Zero-Point is the New Il Corral
Rowdy 'Feminine Oddities' Show Inspires Old, Old Ideas
By Ron Garmon
In the two years it lasted, Il Corral was little short of a civic miracle. Hidden behind a routine length of vine-covered brick just off an ill-lit stretch of Melrose, the now-defunct club was less a rock venue than an irregularly-scheduled Temporary Autonomous Zone. The giddy avant-basement experimentalism of their scene was compressed into 40 Bands in 80 Minutes, a splendidly punky documentary documenting little of the chummy human tumult that attached itself to the space. Sure, you can hear well-crafted pop or prog-nosed rock whilst posing by the bar at any leading-brand Westside clipjoint, but how many of these invite patrons to swing across the floor on a rope?
Halcyon daze, to be sure, and unlikely to see revival anywhere near Hollywood anytime soon. Despite tolerant neighbors, effective DIY security, and dueling norteño decibels from two nearby dance halls, some residual hillbilly-moonshiner’s sense of the possible told me the place was impermanent at best. Like Al’s Bar, Zamakibo!, and the Garage, Il Corral joined the ranks of the padlocked, closing late last year in the usual white-noize Yuletide blizzard, only to reopen as Zero-Point last month in the even less-trendy precincts of South Downtown. Again hidden in plain sight (on the second floor of a barnlike warehouse off S. Central), the space is well-suited to partners Christie Scott and Stane Hubert’s announced ambition of inviting artists from various media into “three ring circle acts” and “salon-style rowdiness,” like the one-off multimedia “Feminine Oddities” show last Saturday night.The seeming idea was to hurl burly-q hoofers, girly punks, femme-flavored art, and a platoon of miscellaneous beautiful women – including Playboy model Foxy Natalia – into a crowd of downtown bohos and await the combustion already well underway by the time we arrived. My date, a pink-haired model who occasionally suffers her nude body to be painted with leopard spots for Art, did her innocent best to blur the line between spectator and exhibit, as intriguing images on the walls subtly raised the ambient sexual temperature. Debra Haden’s spread-legged, fish-netted Medusae jostled with Bryan Barnes’s bosomy death’s-heads and Mary Macker’s goth moppets for attention, as inhibitions relaxed and patrons began to paw and nuzzle discreetly. Indeed, my girl and I were on the verge of indiscretion ourselves when a peremptory feedback skronk redirected our attention to the ad-hoc performance space.Fallopian, an all-girl punk act from the disaffected proletarian hellhole of Santa Monica, set up an overamped clatter sounding less like every trick in the chickpunk book than the book itself stuffed into an elderly, sputtering woodchipper. These tubular belles, delectable in thrift-glamour couture, didn’t stint on audience by-play, even mixing in a little self-promo. “Hayley Duff loves us!” shouted the guitarist, bidding the rest of us follow her example. The audience yipped and bawled in delight, naked of inhibitions and earplugs as an old-timey mosh pit, but infinitely better looking.My date and I exited and walked around the block in a self-generated marigasmo haze, returning in time to see Fallopian’s boy groupies laboriously wrangle the band’s designer gear to the pavement. Upstairs, red-haired Foxy was shaking her well-made kewpie ass at a battery of photographers, as poses of other kinds had been long since abandoned by the congenial crowd. The über-hip governors of the place were beaming as the Hollywood Pin Up Girls strutted out. This “retro feel-good cabaret” consists of a gaggle of undeniably lovely ladies tripping Fosse-like to canned chestnuts like “Le Jazz Hot” and David Rose’s “The Stripper.” It was cheesy and about as un-serious as gallery showings get, but it worked like Wonka. As we edged to the door, the wolfish leers we saw plastered all over the room told of the power of art to stimulate ideas.2008-02-07the article online: zero-point oddities
Los Angeles Times - January 10, 2008
Words from the 'bathroom blogosphere'
Mark Ferem documents the best of bathroom-wall scrawls in his new book.
MARK FEREM has made a career out of crawling around urinals -- and he's not a janitor. Inspired by a Rainer Maria Rilke quote ("For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror") scrawled on the bathroom wall of a Houston dive bar, the native Angeleno began a small photo essay on the subject. Thirteen years later, his obsession with latrinalia has led to dozens of trips around the country and a 160-page photo book on the subject, "Bathroom Graffiti" (2007, Mark Batty).
Where tagging and street graffiti obsess over marking territory and artistic self-aggrandizement, the "bathroom blogosphere," as Ferem calls it, is devoted to a more interactive form of self-expression. "I used to think bathroom graffiti was invisible, and I never really paid attention to it. But seeing that [quote] got me more interested in it as a ritual. Why is it that people use this medium to acknowledge these moments in their lives?" Ferem says.
Christie Scott, one of the organizers of now-defunct punk club Il Corral, has an idea: "It's a pure democracy. It's anonymous. It's complete expression with no censorship. You have the same power as anyone else who can mark a wall." During Il Corral's reign, graffiti and stickers dotted the entire club, but the nexus was in the bathroom and adjacent hallway, where patrons first began marking the vivid orange walls as they waited in line to use the club's only toilet.
It was one of Ferem's favorite haunts. For the best of latrinalia, he recommends cafes Insomnia and Karma Coffeehouse, the Hollywood outpost of Thai restaurant Toi, Echo Park dive bar Little Joy and another all-ages club, the Smell. Though he hasn't noticed a distinct difference in graffiti varietals from city to city, the sheer quantity of L.A.'s bathroom graffiti continues to awe him. The nastiest bathroom in L.A.? That distinction belongs to Al's Bar, circa 1995. "The men's bathroom was crushed with graffiti, layer upon layer. It was like a time capsule," Ferem says with palpable regret.
Scott, whose years at Il Corral turned her into a de facto curator of latrinalia, will celebrate the art form at the launch of experimental art and performance space Zero Point. Guests will, of course, be welcome to mark up the bathroom walls. But a curated exhibit of Ferem's photos of bathroom graffiti, printed, framed and under glass, will also hang in a gallery area. "Maybe next time when someone goes into a bathroom," Ferem says, "they'll perceive it in a different way."
WHERE: Zero Point, 1049 E. 32nd St., L.A.
WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday
see the article online: calendarlive.com
LA WEEKLY - December 27, 2008
go: SATURDAY, Dec. 29
Bavab Bavab, +dog+, Hop-Frog Kollectiv at Il Corral
It’s the final show at Il Corral, a place that has for three tumultuous years presented some of the most aggressively interesting — and occasionally just plain aggressive — new music in 21st century Los Angeles. Since January of 2005, all manner of noise has sandblasted the performance space, not to mention the rowdy neighbors, area muggings, assaults by key Satanists and the sweaty limitations of a confined venue. It’ll reincarnate in 2008, moving to a new space, Zero-Point, in SoDo (South Downtown). So enjoy the shrieking cacophonous bilge of +dog+; the minimalist noise pop of Bavab Bavab (the duo of Il Corral proprietress Christie Scott and Il Corral soundman Stane Hubert); and the mystical rhythms of postmodern primitives Hop-Frog Kollectiv. They wave goodbye as if in reply to Col. Troutman’s “It’s over, Johnny!” by channeling the spirit of John Rambo: “Nothing is over!” (David Cotner)
see the article online : laweekly.com