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The Culture Agent: Sander Roscoe Wolff, columnist for LBPost.com
Interviews with artists, musicians, and other interesting folks
Category: Arts
Location: Long Beach, CA
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by Sander Wolff
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August 29, 2012 07:31 PM PDT

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 1st, the Queen Mary is hosting the Shoreline Jam, an all-day all ages Reggae festival starting at 11 AM and ending just before midnight. The organizers did a great job of combining local, national, and international talent, including the masters of Jamaican dub, Black Uhuru, and the band whose name is perhaps most synonymous with Reggae, The Wailers.

The Wailers are best known for backing Bob Marley and, since his death, they've continued to work as both an entity unto themselves, and also with a number of other artists. Even when Marley was alive, the band's name sake, Neville Livingston (aka Bunny Wailer), and Peter Tosh both left the band, and Aston Barrett and his brother, Carlton, became the backbone of the group.

Today, Aston 'Family Man' Barrett is the last remaining musician from the 70s era group, but he's surrounded himself with a group of talented young turks. Front and center is Koolant Brown, whose career as a solo artist was doing quite well when he got the call to audition for the job of singing for The Wailers. In this interview, Koolant speaks about his childhood, the thrill of meeting many of his musical heroes, the crazy pace of the current tour, and the significance of sharing Marley's genius with a multi-generational audience. Our conversation lasts about 16 minutes.

For more information about Koolant, visit http://koolantmusic.com/.

For more information about The Wailers, visit http://wailers.com/

For tickets, and information about the festival, visit http://www.shorelinejamqm.com/

September 17, 2012 10:21 PM PDT

For those of a certain age, Judy Tenuta was, is, and will always remain the "Petite Flower and Love Goddess" who wielded an accordion, and embodied a spirit of optimism with her catch phrase, "It could happen!" With nearly 30 years in the entertainment business, she's done it all: TV chat show appearances, the club circuit, tours in large halls, HBO comedy specials, film roles, repeated collaborations with "Weird Al" Yankovic, and the founding of her own religion: Judyism.

In this conversation, Judy is in a pensive mood. She reads from her new book, talks about guns, and is generally cordial and entertaining. I tried not to be a stupid awe-struck fan boy.

May 09, 2012 02:52 AM PDT

Tricia Allen has been traveling the world for more than 20 years, studying and working to preserve Pacific Island tattoo traditions. With a background in Art History and Anthropology, and early encouragement by the famed tattoo artist Ed Hardy, Tricia has created unique works for nearly 11,000 people.

Tricia, who lives in Hawaii, will be working with clients at the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum today, Wednesday May 9th, through Sunday. After that, she'll travel South to Oceanside. She's also scheduled to return to PieAM in September.

In this interview, which is nearly an hour long, she talks about a wide range of subjects, from her early work on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), to helping Tahitian artists reconnect with their lost native forms. Tricia is a knowledgeable and passionate voice for this ancient and thriving art form. Whether you're an enthusiast, or just curious, I think you'll find this conversation to be both enjoyable and informative.

May 07, 2012 02:32 PM PDT

The Beat arose in England in the late 70s and concocted a unique amalgam of punk, ska, and pop into an explosively popular style that, by the early 80s, swept the popular charts. With smart and sometimes caustic humor they catalyzed a generation of teenagers fed up with strident punk ire.

30 years later, Dave Wakeling lacks pretense, but knows that good music is timeless. In fact, in this interview he takes some pleasure in pointing out that several of his songs, now more than 30 years old, have significant relevance today.

This 30 minute conversation is a great peak into the vast talent that Wakeland embodies. For fans, it will be a treat, and for those just discovering his music, it will serve as an excellent primer.

April 18, 2012 10:29 AM PDT

Spring is in the air, the Grand Prix is over, and the third Saturday in April is nearly upon us. One can almost feel a palpable sense of excitement as the anticipation of this year's Record Store Day grows.

It isn't an old tradition. It started, more or less, with a performance by Metallica at Rasputin Music in San Franscico. Still, every year, independent record stores around the world pull out all the stops, with special sales, offerings of limited edition merchandise, and presenting in-store appearances and performances.

Rand Foster, owner of our beloved Fingerprints Music, takes Record Store Day very seriously.

"We will have nearly 300 exclusive releases," Rand said, "including releases from Flaming Lips, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, The Pharcyde, David Bowie, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Animal Collective, Miles Davis, and so many more."

Not only does he open the store at 6 AM to allow rabid bargin hunters to scour the bins, he's also presenting three in-store performances. World Party is playing at 7, and access to that show is still available. The 5 PM performance of M. Ward is sold out. At 2 PM, the legendary and remarkable Beach Boy, Al Jardine, will perform songs from his new solo release, A Postcard from California, as well as songs from the Beach Boys. (He's an original member!)

I had the good fortune to see Jardine when he joined Brian Wilson on stage at the Terrace Theater a few years back. Jardine is probably best known for singing the lead on 'Help Me, Rhonda,' but he also wrote and produced music for the Beach Boys.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to speak with him by phone about his album, the many celebrity collaborations it features, his love of the sea, and the new 50 city Beach Boys tour that's starting on the 24th.

If you're interested in getting into Fingerprints to catch World Party or Al Jardine, call the store at (562) 433-4996 and RSVP. No purchase is required but, if your name is not on the list, rest assured that you're not getting in. If you do buy something by the in-store artists, Rand will give you a poster made especially for the event and, if you ask, the artist may sign it for you.

March 27, 2012 08:36 AM PDT

The Downtown Residential Council, which represents 6 neighborhood associations and has 150 members, hosted a 2nd District Candidate Forum at the Museum of Latin American Art on Monday, March 26th. Participating candidates included Janet Ballantyne, Mike Kamer, and incumbent Suja Lowenthal.

The conversation was lively, and everyone was on point. Questions came from the DRC, and from members of the audience.

March 13, 2012 12:34 PM PDT

Peter Frampton, as part of his 35th Anniversy tour in celebration of the release of Frampton Comes Alive!, will be performing tonight at the Long Beach Terrace Theater. Frampton assembled many of the original musicians who played on that Grammy nominated album to join him.

Stanley Sheldon has a long history as a professional musician. He's performed along side folk-pop icon Melanie, and played with Warren Zevon, Lou Gramm, and Foreigner. He will always be best known, however, for his role in the now legendary 1976 recording, Frampton Comes Alive!

With just 11 dates remaining in a tour that began in June of last year, Sheldon took a few minutes to speak with me about how he came to play with Frampton in the mid-70s, and what it has meant for him ever since.

January 25, 2012 01:32 AM PST

While Ulrich Krieger may not be a household name, he's a star in the world of experimental music. By day, he is a mild mannered professor at the California Institute for the Arts, teaching composition and sax. When he's not teaching, he works with luminaries like Lou Reed, Lee Ranaldo, LaMonte Young, Christian Marclay, Ensemble Modern, the Berliner Philharmoniker, and the Soldier String Quartet.

In fact, the reason why I got an opportunity to speak with Ulrich is that, starting this Friday, music he helped create is being featured in an immersive multi-channel audio installation at the University Art Museum. The installation is titled, Lou Reed - Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe.

Krieger's relationship with Reed goes back decades, to when he began the unlikely task of notating Reed's 1975 recording, Metal Machine Music, for a performance ensemble using traditional Western instruments. Reed himself was, at first, incredulous. Still, after hearing a performance demo, Reed saw this as a genuine opportunity to transform his original studio creation into something performable.

In this interview, Krieger speaks about many aspects of his work.

July 07, 2011 11:10 PM PDT

Many know Al Williams as the owner of the Jazz Safari, which opened in the shadow of the Queen Mary in 1976. Some know him as the owner of Birdland West, which was hailed by critics, fans, and musicians as the best jazz club in the country. He's also known as the mastermind of Rainbow Productions which, for 24 years, has produced the Long Beach Jazz Festival and, more recently, the Long Beach Bayou Festival. Others know Al as the leader of the Al Williams Jazz Society, a straight ahead quintet that's played huge festivals across the country.

This Saturday, the Al Williams Jazz Society will be playing a rare local performance in the very intimate setting of the Seabird Jazz Lounge, located right next to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles on Broadway. The show kicks off at 9 PM, and is scheduled to run 'til 1 AM. This is a show not to be missed!

Mr Williams and I had an opportunity to speak and, in our conversation, we covered lots of ground, talking about playing with many legends, the evolution of music, and his planned tribute to the great American poet, Gil Scott-Heron, who passed away in May. The recording lasts about 20 minutes.

March 31, 2011 10:29 AM PDT

Norton Wisdom arose, as an artist, from the tumult of the late 60s, when everyone was finding new ways of self expression, and of connecting with others. Through a series of experiences, he discovered the power of painting as a subversive, political act, one that called people to question their beliefs about what art is, and its roll in culture.

Much of his current work in ephemeral, taking place on stage with musicians as they perform. He works on an illuminated mylar surface, sort of like a huge light box. Images emerge, evolve, and dissolve throughout the performance and, on a good night, his efforts come into alignment with those of the musicians and, together, their collective creation is greater than the sum of its parts.

His list of collaborators is impressive. He's worked with with members of Jane's Addiction, The Rolling Stones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, The Grateful Dead, and DJ Nobody, but he's also deeply connected to the L.A. Improv Jazz scene, and specifically famed guitarist Nels Cline. Cline and Wisdom performed together as Stained Radiance, and a documentary of their efforts was recently released to great critical acclaim.

The great thing about Wisdom, though, is that he's a true egalitarian, in that he brings his boundless energy and enthusiasm to performances with new and emerging artists as well.

This interview is a bit less than 30 minutes long, and I think you'll get a sense of his character and charm.

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