Kids Rock!
L.A. music is exploding with new energy and fresh sounds, and a lot of the beautiful noise is coming from the amps and mics of peach-fuzzed boys and pig-tailed girls. SEVEN McDONALD provides a tour of the teen scene that’s saving rock.
Plus, BEN QUIÑONES on Los Lobos and their 30 years of survival in the wild; GREG BURK on big-band main man Gerald Wilson; and JOHN PAYNE on new stuff we like.

Periods, Bras and T-Cells
When Daddy has HIV: A father-daughter heart-to-heart in the age of AIDS. BY MICHAEL KEARNS

News

The Texas Abortion Tango: Four years ago Larry Flynt sent a team of investigators to Texas to see if they could prove a rumor that George W. Bush paid for a girlfriend’s illegal abortion in 1971. They found the woman, a doctor, friends and more questions than answers. For now, Larry will have to settle on his new book: Sex, Lies & Politics: The Naked Truth. BY HOWARD BLUME The Cheney Connection: Last week the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into whether Halliburton paid some $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials. It’s an allegation that the French government has been examining for a year, with the VP among the targets.
BY DOUG IRELAND

Exposing L.A. Secrets: Ever wonder what it would take for the county supervisors to do all the public’s business in public? Hiring the right attorney would help. A review of the top five candidates. BY ROBERT GREENE

A Think Tank for Gays: The national conversation about changes in sexual- orientation law often begin at the Williams Project, a UCLA-based center devoted to ending discrimination in the LGBT community. BY CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA

Plus, ERIN AUBRY KAPLAN on L.A.’s downtown property owners breaking with their own history and opposing a union for security guards; and JEFFREY ANDERSON on the latest chapter in Inglewood brutality victim Patricia Surjue’s bid for justice.



LETTERS
We write, you write...

Web Update
DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD: Bonfire of the Vanity Affairs: Graydon Carter targered by Republican attack dogs . . . and other comedies. BY NIKKI FINKE

A CONSIDERABLE TOWN
Boulevard Superheroes: Who is really behind the mask of tha t caped crusader? PETER FLETCHER heads to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame to meet Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the other working actors who pick up a few extra bucks posing with tourists.
Plus, is this the end of L.A.’s clothing-optional Overeaters Anonymous meeting? MICHAEL GOUGIS reports.

CONSIDERABLE PEOPLE
Barbra Horowitz tees off. BY STEVEN LEIGH MORRIS

OPEN CITY
Blame John Kerry for the abysmal showing at anti-war protests. BY STEVEN MIKULAN

DAVID CORN
Way Beyond Monica: DAVID CORN shares his wish list of topics he hopes Bill Clinton comes clean on in his new book, from Ricky Ray Rector to Rwanda to Lani Guinier.

DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD
Bonfire of the Vanity Affairs: Graydon Carter targeted by Republican attack dogs . . . and other comedies. BY NIKKI FINKE

COLUMN DAVE
Mean Genes. BY DAVE SHULMAN

ROCKIE HOROSCOPE

BOOKS
Humvee Hell: Evan Wright talks about embedded reporting with the Marines in Iraq, and his new book, Generation Kill, which draws on those experiences. By TOM CHRISTIE and JOE DONNELLY

FILM
Brother from another planet: ELLA TAYLOR joins the reception committee for Krakhozian tourist Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal.

So far, very good: The Los Angeles Film Festival 2004. SCOTT FOUNDAS interviews festival programmer Rachel Rosen; GREG BURK looks at the docs that rock the festival; plus, previews of 36 of the festival’s feature-film offerings. See Film Calendar.

THEATER
L’armoire, c’est moi: Charles L. Mee’s chaotic catechism informs Summertime. BY STEVEN MIKULAN

MUSIC
See Cover features.

STYLE
Good vibrations: Chas Smith makes beautiful music out of heavy metals. BY GREG BURK

COMICS

PULPit: Extended Organ. BY TONY MOSTROM

"BEK," BY BRUCE ERIC KAPLAN

RESTAURANTS

Counter Intelligence: Beyond coffee and cigarettes: Doña Rosa. BY JONATHAN GOLD

Where to Eat Now: Live Music.

Ask Mr. Gold: Scratching the yakisoba itch. BY JONATHAN GOLD

WHERE TO EAT NOW
Database of restaurant listings compiled by JONATHAN GOLD and MICHELLE HUNEVEN.

CALENDAR
Good Times

>Picks of the Week

>Scoring the Clubs

>Neighborhood Movie Guide


> Crossword

CALENDAR * PICKS
June 11 - 17, 2004

Film

The Stepford Wives

In Bryan Forbes’ 1975 thriller The Stepford Wives, Katharine Ross plays a young painter freshly from boho Manhattan to tory Connecticut, determined to shore up her flagging marriage to a milquetoast husband. Here she is, persuading a feisty new friend (Paula Prentiss) to help her form a consciousness-raising group. “I messed a bit with women’s lib in New York,” she confesses coyly. “I’m not contemplating any Maidenform bonfires, but they could certainly use something around here. Are you game?” Thirty years on, Ross’ Joanna Eberhart would be laughed off the screen as a namby-pamby suburban feminist — or, more likely, dismissed by the smug marrieds of post-feminism as a loser who lacks the smarts to have it all. The time elapsed between the first Stepford Wives and this new remake by Miss Piggy himself, Frank Oz, is also the distance traveled from feminism to backlash. So, far from being a sensitive artist, Nicole Kidman’s Joanna, resplendent in button-up suit and geometric power hairdo, is the go-get-’em president of a company that makes reality-television shows specializing in the humiliation of men. Fired when one of her shows spins out of control, a blitzed Joanna is persuaded by her mild-mannered husband and underling, Walter (Matthew Broderick), to move with their two kids to the insanely picturesque Connecticut town of Stepford. There they receive an effusive welcome from local grande dame Claire Wellington (got up like a lemon meringue and played by Glenn Close with just a hint of Cruella de Vil), her husband, Mike (Christopher Walken), and a bevy of pneumatic belles with empty eyes and mad, frozen smiles. Alarmed by all this unblemished domestic bliss, Joanna teams up with tell-all memoirist Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler, putting her own exuberantly belligerent spin on the role so wonderfully played by Prentiss in the original) and gay lawyer Roger Bannister (a very funny Roger Bart) to try to uncover the secret behind the submissive wives and their schlubby but dominating husbands.

The original, written by William Goldman from the novel by Ira Levin, drew its sinister energy from an unconscious ambivalence toward the very women’s movement it sought to champion — and also from a mix of fear and hostility to capitalism, technology and suburbia. Reincarnated as social satire, the remake also takes on current hot-button issues: grasping corporations, technology run amok in the service of conspicuous consumption, anodyne Republicanism and ball-busting women. Contrary to recent rumors that it was a dud, the new Stepford Wives, with its chocolate-box visual style, archly heavy-handed foreshadowing and its scene-for-scene parody of the original’s fright strategies (Walken’s waxy menace is once again played for laughs), is a gas. It’s a relief to see Kidman, so gratuitously savaged by Lars von Trier in the awful Dogville, all lightened up and playing wittily off Midler and Bart. But while screenwriter Paul Rudnick (who wrote Oz’s other good movie, In & Out) adds at least one significant insight to the original’s paranoid take on the battle of the sexes — that the Stepford community of “drooling dweebs and mindless babes” replicates the gender division we see every day on sitcoms and reality TV — there’s a price to be paid for all this levity. At the end, the movie turns some entertaining twists on the first movie that, coupled with a perky humanistic climax, may satisfy audiences’ desire for a marital happily-ever-after. For the sake of a good laugh, Oz forfeits precisely what makes the first Stepford Wives still so compelling — its critique of fascism. (Citywide)

—Ella Taylor

We also recommend: Baadasssss!; Coffee and Cigarettes; The Day After Tomorrow; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Goodbye Lenin!; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; I’m Not Scared; Kill Bill, Vol. 2; Laws of Attraction; Love Me if You Dare; MacGillivray Freeman’s Coral Reef Adventure; Marmoulak; Mean Girls; Monty Python’s Life of Brian; My Architect; My Sister Maria; The Saddest Music in the World; Saved!; Shrek 2; Since Otar Left; Springtime in a Small Town; The Story of the Weeping Camel; Super Size Me; The Triplets of Belleville; Young Adam.

New Reviews plus Movies Now Playing

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Video

Winsor McCay: The Master Edition

Movie animation isn’t what it used to be, thanks to the digital revolution, but what was animation like before it became what it was? Part of the answer can be found on Winsor McCay: The Master Edition, a remarkable DVD featuring the 10 surviving films made by the first master of the medium. McCay was a well-known comic-strip writer when he made his earliest film, Little Nemo (1911), a hand-tinted, pen-and-ink motion study with McCay’s whimsically Victorian creations — a child prince, a cigar-chomping clown and a grass-skirted native — bouncing, tumbling and interacting against a blank backdrop. What distinguishes the film from most early animation are the exquisite textures that McCay works into his characters’ elastic movements: the delicate puff in the plume of Nemo’s hat, the thick scales of his pet dragon. McCay quickly extended this signature detail from his designs to the personalities of his characters themselves. In Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), McCay introduced his most famous onscreen creation, a feisty brachiosaurus who leaps to life in response to McCay’s “offscreen” commands and questions. Happy to dance and bow, Gertie reveals a willful streak, disobeying McCay’s exhortations to play nice with a passing woolly mammoth. It’s deceptively primitive stuff that revealed the medium’s full expressive potential. In later works, McCay explored subjects both fantastical (The Centaurs, circa 1918–21) and factual (The Sinking of the Lusitania, 1918) with increasing sophistication and emotional richness. Ironically, the more complex McCay’s films became, the more he fell behind the times. The animator insisted on doing all the painstaking work himself, and such commitment to craft accounts for both the brevity of McCay’s oeuvre and the reach of its influence.

—Paul Malcolm

Also released this week:
VHS-DVD: Along Came Polly, The Bunker City of God, Fangoria Blood Drive, Love Letters, Mystic River, Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story.
DVD: Bad Kids Box Set: The Choppers, Wild Guitar, Teen-Age Strangler, The Violent Years, The Girl Gang, Lost, Lonely and Vicious, Jacktown, Just for the Hell of It, Blast-Girls; The Creeping Flesh; Crosby, Stills & Nash: Acoustic Daylight Again; Dark Forces; The Day of the Locust; Field of Dreams: 15th Anniversary Edition; Goodbye, Columbus; Just Shoot Me: Season One and Two; The Leopard; The Man From Colorado; M*A*S*H: Season Six; One Nation Under God; Peter Jennings Reporting; Playmakers; The President’s Analyst; Robocop Trilogy; SCTV Network/90, Volume 1; Swann in Love; The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller: Tarzan the Ape Man, Tarzan Escapes, Tarzan and His Mate, Tarzan Finds a Son, Tarzan’s Secret Treasure, Tarzan‘s New York Adventure; Tour of Duty: First Season; Travel the World With Putumayo; Venus Boyz; War With Iraq: Stories From the Front.

Search the film archive.

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Signal

Interchange 2

What did you notice today? That’s the question D Jean Hester asks of everyone. The L.A.-based media artist and curator recently began cultivating an attitude of attentiveness, consciously noticing the overlooked minutiae in the world around her, and documenting small moments of beauty or interest with her video camera. The images include the blurry splash of colors reflected in a rain-soaked street, or the undulating graphic patterns of red and white as a flag ruffles in the wind. After compiling hours of such seemingly innocuous footage, Hester decided to ask others about the things that they notice. She approached people on the street and via her Web site, and soon had a database of recounted moments ranging from comments about boyfriends to unusual images. “I saw a dog on the roof of a Thai restaurant” is one such observation. In and of itself the material is not particularly riveting — until Hester throws it all together in her elegiac, captivating interactive media project titled Notice, which randomly samples from the database, creating a series of unexpected juxtapositions. Gallery-goers can add to the project by typing their own noticed moments into the database, but the fun part is witnessing the live mix, and trying to align images and text in some meaningful mini-story. Hester’s piece will show as one of many projects in “Interchange 2,” an evening of interactive performance and installation that brings together experimental sound, media and video, with lots of attention paid to audience members, whose interactions are necessary to make the projects complete. (Gallery 825, 825 La Cienega Blvd.; Fri., June 11, 7:30 p.m. 310-652-8272)

—Holly Willis

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Jazz

Erik Friedlander

This particular guy sawing on a cello all by himself is something to hear. Erik Friedlander has released a bunch of good if rather overintellectual albums as a leader and a sideman on various labels (Cryptogramophone, Siam, ECM). But on his latest, the solo Maldoror (Brassland), he’s at his most complete and most compelling. The trick seems to have been getting him outside himself — he was encouraged to respond musically to selected writings by the Comte de Lautréamont, an obscure Uruguayan-Parisian experimental author said to have died in 1870 at the age of 24. Here’s guessing that the exercise was more important than the text; luckily you won’t need to read the Comte’s nihilistic though imaginative puerilism, or endure the CD booklet’s equally nihilistic typography. The process apparently reopened doors to the inner passion that first inspired Friedlander to draw bow, as he plunged into dense, dramatic classical improvisations that can stand with the best of Eurojazz (though he himself is a New Yorker). It’s private music, but music that demands a connection and a response. Barnsdall Gallery Theater, 4800 Hollywood Blvd.; Sat., June 12, 8 p.m.; (323) 804-4146, www.roccoinla.com. And opening for Mia Doi Todd ??{please check to see if he’s opening for her or playing in her band} at Temple Bar, Sun., June 13.

—Greg Burk

We also recommend: Ernie Watts at LACMA, Fri. (see Other Jazz); Nancy Marano at Clancy’s, Fri.; Stefon Harris at the Jazz Bakery, Fri.-Sun.; Plas Johnson at Charlie O’s, Sat.; Maetar at the House of Blues Foundation Room, Sun. (see Other Jazz); Tomasz Stanko at the Jazz Bakery, Mon.; Hank Jones at the Jazz Bakery, Tues.-Thurs.; Omar Sosa at the Skirball, Wed. (see Concerts); Harris Eisenstadt at Club Tropical, Thurs. (see Other Jazz).

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Concerts

The Weirdos, The Skulls

Forget about living fast and dying young — if you’re a real music collector, you’re better off sticking around for the long haul, since some of the most crucial 1977-era punk rock recordings are just now being issued for the first time. Not only does the Weirdos’ We Got the Neutron Bomb: Weird World, Volume Two (Frontier) salvage many of the band’s unreleased rarities, tracks like the long-out-of-print 7-inch version of the convulsive “We Got the Neutron Bomb” and the presciently industrial experiment “Hey Big Oil” make a convincing case for the Weirdos as the hardest-hitting and most-expansive graduates from Hollywood’s Class of ‘77. Original Weirdos Cliff Roman and the Denney brothers (savage guitarist Dix and rubbery-faced singer John) are well-matched by ubiquitous drummer Sean Antillon (the Skulls, the Gears), although the terminal mugging of new bassist Zander Schloss tends to be a distraction. Skulls lead singer Billy Bones recently awoke from a Rip Van Winkle– style two-decade sleep with last year’s fine collection of new tunes, The Golden Age of Piracy, as well as 2002’s Therapy for the Shy (both on Dr. Strange), which has modern recordings of the first lineup’s lost live classics like “Building Models” and “Incomplete Suicide” — making what would have been a landmark punk release 25 years ago into a stunning (and long-overdue) debut. El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd.; Sat., June 12, 8 p.m. (323) 936-6400.

—Falling James

P.O.D., Lacuna Coil

After a decade of cred-building roadwork, P.O.D. (that’s “Payable on Death,” homey) banked in 2001 with the muscular, fists-raised optimism of their sophomore album, Satellite, which, dropping just after 9/11, resonated across a nation shunning the negative ranting of rival rap-rockers. The flagship single, “Alive,” and the queasily cheesy “Youth of the Nation” became radio staples before the wheels wobbled: Founding guitarist Marcos quit (claiming the band’s Christian veneer was exactly that), and the Adidas-metal clique into which P.O.D. were lumped bludgeoned itself into obscurity. Yet, with new ax-man Jason Truby aboard, P.O.D. have retained some of their form and market share against the odds. For all their spiritual, Latin and reggae hints, P.O.D. are essentially an adroitly delivered testosterone-fest, so expect major male bonding in the pit tonight. Italian indie outfit Lacuna Coil have made repeated U.S. forays lately, perhaps to cash in on claims that Evanescence hijacked their sound. While Evanescence are Hot Topic–tinted nu-metal, Lacuna cast a grandiose gothic cloak over Euro power riffage. In petite vocalist Cristina Scabbia (who trades off with male foil Andrea Ferro), L.C. have their star, and their unison headbanging in long-skirted, faux-Renaissance garb is certainly intriguing. The gilded Wiltern should perfectly frame Lacuna’s atmospheric, panoramic designs. The Wiltern LG, Wilshire Blvd. & Western Ave.; Wed., June 16, 7 p.m. (213) 380-5005.

—Paul Rogers

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Theater

Blithe Spirit

Director Gwen Hillier’s revival of Noel Coward’s 1941 farce is first rate, partly because of the attention to detail (a jar of Marmite spread on the breakfast table) in Mark A. Thomson’s production design. Thomson has at least addressed the Globe’s sundry design challenges by plonking (and decorating) a pleasing olive green interior into the theater’s harsh Elizabethan-style frame, so that the venue’s painted portraits of royalty-through-the-ages gaze down on Coward’s urbane humor with expressions of wry detachment. Somehow, this juxtaposition of English history and Coward’s wit puts the latter in a larger context. Amidst a gallery of excellent performances, the casting of Nicholas Hosking and Anne McVey (as, respectively, the play’s leading man, writer Charles Condomine, and his wife, Ruth) overturns the assumption that Coward’s characters are all silly upper-crusters or goofy servants. Hosking’s bio includes stints working on North Sea oil rigs and surfing in Australia. It’s as though these experiences, and the observations that went with them, have infused Hosking with the ability to depict a kind of gormlessness without a trace of condescension. Hosking’s Charles is no spoiled snot brought down by his own pomposity when, for purposes of research, he employs dotty conjurer-of-spirits Madame Arcati (Mary Jo Catlett) to conduct a séance. Rather, Hosking endures the torments of his late wife’s ghost (Tracy Powell) with the agility of a man dancing through Jell-O — which provides a refreshing angle on this chestnut. The humor is expanded by McVey’s touch of dowdiness as his otherwise elegant, flummoxed wife, caught up in Charles’ “astral bigomy.” Catlett’s daffiness is on the money; ditto Nicole Dalton as the maid. Also grand are Richard Fox and Marsha Kramer playing family friends and cosmic skeptics. Cowardice Theater Company at the Globe Playhouse, 1107 N. Kings Road, W. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru June 26. (323) 960-7792.

—Steven Leigh Morris

We also recommend: Bash; Beach Blanket Sunday; Bessie and Good Friends; Book of Days; Cabfare for the Common Man; Exits and Entrances; Focus Today; Fried Chicken and Latkas; The Fucking Bastards; A Groundlings Family Portrait; Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Lame!; The Lampshades; Life During Wartime; Mamma Mia!; The Man From Clare; Master Class; Midnight Brainwash Revival; Nuts; The Pagans; A Poster of the Cosmos/The Moonshot Tape; Red Light, Green Light; Roberto Zucco; Salamanticus; Sex Life: My Journey Through Booty; Swimming in the Shallows; The Tangled Snarl/Murder Me Once; Tease; The Tempest; Theater District; Things We Do for Love; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Ultimate Idol; Vortex; What Are You . . . Deaf?; The Winter’s Tale; Yogi à Go-Go.

Search the archive.

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Dance

Ballett Frankfurt

As paper is to an origami master, so the classical ballet lexicon is to William Forsythe. For 20 years this dexterous king of the kinetic fold and deconstructed line has likewise reformed the aesthetic geography of European dance. It’s taken a while for the American-born Forsythe’s conceptually inclined neoclassicism to capture the hearts of presenters and critics here in his homeland, despite elegant if peculiar choreographic structures and wondrous movement shapes that never lose the velvety smooth surface sheen of the form’s virtuosity. So it is all the more vexing that Southern Californians must now simultaneously welcome and bid farewell to Forsythe’s elite troupe, which disbands in August after a sea change in Frankfurt’s funding and attitudes toward the resident artist’s work left Forsythe feeling less than welcome. When an international outcry slapped city officials upside the head, a compromise was reached in the form of the Forsythe Company, a considerably more modest ensemble funded by multiple German cities and states that is set to debut sometime in 2005. Forsythe is not one to look back and it’s likely that in the long run the new group will prove to be a better fit for his adventurous appetites, but who knows how long it will be until it tours the U.S.? All of which is to say that Ballett Frankfurt’s limited engagement at the Orange County Performing Arts Center this weekend, featuring as it does four signature pieces created between 1996 and 2002, is a not-to-be-missed event. At Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Fri., June 11, 8 p.m., & Sat., June 12, 2 & 8 p.m.; $75-$20. (714) 556-ARTS.

—Sara Wolf

We also recommend: Dance Camera West at various locations thru June 26; Mita Ghosal at Crazy Space; Fri.-Sat., thru June 19; Forever Flamenco at the Fountain Theater, Sun.

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Art

Jerry McMillan, Jenny Okun

Jerry McMillan may not be John Steinbeck, but the photographer was able to document the second Okie migration from inside. And, as that westward flow consisted of three art students rather than thousands of Dust Bowl refugees, McMillan was able to make up in thoroughness what he lacked in story line. Furthermore, his was a Grapes of Mirth; he and his Okla City homies Ed Ruscha and Joe Goode were dryly witty, self-deprecating cutups. Their arch visual humor became the guiding spirit of California Pop, and it runs all the way through this anthology of the photos McMillan took of Ruscha. From the moment McMillan took up photography at Chouinard he was roommate Ruscha’s in-house photog and Ed was his readiest model. McMillan says that it was usually Ruscha’s idea to shoot him in a bunny suit, on horseback with Goode, throwing bodybuilder poses, or in bed with two (or, as the contact sheet indicates, three) girls; but it was clearly McMillan’s own eye that framed Ruscha’s gentle good looks just right, subtly infusing these deadpan early-‘60s setups and later-‘60s documents with Hollywood glamour. Ruscha never got further into the industry than some stuff he did with pal Mason Williams, but had he wanted to go into acting, he already had all the head, body and costume shots he needed.

Jenny Okun usually trains her camera at buildings, and montages the full-color results into dynamic geometric abstractions. You don’t get much geometry with the female nude, especially overlaid with a lacy interweave of floral silhouettes, but Okun finds similar visual rhythms in her juxtapositions and sequences. Her manipulations amplify rather than geometrize the natural sinuousness of the lines; the curves are less startling than the architecture’s angles, but no less vivid.

At Craig Krull, 2525 Michigan Ave., No. B3, Santa Monica; Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; thru June 26. (310) 828-6410.

—Peter Frank

We also recommend: Seeking Illumination and The Business of Art at the Getty Center; The Russian Doll Show and East River at New Image Art; Paul P. and The Collector’s Cabinet at Marc Selwyn; Suspension at ANDLAB; Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé at Gagosian; For a Stranger at Articultural; Masters of Venice at Half a Dozen Rose; Jane Park Wells and Gina Han at Bachofner; Mujeres at Patricia Correia; Matthew Alexis at Gallery 825; Ned Evans at William Turner.

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Classical & New Music

Harry Partch's Bitter Music

Bitter Music is based upon American iconoclast composer Harry Partch’s 1935-36 journal of eight months spent on the road as a hobo. Partch notated the music of the spoken words he heard in transient camps and flophouses, and sketched pencil illustrations of the scenes he experienced. “I heard music in the voices all about me,” he wrote, “and tried to notate it . . . to enhance the mood and drama of such little things as a quarrel in a potato patch. The nuance of inflection and thought of the lowest of our social order was a new experience in tone, and I found myself at its fountainhead — a fountainhead of pure musical Americana.” An adept Partch interpreter, guitarist John Schneider and his chamber group Just Strings give a multimedia presentation of Bitter Music, the first time Partch’s music, words, drawings and photographs are brought together in a single presentation. REDCAT at Disney Hall, Second & Hope sts., dwntwn.; Fri., June 11, 8:30 p.m. (213) 237-2800, or www.redcatweb.org.

—John Payne

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Performance

Johanna Went: Aggravated Resistentialism

A giant baby doll head screams, a wrecking ball papered in a world map crashes into a cheap paper set, goat heads are stabbed with a sharp knife and a wedding dress is lifted up to reveal ejaculating dildos. If the actionist art of Johanna Went were to be classified as a religious experience, it would be a close relative to the Holy Roller movement. Specializing in structured chaos, Went seems to channel characters from an alternate universe akin to — if sicker than — H.R. Pufnstuf. Her gibber-jabber vocals fluctuate between baby talk and Tourette’s syndrome; her physical movement is a constant, spastic spirit-dance; and she makes a beautiful mess, transforming ordinary objects into symbolist actions, brimming with a dark, whacked humor. The overall effect of sound, motion and imagery is catalytic. Went “trained” 30 years ago in Seattle with Tom “Alien Comic” Murrin, staging street actions there and elsewhere. In 1979, she made her entrée into L.A. punk history when she performed her first solo material at the Hong Kong Café. Her aggressive stage style conquered the toughest Germs or Black Flag audience, and eventually she became identified with the Industrial scene, which included Non’s Boyd Rice and Survival Research Laboratory founder Mark Pauline. In Aggravated Resistentialism, a 45-minute performance acted out in Track 16’s newly pumped up main gallery, Went is back with longtime musical collaborator Mark Wheaton, and reunited with percussion meister Z’ev. Tackling the prop heaps onstage with her are Theatre Carnivale’s Stephen Holman and performers Lauren Hartman, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario and Shelly Vial. Over the years Went’s prop/costume chest has been filled with slaughterhouse rejects, feminine hygiene products, Halloween masks, tubular bolts of fabric, Hollywood iconography, and fluid concoctions evoking blood, vomit, afterbirth. Junk that will, with a little help from the hands of Went and co., live up to the theme of the show: “the theory that inanimate objects demonstrate hostile behavior.” Track 16 Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., No. C1, Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., June 11-12, 8 p.m. (310) 264-4678.

—Ron Athey

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