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Sunday, January 1, 2012
Best of 2011 by Cathy de la Cruz
2011 Highlights in No Particular Order:
performing all day at the Hammer Museum. I know Corey plays a lot, but I swear he doesn’t play solo shows as often as he plays with other people/bands and while I was only able to watch him for about an hour, I kind of got lost in that hour, meditation-style. For those of you who don’t know, Corey is a drummer who specializes in improvisation and experimentation.
making incredible films. I am so fortunate to get to teach what I love (filmmaking, animation, writing, art) to a group of awesome kids who made the following films this year:
Very Be Careful
Seriously my favorite live band in L.A. and I’ve gotten some flack about that because there are so many great bands in L.A. and I have so many friends in bands in L,.A., and I think in 2009 I saw this band 12 times! In 2011, I didn’t see them quite as much (maybe 5 times?), but it never got old–they never get old. These dudes play Colombian vallenato music, a traditional cumbia sound that centers around the accordion and it’s pretty much like the crazy L.A. child of that Clash song “Straight to Hell”. Trust me on this one. If that amazing Clash song could give birth, it would have given birth to this band playing these songs. They are pretty much the only band that I’ve seen in ages that gets the whole crowd dancing non-stop for over an hour.
BFI Sight and Sound International Film magazine
I am basically too busy to see movies at this point in my life, so the next best thing is reading about them and keeping a list that now looks like an epic-scroll of what I hope to see in the relaxing future.
with Jamie Bechtold in L.A. While I often complain about how stressful living in L.A. is, one of the things that has helped to calm and balance my life/energy is sound healing. If you’ve ever done yoga with gongs, then you may know what I’m talking about. There is a woman named Jamie in Echo Park who leads these Sound Baths that are sliding scale and does one-on-one sessions and it’s been super super healing for me.
Keeping up my New Moon Intentions every month!
Strangely living in L.A. and not my time spent in the Pacific Northwest has made me a bit of a hippy and every time there is a new moon (I have a moon calendar, but you can easily do a web search for it), I take the time to reflect on the kind of attitudes, shifts, and sometimes actual things I want to bring in my life during the next 30 days and its been SO helpful.
Astrological readings by Rosie Finn and Sarah Adams
Both folks live in Olympia, WA and both are just absolutely amazing.
Detoxing with raw foods and no caffeine in May/June
I am so glad I did this and hope to make tiny detoxes a regular part of my life in 2012.
Liz Phair’s EXILE IN GUYVILLE
still sounding good. Seriously.
Going to Olympia
for six hours and it being the first time I had been there in 6 years! In those 6 hours, I met up with some friends at the San Francisco Street Bakery, got an astrology reading from Rosie (see above), got a slice of Old School Pizza, walked around with my friend Denise Smith and her son Gibson who I was meeting for the first time, bought a shirt at Dumpster Values, ran into Orca Books just to see it for a second, and grabbed a Meconi’s veggie sub for airplane trip back to L.A. and even though it was a frustratingly short trip, even glimpsing at the Olympia Film Society marquee in real life for a minute kind of made it worthwhile. Olympia was an amazing city to go to college in. I know no place is perfect, but I am so grateful for the time I spent there years ago.
Finally buying a printer and putting together a manuscript of my short stories
Feeling like there is finally balance in my life.
The amazing vet who my cat, Earl got to spend her last minutes with.
Jodie Mack’s films
at the L.A. Film Forum! Genius animations that you need to see.
live in Austin as a benefit for Jonathan Toubin at Emo’s. This super lesser known San Antonio/Austin band reunites about once a year since they offically broke up about a decade ago and they kill it every time. I’m actually working on describing what they sound like for a lengthier piece of writing so I’m not going to attempt that here. Just trust me on this one. http://goldenhourrecords.com/glorium/
Having a really great time in my hometown of San Antonio, TX every time I visited.
LET ME GIVE YOU A HAND WITH THAT
A brilliantly written funny and sometimes sad (but always strong) blog about sex work from the perspective of a brilliant, funny and strong woman in the sex industry. I feel like I learn more about human nature from one paragraph of this blog than I do from attempting to study philosophy.
THE VOYAGERS by Penny Lane
A found footage essay about love, hope, disaster, etc, Kind of the best short film I’ve seen in ages.
performing at Human Resources blew me away. She is definitely one of my favorite contemporary artists/performance artists. If she is ever performing in your town or you’re in a town where she is performing, YOU MUST GO. She’s currently fundraising to make her art/installation for next year’s Whitney Biennial. On top of being a genius, she’s one of the nicest people ever.
reading her short stories at the Hammer Museum. I foolishly missed this because I was exhausted from traveling, but thankfully it’s available to listen to as a free podcast.
Creativity Candles from Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park/that little vegan restaurant in Follow Your Heart.
at Beyond Baroque. They are a modern music collective who play new music, old music, as long as they “love it” and it shows. Seeing them perform at Beyond Baroque, such a small space for such a big collective, reminded me of DIY shows I used to go to in the late 90s–when it felt like people were doing things because they were passionate about it and excited about it–granted, I’m sure that’s nostalgia painting such a pure picture, but it’s the kind of positive energy I like to be around. Art doesn’t always have to be about suffering, it can be joyous too. Not going to lie–wildUp re-working “oh bondage! up yours!” also had my eternal appreciation for them in a heartbeat.
Crass “Penis Envy” 30th Anniversary
tribute show at the Smell in L.A. I got to DJ! What an honor. I played 7" after 7" of feminist and lady punks bands from the 70s until now. Those are my favorite records to play, but there isn’t ever a time when I get to play them for the public and this was definitely the time. The tribute band included: Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile), Jenna Thornhill (Mika Miko), Rachel Carns (The Need), Paloma Parfrey (The Sharp Ease), Ana Oxygen, Kate Hall (Dunes), Nikki Godinez (Peter Pants), Tara Tavi (Auto Da Fe) Mecca Vazie Andrews (MOVEMENT movement), Inez Perez (Blood-Dumper). Not going to lie, Mecca Vazie Andrews knocked it out of the park that night. The show was sold out and was grrreat with three R’s.
Maggie Nelson, and Wayne Koestenbaum reading at RedCat aka “Ugly Feelings”
Jack and Wayne made me laugh so hard. Maggie made me want to read everything she’s ever written. She is extremely prolific so it may take me awhile, but based on what I have read by her, it will be worth it.
Re-reading all 46 pages of my Evergreen/college undergrad transcripts and feeling really lucky to have had that experience
Staying in L.A. for Thanksgiving
Going to San Francisco and Oakland for my birthday
DUM DUM GIRLS
“Only in Dreams” is definitely my favorite album of the year. It makes me a bit speechless. I wanted to write a 15-page minimum paper about why this album is so great to do it justice, but here I am just writing a sentence or two telling you that they have the 60s girl group and rock influences, they have the instrumentation and style down, but lyrically and content-wise, they managed to create an entire album that on one side appears to be about a broken heart, but upon further inspection is about losing a parent. I just feel like it’s already hard enough to be taken seriously as a woman doing almost anything in this stupid society, especially playing music, so to have an entire album about something so personal and tragic is pretty much the toughest thing I have seen a musician do in a really long time. I love this band, this album and I hope I get to see them live again next year. They are the only band who awed me so much with their performance, I grabbed their set list like I did when I was 15 years old watching my favorite band, once the show was done.
Happy New Year!