August 2nd, 2011 | Interviews

photo by Charles Mallison

This Thursday, August 4th, the team behind Concertpage, Sean Carnage and Sam Lubicz, along with Liam Morrison and Nika Kolodziej will be presenting three weeks of art, video, and performances at Sancho Gallery on Sunset. Concertpage is a self-service online DIY event listing that is also distributed in print throughout Los Angeles on a monthly basis. The show, much like the print version, is a team effort bringing attention to some of L.A.’s rising talent exhibited alongside renowned artists like Gary Panter, Lou Beach and Wayne White.  I caught up with them at Sancho Gallery as they prepared to mount the show, and over an afternoon we discoursed over queer imagery, secret philosophies, and a friendship rooted in sperm. This interview by Walt! Gorecki

How did you come up with the L.A.’s Got Talent theme?
Liam Morrison:
It’s sort of a joke that went too far. We were sitting in my car eating McDonalds, coming up with ideas for the show.
Sam Lubicz: We were trying not to over think it, to not come off as contrived, to have something that’s a bit loose and silly, you know? Originally we were considering having it be called L.A.’s Got Talent (Faces of Meth), and another name was going to be The Pagemaster, you know that movie?
Oh yeah the 90’s Macauley Culkin fantasy. What brought that about?
SL: Playing on the name Concertpage, but I think that has a whole different level of cheese from America’s Got Talent – which is kind of just right, it’s obviously cheese, but it’s not overwhelmingly cheese.
LM: Well it kind of is . . .
SL: Or I guess it is, it’s supposed to be a bit overwhelming. A lot of times you see galleries with these very serious shows, and we’re trying to break away from that and have something fairly loose, although we are serious about the project.
Are you going to have any judging panel, like on America’s Got Talent?
Sean Carnage: We could, but really it’s just ironic, despite what you may read in the press.
So how did you narrow down the themes for the performance series? The L.A. Lottery League one seems like an obvious choice, I wasn’t even aware that there was a movie in the works.
SC: Yeah it’s a crowd-sourced movie. We provided the overall audio track to offer some consistency there, and I assigned two camera-people per stage, but we also accepted anyone else’s footage. The movie’s about twenty-five minutes. It’s the highlights of every band, with no prejudice against any band.
So what sort of workshops do you have planned for Craft Night?
SC: We’re going to make this back patio into a craft area. Vlad the Retailer is very kindly burning some screens for us, and people are welcome to bring their own screens too. And people will be able to print their own Vlad T-shirt, or LA’s Got Talent screen, or Folktale Records.
So Mikhai is doing the friendship bracelet workshop as well?
SC: He really deserves the credit for coming up with a faster manufacturing process, a faster crocheting process, and then just relentlessly making them every week, it’s kind of his hobby. He makes other ones at home too, so I think he’ll be showing alternate methods of making them at Craft Night.
How did you hook up with William Burgess and the Burgess Ministry for the Druid Film Festival?
SC: That actually goes back to Il Corral [where Sean Carnage Mondays originated], as he was an Il Corral resident. He was always into the satanic and disturbing videos, and he very quickly learned that in Hollywood people are desperate, so he’s like “why don’t I do some good in this shady-ass world of Hollywood film festivals?” and he actually watches every film submitted to his Druid Film Festival, and over the years has connected with and built up an arsenal of the most twisted videos ever made, and he’s putting them on DVD and it’ll be released at that party, it’s the Best of the Druid Film Festival DVD release.
You have Essay performing at Totally Gay Night, but the performers aren’t really gay at all.
SC: That actually ignited an online debate about queerness. I’m really proud of these guys [Sam and Liam], they made the fliers for all the nights and the Totally Gay Night is the most remarkable one because they introduced some new imagery to the gay canon, which, frankly at this point in time, is a bit tired. It introduced some really slick, like CGI renderings of mountains, the Svedka come-hither-AI-looking robot from the commercials.
How did you come up with the mountaintops and such as queer imagery?
SL: We were just pulling things into Photoshop, and we didn’t want to put any blatant imagery in there, it’s too easy. We were trying to capture the essence of a “totally gay night” without being too up front about it.
Sam, how do you go about meeting some of these people who do the Concertpage covers? I know your father, Lou Beach, was one of the artists, but many others are involved in the Pehrspace Monday night scene.
SL: Well I like to mix the group of artists, a lot of up and coming artists, many of them are my friends, but then of course there’s people like Gary Panter, who’s an old friend of my dad’s.
LM: He’s put on the same level as someone like Kyle Mabson.
SL: He’s obviously highly revered, and an important L.A. artist, but I think all of these sort of underdogs are too.
Sam, do you involve yourself with any musical projects, given all the crossbreeding with art and music here?
SL: Yeah, well Liam and I have a group together called 333 Boyz; we have like 8 fake groups.
LM: We’ve been doing that since we were like 7 years old.
So you guys go back pretty far.
SL: We’ve known each other since, well, we say since sperm. [laughter] Our parents knew each other before we were born and we grew up in the same neighborhood, so we’re like brothers. But we’ve had a handful of bands –The Molesters, Satan’s Last Wish . . .
For the DIY Fashion Show are you expecting people to arrive in full costume, or will you have fashion stylists on-site?
SC: It’s going to be an actual runway show, the runway show is no joke, however it’s different from a regular fashion show. We aren’t trying to screen out people who aren’t serious or something, we welcome those people. In some ways that’s my homage to these guys and their whole younger person way of not differentiating between high and low art, but not in a postmodern sort of 80s way where like “lowbrow art can be high art,” now it’s just art. Sam and Liam’s statement really encapsulates everything about that.
SL: Okay – “L.A.’s Got Talent showcases work of individuals from all backgrounds. Hot shots, bottom feeders, the passionate, and the unenthused all meatloafed together. Los Angeles is depressing, and has undergone a continuous decline. But you can only fall so far! This is the dawn of a new age. Let this shed light upon your deepest fears of Art’s collapse.  Concertpage is for all, and I hope you are all for Concertpage. Raise your chalice for this enlightening tasty!”
Any surprises in store for the show?
SC: I think everyone’s going to be blown away by Kyle Mabson’s artwork.
A lot of people might be familiar with his Celebrity Juggalos, or flier art, which has a lo-fi repetitive Photoshopped imagery thing going on.
SL: It’s kind of got a similar feel, but he’s been talking to me at 3 in the morning, so it’s nice to see someone who hates art, now working at 3 in the morning making art. I don’t think a lot of the galleries in Echo Park have seen something of this caliber, it’s something new, and I think a lot of people are going to be blown out of the water by it.
SC: Kyle’s entered sort of a Barbara Kruger realm with some of this; it’s not sort of the Extreme Animals style that you’re maybe expecting. I don’t want to give away the surprise but, it’s much more sloganeering, kind of like twisted inspirational posters. Also, I think it’s important for us to be here on Sunset Blvd, these are people who have basically worked quite literally off the beaten path, from Il Corral to Pehrspace to The Smell, these are all alley places, and I think it’s actually really fitting that all this stuff is on a major street, accessible for the first time. It’s going to be new to a lot of people, but it’s actually not a new scene, it’s long continuing, and comes from many places. But the idea behind Concertpage, and hopefully some of the subtext or groundwork that these guys [Sam and Liam] have built their own ideas on top of, is that you need to reclaim these art and music events. People have complained about how the internet has maybe watered things down, or made things more impersonal, but we’re the people who have let thing become more impersonal and don’t try and network with people. So many people involved in the [music] scene are artists, so when I met Sam and Liam they represented to me that whole aspect, which is why I wanted to collaborate with these guys – to make more explicit the fact that this is all interwoven, and so many people do not realize that and it’s so frustrating.
Yeah there’s a lot of incest in the L.A. art and music scene.
SC: But just like incest, nobody wants to talk about it.

L.A.’s Got Talent runs from August 4th – August 20th at Sancho Gallery, 1549 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026. The opening on August 4th at 7pm is free, with complimentary refreshments, and gallery hours are Thursday – Sunday 12pm-9pm beginning on August 5th, with later hours for performances and screenings. For a full schedule of related events check www.concertpage.org.