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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First Photos of Michael Jackson's Final Night Published

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Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 3:50 PM
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The Daily Globe and Mail has published photos from Michael Jackson's final run-through of the O2 concerts. It's particularly nice to see Jackson with a huge smile on his face.

The Wall Street Journal published an overview of the state of Jackson's will. What's most interesting about this news was that "the week before his death," MJ rehired the attorney who prepared the most recent will, John Branca. Writes the Journal's Ethan Smith:

This will names as executors lawyer John Branca and a veteran music executive named John McClain who was also a friend of Mr. Jackson. Mr. Branca, who served as Mr. Jackson's primary attorney between 1980 and 2006, wrote the will. Mr. Jackson had rehired Mr. Branca the week before his death last Thursday.

According to TMZ, neither Michael Jackson or Debbie Rowe were the biological parents of Micheal Jr. and Paris.

MJ Essay of the Day: David Cantwell's "Rose for MJ"

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Tomorrow night's Eulogies show at the Echo is now a benefit for the Pablove Foundation, a charity created by Dangerbird Records' Jeff and JoAnn Castelaz, whose son Pablo was stricken with a rare form of cancer that took his life this past Saturday. The Eulogies' Peter Walker co-founded Dangerbird with Jeff Castelaz, and has actively helped spread the word about Pablove.

A memorial to celebrate Pablo's life will take place this evening at Descanso Gardens in Glendale at 5pm.

Sigh. We all know it's true: The dang Michael Jackson story isn't going to go away anytime this century. For the next generation or two, we will be lapping up information on The King of Pop, the Family of the King of Pop, the Nanny of the King of Pop, The Surrogate Mother of the King of Pop, and so on.

It is with this stark and sudden reality, faced with the uncertain economic future, that West Coast Sound announces the acquisition of two new domain names: DailyMichaelJackson.com and DailyMJ.com. Bear with us: we've just now purchased these domains, and are in the planning stages of the launch. For now, though, a little of what to expect in the next, um, decade:

Sigh. Wish us luck.

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Somehow, mysteriously, and most likely due to the avalanche of CDs and MP3s that land in our many inboxes, this new Vitamin String Quartet disc, Per_Versions, eluded our ears until just now. Lo: the LA-based "quartet" (it's actually a rotating band of session musicians) best known for its take on the entirety of Radiohead's In Rainbows, and who has worked on a few projects of dubious necessity (string quartet versions of Queen and AC/DC songs), has released another album of art rock interpretations, this one fifteen tracks deep with covers of Of Montreal ("Everyday Feels Like Sunday), the New Pornographers ("The Bleeding Heart Show"), and Cat Power (a stunning version of "The Greatest").

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RoMak & the Space Pirates "Never Gonna Give You Up," directed by Be Like.

Local band RoMak & the Space Pirates, who last caught our attention for releasing their debut full-length as a USB flash drive bracelet, have done it again. This time, the electro-rock foursome is RoMak-rolling fans and random YouTube viewers with its cover of Rick Astley's aging hit single "Never Gonna Give You Up" and accompanying video.

The Space Pirates' video is more than a spoof of a meme. The video, which largely mimics the source material for the Rickrolling phenomenon, intersperses footage of Project Chanology's Scientology demonstrations throughout the series of goofy dance moves. The video, says bassist [tlr], is the band's comment on the movement and Anonymous, the loose confederation of nameless associated activists, many of whom have also taken to creating safe spaces online for Iranian protesters in recent weeks. Members of Anonymous have been known to incorporate Rickrolls in protest.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

The BET Awards' attempts at a Michael Jackson tribute at the Shrine Auditorium last night sure were weak, especially in comparison to the celebratory barrage of MJ music and visuals seen in Los Angeles' clubs over the weekend. We heard Peanutbutter Wolf's VJ tribute to the superstar at the Echoplex Thursday was touching and more comprehensive than even the TV news specials that ran the same day. Though we're sorry to have to missed it, lucky for us (and you) he's posted most of it on the Stones Throw website for all to enjoy.

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View more photos in the Air Guitar and Air Sex Championships slideshows.

Like Air Guitar, Air Sex is an activity best practiced at home. Your arms flail, your face looks like a Shar Pei, and strange noises emerge whether you like it or not. It's all around awkward. But at the first Air Sex World Championships at the Echoplex on Friday, adventurous (i.e. drunken) men and woman took out their sexual frustrations on a hot piece of air in performances that took awkward to the next level.

Re-enacting the guitar solo from Freebird: Pretty cool. Performing a simulated bukkake tsunami on Steve Urkel: Amazing.
  • Re-enacting the guitar solo from Freebird: Pretty cool. Performing a simulated bukkake tsunami on Steve Urkel: Amazing.

Originally from Japan (founders of sexually repressed depravity), the Air Sex World Championships was appropriated by a group of Austinites who wanted to slather invisi-love across the states. After all, the ASWC offers the sanctioned space to live out your fantasy of wrestling Betty White in a kiddie pool of pudding while "Highway to the Danger Zone" plays in the background. Oh yeah, and hundreds of your closest friends critiquing your your ability to hump a fold-out table.

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It's been a rough week, for sure. The untimely deaths of Michael, Farrah, Ed, Sky, and Billy were all pretty jarring in their own way. The news, however, that Pablo Castelaz, son of Dangerbird Records co-owner Jeff Castelaz and his wife Jo Ann, had died on Saturday after a long, heart-wrenching and very public battle with Wilm's Tumor, a form of cancer that most often strikes children, put us in a whole other realm of grief.

Peter Walker, co-owner of Dangerbird, plays piano with Pablo Castelaz
  • Peter Walker, co-owner of Dangerbird, plays piano with Pablo Castelaz

Pablo's fight against cancer over the past year has been documented on Pablog, a site created to keep people up to speed on the treatment.

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VNV Nation "Honour," live @ Club Nokia, 6/27/09. Video by MlleAlistar.

It took less than twenty-four hours for the cell phone videos of VNV Nation's Saturday night performance to pop up on YouTube, mostly single-song snippets of shaky footage with varying sound quality. What makes these videos interesting is the way the crowd almost steals the show from the band. You can see dancers moving in and out of the frame, heads bobbing up and down in a trance and arms flying into spastic clapping motions. You can also hear the crowd singing loudly to just about every song in the set.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Etta James, who was to perform with The Roots at the Hollywood Bowl tonight, has canceled. In her place will be Chaka Khan, who will join Janelle Monae and Adele for this line-up of powerhouse vocalists. The Bowl's website offers this information:

Please Note: Etta James will not appear on Sunday's program due to illness. Chaka Khan has graciously agreed to perform in her place. Event run time remains the same.

No word yet on whether the Roots will be performing with Khan, or what Ms. James' illness is.

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Slideshows

  • Air Guitar Championship Semifinals @ The Troubadour
    The Southwest Semifinals of the US Air Guitar Championship were held last Saturday at the historic Troubadour Club in West Hollywood. The event determined who would compete as regional representatives at the 2014 National Finals in Kansas City on August 9th. The colorful contestants (many of whom opted for elaborate codpieces) were judged by comedians Kristen Schaal and the Sklar Brothers. The top score was awarded to crowd-surfing guitarist Kingslayer, the mother of a teenage son who also competed wearing little more than an American flag bathing suit. All photos by Gustavo Turner.
  • Lucha VaVOOM @ The Mayan Theatre
    Lucha VaVOOM to The Mayan Theatre on Thursday night with a dose of their Sexy, Hot, Summer FUN! show to a packed house. With all the girls, guns and muscles what could go wrong? All photos by Timothy Norris.
  • The Best L.A. Concert Scenes of 2014 (So Far)
    With more secret shows, more once-in-a-lifetime performances, and more venues than any place else, there is no doubt that L.A. is one of the top places on the planet to see live music. Here are the best concert scenes of 2014 (so far).