It’s Monday Night regular—and dear friend—Narin’s birthday tonight.
Narin’s not your typical show-goer. But then who is at Pehrspace? You have to be a hearty and resilient mutant to be going out on the very night most people want to stay in (boo!).
Narin started coming to my shows years ago—most times in street clothes. But, at seemingly random times, he would appear in skin-tight Zentai-influenced costumes that would make the late avant-garde party monster Leigh Bowery blush.
No matter how good or bad the bands are, I can guarantee you one thing: if Narin dresses up at Pehr, that’s all anyone will be talking about after the concert.
What’s your name, where were you born, what do you do for a living?
My name is Narin. If you’re just reading this and we haven’t met in person, it rhymes with the Marin of Marin County. I was born in Northern California, near the coast north of the bay area. I moved to the mountains of Northern California (just south of Oregon) when I was four. I work doing all sorts of things at the offices of Laemmle Theatres, a local family-owned arthouse movie theatre chain. I also work at one of their theatre locations.
When and why did you come to Los Angeles?
I had been back home in rural Northern California at the time, and I wanted to be somewhere with more to go out and do.I originally moved to Los Angeles in 2005, but I was on the East Coast again for about half of 2006. I came to Los Angeles to move into an apartment with the person I was dating, who had decided to move here from the East Coast. I still think she’s awesome and super-rad and we’re still good friends, but we’re no longer together.
How did you start coming to Monday nights?
When I was in college, I DJ’ed for the radio station WPRB 103.3 FM for a few years. I shared a lot of different styles of music with my listeners, but I have a longstanding interest in the experimental and the avant-garde. At the station, we received a disc containing a lot of short tracks of contemporary musique concrete. I believe the sounds were at least in part from tapes of personal recordings found in thrift stores and at junk sales. It was great and had arrived rather mysteriously. When I tried to find out more, I got in touch with the gentleman who put it out and who ran a small label and did his own radio program out of Maine. I realized that he (id m theft able) and labelmate/collaborator Crank Sturgeon (whose music the station had also received and played) were touring near the station. I asked if they would record a live set for my show and they agreed. They played a collaborative set in the station’s recording studio which was quite fun. Years passed. In the spring of 2007, I saw that Crank Sturgeon was playing a show at a place called Pehrspace and I decided to go. You were spinning records at that show, Sean, and I was digging the music that you were playing. I think we got to talking after you put on a Magma record. You told me you booked shows on Mondays and invited me to your next one. I’d been to The Smell and even to Il Corral before, but I’d never caught one of your shows before that.
What was the first show you saw and what did you think of it?
I don’t remember exactly which show was first, but I remember it making me want to come back the following Monday for more. I remember an early show with Refrigerator, where John Thill was walking through the audience dragging some sort of noisemaker along the floor behind him. I saw a solo guy playing heavy metal on keyboards. I was introduced to a pretty diverse array of music from a bunch of artists who I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Some artists, like Fireworks, I’d never heard of before and I haven’t seen since. Before I left the East Coast, I was regularly going to New York events at The Stone and put on by the Vision Festival. I still haven’t found a Los Angeles equivalent to those venues and I still wish there was one, but this was something else new and exciting. The audience was really into some of the music and it created a collaborative dynamic that was quite refreshing. Artists like Lucky Dragons, Whitman, and others have played with this dynamic explicitly and interestingly, and other performances still benefit as well.
How would you describe your taste in music?
My taste is fairly eclectic, and also fairly personal. I’d also say that it’s malleable. I’ve been listening to music all my life and what I appreciate has definitely changed. I love music across a lot of different genres. I guess I could rattle off an incomplete list of styles (New Wave, punk, rock, contemporary composition, Free Jazz, free improv, Italo, metal, noise, Bluegrass, Zydeco, Krautrock, spirituals, etc…), but I’m pretty open to new music and performance. I could try and explain/rationalize what I like and don’t like, but I might get it wrong and I’m not sure if it would be all that interesting!
You’ve been known to wear some stunning clothing to shows! Could you describe some outfits you’ve worn?
Leopard with goofy/scary handmade eyes, whiskers/mustache, teeth. Fish creature. Black and white patterned outfit with no visible skin. Silver scales that flake off. I’ve been inspired by people like Leigh Bowery, Gareth Pugh, Marcy Anarchy, and others.
Most of those outfits were fairly anonymous, but it was unexpected and pleasant surprise when friends and acquaintances would recognize me and greet me non-chalantly while in “disguise.” It’s been a while since I’ve worn anything particularly extravagant out to a show. I like dressing up when it’s not explicitly for a performance, but the other is fun too.
Is there a philosophy behind this?
Yes. I think that outfits like those of haute couture really ought to be worn—and not just on the runway at a fashion show or on the stage at a concert or for a photo shoot. I’d like to see someone walking down the street wearing something like a piece from Gareth Pugh’s SS07 collection. I figured I’d contribute something in a more D.I.Y. style.
Typically, I feel that I start with something that I find visually appealing and that I think would be fun to wear. I try to add to it to make the outfit at least somewhat my own creation. It’s partly about satisfying my own imagination, and hopefully, that creates a hook for a broader audience than just myself to be curious what’s going on. Clothing should be fun. I like wearing a t-shirt and slacks too, but it’s not the only option.
Will you be dressing up for your birthday?
In one way or another, I think so. You’re having a totally rad show that night which is totally worth dressing up for.
What are some new bands/movies/art that excite you right now?
Well, I recently saw this documentary called Budrus that told a really impressive story of a Palestinian village building a non-violent coalition including both Hamas and Israeli Jews to prevent the olive trees that bring the residents their livelihood from being destroyed. Parts of it are inspiring, but it doesn’t make things look simple or straight-forward. I saw a documentary recently called Music Makes a City about the Louisville Civic Orchestra’s program in the Forties and Fifties to commission new pieces by contemporary composers from all around the world. I’m really excited to see the new Claire Denis film White Material later this fall. I really loved a couple of small releases called Everyone Else (a study of power dynamics in a relationship where the tension is ratcheted up to the level of an Antonioni thriller) and Around a Small Mountain (Jacques Rivette’s film has some problematic character dynamics but is fantastic and gorgeous). For some more experimental stuff, I recommend checking out L.A. FilmForum and their events e-mail list. There are really neat documentaries about Glenn Gould, Harry Nilsson, and Jean-Michel Basquiat that came out this year. I’m really excited that Hausu is coming out on home video from Criterion either today or tomorrow. There’s great art and music going on during any given week. I’ve been into the music and art at Machine Project and Human Resources lately.
What’s your Halloween costume going to be this year?
I’m thinking of something bird-related. I’ve had this costume idea that I did some work on quite a while back inspired by some fabric I ran across. I set it aside for a while, and I just recently got an idea of how I might finish it. I don’t think it’ll be ready for the 25th, but I’d like to have it pieced together by the end of the month.
Happy birthday, Narin!
Les Rita Mitsouko – “Marcia Baila”
This video is a party
Adavi Donga (1985)
An amazing dance sequence from the Telugu film Adavi Donga
Pierre Cardin – Space-Age 1970 Futurism “The Look Of Love”
A different Pierre Cardin than I ever saw in the department store. I want some of these elements to come back.
Malaria – “You, You”
Malaria! (the band, that is) is so good.
John Cale – “I’ve Got a Secret”
About a musical audience.
Wear your best to the show tonight:
Sean Carnage presents…
The return of L.A.’s prodigal son
with return of prodigal daughter
and noise superstars
Slaves (from Portland)
Plus very special guests
Miss Josie Bunnie
and your pal
DJ Marijuana Weed
Starts 9:30pm / $5 / all-ages
Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown