There was life before text messaging. In L.A., there has been the enduring (310) CUT-FOOT hot line, a daily, two-minute-long recorded bulletin of some of the coolest events happening in the city. My experience with the hot line, now into my speed dial, was one of forgetting and then remembering when I saw it listed in an old issue of Ben Is Dead.
“I first became aware of it in 1987 or 1988, run by a guy named Eric Brown,” says Anthony Ausgang, the voice behind (310) CUT-FOOT. “I like to call Eric ‘protocore,’ in a way — he’s sort of like one of the originators of the poetry scene, so originally CUT-FOOT was a hot line people could call and find out about poetry readings and art events. It wasn’t really geographically specific like it is now — CUT-FOOT is basically about events happening on the Eastside — but still, it’s a 310 exchange, which is kind of ironic. There’s a hell of a lot of stuff going on — downtown, Echo Park, Silver Lake — but I can’t remember if it was geographically specific back in the day. What’s been unique about CUT-FOOT, I think, especially in the face of the Internet and text messaging, [is that] it’s kind of quaint and weird to still have a ‘phone line.’”
Ausgang took up the mantle of announcing and gathering events — most of which are free — every day about four years ago, when the cabal behind CUT-FOOT debated continuing its existence.
“I listen to messages from the night before I do my listings to see if anyone’s left a message, so there’s some input from the CUT-FOOT community,” Ausgang says. “I generally try to make the listing cover an art event, a film event and a music event, and then whatever else I can find. I can usually cram about six events on there.”
Like the magical wardrobe to Narnia, CUT-FOOT opens the door to a world bristling with prospects and potential, just like art itself.