Friday, June 18, 2010

Avant-Garde Music Night delayed by Lakers Game Result

Now that's a headline I thought I would never write. Yes, even some members of the commie-pinko alternative music community in LA cannot help but show their local pride in mass-market athletics. As the final game of the NBA championship was winding down the ResBox show was pushed back, until curator Hans stepped in and restored order and sanity.

ResBox is "A monthly event featuring the world's best experimental music, curated by musician and filmmaker Hans Fjellestad." It happens the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Steve Allen Theater at Center For Inquiry West (CFI) in Los Feliz. I've been to ResBox a couple times now and it's a great night if you love avant-garde music, Musique concrète, improvisational jazz, performance art, or live electronics. The musicianship is really pretty impressive and tonight was no exception.

The lineup included the SCOTT HEUSTIS GROUP featuring Breeze Smith + Jeff Schwartz + Robert Leng + Scott Heustis, a quartet of sorts including ANNA HOMLER + TED BYRNES + JORGE MARTIN + STEUART LIEBIG, and the FPR TRIO featuring Frank Gratkowski + Phillip Greenlief + Jon Raskin. I know, a lot of names and if you're not into this scene it wouldn't mean much to you probably. But, it was good stuff I tells you. There were three very distinct sets.

First a lively set from a quartet of electric guitar, drums, saxophone and standup bass featuring dynamic, improvised jazz in front of clips from old silent films. It was out there but still probably the most standard and identifiable music of the night.

Next was a free form weirdness. Anna Homler was in da house with a table full of noise-making toys. Robot rayguns, pull string dolls, and various other beeping, crying, and clicking plastic devices were held up to the microphone and then further manipulated with an array of pedals and effects. This set also featured the first 6 string bass sighting of the night, and somebody torturing a drum kit while crumbling up aluminum cans. Pretty nutty.

The 3rd set featured a fantastic saxophone trio. Apparently deciding their music was not quite bizarre enough, they all decided to play separate compositions simultaneously overlapping them. But, somehow it worked, though I probably wouldn't have known if it didn't.


at the Center For Inquiry
4773 Hollywood Blvd

ResBox Facebook Page

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Relentless Ride On The Zebra

Going to clubs that usually have a velvet rope outside the door is not high on my list of priorities but, I was assured from the invite that Robert Vargas' Red Zebra at the Crocker Club (Kojak reference?) would be FREE to the public. Why th' hell not? And that indeed was the case, I wasn't even padded down at the door.

Inside were beautiful people of all sorts dressing to impress for the most part. In the "Ghost Room" (legend has it that someone was shot and killed there) was a comedy show MCeed by Rick Izquieta. There was some really funny stuff! Some of the comics had actual jokes too. The hilarity could not even be dampened by the relentless heckling from the front row. The intrepid and scrawny comics held their ground during the onslaught. Also, kudos to the organizers for having the balls to combine a comedy show and avant-garde fashion show in the same event. A dangerous combination to be sure.

A little later, the Makers revved up their various jazzy instruments. They just kept playing and no one wanted them to stop. No one wanted the sexy dancers to stop writhing around on the table either and to capture the moment just about everything that resembled a camera in the joint was flashing away. Warning, epileptics need not apply! Probably best for you to stay at home the first Thursday of the month. Vargas even brought out his charcoal and started a portrait on stage during the set and still there was no pause in the sound. Relentless they were. Makers play 7th & Grand on Tuesday nights. Did I get that right? I'll see you there.

Rick Mendoza was in da house sporting some serious looking camera equipment. He wasn't kidding around and was snapping some impressive portraits. The event featured a good assortment of his photography work including some collage-esque pieces, a few portraits and some downtown alley scapes. Nice stuff.

The avant garde fashion show by Omega Collektiv (it's intentionally spelled that way you sap!) was bizarre and interesting. Flanked by a pair of fantastic hooded and laser-weilding gargoyle-men, out from the vault marched a parade of unisex spadex glam creations. Vargas would occasionally pull one of the models out for an impromptu portrait or some punk style body painting. The irony was absolutely not lost on the audience when a model holding a thought bubble sign that read "Boycott BP" walked out in a full spadex fish scales body suit and was sloshed with black latex paint. It was dramatic I tells ya.

Well, I know where I'm going to be the first Thursday of every month. Great event and $10 for a Jack & Coke isn't that expensive.

Red Zebra at the Crocker Club