me: it’s just east of Pico and Stewart in Santa Monica, north Venice Beach.
her: I didn’t realize you’re in LA these days. Does the vibe match the hype in this place?
me: L.A. in general is not what it was 15 years ago. With the record industry failing, musicians have no reason to be here, and even the porn industry has left town due to tighter regulations and market factors. Now the “housing shortage” has more than tripled rents while average wages have barely budged. So acting hopefuls can’t afford to live here, not that they think have any chance of getting good work in Hollywood unless they screw some Harvey Weinstein type dude. No, Los Angeles isn’t the dream factory it once was.
her: I appreciate every ounce of effort, truth, and perspective you put into that explanation. I got an answer I wasn’t even searching for, but am glad to have. I meant… what’s your thoughts on barkowski? I feel odd even asking after that dazzling, brutal review of the city. Sounds like a cyst pool of the elite.
me: lol thanks. It looks like a cool neighborhood boutique dive bar. A faux dive bar, haha. Bukowski woulda hated it, probably.
“There is no art without magic, and there is no magic without art.”
story and Reviewer TV video by Reviewer Rob
As you may know by now, dear reader, I have a thing for shooting art nude photos and video. The females that model for these are by definition exceptional but sometimes you meet one that distinguishes herself from the rest. Hannah Haddix is one such distinguished woman.
I had originally come to know of this art model and performance artist from her work as a magus in the Coyotel Church, a Seattle religious organization that she describes unashamedly as a “cult” and because she was posting nude art photos of herself on Facebook of all places from rituals in this cult.
Sometimes you meet an art model who is more than a pretty face and body. You find out they know some interesting things that you don’t. This woman is such a unique figure.
Hannah is actually quite a teacher-type and was very generous with her knowledge of “sex magic” (sex magyk?) and while driving on the Pacific Coast Highway through Los Angeles County from Malibu to Santa Monica between art-video shoots she was willing to describe the proper ceremony ritual technique for Reviewer TV (i.e. my camera).
Watch the videos and learn something, and if you want to see more of Hannah you can catch her on Facebook or at her new website, hannahhaddix.com.
Someone once said it didn’t matter how nice a restaurant is…
Areal: Smelly Steak and Wine
Areal Restaurant, 2820 Main Street, Santa Monica (Venice Beach), CA
dined: December 15, 2016
by Reviewer Rob
I felt like going out for steak the other night so I tried a new place and went to Areal in Venice Beach, a kind of upscale looking restaurant, and ordered this filet mignon and a glass of 2013 Cabernet. I had cause to celebrate due to recent events that had went my way and although I was alone didn’t mind spending a little extra. Pictured below is the plate they served me. Looks good, doesn’t it? What the pic doesn’t capture was the smell. Maybe it was the “reduced port” sauce or whatever it was topping it, but I swear to god when the waitress brought it to me the aroma of stale socks mixed with armpits tinged with a whiff of rancid vagina began emanating from the plate. I was, however, really hungry for steak so I ate everything. Two hours later the stink still recurred from my facial hair despite washing my face and brushing my teeth. But hey, at least the wine was good.
About the visual presentation of the food: I immediately noticed the strange way the meat was arranged on top of the disc of runny mashed potatoes, not beside, which were covered in what the menu described as “peppered” spinach. At first I didn’t think much of it until after dinner was finished and paid for. Then the smell and ambiance fully sank in. The visual effect coupled with the aroma made me wince in amusement as a subconscious reminder sitting on the table before me of the piles of fresh cow manure I’d avoid as a kid hiking in the undeveloped land that cattle grazed in near my suburban home many years ago. This Areal restaurant dish was piled like a cow paddy.
Maybe it was a class-separation issue for the management or waitstaff. I was wearing Wrangler jeans from Walmart and dining alone, clearly not part of the local Venice Beach hipster crowd. A friend on Instagram who’s in with the Hollywood royalty commented that maybe if I had an apple-core hairdo, trimmed beard, $500 rolled up jeans and “stupid Nick Fouqet $1000 hat” I would have received better service.
Someone also who knew the LA nightlife scene really well once said on the radio that it doesn’t matter how nice a restaurant is the kitchen can still, let’s say, “mess with” your food in a pretty egregious way. Maybe the anal aroma filet mignon was unintentional (?) but on top of serving me a steak that smelled like farts they tried to charge me for a Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie that the waitress had came back and told me they were out of. Bleagh! I won’t be going back to you, Areal. I could have had a 12-ounce sirloin and house red at Applebee’s. The dinner would have been better and everything would have cost less than half what your ripoff bill came to.
I pointed the error out to the waitress who apologized profusely. After the manager removed the pecan pie from the bill my check came to like $62 and change. Of course I tipped the waitress since she wasn’t the worst, and I can’t prove it was her fault the steak smelled like butthole and stale socks, but I only gave her around ten percent. I don’t know. Maybe these assholes are just stupid and have no idea what they’re doing. Even so, see you later Areal, MUCH later.
So, I’m mailing in my California Democratic Primary ballot today. Participating in democracy has never been easier. I don’t know why they have that rule that says you have to be registered as a Democrat to participate in this election though. That doesn’t seem fair or democratic. What if someone has a change of heart at the last minute and wants to vote for one of the candidates yet is a Republican? Not an implausible scenario but one that would disqualify them from the contest.
This election feels historic, again. I wanted to make sure that I was involved, so I registered as Democrat for the first tie in my life last month (I’d always been Independent since changing from Republican sometime around 1990) and drove over to the post office yesterday to pick up the ballot. Someone at the Thumbprint art gallery show for Bernie Sanders last weekend reminded me that it was probably in the box, “I’ve already voted,” said the tall skinny kid that looked like he was barely out of high school, and I made the trip out to my p.o. box this month. So much is done by email these days I hardly every check my regular mail it seems. Used to be I’d be there every day picking up letters and CDs from bands and press agents hoping to get reviewed. Ah the good old days of ten or twelve short years ago. I remember coming back from a surf trip in 2000 and having a postal crate packed full of CDs stacked high, mostly from Epitaph, Nitro, and Fat Wreck Chords, that were patiently waiting for me behind the counter. Crazy the amount of work that went into reviewing music back then. Now it’s mostly all done online for free by fans. Maybe they’ll begin to do elections online soon too.
So here’s my ballot envelope. Here goes nothing, democracy. Let’s hope for the best. The future is now.
I have to admit I bought a ticket for this show as a fan. I wanted to cover it for the pages of Reviewer, but I came to enjoy the music, firstly. And like any fan I also wanted to honor the members of the group who produced such great tunes.
Here’s a photo I shot from before their set at the SD Casbah on November 27th, the first of two nights they played there, with drummer DJ Bonebreak’s bass drum and the band’s list of songs, facing the direction of guitarist Billy Zoom’s chair, clearly readable.
I don’t know. I just think handwritten set lists are always so much cooler than printouts.