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Recap of this past weekends Celebrate the Arts and ChalkFest

September 29, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, News, People, Photography, San Gabriel Valley

This weekend was a terrifc weekend, if you forget the blazing heat and attended the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts 52nd Annual Celebrate the Arts and first ever ChalkFest.

Celebrate the Arts incorporated several first as I outlined the other day.  What makes these events fun isn’t so much the terrific art, but the ability to see artists working on their art, demonstrating their technique.  There year there were several artists doing just that.  Glass blower Joshua Smilth wowed folks with his tecnhique.  Metal sculpturist Bill Hyatt continued working on his horse head sculpture a painstaking process of welding dot by dot to build up the face and texture of the horse.

Glass artist Joshua Smith bending glass. click to embiggen

Glass artist Joshua Smith bending glass. click to embiggen

To learn more about ChalkFest and see those artists in their creative zone you need to make the jump.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Celebrate the Arts in Monrovia’s Library Park 9/26-27

September 24, 2015 in Art, Books, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, News, Photography, San Gabriel Valley

Show to embiggen.

Show poster…click to embiggen.

This is a biggy for me.  Something that I, as a board member, have been all but consumed with the last several weeks.  Celebrate the Arts is in its 52nd year and its going to have quite a few firsts on top of the already terrific fine artists populating the park with their art.

Celebrate the Arts is held in Monrovia’s Library Park from 10AM – 6PM both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  There will be a lot of firsts at this show that we are really excited about on top of our usual host of Food Trucks, live music, extremely talented artists.  Among our firsts this event:

  • ChalkFest – a competitive street art event with Lori Escalera as our celebrity judge.
  • Children’s Chalk Experience -designed for the 12 and under set to experiment with chalk
  • Featured Artist Elizabeth Butterfield…her collage work is simply stunning
  • The first appearance by students from Mt. Sierra College (11 fine artists and 2 chalk artists)
  • The first appearance by 18 artists new to MAFA
  • Glass Blowing demonstrations
  • TIKI Bobbleheads from artist Rick Kess
  • Authors exhibition with live book signing
  • Photographer Author Stephen McCarthy will be selling his images, autographing his books including his newest “The Extra Virgin Spy Club”

To read more about this years Celebrate the Arts you need to make the jump.   Read the rest of this entry →

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626 Night Market this weekend for the close of summer

September 3, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, LA, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

For the final edition of 626 Night Market there as a few new tricks to keep it fun and fresh.  First up is Saturday Nights open Mike with the kids from ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and then there is the dancing competiton.  Full details HERE  Even if the new stuff doesn’t entice, the old standbys…incredible food, street vendors and music should keep you entertained and satiated.

Having been a few times, its easy access just a few blocks south of the 210 in Arcadia.  You can enter from the gates on Baldwin, but traffic is bad there with the mall.  The other and better option is to exit Santa Anita, head south to Hungtington Dr and turn right (west) on to Huntington and enter in the massive gates there.

Deets Friday 9/4, Saturday 9/5 and Sunday 9/6 4PM to 1AM.  Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia CA  MAP HERE

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ICME refugee from the Mad Max set?

August 22, 2015 in Art, Driving, ICME, San Gabriel Valley

click to embiggen and not miss a detail

click to embiggen and not miss a detail

I see the most amazing stuff when I meander off the beaten path. This refugee from the Mad Max set, an art car gone mad if you will, was spotted in an alley just off Myrtle/Lime in Old Town Monrovia. Too bizarre for words.

Pic by me with my phone.  Click to embiggen.

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Monrovia Art Walk Saturday 7/25 7-10PM

July 23, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, People, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping

Santiago Heredia will be among the artists doing live demonstrations at this Saturday’s Art Walk in Monrovia sponsored by the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts. Santiago works in acrylic and cranks out paintings full of character and fun live before his audience.

Also demonstrating at the Art Walk will be Elizabeth Butterfield who will show her torn paper collage techniques.  Monrovia High School Ceramics under the direction of Saul Perez will be demonstrating on the potters wheel.

All told there will be 10 (possibly more in the works still) artists on the 400 and 500 block of South Myrtle Avenue.  These artists will include photographers, painters, jewelry sculptures at the Art Walk.  Last. and not least, the Empty Bowls Monrovia project led by Meaghan McCarthy will be there selling the last of the bowls with 100% of the proceeds going to help the Foothill Unity Center feed the homeless and needy here in the SGV.

Lastly, adding to the festive atmosphere there will be live music.

Might I suggest…make a night of it.  Visit one of the many restaurants in Old Town Monrovia, or take in a movie then hit the Art Walk to round out your night.

Deets.  MAFA ART WALK, Saturday 7//25/2015, 7PM-10PM. 400/500 Block S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 MAP HERE


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Lotus Festival at Echo Park

July 12, 2015 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Seasonal, Shopping

Echo Park Lake and the lotus in bloom looking at DTLA, Click to embiggen

Echo Park Lake and the lotus in bloom looking at DTLA, Click to embiggen

Well today I ventured to Echo Park for this years Lotus Festival.  Yes, they were in bloom and they were knock me over gorgeous.  The rest of the festival, meh.  My last time there was 2007 when I was a rower with the team metblogs Dragon Boat, but I digress.

This years show had very few artisans.  There was some nifty stuff.  Lots of Day of the Dead skulls painted on stuff you wouldn’t expect.  Great food trucks…gotta give the food vendors the nod as they make this festival.  The rest, sadly was swap meet crap.  Its a common theme in outdoor events too many times of late, they let vendors in reselling cheap import crap forcing out the artisans with quality work who can’t compete at a price point.  grrrr.

The music was fun and lively.  and varied.  Something for everyone and that alone makes its worth the drip to Echo Park and fight for parking.

Today is the last day.  More details on the show in the Lotus Festival FB page.

Pic by Me, more on my Flickr album

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Call to Artists – Opportunity to share and sell your work

July 10, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping

Art Walk Post Card. Click to embiggen

Art Walk Post Card. Click to embiggen

Monrovia Association has two opportunities to show and sell your art work.  The fees are nominal and often you far exceed in sales what your display fee was.  Its a cost effective way to promote your work to potential collectors and start a following.  Covering costs is always a good thing.

ART WALK This annual event was condensed to one night of showing and selling excitement on July 25.  The artists are lined up on the 400 block of South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia.  This is the same block as the theatre and you capture that crowd as well as those from the local restaurant scene.  (Monrovia has quite the large sidewalk cafe scene going which in itself can be a reason to visit).

If interested in the Art Walk please contact the coordinator Bill Hyatt at [email protected] for all the details on this fun event.

CELEBRATE THE ARTS This year marks the 52nd year of this annual event. IT will be held the weekend of September 26-27 in Library Park in historic Old Town Monrovia. Celebrate the Arts is a Juried Fine Art event that doesn’t permit bead stringers and folk arts.  This annual event is well supported  and attended by the community and surrounding area.  There are numerous artists and community organizations that in this show each year.  Adding to the traffic this year is the first ever ChalkFest featuring several chalk street artists competing for prizes.

Celebrate the Arts Poster, click to embiggen

Celebrate the Arts Poster, click to embiggen

For more information on Celebrate the Arts contact the coordinator Christine Geltz at [email protected] for all the details and an application.

Please follow us on twitter and facebook for all the most current news and updates on events.

*disclosure, I’m on the Board of Directors of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts and serve as Jury Coordinator.


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What do with the kidlets in the SGV this summer?

June 17, 2015 in Art, Education, LA, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping


Summer Art Lessons to embiggen

Summer Art Lessons flyer…click to embiggen

Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia has just the thing to keep kids entertained and busy this summer.  Art classes.  Several to choose from and all expert taught by Lisa Barrios and her loving staff.  Real working pros sharing their talents with kids.  Does it get better than that?

From basic ceramics to Parent and Tot classes its a learning experience and freeing little minds to create.  I really love this stuff.  Most is ages 6 and up, though some are as young as 4, and others you need to be at least 8.  Hard core elementary ages that need some structure and learning activities in the summer…that are fun.

Click the flyer to embiggen and get the full deets on the classes they offer.  Call Lisa Barrios the owner of Paint n Play for the details and to get your kidlet signed up.  You won’t regret it and you’ll be a hero to your kid for doing so.

Deets: Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia 91016  626-256-4648

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A night of creating ART and a little libation to loosen you up…

May 21, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Media, People, San Gabriel Valley

Adult Art nite 5.20 This is going to be a fun event. Terrific even.  Its about creating art, some adult refreshements (booze) and hors d’oeuvres to nourish your body and loosen up the creative spirit you bottle up daily while chained to your cube.  Its about learning to express yourself in a media other than words.

The teacher this round is Elizabeth Jewell Butterfield, the featured artist at Monrovia Association of Fine Art’s annual Celebrate the Arts held in September.  Elizabeth is an amazing mixed media artist.  She takes bits of material, paper, what have you, tears in itty bitty bits and applies it to a canvas where it suddenly becomes a beautiful painting.  She will teach you do the same in the First class held on May 30

The last time this was done at the Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia it sold out fast.  The teacher made the class exceptionally fun and everyone walked away with a piece of art to hang in their cube to remind themselves they can do it.  I can’t stress enough…sign up early and don’t miss this fun event.

Deets” May 30, June 20,  and July 18.  Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 626/256-4848 to reserve a spot.

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Calling all Chalk Artists…contest with prize money

May 14, 2015 in Art, Contests, Entertainment, News, South Bay

Chalk Art to embiggen

Chalk Art Promo…click to embiggen Photo credit: V. Bugatti

Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (MAFA) is adding a Chalk Art Festival to its already established Celebrate the Arts.  The show will be held September 26 and 27 with the Chalk Art produced and judged on the 26th.  Celebrate the Arts is excited about this, its 52nd annual event in Library Park in historic Old Town Monrovia.

Prizes, yes there will be prizes that are funded by your nominal entry fee and by generous sponsors in the area.

  • $500 First Place Advantage Ford Lincoln (Just announced)
  • $250 Second Place Monrovia Merchants
  • $100 Third Place Brian Huffman Photography
  • All Prize winners will also receive an 8X10 photograph of their work by Brian Huffman Photography

If you’d like to join please write me direct [email protected] and I’ll send you an application with the full details.  Unlike some other festivals we like to think of ours as the friendlier, more fun Chalk Art Festival in the SGV.  Yes, there are some requirements.  Entry fee of $25 but that also makes you a member of MAFA. Subject matter is wide open, but because the Celebrate the Arts is a community family oriented venture so you can’t include pornographic or erotic themes and content.  You need to apply early as space is limited and spaces are assigned on a first come, first served basis.  As Celebrate the Arts is MAFA’s big fund raiser for the year we ask that you create a small piece of art on a  12″X12″ canvas to be included in our silent auction.

Disclosure…I’m a Board Member and Jury Chairman for the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts.  I donate way too much time according to my wife as I firmly believe in their mission statement: “Enhance the lives of those within our community through interaction with the arts. Increase the opportunities of our children through art education.”.  And do “like” us on Facebook.

Edit 1:57 PM our First Prize sponsor has been signed on and announced.

The Wright Stuff: Hollyhock House Is Back

February 14, 2015 in Art, Events, History, Hollywood, LA, Vintage

I’m an unapologetic fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. So even though I’ve toured his Mayan-revival masterpiece several times over my life, when I heard the city was going to celebrate the re-opening of his Hollyhock House following a two-year, $4-million dollar restoration, by throwing open wide the 94-year-old landmark’s concrete doors for a 24-hour reacquainting period — at no charge and shut up: pictures allowed inside! — I told my wife Susan that we were going to celebrate Valentine’s Day morning by getting up early and getting ourselves over to Barnsdall Park to get all up in some of L.A.’s mostly freshly polished historic starchitecture.

And like thousands of other SoCalians, we did. And it was glorious. Sure we had to park down on the street and then wait in line beginning at 7:30 a.m. for about 90 minutes, and yeah, there were those foodies behind us in said line who just seriously could not shut up about how transcendental the foie-gras was at Union in Pasadena, but once inside…? Ah yes. Now that was transcendental, and Wrightly so.

My Flickr photoset of the thumbnails below is here. Going forward, Hollyhock House will be open for self-guided tours ($7 per person; no cameras allowed inside) Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.



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Must see exhibits at CA Science Center…and lunch

December 23, 2014 in Art, Classic Eats, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, History, LA, Shopping, Vintage

Pompeii corpse cast - click to embiggen

Pompeii corpse cast – click to embiggen

I have to tell you, the Pompeii exhibit at the CA Science Center through January 11 is quite the show to take in. Amazing artifacts, jewelry and such. But what really got me was the casts of the bodies found in the city as they excavated it.

In short August 24, 79 The city of Pompeii was struck by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius.  The folks ran and hid, then were buried with ash.  Flash forward some 1600 years and archeologist figured out the ash covered corpses were hollow and proceeded to fill them with plasters capturing this folks in the final moments of their life.  Moving.  Morbid.  Incredible.  Much more telling than all the artifcats and murals.

An added bonus, and I don’t know how we got it, but since we bought our tickets for Pompeii online a nice California Science Center employee gave the lovely Mrs and I passes to see the space shuttle Endeavour.  Read the rest of this entry →

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12 Days of Giving : Monrovia Association of Fine Arts

December 19, 2014 in Art, Education, Events, Holidays, People, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Social issues

LogoThis is a group that I have devoted tons of energy and time to over the last 10 years.  Their mission statement sums it all up:
“Enhance the lives of those within our community through interaction with the arts. Increase the opportunities of our children through art education.”

Its something I completely believe in, live and breath it.  I got involved 10 years ago as a way to help promote my art, but after a few meetings I found its something that benefits the entire community in ways I never knew.

My kids were in the MUSD system and I was disappointed to learn that Art Education wasn’t part of the curriculum as a separate class at the elementary level.  Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, MAFA for short, was just getting ready to make its first donation to the schools the year I joined to help fund art educatoin at the elementary level.  Over the course of the next few years our cash donations totalled over $75.000.  But it didn’t stop there. Read the rest of this entry →

‘Tis the Season for Crowds: Krampus on Parade & Renegade Craft Fair

December 13, 2014 in Art, Crafts, Downtown, East Side, Entertainment, Events, Fashion, Holidays, LA, Seasonal, Shopping

I braved not one but TWO crowds today.  First up…  The Echo Park Holiday Parade!!!  I had high hopes for this because I’d heard a bunch of Krampus revelers were going to be there and I was not disappointed.  If you’re one of the uninitiated, “Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved… Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children and drag them off into the black forest.” (wiki)

Krampus was made popular a couple years ago by a viral video of hairy-costumed nightmares rampaging through a northern Italian mountain community and beating the ever-loving crap out of passersby.  I needed the little one to see this so she’d be on her best behavior for the next couple weeks.  But unlike Italy where it is apparently legal to beat innocent tourists, it’s frowned upon here, especially for 6 month olds.  That’s probably for the best.

There were other parade participants but I honestly can’t remember who they were after seeing the Krampus steam engine car built by Bay Area artist-engineer Kimeric Smythe.  Also several members of the Salzburg-area Alt Gnigler Krampus and Perchten Troupe joined the parade of domestic brand Krampus… Krampuses?  Krampen?  Krampai?  Whatever.  It was a hoot.

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As if seeing Krampus in Echo Park wasn’t enough, I dragged the kid downtown to Grand Park for the Renegade Craft Fair.  It’s one of my favorites.  Although I had nothing to buy this time (poor wallet…), I got to see some new friends like the ladies at Ave Dee.  I bought a fanny pack from them at the Patchwork Show in Long Beach and it’s been my saving grace on short outings with the kid.  Contrary to what movies tell you, you do not need to travel everywhere with a full diaper bag breaking your back.  Sometimes you just need your wallet, cell phone, car keys, and an emergency pacifier.  Maybe some chapstick.  Ave Dee’s fanny packs are the perfect hands-free device for busy mommas like me.  And they’re cool!  Anyone who says fanny packs are lame are probably pretty lame themselves.  And I guarantee you they’re carrying around way too much crap.

I also stopped in on good friends and former roommates extraordinare from Outlaw Soaps, Russ & Danielle Vincent.  These amazing villians started their business in our house just a couple years ago and look at them now!  Masters of saponification.  Lauded by the mighty Oprah herself, even.  I highly recommend you jump on their bandwagon, stat; they’re moving their productions from Oakland to a little parcel of land just southeast of Lake Tahoe and they’ve quit soap making until the new digs are up and running in January.  When I saw them today, they had very little stock left.  That’s what happens when your goods are being bought for wholesale by the likes of national retailers like Urban Outfitters and ThinkGeek!  I’m so proud of them, I could scream.

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Graffiti Grammar Bingo and Spelling Bee: Exhibit 1

November 23, 2014 in Announcements, Art, ICME, LA, Rants

B-I-N-G-OBecause, this image:

I hereby announce the bLA Graffiti Grammar Bingo & Bee. Once I post five of these, the first commenter gets a prize if they type BINGO!!!! and then identify the error. (Exclamation points not required.)

Obviously, this one should be “you’re,” and I also deduct points because the elephant appears to be both balancing on a ball and levitating to paint the sign. You can’t do both, Jumbo. I know these things.

I welcome submissions. Ping me at the address on my profile to send me one.