Mike Miller's Photos Show the Untold Stories of West Coast Hip-Hop

Categories: cool shit

Mike Miller/Courtesy of Dax Gallery
'Love West Coast,' the latest exhibition at Dax Gallery of photographer Mike Miller's commercial photography from the '90s to today, is a look at influential veterans of the west coast rap scene from the '90s as well as newer, more recent shots from Miller's new photobook Love West Coast Girls. Miller's show, more than anything, details his love for Southern California's diverse set of cultures and subcultures, from hip-hop to skate to lowriders, with an eye for street photography. And along with the help of his wife, collaborator and stylist Shannon, Miller has been able to capture a gritty aesthetic in his work that has since influenced other fashion photographers to this day.

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Star Trek Takes Off In Irvine With Help From An Orchestra

Star Trek screening at Irvine Meadows. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
No matter how brilliant and familiar live classical music may be, unless the audience member is thoroughly versed in the genre or that particular piece of work, his 21st century attention span is probably going to wander off a bit during a concert. However, given the hyper-Romantic stylings of a film score (film scores usually focus on one to three themes, which are repeated over and over with variations), along with a screening of the film for which it was written, it is easy to keep an amphitheatre full of people rapt for two hours -- especially when that film is J.J. Abrams's Star Trek and the audience is full of Trekkies.

For someone who has not experienced an orchestral music performance (high school recitals don't count), the acoustics of a live orchestra put your embarrassingly overpriced Beats headphones to shame. Add an emotionally engaging score, and the effect is as enveloping as a siren song. In this case, the song was performed by the Pacific Symphony under the direction of Richard Kaufman. The symphony's resident musical director, Carl St. Clair, took the night off as the Grammy award winning Kaufman is the man for the job when film scores are to be conducted; Kaufman is frequently a guest conductor for orchestras around the world, where he leads orchestras in both traditional orchestral presentations as well as in synchronized film performances. This concert was part of the principal pops programming series, for which Kaufman has been the conductor for 25 seasons.

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SoCal Masqueraders Find Themselves in The Goblin King's Labyrinth

Photo of Labyrinth Masquerade by Scott Feinblatt
Some people take entertainment and diversion a bit further than others. Putting on a concert t-shirt and disappearing into a mob of folks with similar musical tastes is more or less the norm. Beyond that, there are: comic cons, which feature cosplayers; horror conventions, where one can witness monstrous make-up designs and designer gothic wardrobes; and then we get to the more serious stuff. Remaining just this side of sexual fetish events, there is The Edwardian Ball, which fosters an environment of overwhelming artistry and decadence, and Labyrinth Masquerade, which goes a wee bit further in terms of imagination and role-play.

The event is based on David Bowie's character, Jareth the Goblin King, from Jim Henson's movie Labyrinth. Essentially, the masquerade is supposedly being thrown by the goblin king, himself, and the tens of thousands of Southern Californians heed the call and transform themselves into goblins, fairies, elves, human princes and fair maidens in order to participate in and complete the illusion. The posh fantasy event could not have been staged in a better location this year. While it was odd to see woodsprites walking down Grand Avenue, in downtown Los Angeles, once they entered the masquerade's new digs, the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel, they might just as well have entered a fairy castle. The event was staged throughout the lobby, various bars and nooks, a performance room (labeled "The Goblin Cabaret"), and two large ballrooms (dubbed "The Temple" and "The Clockwork Ballroom").

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Spirits Haunt the Pasadena Convention Center during ScareLA

Photo of ScareLA 2015 by Scott Feinblatt
Attendees of this year's ScareLA will now have to wait another two months until they can once again immerse themselves in the trappings of Halloween. This past weekend, the third annual ScareLA Halloween convention showed that there are no signs that interest in the spookiest of American holidays is dwindling. The decision of the convention's creators and programmers to move ScareLA from the LA Mart to the more sizeable and accessible Pasadena Conference Center, so they could add more events and activities to the cauldron, has paid off as Halloween aficionados responded by showing up in even greater numbers.

Naturally, as ScareLA expands and becomes more colorful, a few hitches are to be expected, but the eerie atmosphere that filled the convention center was generally one of joyful eeriness. As the doors opened at 11, on Saturday, some of the motley dressed folks in the slow-moving line of ticket holders, which stretched around the block, grumbled as they could not get in fast enough. Meanwhile, some of the performers and classroom presenters in the convention center's second building shuffled their feet wondering why their 11:30 programs had few to no attendees.

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ScareLA Opens the Gates to Halloween

Sasha Wheatcroft with Trick or Treat Studios. ScareLA 2014 photo by Scott Feinblatt
Many people believe that it is tragic that every day is not Halloween. Sure, one can always pop in [or click on] a horror movie, and throughout the year there are periodic horror film festivals or the occasional Monsterpalooza for fans of make-up, monsters, and masks, but Halloween is really about much more than that. It's about candy; it's about haunted mazes; it's about carving jack-o'-lanterns; it's about dressing up; it's about celebrating dark imagery; the list goes on. This weekend, Halloween enthusiasts from near and far will congregate at the Pasadena Convention Center for the third annual ScareLA, which will once again provide them with a healthy dose of their favorite holiday months prior to All Hallows' Eve.

Like most dreams that become realities, ScareLA started small. After the Halloween season of 2012, horror industry professionals Lora Ivanova (DELUSION, HAuNTcon) and David Markland (CreepyLA) were depressed that Halloween was over and that they'd have to wait 12 months until the next one, so they started throwing ideas around, reaching out to their network of industry connections, especially Rick West and Johanna Atilano of Theme Park Adventure, who shared their vision of an off-season celebration of Halloween. Ivanova told the Weekly: "It was really the inspiration of 'Halloween doesn't come early enough for anybody that actually loves that holiday,' and we were confident that if the four of us thought that way, then so do a lot of other people in the Los Angeles area."

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San Clemente Store The Yurt Throws a Party for the New Moon

Thumbnail image for NEWMOON.jpg
Courtesy of LADY BIM
LADY BIM x the Yurt, hand-painted, bamboo/hemp knit.
Every 29 1/2 days the moon rises and sets alongside the sun. This lunation, or inception of a lunar cycle, is only visible to the human eye during a solar eclipse. Yet the spiritual significance of this remarkable motion is symbolic every new moon. It's something we can all use more of-- new beginnings. Some celebrate by committing to a new perspective on an old subject, while other's move through a Vinyasa flow รก la candle light. The Yurt, a San Clemente, community-centric space, has decided to pay homage to the moon by throwing a quarterly party curated with emerging artists and esoteric thinkers.

Friday, July 17th, at 7p.m., celebrate the first New Moon party and launch of their storefront space with tequila-moonrise cocktails by Abreojos, sound healing with Dina Kleiman (a one-on-one experience inside a bamboo structure covered in white linen), DJ set by RVINYDZE (featuring whoosh-like moon sounds), and accessible art curated by Ashes In Orange Peels. Artists will include Yevgeniya Mikhailik, Diana Barbancho, Chantal deFelice, Ray Vargas, Yumi Christina Sukugawa, Rob Brown, Sarah Walsh, Nancy Chiu, Diana Markessinis, and Lindsay Buchman.

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Taylor Swift Takes a Big Bite Out of Apple

OMG little me did all of that? What? Really? Me?
Holy shite y'all! The power of words prevailed and you'll never believe from who. Why it's little Taylor "oh my goodness gracious I always rock a surprised face" Swift! We're truly surprised and tremendously pleased about the power of this pop tart's pull with her open letter crusade to get Apple (Yeah, that Apple.) to pay artists during free trials. And to cut to the chase here, Swift was victorious. (Insert Taylor Swift "surprised face" here.) The fuck? This is a game changer and it was Taylor Swift who did that? Hmmm....wonder what else she can do? Maybe end global warming? Get J-Lo to stop singing? Bring the TV show Dexter back? Listen, you're not alone with a mind racing with questions. In the midst of an internet explosion, Twitter called upon her angelic penmanship power late last night and we grabbed a few ideas they had in case you wanted to get on board.

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Anaheim's WonderCon is All About TV, Film and Superhero Babes

By: Christopher Victorio
Two Thumbs Up @ ComicCon 2014
This weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center 60,000 people will shape shift into their favorite comic characters. We're not just talking about Batman and Luke Skywalker wannabes trick-or-treating and scaring your children as they drunkly inquire about Milk Duds. We're talking about the original lovers of Walking Dead, Archie, Preacher, and Saga. Similar to its big brother ComicCon, which began in 1970, WonderCon not only appeals to lovers of comics but also movies, TV shows, toys and gaming.

Each year writers and producers in those industries shed light on character development, plot, and even present unreleased footage to fans. This year at the 4th annual WonderCon we look forward to the exclusive world premiere of Batman vs. Robin and retrospective panels from Back to the Future and Superman. As we begin to see a large shift in TV shows appealing to comic fans, we also see a TV-heavy lineup scheduled for this weekend: The Flash, iZombie, Teen Titans Go!, Gotham, Wayward Pines, The Last Ship, American Odyssey, Salem, Orphan Black, and The Last Man on Earth.

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Indie Comic Book Podcast Records Live Episode at Comic Book Hideout This Saturday

The Chaos After Dark crew
Avid listeners of the Chaos After Dark podcast get an earful of talk about comic books, movies, pop culture, and everything in between, but this Saturday fans can be a part of the conversation in person as the show will record an epidsode live at Comic Book Hideout in Fullerton. Hosts Matt The Rat, Nando Calrissian and Billy the Kid will be joined by special guests and offer a big raffle prize, free food and geek conversation in honor of the podcast's two years of existence.

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Make Your Own DIY Suitcase Drum Kit

Categories: cool shit

Nina Cervantez
Here it is, in all it's finished glory
By: Candace Hansen

Working in a drum shop exposed me to a lot of gear. I have seen everything from rare vintage pieces to the newest and coolest and everything in between. Over the years I assisted many customers with a multitude of projects, but there is one that stuck out to me so much that I had to do it myself: the suitcase drum kit.

Suitcase drum kits exude cool. Legend has it that early low budget touring drummers would use these things on the road so they could travel easier and faster. These drum kits are not just cool because of hipster folklore; they're actually practical and look and sound great. With stages getting smaller, smaller kits have become very practical. They are inexpensive to make, and almost everything will fit inside of the suitcase when it's collapsed making for easy transport.

There are many ways to make these kits and many looks that can be achieved with them. I chose to construct one with a floor tom and two cymbals, but feel free to adapt to fit your own needs. Suitcase drum kits are great for a variety of people; drummers who wants to achieve a vintage look and feel but don't have the budget, singer songwriters needing something to keep a beat with, drummers who want something small and portable, and drummers who love to nerd out on their gear.

To build one of these beauties you will need...

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