Posts tagged ‘etiquette’

October 28, 2013

The List: No. 1.

The List is something new I’m playing with to show my appreciation for people, places or things in a given week, usually in Ventura County but not always.

brian parra

1. Brian Parra of Saturday Night Sound for his generosity, especially toward local youth attempting to play and promote music.

kapeesh

2. Kapeesh. Talent and integrity in equal measure and that measure is large. I’ve known about his lyrical and performance chops for a while, but this weekend I became privy to his character and it only made him more awesome. If you like hip-hop or you can appreciate a great entertainer, go see him. He will be at Bombay Bar on Friday, Nov. 1.

zan

3. Zan Ferris. Zan is a yoga instructor, skateboarder, UFO expert and baker of delicious treats. She is a one of a kind who keeps it real in a culture that’s increasingly threatened by fakery. If you’re a fan of authenticity, intelligence, whimsy or moving your body for health and happiness, please take one of her classes. Ready, go!

ventura avenue

4. Ventura Avenue. Good people staying strong and being community under challenging conditions. I heart you.

marie shannon

5. Marie Shannon Confections. For a while now I have loved their pastries and loathed their service. But quite suddenly it seems, they have raised the bar on their service to match their gorgeous desserts. This is good news for downtown Ventura. Long live the mom and pop bakery.

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!

July 18, 2009

To the idiot in the Hawaiian shirt and his equally vacant girlfriend who nearly ruined my moment with Gregg: a quick etiquette lesson.

mad

Dear Concertgoer:

Last night at the Gregg Allman concert I stood to the right of, and slightly behind, you and your date during “Dreams.” If you’d read my letter to Mr. Allman in the most recent VCReporter, you would know that there is a little nook in my heart where he resides, and being 10 feet away from him while he sang my favorite Allman Brothers song would rank as one of my top 20 perfect moments in this life.

I had waited in the VIP section, trying to groove along to one blues number after another, hoping and praying for that one song, my song, for what seemed like an hour, when alas that first note finally rang out.

Of course I immediately beelined for the stage so I could see my man up close, singing the song that made me fall so hard for him and his voice. I’m used to battling some hardass crowds to get the view that I want at a concert, but wading through a sea of 40-60 somethings in Hawaiian shirts proved much more challenging.

When I finally got sort of positioned well enough to see my man up close, my moment with him was abruptly usurped by your clumsy schoolboy public groping of the half-drunk woman accompanying you. Gregg’s timeworn, angelic face was blocked repeatedly by the back of her head as she squirmed beneath your hairy paws. And it only got worse. Not only did you steal my moment, but your immature antics nearly eclipsed the song. Come to think of it, aren’t you one of the jocks that used to ruin punk rock shows in Hollywood and OC in the early 80s? You look awfully familiar.

As I stood there, unable to see my man, suppressing the urge to shove the two of you out of my way, I remembered many years ago when Tony and I put on quite a show of our own at a Black Crowes concert. I’m pretty sure the people behind us were none too amused and it occured to me now that this might be payback. Karma, if you will. So I chilled.

I was never able to regain eye contact with Gregg, but I refused to let it further taint the experience of his voice, this song—live. So I settled into the cirumstances, closed my eyes and felt what I couldn’t see.

That doesn’t let you off the hook though. For future reference, there is an unspoken etiquitte adhered to at concerts by those who are used to seeing live music, those who hold it in high regard. Those who will squash you next time you act like a fool. So don’t.

Peace.
Michel

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