Punk far from sunk, resurfacing in L.A.


Those who were old enough to get into punk music clubs and rock venues in the 1980s witnessed a vibrant and tumultuous era of punk rock bands gaining more respect and momentum in terms of being able to draw a sizable number of fans in bigger rooms. This scenario was not more evident than in Los Angeles. When most major promoters were shunning punk because of its reputation as a violent subculture, Goldenvoice Productions started to present acts in larger, more established rooms with quality sound, such as the Hollywood Palladium and the Palace (now the Avalon).

Bands such as the Minutemen, Social Distortion, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana are among the many bands whose careers were boosted by their association with Goldenvoice. Although alternative rock became big business in the 1990s, it wasn’t always easy for Goldenvoice to compete as an independent promoter against rivals with national reach. Despite those difficulties, Goldenvoice continued its innovation by helping to mount the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio in 1999.

Founders Gary Tovar, Paul Tollett and the late Rick Van Santen sold Goldenvoice to the Anschutz Entertainment Group in 2001 but continued to run the firm within the corporate setting. All of which brings us to today, 30 years later, when Goldenvoice celebrates its 30th anniversary with three nights of music at the Santa Monica Civic Center, the scene of many classic punk rock shows.

Beginning Dec. 16 and continuing for two consecutive nights, Goldenvoice will host a series of three celebratory concerts featuring such legendary punk bands as the Descendants, the Vandals, Social Distortion, TSOL, the Adolescents, Ill Repute, Bad Religion and more. According to Goldenvoice co-founder Tovar, these artists and the line-up for the special shows were chosen to reflect the bands that embraced and were instrumental in building Goldenvoice from day one. What more could a punk rock fan ask for? So dig out those Doc Martens and make sure your health insurance premium is paid, as the slam pit will be open. Tickets, which could go fast, are available through Ticketmaster and several other record stores. More information can be found at goldenvoice.com/shows/.

If you aren’t able to attend these shows but would like to get a capsulated view of many of these bands from that era and what they’re doing now, check out the new documentary called “The Other F Word,” the word implied in the title is fatherhood. The film features many of the bands that will be playing the Goldenvoice show and takes a look at the seemingly contradictory transition into middle age for men who make their livings flailing about on a rock-and-roll stage. The film features interviews from Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg, Art Alexakis from Everclear, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid and more. The Morgan Spurlock executive produced-film will be playing in limited release in Los Angeles this month.

The Culver City Symphony Orchestra presents its season-opening concert of the 2011-12 Season, called “Veterans Day Remembrance,” on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The concert will honor the men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces and will feature a medley of themes for the U.S. military, as well as works by Donizetti, Elgar and Brahms. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and admission is free.

Another free cultural event will take place at the beautiful Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook on Sunday, Nov. 13, when the Donna Sternberg and Dancers science series presents the first showing of “The Flowering of Desire.” The program will seek to look at the desires that plants and humans share – the desire of procreation, for light, for nourishment and for space.

This site-specific performance will utilize the urban park landscape of the Baldwin Hills Overlook as a stage for the dancers to weave in and around the plants while accompanied by live music from composer Ken Christianson. This free performance begins at 3:30 p.m. and more information can be found at dsdancers.com.

Grammy Award winners will be in our midst on Nov. 17 at West L.A. College in Culver City when AFTRA and the local branch of the N.A.A.C.P. presents “Grammy Icons, Life: Before and After.” The showwill feature musician and songwriters Thelma Houston, Ray Parker Jr., Thomas “T.C.” Campbell and Pam and Joy Vincent, as they discuss their musical origins and what impact awards have had on their careers and lives.

Parker Jr. was best known for his title song in the “Ghostbusters” film in 1984, while Pam and Joyce Vincent spent their time writing and touring with singer Tony Orlando. Thelma Houston recorded more than 23 albums, while Campbell was a former member of funk group Cameo. This paneled event begins at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Campus Theater on the West L.A. campus. If you’d like to attend this free event, RSVP to RSVP@aftra.com.


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