Category Archives: lali music

5353\2 Music\Art\Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day

So last year we blogged about 5353 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day. Well, it happened again! 5353\2, with music\art\fest.

A big thank you to the following for making this happen (seriously, like a HUGE, x5353 million, we owe you a bajillion thank you!):

Kevin Laronda
Michael Gross
Carol Madonna
Kacey Harahan
Alisa Schwartz
Noreen Masih
Kelsey Reddick
Katie Kause
Jim Darling
Thomas Dawson
Ricardo Diaz

So in usual la fashion, I busted out my fancy camera and my intimidating lens (that frustratingly is not working on autofocus!) and went shutter-crazy for the event. So instead of write about it, I’ll photoblog it. Enjoy! It was a super fun day, and one of those that reminds you that what we do is pretty insanely cool.

Here’s a poster from the event (check out that lineup!):
5353\2 Fest Poster

It also ended up as a huge mural painted outside.
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day

Here’s Jim Darling painstakingly painting it!
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day

Now to the music.

First up, Dustbowl Revival. A Venice, California-based roots+jazz collective that merges New Orleans second line swing, bluegrass, jug-band and jump blues. Known for their wild, lose-your-troubles live sets, the Dustbowl Revival often features up to ten instruments ranging from fiddle, banjo, gypsy guitar and mandolin to accordion, tuba, trombone and clarinet and plenty of kazoo and washboard for good luck.

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Dustbowl Revival
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Dustbowl Revival

And really enjoyed the intermission music by DJ Soft Touch! For the past few years, CLIFTON AKA DJ SOFT TOUCH has made a name for himself as a DJ with a wide range and impeccable taste. His mix of rare soul, funk and R&B is truly unique, with a fresh ear for sounds off the beaten path. A veteran of the Eastside / Hollywood L.A. music community, he’s also a bass player for The Mojo Filters, The Belle Isle, Black Sugar, and Love Grenades, as well as a guitarist/singer/songwriter on his own. A dedicated lover, historian/sage of most western popular & underground music forms out there, he always digs deeper in his selections but always moves the crowd.

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, DJ Soft Touch

Next up, WATERS. WATERS was born out last year of the ashes of the San Francisco rock band Port O’Brien and founding member/front man Van Pierszalowski needed a break from the hectic, wonderful mess that is touring.
After making his way out of music and into Oslo, Alaska, California & New York, he made his way make in again with Waters. He returned to Oslo and put together a band of fine Norwegian gentlemen and made a mix of fuzzy, pealing guitars and crashing drums, and easy, alternately soaring and languid, indelible melodies. According to Van, “The record is about waking up. It is about getting out of a situation that seems endless, and realizing you’re not too old to make dramatic and sudden changes in your life. It is about starting over.”

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Waters
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Waters
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Waters
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Waters
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Waters

And then came Dengue Fever. Los Angeles-based Dengue Fever’s music is wholly unique — an exotic blend of Cambodian rock, Afro grooves, surf, and garage psychedelia. Since their inception, the band’s unique take on 60s Cambodian pop and American surf rock has garnered praise and attention from fans and critics alike. True Blood named an entire episode after one of their songs and featured the band’s music throughout the show, Spin highlighted the band in their ‘Breaking Out’ section, and profiles on the group have appeared in the New York Times, Magnet, Wired, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Ray Davies from the Kinks called them “a cross between Led Zeppelin and Blondie.”

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Dengue Fever
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Dengue Fever
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Dengue Fever
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Dengue Fever
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Dengue Fever

And then possibly my favorite from the day, He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister – they had such joy and vivacity! Really a pleasure to watch. He’s My Brother She’s My Sister’s unique yet familiar sound exudes the earnestness of folk, the colorfulness of glam rock, the infectiousness of pop, the innovation of indie rock, the rawness of blues, the theatrics of cabaret, and the hip shake of rock-a-billy.
Brother and sister Robert Kolar and Rachel Kolar split vocal duties, with Robert on guitar and kick drum and Rachel on tambourine. Their voices range from boisterous to introspective, from breezy to emotive. Lauren Brown adds full-body percussion with her fluid tap-dancing. Oliver Newell plucks the stand up bass with joyous flair. Aaron Robinson plays lead guitar on a lap slide, veering from nuanced psychedelica to American roots riffs.
The band’s infectious rhythms and high energy make the sounds come alive and cause even uninitiated crowds to erupt in dance. Their songs ring like pop classics in a modern framework. It is a recipe that has quickly gained the band a devoted following in their hometown of Echo Park and the surrounding LA area, and that following has spread to every town the band visits.

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, He's My Brother, She's My Sister
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, He's My Brother, She's My Sister
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, He's My Brother, She's My Sister
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, He's My Brother, She's My Sister
(last two photos by Josh Withers, my camera’s memory card crapped out booooo)

And last up, Class Actress. I didn’t get to stay and photograph because I actually thought I had my first travel photography class that night (although I was just wrong and it’s actually tonight!) So a couple photos from Josh Withers. (Thanks Josh!)
Class Actress is: Guilty Pleasure. NSA dance music. Casual Encounters. Stalker Pop. Depeche Mode meets early Madonna and Five Star as heard on the radio in the leather backseat of a cab.
Brooklynite Elizabeth Harper’s first musical offerings appeared in the form of personal singer/songwriter fare — her airy vocals paired only with quiet strums of acoustic guitar. But having a long-held desire to make electronic music, Harper recruited producers Mark Richardson and Scott Rosenthal to assist in achieving her desired sound, and electro-pop outfit Class Actress was born.
Harper remains the force that binds the songs into a cohesive statement, her winking coo darting about in the deep drums and lofty arpeggios, and her passion – backed mostly with electronics– summons thoughts of Yaz’s Alison Moyet. In concurrence with the title (“rapprocher”is French for “bring closer”), the candid, sincere lyrics meld with the atmosphere, enveloping the listener into Class Actress’s world of 21st century romanticism.

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Class Actress
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Class Actress

There was also a trailer set up by CAVIAR CONTENT with an adorable “row row row your boat” video made with Chiat peeps. Record players and polaroid cameras and all things cute and vintage.

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day

And to close it out, here’s a couple shots of people enjoying the music!

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day

Thanks to Chiat Day for making our job infinitely cool.

And thanks to Michael Gross for really making the festival infinitely cool!

5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day

a musically-satiated, phototrigger-happy la

PS! I had a photo wall of concert photography at the event, and here’s Nick Ciffone and Dave Estrada checking it out!
5353\2 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day

PPS For all the photos, check out the photo album!


Filed under lali, lali music

Here’s to the Head and the Heart

(the head and the heart above in concert, not the concert referenced in this blog post because it’s way better than the quality of my own iPhone video)

So for those of you who read this blog with any regular consistency, you know that here at TBWA\Chiat\Day, there are a lot of perks. And many of those perks happen to be music related. In fact, I believe we even had a blog title: “The Perks of Being an Adgirl at TBWA\Chiat\Day\LA” that was about that very subject. And then there was that other blog post about 5353 Fest.

Well, the Head and the Heart played on our very own basketball court just the other day. A beautiful acoustic set with guitars, tambourines and violins. And harmony. It was lovely. And JDB and I had front row seats! (li refused to join because she didn’t want to be rude and walk in front of people like we did). Here’s the proof!




And then, because we hadn’t had enough, JDB and I, along with some fellow Chiaters – Matt Magsaysay and gf, Greg Halbreich our new Visa buddy, Laura Albers, Chris MacNeil and Chris Spencer – all saw them again that very same night.


This band’s gonna go places, and I’m super happy I saw them on our basketball court before they blow up and become huge and too cool to autograph our posters (which we definitely asked them to do, because we have no shame like that!)

Because it’s a fact that after bands play at Chiat Day, their careers get a kickstart.
Little Dragon played on the Media Arts Lab patio and the next time I saw her she was on stage with the Gorillaz Sunday night playing for 100,000 people.

The Morning Benders played at Chiat Day and the next thing we know they’ve got a song in a Reese’s commercial.

And finally, Aloe Blacc played at Chiat and he ALSO got a song in a commercial for Boost Mobile.

Seriously, it’s the Chiat Charm!

And as evidenced by the lali DJ sammie lunch, advertising and music go hand in hand… (but that subject was already covered by another post.)

And Dear Head and the Heart, we <3 you! And if we finally get to produce SOMETHING from one of the five and a quarter brands we’re working on at the moment, you’re on our list!


PS A special shout out goes to Chris Spencer for a) introducing me to the band and b) for making the basketball concert happen at all. Baller!

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lali lessons in advertising #8: get inspiration everywhere (AKA take a few days off and dance in the desert for Coachella!)

A couple weeks ago, li and I got invited to a Pepsi meeting. And while we can’t give away the secrets of our briefing, the music festival Coachella did come up. And again, while we can’t tell the specifics, we were told to let music inspire us and our planner even mentioned “imagine the feeling of being on a drug trip” when concepting. Which, for those of you who have attended Coachella, it’s a drug trip when you’re stone-cold sober. And there is certainly music to inspire. So guess who went…

Coachella 2011 Poster

Useless to convince anyone I went to Coachella merely to inspire for our Pepsi brief. But that’s not to say it wasn’t a completely inspiring weekend nonetheless. There’s something about three days in the desert that feels like you leave reality for this fantasyland of music and heat and art and people and strangeness for weeks. In fact, Goldenvoice founder Paul Tollett said: “By the end of Sunday you need to have gone through a range of emotions. The experience of the art and the ambience has to play a huge part in that.” In those three short days, you feel frustrated, sad, happy, angry, ecstatic, annoyed, exhausted, excited, famished, parched, moved, thrilled, enlightened, enhanced, loved, lonely, everything. All in a hundred degree heat with music playing everywhere and dust filling every orifice of your body. Maybe it’s really three long days.

Regardless, I came back to work Tuesday missing a couple brain cells and lighter by a few pounds and exhausted by a lot, but certainly inspired. If Pepsi is getting into culture, I certainly got my culture on.

Blog readers, if you were there, you don’t need a recap of everything because well, you were there. And blog readers who weren’t, you’ll just be jealous. I will say that Friday was a dance party, that YACHT and Cut Copy and Robyn got our glittered bodies jamming, that Mumford & Sons brought the first real soul to the stage on Saturday, that Arcade Fire was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen (rivaling only my Big Sur experience with them), that I was a needy girl for Chromeo on Sunday, that the National by sunset was the best time for friends and that Kanye can certainly put on a show. For a professional opinion on the music, check out Spin‘s or Pitchfork‘s take.

The ball drop for Arcade Fire is a moment I’ll remember forever. Let’s hope it helps inspire some Pepsi spots other people will remember forever… Maybe I can write off the cost of the concert to TBWA\Chiat\Day? Ha, doubt that on both those thoughts. What isn’t in doubt is how awesome this video is, and how much more awesome it was in person. In the original definition of the word.

Now I would definitely say the title of this blog post is appropriate. Get inspiration everywhere. If we spent all our time inside the walls of Chiat Day we wouldn’t be very good creatives. And Coachella is all about getting inspired. But I would be lying if I tried to tell you that I thought about work for more than twenty seconds the entire weekend. It was about dancing and music and living and friends and not really about advertising.

Here’s the proof:





And ten blog shout outs to anyone who guesses correctly what music instrument this is supposed to be:

So thanks to Hobart Birmingham, Jacqui de Borja, Anne Hurty, Chris Spencer, Spencer Larson, Travis Pfeifer, Noah Roper, Chris MacNeil, Sean Carroll, Chase Madrid, Kristina Krkljus, and many other desert dancers for both helping me forget about work and inspiring me to do better work last weekend. Justin and Allyson, Coachella love to you and I’m sad you weren’t there this year but there’s always next year!

And now, back to work. We just got briefed on something new, and it looks like I’ll be taking this lali lesson to heart while working over Easter weekend.


PS For those who no-chellaed it, here’s the playlists I made for the weekend. And let that inspire you :)

Friday Coachella Mix
Saturday Coachella Mix
Sunday Coachella Mix
The Coachella Hits Mix


Filed under lali, lali lessons, lali music

DJ Sammie Gets a Shout Out in Bon Appetit!

So when you work in advertising, people write about your advertising all the time. In advertising publications. Not us particularly, as we’re not that important, but in general, advertising makes news. But usually just ad news.

Today, we’d like to thank Omeed for bringing THIS to our attention: Bon Appetit’s quarterly magazine, “Bravo,” did a post on TBWA\Chiat\Day’s DJ Sammie program. Exciting! We made non-ad news! And by we, yes, if you guys remember “concept your own grilled cheese,” li and I did our own DJ Sammie sandwich and playlist. Check out the blog here!

And look, lali’s concept your own grilled cheese made the article! (well, at least a picture of it did…) Yay go DJ Sammie! And a big thanks to everyone who has been a part of this, like Lisa Kurth, Patrick, Carol, and the whole Bon Appetit team!

To many more DJs and Sammies!

djsammie bon appetit article






Filed under lali, lali music

Magic & Music & Arcade Fire, Big Sur Style

I really feel a deep connection to this place. Says Win Butler before playing his last song in the drizzling rain in front of two sets of stacked lights and behind rows of Christmas lights and swaying fans, oh oh OH oh oh, oh OHing to the first strands of Wake Up.

(it gets really good at 1:04, please watch, and gets epic at 1:35, so keep watching!)

Now that I’m older, my heart is colder. He sings. Before we all oooh again. Well, none of our hearts were cold that night. And when he said children, don’t grow up – we certainly didn’t. And I certainly don’t think I will ever forget seeing Arcade Fire with 249 other people, in a clearing in the woods in Big Sur, with rain drops and bright stars and big trees.

There was “no rain” chanting, Colin Stetson on the saxophone for the first time live – after a fitting LCD-like anticipatory build-up for “We Used To Wait” – singing Happy Birthday to Will Butler, my arms reaching out and touching Win Butler as he ran through the fans, Regine with streamers bouncing around the stage – a moment of abandoned brightness in Arcade’s dark lyrics – for Sprawl II.

I’ve always been amazed at how a band so darkly introspective in lyrics can become so anthemic and uplifting in spirit. If you’re not part of a surging crowd – be it a couple hundred or 18,000 – you aren’t really experiencing Arcade Fire. And this was the most intimate, backyard wondrousness with which I’ve ever experienced them, or any other band for that matter.

After the show, we lay around in the grass and stared at the stars, look what Big Sur will do to a bunch of semi-LA hipsters, and then wandered over to the side of the Henry Miller library, where Win Butler and Tim Kingsbury just kinda hung out, signed stuff, and talked.

I used this opportunity to say to him: “Hey, I read this New York Times article where you say – ‘It’s not like we’d license Keep the Car Running to a car company’ – and I just wanna let you know I know your secret. You almost did. To us.” (article here) To which he responded something like, “We just couldn’t do it. I mean, we wanted to raise money for Haiti but in the end it just isn’t us.” To which I – mortified at this point, not believing the words came out of my mouth to the lead singer of one of my favorite bands ever whose music I’ve essentially grown up with, can’t believe I’ve brought up something as unimportant to him as our one ad – respond, “It doesn’t matter. You’re the best.” Mumbled something more of the sort and mumbled more about them being the best band I’ve ever seen at Coachella.

BTW, they did play “Keep the Car Running” and it was a strange combination of memories of long nights in VBE listening to that song over and over again and the magnitude of seeing it live, feet from the stage and singing along to him singing. Thought about texting li, but then realized I wasn’t getting any cell service.

And then Allyson said, my friend has something to tell you! And Jacqui said, I have never danced so much in my life! And then I said, And she dances a LOT!

And then I asked him to sign something, but I already have the vinyl so didn’t buy it at the show and used the closest thing handy made of paper – pictured below.

win butler of arcade fire, signed pack of parlaiments

I could have just waxed poetic to W. B. about how magical and wonderful the show was or something like that, kind of how I want to do with this blog entry. But I embarrassed myself instead. Ah well, at least I was being myself.

For blog brevity’s sake, I’m going to post some pictures and the setlist. Instead of rambling on.

big sur sunset
Big Sur sunset, walking down the hill to the show.

arcade fire, big sur, hipstamatic
My photo of Regine. Note how close I am!

polaroid, win butler of arcade fire, big sur
Someone’s polaroid of Win. Cool hair dude, like seriously, I really liked the hair cut.

setlist, arcade fire, big sur
The setlist!!!!!!

And finally, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to Lyle Hysen and Sarah Smith at Bank Robber Music, through Merge Records, who got us into the show, minus a minor snafu where my +1 didn’t show up on their clipboard will call list and I had to run up an enormous hill to get service after waiting an hour in line and call Sarah Smith (ironically, not the Sarah Smith my sister) and have her call the Henry Miller library, the tour manager, and text me all this info in order to get Noah in just ten minutes before Arcade Fire got on stage. Whew. Thanks Sarah!

And finally finally, a huge shout out to the crew for being awesome friends, dancers, beer drinkers, campers and troopers.

the crew before arcade fire in big sur
The crew: Ben Stone, Jacqui Deborja, Hobart Birmingham, Noah Roper, Allyson Pfeifer and Justin Fry. <3


PS Drove back six hours from Big Sur after zero sleep on a deflated air mattress in the freezing cold and drizzling rain, didn't go home, went straight to work for a few hours, drank with co-workers for a going away party, and then was up after midnight writing copydecks for a 10a presentation today. That's dedication to work, Chiat Day!


Filed under lali, lali friends, lali music

Work Perks + A Day Off!

So Arcade Fire is playing tonight in a clearing in the woods in Big Sur for a small crowd. I will be in that crowd!

The show was sold out, and even though I tried at 10:00a that day to get tickets, I wasn’t one of the lucky few. This is where work perks comes in. Our business affairs person at the office got me two tickets at will call! (we had had an ill-fated attempt to license their music that fell thru the day before the spot shipped).

So woot woot! Here comes the day off part! Driving up to Big Sur with camping gear, a warm coat, and a great soundtrack.

And, of course, hipstamatic. Wailing along to wake up and sprawl ii and stopping only for sandwiches and one conference call at 1:00p.

la on her day off, still blogging!

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The Ad Girls are DJ Sammie for the Week!

So, every week TBWA\Chiat\Day’s cafeteria has a guest DJ and a specialty sandwich, courtesy of a resident musically-inclined employee. For the week of September 20 (yup, that’s this week) it’s lali, the ad girls!

So we have a theme. And being ad girls – of course – it’s all ad based. The idea: concept your own grilled cheese. The ingredients: check the poster. The tunes: songs from commercials.

And for those here at Chiat Day, here are the lali suggestions for our own grilled cheeses:

the la

French country white. Brie. Sliced Apples. Bacon.

the li

Wholegrain bread. Provolone. Turkey. Avocado.

In honor of our advertising themed week of music and melting cheese, we’ve madmened ourselves. What do you think? Lali would OBVIOUSLY be way more than secretaries in 1965.

lali, mad men style
enlarge here.

And finally, if you’d like the hear a sample of the music that will be blasting through Chaya Playa (Chiat’s cafeteria) this week – let’s call it “adtunes from the adgirls,” check it here!

xo from two ad girls trying to make “sandwiches” in a world of mad men,



Filed under lali, lali music