Geoff Geis

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Letter to my city councilman

Today, LA Weekly published an article about the myriad difficulties facing independent arts and music spaces in Los Angeles’ East Side. Reading the article made me angry again about the 2010 closing of Echo Curio and scared anew about the future of spaces like Pehr.

We did just elect a new city councilman, though. Thus, now is a great time for those of us who care about these venues to express ourselves. Mitch O’Farrell, the new councilman, campaigned on his knowledge of the district and his engagement with the citizens therein – so we have every reason to believe that he’ll listen to us.

As the LA Weekly article suggests, there are several people making a concerted effort to destroy what we want to protect. Certainly, these folks are making their cases to the councilman-elect. We should also make our case to him, so that he doesn’t see it as a one-sided issue.

So, if you care about independent art and music in LA, I hope that you’ll take some time to tell Mitch O’Farrell that you do. His campaign email address was Mitch@MitchforCityCouncil.org, but since the campaign is over I decided to send a message to his Facebook account. I’m really not sure what the best method is.

This is the letter I wrote:

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Hi Mr. O’Farrell:

Congratulations on becoming the next city councilman for District 13. I supported your election and I’m not only happy that you won but that you did so with grassroots support against a well-financed machine candidate, John Choi. That’s awesome.

Now that you’ve been elected, I’d like to draw your attention to an article in LA Weekly about the difficulties faced by independent arts and music spaces that operate in District 13. While I understand that there are legitimate concerns from both residents and club owners in Echo Park, onerous fees and aggressive legal tactics have had a deleterious effect on the creative capital of a region that is known and admired for its creative capital.

As a long term participant in the venues here, I can attest to the positive impact of spaces like Echo Curio, Pehrspace, Sancho and the Echo Country Outpost which have unique value as magnets for the types of thinkers and artists who make Echo Park such a vibrant, desirable communities. The Echo is certainly expert at making money and drawing big acts like the Rolling Stones, but part of the reason it’s so successful is that the ground here is so fertile. The artists, musicians, curators and promoters that make the independent scene work are responsible for that fertility, and many of them will use the lessons they’ve learned and connections they’ve made to create profitable creative ventures (many of them, ironically, hosted or produced by people like Mitchell Frank) in the near future.

So, as you look at this issue, I sincerely hope that you take take both sides into consideration. Surely there are things that can be done to create a strong and legal balance that takes everyone’s concerns into account and keeps our creative culture vibrant! I don’t presume to have a specific solution, but I sincerely urge you to work for one.

Thank you,

Geoff Geis, Glassell Park 

Filed under: Art, Human Interest, , , , ,

Here they come, the Part Time Punks

Our second PTP, March 2007

Part Time Punks has a storied history, one that has been significant to me. The club started operating, every Sunday night at the Echo, right around the time that the New Motherfuckers (who became Pizza!) moved into a house on Alvarado Street in Echo Park together. In the early stages of being a band, we would see the club’s ubiquitous black-and-white posters around the neighborhood and talk about how much we wanted to play it. Eventually we worked up the nerve to bring DJs Michael Stock and Benny Shambles a copy of a 5-song demo we’d made, and they invited us to play. When we performed at Part Time Punks for the first time, in October of 2006, we felt like we were beginning to actually do something as a band.

Even though I don’t go to PTP as frequently now as I did in the past, I’ve continued to cherish it. Last year, I got to see the Raincoats thanks to Michael’s excellently curated PTP fest, and I ended up getting to write a review of my heroes as my first published work in LA Record. I’ve also had the honor of playing with Pizza! on Michael’s radio show, and have fond memories of spending long hours hanging out with Ben (who now lives away from Los Angeles, unfortunately) in the kitchen of Tiny Creatures and talking about our mutual love of James’ mid-eighties Village Fire EP. Part Time Punks was also the location of my very worst episode of bad gas: while attending a (terrible) Ariel Pink show in commemoration of PTP’s second anniversary, I was struck by sulfuric farts that rumbled in my belly and pushed out with a vengeance that completely disgusted everyone around me. I fart a lot, so the fact that those farts still stand out in my mind suggests that they were, indeed, epic.

On Sunday, Part Time Punks celebrates its fifth anniversary.

In 2007, Drew and I conducted interviews with Michael and Ben for Tiny Creatures Magazine. Print copies of that thing are probably long gone by now, but I dug up the interviews on my computer and I’m publishing them here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Events, Features, Human Interest, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Upcoming shows: Pizza! and Big Whup

Today I will play my first show of the new year, a solo joint at Tribal Cafe in Echo Park. It’s free, so long as you buy something from the cafe. Here is the flier:

This show marks the beginning of a new string of shows, one that will probably be pretty consistent until Christmas. That’s how I like it (I suppose). Here are the upcoming shows for Pizza! and Big Whup. There will certainly be more shows added to these lists (there are a couple of pending dates for Big Whup already):

Pizza!

Big Whup:

Filed under: Events, , , , , , ,

About


I'm a musician and writer from Los Angeles. When I feel motivated, I use this website to share my creative output and give my thoughts on the world around me.

Vanity Projects

I release cassettes and zines under the Vanity Projects label; I've done things by myself and also things by friends. Visit Vanity Projects on Tumblr.

@GeoffGeis on Twitter

Music

This is Soft Sailors! We're a new band from Los Angeles. We don't have any upcoming shows scheduled, but you can hear us online:


Also, here are some solo songs I've uploaded recently to Soundcloud. I'm playing solo July 19th at the Pickle Factory at 647 Lamar Street in Los Angeles and September 1st at Los Globos in LA for a KCHUNG benefit.

In 2011, I released my first solo album, Princess. You can listen to it and download it on Bandcamp:

From 2005 until 2011, I was in the band Pizza! This is our album We Come From the Swamp:

From 2008-2010, I was in the band Big Whup. Here's one of our songs that I sang, called "Cover My Eyes:"

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