LP at the El P
For good or for bad, rocker LP's press material beats critics to the punch when it comes to comparisons: "Backed by a hard-rocking band," her record company, Devious Planet says, "she's armed with pipes capable of alternating between the reckless stance of Chrissie Hynde and the vulnerable poise of Stevie Nicksâ€¦with a nod and a wink to Runaways-era Joan Jett." Enough said? Well, there's a little more: LP's hip andro-style shifts her musical work from fun and referential into the "hmm...could I write my doctoral thesis on this person?"-land. But even if you're not so into gender politics (wait, you're not?), you should catch this rockin' lady's show, equal parts T Rex and Pink (LP's worked with Pink's songwriting Svengali, Linda Perry), if not for academic purposes than to have a brew and listen to some damn fine rock 'n roll. (Jonanna Widner)
Kinky, Dinky and Campy
You've just got to admire someone, presumably serious about artmaking and selling, with the, uh, joie de vivre to dub their place of business The Peanut Gallery. And if said house o' nuts is opened with John Waters-esque postmodern gall in the outlet mall not far from the Men's Warehouse and discount togs-fer-tots retailers, well, there's a special, rarefied kind of pop culture homage that must be paid to gallery director Duvian Montoya. But Montoya, who spends much of the day gamely painting in the storefront window and thus offering a surreal, if metaphorical, butt-slap to a public in search of cheap shoes and bargain handbags, does take his work seriously. The gallery has been open all summer and looks to keep on trucking with work by more than a dozen regular and committed artists. This reception, to whet one's art-purchasing appetite, will be professionally catered by Dara Thai and Gruet-a welcome improvement on what passes for nosh on Canyon Road these days. But Montoya stays true to his inner kinky; the exhibition of small works is simply called the
. (Zane Fischer)
Bedeviled by the dark, inevitable slide toward winter? Shake out those post-Halloween blues with the help of Brother E Clayton West and the Mighty Soul Deacons. This seven-member "rhythm and soul" revival rocks, rolls, shuffles and grinds, unabashedly proclaiming the redemptive powers of old-school blues with a kickin' backbeat. As their Web site proclaims, "It's our duty to shake your booty!" Lending momentum to the festivities is the exuberant voice of Brother E himself, once referred to by no less than Buddy Rich as "The Blues Boy." With strong Motown inflections, but also rooted in the blues and soul belters and crooners of the East Coast, Brother E captures not only the style of this breed of feel-good music, but the soul as well. The big band sound of the group delivers a fat and tight backing for Brother E's compelling vocals, with a driving rhythm section including Stevie O'Neill on Hammond organ. Particularly appealing is the horn section, a whopping two saxes and a trumpet-a soul-stirring throwback to "hornier" days when large bands littered the land with whole choruses of blue notes.
One of the very few and the most vivid extant memories from my freshman year of college was sitting in Dana Levin's Form and Theory of Poetry class, her eyes ablaze, booming voice deconstructing "the tyranny of originality!"-our poetic neuroses felled before they'd taken shape enough to torture us for the duration of our creative lives. Two generations of students dispensed, Levin's still at her cause. Her upcoming talk, "Originality and the Development of the Creative Style," departs from the widely held notion that younger poets must seem original and explores instead poetic style as an aesthetic response to the pressure of living individually and severally in a society that lusts after innovation. One can survey her recently published second volume of poems and her numerous accolades as proof that Levin has this quandary licked. Make it new, make it clichÃ©, just make it to Levin's talk and be moved to make more of whatever you make. (Farren Stanley)