Mr Little Jeans, Wherefore Art Thou?, Friday, December 28, 2018

One of my favorite new musical artists is Mr Little Jeans. Name notwithstanding, Mr Little Jeans is actually a lovely and outrageously talented young lady named Monica Birkenes. Monica is Norwegian but currently residing in Highland Park where she and her husband recently purchased a house.

Mr Little Jeans (MLJ) is an electronic artist and has been on the local scene for several years. She has also attracted a good deal of mainstream interest and airplay. Her breakthrough hit was a cover of the Arcade Fire hit “The Suburbs”. Other songs like “Oh Sailor”, “Good Mistake”, and “Runaway” appearing on DJ playlists, soundtracks, and commercials. I like her music a lot (big smile emoji here)!!!

For most of the month of October I had been tormented by reminders of an up-and-coming performance by MLJ! She was going to be playing at The Lodge Room in Highland Park on Thursday, November 8. But why the torment? Well, first Highland Park is not easy to get to on a weeknight in general, and Thursdays I had class at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa all day until 3:30. I did not feel like I would have the energy for such an endeavor.


That Tuesday evening I was chatting on Facebook with my friend Pinksu, trying to nail down our Runyon Canyon hiking date for that Saturday. Pinksu (aka, Johanna Marjomaa) is a lovely young makeup artist from Finland who is both insanely talented (see her work on Instagram @pinksumakeup) and game for adventures. Just then, that fateful announcement appeared in my feed, and on an impulse I asked Pinksu if she would/could like to go. She said yes, I got tickets, and the plot was afoot!


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Thursday was a long day! I was up at 4:30 am, and in Costa Mesa at Orange Coast College (OCC) by six. Took a power walk and did some studying. Then it was Kinesiology from 9-10:30, Pilates Methodology from 11:10-1:15, and Pilates Apparatus/Mat from 1:30-3:35. It was also a pressure-packed day as I was doing my first stab at teaching Reformer in the Methodology class. I survived, and then headed home.

The freeway was pretty busy and that trip took 45 minutes. Got home, grabbed a quick bite to eat, showered, dressed, and then it was off to Hollywood to pick up Pinksu. That trip was a nightmare and took an hour and a half. I picked up Pinksu and then found out that the trip from Hollywood to Highland Park was also a non-trivial endeavor that took about 45 minutes! Still we arrived at the Lodge Room at about 8:15, where we found that the start time was 8:30, and that there would be two bands up before MLJ. I was starting to fade, so we went in search of some caffeine.


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The Lodge Room is a very cool venue that occupies part of the former Masonic Lodge on Figueroa in Highland Park. There is a restaurant that shares the space so food is available. What is not available is coffee. I then found out that there are no coffee shops in that area that are open in the evening, and I finally wound up getting some coffee at a Mexican restaurant down the street. To my mind, there is a glaring need for a coffee shop with extended hours in this area.

We got back just as the first band, named ‘Taken by Trees’, began to play. I am writing this almost two months down the line, so my recollections of the night have faded and I don’t remember much about the opening bands and even had to search to find their names. The second band was named ‘Tiny Deaths’, and they played some music too.

Monica Birkenes

Mr Little Jeans on stage at the Lodge Room

After what seemed like forever it was time for the main event, and Mr Little Jeans took the stage. Just her, and some dude hiding in the corner behind some consoles. I don’t recall any introductions, but if I had to hazard a guess I would say that the dude might be  an LA producer named Tim Anderson who she has collaborated with extensively.

Any initial fears that Mr Little Jeans’ live performance would not live up to the quality of her studio work were quickly set to rest. Her vocals were sparkling and the computers provided the rich background instrumentation and vocals that make her music so special. What I was not prepared for was what a powerful performer she is. Her presence fills the stage and energy positively radiates from her. I was completely captivated by her, and her performance made all the effort getting there so worth it!


Luckily, by the time we headed back traffic was a lot clearer. It only took 15 minutes to drop off Pinksu, and then I hit no CALTRANS surprises (like closed lanes) on the way home, arriving just about midnight.

I have a new problem, though. I am now addicted to Mr Little Jeans, and lately I have found myself playing her soundtrack for hours at a time. I want to see her perform again, but this is what I see on her Facebook page…

No Dates Scheduled

Please, Mr Little Jeans, get out and play!!


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