20 December 2006


Throughout this week and probably next, Riff Market is proud to publish some friends' remarks on Music 2006, with the emphasis on riffs. Each contributor was asked to spend only 35 minutes on his piece, though there were no particulars given topic-wise. Check back mid-day for the next one. Thanks for reading. --NBS

Ever Gracious

I am at Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's sold-out show at the El Rey, but my interview subject is not a member of the band. I'm told he is backstage, though, so I head there. My eyes not yet adjusted, I nearly collide with Mark "Cobrasnake" Hunter, who is telling friends about how his new mustache once belonged to the face of Confederate Officer and KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest.

"I paid out the butt for it but getting it grafted onto my face didn't hurt at all."

"Very nice," borats his friend. "Sexy time." Peals of laughter erupt from Cobrasnake's girlfriend, 9-year-old scenester princess Cory Kennedy, who is practically swimming in her magenta "CLIT HAPPENS" t-shirt. She is pinged in the cheek by a stray piece of bell pepper, launched from the knife of Benihana heir/DJ Steve Aoki. He is holding court, dicing meat and vegetables with amazing speed.

"You could say that Benihana is the original mash-up," says Aoki to his audience of passed-out party girls. "With music, it's Scissor Sisters meets George Michael. With Benihana, it's Dinner meets Show."

But it's not these LA hipster icons I'm here to find either. The man I seek is off by himself in a corner, clearly intoxicated -- not with alcohol, but with music. So with a reverent wave, I approach Zach Braff. He holds up a finger to silence me as he listens to his iPod. After 20 seconds of what can only be described as intense grooving, he removes the headphones.

"Sorry -- I was just listening to this great new artist called Cat Power. I discovered her out of nowhere when she did a 40-minute set on KCRW followed by 2 Amoeba in-stores. But pretty soon she won't be just my little secret anymore." He is referring to Cat Power's inclusion on his soundtrack to Staring At Nothing, his latest movie, which stars Braff, Scarlett Johannson, Jessica Biel, Keira Knightley, Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway, and Dustin Hoffman.

"It's about how strange this thing we call life can be," explains Braff. "Like in one scene my character meets a guy who walks around covered in bees. And there's a guy who only talks in Pig Latin. And a guy whose guts are all on the outside of his body. And a guy who lives in a trash can like Oscar the Grouch. And -- spoiler alert -- the ending is that my character meets a guy who walks around with chopsticks up his nose. That's when he learns that sometimes love is just a four-letter bed where your heart sleeps."

But what about the music? "Lots of indie bands like Coldplay and Gavin DeGraw. Then some really obscure bands like the Flaming Lips and Bright Eyes. And then a couple bands that are so obscure they don't even exist, like Camera Obscura and the Arcade Fire. The Arcade Fire comes on in this really dramatic scene where I am laying on the hood of a car as it goes through a car wash, and I don't even get off or put on a poncho because I'm so sad that who cares. And the Bright Eyes song comes on at this part where we turn off the film and just play the song in the theater. I was really proud when I wrote that part."

For the rest of the night I get the privilege of hearing Braff's thoughts on music ("it's the air that I breathe"), film ("you can't beat the classics"), MTV ("they hardly even play music videos anymore"), his new restaurant venture ("we're going for an Old Hollywood type vibe") and comedy ("Jon Stewart for President!"). Throughout this, Braff is constantly hounded by fans whose lives he changed. Ever gracious, he takes pains to fuck each and every one of them.

Eventually I lose track of Braff. I finally find him teaching Paul Haggis how to skateboard. "This is what us young guys are all about," braffs Braff with a smile, motioning to himself and a teenage boy whose dad Braff used to babysit.

A few seconds later Braff is given a MacArthur genius grant and I get slapped in the face by a homeless man's dick.



Who is Danny Chun? Does Danny Chun blog? I'm intrigued.
This may be the finest thing I have ever seen on the Internet. I think I met Danny Chun while wearing American Eagle jeans, actually.
i'm doubting that he's danny k. chun, acting justice for the new york supreme court... or to a lesser degree, a writer on the simpsons
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