Friday, May 28, 2010
RHINO RECORDS IS BACK... for a limited time
Rhino Records, the famed Westwood hole-in-the-wall storefront that begat the iconic catalog record label of the same name and defined the independent music store paradigm -- just celebrated on "Record Store Day"-- will be back for a very limited run from May 17 - 30. It's the pop-up store to end all pop-up stores, a reprise of a golden era when idiosyncratic customers and clerks sparked a musical revolution and catalyzed real-life debates that were more passionate than anything seen in High Fidelity.
I bought my first Jam album - In the City - at Rhino at the urgent suggestion of the man who would become a lifelong friend, Gary Stewart.
The Rhinos also fed my particular obsession with Eno, finding me obscura in addition to always having the latest imported releases. Thanks to Rhino, I am the proud owner of a limited edition lithograph of the cover art for Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy.
I can't say enough great things about Rhino... from the records I was turned on to by Gary, by Richard Foos, by Harold Bronson and all the others who worked there... to the life long friendships that resulted from our love of music... yeah - its exactly like Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. Only better.
If you are in Los Angeles, you can't miss this final 48 hours of pop-up Rhino!
Rhino is, for a fortnight, back from the grave bringing its legacy of eccentric, eclectic and unabashed fun with incredulous deals, in-store performances , the irreverent attitude typified by the "worst customers" chart for one last spin on the merry-go-round in the name of Hope in Action. All proceeds will go to Chrysalis Enterprises, an LA nonprofit that transitions the unfortunate and hopeless into employment.
The impetus for this riotous resurrection is that Richard Foos, Rhino founder and éminence grise, is bidding farewell to Los Angeles after 40 plus years to move to New York. Foos, who strongly believes in merging one's social values with business has installed a strong sense of purpose and giving back in all his business concerns. He loath to move the thousands upon thousands of albums and DVDs to New York so decided, in a flash epiphany, that if you can’t take it all with you, why not blow it out with purpose? The store, located at 1740 Westwood Blvd. (Map: tinyurl.com/Rhino1740) will be selling not only his stuff but also thousands more that Foos and his accomplices have cajoled out of his many media industry friends. It is expected that over 100,000 individual "pieces of product" will be sold over the course of Rhino's reanimation with a goal of raising $100,000 for Chrysalis Enterprises, a non-profit organization that has helped address the problems of the economically disadvantaged of Los Angeles county for more than 25 years. Foos, it should be noted, serves on the board of Chrysalis as well as other organizations that have a strong commitment to social progress.
As the Rhino pop-up store is on the cusp of launching a two week run just 50 feet and a few doors down Westwood Blvd. from its original location, a schedule of rhinoesque -- there's no other way to put it -- events is shaping up:
Friday, May 28: Peter Case and guests perform selections from Wig! to be released June 29 on Yep Rock.
Peter Case is not just a lifelong friend, but a fave artist. He's been a folkie / troubadour street bard for much longer than he ever was a member of the Nerves or the Plimsouls, but his punk/power pop mantle accompanies him. I think he's been on to something for decades. I'm bummed I can't see Peter in LA at the pop up Rhino store... but this fall, he's one of the highlights of the Americana Music Association's Festival in Nashville. Like fellow musicians Dave Alvin and John Doe, rising out of the LA punk scene, and like Tommy Ramone, Peter's a man who has been able to gracefully combine his love for and talent in genres other than the punk rock that elevated his visibility. Peter's last album was nominated for a Grammy in the contemporary folk category! He's got just as much in common with Buddy Miller as he does with his punk / pop brethren.
As the holiday called Memorial Day approaches...memorialize the Rhino and celebrate the good music !