Thursday, May 21, 2015

San Diego to L.A.: Part 4

Really quickly I just want to mention that the site here hit 30,000 page views yesterday.  That is amazing to me, and I just want to thank each and every person for coming and looking at and reading my stuff here.  If you're a fan, a friend, a family member, or a stranger who wandered here off a web search, thank you so much.  Any artist needs an audience, so thank you for being mine.  Now, back to the story!

My 4-day weekend in L.A. hanging out with my friend Mike Wamser in August of 2013 was a surprising whirlwind of exploring, hanging out with great creative people and just plain fun.

The Party at Claire's House, L to R: Isaac Nippert,
Shannon Michael "Mike" Wamser, Stephen Eshenbaugh,
Corey Landis, Yours Truly
My first night there was the Magneta Lane show at The Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard.  I got there early and found the drummer Nadia, the guitarist/singer Lexi, and their friend, Lindsay Michelle Becker, an awesome rock journalist from Toronto who made the trip down to California with the band.  They invited me to sit with them, and I had an incredible time just hanging out with them.  It was even more strange than the San Diego show the weekend before.  This time, not only was I seeing them play live, I was just sitting around talking with them like it was no big deal.

At one point, Lexi and I were talking about songwriting, and I told her how much I loved the Gambling with God record, and she shared with me her own thoughts about what she was satisfied with and what she wasn't totally happy about the songs on it.  It was a "pinch me" moment for me, I was like, I have loved this band for years and years, and here is the lead singer and songwriter talking to me like an equal.  And then I was like, well, this is how it should be, really...I am a rock songwriter too and I've written a lot of songs and made records, and I knew exactly what she was talking about.  It was still super-cool.

At the Dodgers-Red Sox Game at Dodger Stadium,
L to R: Yours Truly, Mike Wamser, Katie O'Brien,
Andrew Goulet, Dave Holstein
I watched the whole show standing next to Lindsay, who was also a huge Magneta Lane fan, so it was cool to have someone to share in the glory with.  The band played an amazing set, I could have watched them play for another two hours.  The highlight of the show for me was a kickass performance of their song "22," my favorite of theirs.  I was in Rock Heaven.

The next night, Mike and I had a party at his friend Claire's house where he was staying for the month.  I went on Facebook and invited everyone I knew who lived in L.A.  A ton of people showed up and all had a fantastic time.

I met Mike's friend Katie O'Brien, a delightful actor, writer and producer.  I heard all about the comedy film project Mike, Katie, and their other friend Mike Piccirillo were working on.  I hung out with my friend Corey Landis, an amazing musician and actor.

A bunch of us went to go see the Boston Red Sox (my team) play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.  I was having conversations about theater, film and music non-stop for four days.  At the baseball game, I came up with an idea for a new play I wanted to write, and talked about it with Mike.
Yours Truly with Larry Bates and Mike Wamser

Then Mike and I went and hung out with our mutual actor friend, Larry Bates.  I had just recently reconnected with Larry after keeping in touch on Facebook, but not having seen him in person for 12 years.  Larry was in an amazing production of the play The Mountaintop about Martin Luther King, Jr. at San Diego Repertory Theatre.  He and I hung out a couple of times in San Diego during the run of that show.  But I believe Mike hadn't seen him since working with him as an actor 12 years ago.  Larry is a great guy and the three of us had a blast hanging out.

Driving back to San Diego, I was absolutely buzzing from all the fun I had enjoyed in L.A.  At first, I still assumed I would continue to live in San Diego, and maybe try to make a point of visiting L.A. on some sort of regular basis.  But in the days following that amazing weekend, something started to shift within me...

Read the conclusion of the story in Part 5!  Thanks so much for visiting and reading!

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