Begat, begat, begat: if not for the Beach Boys, Dumb Angel magazine—named for the working title of Brian Wilson's Smile—probably wouldn't exist. If not for the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa—and Dick Dale, the Blue Beet and the Prison of Socrates—the Beach Boys would exist, but would they be as cool? Depends.
"Orange County reminds me of Liverpool. You kind of think of Liverpool and Hamburg as being the small towns, and by the time it hit London it was on Ed Sullivan," DA publisher Brian Chidester says, drawing a Beatles-Beach Boys connection. "The coolest part about it was, it sort of came from these little beach towns. To me it's pretty obvious that the Beach Boys and Dick Dale would have had to come out of the Rendezvous Ballroom. It sort of reminded me of the Cavern [Club, early Beatles base]. I think of the Rendezvous as where the Beach Boys played their first show with Dick Dale. It sort of makes sense that these guys would start out there."
Sunday night, he and DA founder Domenic Priore are bringing it back to original Balboa beatnik bar the Blue Beet, where, in between bands, they'll spin a gang of psychedelic surf instrumentals you've never heard (Dirty Feet soundtrack, for one)—and mark the release of the first Dumb Angel issue in 15 years. They named it All Summer Long, after the Beach Boys LP that hit in '64, the year DA says surf music went international.
As did surf culture and its many influences; Dumb Angel is almost as much Welton Becket (architect of the Capitol Records building and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium) as Beach Boys. Almost. In 148 pages, editor, publisher and writers effectively link the surf music/surfing explosion to modernist architecture, Dutch modernist Piet Mondrian, tiki culture—even to assorted aesthetic atrocities in the Sears catalog. (Remember, famed commercial modernist architect Wayne McAllister was the man who designed Sears stores in the 1960s—and that huge, neon cursive logo. The buildings were cool.)
"It was just a real interesting turning point, when the West Coast became the music center," says Priore. "And we're just trying to be evocative of that music, art and design that pervaded the greater LA area." While some of it remains.
DUMB ANGEL LAUNCH PARTY, FEATURING THE GHASTLY ONES AND THE BOARDWALKERS, AT THE BLUE BEET, 107 21ST PLACE, NEWPORT BEACH, (949) 675-2338. SUN., 6 P.M.-MIDNIGHT. MAGAZINE AVAILABLE THROUGH AMAZON OR AT WWW.DUMBANGELMAGAZINE.COM.
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