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.

Martin Gore, Beautiful People and More

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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”

 

 

 

Time to Catch Up

Photo: Liz Ohanesian

Photo: Liz Ohanesian

Last weekend, I went to Long Beach Comic Expo and was excited to interview Jarod Lee Nandin. He cosplays Jenkins, aka The Griefer, aka “that which has no life” from the South Park episode “Make Love, Not Warcraft.” It’s a particularly genius episode of South Park. I remember watching it at my friend’s house and almost falling off the couch because I was laughing so hard.

Anyhow, I previously saw Jarod at a couple other conventions and admired his costume, so I asked him for an interview and he kindly obliged. Jarod is a super cool guy and very friendly. I figured that someone cosplaying such a minor South Park character would have to have a good sense of humor and now believe this to be a correct assumption. You can read the story in this week’s “Cult Stars” column for L.A. Weekly.

“A South Park Cosplayer With a Message for the Trolls”

Otherwise, things have been pretty busy lately. I’ve been working on freelance goals and, most of the time, I’ve been meeting them. It’s nice to see how things work out when you actually make spread sheets and write stuff on white boards.

I just updated my clips for the first half of 2014, so you can catch up on stories there. It’s not everything, just some stand out pieces. Amongst the highlights are my first feature for Boing Boing (on Sailor Moon) and an interview with Herb Alpert that I still can’t believe happened. There’s also a tour of Cartoon Network’s Burbank Studios, a Jem and the Holograms think piece and a personal story in which I make my husband sit down and watch the original Star Wars trilogy with me. He never saw it. I’m kind of a nerd about it.

Next week, I’ll be at E3. If you want to follow the adventures, look up @lizohanesian on Twitter.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

 

My Story on Germs Won KCET Artbound’s Reader Poll

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How cool is this? I’m pretty excited. “The Infectious Ephemera of Germs” was my first story for KCET Artbound. Thanks to everyone who voted.

I wrote another one since then. “Reinventing the Wheel with Efren Delgadillo, Jr.” went live last week. It’s about the artist behind the massive wheel at the center of a recent production of Prometheus Bound.

Here are two more stories you might have missed.

“The Purge Producer Jason Blum Explains How He Turned the Film Into a Haunted House”

Blumhouse of Horrors is bringing another scary adventure to Los Angeles this Halloween season. For last week’s installment of my L.A. Weekly column, “Cult Stars,” I went behind the scenes of The Purge: Fear the Night.

“Pete Tong Is a Very Big Deal in EDM, and Now He’s in L.A.”

Pete Tong just set up his homebase in L.A. I got to talk to him about the move, as well as his thoughts on the U.S. dance music scene, for L.A. Weekly.

Want to See My Story on Germs Turned into a KCET Artbound Video? Here’s How.

"Tribute to Magu" by Germs. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

“Tribute to Magu” by Germs. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

Last week, my first story for KCET Artbound hit the web. It’s called “The Infectious Ephemera of Germs.” In it, I interview L.A.-based artist Germs about his stunning work and the impact Los Angeles has had on that work.

Right now, the story is up for your vote. If it does well in the voting round, KCET Artbound will make a video documentary based on the story. I think that’s pretty cool. Hopefully, you do too. If you do think that this is a smashing idea, then you need to cast a vote.

“Vote Head-to-Head: The Artwork of Germs vs. Previewing the Broad Contemporary Art Museum

Big, Hopefully Not Terribly Tedious Update

It’s been a while since my last update here and a lot has happened in the past six weeks or so. Here’s the lowdown.

We completed Los Animales: Fours on the Floor, the first chapter in the ongoing saga of anthropomorphic animals/record store nerds that Jeaux Janovsky and I created. You can now read the chapter in its entirety for free on animalsoundsrecords.com. Response to the comic has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re so grateful for everyone who took an early interest in our project. We’ve managed to earn some early press, including interviews by Geeksmash, Defective Geeks and Ian/Yan. If you’re interested in contacting Jeaux & I for interviews, convention appearances, etc., email us at animalsoundsrecords [at] gmail [dot] com.  The second installment of the comic, Los Animales: Nadarave, starts on Monday.

Last month, I answered an ad that someone I know shared on Facebook and ended up freelancing for KCET. Yes, Facebook is good for finding work. Here’s the first story I did for the local television station’s website:

“For the Weekend: Jane Espenson”

I’ve also started writing more for Geek Exchange, the website for Geek Magazine. In the past few weeks, I interviewed Nilbog, an amazing local band who pays tribute to genre movie scores. I also re-watched The Crow and Chobits.

If you’ve followed my work for a while, you probably know that I’ve done my fair share of interviews with Andrew W.K. The latest one ran last week on Pure Volume. 

I’m still doing a lot of work for L.A. Weekly. In recent weeks, I had the chance to talk to Gilbert Hernandez and the team behind Teen Titans Go! I also checked out the latest L.A. show from Takashi Murakami and a group show dedicated to James Bond. In addition, I’ve been taking party shots for the Weekly here and there. Check out this slideshow from last weekend’s The Smiths/Morrissey Convention. 

On the club side of things, Underground is doing really well. We put together a very successful goth-y party called Shadowplay a few weeks back, in addition to other great events. You can check out my set lists on my blog, Beatique.

Somehow in the midst of all that, my longtime boyfriend and I snuck off to Las Vegas and got married. Seriously! I promised a few people that I would write a story about that experience too. It’s coming. Slowly.

Stay tuned for an update on Monday, as there is more news to share.

Thanks for reading.

L