Movers & Shakers: Garth Trinidad Part II

During the last year of getting to know Garth Trinidad, I was able to learn about his interests outside of music. Unsurprisingly, Trinidad is a well-rounded artist in his own right. A graduate of Otis College of Art and Design, Trinidad was an artist-in-residence at the Beacon Arts Building in Inglewood, CA. Additionally, in 2012 Trinidad created Jim Kelly,  a unique music and live performance experience with his partner in sound crime, Mateo Senolia. What I loved most about this event was the music offerings: no top 40, and plenty of new music to discover. Trinidad + Senolia equals a very eclectic, groovy vibe, so much so, that they landed a deal on Osunlade’s Yoruba label. You can catch the duo spinning some Friday nights at Bar Marmont in Hollywood. Lastly, Trinidad hooked up with two of LA’s finest, Dam-Funk and J-Logic, to create MAC or the Modern Audio Collective. One of their first shows at the end of 2012 featured Talib Kweli and drew a packed house in Venice’s Del Monte Speakeasy. I am waiting with bated breath for what these three will bring in 2013.

Watch and listen as Trinidad and I chat about how he finds new music, the impact of technology on the music industry, and what the future holds for him. Hopefully by now you’ve purchased those Moja Moja Pre-Grammy brunch tickets. Enjoy!

Movers & Shakers: Garth Trinidad

No other DJ in the last decade has had a bigger influence on Los Angeles music culture than Garth Trinidad. As both a resident DJ with KCRW over the last 15 years and a voting member of The Recording Academy, Trinidad has risen to prominence by championing progressive, creative and often overlooked artistry in urban alternative music. Through his weekly show, Chocolate City, Trinidad has inspired a refashioning of the Los Angeles underground music scene, providing a much-needed platform for new, independent music artists. Further, Chocolate City has evolved into a global soundscape by infusing soulful classics with the best in independent world music.

I’ve had the good fortune of getting to know Garth over the last year and was happy to discover the many layers of the man
behind the music. Garth, a loving husband and father, is also an artist in his own right and, lucky for us, 2013 will be a year of many Trinidad-laced projects. First up, is the KCRW 5th Annual Moja Moja Pre-Grammy Brunch & Benefit Concert happening this Saturday, February 9th at the W in Hollywood. The brunch, which benefits Oxfam America and The Darfur Stoves Project, will honor the legendary George Clinton this year and feature intimate performances by artists such as pianist, Chloe Flowers and Malaysian singer-songwriter, Yuna. This event usually sells out so check here for tickets for more information.

Watch and listen to the first in a two-part series with Garth Trinidad. Stay tuned for more to come!

Photos by Monica Orozco and JLogic.

LA EVENTS: Kiss N’ Grind & M.A.C.

LA Babies, we know there is no shortage of events in Los Angeles on any given weekend, and of course a holiday weekend brings its own spice to the city. However, there are two that we must bring to your attention:

Kiss N’ Grind Black Friday edition: The fam is podcasting for Black Friday, but don’t let us stop you. LA’s premiere party is doing it big this weekend at the Vanguard in Hollywood! This time the guest DJ is none other than the legendary Ali Shaheed Muhammed from A Tribe Called Quest. $15 presale tickets are available until noon on November 21st; after that tickets are $20 at the door. And as always, this event is curated by none other than Vikter Duplaix!

M.A.C: This is a party that we look forward to becoming regular attendees to. M.A.C. or the Modern Audio Collective, which is comprised of Dam-Funk, J-Logic, and Garth Trinidad, with special guest Talib Kweli is going down at the Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice! $15 cover all night with DJ sets and live performances. This set of musicians is guaranteed to please so we’d suggest early arrival to this event!

There are no excuses to working off that Thanksgiving meal this weekend! Get your body rock on and we will see you on the dance floor!

Waiting for the DJ…

LA Babies know that the weekend starts on Thursday night, and as we round the corner into spring there are many events that an Angeleno into the nightlife should pay attention to. So without further ado…

HIGH END STEREO: Our brother and friend, DJ A-Ski has been hard at work with his Monday and Tuesday events, and has now added a Thursday night for our listening pleasure. Taking place at Naya Sunset, High End Stereo will give you A-Ski on the ones and twos spinning soulful house, lounge, afro latin, funk and dance rhythms well into the night. Happy hour is from 6-8 with complimentary modern Indian appetizers from 9-10. This event has no cover and will rock your body until 2 in the morning. Hit up A-Ski for birthdays and special events!

High End Stereo NAYA SUNSET | 3705 West Sunset Blvd | SILVERLAKE, CA 90026

JIM KELLY: My usual Thursday night stomping ground is the Jim Kelly event with my buddy Garth Trinidad at the helm. Trinidad, along with Mateo Senolia and Kawai Matthews, have crafted a one-of-a-kind event that you have to see to believe. I could say a lot about JK, but it is best you see for yourself what happens behind the wooden door. Be prepared to unleash your inner freak, let your guard down, and get into some good vibes and great music. Catch this event while you can as it is a limited engagement. If you are looking for current radio hits and top 40, this event is NOT for you. Jim Kelly takes place at the infamous R Bar in Koreatown and entry is by password only. That’s right – get the password.

Jim Kelly R BAR | 3331 West 8th Street | LOS ANGELES, CA 90005

CHURCH: Tonight I’m taking a break from my usual spot to visit a once a month shindig called Church. Hosted by my friend Nia Andrews and her soon to be hubby Mark de Clive-Lowe, Church has quickly gained a reputation as the top body rock spot in Los Angeles. Church only happens every fourth Thursday of the month so catch it while it is here. Nia and Mark create their own vibe as a duo, but you never know what other music notables might grace the stage with them. Church happens at the Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice from 9 -1 and the entry fee is $5 before 10 and $7 after. I’ll see you there tonight!

CHURCH DEL MONTE SPEAKEASY | Basement 52 Windward Avenue | Venice, CA 90291

LA EVENTS: Moja Moja’s Pre-Grammy Brunch

MojaMoja will be honoring SHEILA E. with the Vanguard Award at our 2012 Pre-Grammy Brunch & Concert

Come reminisce with Sheila E’s “The Glamorous Life” from 1984, her collabs with Prince, and on as we honor this world renowned percussionist, singer, actress, founder, producer, philanthropist….the list can go on. We are honored that this legend can join us on this special morning. Come share this special moment!

Watch this video to look back on 2011’s Brunch & Concert when we honored Mavis Staples.

Limited tickets available! Don’t miss out, this event will sell out!
February 11, 2012
11am – 2pm
Presented by KCRW
Your premiere Grammy weekend event.
Honoring Shiela E. with the Vanguard Award
Featuring exclusive performances by Grammy Nominated International & Pop Alternative Artists
All guests will get receive a VIP experience at the world class MR.C HOTEL.
This includes a brunch prepared by world class Cipriani chefs, a bellini, an intimate concert experience in a special penthouse space, and a swag bag.

LA EVENTS: Jim Kelly

LA Babies, a new event is in our midst that we should support on Thursday nights. Garth Trinidad of KCRW’s Chocolate City fame along with Mateo Senolia is now hosting Jim Kelly, an event for good music lovers. With Trinidad and Senolia on the 1’s and 2’s there will be house, funk, rock, dub, experimental, interpretive, with NO top 40.

This event is FREE but password entry is required. To gain access, check Details are as follows:

Jim Kelly

Thursday, January 5th

From 10pm – 2am

R Bar in KoreaTown, 3331 8th St, LA 90005

No Cover

I’ll meet you at the bar – first round is on you.

Webwatch 2012

More than 40 million new websites hit the Internet this year and with so much information available, it’s difficult to decipher what to check out and what to pass by. Luckily, Mr. Lehman and I have done the hard work for you and have a few suggestions for sites to keep an eye on in this year to come.

Garth Trinidad Sound|Adventures of an Anomaly: Garth Trinidad is a Los Angeles legend for a myriad of reasons, but is best known by Angelenos for being at the helm of the best radio LA has to offer as the DJ for KCRW’s Chocolate City, Monday – Friday from 8 – 10 pm on FM 89.9. In his 16 years as a DJ, Garth has befriended some of music’s most notable artists (check his KCRW archives for in-studio guests) and as such, his website, Garth Trinidad Sound is packed with information most of us wish we had direct access to. From Monday to Thursday Garth posts his musings on music and culture, free music downloads, articles and events he’s been made privy to and shares the information with the good people of Los Angeles – and anywhere else you may be when you tap in. In lieu of a copy of his personal contacts this will do, as visiting Garth’s world will leave you steps ahead of the rest in terms of where the good music, good culture and good vibes in LA live and thrive. While in his world, pay a visit to the Moja Moja project he curates as well. Moja Moja takes what Garth does with Chocolate City to a multimedia level and provides a platform for listeners to discover urban and international alternative music and culture.

New Culture Society: Are you certain you know all that the West Coast has to offer? Do you feel like you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s next to come? If not, then you should visit (and subscribe) to New Culture Society. This group of young LA residents has pooled their interests and resources to put together a funky, happening website that highlights what’s current and next to come on the Best Coast regarding cinema, literature, fashion and music. Individually, the staff showcases an impressive resume so collectively, it’s a home run. Black Is friend, Merc80 is a part of the team and put us on to this new project and we look forward to seeing what’s coming up with NCS in 2012.

KimmayTube (YouTube): There are TONS of websites dedicated to natural hair – TONS. Everybody has some of the same information, some of it conflicting, and for anybody thinking about transitioning to natural hair or maintaining it, the entire process can be convoluted if you search the web for information. Enter KimmayTube, a YouTube channel that clarifies it all. Watching KimmayTube is like watching a good television station dedicated to natural hair. It’s awesome – and it helps that our host, Kim Love, knows what she’s talking about. Her own hair is a testament to the versatility of natural hair and debunks all myths that Black hair is difficult to manage and unable to grow to great lengths. Visit KimmayTube for tips on growing and maintaining natural hair, learn tips on how to determine what products work best for your hair, and watch tutorials for everything from washing and detangling to various styling techniques. While there, visit her site, Luv Naturals to purchase many of the products Kim uses in her videos.

Issa Rae: The woman behind The MisAdventures of Awkward Black Girl has more in store for those of you looking for programming online. Visit her personal website and get familiar with her other two shows, The F Word and my personal favorite, Dorm Diaries for more hilarious webisodes to mix up your weekly programming. The first season of MisAdventures wraps up on January 12th and we are anxiously awaiting what season two has to offer.

Moovmnt: Mr. Lehman, the editor-at-large here at Black Is has the most discriminating ear when it comes to music and shuns most American radio for streaming what he considers great music from global resources online. As such, he is constantly looking for sites that will introduce him to music he hasn’t before. Enter Moovmnt, a site that’s primary focus is to introduce its visitors to great music – period. Go here to learn about independent artists and producers that you won’t hear much about via mainstream media outlets.

Spotify: The trouble with the internet is that there is much opportunity for one site to outdo another. Though there is room for everybody to do their thing, sometime a site just stands apart and that’s where Spotify comes in. Sorry, Pandora, but Spotify changes the game in free music streaming by allowing consumers to truly customize their listening experience. On Spotify you can listen to an entire album of an artist before deciding to purchase, or listen to an artists’ complete catalog. You can also create playlists of your favorite songs for free. Spotify was founded in Sweden and headquartered in the UK so the amount of world music available is pretty vast.

BHCP: Yes, BHCP stands for Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. With the renovation of our mall almost complete and the surrounding area deep in the throes of gentrification, the mall website is a hub for what’s going on in our community. Check the BHCP Redevelopment site for community events, free concerts, business openings, and status updates on construction to know what’s happening in our neighborhood. All of this transition is happening for us, so let’s support it!

Sickly Cat: Our brother site remain relevant in 2012. Sickly Cat continues to be the premier site for unadulterated infotainment. Check this site daily for only the most interesting findings in world news and strong opinion pieces. What makes this site unique are the variety of contributors and therefore, opinions about everyday issues. It’s worth it to jump into the conversation and give feedback in the comment section – most likely, you’ll receive a reply from the author themselves. Expect this site to explode with news and commentary during the 2012 presidential campaign and election.

Mr. Moody’s Neighborhood: Based in Atlanta, GA Mr. Moody’s Neighborhood is a real, in-your-face, adult podcast discussing a variety of social issues. From relationships to parenting, the host Mr. Moody pulls no punches with his commentary and the show will inform you while keeping you in stitches. What we love most about this site is Mr. Moody is a husband and father and much of his commentary comes from his experience in those roles. He’s definitely about keep the Black family unit tight and we can’t help but love that. Again, this is for adults only as Moody isn’t editing his thoughts. Put the kids to bed, pour a glass of wine, sit back and listen to a new show on a Thursday night. Guaranteed you will be back for more. You can also subscribe via iTunes and check out past episodes you have missed.



LA EVENTS: New Year’s Eve Celebrations

2012 is a little more than a week away and right about now is when folks scramble to figure out where to be and what to do to bring in the new year. Of course Los Angeles will offer a myriad of options but this LA baby has a few suggestions for parties she can vouch for. Depending on how good 2011 was to you and your pocketbook, you can decide which one of these quintessential LA events fits your personality.

SHOT CALLER: If money is no object then KCRW’s NYE Twenty Twelve bash at the Viceroy hotel in Santa Monica is where you want to be. The incomparable Garth Trinidad is booked to DJ this set which already makes it a cut above the rest. Further, the Viceroy is one of LA’s sexiest backdrops for a party and it’s guaranteed to be stocked with beautiful people. For $175 price tag (you read that right) you get access to a premium hosted bar, hors d’ oeuvres, and the opportunity to dance the night away and hob nob with the who’s who of LA’s elite social circle. Parking is an additional $20, but who’s counting?

BALLER: My favorite LA party, Kiss N’ Grind is back with its NYE edition in an undisclosed location somewhere in the hills of Hollywood. As usual this party is guaranteed to be a soulful body rock and the mansion location turns it into one of the illest house parties you will ever attend. Rocked by master DJ Vikter Duplaix, the $100 price tag boasts an open bar and a Caribbean Soul Cuisine Buffet dinner prepared by Chef Stacy Barthe (not certain if this is singer/songwriter Stacy Barthe – that would be amazing). Also, KNG doesn’t play – this party won’t stop until 5 am so you’re going to get your money’s worth. Neighborhood restrictions require that you park near the Hollywood Bowl for $10 and take a shuttle to the party. Lastly, but most importantly, there are ONLY 400 tickets for sale to this event and once they are out, that’s it.

DIPPIN IN THE BENZ WITH THE SPOILERS: If you wanna see and be seen, but keep a little change in your pocket, the Carnivale celebration at Little Temple is for you. Booked to spin at this event is KCRW’s Anthony Valadez, another gem of a DJ who will most assuredly set it off for the night. For a mere $20 bucks, you get to jam in both rooms of Little Temple where champagne is said to be “free-flowing” and experience an authentic Brazilian drumline at midnight complete with authentic Brazilian dancers. Chances of your having that experience elsewhere in the city? Slim to none.

No matter your plans, be safe and don’t drink and drive or text. The point of all this partying is to live to see another year. Give thanks!

LA EVENTS: Kiss N’ Grind

LA Babies, kick the holiday weekend off right with our premiere party click, the Kiss N’ Grind crew. This time they present, “The Raphael Saadiq Experience” A Musical and Visual Journey into Art and Sound. This will be third Kiss N’ Grind of the year – and it’s definitely one you don’t want to miss.  Special acoustic set with Raphael himself! Details are as follows:

K-N-G: The Raphael Saadiq Experience

The Vanguard

6021 Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood, CA 90028

21+  10PM-3AM


Please Note: Pre-sale tickets will be available through midnight Friday, May 27th (or until they are sold out!).  Thereafter, tickets will ONLY be available the night of the show at the venue box office on a first-come, first serve basis (Subject to availability, price TBD).

YOU DO NOT NEED TO RSVP FOR THIS EVENT but purchasing a pre-sale ticket is the ONLY way to guarantee admission.

Thereafter, $20 Pre-Sale Tickets through midnight 5/27/11 (unless they sell-out earlier)

More $$ @ The Door (night of the event only, subject to availablity).

Valet parking is available at the venue – spaces are limited. There are several secure parking lots in the immediate area.

BOTTLE SERVICE: Seating inside the venue is only available with bottle service. All seating is at floor level surrounding the dance floor from three sides. Four complimentary admissions per bottle. For table/bottle service reservations please e-mail:

See you there!