No matter where you stood at Memphis in Costa Mesa the night of May 5, Robert Giampa's eyes were watching you. Not his actual eyes, but the ones in his new photography collection, "Eye," which consists of 11 lone eyes, each blown up to 13 inches by 19 inches and mounted in tasteful blond-wood frames. There were male eyes, female eyes, naked eyes, heavily made-up eyes and eyes with a bit of junk in the corner, which is technically called the lacrimal caruncle. "You mean the eyegina?" asked someone, holding his hand over the huge eye print so as to better highlight this shocking anatomical resemblance. Indeed, that's what we meant. Giampa's eyes were the stars of the show, but they had some stiff competition from famed "wall of sound" producer and recent murder suspect Phil Spector, who hung out mostly on the Memphis patio, chatting with restaurant patrons who instantly recognized the renowned recluse, posing with them for a stultifying number of snapshots, and accepting unsolicited gifts of CDs and business cards. Apparently, Spector—out on bail for the alleged murder of actress Lana Clarkson—and his assistant, Michelle, who lives locally, dined at La Cave earlier that night. They began chatting with an affable bartender who told them of Giampa's show later that evening. From there, they accompanied Giampa and his friends to giant-petri-dish Pierce Street Annex, but not before Spector purchased two of Giampa's prints. "I thought it was kind of surreal," said Giampa. "Phil Spector in Orange County at my show is very bizarre, but it was also really cool to meet someone whose work I love and respect so much." "Eye" will be on display at Memphis until the end of June. (Alison M. Rosen)
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Whenever OC grabs a national spotlight from folks who don't live here, you can be sure all the stereotypes and clichs will run rampant. Such was the case last week when music-biz bible Billboard ran a three-page spread (four, if you count the huge ad from Nederlander, the people who book the Pond and the Grove) on the OC music scene. Three different writers took turns scribbling up friendly, if dated, articles: "It's Not Just Ska Anymore" chimed a story with small write-ups on hot prospects Wonderlove, Walter Trout, Natural Afrodisiac, Scarlet Crush and Buchanan; "Sleepy Suburbia Wakes Up the Punk Scene and Stirs Up Ska" countered another—an apparent revelation to Billboard editors, even though that headline would have been more appropriate for 1994, not 2003. People who should be interviewed were (Linda Jemison, John Maurer, Jim Guerinot, Jon Halperin); but the most important piece was the one on the variety of venues in OC, which hopefully every tour booker around the country reads—hey, if this leads to our not having to drive to LA to see certain bands, we'll be happy. Still, what iconic image did Billboard choose to introduce its OC spread (not counting Gwen Stefani's "Hey Baby" come-on on the cover)? Waves lapping on Huntington Beach? The Matterhorn? Hot chicks in surfwear? Mike Ness? Nope. Try a photo of rows and rows of look-alike tract homes, which for all we know could have been snapped in New York or Florida or anywhere. Like we said, the clichs run amok. (Rich Kane)
THE HILBURN WATCH
From Robert Hilburn's review of the White Stripes' Coachella performance: "[Jack] White sings [the cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene"] with the restless urgency of an earthy Robert Johnson blues number, giving the song an even more unsettling edge by keeping it in Parton's gender." For a guy who has been buddies with Elton John for more than 30 years—meaning you ought to know better, Bob—what exactly is so "unsettling" about Jack White crooning, "I'm begging of you, please don't take my man"? (RK)