Spending a Perfect Day (+ Night) in Paris with Neo-Jazz Songstress ALA.NI

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Like many a Londoner, Brit singer ALA.NI finally tired of all the building sites and construction mess in Blighty’s capital, and made her way to Paris – where erecting ugly new skyscrapers is relegated to aesthetically-challenged bastions of business like La Defense. The creative results of the move were a glorious new album, You and I, which is a dazzling, unapologetic paean to the glory days of jazz-pop divas like Billie, Ella and, surely, Mdm. Piaf.

Her greatest inspiration, other than maybe Paris itself?

“Love!,” she exclaims. “It leads us all. In its ups and downs. The album is a tale of a love affair that takes place over a year – from the first look, the first kiss, the anticipation of what’s to come, the longing, the reality, the heartbreak and the renewal.”

To be sure, tracks like “Roses & Wine” and “Ol’Fashioned Kiss” sparkle with a sexy, retro cool, and are delightfully free of trendy embellishment. While “Darkness at Noon” is a simmering, anguished bit of noir heartbreak, just waiting for a David Lynch scene to soundtrack.

But surely our favorite is “Cherry Blossom,” the sound of new love blossoming in springtime (“Fall for me / Long for me / Always be a friend to me”), in all its languid, hopeful, sensual and unbelievably irresistible beauty.

“I wrote ‘Cherry Blossom’ whilst in Grenada,” she recalls. “At 3am, with the crickets and sea stirring, the lyrics and melody came to me. This combo very rarely happens with such ease, so I took the moment fully. The lyrics express, like cherry blossoms, the impermanence of life and love. For that moment of existence, you must embrace it all and declare yourself as lost, taken by the wind.”

She’ll be appearing live at NYC’s Rockwood Hall Music Hall June 19, and Central Park Summerstage on the 21st. But hoping to catch a bit of her inspiration, we asked ALA.NI to take us through her perfect Paris day, from the patisseries to the bookshops to a grand, historic venue where she did cartwheels onstage.




Parisians don’t really do breakfast. Being a Brit, if I go out for breakfast I want a large fry up! It’s all cafes and croissants here. But I’m not a coffee drinker, so its patisseries and boulangeries for me; and I am in the best city in the world for making flour and water into fantastical culinary delights. I love the cocoa bread from Maison Landemaine and anything and everything from Dalloyau. A “Millefeuille Vanille” for breakfast is perfectly acceptable. Best apricot jam to have on your croissant is Alain Millet.



The Yard is my absolute favorite for lunch. Its described as “Modern French.” For me it’s a bit Scandinavian too, rustic and delicious comfort food. The menu changes every day, the best are the three times cooked potatoes, cut in a cool cross hatch design. Details, I like the details. Rabbit in tarragon sauce. Wonderful mackerel salads, grilled marrow in the bone. It’s hard to practice vegetarianism here. Great wines too.


Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse has the best chocolate in the whole wide world! Take it from a girl who wanted to marry Willy Wonka. The factory shop in Bastille is worth a visit; as a choco-phile, I often find myself in the courtyard of the factory, just sniffing the air and letting out sounds of sheer delight.
Yvon Lambert bookshop. I can spend hours in there looking at art and photography books. And fighting for the one chair in the whole shop.



The Phono Museum is a must visit if you have any interest in the history of music. Wax cylinders, phonographs, huge vintage twin gramophones, specially designed for those old school 1900’s bashment “soundsystem” parties! So much to see to make you appreciate that your mini iPod player has come a very, very long way.


I love Lapérouse for dinner. Its secret little Salon Privé is dripping with all kinds of antique, scandalous bad behavior. It’s a rabbit warren of a building dating from 1766, with secret passages hidden in the walls. Wonder what they needed those for?


Music Venue

Chatelet Theatre is one of my favorite venues in Paris. I have seen Pina Bausch dance company there a few times, and it is magnificent because the stage is so huge. I had the opportunity to perform there last autumn and during soundcheck I was doing no-handed cartwheels across the massive stage. I just wanted to feel the space. Luckily I didn’t land on my head.


I’m always hungry. I have endless munchies and I’m not much of drinker, so any late night food spots are good for me. There are no 24-hour bagel shops like in London or New York, but Babylone Bis creole restaurant is like a “knock twice” speakeasy that is open from 8PM-5AM. Perfect for midnight feasting.

BLACKBOOK INTERVIEW + PREMIERE: New Jaymes Young Video For ‘We Won’t’

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Image by Lexus Gallegos

Jaymes Young burst into the public consciousness with his 2014 EP Habits of My Heart, and a guest appearance on David Guetta’s “I’ll Keep Loving You” shortly after. In the ensuing three years, the weighty, starkly confessional Seattle singer-songwriter has built a particularly devoted following, many of whom have seen their own lives reflected in his poignant, strikingly honest lyrics. Indeed, the video for 2015 single “I’ll Be Good” has been viewed more than 20 million times.

Next Friday, June 23, Young’s enthusiastically anticipated debut album will at last see release (on Atlantic). Fittingly titled Feel Something, it finds him in his best soul-baring form, from the emotionally courageous “Stone” (“Give me all your shame / Put all your weight on me”) to the affecting but infectious reggae-soul of “Black Magic” to the impassioned plea for meaningful connections (“Make me feel something / Show me that you’re human”) that is the title track.

Musically, it’s all lush arrangements, majestic synths, exotic rhythms and irresistible melodies – setting him exceedingly apart from his quotidian pop contemporaries.

But perhaps the album’s most compelling moment is Young’s duet with Phoebe Ryan, “We Won’t,” a stirring recitation of shattered dreams, replete with all manner of vivid imagery (“We burn faster than a cigarette in my mouth”). One imagines it will be the soundtrack to many a summertime broken romance.

BlackBook premieres the video for the song today.

Young will also launch a 17-date North American tour at the Constellation at the Observatory in Santa Ana on July 10. But in the lead up to the album release date, we caught up for a chat with him to talk love, inspiration and making that ever important connection with his fans.



Your first full album is finally being released. What are you feeling right now? Nervous? Excited?

I spent a long time on this album. All the music I’ve released in the past and future just all blends into one timeline for me. That being said, I’m very excited – but am very focused on continuing to write and discover new sounds.

What were the biggest inspirations, musically and lyrically?

My inspirations are all over the place, it’s really a mess, but I’m okay with it. I’m big on trying to write lyrics that are honest and come from a real place, and most of my biggest musical and lyrical inspirations do that very, very well.

“I’ll Be Good” is the lead single – but it’s already a fan favorite, isn’t it?

That song snuck up on me. I didn’t realize that it was going to have any success when I first put it out, so it’s strange thinking of it as a single years later. I’m just excited for the album to live that long as well, and to see what comes of that.

What are some of the highlights of the record for you? 

There’s quite a few songs on the album that mean a lot to me: “Stone,” “Sugar Burn,” “Naked,” and “Feel Something.” Those songs all came from a very real place inside my head, and are based on personal experiences.

“Don’t You Know” and “Sugar Burn” and almost like synth-disco-pop. Have you been listening to anything in particular that is inspiring that direction? 

“Don’t You Know” was like an overnight song, happened super fast and was just in the moment, both on the production and writing side. “Sugar Burn” however has been in the works for a few years. I can’t say I drew specific inspiration from any one or two places for the creation of those songs. I think I was searching for sounds and they just turned out that way.

In “Don’t You Know” you declare, “I would fight in a war for you.” Then on  “Stoned on You” you go even further: “I’ll take a bullet for you right now.” Any reason you associate violent imagery with love?

Love to me, real love that is, is a submission of self oriented desires; and in good relationships I believe that sacrifice is a big deal too. Actions speak so much louder than words – I think I just wanted to express to what limits I would go for that kind of love. And what better way for me to do that than to say I would face such evils for another person?

In “Stone” you seem to be trying to save someone from their own darkness. Do you tend to be attracted to broken people? 

I don’t know if I have control over the type of person I am attracted to; I either am or am not attracted. But I’ve met a lot of people in my life whose struggles and hardships really inspired me to write “Stone” – and there are plenty of people who have been that strong kind of person for me as well.

Image by Lexus Gallegos

Your music is unapologetically visceral and confessional. Do you hear from fans who have made very emotional connections with the lyrics especially?

I do hear things from people sometimes about how a song made them feel or what it means to them, and I really appreciate those moments. I think it’s a good reminder of what music and art is really meant for. I don’t expect to change the world, but if one single person is affected in a positive way then I’m going to keep writing those songs and those lyrics. That stuff matters to me, probably more than most people know.

On “Feel Something” you insist, “I’m too young to feel so numb.” You seem to have a fairly cynical point of view on human relationships. Or is it that you’re just working it all out in your lyrics?

I try to be realistic about human relationships, but let’s face it, nobody is out there listening to a song about how great the singer’s relationship with the muse is – and is saying, “oh man, this really gets to my core and hits me hard right on the nose.” It’s the songs with pain in them that usually do that for people. But in retrospect, I think I was speaking on a different aspect of relationships in the modern age, as a younger person. I think what I was really trying to get at was the idea that as a young person, lots of romantic relationships will come and go with the seasons, and it’s easy to burn out on those highs if you’re just moving from one lover to another. That’s what I mean by “touch me someone” – after awhile you can be immune to something that would have felt pretty great. I feel like it’s even better to suffer a little bit sometimes instead of just feeling pretty bland about it all. It’s so easy to lose your point of reference.

You duet with Phoebe Ryan on “We Won’t.” She seems like a little firebrand – what was she like to work with? 

Phoebe is awesome, I loved working with her and will again in the future. She’s the only other voice on my record and I couldn’t say enough good things about her.

Are there any dream collaborations you’d love to see happen?

I won’t be able to predict what a dream collab would look like and who it would be with. I’ll let you know as soon as I figure that one out though – haha.

What are you looking forward to most about playing these songs live?

I’m just excited to get back out onto the road. Touring for me is really a feeling of energy and being alive. I’m starting to really miss that feeling, and the connection I get to make with fans.

Image by Lexus Gallegos



BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Sultry New Rococode EP ‘Young Ones’

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Image by Lynoi-Lui

The name alone intrigues, inspiring us to conjure images of post-baroque flamboyance and romanticism. But Vancouver’s Rococode (the duo of Laura Smith and Andrew Braun) genuinely captivate with their singular musical aesthetic, an infectious marriage of classical synth-pop, quasi-hip-hop beats, layered with male-female ideological dichotomy.

They are convincing enough to have lured Tegan & Sara producer Caleb Shreve and Eve 6 producer Jon Siebels to collaborate with them on the new recording. The result is the sultry, alluring EP Young Ones, released this week.

We caught up with them for a quick chat about what it means to be Rococode in 2017.


As for the name Rococode – does it signal a penchant for the “baroque?”

AB  Not so much at this point. Actually, for some reason I listened to a song off of our first record yesterday, and maybe the “rococo” part of the band name made a lot more sense then. We’ve kind of cut way back on the frills and decoration as we’ve grown into our current taste.  However, the name still feels appropriate as a representation of the contrast of light/dark and direct/cryptic that we’re always trying to exploit.

You describe your partnership as “a marriage of contrasting personalities.” Can you elaborate, describe each of your personalities? 

AB  Well… without confining or generalizing on either of us too much – we like to play off the extremes.  The song “Brutal” is probably the best musical example of this.  It pairs Laura’s sweet, airy and vulnerable vocals with the heaviest, buzziest synths/guitars on the record. That’s not to say that Laura is always the light and Andrew is always the dark – we certainly each play both rolls.  In the end, it’s hopefully about balancing each other out from these extremes — in the music and in our lives.

The new EP is called Young Ones – is there a philosophical underpinning to that title?

LS  Young Ones is the feeling we accept as our eternal youthfulness stays, but everything around us grows up. It’s the subtle dance between our lust for life and required responsibility. It’s crashing, rolling, bleeding down the mountainside and hitting rock bottom before we finally realize, eyes wide, just where we ended up. It’s falling in love for the first, second, third, or tenth time, having our hearts shattered, and then starting from scratch until we get it right. It’s jumping from great heights into the wild unknown and spreading our wings with freedom.

With the new songs, you mix synth-pop and hip-hop beats. What were some of the most significant influences on Young Ones?

AB  More than anything this set was influenced by a different songwriting process. Most of the time we started the song with a sample or a cool sound and built around that. In the past it’s always kind of started with some chords or a beat; but this was almost backwards for us. It really made us focus on keeping things sparse and only adding things that could truly have a meaningful impact. In terms of other musical influences, we often referenced Danger Mouse, stuff like Broken Bells, Gorillaz, and, as always, lots of Spoon, Little Dragon and Phantogram.

BlackBook premieres the Young Ones EP here.



Opera, Naughty Angels and Extraordinary Snails: A Rather Elegant Whirl Through Paris

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Above Image: Palais Garnier

What we had always most loved about Paris was its stubborn resistance to change. Vive la ville de la lumière!

But “branded” hipster encroachment has worryingly taken over such districts as the Bastille, Pigalle, and Belleville. And frankly, we’ve already had enough of the goofy facial hair and over-produced cocktails back in New York.

So, upon our most recent visit to the French capital, we decided to skip the hip, and revisit some of the things that for us make Paris so…intemporel. To her we never tire of saying, ne changez jamais, don’t ever change.


Tour the Palais Garnier

Sure, there’s La Scala in Milan and Staatsoper in Vienna; but Paris’s oh-so-grandiosely-grand opera house has something more of the intrigue about it – after all, this is where Le Fantôme was born. Fittingly, we exchanged philosophical arrows with our brilliantly eccentric guide and, ultimately, we lost. She also regaled us with the history of seating hierarchy (N.B. Ask about tickets for the “hidden” seats, which can be booked for just 10 euro.)

Revisit Georges at The Pompidou

It was the pinnacle of all Parisian super-fabulousness when it debuted back in 2000 (remember how optimistic we were back then?). But Georges – the crown jewel of the Costes empire – is once again, or perhaps maybe still, tres fashionable…which is very well with us, since we’d go for the view alone. Perched spectacularly atop the Centre Pompidou museum, its space age decor now seems a brilliantly futuristic counterpoint to all that grumpy hipster old-timeyness. But the international menu dazzles like the vistas of Paris, including possibly the most awesome croque monsieur in the city, and the appropriately titled Extraordinary Snails.


Take in a Gripoix Glass Jewelry Workshop

Renowned for the Chanel Gripoix jewels, worn by the likes of Rihanna and Emma Watson, this workshop, opened on the gorgeous Place des Victoires in late 2015, sells the brand’s own dazzling collection. Upstairs we watched as bespoke (note correct use of word) pieces were being created for moneyed clients. But on the ground floor, you can buy strikingly colorful necklaces, earrings and brooches for surprisingly approachable prices.

Go “Behind the Scent” at Serge Lutens

He’s the mystical French guru of fragrance. And entering his flagship boutique, hidden mysteriously away amidst the gardens of the Palais Royal, is like being welcomed into a sacred space. There are secret hideaways with astrological references and nautical charts, an upstairs sanctuary done up with Asian wall panels, even a Virtual Reality room…with medieval furnishings. The ethereal signature scents have magically poetic descriptions – for instance “Deliver us from Good! Jasmine petals are as white as snow. Black is my religion.” (La religieuse) and “She’s a rose with thorns, don’t mess with her. She’s a girl who goes to extremes. When she can, she soothes; and when she wants … !” (La fille de Berlin). An experience.


Get Bespoke Shoes Made at Non-Bespoke Prices

Tucked away in the charming Passage des Deux Pavillons in the 1st Arrondissement, Derville is an unassuming little shop that makes some of the best custom shoes in Paris. And they can be had for as little as…$700. The trick? They use a machine for the soles – though you’d never know it. And not just for business types, the shoes come in colors like pink, orange and sky blue.

Have a Glamorous Dinner at Mini Palais

Part of the awe-inspiring Grand Palais museum and exhibition complex, this is the place to go when you’ve had enough of all those charmingly low-key bistrotheques. Despite the name, it’s a statement restaurant in the best sense. Climb a grand staircase, enter into a dramatic foyer, and emerge into a dining room with arched windows, high ceilings and impeccable style. The menu is by Eric Frechon, Paris’ most exalted chef: lemon potato gnocchi, cod in tamarind crust, roasted scallops with fine truffle muslin. There’s also a plush outdoor terrace amidst the classical columns.


Stay: The Hilton Paris Opera

Face it, you’d stay for the name alone. It says to everyone, “Yes, I am staying somewhere grand in Paris.” Recently made over, there’s now a contemporary sparkle to its 19th Century majesty. The rooms have been done up with a stylish, modern elegance – and those looking out towards Gare Saint Lazare offer supreme Parisian-street-life watching.
But we spent most of our time in Le Grand Salon, literally a listed historic monument – with forty-five-foot ceilings, glittering chandeliers and cool, modern furnishings. You can breakfast like the Marquess of Something-or-Other, or try to spot the naughty angels amongst the stunning frescoes over a few rounds of Hugo Saint Germain champagne cocktails. There’s a Le Pain Quotidien on site, as well, should you need something a little less, say, imposing, for an important biz lunch.
And just step out of the hotel in you’re in Lazare, the casual but super buzzy new bistro – also from the many Michelin-starred Eric Frechon – in the station of the same name. The sausages and mashed potatoes are genuinely life-altering.


  • Hilton Paris Opera
  • Hilton Paris Opera
  • Hilton Paris Opera

The Daily Show Has Opened a Presidential Twitter Library

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Image courtesy of Comedy Central

Incisively latching onto the archival value of Trump’s endless reactionary, and arguably deranged tweeting, Trevor Noah revealed on air last night that The Daily Show has gone and opened the Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library. Located at 3 W. 57th St in Manhattan, it is fittingly in veritable spitting distance of Trump Tower.

Specific exhibits will include Trump vs. Trump, documenting the President’s remarkable ability to contradict his own previous statements; and The Commander-in-Tweet, where attendees can create their own immature, misguided Twitter post – just like the the Prez!

The Library, while meant to inspire a few laughs, is arguably utterly necessary – perhaps even imperative. After all, a hundred year from now, who would possibly believe it all?



BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Poignant New Tattoo Money Single ‘Black Girl Magic’

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Brooklyn hip-hop artist Tattoo Money (aka Pete Armour) isn’t quite sure he wants you to consider him just a hip-hop artist.

“When I showed up to  play hip-hop shows,” he reveals, “they always thought I was an R&B singer. When I show up to play at rock shows – with a guitar on my back, mind you – I always get asked if I’m DJ’ing.”

He actually proudly claims the influence of rock bands the likes of Cold War Kids and Arctic Monkeys – something that you can expect to show up on his debut EP (Untitled), which will be released this August. The entire of the recording was done with one guitar, one synth and one drum machine – which surely speaks to his affinity for musically minimalist composition.

In the lead up, BlackBook premieres here the first single, “Black Girl Magic.” The startling track, both intimate and anthemic, could perhaps best be described as feminist-folk-rap,

“2016 was a tough year, most of all for women,” he insists, “and especially black women. When I saw how the country and the people treated Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, and how the idiots on Twitter treated Leslie Jones from Ghostbusters and SNL, it pissed me off and broke my heart. So I wrote a song about my possible future little black girl, for those two amazing black women and for all of the black girls around the world.”



Tattoo Money is also holding a video submission for his fans to submit a video of them doing anything to show off their “Black Girl Magic.”

B.G.M submission Rules

Submit videos doing anything to show off your Black Girl Magic, while lip-syncing the song. @PeterinParis, or go here.

Be silly
Be serious
Do it with friends and family
Feel free to use cool filters and effects

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: New Single ‘Tiger’ From Paris’ Joon Moon

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Image by Jason Bentley

They’ve collaborated with Rufus Wainwright, Nouvelle Vague and Hercules & Love Affair. But still the name Joon Moon might be unfamiliar. The Paris-based trio of dance producer Julien Decoret, bluesy American singer Krystle Warren and drummer Raphael Chassin make rather surprising music, which draws on lofty influences like David Byrne, the Beatles and early Bowie.

New single “Tiger” (from the EP of the same name), which BlackBook premieres here, actually sounds straight out of the Kinks/Blur playbook, which its strutting rhythm, quirky piano and 70s horns. And then there’s the snarky social-commentary, “Who’s hoping for the future? / Who’s dreaming of the past? / Who’s awaiting the present?”

No surprise, the lyrics have an English literary inspiration.

“’Tiger’ is about the need to question authority and the power structure of society,” explains Decoret. “The song was inspired by the poem ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake, replicating the questioning structure. And we used a direct quote from this poem as the basis of the chorus.”

A full Joon Moon album, Moonshine Corner, is due for release in September.


Downtown Art + Fashion Gather at Groupe for Monica Kim Garza Opening

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198 Bowery is now home to the Groupe boutique, which Seize Sur Vingt founders Gwendolyn and James Jurney created as an incubator for exciting new design talent. But as art and fashion have a way of sharing and trading inspiration, the shop also acts as exhibition space.

And so it was that an electric mix of Downtown creatives converged there last night to celebrate the opening of a particularly sultry and stimulating Monica Kim Garza show, curated by A Number of Names’ Jon-Paul Rodriguez and Naya Urena-Rodriguez (and co-sponsored by BlackBook). The Atlanta-based artist was on hand to meet, greet and in some cases even expound upon her work, which marries a Botero-like voluptuousness with Gaugin exoticism.

To a sensual, Caribbean-stylee soundtrack by Earthtone, guests sipped Sailor Jerry spiced rum cocktails and grooved the night away. Here’s what it looked like.




Singer + Twin Peaks Star Chrysta Bell’s Hip Guide to Oakland

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Image by Rui Aguiar

Our love for all things David Lynch has never been a secret. So it’s hardly a surprise, we’ve also fallen hard for his current and always stunning muse Chrysta Bell. The ethereal vocalist and songwriter has regularly collaborated with the modern Renaissance man, including the gorgeous recent single and video “Beat the Beat.”

To celebrate the release today of her new album We Dissolve, produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey), as well as her starring role in Showtime’s reboot of the Twin Peaks series, and her upcoming UK and European tour dates, we asked the lovely Mlle. Bell to give us a peek into her current creative mindset…and also to share some insights into where she goes to seek sustenance and inspiration in her new adopted home of Oakland, California.

Chrysta Bell on Her New Music

The new record has a lot of the same darkness and tension of my music with David Lynch, but with some radio-friendly aspects as well. I venture into some “goth soul” territory, which comes pretty naturally with my most prevalent artistic motifs of the life/death/life cycle, the Great Unknown and Ultimate Transcendence. The lyrical matter is still pretty heavy and twisted… death ballads/murder ballads/obsession/passion/escapism. In the music I always want to convey that there will be a final and total peace, but the record romanticizes the trip of humanness, being trapped in a feedback loop. In the song “Over You’ I want to get over you but I don’t want to get over you. In “Heaven” I’m calling a dead lover and leaving phone messages.

On Why Oakland Inspires Her

Oakland is the most raw, exciting, brutal, depressing, vibrant and inspiring place I have ever lived. The plight of existence and the will to overcome adversity is everywhere. The duality of the organic ice cream shop next door to a tent community of homeless is commonplace. There are signs of life, death, struggle, survival, compassion and courage on every block. I have been undeniably enriched and expanded by my time living here.


 On Her Favorite Hangouts in Oakland

Beauty’s Bagel Shop  (Breakfast)

The line out the door will not be an issue once you taste this bagel. As you wait you’ll be sufficiently entertained by the stellar people-watching due to its location in the young, alternative and vibrant Temescal neighborhood. I always get the everything breakfast bagel with braised greens. The coffee is a standout as well.


Shangri-La Vegan (Lunch)

The food at this vegan spot is simple, wholesome and extremely tasty. The atmosphere is super chill and it’s a great place for having a thoughtful conversation with your dining companion. There’s only one thing on the menu (it changes daily) and it comes with soup and all-you-can-drink hot tea that is earthy and satisfying. There is a selection of after-dinner treats and I always indulge.

Geta Japanese (Dinner)

Geta is a tiny sushi joint serving traditional Japanese fare. Get the special of the day even if you have never tried it or even heard of it. Prepare your mouth for some of the freshest, most exotic and tastiest fish of your life; it’s the closest to an authentic Tokyo sushi experience as I have found in California. I love to order a carafe of hot sake and a beer and sit at the sushi bar; when the beer comes, ask for an extra glass and pour the sushi chef a beer. They love it and it’s a great and enjoyable way to bond.

Alchemy Bottle Shop  (Shop)

This boutique of expertly curated spirits, wine and beer is what would happen if an art gallery and an upscale liquor store had a baby. The interior is all white and chic, and the elegant presentation of the wide range of liquors, liqueurs, bitters, and exotic mixers (you name it) includes handwritten information about flavor profiles and origins. I love looking at all the creative bottles, labels and packaging and imagining how a bouquet from the farmer’s market will look in the bottle once the spirits have been enjoyed. The free Saturday “tastings” offer opportunities to expand your palate and meet locals.

Fox Theater  (Music Venue)

If you have a chance to see a band you love at Fox Theater, TAKE IT. It’s an architectural marvel built in 1928 that is beautifully maintained and features state-of-art sound and light packages – so the shows sound and look incredible. This venue will make a great performace from one of your favorite artists into a life event. Killer spot. An Oakland treasure.


Eli’s Mile High Club  (Nightcap)

This dive bar is the right mix of grime and personality. The owner is a great guy and somehow that shows through in the atmosphere. I filmed my music video for “Beat the Beat” at Eli’s, and he plays one of the bar patrons. A great place to meet friends who live close by, you feel lucky if this bar is your local hang. As David Lynch would say “it’s got a thing.”