Crowley, Chomsky, black and white magic, books of crime-scene pictures, Beat literature and world-beat music guides, outre and obscure videos, odd niche periodicals: For six years now, Forbidden Books--nestled in the heart of Fair Park at 835 Exposition Ave.--has provided Dallas with access to media that you could lump together under the general heading of Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.
Owner-operator Jason Cohen--looking like a studious Parisian anarchist of the 1870s in his ovoid spectacles and neatly trimmed, reddish hair and goatee--had added a music section quite a while ago, stocking it mostly according to his own whim and tastes. Tucked away in the back of the store and with limited space, the section always had stepchild status compared with Forbidden's print and video departments, but six months ago music sales "really began taking off," according to Cohen.
That's when he began to formulate plans for "a whole separate store that would be an extension of the music section here, with a much bigger jazz section and a lot wider selection of avant-garde music." With that in mind, Cohen acquired a space that used to house an art gallery around the corner at 3816 Parry, between Rob's Chop Shop and the alley, giving him an additional 600 to 800 square feet of display space, all of it to be for music.
But space was only the beginning part of the equation. Selection is a big part of any store's attraction, and in the wilfully obscure world of avant-alternative (as in real alternative)--full of small indie labels, non-touring vinyl-only bands and other minutiae--it's vital.
Enter Ed Stafford, long known as the "weird music" specialist at stores such as RPM, Borders, and CD Source. Cohen thought that Stafford--whom he'd met one day when the latter dropped off some flyers right after Cohen had started selling music--seemed a natural for the job of running the new store, which will be called Out to Lunch (Forbidden Music?). "I'm really lucky to be in this with Jason--he's got the name and the reputation," says Stafford as he readies the long, narrow space for its upcoming debut, putting in new walls, patching holes in the floor, and attending to all the other needs that go with refitting a store for your own requirements. An affable, if focused, guy whose hair sports a leopard-y dark-and-light dye job, Stafford has big plans for the future.
"I want this store to have a little bit of everything on the fringe," he says. "Jazz, weird techno, gothic, whatever. I'd like to have artwork on all the walls--maybe people could have exhibits--and performance art groups could stage shows." Stafford wants bands to play at Out to Lunch, as well. "Any kind of fresh, new people who aren't getting to play at the more traditional venues."
That would be a welcome option, says Drew Wallace of Lost Records, who plays in the garage-psych band Iron Bong, among others. "You just get so tired of playing in clubs," he says with a sigh, referencing a recent show at the Galaxy Club that was so fraught with hassle that the band ended up not playing. "Or playing to fucked-up, drunken people. Something like [Out to Lunch] would really be great."
That somewhat evangelical zeal is what Stafford--and, he hopes, Out to Lunch--is motivated by. "If we could get, say, one goth kid in here," he says, smiling, "and turn him on to Miles Davis--that's what it's all about."
Last issue we offered congratulations to Juno Specter on their copping the opening slot for the Kelley Deal 6000 show at the Orbit Room. Now it's time for condolences as the club was the scene of yet another incident between the Dallas Police Department and the Orbit Room. Even though the club had a dance hall permit posted by the door, the manager was informed by the DPD that if one person set foot upon the stage, he would be arrested and the club closed. The KD6000 moved over to the Galaxy Club, but without Juno opening. Happily, at least one Juno saw a bit of limelight when the group's bassist joined Deal and company on guitar for one song--slight salve, that--and the show as originally advertised has been rescheduled for November.
Other than that, though, things are looking up for the band. Saturday, September 20, will find them in New Orleans playing a showcase for the Cutting Edge music festival that is expected to garner major-label and big indie attention. The band has already attracted the attention of Jimmy Ford (Cowboy Mouth, Dr. John, Royal Crescent Mob, etc.) and will be recording their next album at his home studio in N.O.
Jerry Garcia's certifiably dead--open-casket funeral, no Wal-Mart sightings, all that--so how, pray tell, can the Jerry Garcia Band be coming to the Caravan of Dreams? We don't begrudge organist Melvin Seals or backup singers Gloria Jones and Jackie LaBranch their reward for years of service to the late guitarist--Seals is one of the greatest Hammond organ players around, able to construct shimmering, billowy solos on his instrument that could stand toe-to-toe with Garcia's--and most Deadheads probably could accept an almost-there approximation: Jerry Garcia's Band, JGB, or Tribute to Jerry Garcia. To travel under the selfsame moniker as they did when the brilliant guitarist was alive, however, is just too much--especially since the death of longtime Garcia Band bassist John Kahn. Why not call it the Jerry Garcia/Duane Allman Experience? After all, the two men played together at least once. Perhaps with a special guest appearance by Terry Kath? Unless somebody has some crushing medical bills to crawl out from under (and even then...), this is an example of cynical gall so mighty, so overwhelming, as to knock one on one's ass. Even more disappointing is the fact that the place will probably be swarming with the same kind of idiots who screwed up what was once a very cool scene in the first place. Next week: Nirvana at the Bronco Bowl? Apparently, it could happen...
The good news is that Pimpadelic has a September 30 gig at the Viper Room, the notorious L.A. nightclub surely patterned after a typical Bret Easton Ellis daydream--and noted as the hit-the-sidewalk spot for River Phoenix. Not as good is the news that they're playing with Dogstar, the (yawn) Keanu Reeves band. The next night, though, the 'delics perform at a Billboard Live showcase. Catch a bon voyage set at Trees on September 26...Dallas singer/actress Margery Clive will portray the life of contralto Marian Anderson--the first African-American woman to sing in the Metropolitan Opera Company--in a one-woman show on Saturday, September 27, at 8 p.m. in the sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas. Anderson, who in the 1920s faced the usual racial barriers in the pursuit of a career in opera, eventually won over audiences worldwide with her dignity and talent. She sang at President Kennedy's inauguration and was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Johnson. Clive is an appropriate person to portray Anderson. She's a veteran of the Houston Grand Opera, an alumna of several Dallas Theater Center productions, and also co-founded A.R.T.S. For People, a social service organization of therapists, artists, and musicians who provide a blend of interactive art, dance, music, and expressive and recreational therapies to area health-care and community facilities.
Street Beat values your e-mail input at Matt_Weitz@dallasobserver.com.
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