25 paintings from start to finish in the gallery in one week? We look forward to seeing how this goes.When Matt Beard told us what he wanted to do we thought two things: he’s bonkers, and he’s even more bonkers than we thought… but were game to let me take a swing at it in our brand new gallery/headquarters in La Jolla, CA.
During one frantic week in the new gallery he will be painting ten 30″ x 30″, five 20″ x 20″, and ten 10″ x 10″ original paintings. There will be tacos, donuts, beers, drums, friends, enemies, skateboards, and possibly even parakeets.** Stop in during the course of the week to check out the work in progress, or just wait to see them all finished at the opening reception on March 25 …times and more details coming real soon.
Blind Faith Commitment (available until March 18): 30×30 canvas – $950 | 20×20 canvas – $550 | 10×10 canvas – $348
Work in Progress Special (available March 19-24): 30×30 canvas – $1250 | 20×20 canvas – $650 | 10×10 canvas – $349
Finished Work (available March 25): 30×30 canvas – $1500 | 20×20 canvas – $750 | 10×10 canvas – $350
First come, first serve, quantities limited. Contact Pierce or Petra Kavanagh for purchase inquiries.
**bring your own tacos, donuts and beers… and friends… and skateboards… and parakeets… but leave your enemies elsewheres
by Keith Boyd
Last night I saw Los Dug Dug’s, The Pretty Things and The Standells at The Casbah! Or maybe it was Los Spiders, The Small Faces and Buffalo Springfield? Nah…Actually it was Los Sweepers, The Loons and Mystic Braves and it was ON FIRE! I’m a complete and utter devotee of the vast catalog of known and unknown mid-60’s bands who in one way or another defined the Beatles-inspired Garage Music scene. More likely than not these bands had no intention of staying in the confines of the garage, basement or bedroom. They probably had their sights set on The Avalon, Matrix or any number of 1960’s clubs and festivals but we all know how it goes with Rock bands…Between the Vietnam War, drugs, an indifferent industry and life in general countless numbers of these Freakbeat combos spawned, mushroomed and faded from the scene in a remarkably short period. Compilations such as the amazing Nuggets series brought many of these groups to broader attention in the 80’s and just as the 1st generation of groups grew seemingly overnight in places as wide-ranging as Spain, Australia, Indonesia and yes, the deserts of Southern California a new groundswell of incredible musicians picked up the mantle and ran with it. San Diego has long been a hub of bands in the key of Garage. The 80’s were a particularly fecund time for it and last night Mike Stax’s group The Loons showed everyone how it’s done.
Los Sweepers opened the night and blew minds with their day at the races energy. I can’t say for certain but I think they might have played EVERY hit from 1966 AND sang them in Spanish! You could be forgiven of rethinking you’d stumbled into an El Centro High School gymnasium dance sponsored by Wolfman Jack. Despite playing such well-worn tunes as Wild Thing (Transfored into “LOCO”!!) and Hang on Sloopy (reworked as “Vamos Lupe”!!) they managed through the simple equation of bass, guitar, drums and ENERGY to win the crowd over and make a joyful noise.
The Loons are a San Diego treasure. Incredible playing by all members is channelled into a seriously punchy frenzy by lead singer, music historian and all around Rock Lifer Mike Stax. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing The Loons a few times over the years and while they’ve always been great, they continue to get better and better. Among their relentlessly powerful set were a few favorites, ‘My Desolation”, “Inside Out Your Mind” and “I Don’t Live There Anymore” but the whole show was fantastic. At one point Stax was bashing away on a tambourine with the phrase, ACID BLUES splashed across it. It was a fitting theme for this band’s music. Truly The Loons are a San Diego Treasure. Get out and see them whenever you can.
The headliners of the night were the LA-based Mystic Braves. They have their sound absolutely dialed in. Swirling organs, plucky, reverb soaked guitars and beautiful harmonies were in deep abundance. The band’s incredible albums were all represented in the set and the tightness that comes with frequent touring was powerfully evident. While Los Sweepers and The Loons generated Iggy levels of energy Mystic Braves vibe was much more chilled. I kept thinking that their music would fit nicely on the Easy Rider soundtrack.
Despite my numerous references to vintage bands, sounds and styles I simply must add that this wasn’t just a dress-up, look backwards retro type of deal. Yes, these musicians have all done a deep study of EVERYTHING from roughly 1965-1974 but…they all made these influences serve their own unique musical vision. It was just a euphoric, Cave-Stomping good time. The always excellent Casbah did it again.
Check out the newest single from local artist Midium – American Born.
March 10th – May 1st @ The Cygnet Theatre
Noura Mint Seymali and her band lifted worldly spirits Thursday night at the Price Center Ballroom East. The dark ballroom was filled with some 150 chairs and the high-ceilinged room. Noura’s band entered first, tuned up and settled in.
Many of the songs were played in different modalities so the guitar player and Noura’s husband, Jeiche Ould Chighaly, was constantly tuning between songs. For Californians, his guitar playing was out of this world. For Western references, think Sir Richard Bishop for scales and attack or Richard Thompson for tones and textures.
The audience could tell right away that the music for the evening would gather forces from another hemisphere and transit over oceans and deserts to create a magical and unique musical sensation. All the hammer-ons and runs Jeiche was doing in warm-ups only heightened the anticipation.
The couple herald from an historic musical lineage in Mauritania, where the Sahara and the Magreb meet and what blooms is an honest explosion of the West African Arabic world. A couple of the songs they played in their 60 minute set were written by Noura’s father (himself a popular and famous Mauritanian musician).
The sounds of the guitar and Noura’s 9 string harp were textured and filled with the gritty sand they have touched from years of playing desert locales. It felt authentic and raw. The combination of traditional songs mixed with modern pop styles of blues and psychedelia fused places and times.
When Noura came out and began singing with the guitar and the rest of the band, it all came together. The semi-formal room took a little bit of time to warm up. Noura’s voice was full and loud, empty of the standard reverb that so many western pop acts employ. The long and lush vocal runs intertwined with the beautiful and unique guitar styling to set the foundation for the evening.
As the night gained momentum, the band, Noura’s voice and the crowd all warmed up. The audience let go a little bit, Jeiche started smiling more and the voice began to transport the listener. Her long Arabic runs imagined far away places, where cultures intertwine and complexities spice meaning. Her spiritual nods to Mohamed settled over the mixed crowd and opened eyes into smiles and brought people together in ways that only great music can.
Every time I see an Art Power event, I am transformed and transported. The unique selection of the avante guard artists across the multiple mediums is tricky and can be very powerful when done right. Bringing Noura Mint Seymali to San Diego was a great move that collected many different groups together for a night at UCSD. The normal Art Power crowd was infused with young Muslims and African Americans celebrating the authentic spirit of an honest joyful expression.
The show includes Charles Curtis on cello, Erik Carson and Keir GoGwilt on violin and Caterina Longi on viola.
Fresh off a sabbatical that took him to Reykjavik, Berlin, Brisbane and Melbourne, ace clarinetist Anthony Burr of the music faculty performs a program centered on Morton Feldman’s Clarinet and String Quartet—which he recently released on a CD. He will be joined by violinists Erik Carlson and Keir GoGwilt, violist Caterina Longhi and cellist Charles Curtis. Curtis performed on the recording. The concert program also includes Aldo Clementi’s Impromptu for Clarinet and String Quartet, which, like the Feldman, is a late work of the composer that reflects nineteenth century chamber music in an inscrutable and mysterious way.
I had the great fortune to check out Movers + Shakers last night. It’s part of the Thesis Works Winter Season at UCSD at the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre, at the La Jolla Playhouse complex of theaters. The play was a great romp of modern politics that left viewers smiling and with a great message. The music was excellent, the scene design was compelling and the story was extremely well fleshed out by an outstanding ensemble of actors.
The performance consisted of only six actors, but they all played two characters in a way that was humorous, believable and often compelling. Set in a hotel lobby (with a fantastic set designed by Charlie Jica) in Wisconsin, the story centered around an upcoming politician who had arrived to announce an environmental initiative. The problem for him was his new mistress, that he had romanced over Facebook. His problem elaborated with TMZ and a recently surfaced “dick pic”.
The lack of character transformation was forgiven in part due to the strength of the actors and comedic scenes. It was more a romp than an evening of in-depth thematic introspection. The performances, situations and the story were powerful enough to live on the surface, and overcome the lack of complexity in character development.
The story centered on iPhones and modern societies fascination with celebrity and sex over humanism and deeper meaning in life. The scenes were funny, especially a Saturday night love moment where Sean McIntyre’s two characters had a sex scene with, well himself…though it was supposed to be between the two characters he played. The crowd loved this scene.
Another highlight of the play was the live band that performed in the lobby that sometimes interacted with the action onstage. Powered by some excellent guitar work by Boaz Roberts, the band was the glue the ensemble buzzed around. The four piece added another layer of sonic strength to the overall production.
One song stood out especially as it held the strongest emotional pull of all the songs; performed by Caroline Siewart, the politician’s wife, and thoughtfully reprised at the end of the second act by Zora Howard. The chorus of this near alt-country pop hit was, “Too young when I met you, but too old to change.”
The message cut through modern society’s surface fixations of open relationships, sex, iPhones, texting, chatting, and news cycles with a message about humans residing below these meaningless mantras. While the tawdry pull of skin and dick pics swivel heads and fill gossiping mouths, the underlying emotional vacuum that these things create requires hours of shoveling work. Ultimately the message of the play was reinforced by Zora’s final speech.
In a way the story reminded me of Night of the Iguana where the main character heads off somewhere to have an emotional breakdown. And while the piece never gets as serious as Tennessee Williams’ emotional breakdowns, it touches a similar nerve and left this viewer thoroughly satisfied.
Yesterday at the David Sedaris show, a rather large and inebrieated woman sat on the other side of my wife. I’d guess her blood alcohol level was over 0.08% and she obviously wished to be more of a participant than an audience member. She was with a couple of men who were constantly checking their phones, and the three were engaged in lively conversation. As the lights dimmed and David come onstage, it became apparent, through her whoops of bravo and snorting laughter along with the flashing lights of the men’s phones and constant conversation, I would first have to overcome the distractions to my left before I could enjoy the show.
At one point, an older woman, part of a nicely dressed couple, turned around and gave her that look, like “can you mind your manners?”, to which the large woman smiled. And when the lady in front turned back around to enjoy the show, our loud friend shot her the dancing, middle finger, snickering with her male accomplices.
As a coping mechanism, I started counting her claps, each was accompanied by some utterance of approval, like we were at a southern church and Sedaris was the preacher. She would lean forward with her arms in the air and create thunderous booms with her hands shouting, “Yes, bravo! That’s right!” and accompany it with a deep chested choke of a laugh.
As the arc of her inebriation peaked, her claps became less frequent, she slumped a little and it slowly became time for the audience to focus on Mr. Sedaris. Her friends became more and more distracted by their phones and finally left, one after the other, in the middle of the show. Once the alcohol fatigue sank in, I was finally able to shift my attention from my left to front. It was about then that David was telling a story of a young man who had impeccable manners sitting next to a loud talking ninny on the plane and I couldn’t but help hope the woman sitting next to my wife was seeing the parallels. Was I that polite young man in the story?
Damn, David is funny and crass. He’s so accessible to the masses that he commands the stage at the larger Balboa Theatre even when tickets are priced from $40 and up. I’m very fortunate to have been able to see him. A night of laughter is priceless really, so what’s $50 buck? He read from his gigantic catalogue for much of the evening. HIs stories focused on themes of homosexuality, culture, the south and his interactions with the service world as a touring artist. Always politically correct, he still liked to dance around the edges of crudeness and race in a way that could make the old, white people laugh, (there were a lot of old, white people at the show, in fact the show was mostly older, white people)…disclaimer, I border on this demographic.
There weren’t many people of color in the audience, there weren’t many students and the culture espoused by the star was one of privilege, NPR ideology and it was definitely snarky. No doubt David is funny and an extremely talented writer. No doubt there is a huge audience for a show such as this. The ArtPower director in his introductions said this was one of the featured events of the whole year’s programs. As David said while reading his edited journal entries, “This is the edited me”. It would interesting to hear the unedited parts.
The riskiest parts of the evening were some bawdy jokes and some voices he did for African American characters from the South. His one liners from his diaries were a big hit and had people rolling in the aisles. His longer stories were less successful as they tried too hard to be a package and felt flat or formulated. David likes to cap on people and their eccentricities and their lack of interest. But sometimes we all fall flat in those situations.
He liked to say very often that he would say something to another person he had just met, just to make it weird and that’s how his show felt sometimes. Many times it worked and very often it seemed canned. Oh well, you do this every night for 45 nights in 47 days and I’m sure it difficult to be fresh, new and inventive. Don’t get me wrong, the people loved it and I laughed my ass off. I’m sure it was a successful night for ArtPower and David, though it just left a slightly off-putting after taste in my mouth. Sort of like the story of his fatty tumor that he wanted to feed to a turtle near his house might have tasted.
The lady next to me was the every lady in David’s stories. I could definitely relate to his edginess relative to other people and overall she just confirmed David’s theme for the whole night. So, if I were paranoid, I’d have to say she seemed like some kind of plant. But, in reality, she’s just another one of those characters from David’s pieces that were somehow inhuman and real at the same time.