Archive for August, 2009

August 27, 2009

“Don’t you wish Ventura County had more to offer culturally?”

Someone asked me this yesterday and my answer was “no.” I find Ventura County to be culturally wealthy. I think much of it is a bit below the radar, maybe that’s why it’s perceived as lacking.
The subject got me thinking a bit about the definition of “culture” and if we’re really clear as to its usage. I found this and i like it:

Culture is a definition highly misunderstood and misused, thus the need for an explanation:

Culture refers to the following Ways of Life, including but not limited to:

* Language : the oldest human institution and the most sophisticated medium of expression.

* Arts & Sciences : the most advanced and refined forms of human expression.

* Thought : the ways in which people perceive, interpret, and understand the world around them.

* Spirituality : the value system transmitted through generations for the inner well-being of human beings, expressed through language and actions.

* Social activity : the shared pursuits within a cultural community, demonstrated in a variety of festivities and life-celebrating events.

* Interaction : the social aspects of human contact, including the give-and-take of socialization, negotiation, protocol, and conventions.

All of the above collectively define the meaning of Culture.

If we are to accept this broad definition, then it would seem to follow that every community, from a family to a neighborhood to a city and so on, has its own culture.

Ours is deeply influenced by our location–the sea, agriculture, the landscape, the history–as well as our collective ancestries and the undeniable imprint of Latin America and native culture. For whatever reason, and maybe it is the landscape and the pace, but creative types seem to be drawn here and thus we are blessed with a rich pool of musicians, painters, sculptors, filmmakers, poets, dancers, authors, intellectuals and people whose very approach to daily life is thoughtful and inspiring.

Therefore, I say, no, I do not wish for more culture in Ventura County, I wish for enough time to experience the fullness of it.

August 20, 2009

CNN at Zoey’s Cafe

The video is courtesy of Missy Ellis. Thanks Missy!

Technically CNN’s Headline News taped a segment at Zoey’s Cafe in Ventura this week to spotlight the venue’s popular “bluegrass jam” that’s been held twice a month for seven years. Why is little ol’ Zoey’s getting attention from CNN? Because Phil Taggart, a longtime poet and artist in Ventura, is also a producer for Time Warner Cable, and as such has been showcasing Ventura County hotspots and points of interest for CNN’s local version of Headline News.

The jam routinely draws upwards of 50 musicians and fans to the cozy venue for top-shelf finger pickin’ and all around good vibes.

For something totally different file, the jam is getting ready to evolve into a “Swing Jam” beginning Sept. 1 and every first and third Monday thereafter from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The jam is hosted by Gene Rubin, Zoey’s Cafe (Steve Hoganson) and Phil Salazar.

August 13, 2009

Sum words about the fair

fair menu

Fair… enough

$20 dollar bills
$3 water
turkey legs
peach funnel cake
pork chop on a stick
pizza on a stick
fried snickers on a stick
tater twisters
colossal gelato
Bonita the cow-size hog
with human-size breasts
the kids go “ewwwwwww”
old guys rule
aquariums and ten pound buns
roasted corn
food porn
bungee jump
exotic flora
farm fauna
belt buckles
fortune tellers
and furry hats
we never found
the chocolate
covered bacon
but we found mecca
at the ventura county star booth
plastic bags
for silly things
and silly people
who leave
and happy

August 6, 2009

Closed Until Further Notice: Hush Lounge


As Chris Mastrovito mentioned in his most recent column, after 4 years in business, Hush has been shushed. Whether it’s a victim of what would appear to be a war on downtown Ventura’s nightlife–and specific sectors of such–remains to be seen.

Hush Lounge was an upscale nightclub with DJs, live music, and a restaurant. Dress code was enforced, noise levels were, according to the owner, kept in check via his ubiquitous decibel meter and unseemly types were turned away.

But a series of unfortunate events, the details of which vary depending who you ask, led to the city’s revocation of Hush’s entertainment license a few weeks ago which in turn led to an immediate and dramatic loss of revenue for the club.

There has been speculation regarding the city’s attitude toward Hush’s largely Latino clientèle, especially at a time when political posturing and jockeying for position, in what’s becoming a competitive climate, appears to be on the rise.

Rules are rules and if I was a betting woman I’d say many of downtown’s nightclubs have had issues with noise and alleged violence in recent months. Yet, oddly, they remain in business, their entertainment permits in tact.

I would think that taking action that could lead to the closure of a thriving business downtown, would be done only as a last resort in the most extreme cases. Where is our sense of community or dare I say compassion for the small business owner? I wonder who’s next . . . taking bets.

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