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Jessie Evans, The Vanishing Lady, Returns To California

Posted by Aaron Detroit, July 23, 2009 11:23am | Post a Comment
Greetings and Salutations!! Welcome to the inaugural post of Amoeba’s Black Light District, a new weekly(ish) blog where we shall traverse in the darker realms of the musical & subcultural universe (i.e. Death Rock, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Transgressive Fiction, Dark Wave, Apocalyptic Folk, Goth, Black Metal, B-Movies, Doom Disco, Synthpop, Ethereal Nu-Gaze, Neo-New Beat, Death-Twee, Infernal Drone and all manner of night-friendly sounds and darkly delights! *cue Evil Doctor laugh). Come forth, for we own the night!

This week, California’s prodigal dark queen,
Jessie Evans, jessie evans is it fire?returns for shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles to promote her debut solo LP, Is It Fire? (Fantomette Records). Jessie spent nearly a decade in the California Punk and Death-Rock scenes honing her chops singing and wailing James Chance-style on her trusty saxophone (as well as a few other instruments!) in bands like The Vanishing and the now rather legendary Subtonix.

The Vanishing relocated from San Francisco to Berlin in 2004 but split up soon after, leaving Jessie free for new ventures.
Autonervous, initially a solo project, blossomed into a collaborative project between Evans and Bettina Koster (of the '80s German band MALARIA!). The duo released an LP and toured in 2006. Autonervous marked a heavy shift in direction for Ms. Evans -- her songwriting became more sultry and less incendiary, her lyrics more minimal and focused. Also bubbling under the dancey beats was a new sense of joy. Egads! Her grimajessie evansce was turning into a smile!

On Is It Fire? that smile has turned into full-on laughte
r, and audibly s
o! It’s not an evil-kind of laughter either, on the interlude track “Micheladas,” Evans can be heard clinking glasses and laughing joyously. The album is indeed a celebration of dark glamour, love and sexuality, from the daring come-on of "Scientist of Love" and the House-y statement of intent, “Let Me On,” on to the horn-y swing of the Autonervous re-take “Golden Snake” and the dark and dreamy sway of “Black Sand” with its chant of “It’s time to get into your body.”

Evans didn’t party completely alone though; in fact, she brought in some heavy-hitters, literally. Both
Toby Dammit (Swans, Iggy Pop), and Budgie (Siouxsie & The Banshees) share time behind the drum-kit on the album. Evans’ arrangements focus heavily on beat and rhythm, which adds greatly to the primal and sexual mood of the album, whilst Budgie ‘s presence definitely lends to some Creatures-esque moments. Also under Evans' employ is horn-blower Martin Wenk (Calexico), and an International Children’s choir. This lady throws one crazy shindig!
jessie evans and budgie
Half of Is It Fire? was recorded at home in Berlin while the other half was recorded in Jessie’s newest beloved city, Tijuana (Evans pays tribute en Espa├▒ol on 3 tracks). Evans’ ridiculously long list of credible contributors gets longer with production and mixing duties handled by Thomas Stern (Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, Crime and The City Solution) in Berlin and Pepe Mogt (Nortec Collective) in Tijuana.

Cypress Park

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 7, 2009 05:00pm | Post a Comment
In this installment of the Los Angeles neighborhood blog, we visit Cypress Park. To vote for the neighborhood you think I should visit next, go here or to vote for a Los Angeles County community you'd like to see covered, go here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

Cypress Park
The western entry into the neighborhood with Lincoln Heights in the background.

Cypress Park is a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles hemmed in by Mt. Washington to the northeast, the LA River on the southwest and Lincoln Heights to the south.

Choral, Organ and Brass Concert July 2nd FREE!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 29, 2009 10:30pm | Post a Comment

In the confusing sprawl that is Los Angeles, you never know what alternate realities are hidden from block to block. Some of our best kept culinary secrets are tucked away in minimal blight or carted around in taco trucks, secret museums are hidden in bank basements, powerful soothsayers and Santaria healers rent corner spaces from struggling car stereo shops. But due to the overwhelming topography of LA, we can miss out of things that are not hidden at all. In fact, some of these "secrets" can take up city blocks. Case in point, the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. The beautiful Neo-Gothic church is just behind Lafayette Skate Park in the Westlake area and quite visible from Wilshire. If you need an escape from the drug dealers and fake I.D. guys in MacArthur Park, this is the place. Every Thursday @ 12:10 they open the doors to the public and give free organ concerts. Their organ happens to be the largest on the planet, so it's quite a privilage to attend these concerts. This Thursday, July 2nd, there will be a special concert @ 2:00pm featuring brass and choral ensembles as well as the organ. It might be worth an extended lunch break...



Continue reading...

Yucca Corridor

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 25, 2009 01:25pm | Post a Comment
In this installment of the Los Angeles neigborhood blog, we visit Yucca Corridor. To vote for a different Los Angeles neighborhood, go here. To vote for a Los Angeles County community, go here.

  Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of Hollywood
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Yucca Corridor & Hollywood

The Yucca Corridor is a small, crowded neighborhood in central Hollywood, just northwest of downtown. Its borders are Franklin Ave on the north, Hollywood Blvd on the south, Highland on the west, and Vine on the east. Below is the southeast corner of what's now Yucca Corridor as it was in 1907. Nowadays it is 42% Latino (mostly Mexican and Guatelmalteca), 41% white (mostly Armenian), 7% Asian and 5% black.



The Yucca Corridor
Yucca Corridor is a fairly dilapidated section of Hollywood, despite 100s of millions of dollars having been dumped into it since the death of Hollywood in the 1950s. Today, although much improved from its nadir, it’s still one of the most run-down areas of Los Angeles. Now, after decades of heralding its complete rejuvenation, the hype finally seems to be approaching reality -- though tellingly, the predominant smell in the air is of sun-dried urine.

francEyE 1922 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, June 24, 2009 05:01am | Post a Comment

Frances Dean Smith
, the prolific Santa Monica poet known as francEyE died earlier this month in San Rafael of complications from a broken hip. She was 87.
 
She was inspired by Charles Bukowski, whom she met in 1963. They began a relationship and soon after moved in together. Their daughter, Marina Louise Bukowski, was born the following year. But her legacy is so much more than being the mother of Bukowski’s child.

She was a winner of the Allen J. Freedman Poetry Prize, and was a frequent contributor to a variety of presses, large and small, like the Saturday Review, Chiron Review, Comet, and Blue Satellite. francEyE also published several collections of her work including Snaggletooth in Ocean Park (Sacred Beverage Press, 1996), Amber Spider (Pearl, 2004), Grandma Stories (Conflux Press, 2008) and Call (Rose of Sharon Press, 2008). Smith can be seen in the film Bukowski: Born Into This (2004), GV6 The Odyssey: Poets Passion & Poetry (2006), and other documentaries about the LA poetry scene.
 
francEyE was affectionately called the Bearded Witch of Ocean Park (a Santa Monica neighborhood where she had lived since the early 1970’s) because of the wispy gray strands of hair flowing from her chin. Bukowski fondly referred to her in one of his poems as Old Snaggle-Tooth. Here is some of her poetry:
 
(UNTITLED) "I WANNA KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO DIE ..."
I wanna know what it's like to die.
Will I see Skye? Will I really
fly? Will I never be able to taste tiramisu again
and are there pleasures after death greater than taste? Soon I'll find
out,
of course, but I'd like to know about it while I'm still
alive. This little pain in the middle of my chest
annoys me; is it trying to tell me not to worry? Well, really,
worried I'm not; I'm inquisitive. No
answers in sight, I believe, so I think I'll lie down and
close my mind to all that, think about
Leonard Cohen.
(Thursday, March 26, 2009)
 
SO LONG, WHOEVER YOU ARE
Today's the day I saw you die. It's
the day Obama won, so now I'll always remember,
Oh yes, I remember when Obama won, it was the day
I saw that woman die. We were sitting in the hall
across from each other in our walkers, resting. We
made eye contact, peaceful in the sort of eventless
afternoon when it seemed the only thing
happening was on
TV. Obama was winning, we were resting, our heads supported by
the backs of our chairs. Then yours wasn't, it fell forward til your
face
hit your chest; I gave a yelp; nurses came. Here, and then not here,
just like that. Mystery woman, I'll remember you, and honor you every
year on the day Obama won, 4th
day of November, 2008, his
victory day and your
yahrzeit.
(Tuesday, November 4, 2008)
 
FOR MY BIRTHDAY SOME DAY
to N.H.B. Sahoo

please,
make me a book
of pictures of dragons,
pictures of all the dragons that you know.
I would like to see a picture of the dragon of sunrise,
and I would like to see a picture of the dragon defender of all frogs and toads
and I would like to see a picture of the dragon of mercy
and one of the dragon of no mercy, too,
and above all I need a picture of
The Dragon of Everything and if there is a Dragon of Nothing
I need that one,
and then to end the book I think there should be a picture
of a dragon of excellent birthday parties and
one of
sweet sleep. Especially yes, I want to see with my own eyes
a picture of the dragon of sweet
sleep.
(Tuesday, August 15, 2006)
 

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