Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Magnolia Memoir : What's A Good Girl To Do?

 Tonight we celebrated the release of Magnolia Memoir's new album, The Perfect Crime. Mela in her vintage black dress, matching jackette and classic black 4" heels took her spot in front of the mic and opened her mouth and out came "What's A Good Girl To Do?", which along with the title cut are the thematic mood setters of their new one. 

However, this band is about music and they deliver! They are all superior musicians and are ready for the world to hear 'em. The rest of the band is Aron Forbes (electric & acoustic guitar), Alexander Burke (keys, vibraphone & mandolin), Gordon Bash (bass & double bass) and Matt Lucich (drums).

Opening act Duo Del Sol playing a short set of their neoclassical originals arranged for guitar and violin; the duo specialize in dynamics, hushing the room during the quiet parts, and with wild participatory applause for the raucous sections. Their set was brief, and without much hesitation after the played their final number, the boys from Magnolia Memoir sauntered up to the stage silently and took their places. 

While MM have never been about fun and games, this new one definitely takes you down new avenues that the band has never been before. They have been compared to Tom Waits and Billie Holiday, but these days there's no missing their healthy dose of rock 'n' roll and angsty moodiness. While "Broken Cup" treads in circus-crazy territory, Mela's not as "out-there" as Waits and not in as much pain as Billie; Mela could probably sing any style imaginable and the hardest part of her job is crafting a uniformity that meshes precisely with the sounds the other people in the band are making. She can vary her songs' emotions from celebrative to contemplative, and while MM have perused the jazz landscape in the past, I hear definite traces of Chrissy Hynde and Pat Benatar - which creates a whole 'nother memoir to read. Lyrically there are story songs and personal moments alike within the lyrics, Their version of The White Stripes My Doorbell is fun and lively and fully fleshed out which shows what a great song writer Jack White truly is.  

Particularly moving tonight was a soliloquy by Mela who revealed the origin of the band was a dream that was stirred up after a visit as an adult to the grave site of her father whom she lost as a child. Her realization that she is still here even though he's gone, results in a "Go for your dreams-times a wasting" message she imparted on us before leaving for the night. This sentiment is expressed lyrically in the track  Chelsea (see video below). A staple in their live set of late, when they play it, a joyous sparkle descends over the whole band!

Often bringing something or someone extra along, tonight both Carolina Cerisola (above) and Sarah Reich performed - Carolina (above) in her inimitable style and Sarah with her nu-skool tap (see Sarah's performance in the video below).

Multi-instrumentalist Alexander Burke simultaneously plays the keys and strikes the vibes!! 
Gordon Bash in a low key moment.

The new CD by 
Magnolia Memoir 
The Perfect Crime :

Stay in touch with the band


More than any other,
Is a quest.
A quest for awake-ness.
The time is right
To be an absolute product of all that is around me.

I swim through the lye-green tides of the Pacific—
It gives my brain a chance to brine.
Deprived sensorily,
I hear the drum 'n' bass lub-dub of my own heart.
I feel the air around me enter and leave my lungs with a rhythm all it's own.
The cro-magnon backbeat of early man with no speech or vision.

I see it all -
All the nothing -
Water and sky and foam and gigantic waves -
sweeping across it's own vastness;
never ending.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FRIDAY KIND OF LOVE : Everything Old Is New Again

Friday Kind Of Love is a new night with a familiar feel and a retro groove. With DJ Unieq on the wheels of steel, he mines deep into the world of Motown, Doo-wop & old soul for tracks you've either never heard or never thought you'd hear again.

Live music was a main attraction, and with The St. Jukes Band  (Daniele Decario (b), Clarence Walker(k), Froy Arajuo(sax), Gabi Basurto(d), Tetsuya Moriguchi(g/md)) - the night was filled with harmony provided by the vocal quartet of Jeremy Erwin, Ombrey DeGrate, Lyndsay Haldorson & Bobby Dillard. Their versions of some of the greatest songs in music history kept the audience on their feet and singing along!

The early start time (6pm) allowed for master barber K.G. Superstar (owner/operator of The Blade Barbershop) to give complimentary straight-razor shaves in a barber shop atmosphere in an area of the club.

Additionally, The Velettes - dressed like a glam burlesque version of The Supremes - kept those in attendance attentive and delighted with their choreographed performances throughout the night. (The Velettes are Charlene Rose, Sascha Escandon & Kelsey McCowan). Their very presence caused a rush to the dance floor by anyone who was still sitting down.

Friday Kind Of Love is the concept of club producers Carolina Cerisola and Sascha Escandon aka The Floor Productions  (The Floor Improv Night, The Show). Their vision of a night with feel-good music, a lack of pretense, and of course - lots and lots of dancing - has captured the attention of club-goers of all ages and backgrounds. Friday Kind Of Love is held at Harvelle's Long Beach.

Lyndsay Haldorson gives us a warning that she's trouble!! (You Know I'm No Good)

Ombrey does Amy proud!! (Me & Mr(s). Jones)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Magnolia Memoir : Something Else!

Magnolia Memoir getting early press on their new CD A Perfect Crime on a blog called Something Else! To read the full post click HERE. The Perfect Crime comes out on Feb 28. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

FRIDAY KIND OF LOVE : From Sa-Ca with...

Who doesn't love soul music and the comfort of knowing all the words to those great songs from that by-gone era?

Brilliant club producers Carolina Cerisola and Sascha Escandon are bringing this vibe to Harvelle's in Long Beach. Let's get together and dance & sing and enjoy live music, doo-wop singers, dance performances and custom cocktails! DJ Unieq will be spinning golden "dustys", and fresh tracks to keep us dancing. Master barber K.G. Superstar will be available for straight razor shaves (6-8pm). This will be a night for all the senses!

Harvelle's LB is located at 201 E. Broadway below The Congregation Ale House.
[FKOL Facebook invite]
[Harvelle's Details]

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Floor 48 : A Monday Kind Of Love

I Love The Floor!!
I love the ladies who produce the night (Carolina, Sascha), the ones on staff (Annukka, Maus, Carla), the boys in the band (Walter, Asa, Julian, Davy, Shadarius, Victor, Tetsuya, Alexander, Fuzzbee), the "Bullies" (K.G., Unieq, Paris) and the regulars - the ones I can remember off the top of my head- Mela, Captain, Marshall, David, Doug, Danny, Art, Brian, Nicki, Renee, Jason, Courtney, Irena, Nami, Lisa, Sarah, Annalisa, Alfie, Iris, Emeka (+ his roommates), Kelsey, Alfred, Harry, Dorthea, Susannah, Jason, Jacqui, Shiho, Wes, Lisa, M.G., Just, Noel, Nicole, Marco, Walter, and Vakisha!! (If I left you out, I apologize!) The Floor is held on the 3rd Monday of the month! Connect with The Floor: [Facebook] [Twitter][Official Website]
Friday Kind Of Love is the new night hosted by Carolina and Sascha and will be held at Harvelle's in Long Beach starting this Friday, Feb 24th!

Centered around Doo-Wop, Motown and Soul music, live street-corner singers will take you back to a simpler time. DJ Unieq will be spinning records, (barber to the stars) K.G. Superstar's straight razor shave will be available (6-8pm only) and throughout the night, live music from The St. Jukes will play while dancers The Vellettes perform! 

The new Harvelle's in Long Beach is beneath the street and has a speakeasy vibe, complete with custom cocktails and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems with an ample dance floor and lots of comfy red leather booths to lounge in.
Follow Harvelle's Long Beach on [Facebook] and [Twitter] and for more info: [Official Website]

To view this photo album on Facebook and tag yourself and others click [HERE]

See you Friday at Harvelle's Long Beach or at the next The Floor March 19.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bongo Fury : Reunited (And It Feels So Good)

It's been a while.
The return of Bongo Fury - Walter Davis' afro-cuban-latin-jazz-burlesque night  - a huge draw in Santa Monica a couple of years ago. And it's been documented in this blog, the very inception of my relationship with Harvelle's, Walter and Carolina; the reason I perform poetry, is due in part to the encouragement of Walter.

Carolina Cerisola (<-left) has inspired many photos, a poem or two, and her spirit and life outlook have kept me lifted. She is very wise, a true internationalist and someone's whose moves I follow (figuratively and literally). With her business partner Sascha Escandon, they have created The Floor (which is tonight - Feb 20 at The King-King in Hollywood), and this Friday (Feb 24) they kick-off Friday Kind Of Love - at Harvelle's Long Beach - with the focus on soul and doo-wop music, this promises to be an original and special event. Watch this blog for details and updates on this exciting new night.

Although her heart and home is Buenos Aires, Argentina, Carolina is a fixture in Hollywood, she's a heroine to some and inspires others she doesn't even know. When people speak of her without her present it is always with reverie and joy. I see the look on people's faces when she dances; they smile. They forget everything else. They're mesmerized and elated by her every movement. She makes people happy by dancing.

It was great to see Bongo Fury again. Walter's group - which reunites drummer Asa and percussionist Timbali also features Shadarius Shields on bass - laid down the tribal wickedness, and brought out the afro/latin/cuban vibe without kitsch. Dancer Zepha (right->) took to the new room like a fish to water - if a fish had hips - and worked the room like she'd been there a million times before.  DJ Paper kept it groovin' between sets.

There are lots of burlesque shows in town. 
There are a couple of great ones - shows I try to never miss, but Bongo Fury has a special place in my heart and no matter where or when it happens, I'm there!

Thanks -  the BF crew (Walter, Asa, Tim, Shadarius, Carolina & Zepha, DJ Paper), Cevin, Ryan, Doug, Dana and David. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vintage Trouble : Looking Ahead to SXSW

Paste Magazine and Sennheiser to host Vintage Trouble party during SXSW:

for full article click HERE

Friday, February 17, 2012

After The Dance: In The Presence Of Leon Ware!!

Last night I was privileged to celebrate legendary Leon Ware's 72 birthday and 50 years in the business. [official website

Leon Ware's a singer, songwriter and producer best known for crafting the hit album, I Want You with Marvin Gaye. Ware's notable for writing the Top 5 R&B single, I Wanna Be Where You Are for  Michael Jackson in 1972 and creating the Body Heat album with Quincy Jones. He collaborated with Maxwell on his debut album Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite.

This night represented a lifetime of hits and a rare legendary performance! My friend Nikki Grier is his longtime back-up singer and tonight the 2 of them along with with a 5 piece band
lovingly played Leon's best of the best. It is positively chill-inducing to hear I Want You sung by the man who wrote it. Such a beautiful song and so closely linked to Marvin Gaye, if anybody has a right to sing it, it's Leon Ware. His voice is strong and soulful as hell, as is Nikki's (who was quite sick, but didn't show it at all).

Leon spoke to the audience a lot between songs, always steering the patter back to how horny and virile he is even at his advanced age. ("I may be old as stone, but I can still bury the bone!") It keeps Nikki and the band amused and laughing. He did take time out to eulogize Whitney Houston and Don Cornelius - and played After The Dance in their honor (the song features the lyric: "you were looking good on Soul Train...").

Additionally, the club presented Leon with a beautiful birthday cake and passed out b-day cupcakes to those in attendance.

Some of the music mentioned above is available to hear right here:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dakota's Burlesque All Stars : The Skinny In NoHo

Dakota is one of the coolest chicks I know.

A classically trained dancer who is one of the most in-demand burlesque performers, she not only dances, tours and teaches, but has established companies in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Puerto Rico. Her current project is Miss Dakota's Burlesque All Stars (BAS). As the name implies, the troupe is stacked with a roster of the sexiest flashiest girls in the business; tonight's line-up included salsera/singer Charlene Rose, bump 'n' grind princess Jasmin Figueira, Alyssa Marquez, Lanie Hoxie and hostess & singer Erin Fargo. (See video below)

(Show note - Although dancing to tracks this night, The BAS are usually backed by live musicians led by bassist Steve Pandis.)

I've known Dakota since the Bongo Fury days at Harvelle's. Speaking of which, Bongo Fury is returning to Harvelle's (Long Beach) on Friday Feb 17. Walter Davis has re-tooled the production which re-unites him with dancers Carolina & Zepha.

I've been running into Hawaiian dancer Maile a lot lately. 
The Stevenson sisters and Roman Vasquez.
Roman Vasquez with not-the-Stevenson-sisters.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Toledo Show : Fuck You For Fucking Me...

...For Fucking Myself!!
-The battle cry of Toledo Show frontman Toledo Diamond.

The Toledo Show 2/12/12 Santa Monica, CA -
Another night of sweaty jazz funk and delicious dames bumpin' and grindin' went down last night at Harvelle's. The Toledo Show band is Asa Watkins (drums), Walter Davis (sax), Spoonie (bass/vocals), Sebastian Leger (keys/trumpet) and Shamari Harbin (vocals). The Dames are Erin, Evalee, Mindy, Molly & Nykky. Special guest on vocals - Ultralove.

The Toledo Show play at Harvelle's in Santa Monica every Sunday night, and at the new Harvelle's in Long Beach every Thursday. 

It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vintage Trouble At The Cosmopolitan

I've never really followed a band.
I had a friend that loved R.E.M. so much, she followed them on tour from L.A. back to their hometown - Athens GA, - and then settled down there. It brought her adventures galore; it was a road trip that literally changed her life.

I didn't move my life anywhere, but I did venture out to Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan Hotel to catch the only band I've ever left California for - Vintage Trouble.

Like the Grateful Dead's "deadheads", Jimmy Buffet's "parrot heads" and Lady Gaga's "little monsters", VT has "troublemakers". A pansexual group of people of all creeds and colors with one thing in common - a love of great music and great songs sung by great singers - so they all love Vintage Trouble. I am one of them.

This was the first night of the band's 5 day stay at the hotel's Book + Stage Lounge with it's awesome sound system and P.O.V. monitors all around the bar. The Cosmopolitan is a regal monument of a lodging; inside is a casino (of course) and several floors of restaurants, bars, hangouts and shopping that are enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. 

Vintage Trouble has an album out called 
The Bomb Shelter SessionsIt's available on Amazon and on the band's official website!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Meet A Dame : Here's MINDY

Mindy is a Dame. 
One of The Toledo Show "dames" to be exact. She is a burlesque dancer - one of the sexiest and most feminine of all the Dames (watch this blog to meet the others). Everyone loves Mindy. She can make you feel like you're the only guy in the room and you've got 100% of her attention. 
Mindy is the proprietress of the website Dolls And Dames; an erotic website featuring girls styled like 1950s pin-up models. Like those old porn-lite images of Bettie Page and others of that era, these dolls and dames are always having "wardrobe malfunctions", losing their top, or being spanked, but they smile through it all. It ain't free, but it's inexpensive, and for those who like their sexual ephemera vintage - it's the only game in town. Light up a Black 'n' Mild™, pour yourself some Remy Martin, put on your matching slippers, robe & fez and log-on.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vintage Trouble : Hey Hey My My

The Australian music blog Hey Hey My My interview with Ty Taylor of Vintage Trouble:

for the full interview, click HERE

Hey Hey My My is a contemporary on-line destination for Australian and international audiences interested in local and international music and the current activities of the most interesting and important musical artists of the past 40 years, as well as new music that deserves to be heard by discerning audiences.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vintage Trouble : At Sundance

I love this shot of Vintage Trouble. 

Rick, Ty and Nalle are seemingly so interested in what Richard is espousing...
This shot is a screen grab from the video below; a brief travelogue of Sundance 2012 (Jan 19-29) which Vintage Trouble was asked to play on Jan 21 at the celebrated film festival/cultural event. This booking got VT their first mention in Rolling Stone. Let's see how long before they're on the cover!

It also got this photo and mention on Rolling Stone (dot com) :

Ethan Farmer : Bass Monster

Chicago native Ethan Farmer plays bass at The Floor Improv Night. His album Wine and Strings is a major funk contribution!! Read the cover story on him in Bass Magazine and buy Wine And Strings on iTunes.  For more info on the guy known as "Ebassman" check out Ethan's official website.

Ethan has played with some of the industry's biggest hit makers including Janet Jackson, Eric Benet, Babyface, James Ingram, and when in Christina and Nelly's  Tilt Ya Head Back, when Nelly says "Somebody gimme a baseline", he's talking' to Ethan Farmer! Ethan grew up in a musical family that had a gospel band in which Ethan played bass, which he picked up at the age of 5. Check out the video below of Ethan doing what he was born to do!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vintage Trouble : May The Rock Be With You

Australian music blog May The Rock Be With You interview with Ty Taylor of Vintage trouble:

for the full interview click HERE

Australian music blog May The Rock Be With You - featuring the best things you have and haven’t heard in the world of hard, glam, melodic, modern, pop, ROCK and METAL!: