Think of the most diverse rock concert you’ve ever attended, paired with art, a museum/galleries, a novelty store, comedians and opening acts interspersed betwixt the bands you’ve really come to see and you’ve got Billy’s Thursday Night Fish Fry and Community Social. Hosted Thursday nights at Wacko/La Luz de Jesus Gallery (4633 Hollywood Blvd., L.A. 90027) the event has blossomed exponentially and this past Saturday’s Year-End Blow Out was a happening to be reckoned with! Having nearly completed its two year run, the December 7th event was mounted by creators Billy Shire, Johnny Indovina, Seth Miller and Michael Rozon in order to celebrate its brightest most noted past participants and launch the event further into the future!
Hosted by comedian, television writer and former Comedy Central “Beat the Geeks” game show host Blaine Capatch, (Capatch can ya diggit? Even his last name sounds like a bawdy guffaw or the sound effect of a torn groin muscle in a comic book super hero fight—wait do comic book heroes even get torn groin muscles?– or at the very least, a sarcastic sneeze!)— we, the audience are humorously guided betwixt two art galleries to experience band after band and act after act as the evening unfolds. “It’s like you break up with your girlfriend and have to move all your stuff out and into your friend’s place and then you get back together with her and move back…” likens Capatch. (This all transpires without a hitch. You’d think someone’s microphone would short out and die at least once during the four hour event but all floats along seamlessly; save a few minor instances of discomfort due only to the event’s popularity and resulting over-population.)
As the night unfurls, I conscientiously resist the urge to say, out loud—and to no one, (a la Rob Reiner in Postcards from the Edge) “Get any more people in here and we’re gonna need a lubricant!” I soon find I don’t need to as I nearly embody this example.
Indigenous to all cultural L.A. functions and some not-so-cultural (or even urban) soirees, a giant blonde Amazonian woman with fake flaxen extensions and bombastic bogus(?) boobs lopes my direction in an attempt to participate in the mass exodus to gallery number 2 as I simultaneously try and slip back into gallery number 1. I nearly utter the more vernacular word for “number 2” as she falters a bit and practically grabs my (boob-level) face for balance only to prompt me to reminisce the “They’re Real and They’re Spectacular” episode of “Seinfeld” as we nearly careen into The Michael Rozon Band’s drum set.
“I needed them to help me break my fall. If it hadn’t been for them, I could have really injured myself!!!” Fortunately no more than my imagination actualizes this occurrence as I unobtrusively trip back into gallery number 1 only to see the pancake juggler setting up shop.
Dubbed a “21st Century Salon” by co-creator and Wacko owner Billy Shire, the Fish Fry events were designed to reconnect the community with free and diverse “in the round” presentations as all artists perform in the center of each gallery and there is no cover charge!
The Michael Rozon Band (musicians lined up on two sides of gallery number 1 such that audience members can walk or dance between them) wails and croons sounding much like Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” only better. https://www.facebook.com/search/more/?q=Michael+Rozon&init=public#!/michael.rozon.3?fref=browse_search
In between all the musical banter Capatch keeps up his comedic repartee as he informs us that various other artists such as The Beatles will be in attendance. He later mentions Aerosmith and Jim Nabors in the same breath and he is sooo totally lying I’m sure, but at the same time I know Jim Nabors would sooo be there if he could… (I check to even see if he is still alive, and sure enough, he is. Not only that, it says he married someone named Stan Cadwallader on January 15th of this very year. Hm. No kidding. Who knew…?)
The Bar Kisses (featuring Marquis Howell from Hobo Jazz/Bibi Puobelle and Blaine Capatch) reminiscent of an old-timey bluesy swing band sport one distinguished gentleman playing all manner of tin cans (some of them of the beer variety) with percussive brushes on a hub-cap centralized contraption cinched around his waist, a most interesting thing to behold played live. See one of their video-taped partial performances here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI05gkEdlzY&feature=youtu.be
Pinky Turzo, backed by her supportive male partner croons, “I need someone to listen to the ecstasy I’m fakin’. I need you. … I need someone to crack my soul. ” in a most plaintively folksy manner exhibiting a somewhat dark codependency the dysfunctionality of which Peaches and Herb would probably never comprehend.
Writer/L.A. Punk Icon Iris Berry channels us through the light and shadows of her existence with some very personal punk poetry, backed by Fred Spiegelman on guitar, chronicling her life in L.A. via the likes of “Thank you Henry Mancini”, (“I will never stop thanking Henry Mancini. Sometimes I switch the name out and thank the landlord…”) “Dear Stalker” and a most haunting piece giving nod to the silence of violence in the guise of domestic abuse and the things we do not say… http://www.irisberry.com/ https://www.facebook.com/IrisBerry.Writer
For video of Berry’s last song, click here:
Farrah Siegel counters the heaviness of Berry’s narratives as we all lope back to gallery number 1 to witness this world famous yo-yo champion, hula-hoopist, magician and comedienne in action!
The Groovy Rednecks take the stage in gallery number 2 thereafter and sing all manner of Christmas songs; one written by Merle Haggard and another centered around being alone in Hollywood for the Holidays. (But aren’t we always all alone really?–In the grand scheme of the universe the likes of which no smiling snowmen, planetary solstices or multi-colored lights could ever amend?—Okay sorry. But having lived in L.A. for over twenty years, let’s just say I am all too familiar with the concept…) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groovy-Rednecks/229743945933
We all prepare to move into gallery number 1 but not before being ceremoniously interrupted by ol’ Blaine Capatch letting us know that a lost phone has been found “with all these cat pictures on it and a penis that’s not mine”. He also reminds us that the galleries’ art is for sale at “$500.00 if you need (like) a grenade with tentacles on it to fuck your kid up…”
All this in introduction to the pancake juggler who literally, like, makes a pancake onstage in the middle of the gallery whilst juggling all manner of what look like fake swords then incorporates said pancake into the mix when it is ready! He then escapes, Houdini style, from a backpack put round his head and his leg simultaneously. I’m not even gonna try to explain how he does this as I think I must’ve slipped into some kind of incredulized trance for this performance. Yep that’s him—Scot Nery: Pancake Juggler; even says it on his facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/scotnery
The Heathen Apostles (looking like they just stepped out of a haunted Western/Wyatt Earp yarn) knock it out the park! Comprised of members of the Cramps, the Mau Maus, the Joneses Shadow Project & Christian Death, their music is percussive and bass heavy fueled mostly by strings, heavy, heavy strings and it all works quite groovily! Even their website evinces such detail! http://heathenapostles.com/site/ https://www.facebook.com/heathen.apostles13?fref=ts
The last band I witness on this lively evening is The Dick & Jane Family Orchestra. Their sound is that of almost uh…Swing-a-Billy (a term I have just been inspired to coin) infused with punk. Lead singer Jane Cantillon commences by enmeshing herself within the audience as she croons the lyrics “dirty rotten cigarette” and asks us each for one in the song “The Last Taboo”. (Heyy, don’t look at me!) Additional sultry lyrics, “and I sucked so hard, and I sucked so hard…. ” *poetically* equate smoking with sex. She then goes on to equate Insomnia with all things equally yet contrapuntally sucky in a song she introduces by explaining, “As a senior citizen I wrote my first punk rock song…way before you were born…” and I can’t help but think it sounds just a trifle bit like the Dead Kennedy’s “Holiday in Cambodia”. One of my favorite musical narratives would have to be the Dick & Jane take on Silver Lake. “Listen up, you might recognize one of your neighbors,” our singer advises. “We live in Mayberry LSD” she intones then continues with colorful descriptions of the homeless guy arguing with the blue recycling bin, Scientologists, auditions to play Tom Cruise’s wife and the shirtless man who walks sixteen miles a day in search of the L.A. Times…
Other bands in attendance are Best Western (the Hangmen), Speedbuggy, Sioux City Pete and the Woolly Bandits.
For more information on Billy’s Quaterly Saturday Night Fish Fry, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/billysthursdaynightfishfry
For More Photos from Lee Joseph please click: