The First First of 2013 (Yee-haw!)

January 17th, 2013

Well, true believers, Bixby bounce was back with all it’s deep Knolls knowledge for another year this last first friday!  That’s right the art walk to end all art walks kicked off the new year with all the resplendent magic, business activation, art, and energy you’ve come to expect for the north long beach art walk which parades, gallops, strides, and sways up the atlantic corridor from 37th street to Clairborne hitting up every bakery, children’s music center, relaxation studio, coffee shop, and pizza parlor on the way!  As the immortal beats would say, “dig that art.”

In preparation for February’s Mardis Gras parade featuring the Gumbo Brothers, the ranger and his best pal Cinco conducted a mini-teaser parade at the Expo Furniture Warehouse to wet our appetites.  Mardis Gras King and Queen: John Royce and Kelly Johnson were crowned.  Thrill to their smiling mugs at the top of the page!

And what art walk would be complete without a petting zoo we might ask?  Get a handful of goats next month at the It’s a Grind parking lot!

Grab a good book and wait ’til 2/1/13 my friends when again the streets will be ablaze with magic!

Bixby Knolls Cooks for Kids!

December 25th, 2012

We here at Knolls Ranger Dot Com, (follow that hyper-link for a recursive cycle of self-fulfilling meta loops [we dare ya!]) love a good cook off, hootenanny, all-you-can-eat, and banquet.  So imagine our good cheer when we discovered that not only would such an event be occurring in downtown Long Beaches Maya Hotel, but that our very own Blair Cohn would be competin’ in the cooking’ (and the eaten’!)  Add to the fact that this event was to raise money for Miller Children’s Hospital and the children’s cancer ward and our ranger lovin’ altruistic hearts swooned!  The Bixby chefs competed against 6 others and served some fine Factory Gastropub grub.  The sponsored child for the Bixby table was none other than Bixby Bucaroo and brain tumor fighter, Berlin Gutenkauf.  Oh and PS, Blair and Fire Chief Mike DuRee totally won!  Booya!

A Very Merry First Fridays

December 22nd, 2012


Ho!  Ho!  Ho!  Happy Winter Solstice Bixby Knolls!  And the merriest of Christmases, Chanukahs, Kwanzas, and Berchtoldstags too!  With such a bevy of rich winter celebrations to peruse you can bet your bottom peso that Bixby Knolls went all out this First Friday!   We’re talking musicians, carolers, multiple Kris Kringles, graffiti artists, and one big elf!  But don’t take our word for it, check it out for yourself!

Everyone’s favorite trio of tiny string plucking females, the Ukettes crooned

And Roy Robbins who’s fabulous Gift and Stationary shop will close it’s doors in the New Year had one heck of a window display!

 

Behind the Music: The Life and Times of the Knolls Ranger

November 20th, 2012

Fact:  The Knolls Ranger, local super-hero and pastry aficionado from the  Bixby Knolls region of upper Long Beach, is as old as the hills.  Actually, with a birthdate of Oct. 1st, 1881 he is older than our nearest hill (Signal Hill) by 43 years!  But who’s counting?

We are!  And our crack team of recreational historians have been working ’round the clock; subsiding on only the ranger’s famous sarsparilla, pouring through family photo albums, interviewing dotty old relatives stinking in resting homes across this great nation, and all in an effort to bring you a definitive history of the life and times of our man, the Knolls Ranger.

That’s right, never before has the entire story of the pod-person vigilante been so thoroughly laid out, the mythos questioned, the facts laid bare.  What lies before you is nothing short of the entire story, good and ill, in riveting bullet point form!  So get those mice ready blog-o-philes, and start scrolling southward because this is it.  The Knolls Ranger:  The Untold Story

13.75 Million years Ago

Our tale begins.  The big bang creates a hot, dense, rapidly expanding universe.  Nerds Sheldon and Leonard move next door to aspiring actress Penny.  Energy cools and is converted into sub-atomic particles.  Protons, netutrons and ranger-trons form and bind.  Yes, ranger-trons.  In an exciting bout of scientific derring-do physicists at the Geneva hadron collider now believe that a third building block of life, the ranger block, was created side by side with protrons and neutrons during that fateful day of big banging.  But this discreet particle laid dormant in a dwarf star for millions of years before hurtling towards earth and creating two beings with it’s unique composition:  Bixby super-hero, The Knolls Ranger and TV actor, Ernest Borgnine.  Proving once and for all that atomically speaking The Knolls Ranger is unlike any other being on this planet.  Except for Ernie B.

1881 AD

As legend has it, the Knolls Ranger arose from the chance devouring of a pregnant abuelita woman by an alien bean-pod in the Rancho’s of yester-year.  But new DNA tests reveal the ranger’s true father to be none other than Papa Long Beach himself, Jotham Bixby.  This revelation illustrates just how deep the ranger’s Bixby blood runs but doesn’t immediately account for his super-powers of photo-synthesis.  Is the pod person persona little more than a cheap parlor trick?  A tall tale?  A well-spun yarn?  Or was Jotham Bixby himself the bean pod?!  Were Lewellyn Bixby and Benjamin Flint and the entire Flint & Bixby Co. a secret coven of space veggies?!  We may never get a definitive answer on this, but we do know KR drops leaves in autumn, and that ain’t no parlor trick.

1890′s

Everyone knows that after his time with the Bixbys the ranger went on to live with the Tongva indians in the Puvungna village in what is now Cal State Long Beach.  But what many people don’t realize is that he also took this opportunity to invent peanut butter.  If we type it it must be true!

1926

In the lord’s year of 1926 a traveling snake charmer traded the ranger new literature for his prized PB and some of those Rancho Los Cerritos Lima Beans.  Amongst the books was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  Immediately falling in love with the glamour of the east, KR bid his tribe adieu, sent one last prayer to Chinigchinix, and headed off to Yale to get a college education, “Like Gatsby”  When Yale turned him down, the ranger found himself at Dartmouth, where he attended classes in Political Science with a high five enthusiast named Cinco Martinez.  The two formed a fast friendship which persists to this day.

1949

Hot on the heels of collegiate carousing (only root beer folks, don’t worry), the Ranger returned to his Tongva tribe and his LB life and fell in with a trio of track-home building developers named Boyar, Taper, and Weingart.  They convinced the son of Jotham and his Bixby bud Cinco to build the Lakewood City Center under the pretense that our boys would be constructing homes for returning WWII soldiers.  When the shoe dropped that our heroes had unintentionally developed the world’s first mall and effectively driven all the business out of the Bixby area the ranger swore he would do right by the community from then onward.

1954

As the story goes the ranger was driven out of town by a torch and pitchfork wielding populace, real Mary Shelly chic, after his and Cinco’s Lakewood transgression only to freeze in a fruit crate stored at the Long Beach Ice Company and awake 60 years later from cryogenic stasis to a public desperate for a hero.  But what about the Bixby Belle?  You know the Dooley doll come to life by magical LA river slime?  The other great protector of Bixby and the ranger’s better half!  How could she have come to be if the Knolls Ranger was already on ice at this time?  Unless…  Unless it was Cinco disguised as the Knolls Ranger who froze himself for all those years!  Leaving the Ranger time to master Tai Chi, fly to the moon, battle his arch nemesis Dr. Illiterate on that desert isle and hone the skills he would need to be the cities protector in cognito!  Yes, the ranger was in disguise for 60 years traversing the globe with his gal, keeping Bixby bandits at bay from a distance, and becoming the worldly fellow he is today!  Or so these ancient Masonic texts we found buried at the Long Beach Historical Society tell us.

September 2009

A certain ranger arrives on the scene.  Spreading fun and silliness wherever he goes.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Primer Viernes de los Muertos!

November 10th, 2012

November’s First Fridays was not to be trifled with.  From offerings to the dead to Sublime tribute bands, Mariachi music to Hendrix sing alongs.  And all the stilt walkers, classic cars, graffiti artists, and true originals you’ve come to expect from First Fridays!   Check it out!

First fridays will be back this December with a tree lighting ceremony!  Can’t wait to see you there!

Re-united and it Feels So Good

October 20th, 2012

Spooktacular arts and community engagement were on display this October when the ranger was reunited with his long lost beau the Bixby Belle (she had fallen in a well heaven’s to Betsy!).  But that’s not it!  In true first fridays fashion the streets were packed with musicians, artisans, colorful characters, stilt walkers, face painters, improv actors, cross dressers, classic cars, Klezmer bands, mask makers and more!  Check it out!

The Belle and the ranger read stories about the wild west to endearing tots at Councilmember James Johnson’s First Books event at the Dana Library!

Then they headed up to the beautiful new boutique, Oh Very Young (4378 Atlantic) who were kind enough to host a birthday party for the 131 year old ranger replete with fun photo booths…

…and Birthday cake!

Emma from the Potential Lunatics also celebrated a birthday!

The streets teamed with musicians…

… Trick-or-Treaters…

…and celebrity guests!

Doma

Gaga

Obama

Catch ya next month in Bixby Knolls!

Back to Cool Month for First Fridays

September 12th, 2012

Long Beaches biggest, baddest art walk was back in full force this First Friday!  The ranger renewed the wedding vows of a delightful couple outside Melinda McCoy’s Flowers.  Jazz, swing, and brass bands milled about making merry music!  There was shopping, strolling, eating, classic cars and graffiti art.  See for yourself!

Hectic, Eclectic, Heterogeneous August

August 6th, 2012

Well call me a banana slug slippin’ and slidin’ it’s way down a persian rug!  The First Fridays art walk which began so humbly nearly six years ago has not only grown by leaps and bounds but it has continued to adhere to the integrity of small business activation, local arts appreciation and the DIY spirit of greasing one’s elbows!  At this rate we predict it to surpass LA’s Art Walk by 2013.  You read it here first!  Let’s see what August had to offer shall we?

Local artistes and designers shared their wares!

Councilmember James Johnston unveiled the name of Long Beach’s latest park and the largest one since 1952!  Unfortunately the winning name suggestion wasn’t Park Pantry though we tried our best to sway the vote.  Fortunately the name was still pretty majestic.  Welcome Willow Springs!

Salon Medusa continued to do the ‘do’s you want done!  Adding green faux-hawks and other treats to the scalps of adorable rock-a-billy toddlers of every creed!

Mimes from Gatsby Books entertained onlookers at the Expo Furniture Warehouse until such time as they needed rescue from nefarious invisible glass boxes!

I checked in on the relative safety of the streets with my most trusted of Bixby Buckaroos!

But perhaps the most exciting treat for the evening, (and the weirdest!) was a musical theatre performance by the Musincanto Academy of Music who traveled all the way from Crema, Italy just to perform in our first fridays event.  They booked no other shows in the United States.  They only came for us.  And if that’s not an indication of the powerful magnetic draw of the weirdness and wildness of Bixby Knoll’s First Fridays we don’t know what is!

Seeya next month Bixby!  Stay Strange!

Summer Spectacles in the So-cal Sun!

July 8th, 2012


Salutations sagacious soul-mates! It’s your servant of super-herodom the Knolls Ranger! And I’m happier than a bajillion june-bugs this July! Why? Because of yet another one of Mama’s masterful First Fridays that’s why!  We’re talking free bike bells handed out at our favorite fix-it spot The Workshop!  A Tatoo-athon and Lucha-libre-Soda-pop-party at the Long Beach Clothing Company!  A flag retirement ceremony conducted by the Boy Scouts of America!  Plus classic cars, face paintings, a big brass band, live clay work, student musical recitals, the Big Red Bus and of course, yours truly the inimitable weirdo ranger!  Has art and commerce ever been so deliciously melded?!  Check it out!

Local musicians provide a groovy backbeat for DVD repairmen outside the Autometric Laboratory!

The Jarritos luchadore took any nay-sayers of the Mexican soda co. to the ring!  But he didn’t un-mask this ranger, who likes a Tamrind pop every so often!  (Provided there’s no Sarsparilla in sight).

Troop 29 retired tattered or soiled Betsy Ross’s to the purging flames of respect out back of Nino’s Italian Restaurant.  (Have you tried their new Chef Ramsey approved menu yet?  Simply divine)

Can’t wait to see you all next month for another rip-roaring first fridays!  Au revoir!

The Ballad of Bixby Belle!

May 3rd, 2012

Well howdy do kiddies, it’s your old pal the Knolls Ranger getting’ ready to spin you one of my world famous yarns.  Now thissy here one’s near and dear to me for it’s all about a literal doll by the name o’ Belle who happens to be my best gal.  My heart beats three times what the docs say it’s supposed to when she shows up on the Atlantic Cooridor grinning pure as pudding and waving that cowgirl hat of hers around.  I’m real thankful she’s back in my life and thought y’all might like to here the story about how she came to be.  It all has to do with magical LA river run-off, the Dooley family, and the simple beating of two hearts.  But this ain’t the kind of tale one just tells alright, heavens now, a story this splendiferous can only be sung.  So without further ado I give you the whopping’ campfire song, The Ballad of the Bixby Belle as composed by country western legend Steamboat Smolar and best appreciated when sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies.

Come hither, take a listen

to a sordid type of tale

’bout a misses supersticious

that we call the Bixby Belle

 

Her origins are well known

from here to Belmont Shore

it all started in our Lord’s year

around 1954

 

Her friend, the Knolls Ranger

got Belle as a reward

from Mrs. Dooley’s doll collection

when he washed and waxed her Ford

 

The Knolls Ranger carried Belle

almost everywhere he went

with a notable exception

when he gave her up for lent

 

One day, trouble came a-brewin’

for the Ranger and his gal

They were by the LA River

when the Ranger tripped and fell

 

He tried to correct his stumble

but the pavement he did meet

while the doll fell in the river

the Ranger scrambled to his feet

 

After Bixy Belle had fallen

our Hero dove right in

To save his dear companion

and to be with her again

 

When the Ranger found Belle

he was surely quite surprised

for the magic of the river

put a sparkle in her eyes

 

Our Belle, now a real girl

she was no longer a doll

she could talk and think and yodel

and go shopping at the mall

 

Now the Bixby folks all rejoice

to have a super homespun team

the Ranger and Bixby Belle

are as sweet as peach ice cream

I credit all the sweetness to my wonderful girl, the apple of my life, the eye of my light!  Why just take a gander at her humble and benevolent being.