Friday, January 30, 2015

The Art Of The Sunset

2015 has already been about the most spectacular year on record for sunsets. The SUNSETS we've seen! They've been so beautiful your heart could just about burst. But last night's might just have topped them all. (So far.)

The social media feeds immediately filled up with Los Angelenos all sharing in the same nature situation. One photo was more beautiful than the next. But nothing compared to the real thing. I saw photos from the art show at the Barker Hangar last night, and every person there said the sky was the best work they saw. Truth. And free for all to enjoy.

I just happened to go outside of the building where I'm currently working to take a call. I nearly dropped the phone when I saw the absolute majesty unfolding above me in the Western sky. I ran inside and made all my colleagues stop what they were doing and follow me to the park outside.

Even the most jaded and cynical among them (and in the entertainment biz, they are legion) stood there, jaws on the ground. No words were needed, it was enough to stand there and soak it all in.

When we did make noise, it was mostly to gasp, but then I had to say how lucky I felt just to feel this glow of the unreal and truly Heavenly light on me. My friend said, "I know! Look at our faces!" It was a real and beautiful moment of people (workaholics) stopping everything to collectively enjoy a rare (not really this year, but still!) moment of natural beauty.

When I lived in Hawai'i, every evening people would stop and gather for "Sunset Hour" instead of Happy Hour. It's a lovely custom, bringing people together to share the ridiculous splendor of the setting sun. No matter what's going on with you, you feel better when you see it. And you can't help but feel grateful, and then you're back on top of your game!

After the buzz of seeing last night's sunset, I aborted my plans to be out and about, and instead, went within. I went to the greatest restorative yoga class at Studio Surya (that I don't even want to tell you about so it doesn't get all packed, but here you go), basically a nap class, where you held stretch positions forever until you zenned out and nearly slept. That was easy to get into, because the class is held in the dark, all candle-lit and trance inducing music vibes. And aromatherapy. And blankets and eye pillows. And TOTAL zone out relaxation.

At class's end, the soothing instructor, Amy, told everyone to inhale what you want to carry inside you. Then exhale what you want to put out into the world.

For each breath, I chose that evening's sunset.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I noticed this great shirt by street artist Wrdsmth at the In Heroes We Trust party last week.

It's great because it's so true, and because it's so easy to do.

In a time when social media is making us all more anti-social. Seriously, People. Take a look around you at a show or restaurant or anywhere really, and look at all the droids smiling at their phones instead of the people around them. It's turning into Wall-E around here.

When you're pouring your heart out to someone and realize they haven't heard a word because they're so caught up in their phone, you realize just how detached from real life and real people we're all becoming. When you're at the show of a lifetime and you look around and see that almost everyone there is watching it through their screens instead of soaking up the feeling of rock and roll and freedom and gathering with like-minded cool people ... it's just sad.

I realize it's all here to stay - and most likely get worse - but just try to tear your eyes away from the screen a few times a day, and genuinely look into someone else's. Let's all try our best to stay human.


Friday, January 23, 2015

A Ghost Bike Memorial

Last Thanksgiving, a woman with the great name Sunshine Baker was killed by a motorist while riding her bike on Speedway.

This morning I noticed the bike chained up where this accident happened, painted white as a memorial to Baker's memory.

I'm told she was riding the wrong way on Speedway, which I do all the time. I'm not proud of it, it's just true, and we all do it. I was in a car the other day with a friend who said they couldn't stand bikers taking up the road. I've been biking and had friends say they can't stand drivers taking up the road. I've been with those same people when they say the opposite thing.

The truth is we need to share the roads. Roads aren't wide enough, we know. There aren't enough wide enough bike lanes, we know. Since that's currently the case, the only reasonable thing to do is be vigilant and patient with each other, so people don't die. Especially on streets no one should be going fast enough to kill someone on.

If you ride your bike in Venice, you've most likely had your own share of close calls. If you've driven your car in Venice - same story. So look out for each other. Bikes deserve to be ridden, by happy-named, happy-riding people. Not painted white and locked up forever.

Happy Weekend - and be careful out there, for Heaven's sake! And Sunshine's.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Big Shots In Venice - A Celebration Of Guy Webster

There was another fun party at In Heroes We Trust last night, this time to celebrate the work of renowned rock photographer, Guy Webster. The man who has recorded so many of the legends and icons of the rock and film worlds was there to sign his new book, Big Shots: Rock Legends And Hollywood Icons, and to be congratulated on his decades of capturing that rich history.

It was a packed house, with revelers spilling out on to the sidewalk, clinking a beer, and toasting our still relatively new year.

Gracious hostess, Neely Shearer, has added a whole lot of good stuff since I'd last visited IHWT, so there was plenty to look at while you waited to have your gorgeous book signed by Mr. Webster.

It was great to see friends old and new, and you could feel a kind of unanimous and palpable excitement at all there is in store for everyone this year. Lots of good stories, lots of great events upcoming, lots of laughs, and lots of style.

As more and more people crammed in the store, things got a bit more loose. At one point, I turned around to see Webster donning a pair of underwear - on his head - to the amusement of those standing around him. I didn't catch that story, but it looked like a good one. I was happy to find out that Webster is a Venice local, so I'll look forward to finding out more about him and his stories soon.

Also known as an avid motorcycle enthusiast, it was perfect that a big posse of Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club members rolled up in a storm of noise, and parked out front to come inside and pay their respects to a fellow biker rock and roller. It was great.

I turned around as I left to head to the next thing, and had to smile at the scene outside In Heroes We Trust ... Street art, motorcycles, hula hoops, folks waving down friends passing by to join in ... and thought how lucky we all are here. Where we all feel like Big Shots, just to be here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Littles Of Venice

I was kicking a pinecone down the sidewalk the other day, when it rolled up against this little piece of street art.

I have absolutely no love for rats, so I'm surprised that I like this, but I think my affection is more about scale. It's all tiny and cute, and someone took the time to make a little piece of art just for fun.

The little surprises add up to make a happy life ... if you're paying attention.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Great Thinkers Of Venice/Luminaries Of Pantheism

Update! This mural by Levi Ponce is almost done and it's called "Luminaries Of Pantheism" ......

On my way to the beach this long and pristine weekend, I noticed there is a new mural going up on the corner of South Venice and Speedway.

It's big and impressive and awesome. The artists weren't there when I was to ask them about it all, but it's a most welcome new and colorful addition to the neighborhood, for sure.

I was happy to see my man, Einstein, right up at the top ... and when I think of Einstein, I always think of his quote, "Remember your humanity and forget the rest." Bottom line. And now we have a giant new daily reminder. Excellent.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The 2015 Very Fun LA Art Show

It seemed as though half of Venice made the trip downtown for the opening night party of the L.A. Art Show. Everywhere we went, we'd bump into another Venetian (many, like us, guests of Paige Petrone and the fine folks at L.A. Arts Online), making me so happy that we're all still so much about art.

The L.A. Art Show is massive. I don't know how long it would take to see it all, but most likely more than a weekend, never mind a night (when you're all also partying and schmoozing). This thing is about the art. The ART! Everywhere art. So much, so many kinds, it would all be a bit overwhelming if it wasn't so just plain awesome.

We were talking about how even if price was no object, it would be hard to pick one thing, with all the variety and sheer volume of works. Paintings, photos, sculptures, dresses, wooden planes ... you name it, it can be found here.

From crazy stuff that you have no idea who the purchaser could possibly be (but having said that, there is something for everyone, and someone for everything) ...

... to the old classics that everyone knows ...

... to things that seemed to be created just for this event, like the very long-lined Circus Tent peep show, the L.A. Art Show has it.

When we first arrived, I asked a friend who'd been there a while what was a do not miss, as there's so much to see. She said "Dali and Warhol". I assumed she meant works by them, but nope. She meant practically the real deal.

It wasn't hard to find them, as there was a big crowd around these fellows the entire party. So realistic, it was both beyond impressive, and kinda creepy. It was so packed I never even found out who the artist was ... and can't seem to find online. But, good job, Artist!

There were plenty of works featuring other world icons, like Abe Lincoln ...

Or Bob.

A great thing about the L.A. Art Show is that it features galleries from all over the world, not just L.A., so you're really getting a good sampling of what's going on in the art world in all corners of the planet (that can afford to get and be there, that is). A true highlight for me each year is seeing what's going on at our friend Noah Antieau's Red Truck Gallery ("Pretty, pretty art works") in New Orleans. A wonderful surprise this year was to find out that Antieau had curated a whole section of the show called Littletopia. It's NO surprise that it was the very best part of the whole thing.

I was happy to see Antieau again, and extra-happy to see all the great things coming out of his gallery.

His Mother, Chris Roberts-Antieau is the real star of the booth to me.

I love everything she does, from her wonderful quilts and folk art pieces ...

... to the hilarious murder scene snow globes (Yes, murder scene snow globes)...

... to one of the most beautiful dresses I've ever seen. It might be my favorite piece of the whole show, if I'm honest.

Red Truck is also the home gallery to Jason D'Aquino, who is a tattoo artist, that also does the most exquisite works - on the inside of matchbooks. Tiny. Talented!

There is SO much talent, everywhere, that it's almost daunting. Like standing in front of the oil on steel piece by Young-Wook Han, that was just incredible and left you standing there going, "How in the world did they do that?! How are they human?!"

There are also plenty of works that made you say, "HOW much for that thing?!" and "My kid could totally do that." (To which John Waters famously answered, "Then they should.")

I found a lot of beautiful, feminine pieces this year too. In addition to Roberts-Antieau's splendid one, there seemed to be a trend of works on dresses, or works that reminded you of dresses ...

... Things that you wished were dresses ...

... And gorgeous friends in gorgeous dresses too.

There were a lot of characters walking around all evening, some art installations themselves. Wild hair-dos, masks, crazy hats, sequins, and even a guy walking an armadillo (Fake. I think.)

The opening party is pretty scenester, so you get folks like James Franco, Travis Barker and Amy Adams walking around, as well as the art world luminaries they were here to see, like David LaChappelle.

There was work by people I didn't even know were visual artists, like Bernie Taupin.

There was work that was overtly political, and for the People ...

... As well as things that were just beautiful to look at.

There were pieces to Save The Elephants ...

... And pieces to save the Children.

Most of all, there was a whole giant convention center of people coming together to celebrate Art. You can read all the lofty essays describing the artist's vision and intent, and those are great, but the bottom line is you like what you like, and how it makes you feel, or remember, or love.

 It's expression. It's what moves you. It's a racket. It's a business. It's a blast. It makes you think. It makes you smile. It provokes emotion and questions. It's Art.

And it will be there all weekend, as well as Photo LA (featuring the work of Paul Gronner in Booth #526!), next door at the LA Mart.

Art. ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pixie Ink Tattoos - Created In Venice

I always get excited when my friend Ali Jenkins tells me about her new endeavors, because they're always real cool. Like the time she had a vintage store (Wayward Debutante) in a hippie bus on Lincoln Boulevard. Or the time she had her own p.r. company. Or styling gorgeous people gorgeously for photo shoots or special events. Or launching a brand new temporary tattoo company called Pixie Ink, conceived of and created in Venice.

Jenkins and her brother, Joe, were hanging out after he joined her on the West coast last year, brainstorming about ideas for a company together. Both siblings are very creative, and wanted to do something that would pass that creativity along.

Something that would allow people to be their own designers, and express themselves in their own - and fun - way. With flash tattoos flying off the shelves, and their own backgrounds to draw inspiration from, the Jenkins family created Pixie Ink Tattoos.

There are four collections in their debut line, each a tribute to influences and loves of Ali and Joe's lives. There's the "Shooter" collection (named for my old pal Shooter Jennings!), with symbols of the West, a more bohemian, Americana rock group of tattoos, like guns, cacti, and Johnny Cash.

Then there's the "Notorious" group, born out of Joe's (DJ "Dust Juice Joey") love of hip hop and rap, featuring things like chains, boom boxes, gold teardrops, 40's and "Thug Life" knuckle tats.

I said, "Oh, like when Run DMC met Aerosmith!" They were more thinking Gucci Mane when coming up with this batch, and that's just what you get. Plus, as Pixie Ink says, "Temporary Tattoos - Permanent Cool". Word.

The "Vicious" collection contains all things punk or glam rock. Named for Sid, and his Nancy, this pack is all about safety pins, guitars, David Bowie, and general anarchy. My favorite is the chains and padlock that allow you to make a great version of the necklace Chanel hasn't been able to keep in stock. Super extra cute.

"Wonderland" is for the whimsical people of all ages, but this is also the one geared toward kids. Sparkling mushrooms, sprinkled doughnuts, flamingos, and friendship bracelets all give the kids (or you) that cool edge that they can't get for real until they roll past 18. I brought packs of the Pixie Ink to the tweens in my life back in Minnesota, and they are all over it.

But it's not at all just for kids. I wore a steer skull tattoo next to my cleavage for New Year's Eve, and that was pretty much all any of the ladies at the party wanted to talk about, after their resolutions. A big hit.

When coming up with ideas for a company, Ali and Joe wanted it to have to do with high fashion and street style. Both have their own great personal style. They wanted to capitalize on that, and love what they were going to do. Fashion changes so quickly, and often high fashion is prohibitively expensive, so why not make something affordable for the masses, that is temporary (like changing fashion trends), travel-friendly (so you can pack narrow sheets in a bag and not a whole jewelry box when you travel!) and allows people to be creative and expressive? Bam - temporary tattoos!

The Jenkins brother-sister act did years of research, considering their lives have been all about music and fashion, and came up with a great product that celebrates the various scenes they've been involved in. It's a great collaboration between them, but also between them and the scenes. They're in talks to do band merch tattoos, VIP pass tattoos, tattoos included in CDs, tattoos with fashion labels, tattoos for fashion and video shoots ... all that good stuff that goes on in music and fashion.

The packets are $25, and come with four sheets of different tattoos that you can cut out and put together in your own style. They feature black, silver, gold and turquoise metallics, and are so eye-catching, I can't tell you how many times I was stopped and complimented when wearing them. Ok, I can. A lot.

Pixie Ink is named for Ali's Pomeranian, Pixie, who is also the C.E.O. of the company. The tattoos are available on their website - -  and at Principessa in Venice, with more retail outlets coming soon. These are hot off the presses, so you'll be among the first to sport this ink, which I can tell you are already out in front of the pack with their much cooler, much more real street fashion collection than any others on the market.

Pixie Ink ... Permanently cool.

*Photos by Alexa Miller Gallo

Instagram: @Pixieinktattoos