LA Weekly

Ashley Huizenga

Our music feature this week focuses on Ashley Huizenga, an L.A. musician and performance artist known for her academic-minded — and also quite filthy — shows under the guise of her alter ego Actually Huizenga.

Trained as a classical pianist, she creates epic ’80s inspired dance scores that feature wailing guitar solos, shimmering synth sounds, and sexy lyrics like “You’re top’s off/Mine’s coming off/You’re giving it/I’m taking it/Who’s driving this car?” Having recently shot the latest installment of her video series “Soft Rock” – in which she is literally boffed on camera — she spoke with us about her monthly show at Cheetahs strip club in Hollywood, her upcoming solo album, and much more.

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Sex on Camera

Ashley Huizenga is a fiercely intellectual singer and performance artist, who has a hard time keeping her clothes on. Tonight, at a Valentine’s Day show at Cheetahs strip club in Hollywood, she saunters onstage in a thong and a red bra, draped in a piece of white, translucent fabric, which she slowly claws through.

Backed by self-produced beats, an electric guitarist and a synth player, Huizenga launches into her “porn pop,” as she calls it, full of clean, catchy riffs reminiscent of ’80s radio hits. It’s literally made for fucking. “Feel the power,” she sings. “You’re a man/You used to pay, but now it’s free.” She lies on her back, kicking her legs into the air and clapping her stripper heels together. Then she rises and swings around the pole before sliding her ass up and down it.

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Moshe Brakha

Black Flag, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Keanu Reeves and Devo have all been shot by famed photographer Moshe Brakha. Charismatically colorful from the start, his photographs burst with movement and personality. He shot the cover for Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees album in ’76, shot Run DMC for Rolling Stone, and threw himself into the advertising arena, shooting campaigns for brands like Sky Vodka and Adidas as well as directing the “Martini Man” commercial series for Martini and Rossi. “New Economy,” the first gallery exhibition of Moshe’s collaboration with his son Eddie, consists of portraits of young creatives taken by the father/son duo after interviewing each subject.

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Emily Lacy Raises Political Awareness — and Bail Money

When Occupy L.A. was raided by police in late November, Emily Lacy saw lots of her friends arrested. To raise money for their bail, the 32-year-old Alhambra folk musician performed a show at Machine Project gallery in Echo Park. It was all part of what she called her “Occupy Music” events, Lacy says with a toothy grin.

The disbanding of the protesters at City Hall broke her heart. But the events did inspire her new album, Rise, which is available tomorrow, Wed., Jan. 11, as a free download. The work’s six original songs about protest help document the Occupy movement in a way that the media failed to, she says. “[Rise] is a political exorcism through sound and singing,” she promises.

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Actually Huizenga’s XXX-Mas Pageant at Cheetahs Hollywood

I saw strippers blowing Santa Claus, under the dance pole Saturday night!

Sir Ryan Heffington — MOCA performer, TED talker, and choreographer of Ke$ha’s “Take It Off” video — participated in an evening of dance, music and performance at Cheetahs Hollywood, a strip joint known for sassy tattooed dancers and wild Super Bowl Sunday buffets.

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John Maus

We’ve passed the first climax in the genealogy of post-modern pop karaoke performance, but John Maus’ powerhouse sing-a-longs with himself makes us think we’re in for multiple musical orgasms.

Fans paced back and forth under the Sunset bridge, crying desperately for extra tickets to see John Maus. The man might as well up and found his own cult, cause he’s got the following and the gestures to boot.

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Ariel Pink’s Birthday Meltdown

Nothin’ like a blissful and theatrical performance of the indulgence of rock-n-roll to remind us why life is worth livin. Fans willing to sing your songs for you? Girls willing to flash their breasts to bulging security guards on Slauson Blvd? Friends willing to watch over and over again as one of the most compelling creative forces of their sub-society succeeds or evaporates, always with spectacular results? Chaos!

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reliq, SYMBOLCLUB and More

Our writer Drew Denny traveled from L.A. to Lithuania, Germany, Poland and Denmark meeting artists and musicians for her “Overseas Underground” series. Her next stop was a goth club in Berlin, where she met the band reliq.

Despite their myriad references to horror and all the pain they channel, reliq‘s performance is downright sexy. Re-performing hallucinations, inciting shamanic spells, hypnotizing, eroticizing, and spectacularizing – reliq is a concept band for the post-apocalyptic conceptual art world.

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Lithuania’s Rebel Radio Station Neringa FM

Our writer Drew Denny traveled from L.A. to Lithuania, Germany, Poland and Denmark meeting artists and musicians for her “Overseas Underground” series. Her first stop was a national forest on the Baltic Sea where Lithuanian DJs celebrate their country’s liberation on air.

After the Soviet years of smuggling CDs and copying tapes in order to hear new music, Linas Ramanauskas decided to quit his corporate job and found a radio station in the middle of the forest on the Baltic Sea so Lithuanians young and old can enjoy music without having to cross international borders or break the law. Supporting alternative, dub, reggae, experimental and pop music from around the globe, Neringa FM broadcasts a world-class program, enjoys a healthy internet audience, and even hosts beach volleyball games on the Russian border. Stay tuned to www.neringafm.lt because L.A. favorite Gaslamp Killer is joining them later this summer!

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Show Cave Kisses L.A. Goodbye

After five years and three locations around Los Angeles, notorious Show Cave night gallery closes with a gleefully gynocentric event entitled “Licker License.” Show Cave has pioneered new territory in video exhibition and distribution — those are flash drives covering the curator’s nipples in the photo above — and has been a staunch supporter of the most innovative and wild performers, in town and around the world. (See our Show Cave piece from our Best of L.A. issue last year: “Best Venue to Explore the Fringes of the Underground.”)

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