Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, intellectually, and yeah physically, because of all the other exhausting exhaustions.
Keep in mind I’m writing this before the election results are in. So my state of mind is a result of these seemingly endless campaigns, national and local, that mean so much to me, that strike at my very soul. I feel like my world has been under attack; from the government I always believed might fall far short of my desires but never turn into a nightmare, to the wonderful beach town Santa Monica I thought would always be here, to pass along to my daughter.
So, who won? Do I need to “lv” the USA? New Zealand, here I come. Or maybe Jamaica, it’s closer and the music is better. If Trump won, not even Santa Monica will be a refuge. If Hillary won but LV lost, how long do I have before my moving van won’t be able to get out of Santa Monica for the gridlock? One advantage: I will soon be able to go downtown at noon and pretend I’m in Reykjavik in the winter, where they never see the sun.
Actually, that’s one of those things most everyone believes, but it’s not so. I know because I was there last week. It’s complicated (as is the whole bit about finding the
Northern Lights) and you can go to the online version of their cool newspaper
Grapevine for an explanation (11-22-13). The current issue is all about music because they just finished their annual Airwaves music festival, with some 220 Icelandic bands performing, all manner of strange and wonderful music. Yeah, 220 bands from a country with only 330,000 people. And you only know of Bjork, and maybe Sigur Ros and Of Monsters and Men.
Well, me too, I hate to confess, until I started thumbing through that Grapevine, and meeting musicians there on my recent quick sojourn to the land of the Sugarcubes. Hung out with two marvelous souls even though we didn’t go there for Airwaves; it started the day after we left.
When I tell people I flew for $199 each way, and that sometimes the sale price from LA is only $99, people usually say “Wow!” And I say, yes, that’s right.
WOW Air began flying out of LAX this year. To go to a wonder-filled, exotic isolated country with landscape so unusual and breathtakingly beautiful for that price is a no-brainer, in my book. What are you waiting for?!
But WOW doesn’t make it easy to go cheap. No frills is their fiat. A bottle of water in flight is three bucks, a beer six, and if you ask for a blanket — $20. Choose your seats? — pay extra. Extra legroom? — more yet. Skis, surfboard (yes, they surf in Iceland!!), golf bag — lots more. You’re allowed one small bag holding 22 pounds. You may bring a laptop but you have to put it under the seat in front of you, and, uh, put your feet on it whole time, I guess. Bag too big or over 22 pounds and you pay,
from $30 – $99 extra per bag — each way. But we’re used to traveling light and had
no problem with that. We just wore 23 layers and peeled most of them off once in our seats.
Norwegian Air sometimes has great prices to Reykjavik and I’ve heard Iceland Airlines does too. Check around, of course. But WOW’s probably your best bet for low price. Was it worth it on WOW? Without a doubt.
Even though we wound up seated across from two young boys screaming like wounded banshees, the entire flight. And there are no movies, no seatback entertainment, not even music stations, to plug into to distract you, or them.
Against all odds, we sat across from the same family on the return flight, but were able to flee to empty seats in the next section back. And of course barely heard a peep from the little darlings. Probably still exhausted from their screaming flight over. Or their parents told them they would throw them in one of Iceland’s 200 volcanoes. Or they invested in tranquilizers.
BOBBY FISCHER LOVED IT
We had a blast, with only 5-½ days on the ground. Walked the town, got out of town, heard some music, visited Bobby Fischer’s book store hangout, record stores, the amazing cathedral and Harpa concert hall, a fabulous outdoor sculpture garden right across the street, saw impressive Gullfoss (waterfall), the island-splitting tectonic rift, Geysir, sat in a hot tub at the hotel with snow falling down (it rains and snows horizontally there), but best of all met some great people. One of them was Leeni, another was Daniel. Both musicians. Iceland has a lot of musicians. But you’ll have to wait to hear more tales of Island (that’s how they spell it) because now I have to
hip you to two events you don’t want to miss, in your own backyard.
DRAMA AND MUSIC
The play is very close, at the Ruskin Group Theatre at the airport. “It’s Time” is playing only nine more times so don’t miss. It’s the true story of playwright-performer Paul Linke’s life tragedies that held miracles because he was willing to dig in and carry on. You will probably cry. And be very glad you saw this stunning one-man show.
This Saturday you’ll have to cross LA to La Brea but you can have the most delightful double bill I’ve seen in ages: the Jack Rutberg Gallery has a show called “Surreal/Unreal” and it’s rich. I fell in love with a series by Erich Brauer, and if you are rich you can walk away with a rare painting by famous American sculptor-mobilist Alexander Calder, for $1.25 mil. Hey, Christmas is coming…
But Saturday they are featuring a performance by the Lyris Quartet, a very talented and creative young group I saw a month ago at the First Presbyterian Church here. Wine reception at 7, performance at 8, great art to make your head spin, all for 20 bucks. Life’s grand, ain’t it? Grab it. Ask Paul Linke — it’s ticking away.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: No, of the decade. Now that it’s answered — what do we do with this mess?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” — Saint Augustine
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere
else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at