Feel the Gastro-Ambient Love!

The long-awaited—dare we say hotly anticipated?—third installment of Daniel Bremmer and DJ Chowderhead's immersive Shamballa dinner parties, an orgy of live ambient/tribal/trance/drone/psychedelic/what-have-you grooves (plus tons of whup-ass Indian veggie food), will take place Saturday at 8 p.m., in, as usual, "a super-secret Costa Mesa locale." This time, they've lined up electro-acoustic ambient pioneer Robert Rich; the improved soundscapes of Slow Moving Vehicle (featuring samplist/turntablist Glenn Bach); percussion/guitarist John Lewis (who can pull off some neat tricks with a pair of chopsticks); and Bodyrogers (aka Brian McKinley), who'll compose a live score to a film by Alex Terrazas called Rhythm in Twilight. Groovy, baby! $22 tickets—cheap!—which include an Indian meal, are available (unless they're sold out by now) at Costa Mesa's Noise Noise Noise Records (1505 Mesa Verde E.; 714-556-6473), and more info can be had by logging onto www.peachfuzz.net/
. Don't forget your sleeping bag. (Rich Kane)

MAKE IT BIG North by Northwest (NXNW), the smaller, less-stressed, less-crowded, less-industry-polluted younger brother of Austin, Texas' more (in)famous South by Southwest (SXSW) conference-cum-music-fest, is now accepting showcase applications from bands and musicians for this year's blowout, scheduled for Sept. 20-23 in its usual Portland, Oregon, locale. Local, not-necessarily-well-connected bands seem to have better luck getting picked for NXNW than SXSW, as evidenced by the 1999 crop, which included Havalina Rail Co., the Halo Friendlies, Teen Heroes and Walter Clevenger. So if you're in a band, give it a shot and send 'em a packet before NXNW—which last year featured a neat and tidy total of around 300 bands—makes like SXSW and balloons to more than 1,000. Applications can be downloaded from the NXNW website at www.nxnw.com or by phoning (512) 467-7979. The deadline is June 16. (RK)

A-LOP-BAM-BOOM! Rock & roll legend Little Richard headlines the main stage at this weekend's 17th annual Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride fest, interesting for the fact that the even-more-flamboyant-than-Bob Dornan piano pounder denounced his famously gay past back in the '60s and got Jesus, claiming then that he'd "reformed" to the hetero lifestyle. But apparently he's long since parted ways with the "God hates fags" crowd, telling Weekly writer Buddy Seigal in a 1997 interview, "I don't even go into that at all anymore. I don't say anything on that. I thank God for all people, and I believe that God loves everybody—the black, the white, the red, brown, yellow, the crooked legs, the straight legs, the one-eyed and the two-eyed. I believe he loves all of us." Amen, Brutha Richuhd! (RK)

THIS AIN'T NO PICNIC If you really hate traffic, don't go anywhere near Oak Canyon Ranch near Irvine Lake the first weekend in July. That's when the Goldenvoice-operated outdoor venue will host three big music fests, with the annual Hootenanny (headlined this year by Chris Isaak and the Reverend Horton Heat) on July 1 and an impressive-looking hip-hop bill with, among others, De La Soul, Common and Biz Markie on July 3. Sandwiched between these dates is the just-announced July 2 return of This Ain't No Picnic, the lineup of which has just been announced. Like last year's—headed by Sonic Youth—it's another indie-rock jaw-dropper: Beck doing an acoustic set, Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, At the Drive-In, Grandaddy, the Bicycle Thief, Delta 72, Beachwood Sparks, the Murder City Devils, Wiskey Biscuit, DJ Me DJ You, the Sadies, OC's own the Pressure, and a bunch of others. Tickets go on sale Saturday at noon at all the usual TicketMaster locales. (RK)

PUNK ROCK OR PUKE ROCK? As if watching karaoke in a bar weren't excruciating enough, imagine how painful it was watching the directionless Punk Rock Karaoke at the May 6 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Dennis Danell tribute. The band, featuring NOFX's bright-haired Eric Melvin on lead guitar, bassist Mike Watt, original Social D drummer Derek O'Brien and guitarist Dez Cadena from Black Flag, ran through several cover tunes with people from the audience hopping onstage to do vocals (and I use that term loosely). While the versions of "Louie Louie" and the Dead Kennedys' "California Über Alles" were sorta fun, the couple who took on X's "Los Angeles" made me cover my already ear-plugged ears (some advice: it's a bad idea to cover a song that the real group is singing right across the way). Apparently some contestants in this game weren't singing to Watt's liking. He bellowed, "If you're gonna come up here, sing like a man!" Whatever, Mike. Idon't think that means playing one homophobic tune for laughs, though. Have unity and tolerance among punk rockers fallen by the wayside? And why would O'Brien, who used to drum for Silver Lake queer rockers Extra Fancy, stand for this? Thankfully, Strung Gurus singer Mike Knott lightened things up considerably with his raucous cover of the Ramones' "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker." (George A. Paul)

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