The Scion AV Journal-VOL. 03 CLOT / FU MANCHU / SCION MUSIC(LESS) MUSIC CONFERENCE / INNER STATE GALLERY / PRINCE PAUL VS. JOHN WATERS
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SCION AV PRESENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
7 LESSONS LEARNED LECHEROUS GAZE 9 SCION PARTNER INNER STATE GALLERY 11 SCION MUSIC(LESS) MUSIC CONFERENCE 15 ARTIST TIMELINE FU MANCHU 19 CLOT 27 OUR FIRST YEAR LOW YO YO STUFF 29 IN DISCUSSION JOHN WATERS AND PRINCE PAUL 33 BRAIN TENTACLES GUIDE TO EATING IN AMERICA 39 ABOUT TOWN
STAFF Scion Project Manager: Jeri Yoshizu, Sciontist Editor: Eric Ducker Creative Direction: Scion Art Direction: Bon Graphic Designers: Nick Ace, Bret Banta
CONTRIBUTORS Writer: Miles Raymer Photographers: Gregory Bojorquez, Dan Rodriguez
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LESSONS LEARNED LECHEROUS GAZE As told to Miles Raymer
Lecherous Gaze is a psychedelic punk band from Oakland, California. Guitarist Graham Clise discusses the most important things the group learned when they started. Three out of the four of us used to be in a band together before this one and it broke up. We were around for around ten years but one of the other guys was just over it. What we did was find a new singer and basically started a new band. We did a record with him and a Euro tour and some touring in the States, then it didn’t work out so we got a new, new singer—the guy we have now, Zaryan—and that’s just been how it is. Having a clean slate was important. We didn’t want to put out the same record over and over again. If you do a band for so long you kinda get stuck in a
formula, and it was cool to get out of it a little bit. It’s cool because we’re all really good friends. I’ve known the singer we have now since we were kids. I’ve always looked up to him as a songwriter, and he was in this other really cool band and they were slowing down a little. It worked out perfectly. This band Danava offered us a tour opening for them, and in the first year we were hitting Europe and the East Coast. It was pretty cool how quick it went. We immediately put out a record. We just like playing gigs so we’ll just go for whatever.
lecherousgaze.com Lecherous Gaze recently performed at the Scion Rock Show series in Los Angeles.
FEATURING BANDS SUCH AS
INNER STATE GALLERY THE NEW SPOT THAT'S PUSHING ART IN DETROIT Story: Eric Ducker Photography: Sal Rodriguez
In 2013, Inner State Gallery quickly proved itself to be one of the most vital forces in Detroit’s contemporary art scene. It’s located in a 100 years old building in the city’s Eastern Market area, amidst one of the biggest outdoor farmers markets in the country, Though only open for less than a year, Inner State has already featured exhibitions including Ben Frost and Denial’s mass culture assault “Company of Thieves,” Nychos' pop surrealism showcase “I’d Like to Meat You” and street art lifer Cope2’s retrospective “Versatile.” Inner State’s history goes back to a small gallery called 323East that Dan Armand and Jesse Cory opened in the Royal Oak suburb in 2008. But things really started taking off in 2010 when they opened 1xRun, a website that sells limited edition prints. They now issue five new pieces a week, which means that they have been able work with hundreds of artists. The success of 1xRun also allowed them (and made it necessary) to buy the new building. This three-story site houses the gallery, a print space and an artist residence space.
Though they moved operations in January, Inner State’s premier show wasn’t until May 2013. They debuted with Glenn Barr’s “Rooms,” featuring the paintings of the Detroit art mainstay. Armand says that Inner State tends to focus on the talent in city, but they’re not solely interested in locals. Still, he does believe that modern Detroit is particularly hospitable to the creative class. “Artists flock to places like this, where you can live really cheap,” he says. “That's not to say it's easy. There are a lot of challenges to living in a city like this, but it has exploded in the past five years and it keeps going. Artists are kind of taking over the city right now.” innerstategallery.com Inner State Gallery is part of the Scion Partners program, scionav.com/partners
SCION MUSIC(LESS) MUSIC CONFERENCE WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE FACING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? Participants Answer The Big Question PHOTOGRAPHY: GREGORY BOJORQUEZ
This past October, the annual Scion Music(less) Music Conference returned to Los Angeles. Created as a resource to help develop evolving careers in the music industry, the conference features interviews, panels and workshops on topics ranging from music festivals, to the state of record stores, to monetizing your YouTube presence, to merchandising advancements. To judge the overall climate. we asked some of this yearâ€™s participants what the most important issue facing the music industry is and what should be the first step to address it. This is what they said.
DOMENIC ROMEO, A389 The most important issue is getting people’s attention and holding on to it for the long haul. In this digital “fast food” era of music, even the most passionate and creative works are quickly disposed of/forgotten for the next hot thing. This is a hard thing to swallow as a dude who still owns all my KISS albums from my youth. Unfortunately there is no cure for this unless the entire internet collapses and we go back to the pre-digital age. But if you know you’ve created something great that fizzles out, there is no stopping it from being rediscovered again (and again) down the road. I guess the first step is to realize what’s going on and that the key to survival in this “industry” and the real world is to work relentlessly to stay on the radar, and always strive to create something sincere and magical. “Real” will always stand the test of time. Adapt and overcome.
ELIOT VAN BUSKIRK, EVOLVER.FM While music fans have better discovery tools than ever before, our mechanisms for collecting are broken. We need cross-industry cooperation between all stakeholders to enable what I call “truly portable music” where if I buy a song once, I own it forever, and can grab it from any store, whenever I want. Likewise, if I create an artist station, upload a song to a locker, or collect it within a subscription, that should come with me too. Digital music is already dangerously ephemeral; a system like this would give it much needed permanence, and make it worth
PHILLIP KAPLAN, DISTROKID I’ve been playing the drums for over 20 years. I recently switched from playing a regular kit to an electronic kit, then to an electronic multipad (Roland SPD-SX). Now I’m considering just bringing my iPhone to gigs and using an app like Noisepad to tap out beats. The sounds are perfect—they sound “real.” And the electronics are way more convenient for me than lugging around a whole kit. And playing either well uses the same skills. But I feel I’ll look like an idiot on stage playing an iPhone, rather than an old fashioned acoustic kit. There’s the problem.
NATHAN CARSON, WITCH MOUNTAIN / FALL INTO DARKNESS FESTIVAL / NANOTEAR BOOKING The ultimate problem right now is that there are too many bands. I’d like to see a government grant that would pay bands $10,000 to break up and never reform. If it’s worth it to you to take the money, please get out of the way and quit clogging the arteries of our system!
ILIRJANA ALUSHAJ, THE POP MANIFESTO My concern is more on the creative side. When one artist does something that is successful, a thousand labels jump to recreate it, trying to achieve the same heights. In the hustle to mimic, it is forgotten the whole reason for the success was originality. The music industry needs to learn that to make money they need to be more open and support artists in new ways and with new ideas, because that's what works in the end.
NICOLE PLANTIN, BMI One issue that can’t be overlooked and that you just can’t get around is the fact that artist development no longer exists. If we are still in the business of stars, we need to develop them. If we are in the microwave business, then we will continue to sell fast food, which has a much shorter shelf life. The reality is that actual talent and authenticity are still the determinants of longevity. I think the industry is realizing that authenticity is something that can’t be duplicated and that this is what the consumer ultimately buys into. A great live show can’t be downloaded, which is why touring will remain lucrative. We are going back to putting work into the actual artist because the reality is that the quality of the product is still key.
Learn more about the Scion Music(less) Music Conference and its participants, plus see photos and watch videos, at scionav.com/musicconference
SCION MUSIC(LESS) MUSIC CONFERENCE
Laurel Stearns and Roger Gastman
Opening nIght reception
Domenic Romeo at the Merchandising on a Budget workshop
Jonathan Leonard, Amaechi Uzoigwe, Nicole Plantin and Andre Torres at The Business of Rap panel
Guests during one of the lunch breaks
Christopher Roberts and Dale Bozzio
Guest and Groovey Lew, participant in The Role of Style in Developing an Artist's Image panel
Prince Paul and Cheech Marin
ARTIST TIMELINE FU MANCHU As told to Eric Ducker
Fu Manchu is a Southern California heavy rock band that has been putting out music and rattling skulls since the early 1990s. Group founder Scott Hill tells us the stories behind some of the album covers in Fu Manchu’s discography. The Action Is Go (1997) Our collective favorite album cover is The Action is Go. We had a new drummer and a new lead guitar player, and the music was a little more aggressive than it had been in the past few years. We wanted to find an old surfing or skating photo to go with the record. We were mixing the record and we thought it would be awesome to get an old Glen E. Friedman photo. We were kidding around. He’s one of our favorite photographers; we all grew up with hardcore punk rock stuff, seeing his pictures of Black Flag and Minor Threat. We called the record company and asked if there was any way we can get something from Glen Friedman. A couple days later they got back to us and said they got a hold of him and that he wanted to hear the record to make sure he’s cool with it. They sent him a copy of what we had mixed and he liked it. Then the record label sent us the actual picture and it was of Tony Alva, who was one of our favorite skaters growing up. We couldn’t believe that first we were going to use a Friedman shot, and then that it was of Alva. We were freaking out. Growing up as a kid in Southern California, I had those pictures on my walls. We got to meet Tony Alva, he’s come to a few shows. He actually lives down here in San Clemente. My wife almost ran him over when he was skateboarding. He was skating down Del Mar and she almost hit him. He’s a really cool guy.
King of the Road (2000) We told the label weâ€™d like to do some custom van stuff and asked if there was anywhere where we could get some of that. Someone at the label reached out to Hot Rod magazine and got in touch with the photographer who shot all that stuff. They sent us all these pictures and we couldnâ€™t believe we got to choose from them. When that record came out, Hot Rod reviewed it, and they never do record reviews.
ARTIST TIMELINE FU MANCHU
California Crossing (2001)
In Search Of… (1996, reissued 2011)
I had just bought a 1968 El Camino. I grew up in Huntington Beach, and I remember walking to the pier and in the parking lot there was an El Camino with some surfboards sticking out. These girls were talking to these guys in the car. I was a real young kid and I always wanted to recreate that memory. That image stuck with me all those years. We shot that down by the beach in San Clemente with my car, and my wife is the blonde in it.
That record came out in 1996. They printed up a couple thousand on vinyl, but it’s been long out of print. A couple years ago was the [album’s] 15th year anniversary. Our record label had folded and was now part of Disney. Our manager got a hold of somebody over there to see if they had any old CDs we could sell. He also asked if we could repress some copies on to vinyl and they were cool with it. We planned a tour of just playing that record from start to finish, but then we realized we had to learn the whole thing. We printed up a thousand on blue vinyl and those sold out quickly. We printed up another thousand on purple swirl vinyl and those sold out quickly. We toured the States for five weeks, Europe for five weeks and then up the West Coast of America, and we sold pretty much everything we had. The original records were going for $80 bucks and we repressed up about 4500 records and we basically sold them all. Everything we’ve recorded has come out on vinyl except for Start the Machine, which came out in 2004, right when the label folded. I think we are going to re-release it on vinyl next year. Everything else we’ve released since 1990 we’ve released on vinyl—11 or 12 7-inches, a couple 10-inch records and 12 full LPs.
The Covers (2011) We figured it’s a record of covers, so why not do a record cover that’s a cover of Fear’s The Record cover. We love Fear and that record, so we figured we’d spray paint Fu Manchu on the asphalt like they did. We tried to be clever, but that doesn’t always really work with us.
Download Fu Manchu’s “Robotic Invasion,” a new song recorded for Scion AV at scionav.com/fumanchu
Kevin Poon and Edison Chen of CLOT
CLOT STORY: ERIC DUCKER In the fall of 2013, Hong Kong-based company CLOT took over the Scion AV Installation space in Los Angeles for “Juice.” In this innovative show, new product lineups were unveiled throughout the entire run, with each collection changing the character of the space. Each item was a collaboration between CLOT and a different artist, brand or crew. Participants and products included everything from Herschel backpacks, to SSUR caps, to a Love Me capsule collection, to Super Brothers vinyl toys, to Nike Air Max 1s, to the “World in Trouble” line with Undefeated. As for how they decided who to work with, CLOT co-founder Kevin Poon says, “It was just about bringing the freshest, newest ideas and collaborative efforts from CLOT.”
CLOT was created by Poon and creative director Edison Chen in 2003. In the decade since its start, CLOT has opened JUICE stores in major Asian cities including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur. As for whether they’ll ever set up a permanent spot in the United States, Poon says, “There was always a plan to be more involved in North America. Edison and I just want to make sure that we do it right and not rush it. It’s a big decision to open a shop anywhere, not just the States. We feel that when we do it, it’ll be the right time and place for everyone.” clotinc.com Find out more about CLOT and the “Juice” show at scionav.com/tag/clot/
Frank151 China book by EdisonChen, Kevin Poon and Stephen Malbon
Basquiat patch from CLOT x Basquiat Artist Capsule Collection
KAWS Down Time book set
Nike Air Max 1 CLOT
Jam x Scott Campbell necklace
Inside "Juice" at Scion AV Installation in Los Angeles
Outside “Juice” at Scion AV Installation in Los Angeles on opening night
Inside “Juice” at Scion AV Installation
Inside “Juice” at Scion AV Installation
OUR FIRST YEAR LOW YO YO STUFF As told to Eric Ducker
Todd Ploharski, owner of record store Low Yo Yo Stuff, describes its return to Athens, Georgia. I started Low Yo Yo Stuff in Athens and then left to Atlanta
We have such a high variety of music. I have hundreds of
for a couple years and then came back to Athens. In Atlanta
thousands of records in warehouses. I tried to have a section
we turned into a rap store. All our customers wanted records
for everything, so we have a blues section, a classical
for sampling, but I think the whole song is good, not just
section, a modern classical section, a hip-hop section... We
three seconds of it. We were outside of Atlanta, and although
had the only metal section in town. We tried to bring in more
we were on a bus and train route, it was hard for people to
and more CDs. We certainly have one of the best-stocked
get to us.
CD stores ever, but people were buying less CDs. I'm an
About three years ago I realized I missed the small town
eternal optimist, so I just figure we need to add this section
and people were saying records were coming back again, so
or we need to get this thing going or we need to do that. I am
I thought people might start buying records again. I got a
one of those head down kind of guys, I'm always so busy
phone call from a landlord in [Athens]. He had a space that
working that I can't always look around.
was open and he thought of me and said, "Boy, Todd should
I decided to diversify and we opened a skate shop in our
move in there." I said, "That's a pretty good idea." I looked
store. Now we're opening a mini-gallery, Athens' smallest
into it and thought about it and talked to him. An old friend
gallery, in a closet in the back of my store. When you look
of mine had moved back to town and I took him on as a new
at the store, now you see skateboards and now we have a
partner, though let's just say things didn't work out.
gallery, all to bring people back into the store.
Athens is this hip, cool college town. Every few months you
We’re now a antique store. We're not a destination. People
get new girls and dudes. Everything is always changing.
used to line up in front of record stores to get stuff. They
There's always new people coming by. It's not old record
used to line up on Tuesday mornings to get a new release. I
collecting dudes, it's fresh faces all the time. There's a
still have the hopes and dreams that a great store with great
constant supply of new dates.
people in it will bring in great people and will lead to great
At first it was great. Everyone came in saying, "I'm so glad
sales, but it's just not enough.
that you're back." Honestly, if everyone who welcomed us
Because of our weird hours, we get tourists. We still get
back had given us $5, I could have retired, but things change
customers, just a lot of time they are from New York. It’s
rapidly in this world. Music is everywhere now, so you're
like if you go to San Francisco, you might buy a T-shirt that
hit with new music all the time, which used to be the record
says, “San Francisco,” but you’d never buy something like
stores’ job. Nowadays everybody knows everything. I'm not
that in your own town. People come to Athens and decide
being sour grapes, but everybody's habits changed around
they want to buy something from a record store.
the same time. facebook.com/lowyoyostuff Low Yo Yo Stuff is part of the Scion Partners program, scionav.com/partners
JOHN WATERS & PRINCE PAUL
Prince Paul and filmmaker John Waters sat down for an interview at a private conference that Scion held in Marfa, Texas, for small business owners. John Waters is a legendary director, screenwriter, author, lecturer and champion of strange America. (He was also on an episode The Simpsons!) Prince Paul not only hosts the Scion AV All-Purpose Show, but revolutionized hip-hop with his nothing is off limits approach to sampling. (He also won a Grammy for working with Chris Rock!) So of course this was a great conversation. Check out an excerpt of it below.
Prince Paul: My son is sitting right there, and we were talking about moustaches earlier. There’s a gentleman here with a handlebar moustache, which [interested him] until he saw yours, and then he said, “Yo, I want one like that!” How did the look come about? John Waters: I’ve had it since I was 19. I wanted to be Little Richard. I stole his look, that’s all. I love Little Richard because he scared my grandmother when I was young. When she heard me as a little white boy upstairs [listening to] “Lucille,” screaming, she was horrified. So I kept looking at pictures of Little Richard. He’s still scary, by the way. Ever meet him? He’s an alarming guy. And during the hippie years nobody would wear that. I sorta dressed like a hippie pimp then. It was just a look. This moustache is half drawn-on anyway. Anybody can draw one on. I gave Justin Bieber an eyebrow pencil on television and he drew it on. I’m waiting to shave it off when I commit a crime and have to go underground, or if I go to prison, mainly because I won’t have the proper utensils.
So how about the clothing? You have a look that is unmistakably you. I thought fashion was important because it makes people nervous, and then I wouldn’t get beat up at school. If I had something on that was so weird, they thought, “Oh he’s crazy, leave him alone.” And they knew I hated authority more than they did, so they didn’t beat me up. It’s hard with bullying today to tell parents, “Just make your kids hate the teachers even more than the bullies and they won’t hassle him.” But you have to figure out a way to make people laugh. That was my whole thing. The people that would hassle me, I could always make them laugh. And that disarms them and changes the way they think about you. I’ve always said that humor is how you can get people who disagree with you to at least listen.
With that being said, when you were younger did you have a problem being bullied? Divine was. Divine was my friend. Like all kids that make movies, you start out making movies with your friends. And Divine was a 300 pound man that mostly played women, but in real life he never did that. He wasn’t a transvestite or anything. His parents moved up the street from us, so I always joke that he was “sort of the girl next door.”
Were your parents supportive? My parents were very supportive, even though they were very straight. My mother’s brother was undersecretary of the interior for [Richard] Nixon. But my father paid for Pink Flamingos; I paid him back every penny, and I was very touched when he died and I found in his safe deposit box the little notes that I’d send him, $100 a week while I was on the road with the film. But he never saw it, he was horrified by it. At the end, he came to my last premiere of Dirty Shame and he said, “It was funny. But I hope I never see it again.” They were supportive but scared.
From the beginning, they had to see that you were doing your own thing. Well, they were mortified, because I’d get arrested making the movies. It’d be in the paper and everything.
Arrested? Conspiracy to commit indecent exposure is what I was arrested for. It was a day during Mondo Trasho when Divine is wearing a gold lame women’s toreador outfit, driving a 1959 El Dorado convertible with the top down and imagines a nude hitchhiker. We didn’t ask permission—I didn’t know there was a “location scout” or anything—so we just went and filmed the scene and somebody called the police. We all escaped. Divine got away, which doesn’t say a lot for the Baltimore police. We were all arrested for conspiracy to commit indecent exposure. And I called the ACLU, I don’t know why, and they handled the case and it got national publicity and was on the cover of Variety. I learned early how to use negative publicity. I built a career on bad reviews.
Do you find people are more desensitized to violence now? Is it harder to gross people out
show, that was a lot. But I got bored and I started putting
Well I never tried to just do that. I don’t like real violence.
sort of ended that career, and then I started making the
I’m not a violent person but I love fake violence. And I
underground movies. But I didn’t go to school, I got thrown
don’t think the dumbest people when they were watching
out of every school I ever went to. You went to school to
the Texas Chainsaw Massacre thought, “Were those
learn what you wanted to do, I knew what I wanted to do.
people really hurt?” So I don’t want to see the real stuff.
I think what’s brilliant about your movies is that you focus on the darkness of people’s personalities. I watch people. I don’t understand how anyone says they’re
fake blood in it and the parents stopped hiring me. So that
How did you get into doing Hairspray? It’s a movie that my daughter watched literally over a hundred times. I wanted to break the DVD. I accidentally made a hit.
bored, ever. Just go watch people. I’ll sit in an airport and
But it was way different from Pink Flamingos.
as a plane lets out I make an instant biography: “She’s
It was, but I didn’t think it was. I remember when we
gonna divorce her husband... He’s having an affair… That
got the PG rating I thought, “I’ll never work again. My
one’s child hates him… I just make up instant biographies
career is over.” At one point Divine was supposed to play
on these people when they get off the plane. I don’t
the mother and the daughter; I wonder what would have
understand why people watch reality television, because
happened if I’d have done that. Hairspray is the only
to me reality television is feeling superior to the people
subversive thing I have ever done, because it’s playing in
in it. And why are you superior? They’re getting paid and
every grade school in America, every high school. And it’s
you’re wasting your time. You’re the dumb one. So I make
still the same thing: two men are singing a love song in it,
movies and my subject matter has always been people
it encourages your white daughters to date black men, and
who think they’re normal, but they’re totally insane.
no one notices. I was paid Hollywood money to write the
Have you ever seen a film that’s made you think, “They went too far”?
sequel called White Lipstick that never happened, a TV show that never happened. I wanted “Hairspray On Ice.”
The films that gross me out are romantic comedies.
You’ve been working on a new book.
I have trouble with them. I draw the line.
The new book is called Carsick. I hitchhiked across
Do you find it hard to get [your] movies funded? Right now I do. I can’t get a movie made. That’s why I’m writing books now. My last book was a bestseller. Yes it’s hard to get money to make movies. I routinely made independent movies that cost $5 million; you financed them by foreign deals, but that’s completely over with. Now they want you to make an independent movie with movie stars and unions for a million dollars. It’s changed more than ever since I began making movies when I was 16 years old. I already had kind of a show business career when I was 12 because I was a puppeteer for children’s birthday parties. I had about three shows a week and I made $25 a
America by myself. The first two thirds of the book I wrote before I left, two little novellas: Me imagining the 15 very best rides, and then the 15 worst rides. And I wrote my death the day before I left and did it for real. And the real experience was 21 rides, nine days. It’s not a thing most 67 year-old men decide to do.
BRAIN TENTACLES GUIDE TO EATING IN AMERICA! Written and Photographed: Dave Witte with Bruce Lamont This October the duo of Dave Witte and Bruce Lamont traveled North America as the drums and saxophone combo Brain Tenacles. Riding around in a Scion xD, they also used their exploratory musical mission as way to try some of the great food this continent has to offer. Here they report back on some of the restaurants and food that fueled the tour.
Bite Cafe Chicago, Illinois We’ve both been to Longman & Eagle in Chicago, which is one of Bruce Finkleman’s restaurants. Finkleman also owns the Empty Bottle, which is a great bar/music venue that hosts loads of international bands of all kinds, all year long. The focus here though is Bite Cafe. Bite adjoins the Empty Bottle and has a small late night window right into the club where you can order food during the show. Very convenient. The finely crafted menu by Dave Cooper is nothing short of excellent—creative, tasty and has a great price point. We came back four times to this place while in Chicago and would gladly eat our way through the menu if we lived there. Among the menu staples, daily and nightly specials are in place along with daily chef’s choice creations. Migas was the first dish we ordered and it delivered tenfold. We went back the following day for migas again and to our dismay, it wasn’t on the specials board. Though migas should be cemented into that menu, there’s another part of us that was glad it wasn’t available, as it made us branch out and try the bi bim bop, which was killer! Bite was up 2 to 0 at this point and we were convinced we needed to witness a hat trick. Bite kept popping up during rehearsal and as soon as we were finished, we headed back over. This time the chalkboard spoke again and the incredible bahn mi crushed. Pork belly, fried chicken livers, pickled carrot and cilantro aioli was the combo and did it ever work. Before we looked up at the board, we were glancing over the menu and the fried chicken sandwich put a hex on us. Long story short here, we left for tour and couldn’t stop thinking about the chicken sandwich, so when our later travels took us back through Chicago, we went to Bite again and made short work of the chicken sando. It was insane—served on a housemade biscuit with green tomato jam, cheddar and then practically submerged in bacon gravy. Bite Cafe, 1039 N Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois bitecafechicago.com
Thalia Hall: John Dusek’s and Punch House Chicago, Illinois John Dusek’s (re-established in 2013) lies in the beautiful Thalia Hall building built in 1892, located in Pilsen on the southside of Chicago. The menu primary focus is on seafood (oysters!), greens and a variety of meats with some of the protein dishes getting finished off in a firewood brick oven. First off the oysters are the bomb. Representing the west coast we had Kumammoto oysters from Washington, and off to the east we had the Malpeque from Prince Edward Island. Both are the jam. Onto our favorites: First we had the choucroute plate, an old world style dish combining duck confit, garlic sausage, sauerkraut, potato and fresh bacon. The blend of flavors is unreal. Second is the veal sweetbread schnitzel. Uh, yeah, the idea of veal sweetbreads breaded and done Schnitzel style is otherworldly! And third amongst all the meat and fish offerings (so hard to choose, everything rules), the Moroccan spiced vegetable tagine is an excellent vegetarian dish that needs a shout out. To round out Thalia Hall, Punch House offers punch drinks on draft downstairs in a chill bar setting (try the Space Juice for Jered), and lastly (and most exciting), in the spring of 2014 a newly restored 1200 seat venue will open in the space to bring the rock to Pilsen. Bang! John Dusek’s and Punch House, 1227 W. 18th Street, Chicago, Illinois thaliahallchicago.com
Northdown Taproom Chicago, Illinois Northdown Taproom features one of the best beer lists in town, and the food to back it up. Veg and vegan friendly along with a barnyard of animals, they really rack up the good time points over there. Our visit was a quick one on the way out of town and left us wanting to experience more of the amazing service and selection. The Quack Attack special burger of the day ate like the kickback of a shotgun, leaving you stunned and wonderfully wounded. All that excitement and flavor packed into a burger. Genius. Here’s the devil in the details: whiskey/strong ale infused beef and stout/hoisin braised duck, all topped with kimchi. Don’t think, go get it. Northdown Taproom, 3244 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois northdownchicago.com
Noodle Cat and Greenhouse Tavern Cleveland, Ohio Jonathan Sawyer is a total hero and his food stands like a victorious armed warrior. A two-time James Beard nominee, his flavor blending talents are aces all across the board. Eating at either of his Cleveland spots is instantly memorable. Noodle Cat is Asianinspired with ramen to pork buns and beyond, featuring Sawyer’s twists that breath creative life into and an already exciting food category. They have amazing specials all the time. Greenhouse Tavern is one of the best restaurants in the country in my opinion. This is where we were almost murdered by food (you won’t want to stop eating!). This is the type of spot where you save all your per diems and blow them all at once. The experience, excellence and quality here are a tale for the ages, a memory you’ll dwell on and make you wish the Greenhouse Tavern was identically franchised across the country. Creativity takes the driver's seat and what a fantastic journey it is. Udon noodles made of pork skin, blood fettuccine, confit chicken wings and duck zampone are just a few of the things that sent us over the edge. Everything is so well done here that you can’t go wrong. The Devils on Horseback (bacon wrapped date, almond, bitter chocolate and roasted fresno pepper) could be eaten by the dozen and the Buttered Popcorn Pot De Creme with sea salt and caramel made me jump up and down like a child. Noodle Cat, 234 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio noodlecat.com The Greenhouse Tavern, 2038 E 4th Street, Cleveland, Ohio thegreenhousetavern.com
Three Floyds Brewing Munster, Indiana Regarded as one of the best breweries in the world (truth!!), Three Floyds in Munster, Indiana, also has a passion for fine foods and music, making this a not to be missed destination by all touring bands from heavy to experimental to whatever. Their slogan “It’s not normal” rings loud and true in regards to everything on the menu. Dark Lord Day—the day their Russian Imperial Stout of the same name was released, only sold at the brewery, celebrated with live metal bands all day and attracted 10,000 people—Zombie Dust (which is considered to be the fountain of youth for beer), and of course their band beers are only a few of the good reasons to check this place out. If you’re lucky, you’ll happen to be at the pub when one of their band beers debuts as they’re gone in the blink of an eye. They’ve already done Amon Amarth, Pelican, Pig Destroyer, Municipal Waste and High on Fire, to name a few. And they have some good stuff up their sleeves for the future. You’ll find metal and punk dominating the speakers all day, people very excited to chat about beer and music (it’s an amazing place to learn about beer without the snootiness) and a food menu to make you all warm and fuzzy. This time we had the wings (soy, cashew, cilantro, lime) and they were sick! The Tijuana Dog—bacon wrapped beef frank, avocado lime aioli, pico de galo and queso fresco—all came together like the Voltron of hotdogs. Highly recommended. Three Floyds, 9750 Indiana Parkway. Munster, Indiana 3floyds.com
marinara. Yum. But I gotta say, the champion of the day is a sandwich called “The Rodfather”. Wow! Pork balls, pesto, parm cheese, bolognaise sauce on this wicked ciabatta bun. Coming from a dude who was raised in Jersey and the other from Chicago, twas wicked awesome! Hey Meatball, 719 College Street, Toronto, Ontario heymeatball.com
Dearborn Meat Market Dearborn, Michigan Our friends in the Detroit band Old God hipped us to the Dearborn Meat Market, which is a treasured oasis for these guys. Bass player Derek has a local cooking show and appreciated our hunt for amazing grub and insisted we go. Glad we did. The storefront has a meat counter when you first walk in and a small dining area in the back with a charcoal brick grill. The gentleman working the counter totally ruled (Missing his teeth and a finger! Tough!). He came in the back to take our order and seemed rather excited that we stopped in. First they served up grilled tomatoes, onions and peppers along with hummus and pita. The grilled tomatoes were cooked so well, yet still firm enough to get into without becoming a hot mess. The hummus? Stoopid great. Not long after that it was the meat that mattered. Shush twook (chicken) and kafta (beef, lamb, minced onions), along with kidney and liver all done perfectly. Nothing was over or undercooked. Eaten with more pita and hummus, we could have sat and ate there all day. Dearborn Meat Market, 7721 Schaefer Road, Dearborn, Michigan
Hey Meatball Toronto, Ontario Located in the Little Italy area of Toronto, Hey Meatball offers up meatballs served up a whole lotta ways. First off the meatballs come from locally sourced meats, and they also have a vegan meatball made from eggplant, onion, mushroom and so on. They have an array of sauces from traditional red marinara, to pesto, to a vegan mushroom gravy. You are able to order them with pasta, mashed potato, al a carte or in sandwiches. We went with a couple of al a carte meatball samplers, which included chicken balls, beef balls and pork balls, topped with
Woodlands Vegan Bistro Washington, D.C. We went looking for Everlasting Life Cafe and wound up 15 miles outside of Washington, D.C. at the wrong place. Apparently, there’s been a separation of business owners. Anyway, Woodlands Vegan Bistro is the place to go if you want a very healthy and delicious meal. They had so many sides, mixed green creations, salads, mock meats and freshly made juices it was almost an overload. The trick here is picking up a menu at the door and then heading right to the back to order. The food cases were like rainbows of healthy deliciousness. So many fresh and vibrant colors that just upon site it was almost impossible to not want to try everything. The garlic kale salad, vinaigrette kale, pickled beets, artichoke and cabbage of the day we all righteous and I felt healthier with each bite. The showstopper here though is the almighty Fried Chick’n Sandwich. I have no idea what the special seasoning and sauces are on this wonderfully double breaded, fried to perfection bean curd fillet are, but I can tell you it’s hands down the best vegan sandwich I’ve ever eaten. I live about 100 miles from D.C. and it’s crossed my mind to drive up there just for it. I really can’t wait to go back. Woodlands Vegan Bistro, 2928 Georgia Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. woodlandsveganbistro.net
Mekong Richmond, Virginia
Edo’s Squid Richmond, Virginia
Where else on earth can you get a glass of one the world’s finest beers (Abbey Saint Bon Chien from BFM) for only $5? Mekong in Richmond, Virginia, is where! This amazing Vietnamese restaurant boasts the best beer list in town, it’s ever changing and cheaper than anywhere else in Richmond. Vietnamese cuisine pairs perfectly with any of the 50+ taps here, as there is a flavor/spice to accommodate any style of beer, from stouts to saisons to sours. You get great portions for great prices and one amazing experience. Vegan and vegetarian friendly dishes are found throughout the extensive menu of appetizers and mains. Rocket Shrimp and twice-fried sweet chili chicken wings are worth the trip alone. Pho, clay pot tofu, various noodles, Vietnamese pork chops crowned with a fried egg! You can’t go wrong here. Mekong has also won “Best American Craft Beer Bar” two years straight with over 30,000 votes cast each year and is completely deserving of the title. This is a place not to be missed, and if you’re still craving from aftershocks of greatness while traveling west, stop into their second location in Sandusky, Ohio.
This great, to the point restaurant serves authentic Italian food at its best. Located in Richmond, Virginia, this easy to miss location (on top of a sandwich shop with not much signage) is a must visit. Everything I’ve eaten at Edo’s Squid is done just right. There are plenty of pasta (penne or spaghetti) dishes ranging from basic marinara, meat sauce, seafood, karl (mushrooms and garlic) to broccoletti with olive oil, garlic and cheese, which is my favorite one. The pasta dishes are huge, served family style with a small price and perfect for touring bands and food nuts alike.
Mekong, 6004 W. Broad Street, Henrico, Virginia Mekong, 4318 Milan Rd, Sandusky, Ohio mekongisforbeerlovers.com
The fried squid appetizer and the eggplant parmigiana are two of my favorite dishes here and honestly the best we’ve ever eaten anywhere. The specials are certainly that—handwritten on the wall and always changing, ranging from one of the best steaks we’ve ever eaten (seriously), to skatewing, to osso bucco, to multiple fresh fish choices, to soft shell crab, to duck and many others. Edo do their take on dishes you may see other places, only they do it much better. Don’t forget dessert either, as their tiramisu is probably our favorite dessert of all time. We haven’t had a better one, even in Italy. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Edo’s is one of four great places owned by the same group of people, and if you’re still hungry, seek these other three out: Mamma Zu, Dinamo and 8 1/2. Side note: 8 1/2 is home of my favorite pizza in town as well. Check out the Breakfast Pizza, with fontina, pancetta, red onion and two cracked eggs adorning this magnificent pie. Edo’s Squid. 411 N Harrison Street, Richmond, Virginia
Iamsu at Scion Open Mic in Brooklyn
Guest at Scion Open Mic in Brooklyn
Problem at Scion Open Mic in Brooklyn Black Dave at Scion Open Mic in Brooklyn
Sheila Burbano at Scion Open Mic in Brooklyn
Guests at “Juice” at Scion AV Installation in Los Angeles
Guests at "Juice" Scion AV Installation in Los Angeles
Guests, including Russ (SSUR,) Kevin Ma (Hypebeast), Kevin Poon, Chris Folkerts (G-PEN), and Tosh at “Juice” Scion at Scion AV Installation in Los Angeles
Hot Lunch at Scion Rock Show in Los Angeles
Guests at Scion Rock Show in Los Angeles
Guests at Scion Rock Show in Los Angeles
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