The Listen! Watch! Eat! Year-End Wrapup 2012

Here at Listen! Watch! Eat! we’re so excited for the end of the year roundup that we can hardly type. Thanks to all our audience for being around for the roller coaster ride of 2012, and we know you love the list as much as we do, so let’s get right to it.


Real talk: Pig Leg owned this year. Topher T.’s rich, growling vocals never sounded tougher, and the twin-guitar assault of the Laughlin Twins dropped a Television-quality buzzsaw all over Leggsy and Bags’ rolling unguent beat. No one could have predicted than an offal joke band could go from food truck to headliner in such a short time, but the ‘Leg won our hearts long after they’d left the giblets behind. We’ve heard an advance copy of their upcoming “Uncured” album and you already love it. Trust us.

Anyone who spent as much time as we did at the Rusty Rooster knows how much Garry Turgenev ruled this year. If we said “it’s just slap bass and spoken word” there wouldn’t be many takers, but anyone who goes just once understands. Garry’s branching out, too. The few of us who caught him jamming with Uncle Aloha at the Sausage Festival know he’s got a few more tricks up his sleeve. Stay tuned closely to this station—and to Garry—for a kick-ass year.

This isn’t a big Krautrock town, but we have a treasure. You know who we mean. It’s Leverkühn, who ripped us all a new one this year when we least expected it. Thursday nights at Balder’s was a pop-up temple of the Teutonic. Hissing backbeats and unexpectedly laminated malignancy oiled the groove for some Faustian noodling and snapped-down wrenching worthy of Neu! Don’t be intimidated by Euro-styled hair and apparent ennui. Grab this schnitzel next year.


And by film we mean indie film, and by indie we mean local. You know what that means: Gazpacho. The single-named soup-named auteur made his usual 24 short films this year, each one a lapidary gem. “Thirty Minutes at the Drive Through” rocked our world the hardest, with an intense focus on commerce and boredom that hit us right here. Nobody didn’t like the Egg Cycle, either: four films d’oeuf in four locations in four days is a record even within the highly competitive Alimentary School. Not every town has a film scene, much less a powerhouse savant like the G-Man. Honor that shit!

The Elephant Leg Collective continues to hold it down with their film happenings at Sammy Peep’s. A late Tuesday night means two things: Irish Coffee and the Elephant’s Leg Collage on the wall outside. Despite the heavy hand of the law, the proud pachyderms screened four films at once eight times this year, to the delight of a well-warmed crowd. Our personal vote goes to the “Four Die Hards of Christmas.” Let’s hope for a less litigious year for the trunksters.


When it comes to local and sustainable, there’s no tastier activists than the Food Bike Posse. Going where trucks cannot, these intense but charming young men have powered the Bunny Bacon BLT, Big Balut Burger, Boston Baked Bones, and everyone’s favorite Bat Balls dessert all over town. They won’t admit who the top chef is in their strictly egalitarian collective, but those in the know point to the guy they call Big Nacho. We hear with sympathy the controversy about their “No Dames” policy, but maybe the kerfuffle will give us a posse of Grrl Pastry Cyclists or even a Lunch Lady ride!

Boy, what a storm we had this year over Konys! Owner/chef Topher Ian is the first to admit his concept invites controversy. His international humanitarian focus has a laser-like intensity that shows in everything from the décor to the award-winning menu. You don’t know food in this town until you’ve had his small plates under photographic documentation of ethnic cleansing. The contrast makes a tremendous point, and the tofu/pretzel “hot wings” compete with the artisanal walnut-wrapped pork fat for piquant, energizing snap. Word has it that the atrocities video loop over the bar may give way to soul-searching documentaries, but the barberry Old Fashioned will keep flowing.

Gackers! We all say it at once after a long day or a long night. There’s no better restorative than Manny T.’s nouveau churrascaria, and since he went 24-hour it’s the only place in town past midnight. Our favorites include the toasted snout wrap, “deviled egg” of shaved kidney, and the Tuesdays-only Maw Pie Skewer. Word has it Manny is planning a Pan European Smoked Meat drive-through that might just get us over to the East Side after all.

Be sure and share your year-end favorites and opinions on ours! Hit up that comments section and join the conversation. Here’s to a great 2013 from Topher L. and the whole gang!

News in these here now United States


At the end of a Monday, this is the top news of a wealthy, well-known Southern California beach resort, population about 90,000. There’s a lot going on in my town. News-type news happens! More than most cities this size. We have a harbor and a large beach.

But apparently the Register (and everyone else, really) decided to save $5 and fire all their reporters. Top stories here include two actual news items, two rewarmed press releases, three canned data stories, and a real estate tout. Just from hearing sirens during the day anyone can tell that a couple of those data-repeating or PR stories could be replaced with a car crash, for chrissakes.

The Register was never an excellent newspaper, but they did cover local news. If a column of smoke was rising from the Westside or 8 cop cars arrived at the high school, you knew they’d have something about it the next day.

Welp that’s done!

What do you all think? What’s the likely effect of disappearing local news over the next decade or so?

Breaking news is neither

All the news services offer BREAKING NEWS ALERTS sent to my email or phone. I am a sucker for these things, because I think they will provide only the real zingers, and right away.


What do I get? The resignation of athletic coaches, the leaked possibility of the announcement of some politician’s retirement, some celebrity did something, someone who has been decrepit for a decade dies, Christmas occurs.

With a moment’s thought it is clear how this happens. Someone says “we shall have breaking news alerts” and everyone knows what this means; it means the big stories I want. There are not very many of these. Maybe none for months! Meanwhile they notice that each one of these alerts creates a crapload of traffic to the website.

Eventually the marketing people will lobby for more frequent alerts, and they will start adding less shocking stories, and it will get more watered down. Finally there will be an “alert cycle” that is nearly a schedule, and someone will sell ad packages including the alerts. At this point not as many people rush to the site after an alert, but it’s still more than typical traffic, and that is what counts.

And that is also why someday Christmas will last six months.

In better news, I had a hell of a good plate of brown rice with saffron tonight.

How are you all?


The latest in the series of maniacal memos from Lee Abrams to Tribune Staff is at Romenesko in its entirety, via LA Observed’s synopsis.

So beautiful. Excerpts:

Using my favorite music analogies–Imagine Newspaper CONTENT is a major artist. Currently they are performing in a old but reliable venue. What happens if the artist (Content) moves into a new super venue? Fans will love it–the music (content) will sound clearer…better seats…etc…If you create anew venue (look) and you do it RIGHT, people will love it. Not unlike a new baseball park.

THREE DAY PREVIEW: Why is it only weather can do three day previews? Newspapers tend to look at YESTERDAY. How about looking at TOMORROW..and the days after. You can’t predict breaking news of course, but you CAN condition readers that there IS a tomorrow and YOU will be there.

Because Newspapers are in every home and on every street
corner. The better the paper IS and does, the stronger all of the other
brands will be!!! Creating new brands to reach non traditional print
demos is good…but the stronger and more potent the core paper is–the
better EVERYTHING will be. Sorta like Diet Coke wouldn’t have a prayer
if COKE wasn’t a powerhouse….sorta. I DO see a lot of “whoa! GREAT
idea…too bad we can’t try it on our core brand” Why???!!! Is it
“assuming” that traditional readers won’t like it?

It’s a poor linksman that blames his fools

Yet more dopamine-inspired beautiful madness from Lee Abrams, the Motivational Think of What and Chief Rotorvator at the Times is here:

Most importantly I think this sort of thing would shake people in a good way without sacrificing the comfort or the integrity of what a newspaper delivers. A powerful new look that unleashes the timeless power of print…makes a statement–e Aren’t tweaking…We aren’t wallowing in grief. We are aggressively designing the future!


Correction of the year so far

“During our February 8th broadcast, the hosts of this program mistakenly stated that financier George Soros ‘cheerfully’ and ‘willingly’ went to work for the Nazis after his native Hungary was occupied during World War II, when Mr. Soros was 13 years old. The hosts also mistakenly stated that Mr. Soros ‘ran around Hungary with Nazi officials, serving eviction notices to people who were going to be shipped out on the death trains,’ and that he did so ‘to further his own career.’ These statements are not accurate, and KSFO regrets that they were broadcast.”

Carlson’s being let go also, but I’m sure he’ll just slide into another gig. Maybe they’ll make him take off the bowtie?

Tucker Carlson, Melanie Morgan Get Walking Papers

Dear the O.C. Weekly

From: me
Subj: Regarding the “Sex Issue”

Why is this issue different from all other issues?


To: me
From: [REDACTED], Editorial Assistant
Subj: Re: Regarding the “Sex Issue”

This is a themed issue. The theme is sex. Hope this helps you!


From: me
Subj: Re: Regarding the “Sex Issue

Guess you didn’t get the joke. Have a good one!