Friday, October 29, 2010

Blood Into Wine - Maynard from Tool Makes Wine!

I know a lot of people in Venice love Tool, and I certainly know a lot of us love wine ... thus it was no surprise at all when looking on Netflix at what people are watching in Venice, CA, that they are currently into the documentary Blood Into Wine - the story of how Maynard Keenan from Tool is creating wine in Jerome, Arizona.

A couple of years ago I was out on an excellent rock tour called The Justice Tour, led by Tom Morello. Our last stop of the tour was Chicago, and as Tom and Maynard are old friends, Maynard was booked for this finale show. People were EXCITED. The day before the show, Tom got a text that there was no way Maynard was going to make it, as there was something going on with the grapes at his vineyard and he had to be there. The fans were not pleased (though they still got an epic show).

Now having seen the film about Maynard's passion and drive to excel at wine making as he has done with his music, I can totally understand how he would cancel a show to see to his grapes. Caduceus Vineyards is his place in Jerome, Arizona (a former Ghost Town), not the likeliest place to spring to mind when thinking of wineries. But Maynard and his partner, Eric Glomski, are there, pioneering a whole new way of thinking and creating in Arizona's Verde Valley.

Maynard is an intense dude, and you can see why he has risen to the top of any of his chosen fields ... he means business. He seems to be pretty dark, but this film shows his funny, and even tender side (I laughed. I cried a tear too, when he speaks about the "Judith" wine he created for his late mother. You will too).

I remember a year or so ago they had a wine bottle signing at Whole Foods on Lincoln, where fans lined up for hours to get Maynard and Eric to sign their fresh bottles of Merkin wine. The goth chicks and tattooed guys were thrilled to get to see their hero live, but they also got to learn a little about wine in the process. Some of those signings are documented in the film, and it's cool to see people getting behind and supporting anything Maynard does. I like Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, so of course I wanted to see the movie, but I finished feeling a lot smarter about the process of wine making as well.

Rock and learning - that's pretty much all you want out of entertainment. Heck, maybe out of life itself.

Check out Blood Into Wine ... I think you'll dig it. We can discuss over a bottle of Sangiovese from Jerome!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Have you seen it?

Someone lost their heart!

Please help if you can.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ancient Chinese Secret - Tom EverhART opening!

One of the very best parties in Venice EVER went down last Saturday night, at the home/gallery of painter, Tom Everhart and his goddess wife, Jennifer. You're probably familiar with them both from seeing them ride their bikes all over town, all blonde and brightly colored.

Tom's art can be seen all over the world, as he is the only artist that incorporates Peanuts (Snoopy and the Gang) characters into the fine art form. To see his art in Venice, Tom's paintings have hung in Lilly's on Abbot Kinney since they opened, and Saturday night had Venetians (and friends from other places) celebrating (in rare form) to warm the new private gallery space in their home.

It was a truly epic shindig. Cases of Veuve Clicquot sated everyone's thirst, while partygoers were met by drumming and didjeridu-ing from a couple musicians up on the rooftop. The Full Moon was shining brightly, and lit up the gorgeous guests, who were all dressed up for once in Venice! I did not see one pair of flip-flops - true story!

The paintings we were there to see (and trip out on) were the latest in Tom's Taha'a series (2010), inspired by the place that has become the Everhart's home away from home in Tahiti. Their tropical Eden is well represented by the huge splashes of color and lush scenery, where if you look closely, Snoopy can be seen diving into the majestic lagoon.

The 3D paintings comprised of acrylic, varnish and cups leap out at you in a frenzy of shape and color, with my favorite being the black and white Schroeder and Franklin (2009).

Friends and celebrities (local and otherwise - Jessica Simpson even showed up ...) tossed back glass after glass of champagne as they checked out the art, and each other. The special treat of the evening was a tribe of Tahitian drummers, who really blew the party out of the (painted) water. Glasses broke and the Cops showed up, making it a true Venice bash.

{Note to the "Neighbor" who complained: You are old and lame. 10:00 pm on a Saturday night is ok to have some noise. You live in a city. A fun one. Relax!}

Impromptu topless dancing, more champagne, moon gazing, balcony people watching, some more champagne, and all of it surrounded by the very best friends and neighbors, all having a complete ball! All you could do was soak up the good vibrations, and consider yourself to be beyond blessed to be there ... HERE.

Thank you to the MOST gracious hosts, Venetians, and truly best friends, Tom and Jenny Everhart, for a night that will not soon be forgotten! XOXOXOXOXO!!!


*Photos by the illustrious Alan Shaffer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Soccermom: The Movie

There was a whole lot going on this past weekend, and I surely meant to do it all ... but didn't. It was one of those gloomy, mist all day scenarios, which actually made it perfect to tuck inside and catch some film. As The Other Venice Film Festival venue of Beyond Baroque is my spitting distance neighbor, it made it pretty easy to catch the 2010 OVFF WINNER for Best Documentary, Soccermom: The Movie.

If you've lived in Venice for any time at all, you should know the band Soccermom. They've been a staple at music clubs around town forever, and its members, Helen, Matty, Cecil and John, have probably all been squeezed in next to you at a party at some point.

I loved Soccermom with all their humor and punk glory (and I say lovED because I have no idea what's going on with them right now, and haven't seen them play in quite some time? Or seen Helen around, for that matter ...). This film about them - though cut a little sloppy in places, and in need of some sound tweaking - captures all of it, and really, only makes you want to see more of them.

The talking head interview bits spotlight all sorts of Venice characters: Jeff Ho, Valerie of Slave fame, Nik from Trim, and all sorts of friends of the band, that clearly love them. These are the funniest parts, as the surfer dude qualities that crack you up, and the sheer irreverence, make you instantly recognize YOUR people, and laugh along with them.

Helen says at one point, "I met Matty and he said, 'Can you sing?' and I said 'No', and he said, 'Perfect.' .... He taught me how to be retarded." Then it cuts to them all going absolutely mental patient on stage.

They are punk rock, in sound, look, and attitude. Helen and Matty have gotten into fistfights on stage. They played their first show for some Realtor meeting, and opened with a song about what assholes Realtors are. They have hot girl groupies, and a song called "Mangroupie" about just that, the guys that show up to love Brazilian born, and adorable, Helen, of whom one guy fan says, "She's like a Joseph Conrad character, the Heart Of Darkness."

Their punk tunes are informed by surf and skating (and vice versa), and skate legend Jeff Ho is a treat to hear spin tales of Soccermom, and how "In Venice, something is always gonna happen ... stabbings, beer bottles thrown ..." and another guy talks about how "Soccermom usually plays somewhere where your car WILL get broken into ...". Classic, and we love it all.

It's a bit of a time capsule about the early millenium in Venice, CA, and makes you feel a little nostalgic for the balls out way they - and we - would party here. (Ok, and sometimes still do). I think Helen puts it best when she says, "Aside from the blood and the tears, it's all happiness."

A bit like life here itself.

Check out Soccermom, both the band and the movie, whenever and if you get the chance. It's a rowdy-good time, every time.

*Photos ripped off from Soccermom's Myspace page.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Support Local Film! Other Venice Film Festival All Weekend!

It's time for the 7th Annual Other Venice Film Festival! Get out there and see some local film! (Gloomy in Venice again ... so perfect matinee weather!)

Go, Enjoy, then we'll discuss.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trashy People

We've been blessed with some real lovely days recently, like patience rewarded. It's been almost a week since it last rained, and glorious ever since. Except for the loads of trash on the beach. It is enough to make you want to grab the entire city by the lapels and scream in their face "THROW GARBAGE IN GARBAGE CANS, YOU FILTHY BEASTS!!! IT ALL WASHES INTO THE OCEAN AND YOU ARE KILLING US ALL!!!" or some such subtle thing.

A week later, and you'll notice the long row of stuffed giant industrial sized trash bags lining the shore this morning (and STILL there is more work to do!):

Because thank GOODNESS that there are people out there that actually DO care about our planet (or have Community Service - either way, THANKS!), and get up early to go pick up after the slobs that don't get it. Yeah, you. Go walk two feet across the sand and throw your junk food bag away in the trash before we seriously turn into a WALL-E type place. That would make me very unhappy. The dolphins leaping out of the water this morning looked very happy, by some miraculous ability to overlook our reckless pollution of their home.

The sea talks to you, if you listen. I was having a mild panic attack about all the litter (obviously) and stuff, and needing some kind of sign that things will be alright, and Jenny said, "We're going to see dolphins". Before the echo of her "s" died out, two arcing dolphins leaped out of a perfect wave, truly that very second. Ask Jenny - she is my witness.

Then a ways down the beach I returned back into the zone of deep thoughts about appreciation and doom, and other conflicting emotions, when a giant wave came out of nowhere and SMACKED me back into being here now, and loving it. Along with that smack, from straight out of the late '80's or early 90's, En Vogue's badass tune, "Free Your Mind" (" ... and the rest will follow ...!") burst into my brain, and I took both the advice, and the reminder from the sea, to heart.

Free your mind, and the rest will follow ...

And while you're at it, throw away your garbage in the proper receptacle. Mahalo.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Good Times Roll ...

The sun kicked its way back out today, and everyone's in a good mood about it here in Venice ... everything, too. Check out this little VW Bus on the corner:

Ahhhh. Exactly how I feel today. Attitude of gratitude.

Now right around the corner, it's less clear what this car is feeling, but it made ME smile at least:

You know you're in the right spot when even the cars have real (and sometimes split) personalities.

Good times.

*NOT good times? The Red Sludge poisoning the Danube River right now... And the filth covering our beaches today after the rain. C'mon, People. We don't have to be done with Earth just yet! Try a LITTLE harder every day, PLEASE! For more good times.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fighting the Power - Outages

What's up, Venice grid?! The power has been on and off since yesterday afternoon, as a result of a very non-dramatic rainfall. It was the talk of the neighborhood this morning as I walked over to the French Market to see if they had power - and therefore, coffee.

Why is our power system so wimpy? Electric Avenue was not so electric last night and today, and it kinda makes you stop to think how we would cope in the event of something more gnarly happening. It makes you realize, like Jenny said when we holed up in her bunker with Ipad for a bit, "I'm totally addicted to electricity".

One eye-opener that a neighbor pointed out to me, is that the only streetlights to remain lit were the ones that are now run on solar power. MmmHMM! Timely, as the White House is returning to pre-Reagan solar power smartness this week too. About time.

Conspiracy theories ran around our heads a little last night (you don't need electricity to drink lots of wine), and one friend thought our power goes out so easily because it saves money, or something. Like when that big East Coast blackout happened, it was really, quite literally, a power struggle.

Who knows, but let's let these past couple of days serve as a gently reminder that Yeah, flashlight batteries need to be changed once in a while, candles kick out great light and should be in stock in your home, earthquake type kits are smart investments, and it's fun to turn into pioneers again (for a night or so) and just talk and enjoy each other, sans super high technology sometimes (though we all ran to plug into various chargers the minute the power blinked on).

Still ... the question remains, why are our power stations so darn delicate?

Oh, and why is it so hard for Angelenos to drive in the rain?

Be careful out there, kids!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, Venice Skatepark! And Other Stuff I Missed While In Vegas ...

My, how time flies! The Venice Skatepark turned one this past weekend, with a contest for a birthday party ... and I missed it because I was in Las Vegas to celebrate my dear friend Christine's birthday (real one today - SHOUT OUT TO CHRISTINE KRSNIK!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! ). I'm sure it was the greatest, in a day of celebrating the sweet success of the skatepark, and a year of hooting and hollering at giant airs and slick tricks. A whole year since the park opened ... and that story is here, if you want to remember it fondly.

I also missed First Fridays. That one didn't bother me as much.

I also missed the removal of the sidewalk tables outside of Abbot's Habit, Abbot's Pizza, Casa Linda, and Nice Cream. I heard about first thing this Monday morning, however, even before I got my coffee. People are not at all happy about it, nor should they be. Those tables, especially the Abbot's Habit ones, are indeed that - a HABIT. There is a whole sidewalk culture there, and there has been for years and years. People have died, babies have been born. People have moved away, and returned to their same wooden seat, happy to be constantly moving their legs for dogs and strollers to pass by, as long as they get to greet their friends and watch the day move along for a bit, in the place that they most consider home. For people new to town, or just visiting, it's the perfect place to meet people, or people-watch the entire day and evening, and come to get a feel for this place. It's not a small deal. It feels naked and empty there without them.

My friend Billy wrote me this about it:

carol,talk to me about why they removed the tables,i can,t find out,"they remove the music,they fold up the sidewalk tradition,why don,t they just close the fucking world and be done with it---power currupts,"they sit up there in their ivory towers smoking cheap mexican boo and in their senseless way hullucinate yet more laws to pass,Lawmakers,hey ask us if we want the fucking law before you make it.

To which I say HELLYES. Rumor has it, and I just got back so I gotta investigate further, but I'm told that Food Truck folks had made a complaint about the tables taking up too much room on the sidewalk or something. PARDON ME?! The tables that have quite literally been second homes for longtime locals to congregate are taking up too much room for mobile food vendors to have their long lines form? Too damn bad, pardon me again. Again, that's just conjecture at this point, but if that's valid, all Abbot Kinney merchants and customers have not only a right, but a DUTY to be outraged. And do something about it.

Billy suggests naked poetry reading in protest. Where the tables once stood, at the corner of Abbot Kinney and California. Who's up for it? I'm not afraid.

And Vegas already seems like a distant memory ...

Let's go get those tables back.