Matisyahu Talks Religion, Music, and Adversity

Courtesy of DN Photos
In 2004 Matisyahu sported an untrimmed beard and a broad-brimmed hat with a yarmulke underneath. He injected Hebrew and Yiddish prayers with rhythm and impressive tongue rolling. His lyrics, though mostly about facing life's struggles, still managed to sound uplifting.

"I've been praying for/For the people to say/ That we don't wanna fight no more/ They'll be no more wars/And our children will play/One day/It's not about/Win or lose/We all lose" He goes on to say "Keep on moving through the waters" in his song "One Day" off his 2009 album Light.

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Why The MTV Video Music Awards This Sunday Are A Must Watch

Categories: MTV

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Miley Cyrus, 2015 MTV VMA Host/Pegasus-Kitty-Wrangler

This Sunday night is the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards! For as much as people take shots at the network ("do they still play videos?" - a joke so old it's now regularly seen in 20 year old 90s sitcoms that air on Nick at Nite) as subsequently the show itself, the past five or so years have seen the VMAs become must-see event television once again. From Kanye West stealing Taylor Swift's big moment to Miley Cyrus twerking, the VMA's have once again become the pop culture hot button epicenter, with the ratings to prove it.

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311 Talks About Band's Longevity

Categories: quotes

Jena Ardell

311 celebrated their 25th year as a band earlier this month. Now that the band has reached their 'silver' milestone, they are eligible to be added to the roster of influential bands from the '90s who are possible candidates for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2016.

Here's why we think 311 should be inducted: the humble band -- best known for their lively shows, ever-changing set lists, and close-knit fan base -- has been livin' and rockin' with the same lineup for over 20 years and even has their own holiday (March 11) dubbed 311 Day. Since their early formation, the band has established themselves as a beacon of positive vibes and unity, marching to the beat of their own drum, and touring with an array of diverse opening acts to compliment their unique musical influences. Also: few bands tour more consistently than 311.

"The only time we took off was, I think, in 1998, S.A. Martinez told Weld. "We basically took that year off - we really had to. It was to the point where we were exhausted."

To commemorate their silver anniversary, 311 released their ARCHIVE Box Set, a 4-CD collection featuring 81 tracks (including unreleased songs, demos, b-sides, and pre-production recordings) and a 60-page book of rare photos and 311 memorabilia.

This spring, 311 Day returns to New Orleans for a two-night concert extravaganza at Smoothie King Center (formally New Orleans Arena). Pre-sales begin in September. More info can be found on 311's website.

Here are some reasons each band member attributes to 311's longevity in the music industry. Quotation above via

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Breath of Fire Latina Theater is Back With Reading in Memory of Co-Founding Member

Categories: Theater

The Mexican OC
Costumes by Gina Davidson
Santa Ana's Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble once revolutionized the stage with its daring productions. From its signature work The Mexican OC to providing a home in OC for iconic artists like Cherrie Moraga, the company nurtured the creative spark of Latinas. Breath of Fire unfortunately closed the doors to its space in 2011 and has largely gone dark since then.

But rejoice! There's good news. After a ten week summer playwriting series hosted by the group, Breath of Fire is breathing the breath of life with a weekend reading event to cap things off. Unfortunately, there's also sad news, too. Founding member Gina Davidson died suddenly on Monday. The reading will go on in her memory.

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Intimum Introitum Details Mat Hurtado's Crazy Life Journey

Categories: art

Courtesy Marcas Gallery
Mat Hurtado, "Priorities"
The Loteria game-- a traditional Mexican-version of bingo-- is a staple in Mexican culture, especially for young Mexis who grew up playing it and are well versed in its bright, colorful illustrations and varied characters. It's this game that young Chicano artist Mat Hurtado uses as a cultural signifier for his heritage, while playing with the game's original symbols and changing them up to let the viewer in on his life experiences, sense of humor and, of course, a gage on Hurtado's painting talents. These works are part of Hurtado's first solo show 'Intimum Introitum,' starting this weekend at Marcas Gallery.

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The 2000 MTV Video Music Awards: An Industry's Turning Point

Categories: award shows

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Eminem, one of many Slim Shadys
This Sunday is the MTV Video Music Awards. Hosted by Miley Cyrus, this year's ceremony looks to continue the recent upswing of great shows after some middling years in-between. Yes, we consider 2011's incarnation among the best ever, right up there with 1986, 1997 and 1999. No, the VMAs didn't stop being great just because you graduated high school. Truthfully speaking, whether you're down or up or up-and-down on today's music, the over-three decades of VMAs have managed to capture a moment in music history as a perfect time capsule better than any other broadcast, and perhaps that's why we have so many visceral memories of the 2000 incarnation burned into our minds.

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Jenny Lewis' Great Voyage Ends in Santa Ana

Micah Wright/OC Weekly
Walking through the parking lot of the Observatory in Santa Ana, I pondered just who the touted "very special guests" accompanying Jenny Lewis for the last night of her "Voyager" tour might be. Recalling past performances by the Queen of indie rock, I ran through her Royal Court of regular special guests: Conor Oberst, Tim Kasher, Ben Gibbard, M Ward, the Watson Twins and more recently, LA's latest and greatest girl power group, Haim.

It was fittingly Womens' Equality Day, here on this auspicious day of the 95th anniversary of womens' right to vote in the US. And in a way, it was apt that Jenny Lewis was performing the last vestige of the tour for her latest album, The Voyager.

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Concert Celebrates the Afro-Cuban Flavored Bebop of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo!

And on the drums...Calixto Oviedo
When Afro-Cuban musician Mario Bauzá introduced Dizzy Gillespie to Havana-born percussionist Chano Pozo in 1947, it paved the way for the emergence of Latin Jazz. Gillespie didn't know what a conga drum was called, but the trumpeter sure knew he liked its sounds. The BeBop jazz legend invited Pozo to join his band. That moment broke down barriers between Latino and swing-era bands, a shift in the soundscape that will be celebrated this weekend at Long Beach's Museum of Latin America Art.

"At that time, the jazz public was unaware of music from the Caribbean," says musical director Paul De Castro. "This is the first time the American jazz public started listening to authentic Cuban percussion."

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Five Transgender Musicians That Rock Your World

Categories: Lists

John Gilhooley
Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!
Gender frequently plays a role in creating an image with music. Whether a song is dripping with the feminine empowerment of a two-bit pop act like the Spice Girls or throbbing with the stuffed trousers of any of the cock rock metal bands satirized by Spinal Tap, femininity and masculinity are frequently used to delineate artists and give them traits with which their target audiences can relate. However, the attribution of gynocentric and androcentric themes is just as contrived as the use of exploitative sexual imagery in order to sell any product; music transcends gender association, and the rest is just marketing. In order to illustrate this point, the Weekly is proud to present the following list of five groundbreaking transgender musicians. Generally speaking, these are important modern artists who neither demonstrate a gender bias in their music nor do they hold to the gender roles that society assigned them at birth.

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Rapper Phora Injured in Pasadena Drive-By Freeway Shooting

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Nate Jackson / OC Weekly
Phora during a meet-and-greet at Pachuco Tattoo earlier this year
An unknown assailant opened fire on a car driven by rapper Phora just after midnight Tuesday in Pasadena. The Anaheim-bred rapper's brush with death happened when he headed home with his girlfriend to Corona on the 210 freeway.

Another vehicle pulled next to him near Lake Avenue in the drive-by shooting with bullets striking Phora's car multiple times. He suffered a wound to his neck in the incident.

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