Getting High at Redondo Beach Festival of the Kite

Kite Fest 1It’s possible to enjoy dark and edgy L.A., yet still be a geek for corny Americana such as county fairs, July 4 parades, and the 38th Annual Festival of the Kite on Redondo Beach. I’m a testament to this fact, and was there yesterday at the  to enjoy the aerial festivities.

It was a beautiful day, it was winter, we were on the beach, surrounded by hundreds of colorful kites. And the L.A. skyline was comfortably close by.

More photos, after the jump

A Moving Moment With The LACMA Rock

On the final day of its journey from Riverside County to its new home at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I opted to bike down to South Los Angeles with my friend Joni because we’re a couple of those kook types who thought it would be da schist to pull a literal all-night “boulder dash” and follow the 340-ton rock along the entire length of the last 10.5 miles to the museum. Call it Levitated Mass Transit.

Your enthusiasm may vary, but the trek was a total once-in-a-dozen-lifetimes blast. And while its moment of arrival in front of LACMA at 4:30 a.m. was cause for celebration among the hundreds gathered in attendance, for me the most dramatic moment happened above in Exposition Park at the bend in Figueroa Street just south of Exposition Boulevard when the 200-foot long, three-lane-wide transport vehicle had to negotiate its first turn of the night, and its right front corner came within what looked to be less than an inch of making contact with a speed limit sign. As the spotter says to me at the end, “If you’ve got a half-inch, you’ve got a mile.”

Gneissly and successfully avoided.

Protest against Walmart’s proposed Chinatown grocery store today at 1PM

LAANE logo
LAANE cause logo

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) is the group spear heading the protest of the small neighborhood style grocery store that Walmart wants to open.  I am familiar with the market as I have seen them in Las Vegas where they have been for a couple of years.  The groc to a degree is similar to Fresh and Easy or Trader Joe’s in size and marketing.

LAANE takes exception to the store on several levels.  First is that the city and its residents can’t afford to subsidize benefits for their employees.  Why?  Because they alleged, and Walmart certainly has been held to scrutiny on this in the past, for paying wages that are so low that their employees qualify for medi-cal, food stamps and similar welfare.  Certainly Walmart hasn’t been accused of paying a living wage nor employing for enough hours to have their employees to be benefit eligible.

Deets: Thursday, March 8, at 1pm., Department of Public Social Services, on 2415 W. Sixth St. Los Angeles, CA 90057  MAP HERE.

Full press release after the jump. Continue reading Protest against Walmart’s proposed Chinatown grocery store today at 1PM

Video Of The Day: I’m On A Motherf—king Bike!

This foul-mouthed NSFW-ALNWH* video by Sons of Science was brought to my attention by SFist via the fine folks at LAist. The clip may be situated in San Francisco, but its message is universally hilarious — at least to those of us on bikes who can laugh at such all-too-recognizable stereotypes:

Check out this spot-on verse:

Sharing my aggression is what that I do
Every day I’m riding the ‘Tour de Fuck You’
Banging on hoods and kicking in fenders
a right-of-way-aholic on a permanent bender

*At Least Not Without Headphones

Theater Review: Three Year Swim Club at East West Players

Last Wednesday evening I had the privilege of attending a production of Lee Tonouchi’s Three Year Swim Club at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo. The good news is that I found it thoroughly enjoyable; the bad news is that if you haven’t seen it yet, you only have until Sunday to make it happen. Get your tickets here or read about my impressions after the break. Continue reading Theater Review: Three Year Swim Club at East West Players

On Exhibit: Richard Bunkall

In the waning months of the last year of the last century spent toiling as the editor of a weekly newspaper in Pasadena a press packet landed on my desk detailing an exhibit at the Mendenhall Gallery and from it I discovered and become enthralled with the art of Richard Bunkall, a resident of the city and long-time instructor at Arts Center College of Design.

Little more than a week later, at the age of 45, Bunkall died after a five-year struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. In shock as I read the perfunctory obituary in the Pasadena Star-News, I mourned his passing somewhat selfishly in that I’d just found his heroic art. As such I wanted both to know more and share that with my readers, and thanks to the grace of his widow Sally during what had to be such a difficult time, she allowed myself and writer Kathleen August to intrude upon the Bunkall home, and access his studio, where he created his amazing works, and where surrounded by family and friends he passed in May 1999.

It was a deeply emotional experience and privilege, to say the least.

Q&A: Curator Peter Frank (center) is flanked by artists Kenton Nelson (left) and Ray Turner (right) as they discuss Bunkall's life and his art.

It was equally emotional to visit the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) last night for a standing-room-only event surrounded by some of his most profound and moving creations, to remember the man and his art and to celebrate the launch of a new book devoted to both, the first publication of the artist’s remarkable 25-year career as a painter and sculptor.

If this is your first time hearing about Richard Bunkall or it’s been a long time since you last thought about him, I’d encourage you to make a trip out to the PMCA to introduce or reacquaint yourself with his remarkable imagery before the exhibit, “Richard Bunkall: A Portrait” closes April 22.

Where: Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union Street, Pasadena, 91101
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 5 p.m., through April 22.
Cost: $7 adults; $5 seniors and students; free the first Friday of the month

ICME: Sink Your Teeth

Do these go with that ear I found?

As I and a cohort wandered through a posh new townhouse block near the beach the other night, my gaze was drawn to a semicircular pink and white object sitting in the dirt amidst the well-manicured plantings. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a set of dentures (I’m guessing the term is “uppers”). Being a movie geek and having a vivid imagination, I immediately thought of the ear found on the ground at the beginning of “Blue Velvet“, and wondered what sordid events may have led to this deposit. I doubt that it is a deliberate form of fertilizer. Anyone care to speculate with me? Do you think it had something to do with Heineken?