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Archive for August, 2010

A CELEBRATED SUMMER: PART II of III – “LEARNING HOW TO ROCK THE RIGHT WAY”

Yesterday you learned about what went into putting together the first Annual Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles in Part I of this III Part series (click here to read Part I).   Today, we will be learning more about the actual camp week and activities that occurred during each camp day.

Are you ready to rock out? Welcome to Rock Camp! Follow the signs up the stairs to the registration table

That was one of the many greetings that first met the campers and their parents in the midst of a blur of activities and getting acquainted with the (almost fifty, in quantity) campers that made up the camp on that first day of the first week of the first ever annual Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles.  A high energy morning that set the tone for the rest of the week of camp.  Each day would start with Punk Rock Aerobics and lead into a variety of weeklong daily classes which included: musical instrument/vocal instruction, screen printing, self-defense, songwriting, and zine making, etc.

Here is a video by official Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles videographer team Britt Ringer and Donovan Vim Crony, which shows some of the excitement of the first day of camp:

Early on some of the volunteers set their own desires and goals for the week.  Volunteer Band Counselor Alli Bohl shared hers, “I hope the campers will leave knowing a little more about themselves. I want them to walk away strong and confident in the fact that they are female and they can accomplish anything they want to. Whether it be learning how to play guitar or becoming the first female president.”

To help get a jumpstart on the day and as previously mentioned, each morning started off with Punk Rock Aerobics (pictured left – photo by Becky Gebhardt) led by volunteer Chaska Potter, to help get the campers loosened up and ready for a full day (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) of learning and fun.

During each lunch hour the campers were treated to special lunchtime performances from various singer/songwriters, local bands, and performers (among them Ali Handal, Byata, DJ Automaton, Janet Robin, Lucy Schwartz, Mel Kurdian, Pasadena Scottish Pipes and Drums, Raining Jane, and Spare Parts for Broken Hearts).

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from left to right: Lunchtime performances by Spare Parts for Broken Hearts (photo by Beth Schore) and Raining Jane (photo by April Buker)

(Click on images to enlarge)

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The campers also enjoyed the daily skits depicting many situations and scenarios the campers might encounter in years to come, put on by the volunteer-comprised “Famous Rock Camp Skit Time Players,” (pictured left – photo by Beth Schore) who would perform during each morning assembly.

When away from the campers each day, the volunteers involved with the camp would share stories with each other about the day’s activities or the growth they’d see campers experiencing while grabbing something to eat or drink in the faculty lounge, speaking in an almost awestruck fashion.

I had no idea that the girls would be so eager to learn and would embrace every aspect of this camp.  Additionally, all the workshops that the girls attended were so interesting. I wish I had those when I was a kid,” stated Volunteer Band Coach and Guitar Instructor Taneashia R. Morell

As the campers formed their bands and selected their band names (more…)


A CELEBRATED SUMMER: PART I of III – LAYING THE GROUNDWORK

It’s all happening…

Los Angeles had been warned.  Something was coming.  Something was happening, but what? What was all happening?

Those three words echoed through the hallways of the Immaculate Conception School (a private Downtown Los Angeles school) the weekend of July 24-25, 2010, via the both excited and at times incredulous verbal outcries (as well as via Facebook status updates)– all coming from a very diverse group of young women (young mostly in age, but even more importantly in spirit) hailing mainly from the Los Angeles area.

Women not afraid of a little heavy lifting– literally and figuratively, as amplifiers, drum kits, guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, and mic stands were all carried to their destinations for the week ahead. Destinations which consisted of the classrooms labeled as “The Drum Room ,” “The Guitar Room,” etc.

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Guitars and Basses photo by TRAffIK

Drum Room Photo by Beth Schore

(click on images to enlarge)

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Who said women can’t carry their own gear?  Who said women can’t rock out just like the boys? Who said women can’t take up space?

Women can be found loading in their own gear, rocking out, and taking up space in music venues all across the world on any given day or night.  Most everyone has been lucky enough to have had many exemplary female artists/musicians, musical pioneers if you will, that have paved the way so that  it could become commonplace for a girl to “rock out” just as hard, if not harder than the boys on any stage on any night.

Unfortunately, as a young girl growing up you don’t always realize this.   When we are young our circles of friends and experiences may be limited, our families/customs/cultures/social circles may define us at that time, or we may just not realize the vast amount of options and opportunities that exist for us to explore and choose what we eventually want to do and who we want to become.

In 2001, a group of women in Portland, OR came together to create something to address these and other issues.   What they created would eventually branch off to include over 20 affiliates across the U.S. (expanding internationally into Sweden, Montreal, and Vancouver).  So what was this phenomenon?   Again, we ask what was all happening? What were all of these women coming together to create?

The answer?

L.A. was to be on the lookout for the first installment of the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles.

To give a little background on what inspired this, we look to  the very first Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Summer Camp which took place in August, 2001, on the Portland State University Campus.   This excerpt from their mission statement makes their intentions perfectly clear, “We want to eradicate all the limiting myths about music and gender that make girls afraid to speak up, sing out, and make noise. We want to abolish all the obsolete traditions that restrict many girls’ and women’s free musical expression and obstruct their access to the world of music. We seek to demonstrate—through lessons, mentorship, positive examples, and the shared experiences of the staff and volunteers—that every genre of music from the heaviest to the most delicate, and every technical job and creative endeavor in the music industry, is available to any girl or woman who wants to explore it.

The further you delve into learning about the camps and those that volunteer and support it, the more you realize that statements like the following truly represent the underlying theme of all of the camps involved.

“It’s not just about rock ‘n’ roll, it’s about all musical genres. And it’s not just about being a musician, it’s about being an active agent in music culture and industry. We believe that by teaching these things, we can help girls develop—musically, mentally, and emotionally—toward their own ideas of who and what they want to be.”.

It’s not just about being a musician, it’s about being an active agent in music culture and industry,” that’s something that many people, musically inclined or not, can get behind.  That statement could also be used to describe the members of the eclectic rock-folk Los Angeles based band Raining Jane (pictured right – photo by Larissa Brantner-James). Having volunteered since 2005 at the Portland and Seattle camps two of the Raining Jane members, Becky Gebhardt (bass, guitar, sitar) and Mona Tavakoli (drums, vocals, percussion),  were in disbelief that one didn’t exist in their home base of Los Angeles, and decided to begin the journey to give the city a much needed camp of their own.

They began with recruiting their own bandmates Chaska Potter (vocals, guitar) and Mai Bloomfield, (vocals, guitar, cello) as well as family members (Natasha and Newsha Tavakoli), and other close friends to begin laying the groundwork.

Hours and hours (adding up to days, weeks, and eventually months) of hard work were put in to start the process of giving the “City of Angels” a camp that could look past the glitz and glamour of a city where so many come to make their dreams come true.  A camp that would strive to address the all too real issues that are associated with growing up that plague the female youth population of this city (as well as pretty much every city in the world) all the while teaching them the discipline and empowerment that can come through learning to play and eventually mastering a musical instrument, the motions of their bodies, or through finding their voice (whether it be used to communicate with band mates or an audience).

A phone call to John McKenna, Director of Marketing and Development for Immaculate Conception School, resulted in the ending of the search for the, at the time, yet-to- occur camp’s location.  From the initial call, Tavakoli and Gebhardt were met with an alignment in the understanding of and a resonating with the new camp’s mission from McKenna who enthusiastically offered his support of the cause before, during, and after camp.

With the camp location secured, a “foot off of the brakes and full speed-ahead” attitude was adopted as a full-fledged campaign was initiated and executed to increase community awareness about the camp as well as to recruit the first round of campers and volunteers.  With a presence at various community events such as the Silverlake Jubilee, the Don’t Knock the Rock Film and Music Festival (put on by mother-daughter team Allison and Tiffany Anders), FYF Presents events, as well as local farmers markets (pictured left, Rock Camp Volunteers at the El Serreno Farmer’s Market photo by Erin Hughes) and concerts throughout the city,  the idea of the camp was enthusiastically well received– and also met with many incredulous utterings of “I can’t believe something like this didn’t already exist in L.A.!

The volunteer meetings and fundraisers continued (among them one of the few official Runaways film preview screenings authorized by Apparition Films, which included a Q&A with Cherie Currie), the curriculum was planned, and the anticipation kept building.

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photos by Maria Schriber

(Click on images to enlarge)

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Taking the current economic state of the country into consideration, the members of Raining Jane decided to start a scholarship fund for the camp.  Soon enough good friend singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles, a headlining artist on this year’s Lilith Fair, followed suit providing five scholarships to the camp.  L.A. based band EZ Tiger also donated scholarships from funds donated by their fans. The Feeding the Soul Foundation, an Oceanside, CA organization that “brings community together in creative generosity” while “promoting local artists, foundations and businesses that make a positive difference by creating events that draw attention and opportunity to their talents and intents,” also donated scholarships (pictured right, scholarship check and Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Volunteers –photo by Erin Hughes) to the camp from funds raised at their “Muse-ic” event (which featured performances from Tristan Prettyman, Alysse Fischer, and Jessie Payo).

It’s all happening(more…)


The Hump Readings featuring Clint Margrave and Anna Badua

This second installment of The Hump Readings Poetry Series is Wednesday, August 18 featuring TRAffIK Contributors Clint Margrave and Anna Badua!

Click here for more info

Location:
Borders Downtown Long Beach at The Pike
101 S. Pine Ave.

Long Beach, CA

Time: 7:00 pm

Cost: Free

DELTRON 3030 RECOMMENDED: DJ Jazzy Jeff + Mick Boogie – “Summertime: The Mixtape”

“49 songs… expertly mixed, cut and transitioned by two of America’s most popular DJ’s. The songs cover any and everything ‘summer’ related.  From songs about summer to songs that just feel like the sunshine season, this multi-genre mix will be sure to make your already great summer even better!”

DJ Jazzy Jeff  is here to reclaim his summer jam throne.  The once proud right hand man to the Prince of Summertime, has still got that golden gift of starting parties.  This time with a time capsule of sun soaked vibes from days past – when your summers felt like they’d never end. This came out a month ago but I was sleeping on it hard core.  Maybe because in Venice it hardly feels like the summer has started.  There’s only been one seven day stretch of consistent temperature over 72 degrees! (with a summer high of 81)  72 degrees….which also happens to be the high for the month of August.  Not that I’m complaining because NYC has sounded like a miserable place all summer…but Al Gore seems like a real lying dick right now. Perhaps this summer mix tape will kick start the summer. Not for my sake but for all the teens looking for the rising temperatures to give them an excuse to lose their minds.  You can’t effectively execute a wildin’ spree in balmy weather.  At 72 degrees it’s just assault.

At the very least it will make for an awesome mix tape companion piece to my current summer jam, 500 Days of Weezy

FREE DOWNLOAD HERE

TRACKLIST:

  • 1. Summertime Intro
  • 2. Kool & The Gang: Summer Madness (Live Version)
  • 3. Kool & The Gang: Summer Madness
  • 4. Quincy Jones: Summer In The City
  • 5. Ahmad: Back In The Day
  • 6. Ice Cube: It Was A Good Day
  • 7. Roy Ayers f/ Mary J Blige: Everybody Loves The Sunshine
  • 8. Pharcyde: Passin’ Me By (Ffej Remix)
  • 9. Jay-Z f/ Babyface: Sunshine
  • 10. Ramsey Lewis: Sun Goddess
  • 11. A Tribe Called Quest: Find A Way (Ffej String Edit)
  • 12: Bush Babies f/ Mos Def: The Love Song
  • 13. Jodeci: Get On Up
  • 14. The Commodores: High On Sunshine
  • 15. J Dilla f/ Dwele : Think Twice
  • 16. Erick Sermon f/ Marvin Gaye: Music (Mick’s Marvapella Edit)
  • 17. Bernard Wright: Who Do You Love
  • 18. LL Cool J: Loungin’
  • 19. A Tribe Called Quest: Hot Sex
  • 20. Main Source: Live At The BBQ
  • 21. Nuyorican Soul: Nautilus
  • 22. Pharcyde & Sublime: Summertime
  • 23. Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff: Summertime Remix
  • 24. Michael Jackson: I Can’t Help It
  • 25. De La Soul: Breakdawn
  • 26. Musiq: Just Friends
  • 27. Carl Thomas: Summer Rain
  • 28. Faze-O: Riding High
  • 29. Dionne Warwick: Walk On By
  • 30. Skee-Lo: I Wish
  • 31. Black Moon: Who Got The Props
  • 32. Frankie Beverly and Maze: Before I Let Go
  • 33. Nu Shooz: I Can’t Wait
  • 34. Montell Jordan: This Is How We Do It
  • 35: The Roots f/ George Benson: Breezin’
  • 36: Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff: Time To Chill
  • 37. Biggie: Can’t You See
  • 38. James Brown: The Payback
  • 39. En Vogue: My Lovin’
  • 40. Bobby McFerrin: Sunshine Of My Life
  • 41. Fifth Dimension: Let The Sun Shine In
  • 42. Mos Def: Sunshine
  • 43. Nine: Whatcha Want
  • 44. Otis Redding: Sittin’ On The Dock
  • 45. 2Pac: I Get Around (Mick’s String Edit)
  • 46. Zapp: Computer Love (Terry’s Mirage On The Water Mix)
  • 47. Seals And Croft: Summer Breeze
  • 48. Jay-Z: Dear Summer
  • 49. Weldon Irvine: Morning Sunrise

OUT TO SEE: PART II: The Prague Vacation (Part II of III)

This is part two of a three part series (each part will be published on a weekly basis) about Notes from Vivace’s quest to locate the local music scene in Prague.

Part One can be found here

Classical Music at Dvorak Hall

This is dedicated to the guy wearing the t-shirt and jeans, making me NOT the worst dressed person in the Hall.

In my Internet search of the Prague music scene, I came across a month long event called Prague Spring (held between May 12th and Jun 4th).  So on my second day in Prague, it was off to Dvorak Hall to catch the Baborak Ensemble play some Georg Phillip Telemann, Joseph Haydn, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  When buying the ticket (approximately $15), I asked the lady at the counter if I’d be let in wearing jeans.  I’d read in a tourist book that the Czech are formal people and I could just imagine that the concert hall would be filled with folks wearing suits.  I was told I’d be fine, but it would be wise to wear a button shirt and jacket.

As I walked up towards the doors that led towards my balcony seats, I could have sworn the two female staff members at the doors were saying:

Staff Member #1, laughing:  “Look at that guy in the jeans and jacket.”

Staff Member #2, laughing back:  “Yes, so under dressed for our event.  How uncouth of him.

Staff Member #1: “He is most definitely a rude American.”

The audience here was no more diverse than at Futurum.  Only about 1 percent of the crowd was non-Caucasian.  Opposite of Futurum, as might be expected, the crowd was much older with a mean age of around 65 – lowered from 70 by the fact that some grandparents were forcing their grandchildren to experience some culture.  And as I suspected, they were mainly well dressed.  I was wearing a button down shirt, as advised, which at least put me outside of the 0.1% crowd that was dressed even less formally – a single guy who was in jeans and a t-shirt.  He should have known better.  I saw him with a sweater that said:  07 Vienna Music Festival.  I can only imagine that the Austrians are far more formal than the Czechs.  There were perhaps five of us wearing jeans.  There was one guy wearing jeans who appeared to be in his 50s.  I’ll do the $2 bet that he was a fellow tourist.

Even though 99% of the audience was dressed in a suit and tie, I did start to notice the formalities breaking down just a notch.  There was the twenty-something with the tattoo at the nape of her neck.  I also noticed a lone guy in his twenties sitting on a bench above/behind the ensemble.  He was in a suit and tie.  And yet (for practically everyone to see since he was behind the ensemble with the rest of us looking at him) he was well relaxed, legs up on the bench.  He was wearing red socks.  His arms were folded as he leaned up against the wall.  Okay, these last two examples of twenty-somethings reduced the average age from 65 to 64.8.

I like classical music, but I’m not a regular visitor to the various classical venues of Los Angeles.  Here are some observations I made while at the Dvorak Hall that may or may not be the same in Los Angeles.  The seats were about four inches too narrow.  After playing Telemann, the whole ensemble left the stage and came back to great fanfare.  We hadn’t even hit intermission and the ensemble was taking a break.  There was a whole lot of clapping going on after each piece finished.  I’m not sure the same can be said while at the Hollywood Bowl.  In fact, there was so much clapping going on I couldn’t help but wonder why they just didn’t give the ensemble a standing ovation at the end of each selection.  For Haydn, the French Hornist was cheered wildly and given the chance to perform an encore.  There was then a set redesign.  Then for the final selection, a Mozart piece, the conductor asked for another redesign – was there some miscommunication regarding where the horn section should be seated because there had just been a redesign?  After Mozart the crowds cheered again, but there was still no standing ovation.  A large bouquet of flowers was brought on stage.  Three brief encores were performed.  The conductor then walked around the stage, thanking each member of the ensemble and kissing each of the women.  And then finally, there was the standing ovation.

The cheap seats at the Dvorak Hall were $5.  And how bad was the view from the $5 seats?  If you purchased the $5 seats, you were stuck looking at a pillar over the course of the night.  I wasn’t willing to go that cheap.  I remember going to a Duke-Carolina game, which was so packed that I could only see ¾ of the court.  I shy away from these types of seats due to the traumatizing experience of only getting to watch ¾ of a Duke-Carolina game.-

After the concert, it was off once again in search of the Prague rock music night life.  (more…)


DELTRON 3030 RECOMMENDED: Various Artists – Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim track listings:


1. We Are Sex Bob-Omb - Sex Bob-Omb (written by Beck)
2. Scott Pilgrim- Plumtree
3. I Heard Ramona Sing- Frank Black
4. By Your Side- Beachwood Sparks
5. O Katrina!- The Black Lips
6. I’m So Sad, So Very, Very, Sad- Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene)
7. We Hate You Please Die- Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene)
8. Garbage Truck- Sex Bob-Omb (written by Beck)
9. Teenage Dream- T. Rex
10. Sleazy Bed Track- The Bluetones
11. It’s Getting Boring By the Sea- Blood Red Shoes
12. Black Sheep- Metric
13. Threshold- Sex Bob-Omb (Written by Beck)
14. Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl- Broken Social Scene
15. Under My Thumb- The Rolling Stones
16. Ramona (Acoustic Version)- Beck
17. Ramona- Beck
18. Summertime- Sex Bob-Omb (Written by Beck)
19. Threshold (8 bit)- Brian LeBarton


The original soundtrack to the movie,Scott Pilgrim Vs the World –which releases this Friday, features four new songs by Beck under the guise of Sex Bob-omb and two versions of a totally new Beck track titled “Ramona”.  It is classic Beck circa “Sea Change”.  Needless to say it is a must have.  I considered hoarding it for Hype 18..but I couldn’t do that to you guys. It’s just too good.   Also on the soundtrack are tracks by Indie stalwarts Broken Social Scene, Black Lips, Metric and Frank Black alongside classic rock anthems from soundtrack vets the Rolling Stones and T.Rex.   After giving the album one spin it is safe to say Edgard Wright (go hulu “Spaced” asap!) was the right man to spearhead this movie. It’s nice to see a director actually put in some work when developing the sounds that move the plot forward. It’s not just a marketing free for all (I’m looking at you Twilight) to push product. The music in this movie is meant to very much be a supporting character that, through the choices made here, show a lot more range than the patron saint of one trick ponies, Michael Cera.  If the movie is as enjoyable as the soundtrack is, I’ll have no problem spending $12 to see it this weekend.

Thank god it’s not in 3D.

Highlights: “Ramona,” “I Heard Ramona Sing,” “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl,” “Scott Pilgrim”