musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: The Echo

Lost and Found (VI of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Ryan Fuller and Rob Danson of Fort King, at The Echo

Ryan Fuller and Rob Danson of Fort King, at The Echo

Part VI: Echo Park Rising, Sunday

Upon waking on Sunday morning, the second day of the Echo Park Rising Festival, I was badly in need of loud music, comfort food and a cozy spot to curl into a fetal position. Preferably all at once. I had a strange dream during the night. There was a paranoid and delusional crack head who had left a cryptic message on my friend’s cell phone, threatening to come by the house and quite possibly do us bodily harm. In a dazed panic, we discussed various options (call the police, take a posse back to the house, not go home that night and stay elsewhere, etc.), while standing in a drunken crowd that included a throng of KXLU DJs on the sidewalk outside the Lot 1 Cafe in the middle of the night. As the fog began to clear from my sleep-deprived brain, I realized it was not a dream. After an hour of strategizing our next move, we actually listened to the message and determined that he was not a serious threat after all. As it happened, our sleep was only disturbed by the usual roving dogs and ghetto birds. At a friend’s suggestion (thank you, Rob Danson), I grabbed my stuff, scrambled back to Lot 1 and found the safe haven, satisfying brunch and healing music I was looking for.

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Lost and Found (IV of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Manhattan Murder Mystery, at the Echoplex

Manhattan Murder Mystery, at the Echoplex

Part IV: Echo Part Rising, Saturday Afternoon

I woke up on a floor in Echo Park to discover it was Charles Bukowski’s birthday. The public radio station KCRW, broadcasting from Santa Monica, was airing a special in honor of the legendary author, short story writer, novelist and poet. As I listened to his friend Harry Dean Stanton’s beautiful reading of the stark and gorgeous Bluebird, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to prepare for the Echo Park Rising Festival than with streetwise and poignant words from this prolific Angeleno.

In the aftermath of the reading, I thought of my first few days in Los Angeles. There was the massive decompression at Echo Park Lake from so many layers of stress, and just wandering around the streets of Echo Park and Silver Lake in contemplation and what I’ll call “life evaluation.” My friend’s barrage of stories of his current state of mind and recent miseries, his supporting characters of the kind that Bukowski might like to write about, if he were still here. There was the young and naive female sub-letter he found on Craigslist, who put his belongings in bags and tossed them out into the yard, crashed his car and ran back to Pennsylvania after just a few days in the big city. The crack addict and “crack whore” hooker, who stole the car and took it on a joyride. The police. The disorientation. The restless days, locked out and temporarily among the lost and the homeless, out on the streets. The crack addict’s ex-wife and her ominous warnings, and other sordid and sundry characters who had come in and out of his life, wearing him down, taking, not giving, and leaving just a hollow shell in their wake. And through his and my sleepless nights, mysterious packs of barking dogs, like roving canine gangs. Interwoven with the dogs were the ubiquitous ghetto birds. It was horrible and yet gloriously romantic grit.

Besides just the joy of being there (and not being on the East Coast), there was that which strengthened and sustained me: a neighborhood that was relaxed, easy-going and filled with working-class Latino families. Bright, never-ending sunshine. The Tribal Cafe a short walk down the street, with their vegetarian Mexican dishes, amazing kale salads and powerful energy drinks. All of it dirt cheap and in a casual, bohemian setting. Tired as hell but strangely energized, I grabbed my things and headed out for an afternoon and evening of fine music with some old and new friends. It was time for Echo Park Rising.

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The Radar Brothers release “Eight” & Show @ the Echo in L.A. tonight!

The awesome Los Angeles-based The Radar Brothers just released their new album Eight a few days ago, and they’ve been playing a few ‘release parties’ on the West Coast. Tonight, they’re at the Echo in Los Angeles (with Babies on Acid and Young Unknowns) and well yeah, I’m in Boston, but I’d like to commemorate this anyway.

The music is lovely—pleasantly psychedelic, daydreamy, wistful, lyrical and in places kinda dark and brooding. What more can one ask for? For the time being, you can listen to the entire thing on the Merge Records site. Oh, and on Friday, Feb. 22, they’re doing an in-store at Fingerprints in Long Beach at 7pm. Awesome record store. Yes, that’s also on the West Coast. C’est la vie.

web | facebook | twitter | Merge Records

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Silverlake Band Update! (part 1) – September 15, 2009

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a little while are no doubt aware that I have “a thing” for The Airborne Toxic Event. Through them, I’ve discovered a whole bunch of wonderful bands, who – if not actually based there – are often found playing in clubs in this cool and interesting area of East Los Angeles that includes Silverlake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park. A wide variety of influences, styles and personalities, they share a joy of performing, an absolute lack of pretension, a kind of camaraderie — and oh yeah, they’re all really fucking good as well.

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