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Taste of the Mideast Side -- at the Los Angeles County Store

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 8, 2014 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography

Taste of the Mideast Side


If there are regular readers of my column here on the Amoeblog, they've probably seen some of the hand-drawn and hand-painted maps which I include in my series of Southland explorations I call California Fool's Gold. Right now a series of new maps are on display at the Los Angeles County Store in East Hollywood. None, except the Los Feliz map, have been the subject of Eric's Blog entries yet. 

Eric Brightwell Cartography Art Show Los Angeles County Store

The Los Angeles County Store is a great retail shop which features only goods designed and manufactured in Los Angeles County. The opening has already passed but the maps can still be seen in person if you head over there soon -- the show ends on 21 September

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of the Mideast Side (3rd Edition)
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of the Mideast Side (3rd Edition)

I refer to the set of paintings as Taste of the Mideast Side -- a reference to Taste of the Eastside, a four-year-old food event which despite its name never features restaurants from the Eastside unless you clarify that you're talking about the Eastside of Central Los Angeles (aka the original Westside). By the way, there is an older pre-existing event called The Taste of East L.A. which as its name correctly suggests, features restaurants from East Los Angeles -- a neighborhood actually located in the Eastside
Anyway, here are the maps included in the show (which you can vote for me to write about here). 

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California Fool's Gold -- A Hollywood Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 26, 2012 09:42pm | Post a Comment
HOLLYWOOD SWINGING

Hollywood Boulevard - 1927
Hollywood Boulevard in 1927 at the opening of Hells Angels at Grauman's Chinese

Hollywood is famous around the world as the one-time center of the American film industry. Although Hollywood isn't the original home of the west coast film industry (nearby Edendale in Echo Park and Sycamore Grove in Highland Park both have stronger claims to that distinction), Hollywood has for almost a century continued to serve as a metonym for that industry (and inspire portmanteaus like Bollywood, Dollywood, Ghallywood, Kollywood, Mollywood, Nollywood, Tollywood, etc); even though that most of the film industry mostly long ago abandoned the neighborhood, primarily for the San Fernando Valley. Hollywood has done an excellent job of branding though. After all, you don't have other countries referring to their film industries as "Bedendale," "Nycamore Grove", or "the Ghalley."

Vintage Hollywood Postcard

The Hollywood neighborhood has expertly continued to pimp its association with the American film industry that formerly called it home where the other neighborhoods did not. In Edendale, the oldest studio was torn down and is now a vacant lot where the 2 Freeway meets Glendale. The old Mack Sennet Studio where Charlie Chaplin and Keystone Cops movies were made is now a public storage facility unceremoniously tucked behind a Jack in the Box. Hollywood, on the other hand, continues to bill itself as "The Entertainment Capital of the World" and adds industry-related tourist attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was installed long after the last pieces of tinsel in tinseltown had blown over the hills.
Homeless on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Today there are relatively few vestiges of Hollywood's cinematic past not installed merely to attract tourists -- of the film studios, only Paramount remains. Of the major label music industry, only Capitol Records remains. The aforementioned Walk of Fame -- to me, at least -- serves primarily as a testament to the ephemeral nature of stardom. Not to be hopelessly cynical but the first time I saw the names like Bryan Adams, Sean "Diddy" Combs, and Paula Abdul, I felt nothing but disinterest. However, for roughly ten million annual visitors it's presumably something terribly exciting and I honestly don't want to disparage that.

Hollywood Boulevard shops

I would be very surprised, however, if much of Hollywood doesn't disappoint the celebrity or glamor-chaser because it really has little of either. Along a particularly acrid stretch Hollywood Boulevard, low-end shops hawk photos of celebrities alongside stripper-wear, I Love Lucy lunch boxes, tacky cell phone cases, novelty license plates, T-shirts and other chintz. People dressed rather unconvincingly as superheroes attempt to bully clueless tourists into tipping them for posing in pictures. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's saddened by the spectacle. 

The Soft Pack Are Back, and Saxier Than Ever

Posted by Billy Gil, August 31, 2011 12:51pm | Post a Comment
The Soft Pack were set to play Sunset Junction last weekend. That didn’t happen, but the L.A. by way of San Diego band did set up for a surprise backyard show in Highland Park with Devon Williams in an awesome D.I.Y. way that made Sunset Junction’s absence less of a bummer. With the addition of a saxophone player that also played on their upcoming new album, The Soft Pack sounded stronger and more focused than ever before, honing their garage rock into perfect-summer-day surf rock. I chatted with drummer Brian Hill about the changes the band has made over the years, from their first album, as The Muslims, to 2010’s self-titled album, to now. Bonus: Free download of "Extinction" by The Soft Pack recorded live at Amoeba.

PST: Your guys’ transition from the Muslims to The Soft Pack across the two albums saw you guys employing a cleaner sound with more hi-fi production. What can you tell me about the new recordings so far?

Soft Pack Brian HillHill: So far, we've got a little more than half of the new record written and recorded. We went into a nice studio again, so the hi-fi sound is still a factor. We've gotten a lot more into doing actual tricks and production as well, overdubbing a lot of cool keyboard, sax and percussion tracks. That's kind of been the coolest part for us this time around.

PST: Are you playing any of the new songs live? What are some new songs we should look for in your live sets?
 
Hill: Actually, the new set is going to have about six or seven new songs in it. We're trying to get them down, so they don't sound like utter garbage. Also, we'll be bringing our friend Tony out on the road with us to help play sax, keys and extra guitar. We're trying to step up our game as much as possible for the next record. You gotta keep yourself entertained as well.

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Beach Goth Blues: The Growlers Invade Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, August 29, 2011 02:15pm | Post a Comment
From the mezzanine level of Amoeba Music in Hollywood, one could count over 400 damp heads (itThe Growlers Amoeba Hollywood was unfairly hot in L.A. this past Saturday) eagerly awaiting a performance that could get even the most dehydrated youngster dancing. The Growlers, a band formed in Long Beach in 2006, performed a last minute in-store show after the cancellation of Sunset Junction, where they were originally scheduled to play.

Dressed in suspenders, jeans, sneakers, and oxfords, the six-piece group leaped into action and opened up with the song “Drinking the Juice Blues.” The full playlist was comprised of 11 songs that ranged across their first album, Are You In Or Out?, the 10” EP Hot Tropics, and their Record Store Day 7” Gay Thoughts. As hundreds sang along to favorites such as “Something Someone Jr.” and “Wandering Eyes,” the group matched the enthusiasm of the crowd with excellent chemistry and seamless effort.

If you were close enough to the stage, you could admire their unabashed and quirky offness: a large mass of foil draped over the drum kit, a hand-painted image on a guitar, a rustic pair of conga drums that had been spray-painted. To top it off was the charming vocalist Brooks Nielsen, dancing and swerving without shyness as one might do when they’re alone in front of a mirror. The group’s lo-fi sound, a blend of surf and garage with psychedelic nods, clash rewardingly with their lyrics, which reference displacement, morbidity, and the strangeness of the self.

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Hello to this blog. Goodbye to Sunset Junction (for now). Hello to the Growlers at Amoeba.

Posted by Billy Gil, August 25, 2011 07:19pm | Post a Comment
clockFirst of all: hello! This is my blog. It's called Pacific Standard Time. I'm attempting to cover L.A. bands -- perhaps some you have heard of, some you haven't -- with show previews, record reviews, interviews, and such. It has nothing to do with this, although that's cool too and you should check it out. If you are in a band or promoting one, please email me at billy.gil@gmail.com to pitch me. YES!

Secondly, Sunset Junction will not be happening for the first time in its 31-year existence. While it's true that the festival that started as a way to bring together Silver Lake's Latino and gay communities had strayed pretty far from its roots, we're very sad to see this happen. For me, Sunset Junction was always something to look forward to before I lived in Silver Lake -- a reason to check out the area, a place I saw Sonic Youth play for next to nothing, an alternative gay festival. We're all sad to see it (hopefully temporarily) halted.

growlersBut in the absense of that, something pretty cool has happened, something that makes me all the more excited to start this blog and celebrate a music community not known to the outside world for its community-ness: L.A. is picking itself up by its bootstraps and putting on a number of musical events anyway, starting with Amoeba, who will host Long Beach's The Growlers for an in-store performance and signing of their Record Store Day vinyl at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 25. The Growlers play a brand of dusty lo-fi rock that sounds like it could have been recorded at any given point over the past three decades. They touch upon elements of surf rock, Nuggets garage rock, reverby indie rock, and psych pop in a way that feels seamless and inviting. I've been listening to Hot Tropics (2010, CD) and Are You In Or Out? (2009, LP) on loop in preparation and can't wait to see these guys live again. (See Amoeba's post for more information).

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