Posts Tagged ‘Bixby Knolls’

The First First of 2013 (Yee-haw!)

Thursday, 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!

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

Tuesday, 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.

Hectic, Eclectic, Heterogeneous August

Monday, 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!

Sunday, 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!

Bixby’s Back in the Blogosphere!

Wednesday, 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!

Sunday, 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

Monday, 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

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.

Unveiling Jammin’ Music & Arts!

Thursday, 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!

Tuesday, 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!