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M O N T H L Y

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08 JAN. 08

JIM BROWN:

S E L E G N A S O L

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CONTENTS

Features: 20: GIANTS OF LOS ANGELES

It’s not tough to tower when one has gravitas. Genuflect to the art of Gronk, diva of letters Suzanne Lummis, and the almighty Jim Brown.

26: PARKIN’ LOT TRIPPIN’ Juan’s had a rough day at the office, an aisle away from the Lexus.

28: BRINGIN’ SAX, HE’S BACK Azar Lawrence, of the city’s southside, finds playing his musical career’s second act feels as good as the first

Columns: 6: YOUNGEST IN CHARGE We’ll take your word ... and print it

8: SNAPSHOTS Treat Street is queen of the culinary street

12: FOODSTUFF Someone’s slept on what the Royale offers

14: WARES Where did you get that bomb-ass ’fit?

18: INNERVIEW John Famiglietti is crucial to HEALTH

30: CALENDAR Selected events for January

Susan Wood‘s classic image of Jim Brown comes courtesy of Getty Images. In his day of his Cleveland Browns football stardom, Brown was among the most photographed athletes on earth. His transition to motion pictures was rare and historic. Oscar Zagal, has shot for Los Angeles Citybeat, Eres, and Time Out Chicago, among other publications. His portrait of Fidel Rodriguez was a highlight of NA’s December issue. For his shoot of Azar Lawrence, the seven-year vet hosted the musician at his Redondo Beach studio. “He just walked in and started playing,” says the photographer. Check our Zagal’s work at www.oscarzagal.com.

EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER CHARLES N. GERENCSER ★ EDITOR DONNELL ALEXANDER Art Director Matt Ansoorian ★ Advertising Director Joe Cloninger Advertising Art Director Sandy Wachs ★ Production Manager Meghan Quinn Contributing Editors Perry Crowe, Neille Ilel, Pamela Miller-Macais ★ Calendar Editor Julie Rasmussen ★ Copy Editor Joshua Sindell ★ Contributing Writers Johnny Angel, Greg Burk, Kamren Curiel, Maxwell Harwitt, Millicent Jefferson, Joshua Lurie, Bobbi Murray, Kate Petre, Gary Phillips, Abel Salas, Mike Sonksen, Kirk Silsbee, John Stephens, Jervey Tervalon, Marco Villalobos ★ Photographers Jack Gould, Maura Lanahan, Gary Leonard, Noé Montes, Evans Vestal Ward ★ Account Executives John Bogris, Jon Bookatz, Michael DéFillipo Leslie Lamm, Todd Nagelvoort, Dina Takouris, Susan Uhrlass ★ Accounting Christie Lee ★ Circulation Manager Andrew Jackson SOUTHLAND PUBLISHING, INC. Group Publisher David Comden ★ Vice President, Sales Charles N. Gerencser Controller Michael Nagami ★ Human Resources Manager Andrea Baker Accounting Manager ★ Angela Wang CONTACT US Advertising: charlesg@newangelesmonthly.com • Editorial: editor@newangelesmonthly.com P: 323-938-1700 F: 323-938-1771 • 5209 Wilshire Boulevard ★ Los Angeles , CA 90036 www.NewAngelesMonthly.com ©Copyright 2008, Southland Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

5 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


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h, sweet Jeebus, do we get mail. It has arrived in our various boxes from nearly the beginning. Most of the brief missives are about “erection size intensifiers.” And, sure, sometimes reading the stuff feels like a waste of time. (I mean, the magazine is looking to get bigger, but not like that.) Occasionally, the notes are actually quite useful. As is probably the case with you, our communications don’t come via post. They might be digital information forwarded by the publisher. (“I just picked up the second and most recent edition of New Angeles,” e-mailed realtor Wayne Wilbur of Beverly Hills, “enjoy your format.”) Or the note might be something in the mailbox at DonnellAlexander.com, or one of my social networking sites in the form of a slick, offhand remark from a book editor: “Your magazine looks good.” And despite my skepticism about the author’s sincerity, I’ll take the words to heart. Sometimes the communiqués go specific, as when that fiction writer from back east praised Neille Ilel’s December cover story on Forever 21: “[T]hat’s a great piece,” wrote the author, “she tells it right.” And I believe this, too. Gotta take the good where you can bet it. But, occasionally, we need to hear the

O

unvarnished truth. Some hardcore, seriously-biased analysis. After Brady Westwater shot me a quick, critical note about NA last fall, I asked him to flesh out his idea. Westwater is a downtown neighborhood council president as well as the man behind the blog, LACowboy. And though his sensibility is very different from mine, I respect what the man brings to the table; he doesn’t pull punches. What I got from Brady Westwater was an unexpected and detail-packed evaluation. To put it bluntly, the man would like us to cease with the abstract design ideas and obscure thoughts. Westwater sometimes finds the writing to be “excellent,” but the stuff is not so good that he wants to strain his eyes to read it. Such conclusions are hard to hear, but they are part of a necessary conversation. The reader continues: “That is not to say that the graphic design is anything but professional and stylish and attractive. It is. The designer is doing excellent work, but someone needs to find an appropriate balance between the design [and] the content.” Ouch. That someone, I guess, is supposed to be me. I will take that statement under advisement. “Just use one rule,” Westwater writes in conclusion. “The writing is what matters. Anything that makes the writing harder to read is automatically bad design. Good design should enhance the text, not eviscerate it.” So, there you have it: The penultimate NA critique that I will personally request. The very last request is for you most loyal of readers to get in on this banter. Same as y’all might drop a line to Calendar Editor Julie Rasmussen, I’d like you to send concise notes to this page. You might want to praise a piece of art or writing. Perhaps you blame issue five’s article on USC football for the Trojans’ subsequent and indefensible loss to Stanford. Or maybe you just wonder if I have it in for the Eagles. (I don’t, btw; anybody who caught my karaoke version of “Take It to the Limit” at the 2005 Southland Christmas party will attest to the love I got for them hippies!) It’s been fun bantering with you through my personal e-mail, but let’s be frank: I ignore way more than I respond to, and now’s the time to go public with our chat. dEA

E-mail editor@NewAngeles Monthly.com when moved to do so. Next month check the new Communications section in this space for a genuine sense of NA community.


7 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


SNAPSHOTS

TREATSTREET ★

PHOTOS BY JACK GOULD

~TREAT STREET BAKER CRYSTAL MEERS~

~THEMIS AND DARE MICHOS~

The Man drove sex and drugs into an underground trade. And now... baked goods!? Every so often (it could be monthly, but setting a schedule would be too predictable) the ladies of Treat Street bring sugar, spice and unholy amounts of butter to a secret Silverlake location. The bakers, who call themselves astronauts, ask for donations and call the event a private party when the feds come knocking. Here they are with their contraband on Saturday, December 15, on Lucile Avenue, north of Sunset. ~EVE EPSTEIN WITH A BAG OF SWEET AND SALTY NUTS~

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 8

~JEREMY BENTIVEGNA AND HIS SON LEONARDO~


9 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


SNAPSHOTS

~TS RINGLEADER, CLAIRE CRESPO~

~DANIEL AND BABY MAXIMO DEAN~

Retropia offers a wide variety of Vintage and Antique Furniture, Lighting, Decorative Objects and Fine Art. 1443 N. Highland Ave. (just South of Sunset)

Hollywood (323) 871-4000 www.retropia.net Noon-6:30pm Tues-Sun. Free Parking in Back ~ANJOLIE F~

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 10

~LEONORA EPSTEIN~


J.D. Power and Associates ranked WaMu Highest in Customer Satisfaction, which is a really fancy way of saying we make people smile. WaMu was recently ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in the West/Pacific Region” by J.D. Power and Associates. It’s an award given based on customer feedback, which means you must really like us and our WaMu Free Checking™ account features like free checks for life and free ATM cash withdrawals. Which means you must be doing a lot of smiling. For further customer satisfaction, stop by a WaMu near you, call 1-866-700-0054 or visit wamu.com.

Account information applies to WaMu Free Checking accounts opened since 3/11/06. We offer one style of check for free; otherwise, standard check charges apply. Non-refundable fees may be charged by ATM operator. Deposits at Washington Mutual are FDIC Insured. Washington Mutual received the highest numerical score among retail banks in the West (CA, OR, WA) in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Retail Banking Satisfaction StudySM. Study based on 21,026 total responses, measuring 7 providers in the West and measures opinions of consumers with their primary banking provider. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in January-February 2007. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.

11 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


FOODSTUFF PHOTOS BY NOÉ MONTES

FINE DINING, IN NOIR >> The cavernous Royale on Wilshire dining room can seat 150, but in my visits, spaced months apart, the place was curiously empty. Curious because the restaurant is elegant, yet warm; the food is quite good; and the bar across the courtyard hopping. Maybe the reason Royale is not so busy is its location in a nether region east of the hub of mid-Wilshire, BYNEILLE well west of Downtown, and not quite www.neille.com in the thick of Koreatown. Heading east on Wilshire Boulevard, the Royale sign looms in red like something out of the Chinatown version of Los Angeles. The motif continues with gratis valet parking and doormen who actually hold the door, smiling. To reach the restaurant, you must first walk through the Royale bar (reviewed in the September issue of

ILEL

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 12

these pages), which is usually crowded on the weekends. Then pass through a charming, small courtyard. Finally, as you step inside the restaurant, an attentive hostess greets you, looks anxiously at the computer, even though there may not be more than a half-dozen others in the joint, and shows you to a table. The retro-Los Angeles feeling isn’t a surprise, considering the building’s heyday was in the 1920s as the Wilshire Royale Hotel. The restaurant occupies what used to be the hotel’s ballroom, which is obvious in the space’s soaring ceilings and huge windows. Ceramic white tiles line the walls, white linens cover the tables, and the chairs are covered in white suede – daring choices for a place that serves ribs. The menu features French classics like foie gras and steak frites, as well as some more original creations. One of those, the crispy pork spareribs from the appetizer menu, is not to be missed. It’s

Royale on Wilshire Serves Retro Glamour odd to eat ribs in a white tablecloth establishment. For example, is it déclassé to wipe one’s sticky, barbecue-covered fingers on a cloth napkin? Turns out these ribs are so tender that you can easily peel the meat off the bone with a fork and knife, and not miss a drop. Ribs are pretty hearty fare for an appetizer – this one works as a main, easily. But if you’d like something less intimidating to your main course, the heirloom tomato salad, served with soft, fresh mozzarella and drizzled with olive oil, was delicious even in December. The golden beet terrine, on the other hand, was overcooked and didn’t taste quite right, but thankfully this dish seems to have fallen off the current menu. When deciding on a main course, the waiter told me the osso buco was “amazing.” “Really? Amazing?” I pressed. He quickly hedged, “Well, it’s our way of doing osso buco.”

The waiter should have stuck to his guns, because “amazing” was more than appropriate for the dish. The lamb shank, like the ribs, was so tender it slid off the bone onto my fork. The rich meat was complemented well by four pieces of tart goat cheese ravioli and olives. The portion was also big enough to be satisfying, but not so big as to put a cramp in the diner’s post-dinner activities. The king salmon with pea shoots, toasted garlic and Uni butter sauce was also an excellent choice. Again, the meat was tender, with excellent flavor highlighted by a subtle butter sauce. Other seafood dishes did not come off quite as well. The Bristol scallops were salty, and made an odd pairing with potatoes, peas and carrots. This stew-like arrangement felt too dense for the rich scallops. The Chilean sea bass was also very salty. And its sides, the parsnip purée, onion marmalade, and eggplant fries, sound-


The 4Hot Corner

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ed superb on the menu but were Royale on Wilshire unremarkable on 2619 Wilshire Blvd. the plate. Los Angeles, CA 90057 For dessert, www.royaleonwilshire.com I couldn’t resist ordering the chocolate tasting plate, which included Guittard lava cake, gelato, espresso Chantilly, and Mayan hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was the highlight of this array, while the cake and Chantilly were just okay. Next time, I’m going for the chocolate soufflé for two. Throughout my meal, exceedingly polite waiters brought food and refilled wine and water glasses. Through the emptiness, eavesdropping on a neighbor’s conversation was irresistible. Eating decadent food in such a luxe and vacant space felt a bit apocalyptic. But in a good way, actually. Maybe this is what Los Angeles would be like when the Big One wipes out half the city’s freeways. NA

INFØ:

cho Park has been a creative hub ever since Charlie Chaplin filmed his silent movies there. Thanks to a new influx of innovators and restored pride in the community, the historic neighborhood is resurgent, and Sunset & Lemoyne is the Heliotrope Dr. epicenter. &Since Melrose 2004, Masa ofAve. Echo Park has become a favorite neighborhood restaurant due to an eclectic menu, home-style vintage Before Eastside decor andcutting-edge warm hospitality from itsgraffiti two artist Cache put his stamp of approval sets of owners/couples: Rhonda Reynolds on Heliotrope and Melrose with a and Robfeaturing Rowe, andhisTom Keeneychicken and Julia mural signature Jackson. Locals on Masa for characters, theconverge intersection behind morning pastries, panini, L.A. City College was chorizo-studded largely forgotten. Everything changed January meatloaf, Chicago-style pizzainand croissant 2005,pudding. when Jimmy Lizama founded bread A long-time Echo Park Bicycle Reynolds Kitchen. calls The her nonprofit resident, home abikeìsmall repair shop advocating pedal power city within a bigger cityî that with a drew young volunteers toswells the workingìsense of history.î class neighborhood. Combined with intersection’s future isice about the The arrival of experimental cream parlortoo. Scoops that April, HelMel bulge, Phil Hartman plans to open regained consciousness. the first non-New York outpost of his Two founder Taiedgy Kim,nightclub a graduBootsScoops pizza chain, next to ate of CalArts and Portland’s Western The Echo. ìI was never interested in doing a Culinary Institute, scours ethnic marbranch Los Angeles,î Hartmanflavors said, ìuntil kets toinproduce 18 different Iof wasiceintroduced to Echo Park. It seems like cream, gelato and sorbet every have included aday. greatDaring mix of offerings the old East Village and lavender coconut, bacon chocolate, Corona, Queens; really tight-knit and interand black truffle. Kim hasn’t forgotten esting.î As these two boots represent Italy his roots, devoting wall space to and Louisiana, expect Cajun toppings such monthly art displays, dubbed the asAntai tassoGallery. ham, andouille crawfish Aboutsausage, the corner, Kim and BBQ shrimp. says, “Each store has its own specialty. Spaceland’s venerable Mitchell Nothing’s generic.” Bicycle Kitchen’s FrankAccording has turnedto The Echo into a live Jimmy Lizama, the shop “made music destination sincebike its December HelMel more visible in a larger scope,” 2001 opening. Beck, irascible Mississippi and Kitchen volunteers like Ben Ling bluesman have even become neighborhood T-Model Ford, and thetransformed late Elliott Smith entrepreneurs. Ling a have allKorean played the it, The grimy barclub. intoBelow a vegan pub, retainingisthe name Pure Luck. Echoplex a cavernous annex thatThe has building housed by that drawn suchhas indie giantsaasbusiness M.I.A. and Of name or its Mandarin equivalent – Man Montreal. Bo – since the 1930s. After opening ìI know there’s a lot of change going last June, Pure Luck has taken hold as on,î said Hartman, hangout, who also serves a neighborhood thanksasto President of the Echo the inexpensive foodPark andChamber premiumof draught beers, Commerce. ìAndincluding I hope it’sPasadena’s going to be own Craftsman. uses jackfruit change that doesn’tLing compromise the as a meat substitute for tacos barbeuniqueness. Hopefully in fiveand to ten years, cue sandwiches. Echo Alex ParkAmerri, is just aswho quaint.î leads a monthly Lurie architecture bike tour called–Joshua RIDE-Arc,

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redesigned the space to feature cedar panels and bamboo forest wallpaper. A year ago, fellow volunteers Jim Cadenhead and T.J. Flexer opened a retail bike shop next door called Orange 20. The Echo When asked to assess the corner, 1822 W. replies, Sunset “L.A. Blvd.,is the city of Lizama Echo Park, 213-413-8200 serendipity, and we at HelMel are in one epicenter of its synchronicity.”

The Echoplex –Joshua Lurie 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park, 213-413-8200 Bicycle Kitchen 706 N. Heliotrope Dr., Los Angeles, 323-662-2776. Masa of Echo Park Orange 713 N.Blvd., Heliotrope Dr., Los 1800 W.20 Sunset Angeles, 323-662-4537 Echo Park, 213-989-1558

13 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


WARES

19 , a l k u h S a n e e M Where are you from? Kansas [laughs]. Do you like L.A.? I do. It’s been hard to meet real people, though. I’m from the Midwest so everyone’s pretty down-to-earth there. What are you doing here? I study Fashion Design at FIDM. I live at the Medici Apartments, but I’m transferring to Park La Brea soon.

Where did you get your ’fit? My top is from Urban Outfitters, my sweater’s Forever 21, and my undershirt and pants are from Nordstrom. I’m wearing UGG boots. What about your bag? This is from some hippie store back in Lawrence where I used to live. And your jewelry? Venice Beach, Japan, the world market, everywhere. I kinda collect bracelets. That’s a cool tattoo. Did you get it done in L.A.? No, I just drew it with some markers.

Urban Outfitters 7650 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046 Phone: (323) 653-3231 www.urbanoutfitters.com Store Hours: Mon.-Thur., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

REPORTING BY KAMRIEN CURIEL PHOTOS BY NOÉ MONTES

N

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 14

Camis & Tanks Their most popular brand for tops is Lux. Prices range anywhere from $24-$58. The Lux Gathered Cami is a soft knit swingy camisole, made in the USA, hand wash, $24.


15 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 15


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17 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


INNERVIEW

JOHN FAMIGLIETTI OF HEALTH ILLUSTRATION BY ANTONY HARE

>> Recorded at The Smell, HEALTH’s selftitled first album is on a new top-10 list every time we turn around. Last month it was Spin, last week it was Rock Insider – this week they’ve been nominated for the 2008 PLUG Avant Album of the Year. Their art/noise rock is all piercing synthesizers, tribal bass lines, hand claps and raging (yet restrained? Yes, we think so.) guitar. The full album has an impressive sense of timing, revving up from small to soaring in “Heaven,” rocking out in “Girl Attorney” and “Triceratops,” then pulling back in “Crimewave.” Throw in an electro anthem like “Glitter Pills,” and you’ve got some really tight noise. HEALTH – Jupiter Keys (guitar/vocals), Jake Duzsik (vocals/ guitar), BJ Miller (drums) and John Famiglietti INTERVIEWBYNEILLE (bass/noise) – met where all great bands www.neille.com come together: school, Guitar Center and Craig’s List. Famiglietti talked to us just before the band’s unannounced New Year’s Eve show at The Smell.

ILEL

What’s your favorite place to play in L.A.? The Smell. That’s where we’ve been playing the most. We really loved Sean Carnage Mondays at Il Corral last year. That was our favorite. That’s pretty much where we played the entire year. Sean still does a show at Pehrspace, but it’s not as cool. When we first made the band we had this arbitrary rule that we have to tour like four or five months after we started, and now it’s every three months. We accelerated it because we can actually get paid now. Do you still have a day job? Right now, no, I’m not working. I should be, though, I’m pretty broke. Which cities have you really liked playing in, and which ones are you not so into? This is kind of weird, but our

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 18

favorite places to play aren’t necessarily cities with big music scenes. We have a really great time in random places in New Mexico. Baltimore has a really exciting music scene that really good bands are coming out of right now. It’s probably better than L.A. in terms of quality. Baltimore is really happening right now. I read that HEALTH was the most blogged-about band of 2007. Really? The most? Yeah! I don’t know if that’s true. We did alright, though. That’s cool. Has that translated into selling more records? No one buys records! I think it equals more people getting into the band, more people listening to it. But I don’t know if anything increases record sales, nowadays. But the blog thing has been real big with a lot more people who are into electro or dance music. Or kind of a nod from the underground rock scenes getting into the band, and liking the band. That’s been the biggest thing about the blogs. Our remixes and stuff have been listened to and that’s really cool. In reviews, a lot of people compare you to Liars. Is that a good comparison? We really like the Liars. The weird thing is in the recent reviews, we’ve been compared to the recent Liars, the album

that came out this year, which I don’t think makes any sense. I’ve been a big fan of the Liars since I was 17. And we were really into They Were Wrong, So We Drowned. And I don’t know if that was a direct influence, but we sure listened the hell out of that record. Where in L.A. do you all live? Echo Park. We all live within a block of each other. Our whole world is pretty much based around there and Downtown and places inbetween. So any show you go to is a pretty short drive, or you can walk to it. The Smell is really close. You could ride your bike there. I just don’t ride a bike. Why not? I’m lazy. And I don’t like riding bikes with cars and shit. What’s your favorite hangout spot in Echo Park? House of Spirits. But, uh, you don’t really hang out there, you just buy beer. We like Los Burritos and Burrito King. Or, it’s cheesy, but we go to the Cha Cha Lounge because it’s cheap and they have foosball. NA HEALTH plays at the El Rey Theatre with Dan Deacon and Ultimate Reality on January 15, 2008.


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★ LAGIANTS ★ What does it take to be known, viscerally, as larger than life in a city where one king-hell publicist or a truly venal agent is enough to get anybody halfway seen that way? Team NA thinks about such things, and — because we don't waste a thought — you have a package on the nature of Southern California hugeness right before your eyes. Giants walk among us. One just has to look beyond the publicists and agents and such to see them.

>> When I moved to L.A. a few years ago, I worried I wouldn’t survive my cross-country migration unless I wrapped myself in a safety-blanket of core-city grime. Bad, old NYC was a foundational part of my identity (what would I be without it?), so, taking one step forward and two steps back, I skipped the more emblematically “SoCal”-seeming neighborhoods and parachuted into Downtown’s East Coast-style loft district. I found a pretty nice loft there, though; my nicest loft ever, really: giant and sunny. One of my neighbors, a plump Suicide Girl-type who took a Polaroid of me my first day in the service of some vague art project, informed me that I had lucked into Downtown’s last true bohemian enclave. As if to underscore the point, she leaned in to conspiratorially confide that a world-famous Chicano artist lived upstairs. Our building’s lobby showed some of the artist in question’s work, and the painting that most fascinated me was a sizable triptych of black canvases on which chalky, multicolored, Dia de los Muertos-type figures fluttered and swooped. It spoke for me on a number of levels – muralism, graffiti, cultural specificity – but it also seemed powerfully of-a-piece with the psychic landscape on the streets just beyond the door. The painting seemed to depict internal, non-geographic borderlands specific to Downtown, between risky freedom and gentrification, between letting a space own you or owning it, between the compellingly grotesque and the merely ugly. There was something a touch crazy about it, but it was also playful, optimistic. “What’s he called?” She paused theatrically before expectorating the name at me. “Gronk!” It seemed a strange name for a worldfamous Chicano artist, but what did I know? I had only just arrived. Gronk was born Glugio Nicondra in 1957 in East L.A. He is indeed famous, having shown from L.A. to Paris, and he also has the distinction of being the first Chicano artist to have a solo show at LACMA, this in the obscenely late year of 1993. He was an artist before he had a name for it, tagging and drawing in high school, and before he was 25 he had become a founding member of a groundbreaking arts collective – ASCO – that sits squarely (and occasionally contestedly) at the root of what gets shorthanded as “art after the Chicano Movement of the ’60s and ’70s.”

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 20

THE GOOD NEIGHBOR GRONK'S ARTISTRY HAS ROOTS IN DOWNTOWN LIVING Punk, glam and partially queer, ASCO was post-post before there was a rhetoric for it, their enervated, theatrical shtick likely a breath of fresh air in the wake of Movement-era notions of what politicallyminded brown men and women should be. It goes without saying that they were like electroshock to L.A.’s then (and still

somewhat) lily-white (lily-tanned?) art establishment. Gronk’s work is pure L.A.: Part sitespecific painting, part performance. He will go to a venue and work publicly on largescale canvases, the artist chatting with gallery visitors and incorporating their interactions into paintings that are des-

tined to be whitewashed at the end of the run. His way of working has given him what he describes as “a terrible gallery career,” simply because there is very often nothing left for a collector to own once he’s done. Because Gronk lives upstairs, I can ask him questions like a sitcom neighbor borrowing a cup of sugar. For example: “Gronk … why do you live Downtown?” “It always seemed to me that there was so much packed into a tiny space down here. Broadway was like this Third World nation, and then you cross over to Spring Street and there’s a slightly different strain of people walking around. And then you walk over to Main, and there’s a whole other thing happening. Main used to be a street of prostitutes, drugs … a seedier sensibility. I wanted to see what that whole life was like, so for a while I lived in the Grand Hotel, which wasn’t so grand then, being a house of prostitution. I devised a whole series of shows around hotels. I was just intrigued by the transitory nature of these hotels, how things are always in flux there, how you never really own it. You just check in, do what you need to do, check out. It’s like life.” Or, maybe it’s like his hometown? Gronk’s emphasis on the contingent and temporary strike me as L.A. to the bone. Take what you can, while you can (“Never ask for permission,” Gronk likes to say); steal the shot, fake it until you make it. Make it whenever possible. These are classic L.A. values, but they are very often color coded, imagined as the property of blonde and tanned newcomers, certainly not a kid from East L.A. These days Gronk claims to have retreated from the art scene that changed his life. He now claims for himself title of homebody, and much of his work now centers on the creation of scenic design for operas. He travels to different cities to make the backdrops, always insisting on bringing local black and Latino high schoolers in and having them work with him. He tells them he is Gronk, an artist from Los Angeles, and that they can do whatever they want. They hear this kind of thing all the time, these kids, but once they get the paint on them and see the giant canvases in the theater, they believe him. NA — Gary Dauphin Gronk and ASCO’s work will be included at LACMA’s Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement, in February 2008.


21 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


★ LAGIANTS ★

>> If you were to ask me who’s the Paul Bunyan of our town – the grand mythic figure who towers over Los Angeles, legs a-straddle and all – I’d say, without hesitation, Jim Brown. As star running back with the Cleveland Browns, he displayed such explosive power and fearlessness that he never ran out of bounds to avoid a hit, seemingly never running off the field … and only then until it was time to run off to Hollywood for an action-movie career. The Dirty Dozen is still a favorite of mine; Three the Hard Way also remains worthy of top billing. The athlete fell easily into those hard roles. Brown showed us kids in the theaters what being threatening was all about. You had to be at least somewhat threatening to make it. It was reassuring that he was in all of the good black exploitation movies; his fame and overall cachet made the rest of those flicks possible. Dude was real as hell. His legend is such that Richard Pryor said Jim Brown pretty much scared him off of cocaine. And that’s saying something, since Richard Pryor joked (back before they invented Viagra) that at one point his penis had a $1,000-aday habit. I find Jim Brown fascinating, but I wouldn’t say I’m a fan. I think that word trivializes what Mr. Brown represents to the world, and the city of Los Angeles, and anyone stupid enough to piss him off. He really is the most fearsome iconic representation of unbridled maleness that we have in this town of poseurs. Sure, Jim Brown has been accused of violent and abusive behavior toward women. He’s been accused of threatening violence and abuse against many people, regardless of gender. That’s not a perfect defense, but it’s something. A friend of mine, also with the last name of Brown, used to keep company with both Jim and O.J. Simpson. Put it this way: He wasn’t worried about Juice. Back in the ’60s, he lived in terror – as he recalled, many of his boys did – of Jim Brown walking into the Crenshaw nightclub Mavericks Flat and stealing his girlfriend and their dignity, not necessarily in that order. He was a one-man gang. My friend said Simpson had a particular problem with the ladies. “He was real hard on women because of his dad. His dad used to come to O.J.’s high school games in Hunter’s

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 22

JIM BROWN MALENESS, UNBRIDLED

Point in a red dress, and that made O.J. really hate women.” Explains everything. O.J. was drunk on rage against women; Brown was just drunk on testosterone. And that’s a pretty good high. If I had half as much testosterone as Jim Brown, I probably would have pimp-slapped some book editors who had it coming. Somehow, I got a glance at the Playgirl issue that featured him as its centerfold; I swiftly decided that there was great variation in what it meant to be a man, if I could call myself one. (Ye gods, I tell you.) For a while there, I collected Brown anecdotes and

reminiscences with the half-baked idea of doing a book on him. Jim Brown, L.A.’s Most Fearsome Legend, or something like that. Mr. Brown is notorious in a way that Hollywood actors these days can’t compare. Jim Brown could smoke Russell Crowe like a bad cigar and have time left over to snap O.J.’s neck. Those of us keeping count of Jim Brown’s impressive record of mayhem know this to be true. It all kind of meshes together: the throwing of a girlfriend out of a window into a pool a few stories below, the slapping of impolite golfing partners. Supposedly, a back was bro-

ken because of that slap, and all the fellas could say was, “That’s a damn serious slap.” Jim Brown started Amer-I-Can to help reform our misdirected innercity youth. If the situation called for it, Mr. Brown wasn’t above handing out a little tough love. Maybe those OGs should have given Mr. Brown a little more respect, even if at the time he was deep into middle age. I once had the good fortune to attend a Jamaican party in the middle ’80s in the Valley. It was a cold night and I was a bit blunted at the time, seated with my friend, Kia, eating patties or something, wondering if I could ever get Kia to be a Leggo Beast. I looked up and saw a gigantic man standing in the doorway, scowling as if this crowd of Jamaicans was irritating the hell out of him. What pieced me like a knife to the eye was the sheer violence of his scowl. I was as intimidated as if it was toward me he was directing his malevolence. The other thing I noticed was that he was shirtless, or, more precisely, he just had on a fur-trimmed vest. His chest and arms were pretty damn big. I wanted to leave, sure that somehow I would be stomped to death as a kind of afterthought if Mr. Brown went on a rage, something he seemed inclined to do. Then Kia suggested that we approach Mr. Brown, in the hope that he might introduce us to Richard Pryor. She looked at me as if this was a good idea. I looked at her with such disbelief that she quickly dropped the subject. If she had pursued this action and Mr. Brown took an interest in her and he carried her off over his shoulder, caveman-style, there wasn’t anything I could have done about it, other than engaging him in friendly banter while he killed me. Unintentionally, Mr. Brown had become my sage teacher, helping me to understand discretion and foresight like never before. If I had acted rashly, confronting this volcano of masculinity, I’m sure the evening would have ended badly for me. (Still, I might have collected a nice settlement, had I but lived.) It’s been said that Malcolm X was the “manhood” of African Americans. Well, I nominate Jim Brown, for better or worse, as the manhood of Los Angeles. Like L.A., he erupts every now and then. Just to show the world how to do it. NA — Jervey Tervalon


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★ LAGIANTS ★

>> City of Angels lit is highly active. Seven nights a week, live poetry is happening in venues across the city. Literary poets, slam poets, hip-hop poets, theatrical poets, dub poets, gay poets. Every race of poet, old and young. The young poets look to oldschool pioneers that paved the way, living legends like Luis Rodriguez, Wanda Coleman, Kamau Daaood and Suzanne Lummis. The new scene is nothing without them. And the new scene is far from nothing. “I am willing to wager that if you took the most striking and accomplished poems that’ve sprung up from greater Los Angeles in the past dozen years,” insists Suzanne Lummis, with a touch of reflection, “that grouping would equal or surpass any comparable mix from the creative writing programs or other urban centers around the country.” Suzanne Lummis is on the front lines pushing poetry. Starting January 22, she begins teaching a ten-week “Intro to Poetry Writing” course at Occidental College through UCLA Extension’s Writers Program. This Highland Park resident has been in L.A. letters for three decades. She can make such pronouncements. Many have said that the magic of Los Angeles’s poetry scene is derived from Hollywood’s entertainment machine overshadowing L.A.’s literary community. In a city of screenwriters, poets in Los Angeles are punk rock. They have the freedom to be really courageous with their work. And if anyone can testify to this, it’s Lummis. Author, organizer and self-proclaimed “poetic instigator,” she is the founder of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, a lauded columnist, and one of the bestknown writing teachers in the city. She has taught hundreds of poets and writers. Lummis oversees private workshops, in addition to her two most popular courses, “Poetry and the Movies: The Poem Noir,” and “L.A. Stories,” which examines the city through fiction and film. You could call her a poetic Raymond Chandler. She’s helped to define the “poem noir,” an edgy style that achieves a fusion of opposites – urban grit and urbane wit. Poetry from Los Angeles is a confluence, and Lummis has excelled at fusing history and technique. In 1996, she received the Outstanding Teacher Award at the Extension, but over

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 24

SUZANNE

LUMMIS GUARDIAN OF LYRICAL ANGELS

the years Lummis has also taught at Antioch University, Burbank’s Emerson College, as well as working with Beyond Baroque, Poets & Writers and Tebot Bach. She’s responsible for the 1995 anthology Grand Passion: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. If Lummis only did these things, and here we remember to mention her webzine SPEECHLESS, the diva’s legacy would be cemented. But she also hosts the annual “Charles Fletcher

Lummis Day,” in the Arroyo Seco. Charles Fletcher Lummis was this poet’s grandfather. More than 125 years ago, he was the first city editor of the Los Angeles Times. It was good gig to land in; Charles Fletcher Lummis had walked to Los Angeles from Ohio a few years before. He founded the Southwest Museum in Highland Park, and helped pioneer the craftsman movement in Garvanza, Mount Washington, and Pasadena, where in the 1890s he

started Los Angeles’ first literary arts colony. Almost a century later, his granddaughter carries on their family’s legacy in the arts community. Born in Oakland in 1951, Suzanne Lummis came to L.A. 28 years later, after getting her B.A. in English at Fresno State. She laughs recalling her first foray into public poetry. “In 1985, I started a little reading series at a space on Santa Monica Boulevard near Western, a building that had been converted from a recording studio to a makeshift theater. I called it the Dogstar Poetry Series.” A lifelong writer, Suzanne Lummis has also contributed to the form of theater. Drama-Logue honored two of her Los Angeles productions with playwriting awards in 1987 and 1989. (Her performance trio is called Nearly Fatal Women.) Very few L.A. poets have been as active as Lummis over the last 25 years. It’s with great credibility that shereflects on how the scene has evolved. “Looking back over the L.A. Poetry Festival brochures, I can see [that] the quality of poetry – the skill, variety and intelligence of Los Angeles-area poetry – improved markedly from ’89 to ’03. Many poets who’ve come through L.A. on reading tours and whatnot have told me there’s a strange and wonderful energy in the L.A. poetry monde that’s distinct from anything they’ve experienced so far. They usually express it as a kind of dynamic engagement.” Times are in heavy flux, but the general public seems slow to recognize. Lummis feels this makes poetry more important than ever before: “In the age of clichés, poets are the cliché-busters. In the age of sound bites, fast food, rapid transit, quick fixes and instant gratification, poets encourage us to slow down, to take notice.” She knows as well as anyone that poetry is especially relevant for the youth. “I’ve heard the sort of reading young people do on the Internet referred to as ‘snacking.’ Snacking … ,” Loomis ponders. “What kind of nutritional value might that have, I wonder? “All forms of literature and serious reading have become more vital than ever because we’re turning into such a sound and imagebased culture.” NA — Mike Sonksen


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25 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


A DAY WITHOUT ADAY ★

LABORER

>> The parking lot is the place to be, according to Juan, a day-laborer and frequent job-seeker in front of home improvement stores and other hot spots around L.A. The 25-year-old Mexican looks alert and in good spirits, despite it being past noon; Juan has been standing there since about six in the morning. He explains that someone typically approaches him and his compadres to negotiate briefly the wage and work, and workers are generally paid by their skills; for example, a man gets more for knowing how to hang drywall than the man who only knows how to swing a hammer. The average pay rate is around $10 an hour, and the conditions under which Juan and his colleagues work range from inconsistent to flat-out dangerous. Abuse from employers can even come into play. A 2002 study done by the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty at UCLA found stolen wages, beatings, and long shifts with no breaks to be common. Juan makes it clear that he is more concerned with bringing home a decent wage than running the risk of brutal treatment. But others do seem to be concerned. In Burbank, the Home Depot on Flower Street primarily funds a day-labor worker center on the grounds of its store. One of some 65 centers that exist nationwide, these community-based operations connect workers with specialized skills to the jobs they can perform – both while securing and promoting an approprieditor@newangelesmonthly.com ate pay process for the day-laborers. Home Depot’s participation in setting up the Burbank center was stipulated by the City of Burbank in an effort to control the mess of workers and employers that gather for the collective grab. Catholic Charities, which runs the site (along with one in Glendale), provides referral phone numbers for legal and social services through a supervisor who is present seven days a week. “The staff and I can help the workers by writing letters directly to the contractor [and] assisting the workers in contacting the police or legal representation,” says Juan Rodriguez, the Catholic Charities Program Coordinator in Glendale. Whether the resources are used or not depends on the workers. Juan, for example, prefers not to use the labor center. “It’s screwy because of the arranged wage,” he says, explaining that he and the 75 or so men collected

BYKATE

PETRE

ILLUSTRATION BY BLAIR KELLY NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 26

around him on a Sunday morning in October at the Burbank Home Depot have a lot of power, often working together to make the situation better for each other. For example, he says, if one guy refuses a wage that isn’t up to their standard, the men around won’t take it either, even if they’ve been standing around for hours. Usually, the potential employer will negotiate. Many of them also have a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy about illegality, a practice that many workers uphold. Despite this talk of communal organization, Juan still wears the blue vest that signifies that he has signed up with the center and was using their resources. If not, he would have had to leave the premises, and there were plenty of spots close by that weren’t regulated by a labor center. Juan and all his co-workers are part of a continuing exodus of immigrants from Mexico and Central America that has doubled in population from 2000 to 2007. In looking for reasons why the number has risen so rapidly so recently, one could point a finger at NAFTA. When NAFTA burst on the scene, the cheaper American goods dumped on the newly-opened Mexican market caused local producers with few resources to go out of business. Data from the Mexico National Rural Household Survey shows that 1.3 million jobs were lost in the Mexican agricultural sector alone since 1994, the same year the free trade agreement was enacted. In contrast, the more than tripling of commerce between Mexico and the U.S. has created enormous profits, mostly concentrated in the boardrooms of some of the biggest companies, like Archer Daniels Midland and GM. In many sectors of Mexico, there is plenty of work. But 500 pesos – a little bit less than $50 – for six months of hard labor harvesting coffee, for example, is not worth the effort for most. Along with the bad salaries, it’s often the lack of opportunity that forces people to immigrate. In San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, one of the poorest states in southern Mexico, Cielo Hernandez talks plainly about wanting to go to the United States. A 29-year-old mother of two, she speaks without slowing her expert sweeping movements as she mops the tile floor of the school she cleans daily. “I want to go [to the U.S.] to work and make money, but also to see and know different places, to do something with my life.” Her brother-in-law, Fernando, had just recently returned from Los Angeles, where he was working construction around Alhambra. He had heard of the worker centers, but never got the

chance to participate. He was only in the U.S. for three months before his youngest son got sick, forcing him to return to Mexico. “I was making better money than I could selling batteries in the market. I was sending it back to my family,” he says. It was this money that helped pay for his son’s medicine. His son now healthy, Fernando plans on going back north as soon as he can save enough money, a process that would take about another two years if nothing goes wrong. The money may be the easy part. The perils of hopping the long train north, dodging corrupt Mexican police, and hooking up with a sketchy “coyote,” or smuggler, to help cross to America illegally, have been upped by the threats from gangs that take advantage of immigrants passing through. (Specifically, the vicious MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha gangs are growing increasingly prevalent in Mexico.) Fernando’s eldest son Roberto, wide-eyed but silent, also plans to go with him. On January 1st, the last of Mexico’s protective tariffs on corn, beans, and other basic Mexican staples were phased out, according to NAFTA’s 14year plan. Because of this, immigration is only expected to increase. At the very least, the day-labor work centers acknowledge the elephant in the room and are attempting to make something decent by formalizing what boils down to millions of dollars’ worth of business which lacks any sort of organization. The Burbank Home Depot site is the first that has been funded in part by the company. Although there is no formal legislation to deal with this issue, according to Burbank City Planner Greg Herrmann, if another potential day-laborer hangout sight is proposed, the city “would likely work with the developer to address the potential in a manner that fits the location.” Not too far from the Burbank site, near the Cypress Park Home Depot, there is another labor center. Although it was closed Sunday morning, around 100 men had collected in the parking lot, sitting around bored as if the day had been especially slow. After a short time, the guys on the curb, used to people asking questions to hire labor, began to crowd around, desperate for work. Eventually, the confusion caused such a commotion that security had to escort New Angeles off the Home Depot property for safety’s sake. There’s no doubt that had the labor center been open, this would not have happened. And with more people like Cielo and her family looking to cross the border, the crowd in the parking lot is only going to get bigger. NA


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*

Azar Lawrence plays with his Horace Tapscott-tested regular band – pianist Nate Morgan, bassist Trevor Ware and drummer Fritz Wise – at the Crowne Plaza in Inglewood (1.10); Vibrato in West L.A. (1.17), Charley O’s in Van Nuys (1.25); and the Hollywood Bar & Grill (1.26).

NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 28


HEALING AZAR LAWRENCE

The South L.A. saxophonist turns heads and improves vibes through his musical life's fruitful second act

>> I’m walking around squinting at numbers in the sun, lost in tenor saxophonist Azar Lawrence’s South L.A. neighborhood. And his sound comes tumbling through the air like a voice in the wilderness: This way. Funny how circumstances change the way a guy presents. Onstage in a suit, his wide frame and beetling brow make him come off like posse muscle. Here, smiling in a T-shirt at his apartment, he looks as if he might hand you a hamburger. Lives lived in music often follow spiral paths, and for the last few years Lawrence has been returning to the era following 1967, when John Coltrane had just departed the earthly plane and a new era BYGREG of idealism and racial equality greg@metaljazz.com seemed to be chugging around the bend. Lawrence hadn’t yet penned songs for Earth, Wind & Fire, or become a staff songwriter at Capitol Records. Cultural boundaries were falling; sax solos were expanding; teenage Lawrence was taking off. After young Azar’s mom subjected him to the violin, from which he retains a certain fluidity of line, Lawrence was seized by the saxophone. Still in high school, he met Horace Tapscott, the pianist-bandleader and community leader who left such a revolutionary imprint on the South L.A. minds of the ’60s and beyond. “He had just written a song,” remembers Lawrence, 54. “And when he put the music up there, it was on scraps of wood – some had paint on them, like if you broke up a picket fence.” Writing rebel music on a broken fence was a trenchant symbol, but Tapscott also offered Lawrence and many other rising musicians real-world experience, piling them onstage for the free concerts he mounted with his big Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. It was a crucial boost. One of Lawrence’s best friends was Reggie Golson, son of the great saxophonist Benny Golson, and among the valuable contacts Reggie made for Lawrence was with Coltrane’s low-grooving drummer, Elvin Jones. “Elvin had given Reggie a drum set, and

BURK

Reggie really schooled me in Trane,” says Lawrence. “He had a whole room almost full of albums, and a turntable. Benny would answer questions … .” Not a bad entrée. Jones was sufficiently struck with Lawrence to pack him along at age 19 to New York, where he lived with Jones and Jones’s wife, Keiko, for two years. When Lawrence turned 21, his first tour was with – drum roll – McCoy Tyner, Coltrane’s rippling pianist. He would be with Tyner for over five years. Credits kept piling up. Lawrence made his own albums, and appeared on the records of James Mtume, Miles Davis’s percussionist, who introduced him to Miles. That’s Lawrence’s tenor you hear blurting and testifying on Davis’s crazy electric Dark Magus live album from 1974. Lawrence also had a feel for soul and funk, which is how he made the connection with a little band called Earth, Wind & Fire. He co-wrote three songs for the 1983 album Powerlight with EWF’s Maurice White – a soul/jazz straddler himself who’d drummed with Ramsey Lewis. And the two held something else in common. “We ran into each other when he had just taken a group to Egypt,” says Lawrence. “He said, ‘Man, I’m glad I saw you – you’re the only one that could understand it.’” With its staggering ancient black heritage, Egypt was a huge symbol for heatseeking African-Americans in the ’70s – just look at the pyramids and ankhs on the album covers of Pharoah Sanders, Mtume, and Earth, Wind & Fire. And Lawrence was way into that shit. Since the early ’70s, he’d been hanging at South L.A.’s Aquarian Spiritual Center with a certain Dr. Ligion (la-GONE), who professed a connection to Egyptian healing methods. “Sounds, when utilized correctly, open up the various centers within us and cleanse our auras,” says Lawrence. “The various tones correlate to the vertebrae and the nerves.” Lawrence likes to think his own playing fulfills a prophecy. “One has refined his craft enough to where it starts to exhibit this godliness, where the Most High can

come through. The vibratory rate is high enough that the creative energies can operate without burning you up.” Lawrence wants to open a clinic to exploit these insights, but right now he’s got some healing to do here at home, where his 90-year-old mother, Ima, is lying on the couch. She’s got cancer; Lawrence is taking care of her. Glad to do it. A fine classical pianist from Oklahoma who could play most anything by ear, Ima Lawrence taught him a lot about music. His lineage is important to Lawrence; it’s part of this whole spiritual journey. His father, Azel, came from a long line of Azmen stretching back to Morocco. In Egypt, Azar is equivalent to Osiris, the underworld god who makes things grow. Mom and Dad raised Azar to get along with everybody. Their Baldwin Hills home had a pool, and all the kids came over; in the ’60s, Azar and his brother were “the first black surfers on the block,” listening to Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys. Lawrence just has that quality – you meet him and you want to do stuff with him. He didn’t have huge experience as a songwriter, but he hooked up with some of the ’80s’ hottest producers. “I’ve met a lot of guys that were great writers and had great reservoirs of songs,” says Lawrence. “But my songs, every time I’d write one it would get placed with a major artist.” He says the same thing about his sax skills: “There’s a lot better saxophone players – they probably hire me just because I have a funny face.” Well, no. Check him out on his Legacy and Music of John Coltrane, or Henry Franklin’s If We Should Meet Again, both albums released this year. The guy can leap through 30 notes in one breath, inflecting each phrase with a personal caress. When he does Trane, it’s scary how close his vibe approaches the original, though Lawrence’s tone is darker, more soulful. Steven Isoardi, author of The Dark Tree: Jazz and the Community Arts in Los Angeles, remembers a night a couple of years ago at the World Stage, the Leimert Park arts center where Lawrence logged so

much history with Horace Tapscott and the great L.A. drummer/inspiration Billy Higgins. “People were jammed outside the door on the sidewalk,” says Isoardi. “He was playing so powerfully and compellingly that most of us were standing and yelling during his solos. I had never done that before! Afterward, everyone was saying that he was playing better than when he was with McCoy!” Many perceived Lawrence’s return to the stage as a comeback – not that he saw it that way himself. It was a return to jazz, maybe, and when the World Stage crowd beheld a sax-toting Azar, it surely looked like a homecoming. He had been away, in the bowels of the entertainment industry. In the late ’70s, he was involved in producing a pop group called Chameleon; he did tons of session work; there was the songwriting. “I took on so much that I think I burned out.” says Lawrence. “And next thing I know, some drugs slipped in and what have you, and I went down a little path for a minute. You have to plant a seed in soil first. So all the muck and mire that we go through is like the soil for it to rise up and sprout and blossom.” Past associations with Freddie Hubbard, Marvin Gaye, Ike and Tina Turner, Frank Zappa, Stanley Turrentine ... there’s a limit to lists. And anyway, Lawrence has his own story to tell. The circumstances hardly matter. In November, for instance, Lawrence was performing at the decadent Vibrato Grill club way up in the canyons of Bel-Air, about as far from the folding chairs of the storefront World Stage as you can get. Sitting in with bassist Pat Senatore’s house band, he’s running through standards. It’s a date night. People are there for dinner. Lawrence stands stern in his black suit, looking as if he’s guarding the drapes. But every time he takes a solo, rolling into it like the call to evening prayer, the room gets a little quieter. Heads turn, like, “Who’s this guy?” And as the applause spreads wider in the fifth and sixth song, Lawrence’s expression changes. He’s smiling now, bowing a bit. He’s got to bow to get out of the way, you know. So the Most High can operate. NA

29 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


CALENDAR

JANUARY [08] ★

Listings Compiled by Julie Rasmussen Send listings to

calendar@newangelesmonthly.com

SOUR HEARTS & SWEET TARTS An exhibition of work by two young female artists, Camilla d'Errico and Sarah Joncas. Both wear their femininity on their sleeves and both wield a certain mojo that makes human hearts jump a beat while taking in their work. This art movement is remarkable in that women are not simply second-class citizens but instead maintain an edge in the mind of the public, especially when it comes to capturing the essence that is woman and femininity. This show should serve as a breakthrough moment in the movement as well in both Errico and Joncas’ young careers, establishing a foundation for both to build upon. Coinciding with this exhibition, work by Melanie Moore will also be shown in the galley's project room.

8

Sour Hearts & Sweet Tarts runs from Jan. 11 through Feb. 1 and an opening reception will take place on Jan. 11 from 7-11 p.m. Thinkspace Gallery, 4210 Santa Monica Blvd., Silver Lake. 323-913-2275 or www.thinkspacegallery.com

ART JAN. 1-31: AEROSOL ANTIQUES Solo show work by Jeremy Szuder. Opening reception Jan. 5, 7-10 p.m. Chango Coffee

House & Gallery, 1559 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park. 213-977-9161 or www.myspace.com/ changocoffehouse. JAN. 4-27: DAVID SANDLIN AND MARTHA RICH Oils and drawings by Sandlin alongside with mixed media work by Rich. Opening reception Jan. 4, 8-11 p.m. La

Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz. 323-666-7667 or www.laluz dejesus.com. NEW ANGELES ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ 30


Dennis Doheny, Along the Virgin River, oil on linen, 40 x 50 in.

Masters

of the American West

Fine Art Exhibition and Sale February 2 through March 2 Over the past ten years, the Autry National Center’s annual Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale has developed into one of the country’s most important art shows. Attend the special programs, exhibition viewing, cocktail reception, and sale on Saturday, February 2. For more information, please contact Special Events at 323.667.2000, ext. 317, or MastersoftheAmericanWest.org.

4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027 • 323.667.2000 • AutryNationalCenter.org

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31 ★ JANUARY 2008 ★ NEW ANGELES


JAN. 5: THE HIVE MONTHLY GROUP ART SHOW & PERFORMANCE Group show featuring work by Max Grundy, Erick Rodriguez, Brendan Sharkey, Ryan Gannon, Peter Romberg, more. $7, 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. The Hive Gallery, 729 S.

Spring St., Downtown. www.thehivegallery.com. JAN. 5-FEB. 3: AMBERBACK Exhibition of recent paintings by Richard Godfrey. Opening reception Jan. 5, 6-9 p.m.

L2kontemporary, 990 N. Hill Street, #205, Chinatown. 626319-3661 or www.l2kontemporary.com. JAN. 5-FEB. 9: EDUCATED DREAMER Two concurrent solo shows with work by Adrian Paules and Landon Wiggs.

Opening reception Jan. 5, 6-10 p.m. Jail, 965 N. Vignes St., Downtown. 213-621-9567 or www.thejailgallery.com.

HIGHLIGHT

BRITISH TELEVISION ADVERTISING AWARDS An annual presentation honoring the racy humor, eyebrow-raising antics, and visually-daring ingenuity of the best British advertising, this favorite among audiences demonstrates the wit, style and audacious approach to social issues that have distinguished British advertising for decades. The 2007 package includes Bronze, Silver and Gold Awardwinners, and features spots for Sony, BBC Radio 2, Carlsberg, MTV, Audi, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Nike, Volkswagen, and Honda, among many others.

The British Television Advertising Awards will screen Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. $9 adults; $6 LACMA members, seniors and students. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile. 323-857-6000 or www.lacma.org.

JAN. 10-FEB. 23: DAVID GRANT, LAURIE HASSOLD, DAVID HOLLEN Sculpture exhibition with work in metal, fabric, and everything inbetween. Opening reception

Jan. 10, 6-9 p.m. Bert Green

Fine Art, 102 W. 5th St., Downtown. 213-624-6212 or

www.bgfa.us.

St., Downtown. 213-228-7000 or www.lapl.org.

213-763-DINO or www.nhm.org.

THROUGH JAN. 26: BIG BANG, AND OTHER ORIGINS

JAN. 22: LISTEN AGAIN: MUSIC YOU SHOULD CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT RIGHT NOW

JAN. 18-FEB. 1: TENEBROUS Solo show of photos by rock music photographer Steve Gullick. Opening reception Jan. 19, 6-9 p.m. Found Gallery,

1903 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. 323-669-1247 or www.foundla.com.

Group show from Sydney Croskery, Inga Dorosz, Michael O’Malley, Claudia Parducci, and Kim Shoenstadt. Closing reception Jan. 25, 6-9 p.m. David

JAN. 19-FEB. 16: DISCOVER 3-D

Salow Gallery, 977 N. Hill St., Chinatown. 213-620-0240 or www.davidsalowgallery.com.

Group show of three-dimensional work by Heather Lowe, Ray Zone, Abe Fagenson and more. Opening reception Jan. 19, 7-10:30 p.m. Black Maria

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Panel discussion with Ann Powers (Los Angeles Times), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), R.J. Smith (Los Angeles), Oliver Wang (Soul-sides.com, CSU Long Beach) and Ernest Hardy (L.A. Weekly), among others. $8 adults, $4 students, 8:30 p.m. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St.,

Downtown. 213-237-2800 or www.redcat.org.

Gallery, 3137 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village. 323-6609393 or www.blackmariagallery.com. JAN. 25-FEB. 23: GUSTAVO HERRARA Solo show of new

JAN. 10: THE ART OF LOOKING One-hour gallery

work by the L.A. artist. Opening reception Jan. 25, 6-9 p.m. Black

Blvd., Miracle Mile. 323-8576000 orwww.lacma.org.

A night of indie music by the Mezzanine Owls, plus ice skating. Free, 8 p.m. Downtown on

JAN. 20: JOHAN REINHARD

Ice, Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., Downtown. www.attheecho.com.

Dragon Society, 961 & 971 Chung King Rd., Chinatown. 213-620-0030 or www.blackdragon-society.com. THROUGH JAN. 20: JULIUS SHULMAN’S LOS ANGELES Photo exhibition. Los Angeles Central Library, 630 W. 5th

discussion featuring Mary Lenihan on Rembrandt and other Baroque painters. Free, 12:30 p.m. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire

Archaeologist and explorer Dr. Johan Reinhard lectures signs copies of Machu Picchu: Exploring an Ancient Sacred Center. Free with museum admission, 3 p.m. Natural

History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles.

FAMILY ACTIVITIES JAN. 3: SPACELAND ON ICE

JAN. 19: IT’S SENSATIONAL! Learn how humans and animals discover the world through their senses. Free with museum admission, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles. 213-763-ED4U or www.nhm.org. JAN. 26: DESIGNS IN HENNA Learn about the healing powers of Henna, and create tattoos. Workshop is $6 per child, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Craft and Folk

Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile. 323-9374230 or www.cafam.org.

FILM JAN. 5: GENE AUTRY DOUBLE FEATURE: WASHINGTON COWBOY Rovin’ Tumbleweeds (1939) and On Top of Old Smokey (1953) will screen, followed by a talk with Karla Buhlman, vice president of Gene Autry Entertainment, and Michael Duchemin, senior curator at the Autry. Free with museum admission, screening begins at 1 p.m. Autry National

Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park. 323-667-2000 or www.autrynationalcenter.org.

A cultural and regional project to encourage the development of the film industry in the Caribbean region, with films shown from Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Tobajo, the Caiman Islands, and others. Tickets are $10 adults, $8 students/seniors; schedule can be viewed at www.americancinematheque.co m. Egyptian Theatre, 6712

Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. 323-466-FILM.

JAN. 6: ANTHONY NEWMAN Recital by the country’s top organ virtuoso. $22-$47, 7:30 p.m.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Downtown. 323-850-2000 or www.musiccenter.org. JAN. 7: THE PARSON REDHEADS

JAN. 25: ‘MUMMIES: SECRETS OF THE PHARAOHS’ IMAX film

Upbeat tunes by the L.A.-based band. Also Taylor Goldsmith and Golden Boats. Free, 9 p.m.

explores the history of ancient Egyptian society as told through the mummies of the past. $8 adults, $4.75 for children, $5.75 for youth (12-18) and seniors. Showtimes are at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only. California

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Science Center, 700 State Drive, Los Angeles. 213-7442019 or www.californiasciencecenter.org

MUSIC JAN. 4: B.B. KING

JAN. 11-16: THE TRAVELING CARIBBEAN FILM SHOWCASE

Los Angeles. 213-388-1400 or www.livenation.com.

A night with the King of the blues. $39.50-$89.50, 7 p.m. The

Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd.,

JAN. 12: NIGHTLIFE L.A.’s world famous Beat Junkies and Raaka Iriscience of Dilated Peoples join Check the Technique author Brian Coleman. 9 p.m., no cover until 10:30 p.m.; $10 afterward. 21+ for admission. Knitting Factory:

7021 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. 323-463-0204. www.myspace.com/beatjunkies. JAN. 15: DAN DEACON/ULTIMATE

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from composer Dan Deacon. Also Health and Abe Vigoda. $12, 8 p.m. El Rey Theatre, 5515

boy in 1924 in order to commit “the perfect crime.” $38-$34. Fri-Sat, 8 p.m.; Sun, at 3 p.m. & 7 p.m. Hudson Backstage

Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. 323-936-6400 or www.theelrey.com.

Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. 323-960-4429 or www.havoktheatre.com.

JAN. 28: WHITE WILLIAMS

JAN. 27-APR. 27: ‘THE BOYCHICK AFFAIR: THE BAR MITZVAH OF HARRY BOYCHICK’Twenty-three dif-

REALITY Electronic pop/rock

A night of quirky pop tunes by the artist. $12, 8:30 p.m. 18+. The

Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. www.attheecho.com.

STAGE JAN. 19-MAR. 2: ‘PROVE IT ON ME’ New Orleans voodoo, sultry Harlem blues and family secrets that should have stayed buried all arise in this story set in 1929. Written by Dee Jae Cox. $30, Fri-Sat, 8 p.m.; Sun, 3 p.m. Stella

Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollwood. 323-960-7721 or www.proveitonme.com. JAN. 26-MAR. 2: ‘THRILL ME: THE LEOPOLD & LOEB STORY’ Musical drama based on the true story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, the so-called “thrill killers” who murdered a

ferent characters deal with issues in a humorous way while interacting with the audience. $36. Sun, 2 p.m. The Hayworth,

2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. 213-389-9860 or www.thehayworth.com. JAN. 30-FEB. 10: ‘HAMLET’ The Wooster Group’s highly experimental incarnation of Hamlet channels the ghost of Richard Burton’s legendary 1964 Broadway production, recorded from 17 camera angles, edited into a film, and screened for 2,000 cinemas across the country for two days only. Features Scott Shepherd and Kate Valk, with music by Fischerspooner. $50-55, adults; $40-45, students.

REDCAT, 631 West 2nd St., Downtown. 213-237-2800, www.redcat.org. NA


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