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Arts and Entertainment

Tonight: Local Music Photographers, Including LAist's Koga, Open Gallery Show in Echo Park

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Just like last month when a group of LAist photographers showed off their work in a gallery show, another of our amazing steadfast artists is doing the same. Since 2007 Jeff Koga has posted to LAist hundreds of times, sharing thousands of his amazing photos from the plethora of shows he attends (it seems he's at one every night). But it's been awhile since his work has gone offline.

That stops now. Starting tonight, he and two other local music photographers will come together for a three-week show at Ballards Artwork and Framing Gallery in Echo Park. We had a little chat with Koga about it last night.

First of all, what prompted you to do this show?

This was something that was many months in the making. Aaron Ballard, who plays with The Parson Red Heads and World Record, among others, had initially talked with me about having a gallery show of some sort when his shop was further west on Sunset, near The Echo.

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I agreed it'd be a fun thing to do, but the timing didn't work out at the old location, and when he moved his shop back to Echo Park, we decided it was a good opportunity to kick off the first of what will eventually be regular gallery shows there, with my photos as well as Laurie Scavo and Sterling Andrews' work.

Actually it was supposed to be a local music photographer showcase with four people -- Simon Cardoza was going to be the fourth person, but he had to drop out.

So yeah, the opening reception is Friday, at Ballard's new location next to The Gold Room, and I'm excited yet nervous. Excited because I'm really thrilled with how my prints turned out because I did them myself, but nervous because I'm worried about the turnout. I'm sure it'll be fine, but in a way I'd imagine this is what musicians go through -- will anyone show up to my show?

Dude, you're going to pack the place! So what's going to be happening tonight?

Besides seeing Sterling, Laurie, and my photos, we'll have live musical performances by Ferraby Lionheart and a stripped-down Parson Red Heads, who did two farewell shows at Spaceland and The Echo during the past week, but this in-store show will be extra-special because it will truly be the last time they perform in LA before they move to Portland on Sunday.

I mean, I'm sure the Red Heads will be back when they do their tours, so if you missed those two shows, now's your chance to say goodbye to them one last time.

What's your take on the music scene in Los Angeles?

I try and follow the scene, and obviously have my favorites whom I regularly see whenever possible (e.g. Meiko, Warpaint, The Henry Clay People), but there are many times where I haven't the foggiest idea on who to check out.

For me there's actually more than just one local music scene. Obviously there's the "Eastside" indie rock scene out of Echo Park, Silver Lake, and surrounding areas. But I think the singer-songwriter scene with the Hotel Cafe and Largo are very much overlooked and the former (along with Genghis Cohen according to LA Underground) is where Katy Perry started playing in LA before she hit it big. And then there's the scene out of The Smell in Downtown LA.

But that's why it's great to have the local music bloggers recommending shows because they've many times opened my eyes and ears to musicians and bands I'd never heard of even if they're locals.

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So the state of the music scene is good?

The state of the local music scene is that it's still thriving. For me it was something of a tumultuous year because Castledoor broke up and The Parson Red Heads are moving away.

But yeah, I'd say it continues to thrive even though bands break up, change bandmembers (e.g. Walking Sleep) or move away.

Warpaint in recent interviews have expressed a desire to move to New York City and while I will be very sad to see them go, I'll be very happy that they're pursuing their dreams. Which means I'll have to find another band to find as my muses (he laughs).

Thanks, Koga! See you tonight!

Tonight show is from 8 p.m to midnight at Ballards Artwork and Framing Gallery in Echo Park. 1568 W. Sunset Blvd. (map). The show runs through October 16th.