Patti Smith 2fer in Santa Monica

pattiPatti Smith sprang forth in that rush of NYC bands in the mid-’70s that included the Ramones, Talking Heads, Television and Blondie. All regular performers at CBGB in Manhattan’s Bowery, they were the cultural descendants of the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, the MC5 and Warhol, living in a broken city with a thriving underground art scene that is still relevant today. (See how long you can go while sifting through current culture without coming upon a direct reference to Andy. Go ahead, try it.)

And Lucky You has two opportunities one opportunity, in what remains of summer, to bask in the presence of what remains of that era’s royalty, namely one Ms. Smith, in Santa Monica, starting this weekend. The first one costs $30; the second is free.

On Saturday, August 1st, Santa Monica Museum of Art will be the setting for An Evening with Patti Smith, featuring an improvisational performance by PS and clips from Steve Sebring’s 2008 documentary, Patti Smith: Dream of Life. (7 PM; $30, Sold out, but the doc is now on DVD.)

Then, on Thursday, September 3rd, Patti Smith and her Band will perform at the closing night of the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Dance Series, a two-month program of free concerts that began in early July. (7 PM; free)

Maybe some of you were lucky enough to be at her season closer show at the pier  two years ago (I was) and need another shot (I do.)

Where Do You Get Inked?

Travis' blank canvas
Travis' blank canvas
Julia's naked wrist
Julia's naked wrist

Hello you fine Metblog readers–Julia and I are planning an outing involving the other kind of guns. That is, we’re gonna get new tattoos, but the thing is we’re not hip enough to have our own “guy” or even a tattoo parlor to which we are attached. We talked over a few possibilities and then it occurred to us that we have the world’s greatest resource right here in you, the Metbloggerazzi. So tell us, where  should we go get inked? Please leave suggestions in the comments and we will report back after we are decorated.

Thank you in advance!

A Different Kind Of Blues Festival


Ready for a whale of a time? My Candyblogging good friend and former Metblogs contributor Cybele just reminded me that an organization near and dear to her seafaring heart, the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Cetacean Society (ACS-LA), is hosting its Annual Blue Whale Trip, which will be setting sail this Saturday from Santa Barbara.

The ACS-LA is calling this “the best summer whale-watching season in memory.”

From its latest report: “The krill showed up early and in vast quantities. The humpback whales put on a great show throughout the spring and neglected to leave like they often do when the blue whales showed up. The blue whales also arrived early and have stayed in the same general area. And for the last month, the krill has been on the surface almost every day. That means surface lunge feeding blue and humpback whales. Every day seems to be better than the day before.”

This is an all-day excursion in the Santa Barbara Channel aboard the 88-foot catamaran Condor Express that weighs anchor at 8 a.m. and returns to port at approximately  4 p.m., and the ACS-LA has announced its extending the early bird $99 discount fare right up to the date of the trip. A continental breakfast is included in the price and there will be a raffle. More info here.

Photo is one of Cybele’s from her Flickr photoset of the 2007 trip.

Is This Actually “Safer”?

Over on Yo! Venice they are talking about the recent enforcement of the one-way-ness of Speedway, especially in regards to cyclists. In case you don’t know Speedway is the very last road that runs along the coast through Venice and it’s one way on it’s entire length, though which direction alternates every few blocks. Actually calling it a road is giving it a lot of credit, as it’s actually much more like an alley as it’s populated mostly with the backs of houses with address on other nearby streets. The next street over is Pacific which is very narrow and regularly packed with traffic, especially on the weekend.

For people who live in Venice, Speedway is kind of a secret artery used when moving around in the neighborhood to avoid the mess that is Pacific. Given the crowds it makes sense that the police are keeping an eye on Speedway as it’s very narrow and one car going the wrong way could cause a major traffic mess. The thing Yo! Venice is pointing out, and that Tara and I ran into ourselves this weekend is that there have recently been police stationed on Venice who seem to be spending all their time stopping cyclists. The officer who stopped us this weekend actually said “look folks, I know this is petty but…” and it is, so the question is why are spending resources on it? Continue reading Is This Actually “Safer”?

Date for campaign to repeal Prop 8 still up in the air

As deadlines for filing, gathering signatures and fund raising loom, gay rights groups are still debating the timing of a ballot initiative to overturn anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8, which passed last November with 52% of the vote.

The two dates in question are the November elections in 2010 and 2012. Those pushing for holding off until 2012 cite flat poll numbers favoring same-sex marriage since last year’s election, linking them to the difficulties it would create for raising the enormous amount of money necessary to undertake another ballot initiative drive. The Prop 8 campaign cost more than $80 million, with those opposing it spending $43 million.

Two weeks I posted about three gay rights groups in California that joined together, with the endorsement of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in DC, to release a statement calling a 2010 initiative “rushed and risky.” Called “Prepare to Prevail,” its approach calls for a lengthy grass roots movement that engages minority communities that overall supported Prop 8; and waiting for statewide poll numbers to show a 60% approval rating for same-sex marriage before an initiative appears on the ballot. Continue reading Date for campaign to repeal Prop 8 still up in the air

Comic Con Gets Fat

IMG_0364Yeah, it’s true.  Comic Con has grown up.  While Hollywood has definitely taken over, this past week it was a ridiculous mob scene… there is still a quaintness about the whole thing.  I have lots of friends who shake their heads and tsk-tsk over the commercialization of the whole industry… but really, isn’t that just how things evolve?  What was underground and ‘cool’ becomes mainstream…. and finally passe’.

Comic Con is right on that cusp.  While it once was a gathering for the hard core comic industry and their fans, it has grown into a machine that is commercial, feeds a monstrous Hollywood marketing machine, and yet is filled with fans who are thrilled to dress up and march around portraying their favorite character.

I have to say, I have never seen so many adults so gleefully embody their beloved characters in public.  It’s as if this is a venue where it’s finally okay to get down with your inner star vixen or the warrior you really are.  Not the obese middle class guy the world sees every day.  I kind of liked that no matter what shape a person was in (and the chubs definitely ruled!) there was no embarrassment about tooling around in skimpy costumes.  The Evil Cheerleaders were the exception, rather than the rule.

If nothing else, it is a fascinating slice of American culture.  The fact that it even exists is a tribute to the creativity we humans embody and put out into the world.  But yes, it has become a parody of itself.  And that’s okay by me.

When Cooking Was Cookery, Not Celebrity

If you’ll kindly recall, I love Julia Child.  With Julie & Julia coming out next week, Julia is being thrust back into our hearts and minds – as if she ever left – and hopefully, this fond remembrance means someone somewhere will be kind enough to re-air The French Chef or any other of Julia’s shows.  Watching old episodes of The French Chef, even in black and white, serves as an excellent reminder that one learns to cook by understanding the differences between types of whole chicken, why you need this particular pan for that particular saute, and so on and so on — as opposed to learning by staring at Giada’s pelvis-level plate, gazing slack jawed as she baits some pasta with her fork, and plopping it into her waiting lips.  

For those in the general vicinity of Beverly Hills, the Paley Center has answered my hopes, even if it’s not quite the marathon I was hoping.  “Child’s Play in the Kitchen: The Remarkable Career of Julia Child” is a short (45-minute) presentation of selected highlights of Julia’s career, including famous clips from The French Chef and interviews.  Showtime of this retrospective is 12:15 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday until August 17.  For those in need of more immediate satisfaction, Vanity Fair’s August 2009 issue has an excellent summary of Julia’s life, and there always is this clip from The French Chef in which one learns how to make a 2-3 egg omelet (any more eggs, and you’ve got a leathery omelet, and no one wants that).  The best part is when she whisks together the eggs with chopsticks (!!) as part of the process to create “lightly coagulated eggs with a little cloak around, holding them together.”  There is a little bit of Julia in my mom after all.


“Lost” in Los Angeles: “Lost University” being taught by local professors

lostuniversityInstead of taking the typical Alternate Reality Game approach between seasons, the producers behind ABC TV’s “Lost” are readying the launch of a series of online classes and lectures with lessons on the source material behind the myth heavy series.

Viewers who enroll in “Lost University” will be able to study languages, such as Korean, Latin, and Iraqi Arabic, Hieroglyphics, Time Travel, and Jungle Survival, among other topics that fans will immediately see the importance of, as well as philosophy and psychology classes that will use show references as analogies.

Los Angeles “Lost” fans should be especially proud that most of these classes are taught by actual professors and teachers from USC and UCLA, including fellow blogger Clifford Johnson (, a USC physics professor who will be presenting a course on time travel along with Sean Carrol of the California Institute of Technology and Nick Warner, another Trojan. Continue reading “Lost” in Los Angeles: “Lost University” being taught by local professors

Is AT&T Blocking 4chan in SoCal?

1248644639270sThis is kind of a developing story, but according to a thread on Reddit, AT&T is currently blocking parts of 4chan. As you should know 4chan has been described as the very best and the very worst of the internet all rolled into one (be careful clicking links to the site as some parts of it are NSFW) though it’s pretty much accepted that they created LOLcats as well as many other noteworthy memes. 4chan is not good, or bad, it just is. So far it can confirmed that:

  • Calls to are being blocked at the ISP level for AT&T customers.
  • Other subdomains on 4chan seem unaffected.
  • AT&T has confirmed they are blocking this to customers who have called their help desk.
  • So far this seems limited to Southern California though some in other areas are complaining of the block as well.

I’m a Time Warner customer so I can’t check this myself, and while I have AT&T for mobile service I think that is different than their home internet service. I just asked on twitter and a few LA folks with AT&T confirmed the site wouldn’t load for them. The two obvious questions now are why does AT&T think they can censor parts of the web, and how quickly will 4chan retaliate?

Update 11:37PM: Many people who were reporting that they were blocked can now access the site, possibly meaning the block has been removed as stealthfully as it was installed?

Final update: Block has been removed.

Today’s Snapshot: The Domain Of The Green Lynx

Aaaaall riiiiight, go ahead: Color me obsessed with the sunflower patch I planted  in the backyard as part of the Great Sunflower Project. But the place is a veritable eco-magnet, drawing a wide array of birds, mammals and insects, and it seems rarely does a visit not yield some new creature taking up residence in one of the 17 blooms. This morning’s find was this entirely patient green lynx spider posing in the following photo I’m particularly proud of:

greenlynx(click pic to go big if you’re not a total arachnophobe)

Where was this taken? It was taken here.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
Inter Here
Dueling Coyotes

Restoration Era

Anger at the graves

Dr. Kenneth Anger

Hollywood’s fabulous Cinespia film series has received notice here at Metblogs a number of times in the past.  I finally made it to my first screening there, which happened as well to be my first viewing of films of Los Angeles’ own Kenneth Anger. Delightfully for us movie goers, Anger’s short films were introduced by Dr. Anger himself (and his young friend, Lucifer, sung a song as well).

On Cinespia, I regret that I only got around to making it and posting this near the end of this year’s season.  If you have not been there, by all means make an effort to see one of the last few screenings.  The social atmosphere of the only-slightly macabre cemetery lawn is an absolute delight, especially if you bring a pleasant friend and a picnic basket to the screening.  This event feels distinctively Los Angeles, in the best of ways.

Anger is an interesting film maker, from my brief experience.  Of course, this fascination might be in my genes, since my non-LA father apparently has a dozen different cuts of the short “Lucifer Rising.” I am just trying to catch up with that generation (anger being closer to the generation past him).  Anger eschews such common devices as dialog, plot, narrative, and really even much use of fades, pans, and other cinematic gestures towards the illusion of the camera’s eye.  Instead we get plain montage, with lingering repetitions of leather men, motorcycles, Hitler, Lucifer, flowers, bunnies, scenic skies… that sort of thing.  All set to either acid rock, bubblegum pop, or some other genre of music.  It’s symbolist film, without Warhol’s lingering attachment to hints of storytelling.  While it might not sound such from my description, there is something shockingly compelling in these compositions.  Find them by all means.

Anderson Cooper 420

acpot3Anderson Cooper ventured into a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles recently and brought along a camera crew to capture him ogling the goods for sale. It was one segment of a circumspect, comprehensive (for MSM, anyway) report about the movement to legalize the weed that I watched last night on his CNN news program, Anderson Cooper 360. By turns balanced and illuminating, it examined perceived pros and cons to consider in the march to legalization.

Cooper was drolly amusing as he perused the LA pot store, pausing to consider the different pot-laced goodies– brownies, cakes, sodas, biscotti, gelato (!) and of course, the dried weed itself. At one point, he paused to open a jar and took a whiff. “Smells like marijuana,” he said dryly, his blue eyes twinkling. Continue reading Anderson Cooper 420

Defending Los Angeles

planet_hollywoodOur glorious blog leader, Lucinda Michelle, recently provided readers here with an amusing tongue-in-cheek List of Things Not To Complain About Ever Again. Apart from the particular items on her list, the aggregation reminded me of the LA-specific novelty of this whole concept of “haters.” I think there is something culturally interesting in the concept.

In my own experience, I had never actually heard of this category of person until shortly before arriving in our fair city, and do not think I have encountered anyone who quite occupies the categories while here. But boy is there ever lots of talk about necessary defenses against such disparagers. Somehow I suspect a connection to the LA Weltanschauung of circularity and self-reference. Y’know, that Baudrillardian moment we all feel on LA streets and in its cafes. Continue reading Defending Los Angeles

Old Pasadena Film Festival – Closing Tonight

"Outdoor Movie" used under Creative Commons.
"Outdoor Movie" used under Creative Commons.

Even with all the geeks out of town for Comic-Con this weekend, there’s still a lot going on right here in L.A. Haven’t decided what to do with your Saturday night yet? Let me add to the conundrum.

This is the final night of the Old Pasadena Film Festival. It’s going to be a beautiful evening, so go out and enjoy a free movie under the stars.

There are two movies scheduled to close the festival, so you’ll have to make a choice. Tonight it’s “West Side Story” in the One Colorado courtyard or “Twilight” on the roof of the Schoolhouse parking garage. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have a great time. There’s something magical about seeing a movie outdoors on a warm summer evening.

Both screenings are free, and chairs will be provided.

West Side Story
One Colorado Courtyard, 41 Hugus Alley, Pasadena

Rooftop of Schoolhouse Parking Garage, 33 E. Green Street, Pasadena