CURIOUS CITY — EMINENTLY ECO-FRIENDLY. “Summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the streets, boy! I’ll shout and scream, I’ll kill the king, I’ll rail at all his servants!” (Jagger, Richards)
No? (This Saturday!)
“Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights … don’t give up the fight!” (Bob Marley) “Power to the people … right on!” (John Lennon) “How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?” (Bob Dylan)
Better. (Noon to 1 p.m.)
Definitely, “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York island; from the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me.” (Woody Guthrie)
It’s demonstration time! Right here in Santa Monica! (Corner of Lincoln and Ocean Park.)
But leave your guns at home, Johnny, because this is a peaceful and positive demonstration to build support to save a Santa Monica landmark from destruction.
Haven’t we already lost enough of our history? From all the streets of bungalow homes that used to edge right up to the beach south of Ocean Park Blvd. until they were bulldozed off the map for a long, long row of tall, tall towers of apartments filling the beach (they were stopped at two, by a citizen uprising similar to what we’re seeing now, and we wound up instead with acres of Sea Colony luxury condos), to our 50-year-old Norm’s diner, and now Callahan’s too, to two of the three massive wall paintings by famed muralist Jane Golden ‚Äì and now the last one could soon be lost as well.
The iconic Muir Woods mural, on the sides of two walls of Olympic High School at Lincoln and Ocean Park, is not on private property but rather is owned by the school district, our school district. It is up to them whether the 36-year-old Muir Woods mural will be restored, or painted over.
But at this point that mural, celebrating the giant of American conservation John Muir, with a depiction of redwoods that so many find comforting and peaceful on that busy corner, has become, in reality, something that belongs to the people of Santa Monica.
There is no good reason to destroy it. It can be restored and preserved, by the original artist. But our school board must hear our voices.
So please show up at that corner, between noon and 1 p.m. this Saturday, to show you care. See it up close (maybe you never have?). Sign the petition. Sing a version of “Joe Hill.” Commune with the redwoods, or the closest you can come to that without a long trip up north. Better red(wood) than dead(wood).
PERAMBULATING, BUT NO MAS MOSH. I spent much of last week with my good friends Bill and Claire, visiting from Valencia, Spain (but originally from Austin), and showing them the sights of Santa Monica. The weather was absolutely perfect, for strolling Main Street or the Promenade, or down to dip toes in the water, or just hanging at home enjoying the ocean breeze.
No, we did not drive downtown to see Disney Hall (they’ve seen Frank Geary’s similar Guggenheim in Bilbao), no Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollyweird, no Getty (much as I love to show it off), and for darnsure no Disneyland. It was what they wanted, after running around the Southwest for two months to see family. “I don’t want to drive,” Bill avowed, “and I don’t want to eat in another restaurant.” So we walked, in Ocean Park mostly, but not enough to take off the extra five I acquired from feeding them so well.
I had to take them to our famous pier a couple of times, but definitely on Thursday night, to witness one of our formerly famous for being fabulous twilight concerts. A reggae legend was holding forth, Lee “Scratch” Perry, a prickly character reviled by some but acknowledged by most for changing the music with his production wizardry. We got there just as his band slowly took the stage, in stages, until the old man himself (nearly 80) strutted forth and did his colorful thing. No scratching, just singing, or chanting, rapping or mumbling charismatically, and changing outrageous headwear several times per song. The band was only OK, but then “Scratch” has never been known for spending money on musicians.
This week’s OK Go show mildly interests me, but I may go drink specialty beer at the Daily Pint instead. (I shouldn’t tell you that, because you may all show up and they have only one keg of Goose Island’s monstrously tasty Bourbon County Stout, which only shows up at this one bar every six months or so. Very expensive but you can sip on a small one for an hour, like fine wine or a good scotch. Maybe ‚Äì the best tasting beer I’ve ever had. The Daily Pint is way cool, and not just because it has the same initials as this fine newspaper you’re reading. Soon I will profile the charismatic cockney owner Phil and his interesting story.)
No mosh pit for “Scratch”! No crowd surfing! No sedentary seniors sent sailing out of their seats like tenpins! (You know what I’m talking about, you did read my column last week, right? — What?!)
A mosh pit at a lazy churning reggae concert by a near-octogenarian? Don’t be ridiculous. And certainly not for the gently rocking Zombies, close to 70 themselves, right? Wrong. It did happen the previous week. Makes no sense for those types of music, except it seems some mostly young people sometimes go mostly to mosh and they don’t care what kind of music is playing.
I didn’t see it at the “Scratch” show but I didn’t stay around very long, and I was to the left and farther back than the previous week. What I also did not see were any extra precautions by security, including SMPD, to guard against a recurrence. I’d glance around frequently if I were you, at the OK Go (formerly the Greased Ferrets) show tomorrow night. Still not a true mosh band, but closer than the Zombies so “do what you want…don’t ask me…white knuckles” could ensue. But “this too shall pass.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I’d rather be sorry for something I did than for something I didn’t do.” – Kris Kristofferson
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for almost 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. You can reach him at

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