Buskerfest Gets Wild in the Streets Despite Growing Pains

Tacky Little Hatshop performs at Buskerfest 2015. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
East Village Arts District (Downtown Long Beach)

Over the weekend, nearly a dozen bands occupied three stages, performing over the course of six hours, while spanning the length of two city blocks, in downtown Long Beach. Buskerfest closed out this year's Summer And Music (SAM) concert series.

While some of the bands were given headlining status, the rest of the acts (mostly from Long Beach and LA) competed with one another for wooden nickels. That is, each guest was invited to take a stack of wooden nickels (upon receipt of the stack, the recipient's wrist was stamped) and was encouraged to toss said nickels onto the stage(s) of the band(s) he liked most -- thus, the bands were symbolically busking for the public's dough. At the end of the evening, the band with the most wooden nickels would win the battle of the bands competition.

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How Fullerton's New Music Festival Was Inspired By the French

Day of Music Fullerton window display at Mo's Music in Fullerton. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

Once upon a time, Fullerton's Hillcrest Park was the setting for celebrations that carried the youthful spirit of the Turbulent Sixties. Unfortunately for the disenfranchised, local residents didn't take all that rock and roll rubbish too well, and the City of Fullerton passed an ordinance which outlawed the use of sound amplification in the park. Due to the complaints and subsequent legislation, the park has remained relatively quiet since 1971. On June 21, all of that will change as a result of some inspiration that Glenn Georgieff brought back from France.

Approximately 25 years ago, Fullerton resident Georgieff and his family lived in France. It was there that he discovered Fête de la Musique, a citywide celebration of music. This was no mere travelling (or stationary) festival containing a number of stages filled with pop rock musicians; Georgieff recalls, "it was one of those things you would forget about until the day of the event. Then you were just pleasantly surprised when you walked out and there was music playing in different parts of town that you weren't expecting. And there was just that festival feeling."

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OC Anarchist Bookfair Rallies Resistance and Revolution This Saturday!

Categories: books, community

Courtesy Gabriel San Roman
Anarchy in the OC!
Contrary to popular misconceptions about Orange County being an apathetic wasteland of Conservativism, it's actually a hotbed of poltical and radical activism, raised by its citizens' awareness of local and global issues. Out of that consciousness springs an event aimed at emboldening regional activists and writers who lay their thought-provoking ideas through book, zine, art, or music for the greater public: the OC Anarchist Bookfair.

Held this Saturday at El Centro Cultural de Mexico in SanTana, OCABF is a day-long series of workshops, lectures, panel discussions, performance art, bands, and (oh yeah!) books aimed at bringing the local activist community together.

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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

See Also:
The Fantastic People of Burning Man
FYF Fest 2012: A Complex Punk Portrait of the SoCal Music Scene
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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