Friday, April 26, 2013

BREAKING BUD, PART 2



ENJOYING A SWEET WEEKEND RIGHT TO THE BITTER END

Temecula, CA – In the old political axiom, “Politics makes for strange bedfellows”, it is highly likely that
there is no stranger ‘bedfellow’ in political cause circles than me. Being neither a leader nor a follower, I go my own way and say what’s on my mind. Perhaps too, being a moon sign, there is some rising Lilith energy in me. Whatever the case, that independence led to an all night walk traversing from downtown Santa Ana to the edge of Villa Park. Not too shabby for a mature fellow such as myself, but not as sweet an ending to 4/20 as I had envisioned.

A reward, you could say, from that adventure though is an encore for a two location back-to-back book tour show to happen later this year in the fall.

4/20 started off with the good deed of helping my LA host clear his apartment of a grip of stuff for storage. That worked up a sweat. However, the day had a strange feel to it that I put it down to opening night jitters. I was a bit stressed and miss-communication on my part, since I planned on getting to the venue on my own, caused my usual OC ride to make two trips to the train station for me.
Later the long walk home from the after party would leave me too tired to catch the last Sunday train back to LA, the notes and prop cards I had prepared would be mistakenly left, forcing me to improvise on the spot and finally, I got a lot of feedback from the mike and had to rely on voice communication to the room. And therein, as they say, is the crux of the evening. But the weather was perfect!

The art district in downtown Santa Ana resembles a more traditional small city business office neighborhood with medium height buildings that sometime show Spanish influences once you go inside. Occupying one half of an edifice and with a full enclave of front window display space where a tall untanned model wearing an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow no-Polka dot bikini would have her body hand painted by urban two artists, youthful college age to late 20s, I hit the place called GCS in Santa Ana.

GCS is an art store and family tradition started by Hector’s uncle that was called Globe back in the day in another town. The name was later changed to avoid a costly legal trademark battle. Hector’s family took the high road and modified their store name. When you enter the Santa Ana location, you can feel and see that same classy attitude about in the store’s layout.
Compact but efficiently grouped for maximum visibility are original local designers along with the fashionably hip [The Hundreds], art supplies and magazines, with hanging works of art from the neighborhood urban art community. The store which is orderly, not clustered, has a downstairs and a display loft in the rear third. At the rear of this section was the DJ setup with mikes, plates, liquid refreshments, etc. All along the walls were art works, photos like LizKillz’s ‘blunt with red fingernails’ and various mediums on canvas but all pertaining to imbibing cannabis, as was pertaining to the occasion.

At first slated to go on 7-8, I bumped it back to 8-9 as the growing night crowd, ranging in all ages, trooped through the gallery store to gaze at all the pot-related artwork. For people reading this who aren’t pot smokers, an art crowd is an art crowd, whether it is the Merc in T-town or the 420 colony crowd that gathered in the GCS loft display room to hear ‘Author’ PT Rothschild.

As mentioned at the start, I was winging it and not doing too bad for 3 ‘safety meetings’ and 2 beers when I started my ‘reading’ at 9:30. The crowd was gracious and varied, uptown metro but in a different demo than T-town or even LA, except for maybe Boyle Heights.

My first difficulties arose from mic problems which broke my train of thought. When this happened a second time [truth be told, it was probably my fault me being me], I put the mike down and stepped toward the crowd to continue my narration. I rolled into the knowledge that cannabis, ‘pot’ is in the Bible and I had another point to make but, as I gathered my next sentence together mentally, I looked out at the crowd facing me that stretched across the room in a semi-circle and started actually noticing their faces.
Though not like the moment when as a student teacher I saw a light in the eyes of those who understood my teaching point, this crowd seemed like a sponge as they drank in my information, hanging on my every word, as they say. And I blinked.
My mind went blank and I broke for questions. It wasn’t a rookie mistake, but it was a mistake I could have avoided by having my notes with me. However, remembering past interviews from people who are now famous when they talked of their road to renown, it is a milestone to witness the effect your words of truth, humor, or personal experiences have upon others.

The after party is where those who are artists mingle after the patrons have gone, like after a music show, but not like after a bar closing. And so the front door was locked, the ‘open’ sign changed to ‘close’, I got to meet the other artists, and they got to meet me. Wearing a solid black tee with the bold green block letters THC, my shirt said ‘420’ without the numbers [a Jedi mind trick].
The artists were open, curious about me and gracious. It was a pleasure to be among so many and varied talents, now peers. Hector acknowledged that he hadn’t crossed over into the literary arts before, always staying in the visual/aural zone. As part of my cross-pollination, I left my event host some Lee Koch tunage, see Old Town Gets A New Voice as we set some future ideas for the next in-store event, this time at both GCS locations in a single weekend. Thus the slight bitter interlude was sandwiched by the sweet magic of 4/20.

The art colony that gathers at and around GCS is vibrant and still budding, anchored by Hector and his SO, Roshawn Romero.GCS is a prime example of today’s local business operation done cool, classy, and with respect for the rules. 



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