Posts tagged ‘first friday ventura’

November 8, 2014

The List No. 3

It occurs to me that it’s high time I make a new list. I started the lists to share interesting cultural developments(usually) in Ventura County, stuff that currently impresses or moves me in some way. Here’s some stuff that has my attention at the moment.



1. MAKE Ventura

Once referred to as hacker spaces, maker spaces are community-centered, membership-driven industrial environments for nerdy creatives and other people who like to get their hands dirty and their minds expanded. Members of MAKE Ventura are afforded rare access to a variety of industrial tools and machinery related to woodworking, jewelry making, mold making and metalsmithing, including a 3-D printer, laser cutter and vinyl cutter in a cooperative setting. Sharing of tools, methods, ideas etc. is central to the ethos of these collaborative spaces that draw inspiration from the open source movement. MAKE Ventura is open to the public on First Fridays. Visit it online to learn more, or drop by.






2. The HUD

A newish art gallery with resident artists and an in-house graphic design studio, the HUD is a cavernous showplace for up and coming regional artists. New artists are showcased every month during a First Friday reception but the venue is slowly incorporating other events such as a juried exhibition on Nov. 15. I especially like the street-inspired contemporary works I’ve seen and purchased there, but the curating is truly eclectic. Run, don’t walk.






3. Sanctuary of Butterflies

There are 28 days left to raise $64,000 in crowdfunding for this massive film project spearheaded by photographer Cole Smothers and musician/artist Luis Perez. Smothers, who is directing the musical documentary “Sanctuary of Butterflies,” will shadow Perez as he travels way off the beaten path in Mexico’s back country to explore, document and ultimately preserve indigenous art forms that are on the path to extinction. Though the proliferation of crowdfunding campaigns has made many of us weary, this one is truly worth a few of our hard-earned dollars.

michele serros






4. Michele Serros

Oxnard native and literary wunderkind Michele Serros has been a little under the weather lately. Actually, she’s been quite heroically beating the hell out of cancer, with the undying support of her beloved husband and loyal fans. Despite her cultural influence, the author of the critically acclaimed Chicana Falsa and Other Stories of Death Identity and Oxnard as well as How to be a Chicana Role Model, is by no means rich and the cost of medicine, allopathic and alternative, is almost unfathomable for an extraordinary female from a city most famous for Nardcore the sugar beet and her. It’s not easy to ask people to pitch in on your healthcare, but she’s done so with her characteristic grace and humor. So maybe buy a book, throw a few dollars in the hat and help a sister out. A Latina en Lucha Needs You Mucha!

5. Linda Ronstadt

Early in my journalism career, I regretfully referred to her as part of the Holy Trinity of Trite (which included the Eagles and Jackson Brown). I made a friend out of that faux pas and I learned a lesson about shooting my pen off. Fifteen years later, I caught  the Eagles documentary on Netflix and found myself mesmerized by Ronstadt’s charm and talent. Sadly, she’s suffering from Parkinson’s and no longer able to sing, but wow hers is a voice for the ages.

April 15, 2010

Sound and vision, love and miracles

Chris Velasco by James Scolari

It’s shaping up to be another busy weekend in Ventura with the Spring Artwalk promising lots of  sweets for the senses. The turnout for VCReporter’s first local music issue party last weekend was tremendous.  It was smiles all around when six up and coming Ventura County bands performed for a capacity house of enthusiastic music fans–can’t wait to do it again next year. One of the bands from the party, Shades of Day, will be performing at ArtWalk at 1 p.m. Saturday on the promenade where C-Street meets the ocean. Last night, another performer, Dan Grimm, proposed to his girlfriend while performing at Green Art People.  Gratz!

A band that’s on our radar for next year’s bands to watch,  Shoddy Cons, whose hybrid of hip-hop, punk rock and funk is generating some buzz in these parts,  just announced they will perform at WAV‘s grand opening on Saturday at 10 p.m. Pick up this week’s VCR for a thought-provoking q & a with WAV’s visionary developer Chris Velasco (pictured).

In early Feb. during a First Friday ArtRide (cyclists dress up and gallery hop on wheels), Gwendolyn Alley‘s husband Marshall  broke his C2 vertebrae in a freak fall. Alley is a longtime fervent supporter of the arts in Ventura County. “Known as a “hangman’s break”,” she said, “It’s the kind of break where 95 percent of the people die instantly; for those who live, almost all have limited mobility.” Marshall, whose recovery thus far is amazing to say the least, will be at Bell Arts Factory during ArtWalk at about 4 p.m. to meet up with Alley and her cycling compadres for some well-deserved revelry.

Goodness knows we pay a lot to live in this fair city, but given the riches that surround us, I’d say, most days it’s worth it.  See ya at ArtWalk!

March 12, 2010

The somewhat surprising success of Ventura’s First Fridays

First Friday–an event that was born out of artist’s frustration with the lack of art-centered activities in the new art city and a natural desire among artists to create something organically and communally for everyone to share in–has been plugging along for a good year, and it’s beginning to look like the sleeper hit of the local arts scene.

It’s amazing (or not) what can be accomplished through desire and heart and without a real budget. Last weekend’s First Friday event was absolutely abuzz with people at all the participating venues and everyone seemed excited about not only what they were experiencing via the actual art, but through conversation and community throughout the evening.

Of particular note is the current exhibit at Bell Arts and Vita Art, “March” a juried exhibition featuring works by female artists from all over Southern California, which opened that evening. The exhibit, at least from a woman’s perspective, is quite evocative, as it explores themes of identity, sexuality, self-esteem, morality, civil rights and motherhood. Most poignant is a 3-dimensional work with a piece of unfinished knitting that speaks to both the wholesome, nurturing and peaceful aspect of  the craft of knitting and its  horrible, hidden side: the abortions that many women were forced to perform on themselves using their knitting needles, when their seemed to be no options.

This exhibit will be up through the end of the month and will feature a diverse slate of women speakers each week.

Sylvia White Gallery always offers something thought provoking on First Friday as well with performance art led by veteran artist John White.

Every First Friday seems to get better than the previous ones, and much of the art for sale is relatively affordable. With WAV open and on board for these events, it will only continue to grow and flourish.

April 30, 2009

Public art is not always pretty


From Michele Chapin's Door Project Exhibition. "Public Art Is Not Always Pretty," by John White (Sylvia White Gallery).

From Grant Ensminger's hip, impromptu exhibit at ArtWalk. He also created Rey Fresco's album artwork.

From Grant Ensminger's hip, impromptu exhibit at ArtWalk. He also created Rey Fresco's album artwork.

April 30, 2009

Luis Perez’s Retablo


One of my favorite moments at last weekend’s Spring ArtWalk was hanging out at the new Vita-Art space with co-owner Luis Perez. Perez has a warmth and authenticity about him that made me not want to leave, which turned out well as my lingering allowed me to meet artist Wil Shephard who has a provocative, exhibit of 3-dimensional art made from found objects.

While perusing the gallery a particular painting caught my eye and Perez explained to me that it was a retablo that was made for him by a Mexican artist.  As it turns out, retablos are fairly rare (Perez has a personal collection in his home), made mainly in Latin America and devotional in nature–an aspect that resonates deeply with me.

Retablos are  expressions of gratitude for answered prayers.  They are very personal and few artists make them. Perez’s retablo (pictured) depicts an environment for teaching children to create art and includes an image of a saint that corresponds with the subject or event, a traditional practice for retablo painting.  The Vita-Art Center is a manifestation of Perez and his wife’s dream, for which they are of course grateful. This attitude is reflected in the retablo and throughout the gallery/learning space.

If you didn’t make it to ArtWalk (or even if you did) Vita-Art at the Bell Arts Factory will be open on Friday, May 1 for the First Friday gallery crawl, an event put on solely by local artists.

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