Jeanne RiceIt may not be South By Southwest—and they may never want to see it grow into the annual Austin, Texas, music industry extravaganza—but organizers of the Music Mentor Conference, slated for Sept. 19-21 at the Anaheim Hilton, hope their industry confab will eventually rise to at least that level of name recognition. Founded by Jeff Stora, bassist for Long Beach band Fuzzpop, MMC bills itself as "the biggest music event on the West Coast! Thousands of artists and music industry insiders will come together to share ideas, create new networks, and shape the future of the music industry." If our industry confab memories are correct, this usually means panel discussions, copious amounts of schmoozing, rivers of alcohol and heaps of live bands, and MMC marketing manager Martin Brown—he of Live Magazine and the OC Music Awards—is promising most of that. "I'm always looking at it from an OC angle," Brown says. "My take is, here's another event for OC musicians to attempt to further their career, to get the expertise of people in the industry. This is for bands that are starting out or floundering, not the established acts." Panels will touch on such topics as contract negotiations, Internet marketing, press relations, demo packaging and getting your music into films and television. Some panelists, Brown adds, have agreed to serve as mentors long after the event ends, which means bands will be able to ring them up for ongoing tips and career advice. MMC is reasonably affordable, too—$89 if you sign up by Saturday, as opposed to the upwards of $600 South By Southwest charges. About 300 people have registered so far, says Brown. "We don't want it to become like South By Southwest," Brown says, "where everything becomes elitist. Or like the Sex Pistols, where they start off saying fuck you to ELO and then wind up becoming just like them." Of course, there'll be lots of live music from showcasing bands, some who Brown says will be traveling from Seattle, New York and Florida to play on stages that will be set up at Downtown Disney—55 are promised over the conference's Friday and Saturday nights (Thursday night will spotlight local bands). "We're trying to make it meaningful," says Brown. "I think our conference will be sustainable for years. We've got qualified people who'll do anything we can to make it a positive experience." For more info on the MMC, click to www.musicmentor.net. (Rich Kane)
Near-fights and horn-toots
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Top three Orange County-related moments at the third annual Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC), held Aug. 13-16 in various Los Angeles venues:
•JC Fandango owner Javier Castellanos nearly brawling in the Mayan Theater lobby with managers of LA-based goth band Mara Fatal during the Aug. 14 La Banda Elstica awards. The proximate cause? Castellanos' suggestion that Mara Fatal isn't achieving mainstream fame because they're terrible. No blows were landed, although we think that was the Mara Fatal people bawling in the men's room afterward.
•The appearance of The Orange County Register new Latin alternative reporter. New reporter, same clich curse: The headline over Justino Aguila's Aug. 17 LAMC review: "Pour on the Spice." "Spice" and its variants are favorites of Reg headline writers, as in "Futbol is the spice" (June 2, 2002), "A spicy [play] of music, stories" (Feb. 11, 2000), "Olivares adding spice to [Angels'] rotation" (May 27, 1999) and 1998's salsariffic "Spicing up aerobics." And who can forget the Register's June 19, 2003, story on the rising influence of Latinos in mainstream American culture: "Spicing up the Cultural Pot." That's caliente!
•Fullerton resident and Al Borde staffer Jess "El Pelos" Olvera's wonderful Aug. 15 anti-LAMC concert ska showcase in Southgate. If you haven't read Al Borde yet—one of the finest Spanish-language rags around—pick it up and support the fabulously funny local-chavo-done-good Olvera. (Gustavo Arellano)