Friday, October 20, 2017

Bioluminescence - The Northern Lights Of The Ocean!

I've been a little bit of an evening hermit lately, with all the sports and stuff happening, spending most nights at home with friends, feeling the onset of what passes for autumn in California. Minneapolis friends came to town last night, though, and you gotta take them out. After a stop at Wabi Sabi, we hit The Townhouse. It was the kind of night you do shots. After a while, my friend needed some air, so we went outside, down to the water. I swear, JUST as I was saying that sometimes at night you'll see the bioluminescent plankton glowing bright blue in the water, and one second later, BAM! Waves of neon blue! It was so exciting!

We ran back to The Townie to get the boys, and drag them back down to the shore with us to see this natural phenomenon. As we raced back down there, our Minneapolis friend revealed that he'd never in his life even seen the ocean! To stand there and watch him watching the absolute beauty that is this sight was just the best ... it really is like seeing the Northern Lights, but in the water instead of the skies. The bioluminescence usually occurs during a red tide event (I looked it up), and usually lasts a few nights at least. It's so SO cool. I've lived here 22 years, and this was only like the third time I've ever seen it, and it was for sure the most spectacular time. If you're near the beach tonight, do yourselves a favor tonight and go down there to check it out. We stood there like we were watching fireworks, oohing and aahing for a long time, and when we finally decided to split, it was still so mesmerizing that we had to walk backwards across the sand to keep watching it.

Mother Nature is awesome. Get out there while we've still got her! And have an excellent weekend.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Find People On The Same Wavelength

The waves are big again today, and it was a beautiful morning out there watching the surfers catch actual air. On my way back, I saw this big sign on one of the Boardwalk shops reading, "Find people on the same wavelength." It's an ad, of course, for some business networking app, but the sentiment is exactly why I first moved to Venice.

I was living in Beverly Hills when I first moved to California, and though I had a great roommate in a great pad on a great street, I didn't really dig it. B.H. wasn't me at all. I'd find myself coming to Venice every weekend, both to soak up the beach atmosphere, art, and fun, but also to find a place - which I ultimately did, and was so happy! For two decades.

Venice people were on my same wavelength for sure. That's why it's so sad to see the recent influx of people that are mainly about greed and self-consumption doing their best to take over our bohemian lifestyle by the beach. My brother left Venice a few years ago, and as we were looking for parking the other night for dinner, he said, "I can't stand Venice. It's all douchebags now." Ugh. Gut punch. We know he's not correct about it being ALL douchebags, but he's got a point. That's why I continue to seek out and write about those who remain on my wavelength near the waves ... and pretend like the d-bags don't exist. Kind of like we do here in our Venice bubble anyway. I know many of you in my community of similar souls are still here ... and I thank you for it. As for the rest of you ... try OUR wavelength. Present day hippies are happier.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

An Ocean Avenue Installation

 *Update 10/18: I walked by this morning and it's all gone. Even the bushes. In less than 24 hours.
   Sorry, dudes. I was into it. Keep your art going!

Over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed an increasingly larger homestead/art installation growing at the corner of Ocean Avenue and South Venice Boulevard. It's clearly a little colony of houseless neighbors, creating their shelter in the bushes located there ... and decorating it for passersby to enjoy.

Not everyone is enjoying it, however. A woman at the Farmer's Market last Friday told me that she'd been making calls to have it cleared out, but to no avail. She said she was told that you can actually get arrested yourself if you try to remove the things from the property. She felt it was a more nefarious deal, and that police might have been told by council people and/or those who want to see the big homeless housing development happen on Venice Boulevard to leave it be. To let things get as bad and obvious as possible to get more people to sign on for the housing project. Hmm.

I don't know about all of that, but I do know that it is some of the more creative construction happening around Venice these days (other than the Frank Gehry house finally going up!). I'm about to make friends and ask if there's room for me, as it seems to be about the only remotely reasonable housing currently available around these parts (Seriously. Where are all my cool landlord friends hiding?!), and this is where I want to be. What are the rules, anyway? You can just put up a tipi wherever you want and live in and landscape around it? Cool. I had an offer off an unused geodesic dome that its owner said I could borrow if I could find land to put it on ... out of the box, but at least some people are still being innovative in Venice.

My friend said they must be rookies, as no one who lives on the streets is ever trying to attract that much attention to themselves. I've seen police there talking to the residents a few times now, and have thought their time there must be up, only to pass by the following morning to see it all still intact. I'm not mad at it. We all know Venice real estate is almost evilly ridiculous as of this writing, and you do what you have to do. Venice has long been a beacon for travelers of all kinds, and certainly one for artists. This corner appears to be for both. And art is for everyone.

I'm curious what other Venice folks think about this ... let's discuss.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Go Fwd!

Sometimes in life you get little messages from just paying attention, and sometimes they're perfectly timed. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I feel like a lot of times things feel real hopeless lately. Two halves of the country are fighting with each other. A new natural disaster seems to happen almost every day ... to the point where my little 8 year old friend commented on how there sure does seem to be a lot of awful things happening in the world, "like storms and stuff." And he's right.  It can all feel like an awful lot, and never mind even bringing your own stuff into it all - which can also be a lot. So, when you catch a license plate telling you to "GO FWD", you stop. You think about it ...

... and off you go. Forward. Thanks, Landrover in Venice. I will. As we all will. To better days ahead. I just know it.

Friday, October 13, 2017

An Art Benefit For Planned Parenthood In Venice - Women Power!

There was an art benefit at the WNDO/Budman Studio on Vernon (that still has a lease sign on the front after kicking all the artists out last year) held last night to raise funds for Planned Parenthood, and it could not have been timed any better. Venice artists came together to show their art and support the more important than ever Planned Parenthood organization. The whole world is abuzz with the "news" that Harvey Weinstein has been sexually harassing women for decades, which only sheds more light on how women continue to be mistreated. There is far more regulation over our bodies than for the guns that are used in mass shootings all the time, and we're fed up. We're taking matters into our own hands. From the wonderful Women's March in January in opposition of the awful current administration, to last night's focus on Planned Parenthood, this has been a year that has shown the endless power of Women united.

The news cycle is all about the filthy Jabba the Hutt resembling Weinstein's predatory ways, but every woman in the entertainment industry has a story. Many of us have several. I know I do. There was the film director in Minnesota I met at a local event who invited me back to a crew gathering in the lobby of their hotel. I was fresh out of college and trying to get a foot in the door of the film industry that I loved, and was eager to make connections that would lead me to work when I made the move to Los Angeles. I arrived at the hotel to find the lobby bar empty. A woman working at the front desk told me the party had been moved up to the director's room upstairs, and gave me the room number. I took the elevator up, and knocked on the door. The director answered and invited me in. There was no one else there, because "they were all tired and left, but would you like some wine?" I uncomfortably said sure, because I didn't want to offend this guy that could easily give me some work in the field that I loved. He went around the corner to presumably get wine, still talking the whole time, as I sat there, fully bundled up for the Minnesota winter, mittens and all.

He finally came back around the corner of the bathroom hallway, fully naked, with an erection and a wine bottle. I immediately stood up and said I had to go, with my mittens raised in the air, like "Whoa, dude." I walked to the door and sped down the hallway, with the director sticking his head out the door, telling me to call him. I couldn't believe it. But I could. He left several messages after that, and I returned none. I never got a job on that film. I saw him years later at a premiere in L.A., and avoided him completely, but I know he saw me. I still had the creeps years later.

I had a producer boss that took closed door "meetings" with young hopeful starlets all the time, even though he hadn't produced a film in years. I could often hear his porn playing through the door after he'd return to the office from lunch. He had exactly no shame.

I had another female boss that I lived with in Hawai'i (bad decision) - until her live-in boyfriend hit on me, making a bad situation worse. I had to move out in the middle of the night (to crash with friends) when they were out of town, I had to leave the job and scramble for another one, and we never spoke again.

I helped host a party with a producer I was working for to honor Oliver Stone years ago. He arrived very late, and seemingly very coked out. I greatly admired his work up until then, and was honored to get to meet him. When I went to shake his hand, he grabbed my hair and pulled my head back with it, saying, "I love this hair!" As a hello. Because he was Oliver Stone, and he felt he could do anything he wanted, appropriate or not.

I've had too many meetings to count where you could feel the eyes roaming over you, as you just hoped they would talk about the merits of your script and not hit on you. One meeting stands out in my mind, where as I was going into the good part of my pitch, the guy interrupted me and asked me to come behind his desk and look at how good the view of Hollywood was from his office. I was like, "Yeah, I can see it from here. It's nice. Thanks. Bye." That was our last meeting about a script he'd been very enthusiastic about, and it has still not been made. *Female producers, we should talk! I could keep going, but I think the point has been made, and I'm getting nauseous and mad thinking back on this junk. I'm glad that I was born pretty strong-willed, and unafraid to say no. Many were not.

It's been an epidemic since film was invented, and as I said, every woman has at least one story. But when even the current President of the United States is a known and proven misogynist, the Boys Club thinks it's all acceptable. It is not. Nor is any man telling any woman what to do with their own body. I have a friend who was given a free abortion from Planned Parenthood, for all intents and purposes, saving her life. Women need Planned Parenthood. Women need support from good men (and I know there are some - some that were raised by good women). Women need to stick up for each other. To speak up when something is even remotely sketchy. To stand up to the b.s. men have been getting away with for years. To celebrate the absolute wonder that being a woman is!

It feels like a big sigh of relief to be experiencing the flood of women sharing their stories, like nothing has to be hidden anymore, and no one is alone. And no one will be putting up with it anymore. Thank you to the organizers of last night's event for Women - and to all the women who are now putting their collective feet down and saying enough. We're all better than that.

Resist. Empower. Celebrate Women!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Beach Walks Help

I like to start my days with a walk on the beach. It helps me think. It helps me to remember what is important. It makes me healthier. It forces you to take time to reflect and appreciate all that you have, and how very beautiful the big, blue sea is. It also makes you want to do all you can to protect it.

I was away from the beach for a month, and though I also love my walks around lakes and alongside rivers, it's not the same. The sheer size of the ocean makes you recognize how little you are, and along with that, how not that important the little things that get you down really are. The whole world seems to have gone crazy at times, with big, bad, awful things ... a walk on the beach helps with all of that too. Trust me on this. You will always, always feel better about things after a beach walk. You just will. 

"The cure for anything is salt water - tears, sweat, or the sea." I've repeated this great Isak Dinesen quote so many times, because it's just straight up true. That trifecta of saltiness is the absolute answer for most anything that ails you ... or at least will make you feel better about it all.

I'm always amazed at how few people are down at the seashore doing the same thing. So surprisingly few that we pretty much all recognize each other and wave, with most only recognizing each other from being there. I've rarely, if ever, seen any of the beach walkers/runners anywhere else in town, and that's kind of cool. It's like our own little nature loving club - with no membership dues! It really has so many benefits, I don't even really think about it as exercise ... though it certainly is.

I recently worked on a show and a woman was there to promote her anti-aging games. She told me that the single most important thing anyone can do for their health and well being was to fit in at least a 30 minute fast walk every day. Everyone can do that - and when you do, it puts of heart disease, stroke, some kind of diabetes, dementia, and over just a short amount of time, makes your pants bigger. Just do it!

 On the way back today, I saw a little needlepoint pillow just lying there on the grass in a yard. "A true friend is a found treasure." I sure have been learning the truth behind that this year ... the value of having someone who is there for you, no matter what, cannot be overstated. The value of finding out who you cannot count on is also way up there ... and sometimes painful and surprising - but awfully good to know.

You true friends - and you know who you are, because you feel it too - are sincerely the wind beneath my wings. May we all soar together!!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Life Is A Beach. Grab A Bucket!

Man, what a week. Sometimes you just need to go to the beach. So I did. On the way down, I saw this person pulled over in the broad daylight pasting something up on the utility box. I liked that they were so brazen about it, and looked forward to what it would be.

On the way back, they were done and gone. There was some new street art there by MegZany featuring Strawberry Shortcake, telling us that "Life is a beach. Grab a bucket." I love it. I was a big fan (as was my brother) of Strawberry Shortcake and her gang (particularly Orange Blossom and Apple Dumpling), and everyone knows I'm a big big fan of the beach. But I also like the sentiment. Yeah, times are hard, but you gotta do something about it. Grab a bucket.

It's a glorious Friday, gearing up for another glorious weekend at the beach in Venice. There is much to be grateful for. Life is a beach ... !