Posts Tagged ‘First Fridays’

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!

A Very Merry First Fridays

Saturday, 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

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.

Back to Cool Month for First Fridays

Wednesday, 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

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!

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.

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!

Feeling Foolish on a Friday First

Friday, 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.

A Felicitous First Friday For February

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Epidermis Canvas on display at LB Clothing Co.

Like the energy conserving metabolic depression that occurs in hibernating woodland mammals, First Fridays needs an occasional bit of repose to strike back fresh and re-invigorated.  And strike back they did!  After taking January off in order to digest December’s figgy puddin’, First Fridays was a veritable  galestorm of energy, art, passion, and community engagement on Feb. 4th!

Of course, yours truly, the Knolls Ranger was there all decked out in my cherubic finest!  I was launching wayward love arrows into the Bixby breeze and arresting the hearts of the neighborhood with thoughts of romance and bonhomie!  Yee-haw!

Watch out Vangie Ogg, cupid's arrow's comin' for you!

I spotted some of my very favorite Long Beach citizens such as Evan Kelly of LB Creative, and Logan Crow of Mondo Celluloid.

Evan Kelly and Logan Crow:  Friends to the End

The Poly bunnies
were seen in the Long Beach Historical Society and the Long Beach Clothing Company where they were enjoying the hip hop music.  You get it?!  Hip Hop?!  Because they’re bunnies!  Hahahahahahahaha!  Wooooh!….I slay me.

Polytechnic High School, they don't cotton much to bad puns

There were four different jazz bands playing in locations as diverse as Georgie’s Place, It’s a Grind Coffee, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, & the BKBIA office!

Blow daddy blow!

And for those who liked things a little more experimental, Sander Wolff and co. were turning heads and blowing minds with their systems-based improvisation immersion sound art in a former furniture expo.  Say that five times fast!

Drones so good

And for you shop-o-holics there was baked goodies, crafts, chocolatey things, live art and more made fresh by local artisans included these super swell Dia de Los Muertos style skull pillows from Belleza Muerta!  Death never felt so cushy.

Death never felt so cushy

One of the craziest sights of the evening was the window display at Long Beach Clothing Company where my commander-in-chief, Blair Cohn, and local contest winner Somatra Sean got public tattoos!  Ouch!

Blair Cohn gets Inked at Long Beach Clothing Company

In addition to all that there were improv actors, jewelry designers, doggies from the LB animal care unit, city council members, Tarot card readers, punk rockers, mandolin crooners, classic cars, and Hawaii Hula dancers!  Truly a bohemian experience!  For those of you who feel left out by all the fun, fear not!  For First Fridays will be back next month on March 4th from 6 to ten pm on the Atlantic Cooridor between Wardlow and Del Amo!  See you there Bixby Buckaroos!  Peace out.

Straight up Bixby y'all

Photos courtesy of Vangie Ogg, 562 City Life, and Daniel DeBoom.