April 15th, 2009 |

myonics | sara diamond

Roach Coachella: Orders from the Fire Marshal sent the marathon Fauxchella festival packing from the announced Traction Ave. venue earlier in the week, but by showtime on Good Friday organizers had moved the event to gamier precincts many blocks away. Hangar 1018 is beloved of the downtown party set and I know the space well, having wandered along its sketchy and verminous stretch of S. Santa Fe many times in various states of hallucinogenic inebriation. Inside, instead of the usual haul of faux-fur and near-naked ladies, were a couple hundred gamboling on the fragments of their Eastside Cool. I was waved past the door by promoters spoke cheerily of the ultraviolence they’d already visited upon everyone else inquiring after The List. They looked entirely too jocose to be joking. The hour was advanced and most of the 11 scheduled acts had already unplugged and went, but the overdriven squeal-pop of Myonics was letting rip from the graffiti-doused back patio. It was like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist projected inside a 1960s beach party movie—a lighthearted frolic of the seriously geeky young, complete with spastic dancing and bashful romance. In the main room, Globes on Remote held forth in like caramel-coated Depeche Mode or a Huey Lewis in receipt of really bad News. Such sugary ferocity was just what the occasion called for and the Allah Las were pouring it at 1 a.m. as I made my slow fade to the door, their psilocybin surf music howling like bonfire night at Owlsley State Beach.

Doing the Devil: The normal crowd at the Silent Movie Theatre these days is the hipper sort of cineaste; stylish singles and couples lounging before crazed dada like Myra Breckinridge or Repo: The Genetic Opera in an air of abstracted contemplation. I too can be found there on occasion, usually sitting gimlet-eyed along the back wall as some 1970s Eastmancolor atrocity is exhumed. Even so, Easter Sunday’s screening of F.W. Murnau’s Faust was the first actual silent movie I’d ever sat through at this last shrine to their memory. Scoring was the Cabeza de Vaca Arcestra, an ad-hoc assemblage featuring art-punk chanteuse Nora Keyes and members of South Bay high-artisans dios (malos) chattering, clanking and gorgeously caterwauling over this haunting and hallucinatory masterpiece. This freehanded adaptation of Goethe’s deathless wrestle between God and Devil was Murnau’s bow at Weimar film giant Ufa before being lured out here, bringing Emil Jannings—his Mephistopheles—with him. Jannings went on to win the very first Oscar given for Best Actor before heading home to Germany to make propaganda films for Hitler. So, as Kurt Vonnegut used it say, it goes. Still, no Satanic dereliction can wipe away Murnau’s visionary claptrap nor the dainty pallor of Camilla Horn as Gretchen, a face credibly worth the protagonist’s immortal ectoplasm. The Arcestra’s deepspace introspections and bone-chilling harmonics gently took the film sideways, subtly shifting the impact from morality fable to pagan fantasia. Since culture endlessly recycles itself in hybrids like these, happy is the conclusion that silent cinema is yet another idea whose time has come.

Rubaceous: The adorable Ruby Friedman majorly rocked the Viper Room on Monday, beneficiary of a hard-driving new Orchestra, a bucket of sweat and a couple of choice Iggyisms. Jumping in her maryjanes and batting babydoll eyes at a thick crowd of old and new friends, she rocketed the boys through an abbreviated set with the punky brio of Texas Terri Laird or Brody Armstrong. I know she was mercurial, but this? In the sagacious words of Barry Fitzgerald in The Quiet Man, “That red hair of hers is no lie.”

This Column Brought to You By: The kind folks at Shout Factory, knowing of my taste for antiquaria, bunged along their new career survey, Action: The Sweet Anthology and I’ve played it relentlessly my every writing moment all weekend. These two discs balance the hits and near-hits from this U.K. benzedrine-bubblegum judiciously, the hi-octane fluff turned in by outside songwriters Chinn and Chapman along with edgier band-written tunes. You’re allowed one revelation per retrospective and this collection’s surprise is Disc 2’s “Funk It Up (David’s Song),” the adenoidal glamsters’ surprisingly juicy pass at mid-1970s P-Funk. That and the album version of “Love is Like Oxygen,” truly a thing of beauty and a proggy joy at 6:52. The Sweet appears at the H.O.B. on April 30 and I may just shoehorn in.

—Ron Garmon