Big in Japan: Yellow Magic Orchestra & Cibo Matto @ The HOLLYWOOD BOWL Sunday, June 26, 2011

The biggest names in Japanese pop music gather for this once-in-a-lifetime concert spanning genres and generations. Iconic Japanese electro-pop pioneers Yellow Magic Orchestra (with original members Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi) return for their first show in L.A. since 1979. Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori reunite Cibo Matto for this special night, which will also feature rare U.S. appearances by Buffalo Daughter and DJ Towa Tei, plus traditional kabuki-style dance, taiko drumming and experimental contemporary visuals for an unforgettable evening celebrating Japan.

Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Yukihiro Takahashi are the founding members of YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA (YMO), the legendary group whose innovations included the integration of exotic sounds and techno elements in their so-called “computer music.” YMO has been one of the central figures in the techno/new wave movement starting in the late 70s, along with Kraftwerk and DEVO, and have influenced countless techno/hiphop/pop/rock musicians throughout the world. Furthermore, YMO is said to be the first to use electronic instruments such as the Vocoder VP-330, and the first to release an album that heavily used samples and loops.

Influenced by folk, Haruomi Hosono has been one of the pioneers of the rock/pop music scene in Japan, impacting many artists and garnering considerable respect in the electronic music field. Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Oscar winning composer/musician, has gained an international reputation exploring and innovating the realm between music and noise. Yukihiro Takahashi has been known not only as a producer of Japanese rock/pop music, but also for his activities (accomplishments) as a fashion designer and writer.

In 1983, YMO announced they would sankai, or “fan-out,” and didn’t reunite until 1993 with performances which drew 100,000 people to the show in Tokyo and included The Orb as their opening act. During the period of 1993 - 2002 the group members continued to focus on their solo careers: Hosono founded his label daisyworld discs, while Takahashi and Sakamoto concentrated on their solo works. The unit did not reunite until Hosono and Takahashi formed Sketch Show and invited Sakamoto to contribute on tracks on their releases Audio Sponge and Loophole. Sakamoto joined Sketch Show for the Sonar Festival in 2004 for a performance under the name Human Audio Sponge (or HAS). The name was inspired by the writings of UK-based writer, musician, and curator David Toop, which would be used whenever Sakamoto joined a Sketch Show performance. The band considered HAS to be a completely separate entity from YMO and embodied this idea in their performance style, shying away from live instruments. Human Audio Sponge was a name that reflected the musical direction of the three members at the time, absorbing various musical elements and converting these ideas in their original way to create a totally new sound.

Recently the group has performed under the name HASYMO. More than just a melding of their previous incarnations as Human Audio Sponge (HAS) and Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), HASYMO has developed a new sound that transcends the two groups. One recent contribution is the new track Rescue for the film Appleseed: Ex Machina.

The original three members performed as Yellow Magic Orchestra from Live Earth’s Kyoto stage on 7/7/07. The concert was hailed by Rolling Stone as the worldwide festival’s best reunion performance.

In 2008, the band performed in London at the Meltdown Festival hosted by Massive Attack and a concert in Spain directly followed. The group introduced two new songs: The City of Light and Tokyo Town Pages, and was accompanied by Christian Fennesz on guitar and laptop along with regular supporting members.

From this point on, the band’s official title would be Yellow Magic Orchestra once again.

Equipped with regular supporting members including Keigo Oyamada (Guitar) from Cornelius, Ren Takada (Pedal Steel/Electronics) and Tomohiko Gondo (HD Operation/Euphonium), Yellow Magic Orchestra played the Japanese Summer Festival World Happiness 2008,2009 and 2010. Fans were taken aback by rare performances of classic YMO pieces such as Thousand Knives, Firecracker and Behind The Mask.

On June 26th 2011 the group will be performing at the renowned Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, bringing their live show to the states for the first time in over 30 years. As headliner for the Hollywood Bowl’s “Big In Japan” event the group will be reworking many of their classics to be performed with a focus on live instruments. This will showcase the breadth of the individual artist talents as well as the group as a whole and will include supporting members Keigo Oyamada, and Christian Fennesz. Following this performance the group will be playing the very next day at the Warfield theatre in San Francisco on June 27th.

Both U.S.A. performances will coincide with a new “Best of” compilation from Sony titled; YMO, which will be released mid-June. The compilation features handpicked songs from the band members themselves, spanning the entire YMO catalogue. The songs have been re-mastered and the compilation’s aim is to introduce YMO’s music to a younger generation, as well as please the long time fans with a fresh take on the band’s extensive repertoire.

Yellow Magic Orchestra
Yoko Ono
Cibo Matto

Buffalo Daughter

Towa Tei

Fujima Kansuma Kai

Taiko Center of Los Angeles

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cibo matto – sugar water from Gia on Vimeo.


@ PMCA - Graphic Designers and Artists Reinvent the Alphabet.

Getting Upper:
Graphic Designers and Artist Reconsider the Alphabet
Now Through September 4, 2011
@ the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Inspired by language-based experimentation and how it can unlock new avenues of cultural expression, Getting Uppe
r curator Amos Klausner charged twenty-six designers with re-imagining a letter from the alphabet, using the illegibility and deconstructive nature of graffiti as their starting point. If "getting up" describes the recognition that a graffiti artist seeks through proliferate tagging, getting upper is the term that Klausner uses to suggest breaking free from history, from the global marketing culture that long-ago borrowed the best of the graffiti scene, and from legibility itself. The result is an alphabet that reconsiders our collective understanding of what a letter can be and how it functions to create language and meaning.

Each of the 26 letters has been published as a limited edition run of 100 silk-screened posters and will be available for sale at the museum store and online.

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The Films of Jerzy Skolimowski @ CINEFAMILY 6.16. through 6.19.

The works of international film legend Jerzy Skolimowski come to the Cinefamily for a three-day retrospective celebrating the many phases of his storied career: his heavily autobiographical ’60s Polish first features Identification Marks: None and Walkover — his disturbing ’70s British psychological thrillers Deep End and The Shout — and his latest film, Essential Killing, starring Vincent Gallo!

Co-presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York. Additional support comes from the Polish National Film Archive in Poland.

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Essential Killing Trailer from davidjancso on Vimeo.


Davy Rothbart - My Heart Is An Idiot - screening @ the BOOTLEG 6.9.11.

My Heart Is An Idiot is a romantic documentary that spans two years and over a hundred cities. The film captures the road-tripping lifestyle of Davy Rothbart (This American Life, FOUND Magazine) who looks for love in all the right places, and in all the wrong ways.

Climb in the van with Davy as he tours North America promoting his magazine FOUND, a virally popular and iconic printed collection of discarded notes and photographs. Along the way, Davy seeks advice on his tortured love life from people he meets (Zooey Deschanel, Ira Glass, Newt Gingrich, Davy’s mom, and others), and attempts to follow that advice, with comic and surprising results. The first feature-length film project from filmmaker David Meiklejohn, My Heart Is An Idiot weaves together multiple stories to illustrate the joys and dangers of romantic pursuit.

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@ the HAMMER - ED RUSCHA: ON THE ROAD - now on view through 10.2.11.

This exhibition, organized by Hammer chief curator Douglas Fogle, brings together two great visionaries of art and language - Ed Ruscha and Jack Kerouac. Both men revolutionized the transparent use of words to document and comment on the shifting character of the American cultural landscape.

In 1951, Kerouac wrote On the Road on his typewriter as a continuous 120 foot-long scroll, feverishly recording in twenty days his experiences during road trips in the U.S. and Mexico in the late 1940s. With its publication in 1957, Kerouac was acknowledged as the leading voice of the Beat Generation, a group of writers that included Alan Ginsberg and William Burroughs.

Over the last few years Ed Ruscha has continued to explore his own fascination with the shifting emblems of American life by turning his keen aesthetic sensibility to Kerouac’s classic novel. Having created his own limited edition artist book version of On the Road in 2009 published by Gagosian Gallery and Steidl, and illustrated with photographs that he took, commissioned, or found, Ruscha has created an entirely new body of paintings and drawings that take their inspiration from passages in Kerouac’s novel.

As Douglas Fogle suggests, “It is completely fitting that Ed Ruscha would take up the challenge of looking at Kerouac’s On the Road. In many ways Ruscha’s entire career has offered an artistic corollary to Kerouac’s linguistic portrait of the American landscape, giving concrete visual form to the poetry of our vernacular roadside. These new works are no different except that they channel one of the greatest chroniclers of the American landscape by appropriating and artistically framing fragmented instances of Kerouac’s language.”

This exhibition includes Ruscha’s edition of Kerouac’s legendary novel, six large paintings on canvas, and ten drawings on museum board, each taking its text from On the Road.

Whether painted over snow-capped mountains in Ruscha’s signature all-caps lettering or drawn atop delicately spattered abstract backgrounds, Kerouac’s words provide the artist with a means to explore his own archetypal landscape. Isolating key sentences and phrases from the novel for his paintings and drawings such as “In California you chew the juice out of grapes and spit away the skin, a real luxury,” “the holy con man began to eat,” or “fit and slick as a fiddle,” Ruscha adds another layer of deadpan aesthetic analysis to Kerouac’s original and radical use of language.

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@ The New Beverly Cinema - Saturday Night Vampire Fever - 3rd annual Vampire-Con Film Festival tonight.

Tonight only, in association with Vamp Con, The New Beverly will be screening an incredible BLACULA double-feature. First up at 7:30p is the original BLACULA starring the great William Marshall, followed at 9:30p by the sequel SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM where he's joined by Pam Grier.


1972, USA, 35mm, 93 minutes

directed by William Crain; starring William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala, Elisha Cook Jr.

Scream Blacula Scream

1973, USA, 35mm, 96 minutes

directed by Bob Kelljan; starring William Marshall, Don Mitchell, Pam Grier, Michael Conrad, Richard Lawson, Lynne Moody

New Beverly Midnights presents

Friday the 13th Part II

1981, USA, 35mm, 87 minutes

Directed by Steve Miner; written by Ron Kurz and Phil Scuderi; starring Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, Kirsten Baker, Stu Charno, Steve Daskawisz, Warrington Gillette, Walt Gorne.

All tickets $7

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@ the HAMMER - A Selection from the Permanent Collection: Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy on view now through July 11, 2011

Since 1987 Los Angeles–based artists Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy have collaborated on a number of videos, installations, and sound projects in addition to pursuing their individual work. Both artists are known for their complex and occasionally disturbing works that criticize mass culture’s perpetual reinforcement of authoritarian power structures.

Heidi (1992) is based on Johanna Spyri’s 1880 children’s novel Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning. Popularly known as Heidi, the novel presents parallel dichotomous relationships between nature and culture, the country and the city, and health and sickness through the story of the young Heidi’s adventures. Both a parody and a critique, the video was taped on an elaborate set that was later presented as part of a large-scale installation titled Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center and Negative Media-Engram Abreaction Release Zone (1992). The epic sculpture included rubber figures and body parts, backdrop paintings, and various props used in the making of the video, as well as the video itself. Kelley and McCarthy employed horror film conventions in their video adaptation of the classic story to emphasize the creepier aspects of the dualistic worldview that it espouses. Subverting the tale’s morality codes to the extreme, the artists explore the intellectually and sexually repressive social hierarchies outlined in the original story and extend Spyri’s oppositional pairings to encompass modernism and popular culture and the split nature of their own artistic collaboration.

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