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 caf├ęs, 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.