Gothic Luau

Dust off your ugly floral shirts and your darkest eyeliner: Our House is back with a second installment of their doubly-themed post-Halloween dance party, Gothic Luau, featuring a reunion from headliners Jeffertitti's Nile, and great locals Down and Outlaws and Everyone is Dirty.

The Our House artist collective has only been putting on shows for a little more than a year, but they're as prolific as they are full of ideas. We chatted with one third of the collective, Bay Bridged contributor Lauren Espina, about their beginnings, the silly story of how the Gothic Luau came to be, and, most importantly, where to find the ugliest floral shirt.

To enter for a chance to win tickets to Gothic Luau 2 at the Rickshaw Stop, email hailey.simpson@thebaybridged.com with "GOTHIC LUAU" in the subject line and your full name in the body of the email. A winner will be selected at random and notified via email.

The Bay Bridged: How did Our House come to be?

Lauren Espina: A couple years ago, I interviewed Annie from Annie Girl and the Flight, and she invited me to her house and we basically just hit it off right away and became friends. We ended up talking hours about this idea she had for an artist collective, and the name of the collective was going to be Our House. So, the idea of Our House came from this idea of having a Bay Area artist collective where we would go on field trips together, throw parties together and stuff. We didn’t even plan on throwing shows, which is the funny part. It was going to be part of a bigger thing. But we started doing it and it was really really fun. We’d put together the shows that we’d want to see and that our friends wanted to see—so it was a win-win situation. And it just took off from there.

TBB: Who else is involved in Our House?

LE: Initially, we had a pretty big group, well not big—five people working together. But we kind of got crazy in terms of not having official jobs—like this person’s the booker, this person’s the social media-er—we all do it together. The core group of it came down to me, Annie Lipetz from Annie Girl and the Flight, and Sivan Lioncub from Everyone is Dirty. So us three run Our House together.

TBB: What’s been the most memorable show you’ve put on?

LE: We’ve put together—I counted the other day—I think it’s like 25 shows to this date, throughout this entire year. The benefit we had when Sivan got sick—she got liver failure earlier this year after she had this crazy antibiotic that some stupid doctor gave her basically—so the benefit we threw her at an underground venue called The Cave, which is actually just our friend’s warehouse that he lives in.

All the bands that played were just very near and dear to our hearts. It was Down and Outlaws, who are very dear friends of ours, Annie played, and this other band called Fpod Bpod, so that was great. The last Gothic Luau was just amazing; it was just the best show and we had such a good time. It was just this stupid theme that, really, Down and Outlaws came up with, because it was a single release party and we were riffing on what to do with it. There was this ongoing joke that Mai Tais, which they love so much for some reason, were totally the anti of what their music sounds like and what they just look like in general, so we thought it be fun to throw a Gothic Luau for that. And it was just awesome, so that’s why we’re doing another one.  Those are the ones right off the top of my head.

(Lauren followed up with more thoughts in a later email…)

The Listening Show with acoustic sets by Julian Gervasi from Loco Tranquillo, Jared from Balms, Peter Danzig from Down and Outlaws, and and Sivan, Tyler and Chris from Everyone is Dirty. We need more listening shows!!!! Every musician in a band writes their own songs, and we need to hear those more often. It was so moving. Also, the most recent first Saturday was a Halloween cover show with The Electric Magpie as The Kinks and Peachelope as T.Rex. The Magpie probably played those songs better than the kinks! I'm serious! And local songwriter Mayya Feygina showed up with her acoustic guitar so we had her play a couple David Bowie songs between sets. She knows every Bowie song! It was truly an incredible night.

TBB: How long have you been putting on shows with Our House?

LE: I believe the first one we ever did was December 17 of last year.

TBB: So almost a year now?

LE: Yeah, almost a year.

TBB: With the second Gothic Luau coming up, can we expect any surprises or changes from the last Gothic Luau?

LE: Not really. We always want to up the production value for it, so we definitely want to be more Luau, along with Down and Outlaws because it’s kind of a joint effort—the guys help so much with this event. For this one, we got a bigger band from LA to come out, Jeffertitti’s Nile. It’ll be their reunion show because they broke up either earlier this year or at the end of last year, I can’t remember. They agreed to do a reunion show up here, which I’m really excited about—I love Jeffertitti’s Nile. And after that, Down and Outlaws are playing, they’re going to be main support, and then Everyone is Dirty. So it’s very much a family affair, with the addition of the headliner. As far as surprises go, the night in general is going to be very funny.

TBB: Is it going to embody the theme pretty well?

LE: Yeah, it’s kind of the idea. It’s awesome, Dan at the Rickshaw Stop took the idea really well and never questioned how weird the idea was. He’s always down to do the weird tiki drinks for the special of the night. It’s great, they don’t mind us covering the place in grass skirts and leis and stuff.

TBB: So you encourage purchasing Hawaiian shirts for the night. What’s your favorite thrift store or secondhand store that you might be able to find a great Hawaiian shirt at?

LE: That is a really good question! I definitely would go to the more Salvation Army or Goodwill, because that’s where all the dad prints are, you know. The places like Buffalo Exchange are great, but I feel like they curate it more, so they might now want the more…

TBB: Ugly shirts?

LE: …really terrible prints that basically what the event is all about. Like, find the worst shirt you can find and wear it.

TBB: How do you guys find the bands to play your shows?

LE: When we’re booking bands, it usually starts out with what headliner we want...For example, we recently put together a punk show for December. So Annie has a background in punk music basically, and she had all the bands that she knew she wanted on a bill together. So you basically just find bands that you don’t really see playing together a lot that you would like to see on the same bill for a number of reasons. It could be that they’re all our favorite bands or the music goes together or their music doesn’t go together, so they might not meet each other otherwise. We definitely put together sonically cohesive shows, but we don’t want that to limit the kind of shows we put on. Sometimes we do only put punk bands together, but sometimes it’s a punk band and a poppier band, because we think those two worlds should cross over. We have friends in both and we think everyone should work together, basically.

TBB: Are you guys involved in anything else music-wise outside of the collective?

LE: Music-wise, of course. Annie’s got her own band and Sivan has her own band as well, but she’s also plays in a band called Wicked Winds with her friend Taylor, who does lights at the Chapel, sound at Amnesia, sound at a lot of places actually, and actually owns that underground venue I mentioned earlier, the Cave. So they’re involved in other things for sure. I run another production company called Sea Witch Productions. It’s definitely like a sister company to Our House, but it’s more focused on darker, weirder kind of stuff, which is just getting going—we haven’t even had a show yet. We do [have stuff in the works], but nothing we’re ready to announce yet. Something next month guaranteed, for sure.

TBB: Any final thoughts?

LE: For me it's really crazy how far it’s come. By the end of the year, we'll have 24 shows under our belt, but we're really not a traditional production company. We're not out to make money. This started out of the idea that there's a huge community of artists here who want to make things happen. And it turns out its so damn true! There are artists here -- they know who they are -- who are working daily to make things happen, and they're working together. So Our House is essentially a platform to do that.

Gothic Luau 2: Jeffertitti's Nile, Down and Outlaws, Everyone is Dirty
Rickshaw Stop
November 4, 2015
8:30pm, $10

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