Top 10 Assignments of 2015


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


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!


New Stories: Robot Parties, Electro Music and Much More

Empire of the Sun plays an Absolut party in Los Angeles. (Photo: Liz O.)

Empire of the Sun plays an Absolut party in Los Angeles. (Photo: Liz O.)

There are days when I really love my job. Take last Friday, for example. An editor at Paper Magazine contacted me to see if I could make it to an Absolut even that night. It was downtown, maybe a five minute drive from my place, and I wasn’t set to work that night, so I said yes. It ended up being one of the coolest events I had ever witnessed, a futuristic house party where you could get a drink mixed by a drone and watch a band comprised of robots. I stayed much longer than I had planned, partially because there was too much to see and, mostly, because Empire of the Sun performed near the end of the bash and I hadn’t seen them play live.

“Absolut’s Elektric House Party Was Insane” (Paper Magazine)

One of my favorite ’80s electro jams is a song called “Egypt Egypt” by Egyptian Lover. If you remember my gigs back at the Parlour and other parties early in the ’00s, you probably remember that I played that track a lot. For that reason, and many more, I was incredibly excited to finally have the opportunity to interview Egyptian Lover.

“Egyptian Lover Helped Invent ’80s Electro– Now He’s Bringing It Back” (L.A. Weekly)

Earlier this month, I had the chance to hang out with the promotion team Incognito, whose parties have featured guests like Francois K., Paul Woolford, Ian Pooley and loads of other recognizable names in the house and techno worlds. The story ran on L.A. Weekly‘s music site this week.

“Corporate Guys by Day, Party Promoters at Night: Meet the Team Behind Incognito” (L.A. Weekly)

And then there’s Loco Dice, who was one of the highlights of my trip to Electric Daisy Carnival this year. I interviewed him for Village Voice in advance of his Halloween gig in New York.

“DJ/Producer Loco Dice Goes from Dusseldorf to a Secret Brooklyn Warehouse Dance Party” (Village Voice)

It hasn’t been all music and parties this week. Jim McHugh is an L.A.-based photographer who has shot many people and places you will recognize. We talked about his days as a celebrity photographer for magazines like People, his series of portraits of artists and his more recent work capturing the images of L.A. landmarks.

“Jim McHugh’s Portraits of Famous People and Familiar Places” (Artbound)

Here are two stories that came out earlier this month and are worth a read.

Dabs Myla are a husband-wife team that make art as a single unit. They recently turned a building on Modernica’s factory grounds into a show-house for an exhibition that will last through mid-October. I got to visit with them while they were working on the project.

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

I still can’t believe that I got the chance to see Ladybaby play inside an anime shop. If you want to know why that’s a big deal, you’ll have to read my story for Noisey.

“Meet Ladybaby, Japan’s Kawaiicore (and Pro-Wrestling) Answer to Andrew W.K.” (Noisey)

I’ll be finishing up October with two DJ gigs. Tonight, I’m playing at an Elks Lodge in San Bernardino for a big goth event. I’m on early, so if you’re in the Inland Empire, come by and check it out. Tomorrow, I’ll be on the decks at Hex Halloween at the Monte Christo in Koreatown.

Happy Halloween!

New Stories July 20-24, 2015: Lots of DJs and Xena

My profile of Mija is in this week's print edition of L.A. Weekly.

My profile of Mija is in this week’s print edition of L.A. Weekly.

This week was nearly all about the DJs. My profile of Mija, whose DJ career took off after an impromptu set with Skrillex last year, finally ran in the print edition of L.A. Weekly. This story was in the works for a while, so it’s nice to see it hit the streets. For those who would rather read online, you can do that too.

“A Chance DJ Set with Skrillex Helped Make Mija a Rising Star of EDM” (L.A. Weekly)

Mija wasn’t the only DJ I profiled recently. I also had the chance to hang out with Adam Auburn. You might recognize the L.A.-based DJ from his gigs at Exchange or King King, or his party Afternoon Delight at the Standard. You might also recognize him as a DJ at California Adventure’s Mad T Party.

“Adam Auburn’s Versatile DJ Skills Take Him Exchange L.A. to California Adventure’s Mad T Party” (L.A. Weekly)

When I started hitting up the clubs in the mid-1990s, Amanda Jones seemed to be playing everywhere. She actually got her start a few years earlier, when she was in high school. Today, she has two weekly residencies, amongst other gigs. It was a great pleasure to finally have the chance to interview her.

“DJ Amanda Jones Rules the Decks in L.A.’s Goth/Industrial Party Scene” (L.A. Weekly)

And then I got to DJ too. Hoseh of the Dublab show “Version Sounds” invited me to play a guest set earlier this week. This was a very special opportunity. Nearly 20 years ago, Hoseh hired me as a DJ at KXLU 88.9 FM, Loyola Marymount’s radio station. He likes to mention that no one wanted me to be a DJ because I was a weirdo goth, but he knew that I could do the job. I’m glad he did this because KXLU changed my life and I probably wouldn’t have the career that I do now if it weren’t for that. Hoseh, if you’re reading this, thanks for taking a chance on the goth chick.

“Version Sounds” 7/21/15 (Dublab)

It wasn’t all DJs this week. I did write about Xena: Warrior Princess or, what I would want to see in a Xena reboot, for Topless Robot.

“7 Things We Want to See in a Xena: Warrior Princess Reboot” (Topless Robot)

That’s it for now. I’ll be back with another update next week.

Thanks for reading and listening.

Martin Gore, Beautiful People and More


It’s been a busy week. On the occasion of our anniversary, my husband and I decided to hit up at least one music event every day/night for a week. We checked out a party in Hollywood that wasn’t cheesy, caught a music festival at our alma mater, felt a lot of bass at Low End Theory and much more. It wasn’t as exhausting of a week as I thought it would be. Writing about it might be more taxing. I don’t know yet.

Meanwhile, some exciting new stories hit the web and the streets this week.

Martin Gore just released his new solo album, MG, and I’m proud to say that I had the chance to speak with him about it for L.A. Weekly. I’ve been a huge Depeche Mode fan since I was in grade school, so this was a very special assignment.

“Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore Talks About His Sci-Fi Solo Album, MG”

The fact that I’m a big ol’ Depeche Mode fan is probably a sign that I’m older than the average club-goer. For L.A. Weekly, I wrote about how the nightlife changes as you hit your late 30s. The response for this story was amazing. I’m kind of proud of it.

“What Happens When Rabid Concertgoers Get Old”

This year, I contributed to Paper Magazine‘s annual Beautiful People issue. Check out my interviews with Shamir, Ellar Coltrane, Ruba Wilson, Desiree Akhavan and Mike Eckhaus of Eckhaus Latta.

Paper’s Beautiful People

Apparently, some people go all out for children’s birthday parties, bringing in companies who specialize in all sorts of whimsical characters, from clowns to princesses to mermaids. I talked to a few people who own party production companies for Backstage.

“Kids’ Parties Offer Acting Challenges and Good Pay”

This week, I somehow managed to get two stories in the print issue of L.A. Weekly. The first is an arts piece that gives a little peek inside the L.A. burlesque scene. The second is a music feature profiling the band Talk in Tongues, who I think you’ll love if you’re interested in late-’80s/early-/’90s U.K. indie music, like 4AD and Creation Records stuff.

“Super Mario Came to Town and Sparked an All-Out Burlesque War”

“Talk in Tongues Were Born in the ’90s, but Their Sound Is Pure ’80s Shoegaze”




New Stories on Dance Music and Animation

In the studio where Datsik and team prepared The Vortex for tour. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

In the studio where Datsik and team prepared The Vortex for tour. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

Last weekend, I attended Anime Los Angeles as a guest of honor. It was an amazing experience. Throughout the weekend, I gave talks on writing and answered a bunch of questions about everything from college to “shipping.” I think I answered all the shipping questions wrong, though, since I didn’t know what the word meant until after the fact. To clarify, I think characters should be in relationships with the characters who will treat them with respect, as one would expect in real life.

Anyhow, I want to thank everyone at Anime Los Angeles for making this experience so memorable.

There was no break after the convention ended. I spent most of this week traveling across town, actually, L.A. County, to interview people for a few different stories. I’m pretty excited about the work I’ve been doing lately and can’t wait until I can share it with you. Before that can happen, though, I have to finish writing.

One of my goals for 2015 was to do more music writing and that’s working out pretty well. This week, L.A. Weekly published my list of 10 female DJs who were big before the big EDM “brofest” began. This is essentially a response to a trend piece about the emergence of lady DJs. Unless you’re a n00b, you should know that there have been women in the DJ booth for a long time. Apparently, a lot of people who aren’t n00bs got a hold of the story because most of the responses I saw were of the “You forgot [insert DJ name here]!” variety. I sincerely love seeing that. Because there are so many women in the dance music world who have made an impact, and this was just a 10-person list, I’ll be posting tracks and mixes from many more on my Facebook page.

Read: “10 Female DJs Who Ruled Before the EDM Brofest”

For my “Cult Stars” column that runs online in L.A. Weekly’s arts section, I talked to Amy Lee Ketchum. She’s an animation artist who makes beautiful short films that you need to see. A recent one, “Dreaming Los Angeles,” is actually an exquisite corpse collaborative project that screened recently at the Egyptian.

Read: “A Chain of Animators Created and Exquisite Corpse Movie About L.A.”

On Tuesday, I ventured to North Hollywood where DJ/producer Datsik unveiled the latest incarnation of The Vortex. That’s the massive DJ booth/image mapping prop that he brings on tour. Datsik is about to embark on a lengthy tour and it may be the last trip for The Vortex.

Read: “Datsik Prepares the Vortex for What Might Be Its Final Tour”

The Best of L.A. is Out Now

Photo: Liz Ohanesian for L.A. Weekly

Photo: Liz Ohanesian for L.A. Weekly

L.A. Weekly’s annual Best of L.A. issue is out now. It’s thick and filled with lots of great local spots. For the issue, I headed back to the homeland– the San Fernando Valley– and wrote up Captain Ed’s Shoppe. It’s a Valley institution. My other picks include Daiso (for providing cheap office supplies) and party game makers Wise Guys Events.

In other news, there’s a new issue of Hi-Fructose on the horizon (maybe in your mailbox now). I wrote about Laurence Vallières, who makes massive cardboard sculptures of animals. You can order this issue online. The story is only available in print.

And then there’s my story on D*Face for L.A. Weekly, which I may have mentioned in a previous post. D*Face is a British artist who started out on the streets, but does all sorts of work now, from murals to paintings to installations. My favorite pieces in his current show are portraits engraved on old school desks that are covered in graffiti.

Old Books, New Art and Virtual Reality

Chapter 3 of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Chapter 3 of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

When I was 12 or 13, I fell hard for The Smiths and Morrissey. In typical Morrissey fanatic fashion, I started reading the writers that the singer mentioned in songs and interviews. The biggie was Oscar Wilde. I went from The Picture of Dorian Gray, through the plays, fairy tales, basically anything I could find. I loved it all.

Years later, I stumbled across The Clark Library’s website and found out that they had this massive collection of works from Oscar Wilde and his co-horts. How the heck did this end up in L.A.? Maybe it didn’t matter. I had to see the Oscar Wilde collection. A few emails later, I had a story assignment and a tour scheduled.

“Inside the Clark Library’s Immense Oscar Wilde Collection”

Also, for KCET Artbound, I interviewed Stephanie Inagaki. She’s an L.A.-based artist whose portraits are both unexpected and beautiful.

“Stephanie Inagaki’s Intimate Portraits”

In other Artbound news, my recent story on L.A. punk legend Alice Bag one a recent vote, meaning that it will be the basis for an upcoming segment on the Artbound television series.

“Alice Bag’s Portraits of the Los Angeles Punk Scene”
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A Horror Convention, a Japanese Film Festival and More



Last weekend was Son of Monsterpalooza, which is a horror convention that is filled with special effects artists and other people who make monsters and other creepy things. I was there on Saturday to cover for L.A. Weekly. Not too long after arriving, I noticed that Tom Savini was sitting at a booth near the front of the convention center. Immediately, I knew I had to get a quote from him. If my brother– who spent pretty much all of his teenage years talking about horror movies– found out that I was here, that I saw Tom Savini and didn’t try to meet him, he would never let me live it down. So I went up to the booth and got quotes and a photo.

I spent four hours and change hitting up people for interviews and photos. One of the highlights was stopping by the Chiodo Bros. booth. They made Killer Klowns from Outer Space. I love that movie. In the end, I got two stories out of the experience.

“Son of Monsterpalooza, a Gathering of Monster-Makers in Burbank” (L.A. Weekly)

“10 Creepy Awesome Things We Saw at ‘Son of Monsterpalooza'” (Topless Robot)
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Lots of Art and One TV Show



Last weekend, “Monsterfink!” opened at a nifty Burbank collectibles shop called Creature Features. The group art show, which featured more than 100 contributors, brought together monsters, hot rods and, of course, Rat Fink. It was about as Southern California as an art show can get and I wrote about the event for my L.A. Weekly column, Cult Stars.

Read: “In Burbank, an Art Show About Monsters and Hot Rods — and Rat Fink”

Speaking of monsters, I recently visited Chet Zar, kind of the monster painters, at his studio in the San Gabriel Valley. He’s currently working on a show to open next month at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, but you can see a little of what he’s doing in the story I wrote for MySpace.

Read: “This is ‘All Hallow’s Eve’: Artist Chet Zar Traverses From Tool to Fine Art”

Early in August, I had the chance to hang out with Alice Bag. She fronted The Bags, one of the original late-1970s L.A. punk bands. Since then, she’s played with a lot of groups. Plus, she wrote a memoir, Violence Girl. Now, she’s showing her paintings in galleries. A lot of her work focuses on documenting the history of women involved in the Los Angeles punk scene and it’s fascinating. I wrote about Alice Bag for KCET Artbound.

Read: “Alice Bag’s Portraits of the Los Angeles Punk Scene”

A few weeks ago, Black Jesus, the new show from Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder, premiered on Adult Swim and it’s become quite popular. I talked to one of the show’s starts, Kali Hawk, about her character and the controversy that hit the show before it launched for Paste.

Read: “Catching up With Black Jesus Actor Kali Hawk”  

Sunday night, Captured Aural Phantasy, who I previously profiled for L.A. Weekly, returns to El Cid with a new season of stage shows based on comic books and radio shows. I wrote a preview of this weekend’s event for L.A. Weekly.

Read: “5 Far-Out Things to do in L.A. This Week for $10 or Less” (It’s the third entry.)