I’ve been experimenting with better DSLR equipment so I jumped at the chance to go shoot my friend Erica Mulkey aka Unwoman perform at a wonderful private event that took place at Oakland’s Vagabond Ballroom. Here’s more of the pics I took that night.
My new favorite café is SubRosa located near our neighborhood on Oakland’s 40th Ave between Telegraph and Broadway. This little vibrant spot also sports the excellent Manifesto Bicycles and indie-collectible record shop, 123 Records.
While getting my daily cup today, my bleary eyes noticed this interesting looking guy with spiky gray hair poking out of the bike shop with a folding bike. He looked like he was seeing if it was safe to go outside as he looked up and down the street. As I was thinking this guy looked familiar a woman walking down the sidewalk exclaimed, “are you who I think you are!”, it was then I realized it was David Byrne!
He told me he was waiting for a cab, and I explained that they are pretty pokey here in Oakland. He ended up hanging out where I was sitting the sidewalk benches. He went in a got some coffee and the ladies inside were super happy. Mr. Byrne was gracious and let me take a couple of snapshots with the shop owner’s iPhone.
After running into David Byrne yesterday while getting my morning coffee, I was curious to see he was getting a folding bike from Manifesto Bicycles next door. Turns out, he’s an avid cyclist and loves to cycle around his native New York City as well as the cities he visits while he is on tour. He has turned his creative attention toward advocacy of urban cycling as well as urban design.
He’s been designing some urban bike racks as well!
For most of the 90′s, my favorite radio show was Blue Velvet, Black Coffee on KAZU on Monday evenings. The show started with the Twin Peaks theme song and featured a DJ named Patrick, he spun mostly ethereal, gothy music. He frequently would record shop in Europe and bring back many recordings from labels like Prikosnovénie, Musica Maxima Magnetica, as well as larger labels like Hyperium and 4AD. Previously Patrick had a radio show called Left of Center.
Patrick no longer has a show on KAZU so I was wondering what ever happened to him? Does he still have show somewhere in radioland or on the Internets? Google searches don’t show up much. Once I found a image of one of his meticulously written playlists. He would write them out then have them scanned onto the stations website. Maybe someone out there knows where DJ Patrick is?
As a lifelong fan of the Beatles and avid Rockband player, I was checking out the E3 introduction of the Beatles edition of Rockband. This is the impressive animated intro by Pete Candeland, known for his work with Gorillaz.
While attending DeLaveaga elementary school, whenever the projector was rolled into the classroom we knew we were in for a treat! Various films were shown to either fill in for the teacher’s incomplete class plans or to give the kids a little bit of a ‘fun’ break. A lot of films were public safety oriented or educational in some way. My all time favorite was this freakish bicycle safety flick, “One Got Fat”. In the early seventies anything with monkeys or monkey people was popular – “Planet Of The Apes”, “Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp” were big hits at the time.
“One Got Fat” still holds up pretty well, at least on a dark level. Poor bicycle riding was punished in gruesome accidents, even one with a steam roller, how classic! The background music and sound effects are also delightful. I’m sure now days, this film would be un PC in some way. Also featured, is the original snark narrator, Edward Everett Horton of Fractured Fairy Tales fame.
From Rolling Stone Magazine today:
“Ron Asheton, guitarist and founding member of the Stooges, was reportedly found dead at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan this morning. He was 60.”
“As the guitarist for the Stooges, Asheton crafted some of rock’s most memorable riffs, including “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “No Fun” and “TV Eye.” Guitarist Asheton, along with his brother Scott, Iggy Pop and original bassist Dave Alexander formed the Stooges in Detroit in 1967. The original lineup released two albums, The Stooges and Fun House, before Ron Asheton shifted over to bass guitar for 1973’s Raw Power. All three LPs made Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, ranking at Number 185, 191 and 125 respectively. Asheton was also Number 29 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
In the late 80s, when I played guitar with friends, my favorite songs to play were frequently Stooges longs. The Stooges were also probably the biggest influence of one of my all time fave bands, The Ramones.
Going to high school in late seventies Santa Cruz, my favorite local band was The Humans. They were a mix of the then emerging New Wave scene with a mix of surf, punk and avant garde theatrics. The first time I saw them was after Devo played a show at the Santa Cruz Civic in 1979. I hung out after the show and got to meetup with Devo so I could show them some pics from their previous Santa Cruz show earlier that year. While talking to them they got an invite note from a local band called The Humans that said they were inspired by Devo and that they should come check out their show later that night at JJ’s Pizza over in the East Cliff neighborhood. The guys from Devo and their brother/manager said come on let’s all go!.
So me and my younger brother booked out to JJ’s in my Datsun 510 to go hang with Devo and finally get see The Humans which were getting some considerable buzz at the time. Half hour later, I’m sitting at a little table with a couple guys from Devo, their manager and a pitcher of beer! I guess those times were a little different.
The Humans came on stage and did a blistering set of punk/new wave music with great surfy guitar licks. I became a big fan of them that night and went to almost every performance they did around the Monterey Bay area. The band was always so cool and friendly to this dorky teenager with his ever present camera around his neck.
Recently I’ve been going through and digitizing some of my favorite old cassette tapes and I found this aircheck tape of Eric Gies and Sterling Storm of The Humans being interviewed on KLRB – the ‘alternative’ progressive FM rock station that broadcast from the Barnyard in Carmel Valley. Because of this station I was exposed to the Punk revolution, New Wave as well as artists like Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and anything else weird the DJs felt like playing.
Being a Java Junkie always in pursuit of quality coffee has led me to a few places to mention. One that is very good and closest to home is Mama Buzz on Telegraph and 23rd. An adjoing room has a gallery and 50s style kitchen furniture to kick back. Free Wifi is available and the coffee is dark and rich! They also have some quality beers including Boont Ale. If you order a snack you will be surprised at the quality. Tomatoes on your sandwich are fresh ripe and tasty. An extra bonus is that they usually play a lot of old school spooky music (Virgin Prunes, Bauahus, Joy Division).
Mama Buzz is in an emerging little boho Booze, Art and Coffee zone. Being neighbors to The Stork Club and Rock, Paper, Scissors art collective. FYI, there’s still plenty of crack activity on the corner and nearby Valley St.
I miss going to Dark Sparkle. This is my favorite Darkwave/Goth club event since I’ve moved up to the SF Bay Area. It’s usually held at either the elegantl Café Du Nord or the DNA Lounge. Lately they’ve been moving around other SOMA locations. It’s the spooky music with out the VNV synth gop that’s permeated the goth scene the last five or so years.
Last month I went to down to Santa Cruz and saw my old pal Jay in his latest project, The Pat McCormack Group. He pulled some strings and got me a free pass to get inside the historic Catalyst nightclub. It was a special evening as there was much anticipation for the headline act, Blue Oyster Cult.
Blue Oyster Cult use to be pretty big. They would play 3rd or 4th at a big Day on the Green stadium rock festival type of show back in the late 70s. Now they’re better known as the mocked band in the SNL ‘More Cowbell’ skit.