Bixby’s Back in the Blogosphere!

May 2nd, 2012

Holy hillbillies humming harmoniously!  Has it really been half a year since we last reported on Long Beach super-hero and notorious photo bomber The Knolls Ranger?!  What were we doing this whole time?  Occupying something?  Watching season four of True Blood on a perpetual loop of libidinous vampire recursion?  Getting some home improvement supplies from Orchard Supply Hardware (gonna build us a gazebo!).  Well whatever we’ve been doing we’re darn sorry it wasn’t providing you the always alliterating, somewhat sesquipedalian, silly joke website on masked men and Bixby commerce that you so desperately desire!  You haven’t gone and left us for Ragensi‘s site have you?

Ragensi: That Other LA County Super-hero

We hope not because a lot’s happened in Bixby Knolls since we’ve been away!  The Ranger went missing!  The Belle showed up!  There were rock parties and mardi gras parades and like a bajillion first fridays and we’d like to share them all with you gentle reader!  All the photos of Bixby resident Thor Carson mugging for the camera,all the tales of Bixby glories and Cal heights courage!

Every breath-catching photo of the ranger’s beautiful best gal The Bixby Belle!So sit back, pop yourself a tall sarsparilla, and take a magical internet stroll through the Bixby Knolls of the past ten months!  Just scroll down!

PS:  Orchard Supply Hardware truly is a Herculean port of hulking hardware for home improvement and if you ain’t been yet you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Cheap prices, fine goods. and just one of the many fine shopping centers in Bixby’s bustling business district!  So what are you waiting for?!  Head over to 4480 Atlantic and check ‘em out!

The Knolls Ranger Works on his Beach Body!

June 19th, 2011

The duties of a neighborhood super-hero are sundry and legion.  One day they might be cleaning the streets of crime; the next,  cleaning out the clothing rack at a Marshalls discount sale.  But no matter what day it is, chomping on snacks, cakes, goodies, and sweet stuff from the local dining establishments is always  a ranger requisite.  Be those snacks a hoagie from Philly Steak & Subs (4141 Long Beach Boulevard) a Manhatten black & white from Alsace Lorraine Fine Pastries (4334 Atlantic Avenue), or any number of delectable dishes from Sunny Donuts & Terriyaki (3408 Long Beach Boulevard).  The citizens know just how protected they are by how much their masked mascot had to eat.  Yum!

All in a Day's Work Bixby Knolls!

But all this voracious eating has added girth to the ranger’s heroic form and hindered his ability to fit into his summer bathing suit.  So what is a flabby justice fighter to do but catch a wave over to the Commit 2 Fit Athletic Club on 4354 Atlantic and shave a few layers off his Gluteus Maximus!

Al...most....there...nyeeeugh!

The trainers in Commit 2 Fit work to give you the work-out you need, gently pushing you to get the exercises you desire while never stepping over into drill instructor territory.  They are as hard on you as you want them to be and the facility has dozens of weight training machines to choose from.

After a solid five minutes spent wailing on my biceps and pectorals I felt ike a new ranger and was ready to go back out and have a baker’s dozen Angel Food Donuts.  Thank you Bixby Knolls!

Commit 2 Fit is located on 4354 Atlantic Avenue Long Beach, CA 90807.  You can reach them by phone at (562) 427-8663.  Tell them the ranger sent you!

The June First Frizzle-Dizzle

June 13th, 2011

Jumping Jehosephat boys and girls, the Knolls Ranger’s in the house giving you the scoop on June’s First Fridays event.  First Fridays, our very own community evening art walk, is growing by leaps and bounds every month and is easily the largest such event in Long Beach (next stop the world).  The event is marked by its swell business deals, bohemian performers, and unleashed imagination.

June saw our favorite Bixby businesses light up with performances by bands as diverse as Good Citizen (a pop, folk, and soul group stationed outside of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf), The Sepulveda Jazz Project (the offices of Edward Jones), Bluegrass crooners TED! (EJ Malloys), swing and jive artists Hot Club du Bop (Georgie’s Place), folk maiden Alyssandra Nighswonger (It’s A Grind Coffee House), 80s tribute band The Repeat Offenders (Nino’s After Hours), and more.

But that’s not all…one-man-band Timstrument was grooving, Elmo the muppet was dancing, there were lovely “ladies” at Roy Robbins Gifts and Stationery, Darren Held’s Held2Gether Improv was tickling funny bones at Elise’s Tea Room, and my old nemesis Dr. Illiterate showed up to my reading at Councilmember Johnson’s ”First books” event to challenge me to a read-off.  Fear not true believers, I won and Dr. Illiterate won’t be darkening Bixby’s door again.  Or will he….???

Check out these snapshots of the evening and see for yourself!

Councilmember Johnson's First Books Event

Dastardly Cur, Dr. Iliterate

And other villian Cruella DeVille

DJ Bill Child

Reptiles Unlimited

Geoff Parry at the new Jammin Music and Art

Elmo

The Potential Lunatics

Adorableness

The next First Friday is July 1st!  Hope to see you there!

 

Kickin’ it with Kapn’ Kula

June 9th, 2011

Originally used to describe any sort of nautical ne’er-do-well from antiquity, the pirate has made a cultural metamorphosis into the rum-swigging, peg-leg wearing, Jolly Roger flag waving, ill-mannered darling of our collective imaginations.  You can blame the mouse house with their multi-billion dollar movies and “yo-ho-ho”-ing robots in Anaheim if you’d like.  Or the masterful musings of literary icons like J.M. Barrie, and Robert Louis Stevenson.  You could blame Gilbert & Sullivan or Hallowe’en costume companies.  You could even blame that team of bat-and-ball fellers down Pittsburgh way.  But in the end, no matter who the culprit is (what are we going to do to them anyway?  Make them walk the plank?) the fact remains that the booze-stinkin’, lice-ridden, pirate replete with greasy beard, smelly eye hole, and Capn’ Crunch style bicorne hat, is here to stay.  And if said pirates are in everything from Saturday Morning Cartoons to internet memes than you’d better believe that Bixby Knolls, in all it’s splendor, has some too.

Our pirates are none other than Kaptain Ray Kula and his crew of crooning cut-throats!  The good Kaptn. is the front-man of a band that plays on authentic hundred year-old mandolins, accordions, and ukuleles and will throw you a Calypso or Hawaiian beat just to get your attention before growling into a 300 year old shantie about man’s love for manatees.  They play all over the sea’s of Southern CA mind you entertaining in cruise ships, watering holes, and private parties.  They’ve been honored to perform before the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at their 2004 National Conference and alongside the Hollywood elite during Disney’s red carpet premier’s of Pirate’s 2,3, & 4.  They’re also frequent guests to Bixby Knolls and First Fridays, filling the night with their raucous cries and merry music!  With their odd looks and demeanor they fit right in with Bixby’s eclectic crew of characters which includes your’s truly: the official super-hero/greeter/pod-person, Annie the beloved English Bull-dog, the ever-classy Duke and Duchess, and Mike Mora of the beard coalition (we can’t get enough of it!).

I recently sat down with Kaptn. Kula over a delicious Blair’s special pizza at one of my favorite fine dining establishment, Nino’s Italian Restaurant to ask him a few questions about life at sea and what makes him tick.

Knolls Ranger:  Howdy ho Kapn’ Kula!

Kaptn. Kula:  ARRRRR me matey!

Ranger:  What wonderful Nino’s menu item are you devouring today Kaptn.?

Kula:  I’m having the Chicken PARRRRRRmigian.

Ranger:  Heavenly.  Now most people don’t know this about you, but in addition to being a dreaded pirate you are also a fan of the stage, what is one of your favorite plays?

Kula:  I’d have to say ARRRRRsenic and Old Lace.

Ranger:  Hahaha, and your favorite 1970’s folk song?

Kula:  PARRRRRsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme by Simon and GARRRRRRfunkle.

Ranger:  Favorite Greek Mathematician?

Kula:  ARRRRRRRchimedes.

Ranger:  Beloved Don Knotts television character?

Kula:  BARRRRRRRney Fife.

Ranger:  Favorite Tuscany province in Italy?

Kula:  The eastern province of ARRRRRRRRRezzo.

Ranger:  Former Bodybuilding State Governor recently under fire for adulterous child fathering?

Kula:  Listen, do we have to keep doing this?  The ARRRRR jokes?  It’s a little demeaning, I mean I may be a pirate but I’m not just a simple, monosyllabic archetype.

Ranger:  Not just a what?  I’m sorry.

Kula:  An archetype.

Ranger:  Gee, I still couldn’t make that out.  Could you speak up a little.

Kula:  (Sighs) An ARRRRRchetype.

Ranger:  Ohhhhhh, an ARRRRRchetype!  Hehehe, Kula you crazy.

And then we danced

You can catch performances of Kula and his crew coming up at the Fun Draiser birthday show for Alive Theatre company members, Jasper Oliver and Aurea Tomeski on June 10th at The Farm, 555 E. 3rd St., Long Beach, CA, 90802.

Unveiling Jammin’ Music & Arts!

June 2nd, 2011

Let it be known, the Knolls Ranger loves to jam.  He loves to wiggle, groove, side-step, and motor.  He loves to feel the rhythm.   But that ain’t all.  The ranger also loves that fruit based spread known as jam, he loves it on toast with a smidgen of melted butter.  Oooooh, the ranger loves that.  It stands to reason then that the ranger is head-over-heels, crazy-talkin’, pure-and-sweet gaga in LOVE with Jammin’ Music.  And it’s a good thing that the Knolls Ranger has an inordinately large heart because the room for love at Jammin’ Music just grew.  I’m talking of course about their acquisition of a new space at 4228 Atlantic Ave.

For those of you not in the Know’lls, Jammin’ Music is a seven year old music education school located in majestic Bixby Knolls.  Since opening they have taught hundreds upon hundreds of children the joys of learning to play an instrument.  The aim is high quality instruction, community engagement and a creative outlet for area youth.  Says business owner Kerri Hikida, “Music is shown to benefit children’s brains in many ways, such as in their reading and math skills.”  Well ring a bell, cook some meat, and call me Pavlov!  I had no idea that music education helped childhood neurological development!

The hundred’s of children who have learned to pluck strings, blow into horns, play keys, and beat drums since 2004 can attest the most to Jammin’s value as a music education school.  So it is with tremendous pleasure that we announce Jammin’s move from their former location to the new larger space at 4228 Atlantic, which will allow them to not only increase the music classes they’re offering but to give area youth that same excellent education they have come to expect in other artistic areas as well.  Starting June 20th, Jammin’ Music (now called Jammin’ Music & Arts) is offering an eight week Musical Making workshop which will teach kids improv, acting, clowning, and vocal training skills and which will culminate in a brand new musical created completely by, and starring the children who take the class!  The eight-week class meets twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) from 5-7:30p.m., June 20-Aug. 11, for only $350 and is catered towards ages 7-17. Payment plans are available.

“But wait, there’s more!”-the ranger says in his best Popeil impersonation.  Local youth can pick up tutoring from new theatre instructors Ellen Warkentine and Jasper Oliver outside of this class on an individual one on one basis, picking up invaluable acting skills from these professional working actor/educators.  And take truncated versions of the course during Jammin’s annual summer camp!

The new space is allowing Kerri and Geoff to try their hands at many new and exciting things including visual art classes, the afore-mentioned theatre courses and more.  Drop by the new space at 4228 Atlantic to wish them hello and congratulate them on the big digs!

First Friday Fiesta!

May 17th, 2011

By the beards of babes bearing Bubonic bronchial blisters, Bixby’s Friday First o-May beat the best!  (This sentence not only reflects my sentiments on the matter but is the title of my new book of tongue twisters for tots [available on Kindl this June!])

The entire mission of First Fridays is to allow artists, musicians, & crazy folk from city officials to the citizenry an outlet and platform for their creativity while invigorating usually dark businesses with late  night attention!  It is also my prime time to shake my tail feathers all while keeping a careful protective eye on the streets of Bixby that I love so (wouldn’t be much of a super-hero if I didn’t).

Here were some of the highlights of May’s First Fizzle:

Abraham Lincoln was back from the river Styx and weaving through the streets of Bixby Knolls on his…wait for it…STILT LEGS!  Which casts complexity to Lincoln’s well documented statement that a man’s legs ought to be long enough to reach the ground.

Rodrigo Rodriguez’s Mariachi Romanza Duet brought smiles to the shoppers of Roy Robbin’s Gifts and Stationary.

Darren Held’s Held 2 Gether improv troupe was makin’ schtuff up at Elise’s Tea Room.

There were art galleries in the Expo warehouse!

And Elmo!

Kapt. Kula’s Pyrat Party were singing sea shanties and going to Aaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rated moviesAnd my old Dartmouth buddy, Cinco was giving out free high fives all evening.  What a capital card old Cinco is!

First Friday happens once a month along the Atlantic Cooridor in the Bixby Knolls region of Long Beach.  See you June 3rd!

Feeling Foolish on a Friday First

April 1st, 2011

The First Friday of every month, Bixby Knoll’s and it’s manifold businesses are open late and inviting artists to come play!  Truly a unique event in Long Beach First Fridays is second only to the LA Art Walk in scale and magnitude, and it’s growing every month.  What follows is but a mere peek into April’s First Friday!

As a legally ordained minister, I renewed the vows of Wade and Laura Ashley at Melinda McCoy's Flowers

The Potential Lunatics played to stunned street crowds

A Youth from Long Beach Clothing Company wrangles a reptile from Reptile's Unlimited

Khmer dancer's wow audiences at the Long Beach Historical Society

Live Artists find their muse at the Expo Furniture Warehouse

Hua Dancers outisde Hawaiian BBQ Festival

And multiple Elvii (the plural of Elvis) roamed the streets. The one pictured here was the one not on stilts.

Be sure and join us on Atlantic between Del Amo and Wardlow, May 6th from 6 to 10 PM for imporv comedy, jazz musicians, bluegrass, pirate book readings, Marx Brothers film screenings, the ranger’s antics, and more.

The Knolls Ranger on the News in China!

March 24th, 2011

You remember that Best of the West Chowderfest we went to back in March?  Well apparently it was reported on by a Chinese television crew and guess who makes a cameo appearance in the background.  That’s right, The Knolls Ranger being beamed straight to you China! Also visible is Natalie Gutenkauf of The Factory Gastro-Bar! Catch the whole thing right here!

Tickled by our 15 Seconds of Fame

How der ya make such good Chowder?

March 12th, 2011


Holy cats Bixby boys and girls!  Monday March 12th was a day for the record books, not only was the premier Best of the West Chowderfest so well attended (Chowder lovers were rolling in by the bushel-full), but Natalie Gutenkauf of Bixby’s very own Factory Gastro-Bar was one of the fan favorites with her Spanish Chorizo and Alaska White Cod chowder!  I joined my pals from the Factory to sling some seafood and sing a song or two!

The event was presented by the Aquarium of the Pacific and Seafood for the Future and featured chef’s from Kavikas, Gladstone’s, Primal Alchemy, King’s Fish-House, Parker’s Lighthouse, Deb’s Kitchen, and more.

Can you spot the ranger?

Mardi Hardy at Rainbow Harbor

March 8th, 2011

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday en  francais is traditionally recognized as the last day of the Catholic tinged Carnival celebrations and is marked by costume donning, normative behavioral dropping, street dancin’, and feasting on fatty fat foods.  Sounds like the ranger’s kind of holiday!  Mardi Gras specifically was brought to the United States by a couple of King Louis XIV’s lackeys checking up on the monarch’s hold of le Louisiane, and was brought to Long Beach by a tow-headed community organizer (and Bixby resident) by the name of Jeff Williams.

True Believer

This Tuesday’s celebrations were the third annual for The Shoreline Village area of Downtown Long Beach, and the second annual attended by your favorite neighborhood ranger.

And, as in last year, the walkways were rampant with pirates…

Ar, be ye mates of Kapn' Kula? Than be walkin' the plank with ye!

…mascots…

Hearty Love

…fellow super-heroes (Z Blade XX it’s been a long time, how are you?!)…

…beauty pageant winners…

Shan Smith, Mrs. Southern CA

…beaded and bedazzled residents…

…and some wonderful ladies from an owl-habitat-preservation group called Hooters!

Woodland Conservationists

…The parade kicked off at three led by Mardi Gras Queen Estro Jen of the Long Beach Skate Shop and Roller Derby

…and Mardi Gras King Blair Cohn.  That’s right, our very own Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association Executive Director!

In addition to the parade there was a shrimp eating contest, face painting station, mask-making station and a 21+ after hours event called Party gras which featured live music sets by The Gumbo Bros., 00 Soul, and Lazy Brad Lewis whose languidness is matched only by his ability to jam.

Brad Lewis: Lazy

All in all a Fat Tuesday to remember!

BEADS! BEADS! GIVE US SOME BEADS!

Photos courtesy of Daniel DeBoom, Justin Rudd, Alissa Sablan, Woody, & Logan Crow.