Feb 132020
 

Winter- Bonsai

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (2/13-2/16/20)-

Thursday

As The World Berns, a fundraiser for candidate Bernie Sanders, is taking place at the Bootleg Theater with musical performances by Gold Star, Olivia Kaplan, Alex Lilly, Austin McCutchen & The Western Stars, Cornelia Murr, Clinton Patterson, Gus Seyffert and more

Moaning are playing a free (with RSVP) show at Moon Room

Hammer Museum is hosting The How and Why of Political Advertising, with LMU professor Fernando Guerra and campaign strategist John Thomas joining moderator and Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson to break down the politics and law behind campaign spending and advertising.

Poet and educator Shonda Buchanan is speaking at The Broad as part of its lecture series The Logic of Poetry and Dreams

Brazilian artist Sessa is playing at Zebulon with SK Kakraba

Pink Mountaintops, Corridor, KEEN, and Clear are playing a free show at Highland Park Bowl

 

Friday

Spend Valentine’s Day in Grand Park with a celebration of Lovers Rock with DJ Linafornia (free)

Hammer Museum is having a free screening of the film Moonlight

Bat for Lashes is performing at The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Massage, Starry Eyed Cadet, and Dummy are playing a free show at Highland Park Bowl

Saintseneca are opening for Murder by Death at the Regent Theater

The Aero Theatre is showing Casablanca for Valentine’s Day

Tan Cologne are playing at The Hi Hat with Grant Earl Lavalley and Glances opening

 

Saturday

Winter are opening for Part Time and Garry Wilson at the Regent Theater with Bryson Cone

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA is hosting Brutally Early (it starts at 7:30am)- a free morning of conversations with artists including- Simone Forti, Kandis Williams, Shirin Neshat, Miles Brenninkmeijer, Patrick Staff, Rodney McMillian, and choreographers Gerard & Kelly- hosted by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Klaus Biesenbach (in addition, it begins with coffee and donuts and ends with champagne and ice cream)

As part of  The Broad’s Un-Private Collection conversation series, artists Christopher Wool and Kim Gordon will be speaking with critic and curator John Corbett

Artist Joe Sola will be in conversation with author Jarett Kobek (I hate the internet) at Honor Fraser at noon

17 DJs (including Grimes) are performing in 5 rooms for Rhondavous A Lovers Ball at Catch One

If you are a fan of ambient music, Malcolm Cecil will be performing at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church with Cool Maritime and Yialmelic Frequencies opening

 

Sunday

For the last day of Phillip K. Smith III’s exhibition at Bridge Projects there will be a day of activities including a soundscape by William Basinski, a relaxation workshop, and a tea tasting as part of their Oasis programming (also on Saturday)

Artist Dominique Moody will be in conversation with journalist Lynell George at the California African American Museum

Hammer Museum is hosting the climate justice themed Panic Party, with DJs, cocktails, after hours gallery access, short films, artist activations, voter registration, vegan food and more

Lucy Arnell, Nico Yaryan and more are performing as part of a Benefit for Australia at Permanent Records Roadhouse

 

All Weekend

StARTup LA Art Fair returns to The Kinney Venice Beach on Friday evening. It is one of the better art fairs as it offers a chance to meet the artists (who take over rooms in the hotel) and buy from them directly

Art Los Angeles Contemporary opens Thursday running until Sunday and has moved to The Hollywood Athletic Club from the Barker Hangar

Spring/Break Art Show is taking place all weekend starting Friday at Skylight ROW DTLA

Felix Art Fair returns to the Roosevelt Hotel (opening night Thursday). Although last year it was free, this year tickets are $25

Frieze Art Fair runs all weekend but only has program tickets (no gallery tent) available for Saturday and Sunday

Feb 012020
 

Playlists can be like a time capsule, capturing the energy of a specific time period. Anxiety, money, greed, politics, criminal justice, television, and social media were common themes. Of course songs of heartbreak, nostalgia, hope, and navigating your way through tough times are always present- and they are here too. This year there were songs that stood out musically, and others that were just fun.

We also lost a lot of great artists in 2019. Two of them with songs that came out this year, Nipsey Hussle and David Berman, are included in this playlist.

One note- There were several famous artists with great songs this year who were not included on this playlist to make room for artists whose work is less well known, but not less great.

Jan 232020
 

Agnes Obel- Broken Sleep

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (1/23-1/26/20)-

Thursday

Fog Lake are playing El Cid with Foxes in Fiction

Filmmaker Jennifer Saparzadeh will be speaking at The Broad as part of their series The Logic of Poetry and Dreams (free but reserve ticket)

Artist Constance Mallinson will be in conversation with MOCA Assistant Curator Rebecca Lowery at MOCA Grand Avenue

Death Valley Girls are playing a free show at The Edison (RSVP here)

Patrick Watson is playing with Brad Barr at Lodge Room (also Friday)

 

Friday

Agnes Obel is playing at The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever (also Thursday)

Beverly Cinema is showing Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood with a Q&A to follow with Arianne Phillips (costume designer), Barbara Ling (production designer), Wylie Stateman (sound editing), Mark Ulano (sound mixing), Michael Minkler (sound mixing) and Christian Minkler (sound mixing)

Blackbird Blackbird is performing at The Roxy with vōx

The Shivas are playing with Movie Club at the Bootleg Theater

 

Saturday

The Annual SoCal Museum Free For All offers free admission to museums that include The Autry, Descanso Gardens, LACMA, Natural History Museum and more

Playwright Samuel Beckett’s rarely performed Quad I and Quad II, directed by Michael Hackett, will be performed at Hammer Museum as part of a county-wide festival of performances inspired by LA Opera’s world premiere of Eurydice

Colleen Green and Weird Night are playing at Permanent Records Roadhouse

glass beach, Dogleg, and Kara’s Walk Home are playing at The Echo

The Knocks and Friends are playing at 1720

 

Sunday

The High Curbs are playing at Moroccan Lounge with Sad Park, Death Lens, and Super Lunch

The Theatre at Ace Hotel is showing Bong Joon Ho’s film Parasite with the score performed live by the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra and Parasite composer Jung Jaeil

It’s the last weekend to see Nayland Blake’s exhibition at ICA LA and tonight at Zebulon they are hosting DisGender Euphoria: Nayland Blake’s First International Intergenerational Gender Discard Party– an evening of performance, music, dance, and “gender discard” featuring Nao Bustamante, Ron Athey, Jamillah James, Bradford Nordeen, Jennifer Doyle and more

Cursive are playing with Cloud Nothings and Criteria at the Teragram Ballroom

Jan 082020
 

Every week I listen to the majority of bands and artists playing in Los Angeles to decide which shows to recommend for the Los Angeles Weekend Planner. I then create a playlist (or playlists) for that month of the music I liked.

The above are December’s selections.

Nov 152019
 

Looking for some new music to listen to this weekend? Every month I listen to the majority of bands/musicians that play in Los Angeles before deciding which shows to recommend. Songs are then added to a playlist for that month. If there are a lot of good bands/performers, it gets split into two. These are October’s selections.

Oct 162019
 

Every month I listen to the majority of bands/musicians that play in Los Angeles before deciding which shows to recommend. Songs are then added to a playlist for that month. If there are a lot of good bands, it gets split into two. These are September’s selections.

Sep 202019
 

Every month I listen to the majority of bands/musicians that play in Los Angeles before deciding which shows to recommend. Songs are then added to a playlist for that month. If there are a lot of good bands, it gets split into two. These are August’s selections.

 

Aug 142019
 

Every week before making suggestions for which bands to see in Los Angeles, I preview every band or performer I find a listing for. If I think they are worth checking out I put them in that month’s playlist and then when the month is over I review it and make it public.

This month there was a lot of good music so the playlist has been split into two.

Aug 122019
 

Silver Jews- Random Rules

I first heard about David Berman and his band Silver Jews a while ago, as they were one of those bands you heard about if you were a Pavement fan. But sadly, I never got around to listening to them until now.

Stephen Malkmus and David Berman went to the University of Virginia and later moved together to Hoboken, New Jersey.  There Malkmus, along with their other roommate Bob Nastanovich, played with additional bandmates as Pavement, and together with Berman they formed the Silver Jews, although Berman soon remained the only constant member of the band.

When I discovered that David Berman had passed away and read the many quotes from his songs posted online by friends and fans, I finally spent some time listening to his music. There are just so many great lines in these songs. For instance, from Random Rules, posted above- “In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection/ Slowly screwing my way across Europe, they had to make a correction”. It’s a funny opener and the whole song is filled with quotable lyrics. Towards the end are the lyrics “I asked the painter why the roads are colored black/ He said, ‘Steve, it’s because people leave/And no highway will bring them back’.” So many of his songs are like this, the humor mixed with the pathos.

Silver Jews disbanded in 2009 and Berman quit making music for awhile. In 2011 he started a blog. In May, ten years after he stopped making music, he released the album Purple Mountains. The lyrics to the songs on this album, including the one below, are poignant, made even more so after his death. In a recent interview with Exclaim!, he discusses each song off that album.

Purple Mountains- All My Happiness Is Gone (song starts 2:06)

He also wrote poetry, and this poem, from his book Actual Air, is just so incredible I’m presenting it in its entirety (via poemhunter).

Self-Portrait at 28

I know it’s a bad title
but I’m giving it to myself as a gift
on a day nearly canceled by sunlight
when the entire hill is approaching
the ideal of Virginia
brochured with goldenrod and loblolly
and I think “at least I have not woken up
with a bloody knife in my hand”
by then having absently wandered
one hundred yards from the house
while still seated in this chair
with my eyes closed.

It is a certain hill
the one I imagine when I hear the word “hill”
and if the apocalypse turns out
to be a world-wide nervous breakdown
if our five billion minds collapse at once
well I’d call that a surprise ending
and this hill would still be beautiful
a place I wouldn’t mind dying
alone or with you.

I am trying to get at something
and I want to talk very plainly to you
so that we are both comforted by the honesty.
You see there is a window by my desk
I stare out when I am stuck
though the outdoors has rarely inspired me to write
and I don’t know why I keep staring at it.

My childhood hasn’t made good material either
mostly being a mulch of white minutes
with a few stand out moments,
popping tar bubbles on the driveway in the summer
a certain amount of pride at school
everytime they called it “our sun”
and playing football when the only play
was “go out long” are what stand out now.

If squeezed for more information
I can remember old clock radios
with flipping metal numbers
and an entree called Surf and Turf.

As a way of getting in touch with my origins
every night I set the alarm clock
for the time I was born so that waking up
becomes a historical reenactment and the first thing I do
is take a reading of the day and try to flow with it like
when you’re riding a mechanical bull and you strain to learn
the pattern quickly so you don’t inadverantly resist it.

II two

I can’t remember being born
and no one else can remember it either
even the doctor who I met years later
at a cocktail party.
It’s one of the little disappointments
that makes you think about getting away
going to Holly Springs or Coral Gables
and taking a room on the square
with a landlady whose hands are scored
by disinfectant, telling the people you meet
that you are from Alaska, and listen
to what they have to say about Alaska
until you have learned much more about Alaska
than you ever will about Holly Springs or Coral Gables.

Sometimes I am buying a newspaper
in a strange city and think
“I am about to learn what it’s like to live here.”
Oftentimes there is a news item
about the complaints of homeowners
who live beside the airport
and I realize that I read an article
on this subject nearly once a year
and always receive the same image.

I am in bed late at night
in my house near the airport
listening to the jets fly overhead
a strange wife sleeping beside me.
In my mind, the bedroom is an amalgamation
of various cold medicine commercial sets
(there is always a box of tissue on the nightstand).

I know these recurring news articles are clues,
flaws in the design though I haven’t figured out
how to string them together yet,
but I’ve begun to notice that the same people
are dying over and over again,
for instance Minnie Pearl
who died this year
for the fourth time in four years.

III three

Today is the first day of Lent
and once again I’m not really sure what it is.
How many more years will I let pass
before I take the trouble to ask someone?

It reminds of this morning
when you were getting ready for work.
I was sitting by the space heater
numbly watching you dress
and when you asked why I never wear a robe
I had so many good reasons
I didn’t know where to begin.

If you were cool in high school
you didn’t ask too many questions.
You could tell who’d been to last night’s
big metal concert by the new t-shirts in the hallway.
You didn’t have to ask
and that’s what cool was:
the ability to deduct
to know without asking.
And the pressure to simulate coolness
means not asking when you don’t know,
which is why kids grow ever more stupid.

A yearbook’s endpages, filled with promises
to stay in touch, stand as proof of the uselessness
of a teenager’s promise. Not like I’m dying
for a letter from the class stoner
ten years on but…

Do you remember the way the girls
would call out “love you!”
conveniently leaving out the “I”
as if they didn’t want to commit
to their own declarations.

I agree that the “I” is a pretty heavy concept
and hope you won’t get uncomfortable
if I should go into some deeper stuff here.

IV four

There are things I’ve given up on
like recording funny answering machine messages.
It’s part of growing older
and the human race as a group
has matured along the same lines.
It seems our comedy dates the quickest.
If you laugh out loud at Shakespeare’s jokes
I hope you won’t be insulted
if I say you’re trying too hard.
Even sketches from the original Saturday Night Live
seem slow-witted and obvious now.

It’s just that our advances are irrepressible.
Nowadays little kids can’t even set up lemonade stands.
It makes people too self-conscious about the past,
though try explaining that to a kid.

I’m not saying it should be this way.

All this new technology
will eventually give us new feelings
that will never completely displace the old ones
leaving everyone feeling quite nervous
and split in two.

We will travel to Mars
even as folks on Earth
are still ripping open potato chip
bags with their teeth.

Why? I don’t have the time or intelligence
to make all the connections
like my friend Gordon
(this is a true story)
who grew up in Braintree Massachusetts
and had never pictured a brain snagged in a tree
until I brought it up.
He’d never broken the name down to its parts.
By then it was too late.
He had moved to Coral Gables.

V five

The hill out my window is still looking beautiful
suffused in a kind of gold national park light
and it seems to say,
I’m sorry the world could not possibly
use another poem about Orpheus
but I’m available if you’re not working
on a self-portrait or anything.

I’m watching my dog have nightmares,
twitching and whining on the office floor
and I try to imagine what beast
has cornered him in the meadow
where his dreams are set.

I’m just letting the day be what it is:
a place for a large number of things
to gather and interact —
not even a place but an occasion
a reality for real things.

Friends warned me not to get too psychedelic
or religious with this piece:
“They won’t accept it if it’s too psychedelic
or religious,” but these are valid topics
and I’m the one with the dog twitching on the floor
possibly dreaming of me
that part of me that would beat a dog
for no good reason
no reason that a dog could see.

I am trying to get at something so simple
that I have to talk plainly
so the words don’t disfigure it
and if it turns out that what I say is untrue
then at least let it be harmless
like a leaky boat in the reeds
that is bothering no one.

VI six

I can’t trust the accuracy of my own memories,
many of them having blended with sentimental
telephone and margarine commercials
plainly ruined by Madison Avenue
though no one seems to call the advertising world
“Madison Avenue” anymore. Have they moved?
Let’s get an update on this.

But first I have some business to take care of.

I walked out to the hill behind our house
which looks positively Alaskan today
and it would be easier to explain this
if I had a picture to show you
but I was with our young dog
and he was running through the tall grass
like running through the tall grass
is all of life together
until a bird calls or he finds a beer can
and that thing fills all the space in his head.

You see,
his mind can only hold one thought at a time
and when he finally hears me call his name
he looks up and cocks his head
and for a single moment
my voice is everything:

Self-portrait at 28.

There is only so much time to read, listen to, and see all the wonderful things people have created. David Berman made work well worth spending some of that precious time on.

Rest in Peace.