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Rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies © Robert Sommers 2017

Friday, January 31, 2014

Nature, new and improved

I finally made it over to the Oceanside Museum today to see the Nature Improved show, a show that was held in collaboration with the San Diego History Center. I am going to be up to my ears in it next week and I needed a day to just chill and get away.

The show focused on contemporary artists' handling of the modern landscape. Lots of traffic and stucco. There were definitely some interesting canvasses but I thought that the work overall was a bit uneven.

I am assuming that we are witnessing a further departure from the historic grand landscape and past the politically charged schools of social realism and regionalism and have now charted dead square into the realm of mansard roofs and the piquant underbelly of the modern architectural tragedy. Welcome to the twentieth century miasma.

I needed to visit because an artist that I have carried in my gallery, Carol Lindemulder, had two pieces in the show and I felt like a schmuck for not attending either opening.

I believe that the show was curated by Charlotte Kagen and Bram Dykstra. There may have been different paintings in the two different facilities. This painting above, Carol's Ramona Morning, was not in Oceanside but is shown on the website for San Diego. I really liked Carol's stuff, somebody named Rosenblatt had a wild piece, a couple others were promising. Somebody channeling Roger Kunz, unfortunately without his power. A nice wrist painting of a building, the pejorative term from art school for somebody who is adept at turning on his or her projector. Not a ginormous amount of craftsmanship or facility with the brush apparent but a few artists definitely nailed it.

The show is up until the beginning of March. Visit it and draw your own conclusions. We may have updated nature but it surely doesn't look much improved to me, then again who the hell am I and who asked?

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There is a fantastic photographic show upstairs. One woman makes her own primitive cameras. I believe that her name is Burstine and her fuzzy black and white was exceptional and without post production. May have to visit that one again.

CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY:
AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
November 9, 2013 - March 23, 2014
The Bob and Estelle Gleason Gallery

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Great show by the Fallbrook Camera Club up at the Fallbrook library right now too.

Erykah Badu - Mannish Boy

Friday mail



What drives success? - Jerry sent this article regarding ethnic mobility and achievement over from the New York Times.

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Renée offers this one: How To Be Alone In Our Techno-Consumer Culture: A Conversation With Jonathan Franzen

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Jerry sends a picture of his nephew skating the roofs at UCLA.


Karate and calligraphy - Wheary sends a video.

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KJ informs us that heroin is now being sold in some happy meals.

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Letter from Drew - Hello Robert: Having vodka tonics on the veranda with Lena and Ron in Louangphrabang… Want to talk to you about Mickey Hart coming to MainlyMozart Festival on May 17th....for a Mozart & the Mind demo that will be open to the public free!...at Scripps Research Institute....will we need a Dead Village for this one???

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Kiss my ass baby - DeGoff

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Wired - photos on glass

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Dave in Japan sends us a Delancey Place about "the burglary."

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Fallbrook nurse reportedly fired by CHS in retaliation for speaking out.



Frank Donadee from Collector Magazine sends this photo of yours truly at a past Santa Barbara show. Thanks Frank.


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Shawn in Thailand offers this: "Clean streets, clean air, no traffic jams, free entertainment, Bangkok has never had it so good, apart from the odd hand grenade", says Voranai. (Bangkok Post)

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Hudg - Economic Times - why 85 people have half the world's wealth...

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Robert from Fallbrook saw this - Christie hires former aide to run the state's watchdog/ethics commission. Hmmm.


Terry and Jan just had an incredible vacation in Maui and Kauai. They saw lots of whales. some very close on their trip to Lanai. Wish I was in Hawaii...









Jerry sent this picture of epic indonesian style surf at blacks this week.

Damien Hobgood - photo : DJ Struntz

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Waist deep in the big muddy.

No, nothing happened here.


The word Kristallnacht has come up in the news lately, the dreaded nights of breaking glass on November ninth and tenth of 1938 when military and civilians alike in Austria and Germany launched a series of coordinated attacks against their countries' jewish inhabitants. According to Wikipedia, "at least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps." This pogrom was the start of what was termed the Final Solution.

Monday was the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the dreaded camp which took many of my family and many others lives. There was an interesting article in the New York Times by Alison Smale this week titled Shedding Light on a Vast Toll of Jews Killed Away From the Death Camps. It discusses the estimated two million jews not killed in the camps but instead who perished in what are now known as the killing sites, Hitler becoming more and more ruthless as his forces traveled east towards Russia.

It is coincidental to me that the topic has come up this week. I bought a print from a Latvian woman last week in Santa Barbara and for some reason our conversation landed on the jews that once lived in her country. The history of the fate of the jews in the Baltic states was horrible although arguably no worse than many of their neighboring countries.

The german army crossed the border to Latvia on June 22, 1941. The Nazi security service, known as the Sicherheitsdienst  organized four special assignment units known as Einsatzgruppen.


The purpose of these units was to kill undesirables, namely jews, gypsies and communists. These units wore a special death's head image on their caps. They did a very thorough job, leaving an estimated 3500 of the countries 85,000 jews alive in their wake.

Many Latvians were apparently happy to help in the effort. From Wikipedia:
In Latvia, the Holocaust started on the night of 23 to 24 June 1941, when in the Grobiņa cemetery SD murderers killed six local Jews, including the town chemist.[3] On the following days 35 Jews were exterminated in Durbe, Priekule and Asīte. On June 29 the Nazi invaders started forming the first Latvian SD auxiliary unit in Jelgava. Mārtiņš Vagulāns, member of the Pērkonkrusts organisation, was chosen to head it. In the summer of 1941, 300 men in the unit took part in the extermination of about 2000 Jews in Jelgava and other places in Zemgale.[4] The killing was supervised by the officers of the German SD Rudolf Batz and Alfred Becu, who involved the SS people of the Einsatzgruppe in the action. The main Jelgava Synagogue was burnt down through their joint effort. After the invasion of Riga, Walter Stahlecker, assisted by the members of Pērkonkrusts and other local collaborationists, organised the pogrom of Jews in the capital of Latvia. Viktors Arājs, aged 31 at the time, former member of Pērkonkrusts and a member of a student fraternity, was appointed direct executor of the action. He was an idle eternal student who was supported by his wife, a rich shop owner, who was ten years older than he was. Arājs had worked in the Latvian Police for a certain period of time.[5] He stood out with his power-hungry and extreme thinking. The man was well fed, well dressed, and "with his student's hat proudly cocked on one ear".
On 2 July Viktors Arājs started to form his armed unit of men who were responding to the appeal of Pērkonkrusts to take arms and to clear Latvia of Jews and communists. In the beginning the unit mainly included members of different student fraternities, while later on many degraded and degenerate individuals also joined. In 1941 altogether about 300 men had applied. The closest assistants of Viktors Arājs included Konstantīns Kaķis, Alfrēds Dikmanis, Boris Kinsler and Herberts Cukurs.[6] On the night of July 3, Arājs Kommando started arresting, beating and robbing the Riga Jews. On 4 July, the choral synagogue at Gogoļa Street was burnt, and thereafter, the synagogues at Maskavas and Stabu Streets. Many Jews were killed during those days, including the refugees from Lithuania. In carts and blue buses the murderers of Arājs Commando went to different places in Courland, Zemgale and Vidzeme, killing thousands of Jews there.These killings were supposed to serve as an example to other anti-Semitic supporters of the Nazi invaders. Individual Latvian Selbstschutz units were also involved in the extermination of Jews.[7] In the district of Ilūkste, for instance, Jews were killed by the Selbstschutz death unit of commander Oskars Baltmanis, which consisted of 20 cold-blooded murderers. All killings were supervised by the officers of the German SS and SD. In July 1941 the mass killing of Riga Jews took place in the Biķernieku Forest. About 4,000 people died there. The executions were headed by Sturmbannführers (majors) H. Barth, R. Batz, and the newly appointed chief of the Riga SD Rudolf Lange.In Liepāja the first mass killing of Jews took place on July 3 and 4, when about 400 people were shot dead, and on July 8 when 300 Jews were killed. The German group of SD and policemen did the shooting, while the members of Latvian Selbstschutz convoyed victims to the killing site.[12] On July 13 the destroying of the large choral synagogue of Liepāja began. The rolls of the Scripture were spread on the Ugunsdzēsēju Square, and the Jews were forced to march across their sacred things, with watchers merrily laughing at the amusing scene. The above operations took place under the direct leadership of Erhard Grauel, commander of the Einsatzgruppe's Sonderkommando.
Anyway, something this very nice woman that I met at the show sort of got to me. "Oh no, no jews were killed in Latvia. It is a lie. I asked my mother. They all left for other countries. She had gone to school with them. She looked their names up, they are all living in Australia, Brazil, places like that. With computers you can do that."

I was floored but I understood. And now I think back with added comprehension to a quote in the New York Times article; 

“We must anticipate tomorrow,” Father Desbois added, referring to still powerful anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, “when people will start to say, ‘No, nothing happened here.’ ”



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gary McFarland・Peter Smith

1.29.14


Obama has got wise and decided to go it alone. A guy can only get kicked around for so long before he figures out the score. Republicans who bemoan the lack of bipartisanship should take a long hard look in the mirror. Five years of nothing but obstruction, you can't blame the guy for not falling for the Charlie Brown, Lucy Van Pelt kick the football routine one last time. Our president has come to the middle too many times and had the opposition take another step back.

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Ex venture capitalist hoohaw Tom Perkins engaged in an unfortunate bit of rhetoric when he compared the current social climate for one percenters to kristallnacht, a poor choice of words he has since apologized for.


Now I have no personal beef with either the rich or the poor. Still the reality is that we have had a huge flow of wealth to the top of the economic pyramid over the past three decades and it is obvious that the system isn't working too well for lower and middle class americans. Great to win, sure sucks to lose, but in the end an economic system that might prove unsustainable. Somebody might do something radical one day like storm the Bastille.


Kind of stupid to compare the social castigation of the apex dwellers with the final solution. Doubly dumb for a guy like Perkins who was found guilty in 1996 of involuntary manslaughter for causing the death an innocent sailor with his yacht.

The infamous $130 million dollar carbon fiber yacht. quite the ketch.
The yacht, which Perkins christened the Maltese Falcon, perhaps best illustrates his twin loves of excess and a good challenge. The vessel, the length of a football field, is made from the same carbon-fiber material as a B-1 bomber; he equipped it with sails that unfurl at the touch of a screen and flags that spelled out in maritime code, "Rarely does one have the privilege to witness vulgar ostentation on such a grand scale." 
Way to rub our noses in it, Tom. That is precisely the message we all love so from your ilk. And check out the nice $400k Richard Mille watch. Sweet!


The wealthy do create jobs but too many involve low wage people asking other low wage people if they want fries with their order. People are sick of the double irish games, the offshore shells, the apples and g.e.'s that skate without paying domestic taxes. Hard to cry too much for this minority. But bravo to you folks for hiring such brilliant tax attorneys.

I think that the rich tend to overestimate what their brilliance has contributed to their overall success and the poor tend to conversely devalue the legitimate contributions of the wealthy, many of them who pay a huge chunk of their fortunes in taxes. The truth is that most of us who have enjoyed success have had a lot of help along the way. People like Tom Perkins might try to show a little humility if he is really worried about the ire of the working class.

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Today we get a new farm bill. A bill that cuts $800 million in SNAP programs and food stamps but heavily subsidizes corporate corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, cotton and peanut farmers. Socialism is of course real bad, that is unless it is being suckled through a copacetic corporate teat.


How long you think before Google has its own military force? Reports are that some dark suited guys with wireless ear mikes are now guarding the Google Shuttles from San Francisco to the Silicon Valley. Have to wonder if the Apple / Google thing will ever reduce itself to a shooting war?

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Good night, Pete.

Tail wags dog

DEA Chief Michele Leonhart addressed a national group of Sheriffs recently and reportedly ripped the nation's president for comparing marijuana and alcohol. 
Kern County, Calif., Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the Major Counties Sheriffs’ Association, the group that sponsored Leonhart’s talk Tuesday at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., said Leonhart called out Obama for what Youngblood described as “irresponsible” comments that were a “big slap in the face” to cops who have lost their lives keeping drugs off the street.
“This is a woman who has spent 33 years of her life fighting drug abuse in the DEA, her entire life. To have the president of the United States publicly say marijuana was a bad habit like alcohol was appalling to everyone in that room,” Youngblood said. “I think the way that she felt was that it was a betrayal of what she does for the American people in enforcing our drug laws. ... She got a standing ovation.”
Among other things, the DEA chief was peeved that the White House had a softball game with a pro legalization group. (For your information, the stoners won) And supposedly somebody flew a flag made out of industrial hemp in the capitol. Horrors.

I think that there is an interesting corollary between the actions and views of the people who have spent their lives fighting the drug wars and the people that are involved in the spy and security monolith. The soldiers have decided that it is apparently their job to write policy, not to mention perpetuate their own bureaucracies. And they are making decisions that fly high above their pay grade, without knowledge or consent of the American people.

Marijuana is a major funding source for law enforcement, of course they want to keep it illegal. How else are they going to be able to keep all of the new eye in the sky drones flying over your house looking for patches or better yet, reading your building's heat signature? Prohibition is big business and it keeps a lot of cops and prison guards employed.

The spooks are equally protective regarding losing any of the fancy new toys in their technological arsenal, toys that suck up our personal data in ways never conceived by our founding fathers. And it goes without saying that the opinions of the American people are meaningless to them. An American public I might add, that overwhelmingly favors an end to warrantless surveillance and a clear majority of whom want to legalize marijuana.

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Somehow I was harboring the strange delusion that at some point the power of our country ultimately flowed from its citizens. Yet our leaders, the Diane Feinsteins and Mike Rogers of this world, instead treat the people of this country in the most patronizing and contemptuous manner. They will make these important decisions in our best interests.

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One of the most interesting narratives in Meacham's Thomas Jefferson book The Art of Power was the battle between the northeastern federalists, many of whom actually wanted to rejoin the monarchy and the Republicans, of whom our third President was a standard bearer, and who wanted a weaker federal power and stronger individual democratic rights.

The battle has continued throughout our history as a nation, never quite solved. The Federalists believed in a patrician class of aristocrats making decisons, white, male, landed gentry. And they still do. I was surprised to learn that in the early days of our nation it was actually a crime not to belong to the Anglican church.

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John Inglis
One of the most interesting interviews I have read on the whole security apparatus was NPR's Steve Inskeep's recent interview with Deputy Director John "Chris" Inglis at the NSA. Inglis is retiring soon, he sounds like a very decent fellow and I wish him well in his future pursuits. Inglis addresses and tempers much of the wild speculation regarding the NSA in the interview.

I am sure that the great majority of employees and contractors are patriotic Americans who use utmost caution in dealing with their fellow citizens personal information. But my skeptical mind says that if one Snowden could make off with the crown jewels so easily, surely another could and who knows what kind of nefarious characters will have access down the road? And with one minor plot actually discovered in eight years, it it unreasonable to ask if the disease is worth the cure?

After Watergate and the Church hearings, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the FBI dirty tricks, why would any sane American trust this or any future government? History teaches us that it would be foolish to. Why do they put us in a position where we are forced to?


Monday, January 27, 2014

Prine & Goodman

whooshdown


A bad show in my business is a bummer, two in a row is a disaster, now three can send one looking for high ledges from which to jump. I have just completed the second leg of my current tour, San Francisco beckons in a mere week.

Show sucked. Now I have only killed in Santa Barbara for two years so you could say I was due for an asskicking. And I shore got it. Of course I was not alone in my pain. None of the painting dealers sold diddley except for Lance who managed to bag a live one at the end. Pretty miserable affair. Food sucked too. Had a guy tell me that I had only been there three years and he would only buy from dealers who had been there four...

The really top notch dealers will never admit to having a bad show. If they don't outright lie to you, you will hear about their outstanding prospects. Their really good clients lead impenetrable lives and we the professional dealers are supposed to be pretty ironclad as well. But it is rare to find a dealer who won't be seduced by some great new inventory so most of us stay broke most of the time. Truth be told we love the great stuff more than anybody! I tend to stay mostly quiet about the victories and whine doubly loud about the occasional defeat.

You can never sit tight on old merch in this biz, inventory is a giant ball, things fall off, things fall on and you can take a final inventory when you are dead and gone. Having said all that I did make a connection that might prove very beneficial, both for me and my prospective new clients, perhaps a lifeline. Can't talk, don't want to hex anything.

Of course, I have to stick in boilerplate caveat #17 right about this time, for a guy who has been blessed and taken care of by the creator of your choice (if not the random fluctuations of the cosmos) as much as I have, I need to stfu. Still, long term sustainability is an open question in the present economy. So if you see me on the corner, make sure to buy one of the nice  #2 pencils. They come pre sharpened.

Lost about a thousand on this one, maybe two. Next time I go decorative. Of course, had lots of interest in maybe the finest selection of paintings I have ever exhibited and perhaps there will be some follow up...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eli The Camel

Saturday Slog

Santa Barbara is a bit of a slog. Two more days to see if I can make chicken salad out of the current doldrums. I brought really strong material to the show, maybe too strong. A good client ran past the booth like I had the plague. Simple, people feel tapped, plus yesterday was the worst day for the stock market the past year. Will marshall on and put one foot in front of the other. Things can turn on a dime.

Not a lot to report. Nice meal at Super Rica, as always. chorizo, chalets and asada, washed down with some jugo de sandia aka their wonderful and pulpy watermelon juice that you have to finish off with a spoon.

I think I am actually off of beef for a while. Sort of overdosed this week, steak at the Tee Off and one at Chucks. Hour and a half wait at Harry's last night so we went for a lackluster pasta meal. It has not been a great week of dining, or much else for that matter.

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Jerry sent a link. The Himba tribe, at least according to the Free Thought Project, don't count the date a child is born or conceived as its birth date, but instead the date the mother thought about having a child.
Here is a tribe in Africa where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
An interesting approach, especially juxtaposed against the current conundrum in Texas, where a judge has just ordered a hospital to shut down a dead mother being used to incubate a nonviable, hydrocephalic child. The comments in this morning's New York Times article are quite instructive, once again revealing our deep national divide.

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Did you know that in Japan it is considered bad luck to break a noodle? I didn't until I read Helen McHargue's excellent blog this week. And apparently slurping actually helps the unbroken noodle taste better, like aerating a sip of wine.

Speaking of blogs, Lena and Ron are in Thailand for their near annual asian trip and send a great tale of their trip to Pai. Easy town to visit.

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Of course, the weather and the waves have been epic in California this week. Did you catch this fantastic photograph on the front page of the Union Tribune by K.C. Alfred this week?

K.C. Alfred - Union Tribune
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We all get those emails. Here are a couple I received lately. Cam walked by this decorated lovely in Monterey recently.





Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I'll keep it with mine





PS 22 Chorus

Streamingtuesday

Mushrooms produce their own wind currents to disperse spores.
Dangerous to try to write when I am this exhausted but what the hell. In the new bizarro world of ours libs Chris Matthews and Patrick Kennedy are down on weed, Dems Feinstein, Obama and Schiff are pro surveillance, cats are chasing dogs, everything is totally farblunget. Liberals now support the surveillance state, with a majority of Republicans opposed. Glad that I am registering independent. Now the Prez has admitted to puffing not just as a kid but a big chunk of his adult life. Thanks a lot Pal, a guy in Texas is doing life for possession. Way to go to bat for your homies. Rand Paul actually made a lot of sense the other day, shows you how screwed up I am. Obama tried to sell the meme that surveillance was as American as apple pie and Paul said that Paul Revere wasn't yelling "the americans are coming, he was shouting that the british were coming" which are my sentiments exactly. Course nobody has anything on Toronto mayor Rob Ford, maybe drugs aren't so good for you?


I laud a few things that Obama offered, reducing the hops from three to two, requiring more court authorizations and the like except for emergency situations. The problem is that exigent situations come up all the time. Police agencies "borrowed" the NSA's drones over 700 times last year to conduct domestic surveillance operations. The technology is way out in front of the jurisprudence, in fact it is driving the bus and it seems everything goes. Ex Director Hayden is pleased as punch that the surveillance operations are going to go forward business as usual, the american public doesn't buy the repackaging and remains unconvinced that it is necessary to suck up all of our personal data, in fact it seems, well, un-American. The idea that the phone company or google holding the stuff is any better than the government is of course laughable as well. Republicans and yours truly like to knock Obama's managerial skills but what does it say about Chris Christie that, taking him at his word, he could hire such a malevolent workforce. I personally think he is lying and only a matter of time before the birds start singing. Of course to the right, the Bridge scandal comes down to two things, Benghazi and the IRS investigation. Keep your eyes on the cup kiddies, there is a walnut under one of them. Ukraine gave its dissidents a warning today, starting to pinpoint their cell phone locations, could Russia be about to give an embattled neighbor a little help against its population? Putin sure showed his incredible sensitivity when he politely asked the gays to please refrain from molesting the russian children. Don't think Sochi is the safest place to visit any time soon. You see how the FBI tried to get MLK to commit suicide? Read the transcript. Sure we can trust our government.
President looked pained and strained during his surveillance speech, can't be easy, as they are so fond of saying, no one wants to be responsible for letting in the terrorist scumbag who manages to do us in. But like 9/11, we had all the information, what we didn't have was a smart person who could connect the dots. Perhaps if Condi had bothered to read or pay attention to the Clarke memo we wouldn't be having this conversation today. 10 NSA lies by Lauren Harper. And please explain Bill Binney's remarks about NSA funneling to the DEA's SOP. The idea of turning over "incidental" information about ordinary american's "criminal" activity encountered in these warrantless data collection queries is a little troubling. And who put that strange rock on mars?


Monday, January 20, 2014

Elston sings Townes

L.A. Confidential



I am back, after a long week in Los Angeles. This will be a very short respite as I do it all over this week in Santa Barbara. The life of the vagabond art peddler. The Los Angeles Art Show was definitely the most professional and spectacular production I have ever been associated with, in fact I was a minnow in a sea of leviathans.


As I mentioned last week, I split a booth with my pal Steve from Stevens Fine Art in Phoenix. We have done shows together for many years and although our politics are a bit different, our artwork is very compatible, not to mention our taste in food.


There was a fantastic collection of paintings on the floor of the sprawling Los Angeles Convention center. There were Renoirs and Van Goghs, Grant Woods, Freisekes, just a murderer's row of top tier domestic and international canvases. That being said, we had one of the very best locations in the show and were bombarded with very favorable attention and praise for our respective offerings.


Show turned out almost respectable. Collectively we did fairly well, made rent and cost of goods and maybe a little extra. Certainly gave out zillions of business cards and we might get a little action in the weeks to come.


Opening night was packed. Lots of beautiful women, never have seen anything like it in all my years. People taking millions pictures. I stopped the first guy and then saw that it was like stopping a school of shad, I was battling the new paradigm. Why buy it when you can go home and make your own print?

All week long pictures, pictures, pictures. Next week hundreds of chinese artists will be dutifully reproducing every painting in my booth, just watch.

There is a generational change in art buying. The younger people simply aren't buying. Lack of interest or money. But why should they when they can take a picture and have a perfect reproduction of their favorite work? In fact around the corner from us, they were selling authorized Van Gogh reproductions at $30k a pop, and the guy was complaining about people taking pictures of their giclees! Funny...

I was in a wing called traditional or historic, I forget which. This market demographic appears to be shrinking a bit and the clientele definitely aging. Tastes are definitely in flux. Millennials choice of chroma is different, brighter, more graphic. They seem to respond viscerally rather than being guided by a previous generations choices. Visceral is always a good thing.



We brought a lot of more modern work to try to transition, including some Zap era psychedelic like my Rick Griffin canvas and the kids were beelining for it. Sold an S. Clay Wilson collage sketch that I had owned for ever and never exhibited or offered.


Frankly I didn't see a ton of stuff moving at the show, maybe a lot of people are broke. Even so, it was excellent advertising and I feel good about doing it. Had a lot of great clients and friends stop by to visit and met some new friends and clients. The beat goes on.


I did see some art I really liked. Arcadia from Soho had this great canvas by somebody that might be named Casey Baum titled Transfixed. 21st century narcissus blinded by the light of the monitors. And there was the conceptual stuff that sort of befuddled me like these rocks on the floor by a spanish artist in Jack Rutberg's booth.


Altamira Gallery was showing great works by both Ed Mell and Bill Schenck. Bill was at the show as was Tony Abeyta at Blue Rain's booth. Met lots of artists all week. Kept having to explain that I only handled the dead guys.

We were invited by a curator to the opening of the Alfredo Ramos Martinez show at the Pasadena Museum of California Art and caught it one evening. A bit narrow, I wish that they had included a broader reach of his works but still quite lovely. It included a couple of pieces that I had once sold and I saw some friends and clients there. Afterwards we hit Zankou for chicken, pickled turnips, hummus and garlic paste. Yum!

Steve and I split a room at the old Hotel Figueroa, the Spanish revival warhorse located a few blocks from the show. Funky and nice.




After the first night of setup we were walking back near the Staples Center and bought a couple Lakers, Cavs tickets from a friendly scalper. Guy said that they were high, didn't mention that they were top row. The seats were so high even the sherpas got nose bleeds. Lakers got stomped. Fun anyway but I was dead tired.

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You know how it is with me, it always comes back to the food. It was fun week from the culinary standpoint. We went funky L.A. iconic with a little extra thrown in. Cheap historic eats. First night we were invited to a free opening night soiree at Chaya Downtown and gorged ourselves on really great hors d'oeuvres, often double fisted.

The next morning we ate at the Pantry the Los Angeles favorite that doesn't have a lock in its door and hasn't closed its doors since christ was a corporal. Kind of marginal fare but we had to chalk it off the list.

For lunch we went to Phillipe's and had lamb french dips which were great. Sawdust on the floor, waitresses who have worked the joint since the Taft administration, it is a must eat.

We got out so late opening night that nothing was open but the Yardhouse. Food was edible and the spicy tuna roll actually huge and quite tasty.

Food at the Figueroa was palatable. Breakfast was doled out by the increment. Fifty cent a pancake, fifty cent per bacon strip. You get really cautious when you get rung up like this but we kept it to about five backs each morning. Free water.

Next day after the show we bopped over to the famous Yang Chow's with Genser, a favorite Chinese restaurant where you are guaranteed never to see a Chinese patron's face. As americanized as it gets, they are best known for their famous slippery shrimp and egg foo young. No apologies, it is what it is and we were on a mission.


We also found time to head over to my father's favorite deli in the world, Langers, now located in the middle of a third world country near Echo Park where the crime is so bad that if you want you can park your car at the curb and a police escort will throw the food through your window. This was a highlight for me, pastrami and eggs pancake style and the famous rye. Best in the world. Steve had lox, eggs and onions. Still great, a yiddisher holdout in a sea of red and green.


This lady was making fresh papusas from her shopping cart on the corner of Alvarado. I'm thinking Salvadoran. She gave me a nice smile when I snapped her pic! Wasn't quite daring enough to try one.


Steve and I even made it to La Cabanita one night for very strong margaritas, chuletas and soup. He had the pozole, I tried the incredible chicken caldo which is as good as advertised. Simply the best mexican restaurant there is. Chuletas are thin cut pork chops in a brown pasilla sauce with sour cream. So good it is hard to order anything else. Green sauce at La Cabanita that is out of this world.

Was an interesting week. Big shows like this are a bear to get in and out of, set up and move in were difficult but I managed to make it home late last night after being helped by a very nice staffer named Bill Smith.

Catch a breath and do it again. Not sure if I will try the L.A. Art Show again but want to thank the promoters for allowing me in and giving me an opportunity to show my wares. Pretty good time all in all.