Posts Tagged ‘Queens

09
Nov
11

Eve To Adam: Taki Take Me with You!

I was recently able to extract myself from a maelstrom of activities here on the “Eastside” of Los Angeles to meet and photograph East Coast Rock music phenomenons Eve To Adam. Taki Sassaris fronts this power driven Alternative Rock ensemble hailing from New York. The Eve To Adam party started in earnest at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on a Wednesday evening just before their very first gig at the historic Whisky A Go Go. I would tell Taki later that it’s quiet an accomplishment to book a gig at the Whisky and a milestone in any bands trajectory to the top of music entertainment. So as the energy built to the gig we were treated to 3 of  The Rainbow’s 4 food groups: Pizza, Wings and Booze! I have to say The Rainbows pizza is really good and I’m not much of a pizza fan. So there was 3 of us photogs waiting in the wings and it was on for the photo ops, in that friendly competitive drive to catch the great shots, as we do. So we headed to the parking lot of the Rainbow to do group shots with the talent and the suits. I have to admit records execs aren’t as “Suity” as film execs. Eve To Adam were true pros when it came to photo ops. Taki is a natural for the camera and was always on it! Taki brought it much in the same way Moby had a few weeks back at Kopeckian Gallery for me. We all were standing there when Sebastian Bach strides up to the Rainbow, Rocking his Rock N’ Roll gear. He was about to enter the Rainbow and turns to blow the guys a kiss, only within seconds to find himself in the midst of paparazzi photog flash heat. Talk about another pro, Sebastian took control, much to eveyone’s joyous response, jumping right into the middle of our set-up, delivering all the Rock god poses and looks! I got some awesome shots of Eve To Adam with Sabastian. From there on I followed Sebastian to lock in a classic shot of him and Mike Weber at the entrance at the Rainbow. The party continued on the well known front patio. We photogs haunted the front entrance of the Rainbow for a bit talking of NYC fashion week and whatnots. Then I wanted to soak up a couple of cocktails and hang with my home girl, Karen. I guess that was a good idea because I was soon hearing stories from the guy that made the Ratt‘s (aka, Mickey Ratt) Round and Round video. Hearing the story of Ratt’s wrap party at the Rainbow for the Round and Round video that stared Milton Berle would have curled hairs. You know me, just a fly on the wall, sucking in the details. Soon after that I got together with Taki to shoot some specific shots. I brought up his new Romantic advice blog “Ask Taki” at The Comet. We shared some stories getting to know one another while having a few laughs and snagging some choice photos! I noticed that Stephanie Mata was running the door of On The Rox at the Roxy. I hadn’t seen her in forever. I had to drop by for a quick catch up and a few fun photos before we all headed to the Whisky. I first partied at On The Rox with “White Trash Wins Latto” by Andy Prieboy and Rita D’Albert of Lucha Vavoom in an after party after the White Trash performance and before the real after party up in the Hollywood hills at Dave Foley‘s house.

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The cornerstone of what Eve To Adam has to deliver is in their live performance. It was a big night at the Whisky with some 6 bands in the line up with ETA set for an 8;30pm show. The place had good attendance with a mix of young and old ready for the music. Being a veteran of the Whisky, I perched near the back stage door on the balcony. I wanted to get an overview of the action from there first. Besides, that part of the Whisky is nice and dark keeping it on the downlow for that room. I ate up the first 3 songs on top with ETA laying out the groove, guitars blazing and drums pounding with Taki commanding the stage with songs from the new CD, Banquet For A Starving Dog. It showcased Taki’s power driven vocals with ETA’s hit “Run Your Mouth” with its hooky course and “Fault line” with it’s Randy Rhoads influenced riffy guitar leads were shaking things up! Then I joined in on the Rockin’ on the floor. As they say, I was up above it and now I was down in it! Taki is a great front man and the band had tons of energy to spare to take charge of the stage. The crowd, some of which were already fans, and those who were being won over by such a solid and Rockin’ set; all pulled in closer and tighter.  Taki took a moment to reach out to the audience, taking about the music and conversationally relating to everyone there how he was digging the LA scene. There’s one thing I know for sure about New Yorkers, they know how to party! ETA brought it! New Yorkers are brisk, big hearted and a hell of a lot of fun! I know because of my friend Pat Giordano bassist of Last Days and a New York “Club Kid”, Toni Koystyan, I dated for a while. Taki kept it “New York Real” and launched in the the last part of Eve To Adam’s set keeping it dynamic and energetic. Favoring us with every element of his vocal ability, bringing the power and beauty together with his voice in the songs like “Stay” and “Glasses High”, while proving he had grit and passion in songs like “Little Say” and “Reach”. “Reach” closed the set delivering a sucker punch that made the fan howl and cheer!

I was fortunately over to the right side finishing up the photo work when ETA closed where Chuck Zito of Oz and Charlie Sheen‘s ex-body guard was soaking the last drops of this hot set. Chuck was totally ready for his photo op too. I shot a fast one then headed out to shoot everybody vibing off of the Strip and the Whisky A Go Go! The band and Chuck locked arms to Rock the corner of the Whisky, rallying memories for me of all of those epic bands that have shaken the walls of the music institution for the last half century. Once the photographs were done Taki and crew spent time with their fans for autographs and photos. Chuck Zito broke down some DL on Charlie Sheen. So it was quite a star studded evening and event that burned bright on the Sunset Strip that night. I enjoyed getting to know this New York based band who has the chops to make it big and to catch them balls out Rock us with their song craft, towering stage presence and to take in Taki’s vocal prowess. A good time was had by one and all!

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01
Jul
11

Sunset Junction Media Mixer: Gala Extraordinaire!

After 2 music showcases and a trip to Oakland I had to have a moment to gather myself for rest and reflection before a huge and significant event that celebrates, dominates and defines the Eastsider’s sensibilities and lifestyle choices like no other event:   SUNSET JUNCTIONWhile Sunset Junction may polarize those who are proor-con, there is nothing on the “Eastside” that so clearly defines our hopes and dreams more than The Junction. Sunset Junction clearly celebrates diversity by creating commonality between us all, as it has for the last 30 plus years.  My first Sunset Junction was way back in 1986 with the focus on local, alternative and ethnic musicand lifestyles.  It was The Junction that offered openness to us all by bringing together the Latin and Gay communitiesamong others, to celebrate the amazing cultural richness of an amazing and picturesque part of Los Angeles.  I have fond memories of seeing Dezz Cadena announcing the bands year-after-year and hanging out backstage with Candye KanePatrick Mata’s The Legendary Wrong People & Kommunity FKThe Muffs, Luis Güereña of  Tijuana No and the legendary Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks.  The Junction holds great meaning to me and to manymany others too.  These are all very rich and wonderful memories deeply engraved in the community from years past.  They include all the delicious Queens like TanjaJohnny and the many others who “Brought it!” with flair and drag-a-licious marvelousness every year in late August!!  For years The Junction became a home for Punks and Alternative types like myself, who blended in well with the Latin and Gay communities.  It gave us all a forum of self-expression and creative individualism on the streets, when no one else would have bothered todo so.  This is enough of a legacy for me to hold on to, one that revitalizes the Eastside community as no other entity could.  However, even more important to remember is the year-round, community outreach and good works provided by Sunset Junction founder/organizer Micheal McKinley and his team.  Proceeds from the annual event benefit the less privileged of our community, while continuing to promote understanding and tolerance among such adiverse population.
With this in mind, there has been an upswing of interest focusing on Sunset Junction over the last couple of years.  The shift has moved it beyond the spread of misinformation and negativity, while ushering in an exciting  “rebirth  to a whole new generation as we approach its   31st Anniversary.  I was fortunate enough to observe this new push and believe as never before that the best is yet to come An important indication of this renewal was clearly signified with Sunset Junction’s 2011 Media Mixer last Wednesday at Silverlake landmark El Cid Part of the buzz started when it was announced that El Cid is partnering with Sunset Junction to present a SixthStage called “Locals Only”  that features home grown talent.  Three snaps, it’s on!  Essentially this mixer brought together a whole new synergy for The Junctionby illuminating all of the marvelous talent in our community that wewill be sharing this year at El Cid.  The mixer demonstrated how The Junction is an important player in fortifying, building and maintaining the Eastside community, hands down.
I arrived at El Cid promptly at 7PM to start the photographic work in documenting this milestone event.  I arrived in the golden light of  the late afternoon sun, ready to knock out hundreds of shots of local personalities, community leaders, and established and emerging local musical artists. The patio was serene as I walked in to see Sunset Junction’s Micheal McKinleyThe Hotel Cafe’s Marko Shafer, El Cid’s Julianna Young and The Satellite’sJennifer Tefftthe team responsible for producing this year’s music and entertainment. They were prepping for the necessary photos opps, as a sea of photographers surrounded them.  The table to my right was set with a redtablecloth along with tons of goodies to eat, for the crowd that would soon descend to this historic site.  Besides the food, there was an Open Bar — to further promote the good vibes and celebration for this special evening.   The MediaMixer also showcased the Eastside’s wide reservoir of talent, including well received performances by Left Over Cuties and Peg Leg Love.  This allowed the media to get an advance preview of what the team had in store for this years festival.   Thanks to Karen Sundell from Rogers & Cowan (a fellow eastsider), whose deft planning skills supremely provided the necessary touch of elegance that made El Cid totally ready to party!

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Some of the first folks to celebrate were Steve Chagollan of VarietyHarlan Lansky of Seany RecordsAndy Sternberg of LAistTanja Laden of Flavor Pill and Brick Walh of LA Weekly, Andrea Dominack of LA WeeklyKevin Bronson of Buzzbands, Jessica Wedemeyer  of People Magazine, Jose Martinez of Venice Magazine, Abigail Parsons of Young Hollywood/Central Talent booking, Ronna Bronstein-Trumfio of Kingsize Sound Labs, reps from CBS Radio, The Huffington Post and a wide assortment of tastemaker/bloggers in support of the event.  The artists, musicians and personalities in attendance were many and that included, Stuart Johnson, Shirli McAllen, Ryan Feves and Mike Bolger of Leftover Cuties, Marie Hall, Daven Hall and Jasmine Ash of Oh Darling, Travis Moore, Ilir Zeneli and Henry Lopez of Peg Leg LoveDJ Morgan Page, Nicole Eva Emery, Summer Spiro and Ruby Spiro of Ruby Summer, Jacob Maltinsky, Adam Kurtz, Sean Johnson and Maria DeLuca of The Damselles, Kate Flannery, Aaron Finley, Erik Desiderio, Steve-Z Brenner and Andrew Van Baal of Big Dick,  Mike Hopkins, John Graney and Jake Gideon of The Californian, Nick Sandler, Mike Goldman, Matt Schwartz and Drew Beck of Chasing Kings, Matthew Teardrop and Katya Arce of Manhattan Murder Mystery, Steven Scott and Brian Canning of Shadow Shadow Shade, Alex Staniloff, Geoffrey Halliday and Sean Hess of HandsGraham FinkJimmy James and Calixto Hernandez of Barrio Tiger Holly Conlan, Carina RoundDan Burns and Zack Rae of Early Winter, Betty Kelly of Martha and the Vandellas, Bob Lee and Jon Wahl from ClawhammerMike Fong, East Area Director for Los Angeles City for Mayor AntonioVillaraigosa, Native Wayne representing Indie 103.1 and Kat Corbett representing KROQ.  On a side note, the Black Lips crashed the party, to hang out in the courtyard and soak up the radiating afterglow.  Surely, there weremany more in attendance, but your eyes and my eyes would suffer from fatigue in viewing a longer list.

The atmosphere was more than gregarious:  it was a blend of class reunion, a shindig, a hootenanny, a POB (Part Out Of  Bounds)  as we all mingled, greeted, got to know, laughed, shared storiesnoshed from the fine dining spreadset before us and bellied up to El Cid’s comfy open bar.  The craziness had gone on for hours and would have done justice to El Cid builder D.W. Griffin’s classic Hollywood standards.  It was Ten-ish when Team Sunset Junctionthat is: Micheal McKinley Julianna Young Jennifer Tefft and Marko Shafer took the stage to make announcements regarding this year’s Sunset Junction and to take questions from the audience.   Michealwas channeling the excitement he’s held for years about The Junction to an extremely engaged audience.  Micheal is a huge fan of Motown Soul, so he couldn’t hold back his excitement as he exuberantly introduced everyone to Betty Kelly of Martha and the Vandellas to a loud round of applause.  It was a sweet and classic moment as Betty rose to receive some much deserved praise and recognition.  This was also near the time Micheal and Juliannaannounced the news that El Cid would host local music artists as the the Sixth Stage of Sunset Junction.  There was crowd pleasing cheers from the audience.  There were a few more announcements, including the “Win A Slot”at Sunset Junction contest, in which bands compete to win a much-coveted performance slot this years festival.   For more details, please visit www.sunsetjunction.org. Micheal then opened up the stage for Leftover Cuties and Peg Leg Love to perform and close out the mixer.

Leftover Cuties performed first, bringing a hipster vibe to the El Cid stage that was reminiscent of bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros or Amanda Jo Williams,with a Freak Folk sound that went over well with all attending. Then it was Peg Leg Love’s turn. Peg Leg Love rocked the house with some hard-driving blues/garage oriented rock.  They occupied the stage for nearly 45 minutes delivering power to their hot licks and kicks kind of sound.  Soon, I drifted out in the courtyard to cool off and take a break.  I saw Zack Rae (keyboardist Alanis Morissette, Carina Round and Early Winter) first and then Carina Round near the stairs.  It had been months and it was great to see her!  We visited for nearly a half hour.  I learned that she has been very busy and that’s why I and others in our circle haven’t heard a peep from her for the last few months.  She’s been traveling, has been deep in the recording process for her new CD, and regularly gigging with Early Winter,  a band she sings with on the side.

It was nearing the witching hour and the party had thinned.  I was finally able to kibitz with Karen on how stunningly the mixer had turned out.  There were a lot of  great things that had transpired that evening because of her very capable handling of the landmark event, in a landmark space.  That evening at El Cid demonstrated a most favorable precursor to this year mighty Sunset Junction Street Fair and concert event.  The mixer highlighted how stunning and innovative this year’s musical line-up is becoming and really got everyone pumped and excited for this year’s much-anticipated event.  I predict it’s going to close out this Eastside summer with an appropriate bang, thatcan only lift the bar that much higher for every other party or event for the rest of the year!




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