Orange County Music League Fight the Good Fight Against Pay-to-Play

Categories: community

Thumbnail image for ocmlpic1.jpg
Erica Torres Photography
Orange County Music League
On a recent Tuesday night, the basement entrance of the Copper Door hums with the noisy bricolage of a bar gig. The loud crack of pool balls scattering on green felt mingles with the buzz of drunk conversations, alt-rock blaring through the house speakers, and the tightening twang of tuning guitars. Sporting a white Stetson typically worn by 51-year-old MILFs at Stagecoach, the singer of a local country band checks the mic. A country night--especially one with a friendly, enthusiastic crowd--feels a bit unusual for downtown Santa Ana, but the bar is bustling with fans and weekday regulars before the gig has even started.

As the crowd builds, three guys sipping beers in matching backward black-and-orange ball caps are huddled around a laptop. OCML is printed across each one in bold orange lettering. Focused on the glowing screen, members of the Orange County Music League put the finishing touches on the set times for tonight and many nights afterward on their increasingly busy calendar of weekly shows throughout OC. Whether pushing reggae, rock, metal, hip-hop or country, every OCML show is required to be free to the public and reliably curated. Most important, bands are never charged for the pleasure of playing.

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A Local Metal Photographer Gives Everything He's Got to Cover the Scene

Categories: community

Courtesy of Adrian Mejia
Adrian Mejia
Adrian Mejia's job as a metal-concert photographer is never easy. There usually isn't even a barricade separating him from rabid fans and rib-cracking mosh pits on sticky, beer-soaked floors. He has learned how to not flinch as spittle and sweat rain down on his lens and psychotic front men scream in his face. He loves this chaotic scene so much that he'd do it for free. And most of the time, he does.

A reliable fixture over the past three years in the local metal scene, Mejia has shot Xanthochroid, Necroticus, Arachingod and other bands while gaining a reputation for intense, quality shots. But most of the equipment he uses is borrowed from friends or various people in the OC and LA metal communities. He's usually flat-broke, jobless, yet he manages to get back and forth to gigs without a car. He has even slept on the street after gigs because he had no ride home.

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How to Build a Great Music Community

Categories: community

Jeremiah Toller
A music community doesn't come out of nothing; musicians must build it.
By: Henri Benard

Being an active member of the local music "community," I often contemplate what "community" actually means. I believe community to be a tightly knit place of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and focus. Living and working as a musician by day, and being a regular "night owl" in the artist world by night, I feel that the word often gets blurred by some who abuse and/or take advantage of its true essence. I am not saying I have all the answers, but having been around the Tempe/Phoenix music scenes for more than a decade now and having been blessed enough as a drummer to play shows in 42 US states and three different countries, I have become rich with experiences, both positive and negative, surrounding these words we know as "the music community."

I have been bombarded, harassed, encouraged, charmed, challenged, and very well taken care of. I myself have been guilty of these actions, at times. I have made countless acquaintances, some friends, and sadly, some enemies. However, at the end of the day, it all really boils down to your outlook on your peers if you want to be a respected, contributing member of your local/national/international music communities. The following is a list I have compiled of 10 ways you can earn the respect of your peers/fans, while actively being a positive contributor to your music community.

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Why Karaoke is Important to Immigrants in OC

Categories: community

Brian Feinzimer
A group of ladies singing the night away at Ziller in Fullerton
For Asian Americans, there's an odd sense of comfort in holding a mic and singing along to the midi version of schmaltzy pop hits. Whether they're tunes by Basil Valdez, Sin Sisamouth or Frank Sinatra, played in private rooms (such as at Ziller in Fullerton) or set against chintzy lights and throbbing bass, (as in XO Night Club in Westminster) the sight of  lyrics flashing on a large TV screen brings back memories of Manila, Seoul or Phnom Penh.

After all, in Asia, karaoke is the go-to activity for family get-togethers, birthdays and office team building. When President Barack Obama visited the Philippines on a state visit, Filipino president Noynoy Aquino hosted a karaoke party for him. (Apparently, government officials sang the Motown classic "What's Going On?" with such gusto that National Security Adviser Susan Rice thought it was apt to take the mic and belt out the chorus.)

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Schoolhouse Rock Live! - Samueli Theater - October 4, 2014

Schoolhouse Rocks Live! Photo by Tim Trumble
Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Samueli Theater

Children of the '70s and early '80s no doubt remember educational Schoolhouse Rock tunes like "Conjunction Junction," and "I'm Just a Bill." Similarly, children of the '90s likely experienced the catchy musical cartoon shorts when the series was put back on the air. Both the images from the series and many of the songs have made the Schoolhouse Rock brand a part of American culture. In 1996, a musical theater adaptation of the material called Schoolhouse Rock Live! premiered, and last weekend professional theater company Childsplay performed the show at Samueli Theater.

While the familiar cartoon images, as well as the memorable voice of Jack Sheldon (who originally sang many of the Schoolhouse Rock songs), were missed, Childsplay's minimalist production captivated the attention of parents and children alike. In fact, the atmosphere that parents brought to the theater was one of nostalgia as they all seemed to be chanting the old tunes -- both as an effort to increase their children's enthusiasm for the show as well as to celebrate their fondness for the material; but as soon as the show began, the audience became hooked into Childsplay's adaptation.

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Not Just A Camp...It's a Passion for "Girls Rock Camp Orange County" !

Categories: community
"Check! Check!" went the mic last Sunday at Original Mike's where eighteen women gathered in the spirit of rock n' roll participating an all first ever OC Ladies Rock Camp. It took only two days for these mujeres to learn bass, drums, paino, and tune their vocals in efforts to fundraise for this summers Rock 'n' Roll Camp For Girls Orange CountyMore »

Five Things an EDM Diva Learned at Burning Man

Burning Man

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Insomniac Donates $115,000 From EDC Sales

Burning Man is an annual event and temporary community based on radical self-expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Having conquered every other major music and arts festival in the US from Ultra Music Festival, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to Electric Daisy Carnival it seemed only natural that I was ready to embark on the journey to take on the 26th Annual Burning Man pilgrimage. On top of being a community of over 60,000 music and art aficionados it is a spiritual refuge where burners gather to reflect on their lives and mourn the loss of loved ones or other obstacles with the burning of the man (a giant wooden effigy in the shape of a man) and then the temple so beautiful it rivals many churches.

Burning Man takes place on a dry lake bed, a vast flat expanse of alkali salt called the playa. Two girl friends and I made the nine-hour drive to meet our three guy friends who drove an RV all the way down from Vancouver and another close girl friend who flew into Reno, Nevada. All sharing journeys of overheated cars and electrical problems on planes, I wish someone would have told us the journey to the playa would take an entire day. But we were finally together, brought some bad-ass army and Indian tribe outfits and stocked way too much vodka and beer with not enough tequila and Four Lokos. Living on an RV in Black Rock City made us the closest hippie family and taught us plenty of valuable life-changing lessons.

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Summer Sensation Concert Rallys Young, Santa Ana Community Organizers

Categories: community
The Center OC
Youth members in a meeting.
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A fiesta is brewing in Santa Ana. Only this party is more about waking up to help a community versus passing out on your neighbor's grass while wearing your favorite sombrero. The first-ever 2012 Summer Sensation Concert is part of "Building Healthy Communities," an initiative of The California Endowment focused on transforming Santa Ana--a majority Latino, low-income community--into a safe and healthy environment for the city's neighborhoods, and primarily its youth.

"I feel like there's limited safe spaces, safe and fun spaces for us," says 22-year-old Tony Ortuno, an intern with The Center for Gay and Lesbian Community Services of Orange County. He worked with a coalition of youth groups from Santa Ana-based organizations like KidWorks, Latino Health Access, and The Grain Project, to plan the concert, which features local bands, live art, food and a resource fair at the Yost Theater.
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Just Announced: Flights & Sounds Summer Festival at Great Park

Categories: community

The Irvine Barclay Theater announced the lineup for the 2012 Flights & Sounds Summer Festival, where each weekend in August, the Orange County Great Park will host a different flavor of world music. Even better, admission is free, though you can expect to pay $10 to park your car on the grounds. Still, though, not too shabby considering artists they've booked, which includes local legends like Poncho Sanchez and Latin buzz band La Santa Cecilia.

Here's a rundown of each week. Concerts are held at three different park locations: The Palm Courts Arts Complex, The Dance Concourse and the Runway Stage.
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The Ultimate Bearhug Play at Cocktails for a Cause: 'Our plan is to always be involved with benefit shows.'

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The Ultimate Bearhug
OC Weekly and Music for a Cure team up this Thursday for Cocktails for a Cause, a monthly fundraiser/mixer that brings various people throughout Orange County together to support a local charity. Hosted by the gracious folks of The Observatory, this month's Cocktails is presumed to be quite the production featuring performances by The Make and sultry local duo, The Ultimate Bearhug. I caught up with Barrett Johnson and Doll Knight to get an update on their anticipated debut album, and their thoughts on the importance of music and giving back to the community.

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