Salem-Asia (2010)

When I first heard the term Witch House I thought it was a joke, like I knew it was a real genre but I thought the term was used tongue-in-cheek. I was wrong. There’s a real scene out there associated with it, it started in New York but has since spread out all over the country. It’s home in Los Angeles is the tiny storefront club called Show Cave in Glassell Park. (It’s right across the street from a house where I bought my first communal living dining room table in 1995 from a family of junkie white folks. The dad yelled at his wife for selling us the chairs with the table and flicked his arm at us as we were loading the vintage chairs in our car, fucken take ’em, damn! he yelled). I wrote about the Show Cave scene in my review of Tearist. I like the place, it isn’t obnoxious like so many other clubs are, folks seemed downright relaxed, almost friendly and comfortable in their skins. I’m not expecting the same for tonight’s show at The Echoplex where I will see the above band, considered the torch holders of the Witch House scene, Salem.

Salem-King Knight

Salem is notorious for being one of those bands that doesn’t give a fuck but who cares if they space out on interviews when they make such badass music. I have a particular fondness for their early stuff which is like hip hop slowed down PCP style until it sounds like some wicked gnome spewing mush from a broken jaw. I’ve read the older songs were influenced by Houston based DJ Screw who is known for his “screwed and chopped” beats. However, the sound goes back even further, check out Hell Interface Project I posted about a couple of weeks ago. In any case, all the music is right up my electro alley and I’m looking forward to hearing how it all sounds live. Also, gonna do my fair share of scenster watching and gonna count up all those upside down crosses and triangles the audience is sure to be sporting in true Witch House style. Psychic TV, anyone?

Interesting take on the Witch House phenomenon here. Grave Wave, hehe.

Pitchfork’s guide to Witch House here.

Can’t stop listening to the Salem’s remix of Gucci Mane. Listen here.

Salem-Trapdoor (2010)

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos

Dia de Muertos altar in Queretaro, Mexico.

I think I’ve lost some of my holiday spirit. At one point in my life, I lived for the end of October: halloween parties, dia de los muertos, ofrendas, costumes. Friends and I would gather and spend months making decorations for our celebrations out of paper mache, papel picado and designing graphics for our party invitations.  Lack of time and money combined with the commercialism of dia de los muertos have all contributed to my lack of enthusiasm these days.

Nopales, chiles, seeds…

The DIY element of dia de los muertos had always appealed to me. Now you can go into any old boutique, Target for that matter and come across some Mexican-looking calavera. No, thanks. These pictures I took last year in Mexico are examples of what can be done with just simple everyday objects.

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos related posts from the past.

Halloween en Mexico
Dia de los Muertos: Altares
El Pan de Muerto

Masks from Queretaro dia de muertos festival stall

Halloween’s gruesome influence on dia de muertos stalls-El Choki!

Una vampirita de Oaxaca

My grandmother and great-grandmother’s headstone, Montebello.

Altars made with cardboard and paper mache

Pan de muerto in Oaxaca

Have fun tonight, you ghouls!

Happy New Year!


An excerpt from Eduardo Galeano’s Book of Embraces.

The Fiesta

The sun was gentle, the air clear, and the sky cloudless.
Buried in the sand, the clay pot steamed. As they went from ocean to mouth, the shrimp passed though the hands of Fernando, master of ceremonies, who bathed them in a holy water of salt, onions, and garlic. There was good wine.
Seated in a circle, we friends shared the wine and shrimp and the ocean that spread out free and luminous at our feet.
As it took place, that happiness was already being remembered by our memory. It would never end, nor would we. For we are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass, which is something everyone knows, no matter how small his or her knowledge.

Los Angeles as Subject

Los Angeles Riots, 1992 (somewhere in Pico-Union)

Next Saturday, The Second Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar will be taking place at The Huntington Library in San Marino. I went last year and was fascinated by the various groups represented and the amount of resources there are for even amateur, wannabe Los Angeles historians. Check it out if you can, and don’t eat beforehand. They’re offering free lunch too!
Continue reading

As if!


Photo by A-LA Indymedia

Chief Bratton is now trying to shift blame from his department to a group of what he claims are “50-100 outside agitators.” According to Bratton, these “highly organized” agitators show up to marches in order to confront police. He claims they always have a woman in front, a line of agitators behind them and a line of cameras behind the agitators. What a load of crap! Channel 7 has begun to refer to this “highly organized group of trouble makers” as “Anarchists” claiming “this is the same group of people in Seattle and at the DNC. ” It doesn’t help that the organizers of the marches including CARACEN and CHIRLA are also fingering “Anarchists.” For now, Bratton has seemed to find a group he can lay the blame on. Expect this story to grow more fantastic and outrageous everyday as the LAPD tries to shift the blame.

update: May 5, 2007

LA Times decides to investigate the role of Anarchists in the Mayday marches.

Continue reading