Hiking Fish Canyon

2014dec05-9524The water flowing after the first rains of the season in Fish Canyon.Fish Canyon is open, and the waterfalls are flowing.
I want to write that first line in all BOLD CAPS.
Because that hasn’t been said in 30 years.

Fish Canyon, in the San Gabriel Mountains above Azusa and Duarte, used to be humming with people. Cabins were scattered along the trail and hikers posed next to the stunning triple waterfalls.

But the cabins were destroyed in one of the many fires that flash along the mountains, and then the mining company who owns the canyon, closed the entrance to the public.

But in a deal with the city of Duarte, in June of 2014 the Vulcan Materials Company opened access to the valley for the first time since it was closed in the mid-1980’s. I went on this hike in June when it first opened, and it was hot and dry, the only water standing lonely in sad dirty little pools. At the peak of the hike, where the waterfall should be, was just a towering cliff face standing bleak and empty of water in the summer sun.
But now the rains have come and the valley has come alive with the sounds and sights of tumbling, churning, splashing and falling water.

The trail up on the hillside of Fish Canyon in June of 2014.Remnants of the first rains of the season in Fish Canyon.In the summer, when everything was hot and dry, this canyon did not feel so special, but now with the falling water, it’s easy to see why it was once a haven.

It is a wonderful little river valley, with standing oaks, sticky cactus, a gurgling stream and the occasional birdcall.

But the real treat is the waterfall. It falls in three sections…. Continue reading “Hiking Fish Canyon”

Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to Trifle with. Win Tix!

Do you remember the movie Airplane?

Remember the two gentlemen who spoke “Jive?” Remember the subtitles at the bottom that translated what they were saying? Remember whenever one of them would say a certain word, the subtitle always translated it as “Golly?”

Such fun.

It’s in this spirit I would like to remind you, one and all, that The Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin’ to Trifle With!

(And if you haven’t seen Airplane, get your golly together and watch the trifling thing.)

In Any Case, I’m giving away Tickets to see The Wu on Saturday, Jan 21st! Wanna Go?

Email your Full Legal Name as it appears on your Legal Driver’s Licence or State ID card to [email protected]

Winners will be notified and will show said ID at the Will Call booth the night of the show to claim tickets. Protect your neck.

Wu-Tang Featuring All Original Members: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa
Saturday January 21, 2012
Club Nokia
Los Angeles, California
Show time: 9:00pm
Door time: 8:00pm
Age: All Ages+

Step to the Wu.

Continue reading “Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to Trifle with. Win Tix!”

ICME: A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Driving along Royal Oaks in Duarte I spotted this little Christmas Tree planted along the median near the Walk Path in the green belt.  How nice it was that someone decided to spread a little happiness by decorating the tiny tree ala Charlie Brown’s Christmas.

Pic by me with the trusty cell phone cam.

L.A’s Greatest Landmarks: The Hollywood Sign

Photo by Vlasta Juricek, 2005

Photo by Vlasta Juricek, 2005

Perhaps the most recognizable string of letters in the world. A Real Estate Advertising gimmick turned into a Monument and saved by Hugh Hefner, not once but twice. What more fitting tribute to Tinseltown could you ask for? I love The Hollywood Sign.

On Friday the Thirteenth, July 1923, they dedicated The Sign. Thomas Fisk Goff, owner of the Crescent Sign Company, designed it at the behest of real estate developers Woodruff and Shoults. The whole crackpot scheme was the brainchild of H.J Whitley and Harry Chandler, owner of the L.A. Times.

I can almost picture Chandler, with a wild gleam in his eye, exclaiming, “Why, that’s just crazy enough to work!”

The original letters originally read “Hollywoodland,” were five feet taller than the current structure, and festooned with around 4000 light bulbs, plus a giant blinking dot below, 35 foot in diameter, to  “catch the eye.” Because thirteen, fifty foot tall, white, blinking letters are far too subtle on their own.

They put it there to sell land in the hills. And when they were done, they just left it. Bastards! That’s so “ungreen.” Just leaving your garbage on the hill! What are you thinking!

I kid, of course, I love the thing, but that’s kinda what happened. It was never meant to be permanent, at all, let alone to stand up to decades of weather. And I’m sure many, many people felt that way about it as it started to deteriorate over the years. In the early Forties, the signs official caretaker got drunk, drove into the “H” and destroyed it. By 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the City of L.A. parks Department had come to a deal to repair the sign. The eliminated the last four letters and removed the lightbulbs. The Chamber of Commerce would have had to foot the bill for lighting the thing, so, yeah; no.

But it was still the original letters and they continued to deteriorate into a complete eyesore. By the 1970’s it was determined that it needed a complete overhaul, costing a quarter of a million dollars. To raise the money, the band Fleetwood Mac pledged to do a charity concert on the hill in 1977, but local residents put a stop to it. So, the following year, Hugh Hefner stepped in and held a charity auction at the Playboy Mansion, auctioning off individual letters at $27,777 each.

Thus, in August of 1978 they tore down the old sign and put up the one that stands today, this time on purpose. The letters are 45 foot tall and from 31 to 39 feet wide. No light bulbs. Hugh Hefner owns the “Y,” Andy Williams spotted for the “W,” and Alice Cooper bought the third “O” in honor of Groucho Marx. Warner Brothers owns the second “O,” and I suspect they currently keep The Warner Kids trapped in there, instead of in their old water tower.

Recently, a proposal to develop the surrounding land prompted the “Save the Peak” campaign. $12.5 Million dollars was needed to keep 138 acres adjacent to the sign. Donations came from all over, but at the eleventh hour, the Hollywood Sign’s Number One Fan, Hugh Hefner stepped in again, this time donating the final $900,000 dollars to save it.

Thanks, Hef. I really, really appreciate it.

I would respectfully like to dedicate this post to the Memory of Peg Entwistle. Rest in Peace, Star.

This post is part of the L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks series – click here for the rest of the series!

Peg Entwistle

L.A. Plays Itself in the Movies: Swingers (1996)

Vegas, baby. Vegas.”

The film that spawned one of the most overused Vegas quotes of our time isn’t about Las Vegas at all. Swingers is so L.A.

Location. Location. Location. For me, the thrill of watching Swingers is noticing all of the familiar locations around town. The characters in this film never stay in one spot for long, always on the move from one bar to another bar, to a Hollywood Hills party, then to a coffee shop for a late night breakfast. All in their own separate cars of course. It’s laughable, but even today I notice that most of my friends in L.A. drive separately, despite that we all live in close proximity of each other and are meeting at the same place.

When I relocated to L.A. in 2003, the very first bar a friend took me to was The Dresden Restaurant to see Marty and Elayne perform. Immortalized by the film, The Dresden remains one of my favorite lounges in L.A. Located at 1760 North Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz, The Dresden makes its appearance in the scene where Mike (Jon Continue reading “L.A. Plays Itself in the Movies: Swingers (1996)”

Pasadena Playhouse to Close

More bad news on the Arts front: The Pasadena Playhouse, an L.A. landmark and institution, California’s only State Theatre, will be closing its doors, possibly for good, due to financial woes.

With 2 million owed to creditors and no way to pay, the current production of Camelot looks to be its last. Thirty seven employees will be out of work after the final curtain February 7th.

Stephen Eich, executive director of the Pasadena Playhouse, has said he is looking for ways to fulfill his obligation to current subscribers amidst massive financial restructuring and possible bankruptcy.

Attempts to find a donor to name the main auditorium after have thus far proved fruitless, as corporate donations have dwindled.

The company was founded in 1917, and the building itself built in the twenties, this is a huge loss for the arts, and a huge loss for theatre. I truly hope they find a way to re-open their doors soon.

Pros and SantaCons

The Daniel, Courtenay, VerdElf & Cris at SantaCon (photo courtesy of Daniel Hengeveld)
The Daniel, Courtenay, VerdElf® & Cris at SantaCon (photo courtesy of Daniel Hengeveld)

When I first heard that the forecast called for heavy rain two Saturdays ago, I had serious doubts about participating in this year’s SantaCon. However, despite the imminent threat, I once again donned my VerdElf® suit and joined the red tide.  This was my third SantaCon in LA and by far my favorite, perhaps because more of my friends joined this year than in previous years, but I had so much fun that I was actually a bit sad when it was all over. Below are a few excerpts from my SantaCon journal. For a consolidated look at this year’s event, visit the official site here.

11:30 AM: Met Greg (a.k.a Thomas Refferson) at a bus stop in Silver Lake. We took the #4 bus to the Santa Monica/Vermont Red Line station, hopped the train to Union Station, then transferred to the Gold Line. Until we reached Union Station, we were the only two SantaCon revelers in sight. However, despite a few strange looks, we made it to the meeting point without ridicule or incident.

11:50 AM: As we made our way to the next boarding platform, we discovered our first small contingent of SantaCon attendees at Union Station. Immediately relieved to see our own kind, we all exchanged a few obligatory ho ho hos, dispensed with introductions, which goes something like, “Hi Santa, nice to meet you. This is Santa. Hi Santa,” then promptly headed off to our next stop, the Chinatown Metro Station.

12:00 PM: About 10 of us arrived at the Chinatown Metro Station, the official SantaCon meeting point. From high atop the train platform we could see only a few red and white suited people scattered about. I began to worry that the rain had drastically affected the turn out. However, a few moments later we spotted a thick procession of Santas heading our way. Cheer commences.

All Aboard! (photo courtesy of Cris Dobbins)
All Aboard! (photo courtesy of Cris Dobbins)

12:20 PM: Scores of Santas line up to buy Metro day passes and we are told by a shadowy figure to board the Gold Line train east to Mariachi Square.

12:50 PM: Santa somewhat aimlessly mills about Mariachi Square. There are ponies and a brief ceremony where awards for “Best Santa” are randomly doled out. The clouds part and the sun shines on us, if only for a moment. A female Santa vomits in a nearby trash can.

1:30 PM: The red tide returns to the Metro station, continuing east to Indiana and El Mercadito. Santa begins to get restless and thirsty.

1:45 PM: A sea of Santas descend on El Tarasco for dueling mariachi bands, food and much drink. A conga line ensues.

3:00 PM: A shadowy figure alerts Santa to pay his tab. As the red tide spills onto the street, we are assaulted by protesting clowns and bursts of poisonous silly string.

3:30 PM: The staff at Trax Bar in Union Station, while unprepared, handle the onslaught of thirsty Santas with ease. The clowns have followed us here. No one can be trusted. Continue reading “Pros and SantaCons”

As the Year Winds Down to a Close

Yeah, big fan of the whole "Freedom of Spech" thing.
Who is this dashing RobNoxious fellow?

Time to let go of ’09 and get ready for a New Start.

2009 is almost finished, and while there have been some great things that have happened, been plenty to remember fondly and celebrate, there’s also been a good lot that I’m sure none of us will miss. Some things that we should just put behind us. Some stuff that makes us just want to put paid to ’09  and get on with the New Year. Bring on some 2010.

Like the fact that RobNoxious hasn’t posted on Metblogs at all this year!

I Know! A Whole Year! Longer, really. Horrible, isn’t it? Tragic, one might say.

Well, well, welly well, my Little Droogs, not to worry. And we need not wait until the calendar flips its page into the next Three Sixty Five for my return:
The Noxious One is back, Friends.

All of my old posts can be found here:
(http://la.metblogs.com/author/robnoxious/)

But to narrow things down a bit, I think you should know that:
I like it The Punk Rock,
I like Comic Books and Sci Fi,
I don’t like surruptitious throttling of my internet, tapping of my phone or threats to Net Neutality,
I like Amusement Parks,
I don’t like douche bags,
I love exploring our fine city,
and even enjoy the occasional bit of poetry.

Really, though, I’m just another Artist making his way in L.A., paying the bills at his work-a-day job. But y’know, sometimes the job can really be HELL. (for someone, anyway. heh.)

In any case, it’s really good to be back, and I look forward to venturing into the New Year with everyone.

Thanks guys,
Rob

Your Disapproval Has Been Noted

how-about-a-nice-cup-of-shut-the-fuck-upSo I was having a conversation with an LA-hater the other day, and I found myself getting sick of defending my city.

I hear the same complaints over and over. For decades. Aren’t people TIRED of bitching about the same stuff already?

Shouldn’t it just be UNDERSTOOD that living in LA involves traffic? Involves flaky Industry types bragging over nonfat lattes? Involves no distinctly perceptible seasons? Is this stuff seriously NEWS to you?! If you people are still complaining about this shit like it’s some big SURPRISE to you, well, maybe you should get out more often.

So, I thought I’d make a List Of Things Not To Complain About Ever Again. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  1. Smog
  2. That asshole who cut you off
  3. Construction on the 405 that never, ever ends
  4. Women with fish lips
  5. Poorly marked freeway interchanges
  6. Everyone always gets so fucking dressed up just to go to the market
  7. LA has no seasons
  8. I meet people at parties and they promise we’ll hang out sometime but they never return my calls / Angelenos are so flaky
  9. It’s so hard to get anyone to look at my screenplay
  10. You people don’t know how to drive in the rain

Ok, ready? Go for it! Add your own complaints you’re fucking sick of hearing!

NYT Covers Bourgie Industry Kids Playing Music, Smoking

nytkidsmusic
Click to go to the NYT article.

I read this story in the NYT a few days ago, but it’s stayed in the back of my mind, accompanied by a weird distaste. The writer ID’s a “trend” among the children of Hollywood elites: playing music, having shows in each other’s luxe backyards, slumming at thrift stores for hipster threads.

Indie music has a long and storied history in Southern California…continuing today at popular all-age sites like the Smell in downtown Los Angeles and Pehrspace near Echo Park.

But to veterans of this scene and the latest crop of show-going kids, elements of the city’s music landscape have lately been skewing even younger and emanating from tonier enclaves, like Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood and Hancock Park.

Really?

Where is this animosity in me coming from? Am I just jealous of how these trust-fund kids can pursue their PBR wishes and record-crate dreams? Or am I annoyed because this doesn’t…seem…newsworthy?

When I was working in print, they’d say “Three makes a trend.” Writer Jennifer Bleyer definitely name-checks more than three Industry spawn: Tallulah Willis (of Bruce); “Keely Dowd, the daughter of Jeff Dowd, a producer on whom the Coen brothers based the main character of ‘The Big Lebowski,'”; apparently the girls from The Like all sprang from the loins of Industry (music and movie) players; and, oh yes, “Michael Shuman, the bassist for Queens of the Stone Age who went to Campbell Hall, is the son of Ira Shuman, a producer of ‘Night at the Museum’ and the new ‘Pink Panther’ films.

Bleyer tells a tale of a successful screenwriter who’s arranged for his son to continue his drum lessons during their summers in Italy. Which is great. Right? Good for him.

So why am I so annoyed? Am I just jealous? Should this article ever have been written? Haven’t the rich been indulging their kids’ dilettantisms for millenia? This isn’t a “trend.” This is business as usual.

I’m calling on the NYT to actually cover newsworthy scenes producing quality art–be it music or any other creative efflorescence–in LA. Stop going for the low-hanging fruit that only underscores your lack of familiarity with the cultural terrain. If this story even deserves to exist, it should have been about the music–not the pedigrees.

1947project.com Becomes “In SRO Land”

My love for Kim Cooper‘s projects & collaborations is no secret, but this latest endeavor thrills me even more. Chronicling the glittering and ghastly history of LA’s Historic Core, centered around the footprint of the Downtown Artwalk/Gallery Row, the blog “In SRO Land” is only a week old but already is a treasure trove of info that’s left me utterly absorbed.

srolandEvery year Kim’s original blog, 1947project, undergoes a re-casting and covers a different year in Los Angeles history. But this year it becomes “In SRO Land,” named alternatively after the Single Room Occupancy hotels that are so prevalent in the area, and “Standing Room Only”–the common refrain of Broadway, whose golden era was a cavalcade of dancers and entertainers, criminals and movie stars, freaks and fans.

I am so stoked to have this new blog up and running, and I’ll be sure to check it every day. Welcome to the party, In SRO Land.

Also, a great big Congrats to Kim Cooper’s husband & Esotouric curator Richard Schave, the newly-minted Director of the Downtown LA Art Walk.

Photo by In SRO Land contributor Rob Clampett.

NOW: Live Poetry by LA’s most interesting poets

I *just* found this out! You still have a few hours to tune in–it goes until 5p:

theprimespot.com

Presents A LIVE WEBCAST: STRANGERS WITH POETRY

Mindy Nettifee
Mindy Nettifee

Live from The Clamshell [apparently a converted garage in a mystery location here in LA!], Sunday, April 26, Noon to 5p

A live webcast of some of SoCal’s strongest poets, performing in an intimate (secret) venue. Hosted by G. Murray Thomas and Eric Morago, this will be an entertaining and enlightening session of spoken word. The featured performers will include:

R.D. “Raindog” Armstrong, founder and publisher of Lummox Press. His latest book is Fire and Rain.
James Bolt SoCal performance poet extraordinaire.
Mona Jean Cedar combines poetry, dance and ASL until a unique performance style.
Commoners & Kings (Jason O’Neal, Anthony Sims, and Dragonfly Jon): “We’re all common men striving to be kings, but when we get to be kings don’t forget to be common men.”
Scott Huestis, from Gizmo and Building 7,will be accompanying some of the poets on guitar.

Rob "Ratpack Slim" Sturma & friend
Rob "Ratpack Slim" Sturma & friend

A rare SoCal appearance by Lob, head of the Instagon Foundation. Poet, musician, artist, all-around creative master.
Eric Morago: A poet who blends page and performance, passion and humor, featured all around Southern California.
Mindy Nettifee, Long Beach’s poetry queen, author of Sleepyhead Assassins.
Gill S.O.T.U. “He be to soul what key be to lock.”
Rob “Ratpack Slim” Sturma, long-time host of Green and author of You Sensitive Bastard.
G. Murray Thomas, performance poet, former editor of Next…, author of Cows on the Freeway.
…and many more to be announced!

Songs About Los Angeles: “Valley Girl” by Frank & Moon Zappa

Photo by Jodi
If you like click on the photo it like totally gets bigger. Totally.

When Frank & Moon Zappa’s “Valley Girl” hit the airwaves in 1982, I was 11 going on 12. I guess these days I’d have been considered a “tween,” but back then I was just dorky and awkward. I can’t remember exactly when or where I first heard the tune or when I bought the 45 pictured on the left. What I do know is that I became obsessed with it, memorized the lyrics, and sang along in my bedroom. I’m pretty sure this was going on in preteens’ rooms all over the country.

I’d never heard anything quite like “Valley Girl.” Even though it was quite catchy, it was equally as odd and certainly different from other songs playing on the radio such as “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Eye of the Tiger.” It was a lot more fun though!

Like, OH MY GOD! Like, totally click here to read more about this tubular song!