Tag Archives: music

Laswell/Zorn, Konx Om Pax, Chapel SF 13.7.18

I saw fuckin Bill Laswell, the man, last night in SF with his frequent collaborator John Zorn doing a thing they call Konx Om Pax. I went with my old pal Diahrrio of A Fashionable Disease, the best band in Santa Cruz in the oughts, and his girlfriend Danielle, who together do various noise projects. One of my other old friends showed up at the Chapel by surprise and a fine time was had by all. Below is the lame cellphone proof photo of the Chapel, one of SF’s great newish venues in the face of so many old ones dying.
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Laswell’s doing his Material bass thing with all the effects and Zorn’s farting into his thigh with those red army camo pants. Tell me he wears those around Manhattan.

The coolest part was after the end when the two retreated upstairs after an hour, having said not a fucking word to the audience. Me and this other cat waited at the bottom of the stairs and finally our main man, Security Fred, offers to take our records up with him and get them signed. Thanks Fred! Laswell signed my old Celluloid Records Time Zone single!! Fucking stoked. Thanks Bill!!! It was a once-in-a-lifetime show, and even benefited something about pretending to care about abuse and destruction of migrant laborers over the last 50 years.
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For the uninitiated, it’s hard to put the scope of Laswell’s contribution to punk rock and alternative (in the true broad sense, not like the 1994 BMG catalogue) music over the last 40 years into a quick statement. Before and even with the internet, Laswell is the only reason we know about Fela Kuti in the US. He seems to have been playing a game of making the most connections throughout his life. His bands Material, Last Exit, and Praxis, just to name a few, touch punk, hiphop, new age, ambient, jazz, Coltrane’s biggest fans Pharaoh Sanders and Sonny Sharrock, Bernie Worrell, and the Primus guys. He’s all about collaboration and mutual aid amongst artists. If you play the six-degrees game in contemporary music, you will find Bill every time. That woozy light-funk bass he’s known for might sound goofy in today’s context, but remember that he did it first and never stopped. It’s further notable that both Bill and Zorn have worked tirelessly to unite musicians on both coasts.

Not until I saw the ad for the show did I really feel how much his stuff has informed my life. What a treat to see him play. You can look up the similarly-cosmopolitan Zorn, I’m not really an expert except to say that his record project Tzadik was the inventor of the $35 fucking CD in the 90s, so we never dared hear Naked City even though we knew it’d be the most badass hardcore skronk that we needed to hear. Diahrrio’s band A Fashionable Disease was just a little influenced by Naked City, as it happens.

It was an old-guy set, which I loved, done by 10, and we were in bed by midnight.

 

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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.

Jon Taplin on the Libertarian Internet

Here’s an excellent talk by Jon Taplin of the Annenberg School of Communication at USC and father of Post-Consumer‘s Nick Taplin, on the problems of libertarian dumbshits who control the internet and also US politics. Remember kids, libertarians and neonazis are the SAME PEOPLE, Google CEO or not.

As a fairly true anarchist artist who is always about community, dialogue and exposure before “copyright,” I nevertheless appreciate Taplin’s warning that “the technological revolution is coming for all of your jobs.” Does that make me double down on copyright? Fuck no! It makes me double down on 1.) reduction of reliance on capitalism’s rules for survival and 2.) increase of sharing all things so that they don’t end up falling apart when whatever thing comes for whatever of all our things. Enjoy the video!

Fare Thee Well Caffe Pergolesi

Here’s what I’m bringing to Perg’s tonight, as it’s supposed to close this weekend.

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Not that I ever really liked Santa Cruz that much. And I don’t know much about Caffe Pergolesi besides what’s available in the paper and the fact that it’s in a historic house owned by one Dr Miller. But of course I was in the scene for ever, a scene that didn’t so much as end as never really begin and then slowly fade with the comings and goings of those involved. And more importantly, I along with a lot of people are devastated that Logo’s and now Perg’s are closing at the same time. They’ve been stable while so many other promising spaces have come and gone.

The message from landlords, the Canfields, and the owner class in general is clear: come to Santa Cruz, consume, throw trash, give money to private property, and leave; this is no longer a place to start communities. A place to raise kids, but no place to be a kid, or have the values of free expression, inquiry and fun associated with kids.

The do-gooder rich can have their museums of culture: organic food, special-decial schools for their kids, et cetera. Ironically, it was the openness, free inquiry and will to be wacky that produced such as the organic movement, the Santa Cruz skate thing, and many other parts of Santa Cruz now condemned to be “artifacts” or worse “properties.” I knew about 2001 that it was going this way, but hoped never to see the logical conclusion.

Perg’s was the rarest thing in public-space-hating Santa Cruz: a private space that still believed more or less in free-for-alls, a place for kids to post up their art, a place to hear real music made by real people. I never tried their coffee once, since I was usually there at beer time. And only rarely had I the money to hang out there regularly, but I’ll never forget the shows, and the good times.

Is there a hopeful future? How do we get past the issue of merciless foreign rents and pig NIMBY ordinances? Someone can comment below to give this post some sunshine.

Star-Crossed II by Julia Barbosa Landois

Here’s some people gazing at Julia Barbosa Landois‘ 2013 piece Star-Crossed II at MACLA on Fisting Friday. It’s a video featuring a ranchera tune about breaking up with Jesus. Landois came all the way from San Antonio to come talk about it.

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Landois spoke briefly to the crowd assembled at MACLA about how she started in painting and progressed over time to working in other media such as video in order to better suit her stories. Her speech and her website lead me to believe that she’s been in bands and stuff in the past.

Myself I thought the karaoke bit that marks Star-Crossed II was really captivating and that it motivates the viewer to get into the piece. I asked Landois privately what her warmup tune is for a good night of karaoke but she said she doesn’t do it. Then I asked if she ever interviews herself while washing dishes etc., in order to practice figuring and explaining what her stuff is all about, and she said she sometimes does. Interesting!

The piece is part of MACLA’s Chicano/a Biennial. I love how MACLA always finds artists who keep the medium, the look, very simple for their very complex stories. Bravo and good eye, MACLA! Also present is a prison toilet glazed with a large array of information about the prison experience. Really, everything in the Biennial is excellent.

Lucky for all you ignoramuses who may go see the piece, it has English subtitles so you may not feel threatened by the strangeness of the Spanish language, a language spoken by almost half a billion people on a huge percentage of the planet’s dry surface, even though you went into a space that promotes Latino-ness in order to see it, since apparently there are ZERO bilingual people on the entire internet to read this article, but only segregated Spanish and English speakers, as segregated as you all drool to be in your safe suburban or hip urban coffins. Consider yourself stroked, primped, preened, prepared.