Anjelica Huston: Venice Beach

Well, self will be sad to finish this book. She started reading it in Cork, continued reading it in Wexford, continued reading it in Dublin, and now has been reading it in London. She didn’t start with high hopes, especially since there’s a cringe-inducing love/hate thing going on with Jack Nicholson. But Huston shines when she describes a place. And she’s been to some pretty fabulous ones.

Here she describes the view from her house in Venice Beach:

On the top story was a little parapet from which one could see the whole of Venice Beach — from the flags of the many nations on the roof of the youth hostel next door, above a faded sepia mural, to the Townhouse bar across the street, the tattoo parlor, Animal House, the hippies and the homeless, the vendors, the performance artists, the swami with his turban and electric guitar on Rollerblades, the runaways, the snake-charmer, the rappers, the chalk and sand artists, the weight lifters, the addicts, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the tourists and the surfers, the skateboard kids, the guy who played “Eye of the Tiger” relentlessly and did crazy stuff with a chainsaw for eight years.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Sylvain Landry Week 42 Challenge: CARS

Sylvain Landry’s new photo challenge is


How great is that?

Self is from California! Course she only finds 10 million photos of cars in her archive!


Venice Beach, California, November 2014

Stay tuned.

Transtromer: The Great Enigma

How self adores poetry.

Regular readers of this blog know this.

In 2014, when she was in Los Angeles with Angela Narciso Torres, Angela and she went to a bookstore in Venice Beach called A Small World.

Self found a book by Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet.

And that book is here with self in Mendocino.

Here’s a poem from that book (That title is so gorgeous)

The Man Who Awoke With Singing Over the Roofs

Morning. May rain. The city is still quiet.
as a mountain hamlet. The streets quiet. And in
the sky a bluish-green aero-engine rumbles —
The window is open.

The dream where the sleeper is lying prostrate
turns transparent. He stirs, begins
groping for attention’s instruments —
almost in space.

Afloat: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is AFLOAT.

The pictures self chose are from: Venice Beach, a trip she took with Angela Narciso Torres in November; the park two blocks from her house in Redwood City, which holds free weekly concerts every Wednesday throughout the summer; and the Cambridge River, on a visit self paid to ex-Assumption High School classmate Doris Duterte Stanley.

Venice Beach, November 2014

Paragliding: Venice Beach, November 2014

Concert in Stafford Park, Summer 2014

Concert in Stafford Park, Redwood City, CA: Summer 2014

Men's Crew, Cambridge, May 2014

Men’s Crew, Cambridge, May 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still More Rule of Thirds

“This week, compose your subject off-center.”

(WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, Week beginning Friday, 20 February 2015)

Masonic Temple (c. 1866), Lansing Street, Mendocino

Masonic Temple (c. 1866), Lansing Street, Mendocino: January, 2015

Stairs at Night, Mendocino Art Center

Stairs at Night, Mendocino Art Center: January, 2015

Venice Beach, November 2014

Venice Beach, November 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


This Evening, Tomas Transtromer

When self was with Angela Narciso Torres in Venice Beach in November, Angela took self to A Small World, a fabulous bookstore fronting the beach. Self ended up getting poetry collections by Neruda and Tomas Transtromer.

This evening, self is looking through Transtromer’s collection The Great Enigma (Pretty fabulous, that title!), translated by Robin Fulton.

The back cover has the New York Times quoting Transtromer as saying, “My poems are meeting places.”

Oh. Wow. Self can’t even. Just. Kill her now.

Here’s an excerpt from Transtromer’s Balakirev’s Dream:

 The black grand piano, the gleaming spider
trembled at the center of its net of music.

In the concert hall a land was conjured up
where stones were no heavier than dew.

Love, love, love those images.

Stay tuned.

New 2 for the New Year

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is NEW.  NEW as in:

Possibility. Opportunity. Potential.

With that in mind, self selected three pictures from her archives that seem to embody the spirit of the New Year.

(1)  Bruce Lee Postcard: New Year Resolution: TEACH ME TO BE FEARLESS.

Self has this taped over her desk at home.

Self has this taped over her desk at home.

(2)  T-Shirt Slogans with Attitude (Key to Positive Mental Attitude is Wearing a T-shirt with the right slogan. For example: POP THE CHAMPAGNE). As Effie Trinket herself might say: Chins up! Eyes front! Attitude!

Ojai, California

Ojai, California

(3) Sign on the Venice Beach Boardwalk:  One of self’s New Year resolutions is to spend as much time near a body of water as possible:

Venice Beach, CA

Venice Beach, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.



New: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge


This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is, fittingly enough, NEW.

Hence this post is about 1) New Books 2) New Experiences and 3) A New Play

New additions to self’s personal bookshelf. The Neruda she bought in Venice Beach. By the Book was a Christmas present.

New Books for the New Year

New Books for the New Year

First Time to Visit Chicago in the Fall:

Downtown Chicago: October 2014

Downtown Chicago: October 2014

Caught the U.S. premiere of Abbie Spillane’s new play, the scorching Strandline, at Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre:

This Chicago theatre was founded 25 years ago by actor Michael Shannon.

This Chicago theatre was founded 25 years ago by actor Michael Shannon. It’s an intimate (not to say wee) space. The night self saw it was the first night of previews and most of the people in the audience were actors and actresses.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Warmth 3: Venice Beach

Self visited Venice Beach twice this year: the first time in September, by herself. The second in November, with Angela Narciso Torres, who was giving a reading at Beyond Baroque (which, incidentally, was where self discovered that Viggo Mortensen of Lord of the Rings fame used to participate in their poetry writing workshops, way back in the ’80s!)

Both times, the weather was beautiful and warm.

The beach itself had very few people, surprisingly.

Venice Beach, November 2014

Venice Beach, November 2014

Venice Beach Boardwalk, November 2014

Venice Beach Boardwalk, November 2014

Sunbathers, Venice Beach, September 2014

Sunbathers, Venice Beach, September 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Yellow: Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge

The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge this week is YELLOW.

Participating bloggers are asked to post something focusing on the color yellow, whether it be lemons. Or flowers. Or sunlight.

Self’s 1st example of yellow is a tablecloth. The table was on the Venice Beach Pier:


Her 2nd example of yellow is a lit corridor in the History Corner of the Main Quad, Stanford University campus. Self took the picture one evening last fall when she was on her way to Annenberg to catch a Robert Frank documentary on the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street tour:


Finally: sunflowers. Self bought a bunch one day from her local farmers market:

DSCN7054Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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