Mike Miller's Photography Captures '90s Hip-Hop and Lowrider Culture to the Fullest

Categories: Culture, Hip-Hop

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Mike Miller/Courtesy of Dax Gallery
He's captured notable LA rap figures like Tupac Shakur, Coolio, Snoop Dogg, and Eazy E; album covers, lowriders, and fashion models, all with a breathtaking flair and energy that espouses west coast/Los Angeles culture. Known as a true originator, Mike Miller developed his own particular brand of photography in the late '80s and '90s while his subjects would emerge as legendary artists with their own mythos further sealed by Miller's sharp black and white shots.

You'd be hard pressed to remember another photographer whose work was more rampant on notable rap album covers than Miller's, and for the discerning fan hoping to see his photos brought together, head down to Costa Mesa's Dax Gallery where a major sampling of Miller's work will be on display starting this weekend.

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SoCal Masqueraders Find Themselves in The Goblin King's Labyrinth

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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

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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

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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

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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 á 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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Culture Comes Alive at the East End Block Party This Saturday

Categories: Culture, festivals

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Dominic De La Riva/Santanero
Last Year's East End Block Party brought the house down
The much-hyped event known as East End Block Party returns once again this Saturday, echoing the same large-scale music, art and culture festival vibe of last year's event and colliding with the monthly downtown Santa Ana art walk. Whereas last year's Party was hosted by Obey Radio and LA/Pomona-based music promotional company Moon Block Party, this year's festival looks to be bigger and better, spanning as wide as French to Bush streets and featuring multiple stages of music happening simultaneously throughout the day brought by local collective Konsept, OC Music League and DIY music arm Top Acid.


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

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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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R.I.P. Curtis Jerome: One of OC Theater's Brightest Lights

Categories: Culture, Theater

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Chuck Roberts
Curtis Jerome
Last weekend, Curtis Jerome, the director of Les Miserables at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton, had to step into a key ensemble role after the original actor fell ill. By all accounts, he nailed it on very short study.

It's hard to fathom, but Jerome's presence will be felt even deeper during this weekend's closing shows, as the 50-year-old passed away Tuesday after injuries sustained in a car accident on Memorial Day. It is a tremendous personal loss to Jerome's family and friends, who opened up on Facebook after news of his death--as well as at least one affecting blog. And it's an enormous professional loss to the Maverick, as the company's wave of musical theater successes the past six years were in large part due to the incredible range of talents possessed by Jerome.


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Darkness Creeps into Disneyland on Bats Day Weekend

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Photo of Bats Day in the Fun Park courtesy of ThemeParkAdventure.com
It was only a matter of time, but dark imagery and creepy subcultures have irrefutably infiltrated pop culture. From fans of music genres like death metal and industrial to adherents of retro and retro-futuristic art movements such as Edwardianism and steampunk, folks who wear predominant amounts of eerie clothing are everywhere, but short of gathering in their respective niches for concerts and conventions, there are few events that bring the black masses together for a grand hootenanny.

Bats Day not only does this--for what has grown into a three-day event--but the event cuts right into the heart of the most genteel of pop culture icons; for, the culmination of Bats Day is a swarming of creatures of the night into Disneyland for "Bats Day in the Fun Park." The two days which precede the dark wave are filled with varieties of events, which have included concerts, contests, a marketplace, and a masquerade. Noah Korda, who goes by "Noah K," is the heart of Bats Day, and he was happy to shed some light on this celebration of darkness.

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In This Play, The Revolution Will Be Theatricalized

Categories: Culture, Theater

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True Image Studio
Marina Michelson and David Carl Golbeck
It's almost quaint to see smart and passionate politically-minded people talking in 1999 about how the new century and the end of the Cold War would re-orient America back toward issues of civil liberties and racial equality. Unfortunately, a couple of buildings soon toppled, we had a new enemy and, 16 years later, the Patriot Act is still in force and you apparently can't lob a loogie in this country without it hitting some cop killing a black guy.

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