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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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July 30, 2009 10:00 AM PDT

From his early Jazz explorations with brother Alex to his work in support of artists such as Willie Nelson and Rickie Lee Jones, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline has constantly pushed the boundaries of his abilities as an instrumentalist, composer, and improviser. Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top 20 guitar gods, and "World’s most dangerous guitarist" by Jazz Times, his work is consistently diverse, adventurous, and really good.

G.E. Stinson was a founding member of the influential, genre-defining, and Grammy winning group Shadowfax. Known for their world music influences, well crafted arrangements, and evocative melodies, the band helped shape a whole generation of music artists. For the last 2 decades, Stinson has been exploring other aspects of Jazz and improvisation, including recent forays into ‘bit crunching’.

The two have played together, on and off, since the mid 90’s and, in the upcoming Sounds Are Active release titled “Elevating Device,” they bring every bit of their attention to bear for 40+ minutes of concentrated creation.

The two sat down with me and talked about their collaboration, the process of creation, their gear, extended technique, and the addictive nature of fuzz. What emerges is a glimpse into the hearts and minds of two very talented artists, with some laughs (and interjections from Vlad the Dog) along the way.

May 20, 2009 12:10 AM PDT

Patrick West, City Manager for the City of Long Beach, talks about the current municipal arts funding model, some of the successes, opportunities, and challenges that face the Arts Council for Long Beach, and explains the cuts in the upcoming budget.

April 09, 2009 11:33 PM PDT

Transformation II is a unique multicultural art exhibition featuring work created by artists from Cambodia, and the United States. The opening reception, taking place on Saturday, April 11th, from 6-9 PM at the 2nd City Council Art Gallery + Performance Space, showcases sculpture, photography, painting, mixed media, and installation works. The show coincides with the celebration of the Cambodian New Year, and will include a second reception on Friday, April 24th, that includes film screenings and a Cambodian book forum, with signings by the authors.

Long Beach is home to the largest population of Cambodians outside Cambodia. The exhibition will serve as a bridge between the Cambodian community here and the creative community in Cambodia. It will also create and sustain connections between the local Cambodian community and the non-Cambodian community.

Co-curators Lydia Parusol and Denise A. Scott took time out of their hectic schedules to chat with me about the show, its origins, and some of the featured artists. Lydia lives in Phnom Penh, and is the Art Manager and curator for Meta House, part of the Meta Art Center. Denise is an internationally known installation artist. The running time is just under 13 minutes.

March 24, 2009 10:50 PM PDT

On Saturday, March 28th, The Arts Council for Long Beach, in conjunction with the Economic Development and Cultural Affairs bureau of the City of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, presents "Create Long Beach," a community forum that's seeking community participation in formulating the City's Cultural Master Plan. This document will help guide municipal leaders in advancing existing cultural and artistic assets, and in using them to improve the quality of life for everyone.

Robert Swayze, manager of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs, has been a leader in formulating a vision for the City's cultural future. He took time to speak with me about the upcoming event, the formulation of the Cultural Affairs division, and the opportunities and challenges that await us.

"Create Long Beach" takes place from 9 AM - 12:30 PM at the Museum of Latin American Art, located just South of 7th Street, at 628 Alamitos Avenue. Parking is free. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early so the event can start on time.

The conversation runs 48 minutes and 32 seconds.

March 12, 2009 11:15 PM PDT

Artist and curator Lisa Wibroe walks me through a gallery show featuring 12 artists whose works span a variety of media and styles. At the end, we're joined by Mary Grace, a ceramic artist, and host of the show.

January 26, 2009 10:48 PM PST

Robin Cox is on the faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. For more than 10 years his ensemble, which features cello, marimba, vibraphone, bass clarinet, and Cox on violin, has performed original and commissioned music that defies easy categorization, but is consistently pleasing to both the novice and discerning ear.

As part of the Faculty Artist Series, The Robin Cox Ensemble is performing this Friday, January 30th, at 8 PM in CSULB's Gerald R. Daniel Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 at the door. Plan to arrive early.

Joining them is world renowned composer, conductor, arranger, and violinist Todd Reynolds. Perhaps best known for his work with Bang on a Can, The Steve Reich Ensemble, and Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, Reynolds will be performing with The Robin Cox Ensemble, and doing some of his solo works as well.

Robin took some time to speak with me about his work, Todd, and the upcoming performance.

September 08, 2008 11:37 AM PDT

Steven Glaudini, Associate Creative Director and producer for Musical Theatre West, talks about the 08/09 season, and shares some insight into the opportunities and challenges of presenting great musical theater.

September 08, 2008 11:23 PM PDT

What do jazz greats like Luis Conte, Lee Ritenour, Eric Marienthal, Tom Scott, and Ernie Watts have in common? Long Beach native son David Witham has lent his talent and artistry to each, and many more. He’s the principal pianist for Wicked at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, and was the long time band leader for George Benson.

He recently released a CD of original compositions titled Spinning The Circle on the Cryptogramophone label. The playing is stellar, and the writing diverse: In turns expansive, reflective, and joyous. Supported by top musicians like Nels Cline (Wilco, John Zorn, Geraldine Fibbers), Jay Anderson (Maria Schneider, Frank Zappa, Tom Waits), Jon Crosse (Captain & Tennille, Michel Columbier, Paul Anka), Greg Leisz (Willie Nelson, Beck, Joni Mitchell), Scott Amendola (Pat Martino, Charlie Hunter, Nels Cline), and legendary percussionist Luis Conte (Queen Latifah, Diana Krall, Eric Clapton), David’s playing and writing glistens and shines.

David’s not a one trick pony, though. In addition to his full time music work, he also produces a public access show called Portable Universe. With more than 100 episodes, he’s showcased a wide variety of artists, musicians and, with the help of Neon Hunter, explored his other passion: Neon art.

David took some time to speak with me about his work, and performed two songs. Click on the Podcast link to hear the interview, and on the video player below to watch the performance.

Watch Portable Universe Fridays at 8:30 pm on Long Beach Community TV (ch. 65/69/95 in LB and Signal Hill if you have cable) and 24/7 at www.portableuniverse.tv.

September 08, 2008 11:32 PM PDT

Raindog Armstrong is a poet, publisher, and pied piper for poetry. With his Lummox Press, he published the Lummox Journal as a monthly magazine, which showcased artists from around the country, and around the world. Publishing both poetry and in-depth interviews, the Journal has now moved onto the internet. This has freed him, at last, to publish the first of several volumes of his own work, the first of which is called Fire & Rain. It reaches back to some of his earliest work, and spans nearly 15 years of creativity.

Raindog joined me for a free wheeling, and wide ranging, conversation that includes three poetry recitations, discussions of 9/11, and his past and future musical efforts. It is 50 minutes of honest talk with one of our fair City's creative icons.

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