Whenever I hear someone moan that L.A. has no culture, (which is often, since fellow East Coasters feel a Stepford-like obligation to repeat it) I remind them of Morning Becomes Eclectic. This show played The Shins before they blew up on Garden State, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes before their song was used in a car commercial.
Running live from nine until noon all week long, this NPR program streams to computers everywhere via the KCRW website. Bands visit and play live, and I've watched streaming videos of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Ray LaMontagne, the latter being the most memorable of all.
It's no surprise that Morning Becomes Eclectic host Jason Bentley has become an iconic figure in the L.A. music scene. He's even become a sex symbol of sorts. Gay men have speculated on it for years, while straight women lament that he's married to Kahi Lee.
I was invited to a KCRW party in downtown L.A., where Jason Bentley played DJ to open for Cut Chemist. Producer Jason Reitman (pictured below) stood alongside Cut Chemist during his performance. Perhaps he was helping. He wore earphones and clapped a lot anyway.
The Hyundai Re:Mix lab was there, showcasing high-tech auto innovations. There was an open bar, a photo booth and lounges. Fellow East Coasters, you'd be amazed about what you'd discover in this town if you spent less time whining, and more time exploring.