New Stories: Pulp Novels, Japanese Tattoos and a Whole Lot of Other Stuff

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Since the start of the year, I’ve been making business goals at the beginning of every month. The goal is based on how much I invoice. It’s a modest goal, but I still managed to miss it in January and February. Fortunately, things changed this month. I surpassed the goal on March 18, giving me about two weeks to try and get a little further ahead.

This probably sounds dumb, but I think part of actually making the goal had to do with getting over my aversion to spreadsheets. Looking at the numbers column by column every morning and every evening helps a lot.

Also, I’ve been trying to tune out a lot of the outside world, just so that I can write without distraction. When that happens, I can get four stories done in just over 24 hours. That includes time spent sleeping or eating or whatever. Not everything I wrote is available to read yet, but here’s the list of what is online.
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New Stories: Oscar Parties, Teebs and Cosplay

Inside Space 15Twenty for the opening of "Ante Vos." (Photo: Liz Ohanesian, first appeared on KCET Artbound)

Inside Space 15Twenty for the opening of “Ante Vos.” (Photo: Liz Ohanesian, first appeared on KCET Artbound)

Hey, it’s a week where I remembered to update this blog. The following are stories of mine that were published this week. Please check them out when you have the chance.

“8 Fun L.A. Oscar Events for Non-Assholes”

I’ve been reading Paper since the 1990s, so it was nice to get to write something for the magazine’s blog. This is just a roundup of cool Oscar-related events. An in-the-know friend said I found some events that didn’t hit his radar, which made my day. If you’re planning on doing the Oscar party circuit on Sunday, try to hit up at least one mentioned here.

“Teebs: Ethereal Beats and Visual Remixes”

Teebs is a local musician and artist whose work you should know. Last week, I got to meet up with him as he installed “Ante Vos,” an art show made from record sleeves, at Space 15Twenty in Hollywood. The story appeared on KCET Artbound.

“How One L.A. Cosplayer Deals with All the Attention (and Harassment)”

For my latest Cult Stars column for L.A. Weekly, I talked to L.A.-based, internationally-known cosplayer Maridah. In the interview, she addresses an issue that many cosplayers face. That’s harassment and otherwise inappropriate behavior from folks online and at conventions.

My Plans for 2014

Is it too late for a New Year post?

More than a week later, it still sort of feels like January 2. I haven’t grown tired of the goals I made this year. I’m exercising every day, eating better and, most importantly, getting the necessary work done to reach my goals for 2014.

I made goals because I was tired of reading about how lousy our economic climate is. Pay rates are bad, that is, if you have a job. And then there are those stupid student loans. The system is a mess, but I don’t have much hope that someone will actually fix it. So, I have to do what I can to try and fix my own mess myself.
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Stevie Nicks Night at Shadowplay

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I don’t quite remember how it started, but, soon a string of half-jokes bounced around at last call turned into a bona fide idea. We were going to do a Stevie Nicks night at the goth club. A few weeks of promoting commence. I watch the RSVPs, unsure of whether we just had the best or worst idea ever.

This month, Shadowplay fell on December 28. That’s the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, a Saturday which many in the club world have come to dread. Christmas in L.A. is typically pretty slow. There are a lot of people who aren’t from here. They go home, only to return just in time for New Year’s Eve. That final party night of the year is huge. It’s also, typically, expensive. That said, people will stay in the weekend prior to save up funds and energy. Still, we managed to get a pretty good amount of people into the club, enough to keep the dance floor full for the bulk of the night. Yay!
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The Cure: In Orange at Cinefamily

Inside Cinefamily's lobby, the Instagram filter version. (Photo: Liz O. )

Inside Cinefamily’s lobby, the Instagram filter version. (Photo: Liz O. )

I saw The Cure: In Orange as a young teen with VHS access. Perhaps every Cure fan did. The video was always easy to spot at mall stores and video rental shops. In Orange. I didn’t know the difference between “orange,” the fruit/color, and “Or-ange,” the place in France, until the cassette made its way into my parents’ VCR. Sometimes I think I learned more from music than from classes. Regardless, I saw the video a bunch of times, either because a friend had it or I rented it, but the last viewing session was well before the advent of DVD players. To this day, In Orange has not been released in that format. Last night, though, I got to see the famed Cure concert film on the big screen, as a 35 mm print, at Cinefamily. On top of that, I got to DJ before the screening.

This was the first of two screenings at Cinefamily this weekend. (The second one is tonight.) Friday night’s screening sold out with good reason. Cinefamily did a great job of explaining why In Orange is important. I tried to expand on that while talking to my husband and a friend of ours. “It’s the definitive Cure film,” I said. In Orange isn’t like Depeche Mode: 101. There’s no narrative. It’s just the band playing a bunch of songs in an ancient venue. Still, you get a good sense of who they are and who they are going to be. The concert took place in 1986, a year or so before “Just Like Heaven.” They were big, but they were about to get bigger. On stage, you have the classic line-up– Robert, Simon, Porl, Lol, Boris– that would start to fall apart a few years later during the course of making Disintegration. It’s not the original line-up, but it’s the one responsible for a lot of the biggest hits.
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Liz O.’s Annual Birthday DJ Gig

Image: Klaus Hiltscher, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike, via Wikimedia Commons

Image: Klaus Hiltscher, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s time for my annual birthday DJ gig. This year, the event is taking place on December 28 at Shadowplay, the monthly goth party that I promote with Diana M and Larry G. from Underground. We have a special theme for this month too: Stevie Nicks.

“But, Stevie Nicks isn’t goth,” you protest. To which we answer,”Ha! How many goths do you know who totally dress all Stevie for a night on the town?” I bet it’s a lot. Heck, I’ve done it too and I’ll be busting out the black lace and boots for this gig too. Plus, “Rhiannon” is a jam, which is part of the reason why we picked this theme. I’ve been listening to “Rhiannon” on repeat, while Diana has been watching American Horror Story: Coven. We’re also encouraging people to dress as their favorite Coven characters– cosplay, if you will– if you are so inclined.

Here are the important details. The party starts at 10 p.m. If you RSVP via Facebook (just click join), you and one guest can get in for free before 10:30 p.m. Otherwise, it’s $8. The club is also 21+. If you’re a Facebook user, like our page for more updates.

That is all.

When You Want to Quit, But You Know You Can’t

There are a lot of days when I question what I’m doing with my career. Take Monday, for example, when I found out that my car didn’t just need three new tires. It needed new brakes too. I wanted to cry, but, somehow, resisted that urge. Sunday is another example. It was my birthday. Overall, it was an awesome day, but all the while, I couldn’t help but think that I’m too old now to be doing this, that maybe I should accept failure and move on to something more stable.

I’ve done a lot of stupid and difficult things in my life. Trying to write for a living is, by far, the most stupid and difficult of the lot. In the past few weeks, the urge to quit has been stronger than ever. But, I’ve quit things before and know from that experience that regret is more painful than frustration. Regret is paralyzing. You can’t do anything to fix the mess you made. Frustration hurts, but you can play through it like a jock. There’s always still hope that, in the end, you’ll have a championship ring heading your way.
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Thanksgiving Message

Yesterday, I posted the following in my personal Facebook page.

Since it’s that time of year, I wanted to say thank you all for being awesome. Some of us have known each other for most of our lives by now. Some of us have never met in person. Yet, you’ve all managed to make the day-to-day drudgery of work a little bit more entertaining. Thanks for the funny little updates about your day, weird videos, selfies and memes. Even your cat pictures and kid updates are cool, and I’m allergic to both. I hope to see more of you in person more frequently soon, but we can talk about that later. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving. Have an awesome weekend and KIT, or something like that.

I wanted to repost and expand on this because the message goes far beyond my circle of Facebook pals.

I’m grateful to live in a world where we can share our life experiences with faraway friends and people we will never meet in person. As annoying as Internet life can be, it’s changed who we are and how we relate to each other.

At its best, this whole swirl of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr madness can be the push we need to become more compassionate, empathetic people. In the physical world, we’re divided by geography, industries, social circles, age groups. Online, we can get a glimpse inside the lives that we don’t see on a day-to-day basis. When we use these technological gifts to their fullest advantage, we learn as much about each other as we do about ourselves.

All that means is that I’m thankful for you and how your stories have made an impact on this reader/snooper this year. For those of you in the U.S., have a great holiday. For everyone else, hope you have an amazing rest of the week.

I’m Working on a Convention Interview Project and Need Your Help

I’ve spent the last five years covering fan conventions, both the big events like San Diego Comic-Con and smaller, hotel cons like Anime Los Angeles. As far as reporting to go, these are nearly always my favorite assignments. That’s why I need to dig deeper into it.

Maybe my convention coverage is a little different from what you might expect. I’m not particularly concerned with entertainment industry announcements. Checking out the toys and art and costumes are fun, but they aren’t everything. Mostly, I’m interested in people. This is evident in stories I’ve written for L.A. Weekly, like “A Fan Convention Through the Eyes of a Single Cosplayer,” “The Curious World of Voice Actors” and “Sean Z. Maker: Founder of Bent-Con, the LGBT Pop Culture Convention.” I want to know why you lug your work out to artist alley booths, why you volunteer to run them and why you spend months working on a costume.

Right now, I’m in the beginning phases of a large-scale interview project concerning the world of fan conventions. The goal is to present a series of essays about people from various segments of the convention world. I will be updating this blog weekly with stories resulting from these interviews, essentially the rough drafts for what will, hopefully, become a book.

This where you come in. I’m putting out an open call for interview subjects. It’s imperative that these interviews take place in person, either at a convention or a mutually agreed upon location.  Since I’m working with no budget for travel, this means that you have to be from the Los Angeles area.  The first interview should take about an hour. We may need to meet for subsequent interviews, depending on the nature of the story. I’ll also need to take a few quick photos of you, so it’s important that you’re not camera shy. Finally, if you want to be considered for an interview, you need to be at least 18 years old.  If you’re still interested, email me at lizohanesian [at] yahoo [dot] com with the subject line Convention Interview Project.

I’ve already conducted a few interviews, which you will see as soon as I can get those transcribed. Over the next few months, we’ll start to watch the big story unfold together.

 

Set List: Halloween at Club Berlin

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I was Tina Belcher for Halloween. For those who don’t know the reference, Tina is the eldest daughter on the animated show Bob’s Burgers. If you have never watched that show, you should. The inspiration came mostly from my friend, Roo. He’s always sending me gifs of Tina’s antics. It’s also inspired by my husband, who is convinced that I was like Tina at 13. He’s kind of right.

Anyhow, after pulling together the costume with stuff in the closet and a few odds and ends picked up for cheap across L.A., we headed to Club Berlin at Alpine Village in Torrance. It was a great night, probably the best Halloween I’ve had in a while. The crowd was fun and energetic. Some good friends hung out with us, including one who was celebrating her birthday. Plus, I did capoeira Tina-style on the dance floor and in the DJ booth. Yes, there’s video. You’ll probably see it at some point. I get a little too into character on Halloween sometimes.

Thanks to everyone who made last night so awesome.

Check out the set list.
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