By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Kristian Hoffman, Kristian Hoffman & (Eggbert), and live at the Derby, July 10. Thank you, Mr. Hoffman, for reminding me what I used to like about pop music.
Westworld, Cyberdreamer (Crush). Heavy pop that flies. It's all about a world-class singer (Tony Harnell) who happens to be a world-class songwriter with a world-class band (Mark Reale & co.). That's a lot, isn't it?
Ozzy Osbourne, Live at Budokan CD & DVD (Epic), and The Osbournes (MTV). I often admire artists I don't understand. And as long as Ozzy keeps rocking this hard and being this funny, I don't wanna understand him. Bonus: The DVD age means I may never have to go to Ozzfest again!
Black Label Society, 1919 Eternal (Spitfire).Zakk Wylde spent a long time in the studio crafting songs and guitar textures for Ozzy's 2001 Down to Earth. The results were too scary for Osbourne, so Wylde just sang on the tracks himself. Everybody wins.
Danzig, 777: I Luciferi (Spitfire). Controlled, relentless darkness and passion. Great song after great song. Forget the muscles and skulls, this is hard-rock music.
MEMORIES: A DECADE'S WORTH
After 10 years at the Weekly (as of March '02 and still counting), these are among the memories that remain.
1992: Mitsuko Uchida plays Schubert's G-major Sonata. The 80-year-old Rudolf Firkusny captivates a Hollywood Bowl audience with a most eloquent piano recital. Death of John Cage. The Salonen era at the Philharmonic begins with his signature tune, the Mahler Third.
1993: MOMA's Cage exhibition; the Cage tributes extend countywide, including Long Beach Opera's Europeras. Paul Hillier's ensemble sings Arvo Pärt at a Historic Site event. György Ligeti comes to town and is properly honored.
1994: Simon Rattle conducts the Mahler Ninth with the Philharmonic; Gregorian chant makes it to the charts. Handel's Xerxes charms an L.A. Opera audience. Van Cliburn's Bowl engagement falls apart midconcert. Alfred Brendel's eloquent Beethoven series at the Music Center doesn't.
1995: Dana Marsh leads his Paulist Choristers in a fresh, revelatory Messiah; Gerald Levinson's Second Symphony: Has the Philharmonic ever introduced a worse piece of "new" music? At the Opera, Peter Sellars relocates Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande to a Malibu beach house, but Salonen's musical leadership makes amends.
1996: Salonen and the Philharmonic conquer Paris; a cruelly exploitative movie called Shine launches the pathetic (but mercifully brief) career of would-be pianist David Helfgott. The L.A. Opera's Italian Girl in Algiers is, says the Weekly, "a garish, overladen, gross concatenation of self-indulgent biz imposed upon a sweet, mild-mannered bel canto comedy."
1997: Salonen's LA Variations earns (and deserves) an ovation at the Philharmonic; so does Monteverdi's The Return of Ulysses at the L.A. Opera; so do the first discs in the Salonen/Sony Ligeti series, which is then lopped off short of completion when the bankroller ends up in prison. Polish minimalist Henryk Górecki conducts his Third Symphony at USC.
1998: Salonen conducts Ligeti's Requiem, his challenging choral masterpiece; many leave early. Willem Wijnbergen succeeds Ernest Fleischmann as Philharmonic honcho. UCLA's Royce Hall reopens, after retrofitting, with the Philip GlassRobert Wilson Monsters of Grace, a fiasco. So is Tobias Picker's Fantastic Mr. Fox, a ludicrous entry in the L.A. Opera's agenda.
1999: Santa Monicaborn David Robertson's superb homecoming concert with IRCAM's Ensemble Intercontemporain: Where's he been all our lives? Salonen leads a Finnish invasion at Ojai, culminating in Magnus Lindberg's knock-'em-down Kraft. Willem Wijnbergen departs.
2000:Virtually unknown, the Italian pianist Marino Formenti makes his local debut with a series of killer new-music programs at LACMA and becomes an instant hero. The Brits carry off a successful series of invasions: Simon Rattle at Ojai, Britten's Billy Budd to end Peter Hemmings' tenure at the L.A. Opera, Britten's War Requiem at the Philharmonic, with the phenomenal young tenor Ian Bostridge. The Long Beach Opera's Puccini-Dallapiccola double bill is one more triumph for Michael Milenski's most enterprising of West Coast companies.
2001: The Long Beach Opera's production of Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face is yet another. The Philharmonic's Stravinsky Festival is a marvel of broad-base planning and presentation. A splendid Lohengrin inaugurates the Domingo era at the L.A. Opera; the season also includes Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, with a Berlin ensemble led by Kent Nagano: Only a concert-form presentation, but who'd have believed that this craggy masterwork would make it to L.A. in any form?
2002: Eclectic Orange brings Osvaldo Golijov's La Pasión Según San Marcos to a mostly cheering audience at Costa Mesa's Segerstrom Hall. Michael Milenski resigns. Marino Formenti's stupendous piano recitals outshine all else at Ojai. UCLA begins a rewarding series of multimedia theatrical productions, with Heiner Goebbels' Hashirigaki (Gertrude Stein meets the Beach Boys) and the Robert WilsonTom Waits Woyzeck so far -- and so good!
ERNEST HARDY'S LIST OF EMINEMS
Imitation of Life: One of the richest details in Eminem's vaguely autobiographical film debut, 8 Mile, is sketched by director Curtis Hanson as a toss-away moment. Jimmy (Eminem) comes home from a hard day of being poor and white in Detroit to find his trailer-park mom painting her toenails, watching an old Hollywood weepy on television. The film on the tube is Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life, the classic melodrama about a fair-skinned black girl who tries to pass for white in 1950s America. An essential text for students of race and representation, Imitation is often referred to as the story of a black girl who longs to be white. But as film historian Donald Bogle writes in his critical overview Brown Sugar, the tale is really about "a woman who does not want to be white so much as she wants white opportunities." The factory-employed Jimmy wants the ä same opportunities. So does the Detroit-born Marshall Mathers/Eminem; that's what drives his music and his well-documented fury. It's the point of connection between him and so many of his fans -- regardless of race or class. They just want white opportunities.