Posts Tagged ‘Sundays’

Just Another Day in LA

July 23, 2009

7/12/09: Today was a busy day, as I found several things to see and do.

First, off to find some arts and crafts fair that had been mentioned by some graphic artists at the ArtWalk. They had been sketchy as to the actual location, someplace called California Mart or something, that was at 9th and Olympic. The only problem with that was Olympic and 9th are parallel to one another. So what was the cross street? They didn’t know. I said I would find it, I’d just walk down one or the other.

And what a beautiful day it was, perfect for picture taking.

Penthouse View of Downtown LA

Penthouse View of Downtown LA

I found the California Market Center easily enough, and the event was on the 13th floor, the Penthouse. It was the Renegade Craft Fair, the first year it has been held in Los Angeles, as previously it had been held in Brooklyn, San Francisco and Chicago. The organizers are based out of Chicago, and now actually have a store devoted to the spirit of the fair. Surprisingly, many of the artists and participants were not from Los Angeles. Many were from the Pacific Northwest and New York City area. I wondered why it wasn’t being held in Seattle or Portland. Why LA? And they will also have a tent at All Points West Music Festival, at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ, the first weekend of August.

But for Sunday in LA, the turnout was quite good, considering I had seen absolutely no advertising for it, and had only just inadvertantly heard about it myself. There were a lot of Etsy craftspeople there, and not afraid to let us know about it! The entire point of it being different from other craft fairs is the whole DIY vibe, a mainstay of Etsy folk, I’ve noticed.

I managed to find a gift for a friend, a T-shirt with the phrase “Don’t you know who I am?” something my friend and I joke she should have on her business cards. Not that she is famous, that’s the point. Who doesn’t want to throw that line around and see what results they get? There was another shirt that said “You’d blog about it too if it had happened to you” for myself, but opted instead for a button that said the same thing. I didn’t want to call too much attention to myself with a T-shirt like that. That’s what makes it fun to blog, being not known for it, as the observer. There were buttons and posters and T-shirts and stuffed animals galore, and plates and mugs and coasters, oh my! The main point of it was there was so much creativity expressed. I could be an artist too, if only I could draw or sculpt or paint or something…. Something that I could tangibly make, and be able to sell to others.

Afterwards, as I was walking down the street to go get coffee,

Random Signage in Downtown

Random Signage in Downtown

I spotted an interesting sign that may have been decals affixed to a sign, or an actual sign added to other signs. Anyway, I took a picture. A man approached me as I did, and exclaimed he had been standing there all day (there was a filming going on, I think he was security), and hadn’t even noticed it. What had me notice it, just walking by? I couldn’t say, other than I have an eye for that sort of thing. That artistic eye. If only I could draw….

I got my mocha, and sat writing until they closed,  when they wanted the chair and table I was working at. (Again, Sunday+downtown+Mocha +after 5 pm is a wash.) I wandered off towards home, taking more photos, and gave my cat Hamlin his gift I had picked up at the Crafts show: a skull and bones fabric fortune cookie, stuffed with organic catnip.

Organic Catnip Fortune Cookie

Organic Catnip Fortune Cookie

He was a junkie in no time, and it was covered in cat drool enough to be damp to the touch already, plus his stray furs, when I took it away from him, afraid of the consequences of unbridled useage, as we were warned by the classic on my knowledge of addictive drugs, Reefer Madness. The fire escape door at the end of the hall was open, who knows, he might have gone plummeting to his death from too much!

And then it was time to get yet another outfit on, and head out to Spaceland to catch Loch Lomond. They had played at Sasquatch Music Fest and had been excellent, and here they were in LA to be viewed and enjoyed again.

Loch Lomond at Spaceland

Loch Lomond at Spaceland

The audience was tiny, I felt so bad for them, but they played excellently, and energetically, just as they had when I had seen them in Washington, with hundreds in attendance. The only consolation was this time I could see them very well, so up close and personal.

They’re one of those bands that the musicians are constantly trading positions and instruments, each able to play more than one thing. Keeps their sound lively and unpredictable. Okay, so the violinist only played violin, but she sang too. And the female vocalist did tambourines and beat on drums too. But the drummer would come out from his drum set and stand to the left of the violinist and play the clarinet. And the other percussionist also played the banjo, guitar and vibraphone.

The lead vocalist has a unique high-pitched singing voice, that makes the songs sound old and sad. Melancholy. As serious, sad and strained as he appears when singing, he has a ready laugh and easy grin when not singing. He tried to lighten things up by telling little stories and jokes, and they were amusing at how often they didn’t work or weren’t appropriate for the situations described. But frequently the awkwardness and inappropriateness turned into catalysts for songs. As his bandmates ribbed him for his eccentricities, I did notice no one else wanted to be the front man doing the segue patter, as much as they gave him crap. In fact, announcing the band’s merchandise turned out to be something that day’s loser of whatever contest had to announce.

Here’s a sampling.

Apparently, the band pares down for tours, since there are more members in these videos than I saw.

And then they were done. I wanted more, more, more. But it was instead time to go home and get some sleep. It was a Sunday, after all, and filled to the brim. Walk, crafts, views, catnip, mocha, live music. And it was now officially over, whether I wanted it to be or not.

Downtown LA, Dead Again

May 12, 2009

In my recent quest for a decent mocha in downtown LA, (ignoring the at least four Starbucks I knew I passed by) I was happy to note that downtown is not so radically changed that it isn’t just plain dead on a Sunday late afternoon/early evening. No artsy artists at their work in converted storefronts, blinds drawn for all to see, just shuttered doorways and storefronts with the rolling metal complete armor, no signs of life but a gusty wind blowing paper and debris. Just like I remember it being not too many years ago. Except there were still well dressed people out walking their dogs, (they may have been in just T-shirts and jeans, but they were expensive T-shirts and jeans, mind you!) something you didn’t see a decade ago.

So if I am feeling like things have changed too much too quickly, I need only wander down after 5 on a Sunday to get that feeling of abandonment and dereliction formerly so pervasive. Just so long as I avoid anyplace near Olympic and the Staples Center / Nokia Live area. It too may be deserted, but it is hard to feel like it is derelict and abandoned with the bright illuminated billboards, booming sound system and the restless search lights. Temporarily asleep from a lack of people, but they probably just haven’t finished whatever event they are inside watching.

To say nothing of the fact I wandered into a place clearly marked Cafe that was open to ask if they served a mocha, and was told no. Espressos and capuccinos, yes, mochas, no. They had no chocolate with which to make it. And this was not the first place I have noticed that I can’t get a mocha, despite the fact that I think if you are going to the effort of pulling espresso shots and steaming milk, having chocolate available for a mocha seems a likely option to have available for the odd customer who might want it. Just like I like my alcoholic drinks disguised as fruity drinks, I like my coffee drinks disguised as chocolate!

Needless to say, I am contemplating opening a place that ONLY serves mochas, [“mochas, MOCHAS, MOCHAS!“] in retaliation. [“No, we have no stinkin’ lattes! Yes we could make them, but we REFUSE TO! Take that!”] And back to business ideas, obviously there is still room for a place that is in downtown and can offer a mocha, at the oh so late hour of 7 pm on a Sunday. In the area of market research, I have determined there is still room for at least one more cafe that is open at that hour in downtown. And remember, according to the rules of the game of this blog, if you end up opening that business, I ask you to please donate at least 1% of your proceeds (off the top, before expenses (I did learn something from working with legal contracts in show business!)) directly to me for giving you this idea. It only seems fair.