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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Idle Hands

One of the greatest things about living in Los Angeles is that its residents have the option of dining at Leonor's Vegetarian Mexican Restaurant for every meal. My family and I do just that. For dinner this evening, my wife ordered the chicken salad pita, Ben Lee Junior enjoyed the California Burger, Penelope wolfed down her spinach empanada, and I loved every morsel of my sausage and avocado pizza. (Keep in mind that all the 'meats' are actually soy-based products textured and flavored to look and taste exactly like that after which they are modeled.)

Now I know what you're thinking: "Pita! Burgers! Pizza! Why, those aren't Mexican at all!" This is the beauty of Leonor's, they take traditional Greek, American, and Italian cuisine, and they add a magical Mexican twist. The Pita is flecked with chilis, the burger is smothered in guacamole, the pizza sauce dances with salsa. And the staff there is the most charming you've ever met.

A funny thing about pizza... Though the dish is most commonly associated with the Italians, it was actually invented in China sometime during the Jurassic Period. Early fans of the entree used to top it with brontosaurus, saber-tooth tiger and woolly mammoth. As those animals died out, the Chinese moved on to fried cuisine, and the Italians took over where they left off.

When we're not on tour, we of the Blood Arm party engage in a variety of side-projects--hobbies, if you will--to keep us busy. Nathaniel is about ninety pages into his second novel, the details of which he refuses to divulge, though one can assume it is not about identical twin gynecologists who fall in love with a woman with a trifurcated uterus, as David Cronenberg covered that territory years ago. Zachary has found work as Val Kilmer's understudy for the role of Moses in Ten Commandments: The Musical, and he has grown a beard and refused to bathe for forty days and forty nights in order to get in character. Dyan scored a box of peyote on a recent trip to Joshua Tree and is documenting her hallucinations on film as they happen as part of an ongoing research project for the NIH, while Zebastian and myself are co-coaching a softball team for underprivileged youth. Yup, we're keeping busy.

Oh! And how can I forget! I'm organizing (organising) a series of after parties for the solo dates in Nottingham, Glasgow, and possibly Leeds and Cardiff, and you're all invited. You will have to RSVP to get on the list--TBA will spin records, there will be free booze and goodies from City Rockers records--so keep checking in for more details!

See you soon!

Ben Lee

Friday, March 25, 2005


For the record, I am not the Australian pop star Ben Lee, I am Benjamin Lee Handler, Jewish Theologian and Master of Ceremonies for the Blood Arm. (There has been a bit of confusion as of late.) I adopted the abbreviation and conjunction of my given names in elementary school due to the large number of Benjamins in my class, and clung to it through the years because of the snappy twist my middle moniker adds to the first. My Lee transforms my Ben into an adverb, and sudden lee I am "very Ben," or "Ben to the max!"

I actually met the Australian Ben Lee at SXSW last weekend. Believe me, I am way cooler.

-Ben Lee

Oh! If you are in Los Angeles tonight (Friday) check out our friends the We Are Scientists early at Silver Lake Lounge, and the Mall at El Cid tomorrow (Saturday). You will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Dyan is making her DJ debut this evening at Little Pedro's. She needs a proper DJ name. (I suggested "Lezbodextrous," until I realized it suits me much better.)

Help a sister out. Submit your DJ name suggestions for Dyan here.

-Lezbodextrous Lee

Monday, March 21, 2005

South Bi-Curious

Sorry to those of you who have been waiting for the low-down on the rest of our SXSW adventure, lack of sleep and internet access have prevented me from updating until now. If you can pick up and throw away any of the names I've dropped all over this entry, it would be greatly appreciated, as I fear I am becoming somewhat obnoxious:

March 18- Having received ample clothing and goodies from Diesel at the in-store yesterday afternoon, we all fancied that we made quite the flashy and fashionable entrance at the afternoon party where TBA had an early performance. None of us have been able to afford new clothing for quite some time, so the snappy designer gear instilled us all with the same sort of confidence and swagger I imagine P Diddy floats on when he hits the clubs in a new Rolls. Our bubble was quickly burst, however, when we spotted the Kaiser Chiefs in the crowd wearing pretty much exactly the same duds as us. Their bass player and keyboardist were wearing *exactly* the same outfit as me. I cried a little cry, but then I put my chin up. After all, the Kaiser Chiefs have the *cool* thing down pat. And if we can have style one-tenth as hip as theirs, then we're pretty well off. And we had picked out the exact same outfits! Why, I have amazing style! The best! I bleed cool! The show went brilliantly.

We had a Tommy Lee sighting shortly thereafter, and somehow my mind forgot everything that comes along with his name--Motley Crue, his rotating drum cage, Heather Locklear, Pamela Anderson Lee, beaten Pamela Anderson Lee--everything except for PENIS. I thought, "there's the guy with the PENIS." His penis changed my life, really. Before his "private" video circulated, I thought the male sex organ was fairly limited in its uses. You know, it's for the things boys do in the bathroom, and the things boys do in their girl/boyfriends. (Sometimes these things are interchangeable, and sometimes boys do the things with their girl/boyfriends in the bathroom, but it's still pretty simple.)

Tommy Lee can drive his SUV with his PENIS.

Viewing that for the first time made me so very small and vulnerable; nothing in the world felt the same. What if the chef at my favorite restaurant cooked my food with his PENIS? What if Shakespeare wrote MacBeth with his PENIS? What if President Bush orchestrated the war on terror with his PENIS? Seeing Tommy Lee in Austin pushed all this back into the forefront of my consciousness. Fortunately I was drunk enough at the time to forget about him quickly, and we scurried over to Emo's just in time for the Raveonettes and Har Mar Superstar.

Har Mar was on his game, but Nathaniel managed to steal the show. Halfway through the Superstar's set, Nathaniel straddled him mid-song, tongued the singer for about half a minute, then proceeded to monkey himself up to the rafters of the venue, splitting his chin in the process. If one hangs out with Nathaniel long enough, it soon becomes apparent that the things he does in his boy/girlfriends usually involve an audience. Those who bear witness to his savage acts of love always come back for more. We'll see how many Har Mar fans show up at the gigs tomorrow...

March 19- In the midst of the 'Corn Gangg's set at the afternoon Making Time party, a greater power decided to start a downpour. (The 'Corn Gangg are ex-members of the Unicorns gone hip-hop, and they're NOT TO BE MISSED.) The rain would have been fine and dandy had the stage not been set up outside, underneath a tent. Cancellation of the rest of of the show was briefly considered--the promoters were fretting over the possibility of performers electrocuting themselves--but thanks to the ingenue of the Duke Spirit, we simply moved all of the equipment inside the tiny bar next to the stage, and the Blood Arm played for the soaked crowd indoors. Readers who were in attendance, please testify how crazy this set was. Nathaniel was swinging from the ceiling, the crowd was swinging from the ceiling, beer, sweat, and semen were flying through the air... It was reminiscent of my rainy elementary school days, when the teachers were forced to keep the students indoors, and we all just tossed our nuts. Chandeliers were swung on and broken, small children were thrown about like rag dolls. Insanity.

I'm tired now. I need sleep. Will finish entry in fragments. Saw Midnight Movies, brilliant! Crowd demands encore for 1am TBA showcase at Velvet Spade, brilliant! 22 hour drive home, with Zebastian blaring air-conditioning and adult-contemporary country music, not so brilliant!

Until next time...

-Ben Lee

Friday, March 18, 2005

Oh, Austin

March 17- I came to Texas expecting rodeos and BBQs that served whole sides of cows, but thus far it has only been beauty salons, vegetarian restaurants, and designer jeans. We began the day at an early party for Spaceland (yes, of Los Angeles), and Heidi (the promoter for the event) had arranged it so that all attending could have their nails and makeup professionally attended to. Never ones to pass up anything free, Zach had his eyes done-up not unlike Adam Ant, and I had my fingernails painted a lovely cream.

Now I am in no way opposed to men wearing an excess of makeup, but there is a difference between men painting their eyes during the bright of the day and when men paint themselves shielded under the veil of night. At night, the cosmetic parlays an aura of mystery and intrigue--onlookers whisper, "from where did this mysterious and intriguing individual come, it must be known to me!" In the daytime, however, it is quite clear that the painted gentleman has something all over his face. So those of us in Zachary’s presence had the unique privilege of witnessing him metamorphosize from a fool with stuff all over his face into the sinister nighttime being of wanton sexiness we all know and love. (Painted fingernails, on the other hand, are always ridiculous.)

Oh, the details! After gigs at the Spaceland party and the Diesel store, we managed to catch sets by the Kaiser Chiefs, Louis XIV, and the Futureheads, then we swung by DKNY party just in time to see Queens of the Stone Age. Brilliant!

There are pictures from yesterday’s Zane Lowe session on the BBC1 website, we’ll link it on the website shortly.


-Ben Lee

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Little Pedro's is the best venue in Los Angeles, period. It's all-ages, they serve margaritas in pint glasses, and there's this crazy huge florescent dragonfly hanging from the ceiling as you walk in. After a few drinks there, I like to pretend that I've taken my favorite rock bands back in time to some magical Jurassic cave dwelling filled with sexy young people in tight pants. Every Little Pedro's show is a wild, sweaty prehistoric sex party, and last night was no exception. In fact, it may have been the wildest, sweatiest, and sexiest of all the prehistoric parties ever to have taken place at the club. The Tints wowed, the Adored rocked my pants off with some new material, and the freshly knighted Blood Arm set the place afire with their newfound (world- class) international traveler status. After the show, Jeppe and Alexis kept the place dancing with a crafty selection of sixties flavored tunes, and the place was still swinging when my wife and I left at three in the morning.

There has been a rather troubling fashion trend taking place in the dance clubs of Los Angeles and the UK. Ever since the tabloids went to press with photographs of Pete Doherty smoking crack in his Benny (of Benny and Joon) get-up, there has been an overabundance of young men donning the same billowy white shirt, black vest, blue jeans, and black bowler hat. I spotted one last night, and at least two in every club we visited in the UK. Hopefully Mr. Doherty's followers aren't mimicking the pop star's self-destructive tendencies and substance abuse as well. I wonder if the ex-Libertine were to be captured on film wearing a spandex body suit while shooting up, if that garb would take the clubs by storm as well. If ever I am to achieve his level of influence over the world's youth, I hope to be caught smoking crack while wearing my mother's panty hose as a scarf. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a trend worth backing.

Now, on to Austin, Texas for SXSW...

-Ben Lee

Saturday, March 12, 2005

How to Pick Up Chicks and Tricks

When I was in high school, my grades were quite good--I excelled in English and History--but I was utterly hopeless in the fine art of picking up members of the opposite sex. I was spat on, labeled a geek-for-life, and laughed at in the hallways. Every day was a constant struggle. I hid in the bathrooms and tried to make myself invisible. Fortunately, in my sophomore year an elder student took me under his wing and explained me a few can't-miss schemes for undeniable coolness and success with the ladies. Today I am blessed with a beautiful wife and four lovely children (five if you count our dog, Jacob), not to mention my dreamy job as MC for the Blood Arm. Though I am wont to divulge all of my benefactor's secrets, they are secrets, and by the nature of all things secret, I must keep them under lock and key. (Here are a few starting tips, though: make a lot of money, buy a purebred puppy, and perfect the I-accidentally-left-my-[insert item of much sentimental value here]-at-your-place maneuver.) Oh, happiness is grand!

And at my last high school reunion, if you could have seen the heads turn!

Tonight is a reunion of sorts, as we of the Blood Arm party have been away for a while. If you thought the band rocked before the UK tour, you should really see them now. Come on out and behold the Blood Arm's new bag of tricks! (You won't be sorry, I promise.) And if you're lucky, maybe I'll let slip a secret or two...

-Ben Lee

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Baby Boy

Come midnight, our baby boy Zachary is another year older. His hobbies include sex and drugs if you want to give him anything.

Wish him well!

-Ben Lee

Monday, March 07, 2005


Is anyone getting rid of a bed? Zach and I are supposed to have moved into a new place already, but neither of us have anything to sleep on. We are shacking up at my girlfriend's pad until we can find mattresses of our own. Zach is all curled up on the couch right now, it's a little adorable. OK, a lot adorable.

Oh yes, the rest of the band returned last night, hooray!

And now I'm off to work...

-Ben Lee

Oh! Corrections! The film discussed in the February 21 entry is called "Frequency," not "Transmission," as I had originally typed.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Audience Participation

I'm back in Los Angeles now, though the rest of The Blood Army has stayed behind in the UK until Sunday to sort out some business matters. Hello Los Angeles!

In the interest of generating more participation in the "Comments" field, I am going to ask you, dear readers, a series of questions which I'm sure you'll find absolutely thrilling to answer. Please post at will, registration is no longer required to comment on this page.

Your questions:

1.) In Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film The Marriage of Maria Braun, the title character effectively tosses aside the whole of her moral being and resorts to thievery, prostitution, murder, and eventually the cutthroat world of the textile industry in 1950s Germany in an effort to provide a life for she and her husband, to who Maria had only been married two days before he went missing in the war. If you were married to Zebastian for two days before he went missing for a long period of time, would you do the same? If you were married to Dyan? Nathaniel? Zachary? Why or why not?

2.) Of The Blood Arm, who is the least likely to wear white on his/her wedding day? Why?

3.) Have you ever been in love with someone, but not been able to tell him/her? Describe that person's wardrobe in 100 words or less.

And lastly, strictly for the people of Wolverhampton:

4.) If I were to tell you that Dave Newton is the most handsome person in the world, and that he is this way completely androgynously so that everyone is ridiculously attracted to him regardless of his sex parts... If I were to tell you all this, would your feelings still be hurt?

Okay, now get typing! (Please, keep in touch, BLOOD AMBITION 2005 is still alive and kicking, and will be throughout the year.)

-Ben Lee

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Your Diary

It has recently come to light that Zebastian has been keeping a tour diary as well, though he won't let any of us read it. I managed to sneak a peek over his shoulder while he was scribbling in it and was able to decipher the words "dragon" and "dwarf" from a paragraph at the upper end of the page. Make of this what you will, but it appears to me that the guitar player for The Blood Arm is engaged in some sort of dark magic. (Yesterday I awoke with a strange blood blister on my left thumb. Coincidence?)

Oh! And I have forgotten to mention how brilliant the past two nights with the Bravery have been. They've been brilliant! (And Kate Moss was on their guest list, so you know they're huge rock stars.)

I have also been forgetting to mention how fucking cold it is here. It's fucking cold!

Now the grand finale: For every show The Blood Arm plays at a larger venue, the venue is contractually obligated to provide us with a meal, a case of beer, a bottle of vodka, and a bottle of whiskey. Being the spendthrifts we are, we have been conserving all the excess for a rainy day. (All the days we've been here have been rainy or snowy, I'm just being figurative here. We're saving the booze for a day it isn't free, silly.) Seeing as how today is our last here, tonight is the night we blow our wad. So everyone is blowing their wad tonight. Blow little wads, blow!

Thus ends my UK Tour. Fret not, dear readers, the blog will be updated regularly in the future.

Until next time...

-Ben Lee

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Back To The Future

When I was in highschool, I went on a ski trip where MTV happened to be present. Because I look so sexy, hip, and edgy, someone from the station asked me if I'd request a song for a broadcast. They gave me a choice of three singles, and I chose Jessica Simpson's newest video. I saw myself three weeks later on a broadcast, purportedly "live." It's funny how these "live" broadcasts work. Yesterday The Blood Arm recorded a "live" broadcast for the Zane Lowe Gonzo show on MTV Europe. They're going to have to edit out Zebastian saying that the single comes out "today," because that will not work with the "live" broadcast, which is airing in a week or so. And the limited edition single is already sold out(!). Time travel is a funny thing.

More to come...

Ben Lee