Archive for April, 2010

Alive and Kicking at 3838 Atlantic!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

A Hell of A Show

The Knolls Ranger is proud to welcome his favorite band of mischievous itinerant artists back to the Atlantic Cooridor.  Alive Theatre, a Long Beach based Non-Profit performance company has traversed much of this fine city since their inception in January of 2008, playing in alleyways, parking lots, galleries, river boats, hotels, museums, libraries, churches, vacant store fronts, converted cargo containers, any place that would have them.  And with each venue they marked off, they left an imprint.  An imprint of wild and wooly wackiness.

In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, 2009, Expo Furniture Warehouse

In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, 2009, Expo Furniture Warehouse

Playhouse 2009 Expo Warehouse

This is the fiery bunch that turned the Expo Furniture warehouse into a New York dive bar circa 1984 last summer for their production of Stephen Adly Guirgis’, In Arabia We’d All Be Kings.  And then immediately turned around and changed the space again into a fun-house/art gallerie/spookshow filled with performance art, and rampant ballerinas!

And now they’re back, back in another more-or-less vacant former furniture retail store!  Back doing what they do best, looking at the world through slightly eschewed vision and then shaking it up like a snow globe and handing it back to the public.  This time the play they’ve chosen to perform is Master Absurdist Eugene Ionesco’s dramedy satire, A Hell of a Mess.

Pretty Kitty

We find The Character on his final day at the job.  His recent inheritance from a relative he didn’t know well has given him enough capitol to retire early and break the bondage of his cubicle. With his past flames, former disgruntled colleagues, and favorite dive in the rear view, he sets out into a world that his new-found wealth brings: An apartment in a high rise nestled amongst an assortment of kooky neighbors. He finds his way to a nearby bistro that he’ll eventually frequent daily and en-kindles romance with a waitress named Agnes. All is well for a time until revolution erupts and sends his suburban neighborhood into chaos. To find refuge from the war torn streets, he bars himself to the confines of his apartment and lives out his remaining years in solitude pondering the purpose of it all.

A Hell of a Mess, 3838 Atlantic, April 17th - May 8th

A Hell of a Mess, 3838 Atlantic, April 17th - May 8th

The show runs for the next two weekends at 3838 Atlantic, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM.  Tickets are $18 general admission, $15 for students and seniors.  There is an additional $10 group rate for ten or more people or a discount of three dollars for a receipt from Nino’s Italian Restaurant.  (You cannot double up on discount deals)  Additionally you can enjoy an 15% meal discount on a Nino’s dinner after the show if you provide one of their excellent servers with your Alive Theatre ticket stub or program.

Looking for a crack in the wall

Finally, there will be two special pay-What-You-Can nights.  Saturday May 1st, and Friday May 7th.  The ranger’s planning on seeing the show for first fridays and hopes to see you there!

What a hell of a mess

Introducing…The Knolls Kegger!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Two Rangers?!

Hot hopping horned toads of Havana, the Ranger had a wonderful Wednesday!  It all started at 7 PM over at The Factory Gastrobar where residents of Bixby Knolls, local congressmen, and business leaders all gathered to talk bikes and sip brews!

The Ranger as Beer Keg

Bixby’s favorite music man, DJ Neon Hunter played the party hits we all wanted to here and Long Beach City Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy outlined his plans for transforming Long Beach into “the most bike friendly city in the United States.”  Yowza!

Gandy and the Ranger!

These plans included using $17 million in federal and state grants to improve the bike system in the city and painting twenty new miles of bikes lanes on all your favorite streets!  Also on the docket was the value of incentives to local cyclists such as the Lunch Breaks for Cyclists system already in place wherein bikers receive meal discounts from a plethora of Long Beach eateries for lunch on the first Friday of every month, including Bixby businesses like Nino’s Italian Restaurant!  (And speaking of First Fridays, please do click here to get in the know’lls)Bike Racks at High Schools!

Natalie of the Factory kept her patrons well fed during this Happy Hour of two-wheeled delight with the Gastrobar’s usual assortment of excellent free-range meats and organic vegetables!  And the New Belgium Brewing Company showed up with their own ranger to promote and serve their new brew: Ranger IPA!  Yee-ha!  I donned my beer keg duds for the special occasion!  We rangers need to stay together you know!

John Royce, Jim Hanson, The Beer Ranger, The Knolls Ranger, and Kim Peterson's Progeny all listen intently.

John Royce, Jim Hanson, The Beer Ranger, The Knolls Ranger, and Kim Peterson's Progeny all listen intently.

Only in Long Beach would you find a melding of minds this exciting and progressive!  And only in Long Beach would they be both discussing and actually enacting change on this large level.  It makes me proud to be a ranger.  Later that night The Factory continued the party with their weekly Wednesday open mic night!  Check them out at 4020 Atlantic Avenue, or call ahead for great bites: (562) 595-4020.

Motion Picture Innacurately Portrays Lifestyles of Everyday Super-heroes

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Totally Unrealistic The last decade, it seems to one ranger, has proved popular for the caped crime-fighter sub-genre of big budge Hollywood studio pics (those are my abreve’s, thank ye very much).  Every year a glut of the noxious noisemakers (now with 0 grams of trans fat!) cram their way into our theatre houses, televisions, bus stop insert ads, and collective unconsciousness.  Is it the zeitgeist of our times, a cleverly crafted bout of commercialism, or both that demands a consistent mainstream re-enactment of latent fantasies involving gamma rays and radioactive spiders?  The world may never know.

The latest tights-and-spandex spectacle claims originality for it’s realistic reflections of the actions, motives, angst, and lifestyles of actual super-heroes, were they to really exist in our modern day.  Well, being an actual, existing, real-life masked man myself I decided to catch a viewing of said celluloid and see for me.  The movie in question is, of course, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze.

(Wait, no, strike that.  That’s not right.  Actually TMNT2 hit the nail on the proverbial head in many ways, no, the movie I’m actually referring to is Kick-Butt [title here altered to maintain family friendliness]) So yeah; Kick-Butt; movie; Lionsgate Films; honest-to-goodness, run-of-the-mill, joe-schmoe, everyday superheroes.  And what do these average superheroes do, you might ask?

Punchin' in Profiles the Super Way!

Engage in orgiastic bloodletting bouts, and make frequent espousal of the c word apparently.  (Not cran-apple although that’s a good guess) Well I cry foul (I also cry “fowl!”  When I’m ordering a scrumptious chicken teriyaki bowl from the Golden Bowl Burger at 3967 Atlantic.  Mmmm hmmm)

A typical day for me is not only less violent, it’s much less eventful.  I wake up everyday promptly at 7 am and wander around my top-secret Bixby Knolls lair for an hour-and-a-half cleaning up the bat guano.  Then I do my Tae Bo program for thirty minutes.  At Nine it’s time for me to enter the Bixby Knolls streets, greet the neighbors, and accidentally make small children cry.  I get breakfast from somewhere delicious like Arnold’s Family Restaurant or George’s 50′s Diner.  I pose for pictures, I contemplate my place in the cosmos and I help old ladies cross the street.  Sometimes I go over to Averyboo Arts and meet up with Avery and his friends and we express ourselves artistically.

That desk never knew what hit it

For lunch I’ll choose a fine dining establishment like Nino’s, Il Poggio, IHOP, or Trani’s.  Then I’ll type silly things into my website for hours on end and enjoy my fan mail (Thank you for your concern Billy Preston from Milwaukee I’m sure my horse is safe by now and well over the Bering Strait.)  As you can see this leaves me no time at all to wade knee deep through grimy pools of human viscera as this film posits I would surely do.

But the assumption Kick Butt makes which most irks me is that masked crime fighters in fact, don’t exist in the real world (at least not until the fantasy of this movie came out).  Oh yeah?  Tell that to Captain Jackson, a former cop who makes arrests, repaints old gentrified theatres, and helps out his community in Jackson, Michigan all the while wearing his favorite tights and cape!

Real Superhero Captain Jackson

Real Superhero Captain Jackson

Tell that to Superbarrio, a laborer from Mexico City who organizes petitions and rallies for the rights of the common man in his red vinyl suit and luchadore mask!

Superbarrio- A real life Super-hero from Mexico City

Superbarrio- A real life Super-hero from Mexico City

Angle Grinder Man

Angle Grinder Man

Then there’s Angle-Grinder Man!  A Londoner who cuts cars free from their wheel clamps in the United Kingdom!  And whose gold and blue suit is the envy of heroes everywhere! And let’s not forget Terrifica!  A New Yorker who patrols bars and parties and ensures that inebriated women are not taken advantage of!

Thank You Terrifica

Thank You Terrifica

To posit that no such heroes exist is to wipe away the consistent concerted efforts of masked do-gooders like these and myself!  Not that we ask for any reward for our actions.  Simply knowing that the streets are safer, or that a bears claw can be obtained from Yummy Donuts at 4466 California Place is reward enough!

But I called "Shotgun!" guys!

But I called "Shotgun!" guys!

C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for Me (and the Muppets)

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Alsace-Lorraine, they're big on options

I was just a wee bean sprout taking up soil on the Flint, Bixby & Co. Rancho when the Franco-Prussian war was ending in 1871, and I fondly remember the German Empire creating the Alsace-Lorrain territory after annexation.  (Those were the good old days).  Well,  139 years, two world wars, and 201 Ernest Borgnine pictures later the Alsace-Lorrain terrain was returned to the French and now shares it’s name with an über delicious bakery right here in Bixby Knolls!  Huzzah!

But enough with the nerdy stuff, your favorite masked do-gooder (that’s me!) decided to check out this pastry paradise the other day and test their Franco-Germanic sweets for cultural accuracy and culinary mastery and boy did my taste buds sing (I’m pretty sure it was a Justin Bieber song, [the pipes on that kid, I'm tellin' you!]).

I can’t recommend this Bixby Knolls business enough, do as I did and buy four of everything.

I'll take this many!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m compelled to wax poetically.

The cookies were choice, the cakes crumbleriffic!

The macaroons were mouth-watering and the celebration cakes specific!

Dutch tortes and quiches and bapkas and truffles!

Eclairs, brownies, & scones filled with all sorts of stuffles!

The pies ranged in flavor from pumpkin to mince!

It was the best pastrie shop I’d been to before, or since!

Groovy Man

Alsace-Lorraine is located on 4334 Atlantic in Bixby Knolls, drop in or call ahead (562) 427-5992 and get your cookie on!

The Ranger As Rabbit -or- A Very GOOD First Friday

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

EJ Malloys with the Boys!

Howdy doody denizens of Bixby!  It’s your friendly neighborhood super-hero (and part-time rabbit) the Knolls Ranger here reporting on another fine First Friday!  When the Easter Bunny tweeted to me that she would have to miss First Fridays do to her busy preparations for Sunday’s holiday I just knew I had to help!  So one wave of her magic bunny wand and two whisker shakes later a fine head of silky pink hair and two great ears sprouted lickety split from the top of my dome.  The patrons at EJ Malloys were quite impressed, as were my all my favorite neighbors who found themselves parading the streets in typical first friday fashion.

Hoppy Holidays Bixby Knolls!

Although the diners at Baba Ghanouj’s Lebanese Restaurant didn’t quite seem to know what to do with me.  I mean you’d think wouldn’t you, that Baba Ghanouj itself being a middle eastern EGGplant dish, and Easter being a celebration of eggs and all (in addition to Christ’s resurrection), and me having a giant EASTER BUNNY FOR A HEAD, that the diners of this worthy establishment would go eggcentric (heh, heh, heh) over my appearance.  Feeling April FoolishBut one glance at the adjacent jpeg will prove that run-on sentence founded on faulty logic wrong.  Man, Mr. Mustache is totally mean muggin’ me!  But I should save face by saying that the customers were only alarmed and not un-friendly and that Baba Ghanouj has the finest hummus this side of the Atlantic.

Keicher Payne was doing Tarot card readings at Everyday Zen Relaxation Studios!  The ranger was dealt the Page of Pentacles!  Oh, 15th century occultists, what ancient divination methods will you think up next?!

First Fridae?

There was a farmer’s market outside Bella Cosa!  And inside, local professor and first time author Corey Holst was signing copies of his historical fiction, Defender of the Realm (now available on Kindle)!

And so fine fellows I beseech you, what's a Farmer's Market without carrots?!

And so fine fellows I beseech you, what's a Farmer's Market without carrots?!

Mayor Bob Foster showed up to get in on the Bixby fun, here he is at Roy Robbins Gifts and Stationary checking out the recycled bags from the Make Trash Not War show.

tn_April First Fridays 092

And more of the city’s finest car collections were on display at Georgie’s Place!

Georgie's Cars

All in all it was the hoppiest First Fridays I’ve been to in awhile.  You get it?!  Hoppy?!  ‘Cause I’m a rabbit!  Ha!  Ha!  Ha! Ha! Ha!…..oh brother.

Bob's your uncle (and also your Mayor)

Bob's your uncle (and also your Mayor)