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310-CUT-FOOT

A few weeks ago I took over the responsibilities of running (310) CUT-FOOT, a local hotline which has been running since at least the 1980's. (You can read some more about it here). I've been calling it regularly for about two years at the insistence of my friend Paul who is one of it's most vocal supporters.

The format basically revolves around a character who pretends to be so entrenched in a certain milieu of cultural events that they assume you understand all of the shorthanded codewords which they are presenting in under two minutes. It's the sort of scene that exists in all major cities, it revolves around cultural inbreeding and nothing from any of these scenes ever goes anywhere.

Some examples might be the punk band that sucks performing at the restaurant that's terrible, down the street from the University where the clientele will change every four years, or the art show in the gallery that's nothing more than a stockroom in the back of a shoe store.

It should be noted that while the phone number has been around and in use forever, it's audience has mostly died or moved on in life. There are clearly still some people hanging on, and it seems as if the act has become more about the performer still pretending to be this person while the audience still pretends to be those people. Nobody is actually going to any of these events anymore based on recommendations from the phone recording.

In this sense it's almost a religious ritual. The audience feels good knowing that the line still exists, the performer feels good knowing that he is supporting the audience. The material itself is incidental.

When I took over from the artist Anthony Ausgang, he told me the line receives approximately 40 calls a month. I said "well 39 of those are probably myself and Paul, do you know who the other caller is?"

Ironically now that I am the one making the recordings I've noticed that I still call it once a day just to listen and make sure it's there.

Forcing myself to scour for events each day has been a different kind of reward. All the stuff I normally would have ignored while looking for concerts requires my attention, and I catch myself saying "Hey, that's pretty cool!" daily.

The other day I left the house and saw a new exhibit by the artist Lucy Sparrow, Sparrow Mart is an entire supermarket made out of handmade versions of CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) in felt.

Sam Pocker and Lucy Sparrow

Sparrow Mart Candy Counter

Then I visited an abandoned Sports Authority in Sherman Oaks which was being used to house a collection of Disneyana on auction. 

Dumbo The Flying Elephant at Van Eaton Galleries

Jose from The Enchanted Tiki Room at "That's From Disneyland!" in Sherman Oaks


Finally I visited the night market at Yamashiro, a Japanese restaurant in the Hollywood Hills.

View of Hollywood from Yamashiro restaurant
It was the most I had even bothered to go out and explore in one day while living in Los Angeles. This is my normal behavior in other cities, but somehow Hollywood has drained me of my desire to explore. The daily ritual of updating CUT FOOT, of imagining how that character would present these things to those listeners, and the fun I'm having exploiting a $50 unlimited LTE plan to broadcast on Facebook LIVE almost nonstop is giving me a renewed interest in this otherwise vacant place. 

I know that there's no substance here, so it's kind of freeing. In the same way I used to say you could do whatever you wanted in the city of Boston because it had no resonance in the outside world, there's a degree that holds true in Los Angeles as well. As I scour YouTube more and more looking for ideas I see nothing but backdrops. 

There's a whole category of videos from China where tourists come to Los Angeles and just film themselves eating. This is one of my favorites that I've seen recently


The videos are very similar in content, but I'm seeing places and ways of relating places I hadn't considered before and that's exciting. I'm starting to get lost on purpose again, something I haven't done in a long time, and it's very rewarding. I sent my CUT FOOT listeners to an open mic night at the public library in Anaheim the other day. Paul left a voicemail which simply said "I would go to that."


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