Editors LETTER While the majority of the world has turned their attention to the holiday season, it might elude most people’s consciousness that the first decade of the new millennium is drawing to a close. Y2K, while it doesn’t seem too long ago, happened ten years ago. In the blink of an eye, we have witnessed the nation’s first black president, the resignation of Fidel Castro (kinda), the proliferation of “sexting”, the rise in popularity of something called, “Snooki”, the invention of Crocs, even the discovery of water on Mars. All joking aside, time flies. I can remember being a kid and wanting nothing more than to be an adult. Now that my driver’s license says I finally am one, I can’t seem to stop the clock. Ten years ago I was in high school, trying to figure out how to have sex without getting a leg cramp in my Volkswagen. Ten
DECEMBER 2010 J ISSUE #107
years ago I was trying to not get busted for breaking curfew. Ten years ago I was fifty pounds lighter and optimistic about the world. As clichéd as it may sound, we take our day to day for granted, because we get lost in it. Making the rent, not being late to work, passing exams, and feeding junior all wash away any real appreciation we can devote to just, today. The holiday season affords most of us the opportunity to slow down, spend time with those that really matter, and blow off a bit. Think about how fast ten years has come and gone. Don’t let another ten go by without stopping to appreciate it.
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nthony Rodrigue’s victim fidgets nervously and avoids the eye of the camera. He slowly explains why he remained as an altar boy at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in El Centro, California. He smirks boyishly as he acknowledges the rowdy fun he and the other altar boys would have when Father Rodrigue would give them wine and they were allowed to run amok around the rectory or the Priest’s living quarters. Then he stops and stutters a bit before continuing, his nervousness surging to the surface again. “There were instances where we would….go to the rectory and he would undress himself and he would chase us around the house,” he says, pausing more and more often. “He would….go underneath our pants and um…how would I say it…he would…uh…fondle...our penises.” The victim speaks about it like it was yesterday. However, the person facing the camera is a man in what looks to be his late-forties. The hair above his eyes has starting to go grey with age.The events he described took place over 30 years ago and that interview is part of a documentary made by a law firm that is battling in his honor. He finally got reparations his suffering in 2007, at which point the San Diego Diocese was also required to turn over all the documents pertaining to the civil cases filed against it for public display. It wasn’t until this October that the Diocese of San Diego finally released these files. These documents –a confession of sorts - came in the form of 10,000 personnel files the San Diego Diocese released last month after three years of legal bickering in civil court. As many as 84 priests were implicated in molesting 144 minors going back as far as the early 1950’s. This debacle is yet another in a long series of court cases which has been going on against the Catholic Church in the United States for almost 20 years. This case stands out as one of the most important court settlements of its kind. The tsunami of documentation that was released revealed that the San Diego Diocese had direct knowledge of the child predators it harbored. The San Diego bishops during these early years did nothing to see that criminal action was taken against these men. Instead, as is shown in the released papers, these priests were often removed from their posts and shuttled to far-flung parishes in the Inland Empire or entirely out of the state. As far as church history goes, this is a fairly common reaction to matters of molestation. “We see this in other areas, but not with these specific characteristics,” said Terence McKiernan, who runs BishopAccountability.org, a web site that publishes documents and case files involving Catholic abuse. “Because San Diego has a significant influx of Catholics from Mexico who really need Church services it would do two things that were really noticeable. It would accept priests who it knew were bad news. They were so desperate for priests that they kind of relaxed their standards in a major way. And that, of course, was not good if you happened to be a parent raising a kid. Your child was at risk. And that didn’t seem to be much of a concern to the dioceses.” This isn’t to say that the Church didn’t see this as an egregious moral flaw. Many times priests were sent to a “retreat” in New Mexico to help them deal with their sinful nature. However, these trips out of state rarely seemed to do much good. With the Southern California population growing and available priests so few, the conditions were perfect to create an environment of repeat-offences. The jurisdiction of the San Diego Diocese before the eighties was enormous. It included all of San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Since then, these areas have grown big enough to allow for dioceses of their own to take the burden away from the San Diego region. It was in the early days before the population got too high that most of the Church’s cover-ups went on. These were also the days when the Church, having been established in many of the poorer areas of Southern California, had the most clout. “At that time, and it’s really a very common thing in the ‘50s, ‘60s and even the ‘70s, that the archbishop or the bishop of the diocese was a very political animal and very involved in the local politics,” said Irwin Zalkin, one of the major lawyers who helped settle the law suit against San Diego Diocese in 2007. “Police
chiefs and mayors generally didn’t want to run afoul of these guys. They would accommodate them.” These religious leaders had the ear of the devout local population and could swing elections in the favor of whoever they chose. With this political influence, the Bishops were given free reign self-police their priests.When an accusation of molestation surfaced, the Church could deal with the situation in-house. This crony-system within the church allowed the bishops to keep their servants out of criminal trouble and actively practicing elsewhere. In many ways the Diocese’ meticulous record-keeping proved to be its downfall. Priests in the field were required to send regular reports to San Diego and often received financial assistance as well. The amount of everyday paperwork included in the 10,000 page document release was enough to put anyone to sleep. However, even some of the most seemingly bland material takes on new life when looked at in perspective. The mention of mountain retreats or innocent social calls take on an eerie light when it’s later revealed that these were merely excuses to prey on young boys and girls. It could very well be that the most damaging documents will never see the light of day. One of the church vicars, Monsignor Steve Callahan, did his best White House aid impersonation and spent hours in the basement of the University of San Diego’s student pastoral center shredding important documents. In later depositions he tacitly implicates his Bishop when asked “And did you have Bishop [Robert] Brom’s full permission to do this?” To which he answered “Yes.” As the Diocese split up and started to control less area, the 1990s gave rise to the growing number of civil suits filed against the Church. Eventually so many law suits had piled up against the Diocese that they needed to be consolidated and put under the oversight of a district judge. Finally, in 2007 the settlement was reached – but not before Irwin Zalkin had his say. With the release of the 10,000 documents, Zalkin Law Firm achieved something for its clients that had previously been denied them – credibility. The victims had often been regarded as gold diggers, liars, opportunists, and worse. Pundits and adversaries weren’t above attacking the character of those who had come forward after so long to request reparations. The documents, as Zalkin sees it, are a public record of the injustices his clients had been subjected to. The statute of limitations blocked public criminal trials for a number of the accused priests and death had claimed many of those who could stand trial. With this landmark civil case, the proof that has so long been a secret could officially be a matter of public record. The Church’s own documents would both legitimize the charges and implicate the subsequent cover-up. Any Joe Blow or devout Catholic could see for themselves. Not that these documents are easy things to come by. Sifting through official records is a painful experience, which is why Zalkin’s team started to organize and release the damning evidence itself through the firm’s Web site. “I don’t know any other example of an attorney going to all that trouble to make sure all the documents were available for people to look at,” McKiernan said, “and I think he really deserves credit for that.” Zalkin’s work is far from over. He and other lawyers are still fighting the Diocese to release more documents, ones the leaders are fighting to keep in the dark. Not that they are necessarily all too important. Along with personnel files and private letters, many of the “documents” the Diocese released were simply photocopied newspaper clippings – often positive ones. Still, the Church claims the unreleased files are a matter of confidentiality between the Church and its members. Which is noteworthy, since some of the abuses took place within the very confines of confession. As Zalkin puts it, the “never ending battle” carries on. In the aftermath of the nationwide scandals many branches of the Church, the San Diego Diocese included, have started to rebuild the trust that had been broken with their flock. Priests are now required to sign extensive and specific forms in promise of clean (read: child sex free) living. According to the office of Child and Youth Protection in San Diego, all legitimate accusations are to be reported to the authorities according to state law. Yet, fact remains that children have been abused in rectories, at drive-ins, and even in their own homes while their parents were in the next room (all documented examples) and legal action only started being mandated in 2004. What the Catholic Church does from this point on will decide how soon it regains full trust from the public again. For many, it still has a long way to go – and a lot more “Hail Mary’s” to say until that happens. By Joshua Barton
They were so desperate for priests that they kind of relaxed their standards in a major way.
he tale in literature of the path to salvation from despair and hopelessness is forever compelling. Peter Cropsey’s novel Dead Man Waking, based closely off his own life, carves gritty prose into a book that is eminently readable and revealing. We follow the protagonist Eddie Wilkins, Cropsey’s avatar, through parts of his life that are at once criminal and shocking yet heartfelt and inspiring. Living in motels and gang clubhouses, shooting dope and staying constantly armed was de rigeur behavior for much of his life. With a knack for all types of criminal behavior, Eddie cuts a destructive swath through the underbelly of Southern California in the same vein as William S. Burroughs’ Junky and the works of Ed Bunker. Now in his mid-life, Cropsey was a pastor at Calvary Chapel in coastal Orange County; a far cry from his past days as a drug-addled biker rolling through the dark alleys and unforgiving streets of California’s seediest subcultures. An enigma that could just as easily quote The Tibetan Book of the Dead as expertly prep a fix of heroin or detail the inner workings of a custom bike, Cropsey was immersed in a destructive lifestyle but was cerebral enough to eventually come through a fog that most never do. In 1989 he was paroled from Corcoran State Prison, never returning to incarceration and steered himself down an enlightened path of recovery and redemption. He unequivocally personifies the following maxim: it is not what happens in our life that defines us, but how we choose to interpret those events and the keen realization that making better decisions leads to better results. Cropsey: I lived in some magical places during some magical times. As an infant and small child I lived in Laguna but at seven my mother and I moved to Puerto Vallarta. That was in 1962. From there I went to live with my dad in Laurel Canyon for a couple of years. Then back to Laguna which is where I was in that famous summer of ‘69. I then visited Maui for a minute, robbed ten pounds of weed off of a guy and took it to Kauai when I was fifteen…. so that would have been in 1970. I basically just threw the weed in a suitcase, bought a one way ticket : me, my weed, and my surfboard hit the North Shore of Kauai. I lived in a tree house at Taylor’s camp in Haena until the weed was gone. Then they kicked me out, so I lived in a ‘51 Chevy panel truck; wherever I parked was home. By the time I was sixteen and a half, I was back on the mainland and shooting heroin, hanging out in Santa Ana and getting locked up. My life pretty much went south from there. Friedly: When was the first time, and the last time, you were incarcerated? Cropsey; The first time I was incarcerated I was fourteen and it was only for a few days However, it had far reaching implications because it made me feel cool, I even started to slick my hair back after that, very weird. I met a couple of kids that I would have ongoing relationships with over the years that were very destructive. The last time I was locked up was very intense because I had come to a crossroads. I had been to some N.A. meetings in the two months I was on the streets and I had begun to see that there was another way to live. In those meetings I saw hope for the first time. I had always had a desire for God and it used to be that I would get out of jail or prison and go straight to church. I knew God was pursuing me but I was so toxic. Everyone at church would be so nice to me, taking me to coffee and pie, always saving me a seat. Still, I felt like I was a science project. Like they were trying but they really didn’t get me. It was a very lonely time. I would always end up seeking the comfort of the familiar and for me that was the dope slammin’ gangsters of the streets.When I got to N.A. I found a bunch of people more like me. Here I need to say that learning how to stay clean in the program made it possible for me to stay clean anywhere and so I went back to church and back to the God of the Bible. At any rate, that last time in prison was an eye opener because for the first time I realized I didn’t have to be there. It was for the first time, a very dark and unnecessary place to be. Friedly: What role did drugs play in your life before you were able to turn your life around?
Cropsey: I began writing when I was probably sixteen, mainly poetry. In the pen I was the Cyrano De Bergerac of the yard. I would write beautiful poems and letters to soften the angst of girlfriends and wives left behind by the selfcentered antics of the cons. The goal of course was to woo said ladies into smuggling drugs into the joint which is where I got my payoff; I was actually very successful at this. I would also write short stories for various biker magazines, probably fifty or more, all rejected by the way. When I began to write sermons is when I really found my groove or voice as you call it. Learning how to take eternal principles and convey them in a way that people could grab a hold of without compromising the content of the scriptures for entertainment’s sake was very challenging and rewarding. But I really think Eddie has taught me to write. Having to represent him and bring him to life for people has made me a writer.
Friedly: That forces the question, why did you write this particular book at this particular time? Cropsey: I didn’t really write this book so much as it spilled out of my soul. One day I just decided to write a book and so it began. I know some writers like outlines and have maps and plans. It wasn’t like that for me. It just took on a life of its own and the whole thing was written in my heart long before I ever keyed my first sentence. Friedly: Why did you choose to write DMW as fiction novel rather than a straight autobiography? Because it is obviously patterned after your own life... Cropsey; I actually began Dead Man Waking as an autobiography. About three chapters in to it I became uncomfortable. I was thinking, “Man rich people and famous people, people who are already public property they write autobiographies and memoirs. I am neither of those things.” I wanted a protagonist who people could become emotionally invested in, become intimate with. It just couldn’t be me. Two of my favorite authors who wrote in the prison, gangster genre were Eddie Bunker and Eddie Little. So I named my protagonist Eddie Wilkins. But I didn’t know that Eddie would become a real person to me. While the events in the story may be mine, Eddie relives them in his own way and I have to say I love Eddie Wilkins. There was a period of time between books, I am well into the second book now which will be called simply EDDIE, anyway there was a period of time where I was just getting ready to release Dead Man Waking and wasn’t writing. I was working on publicity and so forth. When I sat back down to begin EDDIE it was like seeing an old friend again. Friedly: How has it been received by people in your past whom you might stay in contact with? Cropsey: Just this morning I received a letter from Blue, (Eddie’s crime partner in the book), who is doing life in prison and he said some very touching, very personal things about Eddie’s story. But his cellie, who is an old school O.C. gangster also doing life, included a page for me and it said this: “Hey brother, in your book any lost boy can truly see a glimpse of your soul. And without sounding overly proud, tooting my own horn or being pedantic I want you to know that I have read every classic,Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, every Michener, Clavell, all the crap 48 Laws of Power or hinky (sic) Art of War brewhaha (sic) that is out there, but your lost boy tale resonates with me personally. I hate trying to sound like, ‘That was me!’ but it so was.” That was better to me than a spot on Oprah! Friedly: There is a quote in the book that says, “I wither in the status quo, I die in the familiar.” A lot of us feel that, do you still deal with that and how do you reconcile that type of mindset now that you are a family man and pastor? Cropsey: Oh yeah I still feel sometimes like one of my socks has slipped down under the heel inside my shoe and I might go crazy, but I have learned how to stay still until it passes. Negotiating life is a difficult deal for anyone. For sure I can’t live in a box. I have learned that whatever I am feeling is more than likely the product of something broken, so I just stop and ask God for His thoughts on the matter. If I deny my impulsive nature it will usually subside. But I still don’t do status quo. Friedly: Lastly, what is the one thing you wish for people to take away from reading your book?
Cropsey: You might as well ask the question, “What role did air play, or food, or water?” I mean all I knew was drugs. I had gone from the recreational kind of “seeker” getting high to full blown hard core addiction at a very young age. Drugs formed my character, defined my peer groups, caused me to see things and do things no boy or girl should ever have to see or do. You know, people say to me, “Your protagonist was so young to be doing the things he was doing.” Really? Because next week I am going to a local Junior High to speak to their “at-risk” population which is approximately 40 kids.These kids are using Oxycontin as if they were Tic Tacs. They are in the seventh and eighth grade!
Cropsey: Of course the desire to read more and to tell others about the book; however, I would have to say the main thing would be empathy. Eddie Wilkins represents a demographic. He is the guy doing life in prison in a maximum security facility, he is the guy who overdosed on heroin so his buddies threw his body in a dumpster, he is the guy who used to be a gunslinger but is now toothless and pushing a shopping cart down the street talking to himself. He is the young girl who was viciously molested by someone she trusted and ended up in a life of drug addiction and prostitution. But also Eddie is the guy who fought through and found forgiveness, grace and love in God and emerged from his own personal hell to a life of victory.You see there are no throwaways in God’s economy and so what I would really hope that people take away from Dead Man Waking is just that, hope.
Friedly: Are you able to disclose which biker crew you rolled with back in the day or would that break the code of that certain organization?
Check out www.deadmanwaking.net for more information and to secure purchase of Dead Man Waking.
Cropsey: This is no secret. I was in the Vagos Motorcycle Club, a.k.a. The Green Nation. At one point I was National Sergeant-At-Arms. Friedly: Through all this, when and where did you finally find your writing voice? By Aaron Friedly
by the time I was sixteen and a half, I was back on the mainland shooting heroin, hanging out in Santa Ana and getting locked up. SKINNIEMAGAZINE.COM
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in the world and the sun patiently awaits its and there’s nothing but the pure cerulean-blue moment to light up the sky. The clouds disperse dew Plenty of snow had fallen the night before while heavens up above to welcome a brand new day. ntain mou the g leaving undiscovered tracks all alon lingered in the air and stars blanketed the sky – is It evokes a sense of pleasure with a purpose. This just begging to be found. The scene is humbling. e. mov elf up to his board – contemplating his next about the time that Eero Niemlea is hooking hims es. up to his earphones and he’s ready to hit the slop Just connect a little Ramones or some Social D There’s work to be done.
It’s 5 a.m. somewhere
ero Niemela “Ebo” comes off pretty much the way you’d expect any twentysix year old import snowboarder to. “I’m still single and not afraid of getting into some trouble,” he states. He has allowed some good things to fall apart so that better things can come together. Since moving to North America to improve his game, he has gained plenty of attention on the scene. Hailing straight out of Ojakkala, Finland, Niemela grew up by the mountains (Vihti and Talma resorts) and exceeded very early on in his career by continuing doing what he loves and following in the footsteps of legends like Jussi, TRJJ, and Dev. With timely precision and unswerving, stylish techniques, hitting the slopes and carving through fresh powder is what this young progressive lives for. “I have learned to love it more and more. I love to be out there in the middle of nowhere and search for fresh tracks,” says Niemela. These fresh tracks can be found throughout backcountry in BC Canada, which are frequented by this former Wildcat – who just signed on with Grenade Gloves, a company whose valid mission statement has kept it going strong for seven years. The transition to Grenade Gloves has been nothing short of smooth and as Niemela so nicely put it: “It feels like home to me. They’re a great group of people. We all blow on the same coal to make the fire bigger. Everyone is down to help everyone to move forward and push the limits.” We are the company that we keep and by consistently being surrounded by a team of inventive minds, there’s no such thing as limits. “Mountains are big and powerful. You gotta play by their rules. I just want to be out there and shred.There is no better feeling in the world than coming down something that you were so scared of an then you nail it,” reveals Niemela. As far as motivation goes, pushing the boundaries continues to keep his passion and skill level in place. Aside from snagging the Transworld Snowboarding cover during the onset of his career as their Rookie of the Year, Niemela is in union with the divine. In addition to landing switch backside 900s and making waves out of the dumps of white splendor scattered alongside the backs of mountaintops throughout the backcountry, he is ahead of his time and paving his way towards becoming a luminary in the process of living out his dream. Although he’s been in the industry for quite some time, this point in his life is a far cry from his days cruising around on the board he wishes he still had - his Hooger-Booger 148, which was taller than him but still, “Straight up awesome!” He is definitely one of those riders who has taken his method and tricks to an entirely new level; cutting into everything he rides – be it powder or park. Best place to shred? “The secret zone! The best runs, fresh tracks for days and no outsiders. Just boarding, no bullshit.” The industry, however, does have its fair share of dealings with bullshit. Does it come with the territory? “It’s more than you would think, but there are things you have to do and be a part of. It’s just how it goes. I try to always do it in the summertime that way I’m all clear minded when I’m out there shredding in the winter.” During the summer months you can usually find him under the sun in San Clemente or riding the fast, picturesque waves on the shores of Central America. This past summer was a different story, though, due to having shoulder surgery – but – after a bit of rehab he’s ready to swing for the fences next season. Being on top also means other people are going to try and bring you down, but that’s not something Niemela is worried about. He doesn’t look past the missions ahead of him, and takes every day one step at a time. Now an established star of photo and film, Niemela has been showcased in many film segments that have certainly legitimized his aptitude, machinelike accuracy and consistency to adequate audiences. Despite having traveled to various places around the world, from his point of view, backcountry still defeats all other terrain. “Hands down. I love it. There’s so much to learn and so many different ways to ride it!” While Niemela may have conquered backcountry, he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Ebo is armed with a newfound momentum. There’s no doubt that you can expect this naturally gifted snowboarder to unleash something highly impressive this season. This 5’ 8” phenom has been exhibiting his clean style of riding circa ’05 and is an ideal example of the future generation of Finnish riders. Love and dedication of the sport keeps him on his toes – ready for his next move, next trick, next destination. Meet the new face of Grenade. At the end of the day, it takes the proper mentality and hustle to stay on top of your game, especially in such a swiftly evolving industry. “Life is short,” says Niemela. “Live it like there is no tomorrow, but still play it smart. If that makes any sense!” Snowboarding carries you - like a wave and here on this wave, Niemela rides confidently– tried…and true. Just shred.
By Elysia McMahan
RED CROSS JERSEY NIGHT SUNDAY, JANUARY 23 • 5 PM CITIZENS BUSINESS BANK ARENA
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obviously up for debate, but it might be safe to say the biggest attraction to action sports lies heavily in the lure of watching people eat shit. As much as watching an athlete stick a trick or land a jump can provide a thrill, the chance of seeing them wipe out spectacularly, although no one will admit it, comes with a very similar anticipation. The Fuel Network found just the person to satisfy that taboo interest in Chris Slam Lambert. Appropriately titled Slam!, the series highlights some of the biggest spills from athletes in multiple disciplines. We also get a chance to hear from the athletes themselves as they recall just what it was like when things took a gnarly turn – for the worst. Lambert (aka Slam) leads this circus of skaters, snowboarders, BMXers and other athletes every Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. on Fuel TV. A professional skater himself in the mid 90’s, Lambert is no the occasional bump, bruise, and or broken bone himself. “I’ve broken both ankles, both wrists twice, broken nose, split my head, I mean I’ve done everything that you could possibly do with falling,” Lambert boasts. “That’s what’s cool about me doing this show, we’re all in the same boat.” The format of the show positions Lambert along with a who’s who of personalities in action sports, recalling the time they broken this or slammed that, whatever it took to finally land that trick. “It’s great to talk about the battles all of these pros go through to make a living and a lot of the time we don’t show that,” Lambert says. “These guys are skinning themselves up and breaking bones. They are hucking themselves down these gaps that you wouldn’t believe the size of, but they do it because it’s the progression of their sport.” As the shows stars are left with bumps, bruises and bloody messes you think that you’ve seen the worst bail until you watch the next episode. Aside from the obvious entertainment, the real danger of the sport resonates with each spill you see. There are still skeptics that continue to dismiss the validity of the action sports industry – SLAM! Might change their minds. Lambert thinks back among the list of injuries he has sustained and has narrowed it down to the worst ones ever. “I think I’ve broken my ankle a couple times which could be the worst because it takes you off for 6-7 months,” Lambert remembers. “Even to this day my ankle is swollen up to the size of a softball and it will never go down.” After recounting all his injuries he remembers that his ankle injuries were no match for his thumbs. “My thumbs don’t work,” Lambert laughs. “I’ve broken my
thumbs and I can’t even carry cups anymore. I’ll get my thumbs caught in a crack or something and break them. Now I can’t even pick up glasses to drink. Its little injuries like that that you don’t think of but breaking my thumbs was probably the worst.” Another aspect of the show that might elude you at first is just how insightful it can be. For many of the unassuming public, the basic question asked is why? Flying off ledges, ramps, and rails is inherently cool, but beefing it in the process, would be enough to make most of us pass on the attempt. “It’s about meeting up with pro riders, whichever sport that they do, and letting people know what everyday is like,” Lambert says. Lambert admits that there are constantly injuries that athletes have to deal with, but the constant presence of that danger is what makes many of the athletes feel alive. “It makes you remember that you are mortal,” Lambert says. “It’s great that these people are really willing to talk to me about it because its part of their routine and not to many people get to see that part, all they see are the makes in the videos,” Lambert boasts. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.” Getting interactive, Lambert even manages to recreate some of the gnarliest wipeouts. “I’m able to do some falls in front of them and make it a fun thing. I love falling. I love doing these stunts. It’s a lot of fun to talk to them seriously but joke about it also.We get to feel a little pain and accomplishment after we make a trick. It’s really emotional; it just shows what we have to go through everyday to pull a trick.” Considering every discipline and the risk factor in each, Lambert admits, snowboarders will surprise people the most. “These guys are some of the coolest riders and they huck them selves down 40 stair handrails like its nothing and the slams they take are unreal and end up in the hospital a lot of the time because they are landing on their ribs, breaking ribs, puncturing lungs. The snowboarders I’ve interviewed are just hardcore. I think people are going to see these guys in new light.” Slam! travels the nation from NYC to Hawaii to get the stories of all different professionals from all different sports. “It’s all about having fun and loving the sport that you do,” Lambert says. “These are the sports that we’ve picked because I think we go down a little harder than most and now is our chance to show people what we have to go through. It’s a passionate show with all of our lives.” www.fueltv.com
By James Gobee Photos by Donez
FRESH PRODUCE FRESH PRODUCE
words by Alex Mendoza
the past ten years the expansion of electronica has undergone a fascinating evolution. These days the trademark euphoria and pulsating rhythms have latched themselves in the upper echelon of pop’s most engaging personalities. In the past there was a narrow-minded creed that genres were restricted from intermingling. The idea of mixing polar opposites was considered an immediate way to turn away audiences, Crookers have been up on game. What they were experimenting with over a decade ago is uncanny in terms of style to the current mainstream pop songwriting standard. Now at the cusp a new decade within the new millennium, pop’s landscape is changing – fusing intricate elements and creating personal interpretations that take the most charming pop songs under the digital knife. Songs are digitally skewered, or reconstructed, creating an entirely new beast altogether. At the forefront of this mixing revolution is the Italian electronica duo, Crookers. The insanely-talented pair represent a continued import of Europe’s most cutting edge electronica artists, following the in the same path as Daft Punk and Justice – with international appeal to spare. The team of Francesco “Bot” Barbaglia and Andrea “Phra” Fratangelo has worked with the treasured hits of bands such as U2, as well as digital contemporaries, The Chemical Brothers. Every song placed through Crookers’ funnel is an unpredictable mix of genres that teeter on the edge of absurdity. Yet the group’s effortless display of talent creates near-perfect pacing and utilizes infectious beats that ensnare you the moment they sound. This risqué songwriting method constantly commands the attention of its audience with a barrage of beats and blips. But their ability to create organically structured electronica is remarkable. There is a sense of humanity laced about when the duo deviates from its beat-heavy songs, employing the atmosphere that evokes shoegaze and rap – if only for brief moments. Beyond their music, however, Crookers extends its reach in the Internet with a Flash-friendly site that offers another intimate portrait into two seemingly normal guys who love what they do, and clearly want to share it with as many people as possible. There are several different types of blogs, some highlighting personal interests, be it in music or some other form of media; other times the group features music that they’re listening to any given time. This candid display of information is the type of strategy that serves to Crookers benefit. There is a personal connection to the artists, and within their blogs you can sense their passion for their music. “Both Phra and myself grew up listening to the same type of music. We both liked rap and we were very lucky to have met each other. It’s very difficult to find someone who shares the same interests as yourself. Especially in music. We both liked house, and groups like the Basement Jaxx. They were one of our biggest influences, along with The Chemical Brothers. We wanted to take all these things that had never been put together to make something everyone could enjoy,” Bot explains. The healthy rosters of artists that have undergone Crookers brilliant electronic microscope include Lady Gaga, Fever Ray, The Chemical Brothers, U2, Britney Spears and Kid Cudi. The most infamous of this bunch belongs to Kid Cudi’s ode to being the loneliest stoner in the universe, “Day ‘n Nite”. Surprisingly, their pulsating revision of Cudi’s emo-tinged hip-hop was a slow-burner. Most people who caught onto the song’s undeniable hooks were under the impression the song was a new release. Bot, however, explains differently: “When we released that song it took a long time for it to catch on with people. Especially those in the US. We were surprised it did so well, because lots of people didn’t think it was a good idea at first. We approached
Cudi about remixing the song, and he agreed to it. Sometimes the artists come to us, but in this case we went to him because we really enjoyed the song. It was slightly stressful to manage the song because of all the outside pressure. But now the song is a big hit and we’re really thankful it managed to reach as many people as it did all around the world,” Bot says with a grateful tone. “It’s always difficult to balance the tastes and interests for the European and US audiences. Europeans tend to be more open-minded when it comes with experimenting with various styles. Two years ago I remembered we had played dubstep for a bit in a show in the US, and you can tell the energy died down. People had this look on their face that said, ‘Hey, what is this?’ But now it’s all over the radio and you can hear the influence everywhere. It’s interesting because when something clicks with the US audiences, it really clicks and catches on quickly.” At this point the band has started their North American Tour to capitalize upon the band’s appeal to US electronica enthusiasts. Their trademark style and ingenious remixes flow seamlessly through a heart-stopping live show that evokes that same type of uninhibited mania that made the Daft Punk, “Alive 2007”, and Justice, “Across the Universe”, tours so successful. These were not solely concerts, but rather lavish and captivating spectacles of electronica’s grand ambition to take the audience on a journey that would forever embed itself into society’s musical consciousness. The fact that Crookers is well on its way in harnessing this energy is a sign of a band at the start of its stride. “One of the hardest things about having to follow up on what people say is maintaining that sense of creative growth. To constantly change and find new sounds, styles, beats, or whatever. That’s why we spend a lot of time listening to lots of other up-and-coming artists. It’s important to do so to remain relevant. To see what they’re doing with their music and their sound and their ideas. If we decide to ignore what’s going on around us, we run the risk of falling out of the loop. That’s something you can’t allow to happen, and it’s not just to stay on the top. We’re lucky to be there. It’s more about making sure we’re happy with how we’re growing and changing.” Bot’s tone is a clear-cut sign that this is a group that takes their music seriously because of their personal connection to the electronic canvas’ they design. Their passion for music has been engraved to their lives since a young age, as both Bot and Phra took up guitar, sequencing, working with synthesizers and honing their skills on the turntables. Since then their reach into pop culture has extended to such digital landmarks such as the “Grand Theft Auto” series. In the game the duo assumed the role as the ElectroChoc radio DJs for “The Ballad of Gay Tony”, and also had their remix for “Day ‘n Nite” was featured in “Midnight Club: Los Angeles” and reached Number Two on the UK Singles Charts. But it’s clear this is merely the beginning of a rapid ascension to the top of the international ranks. Their musical style and penchant for electronic flair is a surefire way to invigorate audiences worldwide; and with the continued appeal reaching other artists, there’s bound to be another series of remixes that will further Crookers notoriety within the music industry. Their 2010 debut “Tons of Friends” insinuated that Crookers were still students of their craft, but the group’s recent alliance with Interscope and their single, “We Love Animals” implies they are focused on creating their own path. A path the rest of industry will find impossible to ignore, and without a doubt an unexplored path listeners will be eager to follow. By Alex Mendoza
Europeans tend to be more open-minded when it comes with experimenting with various styles.
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a bizarre twist of fate, it was an effort to IN resurrect the Circle Jerks that caused its ultimate demise and the birth of OFF! As it turns out, combining punk legend Keith Morris with Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats produces a sound reminiscent of Circle Jerks or even early Black Flag with songs that speed by as fast as machine gun fire. Initially, Coats came up with the idea to reform the Circle Jerks and offered to produce the tunes after spending a lot of time with Morris – a then-employee of V2 records where the Burning Brides were signed. Everyone got on board but it didn’t take long for certain members of the old school punk band to grow tired of the situation, more specifically Coats’ involvement. “The Circle Jerks are kind of like a bunch of older guys that don’t wanna take orders from a younger guy,” explained Morris. “It’s kind of like, ‘Who’s he to tell us what we need to do?’ We’ve been doing this for so long, it’s like, we can do whatever we want and all the people, all of our fans will listen to whatever we do. That whole mentality, it equates to a giant garbage can. It equates to something disastrous. Like a twister or a hurricane or something like that, an earthquake. In the process of songwriting for the Circle Jerks album, Dimitri and I found ourselves in my living room. Dimitri puts out the call, ‘Guys, it’s time to write songs.’ You don’t record an album unless you’ve got songs. Nobody shows up. Here’s Dimitri and I writing songs towards a record that eventually gets nixed. It was such a stupid situation and I got to the point where I’m at an age where any of the stupidity, I don’t need it. You’ve gotta jettison it. You guys go do what you’re gonna do. Go play in all of your other bands. I’ll take all of the songs that I wrote with Dimitri and we’ll start our own band and that’s exactly what we did.” Once it was determined that a new band would rise from the ashes of an icon, Coats and Morris brought in Redd Kross bassist Steven McDonald and Rocket from the Crypt drummer Mario Rubalcaba. In typical punk fashion, the initial OFF! EP offered four tracks that clocked in at a total of four minutes and fifteen seconds. Who says songs need to be any longer? “This is like ‘Let’s get directly to the point.’ No guitar solos. If there is, they’re just really noisy. Get on with it,” said the charismatic Morris. “What happened was that the inventor of the compact disc that holds 72 minutes worth of music, every other band in the world decided ‘Well, if it holds 72 minutes of music, we have to put 72 minutes worth of music on the CD.’ So, consequently, around maybe the 30 minute mark on the CD, things started to get meandering and going on. Oh, listen to me, not only can I play guitar but I can take a drum stick and beat on squirrel’s nuts. What are these people thinking? What happened to the minute and a half song? All of a sudden, it’s like ‘Are you kidding?’ This isn’t Bruce Springsteen where when you play live you’ve gotta play for eight hours because the people are paying $300 to come and see you. Let’s strip away all of that stuff and let’s just go for it. Let’s be short and brief. Let’s say what we feel, get our energy going and blow it up.” OFF! is still in its early stages and there are plans to tour in the winter, although the logistics of everything from weather to family have entered the picture - a stark contrast to 30 years ago when it might not have been an issue. “They’re going to send us out into the ice and the snow and the rain and the hurricanes and the really terrible driving conditions (but) we wanna go out and play,” said Morris. “One of our situations is that three of the guys are dads. I’m the flake. I have absolutely no responsibilities in the world. I was explaining to my friend when I told him that I’m in love with this gal he was kind of flabbergasted because I never
talk about that and he seemed to be under the impression that I was just this little gay troll that lived in the closet in the back of a cave. I said ‘Well, if I’m gay, I’m certainly not happy.’ There aren’t a lot of little naked children dancing and holding hands and singing songs in the grass and the flowers and the birds chirping overhead and beautiful trees and there’s the little stream with the little goldfish leaping out of it. There’s goat and deer lapping at the water and there’s a rainbow. Then there’s a mountain goat stampede. A flock of mountain goat.” In the mid-‘70s, Morris was just turning 20 and spearheading a young band called Black Flag. In those days, spreading the word on a new record or stop in a town required phone calls, word of mouth and flyers. Despite a lot of negativity directed at the Internet for bringing the recording industry down to its knees, it is a great tool for getting a band in as many minds as possible. That’s a good thing considering Morris doesn’t plan on handing out OFF! flyers anytime soon. “All of that would be fun and fantastic and wild and crazy and goofy and nutty and all sorts of things like that but the fact of the matter is, we’re older guys. We have the world at our fingertips now,” he said. “Getting back to the three guys in my band, they’re all fathers. They can’t be out every night until two or three in the morning, passing out flyers at venues. We’ve gone punk or nonpunk or unpunk or whatever you wanna call it. You’ve got the computer, you’ve gotta take advantage of it. You’d be an idiot not to. (With) Black Flag we didn’t have any of this. All we had was word of mouth and flyers and maybe we would luck out and some DJ at one of the radio stations would mention it. Now we have the wonderful world of cyberspace and Internet and if you hit the wrong key or tab a button, it just goes to some giant hole somewhere. Is there a guy in charge of that? Is there a guy that has a desk that sits in front of this giant whatever it is where all of this stuff goes when it goes to a place where it’s not supposed to? Right above a shantytown?” Whether you’re talking about a 20-yearold Keith Morris or the current 55-year-old version, performing music will always be a healthy and therapeutic release. “Dimitri seems to think that he’s like a 17-year-old and the rest of us are supposed to feel the same,” said Morris, who suffers from diabetes and has been near death on a few occasions. “The difference (between now and) then was we could be up till 5, 6, 8, 10, noon, partying and doing drugs and drinking and setting trash cans on fire and throwing bricks through plate glass windows at whatever bank was nearby. Nowadays because of age and all of that wonderful shit catching up to us, it’s just not possible. Musically it’s still out of necessity. It’s an opportunity to vent and be agro and yell and scream rather than pay some guy and sit in a lounging chair and tell him all of my troubles. ‘Oh, I went outside and the dog crapped in my lawn and my neighbor wouldn’t pick it up and I wanted to throw it at him but the police would arrest me because that’s a form of assault. I’m a really bad guy. I would go and get into my car and there’s an orange metal boot on my car because I had a parking ticket from six weeks ago and it was $25 and now it’s $2,500 and now they wanna tow my car away and the helicopters fly overhead going to the hospital and I didn’t know that when I moved into the place that I’m living in.’ It just goes on and on.” Despite his ability to exude punk from every pore, Morris doesn’t like to be referred to as such. “I don’t really consider myself a punk to begin with. I’m just a very angry guy (but) I’d like to find some happiness to go along with my gayety,” Morris said sarcastically.
That whole mentality, it equates to a giant garbage can. It equates to something disastrous
By Patrick Douglas Photos by Lindsey Byrnes
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takes approximately 10 hours to fly from London to Los Angeles. This always involves layovers and uncomfortable hours attempting – and failing – to acquire a tiny, precious bit of rest. Any sane person would land and immediately try to sleep off the jetlag.Any normal person would laugh at the idea of forcing oneself to stay awake until midnight and then put on an energetic live performance. White Lies aren’t normal people, then, are they? Jack Lawrence-Brown, drummer, may have slipped away for a nap, but Harry McVeigh and Charles Cave stuck it out, enjoying a couple of Dos Equis in the rooftop lounge of their hotel in Hollywood. A solid band with a steady lineup since age fifteen, the three seemed to be like brothers. Charles, bassist and lyricist, had a different comparison to make, however. “It’s a bit like marriage, really,” he said, causing Harry, guitarist and singer, to look up from his phone, eyebrow raised in skepticism, curious to see where his bandmate would go with this.“There are always going to be obstacles. It’s biologically unnatural to be around someone that much and that close. Humans are born alone, die alone, so any problems we have are very human.” Regardless, he still maintains that the one thing he is proudest of when it comes to White Lies is their relationship as a band, describing it as a “really powerful, creative group of individuals.” Formed under the name Fear of Flying at the wee age of fifteen, Jack, Harry and Charles began to play shows at school until they moved on to supporting slots for musicians such as The Maccabees and Laura Marling. They skipped out on university to sharpen their skills and cohesion as a band and found themselves writing songs that did not fit their band’s sound and ideal. Within a few weeks, Fear of Flying became White Lies in 2008 with one MySpace bulletin before deletion: “Fear of flying is DEAD… White Lies is alive!” Despite this long journey of successes and change, Charles believes that they hadn’t really begun until White Lies had formed. “We had six or seven years of laughable failures,” he said. Acting as an opener band for Laura Marling does not seem like much of a failure to most, but this only serves to illustrate how far-reaching the bands’ goals are. Within two months of re-forming as White Lies, they began performing live gigs and gaining the attention of the media. The new name choice was credited to the collective’s flirtation with dark and moody. As fans of Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen, could you really expect anything else? After releasing their debut album To Lose My Life…,White Lies’ fame steadily grew as the band became much more visible, supporting talents such as Kings of Leon, Muse, and Coldplay. Touring off and on, intertwined with finding time to get into the studio to work on their sophomore album Ritual, free time and relaxation are difficult, but at this point the band has their priorities straight. When they do, however, the guys just enjoy the simple, finer pleasures in life. “I’m very happy at the moment when I wake up in bed after a nice sleep,” Charles said. “Any bed, even a hotel bed. It’s not just because I’m tired, either.” “I’m happiest when I have a warm bath,” Harry noted, a
tone of longing in his voice. “Or sitting down for some really nice food at a restaurant. That’s really nice,” Charles added, sounding comforted. Simple pleasures come from humble men, but guilty pleasures do as well. Charles prefaced before explaining them, “I don’t really feel guilty about them, though I guess I should. I like drinking wine at lunchtime. Maybe that’s not so bad, the French do it. I also like really shit music. Like, bad, trashy pop music. I’m really into the latest Kelly Clarkson record.” His lack of fear in admitting such things likely stems from his quirky years in primary school. “Have you seen the movie Rushmore?” he asked. “I was like that.” Rushmore stars Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer, a fifteen-year-old student who enrolls in various activities such as the French Club, Stamp & Coin Club, Calligraphy Club, and Beekeeping Society. “I did so many weird extracurricular activities,” Charles said. “I was into fencing, or playing magic card tricks. I also used to collect crystals.” “Is that really a pastime?” Harry teased him. “It was! We almost got a rock polisher and everything,” he retorted. The friendly banter carried on between the two awhile, jaded undertones laced through their words, much in the same manner as the structure of their songs: happy at first glance, but once you take a second look, the melancholy becomes more apparent. “I don’t have that much self-worth,” Charles admitted. “But as a band, to be remembered at all would be an amazing thing. People don’t care about music anymore.” Regardless, the band will continue to do what they love best. With so many positive experiences and “so many exceptional highlights”, the few negative ones, such as their disappointment in themselves with their performance at Coachella last year, seem meek. “I still don’t know that this is exactly what I want to be doing,” Charles explained. Such a statement seemed out of place after he told wonderful things of his experiences. “It was something to just fall into. I don’t over-think it. I do love the element of surprise. You always think, ‘Will I ever be able to write something better?’ and worry, but then a few months down the line, you do.” If such is the case, then White Lies’ future holds promising insight. With their second record dropping in the new year as well as another world tour that same month, the band is preparing for a long few months. And isn’t that exactly what Charles Cave loves to do? “I like preparing. I like that saying, ‘Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.’” Unbeknownst to them, the two defined the band with two simple mottos, for Harry McVeigh added quietly, “I like that one that goes, ‘Nothing worth having comes easy.’”
I also like really shit music. Like, bad, trashy pop music. I’m really into the latest Kelly Clarkson record.
Words by Katie Evans
seems that there are really only two opinions of Dane Cook: he’s the greatest comic alive, or he’s the worst thing to ever happen to the word ‘funny.’ The former viewpoint seems to be shared by oodles of Su-Fi yielding fans, packing themselves into sold out arenas, cheesing over every exaggeratedly pronounced word. The latter argument, common amongst his comedic peers and bloggers worldwide. But why such a discrepancy? Why no middle ground? One could easily attribute the love/hate relationship to the Ed Hardy or the fratstar behavior; even his good looks can be a bit agitating. The supposedly ripped bits from Steve Martin, Louis C.K., and Joe Rogan definitely couldn’t have helped his cause. Still, that alone is not enough to incite such passionate diatribe on both sides of the fence. We must dig deeper. Why not ask Mr. Cook himself? With such prominence in his Google hits and on his Wikipedia page, a question regarding the negative backlash seems well deserved. But Cook is quick to cut me off: “It’s not my focus; it’s not what I’m about. I’m selling arenas night after night with incredible fans, and I’m going on the 6th CD that I’m releasing. I don’t look at any of that stuff as even a minor importance.” Not so sure that’s the most endearing method of defense, but point taken. “I’m just thrilled to be where I’m at 20 years later doing this, and have nothing but positive encounters in my life,” Cook continues. “The negative stuff that people seem to want to talk about is like, you know, a clipped toenail that ends up flying off the clipper somewhere. You know, I don’t even know what it means. It has nothing to do with who I am right now.” As self-absorbed as that sounds, maybe Dane Cook is right. For a guy who is consistently bashed in spite of his success, it’s worth noting that he released the highest charting comedy album in 28 years and was the second comic ever to sell out Madison Square Garden – doing so twice in one night. Plain and simple, the man sells. And considering that he’s selling himself, it must be safe to assume that – despite what so many seem to think – Dane Cook is entertaining. So go ahead, DC, brush that dirt off your shoulder.
On the other hand, maybe that is the reason for the loathing. Cook’s astronomical success, without question, makes him an easy target. Suddenly, Dane Cook seemed to go from erratic nobody to erratic marquee-headliner. For comics, it’s easy to wonder why the darker, apparently funnier of the lot haven’t share in Cook’s instant fame. But what they may not realize is that it took over a decade for Dane Cook to become an overnight sensation. His propensity for storytelling wasn’t always so polished, or appreciated. It took time, and more than that, it took incredible determination. His roots can be traced back to 1990 Boston, where Cook became a regular at the local open mics: “I wanted to do everything double-time or triple-time. If these [comics] I knew over here were getting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, well, I’m going to get on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and where can I get on Wednesdays and Sundays?” A young Cook would pick up rides all across New England to get on stage. He’d get paid in peanuts, but didn’t care; he was working on a night that nobody else was. He was shooting free throws after basketball practice, he was in the batting cage after hours, and he was going to be that success story. “I did that for my whole 20’s,” Cook recalls. “I’ll tell you, that first 10 years, I didn’t have one fucking night off. And I mean that with absolutely sincerely, and if I didn’t have a night where I was performing, I just hung out at a club…I gave up my entire 20’s for nightclubs and standup comedy.” That work ethic eventually paid dividends for the energetic Cook. His accolades earned seem endless: Best Comedian at the Teen Choice Awards, Rolling Stone’s “Hot Comic of the Year,” Stuff Magazine’s “Coolest Comic of the Year,” and once one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.” But when he started, coming from a less than glamorous childhood, attempting to enter what was a dying industry at the time, the odds were heavily against the aspiring performer. With five sisters and a half-brother, Dane was one of seven children growing up. Hearing about his childhood, his family, and their propensity to rib each other and put on skits amid tragedy, you can find a window into the Dane Cook study. “My parents were separated when I was a junior in high school, and it was pretty rough on all of us. And we didn’t have a lot of money at that time either.There were winters when we couldn’t afford to fill up the oil drum there,” Cook recalls. “So it was important to me to, you know, keep my mom’s spirit up because she was providing for the household whereas my dad couldn’t. So I guess my main motivation on a deeper level was keep my mom healthy and make her laugh.” In that household and in that environment, Cook developed an interest in story telling. “As I got a bit older, it was really a huge range of entertainers – and not just comedians, but actors and musicians. I always wanted to know why the person wrote the song…I wanted to go and find newspapers, or magazines, or Rolling Stone to try and figure out what made that person put that song together,” remembers Cook. To this day, Cook looks at what he does not as telling
jokes, per se, but as sharing stories: “It was always getting down to the story aspect, which again, influences my style of comedy, which is generally story-telling,” Cook explains. “I look to standup as an amazing way to paint pictures through pantomime, through that great genuine one-on-one connection with the fans and the crowd. But there’s a myriad of ways that I look forward to telling stories.” And of course, in true Hollywood fashion, Dane Cook has already found himself telling stories in movie theaters. Now, he’s taking on broader horizons.You may have seen Cook on American Idol performing ‘Simon Says,’ his foray into guitar-based music comedy. He’s also gearing up to produce television, looking into directing his first feature film, and debuting on Broadway next spring in Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig. All things that wouldn’t lend one to label Dane Cook as a “comedian.”And that is where the answer to the Dane Cook paradox lies. Dane Cook does much more than tell jokes. People don’t line up in throws for the sake of punch lines, but rather for the Dane Cook experience. On stage, Dane is energetic, physical, and passionate. He is not a selfdeprecating, substance abusing, or in any way traditional comedian. And for that reason, he cannot be judged as one. The truth is that Dane Cook is, and has always been, a performer. He will, without question, be remembered as one of our generation’s best. By MM Zonoozy Photos by Courtney Cook
BASS & Treble
exican-masked wrestlers, hot burlesque chicks, comedians and booze all under one roof equals a night of bizarre and the most entertaining live event you’ll ever witness, otherwise known as Lucha VaVOOM!
What can only be described as wild and crazy fun, Lucha VaVOOM has become one of L.A.’s hottest and most anticipated shows every year and is now taking the nation by storm, spreading the Lucha love with every new city stop each year. For those who’ve never had the pleasure to attend the outrageous show, here’s a brief synopsis (that probably does the live show no justice) VaVOOM, aside from the bravado of masked heroes and villains flinging eachother about in a cheese-less soap opera, maintains a vintage sexiness that packages the entire event. More than the gorgeous women frolicking, half naked, albeit in a tasteful way, but half naked nonetheless – the combination of music, imagery, and ambiance ensures these folks are just way cooler than any of us will ever be. “It’s good vs. evil played out in exhibition-style, one-fall Lucha Libre matches for maximum enjoyment and action,” describes Rita D’Albert, one of the show’s co-founders and one of the performers, moonlighting as the beautiful burlesque dancer, Ursulina.The show’s other co-founder, Liz Fairbairn, is more of behind-the-scenes producer and is the one who creates all the eye-catching costumes. Throw in some of the sexiest burlesque acts around, as they perform raucous aerial acts and some of the funniest comedians on the planet, and you’ve got yourself a memorable night. Even Jack Black, “Mr. Nacho Libre” himself, sat in for one of the shows and proclaimed the event to be “the shit!” Taking inspiration from the world of ’60’s Mexican Lucha cinema, where brave masked Lucha fighters save the world from wacky, demented villains and then celebrate at the local go-go discoteca with all the girls, Lucha VaVOOM is fun spin-off with a modern twist. Set as a show with two 45 minute halves with a small intermission in between for drinks, a typical Lucha VaVOOM show features exciting Lucha fouror six-man Lucha Libre matches with an ensemble cast of hilarious and unique characters, such as “Dirty Sanchez,” “Chupacabra,” “The Crazy Chickens,” “Lil’ Chicken,” “El Bombero,” and many more. “The Crazy Chickens are a crowd favorite,” D’Albert adds, mentioning that many of the characters are actually well known masked wrestlers in the industry, an important factor for those purists looking to strike at the production’s legitimacy. We aren’t talking about the standard ring girls. Pogo-stick peelers, hula-hoop hotties and the world’s sexiest stripteasers delight the crowd in between matches adding a visual element to the two-hours of entertainment that could easily be a show all its own. Comedic commentary is primarily handled by Blaine Capatch, Tom Kenny and Dana Gould, but expect special guests to pop up all the time. “We’ve had tons of guest comedians stop, such as Fred Armisen, Brian Poussein, Patton Oswalt, Jeffrey Ross, Chris Hardwick, Greg Proops and Bobcat Goldthwait. We’re friends with tons of other comedians, too, and they mostly come to us, asking to be part of the show.”
Words by : Katie Evans SKINNIEMAGAZINE.COM •
BASS & Treble
roviding a bit of sexo y violencia, Lucha VaVOOM all began in 2003, after D’Albert was approached by Fairbairn, to produce an L.A.-based show that mimicked the ones she’d often go see in Tijuana, Mexico.
“Liz is in costume production and was working on a movie that had some Mexican wrestler in it, and one day they invited her to go see them wrestle,” D’Albert explains. “She went and loved it! The closest shows were being held in T.J., so she’d organize these wild trips down there for one night. She thought it would be easier to bring the wrestling to the people and wanted me to help produce something, which is how the show started. It was honestly something of a whim, really. Does anybody really wake up in the morning and tell themselves they want to produce a Mexican wrestling show for a living?” Coming up with the idea in June and putting on the very first show in August of 2003, D’Albert and Fairbairn knew what they would be presenting to the world would be a hit. Held at the Mayan Theater in Downtown L.A. (which remains the show’s home), more than 800 people came out to what would be just the start. They decided to put on show in L.A. three times a year -- Valentines Day, Mid-summer, and Halloween, which went from a one night engagement to three sold out nights per run. “It was so much fun that we knew we wanted to do it again and again,” D’Albert explained. “After that performance, I knew it would be a big hit. I expected it to be on TV by now, in Las Vegas and a major motion picture, too. I plan on taking over the world. It’s just taking slower than expected, but we’ll get there.” With world domination on the cofounders’ minds, the duo are getting closer and closer to their goals, but are just happy to see it flourish as fast as it has, especially during a lousy economy. “I like to think it’s so popular because it’s really cheering people up,” D’Albert says laughing. “Our show is anything but normal, which is what makes it so exciting and addicting.We have people leaving comments on our media pages saying how they’ve got their tickets and already took the day after off from work or how they’ve rented party buses just to attend the show with all of their friends.” Adding more and more shows each year, 2010 was Lucha VaVOOM’s most successful year yet, as the show went on to do 20 performances, which is the most they’ve ever done. “This was the first year we actually made a tour of it,” D’Albert says. “Each year we’ve taken it to a few other cities besides L.A. like New York and Toronto, but this year we did a full-on tour and plan to add a couple more stops for 2011.”
This year, Lucha VaVOOM performed at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and performed a string of sold-out shows throughout their tour. They’ve also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, CBS National News, G4’s Attack of the Show, Carson Daily, Channel X in Britain, A Current Affair, and several other local news programs. Other goals for D’Albert and Fairbairn include taking Lucha VaVOOM to Europe and Asia. Always trying to evolve and change up each show a bit, D’Albert is constantly coming up with new ideas as well as welcoming any from the show’s players, which she says can come at the most random times. “We always want each show to be different, but not too different so that fans always come back for more while new comers can jump right in with no storyline to follow,” she explains. “I always want to keep the core elements but will add a few things here and there.” D’Albert mentions that one wacky idea came from scoping out the SkyMall magazine while on a flight, where she saw a cool head camera and thought how fun it would be to put it on the “Lil’ Chicken’s” head during a match. “I saw it and immediately thought how funny it would be to do a small video clip to put on the large screen about how he’s an endangered species, then have him wear it while in the ring to provide the audience a look into what it’s like to be the one fighting. It turned out great! Inspiration hits me at the craziest times. It’s not like I can sit there and think of stuff…it just comes to me!” Even as the 2010 Lucha VaVOOM season comes to an end, D’Albert is already racking her brain for next year’s program. “There’s always something cooking,” she explains, mentioning that she’s the show’s biggest critic in the world. “We’re always taking meetings. Sure we can do a reality T.V. show, but I want something more for Lucha VaVOOM It’s gonna be bigger than ever and so things need to be done right. It’s just a matter of being patient and waiting for that big moment. But right now I’m just happy to make people laugh and smile. Everybody should have a little bit of Lucha VaVOOM in their life!” www.LuchaVaVoom.com
By Kristie Bertucci Photos by Karen Curley & Getty Images
BASS & Treble
Meet December skinnie girl pamela jean noble Photography: Michael Vincent Make Up: BB Bombshell Hair: Danielle Hall Wardrobe: Fresh Peaches
BASS & Treble Busy girl – what are some of the projects you have in the works right now? I do a lot of work with Fuel TV on The Daily Habit Show with Jordan Morris. My next project with them is a field correspondent at the Fighters Only MMA Awards which I’m super excited for. I also model for Sullen and Skin Industries. Film, television, music, modeling – do you have a preference? That’s a pretty insane workload. I can’t choose. I love them all. They all overlap somehow. I started acting when I was very young so that will always be my home, but with modeling you have to use acting in the pictures and the same in singing to show emotion in your voice. What are some of the misconceptions about the modeling industry you have encountered? Well first off it is very hard work. Many people think you can just sit back and the work will come to you, which is not the case at all. I’m sure many people think most models are stuck up as well, however some of my best girlfriends are people I met through jobs and they are the most caring girls ever. You are now a correspondent for Sullen TV. Daunting to interview celebs on the fly? Always! Most everything I do is last minute. It’s fun to show people celebs are real people too. The best interviews are when I can get the celeb to joke and laugh with me. Spill it. What’s dating like for someone like you? Being in the spotlight has to have some benefits. This is the best question yet. Definitely yes and no. I am so busy with my career and I am also taking 20 units in college right now, so most guys can’t understand that I don’t have all this time to devote to someone. I would love to be with a guy but he would have to be very understanding and supporting of all my goals and dreams! I have met some guys recently but none that have been breathtaking yet. Someone would have to come into my life that just fits- it shouldn’t have to be work. Give the readers some insight – what’s something most people wouldn’t expect about you? I am a huge tom boy. I love sports, MMA, I’m a black belt myself, and motocross. I love playing, watching, and going to games! I am a huge dork but you’d definitely have to meet me to understand. You have mentioned that you play a little hoop. Laker fan? I like the Lakers, unfortunately I don’t have a favorite team probably because I’d rather be playing the game instead of watching. I do love to watch baseball though - I was born a Dodger fan. Give us a quick rundown of your 5-year plan as far as your career goes and where you want to be. Well I’m graduating college this month so that’s one to mark off the checklist. My goal this year was magazines and I have to say I fully accomplished that. My 2011 goal is another TV show and a billboard. I reach very high on everything. 5 years from now I hope to be just as busy as I am now and still being blessed with all these jobs that I have such a passion for- maybe a relationship if he can keep up with me. What should fans keep a look out for? Well they can always go on my website: www. pamelajeannoble.net. This has links to all my social media so you can be up to date with everything I’m doing. 2011 will be a big year so plenty to look out for, but for now it’ll stay my little secret. Any parting words… Anyone who knows me can tell you I think it is insane how my life has all come about. That’s why I stay so grateful and positive because in the end I’m just a girl that grew up in Fontana that had a big dream she went after!
Words by : James Gobee • SKINNIEMAGAZINE.COM
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David Arquette rolls hard @ Sugar Factory
INDEX ________________________________________________________________ LOS ANGELES
p.060 Weekly Club Listings
p.062 Weekly Club Listings
Calendar Club Pictures
Calendar Club Pictures
p.061 EllisMania 6
p.063 KROQ’s Kevin & Bean Morning Show take over LUXOR
p.064 Weekly Club Listings
p.068 Weekly Club Listings
p.072 Weekly Club Listings
Calendar Club Pictures
Calendar Club Pictures
Calendar Club Pictures
p.065 Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw
p.073 MEZ Sports Presents Pandemonium III
To Receive Updates on Skinnie Scene Club Listings or To Submit Your Events, E-mail: Update@skinniemagazine.com to be Added to Our Weekly Skinnie E-blasts.
SKINNIE SCENE Los angeleS
Photos Courtesy of Karen Curley, Amanda Davies, Alan RIvera
LA CALENDAR 12.01.10 : The Expendables @ House of Blues
Fashion Minga @ BLVD3
Fashion Minga @ BLVD3
William Control @ Crazy Girls
Escape The Fate @ Crazy Girls
Yup @ Crazy Girls
12.02.10 : John Butler Trio @ The Wiltern 12.03.10 : Ice Cube @ Gibson Amph. At Universal City Walk 12.04.10 : Winterfresh Festival @ Winterfresh Festival Grounds 12.05.10 : KIIS Jingle Ball @ Nokia Theater LA 12.05.10 : Rock to Roll Benefit @ Key Club 12.05.10 : Wu Tang Clan @ Club Nokia 12.10.10 : Andrea Nickatina @ Key Club
12.13.10 : Michael Bublé @ Staples Center 12.16.10 : KLOS Mark and Brian Christmas Show @ Nokia Theater LA Live 12.18.10 : Agent Orange @ Dive 12.18.10 : Voodoo Glowskulls @ The Airliner 12.20.10 : 40oz to Freedom Tribute to Sublime @ Saint Rocke 12.21.10 : Cirque de Soleil “La Nouba” @ Downtown Disney
12.26.10 : George Lopez @ Nokia Theater LA Live
Mayer Hawthorne going 7 inches @ The Music Box
She fancy @ The Music Box
SKINNIE SCENE Los angeleS Nitty gritty
EllisMania 6 @ Hollywood Palladium Photos By Fabrice Henssens
Family www. PaulNguyenArt .com www. SneakaToke .com www. LyleTuttleTattooing .com (SF)
SKINNIE SCENE Las vegas
Photos Courtesy of Edison Graff, Cody Black, Al Powers
LV CALENDAR 12.01.10 : Dead Kennedys @ Hard Rock Café on Strip 12.02.10 : “Yo Gabba Gabba” @ Orleans Arena 12.03.10 : Garth Brooks @ Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas 12.04.10 : Jeff Dunham @ Colosseum at Ceasers Palace 12.06.10 : American Country Awards @ MGM Grand Hotel
12.07.10 : Jabbawockeez @ Monte Carlo Resort and Casino 12.10.10 : Dave Matthews @ Planet Hollywood Theater for Performing Arts 12.11.10 : “107.5 Xtreme Holiday Havoc” Avenged Sevenfold @ The Joint
12.11.10 : Guttermouth @ Cheyenne Saloon 12.11.10 : DJ Eric D-Lux @ The Hard Rock 12.18.10 : DJ Vice @ TAO 12.31.10 : Pitbull @ House of Blues in Vegas 12.31.10 : 30 Seconds to Mars @ Pearl Concert Theater
12.31.10 : Jay Z @ The Cosmopolitan
Eric Morillo @ Tao
Massacre @ Tao
David Arquette at Sugar Factory in Las Vegas
Holly Madison Grand Entrance @ Studio 54
Holly Madison @ Studio 54
Kevin @ Bean Morning Show Crew
Kevin & Bean KROQ Singles Party
Joel Madden @ The Palms
Benji AND Joel Madden @ The Palms
SKINNIE SCENE Las vegas Nitty gritty
KROQ’s Kevin & Bean Morning Show @ take over LUXOR Photos By Cody Black
SKINNIE SCENE orange county
Photos Courtesy of Alan Rivera, David Gatson, Harmony Gerber, Erik Faiivae
OC CALENDAR 12.03.10 : Millionaires @ Chain Reaction 12.04.10 : The Aggrolites @ Slidebar 12.05.10 : DJ Scotty Boy @ Beachfront 301 Avec
Face to Face Going Hard @ HOB
Face To Face @ HOB
Michael Bisping @ Slidebar
Spicy Latina @ The Grove
Shake Weights @ The Grove
Sparring @ HOB Anaheim
Darlings @ HOB Anaheim
12.11.10 : The Abyssinians @ Detroit Bar 12.13.10 : Roger Waters @ Honda Center 12.14.10 : The White Buffalo @ Detroit Bar
12.16.10 : Nico Vega @ Slidebar 12.17.10 : X @ House of Blues Anaheim 12.19.10 : Skinnie Magazine Calendar Finals @ Beachfront 301 12.19.10 : Drop The Lime @ Sutra 12.23.10 : The Growlers @ Detroit Bar
12.27.10 : Arabian Prince @ Continental Room 12.31.10 : Donavon Frankenreiter @ The Grove of Anaheim
SKINNIE SCENE orange county Nitty gritty
Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw @ The Continental Room Photos By
SKINNIE SCENE San diego
Photos Courtesy of Tim Sheppard, Bobby Reyes of EventVibe.com
Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots
12.02.10 : Dead Kennedys @ House Of Blues 12.02.10 : DJ Fresh @ Sound Wave 12.02.10 : Brokencyde @ SOMA 12.03.10 : Tomorrows Bad Seeds @ 710 Beach Club 12.03.10 : Steve Angello @ 4th and B 12.04.10 : Voodoo Glow Skulls @ SOMA San Diego
12.04.10 : Wu Tang Clan @ 4th and B 12.09.10 : The Gracious Few @ House of Blues 12.10.10 : LA Riots @ Voyeur 12.10.10 : Delta Spirit @ House of Blues 12.12.10 : “Wrex the Halls” @ Viejas Arena 12.12.10 : Sam Adams @ House of Blues 12.16.10 : KottonMouth Kings @ House of Blues 12.18.10 : The Scene Aesthetic @ SOMA San Diego
12.19.10 : X @ Belly-Up Tavern
5 GRAMS 1/8’S (FOR ALL NEW PATIENTS WITH MINIMUM DONATION)
SKINNIE SCENE Inland empire
IE CALENDAR 12.02.10 : André Rieu @ Citizens Business Bank Arena 12.04.10 : Craig Morgan @ Citizens Business Bank Arena 12.04.10 : Neil Sedaka @ Pechanga Resort & Casino Haunted Ho-Down @ Branding Iron
Haunted Ho-Down @ Branding Iron
Anenberg @ Buffalo Inn
Anenberg/UBS Scream Fest @ Buffalo Inn
Dem Dirtyheads @ San Manuel
Anenberg/UBS Scream Fest @ Buffalo Inn
Dem Dirtyheads @ San Manuel
Sublime w/ Rome @ San Manuel
12.04.10 : Passion Pit @ Fox Theatre Pomona 12.10.10 : Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys @ Mission Tobacco Lounge 12.10.10 : White Arrows @ Glass House 12.10.10 : Guttermouth @ VVEC
12.11.10 : OFF! @ Glass House 12.17.10 : Sister Speak @ Public House 12.17.10 : Bret Michaels @ Fox Performing Arts Center 12.18.10 : Skinnie Magazine Poker Tournament @ Casino Morongo 12.19.10 : David Benoit @ Fox Performing Arts Center
12.22.10 : Winds of Plague @ Glass House 12.23.10 : As Blood Runs Black @ Glass House
SKINNIE SCENE Inland empire Nitty gritty
MEZ Sports Presents Pandemonium III @ Riverside convention center on Nov. 19th Photos By Alan Rivera
KYLE LOZA FOR ETNIES FOOTWEAR AND APPAREL. KYLE’S SIGNATURE COLOR OF THE RSS AVAILABLE NOW. etnies.com facebook.com/etnies
11/29/10 12:16:31 PM