Monday, January 15, 2007

LA: Not A Circle.


Last month, in my review of Meg Cranston's show I used the line, "LA is a circle, but it's not a jerk." In the comments section a well-qualified semi-anonymous reader, V2, kindly pointed out to me that LA is, in fact, not a circle. I thought of that this morning when I read Carla Bozulich's 2006 Rewind entry in the new issue of The Wire. Granted, it's mostly about music, but its themes are the same that I hear from people working in the visual arts in Los Angeles. There seem to be two rules when it comes to discovering LA . . . assume nothing and then dig.

At any rate, this is what Bozulich had to say . . .

"Los Angeles in 2006. LA has never been for someone looking for an easy connection to the outsider art/music/politics scene. I like that about it. I like that if you want it handed to you easy all you'll get is watered down pap from the regular clubs/papers and a bellyache from whining about how lame the city is. We have pockets that spring open in unlikely places but you can't turn every corner and find a cafe with Arundhati Roy action figures and Henry Cowell blasting from the basement. You gotta get off your butt and look for it, baby . . . cuz you won't find it in the papers. Still, this year there are a few steady sight where a person can go find something unusual, hear things, freak out, lull, whatever . . . . For me the Smell and il Corral are the best. The Smell is a not-for-profit drink and drug free music hang. The punk underground lives at the Smell. The scene is really young so maybe if I wasn't such a kook I'd notice that I'm old or something but I can't be bothered with that because all I know is that new music happens there. In LA you can't go to regular clubs for that. Il Corral is the other great place--a little more sound exploration stylez. The lights are dim, couches soft, a fucked up piano and there a doggy that is really sweet. You never pay more than $5 to see a show at these places, no matter if it's Wolf Eyes or some kid's 8 millimeter orthodontic surgery video set to interpretive dance.

There are also two grown-up improvisor music series with no rules or coolness quotient. Come in your fucking pajamas if you want. The music is tops. The out of town guests are fantastic. The great jazz/Improv drummer/composer Alex Cline co-curates the Eagle Rock Concert Series the first Sunday of every month. The other, Cryptonite, is Thursday nites in LA run by Jeff Gaultier--creator of Cryptogramophone Records and a very wicked violinist. Now will you please ignore what people tell you and go have fun in your ear holes the next time you're in LA?"

Originally printed in The Wire, issue 275.

1 comment:

v2 said...

thanks for the props, brent. the truth is, most of us who love and live L.A. think the discussion about this city's "lack of center"-- or worse, "no 'there' there"--gets a bit tedious. i moved here after years in NYC. i loved it there, i love it here. so what if this city isn't built on a grid? L.A.'s got as much creative energy and cultural diversity as NYC, but more sun, more smiles, and more room to breathe. OK, maybe more bullshitters too but they're easy to spot and hey, no place is perfect. :)