Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall & Waiting

September has been great for me. I'm having fun at work (shocking, I know), I got to show my paintings in an art show (thanks everyone who came! I love you!) I sold two paintings, and started volunteering at a juvenile detention facility and helped throw a party for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. To top it all off, it's finally, finally Fall and I am stoked.

In Southern California Fall means cloudy and drizzle, and shorter days, and call me crazy, but I have been pining for it. For a girl who's never lived away from the beach in the past 10 years, this is a kind of weird change of attitude. Normally I moan over sweater weather, and not being able to be fully dressed in bathing suits and cover ups, but these days, I absolutely welcome the wind, fog and soft greys that come with California autumn. Not to mention I love the holidays, and crispness, and scarves, and cuddling, and pies, and those are all synonymous with autumn.

I'm also weirdly...waiting for something. and I don't know what it is. It could be the change of season that's making me expectant for something. In the past, Fall meant school starting, and new friends, and possibilities, but now, those new possibilities aren't so easy to spot. What's also interesting is that I usually start to feel this kind of anticipation when I'm restless or unhappy, but that's not case right now. I was feeling a little blue and unmotivated in July and August, and then, faster than you can say, "art show and  community involvement" I snapped out of it.

I'm happy and everything is great. I just feel like something is missing and I can't put my finger on it. It's like when you leave your house, and you know you forgot something, but you have your phone and your car keys in your hand.

I don't know where I'm going with this post, and it's getting a little too diary-ish for my tastes, so here are some pictures of what I've been up to while I'm waiting for I don't know what. This is my summer photo wrap-up.

'Cause it's Fall y'all!
Annalise and me at the Bocce League Finals. Being hipster-y. 

My little garden of mint and african violets.

Bon Iver at Shrine Auditorium. If you haven't been listening to them, you should start.

Semler rose.

Exploring abandoned cabins.

Abbot Kinney Festival.

Home, sweet home.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This is My Surprised Face. For Real.

My art show is tonight in Venice and I'm really, really excited. But I'm actually even more excited to talk about something I did earlier this week, and I mentioned in my last post: Monday night, I went to Camp Kilpatrick, a juvenile detention facility, to become a tutor.

Living in Los Angeles, and Venice especially, has desensitized me to a lot of things. I can turn a blind eye to the homeless guy who's climbing out of my dumpster as a I leave for work in the morning, I'm unfazed by the couple who are having a screaming match at 3PM outside my window (unless they start hitting each other, then I go break it up. Seriously.) and as for things like groups of delinquent teenagers roaming the boardwalk at all hours and throwing rocks at each other, well, this is my surprise face (see below).

It's easy to forget that the things I so easily chalk up to "living in LA" are actually people, and they have lives and stories, just like I do. And that kid roaming around the boardwalk, he's somebody's kid, and hopefully, somebody cares if he turns out okay.

So long story-long, that's why I signed up to tutor at Camp Kilpatrick. Because somebody should care what happens to these kids, and why not me?

That said, I didn't know what to expect when I got there. I had been given minimal advice from our volunteer group leader, and it was pretty much the following:

1. Don't dress provocatively ( you're in a room with eight 17-year old boys who haven't seen a female in months).
2. Don't ask the kids what the did to land in juvie.
3. Don't give them your phone number.
4. Don't promise to bring them snacks/money/cellphones/anything.

I was on board with all of those rules, especially #'s 1 and 3, but I still don't think that fully prepared me for walking into a little classroom and meeting a 17-year old boy who said his name was "Skillz". Yep. Ya heard.
Skillz is a skinny, light-skinned kid who kind of reminds me of one of my little brothers' friends. Except that he's covered in two full tattoo sleeves, he lives in Inglewood, and he's been locked up for the past 8 months for illegal possession of a firearm (he volunteered that info. I didn't break a rule).

Since it was the first day, the kids didn't know they were supposed to bring homework, and it ended up just being a 'get to know you time'. This turned out to be one of the most interesting and rewarding conversations I've had in months.

Right off the bat he told me that he was getting out of juvie in 14 days. After I congratulated him, he told me that he was trying to make a plan to finish school and join the Navy. I told him that I thought that was a great choice, and that he could get his college tuition paid for through the Navy. Making eye contact with me for the first time, he turned to me excitedly and said, "I know! and I'm going to go culinary arts school!"

That caught me totally off guard, but that's when I realized this kid and I had a lot in common: He's bright, he likes to cook, and he's clearly artistic (as showcased by his tattoos of Chuckie from Rugrats and the Louis Vuitton logo) he doesn't like to play sports, and he misses his mom.  We spent the rest of the afternoon making plans for how he was going to get back on track after being incarcerated. At the end of our time together, I told him that he had a great life ahead of him, and that if he stayed focused, I was sure he could achieve all of the goals that we had discussed. He looked up at me and said, "Thanks. I mean, I know that. But it's nice to hear someone else say it. Cause it means you don't think I'm a f*ck up."

That stuck with me. I realized, that this isn't at all about correcting spelling and grammar, or getting a kid to read on 11th grade level.

It's about being the person who tells a kid who's made a mistake, that his life isn't ruined, and he can still have a great future, and that just because you're in a bad situation doesn't mean you have to stay there.

It's about being someone who cares one way or the other.

I can't wait to go back next week.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Don't Really Know What I've Gotten Myself Into, But It Looks Fun!

So I promised a post about Venice sometime soon, and this one is set in Dogtown, through and through.

Recently, I decided to set some personal goals for myself. The first one was to get involved in some kind of community service, and the second one was to more seriously pursue creative activities.

Well, I've managed to get started on the first one, and next week I'll start tutoring high schoolers at a juvenile detention facility (yikes), but more on that later.

I was a little bit at a loss for where to begin on my second goal though, so it was fate when I got invited to the Venice Art Crawl a few weeks ago. The VAC is a monthly art show that is put on by a collection of businesses, restaurants, and galleries in Venice to show case local artists, musicians, poets and other creatives. The Venice Art Crawl has only been around for a year, but it is a fantastic monthly event, and it really brings the Venice community together. As you can see from the pictures below, I had a blast, and decided that this might be a great avenue to get involved in the art scene.

So after a little research on the magical interwebs, I found a potluck/ mixer for the Venice Art Crawl planning committee.

So last night, armed with a home made bruschetta and a bottle of wine, I timidly made my way to a swanky little rooftop in Venice, where I met lots of nice people, drank several glasses of wine, and in under 2 hours, secured a spot in this month's Venice Art Crawl.

That's right, I'm showing in an Art Crawl, next Thursday. My head is still spinning. I think that the people at the mixer must have really liked the bruschetta, or the spinach dip that my friend  Lauren brought, because they didn't even ask to me see my paintings, and offered me a gallery space on the spot.

The best part is, the swanky little rooftop where the mixer was, is actually where I get to show my paintings, along with two other artists next week. So here's it comes, my shameless self-promotion, because this is in fact, my blog.

Please, please come to my show. It would mean the world to me. In case that's not enough, here are some other good reasons:

1. My show is at Venice Breeze Suites, which is a vacation rental property. It's beautiful. The sunset view from this rooftop is to die for.

2. There will be lots of other good artists there, and art is good for the soul. Plus, people will be impressed when you tell them you are "a patron of the arts."

3. I promised the property manager I'd make bruschetta again. You can have some too.

4. It's free. You aren't going to find anything else more fun AND free to do next Thursday night.

5. I'll probably throw in some wine. Trust me,  it'll help you better appreciate the art.

6. You read my blog, and therefore, I assume you kind of love me, and you'll (hopefully) like my work.

Okay, I'll stop the list and just give you the details. Hope to see you next week!

xo, Beach City Girl

P.S. for more information  (and pictures!) about the VAC, check out these links:  and