Pre-Order Hi-Fructose Vol. 47 (Plus, This Week’s DJ Gigs)

Volume 47 of new contemporary at magazine Hi-Fructose is on the horizon and I have two stories in it. For this issue, I interviewed L.A.-based artist Ken Flewellyn, who merges hip-hop and traditional Japanese imagery in his paintings. I also wrote this issue’s insert, which features the artwork of Erik Jones. These are stories that are only available in print. If you want to read them, pre-order a copy now.

You can catch me on the CDJs at The Lash twice this week. On Thursday, I’ll be playing the debut night of a new goth and industrial party called Stomp! Friday marks the return of From Here to Eternity, the tribute to Giorgio Moroder that my pal Rose Knows and I throw at The Lash. If you attended the last two parties, then you know it’s a really fun night. If you haven’t visited us yet, stop by this week. The Lash is at 117 Winston St. in downtown Los Angeles. Both parties are 21+, 9 p.m. start, no cover.

A Brief Update

It’s time to start updating this website again. A lot has happened since my last post, but that’s all history now. Here’s what’s current.

 

New Story:  “Can Virtual Reality Help Stop Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?” (Los Angeles Magazine, March 19, 2018)

I’ve spent the past few years looking into virtual reality and, somehow, managed to win an award from L.A. Press Club last year for doing that. I’ve also written about sexual harassment and the importance of the #metoo movement. So, when I learned about Vantage Point and its mission to use virtual reality to better educate people on sexual harassment prevention and intervention, my curiosity was piqued. It was a thrill to be able to write this story for Los Angeles Magazine.

New Story: “These Hyperreal Bodysuits Show That The Self Is More Than Skin Deep” (Good, March 21, 2018)

Sarah Sitkin’s new solo show, “Bodysuits,” is a gorgeous and thought-provoking collection of works now on view at Superchief Gallery. In it, she uses special effects techniques to create hyperreal, hyper-detailed bodysuits that were modeled off the bodies of real people. I was very happy to write about it for Good.

Upcoming DJ Gigs:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Strange Magic: An ELO Dance Party at The Lash

Rose Knows and I play all the Electric Light Orchestra you can handle and more. Join us at The Lash, 117 Winston St., DTLA, from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ex-Cetera: One Year Anniversary at La Cuevita

My pal Malvada is celebrating the first anniversary of her party, Ex-Cetera, and she invited me to guest DJ along with Deadmatter. 10 p.m. 5922 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park.

Thursday, March 29

Stomp! at The Lash

Dark Chrystal asked me to join her, Protolkall and Revenant for the debut of a new dark alternative party at The Lash. We’ll be playing industrial, EBM, goth, alternative. 9 p.m. 117 Winston St., DTLA

Friday, March 30

From Here to Eternity at The Lash

Rose Knows and I are doing our Giorgio Moroder tribute again at The Lash. We play everything from Moroder’s classic disco material to new cuts and mix in loads of disco and synthpop. 9 p.m. 117 Winston St., DTLA

My 15 Favorite Assignments of 2016

Photo Oct 23, 11 50 00 AMYears from now, kids may read about 2016 in history books as the year that David Bowie died and the whole damn world spun out of control. Or, maybe they won’t, but that’s certainly how I’ll remember it. It’s been year fraught with political tension and marked by the deaths of legends. It’s the year where social media became something to dread– who will be arguing today?– and wi-fi dead zones started to feel like safe spaces.

It doesn’t matter what your beat is, when your job is to write about the world that surrounds you, all of this matters. Everything from the presidential election to social issues to celebrity deaths matters and has impacted the stories that I covered this year.

Below are my 15 favorite assignments from 2016. The subject matter varies and some are more heavily influenced by the big issues and events of 2016 than others, but I think they all speak to the ups and downs of this year. At the very least, this is what I will remember about a very strange year.

15.“10 Things David Bowie’s Art Collection Says About Him” (L.A. Weekly)

I didn’t write about Bowie’s death because it hit too hard. His was amongst the first music I recall hearing and the music that carried me into adulthood. In September, though, I had the chance to check out a few pieces of Bowie’s art collection before they went up for auction. It was an opportunity to write about the visionary musician through the possessions that surrounded him.

14. “How Conan’s Assistant Became TV’s Unofficial Armenian Ambassador” (L.A. Weekly)

Every year, L.A. Weekly publishes the “People” issue, featuring very short profiles of Angelenos who are making an impact in various fields. I wrote three articles for this issue, but my profile of Sona Movsesian is particularly special, as I had been wanting to interviewing since watching “Conan in Armenia.”

13. “Meet Genre-Hopping, Wall-Smashing Frontwoman Ceci Bastida” (Playboy)

Ceci Bastida has made a lot of music that I enjoy, from back in the days when she was part of Tijuana No! to her solo work to Mexrrissey. I was very happy to have the chance to chat with her for Playboy where we discussed politics and language in music.

12. “The Triumphs and Hardships of Black America Are Illustrated by Nikkolas Smith” (Artbound)

I first came into contact with Nikkolas Smith through an iam8bit group art show in Los Angeles a while back and have been following his rising career on social media ever since then. This summer, Smith’s celebratory illustrations of Olympians were a viral hit and, while has had a lot of success online, these images led to his first children’s book. I had the chance to meet with him prior to the release of The Golden Girls of Rio and wrote about his work for KCET’s Artbound.

11. “How Warpaint Got Stronger Together By Spending Time Apart” (L.A. Weekly)

Warpaint released the stellar album, Heads Up, this year and I was assigned to interview the L.A.-based band for L.A. Weekly. The story landed on the cover and it became my first cover story for the alternative weekly since 2012.

10. “Boys Noize Talks Surveillance, Berlin and Contributing to the ‘Snowden’ Soundtrack” (Playboy)

Snowden was a fascinating movie with a fantastic soundtrack, which featured contributions from German producer Boys Noize. When I chatted with him for Playboy, he shared his own thoughts on Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance, amongst other topics.

9.  “How Lifelike Can Your Avatar Get?” (PrimeMind)

PrimeMind was an unfortunately short-lived publication filled with interesting stories about tech and culture. I was very honored to have been able to contribute one piece to PrimeMind earlier this year. This story looks at the evolving technology of avatars and what happens when the digital representation of you looks so much like the physical you.

8. “He’s Old Gregg! The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding Comes to L.A.” (L.A. Weekly)

David Bowie died not long before I interviewed Noel Fielding for L.A. Weekly. Fielding, the British comedian best known as part of The Mighty Boosh, is himself a big Bowie fan so that inevitably became part of the interview. It was a real privilege to chat with Fielding, whose work I have enjoyed for so long and whose influences are so similar to my own. Of course, I had to ask about his Kate Bush impersonation too.

7. “A Maze-Maker’s Biggest Project Ever Has Taken Over Cartoon Network’s Burbank Studios” (L.A. Weekly)

I love writing about unusual art projects and Ian Anderson’s maze inside a stairwell at Cartoon Network’s Burbank headquarters was pretty unusual. This was a very fun story to write.

6. “Autistic Students Gain the Skills to Work in Animation and Visual Effects at Exceptional Minds” (Artbound)

After the Cartoon Network maze story, I was invited back to the studios for an animation jam, where students from various schools spent a weekend working on a project. One of the teams was comprised of people from Exceptional Minds, which is a school/studio in Sherman Oaks that is dedicated to training people on the autism spectrum for careers in animation and visual effects. Later on, I got to visit their campus and spoke to both teachers and students.

5. “Promoter and Art Curator Lenora Claire Is Fighting to Change Stalking Laws” (L.A. Weekly)

Lenora Claire has put together a lot of cool projects over the years, from parties to art shows. Recently, though, she has been working tirelessly on changing stalking laws. I talked to her for L.A. Weekly about her personal experience and how she is proposing to change the way law enforcement handles stalking cases.

4. “Retro ‘Pee-Chee’ Folders Are Re-envisioned to Memorialize Victims of Police Violence” (Artbound)

Patrick Martinez had been well into his series of paintings stylized to look like Pee-Chee folders when I stopped by his studio last summer. Martinez’s paintings use the classic school folder iconography to depict instances of police violence, both past and present. Read more about this intense series of paintings in my story for Artbound.

3. “Can Getting a Sound Bath Be Like Hearing a Great DJ Set?” (L.A. Weekly)

I had wanted to write more about sounds that weren’t necessarily what’s considered music and had the chance to do that with this story. El Larson creates sound baths using Himalayan bowls and modular synths. It’s a collision of old and new that creates an unusual and interesting experience.

2. “From Hollywood to Silicon Beach, L.A. Creatives Are Plotting Virtual Reality’s Boom” (L.A. Weekly)

This year, I got to write a cover story on Los Angeles’ virtual reality community for L.A. Weekly. I spent a couple months working diligently on the story, but, really, I feel like it was the result of the past few years that I’ve spent going to VR events and demoing new experiences. I’m particularly proud to have had the opportunity to write this.

1. “Armenian DJs Are Bringing Traditional Sounds Into Underground Dance Music” (L.A. Weekly)

This is actually one of my all-time favorite assignments. It was an unusual story that tied to dance music and Armenian culture, two subjects that are very dear to me, and the response was much greater than I anticipated.

Stories: 10/17-10/23

Photo Oct 23, 11 50 00 AMTwo years ago, I started checking out the new wave of virtual reality projects and wrote about them here and there for L.A. Weekly, Paste and The Robot’s Voice. Two months ago, I started work on a big story for L.A. Weekly on the development of Los Angeles’ community of virtual reality pros and how this intersects with Hollywood. The story came out on Thursday and I’m very happy to add that it’s the cover feature for this week’s print issue.

“From Hollywood to Silicon Beach, L.A. Creatives are Plotting Virtual Reality’s Boom”

Art Center has a data art show going on right now. What I thought was really interesting about this group exhibition was that two of the pieces are inspired in part by Joy Division. I wrote about those works for L.A. Weekly.

“How Joy Division Ended Up in a Data Art Show — Twice”

Also, L.A. Weekly ran a list of cool videos shot in our fine city. I wrote about clips from the Beastie Boys and Massive Attack.

“The 20 Best Music Videos Ever Shot in Los Angeles”

In club news, I’ll be playing Italo disco, freestyle and more at the Lash on Thursday night for Native Love. This is going to be totally different from my usual sets at the Lash for ’90s Goth Klub (which, by the way, is Sunday, October 30– wear a costume) and should be a ton of fun. Hope to see you there.

 

DJ Gigs for October 2016

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This week, I’ve been in a deep writing hole trying to finish stuff that you will, hopefully, have the chance to read soon. In the meantime, check out L.A. Weekly‘s Best of L.A. issue. I wrote a few of the entries in here, like “Best Band Name” and “Best Spot for Househeads.”

I have a smattering of DJ gigs coming up in the next few weeks. On Friday, October 14, Das Bunker kicks off its three-day 20th anniversary celebration. I’ll be playing on that first night with my old DJ buddies Frankie and Gerber in the Satellite room. Satellite was a synthpop club that Frankie used to throw. I was of the DJs there around 1999/2000 and it was a the party where I started to develop my own DJ style. It will be so much fun to play this event.  More info on Facebook.

Wardance is back on Friday, October 21 at the Grand Star in Chinatown. This month, we’re teaming up with Prism for a dance party that promises to be a lot of fun mix of spooky stuff, synth-y stuff and whatever else we feel like playing. RSVP on Facebook and join us.

Start off Halloween on October 30 with 90s Goth Klub at The Lash. I will hopefully have time to put together an appropriately ’90s goth costume for this. No, it will not be The Crow. Details on Facebook.

Stories: September 25- October 1

Warpaint pic

On Thursday, the new issue of L.A. Weekly hit the streets with Warpaint on the cover. I wrote the story. Almost five years had passed since my last cover story for the Weekly, so this was an exciting moment.

“How Warpaint Got Stronger Together by Spending Some Time Apart”

But, that’s not all.

Thanks to a gig I have for the KCET Cinema Series, I was able to see Snowden earlier in September. I really enjoyed the movie (go see it when you have the chance). I loved the use of music in the movie, even if it did leave me feeling super paranoid when I left the theater. That said, when I heard that Boys Noize, who was involved with several components of the soundtrack, was available for interviews, I knew I had to get one. Fortunately, Playboy said yes to this. We talked about Snowden, government surveillance, the drama surrounding London nightclub Fabric and gentrification in Berlin.

“Boys Noize Talks Surveillance, Berlin and Contributing to the ‘Snowden’ Soundtrack”

Last weekend, I headed to a posh hotel near the Beverly Center for Los Angeles Podcast Festival. What’s great about this event is that it’s not just about the big names in the podcast world. Sure, you had the chance to see Welcome to Night Vale and lots of other shows live, but there are also how-to panels and a Podcast Lab, where you can set up your gear and record. Lots of the guests stop by this room, so it’s a great chance for smaller podcasters to land interviews. It’s also filled with lots of fun people, some of whom I had the chance to interview for this story. This was a quick turnaround story, as I did the interviews on Saturday and had to file by Sunday mid-afternoon. Since I basically spent my Saturday night and Sunday morning working on this (thank goodness for coffee), I urge you to read it.

“Step Inside the Podcast Lab, Where the Littler Guys Grab the Mic”

Last week, I was asked to write a response to one of those weird, stereotypical articles about people from a another city moving to LA.

“Debunking Yet Another Tone Deaf Article On Los Angeles”

Time to get back to writing. For updates throughout the week, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. For tips and other inquiries, email me at lizohanesian@yahoo.com.

Stories: September 18-24

The most exciting thing that I had the chance to do last week was head to Sotheby’s in Century City to check out a slice of David Bowie’s art collection. I was practically born a Bowie fan, so seeing the art that he loved and thinking about how it must have inspired him was a wonderful opportunity.

Read more: “10 Things David Bowie’s Art Collection Says About Him”

Recently, I interviewed Aisha Tyler by phone. I’ve enjoyed her work since Talk Soup, so this was assignment was a treat.

Read more: “How Aisha Tyler Became Podcasting’s Ultimate Guy’s Girl (While Doing a Million Other Things)”

I spent a lot of this week interviewing, transcribing and writing, so there will be more to come soon. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram for updates. For tips and other inquiries, please email lizohanesian@yahoo.com.

New Stories: September 11-17, 2016

Patrick Martinez in his studio. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

Patrick Martinez in his studio. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this thing. Right now, the goal is to update on Sundays with a recap of my stories that ran over the past week.

“10 Tracks That Prove the ’90s Were the Golden Age of Nerdy Dance Jams” (L.A. Weekly, 9/13/16)

I’m not much of a list-maker, but there has been one list that I’ve long wanted to write. That’s this one. Quite a few of these were songs that I loved dearly in the era they were released. I still love them. In fact, I’ve been playing “O Fortuna” and “Temple of Dreams” a lot at 90s Goth Klub, the monthly party in L.A. where I’m a resident DJ. I might have to play a few more of these songs soon.

“Retro ‘Pee-Chee’ Folders are Re-envisioned to Memorialize Victims of Police Violence” (Artbound, 9/14/16)

Patrick Martinez is an L.A.-based artist who has been documenting instances of police violence in his series of Pee-Chee folder-styled paintings. I recently visited him at his studio where he spoke at length about these powerful works.

“Is the Future of Raves in Virtual Reality?” (L.A. Weekly, 9/15/16)

I write a twice-monthly column for L.A. Weekly about dance music, DJ culture and club life. In this installment, I attended the VR Rave, a dance party in a virtual reality world. It was so weird and so much fun.

That’s it for this week. For tips and other inquiries, contact me at lizohanesian@yahoo.com. Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Top 10 Assignments of 2015

CosplayFructose

As I write this, there is less than half a day left of 2015 and I’m still trying to finish up all the end-of-the-year odds and ends. It’s been a wonderfully odd year and I’m optimistic about 2016. This year, I wrote an essay that appeared in a published book! It’s called “How Cosplay Can Change Lives” and it appears in Ejen Chuang’s coffee table photo book, Cosplay in America Volume 2. The story marks an end of an era for me, as I steered away from covering the fan convention world this year. There are a few reasons for that, but, I’m happy with the decision.

I focused more on music in 2015 and that turned out to be a wise choice. Thanks to the music stories, my work hit more outlets, including SF Weekly, Noisey, Village Voice and Playboy. Check out my favorite assignments here.

Happy New Year!

1. “She Just Tore It Up: 5 Women Ruling the Electronic Music World” for Paper Magazine

Paper Magazine kindly asked me to write five short profiles of women in the dance music world for their summer music issue. Thinking of women to include in this story was easy, but finding DJs who were available for an interview at the start of summer was a challenge. Fortunately, between the festivals, Ibiza dates and other related gigs, I was able to get five on the record.  All five are artists that are doing really well in their respective genres and their mixes and productions should be amongst your Soundcloud faves.

2. “We Want the Airwaves: An Oral History of Indie 103.1, Commercial Radio’s Greatest Failed Experiment” for Noisey

My first story for Noisey was part of the publication’s tribute to the year 2005. It’s also the first time in my professional writing career that I relied on two subjects that were my focus in grad school– oral history and radio. Knowing that my MA finally came in handy made my year.

3. “Kent Twitchell” for Hi-Fructose

Kent Twitchell’s work is familiar to anyone who lives and (especially) drives in Los Angeles. You know the Chamber Orchestra mural on the side of the 110 downtown? That’s his work. So are a bunch of other giant murals of humans that exist on building sides in and around the city. Hi-Fructose really sent me an amazing opportunity when they asked me to interview him for the magazine. I spent a couple hours with Twitchell while he was on site at Valley College finishing up his newest version of the Freeway Lady. It was a doozy of an interview to transcribe, but a breeze to write because there was so much story involved. I’m really proud of this piece. Unfortunately, it’s not online. If you want to read it, you’ll have to track down a hard copy of Hi-Fructose Vol. 37.

4. “In the Industrial Wasteland of Vernon, A Kooky Pop Art Home You Can Visit” for L.A. Weekly

I didn’t know who would get this story when I started work on it. Actually, I was pretty close to finished with it when L.A. Weekly picked it up. This year, I started working on more stories because I wanted to write to them, rather than because they were assigned. This one I had to write because I love Dabs Myla’s work and, more so than that, I loved the idea of painting a brightly-colored, house-like installation in the middle of dreary Vernon. While it’s risky to take on a story without an outlet attached to it (and I have the half-stories and lonely, transcribed interviews to prove that), this time it worked to my advantage.

5. “What Happens When Rabid Concertgoers Get Old” for L.A. Weekly

I was feeling the age dilemma this year. I’m old enough to have a certain amount of knowledge and experience that could come in handy when writing about music. Yet, music is frequently associated with youth and even making a vague admission to being much older than the average concertgoer could adversely affect me. Still, I felt like I needed to write this essay just to release some frustration. Much to my surprise, a lot of people related to this piece and the comments were often quite touching. Yeah, I’m old, but it’s becoming less of a big deal after the passage of another birthday.

6. “Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore Talks About His Sci-Fi Solo Album, MG for L.A. Weekly

Considering that I’ve been a huge Depeche Mode fan since I was 10, this was a dream interview.

7. “Kristian Nairn Is Known for Game of Thrones, But DJing Came First for Hodor” for Village Voice.

I went to one of Kristian Nairn’s Rave of Thrones parties in L.A. and thought it was so much fun that I jumped on the chance to interview him. Like the Dabs Myla story, the story came before an actual assignment. In the end, not only was it my first piece for Village Voice, it landed in the print edition.

8. “Take a Plung Into Them Are Us Too’s Synthy ‘Noise Bath’ This Saturday” for SF Weekly

I first saw Them Are Us Too at Roberto’s, a now-defunct venue in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. It was very early in the band’s career, although I didn’t know that at the time. I flipped for them that night and bought a CD. A couple years later, I noticed that they were playing in Los Angeles again and had a feeling that I could get a story placed. It became my first piece for SF Weekly.

9. “10 Steps to Getting Me Through a Ghost Hunt When I Don’t Believe in Ghosts” for The Robot’s Voice

Sadly, The Robot’s Voice closed up shop at the end of the year. I’m eternally grateful to Luke Thompson for his editorial insight and for sending me some interesting assignments. This one was probably the strangest. It has to do with ghosts and the murder of Sharon Tate.

10. “We Went to the WeDidIt” Holiday Party and It Got Weird” for Playboy

The best surprise of December was when an editor from Playboy (who had previously been my editor at another publication) contacted me to go on a last minute assignment. I can’t think of a better way to end the year.

Get Your Copies of Cosplay in America Vol. 2 and Hi-Fructose Vol. 37

CosplayFructose

I had five DJ gigs in the past month. It’s probably been a decade since I played that much in a four-week span. Every gig was a blast, but the Halloween weekend ones were something special. On the night before the big, spooky holiday, I played my first ever gig in San Bernardino. I still can’t fully comprehend the strangeness of the night. There were bonfires and one of the bands on the bill, Rebel Rebel, had appeared on The Hot Seat with Wally George years ago. That last bit of information likely means nothing to folks who didn’t grow up in Southern California in the late ’80s and early ’90s. If, however, you do recall the KDOC show where shock rock met conservative punditry, you will totally understand why that was so weird. The following night, I played LADEAD’s Hex Halloween event. It was my first time playing for this promotion team, so I didn’t know what to expect. It was an absolute blast. As soon as the doors opened for the room where I played, the floor filled up with dancers.

Next month, I have two gigs schedule. The first is 90’s Goth Klub, a monthly party at The Lash where I regularly play. That’s on November 15. On November 20, I’ll be at the Grand Star for a new party presented by my pal Grimm Beatz and myself. It’s called Starhaus and it’s a “disco-goth glitter extravaganza.” In other words, I get to play Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sylvester and David Bowie in the same set. That pleases me. Hopefully, it will please you too. Our special guests are two of my favorite local artists, Ghost Noise and ParallaxScroll.

As for writing, I have a few things out now that you won’t be able to read online. My friend Ejen Chuang recently released the follow-up to his successful photo book Cosplay in America. For the second volume, he goes deeper into the costuming world, documenting the prep work and giving a behind-the-scenes look at conventions. Plus, there’s an essay penned by yours truly. Ejen has been bringing the book to various conventions, so you might be able to pick up a copy in an artist alley somewhere, like at DesignerCon in Pasadena on November 21 and 22. You can also order Cosplay in America Vol. 2 online.

I also have two stories in the current issue of Hi-Fructose. I had the chance to interview Ryan Salge, an up-and-coming artist who is doing gorgeous work. I also interview legendary L.A. muralist Kent Twitchell. His work– like the L.A. Chamber Orchestra mural that overlooks a stretch of freeway downtown– is truly a part of the city and something that makes me pretty darn proud to be an Angeleno. Having the chance to talk to him extensively about his career was an honor and I hope you’ll read the story. You can order Hi-Fructose through the magazine’s website.

I do have one new story that’s online. The current, monthly issue of Paste Magazine is focused on the future and I wrote specifically about how virtual reality may change the way we experience television. I’ve been reporting on VR here and there for the past year or so and it’s a subject that truly fascinates me, so I was very happy to be able to write this.

“How Virtual Reality Might Change TV Shows” (Paste Magazine)

I’ll be back next week with new stories to share. Thanks for reading!

Liz