Posts tagged ‘trends’

October 25, 2014

John Coltrane, Bono and the return of the record

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There’s been quite a bit of discussion recently about record sales, or the lack thereof. While overall, sales of music are down, the humble record, the physical manifestation of untold hours of toil and trouble is making a comeback. Of course, for some of us, records never went away. In the same week that we learned the number of records to reach platinum status in 2014 is ZERO (for the first time ever), we also learned that when there is no option but a physical copy to purchase, and especially when the artist is a legend–even if the release is posthumous–well, records sell. Lots. And when you give something away, as we just saw with U2, you devalue yourself, your talent and your industry.

Footnote: In yet another example of the age of the amateur and the decline of quality in pretty much everything, the MTV story I linked here has glaring grammatical errors. But who needs professional writers and editors, right?

December 27, 2012

…………………..2012: A List………………

(Hope you don’t get seasick) p.s. it’s all local

massenger

Cassettes were all the rage this year. Massenger was my favorite band.

Recorded Music
Massenger
No//Se
The Pullmen
Kapeesh
D on Darox and the Melody Joy Bakers

Wussy

Wussy

Live Music
Wussy at Zoey’s
Pangea at Indie West Fest
The Pullmen at Bombay
Kapeesh at Red Cove
Alexandra and the Starlight Band at Zoey’s
Miguel Garcia & the Vaquetones at Yolie’s
OFWGKTA at the Ventura Theater (for the sheer spectacle of it)

bob-and-the-monster-promo

Outstanding film! Bob Forrest actually remembered me from the old days.

Film
Bob and the Monster at Indie West Fest

scavenger

Shenanigans at the Scavenger Hunt. (Appropriately, I stole this photo.)

Event
The Local Rock Picnic
86 Scavenger Hunt (I was a secret weapon. Plus, I sacrificed my son’s innocence. See pic.)
Westside ArtWalk

comics comics

Comics and Comics at Hypno Comics

Comedy
Comics and Comics at Hypno Comics

tully

I purchased one of these pieces from Sean Tully. Can you guess which one?

Art
Sean Tully at The WAV
Stacie Logue’s guerrilla bluebirds
Paul Lindhard’s gateway to Ventura
Evan Ames’ and Lauren Mosinka’s yard sale
Everything at Sylvia White Gallery
Michael Pearce at Carnegie Art Museum
Art of Autism at Westside ArtWalk
MB Hanrahan’s Scabenue Calendar

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Story
End Transmission: The Life and Death of the People’s Radio

June 3, 2010

The NEW new art city

Long ago in a galaxy far away, some people in that cool old building on Poli and California streets, decided it would be a good idea to give the city of Ventura an identity.  At the time, (pre-911, pre-economic disaster) cultural tourism was a fairly new concept and people governing the city were beginning to realize how dominant a force the arts were here.  Two plus two equaled California’s New Art City and a marketing plan/identity was born.

Not coincidentally, this came at a time of redevelopment downtown– the Laurel Theater (Rubicon Theatre Company), Ventura Music Festival, the Artists Union Gallery and the Century 10 movie theater, materialized during this period.  At the same time, historic preservation was being embraced as a crucial element of downtown Ventura’s cultural, and was folded into the cultural tourism plan.

All these years later, we have some amazing accomplishments to show for this change in direction: most notably: Bell Arts Factory/Vita Art Center, Working Artists Ventura (WAV), Ventura Film Society and the ongoing county museum expansion (which will partially unveiled on July 3).  Add to that a couple handfuls of art galleries and studios, festivals and a local music scene that if properly fertilized could yield big dollars and national recognition for Ventura, and it becomes difficult to understand why there  is so much empty commercial space downtown.

Clearly it’s time to reassess and reimagine.  We should be proud, we’ve accomplished much, but if we are to survive this economy and a changing market, we need to wise-up.

Recent changes within city government reflect both the need to reshape our vision and the willingness on the part of city officials to adapt. Eric Wallner, formerly the Cultural Affairs Manager for Ventura, is necessarily molting in order to respond, to this somewhat urgent need for a new phase. Wallner, along with others, will be turning his focus to the creation of jobs that will help sustain us culturally and economically. This means finding ways to court businesses that employ creatives and others.

This will undoubtedly be a big part of the discussion at the second annual economic summit “Partnering for Prosperity” to be held Saturday, June 12 at 8 p.m. Anyone interested in taking this city to the next level, artistically, culturally and economically, should consider attending.

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.

February 25, 2010

Out of the ashes of Hush Lounge — Zoey’s 2.0

If you don’t already know, Zoey’s Cafe and Loft (the location for last year’s VCReporter local music issue cover)  is relocating to the old Hush Lounge location in about a month (if everything goes as planned).

The move is indicative of the mutability of downtown Ventura’s business district, which seems to get increasingly fragile every week.  Though somewhat iconic, in its cozy corner of the El Jardin Courtyard, it was only a matter of time before Zoey’s outgrew its tight quarters. Lucky for owners Steve and Polly Hoganson,  the roomy environs of the former Hush became available, but it’s a bittersweet development that finds Zoey’s growth in the shadow of Hush’s demise.

Before finally closing a few months ago, Hush weathered a punishing storm of adversity which put it much too squarely on the radar of local police. The biggest issue,  allegedly was  noise, but its proximity to other music venues made that accusation somewhat suspect. The owner walked around with a decibel meter and claimed to be extremely conscientious about noise levels in the venue.

Given that this was the chief reason cited by city authorities for Hush’s problems, it didn’t quite add up when another music venue was given a chance to do business in that location.

But, the Hoganson’s said that their lease of the property is contingent upon an absolute NO DJ, NO DANCING policy.  Since Zoey’s live entertainment consists of low-key singer-songwriter performances, the chances of a throbbing bass line nudging neighboring hotel guests out of bed, is slim to none. Plus,  Zoey’s plans to turn off before midnight.

The room where bands will perform at the new location is not much bigger than the loft at Zoey’s now, but the biggest change, and key reason for the expansion, is the kitchen/restaurant. The venue’s chef, the Hoganson’s son, once worked under Chris Watson (Nona’s Courtyard Cafe, Bodee’s) and along with another Watson protege is cooking up an expanded comfort-driven menu for the new Zoey’s.

The Hoganson’s, who have been credited with fostering a tightly knit community of singer-songwriters while bringing in critically lauded Hotel Cafe acts, are planning for events to spill over into the nearby Mission Park and Figueroa plaza.

The last show at the current Zoey’s location on Main St. will be Grant Lee Buffalo on March 28. Stay tuned for more info on the new venue as it develops. Let’s help the Hoganson’s and other downtown live music venues make a go of it.

Support the live experience.

October 29, 2009

Getting my spook on: an epic fail

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Normally I love the Halloween season. Yes, season. I have at least three large storage containers stuffed with rubber bats, glow in the dark skeletons and other creepy 3-dimensional objects that only see the light of day for a few weeks each year.

I could blame my apathy this year on pumpkin spice deficiency since giving up flour and sugar (mostly), I could let the economy take the rap, or lean on the overused “too busy” excuse, nevertheless it’s two days before the kiddies come knockin’ and for the first time in more than a decade, I have failed at Halloween–at least in the real world or what us online gamer’s refer to as “IRL” (in real life).

World of Warcraft’s annual “Hallow’s End” celebration is in full swing and after numerous attempts I landed the Horseman’s Baleful Blade, a sweet, epic sword that I needed desperately since turning prot sans a decent 1-h weapon. Blizzard does an amazing job with Hallow’s End and I guess to some extent it does satisfy my appetite for the visual side of all things spooky, plus I get to put on a costume and pretend I’m eating candy–virtually. No mess, no calories, no expense.

On Sunday, I made a half-hearted attempt to embrace the macabre (aside from the weird goings on I’ve experienced of late in my home) by taking my son to see Paranormal Activity followed by a visit to the Halloween Store at the mall (which was a blast!) and then the pumpkin patch. He’s a bit past the pumpkin patch stage of life, but luckily he’s not opposed to waxing nostalgic for his mom.

The movie was great. Stark, simple, believable . . . that is until the very end when the film maker resorted to a cinematic cliche for final effect. Were it that he was paying homage, it might be forgivable, actually it’s forgivable anyway for the sheer entertainment value of the previous 90 minutes and the creeps I had at 2 a.m. for the next two nights.

On to the pumpkin patch. Hadn’t been to this particular one in many years, but wanted the real thing, so I braved the crowds and the shrieking toddlers for a chance to get my shoes dusty and my paws on the perfect one or two pumpkins. After much deliberation and finally submitting to the dreaded wheelbarrow, we opted for two big ones: a dark, bumpy, ugly, sinister pumpkin and one fat classic orange one. Excited to go home, decorate the house and attack our squash, we got in line with the rest of the suckers paying $15 + per pumpkin only to discover it was a cash-only transaction. Of course, I had none and we walked away empty-handed.

On the way home we began calculating the patch’s gross profits based on how many people were there, what the hourly turnover might be and what the average person seemed to be spending. Aiming low and keeping all these things in mind, we estimated that the pumpkin patch is generating close to $10k per day. And they can’t afford to splurge for a credit card machine?

I’m not the only one who failed at Halloween this year. Seaside Haunt is gone and the folks at the Ventura Theater, for the first time in a long time, were unable to create their annual haunted house at their home on the Avenue, because they’re too busy preparing for the Rey Fresco Halloween bash. Sigh. And, the annual appearance of the potato bug inside our home, an event which for us signals the beginning of the holiday season, has yet to happen. Hmmm… maybe that’s my answer.

September 17, 2009

BEST OF: the subjectivity of hierarchy and a few of my favorite things in Ventura County

We just put our annual Best Of Ventura County issue to bed after a long but mostly painless labor (depending on who you talk to.) This was not the first time I’ve been involved with the issue but it was my introduction to the back-end/inner workings of the voting process.

I am currently working on an article about the approval process for WAV applicants, which makes for an interesting parallel with “Best Of” on the subject of winning. Just as hundreds of people are coveting one of the affordable artist live/work units in the project, others are hoping to be voted the Best in their category in VCReporter.

Best Mexican food, best band, best citizen, best bartender. . . the list goes on. For those who may not be clear, this is a READER’S POLL. VCReporter staff did not have anything to do with deciding the winners or choosing who would “compete.”

We did however, do our best to make sure it was a fair fight, but there are always those who win when they probably shouldn’t have and others who weren’t voted for and should have been. Were it up to us, many of the winners would have been different. But, it’s not up to us, it’s up to our readers, and we don’t always see eye-to-eye with our beloveds.

Your “best” Mexican food is not mine. Your favorite artist is not mine. Your favorite band is also not mine. Because I am informed about music and have a long history as a listener, does that mean I can determine who the “best” musician is? Maybe my favorite Mexican food isn’t really authentic but someone else’s is. Which of us can say what the best is? If 200 people say Katy Perry is the best female vocalist in the world, but Joni Mitchell says Eryka Badu is, who is right? It’s a popularity contest and it’s a matter of taste–which we all know there is no accounting for. That said, here are a few of my Ventura County bests:

Art Gallery:
Winner=Red Brick Gallery
My Pick=Artists’s Union Gallery

Best Local Band:
Winner=Rey Fresco
My Pick=tie between All Seeing Eyes & Dirty Words (<3 ❤ <3)

Best Live Music Venue:
Winner=Zoey’s
My Pick=The Lodge (Exquisite sound, comfortable and cool)

Best Annual Cultural Event
Winner=Casa Pacifica Wine & Food
My Pick=ArtWalk Ventura (Say what you will, I always enjoy it)

Best Mexican Food
Winner=Yolanda’s
My Pick=El Rey

Best Breakfast
Winner=Allison’s Country Cafe
My Pick=Art’s Corner Cafe (Corner cakes and campfire combo… mmmmm)

Best Gift Shop
Winner=B on Main
My Pick=B on Main (Carol knows her stuff)

Best Chiropractor
Winner=Logan Osland
My Pick=Daniel O Schnieder (He’s a magic man.. yaaaaa)

September 10, 2009

Bloodlust: in anticipation of the True Blood season finale

Yes, I am one of them. A would-be fangbanger lusting after Eric, loathing Maryann, adoring Lafayette, sympathizing with Sam, being embarrassed for Jason and tolerating Sookie (whom a friend of mine unaffectionately refers to as “Sucky”.)

What has developed into an epic battle of good and evil, antihero against hypocrite will come to a close this Sunday, Sept. 13 on HBO and fans everywhere are stocking their refrigerators with the new True Blood drink (which is selling for $9 per bottle on Ebay) for their viewing parties.

My son has a theory about the show which I tend to agree with: the vampires are a metaphor for the marginalized in contemporary society–especially the gay/lesbian community. The war waged against them by the Christian right mimics the real life assault of right wing America on anyone who doesn’t fit their pattern of morality. But, of course the vampires are turning out to be the more compassionate race and we’re counting on them now to save the world or at least the lil town of Bon Temps, LA.

What separates the races in True Blood is not their biological/racial differences, it is their judgment and hatred, something the late great ancient vampire Godrick, who laid down his unlife (or simply tired of immortality). Godrick understood that the vampires’ brutality and lack of mercy is what brought the wrath of their detractors upon them. He knew the future of all the races was dependent on their compassion for and acceptance of one another. Love conquers all, right? Interesting message from a buncha bloodsucking sex fiends. 😛

As this, my favorite show and beloved weekly ritual comes to a close (not to mention the ending of Hung), I take comfort in the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. Yeah, yeah, say what you will but I still like it and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with George.

Meanwhile Big Love should be starting back up soon– I wonder if it will continue to fascinate me like it did last season and Entourage is well into its umpteenth season. Damn, I wish I had Tivo.

BREAKING: The Vampire Diaries premieres on the CW tonight. Sheesh… I’m anticipating disappointment; I hated Twilight. We’ll see how it compares to TB.

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August 6, 2009

Closed Until Further Notice: Hush Lounge

hush

As Chris Mastrovito mentioned in his most recent column, after 4 years in business, Hush has been shushed. Whether it’s a victim of what would appear to be a war on downtown Ventura’s nightlife–and specific sectors of such–remains to be seen.

Hush Lounge was an upscale nightclub with DJs, live music, and a restaurant. Dress code was enforced, noise levels were, according to the owner, kept in check via his ubiquitous decibel meter and unseemly types were turned away.

But a series of unfortunate events, the details of which vary depending who you ask, led to the city’s revocation of Hush’s entertainment license a few weeks ago which in turn led to an immediate and dramatic loss of revenue for the club.

There has been speculation regarding the city’s attitude toward Hush’s largely Latino clientèle, especially at a time when political posturing and jockeying for position, in what’s becoming a competitive climate, appears to be on the rise.

Rules are rules and if I was a betting woman I’d say many of downtown’s nightclubs have had issues with noise and alleged violence in recent months. Yet, oddly, they remain in business, their entertainment permits in tact.

I would think that taking action that could lead to the closure of a thriving business downtown, would be done only as a last resort in the most extreme cases. Where is our sense of community or dare I say compassion for the small business owner? I wonder who’s next . . . taking bets.

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.

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