Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

I've been going to and enjoying my friend, Alona Cooke's restaurant, Capri, in Venice for as long as I've lived here. It's always been great and reliable and a wonderful neighborhood hang. Alona always hosts interesting wine tastings, and cook book signings and art openings, even weddings, but it just got real exciting in there with the arrival of the "pop up" restaurant within a restaurant, Wolf In Sheep's Clothing.

Two chefs and best friends, Brian Dunsmoor (formerly of Hungry Cat) and Kris Tominaga (Joe's, Axe) have taken over Capri's kitchen for an experiment that has now turned into an extended stay, and they're clearly having fun together, while also turning out food so good that I believe I coined a term the first night I was there ... it was "emotionally delicious". Meaning the bites I had were eye-rolling, chill-inducing, rapturous morsels of joy. No hyperbole.

The joint has been jumping since they opened for biz a few weeks ago, and it's an absolute Who's Who of Venice every time. Waves and hugs and happy smiles are exchanged between neighbors and strangers alike ... when I was there last week, I think I knew almost everyone in there. And we were all STOKED.

It's pretty small plates, and there's a lot to choose from to try (and reluctantly share). You MUST start with the biscuits (of which there NEEDS to be more than two on the plate, Guys, c'mon!). Piping hot butter biscuits served with Southern style pimento cheese, apple butter and persimmon got us off to a mouth-watering start. I'm drooling on my keyboard right now at the mere memory. Now I'd never think I'd be into cold fish in a jar (!) but the rainbow trout served with avocado toast, sliced egg, and herb salad with little chunks of salt was so good I didn't know what to do with myself. Shows me.

Other highlights I shared: Lots of wine. Broccoli and pork cheek. Hanger steak with escarole. Sand dabs. Bay scallops. Brussel sprouts. Persimmon salad. Kale salad ... (We all shared it all, ok) and the delish apple pie with cheddar cheese (high praise because I consider myself fairly authoritative on apple pie. In fact, both meals I've had (so far!) were shared with Alona, and when I asked her what the best thing about the whole deal was for her, she said, "Having friends over for pie". Delightful!

The whole thing is just a joy, from the super friendly and informative staff to the signs and art drawn on butcher paper by Brian's girlfriend, Lacey K. Cowden.

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing ... remarkable! They're open for a completely great evening all nights but Mondays, from 5:30-ish to 10:30/11-ish (Venice hours). No reservations unless it's 6 or more. You should get there, have some fun, and know what it means to have an emotionally delicious meal. Soon - while it lasts!

***Update - Wolf in Sheep's Clothing is now open in the former Lilly's space on Abbot Kinney. It is the same in name only, as the original Chefs Dunsmoor and Tominaga have now opened their own place on Melrose, The Hart and the Hunter. Get there!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The FUN of the Venice Canals 30th Annual Holiday Boat Parade

One of the most adorable things you could ever do in Venice, California is attend the annual Holiday Boat Parade in the Venice Canals. This year was the 30th one, and I think it might have been the best yet. I say that because the mood of the boating participants and the attendants that packed every narrow sidewalk and bridge was sheer buoyancy ... and there is no pun intended there. There were plenty of to-go cups in gloved hands (it was beach chilly), but even without that help, everyone seemed to be in stellar spirits as they cheered and caroled under the clear, full moon evening. The Epstein-Mayers hosted the pre-party I attended (Thank you, our gracious hosts!), and we got our group gathered and Canal-side just in time to see the first boat sail by, poled along, appropriately enough, by some old-style Gondoliers (and "Mr. & Mrs. Abbot Kinney" that I didn't know). Perfect.

Right on their tail was a militant duck contingent bearing signs like "Duck-U-Py The Venice Canals" and demanding their just nest eggs. Venice always has a sense of humor, and we love it.

There was a fully amped rock and roll band made up of both Christmas characters and Super Heros. This may just have been my favorite, for fun, enthusiasm, and of course, rock.

You can be as elaborate or as simple as you like in this parade, a big pontoon type deal, or a single kayak for one, as long as you're having fun.

The crowds lining the bridges and sidewalks shouted their approval the whole time, and the number of people only increased as the sun began to set. It was so pretty out, people were just gasping ... locals and visitors alike.

Pop culture was well-represented, from vessels celebrating Barry Manilow (?) to Snoopy's doghouse and the Starship Enterprise.

A darling little family of reindeer? More gondoliers? Fire people? were led by the exuberant Patriarch in singing some rousing Christmas numbers, with the little kid barbershop quartet on the choruses. I thought I might explode from the cute factor. Happily.

Hanukkah was given many shouts out by the happy Rabbi in his Menorah/Dreidel (that spun!) boat. He was a big hit, especially with the kids shouting out for candy (chocolate gelt). It's funny, the parade is like the new trick or treating, or Mardi Gras ... kids seemed to expect the boats to throw out candy ... Noted.

Even the dogs got into the act, as seen by this little reindeer dog, though his coat did say "Bark Humbug". Hmmm.

Robin the Snow Queen sailed by with a real fire burning in the bottom of her boat. Very cool. It gave me ideas for the Viking Ship we plan to set sail next year. *There was a pact made, I'll remind those who know.

The sunset turned the whole sky pink and the lights of the homes and bridges (and boats) began to twinkle in a breathtaking twilight you couldn't even make up. Everyone looked beautiful ... mostly because everyone looked so happy. Truly, even if it was just forgetting about regular life stuff and problems for the moment, and being present and appreciating life and fun and Venice and NOW, while we had it.

I think that's because you couldn't help but feel the HOLIDAY CHEER everywhere you looked, especially on this boat, with the coolest, happiest Snowflake Man (with his Christmas Tree friends on back-up vox) riling up the onlookers and getting them/us/me to join him in Karaoke Carols.

As the sky darkened and became more moon and star-lit, the boats wound their way around the canals, with more applause and cheers at every turn. The parade ended and the house parties around the Canals began (though many looked not to be at home ... are they crazy?! Those houses were MADE to be home on this night more than any other!). We paraded on foot back to our party, but not before being greeted and embraced and invited in by just about every friendly face you've ever encountered in town. Right up until this night, I hadn't been feeling the Holiday swing so much yet, with so many other things going on all the time, and time itself flying so fast. But then, as you see, the Holidays were jump-started right in front of our faces!

The rowdiness eased into a full moonlight serenity after a while. We rode our bikes back through the Canals later on, and I had to pause to soak up the simple loveliness of a Christmas-lit bridge with its reflection upon the water. I gave myself the moment for my own reflection, and with that, BANG! The Christmas Spirit was fully upon me. I'm feeling it! And I hope you are too.

With all the hubbub of the Season ... remember to reflect. Appreciate. Have FUN!

(Holiday) CHEERS!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Matt Jennings and Bombino at The Mint. Mint!

Matt Jennings blew through town this last week, opening for Bombino at The Mint, and it was remarkable. Remarkable, I say! I've loved Matt's music and its international flavors for years (He's from Minnesota too. We pretty much all get each other ...), and it's about time you all get to know and love it too.

Let me tell you a cool thing about Matt Jennings. Aside from being a great musician, he is a great friend, and now a collaborator of mine as well. Over the years, I've told him stories of mine, or he's read them, and a while back he started bugging me to write lyrics out of them for songs. I'd never branched out in that direction creatively, so was a little resistant. Then one day I told him a story about one of my dearest friends ever (Darren Sakai, I love you!) who was/is dealing with the dread cancer, and about this healing lake in Hawai'i, where we lived together back in the day. Matt listened, and then simply said, "That should be your first song."

I guess I figured that would be cool, as it wasn't really as much about me doing it, as it was about me doing it for a friend. I wrote it all down, sent it to Matt, and like a week later had a dope song - MAGIC - to send along to my friend, D- Funk. WOW! So we've kept at it, and now we have a whole bunch of special and remarkable songs (I'm switching to "remarkable" for a while - "Amazing" is too over and wrongly used).

Well, the other night was the first time I've ever had a song I wrote (the words to) performed live, and that it was among Matt's other stellar set-list songs, was a true, rare, first-time honor. Matt is one of those virtuoso guys - the ones who you can just suggest something to, and they come back with some genius thing you've never heard and all you can do is smile. Or trip out. This has happened to me time and again with our project (which we're toying with calling The Wholesome Hellraisers!), and it happened to the whole crowd at The Mint the other night.

Bombino has been getting a lot of press as the "Hendrix of the Tuareg People" of late, so the place was sold out, but they maybe didn't know that they were first going to get served with some straight up ROCK, courtesy of Matt Jennings, and his team of Aaron Rosener on drums and Zeke Hall on bass. Not just rock, but rock with worldly flourishes, and stories to tell.

The boys opened up with "Big Blue Whale", a surf-y rock out of a song, and right away I was jolted into knowing that Matt is heavier musically than I remembered. And his guitar will simply transport you, to a plethora of places ... and many of them speak Spanish. "Simplemente En Fuego"! is one of my favorites of Matt's, and also served to define the night. En fuego! "Todavia" and "Todo Tu Corazon" were both gorgeous, as was the beautiful lilt of "I'm Floating" that really makes you feel like you are.

The song I wrote, "Tamarindo Cocodrilo" takes the listener to Costa Rica, and the time I almost got eaten by a crocodile on a surf trip. For real. It was so great to recall sitting at my desk and writing the lyrics and then be out at The Mint and have Matt making the people smile with his extra-talented song story-telling. I was stoked. Stay tuned, as I mentioned, as we have a lot more where this one came from. Fun!

Sometimes it's funny to look at my notes that I scrawl in my book as I'm watching a show. As next to "The Tortoise and The Hare", I wrote "Fresh guitar - fancy! Ripping." "Slow Motion" - "Genre: Metal World Alternative". "God Moves" - I simply underlined "Metal!" 3 times. "Whispering Word - "Dark and heavy". For "Spirit Soldiers" - "Deep as hell". You can glean from these notes that I had a great time, and that Matt Jennings is a force to be reckoned with. He's super talented, a great friend, has challenged me creatively like not many others, and after these shows out West opening for Ozomatli and Bombino, you're going to be hearing a whole lot more from him. You are lucky.

Bombino and his dressed for the desert band mates were RAD. The packed crowd was super reverent and quiet as they listened to his otherworldly, almost religious feeling music. I wouldn't go so far as the Hendrix comparison, and was rather more struck by Bombino's distinctly different singing style.

I didn't get to hear the whole set, but Bombino and Company made quite an impression on everyone there. Those guys don't speak a lick of English, I don't think, so had a translator relay that they "were very happy to be playing here". As we watched and enjoyed the musical experiences of a far-off land via Bombino, we were all likewise very happy to have them playing here.

A special night of special music with special people that I won't soon forget.

*Photos by Paul Gronner from the Matt Jennings Collection, and Me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Abbot Kinney Holiday Strolling

Well, maybe it was bright, sunny and pretty warm this last weekend, but that didn't stop Venice from kicking off the Holiday Season with some good old fashioned neighborhood fun - and SNOW! The Abbot Kinney Holiday Stroll was adorable again this year, and just made me so happy and grateful that we here in Venice really do have a sense of community, and aren't afraid to have a good time together, whatever the time of year.

For the second year, the Brig filled up their parking lot with snow and let kids more accustomed to boogie boards and sand fly down the icy, snow covered hay bales that stood in for the real sliding hills that these kids have mostly never seen.

Carolers belted out a catchy tune about Christmas on Abbot Kinney, the food trucks rolled in - as usual, they covered up the infamous Brig camel-toe with a bow for the occasion ...

... there was a little holiday craft area for kids ...

... and the cutest, happiest Santa Claus ...

... listened as the kids made their toy requests and pulled on his beard.

Neighbors stopped and talked, shoppers juggled their bags and their coffee cups, dressed up dogs went on a parade up and down the boulevard ...

and wound up back at Robin's Sculpture Garden for music and aerial circus fun.

Fun, in fact, was the entire day's m.o., and it was evident everywhere you looked.

Michelle the Elf greeted you at the decked out Zingara, where we popped in to get some apple cider and look at all the great gift ideas. Firefly, Ananda, Huset, and Principessa were also tied for trying to kill me with cuteness the most. Most of the shops were decorated by now for the Season, and added to the festive atmosphere with their twinkling lights as the sun set ever earlier.

These magical times fly by in the hustle and bustle of trying to get everything done, and it's days like this that remind us to stop and enjoy it all, and indeed have some FUN.

As I stood on the corner and looked at it all going on around me, I stopped and thought the thought that I so often do ... I love Venice.

Happy Holidays!! May they be merry and bright wherever you are.

John Salley and Tom Everhart - Game On!

John Salley, best known as a former Los Angeles Laker, now has a talk show on the Reelz network called Game On! He stopped by the studio of Venice artist (and main homie), Tom Everhart, last week to check out the new art works and have a good sit down chat. I stopped by to check it all out, and though I've known and listened to Tom speak about his work for years and years, I still heard new things, and was as fascinated as Mr. Salley hearing it for the first time.

The t.v. people set up all their equipment, and we basically all just laughed and learned all afternoon. To begin with, Salley said, "This is my favorite space in all of Venice {me too} ... All white, beautiful women ... some of them white ... I'm getting the love in Venice! Thank you for letting me in!" He's hilarious, and started the interview portion of the deal by saying, "So I call you Snoopy Dude ...", which Tom explained that he often hears, sometimes as derogatory, and sometimes as a compliment. His art does feature Peanuts characters, yes, but after hearing him explain the whole story about how he met Charles Schulz, how he came to see the world through those eyes, and how a good artist sees something no one else sees ... it all becomes clear just what Everhart is up to with his vast canvases of bright color and wonder.

I want to leave some of it for you to watch on Game On! but to sit and listen (and try not to laugh out loud so the mics could hear - hard) to these two talk was very insightful and inspiring, for sure. Everhart explained that he was never into comics(though did add that "South Park is some of the best contemporary art today", but loved coloring books, but always wanted to create new things within the lines. His prior work was very realist skeleton pieces, but when he met Mr. Schulz, he did as encourage, which was to "Always see things in a new way". (That's very Venice). Tom almost died of colon cancer 23 years ago, and that experience gave him a whole new awareness of life, and those skeletons gave way to the happiness and color now seen in his work about the same time.

When Everhart met Schulz, they spent an entire day just drawing lines, the love of which bonded them together for the remainder of Schulz's life. Schulz's lines became Everhart's new art language. Schulz passed down his knowledge like a Father to a Son, and allowed him the use of his characters for the term of Tom's own life. While Tom was explaining this to Salley, he was nodding and smiling, and then said, "Yeah, at first I was like, 'What's up with the dirty water and the dots?" At the time, Tom replied that it was him seeing the birds at the beach. Salley now lit up, got it and said, "Now I started seeing things YOUR way!" Just as now when I see an Everhart Snoopy doing a back flip off a Tahitian cliff, I know that that's really Tom's wife, Jennifer expressing her love for life through Tom's eyes. That's how he sees it.

Tom doesn't really talk about the who's who collectors of his art, but Salley said, "Well, I know one very sexy guy named John Salley who has one of your pieces ..." which he sure enough does.

We all had a (basket)ball talking and celebrating art, and when Salley said, "See, when I played basketball, I had to share my championships, but now I get to interview champions!" I couldn't agree more.

Check your local listings for Game On! With John Salley - The Tom Everhart Interview. Coming soon!

*Photos by Jennifer Everhart, Alan Shaffer, and Me.

Kelley Baker Brows Grand Opening on Abbot Kinney!

Update 12/2/13

Happy 2nd Birthday to Kelley Baker Brows! Wow, time flies when you're making everyone look gorgeous!

In the last two years, things have grown in leaps and bounds for Kelley Baker Brows, with her brow styling getting attention all over the country. You can now buy her products online, and in Fred Segal's New Beauty store. She has two more brow artists working with her, Vanessa Ceballos and Tinel Carapia. They now also offer makeup for special events, and Kelley herself has even been doing makeup for HBO red carpets for show like Game Of Thrones. Kelley had a pop-up brow studio in the Gansevoort Hotel in New York by popular demand, and finds herself being begged for classes by people that follow her Instagram account. Stay tuned for those. Kelley is also going to be training brow artists and placing them out in the big, brow world. Busy lady!

As busy as the last two years have been, the priority is still her eight year old son, Travis, who Baker clearly dotes on. She also has no plans to leave Venice, where she loves the people and the vibe. "Venice is home", she says, and I'm so thankful that it is.

The new Kelley Baker Brows hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 8 pm.

Happy, HAPPY 2nd Birthday to everyone at KBB - and many more!

The Original Story:

Kelley Baker Brows has a brand new location, all to itself and it is GORGEOUS. As will your eyebrows be the minute you see brow guru to the stars (Venice and International), Kelley Baker. After 6 years of beautifying Abbot Kinney at other venues (Mathis Murphy, Trim), Kelley has struck out on her own, in a beautiful new location that is a one stop shop for day of beauty needs ... Facial (Alexandra Wagner), spray Tan (Lavish Tan), now brows (Kelley) and soon, the very best hair (Stephanie Hobgood Hair!!!) - all on one floor in a dope building across from Wabi Sabi. So convenient. So nice.

You can read up on Kelley's history here, but just know that she is a gem, and your brows will never look so good. If you think eyebrows are no big deal to your face, go see her just once, and you'll see the difference it makes to your hotness. This includes dudes (as Kelley says, "Men. You're supposed to have TWO eyebrows". Two.).

The new location is all white and sunny and inviting, and smells good too. Emily Hogan will welcome you at her reception desk, and you will sit and chill with Kelley, and she will proceed to change your face for the much better.

I asked Kelley how she felt about the new space, and the smile she gave me was all the answer I needed. I agree. It's so great. The entire place practically throbs with good energy.

Kelley held out to find just the right place to open for herself, but knew it had to be Venice - the people and the vibe were crucial to her dream. When things are meant to be, they have a way of working out just so. This location opened up, she went for it, and as I stopped by on opening day, it just had the feeling of RIGHT and HAPPY. I couldn't be more proud of her, or more thrilled to make my own appointment, pronto. Kelley will also do your make up for special events, and seeing how absolutely flawless she always looks, that will be my choice for the next super gala. Of course.

Kelley would like people to know that even if you have that deal where you have no hair or plucked your eyebrows beyond reason 'til you have to draw them on, there's always something that can be done. I've seen those results (on other people), and it's pretty darn miraculous. Have faith!

I asked Kelley what the most important thing she'd like people to know about her and her new space, and she simply said, "Peace and Love". Now you know for certain why I'm such a fan.

Kelley Baker Brows is there for you by appointment, or the lucky walk-in. Call 310.314.BROW to get shaped up right.

Kelley Baker Brows
1636 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, 90291

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Backstage at The Beachhead!

I dug the Free Venice Beachhead from the day I moved here. An entirely volunteer operation, it has been in existence since 1968, celebrating the auspicious 43rd Birthday this December! Every community needs its newspaper, but a community like Venice especially does. People have come here from all over the world to seek and explore what the left-est edge of the country has going on, and the Beachhead has been documenting it all for decades.

I got involved myself when I would occasionally submit articles about things I thought were cool in the neighborhood (You can too! We love to hear from EVERYONE, and Venetians tend to have a lot to say. Don't be shy, that's silly) ... or uncool as the time I had my dear bike, Delores, stolen. I reacted by writing a story, basically a livid Bike Amber Alert, and the Beachhead Collective was nice enough to print it on the front page. Well, a month later I got her back, and wrote another - triumphant - story to share the unlikely news. That was the beginning of me taking a more active part in the paper, as Collective member, as Collective member, Greta, had been reading my blog about me and Venice (Hi), and extended an invitation for me to come to the Beachhead meetings, and see if I wanted to join the Collective. So I did.

Meetings are held each Monday evening at the "Beachhead House" in the heart of Venice. You duck through some thick foliage and enter the house to be met with shouts of welcome from the long wood table that serves as the Bridge on the Mother Ship of Beachhead operations. Protest posters from past and present, and original works by Venice artist friends adorn the walls, as, of course, does the visage of Che Guevara. A beautifully colorful Murano glass chandelier hangs above it all, as sort of a reminder of the original Venice.

It doesn't take long before someone usually opens up the first bottle of Charles Shaw, which helps to calm the nerves when talking about local and worldwide events that rile us up. We stick impressively close to the agenda each week, considering we are all vocal and tangent-prone contributors, but this paper has to get out! It takes a lot of work - by people that also have to actually work and maintain busy lives. And these people ... what a bunch. Each of us is so different from each other, but somehow it all works as a whole, and a mutual respect is maintained (save for the pretty uncommon outbursts of healthy disagreement) to make that so.

Jim is the true keeper of the Beachhead flame, having been involved with the paper for a good chunk of its lifetime. He is a deep and creative poet, and is also real good at cracking the whip on the gang to keep things moving along. Karl is the Professor of the bunch (of Chemistry), so he's our go-to source for all things scientific. He also writes great poems, and is great at reciting the poem submissions that come in in his actorly fashion. Mary is the poet on the Collective that makes me well up almost every time she submits, so touching and wise are her works. She's also the one that always catches my raised eyebrow or pointed glance, and exactly gets what I mean without even talking. A great lady.

Don is the most senior member of the Collective, and also the biggest flirt. He is out there, active and involved, every day of the week. He is never afraid to exactly speak his mind, and share his vast knowledge about pretty much all things. He is a true inspiration as to how to be of service and lead a full life. And he can make you blush. As can Greta. She is the Romanian spitfire of the group, and cracks me up every week. She is the supplier of the most double-entendres I've ever heard, and is as smart as she is funny (she is a school teacher during the day). I look forward each week to seeing what she'll wear, or what she might cook, as she'll often display her culinary skills for us, on top of her writing pointed and provoking articles for the paper. {She would laugh and shout, "ON TOP!" here}.

Roger is the grammatical stickler of the bunch, and we're lucky to have him, as even under his microscope, it's still not hard for typos and stuff to sneak by when proofing nights go late. Roger is a smart one, and a good debater too, as he's another one not afraid to speak his mind. No one is really, and that makes for super interesting discussions, and we hope, a better paper each month. There are new members, Ron and Annie, who are proving to be fine contributors, and both jumped right in with offers to get things done. There are more phantom members, like Alice, who can rarely attend meetings, but handles the finances of the paper, which is always a struggle (we'll get to that). Lydia, a very involved activist, sometimes makes an appearance, and always has great points to make. Krista is another lovely poet, who we don't see as much of these days, but are always happy when we do. Yolanda (and her sweet little dog, Joey) and Peggy are honorary members who inspire as some of the strongest, most activist women I've ever met - and also excel as great cooks and kombucha makers. It's always a treat when Suzy shows up, and even better when she pens one of her enthusiastic reviews.

These characters all sit around the big table and discuss distribution, who called which expired sustainer, who hit up who for ads, what events are coming up, what timely topics need to be addressed, how many more have died at war or been arrested for Occupying, current events, etc. Then we all take turns reading story, poem, letter and calendar event submissions. It's a democratic vote for each of them that winds up in the paper, and if only those walls could talk, they'd have volumes of thoughtful, interesting, important and funny things to say. I look forward to these meetings each week, as I always emerge a little more well-informed, and cheered that a diverse people really can come together and create something positive together. And that's a good lesson to apply to everything in life, right?

I try to make my contribution each month be a reminder of why we all want to be in Venice. I like to focus on the GOOD stuff - the art, the music, the events, the people and businesses that make this an intriguing - no, MAGICAL place to live. The more we know each other better, the better we'll be to each other, is my way of thinking. The more you know someone's story, the better you can identify with or learn from them. Which brings us to the point of a community paper ... knowing the stories of a time and place in history.

As I mentioned before, it's hard work, all done for free, with free minds and spirit and speech. (And you get it for free). We don't just tell the stories, we deliver the stories to you. We hustle to get ads and sustainers to keep the paper afloat - everyone's least favorite part of the deal. No one likes to ask for money, especially creative, activist type people. I know that a lot more people enjoy the paper than currently support the paper, and I think that could be improved upon. Simply based on the number of times I'm stopped and talked to about it in a normal Venice day is telling of The Beachhead's place in the hearts of locals.

So please consider being more active in your appreciation for a truly rare and original, Beat-originated and still inspired, cool LOCAL hard copy newspaper. Send us YOUR stories, thrilled or outraged. Become a sustainer (it's easy, you can just Pay-Pal it right up at www.freevenice.org!). Place an ad for your business. Announce your wedding or baby or graduation or party! Come to an event we sponsor. Volunteer to help lug papers. Do something awesome that we can write about!

Above all, THANK YOU! Thank you, Venice, for being so great to live in and write about. Thank you for supporting a free press, and a free spirit. For inspiring every day, and for the sense of FUN and community we all love, and love to document.

Happy 43rd Birthday, Beachhead! It's a real honor to celebrate both the history and the NOW with you! CHEERS (with something a little better than Chuck S. for the occasion!)!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Peace is Powerful

There is so much going on in the world lately, it hardly seems relevant to talk about your own little stuff these days. The Occupy Movements have been so inspiring ... that the People are finally uniting together to INSIST on positive change.

My heart has been swollen with pride and crushed into pulp so many times about it all that it can be exhausting to even think about. Most recently, I saw the video of the horrible UC - Davis campus police pepper spraying the peaceful, SITTING STILL students in the face as they did NOTHING. I sobbed - out loud and immediately - that this would go on in our country at a peaceful protest. Yet it illustrated the need for change so profoundly, it was, again, inspiring, though horrific to view. The bystanders' screams of horror were the worst part to me, as they stood there in disbelief. We don't need to see it again. Ever.

Now then, look at the beautiful, though tough as nails, student reaction to the chickenshit Chancellor lady finally coming out of hiding and leaving her office:

SILENCE! PEACE! The sheer disappointment expressed by saying not one thing. That woman will remember that walk the rest of her days. As will we.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!! Every time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Matthew Ritchie at L & M Arts

One of my favorite rainy day things to do in Venice (though rare, it does happen) is to slosh my way up the block to L & M Arts to see the latest exhibition. The one up right now (through December 10th) is Matthew Ritchie's Monstrance - a show featuring New York based Ritchie's paintings, drawings, sculptures and a multi-media installation.

For some reason, I usually have the entire gallery to myself whenever I've gone, which I love, as you can let yourself get fully into the works without distraction.

The paintings are of trippy Angel type forms, said in the press release to be inspired by the "Liturgy of Hours" - the Catholic cycle of eight daily prayers. Heavenly, Constellation looking, they kind of reminded me of the wordless parts of The Tree Of Life.

The angelic theme continues in the East Gallery, where circles on the floor and walls are filled with the images of a video installation, that plays while New Age-y music encircles you in the hallucination effect of the room.

With the rain pouring outside, and the sounds and scenes of an otherworldly place (Los Angeles itself? City of Angels?), it was a fine respite from real life, indeed.

Check it out for yourself, but don't wait until it rains again, because you've only got a month, and it's pretty gorgeous out again.

L & M Arts
660 Venice Boulevard
Now - December 10, 2011