Posts Tagged ‘Alive Theatre’

Kickin’ it with Kapn’ Kula

Thursday, 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.

The Garage Theatre Turns 10: Parties Hearty!

Sunday, February 20th, 2011
The Garage Theatre Points the Way to the Next 10 Years

The Garage Theatre Points the Way to the Next 10 Years

Lordy, lordy, look who’s…10

The Garage Theatre
is as much a Long Beach staple as Bubba Gump dudes on segways and hipster diners!  In the game since 2001, (when they got there auspicious start in an actual garage) this non-profit group of (mostly) bearded thespians has been raising eyebrows, tickling funnybones, and setting minds free with their productions of funky freneticism by folks as diverse as Trey Parker and Harold Pinter.  And on the eve of their double digit b-day they were ready to party hearty at a packed Alex’s bar with the musical might of Buskerfest Winner: Korey Dane, The Sam Outlaw Band, LN&And & The LN&And Band, & Boris Smile!

Ostensibly all of Long Beach was out celebrating, so of course, yours truly: the Knolls Ranger (cue fanfare) had to make the long Long Beach trek from Bixby Knolls to join the fun!  Joing me with his camera was photo man Daniel DeBoom, whose captures you spy below.

Korey Dane of Buskerfest Fame

Korey Dane of Buskerfest Fame

The Ranger with Bixby Bucaroo: Jonelle Holden of the Paper Kites

The Ranger with Bixby Bucaroo: Jonelle Holden of the Paper Kites

Long Beach locals Jenny Stockdale and Jen Davis discuss the state of the Theatre

Long Beach locals Jenny Stockdale and Jen Davis discuss the state of the Theatre

The Sam Outlaw Band Sings and Jams

The Sam Outlaw Band Sings and Jams

Boris Smile's Boys Blasting Big Brass

Boris Smile's Boys Blasting Big Brass

Technical Director Jamie Sweet uses the facility

Technical Director Jamie Sweet uses the facility

And I cut a rug with Jen Davis

And I cut a rug with Jen Davis

...AND Alive Theatre Producing Artistic Director: Danielle Dauphinae

...AND Alive Theatre Producing Artistic Director: Danielle Dauphinae

The LN & And Band played some hits from their upcoming LOLcat Opera

The LN & And Band played some hits from their upcoming LOLcat Opera

Greggory "Don't Call Me Greg!" Moore promoted his book; The Use of Regret

Greggory "Don't Call Me Greg!" Moore promoted his book; The Use of Regret

Garage Company Member Matt Anderson and larry indich of the Music Swamp kept the crowd happy

Garage Company Member Matt Anderson and Larry Indich of the Music Swamp kept the crowd happy

The Birthday Cake had stringy things in it!

The Birthday Cake had stringy things in it!

And a Good Time was Had by All

And a Good Time was Had by All

Check out the Garage Theatre’s tenth season featuring works by the Coen Bros., Jamie Sweet, Terrence McNally, and a world premier opera about dystopian internet kittens!  Tickets available online or at the door!  The Garage is located at 251 East 7th Street Long Beach, CA 90813-4307

The Best of 2010, A Ranger’s Year-In-Review

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

My Senitments Precisely

As the ball dropped behind Dick Clark  and citizens made kissy faces in the dark, the Knolls Ranger decided to look back and remember the super year that just was.  From shipwrecked 16 year olds to precognitive cephalopods, 2010 was a veritable hootenanny of local, state, and world excitement!  But don’t take my word for it, cast your mind back through the fog of time and recall these rip-roaring dates of revelry for the Ranger’s 2010 Year-In Review!

Jan. 4th : The tallest man made structure to date, the Burj Khalifa opens in Dubai, of The United Arab Emirates.  Upon opening, area man, “Jack” climbs up the building and brings back a golden egg laying goose and singing harp.

The Towering Burj Khalifa of Dubai

Jan. 3oth: Boy Scout Greg Rielly of troop 29, turns into a majestic soaring eagle.  But this stunning transformation had nothing to do with Voodoo brouhaha and the casting of chicken bones, and everything to do with community activation.   Thanks for the Muskogee Myrtles Greg!

Tree Planting

Feb. 3rd.  The Long Beach Police Department ends their exhaustive six month long search for a new chief of police after former LAPD second-in-command Jim McDonnell successfully beats out other contestants in a televised program called, So You Think You Can Chief. The program called for the police officers to perform weekly choreographed dance numbers and eat icky looking insects, among other things.

LBPD Cheif of Police Jim Mcdonnell

Feb. 12th, The 2010 winter Olympics kick off in Vancouver and Whistler.  Canadian sports commentators Bob & Doug McKenzie report, “It’s a beauty, eh.”

Take off Hoser

Feb. 26th, After double parking my beloved horse Chromium on an impacted Long Beach street, she runs off and crosses the Bering Strait.  Marking her the First Horse Owned By A Pod Person Super-hero to Successfully Cross The Bering Strait from the Pacific Coast.  Take that Silver!

Dear Chromium, you will be missed

April 9th, Local troupe Alive Theatre debuts their uncompromising vision of civic inaction with Eugene Ionesco’s A Hell of a Mess at 3838 Atlantic.  Venue holder Paul Forman, inspired by the theatrics, announces his upcoming one-man-show, Paul’s Way.

A precursor to Paul Forman's One-Man-Show

April 14 – Ash from erupting volcano’s beneath the ice cap Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, halts air traffic in northern and western Europe.  Which is good news for my buddy Dale who’s in the train business.

Money Time Dale!  Yee-ha!  Git 'er Done!  Etc...

April 29th, City Mobility Coordinator Charles Gandy, members of the bike community, DJ Neon Hunter, and the Ranger IPA guys meet up at the Factory Gastro-bar to discuss making Long Beach the most bike-friendly city in the US and drink brewskies.  In an unprecedented and shocking move that gets some hate mail, I turn in my regular duds for a decidedly PG-13 wardrobe that resembles a beer keg. Heaven’s to Betsy!

Controversial Costume with Another Ranger

May 4th, A new world record is set for art sold at an auction when a Pablo Picasso piece entitled, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, sells for $106.5 million.  It seems an exorbitant price for a single painting but any struggling Non-profit organization that expresses dismay probably lacks culture and just doesn’t “get it.”

Picasso painting worth more than GDP of Malyasia

May 5th, The First Annual Long Beach Bicycle Tour attracts thousands who bike and huff across all thirty miles of scenic bike routes, city streets, and historical landmarks.  Here’s to hoping that 2012′s First Annual Unicycle Tour is as well attended.

The First annual Bike Tour

May 7th, The Neanderthal Genome Project announces that they have successfully sequenced enough of the genome to suggest that man and neanderthal interbred.  Neanderthal Civil Rights activists rejoice in a series of funny TV commercials for a car insurance company.

Man and Neandrethal, unlikely Bed-fellows?  Not According to Science

May 19th, The Bixby Knolls Strollers continue their monthly morning community treks from It’s a Grind Coffeehouse (4245 Atlantic Ave) to the far reaches of Bixby Knolls and Cal Heights.  On this morning the Knolls Ranger accompanied them and shared stories of his days on the Rancho photo-synthesizing alongside Jotham and Llewellyn.

A Morning Bixby Stroll Club

June 11th-July 10th, Paul the octopus from the Oberhausen sea life center gained notoriety for successfully predicting the winning team for each of Germany’s seven matches in the 2010 world cup.  In addition to football outcomes, the cephalapod was able to accurately predict lotto numbers, keno numbers, and that Oedipus Rex would eventually kill his father and marry his mother.

Paul the oracle octopus predicts a win for Germany

July 20th, The 5th Annual Bixby Knolls Dragster Expo & Car Show drew huge crowds and featured over 200 classic and vintage rods.  There was music and merriment and beer gardens, oh, my!  Mark your calendars for July 9th, 2011.  When once again the tranquil North Long Beach night will roar with the sounds of motor engines.  Hot diggity!

The 5th Annual Bixby Dragster Show & Car Expo

August 7th, Council Members, Congresswomen, RDA folk, neighbors, and the ranger drink coco and shop at the brand new Marshalls Department store!  I auction off a handbag!

Ladies and Gentlemen of Bixby Knolls, get your shop on

August 25th, The BKBIA office gets a surprise letter from another local do-gooder who refers to himself simply as the Naples Superhero.  Mystery man-o-Naples, we still want to meet up with you!
The Naples Hero

Sep. 3rd, Due to an influx of microscopic krill to our shores, record numbers of blue whales show up off the coast of Long Beach.  The Aquarium of the Pacific and Harbor Breeze Cruises shuttle tourists out to see the behemoths and gain evidence about their migratory patterns.  As of press time the whales declined to make any statements one way or the other regarding the Long Beach breakwater.

Bring on the Blue Whales

Sep. 10th, Greggory Moore heads to Burning Man.  Wears funny clothes.


Sep. 14th, Hollywood Photographer Peter Tangen, (responsible for the Hellboy, Spiderman, and Batman movie posters) begins to create stylized photo poster images of real life super-heroes (like the Knolls Ranger) the world over.  Subjects include Vancouver’s Thanotos, New York’s NYX, and San Fransisco’s Motor Mouth.

San Fransisco Hero, Motor Mouth

Sep. 18th, Long Beach Harbor Board Commissioner Mario Cordero is nominated to the Federal Maritime Commission by US President Barack Obama.  Which I’ll warrant is slightly more auspicious than my nomination to Homecoming King.

Mario Cordero

October 17th, I turn 129 years old in human years and my party at Vangie Ogg Photography and Pixie Toys (3930 Atlantic avenue) was the talk of the town! The yummy cake was courtesy of Alsace Lorraine Bakery.

D'aaaaw, too cute

December 2nd, GFA-41, an arsenic based strain of rod-shaped bacterium is discovered in CA’s Mono lake, thus showing that life is possible without phosphorous.  Everyone from NASA scientists to the casual man-on-the-street was excited by this new expansive view on what makes life and the possibilities of encountering it in space.  Everyone, I should say, except for the chemical compound Phosphorous himself, who grew very depressed and didn’t leave his room for a week.

Arsenic Bacteria in Mono Lake

And that, in essence was 2010.   Only time will tell what 2011 holds, but this ranger for one is excited.

May I Have Another First Friday?

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Culture Shock LA

April Showers brought May Madness during First Fridays on the 7th!  Boy Howdy!  There were more colorful characters than you could shake a horned toad’s hat at ifn’ Old Toady would take the gol’ durned head coverin’ off his reptilian dome long enough so’s you could do the shakin’!

Colorful Characters 1 and 2

See what I mean?

In addition to rangers, Commisioner Thomas Fields and his Segwayed minions from the Port of Long Beach docked themselves in the Expo Furniture Warehouse where they discussed Port potential as portrait painters drank potent potables!

Pondering Ports

Funny folks from Held2gether Improv once again turned Elise’s Tea Room into a laugh factory!

This Comedy Troupe's on Fire!

Babylon Blues played to a packed audience at It’s A Grind Coffee House.

With It's a Grind Coffee I Can't Feel the Blues

Home Care Health Partners (4122 Atlantic) displayed vintage art of the Queen Mary and Cyclone Racer.

Ye Olde Pike

Alive Theatre closed their absurdist comedy, A Hell of a Mess over at Paul Forman’s former retail building, 3838 Atlantic!

Moment of Meta-Fiction or Sign of Imploding Universe?

There was a belly dancing and much merriment at Baba Ghanouj Lebanese Cuisine!


And District 8 Boutique housed Culture Shock LA a 501C3 happy, hip-hop dance company dedicated to aiding education, and community awareness through shaking groove things.

Make Some Noise Culture Shock!

All in all, it was an exceptional First Friday.

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

The Knolls Ranger Makes His Theatrical Debut!

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Grade A Schmacting From a 200 Year Old Pod Person

“Alas!  Poor Yorrick, I knew him…”  Weeeellll, it might not have been Shakespeare (I’m still holding out hope that Dennis McCourt over at LB Shakespeare will ask me to play a role in their February production of Macbeth.  Could you imagine me in my gold boots, and cowboy hat double, doubling, toiling and troubling.  I think I would make a fine weird sister) but I was thrilled nonetheless when The Garage and Alive Theatres‘ asked me to be in their annual season show Christmas at The Ivanovs.


“It’s really a walk on role.”  Said Alive’s Associate Director Jeremy Aluma over my patented Ranger telecommunications transmitter. 

Alive Theatre Associate Director Jeremy Aluma

“We did it with Smolarcorp over at The Good’s Gallery last year and this year we’re doing it with the Garage Theatre down on 7th and LB Boulevard.  I know you tend to stick to Bixby Knolls Mr. Ranger but would you consider this cameo?”

“What’s the part entail?”  I asked.

“Well you bring a Russian prisoner onstage with The Easter Bunny, a gorilla, a ninja turtle, and about twenty other odd characters.”


“And then?”

“And then you exit.”

“I’ll do it.”

The show debuts on the 18th and 19th of December at midnight.  It has dancing giraffes, former child actors, exploding heads and gratuitous nudity.  You know, all the things that make Christmas great.  Photos courtesy of Jonathan Lewis.