[Memento mori?]

Why Halloween Is So Fun

Remember, one day you won’t be able to do this.

Although Halloween today appears more of a holiday for kids young and old it had a very practical reason for existing in ancient times. None the least being that it is a reminder that you’re still alive and able to party and not six feet under, yet.

‘…adults participate in the fun of Halloween on the night of October 31st, few will be aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. In Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At Samhain the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through.

‘The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. Bonfires and food played a large part in the festivities. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into a communal fire, household fires were extinguished and started again from the bonfire. Food was prepared for the living and the dead, food for the ancestors who were in no position it eat it, was ritually shared with the less well off.

‘Christianity incorporated the honouring of the dead into the Christian calendar with All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1st, followed by All Souls on November 2nd. The wearing of costumes and masks to ward off harmful spirits survived as Halloween customs. The Irish emigrated to America in great numbers during the 19th century especially around the time of famine in Ireland during the 1840’s. The Irish carried their Halloween traditions to America, where today it is one of the major holidays of the year. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins.’

[The two top pics below are from after the band Forest Grove played night before last at The Black Cat bar in San Diego.]

Forest Grove at The Black Cat, photo by Robert Rowsey.
Forest Grove at The Black Cat, photo by Robert Rowsey.
Two-thirds of Forest Grove at The Black Cat, photo by Robert Rowsey.
Two-thirds of Forest Grove at The Black Cat, photo by Robert Rowsey.

A Bloodbath Among Landlords, Wahmp-Waahhhh

Airbnb Economic Trends

Will the Trump-era prove harmful to landlords? Having sympathy for the wealthy, while pushing their real estate schemes in a downward direction.

Reviewer Rob

Mission Beach, above the seagulls.
Mission Beach, above the seagulls. From the article in the Union Tribune.

According to this article in the UT, under a new San Diego city council action, Airbnb short-term rentals of whole homes there will be limited to “one’s primary residence only for up to six months out of the year. While there had been a move afoot to consider exempting the Mission Beach rentals that had been paying required transient occupancy taxes to the city, the council majority was unwilling to legislate any waivers.”

Many landlords are worried that this will diminish profits to the point where they would have to consider selling.

So sad. Let us pity the wealthy. It would be tragic if they had to sell their investment properties at a loss and then the new owners reduced the rents to a market rate that re-attracted artists and other working class people who had the time then to be creative and have and actual life instead of working to pay a rent that was more than fifty percent of their monthly take-home pay.

If this new ordinance does what it sounds like it’ll do, that is, regulate in a downward direction the growing AirB&B trend in San Diego and especially the beach areas, then GREAT. Anything to slow and possibly REVERSE the rising rents in that sunny Southern Californian community. The great and political collusion among the landlord classes there is stunning and unabated.

Perhaps it’s too much to ask that, nationwide, the municipal zoning laws return with the form of rent control seen in the post-New Deal era that led to cold-water flats in New York City being rented out to working class off-broadway actors for $28 per-month that persisted under the radar until this past March. But if it does then all the better. The arts are dying because of the rental economy. It’s time for the wrestling match to see a reversal.

review: Club Decades

[You Can Dance]

Stripclub Goth

by Reviewer Rob

This location has history which for San Diego as a navy town that was developed after the big war is rare. A Portuguese immigrant war vet prize boxer, the late Horatio Vella, built it as a touring band venue dance/night spot (not a strip club) called The Green Onion in the mid 1960’s and later sold it to the Dirty Dan’s strip club chain in the 1980’s when it was time for him to retire and amazingly it’s still operating. Bryan Pollard, a local promoter, is doing another club night in the back room there now (which in the 1970’s was where the pool tables were) for the college students and goth denizens every Thursday night. It’s called Decades for the 1980’s and 90’s era of music it has. Also he does a fetish/bdsm-themed industrial music night that’s thrown on, I think, the second Friday each month. You can call the club for more details. Back to the review. It was dismally slow last night. In the goth club one couple danced to the dj. After paying the doorman $5 and entering I greeted Bryan who was on the couch in the back of the club and got an update on his health woes. I then passed through the glass doors into the strip club for a drink and maybe less than half a dozen dancers we’re working the crowd of as many patrons. One dark haired dancer was on stage doing something and no one was at the rail.

Fine, no big deal. I sat at the west end of the curved bar and a pretty big-boobed dancer and wide hips who said her name was Natasha immediately came over and sat next to me, telling me it was her first night working there. I tried telling her right away that I just got there and wanted to chill but she said the same. I liked her looks okay. I’ll credit her with being very sweet, not pushy, not asking for money, talking for a while, listening to me, and not ever taking me to on my offer go buy her a drink. Plus her face was 9 or a 10, long blonde hair with serious nice big boobs. Large butt though, but hey. Afterward I talked to the Bryan promoter in back sitting alone in his goth club and heard his story for a while before leaving. I’ve seen him around this town forever, as he’s one of only two industrial club promoters in San Diego. I’ll see if this club’s better on the bdsm night later this month. Hopefully it and the strip club will have more action happening.

One can hope.

Club Decades flyer, Sn Diego, CA.
Club Decades flyer, Sn Diego, CA.

photolog: Meegan’s Ink

[Skin Art]

Meegan Had Some Sweet New Tattoos

Talking ink: Low Gallery in Barrio Logan at a mid-summer show during ComicCon

by Reviewer Rob

I had both my Nikons hanging on my neck this night with the goal of playing around with their capabilities. The D5200 and D5300 were set on their fastest ISOs for a shoot at Meegan’s art gallery/performance venue Low. I’d come to see a couple of bands play, Lisa Carver’s Suckdog and The Vaginals (Vaginals sounded great, by the way). It had been a couple of years since I’d last seen Meegan and I noticed she’d gotten a couple of new tattoos.

Meegan Nolan is the stylish owner and proprietor of Low Gallery. She’s all about art — the appreciation as well as the business of it — and only now while ‘shopping this pic did it dawn on me that she was wearing a stylin’ cartoon t-shirt (is that the Tazmanian Devil?). Classic, it was, after all, the weekend of the famous San Diego International ComicCon. Yes as a fashionista Meegan is also a triple threat. On this night her shiny gold pants were amazing. But these classic-era style tattoos were what I really liked. The symbolic “Black Rose” is on her right forearm and a standing nude ‘a la Sailor Jerry adorns her left.

I shot this while the bands were setting up for the show and Meegan was standing against the back wall of the space. No flash was used, just ambient light, so it’s grainy. Like I said, I was pushing what the low light ability of the cameras could do. I think at 1/100th of a second it’s pretty decent. Photoshop brought out more contrast and color from the original RAW image.

Image file info:
Nikon D5300
Tamron lens 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 DiII VC PZD B008N
Focal Length 18mm (in 35mm: 27mm)
Exposure: 1/100 sec; f/3.5; ISO 12800; Manual; Pattern Metering
Flash: Did not fire

Meegan Nolan with her new arm ink: a black rose and  nude in the style of Sailor Jerry.
Meegan Nolan with her new arm ink: a black rose and nude in the style of Sailor Jerry. Photo by 2016.

Trump’s Racist Street Slang

San Diego’s Brush With Trump University

by Reviewer Rob

So, I attended a Trump University seminar in early 2007 at an upscale San Diego Mission Valley hotel in San Diego. The big advertising buzz that at the time was that you’d “Learn from the Master”, Mister Donald Trump.

Now keep in mind, nine or ten years ago Trump’s hair was much less thin and he was still riding the wave of television prime-time fame of The Apprentice and had yet to be associated with the Obama-hating “birther movement”. At the time I listed him on Myspace as someone that I admired for being a self-made success. I was also naive enough to think that Trump might be at the seminar — that’s how the hype read — if not to teach a class at least to help sell the course to the real estate developer hopefuls crowding the auditorium.

Out of respect I came dressed well in a three button jacket and a white dress shirt, and upon entering the room to find a seat was immediately shadowed by a tall, grey haired old gentleman who bird-dogged me with small talky questions about what I did for a living and other inquiries designed to determine my socio-economic status. The dude even sat next to me and kept prying in-between speakers. From the moment he showed up I had him made as either a member of Trump’s sales team or some freelance scammer looking for an easy mark.

I told him I really just came there to find out more about this new Trump school, get the free book they were offering (a paperback reprint of the 1980’s bestseller The Art Of The Deal was offered as a gift to lure seminar attendees, if I remember correctly) and hopefully meet Donald Trump. He laughed like the others did who told me, “Mister Trump has more important things to do” than attend this seminar in San Diego.

‘Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do,’ I thought. If Trump University wanted this hefty tuition The Donald could make a personal appearance himself for it.

Anyways, I stuck around till the end of their multimedia sales pitch and when they funneled everyone in a slowly moving cluster line out the back like the remnants of last night’s buffet the tables that were stacked with the mini pulp versions of The Art Of The Deal awaited. But there was a catch: you had to get through the sales reps’ predatory wrangle face to face before walking out with your free copy. When my turn came at the table I was honest with well dressed goon standing there, a man in his mid-forties or so with a slightly graying goatee, short salt and pepper hair and large muscles under a sport shirt that looked like he spent a lot of time in the gym lifting heavy weight earning.

Unpretentiously I told him I came for the free book they advertising for attendees. The stacks were on the far side of the table, out of reach unless you reached way over. He didn’t say anything for a while and glared at me angrily. We went back and forth like this and although it was uncomfortable I was as polite as possible and tried to laugh off the momentary threat vibe, but he looked off to the exit and I could sense he wanted to have me thrown out rather than give me a book.

I left with the book, which I still have somewhere. I tried reading it and it sucked, a ghostwritten example of 1980’s self-help dribble. Trump was born into wealth, not self made. His words rang hollow.

Recently, in the days before the final Republican Primary in early June, Trump’s rap spun around the Mexican-American identity of the federal judge presiding over his Trump University fraud case. The Donald thinks Judge Gonzalo Curiel should be recused, eliminating himself from the case because of his ‘Mexican’ ethnicity. “We’re building a wall. He’s a Mexican,” Trump has said to Jake Tapper on CNN.

Colloquially, he’s right. Unfortunately from a sociological street-level standpoint, just like if a person looks negro they’re referred to as African-American. In California as well as much of the USA if you look strikingly Hispanic people will say you’re “Mexican”. This is nothing new and it’s even more so when a person identifies himself as being of Mexican heritage, as Judge Curiel has done. Same thing if you’re Asian, Arab, or a descendant of people from the Indian subcontinent. When it comes up in conversation that’s how they’re described. All this is not in Trump’s defense. Despite formerly professing admiration my opinion today is he’s a dirt bag and a con artist. Trump University was not a university at all but a bait-and-switch scam that ripped off vulnerable people with worthless tuition whom Trump knew were hoping to make money off the housing bubble. I’m just saying, racial identity is always a separate thing from citizenship UNLESS you’re white. This judge can still weigh the case fairly. Many of Roosevelt’s highest ranking officers were of German descent in World War Two, including Eisenhower. No one questioned their loyalty. And if Trump wanted to have his fraud case tried in a court without an Hispanic jurist he could have been more careful to avoid Southern California.

Conning his way to his best deal.
Conning his way to his best deal.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
A paperback copy of Trump's famous mid-1980's bestseller was given away at the seminar. It's really why I went. That, and the prospect of meeting the big dude himself were my reasons to attend.
A paperback copy of Trump’s famous mid-1980’s bestseller was given away at the seminar. It’s really why I went. That, and the prospect of meeting the big dude himself were my reasons to attend.

photolog 5-22-16: Thumbprint Gallery

[Reviewer TV]

True Delorenzo Does Art For The Bernie Sanders’ Campaign

photolog 5-22-16: Thumbprint Gallery

video interview and photos by Reviewer Rob

Click the pics for larger.

True Delorenzo and His tribute to Bernie ala' Roy Lichtenstein.
True Delorenzo and His tribute to Bernie ala’ Roy Lichtenstein.
Outside Thumbprint Gallery 5-22-16 for the Bernie Sanders' art benefit.
Outside Thumbprint Gallery 5-22-16 for the Bernie Sanders’ art benefit.

Bar Basic Tuesday Night Art Show

Peter Geise.
Peter Geise.

[Art Scene]

Bar Basic, Tuesday Night, 5-10-16

“Geise has shown with artists like Richard Alan Morris and Walter Hasse Wojtyla. His work is included in the Vincent Price art collection.”

by Reviewer Rob

SAN DIEGO: Peter Geise was one of the artists in the show at Bar Basic tonight that I got a facebook event reminder of from Viz Cult. He does some photo collage in his painting, with mixed media oils, postage stamps and clippings from magazines. We spoke for a while as he sipped his beer and he lamented the lack of Prince photos in his collection British magazines. There were plenty of Bowie photos though. Good thing because the theme of this show he and another artist did this Tuesday night was “Station To Station”.

Geise, the artist, wanted to so some work with images of Prince and tonight when we talked briefly he was expanding on the fact that Bowie was a talent and influence far beyond the music world he dominated for so long, that his effect on film, fashion, and other realms, was profound. Prince, said Guise, was much smaller in that sense, but a huge artist musically nonetheless.

After we were done talking about Bowie and Prince, Geise asked me what my favorite band was. I was on the spot but he was showing interest so I had to think. I’d been listening to stuff recently he’d probably never heard of. I told him so, and had to repeat the name of an artist he’d never heard of. Then I also mentioned I’d “been listening to some Motorhead lately”, and he nodded in recognition.

I asked which piece took him the most time to make. He said, “That’s the question that artists hate most.” So I shrugged and rephrased it for him.

“Okay, which one took the most effort to birth, which took the most out of you?” I clenched my fists in front of my sternum as if I was a doctor pulling a baby out of a vagina.

He gestured towards an intricate medium-sized red patterned piece that was eye level and began talking about its concept of creation.

While he was saying all this I realized his pattered works are busy and asymmetrical yet well-spaced and harmonious and would make a great pattern for a bathroom shower curtain or bedspread. They had a wallpaper-like quality to them.

He didn’t want to agree at first but I also sensed he liked the comment. Being that visually appealing and commercially applicable is most artist’s secret desire.

Geise didn’t want to be thought of as willing to sellout but hey, we all like to be appreciated and we have to eat don’t we.


His bio: Geise, a veteran of the San Diego scene, employs drawing, painting and collaged material with a stream of consciousness style. The self taught artist utilizes abstract figures and non objective elements in his work. Geise is influenced by the modern artists of the 20th century. Working along similar methods of Klee, Miro, and Picasso, Geise’s work is an “updating” of 20’s to 60’s abstract art. His work often features biomorphic “figures” or “glyphs” in formal and random or “automatic” compositions. Working in a primitive direction, Geise’s style ranges from folk to street art. Geise works mainly with acrylic paint, collage and colored pencil. Additional influences on composition and theme include music (alternative rock, etc), classic film, “underground” comics, 1950’s Science Fiction, graffiti, and various contemporary themes.

Geise’s work has been featured at the La Jolla Athenaeum and The San Diego Art Institute. Geise has won numerous awards, including 10 best of show awards. Geise has shown with artists like Richard Alan Morris and Walter Hasse Wojtyla. His work is included in the Vincent Price art collection.

Peter Geise can be found online at, email wickerfins@gmail,com.

Peter Guise, Bar Basic San Diego, "StationTo Station" show, 5-10-16.
Peter Geise, Bar Basic, “StationTo Station” show, 5-10-16.
Peter Geise work up, 5-10-16.
Peter Geise work up, 5-10-16.

quickie beer review: Lagunitas Brown Sugar

[Beer Review]

Lagunitas Brown Sugar is Sweet, Smooth and Strong

by Reviewer Rob


Ten Percent!!! I like the robust flavor of potent high-octane beers without the knockout quality of a full on barleywine. That’s why I think I found my new favorite flavor of the month brew here: Lagunitas Brown Sugar. It’s sweetly sugary like its name implies. But it’s 10% alcohol so they serve it in a beer connoisseur short glass here. You can look like an aristocrat. *BURP!*

It went really well with the fresh Ahi sandwich and fries I had at Harbor Town just now.

[Reviewed February 1 at 9:30 pm.]

Brown Sugar from Lagunitas, sampled at Harbor Town Pub.
Brown Sugar from Lagunitas, sampled at Harbor Town Pub.

Western Drinking Customs


For The Price Of A Drink

Ballast Point, Grapefruit Sculpin.
Ballast Point, Grapefruit Sculpin.

“Shortly after incorporation, the State of Nevada reluctantly became the last western state to outlaw gaming. This occurred at midnight, October 1, 1910, when a strict anti-gambling law became effective in Nevada. It even forbade the western custom of flipping a coin for the price of a drink.”

~ from the History Of Las Vegas page on Wikipedia.

by Reviewer Rob

A few months ago in 2014 in San Diego there was this cute little darkhaired bartender at Harbor Town Pub in Point Loma that challenged me to a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors for the price of my first beer when I met her one night after sitting at her bar. She won. Not sure if that nominal game of skill and chance was strictly legal from a technical standpoint – if it’s something that would never be enforced isn’t it de facto not illegal? – but it was something that made me like her immediately.

This, above, is a picture of a cold glass of Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin 7%. Tonight’s bartender warned me about it. He said it was “really grapefruity”, but I’d asked him for about a half a dozen shot tasters before this, looking for something like the usual IPA that I prefer, before settling on it. So I said what the hell. It’s not that bad.

Life is sometimes about compromises.