Archive for September, 2009

September 17, 2009

BEST OF: the subjectivity of hierarchy and a few of my favorite things in Ventura County

We just put our annual Best Of Ventura County issue to bed after a long but mostly painless labor (depending on who you talk to.) This was not the first time I’ve been involved with the issue but it was my introduction to the back-end/inner workings of the voting process.

I am currently working on an article about the approval process for WAV applicants, which makes for an interesting parallel with “Best Of” on the subject of winning. Just as hundreds of people are coveting one of the affordable artist live/work units in the project, others are hoping to be voted the Best in their category in VCReporter.

Best Mexican food, best band, best citizen, best bartender. . . the list goes on. For those who may not be clear, this is a READER’S POLL. VCReporter staff did not have anything to do with deciding the winners or choosing who would “compete.”

We did however, do our best to make sure it was a fair fight, but there are always those who win when they probably shouldn’t have and others who weren’t voted for and should have been. Were it up to us, many of the winners would have been different. But, it’s not up to us, it’s up to our readers, and we don’t always see eye-to-eye with our beloveds.

Your “best” Mexican food is not mine. Your favorite artist is not mine. Your favorite band is also not mine. Because I am informed about music and have a long history as a listener, does that mean I can determine who the “best” musician is? Maybe my favorite Mexican food isn’t really authentic but someone else’s is. Which of us can say what the best is? If 200 people say Katy Perry is the best female vocalist in the world, but Joni Mitchell says Eryka Badu is, who is right? It’s a popularity contest and it’s a matter of taste–which we all know there is no accounting for. That said, here are a few of my Ventura County bests:

Art Gallery:
Winner=Red Brick Gallery
My Pick=Artists’s Union Gallery

Best Local Band:
Winner=Rey Fresco
My Pick=tie between All Seeing Eyes & Dirty Words (<3 ❤ <3)

Best Live Music Venue:
My Pick=The Lodge (Exquisite sound, comfortable and cool)

Best Annual Cultural Event
Winner=Casa Pacifica Wine & Food
My Pick=ArtWalk Ventura (Say what you will, I always enjoy it)

Best Mexican Food
My Pick=El Rey

Best Breakfast
Winner=Allison’s Country Cafe
My Pick=Art’s Corner Cafe (Corner cakes and campfire combo… mmmmm)

Best Gift Shop
Winner=B on Main
My Pick=B on Main (Carol knows her stuff)

Best Chiropractor
Winner=Logan Osland
My Pick=Daniel O Schnieder (He’s a magic man.. yaaaaa)

September 10, 2009

Bloodlust: in anticipation of the True Blood season finale

Yes, I am one of them. A would-be fangbanger lusting after Eric, loathing Maryann, adoring Lafayette, sympathizing with Sam, being embarrassed for Jason and tolerating Sookie (whom a friend of mine unaffectionately refers to as “Sucky”.)

What has developed into an epic battle of good and evil, antihero against hypocrite will come to a close this Sunday, Sept. 13 on HBO and fans everywhere are stocking their refrigerators with the new True Blood drink (which is selling for $9 per bottle on Ebay) for their viewing parties.

My son has a theory about the show which I tend to agree with: the vampires are a metaphor for the marginalized in contemporary society–especially the gay/lesbian community. The war waged against them by the Christian right mimics the real life assault of right wing America on anyone who doesn’t fit their pattern of morality. But, of course the vampires are turning out to be the more compassionate race and we’re counting on them now to save the world or at least the lil town of Bon Temps, LA.

What separates the races in True Blood is not their biological/racial differences, it is their judgment and hatred, something the late great ancient vampire Godrick, who laid down his unlife (or simply tired of immortality). Godrick understood that the vampires’ brutality and lack of mercy is what brought the wrath of their detractors upon them. He knew the future of all the races was dependent on their compassion for and acceptance of one another. Love conquers all, right? Interesting message from a buncha bloodsucking sex fiends. 😛

As this, my favorite show and beloved weekly ritual comes to a close (not to mention the ending of Hung), I take comfort in the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. Yeah, yeah, say what you will but I still like it and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with George.

Meanwhile Big Love should be starting back up soon– I wonder if it will continue to fascinate me like it did last season and Entourage is well into its umpteenth season. Damn, I wish I had Tivo.

BREAKING: The Vampire Diaries premieres on the CW tonight. Sheesh… I’m anticipating disappointment; I hated Twilight. We’ll see how it compares to TB.

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September 3, 2009

E.P. Foster Day

E.P. Foster's once grand estate lies in shameful state of decay. Photo by Jake Sommer

E.P. Foster's once grand estate lies in shameful state of decay. Photo by Jake Sommer

Sunday Sept. 5,  is E.P. Foster Day. For those of you who don’t know who he was, Foster was one of Ventura’s pioneers, a generous man who donated huge amounts of land to the city for public use. The fairgrounds, beautiful Foster Park, Dennison Park, Camp Comfort and E.P. Foster Library as well as the trees at Hobo Jungle and other gifts countywide are just part of his legacy.

As  I reported in today’s VC Reporter, a new organization is forming with the intent to finally restore the house.

That we allowed the unofficially historic house to fall into such a state of disrepair does not reflect well on a city with such a rich past and a cultural tourism agenda. It’s also not surprising. We’ve already lost many of our great treasures due to ignorance and greed.

The Mayfair Theater, replaced by condos, it’s marquee left to rot in an abandoned motel parking lot. The Ban-Dar, hastily demolished in favor of a “mixed use” project that more than 6 years later has yet to materialize.

The list goes on. Let’s not add to it.

Visit the San Buenaventura Conservancy and to learn more.

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