Michelle Jane Lee

Unapologetically emotional despite her minimalist aesthetic and conceptual methodology, Michelle Jane Lee constructed an alphabet by assigning a color to each letter, authoring over 100 works – one of which is 30 feet long – that she calls Love Notes. Opening tonight at Gallery 3209 in Culver City, Love Notes is Lee’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. She will be waiting by the gallery door all evening hoping to see the person for whom she penned so many works of love.

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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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Gallery 3209

During an October opening at her gallery, Eddie and Moshe Brakha of Brakhax2 approached Denni Zelikowsky of Gallery 3209 to be a subject in their photo series, New Economy. She obliged, hesitantly. The charismatically irreverent gallerist prefers to create and curate images rather than be integrated into them. Like its founder, Gallery 3209 eschews convention for community, providing a safe space for the strange and the wild amidst rows of clinical white boxes in Culver City. With ample space, natural light falling in through sky lights and floor to ceiling windows, and an address ending in 90034, Gallery 3209 provides pristine digs for emerging artists. While waiting in the Brakhax2 studio before her shoot, the iconic black and white image of the members of Devo donning peach breasts with bright pink nipples caught the young curator’s eye. Moshe Brakha of Brakhax2 famously photographed such cheeky personalities as Madonna and Run DMC. After experiencing the collaborative process of Moshe and Eddie Brakha as a subject, Denni knew she wanted to exhibit this father/son duo at Gallery 3209. New Economy opens this Saturday January 7th. Arts Editor Drew Denny discusses Gallery 3209 with curator Denni Zelikowsky below.

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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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Penny-Ante started just about the same time as L.A. RECORD, at the other extreme of printed matter—instead of one page every week, they’d release giant beautiful books full of original art and writing and creative expression and even wedge in a unique CD of music, too. Now after three giant volumes,Penny-Ante’s Rebekah Weikel has released a series of original prints asPenny-Ante part 4 this spring. She will DJ at Big Freak tonight

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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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