Horoscope by JACKIE BEAT (Arthur No. 17/July 2005)

Originally published in Arthur No. 17 (July 2005)

Horoscope
By Jackie Beat

Jackie Beat is the gorgeous lead singer of the electro-trash band Dirty Sanchez. She has contributed to US Magazine, Movieline, LAWeekly, Total Movie & Entertainment, In Los Angeles, Planet Homo, NEXT, HX and has made rent by selling secrets about her famous friends to Star Magazine more often than she would like to admit.

Aquarius
(January 21-February 19)
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “Why do people hate me?” It’s because they’re jealous, right? Wrong! It’s because you’re ugly. Seriously. And I’m not talking “ugly on the inside” here, honey—you are full-on physically hideous. But smile, ‘cause at least God loves you! Not really. He hates you, too. After all, you are a constant reminder that even he has major fuck-ups occasionally.

Pisces
(February 20 – March 20)
Does your car have an airbag? Other than your fat girlfriend, I mean. Look, I don’t want to scare you, but please buckle up and if you don’t have an airbag in your vehicle, duct tape a bag of Kraft marshmallows to your forehead for awhile. Make sure they’re Kraft. Don’t buy some no-name brand, you cheap bastard. This is no time to cut corners. After all, we’re talking about your brain here, dum-dum.

Aries
(March 21-April 21)
Pushing the limits of cutting-edge fashion is one thing, but making everyone around you constantly stifle laughs is just plain exhausting. Did you know that if you took all the beverages that have shot out of people’s noses when you walked into a restaurant wearing one of your ridiculous outfits it would fill an Olympic-sized pool? Or Kirstie Alley’s cereal bowl. Get it? She’s fat. The bowl is real big. Aw, forget it.

Taurus
(April 21 – May 21)
If we had all the answers then every computer keyboard would have one less key. Why? Because then we would have no use for that pesky ol’ question mark, silly! Embrace life’s mysteries. Enjoy the fact that so much of this nutty world in which we live is vague, strange and unexplained. Remember, “no sense makes sense.” And if all of this seems like so much cryptic mumbo-jumbo please realize that legally this horoscope column has to be a certain length so… blah, blah, blah.

Gemini
(May 22 – June 21)
You are a delight! Oh how I wish I could reach out from these printed words and just give you the warmest hug right now! Then I would wander into your kitchen and make you a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of ice cold fresh-squeezed lemonade (depending on the weather outside!). Next up would be a decadent, luxurious hour-long foot massage followed by a soothing avocado facial. Then I’d kill you with my bare hands, smear my naked body with your blood and disappear back into this magazine. And no one would ever know who did it. Scary, huh?

Cancer
(June 22 – July 22)
Uh-oh. Someone’s been feeling downright crabby lately, no pun intended, Cancer the Crab. And that oh-so crabby someone is you, sourpuss! If you can’t turn that frown upside down, then turn your whole self upside-down by literally standing on your head, gloomy gus. The blood will quickly rush to your skull and in just a few short minutes you will feel high as a kite. And let’s be honest, being high equals being happy. If for some reason you cannot stand on your head then just take some drugs or huff some toxic household cleaning products.

Leo
(July 23 – August 22)
Sorry, no funny fake horoscope for you. You annoy me.

Virgo
(August 23 – September 23)
Anger is just good old-fashioned Hurt with the volume turned way up. And you have huge speakers and surround sound, baby. Stop being angry. Let it go. Perhaps meditation and/or yoga would help. How about a much-needed get-away or at the very least a serene walk outdoors, gratefully savoring Mother Nature’s majestic natural beauty? And if none if this works, lock yourself in the bathroom and slowly cut into your flesh to remind yourself that you are indeed very much alive.

Libra
(September 24 – October 23)
The phone is going to ring in the next few hours. No matter who is on the other end of this call—your ex, your best friend, a telemarketer, the recorded voice of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger or your mom—have sex with this person. This will set in motion a prophetic series of events that will eventually open a portal destined to lead you towards great wealth and happiness. But, if the caller is not yet 18 years old, this portal will resemble the radio-controlled bars of a damp, cold prison cell.

Scorpio
(October 24 – November 22)
There are tribes of savages who believe that photographs steal a part of a person’s soul. They are right. But what no one knows is that the same is true for drawings, portraits, sketches and even simple doodles and cartoons. You are beautiful and as such you have unknowingly been the model for more than your share of artists’ renderings over the years. Yes, it’s all coming back to you now: The art student in the park with the charcoal and the sketch pad, the unkempt guy at the Applebee’s bar with the crayon and the cocktail napkin. This finally explains why you have almost no personality to speak of. But hey, at least you’re beautiful.

Sagittarius
(November 23 – December 21)
You’re in a rut. Your life has become predictable, repetitive and boring. Time to shake things up! Now I know how much you fear change, but relax. I’m not talking about moving to New Orleans or buying one of those adorable Mini Coopers, just a few little things that can instantly make life more exciting. For instance, the next time you’re whipping up a batch of chicken or tuna salad may I suggest you add a handful of slivered almonds and some golden raisins? Yum! And should you find yourself lying out in the sun, take the lemon wedge from your drink and spritz it into your hair. A few hours later—voila!—chunky, funky highlights!

Capricorn
(December 22 – January 20)
I’m tired. Please refer to Leo for your forecast. Thanks.

Variety on Arthur Nights, Oct 19

Variety
Arthur Nights
(Palace Theater; 1,967 capacity; $24, one night; $80, four night pass) Presented by Spaceland and Arthur Magazine.

Performers: Devendra Banhart, Bert Jansch, Espers, Buffalo Killers, Jackie Beat, Axolotl, Grouper, Yellow Swans, Belong, Numero Uno DJs. Reviewed Oct. 19, 2006. Also (with different line ups) Oct 20-22.

By STEVEN MIRKIN
You have to hand it to the publishers of Arthur Magazine. The (more or less) monthly [solidly bimonthly, actually-Ed.] is not only one of the most interesting reads out there — a consistently surprising mix of truly underground music, politics and art — but in a little over a year (with an assist from local club Spaceland) they’ve become a force on the Los Angeles concert scene, staging three multi-stage festivals that impress with their almost impossibly broad and well-chosen line-ups.

Arthur Nights is their latest offering, and the four-day event (held on two stages in the somewhat decrepit grandeur of downtown’s Palace Theater) once again covers a wildly eclectic range of music, with Thursday’s opening night line-up focusing on the “freak folk” movement the magazine has championed. As Noah Georgeson, producer and guitarist for headliner Devendra Banhart told the young and rapt aud, “We’re seriously laid back.” The evening’s three most intriguing main stage acts — Philadelphia psychedelic folkies Espers, guitar legend Bert Jansch and Banhart — rarely raised their voices or pushed the tempo, but each managed to make a distinct and satisfying impression.

With Meg Baird and Helena Espvall’s wispy, ethereal harmonies, Espers often has an eerie, otherworldly beauty. Their songs (from their most recent album “II” on Drag City) build slowly, almost imperceptibly, turning freer and more psychedelic as they go on; stretched out, they reach for a raga-like transcendence. At other times, when Greg Weeks adds his voice and plays the recorder, the songs sound like a stranger Jefferson Airplane crossed with touches of Fairport Convention and the Stooges.

They were followed by Jansch, who played the most satisfying set of the evening. His captivating mix of traditional folk and modern styles hasn’t changed much — the songs on his latest, “Black Swan” (Drag City) sound timeless. His playing looks almost effortless, but lattice-like interplay between his finger-picking and the movement of his left hand on the fret-board creates a cascade of notes is so sweeping, the counterpoint of melody and accompaniment so intricate, it’s hard to believe that the sounds are coming from one man.

Jansch was warmly received — members of the aud even whooped and applauded when he changed tunings on this guitar. A good deal of the credit for Jansch’s revival can be laid at the feet of Banhart. Jansch repaid the compliment and joined Banhart for two songs during the latter’s set, and “My Pocket’s Empty” had a focus and energy that was missing from most of the headliner’s set.

Banhart is an intriguing figure: with his long hair and beard he could have stepped from a late ’60s Laurel Canyon photo, and the early portion of the show, with three guitars and four-part harmonies, didn’t stray too far from folk cliches. But his music has a much broader reach, although the often feckless presentation blunts his ambition.

With his quivery, high-pitched vocals and Georgeson’s squirrelly guitar, the music often feels like a less jazzy version of Tim Buckley’s “Happy/Sad” (or, in the case of “Heard Somebody Say,” John Lennon’s “Oh My Love”), with Banhart presenting himself as a shamanistic seducer. In “At the Hop,” he wants his lover to “pack me your suitcase/cook me in your breakfast/light me with your candle/wrap me with your bones.”

The latter part of the set, when he stands up and straps on an electric guitar, starts to move further afield, as the music takes on touches of reggae, rock and, in a cover of Caetano Veloso’s “Lost in the Paradise,” bossa nova. But the entire set feels too meandering and laden with ideas that are too coy for their own good, including bringing up a member of the aud onstage to perform and an impromptu imitation of Al Jolson.

As might be expected from an Arthur evening, there were other styles of music to explore. Buffalo Killers opened the main stage perfs with a set of well worn, if well-played sludgy blues rock; an update of ’70s dinosaurs Mountain or Cactus. But they could surprise with a cover of Neil Young’s “Homegrown.” In the upstairs loft (accessible by an ancient manually operated elevator or a twisty staircase right out of a ’40s film noir mystery) Axolotl played an intriguing mix of tribal sounds with treated guitars and Grouper — a man [Actually, Grouper is a woman-Ed.], a guitar and a fuzz box — initially sounded like a noisy blare but his layers of feedback slowly built to something quiescently lovely.

LATimes on Arthur Nights Oct 19

Fringe-minded Arthur fest enlivens Broadway with a focus on folk.

By Richard Cromelin
Times Staff Writer

October 21, 2006

“I’d like to thank the cockroach who joined me for that one,” Greg Weeks said Thursday after his band Espers finished a song during the opening concert of the Arthur Nights festival. Weeks had been visited by the insect as he crouched on the stage floor with his electronic keyboard, adding some spacey trills to a folk ballad by the Philadelphia-based group.

Such are the perils of commandeering a faded downtown movie and vaudeville emporium on short notice. But despite this and other small drawbacks, the Palace Theatre on South Broadway proved to be a harmoniously funky setting for the most ambitious yet of Arthur magazine’s extravaganzas of esoterica.

Of the nearly 50 performers scheduled to play over four days through Sunday, only Devendra Banhart, who brought Thursday’s show to a joyous peak, and the Fiery Furnaces, on deck to play Sunday, have what would be considered substantial drawing power beyond the cult level.

So it’s remarkable that in the city where England’s similarly designed All Tomorrow’s Parties failed to establish an outpost after a couple of tries, Arthur has now mounted three significant showcases of fringe music in little more than a year.

Jarring juxtaposition is usually the operating principle, and it’s in force over much of the weekend, but the heart of Thursday’s concert amounted to a themed program spotlighting various facets of the underground folk movement.

Los Angeles-based Banhart is the standard-bearer for this thriving scene, but his hour-plus performance Thursday took him far beyond the acoustic roots and the image of the eccentric sprite that won his initial following.

His set progressed from light, lilting shuffles buoyed by four- and five-voice harmonies by his band members through classic folk-rock (David Crosby’s “Traction in the Rain,” Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”) to some hard-driving, rhythm-heavy versions of favorites from the Banhart songbook.

At the end, with the crowd finally on its feet, the strikingly dark-suited, dark-bearded singer was shaking maracas à la Jagger on “I Feel Like a Child,” and looking like a rock-star-to-be.

But the most Arthurian moment came earlier in the set, when Scottish folk-music icon Bert Jansch joined Banhart and his band for two songs.

Though it was a bit of a no-brainer (Banhart sang on Jansch’s new album, “The Black Swan,” and his guitarist Noah Georgeson produced the record), it was the kind of special mix you hope for at a festival such as this.

And the pairing conveyed a sweet sense of community and continuity as the generations met for “My Pocket’s Empty,” from the new album, and a song from Jansch’s influential ’60s-’70s folk-rock band Pentangle.

Jansch, who has been hailed as a hero by an army of rock guitarists, preceded Banhart with the kind of solo performance he’s been doing for decades. But he usually plays tiny rooms such as McCabe’s on his infrequent visits to the area, so this larger setting was a welcome showcase for his restrained virtuosity and modest personality.

Always aiming for harmonic invention and emotional statement rather than empty flashiness, Jansch, 62, moved from traditional folk songs to blues to originals, adding some political weight with “Let Me Sing,” about Chilean martyr Victor Jara, and “The Old Triangle,” about capital punishment in Ireland.

Espers are inheritors of Jansch’s pioneering work, and the sextet preceded him with a chamber-folk performance whose female vocals suggested both Pentangle and the Incredible String Band.

And what about the famous Arthur eclecticism? Well, drag performer Jackie Beat followed Banhart with a short set, and the main showroom opened with the heavy, power-trio riffing of Cincinnati’s Buffalo Killers.

Arthur Nights was originally planned for the Echo and its new sister club the EchoPlex, but when the latter encountered construction delays, it was moved to the 1,050-capacity Palace, which was colorfully thronged Thursday by a coalition of scenemakers and serious-music geeks.

They discovered that the theater’s second stage is on the fifth floor, requiring a ride in an antique elevator or a walk up many steps.

But the room, with its art-space feel, large windows and bean-bag chairs, was a perfect setting to bask in the experiments of such noise manipulators as Axolotl and Grouper.

And things figure to get much more eclectic these final two days, with Beastie Boys associate Money Mark and the Sun Ra Arkestra sharing the bill tonight with folkies White Magic and Six Organs of Admittance. Sunday’s highlight looks to be the rare solo performance by Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio.

Just watch your step.