02.12.11 Snoop Dogg . . . Valentine's Day . . . Pomona

What makes an Inland Empire crowd different than an L.A. crowd? The venue-going crowds in L.A. get comped by work or friends in the inustry, they stand around, network and forget to dance. Its more like a backyard family BBQ in the I.E., or a casual High School prom (especially in the ladies room). Its even more down home, when its a hometown boy who's playing to the crowd.
And so the heart-shaped blinking buttons, flat-ironed hair, Raider's jerseys, and penciled on eyebrows were fierce and flamboyant at the Fox theater Valentine's Saturday night. Shawties and Ballers (of the 90s generation) apparently left the kiddies with grandma and bellied up to one another as Grandaddy Dogg whooped up the crowd with hit after ganga-flavored hit - was that a medley I just heard? Hell yeah. Gin and Juice, "Drop It Like It's Hot" and selections from 92's ultimate golden oldie (and Snoop's launching pad) The Chronic got the stoney crowd grinding and bumping with their arms in the air.
Homey Warren G even showed up for a shortened version of "Regulate" - some of the I.E. crowd not quite catching who he was.
Seems everybody's biggest valentine kiss tonight though was for the west coast itself and the hazy glow of early 90's gangsta soul. Shout outs to "West Coast, best coast" rang out through the evening, and a remembrance of Tupac Shakur brought it home.

Thom Andersen's Get Out of the Car - REDCAT Theater

“Los Angeles Plays Itself” director/writer, CalArts professor, former L.A. cab driver and walking encyclopedia on all things musical and filmic, Thom Andersen presented his latest short film at the REDCAT Theater Tuesday.

As expected, the film shows a side of L.A. that Hollywood’s appropriations of the city do not, with long, thoughtful shots of neighborhoods like El Monte, Lakewood and the western San Fernando Valley. Dilapidated signs, storefronts, skylines and billboards serve as outposts to this soulful, loving mapping project (which Andersen started in the 90s, shooting off and on over ten years and finally finishing in 2009).

But it’s the music that serves as a backdrop to this film about backdrops that really impresses. Richard Berry, Johnny Otis, Leiber and Stoller, Los Tigres del Norte and Frank Zappa are just of few of the you-can’t-even-find-em-anymore gems Andersen’s got in his collection. All of them are synched-up to a few nicely shot, beautifully composed glimpses at the region and its state of existence.

It’s a simple film for Andersen, whose other pieces are arguably more polemic and agenda-driven than this ode to songs and neighborhoods he likes, through his lens. But it sure feels good to just sit back, watch and listen.

02.11.11 Elephant Art Space 1 year on the Eastside Anny

Congrats to our favorite Glassell Park art space,
Elephant. That diminutive grey stucco box that actually does resemble a dusty pachyderm once was a neighborhood doctor's office. But the six crafty artists who make work here renovated the waiting room area into a pristine, white walled exhibition space. After throwing around the obvious names for the gallery (The Waiting Room, Dr. Gallery) they settled on the reference to the outer shell - a boxy grey building with a drain pipe on the side that resembles a trunk - yeah you can kind of see it.

Shows happen on a bi- or sometimes monthly basis, with a definite slant towards visiting curators who bring group shows to the space. At Elephant's Sunday afternoon receptions you'll whirl through dogs running in and out of the back yard area, where kids are welcome and Tacate in cans avec hot dog is the offering (as opposed to wine in little clear cups). The vibe is exceptionally chilled out and comfortingly professional, and for a space that's already brought artists the likes of Andy Roche and AJ Liberto to town, that's packing a lot of punch in just one little year.