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Night Howl
By Karen Reardanz

[whitespace] Pipa Piñon and Daniel Lewis
Aural Fixation: Pipa and the Shapeshifters' Pipa Piñon and Daniel Lewis provide a trancey dose of surrealism in the musical form at Kuumbwa on May 6 with Dresden.

The Buck Stops Here:
Local venue puts on a host of shows to help pay the man

EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT ONE of the toughest parts about being a local player on the music and/or performance scene is finding a comfortable, welcoming spot to present one's art. What Is Art? has been filling that artistic-venue void for close to a few years now, but its organizers have recently found themselves getting a little too cozy with the world of bureaucracy. Seems the little venue tucked on North Pacific Avenue is embarking on a trip down the long and winding road of red tape.

According to the city, What Is Art? needs to open up its wallet to get the place up to par. Lopi La Roe, one of the creative minds behind the venue, says that they need to get an entertainment license, as well as make What Is Art? handicapped-accessible, something she's eager to do, even though it's bound to cost a pretty penny. In order to bankroll these changes, the venue is upping the ante, scheduling scores of shows to boost the city-fees fund.

One of this week's most promising events is musical satirist Al Frisby, who performs on Friday night. The local performer combines elements of sharp wit and musical savoire faire for shows that are funny and insightful. Whether Frisby's mocking UC kids with his "Reggae Whiteboy" song or building an altar for performance good luck, he uses a keen eye to create a local-centric show that pokes fun at the music biz and our dear little city. Frisby's show starts at 8:30pm.

Also on the docket is a Thursday show featuring Frond with Crag and Joshua, who present a night of drum 'n' bass and downtempo for all those looking to do a little booty-shaking while helping out local arts. The show starts at 9pm and there's a request for a $4 donation. Then on Saturday, E Is for Elephant, Clatterbox and Dojo join forces for a most unusual night of music, performance art and esoteric chatter. This one starts at 8:30pm, and donations of $3-$5 are requested.

For those wishing to get in on the behind-the-scenes action at What Is Art?, there'll be auditions for May's WomonFolk IV on May 7 at 7pm. They're putting the call out for women performers from all walks of life, from your spoken-word folkies to musicians and experimental-theater types.

And of course, the ongoing Wednesday open mic rages on, showcasing local talent from 8pm to midnight every week.

Everyone's heard it a million times before, but for a successful local arts scene to thrive, people have to get on out and support it. Help keep those What Is Art? folks afloat. There's bound to be something on their future schedule that appeals to everyone.

FutureThink

Pipa and the Shapeshifters perform on Thursday at the Broadway Playhouse, as well as with Dresden on May 6 at Kuumbwa. ... Singer/ songwriter and local fave Alice Di Micele performs at Kuumbwa on April 30. ... New Music Works presents Sound Horizons, a concert/competition featuring new works by student composers, on May 3, also at Kuumbwa.

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From the April 23-29, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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