Archive for the 'Party' Category

01
Oct
19

Sammy’s Cookout Every Thursday at Pruex & Proper

Preux & Proper located on Spring Street in a unique DTLA spot at the end of LA’s Art District and at the beginning of the Fashion District, between 8th and 9th, and is known for offering NOLA inspired dining in a beautiful and cozy atmosphere reminiscent of a space you’d find in the Frech Quarter. Preux and Proper’s already impressive menu is expanding into a slightly new direction by offering something particularly inspired and delicious. Every Thursday Preux & Proper will feature Sammy’s Cookout that will be taking an elevated approach home-style cooking in wondrous eye-popping ways. “Sammy’s Cookout” will be offered every Thursday from 4 pm to 10 pm for your dining pleasure.

Our preview of Sammy’s Cookout orchestrated by Executive chef Sammy Monsour started with a variety of cocktails to wet the whistle and soothe the soul with libations like the Alabama Slammer and the Texas Two-Timer. Before the dinner was served I settled at the bar in the upper room but not before I ran into Joshua Kopel who was handling a sizzling pan of Marie’s Mac & Cheese. It was apparent he already engaged in the spirit of the evening’s festivities. After our brief conversation, I settled at the center of the bar. It’s a nice long bar with a comfortable view of the whole upstairs area. There’s plenty of dining space that overlooks both Spring and Main Streets from the top. Due to Preux & Proper architecture, it’s easy to walk from side to side to view either street at your leisure and looking south you can see both streets merge into the Los Angeles cityscape. The waite staff was fun and friendly as I slid in to sip on two Alabama Slammers. These concoctions were marvelous and have a considerable punch to them.

As the upstairs had filled with foodie influencers and journalists, we were all encouraged to find a place for the feast that laid before us. I had joined Elise  Thompson and Bob Lee for a bit of chitchat at the bar before we settled but it so happened someone had taken a key seat where we couldn’t dine together at a table. So I was flying solo. After I settled I noticed somethings were already laid out on the table when I returned to my spot.

The watermelon and cucumber salad, the Spam fries with spicy pineapple ketchup and Ritz crackers with pepper jelly and pimento cheese spread were waiting there for the taking. All beckoning to us in their colorful splendor. The watermelon cucumber salad was fresh and intoxicating with their light crispy textures. Both major elements (watermelon and cucumber) mingled in with the Thai basil, mint, cilantro, macadamia-coconut crumbles, California extra virgin olive oil, lime & smoked sea salt with ecstatic results. The watermelon didn’t dominate and the other elements made it a fresh and lively surprise. It was delicious guilt-free moment in eating. I was most curious about the spam fries because I’m not a big spam fan. I found that they had the consistency of potato fries and the sweet dipping sauce was very complimentary. They were kind of addictive when mixing them with the spicy pineapple ketchup given their light crunchy exterior and soft spammy interior. The Ritz crackers with pepper jam and pimento cheese were snacky madness at it’s best.

The next course, we were presented with the Cast Iron Cornbread (Kentucky sorghum, cracked white pepper, butter), Baked Mac & Cheese (orecchiette pasta, scallions, turbodog ale, Cabot extra sharp cheddar), and Colorado lamb ribs (Jamaican jerk, central barbecue’s sweet heat wing sauce, Nate’s pickled watermelon rind) were followed by the masterfully made 18-hour bone-in pork shoulder with 5 regionally distinct barbecue sauces. The 18-hour bone-in pork shoulder sat before us was the culinary ne plus ultra of the evening with its luminance steamy presence dominating the center of our table and my foodie desires.

Continue reading ‘Sammy’s Cookout Every Thursday at Pruex & Proper’

01
Sep
19

The Backyard at Santa Monica’s Historic Chez Jay is Open Now!

The Backyard at Chez Jay! ©Billy Bennight

Recently, myself and a host of other food journalist and influencers were treated to a special preview of Chez Jay’s new “The Backyard” in Santa Monica. This designated historical site now has a handsome new addition to its historic location on Ocean Blvd. creating a friendly open space where people can dine, drink and mix. The new deck is a large partially-covered area filled with benches, tables, chairs with a conveniently located bar near the back corner of Chez Jay original structure. The area is rustic, friendly and eay to access. There’s a lounge area has a focal point in the center of comfortable sofas and a Persian rug covered with a whimsically positioned canopy of slotted sailcloth floating above. There’s a strategically located booth in the opposite corner or diagonally positioned from the bar in The Backyard. It’s situated in a way where you can nest with your friends and be chillin like a villain on the DL in anonymous comfort. The Backyard is an expansive and comfortable space with people in mind.

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29
Jun
19

Mezcalero’s New Drink Menu: It will Delight the taste buds and feed the soul!


Mezcalero has been an exciting addition on Broadway in DTLA for a couple of years now. It’s gained a reputation for its exceptional take on bar food and its adventurous drink program focusing mezcal from the beginning with all the blessed fruits of the agave plant. Mezcalero’s beverage director Nathan McCullough has reshuffled the cocktail menu for Spring and Summer with new exciting new takes on the mezcal inspired cocktail by incorporating clever foodie ideas and birthing them into fascinating beverage choices that shortcircuit the idea of food and drink as being 2 different things.  The question arises  “Do you drink it or eat it?”

Yes, his new mixes are still beverages and they are crafted in marvelous new combinations. For the presser, I (we) sat down and did the hard work of sipping and tasting these new concoctions. No tasting is complete without a few yummy bites to activate the palette. We all shared the mandatory chips, salsa, and guacamole before we ordered our food. My food choices were the Carne Asada taco (salsa verde, onion, and cilantro) and the Braised Tinga taco (braised chicken, onion, tomato and chipotle). Each was a delight as sips and bites intermingled as every new beverage was served.

The first of the 2 tasting rounds arrived  that included “Tig Bitty Fresca”, “Shady Cricketry”, ‘Cheesus Take the Wheel” “Salty Affair” and the “Maria Concita”. Tig Bitty Fresca was a light and lively, a sweet delight, while Shady Cricketry was darker earthy umami owed its flavor to the use of “Chapulin”, real crickets, infused mezcal to the drink. Cheesus Take the Wheel sung deliciously all the way through and was a wonderful flavor surprise of Spanish goat cheese, cheese without the farm – no gaminess and pure enduring cheese satisfaction! Salty Affair paid homage to carnitas in a pickle back way with its a saline tip of the hat to pork and peppers dotted with swimming peppercorns that zested up the drink. Maria Conchita was as delightful and it was delicious set in what looks like a terracotta pear cup is fruity fresh and wild with a lively tropical zing.

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28
May
19

Party Party Party: Monday to Monday!

All Right Reserved Billy Bennight Photography

Living in LA has its advantages and this week here’s my accounting of cool things that happened. I’m a big fan of being active during the week because it offers smaller crowds, eliminates amateurs and offers greater intimacy with new acquaintances and friends alike. The larger the event the less promising the possibilities has been my experience. This will be a regular occurring write up in my Extravagant Behavior blog.

Monday found me at the Residence of  Belgium for drinks and bites mixed with a cultural and history lesson from the Consul General of Belgium, Henri Vantieghem, sponsored by The Los Angeles Press Club. The dress recommended for the evening was “Smart Casual” and I found myself in Hancock Park outside the residence with a smart look around 5 pm. Henri welcomed all of us in a formal and cordial way. He spent roughly 20 minutes informing us of the interesting history that precipitated the state of Belgium and offered highlights on what makes his country unique in European history.

After his insightful and enlightening talk, we were all invited to the garden and pool area of the residence for beautifully presented light bites and beverages that reflect Belgian culture and tastes. From the bar, I chose the Chimay presented in a Chimay branded glass that gave a beer drinkers thrill. The was a cauliflower and almond soup presented in a shot glass, baked mussels with herbs and tasty brazed steak cubes. I had a number of interesting discussions with various attendees where I languidly moved from porch to poolside. On my second visit to the bar, I happened to run into Mario-Max Prinz Zu Schaumburg-Lippe as I was about to order my next Belguin beer. It had been a while since I saw him last. We engaged in pleasantries and our mutual interest in red carpet events. Of course, Prince Mario-Max is often on the other side and the subject of the red carpet step and repeat activities. After that, I returned to my poolside table to continue my talk about men with women. There are opinions and secrets women will share with a sympathetic male that most men will never hear because they are too busy being “men” being. Often while being “men” they never negotiate subtle and nuanced conversations well and rarely take other’s feelings or thoughts into consideration. For a while, we enjoyed fresh air at dusk for a fleeting hour. It was a satisfying end in this phase of my evening.

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My next move was to the private media parté at HATCH Yakitori + Bar at The Bloc in DTLA for some progressive Japanese cuisine. I arrived in my Lyft to the side of the main entrance of The Bloc. There’s this staircase you can slip through and descend via an escalator HATCH Yakitori that ovoids prying eyes for a discreet entrance and exodus from the establishment. I arrived in a quiet seductive manner and the festivities were in full swing when checked in. Inside it was crowded, buzzy and energized with foodie frivolities with bites and beverages, cameras and phones mounted to capture moments to flood the eyes with food ecstasy and cocktail provocations. Over at the end of the bar was Executive Chef Daniel Shemtob, under amber heat lamps, with torch in hand searing the special A5 Nigiri Wagyu Beef on a bed of sticky rice. Chef Daniel set ablaze those tasty morsels of expensive and beautifully marbled Japanese beef for everyone who made it to this grand performance of culinary excellence nestled at The Bloc in DTLA. Fire, food, and libations dominated the rest of my evening that included these menu items: Hamachi, Avo Tuna Toast, Agedashi Tofu, Black Karaage Chicken, Chicken Meatball with Egg Yolk Stick, Thigh and Green Onion Stick, Mushroom Party Stick, Pee Wee Potato Stick, and Pork Belly Stick. These delicious bites were paired off with a curated Sake List, selected premium Japanese Whiskeys, and various Japanese Beers. Of all of these goodies, I had the Chicken Meatball with Egg Yolk Stick, Mushroom Party Stick, Pork Belly Stick, and A5 Nigiri Wagyu Beef. These bites were interspersed with cocktail moments like the Matcha Highball, Mangorita and 2 different shots of Saki: one was unfiltered in a pearl-ish white and the other clear. Both were not aged and were delicious. The Chicken Meatball with Egg Yolk Stick was pure Japanese ecstasy and A5 Nigiri Wagyu Beef “TDF”! Towards Chef Daniel shared his thoughts and aspirations for HATCH Yakitori and the experience he hoped people would enjoy when coming to drink and dine there.

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More After the Break

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27
Nov
13

George Barris: The Guru of Kustom TV and Movie Cars Turns 88!

George Barris 2Emanate car customizer George Barris, creator of the 60’s Batman’s Batmobile, Night Rider’s K.I.T.T, The Beverly Hillbillies 1921 flatbed Oldsmobile and The Munsters’ Koach turned 88 on November 20th and had a huge hullaballoo at his George Barris Kustoms Industries shop in Toluca Lake on Sunday the 24th.

I arrived to join my friend Harrison Held to take in the festivities. The place was packed! There were models cruising around in gold sequined dresses and those dressed in black with more of a gridhouse vixen look to fire up the naughty play vibe. The showroom held the Batmobile and K.I.T.T, while outside The Munster Koach was positioned near the podium. It was a carnival of mid-century delights of knockout busty blonds and crazy concept hotrods. Everyone was milling around and George was constantly on the move: posing for photo ops, signing autographs and receiving hugs from well wisher. All the time George kept moving, as in an endless victory lap throughout the afternoon!

At one point George settled to hold court with such notables as: Judy Tenuta, Francine York, Marty Ingels, Shirley Jones, Mamie Van Doren, Marci Weiner, Brenda Dickson and Ed Lozzi. Of course this was a veritable invitation for the photographers to go at it. And go it they did! Mamie Van Doren posed for the boys before she joined the others, who chatted amongst themselves in-between photo ops and shenanigans.

George received a brand new black VW Bug to be customized in the parking lot of Barris Kostums where this agile octogenarian climbed up the drivers side step to wave the victory sign to a very enthusiastic crowd, where he shared a few thoughts and graciously thanked all in attendance. it was a wonderful way to celebrate turning 88, as much as, it was a great moment to celebrate hotrod culture, obviously inspired and modified by George Barris’ influential designs and ideas, still vigorously embraced by an adoring public.

 

 

12
Sep
12

Jayne County Turns the Vipor Room Out and Over!

All Photos by Billy Bennight for Extravagant Behavior

I know that the topic of Jayne County has come up before, but for the life me I can’t put my finger on it. Jayne County, formerly, Wayne County was a staple of the early New York Punk Rock and Gay scenes. Jayne was Rock’s first transsexual. Jayne co-mingled with those in the Factory, Andy Warhol.  Jackie Curtis, Lou Reed,  Patti Smith and David Bowie. A new friend of mine Cassandra Church, an actress, producer and musical preformer, gave me a heads up on Jayne’s performance. I had met Cassandra at a Red Carpet event. I over heard her speak of a project called “Out In The Open”. I suggested she watch Wig Stock, a fun and lively Documentary with Alexis Arquette  and Jayne County. The doc is about a Gay New York festival hosted by Lady Bunny . The event was created for a host of talented Gay performers from all around the country who come to preform in New York. Our brief encounter snowballed into a lot more than I would have expected. I do like helping and informing folks though. Giving is part of my nature. Thus Cassandra was good enough to invite to see Casper and The Bad Spirits, which happen to include Jayne County and The Electric Chairs as the headliner and a bunch of other cool bands for that Saturday night.

I arrived early to the Viper Room. My second time in less than 3 weeks. I had covered the KISS Monster press conference and book release event less than three weeks earlier. I wanted to give a shout out to my girl, Dayle Gloria, whom I almost never see anymore. Dayle and I go back to the early Scream days. So it’s nice to refresh every once in a while. Did I mention I got there early. In fact outside of the KISS event I don’t think I’ve ever arrived at the Viper Room any earlier than 10pm. I was on the list. So I trotted up stairs negotiating through the typical low light of the club. I stood toward the middle of the upstairs floor for a minute and then Cassandra approached me. She made me feel welcome and filled me in on the details.  A band started playing un-announced while I was messing with my camera. Later I would find out it was Casper and the Bad Spirits. I started shooting as the band Rocked it! Casper leads a high energy Rock ensemble with a crunchy sound that proved to be intimate and visceral. For the last song Cassnadra joined Casper for one hell of a screamer! Cassanndra belted out PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me like a tormented female Iggy Pop. It was a body slam of a performance!

By this time I had settled for quantity with a 24 oz. of PBR. Then Cassandra hooked a brother up with one more 24 oz. PBR. I was flying high on loser friendly beers! This got me ready for Christian Martucci’s band.  A bad ass looking Rock-a-Billy dude with a DA, Christian Martucci, spilled on the stage in unrestrained hell-bent for leather Punk inspired Rock. They were a manic lot! Moving around the tiny stage delivering searing licks and pounding drums as the crowd started to thicken. There were more folks with cameras too. Christian Martucci sizzled till the end.

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Lady Sanatra came next in a night the club booked 4 bands. That’s a lot of bands in an evening. There was more drama now as the curtain was closed for an un-observed set up. Lady Sinatra opened with “Graves”. It was a hot ball buster and the room was getting tight and hot too. “Oh, Devil” was more of a mid-tempo Rocker that had the feel of Golden Earring‘s “Radar Love“. They were high energy but more threatening and menacing than the two previous bands. Like the moment Joseph Holiday wrapped the mic cord around guitarist Steve Friedlander neck to give the appearance of being strangled. Lady Sinatra is very much a garage Punk ensemble. They burned through the set of short and tough songs. Lady Sinatra lad in heavy with “Gold Lung”. A power Rocker that had the fans panting and breathless. They close to a tight house house of energized fans.

The club was packed tight and hotter than a firecracker with everyone ready to get a dose of New York OG Punk Rock. Henry Peck, formerly of Vinyl Fetish, The Veil and The Fetish Club of the eighties had dropped by to say high during Lady Sinatra. I looked back a little later to see him visiting with Glen Meadmore. Glen was one of LA’s hottest musical artist in the Gay community during the eighties. He opened for Chris and Cosey among many other notables and was in the LA Weekly all the time. I know because I was at his show and photographed him while I was a contributing photographer for the LA Weekly. I was eye-popping happy to see he was part of the night’s proceedings. He’s been doing Country music for some time now. I love his song ” Never Trust A Hustler” is one of my all time favorite tunes. So it was great to see him and wish him well. I made time to say hi to Anthony Ausgang too. He was fresh from We Got Power!: We Survived the Pit! at Track 16 Gallery. By this time Dayle was in and focusing on making things work. I’d have to wait to later to say my hellos. I cruised down stair to the lounge to relax and I ran into Bert and Iris. I haven’t seen them in a month or two. It nice to have a face to face refresher and brief catch up.

Once again, I was upstairs near the stage with the black curtains drawn. Henry and Glen occupied their spots near the left side of the stage, while Bert and Iris behind me. There was tension in the air and waiting till you heard Jayne start talking to the audienc through the curtain. Then there was this silence for a few beats. Then the curtains were drawn back for all to see and Jayne launched into her set. Now in her sixties Jayne is a mover and a shaker. Jayne gave us “Puddy In Your Hands”. Jayne is full of anecdotal stories. Referencing tales from New York street life, Max’s Kansas City, Lou Reed and Bowie. Delighting all in hearing range. It was all very entertaining! During “Cry Of Angels” I felt a thrust from behind. I was a bit annoyed. It was an urgent pressing from Ginger Coyote and Lina Lecaro in tow squeezing near the steps for an on stage performance. It was nice to see Lina. Ginger were all sorts of ready. Jayne, a contributor to Punk Globe, motioned to Ginger from the stage and then spoke briefly to her indicating it was a song out before their duet. Jayne jumped into “Cream In My Dreams”. I should mention that the sound Jayne and the Electric Chairs or Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys is what would be considered proto/seminal Punk. More bluesy, in a Rolling Stones way, but grittier, more jagged and definitely confrontational! Bands that come to mind would be Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Dead Boys , The Dictators or David Bowie. David Bowie in particular is an important reference. David Bowie’s management firm financed a film called Wayne at the Trucks. Wayne or Jayne has admitted that “Queenage Baby” was the inspiration for Rebel Rebel. But let me suggest that it supplied David Bowie with an ample supply of inspiration: birthing such songs, now classics, as Suffragette City, Jean Genie, Diamond Dogs and Rebel Rebel.

Soon, Ginger got her chance to duet with Jayne. Jayne is a contributor to Punk Globe, a publication and website Ginger puts out. The song they shared was “You Look Cool Baby (But You’re Bad In Bed)”. That duet was a tornado of blond on blond ferocity! Everyone was jumping and dancing as the girls were knee-deep and full throttle in to it. The Real kicker came when Jayne launched into “Rock and Roll Resurrection”. I thought it should be called Rock N’ Roll Erection. But that’s why I’m a writer and Jayne is a performing artist. As the number continued Jayne cranked up the drama by lamenting the loss of such luminaries as Buddy Holly, John Lennon and Joey Ramon. She said that Sid Vicious bombed at Max’s Kansas City. Jayne said Sid bombed three-times to every corner of the room. I remember reading how Sid had bombed in New York so many years ago. Leaving in question the possibility of him having a music career. Then there’s the re-write of history regarding Sid. No one remembers Sid bombed Max’s. Because of the ensuing tragedy of Nancy Spungen‘s death followed by the absolutely horrid circumstances of Sid untimely death, which made him a martyr. Eventually, Sid assumed the role as a Rock N’ Roll icon. As the song unwound, Jayne requested 2 shots of tequila from the fans. The fans delivered! Jayne lamented that Lou Reed might hear of it. I guess they attend the same AA meetings. There was an element of memorial to the song but Jayne moved it on to tribute. In fact, you could say, it was a weird Holy Ghosty Hoot-n-nanny Hoedown salute! Jayne was laying it out with praise Jesus’ and a Hallelujahs. These were accompanied within the same breath the fucks and shits. At this point it confirmed to me he was from the south. Jayne’s tribute was a mind bending juxtaposition of sacred and profane, mixing in a strong dose of cognitive dissonance: a brain twister and a mental meltdown. Everyone in the room was loving it, including myself! He called out to all the ex-patriots from New York City. Those who frequented Max’s Kansas City to come forward and join him up on the stage. It was glorious as they all struggled through he crowd and mounted the stage to sing along with Jayne. All survivors and all so radiant in the stage spot lights. All beaming! It was a moving moment as they gathered together on stage. Jayne by my account is one of the most emotive performers I’ve ever witnessed. The song Fuck Off! closed out her show. The song is still a bit bracing for most folks now. But you can imagine how well it must have been received back in 1977 when it was first offered. The fans were eating it up! After several opportunities offered to us by Jayne to Fuck Off! she, encouraged everyone in the room to sing-a-long. It wasn’t long till everyone was involved. So the end of the evening was a contagious performance by Jayne and the Electric Chairs having everyone at the Viper Room sending salutations out to the world with a hardy Fuck off!

17
Aug
12

Chysta Bell: Something In The Way She Moved Brought On A Heat Wave!!!

David Lynch is a prominent figure in the film industry and looms largely in my own sensibilities since the advent of Blue Velvet. Blue Velvet gave me open cause to recant scenes like I would song lyrics, while verbalizing the vivisectioned bodies of dirty little secrets. You know the ones, the ones you’re Mother would have slapped you for when you were a child, a bad child of mischief! She would have endlessly pelted you about your face for such secrets. My first date with the woman who would become my first serious girlfriend revolved around us slapping one another in the face the way Isabella Rossellini had been slapped in the bedroom scene of Blue Velvet. Mind you, it wasn’t in the privacy of my home or an event designed for such play, but at 7969 Santa Monica in the early evening just before Alexis Arquette‘s Aquarium night club was to debut to hordes of anxious local clubers. By the time this visceral mating exchange had ended between myself and Gabriella at 7969. On our way to Aquarium at Oscar’s she thought it was a good idea to propose marriage to me. I accepted. It was a night of hot, hot heat. She finished off her proposal by putting out a lit cigarette on the tender underside of my left forearm and stated, “Don’t cheat on me or I’ll fucking kill you!” Awe, the benefits of a drunken escapade and a good script to lead you through the chaos of budding young love. David Lynch holds a special place in my heart that few have ever trespassed and less likely occupied for offering the inspiration that led to those moments.

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Years later, I would find myself noodling about my Facebook Fan Page extolling my next exploit, which would be shooting The Neville Brothers at the Hollywood Bowl for the LA Beat. After I posted the news a good friend ask me if I would be going to The Bootleg Theater on Thursday. My thoughts were no, but my instincts wanted to know why and yes. So I queried him of this intrigue. He shot back that Chrysta Bell would be performing there and David Lynch would likely be making an appearance. The next comment from Jonas was keep it on the downlow. It didn’t take long for me to suppress the story on my Fan Page to a lower status with a less noisy reference for people to peer on. The following day I shot The Neville Brothers. Bob Lee of LA Beat was good enough to arrange the photo pass and provided me with a seat. I ran into Vince Wilburn Jr. nephew of the late Miles Davis with his lovely fiance Ingrid. He suggested that I should come over for a visit at the intermission. It was a cool night and Vince made it cooler by bringing me back stage to meet everybody and hang out.

On Thursday I was primed and pumped for some witchy twisty ways at The Bootleg Theater. The Bootleg Theater claims to be in Silverlake but the truth be known, it might, barely, maybe be considered to be in Echo Park. It’s kind of like someone claiming to be an original Punk Rocker but has a look ripped form a magazine: a Pop approximation like “Jimbo” rather than Johnny Rotten. I can’t tell if The Fold know what they’re doing by their base and ignorant actions, but I know for sure David and crew do by their smart adaptations to The Bootleg’s environment! For all the secrecy it was apparent when I arrived it wasn’t too much of a secret. The line was 50 to 60 feet long. There were folks who had more urgency than myself, who were eagerly passing me on my way to the end of the line. By the time they were letting people in the line had doubled. I had been texting with Jonas who was on the inside with Director Tammi Sutton and Tim Polecat of the Polecats. Once in the room I felt like the place had changed. It was similar to the previous times I had been there, yet different. I couldn’t put my finger on it. The main room or the room I was ushered into had no stage but a bar. Bars are important to bar but then so are stages for music venues. I soaked it in searching for Jonas. I notice Tim first, then Tammi and then Jonas came into view. I struck up a conversation with Tim since Jonas was chatting up a lady. Tammi chimed in on the layout of the place. I eventually had to rest in the restroom. That’s when I discovered the original room with the stage. A new aspect to the room were the table and chairs. I nested in my chair thinking the show would be in that room. Within the next 20 minutes people filtered in a bit befuddled by the layout. People were gathering behind me in what was an approximation of a line. Jonas, Tim and Tammi scooted from the other area to the room I was occupying. A little timed passed and Jonas who was on his feet came to me and said there another room behind me and us. There was indeed! Soon the door was opened with people crowding through a small short hallway into a more theatrical space with a nicely lit low stage. It was a big room too, easily holding everyone attending. We were some of the first in and we positioned close to where the action was going to happen.

The action started soon. First we saw David coming up from an underground stair case behind the stage. He then easily stepped on to the low stage. He was sharply dress with just the right amount of artist dishevelment: collar loose and open with french cuffs without cuff links, black suit and white shirt. David, was the David we’ve all come to know and love with his quirky studies speech and that particular twinkle in his eyes. That twinkle was a combination of Santa and twisted boyish mischief, akin to Alfred E. Neuman, but wholly owned by David. He properly attended to the mic stating with warm praise and charming mid-century double entendres the enthusiasm he held and wanted to conveyed to us all for his muse and chanteuse, Chrysta Bell. His remarks at times were enveloped by silent anticipation and other time with boyish titers and giggles from the fans. The crowd was primed and poised while hanging on every work till David pronounced the coming of Chrysta Bell. Chrysta Bell took the stage in a lady like fashion. The band follow her as David stepped back in a gentlemanly fashion so as let Chrysta Bell shine on her own. She owned the space and proceeded to fill the in role and the room so effectively provided for her.

This was a music performance, yet, dare I say, far, far more than a musical performance you generally get by an avarage Rock band. Chrysta holds your attention as if you were viewing Bambi, as an innocent doe, but she simmered, she’s a pressure cooker broadcasting sexual mysteries, primal urges with sophisticated twists jarring a boy’s imagination with the ideas of tumult, toys and tools. All that simmering with an introduction and homage to David from Chrysta. Every detail had been attended to as only a movie Director could arranged it. The lighting and the wardrobe felt like a David Lynch set. Reading everyone for an epic voyage. The fact we were ushered through 3 chambers in a procession to Chrysta’s show wasn’t lost on me for building tension and release. Drama surrounded this event from the master’s hand. This was very rare for any contemporary musical event. “Real Love” from This Train, started the set that ratched to song “This Train”, which automatically leads me to think of David’s interest in TM as a  means of healing and inner clarity he seeds through the David Lynch Foundation. Chrysta Bell’s vocal were clear bell-like tones that were rich with depth and carefully executed to a point of perfection. The annunciation closer to operatic vocals sans all the classic history attached to them. She reached for the untouched notes to caress those sound wave-like a mink stole would feel caressed close to the cheek. She reminds me, style wise, of early Cheateau Twins, less etherial and laced with her own earthy richness. Her costuming was wondrous. I’m sure David, being from the film industry, through a magical stylist or designer he’d worked with in the past in her direction. By “Be Bop A Lula”, a Rock classic, ushered in the removal of her high waist corset like fashioned dress was at this point cast aside for something darker. I mean darker as in more of a Dominatrix type of naughtiness. She was dressed down to black panties and bra with sheer black stockings supported by panty clips to hold them up. To make matters worse or better she had these spiked open toed stilettos slithering and dominating the floor. By this time half the room had chubbies. That nice scarf became an instrument of restraint, binding or a noose. No eyes were averted and anticipation of what would happen next keep the fans solidified in her direction. I’ve mention the clothes. I’ve mentioned her vocal treatment and control but I don’t want to leave folks guessing about her body and how she moves it. I was fascinated that she started out as the Holy Mother or the Goddess nurturer/healer then pivoted into balletic body language with posture and striking possess. She surprise me with tantric position of ecstasy and enthralled all with her command of her body as language. All of this progressed into the song “Angel Star” and “Swing With Me”. I have to give kudos to her wardrobe person. The choices made for her had lasted though more than half of the set providing so many moods, from pure to very provocative. She quietly removed herself for a wardrobe change for the finale. As if this was a theatrical performance she returned dressed in a body conscious brown and white evening dress with a classic silhouette of screen siren of mid-century singer. Everyone there was made aware of her womanliness. She was pleased and humbled by the applause and praise alloted her by the audience. She voiced her gratitude in a careflly measured way that was endearing. She finished her set with a perfect Pop song, as she put it, referring to David’s The “Truth is” off of This Train. The place was a pressure cooker for over an hour and she kept it hot, hot, hotter by building in her performance this mighty climax. She was sweet and gracious as she and the band exited the stage leaving us wanting more, more, more!

09
Jul
12

Miles Davis: Magic Celebration At The Hollywood Bowl

For some time I’ve been aware that the US Postal service was breaking new ground by issuing a new generation of Forever Stamps which would feature Superstar Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and French Pop singer Edith Piaf. Karen has been keeping me abreast of the ramping up of this historic event from early on. It’s historic as well because this is one of only a few times France has simultaneously released similar stamps through La Poste. Both artists visages have been immortalized in this co-release. I received my invite to the event at the Hollywood Bowl Museum dedication with a little more than a weeks notice. I had seen the press on the New Your dedication and I was impressed!

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The day arrived and I made a trek I often avoid because of traffic and crowds. Not that I don’t like the Hollywood Bowl, because I do. It’s simply the mechanics of getting there that brings on immense misery. But the pleasure I was to experience overrode my overall consternation. Parking was a bear but I made it and I totally scored! I thought I was there for the dedication only, but there was to be more to this night than I would’ve anticipated. I was able to arrange a parking space where I could leave at anytime. I found the Hollywood Bowl Museum where I successfully discovered the terrace of the museum via the elevator. Upon arriving Joshua Ledet was laying out a soulful version of the National Anthem. While I was up front photographing Ledet, then followed by Bubba Jackson, Erin Davis, was nice enough to call to me quietly to say hi. It was good seeing him. I was excited for Erin, Vince and Cheryl. This is a tremendous honor and such a wonderful situation to celebrate Miles’ artistry amongst celebrities, friends and family. New York’s dedication had such notables as Cicely Tyson and Don Was (Was Not Was and President of Blue Note Records), while the group gathered for this event included Henry Rollins, Robert Trujillo, Herbie Hancock and Marcus Miller. Bubba laid out a nice tribute, Henry drove it home with his personal anecdotal story of his Mother’s love of Miles’ Kind Of Blue, although Miles’ left Henry’s Mother behind or so she felt. Henry joyfully picked Miles right back up. Henry’s introduction to Miles’ art for us this night was filled jabs of passion, insight and praise for Miles’ performances and commitment to the music. This was followed by Marcus Miller’s account of being in Miles’ band. Marcus shared his admiration and influence from his mentor, who both, challenged him and inspired him. In all their accounts you could sence and feel Miles presence: his effect on them, it is a living thing, that was moving and palpable. I could feel the man Miles must have been while hearing these stories and much deserved accolades. I’ve always felt Miles Davis was the real deal, not one to put up with fakes and frauds. Who’s ultimate and singular goal and passion was for the music. So for me to be here and to have it fleshed out right before my own eyes was truly remarkable. I count myself among the very fortunate!

After the proceeding finished I was steadily moving towards the rescue of my car when I ran into Bob Lee of The Los Angeles Beat. Bob was looking for a photographer for the Miles Davis Hollywood Bowl tribute to 3 stellar albums; Kind Of Blue, Bitches Brew and Tutu. I immediately said yes! As the sun was fading I was guided through the VIP area and amongst the other photographers. As I was ushered into the Bowl proper Jimmy Cobb, the last remaining member from Kind Of Blue, was in full tilt and deep into So What. I started snapping away trying to capture the spirit of the event in my photos. I had 15 minutes to shoot from the aisle right behind the last row of boxes. This was a harder shoot than The Wiltern. Yet I manage to get some sparkling moments of the band playing. Waiting for the next performance with Vince Wilburn Jr.’s band playing Bitches Brew I ran into Earl Gibson Jr. He was shooting for Miles Davis’ Estate, grabbing the best moments of the night’s proceedings. We shared a few laughs and it was back to work. Cobb’s band put on an amazing performance of Kind Of Blue when the stage began to move in a circular fashion to my left exposing Vince’s band who lit right into Bitches Brew. From then on till the end of the set I had free reign shooting the band. Vince was brutalizing the skins as this improvisational maelstrom of collaborators who preformed and included: Mino Cinelu, Jackson Blackbyrd McKnight (whom I rode up in the elevator earlier at the museum), Nicholas Payton, Robert Irving III, Badal Royand and DJ Logic. After shooting, shooting and more shooting I took a moment to really take it in. Vince’s band, The Electric Band, brought about a moment of awe in me as each artist soloed. The density of the music and yet the space you could simultaneously hear from the performance was breathtaking. In many ways the band left me with the impression or the sensorial presents you get with a well executed classical performance. The idea I got from my discussions with my friend Kenny Dennis, a consummate Jazz drummer, was that the mid-century goal of Jazz musicians and Jazz music were to go toe to toe with the classical expression. Listening to Bitches Brew I felt that bar had been met in musicality and structure. It was marvelously 3 dimensional as the different instruments pulled you in different directions. I felt as if Miles was still at the helm. Still guiding everyone in that Ne plus ultra of musical experiences. Simply impressive! During all of this I had run into Karen, who was radiant that night, after pulling off a world-class event. I was happy for her and very impressed. She had an extra ticket. Henry’s ticket, I’d find out later. I stood for most of the performance shooting but I really wanted to be immersed in this phenomenal experience. I sot out the box for some rare access. I found myself setting behind Greg Burk, LA Times’s Culture Monster, reviewing the show. We have a mutual friend, Casey Dolan, who wrote for the LA Times and was Entertainment Editor. We chatted about Casey leaving the Times and our mutual interest of writing and music. Karen joined us as Marcus Miller took command of the stage to bring the recording and collaboration with Miles for Tutu to life again.

Once Marcus had finished with the set of Tutu he took a moment to shared his own story with us of his and Miles’ collaboration. How he had left the band to study composing with Miles’ blessing and of his return to create with Miles again on Tutu. It was rather inspirational moment and showed another side of Miles. A look at him we don’t usually get as a mentor and a collaborator that so importantly demonstrated Miles focus on the music honing in on Miles’ desire to remain relevent and involved. Marcus felt it was fitting and in the spirit of Miles’ own sense of creativity to continue that legacy of reinvention and creativity by introducing one of his own compositions, Jekyll And Hyde. Jekyl and Hyde was to carry the nightto it’s finally. It matched the cadence and tone of Tutu and proved to be appropriate closer for such a remarkable night. We were all moved and impressed by the superb musicianship and the remarkable remake of not one but three ground breaking and watershed Jazz albums. May the house of Miles live on forever!


31
May
12

Silverlake Jubilee: In the Mean times…

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I’ve had my head in a period wardrobe piece I’m working on but I needed to land in reality in time for this year’s Silverlake Jubilee.  I was looking forward to some notable moments from bands like Autolux, JJAMZ, Kinky and Abe Vigoda. I had gotten a text from Karen and she was in. This 3-year-old festival has a bit of a hit and miss history. For me the first year was the best. Parking at El Cid nesting like a vampire during the bright hot part of the day to quickly run out to snag a band and watch Hipster’s grill in the beer gardens are all worthy reasons to tip toe out for a few. After SXSW my threshold of expectation for entertainment has hit a certain level. I think of Jubilee as a nice distraction but not a taste maker or a cultural definer. As new business owner and promoters struggle over what is a small piece of the Silverlake pie they become more menace to the community than friend. It’s as if they had struck the mother lode, much like in the movie “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” with a equally sinister destination the movie takes us. You get to see small-minded people greedily pulling out the long knives to cut out a piece of pie for themselves. In the grand sceme of things it wont be worth the struggle, but people will get hurt. As a producer from E! network pointed out one time to me, who originally hailed for New York, it’s the new Beverly Hills! We’ll have a frenzy of those who want to make money at everyone’s elses expense, while displacing the locals all at the same time. It is the true “pioneering spirit” at work, Cowboy vs Native American style. Only, this time it’s the Gays and the Hispanics who will be made to suffer, so the few can stack up a little coin and revise history like a Stalinist crackdown, with their unique point of view, eliminating the real history of gentrification that broke the power of gangs and racism in Silverlake. This year’s music wasn’t curated by Origami as in the past. I can say it wasn’t the buzziest line up of all time. Really, it wasn’t worth $20 a day when compared to last year’s $5 price tag. The promoters naive, I think not, greedy, I think so! And what’s up with all the volunteers, yo!? You charge $20 to the public then pay those people! You can fill in the names here because after one betrays and deride a legendary intitional milestone to Silverlake culture like Sunset Junction, he then finds himself screwed by his pet Politian, QUE?, and now wants to run for city council himself to further his petty ambitions. So after putting the burn to the community at large for a little change and bragging rights, he’s eager to run for political office. There’s some twisty idiocy there for sure! If you’ll betray your wife, then the sky is the limit when it comes to general public! Chrissy Hyde put it best in the song “Tatooed Love Boys“, “another pathetic human interest story… You are that!” Now back to the music at hand from my digression.

Saturday arrived and I wanted to casually drift into Silverlake Jubilee in a DL way. I waited till late afternoon to find my spot on Lucile past Silverlake Plaza. It was perfect! I got the cooler in a good place in the car and cocktailed. After getting my drink on I sauntered down these, oh, so familiar streets, now inhabited with a newer and lower risk averse group of people than it had been when Exene Cervenka had her store You’ve Got Bad Taste in Silverlake that was ran by Keith Morris. Now days there’s no drive bys and you can happily walk down the street of Sunset publically drunk or should I say experienced without the threat of violence. It wasn’t long before I happened upon the Sunset stage after a somewhat lengthy entrance line. I heard a song or two by Catwalk. Yep, you can now know what time I rolled in. Just like old flat top if you check the schedule. It was a mild form of Indie Rock that was neither thought-provoking nor utterly dismal. So I hopped in the area for photogs and snapped of a few and sized up the situation. The real innovation Silverlake Jubilee brought to the arena of festival entertainment is the insightfully place beer gardens placed near the stage. Brilliant! The flaw, no shade or umbrellas. I want to watch my favorite band with a beer in my hand and in the shade, thank you very much! This is where pre-drinking pays off! So I twirled my sweet ass down the lane checking out the ubiquitous and over rated food trucks. It’s a young straight demographic that litters Santa Monica at the nexus of Sunset Junction. My feel of the crowd at this point that there were a lot of ins and outs with not too many staying the whole day. I based that on the foot traffic I saw going in and going out before I set foot past the gates. I wanna be a lifer to any event, but you need to give me a reason to stay. I’m a fan of The Like and saw them perform at last year’s Silverlake Jubilee. I’d already scored the Heatbeat single from the new JJAMZ band fronted by Z Berg and a host of notables for the music scene. They were my pot of gold when I arrived at the Hoover Stage. It the rainbow part of the Junction. The Hoover Stage was the most secure of all the stages. JJAMZ had already occupied the stage when I arrived and JJAMZ were finishing with their set up. I’ve never seen Z, well, so flowy and free with her stage presence. She was wearing a velvety baby doll number with stunning 6 inch gold heels. Both the dress and the heels made her legs look longer, oh, longest. The guys were all properly Indy scruffy and downbeat. So she sexed up the stage mightily and glistened with her bright eyes and big smile. I was trying to figure out what was different from The Like show. obviously, beside the dudes. I realized she could move, she was light on her feet, prancing all over the place because she wasn’t holding a guitar. She could focus solely on her vocals and her moves. JJAMZ started with Do What You Want. By the time Never Enough hit the photogs were out in numbers. By the time Pool Side was crowning the crowd reached it’s max. I found Pool Side a nice languid change of pace, slowing it down in a dreamy way a little before Z banged away at Heatbeat. Z is hilarious: she kept it loose, the band was relaxed enough for all of them to joke around. She was in play mode with her light breezy sexy stage presence. Far different from what she delivered in The Like when they played a year back. JJAMZ is great smart Alt-Pop where Z gets to show off her hellaciously delicious velvety vocals. I’m still fanning myself. I’m sure it was good practice for the JJAMZ’s up coming residency for June at The Satellite.

By this time I had gotten a text from Karen who wanted to cherry pick the festival. I couldn’t blam her because there wasn’t much in the way of good pickin’s. I headed back to Sunset Junction to run into Feather Beard all barefoot and shaggy. I stopped to figure out the freak show potential. Strumming away on his guitar his head encased in some taxidermized vermin, as a cap, with a feathered beard. It’s at moments like this that I no longer wonder how diseases transfer from the animal kingdom to humanity. He looked like the crazed, yet cleaner version of the doctor/shaman character on horse back in the choctaw BAdlands from the Coen Brother’s True Grit. I lingered and then got another text from Karen. She was at Good in the Silverlake Plaza. She saved me from a fate worse than boredom and a quasi-furry minstrel! Honestly, Feather Beard smelled like Tiny Tim. Only, revisited 50 years later. Karen and I met at the front of Good, which had enormously morphed from the mid-century dinner before 2000, a lot like Astro, to a Hipster Micro-Brewery Sports Bar paradise it is today. We were kindly sat down at a front window table where we embarked on our catch up chit-chat, while managing to get deeper in our cups for the festival. The waiter was attractive, not so much to me, but he took a shinning to me. Giving me more “eye” time than Karen. Which I considered unfair to Karen, because he was dolling me up, not her. I’m a dry well of waisted attraction. I mentioned it to Karen, while she was enjoying her man candy moments. I was getting the message from him that it was “Daddy” time. This is a funny to me because I stopped most of my wait staff flirting years ago. Annah who worked at Millie’s and Cirxa was pretty much the last of those shenanigans. I remember how she puckered up for a kiss after her cigarette break behind Cirxa, now Koda Sushi. She had also taunted me earlier because I didn’t enjoy the fruits of heroin. I passed on the lip lock, giving her a peck on the cheek. There was too much looser in this looser friendly cupcake to put some icing on it. So this guy was barking up the wrong tree. But a girl needs a visually arresting waiter. I’ve had my fill of visually arresting waitresses, actresses and models. I’m more about the adventure and getting involved with someone intriguing!

Our adventure started in earnest as we cleared Good and walked by Dangerbird, a little light of Indie magic in the neighborhood, if you don’t consider Epitaph Records down the street. We spoke of the impending doom of Circus Books who will be taking their business online and directly to those who really care. Sad in a way, because where will all the open-minded folks go at 2:30 in the morning for their hand shakes. By this time we we’re penetrating the exterior lines of the festival. That is the free public part of the Silverlake Jubilee that feels really free. It’s as good as free entertainment can get, but it’s free! I ran in to Margaret Wynn designer of Lucky Pup. Margaret was part of the early L.A. Punk scene and the designer that created the very popular print of daggers and skulls that were so often seen on Glam and Punk Rockers during the 80’s. Very much a part of the original Melrose scene that blew up back in the day. Margaret is a true joy to kibitz with. She’s one of my Film Star gossip buddies. I introduced her to Karen. Once we past the gate we headed steadily to the Hoover stage. Past our overly rated food truck friends and the merchandiser: eventually, past the Pepsi marketing truck with mini jumbotron and portable dance stage. Pepsi hopelessly reaching with cans of free diabetes for every one there. About that time chaos rumbled towards us in the form of The Mormons mobile unit. Guitar and Pig amps, bull horn and strap on drum kit came burning towards us. It looked like an anarchist Hari Chrisna meet up because there was hoard of devotees in attendance swirling around The Mormon’s nexus of mayhem. It must have hit “Stage 5” on the security radar because it wasn’t long before security was wanting to get in on the action. This is where my admiration began. The security guy went for some direct action with Vince getting deflected to Patrick, the lead vocalist of The Mormons with his bullhorn. I like to call this the Mormon incident. It just sounds right! Security did security stuff to Patrick and the band played on. Security got meaner and Patrick sang on. You could see how security just wanted to beat the fuck out of them, but… but… but… There were 40 cameras on them and the band played on! The was video and photos taken for every angle and the band played on. Something tells me they were playing their song Shit Eater. This went on for 10 minutes till they had summoned the real police Tri-scooter thingies. But the band continued to finish their song despite all the fake smiles from security and smoldering vigilante violence you could read on security’s faces. After that I needed a smoke, metaphorically speaking. From there on out IO was hooked. I was going to definitely see The Mormons at the Eagle the next day!

Once the flame of disobedience was extinguished by the MAN we heard Autolux tune up to our left. There was around 1,000 folks there. Nothing like the 8,000 for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Sunset Junction in 2010. The Hoover area is small and space around the stage was precious. Karen and I squeezed in at the right of the stage. People weren’t in the giving mood, so we remained there inching forward towards stage as the show progressed. It didn’t take very long for me to distill they were influenced by post No-Wave sound of Sonic Youth with a dash of early Gang Of Four. A richer more lush with a tuneful approach but the style was evident in song after song. The songs are very conceptual with a dreamy hallucinogenic quality about them. Their stage presences is that of musicians and artist, not really entertainers. They deliver the goods with the penetrating sound of their music not with stage antics. They are very much a “Head” thing. You can view and even listen to the set list of Autolux performance at Silverlake Jubilee at Setlist.fm. My favorites were Plantlife, Turnstile Blues, Robot in the Garden and the pulsing Headless Sky. The crowd remained transfixed during the whole show. It was all very cool and we held on to the last. Our next and last stop for the evening was catching Kinky mid-set on the Sunset stage. The crowd was thick,  jumping and dancing as we pulled up in front of the sound board. Kinky had a similar band configuration as my friend Luis Güereña’s band Tijuana No, with the exception of Kinky having an accordion. They had nutty energy with members here and there all over the stage. Unlike Tijuana No, Kinky were more dance oriented and not influenced by the Clash as Tijuana No had been. Kinky is far less political than Tijauna No or Molotov in this arena of music. But they do have a political perspective because the second song we heard was Wall Of Voodoo’s Mexican Radio. They did a great version that pumped out the bass throughing the fans into a frenzy! It was louder than any performance I’ve heard by Wall Of Voodoo doing Mexican Radio and much bassier ta’boot! They finished up the Saturday’s line up with one last song that blew up the fans. They were a full on party band and well worth it!  We were quick to exit because I had another big day in front of me as did Karen. We continued to chat as we walked back to our cars. We were pleased to have caught some good and memorable performances from some very talented bands.

28
Apr
12

New Yawk Exiles Rumble At Johnny Thunder Tribute at the Satellite

My first encounter with anything remotely associated with the New York Dolls was in the 80’s while I worked background for Janet Cunningham. It was then I met Arthur Kane on the feature of Modern Girls. But Arthor was reserved and distant at the time. I got to know his wife a little better while we were on set. Of course, all us Punk Rock extras were excited he was on set. We were all a buzz because of his presence. The next time I ran into Arthur was at the Troubadour for a gig Dawn Laureen had with her band The Eye Shadows. By that time I had known Frank Infante for a while and the 2 of them were hanging out in the front bar area of the Troubadour. I hadn’t seen Arthur for over a decade so I vaguely recognized him but I thought he was another member of Blondie. Frank politely corrected me and informed me he was Killer Kane of The New York Dolls. Of course, I was impressed! I love the Dolls. We spent some time at the bar, both sober, but that didn’t dampen the good times. Frank was hilarous and Arthor soft spoken and shy. There’s something that is always refreshing, especially in Hollywood, about a New Yorker’s state of mind and point of view. I guess the bad news for everyone involved was that Arthur died within the year of leukemia. It was pretty tragic for a number of reasons. Arthor was the subject of Documentary in med production. He had gotten his life on track. He had been sober for many years where he was getting to a point of sane balance. He’d gone in to diagnose a persistent cold one day and by the next morning had passed away. It’s chilling that someone could go so fast. I informed my friend who was the entertainment editor of the LA Times at that time because I felt it was important news for him to know. So stunning was the news that the editor’s disbelief immediately greeted me with a very suspicious email challenging that information. This dialog endure for 10 more confirmation emails before I handed him over to the source. It was just getting too messy. By the time it was confirmed by the source it had hit the wire. So confirmation was no longer necessary. I guess The LA Times missed a scoop. It was a shock to us all, but it had to be magnified exponentially for those close to him. To get the full story on Arthor Kane you may want to check out the documentary New York Doll.

The word got to me about the The Johnny Thunder Tribute when I ran into Calixto Hernandez of Barrio Tiger at the Harvard and Stone Bar. I was there to soak up the good vibes from Zachary James’ residency that night. Zachary James and the All Seeing Eyes and Alexandra and the Starlight Band were sharing a residancy at the Stone Bar for the month April. Calixto hammered down the DL that Barrio Tiger would opening for New York Exiles for  the Johnny Thunder Tribute at The Satellite the following week. I got a big ole fat metaphoric hard-on at the prospect of seeing some of my most favorite musicians: Fank Infante, Steve Fishman and Clem Burke. This round they’re calling themselves New York Exiles. I was counting the days!

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Saturday approached and I was more than ready to make the scene at The Satellite. I hadn’t been to The Satellite since the Christmas Party. I was wanting to get back to one of my favorite haunts. Spaceland, now The Satellite, has been known as a mainstay of alternative culture in Silverlake forever. From what I can remember it had already been the place to be as far back as 94′. This is not taking in account the years of ramp up that got the word out all the way down to the OC and the record label I worked at the time. On one of my early visits I ran into Ronnie Barnett from The Muffs. I knew if Ronnie was at Spaceland the place was cool. So you can say it was a long strange trip that got me to the club for the Johnny Thunder Tribute. I arrived in high spirits while the Neurotics were breaking down and the Crazy Squeeze was soon to hit the stage. It wasn’t long before I saw that Steve Fishman arrived. He had to get settled and so did I. Shortly, Steve strolled by and we had a moment to recount what had transpired over the last few months. Our mutual friend and former guitarist for Carina Round, Tom Livemore, had been playing with a Dubstep ensemble back in Britain. Hugh Cornwell had returned to England after recording his new album Totem & Taboo that was produced by Steve Albini. Wow-we-wow-we-wow! That’s some damn good news. I will digress because Hugh, one of my musical heroes, has a piping hot new release called Totem & Taboo. There’s no set date for Totem & Taboo release but you can hear 2 of the new songs by clicking on this Totem & Taboo link. Produced by Steve Albini, both Steve Fishman and Clem Burke are part of this project. From what I’m listening to it’s going to rock your panties off! Crazy Squeeze ramped up the volume and Steve once again had to be off to kibitz with Frank and Clem.

Crazy Squeeze started their set delivering a dirty version of New York influence Punk with the most manic activity from Frankie Delmane who dropped to his knees, lunged and virtually rolled while playing his guitar. Frankie was like Guitar Hero extreme, while Johnny Sleeper ruthlessly pounded the skins. Johnny Witmer kept all eyes to the front as he jaunted about the stage and powered into every vocals. As these things do they blew in, they blew up and then they blew out.

Dawn Laureen arrived near the end of their set. It was a pleasure to see Dawn Laureen after all these months. As a photographer, Dawn Laureen has caught some of the most notable of music artist in the act with her camera that include the likes of Iggy Pop and David Bowie, among many others. We started a dialog that would continue off and on through most of the night. Frank came up and then they were both off to the back room behind the stage. I headed back to the former smoking area (RIP) where so many naughty things have transpired over the years. The star sightings and peep show activities mixed with gallons of beer and booze has made the room an epic hang for over a decade. Richie Ramone put forth a formidable set driving the beat and hitting all the bases. The crowd responded with enthusiasm for what I thought was a short set. It wasn’t long before Motorcycle Boy headed by Francois occupied the stage delivering the grit and the passion. I’ve seen Motorcycle Boy many times. That means in the early day till now. My most memorable moment was with Francois at Goldfingers next to Pla Boy Liquor in Hollywood. I was re-introduced to Francois after many years. The most stunning element of our meeting was his holding my hand in a “shake” position for some 15 minutes. It was the longest hand shake I’ve ever had in my whole life. I like a hand shake that lasts, say 15 seconds. So this meeting wore thin quickly! He held my hand longer than Nikki Sixx did backstage at the Greek for Duran Duran. So there’s no more hand shaking for those guys! Beside that, Francois served some good up stuff and the tune that resonated the most for me and I’d say for a few folks was the snappy “I Hate The Sunset Strip”. Motorcycle Boy had properly warmed up the crowd for New York Exiles.

Guess what?! New Yawk Exiles were up next in their Rock Star splendor with snappy gear thrilling everyone in the room. The room pressed to the front as Frank, Steve and Clem filled the stage. I was at the opposite side of the stage of Dawn who was manning the area nearest Frank, while Steve was nearest me. They started off the set with In Cold Blood. A little later NYE crawled up on Born To lose that revved up the fans. The ladies liked to move it about to I Wanna Be Loved. Then came a pause where Clem took center stage. As the opener to It’s Not Enough. Clem dedicated the song to Johnny Thunder and all those who hadn’t made it with a rousing statement for those who raged and who had burned ever so brightly. This brought back a memory where Clem was particularly serious and thoughtful. The most serious drummer I’ve ever met. The back story to illuminte this moment and as a reference to his gravitas would be the time we were all hanging together at El Cholo riffing and telling stories. Most of the time I’m all ears because the stories are always amazing. But I had this thought on my mind for years. I really wanted an answer from someone who was there. So I popped the question out to the guys regarding James White of the No Wave scene in New York. Basicly or the jest of my quires was, “Why did James White come out with so many albums on ZE Records in the late 70’s?” Clem slam dunked it with what I, and I’m paraphrasing here, as he illuminated the subject with his thoughts: He’s a junky. Often when a musician has a need for more dope the best solution is to come out with another album or another project. Look at Nick Cave and how prolific he’s been. I was dumbstruck at such a succinct keenly insightful analysis. Returning from that memory to Clem as he was speaking from the stage of the Satellite this night. He offered a passionate non-judgmental statement honoring these wondrous and wayward souls who have left us. Clem then remarked we are the survivors! Then without hesitation Clem hammered on the drum and slammed out the vocals to “It Not Enough”. It was one of the most powerful moments to the whole evening! Jet Boy was next to keep the fans swinging. And if that wasn’t enough they soon lit into David Bowies and Iggy Pop’s Funtime. The room was going nutty! I think they were exploiting the thin brown line that ran as a theme throughout the whole set. What a great way to close the night out! There was nothing left but satisfaction as we all drifted to the back room to hang out and spin a few more yarns. This was the third annual Tribute to Johnny Thunder at the Satellite and was put together by Roy Morgan of the Neurotics at The Satellite. It set the bar high for next year. Let’s hope for another barn burner!




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