Posts tagged ‘activism’

May 10, 2012

Free Pussy Riot!

The true spirit of punk rock is alive and well and living in Russia.  Three members of the Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot (though two of them deny the affiliation) remain in prison, charged with “hooliganism” for their acts of protest, including a performance inside a Russian Orthodox church where they prayed to the mother of Jesus to get rid of Putin.

The women face seven years for their acts of protest which usually include taking over public spaces, dressing like sexed up Teletubbies and cranking their amplifiers.

Anyone know where I can buy a brightly colored ski mask?

January 6, 2012

12 Habits the art world needs to ditch

Street art by Morley. Move along, nothing to obsess about here.

Great article in Huffington Post  by longtime L.A. art critic and Coagula art journal publisher Mat Gleason about the art world’s somewhat antiquated habits. Among other things he says, which I tend to agree with, are:

“Art is sensual. Academics are not.”

“Art is subjective. There inherently cannot be experts.”

Art should not be consigned. (As professional musicians should not generally play for free, says I.)

Street or graffiti art should be admired for its merit, not who painted it. (People tend to get obsessed with the “who” rather than the “what”.)

He also comes down pretty hard on what he calls the art advice industry (I wonder what Sylvia White would say).

Have a read and chime in!

October 1, 2011

Why Occupy?

Read this.

Watch this.

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” Abraham Lincoln

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.”

July 8, 2010

Goodwill, bad idea: isn’t it ironic?

The new Goodwill store opens in downtown Ventura on July 9.  (Yay! . . . Not.)  Located on the corner of Oak and Main where Nicholby’s was and should still be, I’d hope the irony of a “grand opening” of a thrift store in downtown Ventura is not lost on anyone who has followed the redevelopment of this district over the past decade.

I could be wrong, but if memory serves, there was a fairly focused vision for downtown Ventura that did not include thrift stores, or at least a preponderance of them. Yet, here we are, more than ten years into what has been a very successful effort to evolve downtown Ventura from a tumbleweed town to a cultural district, and the mother of all thrift stores is set to open. And not off the beaten path but in an extremely visible and desirable location in the heart of downtown.

To add insult to injury and ratchet up the irony factor, the retailer has partnered with the Artists Union to decorate its windows with art.  Not only is this a case of using art purely for the purposes of decoration (unless, it’s an intentional act of irony on the part of AU. A form of protest, unwittingly embraced by its subject), it’s a transparent attempt by the owners of the store (bless their hearts) to fit into the “new art city.”

I have nothing against thrift stores or Goodwill, but I do have a problem with our inability as a community, an extremely locals-loyal community, to help a struggling business stay afloat, especially when that business is such a key part of the culture of the area.

I don’t know the details surrounding Nicholby’s Antiques closure, but like most businesses struggling downtown,  it was likely a combination of dwindling sales and skyrocketing rent. The greed of property owners in this town will eventually bite them in the ass when people just stop trying to open businesses here and downtown Ventura is once again a ghost town.

There must be a way to encourage property owners to give struggling longtime businesses a break, and there must be a way for us to help the businesses stay open. Trueblood’s was forced to close yet the space then remained either empty or leased by junky thrift stores (Trueblood’s had huge amounts of character.) What was the point of that? Let’s not forget Bonnie’s, either. Rubicon Theater and Zoey’s are businesses critical to the culture and quality of downtown Ventura that are currently struggling… if we don’t help them, everyone hurts.

If we are to stay true to the identity we’ve been nurturing for so many years, we must take the actions that support our vision. We should be embarrassed that we traded Nicholby’s for a mega thrift store in the center of the cultural district. No amount of fine art in the windows will disguise the fact that, as a community, we screwed up.

January 22, 2010

More Ventura County love for Haiti

Americans are clearly a generous people, which is evident time and time again when a great need develops anywhere in the world. Earlier this week, Larry King viewers donated $8 million for aid to Haitians during a telethon. Ventura County is following suit and creative types are proving once again to be some of the most compassionate folk around.

Yes, it’s impressive that Amgen donated $2 million, but when those who are struggling give what little they have, it makes a statement — and we all know how little most artists and musicians have. In just a few days, Ventura performer Kiley Ki organized a benefit concert that yielded more than $3,000 and she’s still collecting donations to try to bump it to $4 K.

VCReporter along with Zoey’s Café and Salzer’s Records is hosting a concert at the Lodge this Sunday, Jan. 24 that will feature some outstanding music by Shades of Day, Shane Alexander, Delaney Gibson and others who have been moved by the suffering of those devastated by the quake in Haiti. Ventura Film Society will also be on hand with a small slate of visual offerings to shed light on the plight of the Haitian people even before the great quakes.

Take 2 in Ventura is also hosting a benefit on Sunday with proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders in Haiti. Roller Derby girls, and Oxnard Guitar Center staff will be on hand as well as Gary Boyer and other Ventura musicians.

Salzer’s is collecting shoes for the people of Haiti and Brandon Salzer reports that so far the response has been encouraging.

Latino radio La “M”, 103.7 FM in Port Hueneme will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Proceeds will go the Ventura County chapter of the Red Cross.

Let’s all show up for at least one of these and do what we can. Barring any brief medical emergencies (a common occurance of late), I plan to be at the Lodge with bells on and a few bucks in my hand.

January 17, 2010

Ventura’s music scene banding together for Haiti

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR MONDAY, MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY, for a HEAL HAITI FUNDRAISER to be held at Charline’s. Also, VCReporter along with Zoey’s is organizing a concert for Haiti to be held at the Lodge on Sunday, Jan. 24. Stay tuned for details.

Heal Haiti Fundraiser

Charline’s Urban Tapas & Wine Bar
546 E Main Street
Ventura CA 93001
805.652.2255 or
805.815-7272 for more info.

2PM till Midnight
10 dollar minimum donation at the door
plus 20% of sales will go to Direct Relief International (

We will have bands going hour by hour

RAW SILK will be opening up our fundraiser at 2pm followed by….

Teresa Russell
Billy Davis (formerly of Emilbus)
Michael Menchaca(Legalizers)
The Preachers
Deja Blu
Ray Jay
Raging Arb and the Redheads and friends

July 9, 2009

The future of ArtWalk hangs in the balance


It’s been just over two months since I reported on the tenuous state of ArtWalk due to budget cuts. The final ArtWalk of its kind–100 percent city supported–was one of the best ever and left me feeling optimistic about the event’s future.

As the city has given over at least 1/2 the responsibility of coordinating, promoting and facilitating ArtWalk to the community via the Downtown Ventura Organization, it seems interest in keeping it going is already waning–especially among artists.

Come on people; get involved, make it happen. Here’s an easy way:

Art Party ArtWalk Fundraiser
Red Brick Gallery
, 315 E. Main St., Ventura. 643-6400.
July 18, 7-10 p.m.

Art, live music, eats by Watermark, 71 Palm, Savory Cafe, Cafe Fiore and more.

April 24, 2009

Follow me: ArtWalk

These are my picks for ArtWalk. I plan to go on Saturday, and make Sunday my cleaning day (sigh) but there are some noteworthy events on Sunday so please visit the ArtWalk Web site for details. My general order of visitation is west to east but that could change. Plus, I’m not sure what time I will begin the journey. I will try to tweet but I’m still trying to figure out how to set up my phone.

643 A Project Space (cool contemporary art here but they’re rarely open)

Bell Arts Factory/Vita Art Center (never disappointing, always refreshing, eclectic and fun)

Stoneworks Studios (go for the art and entertainment, stay for the homemade hospitality)

Architexture (the best live music happens here and this time will be no exception)

Spa by Diane Loring (VCReporter managing editor/artist, Michael Sullivan‘s inaugural event)

Artist’s Union Gallery (needs no introduction)

Erle Stanley Gardner Building (CSUCI Capstone exhibit: foretells an expansion into Ventura)

Buenaventura Art Association (friendly people, friendly art)

Sea Breeze Gallery (an authentic collective that gets overlooked sometimes, well worth a look)

Sylvia White Gallery (large scale, upscale and inspiring)

Other possibilities:

1 p.m. Sea Lions (live music) at Buffalo Records

3 p.m. Kiley Ki (live music) California St. stage

6 p.m. Delaney Gibson (VCReporter musical artist to watch) California St. stage

November 22, 2008

Holy art installation, Batman


It seems someone got the idea to address issues of church and state using public art. I love when art collides with life in this way.

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