gigs LA

in the woods yesterday, on art walk Thursday

I played a strange and amazing gig yesterday in deep woods north of LA, put on a by group called Natural Stage that describes the shows this way:

Hikes without Mics is an event usually held on the first Sunday of the month (but always check the calendar as that may change). Locations vary but generally involve a mild 1-4 mile (roundtrip) hike to a “Natural Stage” where a concert occurs. Some concerts will include a mix of short folk, jazz, classical, experimental, etc. sets by various performers.

In practice what this meant was a longish walk on a barely-visible trail by a creek, at the the end of which was a pretty waterfall with a woman standing in front of it to sing indie-rock type songs while she accompanied herself on ukelele. I did the hike with my Estralita on my back in a gig bag for bass, and instead of the bowler and brogans I usually wear I had a coonskin cap and psychedelic emerica sneaks. I ran into Pamita halfway up the path. She was rocked out in cowboy boots, a dress, and fishnets, which is an outfit that’s just slightly better adapted to scrambling over boulders than the corset she usually wears.

There was no real crowd to speak of, but there were plenty of musicians there to play and play for. The acoustics out in the forest were special and listening to the other acts was a profound pleasure.

Because the issue is lurking, I should point out that this was not a Grateful Dead setup like a drum circle. These people knew irony. The tactic is along the same lines as a dance party on the subway, where a group meets up at a subway car and dances to electronic music on a boom box for a few stops, then gets off and disperses. This was an acoustic flash mob.

Next show for me is on Thursday night 6:30-7:00 on the Hippodrome bus on the Art Walk in downtown LA:

WHAT: The Hippodrome, a rolling curated salon on a custom vintage school bus

WHEN: Every Second Thursday (October 9, November 13 etc.) during downtown LA Art Walk, 6-10pm nightly

WHERE: The shuttle route circles Gallery Row (Main and Spring Streets between 9th and 2nd Streets)

If you live in LA and you haven’t done the art walk, you oughta. It’s the closest thing to vibrant street life downtown. The people watching is untouchable, and hanging out on the Hippodrome gives a sense of connection and community. The whole thing is the opposite of the Bergamot Station / Santa Monica vibe for looking at art.

It’ll never make sense to play resonator guitar on a street corner or on a festival stage, but then again it’ll also never make sense to set up a drum kit in a rolling curated salon on a custom vintage school bus, or to drown out a little waterfall with electronic riffage from a laptop. I love getting to make art in these deeply un-digital situations.

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livin easy @ Hyperion Tavern Thurs 9/25

I’ll do a solo set at 10:30 tomorrow night at the Hyperion Tavern at 1941 Hyperion Ave, in Silverlake, Los Angeles, California. Also on the bill: Dick and Jane (before me) and the Homebillies (after me).

There’ll be sheet music of my transcription of “Living Easy” by Irving Jones to give out to anybody who wants to learn the song, and of course I’ll play the thing myself. This song disappeared almost instantly on publication in 1899, was never recorded as far as I can tell, and has left only three impressions in the historical record:

1) Charles Ives recalled having heard it in the early 1890s, sometime around the birth of ragtime in 1893.

2) In the mid-1890s when Scott Joplin lived in Sedalia, Missouri there was a local band named after a line in the song — the “Pork Chops Greazy Quartette.”

3) Copyrighted and published in 1899.

And that’s it. It was a hot underground ragtime tune very early on, and as soon as it got a bit of commercial support it went *poof*. Until tomorrow night in Silverlake in the year 2008, 109 years later.

Musically I’ve been on a roll lately, and if I don’t break my streak it’ll be a fine night of hella old music, so c’mon by. If you haven’t done one of these Hyperion shows the thing to know is that it’s a tiny place with cheap beers, no cover, and no electricity to to amplify the music and drown out your conversation, which is better for you than me but what the hell.

The situation is low key to an extreme. Dick and Jane and the Homebillies and myself all play there regularly, and the crowd is generally heavy on musicians and people in the music business. Here’s review of the place:

Two outlandish chandeliers, a shelf full of legal tomes, and a bathroom marked “slave toilet” are all part of the casual punk rock aesthetic of this friendly, intimate tavern. There’s no sign outside, so the crowd tends to consist of scruffily hip creative types already in the know about the space. Only open late at night, the bar uses various themes like ’60s pop culture and “Guitar Hero” video game night as a draw for the inexpensive beer.

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Here’s Dick and Jane’s flyer:

Dick and Jane's flyer for gig at the Hyperion Lounge 9/25/2008


Obama show in LA Sunday

I’ll be playing an Obama fundraiser at 6 on Sunday:

3860 Tracy Street @ St. George in the Franklin Hills/Los Feliz/Silverlake area, 90027. We have a big garden that is good for performance. We’ll also have bingo, barbeque, beer and hopefully babes for Obama.

The thing starts at 4 and officially stops at 8, though I’d be surprised if it doesn’t go on until late.

gigs LA

August shows

On Friday 8/29 I’ll play at Arnie’s cafe in Tujunga with my friends David Orser, Scott Boyd, and Fred the drummer. This will be a slacker jam of old time music. I imagine the highlight will be David’s ragtime piano playing, which is amazing.

I’ll do a solo show at an Obama fundraiser on Sunday August 31st. It’s a garden party in Silverlake, Los Angeles, held by a woman named Jane Cantillon with a reputation for putting on great parties. Jane and her husband Dick are a lot of fun, and it’ll be a good time for a fine cause.

I’ll also be playing with Madame Pamita at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena on Tuesday the 19th. This is a cabaret style event where I’ll be playing in Pam’s band and doing a solo song.


LA show 7/31

Echo Curio

I’ll do a solo show at the Echo Curio in Echo Park, Los Angeles, tomorrow night. Showtime loosely 9:45. Suggested donation $5. Other acts on the bill are Mark Miller of skeeter truck, who plays in a lonesome slide style, and a fine bluegrass combo called the Homebillies.

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space is the place June 21

On June 21 I’ll be sitting in with Girlz of Zaetar. It’ll be a psycho freakout rather than my normal sedate instrumentals. Should be chaotic and messy in a fun way.

Sun Ra and Funkadelic Intriguing sprawl of free jazz, religious ecstasy, and entertainingly devolved ideas about sound, rhythm, tempo, and togetherness. – A brazen display of cacaphony that will bring a tear to your eye The spirit of Ra says you would be foolish not to give them a listen.

Then that night I’ll play jazz with Tequila Mockingbird at Zero One Gallery. This is a regular party that Tequila organizes, and it’s usually freaktastic.

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Hippodrome bus gig June 12

Next Thursday, June 12, I’ll be playing on a bus

This is the Hippodrome, the official free shuttle of downtown’s Art Walk, running every second Thursday from 6-10pm. … Art Walk’s Hippodrome will serve this popular monthly event as a floating salon, featuring live music, art happenings, readings and curated conversations.

Per Mickie’s Zoo:

Starting June 12, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave of Esotouric, the eclectic bus adventure company whose tours reveal L.A.’s secret history, transform what’s been a sleepy free city DASH bus shuttle into something more appropriate to the Art Walk: The Hippodrome, a curated rolling salon. Art Walk visitors can still use the Hippodrome to get from Bert Green Fine Arts to The Hive — but with so many interesting things happening on the bus, they may find they don’t want to disembark when they arrive.

The Hippodrome is a customized former school bus brightly painted on the outside with lively graffiti-style scenes of beautiful women. Inside, passengers and performers sit face-to-face in a comfortable nightclub-style setting, with checkerboard flooring, cocktail tables and softly blinking lights. Every month the Hippodrome will feature interesting performers channeling the spirit of the neighborhood’s storied past.

The bus tour is part of Kim Cooper and Richard Schave’s Esotouric series of LA bus tours. Kim and Richard are supersmart lovers of LA, architecture, music, and history. The trips generally revolve around their stories of the city. These are trips for locals to discover their own home, rather than for visitors to gawk at homes of the stars.

I’ll also be at the Hyperion tonight at 10 and at Taix with Madame Pamita on Thursday 6/12, 6/19, and 6/26.

gigs LA

TAIX gigs May-June

At 10 PM every Wednesday night in May and June I’ll be playing in Madame Pamita‘s band at a French restaurant in Silverlake called Taix. It’s not nearly as formal as the restaurant’s web site implies. We start when the kitchen closes for the night, and there are a couple bands after us.

It’s a fun gig. Pamita’s act alternates tarot readings of audience members with hillbilly songs from the 19-teens and 1920s. Also the band gets dinner on the house before the set, and it’s a far cry from normal gig food, which is usually something like rock-bottom slices of pizza at the nearest dive.