I'm Having Fun Now

Ilana Berger is a writer and editor whose work has been published in 944, Flaunt and Emmy, among other outlets. This blog, however, is less about culling editorial-worthy content and refining text, and more about indulging her own prosaic whims and having fun.

Want Ilana to write for your media outlet? Contact her at ilanalauraberger@gmail.com.
Lost in translation: “No. 1 Finest Oil Non Oil For Wizards”
Not only does this glorious product by fancy schmancy Italian hair care line Davines make my hair sleek, smooth and shiny every time I blow dry, but it is somehow both the “finest oil” and “non oil” simultaneously, and it’s “for wizards!” How great is that?!

Lost in translation: “No. 1 Finest Oil Non Oil For Wizards”

Not only does this glorious product by fancy schmancy Italian hair care line Davines make my hair sleek, smooth and shiny every time I blow dry, but it is somehow both the “finest oil” and “non oil” simultaneously, and it’s “for wizards!” How great is that?!

Do Judge This Book By Its Cover: Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Tales From the Animal Kingdom

Yes, I reckon you are allowed to judge a book by its cover when its cover has a picture of a baby monkey hugging a dove on it.

I first saw this book at the Natural History Museum gift shop when I was there to check out the brand spanking new dinos, but Mark told me it would be way cheaper on Amazon, so I had to wait like 5-8 whole business days to get it.

Boy was it worth it. The contents of this book consist of the most heartwarming, adorable, anthropomorphized tales of all that is good and right in the world that you have ever heard: aka inter-species relationships. I’m talking stories about an orphaned African elephant and a cute, cuddly sheep named Albert who are absolutely inseparable; a mama dachshund who saves a runt piglet by adopting him into her own litter and nursing him back to health; a ‘seeing-eye cat’ that leads her old, blind dog friend everywhere he goes; and much, much more.

Plus, almost all the cats in this book look like my baby kitty Tobias, whom you might remember from this post. I don’t know what it is about orange cats that makes them more likely to form unlikely friendships.

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How About A Super Special Exclusive Interview With Blake Sennett?

If you haven’t already read my piece I did a couple of weeks ago for 944.com on Blake Sennett (formerly of Rilo Kiley) and his band the Elected, please do!

But since there was only so much I could include in the story, I’ve decided to publish my full interview with Blake right here. I bet you didn’t know that this blog would feature exclusive interviews with rock stars, now did you?

ILANA BERGER: After five years off, some of the songs have a very distinct sound from your previous work. How would you describe the differences?

BLAKE SENNETT: I think with [earlier records] I would actually save my poppier side or whatever for Rilo Kiley, and that made the Elected record a little more like folky or just like bedroom-y, and I think in this case I didn’t do that. Stuff that probably would have been earmarked for Jenny to sing over instead I sang over. So I think this probably has a little more of the other band’s influence in it. For instance, like “Jailbird,” that’s like a real plucky, somewhat complex guitar part, and in the past, I wanted to please Jenny or get her stoked, so I’d have brought that to her, and maybe just saved the strummy shit for myself. In this case, I didn’t. You know, that wasn’t an option or whatever. I mean that’s one component that creates it as it is. I mean, to me, it’s way less self-conscious than other Elected records. I wasn’t trying to think about what I was doing at all or if songs like wouldn’t fit together. I wasn’t trying to think about cohesion, I was just gonna write as many songs as I could and then sort it our afterward, you know. So it’s way less self-conscious. I felt way less self-conscious making it, I feel like the record’s way more free. And in that regard, I think it’s a way more fun record. It’s a little more enjoyable — like less crybaby. I have a good pull quote for you: I think this record is less ‘poor me’ and more ‘poor me another drink.’

IB: That’s the pull-quote right there! And I read that you wrote this record very quickly.

BS: Yeah, and everything happened fast. I tried to go as fast as possible — like outrun my own brain and my own worries and my own self consciousness, like decide not to throw anything away until I had finished it, figured out what it was, and then I could throw it away. But I think a lot of the times there’s a tendency to edit yourself too early, with me, and I think a lot of my heroes maybe don’t, so I wanted to try to not edit myself, be free and then sort it out afterward.

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So They Make Computer Games for Cats Now

I always knew he was special (just look at this Mother’s Day card he made me and tell me he’s not, I dare you), but I now have the fine folks at Apple and the inventor of Paint For Cats in particular to thank for unlocking Tobias’ true artistic talent.

Mother’s Day 2011

The little gamer in action



Spork, you ain’t got nothin’ on this.

Spork, you ain’t got nothin’ on this.


I don’t know about you guys, but I mostly like to wear shoes that look like they should be bronzed and placed on your mantle. I’m calling it baby-chic and I think it’s catching on.

#babychic #babychic #babychic

Heart It Races

I saw Aussie rockers Architecture in Helsinki at the Music Box last night — their first show in L.A. in about four years. Hearing “Heart It Races” live made my week (check out their version AND the Dr. Dog cover if you have not already — trust me). I think I have a particular affinity for Kellie Sutherland (one of their two lead singers and the only female in the band) because she has a variation of the same haircut that my best friend’s mother has had for the 24 years I’ve known her (I’m looking at you, Debbie Plat).

Kellie Sutherland (center)

Debbie Plat (far left)

See the resemblance? It’s uncanny!

I put the black bars over the eyes of the Plats not because they would mind if I featured them on this blog, but just because it made the picture seem more badass. Except for Katie in the middle there — I’m gonna make her a big star.



I’m Having Fun Now

I saw my first Rilo Kiley show almost exactly six years ago, when I was 17 years old. I had been listening to More Adventurous pretty much non-stop for several months beforehand, but there was something extraordinary, and particularly enduring in my memory, about seeing the band live. I still remember getting a little lost on the drive from the Valley to the Wiltern in Korea Town, the yellow dress that Jenny Lewis was wearing and Blake Sennett quintessentially rocking out from atop the speaker in the down right corner of the stage. Between Rilo Kiley’s next tour for Under the Blacklight, Jenny’s solo albums, and Jenny and Johnny, I have seen Jenny Lewis play live over a dozen times since.

For the April Music Issue of 944, I had the opportunity to interview Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice of Jenny and Johnny. While most of my other writing assignments feel pretty self-contained by the page they’re printed on, this one was understandably quite different. I had so much more to say, and still do, beyond the constraints of those two 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper. While the print versus digital versus blogging debate can be an endless one in my field, this isn’t about that. My job as an editor is all about culling the best content and refining the text, and I take great pride in that, but there is also something to be said about feeling limitless, and simply put, sharing what I can’t share in the magazine with those who might find it as interesting as I do.

As that interview was my primary inspiration for the creation of this blog, I find it only fitting that I take its title from the title of Jenny and Johnny’s album, I’m Having Fun Now. It speaks for itself, really, but of course Jenny and Johnny captured its essence best in the interview:

Jenny Lewis: … It doesn’t imply that we weren’t having fun before, because we were indeed — but it’s kind of a good mantra. Keep it light.

Johnathan Rice: Yeah and the idea of Jenny and Johnny is we’re not like this institution, we’re not like here to stay or whatever, it’s not like the end of either one of our own careers, it’s just something we did because the songs existed and we felt like they deserved a new band just to try it. It’s like an experiment — Jenny and Johnny’s like our little experiment and it was extremely fun. And we’ve definitely done way more with it than we thought we would, so much so that we’re going out on more tours and doing all that stuff. Like we thought we were just going to do a tour and that would be it.

JL: You know, some couples, they buy matching Hawaiian shirts and they hang out in Waikiki, or some couples, they rent an RV and drive across the country. We made I’m Having Fun Now. It’s our retirement plan.

Ilana Berger: Well hopefully you’re not retiring yet.

JL: No, not yet. But we’re totally like, whatever comes along, we try to keep it fun and exciting.

So here’s to keeping it fun and exciting.