Jukeboxparables

WT2010 – USA – Day 17/18 – Los Angeles

Posted in Uncategorized by jukeboxparables on March 27, 2010

WT2010 – U.S.A
Day 17/18 – Los Angeles
[On the iPOD] The Smiths / The Cure

I felt like I needed a change of pace from driving everywhere, even though I’d only been doing it for two days. I found some interesting directions to something called The Giving Tree, which I’ve since learnt is based on a book. Basically it’s a ‘hidden spot’ in the hills surrounding L.A well known to hikers but not really anyone else. So I went to check it out early in the morning.

The directions were purposely poetic, I wasn’t sure what to expect really but as instructed parked in a certain car park and saw a bunch of joggers/hikers heading up this trail where the road/car park had ended and the hills somewhere near the Hollywood sign began.

When I say poetic; think along the lines of “When you see the dragon on your right, you’ll know your on the right path” etc. Amusing, but an adventure none the less. I followed the directions and as the trail path began to rise I started to wonder how far this damn tree was going to be. Eyeing the path on the other side of the valley, it looks like it winds kilometres and kilometres which I wasn’t exactly dressed for hiking. Though passing sweaty hikers on the way down I continued to climb and climb.

Eventually you could see the Hollywood sign to your distant left, It would’ve made a good photo but theres a hill obstructing “HOL” so I pressed on. And then after some more twists and turns there it was on the right; a large grand tree with an open-knot-burrow in the centre of it and a red box placed right before the hole. It’s called the giving tree but it might as well be called The Wishing Tree I suppose. People have written their wishes on hundreds of different pieces of paper and placed them in the box or in the tree itself. Somehow they seemed in good condition, it must shield them all from rain naturally.

It wasn’t utterly awe-inspiring but I think it’s more of a destination to make you actually trek the 1.5km or so up the hill “It’s the journey, not the destination” type deal. The hills in that area are actually rather amazing and so is the view. If someone had suggested I go for a hike I probably would have told them no thanks (in a more abrupt way)

So I trekked my way down, sliding in places in my grip-less chuck taylors. Basically every hiker would greet you with a smile and a ‘heya’ I also observed a lady with seven, yes seven dogs in a range of sizes all on their own leash. How one is supposed to hike with that much chaos is beyond me.

I then headed to MOCA; the Museum Of Contemporary Art which currently was hosting a “30years of MOCA” exhibit. Some interesting works, mostly I found myself sighing at some works. Contemporary Art isn’t really my thing but I suppose that’s part of the experience you find yourself loving some things and hating others. Some of the photographers works on show were pretty mind blowing. I generally dislike work “setup or staged” to provoke, its just really hard to do it and not be cliched. Even though these were master photographers I found myself scoffing at some artful shots. Someone has to do it I suppose.

When photographers are more candid, its wholly more interesting to me. The best photography in my mind are shots that are entirely spontaneous and then capture the moment in a way that almost makes it seem as if it were staged. I guess you could say “documentary style” but alluring to something more, something “almost staged” perhaps it’s their subject matter that makes them seem this way. Nan Goldin and Larry Clark were standouts for me.

The MOCA exhibition actually had two venues, the other being in Little Tokyo 10blocks or so away, So I made the trek over and it was worth it. I had three! different people randomly come up to me and comment on my shoes (Im currently wearing mis-matched cons because I wore the inside of one out in Tokyo) or maybe I’m just a hipster wanker.

Too much walking! so I headed back to my hotel and decided to head to a venue called Spaceland at night. After missing out on the soldout gig at The Echo the day before I really really didn’t want to miss another show. Heading there like 10pm I circled the venue for parking for like 10minutes! Shows are really popular in L.A apparently. I kept getting further and further away until I was like 6 blocks away and it was past 10:30pm I thought; to hell with this and headed to the venue from the night before The Echo; which was bound to have some good music right?

$12 entry and I walk in to find lazers hitting my eyes, people wearing hoodies and some hip-hop/electronic mashup stuff on stage. Ohhh FFS!….. As much as this isn’t me I decided to get a drink anyway because I couldn’t be bothered driving anywhere else. The headline band was more electronica and better than the one before / had a guy with a guitar; this looked slightly more promising.

Queue a bunch of knob twiddlers hitting the stage and playing a bunch of samples on laptops and then a guy in a mask stage diving over and over whilst his laptops played his sick mixes. /cuesarcasm I was thinking wow these guys are really good. /endsarcasm. They naturally had projectors running in the background of their set bombarding the crowd with a visual art component which had to win some points or something. One screen played a bunch of handpicked retro cool 80’s videos which I must admit were rather amusing. The other screen however was connected to a laptop which was connected to a webcam pointed at the crowd which was connected to… yes you guessed it, chatroulette. Needless to say I called these guys knob-twiddlers at the start of this longwinded paragraph and then that’s exactly what we all had to witness on a 100″ projector screen. Cocks and Electronica… and I paid $12 for this. What worried me more was the excitement of some “doods” in the crowd at all this.

They did have one or two good tracks though I must admit. Still.

Anyway long story short, I met some cool people who ended up showing me around Echo Park / Silverlake one bar featuring a wank security guard who didn’t want to let an Australian in. We eventually found some bar with a couple of free seats for drinks though. So in the end it was a good night!

Part of the reason the gang was in a rush to show me around Thursday night was because I was sure I was checking out Friday morning. I checked iCalender the day before, where I’ve planned everything out and sure enough I was. Fast forward to me rushing in the morning to get my stuff packed and taking 30minutes to find my spare doorcard which I couldnt checkout with to then rush to reception to ask for checkout; only to be told I’m checking out tomorrow! She was right. Id somehow stuffed up the calendar entry on my laptop. So with a free day to spend circa 12pm already and nothing planned I decided to head to LACMA.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art; which had two exhibitions one on the last 30yrs of Renoir the other on American Stories (Collection of classic American Art) I don’t have any photos because they weren’t allowed but I’ll just summarise by saying the American Stories exhibition was eye opening and really good. I had lunch beforehand which was rather disappointing. A “side” was listed as “home-made crinkle cut chips” I was thinking something else; eating steak with potatoe chips (per you’d find in a plastic packet ala doritos) is a recipe for a coronary disaster eww.

Friday night in L.A! I’ve got to say up until this point it’d been disappointing. Some good shows but just not hugely memorable. Well Friday night L.A finally!! delivered. Theres a venue known mostly to locals that goes by the name of “The Smell” it’s been around for awhile and was quite notorious back in the day for being dingy as hell; I’ve heard stories of it from punk peeps who have talked about having to dodge dumpsters, garbage and the odd hobbo fight to get there and struggle to find the entry of it. Police constantly patrol the area to keep bad shit from going down.

Though I’ve gotta say that’s all in its past. It has a website now and everything. Basically it’s an artspace/warehouse off a lane in L.A that looks kind of dingy but definitely has character. It’s All-ages, No Alcohol and most of the time ALL bands are $5. These are basically the venues 3 rules. There were five, yes five! bands on the bill starting from 9pm. $5! Brilliant.

I turned up kinda early to find people slowly walking, no music yet so I sat on a couch and noticed they have a permanent in house ZINE collection as well as a book shelf. I picked up a zine called “These Days” as was blown away. Couldn’t put it down and wanted to steal it. Maybe I’ll find it online.

Eventually a band kicked off and people slowly made their way to the floor (the opening band plays on the floor) but they were rather impressive. “Wounded Lion” was their name. They had a 60’s garage-rock vibe with a bit of surfrock, lots of reverb on guitars etc. They actually changed lineups for several songs and had some catchy numbers but seemed like they only had one gear and were better with one lineup than the other.

Second band “The Splinters” an all-girl group. They were kind of fresh really, not as tight as Wounded Lions and had some okay songs in the riotgrrrl style ala The Breeders but others were in a classic rock vibe which wasn’t my thing. I took a breather outside. Que “Jeff The Brotherhood” kind of blues-rock inspired ala anything involving Josh Homme which I really don’t vibe on at all. They were tight and loud but I sat in the other room wondering when they would finish.

Then a fresh-faced trio by the name of “Charlie and the Moonhearts”, fucking wow. Energy reminiscent of Cap’n Jazz (and thats a huge compliment) kids began to circle pit. The bassplayer/singer strums his bass (playing chords) as if he were playing rhythm guitar in a hardcore punk band, the sound is thick and they are immensely tight. I can’t pigeon hole it really. It’s punk/grunge drumming meets garage-noiserock guitars meets 60’s surf-pop-rock vocals (with a pinch of screaming) The only problem this band has is they only have one speed and one rhythm and thats pound pound pound, it got repetitive kind of quick but the energy was constant so thats all that mattered. They closed with a sped-up-alterno cover of early 60’s number one hit “Runaway” by Del Shannon. Which was the highlight. If this band relaxes and finds other avenues of melody look out for them.

Headliners were “Ty Segall” think classic rockabilly or proto-punk ala The Cramps but more up-tempo and with some screaming. Some standout songs and overall pretty tight. It was a pretty good bill overall. I later found out the bands have actually detoured off SXSW so hence the good lineup of bands. I chatted to a bunch of people and ran into some fellow travellers who were in L.A and the venue for the first time also. It’s interesting the crowd this venue draws. It’s unpretentious, its dirty, its fresh and not many people know about it. For example whenever you hear about L.A you hear people instantly mention The Viper Room, after actually looking at the bands on the bill complete with posing-“imawesome”-pamphlets of wannabe hardrock or metal warriors, who the fuck would go there when you’ve got something as natural and pure a venue as The Smell in town.

The site of 100 kids in a laneway up against the fence and wall as cop cars slowly rollby giving everyone the dirty is priceless.

L.A I salute your dingyness.

I have a bunch of photos but most are in FILM but here are the ones I’ve got;

CHECKOUT MORE OVER AT FLICKR

CHECKOUT MORE OVER AT FLICKR

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