Friday, July 26, 2013

Enjoy Another Kind Of Sunrise!

Get excited, Venice. Soon there will be a wonderful new spot to enjoy your healthy cereal, fruit, coffee, juice, tea ... all the good stuff we love, in a cozy spot hosted by great locals. Another Kind Of Sunrise is coming soon!

Conceived, owned, beautified and operated by dear friends and neighbors, artist/actress Diana Garcia and musician Gregory Rogove, Another Kind Of Sunrise is exactly what Abbot Kinney needs now. Located in its own little alley just to the right of the Stronghold building, AKOS will be original. Creative. Built with love and cooperation by people that live in and love Venice.

Greg grew up LOVING cereal, and always thought it would be great to have a place that was just about cereal. The more he and his lovely lady Diana thought about it, the more it seemed like a cool thing to do. Both are busy with their arts, but when friends showed support and enthusiasm for a place like AKOS in the neighborhood, and then the perfect spot on Abbot Kinney opened up, they decided to go for it.

"Another kind of sunrise" is a Sun Ra lyric that always stuck in Greg's head, and went along with the idea that you can have (and many do) cereal at any time of day, not just for breakfast. Rad.

Since it's 2013 and it's Venice, you won't find your chain store Frosted Flakes, but you will find yummy organic Cocoa Crispies and a whole bunch of other cereal choices, with top shelf milk selections from the Mylkman, and several options for toppings (cacao nibs, coconut, fresh fruit - like kiwi growing up the walls!). As well as acai bowls, homemade granola, Moon Juice, Handsome Coffee, Distira Tea ... all healthy, delicious sustenance made locally. And enjoyed in a sunny, plant filled space, tucked in right on Abbot Kinney, but with its very own mellow sense of place.

Super talented artist Diana, and friend Brandon Boyd, have done up one whole wall with a gorgeous mural, and the floor is going to take you from the sun to the moon. There will be music, of course. There will be art classes for kids while the parents are enjoying a bite. There will be friendship, laughter, and a sense of community that we dearly need to preserve, for many sunrises to come. And there will be cereal.

Please help make Another Kind Of Sunrise a local treasure, with whatever you can contribute to Greg and Diana's Kickstarter fund to get it all up and carrying on. The incentives are treasures themselves, from AKOS credit to Greg's gorgeous music to beautiful artwork by Diana to a dope cereal party at your own place! Click HERE to participate and join the fun!

Another Kind Of Sunrise plans to open just in time to be added to your fall routine, in late August. I will look forward to seeing you there!

Twitter/Instagram @AKOSunrise

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Lit Show With Suzy Williams

Suzy Williams and her excellent band ("The Cracked Binding Quintette") brought back the ever-popular Lit Show to Beyond Baroque, and a blast was had by all. This unique - and educational - show is great because it's all songs by famous authors that you may not have known also dabbled in songwriting. Writers like Dorothy Parker and Langston Hughes. John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Even "Willie The Shake," as Suzy calls Shakespeare.

Gerry Fialka introduced his darling wife Suzy, dressed to the nines in an evening gown and platinum blonde wig to open the show. She greeted the packed house with "Hello, Gentle Readers!" and then we all sang along to the show's theme, "The Liiiiiiiiiiit Show." Then we were off and transported to the future (via Ray Bradbury), the Dustbowl (via Steinbeck), Ireland (James Joyce) and even the Monte Carlo Moon (courtesy of Fitzgerald).

As great as all of the songs are, so are Williams' asides ... "John Thomas, who took a vow of poetry, I mean poverty, (shrug) ... Same thing." Draping herself across Brad Kay's piano, sultry Suzy said, "I'm Lucy and you're Shroeder, Boss." Or in acting out Tom Joad's speech with actor Sam Clay, Williams said, "Steinbeck is my MAN. He's all about spirituality and socialism, my two favorite things!" I love Suzy Williams. Especially because she dedicated that number to myself and Greta Cobar, and we were delighted.

I think my favorite line of the evening was when Suzy sang about Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his dog, "He doesn't hate the Police, he just has no use for them." Yep.

Singing Fitzgerald's "Fie! Fie! Fifi!", Williams began by saying, "This is 17 year old Fitz, but he's already bitter, partying and loving the Riviera." When we sang along to Tim Finnegan's Wake, a real rouser, Williams said, "You pretty much wanna brawl with someone when you sing that song." You kinda do, and we're peaceniks. Oh, the power of music!

It is powerful, indeed. From brawling to tearing up in no time flat, like I did when Williams sang the beautiful "A Song Of Love" by Lewis Carroll. I admire Suzy so much, because she is a true performer, who throws every inch of her tiny frame into every word and note. You FEEL the songs.

The crowd stood and cheered for Suzy and her talented gentlemen (Brad Kay, Danny Moynahan, Marcus Gerakos, Peter Marshall and Don Allen), and ran home to mark calenders for next year's Lit Show. Thank yous to all involved in this year's smash ... What a fantastic night in Venice!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Life Rolls On At The Venice Skatepark

Saturday was a beautiful day to put the spotlight on a beautiful cause, as Life Rolls On took over the Venice Skatepark.

Life Rolls On was founded by Jesse Billauer, after he broke his neck surfing in 1996, and became a quadriplegic. Determined to surf again, Billauer and his friends banded together to make that happen. He joined forces with the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation to create Life Rolls On, helping others afflicted with disabilities to make their own dreams of fun and active lives a reality.

Kids and adults missing limbs, stuck in wheelchairs or otherwise physically impaired, filled the Venice Skatepark with laughter, hoots and hollers when someone stuck a trick, and total inspiration.

Seeing these young people - and all the wonderful volunteers helping them - defy their conditions and just GO for it made it all but impossible to ever complain or make excuses not to try something new and possibly scary. Especially if you have all your abilities intact.

Tourists and locals alike surrounded the railings of the Skatepark, yelling their encouragement. Looking around at all the positivity and possibility, it gave you the feeling that together, humanity can make just about anything happen.

So awesome.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The French Market Celebrates 20 Years and Bastille Day!

I am so grateful for The French Market Cafe. It is my little spot to go and feel real community, real neighbors, and real good coffee every day in Venice. They are celebrating 20 years of business this year, not an easy feat, especially these days. So it was a party for Bastille Day yesterday ... a perfectly glorious day outside, made more so by the festive atmosphere of the Musette music and special bbq menu (Merguez sausage! Croque Monsieur!) for the occasion.

The outdoor patio was festooned with red, white and blue for the French holiday, and the loyal patrons were in the mood to party in the daytime. Always fun.

Owner Agnes Martinez was radiant in her patriotic outfit, and our gracious hostess accepted kisses and congratulations for all of her hard work over the years making "The French" a place that is absolutely beloved by her locals.

Thank you to Agnes, Carole, Eddie, Jenny and everyone who makes The French Market Cafe a joy to share your day with! Here's to many, many more years of French food and fun ... J'adore!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

LA Arts Online Picnics at The Bowl!

There are so many wonderfully talented people in the Arts community of Los Angeles, and one of the best people at bringing them all together is Venice's own Paige Petrone. She is the Founder and Publisher of LA Arts, a website dedicated to whole range of Arts within Los Angeles, from food to theater and everything in between.

A highlight of the year for many is the Summer picnic at the Hollywood Bowl that Paige used to put on every year when she was at our dearly departed Venice Magazine, and now continues to host with LA Arts Online.

The big fun picnic was last night at the bucolic green park next to the Bowl. There were booths from a bunch of our favorite restaurants, like Pink's and Chaya and Ca Del Sol, drinks from Angel City Brewery and Barefoot Wines, and a whole area dedicated just to desserts. Stoked.

There are some people that I only see at this picnic each year, so it's something I try to never miss. Old friends caught up and new ones were made, as we all enjoyed the sunset turning to stars while we ate, drank and laughed.

The best part is always the concert ticket included with the picnic, and last night's presentation was Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony, played with beauty and grandeur by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra/LA Philharmonic. It was simply Heavenly to sit and listen to the majesty of the music beneath the majesty of the summer night sky. Pure contentment.

LA Arts Online puts on fun events all year long, while keeping you up on what's great to do around town every month. Check it out and you'll know what's good all the time. Thank you to Paige and her hard working and gracious team that deliver so much fun and bring so many fantastic people together every single time. Love and respect!

Monday, July 8, 2013

We All Live Near A Yellow Submarine

I was out for a stroll the other night and came across this Yellow Submarine cruising around the Windward Circle...

I want a ride, just to see what happens.

File this under "I Love You, Venice."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July! Declare Independence!

Happy 4th of July, my fellow Americans! With all that's going on in the World, from Egypt to Turkey to right here in the good ol' USA, the fight for liberty and independence is a daily struggle that should never be taken lightly or for granted. Seriously.

So amid all the sun and fun and food and drink and music and fireworks today, take a minute to recognize the absolute gift, right and MUST that it is for us all to DECLARE INDEPENDENCE!

I was recently supremely lucky enough to see Bjork perform that very song at the Hollywood Bowl, so here that is for you to rock out to in solidarity:

FREEDOM! LIBERTY! JUSTICE! For ALL! Declare it. Celebrate it. Today and every day.

PS - Yes, I want very much to be in Bjork's girl choir.