Meandering through the homeland of Los Angeles: DJ Moonbaby, Canter’s Deli, Lalo Guerrero, & Petrovic Blasting Company

This past weekend was full of musical and cultural inspiration as I journeyed through the land of my birth, Los Angeles. First up was DJ Moonbaby’s set at the Natural History Museum’s First Friday event near downtown Los Angeles. The DJ booth was set up in front of a replica of giant African elephants across the hall from the giant T-Rex. Moonbaby played her own eclectic mix of electronic groove a la Portishead and then some old school hip hop and funk. One of my favorites (you know I love that funk) was Rick James’ “Give It To Me Baby,” a classic late 70s/early 80s funk dance hit complete with the horns. Here’s a performance from the 1982 Grammy Awards show:

After that my friend and I headed west, meandering through downtown LA, Echo Park (the area I spent the first few years of my life), through memories in Hollywood to enjoy a late dinner at Canter’s Deli on Fairfax. This was the spot for grabbing a late night meal after a hard night of dancing or seeing a music show when I was a wild teenager. Their bar, the Kibitz Room, has its own place in the LA music history as many great musicians have jammed there after hours. Guns N Roses were just an unknown band playing there back in the 80s. After all these years, I finally took a closer look at the mural outside of Canter’s depicting the history of the Jewish community in Los Angeles. I happen to be a huge fan of LA murals and this one was quite moving. Here’s one of the scenes:

As we left Canter’s, my friend popped in Chavez Ravine by Ry Cooder, an album that tells a story of one segment of the Chicano community in Los Angeles by chronicling the history of a barrio that was destroyed to make way for Dodger’s Stadium. On this album, Cooder brings together many Mexican-American musicians including some of the guys from Los Lobos and the legendary Chicano musician and activist Lalo Guerrero. Here is one of my favorite tunes by Lalo from this album, “Chuchos Suaves”:

Here is Lalo doing his ode to the blues, “Muy Sabroso Blues”:

My mom and I went out to Malibu on Saturday to spend some time at the beach for mother’s day and we saw pro surfer, Laird Hamilton, when we were having lunch. He is a big wave surfing legend, known for doing what no human does, surfing these mega monster big waves:

Later on that same day, walking through the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, a cacophony of sounds greeted me as dozens of street performers lined the street. A band that really drew me in was a horn ensemble, playing haunting minor chord infused Eastern European folk tunes, the Petrovic Blasting Company:

Los Angeles has much more to offer than my tiny slice of life and I hope to bring you more future posts on the cultural and musical diversity and history of this mega-tropolis. Happy traveling…

Links & Resources:
DJ Moonbaby on Twitter
Canter’s Deli History
Chavez Ravine documentary
Lalo Guerrero
LA Places Blog
Laird Hamilton
Petrovic Blasting Company


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