Category Archives: DJ Life

Here’s What I Played at La Cuevita on December 22, 2023

La Cuevita bar in Highland Park, Los Angeles (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
Waiting for the Lyft outside of La Cuevita. (Pic: Liz O.)

We were right around a dark stretch of the 110, near where the freeway crosses the L.A. River when I saw very brief flash of light and heard my Lyft driver gasp. Somebody was running across the freeway, he said. I looked to the side and saw a figure— thin, dressed entirely black save for the sneakers, which had something reflective on them— climb over the barricade. I don’t know about the driver, but I was stunned for the rest of the ride home from La Cuevita, remaining mostly silent through the end of “Personal Jesus,” which was bumping in the car, and then nervously tapping the beat of “This Charming Man” on my leg while thinking about how grateful I was to have gotten such a good driver right before the surge pricing went into effect on the Friday before Christmas. 

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We Should Be More Like Vinyl

We Should Be More Like Vinyl Liz Ohanesian essay with vintage record sleeves including The Colourfield, The Cure, Bow Wow Wow, Bauhaus, The Beat

I think about vinyl a lot. You might have already figured that out. I’ve written about my digs through the used bins. I’ve interviewed other collectors, as well as some of the people behind some of L.A.’s longtime record stores. Plus, organizing my own stacks is a never-ending task that sometimes turns up old tunes that sound new and end up in the occasional all-vinyl DJ sets I play. 

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Go Hear Carl Craig’s “Party/After Party” Installation at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary Now

Carl Craig "Party/After Party" at MOCA Geffen Contemporary Los Angeles Liz Ohanesian
You won’t see much more than a few lights inside “Party/After Party,” but you’ll hear, and feel, a lot.

On April 16, “Party/After Party,” the sound installation from esteemed DJ/producer Carl Craig, opened at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo. I interviewed Craig for Southern California News Group prior to the opening, which you can read online. (If you don’t have a subscription, but do have a Los Angeles Public Library card, log in through the LAPL portal to read it.) However, I didn’t get to walk through “Party/After Party” until this past week. It was both an incredibly familiar and unusual experience. 

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It’s Coachella Weekend, I Went to a Local Show Instead

Acidtrain live at Sean Carnage Friday Night at Oracle Tavern on April 14 2023 Photo by Liz Ohanesian
Acidtrain live at Oracle Tavern

I hate to break it to you in the midst of this “indie sleaze” moment, but the late ‘00s weren’t that cool. It was the era when poseurs and paparazzi flocked to Hollywood and West Hollywood to catch a glimpse of the misadventures of Lindsay Lohan. Bottle service was on the rise, as were the profiles of well-connected, but barely competent DJs. People started dressing up for Coachella, a baffling development to anyone who ever stepped near a porta potty on the final evening of the festival. This was also the time when it was obvious that we were in an endless war and the divide between the haves and have-nots was just going to get bigger. The late ‘00s foreshadowed all of today’s bullshit, but people were too entranced by gossip blogs to notice. 

Lest I ruin your enjoyment of early 21st century nostalgia, I’ll let you in on one really cool thing that happened in the midst of ‘00s L.A. That was Sean Carnage’s Monday Nights. Between the mid-’00s and mid-’10s, Sean put together weekly showcases of local and touring underground artists first at Il Corral in East Hollywood and then at Pehrspace in Historic Filipinotown.  Over 1100 bands played the events. Some became well-known, at least in indie circles. Most were just really cool.

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Sunday Night Nostalgia at Corbin Bowl

Corbin Bowl neon sign on Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana California
Corbin Bowl on Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana

Nostalgia drives culture in such bizarre, consumerist ways. Buy this limited edition throwback to an era you hardly remember. Spend your rent money on tickets to this reunion show. Watch this reboot of a show that sucked the first time around. Click on this story, like this Instagram post and, maybe for a moment, you’ll forget that the 21st century is trash. 

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Saturday Night in the Tech-No-Logical World

ginger vodka martini and margarita at Boyle Heights Tavern in Boyle Heights
The vodka ginger martini at Boyle Heights Tavern.

“Tech-No-Logical World,” the Patrick Cowley song from his album Mind Warp, has been crawling in and out of my brain for weeks now and the earworm burrowed itself even deeper into my my mind and life after Don French played it at Disco Heat two Thursdays ago. 

I didn’t get why “Tech-No-Logical World” was relentless in its pursuit of my attention until April Fool’s Day, after a bout of scrolling through fake news and fake products. (If only the Morrissey pinball machine were real, I thought to the tune of “Please, Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” before “Tech-No-Logical World” made its return.) Eventually, I retreated to my desk and tried to work on stories to pitch next week while listening to the song that won’t leave me alone and it hit me. 

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Get This Album Now: Star Creature Vibes

Star Creature Vibes compilation album cover from record label Star Creature Universal Vibrations featuring boogie, modern funk, disco music from Saucy Lady, Shiro Schwarz, Giovanni Damico

Star Creature Universal Vibrations is a Chicago-based record label dedicated to “contemporary boogie” that’s been around since 2015. They first hit my radar a couple years after that, back when Salt Box Records had a brick-and-mortar in Chinatown and I picked up a new release from a Russian outfit called Venus Express II based almost solely on the cover art. As it turns out, the record was just as cool as the album sleeve, so now I consider Star Creature to be a mark of quality for funky, synth-heavy tunes. 

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Get This Album Now: Nuovo Testamento “Love Lines”

Nuovo Testamento album cover for Love Lines released in March of 2023

Perhaps like a lot of other DJs, I’ve been playing Nuovo Testamento a lot in my sets since nightlife returned. The disco mix of “Vanity” was one of the most-played tracks in my sets last year, in fact, I think I only played “Machina” from Boy Harsher more often. 

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Liz O. in the DJ Booth: March 5- March 12

Liz O. DJ set Tuesday March 7, 2023 for Dolce Vita presented by L.A. Industrial at The Mermaid in Little Tokyo

Between the launch of Disco Heat’s weekly residency at Songbird and the afterparty celebrating the release of Taleen Kali’s fantastic new album, Flower of Life, last week was a blast. Let’s keep the party going. Here’s where you can find me this week.

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