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Music A-H

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What music says Venice to you

Francisco and his Cosmic Beam

Francisco Lupica interview

Ted Hawkins

The Rhythm of Venice Beach

Studios, Labels, Venues

Wild Blooms

Harry Partch

Alan Catlin's
Harry Partch poems

Slavin' David

Rickie Lee Jones




Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo

(excerpt from Ghost Town August 1979)

Expedition to the Fox Venice: Donald wore a necktie in front and another in back. Once Tony and I were settled in the back seat of Donald's car, Rick climbed in through the window, head first and upside down. We got loaded and saw 200 Motels and Groove Tube. The coolest thing on the program was the weird avant-garde Forbidden Zone which takes place in Venice and was made by the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, who are from here. Their sound is an interesting mixture of influences - Forties, African, jazz, rock, etc. Donald says he knows the lead singer Danny Elfman.

(excerpt from Call Someplace Paradise Jan-March 1980)

I went to see Forbidden Zone for the second time at Filmex. The sound system did justice to the music in a way that last summer's Fox Venice premiere didn't. Made by the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, it is an unremittingly bizarre film, like the raunchiest of underground comix come to life. Indeed there is a bit of animation although mostly it's live actors, like Viva as the ex-queen, and the charismatic Marie-Pascale Elfman as Frenchy. The Forbidden Zone is accessed through - where else?- a dilapidated house in Venice. The sets are painted and expressionistic; the highlights include a human skeleton wearing a bra and a nightmare grade-school classroom where the students shoot craps and pack Saturday Night Specials. The pre-sold audience broke into applause frequently, particularly for Susan Tyrrell's production number as the voluptuous and evil Queen of the Zone, the appearance of Herve' Villachaize as the King; and most spectacularly for Danny Elfman, alias Satan.

(excerpt from Call Someplace Paradise April-June 1980)

Forbidden Zone, the ultimate Venice movie, has for some time been playing at midnight every Friday at the New Beverly Cinema. This is probably why there's been a lot of press about it lately. The producer Richard Elfman, who is about 30, used to direct the Cockettes in San Francisco and has also been a garage mechanic, bartender and cab driver. Now he works for an investment firm out of an office on "one of Venice's seedier corners." He started the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, and for the first few years the troupe performed on the streets of Venice and elsewhere in LA. Danny Elfman is now the Ayatollah of the group and apparently the movie was a last fling with costumes, because he says, "We decided to fuck the props and the theatrics and get by with just our bodies." By reorganizing into a nine-piece cabaret ensemble they lost the good will of the critics and, by Elfman's reckoning, at least 80% of their audience. So they built up a new following from scratch.

(excerpt from Call Someplace Paradise July-Sept 1982)

In the Herald Examiner there was a nice long article on Oingo Boingo, described as "critically maligned but wildly popular," chiefly among 15- to 19-year-olds. Danny Elfman plays trombone and is the lead singer and only writer in the group. Eleven years ago a bunch of Venice street musicians got together and formed the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, a "multimedia theatrical troupe" which staged "elaborate Dadaist extravaganzas." But Elfman says that although they could have been incredibly rich and successful this way, he got dragged by all the logistics of sets and costumes and all. So now they just play music. In the photo with the article, the eight members of the group are posed in pairs with four different outfits: two apprehensive-looking business suit guys; two frightened clowns; two supercool New Wave types; and two confidently smiling barrio types, one an authentic Chicano and the other Danny Elfman.

(excerpt from Call Someplace Paradise July-Sept 1982)

A couple days ago the Herald carried a great big article by Rip Rense, with four photos, about Richard Elfman and Forbidden Zone. It's gathering quite a cult following as a midnight movie. The interview took place at the beachfront office where Elfman does investments and property development. The reporter then took him out to lunch at the West Beach Cafe where one of the dishes on the menu was duck tacos. (Supposedly a lot of artists hang out at this place after 11 p.m.) They talked about the new non-midnight type film Richard is currently producing. Both the Elfman brothers live in "adjoining wooden houses in an old, pretty part of Venice also inhabited by gangs." Danny has an extensive garden and a living room decorated with posters of Japanese robot-heroes. Currently he is with Oingo Boingo touring the Deep South.

Danny Elfman composed the original Simpsons theme.


© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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