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Fall for Art Predator: OZO review & a poem too

September 22, 2008

Welcome fall!

On the last night of summer, we headed for the Hollywood Bowl where we had a blast dancing to LA’s Ozomatli, SF’s Michael Franti, Mex-Am Lila Downs and Tijuana’s Nortec collective concert. The show of border crossers, curated by KCRW, hosted by Raul Campos (read his comments, review of the show, and watch his video of the opening here) and sponsored by Mexican Tourism came complete with a goody bag with coffee and a Putomayo cd the small boy loves while he plays with his Lincoln Logs.

The show had us on our feet and dancing most of the night, starting with Nortec Collectives crzy combo of traditional Mexican instruments and modern Apple assisted electronics in a way tooo short set; we couldn’t get enough of them when we saw them a few years ago at a Grand Performances show in downtown LA..

They rotated the stage to reveal Lila Down’s band. Lila Down’s extraordinarily deep voice, powerful lungs, colorful embroidered outfit, and lively dancing in short high heeled boots kept our interest, even as we lacked a clue to what she was singing in Spanish, and as she struggled to shrug off a fringed leather vest, and as she missed her drum cues when the strap wouldn’t stay put on her waist.

Michael Franti and Spearhead highlighted the evening. His energy, sincerity, and rich voice had us dancing with such enthusiasm and pleasure that several people commented. He played many of the tracks off the brand new album, including my favorite “Say Hey” (see my post below to see the video) which he did in a fully extended, playful version which encouraged audience participation and generated lots of love.

We wondered why Ozomatli was the headliner but it became apparent immediately–they had one wild hometown show with lots of extras from a video introduction depicting them running all over LA trying to get to the Bowl to a dozen giant puppets with OZO balloon heads to performers on stilts to break dancers to cheerleaders in Dodger Blue to a full mariachi band in addition to guest appearances by Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na and others. To watch their entrance, go here. They were performing at home amongst friends and family and it was obvious they were having as much fun as anyone in the audience!

Achieving escape velocity is always a challenge but totally worth it in this case.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for any remaining Howlywood Bowl shows this year or for next. The Bowl is big magic for many reasons–if you do it right. For us, we start by bringing with us a great but light meal: for example, last night, homemade brushetta (with heirloom tomatoes from our garden, locally grown basil, garlic, and olive oil from the farmers market), fresh baguette, brie, and pre-made salads from Trader Joe’s which we tossed on a plate we brought. For wine, we brought Wild Boar, a friendly red blend from one of my favorite Central Coast wineries, Eberle. We bundled it all up in a Trader Joe’s insulated shoulder bag with an ice pack, water, napkins, dishtowels, and a beach towel to sit on. Next time, however, we’ll choose a wine with a screwtop cap (Australian shiraz anyone?) for more portable pouring.

Another season, when we saw Flaming Lips and Thievery Corporation, we went all out. Fortunately that night we had a box which we shared with our friends Kim and Bob–Bob made diablo shrimp, the Big Monkey rotisaried chicken, we drank J champagne, bread and cheese plate, a pasta salad, a tomato salad and a berry salad!

So bring your own wine and food–better selection, and you can buy a better bottle of wine with the money you’ll save by bringing your own food!

A second tip is to take a shuttle in: parking there is ridiculous and expensive and the shuttles are cheap ($3 round trip) and get you out of the mess there quickly and easily. Whoever says LA doesn’t have transit options hasn’t tried hard enough. (Of course we had to drive from north of LA south to the San Fernando Valley to park…)

The third tip is to bring something to sit on for comfort and insulation and to wear layers–you want to choose to dance, not be forced to!

On Thursday we head to the north to the Santa Barbara Bowl to see Jack White’s Raconteurs. Unfortunately, the SB Bowl won’t let you bring alcohol in, and there are no reasonable transit options. I’ve been there in October for Bright Eyes and another time for Neil Young when the fog was downright drippy so we will be prepared!

I worked the SB Bowl one season many years ago as an usher and I loved it. I saw kd lang, James Taylor, BB King, Johnny Clegg and Savouka, Crosby Stills and Nash just to name a few. Besides getting in free in exchange for helping people find their seats and keeping tobacco cigarettes out, ushers get to dance around in the aisles during the show and move down to the front if there are open seats!

I wrote this poem when I was ushering and thought it apropos for today’s first day of fall. The body painting uses apples impressed in the fabric as well as my body which I painted in the golden fall colors and mottled bark of a sycamore tree, then wrote the poem alongside; for an October group show at Art City, it hung above an accompanying installation of apples, fall dried flowers, sycamore branches and leaves. For the ArtLife broadside which was published in the October 1996 issue and was the second one I did, I photographed the painting, used white out to cover the now illegible words I had written on it, and printed the painting using brown ink and the text in blue. The broadsides are signed and numbered and available as is one of the two original paintings I did at the time.

Biting into a gala apple
fresh from the farmers market
mountain grown he said
evening of the fall equinox
I taste crisp sweet sharp
sudden memories of the
second weekend of that love.

Driving into San Francisco from Reno
many years ago now this week
chauffeured by my estranged spouse
he leaves me on your curb to find
taped to the mailbox keys
to your studio in an envelope
marked “Pingie” my baby name.

Letting myself inside for greetings by
lilies dahlias merlot galas
the presence and absence of you
I inhale this welcome and settle
shower off the residue of
my husband apply clarifying
mask and deep conditioner.

Soaking the barbs away at home
in your tub reading Love Medicine
you surprise me in this state
join me in showering away
conditioning masks pollutants
finding it unnecessary to
cover any nakedness.

Dawning Monday to being in love
I am advised of the dangers
of falling too far too fast
and no I didn’t heed the warning
and yes gravity strikes hard
Newton’s Law of Loving
still bruises galas this autumn.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2008 12:40 am

    Cool, an excellent review with scrumptious food and then a more complex than it looks poem too. Very cool.

  2. Big Monkey permalink
    September 23, 2008 9:23 pm

    A very Happy Birthday today to Bruce, the man driving that train to the land of hope and dreams, taking all of us saints and sinners with him. He’s living proof that dreams wiil not be thwarted, faith will be rewarded, and beautiful rewards shall come to those who soar and search along the river’s edge.

    Happy 59

  3. September 23, 2008 9:25 pm

    and to nic harcourt of kcrw!

  4. October 14, 2008 8:48 am

    Занимаюсь дизайном и хочу попросить автора отправить шаьлончик на мой мыил) Готов заплатить…

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