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The Kids Are Alright…But Life Is Hard. Cobalt Cafe to Close After 23 Years

December 16, 2014 in Books, coffee, Entertainment, Events, History, LA, Music, The Valley

The beloved all-ages venue in the far west Valley that has given thousands of local kids their start in music, tens of thousands of poets a chance to read their work, and probably millions of young people to tag/sticker bathrooms (and hallways…and sidewalks…and rear exterior walls…and everything else), and just generally get the F outta the house without having to go to the mall–will be closing at the end of the month. I regret to pass this news on so late but I only just found out myself.

Vanna, 2009, Creative Commons by photog Carly Hoskins.

cobaltcafe-300x225

Extremely patient and awesome owner Dave Politi founded the Cobalt Cafe coffeehouse in 1991. Grunge was a rising tide, emo was in its early stages, weird ska/funk/pop-punk hybrids particular to the Valley and south LA in general were bubbling up from high schoolers’ garages, and Starbucks wasn’t here.
I was a high school goth chick, shy as hell and loathe to speak to anyone. My friends’ bands played the shows. Seeing them, their openers, and those for whom they opened, up close and personal on a stage about a foot off the ground and approximately three feet from my face so their sweat flew in my eyes, lit off a fuse within myself that altered my DNA, transformed my passions and creative dreams forever. I got up the guts to read my mediocre emo high-school-girl poetry at the weekly poetry readings.

Credit Cobalt Cafe. Artist & photo unknown, obtained from Wikimedia Commons via Creative CommonsI got to know people. I became a regular. I met my first long-term boyfriend there, played chess there, bought punk records from unknown bands there from small private presses before records were collectors’ items, met some of the folks I’d run into long, long down the line ten years later in Silver Lake at Spaceland (and in other rooms), watched the comfy overstuffed furniture go the way of the dodo (too many episodes of puking, sweating and cigarettes leads them to an early grave), giving way to a more Spartan interior.  People liked my poetry enough that I got a featured reading at a coffeehouse on Sunset Blvd, and I kept writing long into my late 20s. I sometimes wonder if all that writing didn’t lay the groundwork for my public blogging and journalism career, which itself has led to experiences and interactions that could never have been imagined by the mind of a repressed, shy 17-year-old black-lipstick-wearing girl in 1996.

Augustus, 2005, photog Stacey Jischke via Creative Commons Photo credit Cobalt Cafe. Bitter End in 2011, photog Robert Bejil via Creative Commons.

Every time I have returned to the Valley to see a line of self-conscious green-and-black-haired high schoolers goofing off with each other in front of the venue, or bros in short pants and Deftones t-shirts unloading a 350 Ford, I have smiled to myself, grateful that sometimes, good things don’t change, and that there’s a place for us weirdos to go–still. Yeah, sometimes the music sucked. Well, usually it does when people are that green. But it was music, and we–now, they–were and are making it. Some of them got really, really good. Some of the poets went on to long careers as luminaries in the poetry arts scene throughout the US. Records were make, books published. Creative dreams came true.

The cool blue light and scrawled-upon bouncer's desk in front of the venue.

The place reeked of sweat, coffee and cigarettes; the bathrooms are an archaeological dig though layers of paint, Sharpie, and stickers; sometimes the baristas were overwhelmed or had a ‘tude (as is proper, whiners!), but that all just made it better. I have been everywhere, man, and seen a lotta shows, but the Cobalt was the most genuine, unprepossessing, free-spirited creative fermentation machine I had ever seen. You did not have to be hip to walk in. You did not have to wear the right clothes. In fact, it’s still pretty hipster-repellent.

Sadly, Dave’s got his own Life S**t going on these days, and there’s less and less money coming in the doors with promoters and bookers being less supportive than they used to be; and let’s face it, non-Starbucks-priced coffee will never keep an indie business afloat, especially when your clientele is allowed to just hang out and buy nothing the entire time they’re there.

Dave Politi should be lauded for giving so much of his life and energy to a cause–“the kids” and “the music” and “the words”. The longtime host of Tuesday Night Poetry–he’s been doing it almost as long as the Cobalt was open–Rick Lupert–should be thanked, and I encourage you to see him read his funny and thoughtful work at other venues around town. All the hosts of Monday night open mics, all the baristas who endured patiently for many years, every doorman who had to bust kids doing the things that kids do–thank you, one and all. Here’s to the Cobalt Cafe. From such a humble little corner of the West San Fernando Valley, her influence has already spread around the world. Dave and the Cobalt are studies in how simply making space for others to be themselves, can ripple outwards in a quietly irresistible wave of transformation.

Hover over photos for Creative Commons/other photo credits.

 

Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to Trifle with. Win Tix!

January 19, 2012 in Contests, Downtown, Entertainment, LA, Music

Do you remember the movie Airplane?

Remember the two gentlemen who spoke “Jive?” Remember the subtitles at the bottom that translated what they were saying? Remember whenever one of them would say a certain word, the subtitle always translated it as “Golly?”

Such fun.

It’s in this spirit I would like to remind you, one and all, that The Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin’ to Trifle With!

(And if you haven’t seen Airplane, get your golly together and watch the trifling thing.)

In Any Case, I’m giving away Tickets to see The Wu on Saturday, Jan 21st! Wanna Go?

Email your Full Legal Name as it appears on your Legal Driver’s Licence or State ID card to [email protected]

Winners will be notified and will show said ID at the Will Call booth the night of the show to claim tickets. Protect your neck.

Wu-Tang Featuring All Original Members: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa
Saturday January 21, 2012
Club Nokia
Los Angeles, California
Show time: 9:00pm
Door time: 8:00pm
Age: All Ages+

Step to the Wu.

Read the rest of this entry →

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by ruth666

Foo Fighters – YES! – October 14th – If you compel me….

October 4, 2011 in Entertainment, LA, Music

Just to give you a little peek behind the b.la curtain, the nice people at Goldenvoice often grace us with delicious bundles of free tickets to their events, in hopes that we will write about them and increase attendance.

We love this – and I have to say that I love it in particular because

a. I’m too cheap to buy tickets to things, and
b. I like to feel like a bigshot.

Most of the time there are tickets a-plenty, which means the person who blogs the story gets two, and everyone who wins the contests we run gets the rest. Nice deal.

Except now. When we only get ONE PAIR of Foo Fighters tickets!

That means I have to be generous and groovy and give YOU these tickets, without even getting to go myself! Think of it! The horror!

So….

The contest is this: You tell me why YOU deserve to go more than I do, and you get a pair of tickets to FOO FIGHTERS AT THE FORUM ON THE FOURTEENTH.

Simple, right?

So get creative. Because I REALLY dig this band.

Win Tickets to see OMD at Club Nokia on 10/7!

October 2, 2011 in Announcements, Contests, Entertainment, Music

Update: Winners have been notified! Congratulations!

I’ve got a secret that I can’t explain…actually, it’s not a secret now. We’re giving away TWO PAIRS of tickets to see OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) this coming Friday, October 7th at Club Nokia. I was excited when I learned earlier this year that OMD was still performing. I admittedly hadn’t thought of them in a good while, but I do have fond memories of their music I had some nice emo times listening to them and pining for a certain young man, before emo was even a thing.

If you are also nostalgic for some great 80s synth-pop and would like to see OMD live, leave a comment below (be sure to sign in with a legit email address) no later than Noon on Tuesday, 10/4.

More details on the show here.

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Win Tickets to The Hollywood Bowl for 4th of July!

June 27, 2011 in Contests, Entertainment, Events, Music

We are giving away tickets to the Hollywood Bowl’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular!

This year’s extravaganza features America’s favorite blue-eyed soul duo, Daryl Hall & John Oates, performing with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by Principle Guest Conductor Thomas Wilkins (he’s wonderful!)

The evening will be capped off by the always impressive Hollywood Bowl fireworks. I’ve been to many, many fireworks shows at the Bowl and have been amazed and delighted every time. Every Angeleno should experience it at least once!

Leave a comment below and you might be the lucky reader chosen to win a pair of tickets to this year’s Hollywood Bowl 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular!

Congrats Edgar Ybarra! I hope you enjoy the show! It should be fantastic!

 

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by frazgo

“Gimme the Gig” Free concert at the Whiskey Thursday evening

February 15, 2011 in Entertainment, Events, Music

2 local bands, Eyeshine and Jake Newtown will be among the final 7 bands in the “gimme the gig” competition at a concert to be held at the Whiskey on Thursday evening. The winner of the competition will have the chance to have 2 tracks the produced by Don Was.

Since I started following Gimme the Gig I’ve been watching the local bands climb up and make it to the finals. Once my favorite local band was knocked out of the competition I really started watchin’ for a band that struck a cord. Ultimately that would be Eyeshine, of course I will share the love and support the other local too.

Just in case you were wondering, I know I’ve blogged about Gimme the Gig before (I’ve lost the link) but this is a Ford event sponsored by them and Don Was to give new bands a shot at growing their fan base. If you want to vote for a favorite or get more info on the event check out the link HERE.

Don Was on the competition…
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Eyeshine’s video from the voting
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Jake Newton’s video from the voting
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Deets:Thursday, February 17, 2011, 7:00pm – VALET PARKING IS AVAILABLE, BEHIND THE WHISKY. PLEASE USE THE CLARK STREET ENTRANCE. Whisky A Go Go, 8901 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA, USA 90069 MAP HERE

Image courtesy of concert sponsor Ford Motor Company and used with their permission.

Free Tix! OK Go! This Weekend!

November 23, 2010 in Contests, Music

Three Pairs of Tickets! OK Go at Club Nokia on Saturday, November 27th!

You probably know OK Go for their sensational music videos. The band is seriously much more than just their videos and they put on a really energetic, fun live show. I just went to their concert at UCSB this past weekend and it was a blast!

An OK Go show is never just four guys on stage playing their songs. There’s confetti, LOTS of confetti, 3-D glasses, and several more fun surprises. Not to mention the solid musical performance they give. So much fun!

YOU MUST ACT NOW! The first three (3) people to comment will win a pair of tickets. OK Go will be performing at Club Nokia on Saturday, November 27th with A Fine Frenzy and Summer Darling. This is a show not to be missed, so comment now!

And just because it’s super fun, check out  OK Go’s video for their song “White Knuckles.”

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Special thanks to Goldenvoice for making this ticket giveaway possible.

Everyone Loves a Parade!

November 20, 2010 in Events, Hollywood, LA, Music, People

Maybe not everyone loves a parade, but if you are like me and do, Los Angeles is a great place for one. Not only do we have the annual Rose Parade, but the city is also known for its Doo-Dah Parade, Hollywood Christmas Parade, those Lakers parades whenever they win championships and many, many more.

This past Wednesday, the band OK Go teamed up with Range Rover for an amazing event called “Dance Through Your City.” Essentially, they held a parade for many hours through the streets of the Los Feliz/Hollywood area. Using GPS, the route spelled out the band’s name, which could be visualized on the Range Rover Pulse of the City app. A mobile, musical work of art utilizing the streets and people of Los Angeles. How cool is that?

When I first heard about this event, I was saddened to know I’d be at work and not able to participate. What I didn’t know was that this parade was planned to go on for HOURS, meaning that I did get to take part in the evening. Since the route wasn’t published ahead of time, I was also surprised to learn it was going right by my workplace. I heard it go by, yet failed at finding a good excuse to run outside.

I was able to join up with paraders when they had stopped for a dinner break. The band changed from the brightly colored suits they wore during the day to the black suits covered with changing-color LEDs. Others were wrapping drums, trombones, guitars and themselves with electroluminescent wire. Everyone was encouraged to accessorize with glow sticks and all sorts of other blinking objects.

The experience of parading through the L.A. streets after dark, singing and dancing with other enthusiastic people is something I highly recommend. Part of the fun was the various folks running out of their houses, shops, etc. with quizzical looks or cameras. Some people shook their head, some people danced, and a few even joined in the parade. We saw lots of kids in pajamas. As I marched along, I couldn’t help but think that this was exactly the kind of experience that makes me love L.A.

For more parade goodness, check out the write-ups at LAist and Billboard.com.

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by tammara

Win Stone Temple Pilot Tickets

October 26, 2010 in Contests, Entertainment, Music

Stone Temple Pilots are BACK!  And they look hotter and sound better than ever!

Yeah, they’ve all been in other bands,  made lots of crazy career choices… but they’re running hot again and are touring with a mix of new music and serious hits.

If you’re a fan, and want to see them this Friday night, October 29th at the Nokia Theater, you’re in luck.  We’re giving away one pair of tickets to the best comment that captures the band’s style… and what they mean to you. Tell us why you love these guys and your ticket is on us!  Don’t hold back. Most captivating story wins.

And if you don’t win… but still want to catch a great show, you can grab tickets here.

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by ruth666

What, ANOTHER ticket giveaway?

October 13, 2010 in Contests, Hollywood, Music

Yup, this one’s for SUPERCHUNK, VASELINES, and TELEKINISIS.

The show is at the Music Box on Tuesday, October 19th.

What, you wonder, do YOU have to do to score two free tickets?

The first person to comment with a sentence (in English) using all the letters of the alphabet wins.

The shorter the better – Oh and “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is out.

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by tammara

Check it: Win Kruder & Dorfmeister Tickets

October 12, 2010 in Contests, Entertainment, Music

It’s easy to categorize music. And some (ummm, okay, less enlightened types…) might say Kruder and Dormeister are ‘dance music’ stars. Ha!… We know they are so much more!
Together, they blend, twist, experiment and enchant as no other producers do. They are one of the few who take notes into whole new forms. They harness tribal beats and split them up, coax you into a sweet mood late in the night and then blast a jolt of lightning into the aural mix. It’s sweet and damned exciting.

They are not to be missed.

I’m stoked they are gracing our beloved city this Friday night at Club Nokia. I’ll definitely be there groovin’ along with many others in the know.

If you want to hang for free and get your musical world rocked, tell me what Kruder and Dorfmeister means to you. And why you should be one of the chosen ones. We’re giving away four pairs of tickets. Get your thoughts into the comments below and we’ll pick four of the most worthy (or most entertaining) ones to attend the show. And if you miss the giveaway, you can always score tickets here.

Want to go see Die Antwoord on us?

October 12, 2010 in Contests, Music

If you read that headline and thought to yourself “FOK!” then this post is totally for you. If you didn’t, you are clearly missing out on life. As you should know Die Antwoord is the most zef rave rap crew from South Afrika ever, hell the world ever, maybe the only rave rap crew even. It’s seriously next level. That shit got mega huge on the web earlier this year, and their first album ‘$O$’ just came out today. I’d say it looks awesome, but since I designed it that *might* sound a little self serving. Anyway, if this is still all news to you, or if you remember seeing their stuff a few months ago but haven’t heard anything recently, check this video that just came out for ‘Evil Boy’ which is off this album. Warning, it’s sorta NSFW. Maybe. Depending on where you work.

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OK, all that aside they are playing Sunday, October 17th at The Music Box and I’ve got a few tickets to give away. You want them? Post a comment and tell me why you deserve the tickets. (What’s that you say, you promise to dress up like Ninja or Yolandi? That’s a pretty good reason.) At 10 PM today I’ll consider the responses and pick whoever impresses me most. So whatchu got?!

Year of the Tiger Army, Twice! – Win Tickets for Halloween Weekend!

October 12, 2010 in Contests, Entertainment, Halloween, Holidays, Music

I’ve got Tickets to Give Away again, Kids!
Not just One Night but TWO!!

Spend Halloween Weekend with Nick 13 and TIGER ARMY!

Tiger Army shows are always awesome, and their Halloween shows are Legendary.
They’ll be at The Grove in Anaheim, on October 30th with Jack Grisham & The West Coast Dukes and Throw Rag
and on Halloween October 31st with Mad Sin and Hillbilly Casino.

Not to be Missed!

I have Four Pairs of Tickets to each show to Give Away! And a surprise Extra Pair for one of the nights! Ooooo…Bonus! Which night? Well, you don’t know, do you? Is it a Trick, or is it a Treat?

To enter the contest leave a comment on this post, and make sure to let me know what night you want to go. If either night is fine, let me know that. (That’s a good way to get an edge in the contest, I’m not gonna lie.) Winners will be selected randomly, or perhaps capriciously. It amounts to the same thing.

Oh, and no one will be getting tickets to both nights,  so don’t ask. Seriously.

Have Fun and Good Luck.

Tiger Army Never Die!

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by frazgo

Playing LACMA

September 21, 2010 in LA, Music

I got the link via a twat from the Getty Museum regarding this Youtube video. Musical artist Ben Meyers with nothing more than a set of sticks bangs out a melody on LACMA grounds. How fun is this for an afternoon diversion?
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by tammara

Win Michael Franti Tickets!!

September 20, 2010 in Contests, Entertainment, LA, Music

I’ve seen Michael Franti in concert once before and he blew me away.  You can see him this Wednesday night cuz we’re giving away four pairs of tickets to his performance at Club Nokia on September 22nd.  His music, a blend of reggae, hip-hop, jazz and rock blends so many genres, that it emerges as a style all his own.

His performance has so much energy, that you end up dancing, moving and just in general having a great time.  While he’s known for his ballads on peace and freedom, he also has a style that is just down with feeling good.

If you want to win tickets, just give us your version of why Michael wears no shoes! If you don’t win… just go here to nab a ticket… it’s well worth it!