To Do This Weekend: Gallery At the End Of the World Closing, Robotanists, Derby Dolls, Divine Design

This is a heartbreaker. Artist, collector & gallerist Ben McGinty’s closing his beautiful Gallery At the End Of the World in Altadena, and this weekend is its last hurrah. You can’t miss your last chance to see his amazing back garden full of treasures, everything from a hanging garden of magnifying glasses to the back of a gypsy caravan. There will be the ubiquitous eclectic collection of art, crafts and handmade books, and a chance to meet the artists & enjoy drinks with the locals.

Also celebrating a final night tonight: The Robotanists close out their residency at Casey’s, the historic Irish tavern in downtown. Don’t miss their atmospheric, dramatic compositions and vocalist Sarah Ellquist’s lush vocals.

Continuing the theme of going out with a bang (or in this case, lots of bangs & thuds & whams) is the final Derby Dolls bout of the year…tonight’s their season championship, with my personal faves the Tough Cookies going up against The Swarm.

And I also have to recommend hitting Divine Design in Beverly Hills, the annual charity shopping event; 100% of funds raised to to Project Angel Food, and everything–from Oscar De La Renta dresses to cosmetics & jewelry and shoes, is 60% off today; 70% off on Sunday; and 80-90% off on Monday.

It’s A Sign

I love Donny’s home-made sign, not just because it’s so ingenuous, but because it’s so darn refreshing to see signage around me that’s not polished, glossy, and premeditated by a dozen branding consultants in a boardroom in New York.

There’s something about it that makes me wish we all would make more personal, handmade marks upon the spaces we occupy. I’m not talking pissing-contest-spraycan-tagging, which is only to mark territory. I’m talking about us communicating with the people around us. Hey you, out there:  I’m talking to you. I’m reaching out to you. And if you want, I will fix your plumbing, 24 hours a day.

Spotted in Burbank.

Win Tix to The Books with Black Heart Procession on Monday

I can’t believe what an amazing pairing this is. I first saw The Books a long time ago when they opened for Califone at the Getty Museum. Their moody, glitchy, echo-filled compositions are part intensely detailed instrumentation and, the other half, comprised of a vast library of samples. The result is a meditative, slowly unfurling blossom of sound and fascinating vocals.

Combine that with the moody noir-rock of the Black Heart Procession (think Tom Waits on quaaludes in an echo chamber)  and you have a show that, conceptually as well as in execution, should be absolutely amazing.

Wanna go? We’ve got tickets.  This show’ll wipe the typtophan haze from your eyes.

To win, tell me the most mindblowing pairing of indie-rock acts you can think of. We’ll pick a few lucky winners to go experience the show.

Info on the show is here.

Win Tix to Sleigh Bells on Wednesday, Oct. 20

When I first heard Sleigh Bells‘ single, “Crown On The Ground,” on pitchfork, I was beset by equal parts revulsion and amazement. Squelching, overpowering guitars rattling out a stattaco, distorted-into-the-red rhythmic melody, accompanied by flattened vocals that provided more of a melodic layer than the guitars themselves–as if the vocals were a synth texture–was almost unlistenable, with producer Derek Miller utilizing the blown-out-speakers sound as a defining feature of the duo’s sound.

But it was unlistenable in that bracing, so-intense-it-hurts kind of way, the way I love that first ice-cold sip of Diet Coke because it hurts so good going down my throat. Sleigh Bells make your ears bleed, in an irresistible way. Alexis Krauss belts out anthems like a raver-cheerleader, her one-note vocals providing additional audio textures, as if Derek is using her voice as yet another layer of instrumentation.

Sleigh Bells are fucking amazing.

I’m really excited about this show, and apparently everyone else in LA is too, because it’s SOLD OUT. So blogging.la is now one of the only ways to score tix.

Wanna win your way into the show? Leave a comment telling me what you thought the first time you heard Sleigh Bells. We’ll pick one lucky winner to get a pair of tix to the show.

Info on the show is here.

Win Tix to See Eels on Oct. 12

Hey there! Long time no posts. Even as out of the loop as I’ve been lately, though, I could NOT turn down a chance to hook you up with tickets to one of my favorite musical acts of all time.

Lead Eel Mark Oliver Everett, aka “E”, is an unlikely object for a crush, but I’m totally a fangirl. His plain-speaking lyrics contain so much emotion and heart, managing to do that for which every writer strives: containing as much meaning as possible in as simple a way as possible. As Emily Dickinson said, “For writers, a success prescription / Fewer words / More description.”

Eels albums are powerful, full of dark topics treated squarely-on. But the live shows are wild and animated, with the band rocking out & dancing onstage, an incongruous sight with bearded, sunglass-wearing dudes jumping around the stage, doing high kicks.

Wanna go? Of course you do! Leave a comment telling me your favorite Eels lyrics & a little bit about why you love ’em. I’ll pick a couple lucky winners to go to the show tomorrow night. Be sure to fill out the email field on the comment-submit form correctly so I can get in touch with you.

Info on the show is here, thanks to Goldenvoice.

Win Tix (And Win Points With Your Kid): Jordin Sparks at Club Nokia

Are you a tween? No? Perhaps you parent one. Perhaps you’re not afraid to let your inner 13-year-old freak flag fly. But for whatever the reason, you want these tix to see the multitalented America Idol winner, Jonas Brothers gal pal and ubiquitous Nickelodeon guest star Jordin Sparks when she plays live at Club Nokia this Friday.

Wanna get the tickets? Leave a comment telling me the very first musical idol you had a crush on. We’ll pick a few lucky winners to go.

Featured photo by colormepink on flickr via a creative commons license.

Hey LA, What’s Up?

So here’s the thing. I badger the occasional slackin’ blogger to post to this site, and I myself have been slacking lately. There’s no one to badger me, but I had to out myself.

I spent pretty much the last three weeks out of LA–first in Death Valley, CA and then in the Seattle area. Two vastly different places with a lot in common: the ubiquity of the natural world; an inexhaustible supply of delicate details of flora and fauna and land around me; clean skies stocked with epic cloud formations; and neither of them are LA.

I grew up here, and have loved this city’s vagaries, inconsistencies and chaos since before I can remember. But I have to say, after a couple weeks back in LA, I miss the immediacy of the natural world I got in both Death Valley and Seattle. I feel a little lost. When I was in the vast empty spaces of the desert or cocooned in green in the Pacific Northwest, I felt like I’d found my right size in the world around me. Here in LA, I lose my bearings, get distracted, get dissatisfied with my insignificance or arrogant in my importance.

It seemed apropos that the jacarandas would have exploded into bloom while I was away & welcomed me back with a flurry of irrepressible violet. They’ve always marked melancholic episodes in my life: the boy with the floppy hair and southern drawl who never loved me back; the inescapable job that I only wanted to flee;  the years I spent living off vodka and pop-tarts. The jacarandas remind me of things I’ve lost, as if their impossible beauty stands in marked contrast to the various & sundry travails I’ve been experiencing. They don’t care if I’m down. And I don’t feel like LA does either. People complain to me often about how heartless LA is, and I defend its microcommunities and diversity and hidden gems earnestly, but sometimes I feel like I’m tired of a city that’s too vast to be personal, too ephemeral to be substantive. It seems to happen more and more lately.

I guess one of the things about chronicling a town as weird as LA is remembering to include the gray areas, the more liminal aspects of the city, and not just stick to relentless boosterism. Hence this post. I’m worried I’m falling out of love with LA.

Win Tix To See Concrete Blonde Monday June 28

Johnette Napolitano is bringing back the twice-dead, now-resurrected Concrete Blonde for a nifty tour, and they’ll be back in their hometown for what’s sure to be a triumphant homecoming. Wanna go? We’ve got your tickets right here. Just tell me what your absolute hands-down fave 80s song was…c’mon, don’t be embarrassed. When I was like seven or something I was in elementary school on the playground and someone was playing Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” on the ghettoblaster and me and my girlfriends all sang along loudly and I was the fu*king Queen Of Rock with my sweatshirt off one shoulder and my blue jeans torn & folded up and my L.A. Gear sneakers. There. Now you. Go on.

Info on the show is here.

Featured image by xrayspx via a Creative Commons license.

Win Tix to The Brian Jonestown Massacre on June 22!

I remember when I first started hearing music from the BJM is the early oughts, when the band was already over ten years old, and their combo of druggy spacerock and Rolling Stones influences was legendary on the non-westside (I can’t call it the eastside, someone will come to my house & break my kneecaps). So were the antics of their eccentric frontman, Anton Newcombe.

They’re playing around again, and this is a great chance to see the sound and the feeling that really captured the heart of this city’s [non-westside] music scene in the early 2000s.

In honor of Anton, to win you have to leave the craziest rock-star story you can think of. It can be made up, it can be real, it can be autobiographical or the stuff of “Behind The Music” legends.

Info on the show is here.

Win Tix to 50 Cent at Club Nokia on June 4

When Goldenvoice told me Fitty was coming to town, I couldn’t pass these up. I’d say expect some cool guest cameos along with the rap-impresario personality he’s fostered since his grittier street tapes debuted in the early oughts.

Wanna go? Give me your favorite rap lyric. My favorite is by Dr. Octagon: “I would have been completely dead had it not been for the Shark Man.”

Nuff said.

Info on 50 Cent’s show is here.

Destroyed by Desserts At Canter’s

Well, my shift is almost over. Jozjozjoz has arrived to take over for the next few hours.

The one thing I’ve noticed most about spending time here is the personal relationship the waitresses build with their regulars. Our waitress knew the names of everyone she was serving.

Behind me, a guy has a loud phone call: “Hey, Jim, guess what?! We got Yelped! Not a good Yelp though. It was like one star. They guy said he wasn’t happy with the cut. What did he bring in–a photo of a celebrity? And he asked for that hair?” [silence] “No worries, no worries. It was just smooth then? Blowout? Well, no problem. I’ll be back soon.”

I ordered like seventeen desserts as a selfless service to you, the reader.

I ATE ALL OF THESE FOR YOU

We’re here!

We’re here at the diner counter at Canter’s Deli. I am about to order. Wish me luck.

Once More Into The Breach…Of Knish!

The Blogathon from Canter’s deli will still be happening all day, and the Donut Summit must go on! Have no fears, my pets. All the powers of Hell itself could not stop the donut (or bagel) train when it’s a’coming. Stop by Canter’s today, tonight, or tomorrow before 12pm with a can of food and a hug for your Metblogs laborers. We’re all a little weepy, but it’s been such a fantastic privelege to write for you all. Wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

But maybe a dozen strawberry-filleds from Donut Man will fill this yawning writer’s hole in my chest.