress. A playlist is a playlist and the women at NPR have been on the same wavelength with me this week. Turns out, I have been digging through steamy crates selecting some of my favorite heroines on wax for this week’s Idelic Hour “All Girls” playlist.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It’s carbon and monoxide / The ole Detroit perfume / It hangs on the highways / In the morning / And it lays you down by noon / Oh Papa Hobo / You can see that I’m dressed like a schoolboy / But I feel like a clown / It’s a natural reaction I learned / In this basketball town

Last weekend I was struggling to have a cool Father’s Day. It wasn’t until mid-Sunday morning that I released I had the dates confused—Father’s Day is this Sunday.

Some of my friends would say I’m a cool dad but I grimace at the thought. Truth be told, I’ve never had much luck enjoying the day. As a youth I was often at the center of the party, but as a Dad I’m often left feeling more like a “party pooper” who can’t get his phone call returned from a “playa.”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

No more pencils / No more books / No more teacher’s dirty looks / Out for summer / Out till fall / We might not come / Back at all

School’s out forever / School’s out for summer / School’s out with fever / School’s out completely

Do you believe in the power of the planets? Aliens? Does Mercury in retrograde ring a bell? In substance I’m with it all, but in truth I find it all to be underlying cosmic matter.

Ok, so what? After a week of many small and often annoying challenges I woke up this AM with a joyous contagion. It hit me that today is the last day of 7th grade for our Jonah.

I once owned a weekly LA club I named 7th Grade. My partner (notorious ’80s DJ Matt Dike) and I loved the name. The concept behind it was that “our ride” started in 7th Grade.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Cold fire, you’ve got everything but cold fire / You will be my rest and peace child / I moved up to take a place, near you / So tired, it’s the sky that makes you feel tired / It’s a trick to make you see wide / It can all but break your heart, in pieces / Staying back in your memory / Are the movies in the dark / How you moved is all it takes / To sing a song of when I loved / The prettiest star

Back from a couple of weeks and a Monday off, us Idelic cats are chilling in our cozy canyon backyard. Praying for a sunny June.

Memorial Day weekend was spent on the hot and dusty baseball fields of Santa Clarita. In addition to rock ‘n’ roller and Idelic DJ, I’ve become a baseball dad. Last weekend Jonah’s team was back to the “arms race,” known in California as “travel baseball.”

Turns out it was worth the 16 month wait as Jonah’s team swept through the State Championship with our Idelic pitcher hurling shutout innings in the game.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I was a city child with a dead-end smile / And a worm’s-eye point of view / Oh I knew my way, I was a backstreet stray / And I had my eyes on you

Now I got this friend and he’s a screwdriver-jiver / You know, some kinda automobeat on the street / And he has converted me to rock’n’roll

I just want to dance to / Honaloochie boogie yeah / Get in time, don’t worry ’bout the shirt shine / Honaloochie boogie yeah / You sure started somethin’

Now my hair gets longer as the beat gets stronger / want to tell Chuck Berry my news / I get my kicks outta guitar licks / And I’ve sold my steel-toed shoes

I used a verse from the Mott the Hoople song above as my quote for the senior page of my high school yearbook. This week’s playlist was sparked by a song too, “Let’s Be Us Again” by a Portland group called The Declines. Funny enough, pulling songs about “us,” “you and I,” etc. This wonderful tune just didn’t seem to fit as well as Ian Hunter and Gary Numan.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Bit off more than I can chew / And I knew, yeah, I knew what it was leading to / Some things, well, I can’t refuse / One of them, one of them the bedroom blues

She delivers right on time, I can’t resist a corny line / But take the shine right off your shoes / Yeah, right off your shoes / Carryin’, carryin’ the bedroom blues

What to do this weekend? To be honest this work week has been a lot. I would say our family—maybe society?—is having psychological growing pains. Some physical too! A civilization is rarely “hunkered down” for so long. Most of us certainly have never experienced living in a mental and emotional bomb shelter. Well, we’re digging out.

I ate lunch at Fred Segal’s cafe on Melrose yesterday. For those of us coming out from the ’80s into the ’90s, Fred Segal has been been quite an institution in more ways than one. I’m dumbstruck that this clothes boutique and adjacent cafe has walked side by side with LA film, music, fashion, and culture trends. It’s where “ice lattes” and fine cotton t-shirts were born. We went for lunch, looked at pretty people, and chatted about deals and projects.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

The hand that wrote this letter / Sweeps the pillow clean / So rest your head and read a treasured dream / I care for no one else but you / I tear my soul to cease the pain / I think maybe you feel the same / What can we do? / I’m not quite sure what we’re supposed to do / So I’ve been writing just for you

As we slip into Spring there are a few things I’m grateful for. Certainly the vaccine and good ol’ Joe Biden.

Life in our city of angels feels like it’s slowly returning. Jonah had his first day back at school. Wednesday evening I took him for a pitching lesson. Watching my son hurl fastballs during a warm and peaceful Spring sunset was a slice of heaven. I know there will be setbacks and bumps ahead, but enjoying the simple things in life is not only what it’s all about, it’s all I have.

So I’m going to enjoy Spring. It reminds me of “girls.” From a guy’s perspective, seeing Jonah is now off to the mall with “new friends,” I thought I’d dig through my crates and pull some of my faves of the past. Odes to Laura, Gloria, Hermione, Stephanie, Caroline, Emily, Maggie, Cindy, Bertha, Delilah, and of course Carol.

“Oh Carol, don’t let him steal your heart away…”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

You will never come close to how I feel / Space around me where my soul can breathe / I’ve got body that my mind can leave / Nothing else matters, I don’t care what I miss / Company’s okay / Solitude is bliss

Whether it’s Earth Day, Weed Day, or Psychedelics Day, this planet seems to keep spinning along. Sometimes our world and our perception of “time” is moving faster and faster. Years ago I heard of a theory that when you hit a certain age, your body (this case your brain), start to shrink and your perception of time changes.

Do you remember being in grade school and how long a 40 minute class was? These days the phone rings, I have a sip of coffee—and poof—an hour gone in a flash.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

They’ll stone you when you’re at the breakfast table / They’ll stone you when you are young and able / They’ll stone you when you’re tryin’ to make a buck / Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll say “good luck” / Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get stoned

I was up most of night with springtime allergies and woke up late this morning. I’m not sure if my scratchy eyes are from our beloved kitty Nori or from the massive amount of green pollen covering most of the canyon.

Even though we’ve been digging the warm early spring weather, a part of me is wishing for one of those April showers to wash away… well, to wash away everything. Can we simply restart everything?

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Our Father high in heaven, smile down upon your son / Who is busy with his money games – his women and his gun / Oh Jesus save me

And the unsung western hero, he killed an Indian or three / And then he made his name in Hollywood to set the white man free / Oh Jesus save me

Did you get a spring break vacation? Coming out of covid it seems like a ridiculous idea, but sure enough the world keeps spinning and people are moving back to the “next new normal.”

Wednesday my dad turned 87. Life is a trip and it hasn’t been easy watching him grow into his 80s. Someday, god willing, we’ll all be there. I hope I’ll still be curious and into new music. In dedication to Kenny, springtime, and the circle of change that life brings, this week’s Idelic Hour is mostly new songs with a few old treats sprinkled in.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

He’s a drug store truck drivin’ man / He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan / When summer rolls around / He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

Well, he’s got him a house on the hill / He plays country records till you’ve had your fill / He’s a fireman’s friend he’s an all night DJ / But he sure does think different from the records he plays

Last weekend my son and I took a road trip. It was our second such trip in the pandemic. Both were for “kids baseball,” what I like to affectionately refer to as the “baseball bullshit.” Let’s just assume a small group of 12 year old boys and their significant parents felt the dire calling to drive deep into the desert to play baseball.

The epic insanity, nonsense and tribalism resembled a kind of modern Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. How could the Sidel dudes miss out on that? I will spare you of the “play by play,” but my observation is that while our, “Idelic culture” and progressive ideals have been snuggled away in our cozy canyon pads, the rest of the country has been on the road, driving their “loaded” pick-up trucks across the wasteland.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Now is the time to / Sing for your supper / And you’ll get breakfast / Songbirds are not dumb / They don’t buy a crumb of bread / It’s said, so sing and you’ll be fed

I heard from a wise canary / Trilling makes a fellow willing / So, little swallow, swallow now

Looking to get a touch of the outdoors this weekend? I’m hitting the road so I’ve created a playlist for the road. Let the music do the talking and we’ll report back.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I’ve been watchin’ all of my past repeatin’ / There’s no endin’, and when I stop pretendin’ / See you standin’, a million moments landin’ / On your smile, buried alive, I could have / Die to stay there, never have to leave there

All this trouble tryin’ to catch right up with me / I keep movin’, knowin’ some day that I will be / Standin’, facin’, all mirrors are erasin’ / Losin’ beauty, at least at times it knew me / At least at times it knew me / At least at times it knew me

Take a look at yourself lately?

I’m not sure what I posted a year ago, but the date March 12 rings a bell. It was about this time last year, midday Thursday I believe, I left my office in Burbank never to return. I made a pit stop at Whole Foods and lined up to buy whatever was left on the shelves.

It was a couple days before the virus caught my attention. My hipster daughter had done a film for Gucci with Nick Cave’s kid. Zoe was in Milan for fashion week. Reports were trickling in about a strong flu-like virus spreading from China to Northern Italy.

There have been mornings where I looked into the mirror and thought. “How are we gonna get through this?” Although we’ve lost many, the truth is most of us are still here. It seems our “magic mirrors” tell a very intense year long tale. As for my Idelic self, once athletic, I’m out of shape and slowly going grey, but still rocking on. My wife is rightfully often sick of my constant blaming and ’60s music. But after all of this, all of these years together, this chick is still as beautiful as that Friday afternoon I asked her out.

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