Posts Tagged ‘Silverlake

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!

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.




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