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The LAist Interview: Tony Pierce

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Followers of the busblog are given a virtual all access pass to what its author, Tony Pierce, is thinking and doing in and around Los Angeles. And Tony's world within this city is a textured, unorthodox, engaging place to be. (Check out the FAQ Tony posted on January 06, 2005 for a busblog primer.) His insights into myriad topics can also be found on the printed pages of his newly published book, How to Blog.

Sticklers for grammar and punctuation best look elsewhere, but loyal busblog readers can't get enough of these glimpses inside the life of a car-less resident who passionately lives Los Angeles to the core. Fortunately for us, Tony's prolific blogging proves he’s committed to keeping his audience sated.

1. Age and Occupation:

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111, undercover superhero for the xbi

2. How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?

I have lived in LA on and off since 1984. I have lived in Venice, Santa Monica, Westwood, West LA, Atwater Villiage, and Inglewood. For the last 3 years I have been a happy resident of Little Armenia.

3. Where are you from?

A tiny hamlet 45 minutes northwest of Chicago

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4. What are the best and worst transportation lines in the city?

Best: The 720 Rapid runs pretty regularly from downtown to Santa Monica via Wilshire. Bad part is you can go a mile or more without a stop so know where the stops are.

Worst: I love the red line but it doesn’t run past midnight and at the Wilshire/Vermont transfer spot the waiting train likes to pull away just as the commuters are running down the stair waving their arms frantically. If I can say fuck in this interview allow me to say fuck mta drivers who are cruel in that manner.

5. Please share some stories of romantic solicitations you’ve received from the busblog readers.

I’m not a handsome man. And I’m old. And I have no automobile. And I make very little money. None of that has stopped the lovely ladies of the Internet from sending me sweet gifts, photographs, and offers of romantic dalliances.

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Yes I have taken a few of them up on their offers.

Yes, some were ridiculously young.

Every encounter was beautiful and bizarre and mindblowing and precisely the reason that young boys learn how to play the guitar.

God bless the Internet!

6. Is blogging still an addiction? If not, then what motivates you to continue the busblog?

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Yes I am still addicted. But the addiction doesn’t motivate me. What motivates me is my job is really hard and during my 15-minute breaks it’s really nice to just float away into a different world where I have total control and where people flood me with compliments and love and nice attention. I can honestly say that if I was happy in my career a few years ago there would have been no busblog.

7. If you had to make a soundtrack of the busblog, what might some of the selections include?

Tsar, "Wrong"
The Replacements, "If Only You Were Lonely" and "Kiss Me On The Bus"
R.E.M, "Superman"
N.W.A, "100 Miles And Runnin'"
Jane's Addiction, "Three Days"
Led Zeppelin, "The Immigrant Song"
The Donnas, "Take It Off"
The Corvids, "Worried"
The Cure, "Why Can't I Be You"
Soul Asylum, "Cartoon"
Beastie Boys, "Shadrach"

8. Has the response to your book How to Blog different from general response to the busblog itself?

Most people are aware that even a chimp can start a blog. But not until How To Blog did people realize that that very same chimp could turn their posts into a book that actually looks like a book; and then sell that same recycled nonsense and make it seem sorta cool.

Also, I wasn't being invited to be interviewed on TV shows and the likes of laist.com until I compiled the book. However that may have just been a coincidence.

9. One of my high school teachers refused to capitalize "i" when writing in the first person as a form of protest against the culture of egotism in Western society. Does this explanation ring true to you, or do you hate the Shift key and "correct" typing in general, or is there some other reason for your eschewing of lower upper case letters?

I don't hate the shift key. In fact you may notice that I wrote most of this using capital letters out of respect to your fine website. I do things lowercase because im lazy and I have very little time to write before I have to get back to work.

But I also want to remind people that my blog, and most of what is happening on the web should be taken with a grain of salt (if not a whole sack of salt). Just cuz a guy capitalizes or has good grammar doesn't mean hes not full of crap. Therefore im letting people know straight up that im full of crap and lazy and im not even paying attention to spelling or grammar, therefore you shouldn't pay toooo much attention as to what im saying. Unless of course you totally agree with what im saying and want to make sweet love to me, in that case, pay lots of attention.

10. What's your dream automobile?

I have a friend who has one of those Honda Elements. They sure look weird but they're easy to park and they have loads of space inside and the interior is rubber meaning if you don't spray the radio you can take a hose to the interior and wash the dirt/blood/dna evidence right out.
It also has an AUX jack and a tray for your ipod. Love that!

Of course I would put monster truck wheels on it, but that's a given.

11. Is there any place where you don't meet people, or is especially poorly suited to this purpose?

I don't talk to people on the bus or in the subway. Three years and the only people who come up and talk to me while commuting are the insane. Hot chicks in LA drive cars, I have discovered.

12. Where's the best place to have public sex in LA?

Westwood. Nobody is there any more.

13. What's your favorite movie(s) or TV show(s) that are based in LA?

"The Brady Bunch," hands down. I even Googled the brady bunch house and drove by it with a friend and marveled at how un-Brady it now looks.

14. Best LA-themed book(s)?

Ham on Rye, Women, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, Hollywood - Charles Bukowski

Bukowski does a great job of normalizing Hollywood and Downtown LA and stripping away the phony glamour. Just because it has sunshine and movie stars doesn't mean LA isn't a blue collar town. Bukowski reminds us that for every celebrity there are 10,000 regular people living normal lives that don't include sniffing cocaine around the belly rings of starlets.

15. Share your best celebrity sighting experience.

I got to jam with Rivers in the old Weezer garage in West LA. It was called The Amherst House because it was on Amherst near Pico.
Weezer moved into the house when they first came to LA, and as they became successful they slowly moved out. Before they had finally all left one of my friends was living there with her boyfriend (a close friend of the band) and they threw a party and Rivers showed up and he was super shy as reported.

People were jamming in the garage and the kid on drums was drunk and horrible and I thought to myself, crap, im terrible, but im better than that fool. So I sat down and played, and then Rivers came in with a notebook full of handwritten Nirvana lyrics that he had compiled to better learn the songs.

He was all, "do you know any Nirvana?" I was all, "who?"
He smiled and we rocked.

16. What to you constitutes a perfect 24 hours in LA?

$3 Mexican Breakfast in Echo Park, day game at Dodger Stadium, late lunch at the Pantry, subway ride to Hollywood, drinks at the Rainbow, club show at the Viper or Spaceland, late night burritos at Midnight Tacos on Vermont, moonlight skinnydipping under santa monica pier followed by being woken up by cops in the sand who want to make room for cirque du soliel to set up their silly french tents.

17. What's the best place to walk in LA?

Hollywood Blvd as the sun is setting. Nothing changes more than the vibe of that street as it turns from day to night.

18. It's 9:30 pm on Thursday. Where are you coming from and where are you going?

I would definitely be blogging at that hour.

19. If you could live in LA during any era, when would it be?

When I moved here in the mid 80s things were good. For a while we had Magic, Kareem, Gretzkey, The Raiders, The Rams, and a decent Dodger team. Not to mention Guns n Roses on the Sunset Strip, Motely Crue, Madame Wongs West, 321, a much better version of KROQ, and KNAC. There was no Grove, City Walk, or permits required to park on city streets during the daytime.

20. What is the "center" of LA to you?

In olden times the center of town was where the town square was or the biggest church. Today it's the sports arena or biggest shopping plaza. So I will say that it's either Staples Center or Hollywood + Highland depending on what day it is and who's playing the Lakers.

21. If you were forced to live in a neighboring county, which would you choose? Ventura County is a wussy answer.

My dream is to live again in Isla Vista, which is technically Santa Barbara County. Is that a neighboring one? If it's not then I would shoot myself if I was forced out of LA.

22. If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA, where/which would you choose?

My dream job is to be the in-house blogger at the Playboy Mansion. They really need a blogger, they just don't know it. Hef has caught his second wind and his mag only comes out once a month. A blogger could share with the world some of the daily wisdom that he has, and show people that dreams really do come true for those who dare to chase their dreams. So yes, the playboy mansion would be my pick.

23. Los Angeles is often stereotyped as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends. Do you agree with that assessment? Do find it challenging to make new friends here?

I completely disagree with that stereotype because most of this town is made up of people who aren't from here. So theyre dying to make friends.

I have never had difficulty meeting new people here. It's a piece of cake. Just walk outside and don't be a butthead. The tough part is LA is surprisingly small, so you have to be careful who you pick fights with cuz they might one day be your boss or your neighbor or be walking down the street when you least expect it. So its not about making friends, its about not making enemies.

24. What is the city's greatest secret?

Downtown LA is a treasure on many levels.

25. Describe your best LA dining experience.

Sunset Junction street fair has chicken on a stick. I friggin love chicken on a stick as im walking down the street with my shirt off and people from all over being all weird and sexy and crazy and cool and fun.

26. Do you worry about drinking and driving?

When you don't have a car you don't worry about such things. Actually theres very little I worry about any more.

27. Do you find the threat of earthquakes preferable to the threat of hurricanes and long winters?

I lived in Atwater Village during the Northridge quake. If you remember it happened at like 4am or some shit. I felt it, opened one eye a crack, and closed it just as fast. Then my roommates woke me up and were all, "OMG that was an earthquake!" I was all, "is the house on fire?" they were like, "no." so I said, "wake me if the house catches fire." And went right back to sleep.

So yeah, I think I can deal with what people around here call earthquakes.

28. Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?

Isla Vista, pumping a keg, yelling at a band to rock harder and louder.