DOCUMENT THIS! – Cara Tompkins and the VAC

Photographer and visual artist Cara Tompkins documents all aspects of life at the Venice Arts Club.  Her images bring the scene to life and serve as reminders of what was, what is and what will always be, historically speaking, when it comes to remembrance, recognition and the telling of the tale and the involvement of who, what and when.

Cara’s recent career move to Vancouver has left a hole in our collective heart, but her talent and work with the VAC will live on. Cara not only documented the many people, events and happenings that poured through the VAC, she is responsible for the cool graphics, logo’s and packaging that make up so many of the recent VAC projects including the NEW WHITE TRASH, VAC MUSIC, GUNTER VILE, THE CHEETERS, and ALDEN MARIN MUSIC.

And in the spirit of true creativity, Cara refused to be limited by her visual talent; as a founding member of the New White Trash (with Wade De Void, Michael Ruppert, Kristen Vigard, Malia Luna, James Mathers and Andy Kravitz), when it came time to step up to the mic, Cara stepped up to the mic and let herself flow into the music leaving her mark on such songs as Train To Paris, One Good Reason, and Lu Lu Lemons among many. Have a look and listen to Lu Lu Lemons, dedicated to Cara Tompkins, and check out her work at Extraordinary World Creations.

NEW WHITE TRASH – LU LU LEMONS
dedicated to Cara Tompkins

 

CARA TOMPKINS

VAC IMAGES by CARA TOMPKINS
Wade De Void

Malia Luna & Bailey Rye

Alden Marin

Mike Ruppert & Wade De Void of the New White Trash

Acoustic Backyard at the VAC

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AVALANCHE AND EARTHQUAKE – Michael Ruppert and the Lifeboat Hour

The LIFEBOAT HOUR, hosted by Michael Ruppert, is now one of the top rated shows on internet radio. Broadcast over the Progressive Radio Network, the Lifeboat Hour can be heard live Sunday evenings at 9pm Eastern. The subtext for the Lifeboat Hour is ‘A Nightclub At The End Of The World’, a theme Ruppert developed due to his love of fresh, relevant music. As many listeners know, Ruppert is a founding member of the New White Trash (NWT), a music project from Venice, CA.  Other members include Wade De Void, Kristen Vigard, Andy Kravitz, Cara Tompkins, Malia Luna, Michael Jost, Robit Hairman, Phil Maggini. DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, double CD debut release from the NWT chronicles the slide of the former American middle-class down a steep and slippery slope to the ‘new white trash’, a place impartial to race, religion, creed or color. Since its release on January 11, 2011, Doublewide, dubbed ‘music of the post-paradigm’, has sold thousands of copies (independently of any record company) to listeners and fans around the globe.

For the show airing, Sunday, April 15 2012, Ruppert chose to play AVALANCHE AND EARTHQUAKE, a song from disc 1 of Doublewide. A&E is also Ruppert’s theme song for the show and is heard each week at the top of the show, as an introduction to the hour. The video for Avalanche & Earthquake features two of the Venice Arts Club mascots, the dogs Rags and Squishy at play in the VAC studio.  Enjoy Avalanche & Earthquake.  NOTE: the version of the song as it is heard on the video is a slightly different version than what appears on the final release. Doublewide is available here.  Thanks for tuning in!

NEW WHITE TRASH – Avalanche & Earthquake

NWT co-founder Mike Ruppert in the VAC Studio. Image/Cara Tompkins

NWT founders Mike Ruppert and Wade De Void. Image/Cara Tompkins

NWT/VAC Mascots RAGS and SQUISHY. Image/Cara Tompkins

NEW WHITE TRASH


DANCING WITH CANCER (part 3): The Kindness of Strangers – Mel Gibson at the VAC

This is part 3 in an ongoing series titled Dancing With Cancer. Here is Part 1 and Part 2. The introduction to this series and to this blog is available here.

It was mid-December, 2009 when Mel Gibson and his then girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva knocked on the door of the Venice Arts Club in Venice, CA. Mel had heard about the VAC through Michael Ruppert, a regular at the VAC and a founding member of the New White Trash, one of several music projects produced by the VAC. Being a Sunday evening, it was a slow night, with perhaps only a half-dozen people in the studio. I answered the door, greeted Mel and Oxana then ushered them through the studio and into the backyard where a fire was blazing in the outdoor firepit.

I can tell much about people according to how they react to the VAC dogs, especially to Squishy, a pit bull with a poker face.  It’s typical of Squishy to wait until the other dogs have made their introductions before coming around and introducing himself.  His big mug can be intimidating, and on more than one occasion someone visiting the VAC has refused to enter, simply because of catching sight of Squishy.  This was not the case with Mel, who, upon spotting Squishy, let out a big chuckle and made his way over and introduced himself to the Squish.

It was a great start to a fun evening, all of us sitting around the fire, telling stories, playing music. Oksana explained how she was looking to re-mix a track off of her recently released album, Beautiful Heartache, and would the VAC be interested in the project?  In getting to know Mel, it turned out we had both lived in the same area of Sydney (Paddington) at the same time back in the late 70’s.  I mentioned Zelda the ‘cat lady’ and he knew exactly who I was speaking of.  Small world. Mel took a genuine interest in the years I spent fishing on the Great Barrier Reef, turned out his love of Australia was equal to mine.

Somehow Mel and I got on to speaking about my bouts with cancer.  When I told him I had twice been given 6 months to live and had pulled through on both occasions, he let out a low whistle, put his arm on my shoulder, looked me in the eye and just kind of nodded his head.  And that was that, no more was said about it.

A short while later Venice guitar god Michael Jost showed up, unpacked his axe and played for all of us.  Fortunately, mix-guru Andy Kravitz was in the house, at the board, and was able to capture the moment.  From that, CAMPFIRE SONG was born and now appears on Volume 6 of the VAC MUSIC PROJECT. Mel makes a cameo appearance at the end of the song with some words of praise for Jost’s playing. Around about midnight, Mel and Oksana said their goodbyes and drove off. And so ended another evening at the VAC.

The next morning around 10am my phone rang from a number I didn’t recognize. I answered and said hello.
“Doug, it’s Mel.  Thanks for last night. How are you?”
“Mel? Fine, how’s everything?”  My mind was racing; having figured that he or Oksana had left something behind I walked outside to check the grounds for anything stray or out of place. “What’s up?” I asked.
“Doug, I want you to come up to my house, there’s some people I want you to meet.” Mel asked if I could make it the next day. I said yes, he gave me the address and said see you then.

I spent the rest of that day thinking, WTF? My first thought was that I had mentioned to him about an Australian writer he had never heard of and that he wanted more info.  So the next day, armed with that writers book, I drove up to Malibu and found his house.  Mel greeted me at the front door, gave me a bear hug and invited me in. He then introduced me to his family, who were there for the holidays, including his kids, his sister and  his father.  Mel then ushered me into another room where a team of health care practitioners were waiting to discuss my health/cancer concerns and offer advice and information on various forms of treatment.  After a while, Mel stuck his head in and asked me if I was hungry.  I said sure. He went into his kitchen and proceeded to make me a sandwich which he brought on a tray with an iced tea!

This went on for several days, each day I would meet with experts in the field of health and healing, all of whom had insightful information  about treating cancer and maintaining my health. And each day Mel would offer me whatever it was I wanted in the way of food and drink.

In the end I realized there was no motive to Mel Gibson’s generosity, he was simply doing what he was able for someone in need of what he had to offer through what he could arrange.  His cause for concern followed by his acts of kindness were genuine and touching and real.  I am sorry to hear about his ongoing troubles.  The Mel Gibson I know has a heart as big as a house and a warm and generous spirit geared towards sharing light and love.

Doug Lewis
April 16, 2012

CAMPFIRE SONG – Venice Arts Club Music Project

VAC BACKYARD  Image by Cara Tompkins

MICHAEL JOST at VAC  Image by Cara Tompkins

SQUISHY!

SQUISHY.2  Image by Cara Tompkins

DOUG LEWIS  Image by Malia Luna

 DL AND SQUISHY  Image by Cara Tompkins


HELLO LIFE – Kristen Vigard and the New White Trash

The song HELLO LIFE is from DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, 2-CD release from the NEW WHITE TRASH. The music of the NWT can be heard each week on Michael C. Ruppert’s LIFEBOAT HOUR broadcast every Sunday evening at 9p Eastern on the Progressive Radio Network.

Hello Life features NWT member Kristen Vigard on vocals.  Kristen is also a founding member of the Venice Arts Club. Check out the video for Hello Life

HELLO LIFE – NEW WHITE TRASH

NEW WHITE TRASH – DOUBLEWIDE

NEW WHITE TRASH – MUSIC OF THE POST PARADIGM

PRODUCED BY VAC


MUSIC OF THE POST-PARADIGM: Running With the New White Trash

From the Nightclub At The End Of The World, Michael C. Ruppert’s LIFEBOAT HOUR on PROGRESSIVE RADIO NETWORK, Sunday, March 25, 2012.

Each week on the Lifeboat Hour, host Michael C. Ruppert plays a song from a place known as the Nightclub At The End Of The World.  The song of the week for March 25, 2012 is RUNNING WITH THE NEW WHITE TRASH from DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, 2-CD debut release from the NEW WHITE TRASH, a Venice CA music project founded by Ruppert, Wade De Void, Andy Kravitz, Kristen Vigard and others. Since its January 11, 2011 release, Doublewide has attracted a worldwide audience, evident in album sales to nearly every corner of the globe – Australia, South Korea, Japan, Canada, India, Egypt, Ukraine, Israel, Turkey, the countries of Africa and Europe, and throughout the Americas. The music of NWT is played at Occupy rallies, on the crumbling steps of city halls and on the angry streets of towns and cities across the USA.

From the NWT manifesto:

The New White Trash (NWT) demographic is the outcome of the former middle class being folded in with the working poor and, for good measure, the unemployed and uninsured.  The NWT defines and represents a majority of people whose common bond includes and exists beyond the demographics of age, race, location, education. The people of the NWT are the new ‘have-not’s’, and by its nature and size, this vast swath of population (99%) is now squarely at odds with the 1% who own, operate and dispense our corporate universe, big pharma, big food, big oil, big defense and big government included. ‘By the people for the people’ is receding.

The Post-Paradigm Era describes the vacuum left by the sudden disappearance of the former American middle class.  It is in this vacuum we now find ourselves, tumbling in turmoil as home losses mount, bank balances shrink, and shelters are jammed with the likes of you and I. The good old days are done and dusted. That party is over. The coming chaos of the post-paradigm era will lead to a radical and immediate rethinking and remaking of America or it will lead us to complete devastation.

THE MUSIC OF THE NEW WHITE TRASH

As Woody Guthrie filled a musical vacuum by acknowledging the pain and the suffering of the Great Depression, the New White Trash fills a bigger and more insidious vacuum left by a rampant, programmed consumerism that serves only corporations and their shareholders. 

This is a new breed of American music in which the message is clear: You’re f**ked.  But now what?  

NWT portrays a post-paradigm, ‘less beautiful’ America, brought to life through music, media, theatre and message – those of, love,need and a desire for social justice. ‘Drop it down’, ‘don’t dig too deep’, ‘we charge extra for this’, ‘take these’, ‘we can’t escape from’, all are the language of the NWT.  And for good reason.

If you got no credit and you got no cash, you’re NWT.  If you got more going out than you got coming in, you’re NWT. If your 401k is MIA, if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, if you find yourself living in a trailer or back with your parents, if your unemployment has run out, if your roads have holes and local schools are closing, if you lost your health insurance to a pre-existing condition, you are the NWT. If you bought the hype and borrowed on a dream,and now your house is gone and you’re selling your things, you’re the NWT. If you’re pissed off, yet you keep a sliver of love in your crossed heart and at least a post-ironic smile on your lips, you’re NWT. If what you had is gone – just like that – then you know you’re running with the New White Trash.

The NWT offers what popular music does not: it recognizes and acknowledges all those who are being marginalized and dropping off the radar screens of “official” life. It is not all depressing. In fact, the NWT celebrates the joys, simple pleasures and love that are often re-discovered only in the darkest times.

DOUBLEWIDE is available as a digital download, as a physical 2-disc package, and as a sponsorship edition. Produced by the VAC.

THE NEW WHITE TRASH – Running With The New White Trash


BACK ROAD – Mike Ruppert and New White Trash at Venice Arts Club

Mike Ruppert’s song of the week on the Lifeboat Hour for Sunday, March 18, 2012, is BACK ROAD from DOUBLEWIDE, the debut release from the NEW WHITE TRASH, a music project Ruppert founded with Wade De Void and Andy Kravitz.  Other members include Cara Tompkins, Kristen Vigard, Malia Luna, James Mathers, Michael Jost, Robit Hairman, Phil Maggini. The 37 song 2-CD collection was recorded at the VAC and mastered by Bob Rice. NWT producer Doug Lewis says this about Back Road: “I liked it immediately and was surprised by the strength of Mike’s performance and how he poured himself into the music. I kept thinking, ‘Meatloaf, Bat Out Of Hell’! And Back Road fit a theme of the NWT which is ‘where the heart is’ as opposed to the apparently more immediate themes of Meltdown, or Running With The New White Trash, or Realize The Lie of war. Back Road is a cousin song to Wherever There, One Good Reason and Trailer Light On, and maybe a couple more.”

In introducing the song Ruppert mentions how a musician friend, Jim Sullins, sent him a hummed hint of a melody over the piano track.  From that Ruppert fashioned Back Road.

MICHAEL RUPPERT @ VAC

NEW WHITE TRASH.com

NEW WHITE TRASH. music


REALIZE THE LIE – Music of the Post-Paradigm with the New White Trash

DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, 2-CD debut album from the New White Trash, chronicles the slide of the former American middle-class down a steep and slippery slope to the New White Trash, a place impartial to race, religion, creed or color. Dubbed, ‘music of the post-paradigm’, NWT members include Wade De Void, Michael C. Ruppert, Andy Kravitz, Kristen Vigard, Robit Hairman, Phil Maggini, Malia Luna, Cara Tompkins, Michele McVicar, Michael Jost.

About the New White Trash and the Post-Paradigm era:

“The New White Trash (NWT) demographic is the outcome of the former middle class being folded in with the working poor and, for good measure, the unemployed and uninsured.  The NWT defines and represents a majority of people whose common bond includes and exists beyond the demographics of age, race, location, education. The people of the NWT are the new ‘have-not’s’, and by its nature and size, this vast swath of population (99%) is now squarely at odds with the 1% who own, operate and dispense our corporate universe, big pharma, big food, big oil, big defense and big government included. ‘By the people for the people’ is receding. The Post-Paradigm Era describes the vacuum left by the sudden disappearance of the former American middle class.  It is in this vacuum we now find ourselves, tumbling in turmoil as home losses mount, bank balances shrink, and shelters are jammed with the likes of you and I. The good old days are done and dusted. That party is over. The coming chaos of the post-paradigm era will lead to a radical and immediate rethinking and remaking of America or it will lead us to complete devastation.” (from NWT Manifesto/VAC.com)

The durge-like quality of REALIZE THE LIE underscores the message: Running with the dogs of war/We’ve run this race before/It’s rotten to the core/When only War can save you – Realize The Lie

Realize The Lie features Wade De Void, Michael Ruppert, Kristen Vigard, Cara Tompkins, Malia Luna, Michele McVicar. Produced by the VAC. Mastered by Bob Rice.

NEW WHITE TRASH, ‘MUSIC OF THE POST-PARADIGM’. Artwork/Cara Tompkins@EWC

NEW WHITE TRASH – DOUBLEWIDE. Artwork/Cara Tompkins@EWC

 NEW WHITE TRASH HEADQUARTERS, VENICE CA USA. Image/Cara Tompkins@EWC