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.