Favorite L.A. Area Spots: Venice Canals

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Just a few hundred yards away from the pandemonium that is Venice Beach on a sunny summer Sunday, the Venice Canals are a sea of tranquility.  Aside from the obvious stunning visuals, what strikes me is the sound.  It’s quiet.  Instead of city traffic noise, you hear gurgling water, wind chimes, birds, some animals, a few muffled human voices.  You rarely encounter more than a dozen people even if you wind your way through the entire canal system.

Tour the Venice Canals, after the jump

Tonight at the Egyptian: Meet Ze Monsters

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Some men just want to watch the world burn?

Japan’s Toho Studios, makers of Godzilla, have been embracing that concept for over 50 years now.

Tonight, as part of it’s 8th Annual Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, the American Cinematheque is screening Bringing Godzilla Down to Size, a new documentary on the men (and men in suits) behind Godzilla and many of his kaiju-eiga (giant monster) brethren. There will be a discussion with the film’s producers Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski following the film. Also screening on the same bill are two of Toho’s finest non-Godzilla extravaganzas: War of the Gargantuas (1966) and Mothra (1961).

And let’s be honest, haven’t you just been dying for a good reason to put these on?

Photo: Still from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. Courtesy of Steve Ryfle.

Friday Bullets: Shake & Quake

Ceiling Tiles After QuakeSo most of us felt the earth move under our feet, at the same time no less.

Here is a round-up of some LA bloggers write-ups:

And for kicks, here’s mine: Shake shake shake!

Of course, we can always count on the LAFD to provide us a Disaster Preparedness Handbook. Thanks, LAFD!

Photo: Ceiling Tiles Dislodged by Earthquake at the Times Olympic Facility

It Caught My Eye: Humongus Fungus Amongus

Biking in to work this morning I had to double back and get a shot of this fabulously surreal and colorful growth on the trunk of a curbside tree on Redondo just where it splits off of from La Brea south of Olympic (click to triplify):

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I’m no arborist, botanist or fungitech, so I’ve relied on the internest to show me that this might be a particularly flourishing example of Laetiporus, a bracket fungus commonly called “Sulphur Shelf” (aka “Chicken of the Woods”). Hence the name, apparently it is quite edible with a “taste similar to lemony chicken” (via Wiki). I’ll take their word for it. I’ll also accept the assertion that while most tree fungi are potenitally destructive to their hosts owing to their parasitic nature, sulphur shelf apparently is not so voracious.

Black Maria Gallery gets the lead out

Straddling Los Angeles this weekend will be Black Maria Gallery, with one event in Venice and the other on their home turf in Atwater Village.

Tonight, Under the Table, its artists’ and designers’ goods and products store located next door to its home base gallery in Atwater Village, will be participating in Venice’s First Fridays on Abbot Kinney, which kicks off tonight at 7 PM.

The Black Maria contingent will be set up at Predator Cycling, 1219½ Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, with paintings from the gallery’s fabled back room, along with limited edition prints and designers’ vinyl toys.

On Saturday night, an opening reception will be held at Black Maria Gallery in Atwater Village for Get the Lead Out, a group show curated by Ally Takeuchi featuring sketches, pen and ink drawings, watercolor and sculpture by 36 artists.

The exhibition aims to shed light on the artist’s process. Gallery goers will be privy to seeing how a finish painting, illustration or sculpture is born and develops. Continue reading Black Maria Gallery gets the lead out

Festival Time Comes to Hi-Fi Tomorrow

439315674_ed32b4b42f.jpgYou can be sure that tomorrow I’ll be walking the short two blocks to the to this stretch of Temple in front of the Derby Dolls HQ to check out the sixth Historic Filipinotown Festival. Along with the requisite food and entertainment, there will be free bus tours, a 5K walk/run and nearby Hi-Fi gallery Remy’s on Temple is hosting a show called “Singgalot: The Ties that Bind, Filipinos in America.” Official festival hours are 7:00am to 10:00pm. Admission is free.

Photo by our very own Will Campbell.

Summertime is Frutastime.

Frutas!It’s summer, it’s hot out, time to celebrate with hands down one of the best things about living in Los Angeles. Street corner Frutas vendors. Long time readers will know I like to dedicate a large portion of each year to singing the praises of Frutas and this year will be no different. If you are unfamiliar with it, that’s the saddest thing I’ve heard all day, and you should make your way ASAP to one of these fine fruit chefs and throw down some cash ($4 or $5 depending on the size bag you want) and walk away with a mixture of fruity goodness that’s too big for you to eat on your own. I just bought a $4 bag and it must have weighed 3lbs, I walked home with it, barely finishing half the bag and I’m already full. This stuff rules.

LA Times: Most popular Chihuahua name is Princess!

In a startling revelation, the Los Angeles Times has learned that the most popular name for Chihuahuas in LA County is Princess. The financially strapped newspaper, which only this week eliminated its book review, Sunday opinion and weekend guide sections from its print edition, revealed  the shocking findings today as it unveiled its new online database for tracking dog names in the county.

“The database offers a fascinating census of the dogs we live with and those we encounter,” says Times Staff writer Carla Hall. “If Shakespeare was wrong and there is something in a name, then ours is a world filled with people’s fantasies about, and hopes for, their dogs.”

LA Times officials estimate that 1,262 Chihuahuas are named Princess, although they admit some tracking errors are possible. They stressed that areas such as Arcadia, Downey, Sierra Madre and La Cañada Flintridge are known for their high Chihuahua concentrations and did not provide official counts.

Calls placed this morning by LA Metblogs to several of the 1,138 Chihuahuas named Chiquita, the second most popular Chihuahua name in the county, were not returned.

Photograph from pedigreedatabase.com

Art Show and opening reception Saturday 8/2 5PM

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Glendale’s Brand Library Gallery is just about the toughest public gallery for an artist to get to show his work in.  What an art lover gets is a tightly curated show.  Luke Van Hook is a talented artist who will be among 5 artists who will be at a show running August 2 – September 5,2008.  

I have admired Luke’s work and style of painting for a while. I got to know him when I was on the jury committee with MAFA a few years ago.  He’s an abstractionist.  He has been exploring the myth of Giotto’s Perfect Circle.  His work is a compelling study of the circle and the tedious repetition to create larger patterns as if some sort of secret code.  I am excited for him to be in this venue and can’t wait to see his most recent work.

The opening reception is Saturday evening from 5-8PM.  The reception will include meet and greet time with the artists.  There will also be live music and dance performance during the course of the evening.

DETAILS: Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale Public Library, 1601 West Mountain Street, Glendale, CA 91201.  818/548-2051  www.brandlibrary.org

Take some pictures, win some tunes!

We decided that the thing the internet needed was more time wasting tasks, and the best way to make yourself feel better about wasting time with said task is to call it a “game” and focus solely on the prizes you might win. So, to help with all of these we’re starting a series of Photo Scavenger Hunts on hub.metblogs and giving away stuff to the winners. Today we launched Round 001 with 5 photos players need to go take, first person to pull that off gets $25 on iTunes to spend however they want. Future prizes will include actual merchandise as well, so if you are bored and need something to do today, this might not be a bad idea…

Skylight Books expands

I slipped into 5-hours-old Skylight Books 1814 in Los Feliz yesterday as I was biking back from Griffith Park, so already I’m in a good mood, but the new store ramps it up considerably.

A clean, well lit space, it seduces with its array of art and nonfiction books. (All fiction is still in the original store next door.) I swoon in the music section– I want five books within about fifteen seconds but I winnow it down to a fresh copy of Please Kill Me, Legs McNeil’s incendiary oral rehash of the messy birth of punk in 1970s New York. My first copy didn’t make the cut for the move west so it feels good to correct the mistake.

Kerry Slattery, Skylight’s general manager and co-owner, is all smiles as she tells me about the previous night’s move into the new space. It sounds like performance art, a military exercise and solemn ritual all at once. Continue reading Skylight Books expands