The Valley is a foreign place; they do things differently there. The Valley has seems so exotic me because of its retro-suburbia flatlands vibes. And wow, the boys were so cute when I was teenaged girl! Thai food and sushi got their SoCal start in the Valley, where now you you can find mini-malls with Persian, Ecuadoran and Mexican food sharing a parking lot with a Subway. Mini-malls are pretty ubiquitous to the Valley, where a famous one houses a pot dispensary, a donut shop and a Thai food joint. Ah yes, the Valley has it has it all. Except that there are very few venues for art. Aside from Fabien Castenier and the NoHo Art District (and is NoHo really “the Valley”? — discuss), there is a real art drought for Vals, Resedians, Sherman Oakers, Tarzanese, Woodland Hillsfolk and other residents of the 818, but the San Fernando Valley-based 11:11 A Creatve Collective is working to correct that. Over the past four years, they have build up a network of locations for pop-events like black light painting at the legendary music venue Paladino’s, the upcoming first annual Art & Music Festival at the Tarzana Community & Cultural Center, and the summertime Third Thursdays Canoga Park Artrageous Art Walk on Owensmouth, just north of Sherman Way.
Last Saturday, August 3, 11:11, in partnership with the Reseda Neighborhood Council and Continental Art Supplies, presented Reseda a pop-up at the venerable family owned art store which has been in business since 1960. On display, Reseda-centric paintings, art work and photos from the Country Club, a rock venue that hosted U2, X, Tom Petty, Merle Haggard, Metallica, B.B King, Iggy Pop, and James Brown. I saw Henry Rollins there in 1993.
In the 80s, just across the street from the Country Club, I saw Rollins read at BeBop Records. At times during that decade, I worked for SST Records, was doing poetry readings after recording some tracks on a spoken word record, and my best friend and a boyfriend were in bands, so I was at BeBop Records at least once month. BeBop was run by Rich Bruland and René Engle, sold new and used records, and was a venue for alternative bands, performance art, and spoken word.
During Saturday’ Reseda exhibit, Bruland discussed the musical history of neighborhood, told tales of BeBop and the Country Club (like when he was closing up shop for the night, and while walking to his car, the Country Club security guard beckoned him into the closed venue where Jeff Beck and Mick Jagger were jamming in rehearsal for video being shot the next day. However he didn’t tell the story I saw unfold: How, after a gig at BeBop, which ended at the same time as a Mickey Hart show at the Country Club –I think he’s some guy who was in the Grateful Dead, based on the hippies in attendance–a teenager plowed his car into another car, jumped out and started running , hair and tie-dyed tee shirt flying, before his fellow Dead Heads tackled him as he screamed, “I’m on acid!” And people thought punks were bad.)
Bruland also made all the fliers for BeBop shows, and on Saturday he had a selection on display. (The entire collection, plus news clipping and photos are in the archives at Cal State Northridge.) Along with being history, these are great examples of art form a bygone era; Bruland created them by hand with the help of a black and white Xerox machine, a decade and a half before Photoshop and its similar cousins made art easy.
Canoga Park Artrageous Art Walk
Owensmouth and Sherman Way
August 15 & September 19th