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Ear Wax Remembered

Many, many years ago, there were these round wax platters called records, which were used to store music, much like a modern MP3 file. Unlike an MP3, however, these discs sounded so warm and vibrant, they literally crackled and popped and hissed with excitement as they whirled around the turntable. Believe it or not, personal computers weren't available yet, so records could be purchased only in shops, where the music fan often was forced to interact with other human beings. It's not that Westwood's Rhino Records was the only record store in Los Angeles — there were plenty of similarly wax-centric emporiums like Music Odyssey and Licorice Pizza — but there was something uniquely daft about its staff, who would literally crackle and pop and hiss with excitement about obscure new power-pop bands like the Last or rudely diss you if you dared to attempt to purchase something as unhip as Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic. Richard Foos and Harold Bronson's mad idea eventually expanded into a record label before the flagship store in Westwood finally was shuttered in 2005. Given that the shop was a major cultural crossroads — and that such noteworthy musicians as Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Thee Precisions' Phast Phreddie and former Dream Syndicate singer Steve Wynn used to toil behind Rhino's counter — it's laudable that director Keith Shapiro attempts to capture the spirit of the place in his new documentary, Rhino Resurrected: The Incredibly Strange Story of the World's Most Famous Record Store, which makes its world premiere this afternoon. Along with the usual talking heads (not the band) geeking out and getting nostalgic, the film includes performances from Thee Midniters, Richard Thompson and Peter Case. And, in case you still don't quite grok what the fuss was all about, there will be a record swap meet on the patio after the screening.
Sat., Aug. 20, 2:30 p.m., 2011

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Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre

611 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90048



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