Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Clifford Coulter – Sal Si Puedes

How in the hell did I only just find out, today, 19.6.18, about Clifford Coulter and his East Side tunes??? And on Impulse! Man, I owe a lot to Eric Avila for Folklore of the Freeway. His bibliography saved me from looking like an ignoramus. The book gave me the tip about the Mayfair district being called Sal Si Puedes (there’s one in Watsonville too, heh), as well as about Helena María Viramontes’ Their Dogs Came With Them that I finished yesterday. Let’s get out if we can.

Apply yourself and it comes to you …
If you believe in this lie, you’re a fool, my friend!
The odds are too high, you’ll never win. That’s the way it is.

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Purissima by Megan Delyani

Got this at the Local Color gallery’s zine fest over the weekend right in downtown San José. Purissima concerns a pair of young people who’ve come home from their respective west-coast megalopoli, which of course in 2016 represent the hopeless quest to gain success and meaning from a nonexistent higher rung of success after the conclusion of one’s education.

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The back of the zine says “Leigh wants answers,” but I’m not sure that the character conveys that, unless only in a very very aloof way. Having made it clear that she doesn’t want to catch up with anyone, Leigh nevertheless lets herself be invited out late at night for donuts by former schoolmate Jen (note the archly stereotyped naming conventions circa 2000-2010 for bookish and popular characters, if only the fault of their pretentious pathetic gen-X parents).

They cruise toward environs that will be familiar to those who’ve haunted author Delyani’s native coastal peninsula, particularly the San Mateo County stretch. Remember those shows they used to have at San Gregorio with the old bar and the campfire ring and there was no boss but just the show promoter??? When Mammatus and the Broads played???

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The zine deals brusquely and with late-adolescent acid with the topic of acceptance by a presumably oppressive popular kid in school. It also briefly runs through the confrontation between a humiliated kid and the attacker, and the attempts by the attacker to make amends.

I’d be interested in seeing Delyani pursue this scene further in a future zine, as I’ve been through that myself and would love to see more details and twists and turns in the gut-wrenching process of receiving, recognizing and trying to prove growth from having inflicted that old but significant wound. I’m still upset about the whole two people I was mean to in my life, in seventh grade, even though we’ve since made our peace. I also still hate the one guy that bullied me, mister immature over here…

Find Megan Delyani’s stuff wherever you can!

Pantomime Horse 1 by Ben Passmore

Ben Passmore is an artist living in New Orleans and of course dipshit me just now found out about him. Got an ad in the care package from Birdcage Bottom (who also distribute Those Dark New Hampshire Woods) about his apparently funny Goodbye, and now my friends at Èxitos Gnosis just brought me back Pantomime Horse 1 from Skylight Books in Hollywood. Passmore is great, to paraphrase the white supremacist and child rapist you just elected president, and you all should check out his stuff.

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The zine is intentionally as in-the-moment and ambiguous as possible, swinging for the purpose of explanation between two worlds that presumably represent different generations of a family. What I like most is how Passmore presents a narrative in pictures but then has the characters talk around an unspoken truth at the center of the story. Not to bring up 2666 again, but it reminded me of the toilet water circling around the void that is the narrative style of 2666. I guess I’ll have to read the rest of them to find out.

It ends with a letter addressed to someone with whom the speaker was confined to a place he or she had to flee from. It may be written by Passmore the person or by some character. All in all, a rousing and spooky zine. Thanks Ben! Visit him at Day Glo Ayhole.

Las Cafeteras at MACLA 3 October 2015

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I got to see Las Cafeteras, a high-energy band from East LA, last night at MACLA, which is probably the hippest art space in San Jose.

What I like most about MACLA is that they start off defining and carefully cultivating the political climate of everything they offer. They don’t stand back and make an empty space for the art like many galleries do (that’s great for some, but I prefer the political honesty and clarity). The second-best thing is that they sell good Gordon Biersch San Jose beer for cheap. They attract stuff you’re not going to see anywhere else, like the play Placas and an exhibition on the 1992 Crayola skin tone crayons that let kids draw with the crayons and write what they thought multiculturalism means. Wait, when the fuck did those crayons happen? I don’t remember this! Did my school turn a blind eye???
Las Cafeteras are all about audience participation, and I really appreciate how they talk about real stuff like student debt and the difficulty of being an artist in this economy. I’m not interested in talking about some spokesperson for some generation, but rather I’ll say simply that I feel like Cafeteras are doing a great job talking to people like me through their music, and there are a lot of people in the situation they describe who’re both ten years younger than me and ten years older.
They did the zapatazo thing, played in son and other rhythms, and ended their set with a call-and-response about gratitude. They sang in both English and Spanish. Their members definitely had an educated folk-revival type vibe. It was an awesome show. The opening act Diana Gameros was pretty great too. Viva MACLA!