YOU CAN’T PLEASE

Everyone, any time, or anyone all the time, when writing a column. Call out Trump, or skip it this week? I get flack either way. Why don’t you like Santa Monica? Quit complaining. You can’t stop change, you know.

Oh, I know. Having just celebrated (still celebrating) a Big Zero birthday, I acknowledge change all the time, of creeping soreness and slowness.

Every week I don’t write about our dysfunctional Precedent I grit my teeth and feel remiss, but then, sadly, every single column could chronicle his latest ignorance, missteps and outright boners, and I think even I would stop reading it.

(Stop that giggling! That was a legit descriptive noun defined as “stupid mistake,” before derisive red-faced grade school boys in the ‘50s exiled it from polite discourse. Maybe I’ll use it once every column, and make boners great again. In the spirit of the Grabber-in-Chief. Lest we forget.)

Thank goodness my fellow columnist Jack Neworth steps to the plate often, slyly damning orange evil with humor. Vigilance, facts and resistance are called for now more than ever, for sure.

 

“COMPLAINING” ‘BOUT SANTA MONICA

Make no mistake, I love living in Ocean Park for 31 years and feel blessed and privileged

for it every day. I love and support every neighborhood in our fair city. That love and awareness leads me to do what small part I can to expose and fight the forces that want to put a for sale sign on everything that makes living here great. Some of Trump’s damage to America can still be reversed, but when you put a seven-story monstrosity where a one-story business used to be, that ain’t coming down until the next century, if then.

Usually I feel I’m coming up short in that area, and letting people down. But let’s come right out and say it: I’m not Bill Bauer, I’m Charles Andrews, lifelong entertainer (hopefully) and storyteller intent on spreading less-known culture, art and information, with a passion for social justice and the politics that affect it. Maybe I have withdrawn a bit (for now) from writing crusading local politics columns because I did not want to step into Bill’s shoes. No one now on the scene could. But maybe, someone, in the future?

That was part of my motivation for establishing the Bill Bauer Journalism Scholarship, awarded through the Police Athletic League (PAL) recently, to Samohi senior Jessica Ramirez. Not that I expect her or any future recipient to return to Santa Monica to take up Bill’s sword, but it honors his beliefs to put another good journalist out in the world. You may see Ramirez’ byline in our paper this summer, or read of her Sister City trip to Mazatlan. Yes, good journalism is necessary for a democracy and an especially tough career path these days, but sometimes it rewards you unexpectedly.

 

LIVE DEAD!

… & Company at the Hollywood Bowl, a birthday gift from my old friend Josh

Finkenberg, and his ticket sister Kira. He’s not that old but I’ve known them both since diaper days (theirs, not mine). What a hassle, to get to the Bowl and back from here, two trains, a shuttle bus and a bit of a hike, but it was worth it, and I wasn’t sure it would be. I have many observations but I’ll just say that the three original members (well, brilliantly creative percussionist Mickey Hart joined a little late and is only 50 years in) plus star guitar slinger John Mayer, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti (so good!) and bassist Oteil Burbridge, are a skin tight, virtuoso musical train truckin’ faithfully down the tracks laid down so long ago in the Bay Area. My daughter observed, half an hour in, “Oh, they’re a blues band, right?” and I said, “Well, yeah, but many don’t see them that way.” I think we raised her right.

There’s a new doc on them (“Long Strange Trip” — what else?) just out on Amazon that’s getting rave reviews, despite its four-hour length. I’m just sayin’.

 

TWO X SMDP

I appreciate our local watering hole (and named one of the best bars anywhere) The Daily Pint more and more. Not only do they share our paper’s initials, but they have so many creatively cool, even surreal events. Take last Saturday morning, important to football (soccer) fans for the Champions League finals match, held this year in a 66,000 seat stadium in Wales but eyeballed by some 350 million football fanatics worldwide. (Take that, Super Bowl.) Next year’s match is scheduled for Kiev, Ukraine — could be awkward. I’m told the total purse is around $200,000,000. Grab a tin cup, LeBron.

The Pint was offering croissants and good coffee at 11 a.m., Suntory Toki and Hibiki

Japanese Harmony whiskey tasting at 11:45, Makers Mark Kentucky bourbons for halftime, and Bowmore Islay single malt scotches, a 12- and a 15-year-old, at game’s end. Not as interested as most there in the actual game, I convinced whiskey rep/expert Roberto to move the schedule up for me, so I tried them all by half past noon, a fine way to start any weekend. Hey, they were all wee drams, I had coffee and it was 8 p.m. in Cardiff! And I did catch the amazing bicycle kick goal by some Croatian dude.

OK, now you think I’m a typical alcoholic writer. Nope, I’m a world adventurer. Japan to Kentucky to Scotland, a world tour without leaving Santa Monica! Would you get out on a beautiful Saturday morning to go sit in a dark bar for that? Is that your idea of fun? Well, is it, Jeff? If so, y’all join me next year.

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: LA City Councilperson Joe Buscaino five years ago rejected a developer’s proposal to build homes at an emissions-filled freeway intersection. Now he’s reconsidering, because “LA faces a housing crisis.” The area’s state Assemblyperson Mike Gipson spoke out in favor of the project at a public meeting. When someone pointed out he is a paid consultant for the developer, he countered with, “I can have a second job.” Holy mackerel. Does this remind you of any freeway-adjacent project here, and does it make you feel any better that LA can be even more corrupt than Santa Monica? (Sometimes.)

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “If you pour some music on whatever’s wrong, it’ll sure help out.” — Levon Helm (The Band)… and a nod on my opening to LA boy Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party”

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else

in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com

 

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