Archive for September, 2011

September 22, 2011

Room for everyone

My sort of mantra for the last few years, mostly privately, has been, “There’s room for everyone.” I say this to myself when I’m being unnecessarily critical or dismissive of someone’s artistic ability, and I say it aloud when I sense a discussion is leaning in favor of exclusivity or elitism.

Case in point: Not long ago there was some discussion about who should live at the WAV and who should not. More than one artist suggested that only “important” artists, people with a recognized body of work who are constantly producing should be able to live within this experimental, affordable housing complex for creatives which the city partially financed.

I couldn’t help but recoil. Who defines importance? As far as I can remember, during the rigorous meetings that preceded ground breaking for the WAV, it was determined that the subjectivity of such things would make it nearly impossible to create criteria for application approval, therefore attitude trumped “talent”  when it came to deciding who would make the cut and who would not. A desire to live to some extent communally, to ride out the challenges of such a social live/work arrangement would be more important than an individual’s perceived talent.  In other words, regardless of your medium, your experience or your potential for bringing national attention to our fair city, you will be considered for this affordable housing project if your life’s work is arts-centered.  Whether your focus is installation, music, textiles, poetry, plein aire  or toothpick sculpture–there is room for you.  And not only at the WAV, but in this world.

Last night I was watching one of those hideous talent programs on television, and an old couple got on stage and sang a standard love song from the crooning era (the title escapes me), and despite their lack of technical ability it was beautiful.  It made me smile to know these two traveled who knows how far, and endured who knows how many evil eyes from Hollywood types, just to get on that stage and sing in public because they love singing. This made me feel as good as seeing Coldplay perform or listening to Marcia de la O read a poem or a piece of art I recently saw at Sylvia White Gallery.

There’s room for everyone–to express, to create, to discover.

I may find as much beauty in a fall leaf wafting past me or the graffiti in my alley as I do in a Kandinsky. I value my old Black Flag fliers drawn by Raymond Pettibon the same as the painting that hangs over my bed.  Anyone courageous enough to step on a stage, face a blank canvas, page or wall,  and then place the result on display, is praiseworthy and not any less relevant than those who perform in stadiums or whose work hangs in prestigious galleries.

Let’s remember in our fervor to champion localism or a certain aspect of the music scene or innovative projects like the WAV—there’s room for everyone!

September 16, 2011

Jack-booted thugs and Gibson guitars: Ted Nugent has a bone to pick

“The only thing more outrageous than the term “jack booted thugs’ is the insidious vile conduct of jack booted thugs. It is heartbreaking that the American government is infested with such soulless, antiAmerican thuggery. It is the criminal misbehavior of jack booted thugs who raided the Amish farmer for selling raw milk to neighbors who desired to purchase raw milk.


Jack booted thugs arrested an ID rancher for defending his children’s lives in their own yard from a vicious “non-endangered” grizzly bear. Only a jack booted thug would viciously interrogate law abiding young hunters for using the number one selling arrowhead in the world. Jack booted thugs raided restaurant after restaurant in San Francisco, wasting millions more tax dollars looking for tiger penises and finding nothing.


And now the braindead abuse of power runs amok as armed federal agents raid Gibson guitars looking for “illegal” wood. That’s right; an armed raid looking for mishandled wood.Are you kidding me? Maybe a president raised by America hating communists, educated by America hating communists, surrounded by America hating communists, spiritually guided and married by an America hating racist, just maybe this president would abuse such power and empower his corrupt agencies to abuse their power in his evil fundamental transformation, also known as intentional destruction, of the greatest quality of life in the history of the world.

I stand with Gibson guitars with all the faith in the world that the wood they use is in no way endangered, and that they purchased it all legally. I am further convinced that any mindless federal agent who doesn’t challenge these kinds  abuses of power by over zealous bureaucrats need to search their souls and remember their pledge to protect and abide by the Constitution of the United States of America.


I proudly displayed dozens of American made Gibson masterpieces on stage throughout my “I STILL BELIEVE” tour in 2011, challenging anybody anywhere from any law enforcement agency to come and get my guitars. No takers.


Because soulless power abusing bureaucrats avoid Ted Nugent concerts because they are intimidated by the soundtrack and defiant spirit of real American spirit and soul.


Don’t just stand there squawking; contact your elected officials until the feds back off and display some common sense and decency when they claim to want to create American jobs while they shut down one of the most respected American manufacturers the world has ever known.

We got the ID rancher off with good old fashioned “we the people” activism. If you are not willing to participate in that, you are part of the problem instead of the solution.”

September 15, 2011

No accounting for taste: Best Of Ventura County


Today we published our 26th Best Of issue and I think it looks pretty damn good. (And let it be known it’s a bitch and a half to put together mainly for our managing editor Michael Sullivan and our tireless production staff, Christy Sisneros and Enrique Candioti, who did an outstanding job.)  It’s always important to reiterate the fact that the winners are not chosen by VCReporter staff, they are determined by readers. Had the results been a representation of our opinions, they would have been different in many categories.

For instance, I think Rey Fresco is a great and promising band, but I would not have chosen them for first place, although We Govern We and Sideshow Preachers seemed very appropriate for second place, and I will never understand the adoration for the Shoemaker Brothers who placed third.  There are some I absolutely agreed with: B. on Main for Gift Shop, Wild Planet for Shoe Store and Lucy in the Sky for Children’s Haircut, to name a few.  For manicurist, chiropractor and veterinarian, of course I would have chosen the ones I use, and being that I’m not in the right tax bracket to belong to Pierpont Racquet Club I would have picked a different winner for Best Tennis Courts.  But while some results I don’t agree with simply as a matter of taste or preference, others bordered on injustice, the most glaring being Best Visual Artist. (Relax, before you assume I’m dissing MB Hanrahan.) Though I can’t even begin to imagine what the criteria for Best Artist would be, MB was an excellent choice, even if only for her fierce dedication to community service–the woman’s fingerprints are literally all over this town. But, with all respect to those who “won,” so many serious, important and stalwart artists were left out entirely.  This is why, it’s important to take the results with a grain of salt (or a shot of whiskey) because

A: there’s no accounting for taste

B: the reader’s poll is, for better or worse, a popularity contest, and as with elections, people often vote for names they recognize, not names they have first-hand familiarity with

C: this city has become too big for its britches anyway so breathe.

All that said, I put together my own list of Ventura County “Bests” just for the hell of it.

  • Band: Jeff Hershey and the Heartbeats
  • Tennis Court: Ventura College
  • Veterinarian: Mission Animal Hospital
  • Manicurist: Raechelle Prado (regular manicures last me a solid week and that’s saying a lot.)
  • Chiropractor: Dr. Daniel O Schneider (An Irish Jew? I have no idea, but this man is a magician.)
  • Breakfast: Art’s Corner Cafe (For the Corner Cakes and scrambles. Yum.)
  • Italian: La Trattoria (Never mind the decor, the food is the shizzle).
  • Mexican: Tacqueria Tepatitlan and Cuernavaca.
  • Sandwich: Meridians (Why do they never win anything? So wrong.)
  • Jukebox: Ventura Bowling Center
  • Art Gallery: Sylvia White (I mean, seriously. . .), followed by Vita Art.
  • Artist: Because I believe this is a ridiculous category and that artists (and musicians for that matter) really shouldn’t be included in competition, I couldn’t pick a winner, but the following artists I would have at least liked to have seen in the poll results somewhere: Paul Benavidez,  Larissa Stowe, Sean Tully, Gerd Koch, Paul Lindhard, Joe Cardella, Hiroko Yoshimoto, Norman Kirk, Monica and Matt Furmanski, David Pu’u, David and Linda Elder,  and the list goes on.

And as an afterthought, the Best Ad in the Best Of Ventura County issue goes to Cafe Zack for its minimalist call to relaxation and simplicity. As soon as I can scrape together some dough, I’ll be right over for dinner.

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