I have come to realise that when it comes to records and comic books-especially used or soiled ones- Toronto is a real Mecca (just check out the Toronto Comic Art Fair which happens once a year, Holy Moses...).
Los Angeles, not so much.
I hit Meltdown Comics because of its' large Dan Clowes designed sign and found... nothing. Nothing that I didn't already have, at least.
When I went to Amoeba Records five years ago it was awe staggering. This time around it was picked over. I did find a few Joe South albums. I love that Joe South. Love that rugged sensitive sound.
At one of The Dingaling nites I met the owner of The Black Tent Press label, who just put out a limited edition Tonetta single following the now sold out LP. This single is incredible! It's a totally immersive and dank environment that has a kind of groove to it, short and sweet on pink vinyl. It's been mixed and mastered to sound great, you can hear all the little things he does in the background while sometimes his voice is so sweatily close to your ear that it distorts, a tad different than the YouTube versions but still very Tonetta. Tonetta is the best thing to happen to music in years. Yes, he is strongly visual, he's YouTube famous! But these records show that he's a solid intuitive musician making clever arrangements from trashy musical elements, in even the dirtiest of songs he can make a unique turn of phrase, the songs are catchy and work well on their own.
Tonetta is 62.
Richard Sax Ross must be in his 40s or so.
I don't really believe this but, I have been stating that I will now discount the musical work made by people in their 20s. It's just only one decade in the person's life and if they are still making music afterwards then the wheat has been separated from the chaff.
I somewhat kid as a deliberately ageist reaction to ageism in pop.
I did find an amazing book in LA that I never knew existed! My pals Kim and Richard took me to a lending library started by a former NEA head of Lit in a more disadvantaged area of L.A. There's been library cutbacks made in L.A. so this storefront fulfills a service. Tucked into one shelf was this:
I am a big Terry Southern fan and The Loved One is one of my favourite motion picture comedies, it's a rather controlled zany film, made just before those star-laden comedies got zany for zany's sake. This book is full of crazy captions and glorious photos: the movie itself is a rare comedy that looks gorgeous (so does Dr. Strangelove which Southern also wrote).
And, yes, the original Evelyn Waugh novel is a work of greatness!
Kim and Richard run the Esotouric Bus Tours which does numerous theme tours such as Hotel Vice, Black Dahlia and more! They really know their stuff!
They took me to The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, an old church founded by former revival tent preacher Aimee Semple McPherson. I got a sort of Elmer Gantry vibe from it. They would do elaborate pageants, give lots of food to the poor, and she even disappeared for a month to great controversy!
Kim's grandparents do a video blog and mentioned Lady GaGa in one episode. Because of this, one crazy company sent the grandparents one of their products: a Lady GagGag blow up doll. Luckily, the grandparents never saw it. To get this item out of their house, it was given to me. It looks nothing like Lady GaGa, not realistic at all, but in terms of basic blow up doll function, it does its' job, but is not nearly as good as an attractive woman.
Anyways. Kim and Richard do a regular salon at Clifton's. Clifton's is my dream cafeteria. It opened in 1931 with a mandate of no one being left unfed. The food is dirt cheap (goes right through you but I kinda like it) and the surroundings are wild! Wild life wild! Bears catching fish and other sights! There's even a small serenity chapel designed to look like it was cut out of a tree, with an ancient pre-recorded sermon and a lit tableaux of fake nature through plexiglass (it is a curious theme this emulation of nature in Christianity, and it is a recurring theme, I have Volumes one and two of albums entitled "The Birds Sing his Praise" which is a man whistling like birds overtop of organ music as a testament to God and creation).
Clifton's has just -just!- been bought by what people deem 'hipsters' , there is a fear that it will be gentrified, this is combined with a relief that it won't go out of business, I am curious to see how it plays out, it is a place for the disenfranchised (and always has been as the old photos show) so fingers are crossed.
I was fortunate enough to present my latest art works at this Salon.