Friday, February 18, 2005

Hmm, I want the stats, but not the on-site counter...will figure this out.

First things first: Playing two shows with the mighty, mighty Urinals and the country-rocking Hacks this weekend. The occasion is the publication of The Hacks' frontman Rob Roberge's crime novel More Than They Can Chew. Saturday, at a coffee-house, I'll be solo; Sunday, at a bar, Kyle and I will be on the Long Stem Rant tip, as Daniel is in Rome. That will be louder. Details:

Saturday, February 19
399 W. 6th St., San Pedro, CA

ROB ROBERGE readsĀ 8:30pm
all ages -$5.00

Sunday, February 20
70 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA

everyone does their thing an hour later than Saturday
21 and over only - free admission


So, last Saturday: Got lost in my first attempt to make it Jeff Chang's reading/signing. I thought it would be easy enough to find something with an Echo Park Blvd. address, but I assumed it was in the portion that runs through Silver Lake, so I didn't take directions. Found myself near the restaruant at which Jordan Davis and his special friend Meghan had invited me to join them for dinner; so I went there, got their directions, and led them through a few freeways. Missed the reading/talking part, and had already mail-ordered a copy of the book, which means I'll be demanding his signature later on, when he reads at Eso Wan in March. Said hey, was asked for advice on staying healthy on tour (he's doing a remarkable number of events), could give little as I largely failed to take care of myself on 0pb jaunts. Had some guac, picked up Martha Cooper's Hip-Hop Files and the CS,WS mix-cd, which I'd call "edutaining" if that didn't sound like a slight.

Egon of Stone's Throw/Now Again was spinning in the bookstore's back room, which leads to the curious bit. Next evening, I tuned in to Pacific Drift, a new arts-magazine on KPCC. The host, Ben Adair, is working the Ira Glass/Dean Ulscher self-presentation a little too overtly, but the show seems genuinely good-hearted, and it's nice to hear something like this being produced locally. In any case: Sunday's show included a segment on Egon, which I think I knew about ahead of time. He's talking about the (mostly interracial) funk bands and records he's unearthed and re-released on the label; as a for instance, he recounts the tale of 'Lil Lavair & The Fabulous Jades, who hailed from San Bernardino [my ears prick up], released one single on Lennan Records, run out of Upland [my eyes widen] by one Leonard Wojtowicz, a polka enthusaist who saw something in the band. Here, my jaw drops: This would be "Polka Leonard," the gentleman with the too-thick-for-anything-but-community-radio accent who hosted KSPC's Sunday Morning "Polka Party" for decades. One of the station's most popular shows, with sponsorship from Cassaletti's Polka Palace out in Cucamonga, well before that town became "Rancho." I followed him on the air many times -- for some reason, I always recall an occasion on which he described (off-mic) his ne'er-do-well son as a "loadie."

Always pleased to learn that some of the unlikelist people may have a role, however small, in bringing the funk. Wish I'd known all this a day earlier -- would have had an excuse to talk to Egon, whose project I admire no end.

Sorry for the flabby prose; just wanted to get this down.


Oh, and the flooded remainder bookstore: Is this a So. Cal. thing, that every so often, some abandoned store or storefront suddenly becomes a Crown Liquidation Outlet, not bothering with carpet, decent lighting, or more than one employee in their quest to get rid of some print in its last stop before being pulped, and then disappears a few months later? I've seen this three times: Once near the Trader Joe's on Santa Monica, once near LAX, and now out in the Empire, on Monte Vista, in a cavernous ex-Price Club [post-Fedco/pre-Costco discount store] that they must be renting dirt cheap. I noticed it the day after a storm; the roof had leaked, plastic over about half of the long sawhorse-tables of outdated computer manuals and Marianne Williamson books-on-tape, puddles between, and dryers running. It was something like buying books in a subway tunnel. My fascination with these places is half provenance (how did this one small press book get mixed in with everything else?), half the saving-a-kitten impulse that is the only excuse for a third of my record collection. Single copies of A Wave (pb) and Being and Time (hc) sitting around, and one of that current novel with the upside-down dog on the cover, totally chewed up. Nearly went for the Moody/Steinke young-writers-on-religion anthology, settled on Sennettt & Cobb, The Hidden Injuries of Class (1972 social ethnography of working-class Boston) and what is outwardly a children's book on Margaret Thatcher, but which turns out to be solidly informative.


I have to register the 15 mins. or so that I saw of General Spanky, an Our Gang feature set during the civil war. Seemed to have that late-Marx Bros. structure of the comic stars being present to help along true love. I thought the Little Rascals lived in Brooklyn, not the Old South, but what do I know? Not worth mentioning but for the chase scenes in which Buckwheat makes repeated attempts to bop a Confederate soldier on the head with a log, finally succeeding when the latter (the solider, not the log) becomes entangled in a rope trap. Make of this what you will.


Between the rocking and proofing some galleys, nothing more here until sometime next week. Hey, why not come to one of the shows?

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