A radio revolution
To the crew of a dozen or so hipsters behind the 2-year-old X1FM Network (www.x1fmradio.com), an Internet radio station and content provider, “terrestrial” is a dirty word.
“What we wanted to do from the beginning is completely revamp the business model used by terrestrial stations,” says X1FM spokesperson Javier Leyva.
Last week, Leyva, sporting a curly faux-hawk, gave CityBeat a tour of X1FM's chic National City office, which doesn't contain the foosball and ping-pong tables the dot-coms of the late '90s were famous for but does boast a similar youthful energy. Just as many computer technicians and graphic designers sat at desks as producers and talent. In a nearby green room, an interview with the Tijuana band Los Kung Fu Monkeys was being filmed. We were even introduced to a cute blonde in a miniskirt whose primary duty is to surf MySpace and other networking sites to rustle up potential listeners.
In a conference room, near a window overlooking the sound studio where deejay Chris Cantore was interviewing Marky Ramone for his brand-new morning show—Cantore left 91X last year after 11 years and started at X1FM a few weeks ago—Leyva explained how inventions like Nokia Internet Radio, a service that allows folks to listen to online radio via their cell phones, and a soon-to-come technology that allows people to sync cell phone signals to car radios, are helping the station's Internet-only cause.
“We're developing something where we know we're still a couple of years away before it's mainstream” Leyva said, “but as soon as that technology is widely available, there's going to be a whole change as far as broadcasting and entertainment, and we're going to be ahead of the wave.”
For now, X1FM is broadcasting a commercial-free music format that includes alternative and mainstream rock and some electronica—as well as Cantore's morning show and other programs, including The British Invasion with Dean Mitchell and The Gun Show with Trevor Forssell. The station also posts concert photos, video interviews, podcasts of past shows and deejay blogs. In the future, X1FM plans to add Internet-based television programming to its lineup.—Kinsee Morlan
On the record
For the first spin of CityBeat's new semi-regular feature spotlighting local DJs, we asked Ikah Love, one of the mixmasters from the Whistle Stop Bar's Booty Bassment, what turns his tables.
CityBeat: What made you decide to DJ?
Ikah Love: My purpose in this life is to serve and bring praise to God—and by “God,” I mean [actor/singer] Charlotte Gainsbourg. That single purpose has informed all of my decisions.
Your latest gig is Shake Appeal. What's that all about?
We used to throw the party at what turned out to be a rather, um, stale and less-than-interesting bar in the middle of nowhere. The place had just about the least attractive interiors to which one could ever be subject, so in an effort to spare our guests the displeasure of an involuntary triggering of the gag reflex upon arrival, Dimitri [Dickinson, co-DJ of Booty Bassment] and I would go to great lengths to dress the place up. Every month was an exercise in the unlucky art of polishing a turd.
We have since moved the Shake Appeal from that location. Currently we are trying something that's been really exciting, and I'm not sure I've seen anybody else do in San Diego. We are moving the party each month to a new and different ‘pop up' location, taking virtually unknown and certainly unlikely venues and turning them into new and refreshing experiences for both the people who come to our parties as well as for ourselves. It's been great so far. This month, we had our biggest party to date in an amazing space.
What artists do you spin?
Crime Mob, Trina, Black Box, Metro Area, Moodymann, DJ Deeon, DJ Funk, Debonair Samir, Rod Lee.
What's your ideal party night?
Being a very dedicated, paranoid vegetarian (dedicated both to vegetarianism and my paranoia). I only believe in eating food prepared by people I know and love, or by people sheathed in pastel loin cloths. So an evening out may start with full-service Prasadam at Jyoti-Bihanga [in Normal Heights]. After that, I find a bath a fulfilling way to spend an evening in San Diego. Otherwise, if it's the first or third Thursday, I'll try this city's only civilized nightlife option—Skull Kontrol at Live Wire. For after-hours entertaining, I always have a pot of brown rice and Morrissey DVDs on at my place, to which you are welcome.—Justin RobertsYou can find Ikah Love every Friday at Bar Dynamite and every fourth Saturday at the Whistle Stop. Next month's Shake Appeal takes place June 14 at The Guild in Barrio Logan. www.myspace.com/ikahlove.
Not unlike Randal Graves' paradoxical hatred of people (but love of gatherings) in Clerks, I despise karaoke, but the idea of hip-hop karaoke sounds fantastic. You see, any moron can sing “Brown Eyed Girl,” but it takes a special kind of moron to be able to pull off “Straight Outta Compton” in public. Said intrepid souls will have their chance at the Onyx Room's “Hip-Hop Karaoke” night starting at 9 p.m., Thursday, May 22. The official song list includes tracks by everyone from A Tribe Called Quest and Biz Markie to Wu-Tang Clan and U.G.K., but I'll buy a round for anyone brazen enough to tackle Fu-Schnickens' “What's Up Doc? (Can We Rock),” because Shaq is, uh, alidocious.
If there isn't enough Bacardi in the world to get you to take on The Beastie Boys' “Paul Revere,” you can still do your indie-rock-wallflower thing while listening to Scarlet Symphony, Red Feathers and Jamuel Saxon (also on May 22) at Beauty Bar. The following night (Friday, May 23), part-time OBecians Sami Yaffa and Karmen Guy join their mates in Mad Juana at Bar Pink Elephant to kill some time until distribution issues for their album Bruja on the Corner get remedied.On the first Saturday night (May 24) of Memorial Day weekend, Dynamite Walls, Stripes and Lines and This Holiday Life hit up the Belly Up before the second Saturday night (Sunday, May 25) features a free show at The Casbah with Bedford Grove, Jamuel Saxon and MayStar (taking a headlining turn after opening for Dresden Dolls at House of Blues on May 22).
On Monday (Memorial Day), May 26, you can pay tribute to the fallen heroes of wars past with another kind of mortal combat when Zombie Lounge hosts the San Diego Drum Battle at its monthly “Totally Turned Off” event. Local drummers who've signed up for the cymbal-smashing donnybrook include Sal Gallegos (Some Girls/Geronimo), Gabe Serbian (The Locust), Dave McGraw (Cattle Decapitation), Dion Thurman (Creedle) and Brandon Relf (Sleeping People). —Nathan Dinsdale
The Enrique Experience
Last Sunday, a myriad of artists, vendors and performers took over a chunk of University Avenue for the 12th annual North Park Festival of the Arts. As the crowd rocked out to Steve Poltz and his band, The Cynics, jamming with Tan Sister Radio to a cover of TLC's Waterfalls on the main stage, a local street performer expressed his grief.
“It's a slow day for me,” said accordion player Pat Toto, who often posts up in front of a tobacco shop on University and plays music for money. “I can't wait to go home and get away from all this noise.”
Fully immersed in all the music and mayhem, I was approached by a life-sized Pink Elephant mascot promoting its namesake bar's $2 Tecate and PBR specials. It must have been 95 degrees out, which may or may not explain why several people head-butted the poor furry pachyderm. Give that person under the rose-colored fur a raise!
So, egged on by the promise of cheap-beverage goodness, I made it over to the bubbly watering hole. Inside, I met Leah Stella Stephens, a Missouri-born artist who asked if I was interested in purchasing an “absurd handmade postcard.” Most of them featured Stephens in front of different Photoshopped National Geographic backgrounds.
Stephens was wearing a gem-encrusted crown topped with a faux Blue Bird, whose plumage matched her turquoise eye shadow perfectly. She told me she got into this lost art of making postcards after suffering a nervous breakdown while teaching English in Japan.
“I came back and started working at a sticker factory in Kansas, and I developed carpal tunnel—it fucking sucked!” said the self-proclaimed “Patron Saint” of postcards.
She says she then started dabbling in stalking comedian Craig Ferguson.
I left with my very own one-of-a-kind postcard that read, “There's a brand new you in Oceanside, California. Go find yourself there,” starring, you guessed it, the arts-and-crafts vixen herself.—Enrique Limon
Just freakin' do it
Do outdoor film screenings and music at the velodrome this summer in Balboa Park sound good to you? Visit www.cinevelo.org and fill out the petition of support for Cinevelo. Organizer Joel Martin will attend a May 22 North Park Planning Committee meeting and needs a “yes” vote before he can take the proposal to the Balboa Park Committee.—Kinsee Morlan