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MY DAY WITH SPENT WITH JARED AND THE JOKER
August 4, 2016 11:22 am

Hours before I was set to meet Jared Leto, staring in the highly anticipated Suicide Squad, at an Italian restaurant in the West Village I was awoken out of a dead sleep by a neon-masked jester giggling as he poured ice cold water all over me. I demanded to know what he was doing here, to which he responded, “The Joker will see you now,” in a high pitched cadence. 

The jester then proceeded to take a trumpet out of his satchel with the word “Chaos” bedazzled on it. He masterfully played the tune of Reveille with the brass when suddenly, Jared Leto himself popped on my mattress, cackling sisterly. He was dressed head to toe in his much buzzed about Joker getup, a move that hinted he was still very much in character. Ever respectful of an artist’s craft, I gladly played along. “Oh no, it’s the Joker,” I yelled. “What did I do to ever deserve a visit from anarchy’s son himself?!”

Although the Academy Award winner was deeply immersed in character, I couldn’t help but notice him give a slight wink of appreciation for going along with him on this thespian journey. Which is why, out of respect, I played the helpless and hysterical victim for Leto and his unnamed assistant in mayhem while they attached alligator clamps to my nipples. I still can not decide what was more electric that morning: Leto’s performance or the car battery he used to shock me.

Following a few more downright twisted acts of torture, the My So Called Life star blindfolded me, stuffed me in a burlap sack and tossed me into the back of his car. He drove and drove. Each erratic swerve gave birth to a new bruise. Sweat accumulated onto my shirt so immensely that it began to push down on my chest every time I would try to breathe. The only thing that kept me sane was shouting the questions I had initially planned for our interview. Leto pulled over at one point, only to throw a stink bomb in there with me when I asked him what working with Viola Davis was like. After that, I passed out from the astounding commitment he had to such a sinister character.

joker-suicide-quad-rick-ross-skrillex-purple-lamborghiniWhen I came to, I found myself strapped to a chair in the restaurant I had previously made reservations for. I couldn’t help but smirk at the 30 Seconds To Mars front-man’s demented attention to detail for this sly caper he’s orchestrated. Upon noticing I was up, he bellowed “good morning, Sunshine” loud enough to cause the entire restaurant to look over to our table. The jester was summoned by Leto and asked for him to fetch my ‘present’. After rummaging around his chaos satchel for a little while, he took out a plastic butt with wide circular hole in between cheeks and a clock attached to it counting down from 6 minutes. Leto thanked him by petting him under his chin like a dog, to which the jester stamped his leg up and down repeatedly.

The waiter came to take our order. I asked for a Caesar salad with ranch dressing on the side. Leto asked for a hot bowl of madness. Seamlessly, the jester then took the waiter’s pepper grinder and immediately began playing to its phallic nature. The comedic brilliance was upped when Leto dropped to his knees and confessed how been longing to taste some flavorful wood.  The chemistry between the two was palpable for everyone.  As we were being escorted out of the restaurant by the manager, the countdown butt I was ordered to hold hit zero. Confetti sprang out of the butt’s hole, landing on someone’s pasta primavera.

Back in the trunk, I gnawed out of the newly wrapped tape around my mouth to thank Jared for such a breathtaking dinner. To have front row seats to his performance-art tour de force inspired me in ways I never thought imaginable. His brilliance will not be forgotten. The jester took a power saw to the backseat in order to create a hole to the trunk. He jutted his head into the hole and spat on me.

Suicide-Squad

Once I felt myself being tossed from the trunk to my front lawn, I knew the interview was over. But before he tailed off into the sunset, Leto whispered into my ear about his gratitude for being granted the opportunity to let someone in on his process. It was easy to see that this role would be nothing without late Heath Ledger’s work in the iconic Dark Knight and how working with Viola Davis and the entire Suicide Squad was a dream come true. “We’re all lucky enough to have the greatest jobs in the world and we worked tirelessly to make sure what we were marking would be loved by all who saw it. It was a collaborative effort all the way through.”

Before I got the opportunity to thank him, Jared Leto was back in his Jokermobile. His jester, having just cherry bombed my mailbox, ran in through the window of the moving vehicle to make the getaway appear as wildly slapdash as possible. Leto’s feral laughter was heard as he and his jester tossed molotov cocktails at all of my neighbors’ houses. Despite the claims of arson, the only fire I saw that day came from Leto’s unflinching dedication to authenticity.

Suicide Squad hits theaters this Friday, August 5th. Find out more about the chaotic group hereget tickets here and check out more Jared Leto here.

LITZ: WASHINGTON DC’S LEGEND FROM BIRTH
June 1, 2016 1:25 pm

For somebody hearing your band for the first time, what would you want to tell them?

“We are a band focused on metaphysical ascension, our music is literally a sacred practice to enlighten, open the mind of the world and to evolve the collective consciousness.” -Austin Litz

The band LITZ is a spiritual tsunami of energy and talent that creates a beautiful vista of sound at every concert. We had the chance to talk with the face of the band Austin Litz about his family’s store, Victor Litz Music Store, and his journey to local fame and amazing connection with music.

To get started, could you introduce yourself and tell us about the store?

I’m Austin Litz and I’m a third generation musician. But we are the first generation that is trying to do live music and shows on a regular basis, not just make money from the music industry background. My grandfather started the store and played live for a bit, but kept going with the store and teaching lessons for the most part. My dad doesn’t really teach lessons, but he oversees all the departments and stuff. I was fortunate enough to grow up here with the store and take lessons on anything I chose.

What are some of your definitive points as a musician?

Life is like a sound wave. Here are a few of what I would call my defining moments: I have a brief memory of playing a 2 minute solo at a bluegrass festival when I was 7 because my father’s friend pushed me on stage between performers to fill the time. Playing the Saxophone was the biggest defining moment though, something just clicked, it was the first time I wanted to dive in and play music constantly, teaching music, seeing that I am a professional and was confident in instructing people. Lastly, selling out the show of our record release. It wasn’t just random people, we had roughly 350 people come and pay to see us. This was the moment where we thought, “Wow, we can be live performers and have a real career here.” So, I guess those three things, finding a new instrument, being a teacher, and being a successful performer.

After seeing you play and talking here, can you list off all the instruments you play?

(Chuckles)

Woodwinds – All the saxophones, flute and clarinet

Piano – Synthesizers, organs and keyboards of sorts

Strings – Bass, Classical guitar

Vocals – It counts as an instrument

Brass – Trumpet, Trombone and French Horn

Just about everything?

Basically everything but the drums set itself, but I do use a few other percussion instruments. Also the didgeridoo, pan flute and ocarina. We actually just covered the “Temple of Time” from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and put it at the very end of the last song of the new album.

Let’s talk about the album, was there anything in particular that helped create Illusion of Time?

All of it comes from personal experiences. The whole concept for the album didn’t come until after we recorded all the music. So the album is actually a double album and the second half of it was already recorded 6 months ago and both of them are that same concept of time. The second part of the double album will come out in October. We wrote all the material and recorded it and during post production, we took a step back and realized that a lot of it is about travel, time and circular patterns in life. A lot of these songs really relate to aging and growing. We have been playing music our whole lives and yet this feels like the first thing we really truly made. Like a paradox, releasing our album felt like our birth, and yet music has been alive in us for years.

What were some of the bands and people who really influenced you?

A college friend Chris Martin helped me to not fear being outlandish and the social parts of music. Even though I don’t listen to The Motet much, the idea for LITZ was literally an instantaneous moment at a music festival in a quasi religious experience where I was watching them, feeling the energy, realizing that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. We also all grew up on ska and go-go music which was a huge influence (Fishbone, The Pietasters, Rare Essence Chuck Brown).

303345_143979772441727_886127356_nHow did you come up with the sound for LITZ?

We knew the venues, the crowds and we knew what we liked. We took our preferences and filtered them through what people enjoy and make our music. It’s a very conscious creation of music while being true to ourselves.

How do you deal with “writer’s block”?

Jam sessions. We might get stuck playing the same key or tempo at times, which isn’t bad, but jamming out helps creativity flow.

Thanks so much Austin, we are super excited for your next album in October. Anything you would want to tell your listeners about the band?

Thank you and you’re welcome! I would just say that we are very spiritual in our music. We want people to be able to come and enjoy our music and turn around with the motivation and dedication to achieve their own dreams.

Austin Litz, LITZ the band and Victor Litz Music Store are based in Washington D.C. Check out their music here and if there is a show near by you, nothing in the world should stop you from going.

THANKS, LIKE A LOCAL
February 18, 2016 5:54 pm

You like to travel, sure, but you ain’t no tourist. You’re here to see the real city, not these smarmy tourist traps featured in your airport brochure. You’re not afraid of the road less traveled. Any city can be paradise if you know what you’re looking for. You do know what you’re looking for, don’t you?

If not, don’t worry, because Like A Local has you covered. The popular travel app has up-to-date recommendations from residents of cities around the globe. And when I say cities, I mean every single city you could possibly want to visit. From Amsterdam all the way down to Zagreb (which, it turns out, is the capital of Croatia), the list is truly staggering. Of course they know the skinny on Paris, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro–I mean who doesn’t, right? But what about Istanbul, Vancouver or Buenos Aires? Local recommendations out the wazoo. Boulder, CO; Phoenix, AZ; or Lafayette, LA? Make domestic travel your bitch. Even if you’re not actually traveling you can still find loads of activities in NYC, LA, DC, Chicago, and a handful of other North American cities. It’s all just a click away.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some examples.

By now you’ve probably heard that New York City has a lot to offer, but God forbid you actually live here to find out for yourself. What does Like A Local recommend? Given my location (off the L train) and time of day (afternoon), they recommend Roberta’s Pizza, The City Reliquary, and Beacon’s Closet (to name a few), three highly regarded Brooklyn establishments. So, pretty legit.

Did I hear somebody ask about Boston? No? Maybe it was just me. Anyways, Like A Local recommends the Arnold Arboretum, the Harpoon Brewery and the Coolidge Corner Theatre (to name a few). All of these places I have been to during my days as a local Bostonian, and all of them are awesome. Good work, Like A Local.

Okay let’s try international. I’ve always wanted to go to Vienna (mostly for the sausages) but I’m sure I wouldn’t know what to do once I got there. Well Like A Local has 130 recommendations grouped into categories like “Guide to Imperial Vienna,” “Most Popular Green Areas” and “Best Nightlife Spots.” Couldn’t be easier! Kind of makes me want to hop a flight there right now…

I won’t, but it’s nice to know that, if I did, I’d have cool things to do once I got there. Thanks, Like A Local (and also the hundreds of helpful foreigners providing insight into their respective cities), for optimizing my next vacation. Looking forward to it!