Those are not their real bodies.

Easter is over.  Passover is past.

Go Go’ers, it’s time to get the parties started.

A certain music event in the desert just means there’s more room in L.A. for the rest of us to have fun so read on for a weekend jam-packed with music-themed events.  And if you’re really jonesing for a Coachella-like experience, a couple of the events even require sunglasses and a water bottle.

What you put in the water bottle is up to you.

You Belong Everywhere (But Come Here)

Yearning for the loud crowds and anything-can-happen edginess of a concert experience?  Start the weekend with YOU BELONG EVERYWHERE.

Already, you’re taking the affirmation to heart.

Former paratrooper and current poet  Derrick C. Brown has performed on  The Jay Leno Show, at the Sorbonne, and  all over Europe opening for indie darlings The Cold War Kids. A five-time, international poetry slam winner and an audacious, daredevil performer,  Brown is determined to help poetry achieve rock ‘n roll status.

This is what happens when you repeatedly  jump out of a plane.

Filmmaker Stephen Latty (Drums Inside Your Chest) followed Brown around Europe and captured the poet wrangling crowds into silence with the  sheer power of his words.

European crowds require serious wrangling.

The resulting film  You Belong Everywhere, produced by actress/fellow poet Amber Tamblyn, will get its only full-length, L.A. screening to date (with post-screening Q & A) tonight, Friday, April 13th, at the Echo Park Film Center at 8:00 p.m.  L.A. phenom poet Brendan Constantine sets the mood.

Parachute optional.

YOU BELONG EVERYWHERE w/Brendan ConstantineFri, April 13 @ 8:00 pm; $8Echo Park Film Center,  1200 No Alvarado St, LA, (213) 484-8846;  Click here for TIX

Check out Ms. Go Go’s  interview with the highly entertaining Brown and Latty.

A Music Fest in an Old West Town

Must hear music in the Great Outdoors?  Yearning for  a more intimate concert experience?

Determined to use your pup tent?

Head to the Mentryville Music Fest to be held in Mentryville Park: a former oil boom/Old West town   in Santa Clarita.  Part of The Natural Stage Project, which aims to bring “folk music into the forests, parks and mountains of SoCal”, the event features over a dozen bands,  like The Carrions (from Cheryl Lindsey of The Breeders and Exene Cervenka’s band) and Death to Anders (think Pavement and the Pixies),  that will redefine your perception of folk music.

All this and an oil well.

MENTRYVILLE MUSIC FESTSaturday, April 14, 11am – ?; $5 for parkingMentryville  Park, Newhall/Santa Clarita.  Info and directions 

There will be so much fun here.

Return of the Grand Ole Echo

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, (you know who you are), you’ve probably heard about CicLAvia, which opens up streets on the Eastside of L.A. for walking, biking, triking, and playing.

So far, a good Sunday.

Here’s where Sunday gets great.  After you’ve tootled around warming up your dancing legs, head over to the Echo for the sixth season kick-off of the Grand Ole Echo: Americana queen Kim Grant’s festival of all things rootsy.

And all things swell.

The season’s inaugural line-up includes: Old Californio, which has been touring after the release of their much-touted album Sundrunk Angels, Afro-inspired Nearly Beloved , twisted backwoods music from Walter Spencer, and the debut of Red Carnations from Jeremy Little, whose songs have been featured on numerous films and T.V. shows.

No dust, plenty of parking, maximum fun.

GRAND OLE ECHO — Sun, April 15th from 5:30-9pm/FREE/All ages– The Echo, 1154 Glendale Blvd, LA 90026 , 213.413. 8200, www.attheecho.com

Ready?  U Know U Want to Go Go….

Derrick Brown x 9

Update!  The time of  YOU BELONG EVERYWHERE screening has been changed

“You are a poet, invited on tour by a popular rock band.  Europe!!  There will be large audiences.  They might be drunk.  They might get loud.  They might not understand English.  It’s the opportunity of a lifetime…. Now what?” (From the press release for You Belong Everywhere.)

If you are Derrick C. Brown — electrifying performance poet, former 82nd Airborne Paratrooper, President of Write Bloody Publishing, and one of America’s top five poets according to National Poetry Slam founder Marc Smith — you invite your friend, documentary and commercial filmmaker Stephen Latty (Drums Inside Your Chest) to document your career-defining tour  opening for Cold War Kids.

Smart choice.  The result, You Belong Everywhere, is a compelling, dynamic, you’ll-laugh-and-cry, rock ‘n roll poetry concert film.

And just in time to celebrate National Poetry Month!

The film, which is produced by actress and fellow poet Amber Tamblyn, screens this Friday, April 13th at 8:00 p.m. at the Echo Park Film Center with a performance by L.A. poet Brendan Constantine.

There will also be a Q&A with Derrick and Stephen after the Echo Park Film Center screening of  You Belong Everywhere.  After reading the artists’ immensely  entertaining interview below, conducted by email during the hustle and bustle of the tour,  you’ll want to see You Belong Everywhere and ask them more questions yourself.

Hilarity may ensue.

 Ms. Go Go: Stephen, you’ve written that “It is a really interesting time for poetry. Young poets are starting to be able to make a living as poets – not as musicians, or screenwriters, or greeting card writers, or insurance salesmen, but as poets.”  Derrick, do you agree and if so, why do the two of you think poetry is becoming a viable way to make a living?

Stephen Latty: When I first met Derrick, he was in his early thirties working at a small production company making Sunday school videos for kids – very weird and very funny Sunday school videos. The strangeness he brought to it was fantastic…gigantic hot dog men in space talking about God and telling bible stories with dead fish.

Stuff like that.  He was definitely pushing the envelope in that medium, which I didn’t even know was possible. Anyway, the job seemed pretty ideal – I think it paid okay and he was able to take off for months at a time to do poetry shows around the country. So when he quit that job, I had a feeling poetry was becoming something much more sustainable for him, otherwise I think he’d still be doing it. There’s nothing like slightly warping children’s minds. I should mention that Derrick introduced me to other poets who also make a living writing and touring as poets – Beau Sia, Mindy Nettifee, Mike McGee, Buddy Wakefield…those are just the people I know pretty well as friends. The list Derrick could give would be a lot longer. The only reason it seems to me that poetry is becoming a viable way to make a living is that I see these poets doing it. I admire them all. I believe in that fight to make a living doing what you want to do.

Derrick C. Brown: It is not as viable as advertising for cruise ships, prestidigitation or even mowing lawns. But it is more possible than ever to use the rock and roll model to hit the road, sell t-shirts off your fancy website, offer to perform weddings, work with orchestra’s etc. It all depends how disciplined and organized an artist can be.

MGG: What did you think was going to be the biggest challenge about making YBE and what actually was the biggest challenge?
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String theory (Courtesy of the Carolina Chocolate Drops)

It’s a sweet weekend, no question, and Ms. Go Go is not talking about  Manischewitz and marshmallow Peeps.

She is talking about subversive rabbits and serious ear candy.

Step away from the jelly beans, Go Go’ers, step away from the jelly beans .

Chocolate for Your Ears

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are  an old-time string band — think banjo, fiddle, guitar, harmonica, snare drum, jug and kazoo — whose members learned much of their repertoire, which is based on the traditional music of the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina, from the eminent African American old-time fiddler Joe Thompson.

Think music that’s revitalized not resuscitated.

Or as band member Rhiannon Giddens says, “Tradition is a guide, not a jailer.”  (You hate your kazoos in handcuffs.)

The trio-turned-quartet Grammy winners (for Old Negro Jig) will be at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Friday, April 6th at 8pm to celebrate the release of their newest album Leaving Eden,  which has original compositions, covers, and traditional songs.  Special guest David Wax Museum opens.

Your Good Friday just got great.

CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPSFri, April 6 @ 8pm; $15 – $50 — Royce Hall, UCLA (North Campus), 340 Royce Drive, LA 90095

For info/tix: http://www.uclalive.org/calendar/event_detail.asp?id=151

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a poet.

A Poet in a Bar

Fun fact from Ms. Go Go:

April is National Poetry Month.

And Go Go’ers, while you weren’t looking, poetry got hip again with performance poetry and Poetry Slams and rock concerts.

Yes, rock concerts.

Poet Derrick C. Brown is one of the country’s five best poets according to Poetry Slam founder Marc Smith.  He’s also is a former 82nd Airborne paratrooper.

Which has to serve him in good stead when he opens up a vein of words on stage.

Get a double dose of Brown’s jaw-dropping performances at Bootleg Bar Saturday, April 7th at 8pm.  The poet will read from his newest book Strange Light, a 40 minute poem commissioned by prestigious Dutch dance troupe Noord Danse Collective.  In addition to the book release party and music by Caught a Ghost, there will be a mini-screening of YOU BELONG EVERYWHERE, filmmaker Stephen Latty’s rock ‘n roll poetry film about Brown  opening for Cold War Kids on a recent European tour.

Dive out of that plane.

DERRICK C. BROWNE/Strange Light/YOU BELONG EVERYWHERESat, April 7th @8pm; $10/21+Bootleg Bar, 2220 Beverly Blvd, LA 90026;  213. 389.3856;  For info: http://www.bootlegtheater.org   For tix: http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/102291

That's a big bunny.

Pesky Wabbits

If you’re the kind of person who takes secret delight in chomping off the heads of chocolate bunnies, you’ll want to plan your Easter dinner around the Harvey/Donnie Darko Sunday night double-feature at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica.  The former features Everyman Jimmy Stewart: the only person who can see the time-traveling, eponymous bunny Harvey.  The latter stars Jake Gyllenhaal whose visions of terrifying, big bunny Frank save his life and may or may not mean he’s crazy.

SO much more fun than Paas-dyed eggs.

HARVEY & DONNIE DARKOSun, April 8th @ 7:30pm; $11Aero Theater, 1328 Montana Ave, Santa Monica 90403; 310.260.1528 | Website

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

Spine-tingling poetry.

For those of you who still think of poetry as the bastion of  beatniks in berets intoning mind-numbing rants to finger-snapping aficionados, The 4th Annual Drums Inside Your Chest will change your mind forever.  The poems voiced by the featured wordsmiths are vigorous, dynamic, exciting, funny, and as vital as the blood pumping through your veins.  In other words, you need to see this show.

Started in 2007 by actress/poet Amber Tamblyn to raise the profile of poetry among Angelenos who thought they knew what poetry was and weren’t sure if it was okay to like it, the first Drums Inside Your Chest took no prisoners and is now celebrating its fourth, annual poetry concert.  Sponsored by the non-profit Write Now Poetry Society (for which the concert is also a benefit), the event moves to the lovely and intimate Largo at the Coronet and features five, dazzling poets/performers.  Actually, make that six with  poet/troubadour Derrick Brown who co-hosts with magician Rob Zabrecky. (Because isn’t good magic like poetry of the fingers?)

The Drums Inside Your Chest has been called “a Woodstock of  poetic celebration”; this year’s scintillating line-up includes Patricia Smith, performance artist, Pushcart Prize winner, and four-time Poetry Slam Individual Champion; “one man band” C.R. Avery, who has written six hip-hop operas and recorded 15 albums and who sings poetry while beatboxing and playing piano and harmonica; Rob Sturma, a seminal force in the L.A. poetry slam scene and now poetry chair of  the IAO Gallery in Oklahoma;  Anis Mojgani, two-time National Poetry Slam Champion,  winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam, and founding member of the touring Poetry Revival Group; and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, co-founder of the NYC-Urbana Reading Series,  youngest Slammaster in history, and author of five books of poetry including Hot Teen Slut, which was inspired by her work as an editor in the online porn industry.  (Ms. Go Go thinks the combo of poetry and porn is kind of like bacon and chocolate; so weirdly, perfectly wonderful you wish you’d thought  it up.)

It’s not just the featured poets who dazzle.  Co-host Brown has toured and performed with Cold War Kids and Decemberists and appeared on Jay Leno; his work has been featured in books with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Jeff Buckley, Jack Hirschman, Amber Tamblyn, and poet laureate Ted Kooser.   Expect co-host/magician Zabrecky, a Magic Castle and Possum Dixon favorite, to bring further off-balance edge to the show with his eerily unsettling magic while special musical guests GLISS bring “gorgeous shoegaze rawness” to the house.  Bottom line, Go Go’ers, you will leave this one-night-only show ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

It’s understandable if you can’t wait ’til Saturday’s sure-to-be-sold-out show. (Ahem. That means order tix NOW, Go Go’ers.)   Luckily, you can sample the excitement sooner via director Stephen Latty‘s intimately compelling documentary of the 2007 show that started it all.  Check out clips of Latty’s fest fave Drums Inside Your Chest on YouTube and on the event website; just be prepared to get even more feverish about Saturday night.

Poets and patrons…let the wild rumpus start.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

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