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Rock for Refugees

Indiegrrl performers get behind weekend of events to help Kosovo Albanians.

May 14, 1999|JAMES E. FOWLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Indiegrrl Concert comes to Exile Books and Music in Sherman Oaks tonight with independent musical artists Holly Figueroa, Lisa Johnson, Mimi Chen, Mary Coppin, Eleni Kelakos, Susan Court, Kellee Bradley and Painted Id all slated to perform.

Although tonight's show did not start out as a benefit for Kosovo refugees, it has become part of the International Kosovo Relief Festival with concerts planned all over the world this weekend to raise funds for the war victims.

Indiegrrl, founded in 1998 by Seattle musician Figueroa, is an Internet forum for independent women music artists. Indiegrrl has more than 150 members nationwide--mostly female solo performers and bands with at least one female member.

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Lisa Johnson originally organized the Sherman Oaks show by posting an invitation on the Indiegrrl Web site to artists who wanted to perform in the Los Angeles area. Several Indiegrrl members responded, including Figueroa and the Santa Monica-based band the Painted Id. Peter De Baets of the Painted Id was also heavily involved with the Kosovo Relief Festival scheduled for the same weekend.

"I found myself in the midst of all this," said De Baets, an honorary Indiegrrl. "So, I just turned this into a Kosovo benefit, too."

Seeing a chance to hit the proverbial two birds with one stone, Johnson immediately got behind the idea.

"Those people [Kosovars] need help and if I can help them by getting onstage and singing, I'm more than happy to do it," Johnson said. "Hopefully we can draw enough attention to their problem."

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In addition to Friday's show, Indiegrrl is sponsoring two other Kosovo benefit appearances: at a Borders Books & Music in Santa Barbara and the Garden Village Cafe in Ventura.

Locally, more Kosovo Relief Festival shows are scheduled Saturday, again at Exile Books and Music and at the Borders stores in Glendale, Northridge and Canoga Park.

Tonight's show in Sherman Oaks features eight musical artists, with each getting about 25 minutes onstage.

"It's a great way for people to hear a lot of independent artists on one night," Johnson said. "And a good variety of musical styles as well."

Johnson said Indiegrrl's original purpose was to be a cyber-support network for women artists pursuing careers in a male-dominated industry. But as time has passed, the Indiegrrl Web site deals more with general music-business issues that affect all independent musicians regardless of gender.

Inspired by its steady growth, Indiegrrl will be sponsoring an East Coast concert tour featuring its member-artists in July and a Midwest tour later in the year.

The International Kosovo Relief Festival has events planned Saturday in Holland, Germany, Argentina, Australia and the United States. Proceeds from the U.S. events will go to the International Red Cross.

For more information about other benefit shows this weekend, call the Kosovo Benefit Hotline at (323) 466-7256.

The Kosovo Relief Festival concerts happening in the Valley:

* The Indiegrrl Concert featuring Holly Figueroa, Lisa Johnson, Mimi Chen, Mary Coppin, Eleni Kelakos, Susan Court, Kellee Bradley and the Painted Id at 8 p.m. tonight at Exile Books and Music, 14925 Magnolia Blvd., Sherman Oaks. $5 cover. (818) 986-6409.

* Ritt Henn, Jumpin' Jim Beloff, the Freeway Philharmonic, Lauren Ellis, Preston Smith and Jefferson Denim perform at 2 p.m. Saturday at Exile Books and Music, 14925 Magnolia Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Free-will offering. (818) 986-6409.

* Holly Long, Voxx and Bob Westbrook perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at Borders Books & Music, 9301 Tampa Ave., Northridge. Free-will offering. (818) 886-5443.

* Nicole Falzone, Corrine May, Patrick Clark, Tim Bader and Book of Storms perform at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Borders Books & Music, 100 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Free-will offering. (818) 241-8099.

* Dionesis, Joe Webb, Mara, Teri Danz, Wenty and Terry Davis perform at 3 p.m. Saturday at Borders Books & Music, 6510 Canoga Ave., Canoga Park. Free-will offering. (818) 887-1999.

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