Every Friday, we pick one of our favorite past write-ups to re-feature. This week, it was our August 2010 column on L.A. mainstay Michelle Marini (focusing on her history, turning her first bar The Lava Lounge into The Woods in PART I and the opening of her now established downtown nightlife hotspot, The Woods in this Part II)
(photo by Jessy Plume for TRAFFIK)
“If you’re going Downtown, I may as well be on your way“
– “Downtown” by Tegan and Sara
In Part One of our feature on nightlife proprietor Michelle Marini, we discussed a little bit of her personal history with “tinseltown” and the City of Angels (if you missed it you can click here to read it). In Part Two, we will be learning a little more about her influences, current project, and what she hopes to accomplish with this new venture.
In January of 2009 we asked Michelle Marini, what she would like to tackle next. She responded with, “I’m angling to open a small bar in Gallery Row Downtown. It’s a super artsy, fashion-minded community that’s in the making.”
Intrigued, our conversation continued.
Why Downtown? What made the idea of opening something up Downtown first pop into your head?
Marini enthusiastically replied, “During Artwalk. Fall ‘08 I believe. I felt like I was in Manhattan, and loved it!”
Ultimately, this decision and idea eventually (more…)
It’s ArtWalk Thursday once again!
As you’re making plans on what Galleries and spots to make stops at here’s a place worth checking out that we’ve become well-acquainted with in the past few months after Youth Arts Outreach (check out their show on http://intraffikradio.com the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month at 12:30 pm)
SPREAD Gallery and Skate Shop (269 Los Angeles St. Los Angeles, CA 90012)
SPREAD Gallery is not only a Gallery and Skate Shop that has played host to various Art Exhibits and Events, but it also serves as a safe haven for the youth of Los Angeles, especially those who reside in Downtown L.A. SPREAD is owned and operated by L.A./Orange County native Christine Meisenbach who has a solid background in counseling and has long been immersed in the skate world. She also is the designer behind the jewelry line Bella Coi also sold in SPREAD.
Meisenbach provides the youth with a safe place to go after school where they can discuss their day and express their art. She has been quoted as saying, “The smartest person in the world is an adolescent.” and believes that “adults should instill and instruct humility and encourage the development a great moral compass.”
“The smartest person in the world is an adolescent.”
Via the SPREAD name, Meisenbach also sponsors skate teams including an all girls one. For those that can’t always afford skateboards or trucks, etc. she has them work in the shop in exchange for the boards. The young adults get that are part of the skate teams get to participate in skate competitions and often time get to meet some of those Pro-Skateboarders that they look up to. She makes sure that they’re getting good moral lessons and tries to set a good example for the kids who might not be getting that at home. Meisenbach is a believer that “You can’t overcome evil with evil, you can overcome it with good.”
She practices some of this good by carrying and displaying art from local artists in particular those who have been unable to find a home for their creativity. Proceeds from skateboard, merchandise, and artwork sales go right back into the store and the services it provides for the youth.
SPREAD Gallery will be open during ArtWalk today Thursday May 4th
In October 2006, I headed off to the Eagle Rock Music Festival. At the end of the night, Monsters are Waiting took the stage. I came away with mixed feelings. I loved their sound, but Annalee Fery’s double jointed body movements made me feel like I was witnessing finger nails scratching a chalk board. Well, their sound was so enticing I continued to head off to their sets and either Annalee Fery’s body flexibility diminished or I just got more attuned to her style. In the summer of 2008, I caught their last set (I believe it was their last set) at the Getty Museum – it was amazing. At the time, Annalee Fery was pregnant. I figured the band would take a break and come back later. There was just silence. I’d check out their website every so often. I did internet searches on the band name, her name. Just silence.
Fast forward a couple years and a friend mentioned this band called Lonely Trees. He said he knew the guy in the band. So I looked the band up. Wait, Annalee Fery?!? Yes!!! She was back, which meant my love affair was back.
I’ve seen a handful of their sets and recently caught another at Casey’s Irish Pub.
#1 Comment of the night: “I love Casey’s Irish Pub. It reminds me of Chicago.“
#2 Comment of the night: “Our band has recently gotten addicted to Starbursts.”
This second comment came up when Annalee started to look around behind her. She pointed to a bag of Starbursts. She was handed a Starburst. I was thinking, “How is she supposed to sing with a Starburst in her mouth?” Ahh, she took a small bite and then put the remaining down on her synth to finish later.
The Annalee quirk: the quick curtsey followed by a “Thank You.”
My thoughts on a photographer’s other job: I believe that 5% (I’m not going to over-state this) of a music photographer’s job is to help out the band when something goes wrong on stage. I say this, because (at least in Los Angeles) a lot of the times you’re not only the nearest person to the stage, you’re also one of the few individuals within three feet of the stage. I’ve done this “other” job a handful of times (sometimes doing a decent job, other times not so well). One recent example is my helping out during Milo Greene’s residency at The Satellite. A drum stick went flying off. I picked it up. I got a look. A perfect toss and catch was made. Sometimes a band might want help, but I freeze because I’m not sure what all the hand signals mean. There is pointing in a direction and I look in that direction and can’t determine what they want. I figure though that a photographer is one of the better individuals to interpret these signals as they’re around bands all the time and have a general idea when something doesn’t look right on stage.
And so I was called upon to do this little side job at Casey’s. On their last song, Annalee gave me a look and started to point down. I looked down at the sound monitor. Ah, she wanted the sound monitor turned towards her. I did so and was given the thumbs up.
My favorite Lonely Trees’ song: “Fool.”
Side note on my recent history with Lonely Trees: A month ago they had a set at The Satellite and I wanted to go; however, I was covering Project Ethos Fashion Show for Intraffik. The conflicts that pop up in life, but all ends well, because I got to catch them at Casey’s.
A week ago today, Downtown L.A. was taken over by the return of Red Bull SoapBox Car Derby (the “unique non-motorized racing event challenges both experienced racers and amateurs alike to design and build outrageous, human-powered soapbox dream machines and compete against the clock in a downhill race.“). The event attracted over 100,000 spectators. The teams were judged on three criteria: speed, creativity and showmanship. They all competed for a chance to win the ultimate NASCAR experience among other prizes, for the winner results click here. Although, we’re pretty sure it was the bragging rights these teams were really seeking.
Among the approximately 40 teams selected to compete in this competition were our friends of the Falls Lounge (located at 626 Spring St.), and via the photos below you can view the leading up to and during the race process.
AT THE RACES
The Falls owner Michelle Marini (far right) and staff
Care Bears, Green Army Men, Kilt-donning gentleman were among what you would’ve witnessed at this event
The Falls Lounge is also up for The L.A. Times “Reader’s Choice” Best of Southern California 2011 Award for Best Happy Hour in Los Angeles. You can vote for them and all of your favorites here.
“Any NY transplants who blew their noses the next day would instantly be taken back to Randall’s Island [Lollapalooza] circa 1994-1997.”
FYF: The Experience: With it looking like The Detour Fest will never be returning, I find myself becoming more and more protective of the FYF Fest. Much has been written about the logistical snafus of Saturday’s 7th Annual FYF Fest and I’m here to weigh in.. Common complaints about water prices, set delays, and ungodly long lines have probably done enough to scare people off for next year, and that’s a damn shame. Let me try and put things into perspective for some people who are losing their shit. For $20 I was able to see a slew of my current favorite artists on a beautiful day in Downtown LA, mere miles from my house. Sure the lines were long, but with a little logic and some help from your wingmen and women you could work through the hiccups. Someone in your group wants a cheese-steak and you want beer? Expecting to be able to do both is unrealistic at any festival - Break off into groups and pick a spot to meet back up at. Also, don’t expect to rely on your cell phones or texts. You gotta work these things old school style. Maybe FYF is catching more grief because it was 90 degrees and we were sitting in a glorified dirt farm. It made many people miserable, but it made me feel a sense of nostalgia for the old days of the traveling Lollapalooza. Any NY transplants who blew their noses the next day would instantly be taken back to Randall’s Island circa 1994-1997. If anything, I wish it were not an all ages show because the longest lines of the day were for the beer tents and the VIP Cha Cha tent, but I understand the kids need their music too.
Dark, sleek and cool. This bar may be hard to find, located on 6th Street (110 E. 6th Street ) near S. Main Street down a sublevel alley in the basement of a loft building, but worth the drive around the downtown streets. Good-looking bartenders serving up great tasting drinks with music that is easy to ease into. Space is small and fills quickly – great place for drinks after work if you’re in the downtown area. The vibe is speakeasy meets a burlesquese setting with a good LA crowd – easy going and mellow. In fact, to keep the easygoing local pub feel of the bar, the owners go as far as to not work with promoters The scattered mirrors and chandeler give you just enough of the “fancy” to bring you back a second and third time.
Drink recommended: The French 75 – a wonderful sugary (but not overly sugary), lemony gin concoction
The Association is located at: 110 E. 6th Street (Los Angeles, CA)