Posts tagged ‘spectacle’

February 20, 2014

the modern court of popular opinion

I’ve been getting quite a lot of traffic for the past two weeks. Here’s why:

  • gracie gold bullshit
  • gracie gold bitch
  • ashely wagner slut
  • ashley wagner bitch face
  • gracie gold annoying
  • ashley wagner had a snotty face
  • gracie gold snobby interview

These are the most commonly used search phrases to land people on my humble blog recently. I agree with most of them.



February 15, 2014

The color of money

Before last night I was mildly obsessed with women’s figure skating and declared no interest whatsoever in men’s. That’s all changed. Besides all the delicious drama (someone quit, someone fell hard etc.), one of the skaters, Jason Brown, used music by Prince for his short program, a bold move to be sure. Upping the ante on the risk factor (no, I’m not talking about personal injury, though there may be lawyers involved) was the rather large Prince logo on his back.

Assuming he didn’t get the green light from the great purple one, would anyone be surprised if repercussions were in his future? The famously litigious Artist Recently Known as Asshole is beginning to rival another musician (who shall remain nameless seeing as I once had to endure a lengthy deposition at his lawyers’ behest. Hint: his band is usually associated with sunny California and mental illness ) and apparently fans are no more immune to the wrath of his ego than corporations. Shameful behavior.

On the other hand,  Brown’s performance, was anything but shameful and altogether stunning. Flamboyant, creative and technically near-perfect, it turned me into an instant fan of men in tights on ice. Yet, inexplicably, earned him no better than 9th place. NINTH PLACE.  I could go on about the injustice but I’d really like to know what you think.

September 18, 2013

Best Of Ventura County 2013

Here we go again.  A few of my personal choices.

Best Customer Service Moment
Jessica at United States Postal Service Downtown Ventura office

Dear Jessica,

Though we never met face to face I wanted you to know, hyperbole aside, that you single-handedly restored my  faith in humanity. Of all possible places to receive THE BEST customer service of the past decade, the post office would not have been in my top 100. Yet it happened. You were friendly, understanding and helpful. You took down my phone number and called me back (!). Best of all, you happily helped me solve my problem. I never got around to writing a thank you note, and for that I apologize.

Best Event I Didn’t Attend
A Flavor Trip Around The World

My colleague Michael Sullivan logged more than a few hours coordinating and facilitating this event to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society a cause very close to her heart, or more accurately, her blood.  The premise: Various ethnic restaurants from around the county set up table tents with samples of their specialties. There was also multicultural live music. I had every intention of attending but due to an evil heat wave, I was forced to stay in my cave with a spray bottle of chilled water. I do hope she reprises the event next year, and the sun behaves itself.


Best Progressive Idea That Didn’t Catch On
Connect Ventura

Josh Addison, founder of Bell Arts Factory, is one of those rare pioneering people who is not driven by self-interest; which makes it extra unfortunate when one of his projects doesn’t quite take off. Case in point: Connect Ventura, a co-working space he established in West Ventura. Co-working isn’t an entirely new idea but it might be a bit outside the cubicle for Ventuckians to embrace.  As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, the workers find themselves bereft of company. Being alone, while appealing to a degree, is not natural for humans and therefore not healthy. A co-working space provides a comfortable, quiet place to work in the company of others. Connect Ventura had everything the mobile businessperson could want: fast Internet, private space, conference rooms, common areas for networking, a kitchen and complimentary coffee. It’s possible that the fee for using the space was a bit high for many people, it certainly was for me, but its success could have ushered in a new era for Ventura. Rumor has it that Addison will give it another try, this time using the Bell Arts Space. Fingers crossed.

Best Overhyped Job Creator
The Collection at Riverpark

Oxnard finally has the shopping center it deserves. For all the hype, the public art, the fancy stores, the plush movie theater, the restaurants and the Whole Foods Market everyone is so ga ga for, it’s really just another uninspired generic way for hard working people to support the status quo at the expense of small business, the environment and originality. Meh.



Best Disaster
The Springs Fire

Brush fires in spring or Camarillo Springs are not the norm, but neither is fog in August. Weather patterns are changing (with or without your permission) and the Springs Fire had all the drama of a typical Southern California disaster with a price tag to match: $7.6 million. I remember this day well because I was trying to stay cool during a totally uncharacteristic May heat wave as I prepared for the VCReporter Local Music Issue Party that night.  I watched the fire’s progression live on television. As a 50-year resident of So Cal and witness to countless large brush fires, this was the fastest moving fire I’d ever seen. I mean, it made it all the way to the ocean in one day! It was also a huge victory for firefighters who managed to put it out with no loss of life or property and only a few minor injuries. There’s a reason everyone loves these guys.

Best Event Fail
The Parking Lot Summer Concert Series

After jumping through endless hoops to get City Council approval for a potentially lucrative (for himself and the city) summer concert series in the unused parking lot behind City Hall, exasperated fat cat Mark Hartley was forced to fold the whole idea. Poli Street residents were relieved; yuppies and hipster music fans, not so much.

Best Place to View Tweekers and Hot Construction Workers
Red Barn Liquor

Since moving to the Ventura Avenue area earlier this year I have spent a substantial amount of accumulated time at Red Barn Liquor. Whether I’m waiting in the car while my son fills our water bottles or running in for a quick candy fix, I have come to rely on three things there: the Russian owner calling me and every customer, male or female, “baby”; haggard old tweeker chicks on bicycles making deals out front; and hot, sweaty construction/oil field workers cruising in after work for a 12 pack and a taco. The people watching (read: eavesdropping) opportunities are phenomenal and one day I will park myself there to write a book. Bonus: across the street are a laundromat, party supply and Santeria shop.

July 30, 2009

Festivals and rumors of festivals

In the wake of the epic failure that was the California Music Fest, it seems that yet another would-be promoter is cooking up something big in Ventura. And when I say big, I mean BIG. Why Ventura? Who knows. Yes, it’s a beautiful place, yes it’s got that certain je ne sais quois, but music events here are historically under attended unless they involve punk rock.

The newest player in the festival game (more to come, including his name) has designs on the fairgrounds and rumor has it, that a Yardbirds reunion in little ‘ol Ventura is not entirely outside the realm of possibility. Let the buzz begin. Jimmy Page at Seaside Park? Someone call Jim Salzer.

May 7, 2009

Rey Fresco sells out

This band is getting the big push and I’ve been reluctant to believe the hype, but with a little help from their friends, they managed to sell out the Ventura Theater last weekend. This clip really captures their energy and their signature coastal Cali sound.

November 26, 2008

Art, cynicism and Scott Jacobs

Since my story a couple weeks ago, I’ve been following the buzz about Scott Jacobs and his Obama painting “Someday Has Come.” While initially I was one of those swept up in the serendipity of it all, when coverage of Jacob and his art piece spread outside Ventura County, my cynicism crept in.

I mean, what do we know about the photographer who took the pic that Jacobs copied, albeit skillfully, but copied nonetheless. Has the photographer been given his due credit as Jacobs cashes in? And what exactly is he cashing in on? The art piece itself? This of course begs the question: what qualifies as art? Is decent reproduction art? What about the manic optimism surrounding Obama’s election? People are so enamored of the president-elect that virtually anything with his name or image suddenly becomes invaluable. Or is it the story? And the story has taken new forms as it’s been retold.

Jacobs was “homeless” he’s a “veteran” he drives a BMW and he owns a laptop. That he was kicked out of his home on election day because he’s an artist, then after visiting the voting booth was inspired to paint Obama’s likeness (from an existing photograph) in public (where else, he has no home), was invited to show the piece at Sylvia White Gallery’s election night party... has become a little preposterous to me.

I’d like to believe it all went down like this. I do believe in Kismet, but c’mon.

When the Artists Union Gallery took him under their wing momentarily to close their “Election Collection” show, my sigh was audible for blocks.

Turnout for the event was a who’s who of the Ventura artists community. People traveled from well outside Ventura County to purchase a signed/numbered giclee and meet Jacobs. And purchase they did. A physician who had been visiting Ventura saw Jacobs painting, became enamored of the “story” and funded the production of T-shirts for the Artists Union Gallery event. I looked around for a punch bowl full of Kool Aid to explain the collective bliss, the glazed over expressions… my negativity looming, threatening.

Faced with such almost naive enthusiasm from people I respect in the arts community, I began to feel a bit ashamed of my skepticism. Does it really matter why people are happy? Maybe this whole thing had some kind of divine push behind it. Who am I to judge it, right?

When I asked Jacobs what’s next he told me he was beginning a new collection about the Montecito “Tea” fire, ostensibly to raise funds for the victims.

My co-worker, Paul, had a reasonable explanation for my attitude: I’m a reporter, duh. I question (hopefully). I’m still somewhat at odds about the whole thing and I can’t help but look around for validation of my instincts from practically anyone who mentions Scott Jacobs, but I’m also planning to refrain from further examination of this story, for now. If, however, he sells the original for the $100K he’s asking (sheesh, even $10K) you can bet I will resume this conversation.

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