Category Archives: Adventures in L.A.

Miki Berenyi Trio, Tolhurst x Budgie at Fonda Theatre, May 29, 2024

Miki Berenyi Trio live at Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles on May 29, 2024 (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
This was the least crappy cel phone pic of Miki Berenyi Trio I took from the back of the room at Fonda Theatre.

Lol Tolhurst x Budgie were a couple songs into their set opening for Miki Berenyi Trio on Wednesday night when I noticed something strange. The sea of people in front of me at the Fonda Theatre was dark. There was not a single cel phone glowing above their heads. It was a sight I hadn’t seen since the year before the iPhone was released and it was jarring. Did I miss an announcement or something? Was security going to kick me out if I pulled out my phone?

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Digging for Heat at On the Record Vinyl Fair

The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, May 4, 2024 for On the Record Vinyl Fair (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
On the Record Vinyl Fair at The Music Center on May 4, 2024 (Pic: Liz O.)

Salt Box Records has never steered me wrong. So, when I saw a 7” with a tag on cover the sleeve that read “Italo-style Spanish synth pop,” I grabbed it. I had never heard of the band Tango?— or, at least, in that moment, I thought that I hadn’t heard them— and the song title “Breve Síntesis de los Huecos,” sounded completely unfamiliar to me. I bought it strictly because that descriptive tag, written in Sharpie by an actual human, said, “Listen to me, Liz” in a way that algorithmic suggestions never do. 

Later on, I would realize that I had previously heard Tango?, who were based in Barcelona and active in the mid-1980s. They had a self-titled song that was included on the stellar compilation, Ritmo Fantasía: Balearic Spanish Synth-Pop, Boogie and House. The two songs couldn’t be more different, though. “Tango?,” the song, is a slow groovy piece suited for pool parties and bars where they serve tapas on shady, outdoor patios. “Breve Síntesis de los Huecos” should have accompanied a montage in an ‘80s movie. It’s a vibe.

But, back to the record shopping. 

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“Energy: A Documentary About Damo Suzuki” Premiered in L.A. at Philosophical Research Society

Auditorium lobby at Philosophical Research Society in Los Feliz, Los Angeles with sign for screeening of "Energy: A Documentary About Damo Suzuki" in foreground and portrait of Manly P. Hall in background.
Energy: A Documentary About Damo Suzuki, premiered in L.A. at Philosophical Research Society on April 13, 2024. Portrait in the background is of PRS founder Manly P. Hall. (Pic: Liz O.)

Energy: A Documentary About Damo Suzuki had its Los Angeles premiere on Saturday, April 13 at the Philosophical Research Society. Fortunately, I was able to attend, so I’m writing this post now to tell you that you should: 1. Seek out Energy and watch it. 2. Go to the Philosophical Research Society. 

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Lost in Time at WHAMMY! Analog Media

Hammerman cartoon starring MC Hammer from 1991 on VHS at Whammy! Analog Media in Echo Park. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
At Whammy! Analog Media, I learned that there was an M.C. Hammer cartoon. (Photo: Liz O.)

On a drizzly, Sunday afternoon, I half-forgot about what I was looking for inside WHAMMY! I was semi-crouched in a small aisle, scooting out of the way of passersby while scanning the spines of VHS releases of old cartoons. There was the Charlotte’s Web movie that I still vividly recall seeing multiple times on TV as a kid. (Was it one of the Family Film Festival movies? Do anyone else who spent ‘80s weekends watching KTLA remember?) Two Care Bears cassettes were filed next to something called Buttons & Rusty, which I don’t remember at all. 

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Digging for Miguel Bosé

Miguele Bosé Bandido (1984) on vinyl found at Sonido del Valle in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
My copy of Bandido by Miguel Bosé the day I found it inside Sonido del Valle in Boyle Heights (Pic: Liz O.)

I paused with the door of the convenience store fridge open when I heard the song. It sounded like Ultravox during the Midge Ure years, but it was in Spanish. Who was this? Shazam likely would have turned up the answer, but I asked the cashier instead. Miguel Bosé, she answered immediately. 

Maybe I should have known that? I think the cashier was surprised that I didn’t recognize the singer. We talked about music often when I popped into the store. She played a lot of ‘80s Spanish pop jams. Once I remarked, “ooh, I love this song!” while Flans’ version of “No Controles” played and that got us started. But, I also didn’t grow up with the music. I had some knowledge of the alternative bands that were in the 1990s ether, stuff like Cafe Tacuba and Kinky, but I didn’t start listening to Spanish ‘80s until the ‘00s and what I knew came via my friends who are DJs. 

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The Time Chaz Jankel’s Post-Disco Jam “Ai No Corrida” Turned up at Fingerprints

Chas Jankel vinyl 1981 with "Ai No Corrida" Photo by Liz Ohanesian
Chaz Jankel’s debut solo album featuring “Ai No Corrida.” (Pic: Liz O.)

I walked towards the front of Fingerprints feeling fairly accomplished. A dig through the holiday record bin may have turned up no copies of “El Burrito de Belén” (or “El Burrito Sabanero”), but, I did find a vinyl copy of Let It Be Blue, the !!! album that was one of my favorites of 2022, on sale for a very 2002 price. I was happy to leave the store with that and nothing else, but Carlos called me over to a bargain bin. “Look,” he said with excitement on his face. He held up  the Chaz Jankel record where the musician’s first name was spelled Chas. It’s the album with the original version of “Ai No Corrida.” 

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New Year, New Vinyl

Records from Musical Youth, Detroit Grand Pubahs, Body of Light inside Going Underground Records in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles from "New Year, New Vinyl" by Liz Ohanesian
Records from Musical Youth, Detroit Grand Pubahs and Body of Light inside Going Underground Records (Pic: Liz O.)

My first quandary of 2024 occurred late in the afternoon on January 1 inside Going Underground Records as I quickly flipped through a crate of indie releases alphabetized by the letter F. There, I found Kate Fagan I Don’t Want to Be Too Cool and Future Islands As Long As You Are on vinyl, both of which I could use in my collection. But, when it comes to new vinyl, I need to exhibit some restraint. Which should I choose? 

In the end, I chose neither. 

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I Went to Depeche Mode Day at Los Angeles City Hall

Dave Gahan and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez at Los Angeles City Hall for Depeche Mode Day December 13 2023 (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
Dave Gahan and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez at Los Angeles City Hall for Depeche Mode Day on December 13, 2023 (Pic: Liz O. )

“This is incredible,” Martin Gore said from the steps of Los Angeles City Hall before thanking Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez for declaring December 13 Depeche Mode Day and the crowd for showing up on the occasion. Over the roar of cheers, he spoke of Depeche Mode’s connection to L.A., how the band played their first stadium show here and about “the Wherehouse fiasco.” 

“Sorry we didn’t sign the records, but thank you,” he added. “It helped our career a lot because we made nationwide news.” 

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My Last Minute Halloween Costume Shopping Adventure at Goodwill

Spotted while halloween costume shopping at Goodwill Glassell Park. One mannequin dressed in a red gown, damaltian print stole and devil horns, one dressed as a golfer, one mannequin wearing cow print pants and cowboy hat, one dressed in black. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
Mannequins dressed up in the Goodwill lobby. (Pic: Liz O.)

The moment I saw the khaki skirt, I knew that my Halloween costume issue was going to work itself out. I actually found two khaki skirts wedged in a rack at the Glassell Park Goodwill. One was a mini that could work in a pinch. The other was slightly longer and fuller. It had a wraparound belt and some buttons down the front, but still looked a little more like a school uniform. I shoved it into the cart and headed over towards the men’s department to find a blazer. 

Halloween parties are this weekend and I still didn’t have a costume. So, of course, I showed up at Goodwill with no plan.

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Digging for Vinyl at In Sheep’s Clothing x Japonesia x Homage Record Fair

Crates of vinyl at In Sheep's Clothing x Japonesia x Homage record fair (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

The marimba from Señor Coconut’s cover of “Trans Europe Express” reverberates down Elmyra Street, about half a block away from Homage Brewing. I recognize the song instantly because there’s a copy of the 12” single that’s been in my collection for more than 20 years. It was something that I loved on a conceptual level— German producer moves to Chile and releases Kraftwerk covers in various Latin American music styles— but also turned out to be a useful record to own if you like people asking “What is this?” when playing all-vinyl bar DJ gigs. 

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