Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Favorite Los Angeles Shows in 2010

I said I wasn't going to do it, and then I changed my mind just because. I'm going to list them in no particular order whatsoever,  the shows I've liked in Los Angeles this year. I'm not giving you any reason why I liked them because I'm packing up and a bit busy, also I'm sure it's a fragmentary list because I haven't really sat down to reminisce. So here they are.

West of Rome: Mike Kelley & Michael Smith A Voyage of Growth and Self Discovery, Jennifer Bolande Plywood Curtain.

LACMA: Renoir, John Baldessari, Blinky Palermo, Lucknow, Thomas Eakins, American Stories*

Hammer Museum: Rachel Whiteread

Santa Monica Museum of Art, Alberto Burri

Glendale College  Art Gallery : Jerry/Jury Rigged

Amir Zaki at LAXart

Commercial Galleries: Matthew Brannon at Kordansky, Joel Tauber, Ruben Ochoa, Andrea Bowers and Edgar Arceneaux at Vielmetter, Dan Graham at Regen Projects, Dan Graham, Stephen Kaltenbach, Lee Lozano at Overduin & Kite, Stephen Kaltenbach at Anotheryearinla, the two Summer group shows organized by Tom Solomon at his eponymous gallery and at Cottage Home, Gray Day at Roberts & Tilton.

It pretty much sums it up for 2010, which overall was pretty fantastic in Los Angeles in terms of exhibitions, but of course for me the highlight of the year was the John Cale concert at Royce Hall in September. *Nothing* can top that.

And now, the lows of 2010: pretty much all of MOCA's programming, with the exception of Suprasensorial and Iannis Xenakis, the National Portrait Gallery censorship of David Wojnarowicz and their refusal to let AA Bronson take his work out of the show in protest, and the LA Weekly letting go of Tom Christie and Doug Harvey.

*(yes, I go to LACMA a lot, I live 10 minutes away)

Pic: Matthew Brannon exhibition at David Kordansky, picture from the gallery's website.

Christmas Music Apotheosis - Monty Python Christmas In Heaven

To conclude our mini-series of non-sucky Pagan holiday songs, the Committee For The Improvement of Christmas Music wishes to end up with some pre-Matthew Barney but better than Matthew Barney fireworks, the wonderful Monty Python's Christmas In Heaven song (from The Meaning of Life, I believe).
From a time when comedy was truly funny and often offensive - therefore funny, ladies, Gentlemen and Transgendered readers, please enjoy Christmas In Heaven.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Non Sucky Christmas Music - The Spotnicks with Here Comes Santa Claus

The Committee for the Improvement of Christmas Music continues its charity work by offering you today The Spotnicks and Here Comes Santa Claus. Thanks to my friend Olivier for bringing this to my attention. The Spotnicks also did a cover of Jingle Bells, but the original is too fucking unbearable overplayed to my liking, so here you are.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Transgendered readers, enjoy the Spotnicks!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Child Christmas In Wales - Non Sucky Non Christmas Music With No Less Than John Cale

You really didn't think I wasn't going to post any more John Cale this year, did you?

The Committee For The Improvement Of Christmas Music continues its evangelical work with a song that has "Christmas" in its title, more as a homage to Dylan Thomas than as a *real* Christmas song.

This song famously begins the Paris 1919 album, which Cale beautifully played in its entirety at Royce Hall's UCLA at the end of September, the high point of 2010 for this Frenchy.  Here's a bootleg of Cale doing the same song in Brescia earlier this year (with newer arrangement by Randy Woolf), so you have an idea of how it was.

If you're in Barcelona this Spring, Cale does it again at the Primavera Sounds Festival , where other luminaries include a reformed Pulp, Nick Cave's Grinderman, Animal Collective, Belle & Sebastian, Half Japanese, and others. There's also Suicide playing, I have seen them twice, and it's EXACTLY what you would expect.
I hope for lots of good jamming and guests spots for all the musicians and the audience there. Alas, I cannot go, but if you live in Europe the festival tickets are really inexpensive, so I guess a combination of  low-cost flights and cheap hostels can make it a great experience.

Meanwhile, it's still non-sucky non-Christmas music season here at the FBC! Headquarters, so ladies, gentlemen and transgendered readers, enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Your Social Life - Wrapping Up The Year Nicely

While yours truly is busy wrapping up the year, art events continue in Los Angeles!
One opening I've missed was yesterday's Hanne Darboven at Regen Projects, complete with a live performance. No idea how it went, so if anybody has feedback, I'll take it. Continuing at Regen is the Doug Aitken show.

Tomorrow Friday Las Cienegas Projects will present Simon Leung, Yvonne Rainer, Nils Schirrmacher, which should be beautiful. And packed, as everybody who's anybody wil be there! Don't miss it.

Still in Culver City, but  on Saturday Joel Tauber, otherwise known for his Sickamour project, has a show opening at Susanne Vielmetter, Pumping, a massive installation that has been several years in the making. Same day, same location, Robert Olsen has an opening too.

Also on Saturday in Culver City, The Mandrake Bar will celebrate the installation of the Dave Muller mural, from 6 to 8 PM. Since it's a bar, I have no idea if the reception means free drinks or business as usual, in any case it's always a good reason to go and check it out.

Further West and on Saturday, Dorit Cypis will have two performances at 18th Street in Santa Monica. Please click on the link above to register on the FB page and reserve one of the two time slots to attend.

On Sunday in Pasadena, closing reception at Offramp for ArtZone where you can do some affordable holiday art shopping.

And this will conclude the last edition of YSL for 2010. I'll post a bit of music again soon, but that's it for the art stuff until early next year.
Have a great Hannukchristmaskanzaatheist holiday, ladies, gentlemen and transgendered people reading me, and do not harm thy neighbor nor censor thy art.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The No Christmas Music Christmas Music: The Wedding Present, No Christmas

The Committee For the Improvement Of Christmas Music continues its campaign with a song that isn't, in fact, about Christmas *at all*, or only tangentially as in "my worse breakup occurred over the Holiday".
Because all that chipper, syrupy Christmas music is too nauseating.
Ladies and gentlemen and transgendered people, from the FBC! Headquarters, behold The Wedding Present and No Christmas.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Muthaphukkin Christmas With The Late Eazy-E

FBC! continues with the Committee for the Improvement of Christmas Music with the late, regretted Eazy-E's masterpiece, Merry Muthaphukkin Christmas, one of the few hip hop songs your truly really enjoys.
Have fuuuuuuuun!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let's Continue With The Non-Sucky Christmas Music - Siouxsie And The Banshees, Il Est Né Le Divin Enfant

The one-person Committee for the Improvement Of Christmas Music continues its charity work here at the FBC! Headquarters with the cover by Siouxsie and the Banshees of Il Est Né Le Divin Enfant ("He Is Born The Divine Child").
I discovered this one very recently thanks to the very fine LA writer Harold Abramowitz whom I am very grateful to. Thanks, Harold!
This so totally cracks me up.
Merry Holiday Season, Ladies, Gentlemen and Transgendered people reading me. Enjoy Siouxsie!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let's Enjoy A Bit of Tradition - Grace Jones Does Little Drummer Boy

I don't know about you, but the Christmas music that is being blasted all over shopping malls at this time of the year makes me slightly nauseous. So I thought I could, as a perfect antidote, post two or three videos of counter-Xmas music, you know, just to keep occupied.

Ladies and gentlemen and transgendered reading me, please enjoy the one and only Grace Jones!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Your Social Life - Abbreviated

Casino-Luxembourg Forum d'Art Contemporain, "Aquarium". Photo: Jessica Theis – Blue Box Design, 2009.

As I warned my beloved readership recently, the posting here at FBC! will be very light until mid-January, as I'm busy preparing a trip to the old homeland. I haven't paid attention at all to whatever was going on in town this week, so quickly:

1) A few galleries in LA are showing David Wojnarowicz A Fire In My Belly, but better yet, the Hammer Museum which, shall I remind you, is celebrating its 20th anniversary by offering a free entrance to its premises (until Dec. 18th), will be showing the video in its entirety and on a loop, starting today and until Dec. 17th. You can also watch it online on the site of PPOW who represents the estate, and has been kindly sending out screening copies all over the country.

2) EGHQ is having an opening on Sat, for David Hendren

3) There's an opening at Pepin Moore  in Chinatown tomorrow evening.

4) For the writers out there, Triple Canopy is issuing a call for proposals. I normally don't relay this type of info but this particular case, the areas covered are interesting, and they do pay a (very modest) $500 fee for the winning commissions.

5) And, for the artists under 40 reading me (the many, many of you, right?) the Casino-Luxembourg has a residency program. Yours truly has curated there in the past, it's a really cool space and it is smack right in the middle of Europe. residencies are always a great way to meet people and create new work, so I hope some of you will apply.

6) I apologize to the few people who asked for an exchange of links during the past week. I'm open to it as long as it is an arts link, but I haven't really had the time to update the links section of the blog recently and it probably won't happen before mid-January. So, if you're still reading me, please email me around January 15 and I'll work on it. Thanks!

7) Lastly, yesterday I went on a whim to the opening of the Lucknow exhibition at LACMA. I know zilch about Indian Art of the 18th century, but even with zero knowledge I was blown away by the artworks. It's a fantastic exhibition and it officially opens to the public on Sunday. It's also the perfect show to take your family over the holidays.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It Must be December 1st, Let's Blame "The Gays"

When the Republican Party ignited the Culture Wars in the late 1980s, it was after the failure of the Ronald Reagan and then George Bush governments to lead the country out of the economic crisis that followed the 1987 stock market crash.
Now that two decades have passed and that out-of-control deregulation (it's the point of deregulation to be out of control, isn't it?) and the ferocious greed engineered by Bush The Second and his cronies have unleashed on the United States its worst recession since the Great Depression, they are at it again.

If you've been following a bit what happened, you know that Senate Majority Boehner, He Of The Ridiculous Name, has decided to curate the current Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington instead of, I don't know, doing more pressing legislation.

For example, voting on extending the unemployment benefits of several millions Americans whose sudden lack of funds will mean more economic hardship for everybody.
It's a no-brainer, really: unemployed people lose benefits, therefore can't pay the rent/the mortgage, landlords/banks lose money, housing stock go derelict, less money gets into the economy to encourage consumer spending, Santa won't come this year for  the millions of little Christian offspring of the unemployed (take that, Glenn Beck - or is it O'Reilly?-  and your idiotic rants about the "war on Christmas"). It's 2 millions people who are going to lose their benefits. Out of a population of roughly 300 millions Americans. You likely know one of them. I know one, a hardworking grandmother whose benefits have been cut and who may find herself homeless in a couple of weeks if she can't come up with the rent.

In a nutshell, Mr. Boehner got his penis in a tick because of a David Wojnarowicz video, demanded that the video be removed after being alerted to it by a right-wing religious organization, and the Smithsonian powers that be caved in. It's the video above, which you can find easily on YouTube, obviously.
This all should remind you of the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition being canceled at the Corcoran in DC which, in fact, did much more for Mapplethorpe's posthumous fame than if the show had processed ahead.

Now let's be clear here: as an art lover, former curator, writer, and plain old human being, FBC! is resolutely against censorship of any kind.  I find censorship abhorrent mainly because I resent the fact that anybody would think they can decide in my name what should or shouldn't be allowed to read, watch, see, listen to, attend, witness, enjoy, react to, or even dislike.  Heaven forbid. If I'm going to be shocked by a David Wojnarowicz video, I demand the right to see for myself whether I will, in fact, be shocked or not. For the record, I'm not. But even if I was, I'd want to see it to decide for myself.

And, I also feel that if I have moved all the way to a country that embedded the right to free speech in its Constitution, I should  demand that this right be respected. In France, we don't have a right to free speech embedded in our Constitution.

Lastly, we are constantly bombarded by tons of right-wing propaganda from the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and their ilk. You just need to long on the internet and go to a newspaper homepage to see their last idiotic, outreagous comments.
Do I demand that their pictures and videos and speeches be removed from the airwaves, medias, the internet and all that because they shock my atheist and progressive core beliefs?
No, I don't, because I think wingnuts should be allowed to express their own baseless, fact-less beliefs if they want to, even if they disturbed my Cartesian, scholarly and scientific values.
To be fair, what really shocks me about US right-wing propaganda in general is how stupid it is and how it assumes that the American People at large are a populace largely constituted of morons.
It may very well be, but I have a bit more faith in human decency and intelligence than the condescending Republicans have in their own constituency.

In any case, I strongly feel that the National Portrait Gallery shouldn't have caved in to Mr. Boehner's demand and should have kept the Wojnarowicz video in the exhibition, even if threatened with federal funding cuts. If you put something in your exhibition, it's because it has a place in it, so removing it is senseless and spineless, intellectually speaking.

I'm pretty sure that in real life, Mr. Boehner doesn't give a damn about David Wojnarowicz, who has been dead for 20 years and can't therefore defend his own work.
What Mr. Boehner, as a politician, is likely to be interested in, is  to find a way to distract the public opinion from the project of his own party to stall all bills until the Bush-era tax cuts in favor of the wealthy are extended, instead of creating a strong fiscal policy that would help reign in the nation deficit.
A large part of it being inherited from 8 years of George Bush's administration, including the TARP banks bailout (remember? it was before the Nov. 2008 election). As were the useless, senseless wars waged in Iraq and Afghanistan that have drained the nation of the blood of its youth and of the money in its coffers to enrich  the arms dealers and private contractors in cahoots with the people who initiated the slaughter in the name of the Nation. Your "representatives".

Which leads me to the Pentagon study released yesterday in favor of repealing the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, and to the date chosen by Senator Boehner to target an artwork made by an openly gay artist who died 20 years ago.
Have you noticed today is December 1st? It's World Aids Day?
Instead of writing about Republican's smokescreens created to dissimulate their own economic ineptitude, I would have much preferred spending the time remembering the wonderful people who died of Aids, gay and straights alike, anonymous and famous artists alike, and look at the work of Gonzalez-Torres or maybe watch a Dominique Bagouet dance piece. Many great artists died of Aids, and today should be a day to remember them and their contribution to world culture.

Instead, I can't help but reflect that each time conservative political parties are in a bind, they like to deflect the attention from their lack of results, from their criminal inaction or worse, from the corruption that is endemic to political life (hello, secret corporate donations to parties!) by blaming the Other.

Now, since the atrocities of World War II, Western democratic governments can't really go on blaming the Jews as their political forebears did for a couple thousands years, so they have to find another Other to blame.

In France right now, Mr. Sarkozy has found a perfect build-in minority to point the finger at and enact discriminatory measures against, the Roms, after distracting the French from his failed economic policies - which also favor the rich -  by making the wearing of the burqa illegal in public.
It should be noted that less than 2,000 women were wearing it in France, out of a population of 60 millions.
I have no idea how many Roms are currently living in France (ethnic statistics are illegal in France because they are inherently a racist tool of oppression, and because we have quite an ugly history with our own Jewish population, as I'm sure my erudite readers know), but I'd be ready to bet it doesn't hover much more above 200,000 people.

In the United States, the two Others that the Republican party has been trying to blame for the last couple of decades at least are either the illegal immigrants; a minority that is easy to construct because immigrating legally to the United States is almost impossible, or "The Gays".

For clarity's purpose and because this is a long post, "The Gays" encompass all LGBT, a category of Americans whose core identity is in fact increasingly being accepted, albeit slowly, by the American people a large (see: repeal of DADT above).
There are setbacks to gay marriage, obviously, but just the fact that it is a legislative issue is a big advance, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were definitively legalized everywhere in the States within the next two decades or so. The instance of gay teens bullying have generated a large viral online campaign in support, the It Gets Better one, though your truly thinks it would be more effective to ban bullying in all schools, period.
Now *that* would be a piece of legislative work the Republican Party could enact and I'd totally support it. I can be bi-partisan that way.

The GOP has to thread a thin line when targeting illegal immigrants because they are trying to attract the legal Latino ones who are bound to become a huge political force in the next few decades. Since many Latino are catholic, what's best than manufacture a symbolic scandal that costs the Republican Party nothing, can be disguised as fighting "anti-catholic propaganda" (whereas no one gives a damn about defining the US as a "nation of Christians", which I personally resent as anti-Jewish, anti-secular, anti-other religions propaganda), and that targets the work of a dead gay artists on the eve of World Aids Day?

What I'm trying to say is that the date chosen by Rep. Boehner to enact censorship is a highly symbolic one, one to warn the LGBT part of the population that they are being the next target.

The Republican majority is rearing its ugly head, and already prepares whatever symbolic action it can take to hide the fact that is has become the party of the ultra wealthy and not of the poor millions schmucks who voted them back into power.
The next few years are going to be hideous economically for 80% of the American people, and the Republican policies are going to make them worse. Because the Republican Party knows it is bound to fail economically, it is now choosing a convenient scapegoat to divert the attention from its own future political and economic disasters, be it at the price of discriminating against The Gays.

If you feel as strongly as I do about the issues at hand, please join this Facebook page where the email address of the various concerned officials are given (including Mr. Boehner's) for you to express your disappointment at this act of censorship and its deliberate attack against the gay community at such a symbolic period.
Meanwhile, give as much support as you can to your LGBT friends, to artists and to the arts, and fight senseless discrimination.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Your Social Life, A Free Hammer Museum Interlude and John Cale OBE

Einstürzende Neubauten, Ein Seltener Vogel

It's Thanksgiving holiday, most galleries are closed, and next week they will all be going en force to Miami (for Art Basel, Pulse, etc.) so there's not much going on in Los Angeles until the week after next.

FBC! takes advantage of the hiatus to let you know that rather than go spend the money you don't have on items you don't need on Black Friday, you could make a better use of your time and dough by going to the Hammer Museum today. The Hammer is turning 20, and for the next 20 days the entrance is free, so you can go see the Eva Hesse, Mark Manders, Julian Hober Hoeber and My Barbarian shows, in addition to the selection from the Grunwald Center by Frances Stark (I think it's still up).

Meanwhile, I also want to remind you that Einstürzende Neubauten will be playing 2 dates in Los Angeles next week, at the Music Box in Hollywood on Wednesday and at the Echoplex on Thursday. FBC! will be there, hoping for a great experience. I always heard great things about them on stage, but it will be my first EN concert.

Lastly, congratulations to John Cale, O.B.E, (does that make him the new OBE Wan Kenobi?) who came to pick up his chocolate medal from Prince Charles last week with a tie that matched his hair colors (while, pink and blue).  Cale proves once again he's the real Prince of Wales, as for the medal, some people seem pissed off he accepted it. Me, I think it's pretty cool, maybe he'll be invited to sing Guts at Prince William's wedding, who knows, with Chicken Shit as an encore?
As long as it doesn't distract him from coming up with the new album the world has been waiting for during the last 5 years...

[I don't know where the image of John Cale with Prince Charles comes from, except for the PA watermark. I'll be happy to attribute proper credit if someone directs me to the right source, thanks!].

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Social Life, The Way The Morning Broke Was Quite Unusual

Sorry for the absence of posting last week, yours truly was drowning in French paperwork, grading students papers and having badass allergies, so I had no time to look up what was going on. This week (and the next few ones until early next year) I won't be able to attend much art social stuff, so the posting will likely remain spotty.

Let's start with tonight, at Frank Pictures Gallery in Santa Monica where Vanessa Place and Barry Schwabsky, among others, will participate in a reading. The event starts at 7.15 with nibbles and drinks and the readings proper at 8 PM.
Tonight as well, synchronized open doors from the galleries at the PDC, where our friends at anotheryearinla will present Gift Shop. Still at the PDC, Standard Deviation at See Line Gallery, a group show with Natasha Snellman in it, while Annie Wharton presents The Way The Morning Broke Was Quite Unusal, a show whose title is taken from the opening line of my favorite Front 242 song (it's pronounced Front Deux Quatre Deux, BTW).
Still at the PDC, Paul Young presents Deadpan and Soft & Hard. Deadpan presents videos by John Wood and Paul Harrison, whom you may know as the duet behind the Art In Theory series (you know, the white books with tons of excerpts from famous art theoreticians), while  Soft and Hard presents videos by a selection of women including FBC! gal pal Julie Lequin.

Proving that Thursday is the new Saturday in Los Angeles, Art Center Los Angeles on Pico, a place that is so criminally close to me it's surprising I haven't been there yet, shows Hans Weigand tonight.

And if you are in Pomona tonight(you need the gift of ubiquity to see everything in Los Angeles, unless you are Peter Frank who does see everything there is to see), don't miss the opening for M.A Peers and the panel discussion as well, featuring artists Steve Roden and Doug Harvey (who's also the distinguished critic for the LA Weekly).

On Friday 323 Projects presents You've Got Problems? We've got Solutions, featuring Matthew Timmons, a telephonic exhibition if I understand correctly.

On Saturday, Margo Leavin presents an exhibition curated by the great James Welling, The City Proper, with FBC! faves Amir Zaki (hi Amir!) and John Baldessari, plus Zoe Crosher, Catherine Opie, Shannon Ebner, William Leavitt, Allen Ruppersberg, etc.
Steve Turner opens Big Four, while Tom Solomon shows Brett Lund. Meanwhile, yours truly will be doing her annual workout by going on the Great LA Walk, rain or shine, so you likely won't see me around at any openings after.

Have a great art-filled weekend, and before I sign off, congratulation to former LA art dealer and all-around  curatorial force of nature Sue Spaid who is now the new executive director of the Baltimore Contemporary Museum!
Hurray Sue Spaid, and Hurray the Baltimore Contemporary!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Your Social Life With Iannis Xenakis, Rachel Lachowicz,Edgar Arceneaux, Etc.

FBC! is still marveling at the awesomeness of last week when the Blinky Palermo and the Matthew Brannon exhibitions illuminated what is otherwise a really trying period of my life, so I can only encourage my beloved readership to run see these shows as fast as they can, and to see the Kaltenbach exhibition at anotheryearinla before it closes (on the 10, I think).

There are a few openings in town this week, starting with FBC! pal Edgar Arceneaux at Susanne Vielmetter  who's also showing Martin McMurray. Still in Culver City, where you can also go attend Kelly Barrie's at LAXart. While in the neighborhood, don't miss Zoe Crosher's An Unveiling at EGHQ. Also in Culver City, Stop Move at Blum and Poe, a group show with Nathalie Djurberg, Hirsch Perlman, Robin Rhode and Matt Saunders. At François Ghebaly, Candice Lin presents Holograms.

FBC! never sets foot on the Westside (given the traffic there and the horrible parking situation) but I highly recommend the Rachel Lachowicz show at Shoshana Wayne at Bergamot Station. It's been a while since I've seen Lachowicz work, about a decade at least, so I'm curious to see where she's at with her work right now.

On the other side of town, MOCA presents something really interesting and not completely vapid for once, the Iannis Xenakis (who once taught John Cale avant-garde composition at Tanglewood) event Persepolis, at Los Angeles State Historic Park (on the Eastern edge of downtown). It starts at 6 PM and it's free, without reservations required. And, if I wasn't going to the Edgar Arceneaux opening, I'd attend it, it's not every day you have avant-garde music/events being recreated in LA. It goes with the MOCA/Pacific Design Center show about Xenakis, which I assume comes from the Drawing Center in NYC. If you click on the link above you can go through the sketches/notation and listen to his music.

On Sunday there's a mega-event at LACMA to end (?) the year-long Fallen Fruit residency, Let Them Eat LACMA,  with many performances (including Ann Magnuson) but I won't attend because I work on Sundays, and also I need to come  clean on that: I really, really dislike group activities and participatory/interactive art. I understand how people like to have fun together, but I like my art less crowded. Which makes me a fucking elitist, I guess, a label I can live with, as long as I don't have to mix up with hundreds of people.
This being said, I wish Fallen Fruit lots of success in their enterprises.

(pic on top from the MOCA website, I suppose an original photograph of the historical Persepolis event, but I couldn't find credits).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Einstürzende Neubauten, Bleib, To Enlighten A Crummy Day

Today is the Day of The Deads, of whom I have plenty to remember, thank you Grim Reaper, for harvesting my family first and foremost (we're so distinguished, you have no idea); and  today is also the day where America is poised to welcome back into power the same vociferating fascists who got 8 years to put us in the crap we are in presently, but couldn't let the spineless, pussyfooting current majority more than two years to try and clean up after them.
In short, we're fucked, your fault, you people who don't bother to vote,  so please shut up if you're unhappy during the next 2 years and your precious freedoms are taken away from you while you're getting poorer and poorer and the 2% of the population that's wealthy becomes richer and richer.

Meanwhile, I thought we needed a bit of something to cheer up, so I'm posting a bit of Einstürzende Neubauten, who are coming to LA on December 1st and 2nd for two concerts, at Music Box (formerly the Fonda) and at the Echoplex. FBC! will be there (thank you, Carmen, for the tickets!). While not as batshit crazy about them as I am about John Cale, I like their music a lot but never got the chance to see them live. Everybody I know who's seen them told me it was a sight to behold, so off I'll go.
The song is called "Bleib", it means "Stay".

Also, art lovers, I highly recommend, praise, love the Matthew Brannon show at David Kordansky. I haven't stopped thinking about it since last Saturday night. It's the most perfect show, ever. I am not sure I will have time to write about it any time soon (too many deadlines and other issues), so I want to let the word out that this is the most important show you can see in Los Angeles this year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Your Social Life - Gray Day, Dan Graham, Stephanie Taylor, Matthew Brannon And Other Luminaries

 Stephanie Taylor, Wiffles, 2010, fiber print, 8 x 10 inches

Quickly, lots of things are happening this week, with LACMA's opening a Blinky Palermo retrospective and a William Eggleston one. The opening is tomorrow evening, the show opens to the public on Sunday.
On Friday there is the finissage of the inaugural show at Greene Park gallery in Chinatown, with FBC! pal Peter Wu in the show while on the opposite side of town, there is a panel discussion at Las Cienegas, the politics of art. There's also a show opening at Loyola Marymount University, curated by Ronald Lopez (in passing, the Guerrilla Girls were doing a talk there on Monday night, and the LA Art Girls were at a panel there today. Would love to hear some feedback from both talks).

Saturday Dan Graham opens at Regen Project, while in Culver City there are a few openings of interest, such as Matthew Brannon at Kordansky (I love his work, at least what  little I've seen of it) and Gray Day at Roberts & Tilton, a group show curated  by Noah Davis with the ever excellent Juan Capistran and Mark Dutcher as well as Natascha Snellman and PJ Risse, among others. China Art Objects has the Thomas Helbig show opening too.

If you are in NYC tomorrow evening Thursday, don't miss Stephanie Taylor's exhibition at Marc Jancou.

Meanwhile, I can only recommend you go down the bloody 405 and brave traffic to go to OCMA and see the California Biennial. I think it's the best I've seen so far, not only because the choice of artists is pretty tight (save a few meh things here and there, as Emma Gray was reminding me last weekend) but the show is very well installed. I haven't had the time to upload my pictures yet but whenever life's less hectic I'll put up a few memorable images.

Speaking about shows that are still up, don't miss Alberto Burri at the Santa Monica Museum of ArtMy Barbarian also has a show up at the Hammer, which I haven't had the opportunity to see yet, but I'm looking forward to it, when I'll get the chance to see the Eva Hesse and Mark Manders shows as well as the selection from the Grunwald collection by Frances Stark.

Apologies if I have forgotten something, life's been pretty shambolic this year and I never seem to catch a break, so the blog's suffering, and so is my other writing. Have a great weekend filled with art, and when things go back to seemingly normal to me maybe I'd get around to do more art writing, or at least post more pictures of shows. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Your Social Life Behind The Orange Curtain

FBC! this weeks encourages you to go behind the Orange Curtain and drive down the dreaded 405 to Newport Beach where OCMA opens its new edition of the California Biennial, featuring FBC! pals and super fave artists Juan Capistran and Vishal Jugdeo, and lots, lots of other artists.

Tonight you can rush to festivities in Chinatown for the Zoe Crosher series of event at Dan Graham and Charlie James. I link you to the Facebook events page. Tomorrow, still in Chinatown, 3 shows open at Tom Jancar, Doug Harvey, Nancy Baker and Cyril Kuhn.

On Saturday, you can attend the opening for Dorit Cypis at 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica.

Meanwhile... FBC! has some pressing family issues that may require an urgent trip back home if I can find the $$$ for a last-minute plane ticket. So there may not be any YSL for a couple of weeks, and I'm not sure about the Stephen Kaltenbach review I was planning to write. Watch this space, but don't fret if there's nothing going on for a while, I may be en route for yet another funeral.

Lastly, congrats to FBC!'s favorite young curator, Aram Moshayedi, who's just been named assistant curator at Redcat!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Your Social Life - This Time REALLY Give A Fig

Everybody's in London for Frieze this week, meaning we're having a peaceful moment to go see exhibitions in Los Angeles. That is, if your  vehicle doesn't keep on dying on you every two days or so, and that, unlike me, you don't spend precious time and elusive cash dealing with it.
This explains, among other things, why your truly is being very absent-minded these days, to the point I totally confused the date for the Give A Fig benefit at LACE in the last blog post. It's this Sunday, so apologies to whoever has been confused by last week's post.

So what's going on in LA this weekend, you will ask me? Plenty of things!
Doug Harvey has a show at the excellent ALIAS bookstore, the branch in Atwater village. It opens tomorrow, 7 to 9 PM, and you can peruse books as well. Harvey also has a show at Jancar next week.

Pearl C Hsiung has an opening at Steve Turner on Saturday, and so does Roger Herman, on Saturday evening, while in Chinatown the excellent Jennifer Bolande has an opening at the no less excellent Tom Solomon.

Thursday next week, Zoe Crosher has a show with Dan Graham (the "space", so to speak, not the artist, and they still don't have a website?)  and at Charlie James, if I understand the press release correctly.

Now, speaking about the LA crowd currently roaming the Frieze art fair, I warmly recommend you go attend two events. Tomorrow you can attend Aleksandra Mir and Assume Vivid Astro Focus book launch party at White Cubicle Toilet Gallery, a.k.a the toilets of the George & Dragon pub. The other event will happen at the exact same location on Sunday where Elmgreen & Dragset will perform "a public act", between 9 and 11 PM.
These are the only two things that make me regret not being in London.

Meanwhile, for the few John Cale nutcases fans now following FBC!, I have the pleasure to announce that our favorite Welsh legend will be performing in Melbourne, Australia for the International Arts Festival, doing When Past And Future Collide (the Paris 1919 + medley) on Saturday, something called Seven Songs to Leave Behind next Saturday and "noises in my head - an intimate evening" where presumably he will talk about his career and there will be a Q&A. The Australians seem to really like John Cale, as you can see, and there's an excellent radio interview here to prove it.

OK, have a great weekend everybody, with tons of art, music, friends and fun.
It all made me nostalgic for Melbourne & Australia, I wish I could go back one day, it's such a fantastic city.

(pics above, Jennifer Bolande, from Tom Solomon's website)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Your Social Life - Give A Fig!

Your Social Life is back in semi-hibernating mode, which have more to do with FBC! being behind in doing the underpaid work that (sort of) pay part of the rent, than with whatever isn't going in on art-wise in LA.
Though I doubt anything can top up seeing John Cale last week, art-wise. I hear our Welsh genius is playing Paris 1919 next week in Melbourne, as well as participating in something called "Seven Songs To Leave Behind", and another event called Noises In My Head, so to my huge readership Down Under (hi mates!), please go see Cale (and have a couple of yo-yo cookies for me, will ya? thanks).
For pictures of that epic  Royce Hall gig last week, please visit the UCLA/Live Facebook page. This man is 68 years old. Amazing, no? He has also the work he made for the last Venice Biennial opening in his native Wales at the National Museum in Swansea this weekend.

Anyway, this week there are a few things going on in Los Angeles, including Encounters I May or May Not Have Had With Peter Berlin at Human Resources, tomorrow at 7 PM or Saturday at 12 PM.
FBC! will try, work permitting, to attend the opening at Las Cienegas Projects, Theroadtohellispaved... a group show, with no less than two additional solo shows by James Benning and Isabell Heimerdinger.

The other opening I almost forgot to mention is the inaugural exhibition of Greene Park Gallery in Chinatown tomorrow, with Charnel House Scraps, a group show that includes FBC! pal Peter Wu. Don't miss it!

Lastly, FBC! will unfortunately miss this because I work on Sundays, but if you're available don't miss Les Figues Press annual benefit/auction at LACE, tickets $15 to $50 depending on when you get them. Readings, performances, art, food and drinks, all of this to support a courageous and cutting-edge avant-garde publisher.

And, if you are in NYC this weekend, don't miss the Matthew Draper opening at Theodore Art. It will be good!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Night Of Magic - John Cale And Band At Royce Hall

Last night's concert was every bit as magical as FBC! had anticipated, with only one caveat: Royce Hall wasn't sold out. Which might have been due to some unfortunate scheduling snafu, since John Cale was playing on the same night as Pavement/Sonic Youth/No Age at the Hollywood Bowl, and they share the same type of audience. *Of course* the smarter, wiser, savvier crowd was at Royce Hall, while the vulgus pecum went to the Bowl.
I know quite a few people who would have loved to go see Cale, but had booked their Hollywood Bowl tickets months ago. Next time, dear UCLA Live programmers, please be a bit more savvy in establishing your calendar, you will make music fans happy.

So, onto the concert.
Cale came on stage in a neat gray suit, white shirt and dark tie, and started right away after a vague "hi LA" or "nice to see you". He's not known to be chatty on stage, and he didn't fail his reputation one bit.
Instead, he marched on with A Child Christmas In Wales that started off a bit wobbly, but that didn't matter at all because by Hanky Panky Nohow it was obvious it was going to be a great concert.
Cale's voice has deepened with the years and has become truly beautiful, and unlike many band frontmen, he can actually sing and in tune to boot (I'm looking at you Lou Reed, but also at you Blixa Bargeld). Shows you what a real musician can bring to rock'n'roll.

From the Paris 1919 part (the first half of the concert), I think my favorite moments were the arrangements on Graham Greene, with a fantastic horn/brass section from the UCLA Philarmonia, and on Half Past France, especially the beginning. I'm linking to a bootleg video of the Brescia concert so you can have an idea about what Graham Greene sounded like.
 Antarctica Starts Here was as beautiful as you would expect, and he concluded the Paris 1919 first half of the concert with a luscious and bouncy Macbeth.

A few people unfamiliar with Cale's music were surprised at how fast the entirety of Paris 1919 went by, but since the original record lasts about 31 minutes, it wasn't that must of a surprise, especially since Cale isn't given to long talks between songs, à la "and I wrote this song while thinking about blah blah blah one night in 1972 when etc, etc".
Clearly the only thing he's interested in is to get on with the music, and beautifully well he does it.
Everybody seemed to have a good time on stage, including the Philarmonia and its very lively conductor.

A short intermission later, the second half of the concert made up in length for the shortness of Paris 1919 and was equally magical, but in a different way. Cale came back in an untucked white shirt and what looked suspiciously like leather white pants(?) in which he managed to look awesome, bless him. How many 68-year-olds look good in leather pants, whatever the color? Cale does.

He went deep into his back catalog to bring us Hello There, and then a groundbreaking version of Heartbreak Hotel that I hope someone recorded for posterity. God knows how many interpretations of Elvis' hit Cale has done over the year - Hell, I posted 5 different ones in these very pages - but the one he gave last night was breathtaking, experimental in an electronic way (Cale used a vocoder!), but with the heart and soul brought by his band. Probably the most awesome I've ever seen.
I can confirm what everyone says, Cale's musicians are amazing, especially his drummer Michael Jerome (whom you can see later this Fall at Royce Hall again because he's also Richard Thompson's drummer) and his guitarist Dustin Boyer.
If Cale really goes back to the studio soon to bring us a new record, I have fervent wishes he will continue in the vein he's been exploring with that cover of Heartbreak Hotel, definitively the most amazing song he's done last night.

It was followed by Ghost Story with Mark Lanegan on vocals, introduced by Cale as "my friend Mark Lanegan", it was OK, but nothing to write home about, thankfully followed by a very good Ship Of Fool with his other friend Ben Gibbard, who went on to sing Gideon's Bible, the surprise of the evening for me. No Buffalo Ballet, alas. After that, Cale told us "this song has been written by Nico" and he and Lanegan went on with a beautiful rendition of Win A Few.
Lanegan then left and Cale gave us his new, unreleased songs Catastrophic (which I find meh, hey, even geniuses can have a bad day) and then Whaddya Mean, really nice in fact.

The orchestra came back a couple of songs later to help out with a majestic Hedda Gabbler that sounded miles ahead from the album version, and then we had the privilege of getting 2 encores, a kick-ass medley of Gun and Pablo Picasso which should make any indie band that sprouted during the last 3 decades more than envious, proving that at 68 Cale is much younger and creative than whatever crap has come out of Williamsburg via the Midwest (people do *really* listen to The National?).
Jerome and Boyer particularly shone during that part, and Cale was being, you know, pure raw energy and talent.

The second encore was a magical conclusion for the night, with Lanegan, Gibbard and Cale singing Chorale, from the Sabotage/Live album, with a capella parts, that send shivers down our spine and made yours truly a bit teary-eyed.
Pure beauty, indeed.
Cale left with a vague "see you soon", and that was all, and from now on our lives will be as shitty as they ever were until Mr. Cale has the grace to issue a new album and go on tour again (hint, hint).

Thank you Mr. Cale and band, thank you Mr. Randy Woolf for the orchestral arrangements, and thank you the UCLA Philarmonia.

This concludes  The John Cale Song Of The Week Series, otherwise known as The Year When FBC! Went Batshit Crazy Over John Cale's Music.

Next week, back to normal with art crap and all that, meanwhile have a nice weekend ya all, and regret bitterly if you haven't attended the concert yesterday, you missed something historical and beautiful.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Waiting For My Man - John Cale at Royce Hall Tonight

Just a few more hours to wait before the John Cale concert at Royce Hall tonight, which isn't even sold out, unlike his European concerts earlier this month. Los Angeles, you're so lame.
Well, FBC! had done her part to, you know, get you excited about the performance (and lost a shitload of art people readers in the wake of all the John Cale posts, bye-bye, shitload of former readers!), so this will be the penultimate John Cale post - next one will be devoted to the concert review and then that will be all for the 2010 John Cale lovefest on FBC!

To make you patient and salivate until tonight, I'm posting a few Cale covers of the Velvet Underground era "Waiting For My Man". As you can see, no one can scream like John Cale. Above, the 1983 and 1984 Rockpalast concerts.

Below, La Edad de Oro, Madrid, 1986.

See you tonight at Royce Hall, and let's give the man a warm welcome!

And to finish, an abstract video, so to speak, of Cale doing Waiting For My Man earlier this year, I think in Australia. As you can hear, he may be 68, but the man still rocks like nobody.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The John Cale Song Of The Week - Paris 1919

On Thursday, John Cale will grace the stage of Royce Hall and play his mythical record Paris 1919 in its entirety, with the UCLA Philarmonia and with his band. I never had the chance to see the band before but, according to musicians Pat Fish (of Jazz Butcher fame) and Tom Watson (The Red Krayola, Mike Watt and the Missingmen) they are absolutely wonderful. I've been told to pay particular attention to his guitarist and his drummer.
So to keep on celebrating the event, today's John Cale Song of the Week will be the song title of the eponymous album, Paris 1919. Yes, you've noticed I hadn't posted anything from it yet, right? We've been busy exploring his back catalog, and I figured you guys could just go to the concert and discover the album then and there. And hopefully go buy lots of Cale's music after you realize what a genius musician he is.
I'm putting up the original album version above, as well as a recent bootleg of the live version in Brescia (fantastic sound, eh?) below. You will notice that Cale's voice sounds much more beautiful now, but he has lost a bit of his Welsh accent when he sings (but not when he speaks, fear not).

So the way it goes during the concert, Cale and band and orchestra do Paris 1919 first, and apparently they play Macbeth at the end (a bit of a shame as Antarctica Starts Here is  such a great song to end the cycle), there's a short intermission during which everybody madly scrambles for the restroom, the bar, then rushes back because at Royce Hall they do everything exactly on time, so don't come in late people, and then during the second part they do a medley of older and newer songs. I wish he'd do Buffalo Ballet, but it seems Cale hasn't played that one in a while.
There are special guests whose name I can't remember, one is a guy from boring indie band Death Cab for Cutie, if I recall correctly, and the other was on the Nico tribute that Cale organized. I hope they'll guest on the second part and won't spoil Paris 1919. Or maybe they'll play covers of Cale, who knows?

So I'll post one more song on the day of the concert, and maybe a last one Sunday next week to wrap up the series. Meanwhile, you can read a recent interview of Cale here.
If you haven't done so yet, buy yourself a ticket, and see you at Royce Hall on Thursday night! 
And, remember, rumor has it that Cale hates when people take pictures of him on stage so avoid at all costs, since the legend says that he either walks out of stage if he notices someone filming/taking pictures, or, if you're rude enough to use your flash, he's said to threaten to slit the offender's throat, and much, much worse. So, don't disturb our Welsh genius  and his musicians while they are at work, and enjoy the concert.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Your Social Life - Waiting For The Man

Hello, beloved readers, Your Social Life is getting out of semi-hibernation/strike/doing something else to first of all remind you that Thursday next week, September 30th, is the day of John Cale's event at Royce Hall/UCLA "When Past And Future Collide" where he will, along with his band and the UCLA  Philharmonic Orchestra, play his masterpiece Paris 1919 in its entirety. If by now you don't know it, I suppose it means you're desensitized to my relentless pounding and promotion of the Welsh genius.

There are still tickets available, and if you decided to go to the Hollywood Bowl see Pavement/Sonic Youth/No Age instead, it just means you have a very bad sense of priorities.
You can see any of these bands regularly, whereas Cale hasn't played in Los Angeles since 2005, even though he lives here. And LA is the only North American stop for "When Past And Future Collide", your next/last chance to see it will be in Melbourne, Australia, next month. So, go honor a living legend while you still can.

Now that this is taken care of, onto the art stuff. Easy this week: You can either go with the great unwashed in Santa Monica to see GLOW, where the crowd control and budget issues have taken care of the pesky problem of showing too much art (fear not, there's less of it); OR go to Glendale to see the Jan Tumlir-curated Jerry/Jury Rigged at the Glendale College Gallery.

Full disclosure: the idea for GLOW come from the French series of art manifestations called Nuit Blanche in Paris, which started when I still lived there, 7 or 8 years ago.
Thanks to its State support of the arts, France has gone through about 2 decades of public art as entertainment, with not that much of an intellectual investment, so as not to shock viewers and cause funding problems in the future. The premises were noble (bring contemporary art to a wide audience) but the results point to what's about to happen here in the US with all our shiny new public art programs and structures: art with less and less challenging or interesting content, sanitized for an undemanding, if large audience.

So, been there, done that, and yes you get a gazillion people going out at night (good for cafés, bars and restaurants business) but that doesn't translate in a better, more educated, smarter, audience. But it sure prepares people for performers such as Lady Gaga: visual fireworks, spectacular sets,  not much valuable content. 

Which is not to say the art at GLOW will be bad (for example, there's the excellent Celeste Boursier-Mougenot or LA own's Steve Roden), just that it doesn't feel like a satisfying venue for me. I don't really relish the crowd experience, that's all.

Meanwhile, in Glendale... on Saturday evening, you're guarantied a peaceful and smart art experience with such luminaries as Chris Burden, Jorge Pardo, Amanda Ross-Ho, Skip Arnold and the excellent Jennifer Moon, who will be showing for the first time in 10 years her masterpiece, the Facility/the Motherfucker (the Motherfucker is its unofficial name, you need to understand). Don't miss it because you may have to wait another decade to see it again after this.

Before all this exhausting art experiences, should you feel inclined to actually mingle with regular folks, you can attend the Watts House Project volunteer gardening weekend, for which I couldn't find any link on their website, dammit (you can find all the info if you search Facebook, but because of today's FB issues I can't link to the event, sorry).
It's on Saturday at 10 AM, and then on Sunday at 4 PM, 1726-1750 East 107 Street, Los Angeles CA 90002, at the same time as the Watts Jazz And Drums Festival Weekend. The Sunday gardening session will be followed by a BBQ, and if you want to join/help during either (or both) day you need to RSVP to trinidadwhp AT gmail DOT com.
So, not only you will have a nice communal experience like at, say, GLOW,  but you will have had the satisfaction to help a community that needs it,  and you will get to see Simon Rodia's Watts towers.

Have a nice, art-filled weekend folks, and see you next week at Royce Hall!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The John Cale Song Of The Week - The Man Who Couldn't Afford to Orgy

11 more days to wait, and we'll all be able to see John Cale redoing Paris 1919 at Royce Hall!

Tickets are still available, hurry, hurry, as Italian friends who saw the gig in Brescia  (and are not, in fact,  particularly fans of Cale) said it was "intense and magical".

In the meantime, enjoy this week's installment in our ongoing seriesThe Man Who Couldn't Afford To Orgy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Your Social Life Is (Somewhat Vaguely) On Strike

Or, not totally here. Not that I necessarily want to comply with the always excellent Doug Harvey's hope (demands ?) that I totally kick off the art stuff (see comment on the latest John Cale Song Of The Week), but I have other fish to fry this week, and there's too much stuff going on, dammit.

So, quickly, if I have to recommend something this week, it's that amidst the shitloads of openings tonight, yesterday, tomorrow, you go and see the Stephen Kaltenbach show at anotheryearinla (review to come soonish), which opened on Wednesday night.
And then if you go hopping in Culver City tomorrow, please go wish good luck to China Art Objects at its new location.

Pics: short correspondence between Stephen Kaltenbach & Clement Greenberg.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The John Cale Song Of The Week - Thoughtless Kind

Hello happy readers,

Hope you're having a swell time in Los Angeles,  post-openings. Yours truly only went to Ruben Ochoa (very good, as always) and Lari Pittman (ditto, but overwhelming, love the very early works on paper) and that will be it for this week, as I have too much work to do to go out tomorrow. In passing, I think I screwed up re: Steve Roden opening date at the Pasadena Armory Center For The Arts (that was tonight, ha) and I totally forgot the openings at 6150. Oh well.

Meanwhile, lest we should forget (ha, ha! like we would, right) that John Cale will be playing Royce Hall in exactly 19 days, here's today's installment of The John Cale Song Of The Week, Thoughtless Kind, from Music For A New Society, my all time favorite Cale record, and yes, certainly the bleakest and most depressing of all. If you thought Joy Division was somber, try John Cale. Music For A New Society was released on the excellent ZE music label, and also contains my favorite version of Close Watch.
Thoughtless Kind is said to be reflecting Cale's feelings toward his fellow Velvet Underground band members who kicked him out, at Lou Reed's behest, the latter wanting to go, ahem, more commercial, or is it less experimental?

In any case, it's a perfect song to reflect on falling outs with friends, or "un-friending" people on Facebook for the modern version, and also, why not, on the best behavior to show in the art world when one has fallen foul of the Establishment. Right?

Now, I have to confess that when I started the "John Cale Song Of The Week" series, I hadn't realized that the concert would be something like 15 weeks away, and that I would have to sustain that series for so long. Luckily, Cale's back catalog is so big and there's so much quality in it that I never run out of good songs to put on the blog (I've been toying with the idea of putting some of the crap too, but that will wait for another time).
I've always liked his music (hell, I bought Sabotage/Live when I was 14), but as I was telling friends tonight (hi Mark! hi David!) I was never the sort of fan to own all his records, nor to obsessively collect and track down every snippet of info about him, his band, his career, etc.
So it's been very pleasurable to explore his career and listen a bit more carefully to his songs over the Summer. Now I have even more respect for him, in addition to really loving his music, and I sure hope Los Angeles, his recently adopted hometown, will give him a warm welcome when he plays Paris 1919 at the end of the month, and that we'll emulate Paris and Brescia by having Royce Hall sold out. There are still tickets available, hurry, hurry, so you can tell your future grandkids "I was there!".

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Your Social Life Is Baaaaaaaack

 Alberto Burri, Composition (Composizione), 1953, Oil, gold paint, and glue on burlap and canvas, 33 7/8 x 39 1/2 in (86 x 100.4 cm), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, courtesy SMMOA

 Hello, hello, beloved, adored, meager but faithful readership, rejoice and warm your hearts for Your Social Life is  finally back.
 Well, I sure hope it didn't totally disappear while yours truly was doing other things and exploring John Cale's back catalog in anticipation of his September 30th concert at Royce Hall. Which you can attend, since seats are still available, your last chance to see him perform Paris 1919 in its entirety, plus a medley of new and classics songs after the intermission.

Meanwhile, what's going on in lovely, June-gloomy-in-September Los Angeles? Tons of things this weekend, as art galleries are in back to school mode and are trying their darnedest not to clash with each others as the second round of openings will happen next week. Thank you, gallery owners, for trying to make it somewhat simpler this year.

We'll start, not in chronological order, but with the show you shouldn't miss whatsoever. Praise the small but enterprising and intellectually challenging Santa Monica Museum of Art, and the opening this Friday of  Combustione, Alberto Burri and America. Talk about making the too-cool-for-school and generally amnesiac (or is it uneducated? ignorant?) Los Angeles art public rediscover a great Italian artist. It's not sleek, it's raw, it's experimental, but it also has history and patina, in short, if you like John Cale's music, you should like Alberto Burri. Run, run, run see the show, take your family, you friends, and spend lots of time looking, thinking, and reconsidering.

Congrats to Lisa Melandri and Elsa Longhauser for their adventurous programing and curating, all of this on a shoestring budget, without big name donors who prefer to lavish money on new buildings than on the art. I think SMMOA and OCMA are currently the most interesting institutions in the greater Los Angeles area, and they deserve your patronage. If you dropped your MoCA  membership because you hate Deitch's programing, consider switching to SMMOA and OCMA.

 Ruben Ochoa, detail of an artwork, no info, from Susanne Vielmetter's website

On Friday, you can also go see the always excellent Ruben Ochoa at Susanne Vielmetter as well as Yunhee Min.There are no links to their respective exhibitions, which makes me think the press releases are not ready yet, in any case don't miss it, it's 6 to 8 PM.
Also on Friday at Jaus, Ronald Lopez of 18th Street fame curates Harmony Reverberate Optimism, from 6.30 PM. And a retro, 1970s style performance by Micol Hebron and others at LACE from 4.30 in the afternoon.

On Saturday, Lari Pittman opens at Regen Projects. Before that, if you have a teenage, pubescent jail-bait member of your immediate circle willing to be part of Charlie White's next project, you can join his casting call form 9 to 5 PM at LAXart. I'm not sure where I stand on that one, really.
Not an opening (the official one will be next week, when the rest of the Culver City galleries really open) but there's something starting at Angles, what, I'm not sure, because  their website stares back at me with me blank pages. While in CC, don't miss the last week of Kelly Barrie show at Maloney Fine Art.

Steve Turner also opens on Saturday with 2 shows, one by Eamon Ore-Giron and the other by Ana Rodriguez.

Brad Eberhard, Whaler, 2010, Oil on canvas over panel, 36 x 48 inches, courtesy Tom Solomon Gallery

In Chinatown, Charlie James also opens on Saturday with Ala Ebtekar, while at Cottage Home gallery, Tom Solomon presents Brad Eberhard while at his eponymous gallery he's opening with Kristen Cunningham.

Also on Saturday afternoon, Joel Tauber presents the world premiere of what we shall dub "Sick amour, the movie" at the downtown film festival, at 2.30 PM, with a Q&A.

Now on Sunday (I told you it was a heavy weekend), the 20 years retrospective of Steve Roden opens at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. And still in Pasadena, very conveniently, Offramp has an opening and book signing with Quinton Bemiller. After this, you can head off to the Mandrake Bar in Culver City, for the X-Tra launch party (6 to 9 PM, but I'm sure you can keep on soaking at the Mandrake after that). Also on Sunday, don't miss the Erika Voigt opening at Overduin & Kite, a gallery that has a great program and a somewhat off the beaten path Hollywood location.

 Erika Voigt, video still, no further info, from Overduin & Kite's website.

And, if you are in NYC this weekend, please swing by FBC! gal pal Stephanie Theodore gallery on Saturday evening to see It's The Uncertainty, a group show with no less than the awesome Barry Le Va.

Have fun, and most importantly, I wish you some great art to see this weekend.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The John Cale Song Of The Week - Adelaide

This is the last week during which FBC! will be entirely devoted to John Cale, as we'll be resuming our regular "Your Social Life" column mid-week, what with the trabzillion openings scheduled for pretty much every weekend in September.

The John Cale Song Of The Week series will continue until September 30th, when God Cale will give his concert at Royce Hall, and after that, hopefully you will be more familiar with his back catalog and his newer songs and will from now on devotedly buy his music and try to follow his career.
Speaking of Royce Hall, there are still tickets available, but only the expensive ones, which means you will get the best seats!

I just got some echoes from his Paris 1919 concert tonight in Paris at the legendary Salle Pleyel  - it's a concert hall devoted to classical music and the acoustics are great - and it seems people had the time of their life, with comments ranging from "OMG the world can end outside, I don't fucking care as long as John Cale continues playing" to "I don't want this concert to end, ever" and the assorted "John Cale rules" (and a few others based on French puns I cannot really translate, based on Cale's playing keyboards standing up). So, hopefully, it will be as good, or even better, at Royce Hall at the end of the month. Let's give him a warm welcome and with luck he will give us more than one encore.

While in Paris, Cale was interviewed for a very irritating radio show (irritating because of the woman interviewed before him, and because he is obscured by a translator with a grating voice, so you don't hear what he says).
It's all in French, sorry about that, but he does deliver the information that after this tour is over, he wants to go back to the studio and record a new album.
Now the *slightly alarming* part is that this future album will be "a hip-hop record focusing on Japanese anime characters", if the translator didn't transform whatever it is that Cale said.
If it is indeed the case, I sure hope that Cale will be able to, in Jennifer Moon's words "completely renew and transfigure/transcend the genre". Whatever it will be, we're curious here at the FBC! headquarters.

Meanwhile, the difficult choice for today's installment of the John Cale Song of The Week is Adelaide, from his 1970 first solo album Vintage Violence (which also contains Big White Cloud and Amsterdam, two other songs that didn't get the success they deserve).
It's one of his lesser-known songs, one that should also have been a major hit, it's so catchy. I wanted you to experience the lighter side of John Cale, and also give you something that would irresistibly make you smile, hop, jump,  and dance to enjoy this long weekend and forget  that today, you missed Paris 1919 in Paris.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The John Cale Song Of The Week - 5 Times Heartbreak Hotel

That's right, beloved readership (or whatever's left of you after the onslaught of John Cale posts here), this week's installment of our Summer series isn't a John Cale song at all, but his cover of The King's hit.
Or, more accurately, John Cale's covers as the man has the good grace and genius to significantly alter, modify or experiment each time he performs. So today, instead of posting only one instance of "John Cale doing Hearbreak Hotel", I'm posting 5 of them, that's right, 5 for the price of one. Merci qui? Merci Frenchy!

The first one comes from a 1981 Spanish TV show, and in addition to Cale, in all his sartorial splendor (check the bow tie and the cap!) there's also Andy Summers and the dearly departed Olly Halsall (in pink) on guitar . The girl on keyboard isn't Deerfrance, but Zanna Gregmar.

Now the second one is a video collage of two interpretations, back-to-back, one in 1983 and the other in 1984. Don't miss the 1984 one where Cale, completely demented, tears up the carpet. I think it is the Rockpalast concert in Germany, a somewhat recent DVD of which had been released for the enjoyment of the masses (the one Santa Claus would be well inspired to bring me for Christmas).

The third version features Richard Thompson, that's the main reason I put it here, but also for Ivan Gaskell who, in addition to being a very fine art historian and curator, is also a Cale and Thompson fan and occasional reader of this blog.
There's also Shawn Colvin on this version.

The fourth interpretation is in fact the first one, chronologically, where Cale made it the ghoulish, slasher-movie version that beget all the subsequent ones, from the album Slow Dazzle.

Now the fifth (and last, at least for this post) version is part of the series of solo concerts he gave all over Europe in the 1990s, and compiled on the CD and later on the DVD (that Santa could also bring me, please Santa, I've been good) "Fragments of a rainy season". It's Cale at his most intimate, and also during his "officer-priest of the Empire" phase, sartorially speaking.  Not to mention that Cale, now in his sober phase, is much more restrained theatrically speaking, but not so much musically. The piano improvisation is really interesting in that regard.

Now, will Cale play Heartbreak Hotel at his next concert at Royce Hall on September 30? The only way for you to know, dear beloved readers, is to buy your ticket and go!