Posts tagged ‘pop culture’

February 28, 2015

Women’s History Month

women

These are some of the women who have influenced me most—be it my career path, my self image, my spirituality or my aesthetics.

Left to right, top row:Exene Cervenka, Erykah Badu, Patti Smith, Rickie Byars Beckwith, Erica Jong

Left to right, bottom row: Jess the Militant Baker, Dorothy Kilgallen, Annie Leibovitz, Norma Shearer.

January 7, 2015

10 artists that should play Coachella by the Sea 2015

2011AlabamaShakesPMVH050412

Yesterday’s announcement of the 2015 Coachella lineup got me pumped — not because I’m looking forward to three sweaty days of over-stimulation in the desert, but because now I get to fantasize about which acts will perform at the Ventura Theater during the event’s bye week.  (Rob Antonini, Loanne Wullaert and Roni Osmer are you listening?)

Who I hope will play Coachella by the Sea (coined by moi, btw)

1. Ryan Adams
I will probably have a stroke if this announced and therefore be unable to attend, but I’m still rooting for it. Sure I’ve hated his last few records but I’m loyal to those I love and he will always be my main man.

2. Alabama Shakes
I’ve listened to their debut album way too much and it’s time I saw them live. It’s also time they put out a new record.

3.Kasabian
Because they’re on constant rotation in my car and they’re named after a Manson girl—the good one.

4.Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punks
FUCK YES. I’m a desert rock/stoner rock junkie and even though I’ll never get to see Kyuss, there’s still a possibility I can see someone from Kyuss other than Josh Homme (my second love after Ryan Adams).

5. Jenny Lewis
Jenny’s the shit. She’s like a cheerful, poppier Liz Phair. If “Jenny” on The League was a musician, she’d totally be Jenny Lewis. Also if she comes to Ventura, she’s bringing Ryan Adams with her.

6. Steely Dan
Haters gonna hate but who cares?

7. St. Vincent
Because I want to love her.

8. Ghostface Killah
Because I nicknamed my dog “Zoeface Killah” and because Wu-Tang.

9. Tame Impala
I get the feeling their shows are transcendent.

10. Action Bronson
A fat white rapper who’s a chef and sometimes writes about food. What else do you need?

Who will probably play Coachella by the Sea (based only on pad thai-fueled intuition)

Azealia Banks, this year’s Ellie Goulding; Off, we luvs us some punk rock; Run the Jewels, overhyped rap artist of the moment; FKA Twigs, even more overhyped; Lykke Li, critics love her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 17, 2014

Hollywood Ending (Die Laughing)

hollywood ending meme

As mankind stares into the abyss, perhaps only moments (in Biblical time) away from the end of its reign over earth, it is not zombies, climate change, the big one or Ebola that will give us that final nudge. It’s Seth Rogen and James Franco. Can you think of a more fitting final exit? Could there be a more apropos farewell to our sorry stewardship of planet Earth than through an act of Hollywood?

March 7, 2014

It’s Women’s History Month… again

I’m not really a feminist but for some reason I get fired up during Women’s History Month. I can’t think of many things more empowering than this young lady who has found her voice at the tender age of 6.

January 15, 2014

I used to love J-Law. Now she annoys me.

You want her broken with her mouth wide open 'cause she's this year's girl.

You want her broken with her mouth wide open ’cause she’s this year’s girl.

See her picture in a thousand places
cause she’s this year’s girl.

You think you all own little pieces
of this year’s girl.

Forget your fancy manners,
forget your English grammar,
’cause you don’t really give a damn
about this year’s girl.

Still you’re hoping that she’s well spoken
’cause she’s this year’s girl.

Never knowing it’s a real attraction,
all these promises of satisfaction,
while she’s being bored to distraction
being this year’s girl.

Time’s running out. She’s not happy with the cost.
There’d be no doubt, only she’s forgotten
much more than she’s lost.

A bright spark might corner the market
in this year’s girl.
You see yourself rolling on the carpet
with this year’s girl.
Those disco synthesizers,
those daily tranquilizers,
those body building prizes,
those bedroom alibis,
all this, but no surprises for this year’s girl.

(This Year’s Girl by Elvis Costello)

June 24, 2010

Crimes and misconceptions: covering arts and entertainment in VC

In the past week a few prickly issues have become lodged in my gmail, so I figured I would address them here, if for no other reason than to stop the itching.

1. Coverage, or how one gets a piece of VCR’s valuable real estate:

It’s rumored that in order to get ink in our publication, one must be an advertiser. This is, of course, false and anyone who actually reads on a regular basis would know it. Why people insist on perpetuating this nonsense is beyond me, and the irony is, our advertisers are frequently miffed about not getting editorial love. So if advertisers aren’t getting it, and no one else is getting it, then who the heck is getting it? Answer: people, places, occurrences, creations that are interesting,  fresh, relevant and in some way impacting the county’s cultural  evolution. It never hurts to drop us a line if you’ve caught wind of such, as we are not omnipresent or telepathic (contrary to popular opinion.)

2. Locals only policy:

We are the only publication in Ventura County (or anywhere for that matter) that gives exclusive priority to locals. I cannot emphasize enough how rare this is. From what I can tell, no one else in the U.S. does this, especially for music. We will not (as long as I’m arts editor) ever review a CD by an artist living outside Ventura County. The only time you will read about someone or something not produced within the geographical boundaries of this county,  is if they are exhibiting or touring here. Sorry Santa Barbara, sorry SLO, sorry L.A.–someone needs to champion the talent here and if that’s a crime, then I stand accused! (insert appropriate emoticon) That said, if you feel we’re overlooking anything or anyone, drop us a line.

March 18, 2010

We Live in Public at Ventura Film Society Festival 2010

I had the opportunity to see We Live in Public tagged “the story of the greatest Internet pioneer you never heard of.” I already forgot his name.  Josh something or other. While he may have been intelligent and intuitive enough to see the future of electronic communication–social networking, user created content etc.–back when only a few insider geeks were exchanging e-mailmuch of his so-called genius was really an expression of deep rooted emotional/psychological issues. Sure, show me an artist who’s emotionally stable and I’ll show you a poser, but there are degrees of neuroses.

None of that is to reflect poorly on the film. The documentary film which the festival will open with, is a fascinating portrayal of an unlikeable, creative, opportunistic, sad figure during the dawn of the technology revolution when people didn’t know any better.

For me the most poignant and maybe even salient aspect of Josh’s journey to virtual fame and relative fortune then failure and irrelevance, is his emotional relationship with electronic media. It proves that human contact is not essential in order to feel and relate, but electronic interaction may not be the healthiest path to connectivity.

Josh was raised on TV. It was his mother, father,  brother, sister. Later, in the form of web broadcasting it would become his lover. In the film Josh says something to the effect that Gilligan was his biggest influence. Well into his adult life, he pursued his fantasies of living out the story of Gilligan’s Island.

His great contribution to the whole virtual experiment was his “quiet” project, where people were locked into a communal living situation where every moment was committed to video and broadcast live. Participants were essentially owned by Josh, and a decade later he would attempt to sell them back their lives digitally. Those involved (citizens of quiet) became comfortable being watched in bed, at the table, on the toilet, in the shower, having sex, shooting guns, being interrogated and finally falling apart.

Admittedly, it was an brilliant if somewhat mean-spirited exercise. While most of the participants moved on, Josh’s craving to be watched took a new, even more intimate turn as he and his girlfriend broadcast on webcam every moment spent at home while strangers chatted with them and about them.

Ultimately Josh failed to harness the internet for practical and lucrative purposes. (This could actually qualify him as an artist). Unable to distance himself emotionally from the medium, he lost out. Toward the end of the film, we see him attempt to sell his ideas to the founder of MySpace. It’s perhaps the most powerful scene in the film, because after everything, he is unrecognized and his love of the Web goes, once again, unrequited.

All hope is not lost, though. He finds peace and perhaps finally purpose in the unlikeliest, yet most necessary of environments.

You will have to see the film to find out. It screens on Thursday, March 25, 5:30 p.m. at the Lodge. For a complete schedule of films screening at the festival, visit the official Ventura Film Society Web site.

December 10, 2009

The audacity of Morrissey

I know at least a few people who have forked over $100 per ticket to see Morrissey at the Ventura Theatre Friday night and while I understand paying top dollar to see an artist that deeply moves you, I don’t understand the need for the artist to command such from fans.

Do artists deserve to make a fair living for what they do? Yes. Are most artists horribly underpaid, especially given the time and money investment required to produce their art? Definitely. But.. isn’t there a symbiosis between artist and fan that makes price gouging seem counter intuitive? When I purchase music or see an artist perform, it’s not an emotionless transaction–money exchanged for goods and services. There is heart involved, a relationship forms, sometimes loyalty follows.

I’m not a fan of Morrissey, but let’s say Ryan Adams was coming to town and tickets were $100, I would be torn between my desire to see my beloved, my inability to justify the expense and the feeling that the artist will ultimately put his bank account above all else, which seems incongruous with the spirit of art.

Of course we are willing to pay for something dear to us,  but is it OK to ask people as dear as your fans to dig uncomfortably deep, especially in difficult times?

October 29, 2009

Goodbye, Chuck . . .

In less than a month, yet another key figure in the early ’80s So-Cal punk scene has passed away. Chuck Biscuits, the bombastic, powerhouse drummer who played for D.O.A., Circle Jerks (in video above), Black Flag, Danzig, Social Distortion and surprisingly, Run DMC, passed away Oct. 24 from throat cancer. He was only 44 years old.

In many ways, Biscuits was the Keith Moon of punk rock: unbridled, goofy, boyish and frenzied. His drumming on Social D’s White Light, White Heat, White Trash, made it stand alone as the most balls-out energetic record in their catalog.

He will be missed.

July 30, 2009

Festivals and rumors of festivals

In the wake of the epic failure that was the California Music Fest, it seems that yet another would-be promoter is cooking up something big in Ventura. And when I say big, I mean BIG. Why Ventura? Who knows. Yes, it’s a beautiful place, yes it’s got that certain je ne sais quois, but music events here are historically under attended unless they involve punk rock.

The newest player in the festival game (more to come, including his name) has designs on the fairgrounds and rumor has it, that a Yardbirds reunion in little ‘ol Ventura is not entirely outside the realm of possibility. Let the buzz begin. Jimmy Page at Seaside Park? Someone call Jim Salzer.

%d bloggers like this: