Clare works with a chola who doesn't speak Spanish, at a place that
serves a high number of Spanish speakers. When someone comes who speaks
Spanish, the chola asks Clare, "Eh, can you talk to 'er, eh? She speak
Spanish, fool." It may be that the chola speaks perfect Spanish but
chooses to let the coworker with the bilingual pay supplement of
$0.50/hour handle it. She could also very well be the granddaughter (or
great-granddaughter) of immigrants, and not speak Spanish, but no doubt
understand some. (Many in my dad's family are this way, but not me,
because I studied Spanish for 10 years to make up for my dad never
having spoken to me in Spanish.)
Yesterday, I was in Vons, shopping for chicken, chile and cheese to go
with the onion and tortillas at home to make alambre de pechuga,
Rivas Cultural Services' signature dish, for Clare on the occasion of
her coming home from a week in Scotland. I selected what Vons calls a
"pasilla chile", but what is actually a chile poblano. Pasilla means raisin, and a chile pasilla, or pasilla chile, is type of
chile that looks like a raisin. So Vons is calling one of their chiles
by the wrong name, so what? Ordinarily, nothing, but yesterday, when I
went to pay for the chile, I was attended by a young man who appeared
to be of 100% Latino descent yet speak no Spanish. Upon picking up my
unbagged, unmarked chile, he considered it briefly and asked, "Is this
a pasilla?", in a way that rhymed with Godzilla. To which I could only
say, "Yeah, bro."
Walking through Isla Vista on my way into work this morning on the
street called El Greco, I passed an apartment building called The El
Tags: alambre de pechuga, the el greco, mexicans who don't speak spanish, pasilla chile, poblano chile
Rivas Cultural Services teamed up again with Dyrenforth Acquisitions to
take in the David Sedaris show at the Arlington Saturday night, on
account of Clare being away in Scotland visiting her grannie.
The little gay was hilarious, as he was when he was last through town a
few years ago. I haven't yet read his books, but I've been nothing
short of extremely impressed by what I've heard him read. What I enjoy
most is that his humor is never predictable. Just when you think you
know what he's gonna say next, he makes an entirely different point
that is several planes of humor higher than anything you'd thought of.
It is very hard to do this and keep people laughing at the same time.
Bill Hicks joked about "filling your empty lives with humor you
couldn't possibly think of yourselves," but in fact this is a very rare
skill. Most comedians make jokes that everyone knows already. Now,
maybe Sedaris isn't a comedian in the same sense of the word, and his
performance should be judged by different criteria, but he obviously
has the incredible ability to create material that is funny enough to
keep the smart people interested but simple enough to have mass appeal.
He's like Radiohead in this way: he provides both very high artistic
content AND very high general appeal.
And therein lay the problem with at the Arlington - the idiot fans.
Rivas Cultural Services hates book signings as a rule. We aren't flatly
against them, we just don't want any part of them. The bummer in this
case was that the book signing cut into Sedaris' time on stage.
Dyrenforth Acquisitions and I would have much preferred to have heard
Sedaris read for twice as long, rather than surrender half of the
quality time with him that we'd paid for to those enough rich enough to
buy books (from Borders!) and stand around for an hour waiting to get
them signed. His signing their books means we don't get to hear him
The other problem was the question and answer session. When will UCSB
Arts & Lectures learn that this is a bad format for paid
entertainment? I'm paying to hear Sedaris!!!! Not to hear some rich
white stooge's idea of what will inspire Sedaris to answer brilliantly.
The people asking the questions were obviously trying way too hard to
impress those sitting around them by asking things that they were
certain would drive Sedaris to launch into a super-gay rant that was
funnier than anything he'd prepared. Obviously, this didn't work, in
any instance, and Sedaris was instead forced to tactfully deflect
Dyrenforth Acquisitions regarded this as further proof that people go
to these "get-your-shot-of-culture-here" events to get laid. When
someone asked, "How's your brother?", the artist explained that his
brother as he writes about him is a much different being than his
real-life brother, and that the latter was not subject to being
talked/written about without his input. A parallel notion can be found
on a series of ESPN commercials on TV these days that shows football
commentators being approached in grocery store parking lots and
airports by fans who've see them on TV and, mistakenly interpreting
this as a two-way relationship, approach the TV personalities as if
they were their real-life friends and ask them for rides home and stuff.
"That's not how you treat an artist," Herr Dyrenforth scoffed. "What a
bunch of stupid fuckin' white people!"
(Which, I'll add, just goes to show that most crowds are full of stupid
people, be they white or brown. When Chris
Rock came to the Shoe a while back, two thirds of his performance
was dedicated to jokes everyone already knew but that the bulk of the
paying crowd - the brown trash and rich whites - absolutely loved.)
Tags: david sedaris, white people, Dyrenforth Acquisitions
Rivas Cultural Services hit up the Orchid Bowl last Saturday night for a
beer with the famous Kevin Witherell. We met his paramedic girlfriend and
her paramedic colleague at the bar, drank beer and ate appetizers. It
was the first time I'd ever been to Zodo's. I haven't been bowling in
ages, but in high school it was a semi-regular part of my program. I
always preferred San Marcos Bowl though. They had these punch cards that
would allow you to bowl 50 games for $10. No wonder they went out of
business. Anthony Garibay, Dan Kilgore, Chris Ducale and I also used to
love to play some ruthless games of air hockey there.
So while sitting there at the Zodo's bar for the first time, I got a tap
on the shoulder. At the other end was Brian Hiefield, who has apparently
parlayed his misspent youth as a SimCity addict and geography major into
a city planning job with Goleta City of Goleta. With him was my
buddy since third grade at Foothill School, Matt Graham, and his fiancee Katie Golus, the
Matt Graham and Katie Golus that I understood, via Facebook, to be in
Boston! But they're not in Boston, not even a little bit! They live on
Paradise Road! These are people I've known at least since La Colina
Junior High. Brian's been in Santa Barbara ever since, and Matt and
Katie have been back in town a few months now, but I haven't any of them
in almost 10 years. I ride my bike to work right past the Goleta City of Goleta offices two or three mornings a week, yet have still never seen Brian.
There are probably 20 people that fit in this category whose faces I've
only seen on Facebook, and even then only in the last few months: folks who've been here ever since high school but
apparently haven't been hanging out where I've been hanging out. We all
agree it's surprising that we've never run into each other despite none
of us having been in hiding. I wonder how many of them I would have
enjoyed hearing from all these years, and how many of them I have nothing in common with?
Tags: orchid bowl, zodo's, the famous kevin witherell, foothill school
Everyone knows the song "I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas". It's the
one American kids are made to sing by substituting all the vowel sounds
in the song for the long vowels a, e, i, o and u. So the words become
"Ae lake tae ate, ate, ate, aepples aend baenaenaes", "E leke tee eet,
eet, eet, eeples eend beeneenees", "I like ti ite, ite, ite, ite, iples
eind byenyenyes", etc. It doesn't really make any sense at all when
transcribed, because it's hard to spell the long vowel sounds that the
song uses, but you get the point.
As a preschooler at the famous Starr-King Parent Child Workshop, Rivas
Cultural Services was made to sing this song a great deal. In those
days, the restaurant in the space that Aldo's currently occupies on
State Street was not a shamelessly overpriced Italian joint with a
sycophantic waitstaff, but a historic cafeteria that made everything
from scratch, called The Copper Coffee Pot. Today, there is a ceramic
tile plaque on the wall outside Aldo's commemorating this.
My dad worked at The Copper Coffee Pot as a cook. His nickname in the
kitchen was "McGovern", because he was always talking about the
candidate. The youngest guy who worked there was an undefeated wrestler
at Dos Pueblos High whose nickname was "El Undefeated". The boss
was a guy named Lance, about whose balding pate the kitchen staff used
to say, "pocos pelos, pero bien peinados", meaning "few hairs,
but well combed". Whenever a fly was found to be hanging out on a wall
- my dad told me before my first Spanish class at La Colina Junior High
- someone would sing the words, "una mosca está en la pared", meaning "a fly is on the wall".
Well, Saturday morning, Rivas Cultural Services was driving to work and
listening to the children's program Festival Infantil on Radio Bronco,
when a song came on called, "Una mosca parada en la pared", or
"A fly on the wall". Obvi, the first verse was, "Ana masca parada an
la parad, an la parad, an la parad. Ana masca, ana masca, ana masca
parada an la parad." Next came, "Ene mesque perede en le pered,"
and then "Ini misqui piridi in li pirid," etc.
All of which brought to light the following discoveries:
1. The Mexican version of "Apples and Bananas" is called, "A Fly on the
Wall" in Spanish. 2. My dad misremembered the title of the song, and for 40 years has
been saying "está"
instead of "parada". 3. The Spanish language version also requires several spelling changes
in order to write the lyrics properly, but these are much easier to
make in Spanish, because since all Spanish vowels have only one
pronunciation (namely, the name of the vowel), it's the consonants that
become affected in spelling.
Tags: copper coffee pot, apples and bananas, una mosca parada en la pared
Yesterday, Rivas Cultural Services overheard two amusing bits of
bilingualism. The first was at the student activities fair at UCSB's
Storke Plaza, where 100 tables advertised the activities put on by
various student organizations, associations, congresses, groups, and
splinter groups. MUJER, a women's sub-committee of El Congreso, was
selling cucumber slices and mangos topped with lime juice and chili
powder. Apparently a member of the table staff expressed a doubt, to
which the head mango man replied, "Mientras vendamos, it's all
good", meaning, "As long as we're selling, it's all good". This could
only happen in California! (Although the notion that fast revenue
matters more than customer service, planning and good business
practices is widely accepted throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas.
In Mexico, this half-assed way of doing things is generally referred to
as "a la mexicana", roughly "Mexican style" in English.
The other example is also purely California. On 91.9 KCSB was a program
concerning Spanish-language sexual education. The speaker was
explaining the importance of not sharing sex toys with other couples,
and said, "...que cada uno tiene su propio, um, set", meaning
"that each [couple] has its own, um, set." There is a perfectly good
and well-known word for "set" in Spanish, but it's "juego",
which Rivas Cultural Services believes the clearly mixed-up speaker in
question may have avoided due to a perceived confusion with the version
of "juego" meaning "game". Which would imply the bilingual
speaker chose a strictly English word over a Spanish word because the
Spanish word may have been confusing to other bilingual speakers. Which
of course is pointless, in Spanish-language sex education.
There are real linguists who study these things, but Rivas Cultural
Services always enjoys taking an amateur crack at a good linguistic
Tags: it's all good, bilingualism, California Spanish, chicanos
Yes, there are some accent marks in her name. And yes, the Santa
Barbara Man About Goleta is back from 10 days exiled in Lompoc
for not keeping it real enough locally.
Rivas Cultural Services had 30th birthday
gift tickets from Clare to hear the old barefooted woman from Cape
Verde sing. With Clare taking used-to-be Carp High track star and later
co-worker of mine Mike Medel's public speaking class at SBCC, Rivas
Cultural Services invited the president of Dyrenforth Acquisitions, a
lover of languages and musics.
I hadn't been expecting a band, but was energized to see the guitar,
piano, cavaquinho, bass, two drummers and clarinet. Herr Dyrenforth was
excited about the cavaquinho, a four-string ukulele-like guitar. Of the
clarinetist inspecting the stage before the show, and before we knew he
was the clarinetist, the acquisitionist commented that, "That guy looks
like the real thing."
Herr Dyrenforth is one of two music snobs that Rivas Cultural Services
likes to associate with. The other is in San Francisco. And Herr
Dyrenforth said that Cesaria Evora was the best show he'd seen in Santa
Barbara in years. As for Rivas Cultural Services, we're willing to
swear that this is the best show we've ever seen in Campbell Hall. For
the record, SB Independent photographer Paul Wellman was seeing Evora
for the third time, though Tuesday was his first with camera.
The fascinating part of hearing Evora perform is that she sings in the
creole-sprinkled Portuguese of Cabo Verde, an island 500 miles off Senegal. I've seen with my own eyes that
Lisbon is full of Senegalese, and my Portuguese Portuguese teacher Sara
Rocha told me they speak Portuguese in Cabo Verde, and I know there
were once quite a few in Buenos Aires, where I lived two years, but I'd
never heard someone from Capo Verde sing before! They sound so cool!
Not only do they not put the Brazilian "e" sound at the end of final
consonants, but they do make the "sh" sound for s, but a softer one
than in Portugal. So Lisboa sounds like "Leeshboa", and will even lop
off the whole last syllable. "Santa Barbara" was "Santa Barbar"
in one chorus, and "saudade" was "sodad".
Herr Dyrenforth loved that when a Brazilian woman stood up and shouted
a request during the encore, Evora appeared to pay the Brazilian
absolutely no attention.
In attendance was Dr. Dick Flacks - of whom my parents and I are former
students - host of "Culture of Protest", which airs every Thursday from
6 to 7pm on 91.9 KCSB.
Rivas Cultural Services spied the one and only Coach Pimm at Saigon In and Out on State Street Friday night. That's Jerry Pimm, Coach, the man who led UCSB's celebrated men's basketball teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Prior to the men's soccer team's rise to prominence and 2006 national championship, the big basketball wins of Coach Pimm's days were probably the high point in the history of UCSB athletics, in terms of national recognition (and attendance). Even today, with the men's soccer team's present success now coming as expected, people recall the glory days of the basketball program, which came under Pimm.
I hadn't seen Coach Pimm since his first days as an athletic department administrator following his retirement from coaching. Back then, he looked beat, but Friday at Saigon In and Out's downtown location, he looked never-better, probably 10 years younger than he looked 10 years ago. (In fact-checking for this story, I learned that Coach Pimm's mother recently passed away aged 99.) Coach's granddaughter, Gina, was in my third grade class at Foothill School.
I very nearly got up and greeted him, to give him his due props and thank him for first putting UCSB athletics on the map, but it's a delicate operation over there at Saigon In and Out, and one finished diner crossing the room to great another diner just about to sit down may well have brought the whole place crashing down. Saigon In and Out (not Saigon by KMart - never been there) is Clare's and my favorite restaurant these days. We get pho and chicken curry noodles, a Dragon and Angel brand beer and a Diet Coke for about $24.
The food is delicious, and they have a chrome rickshaw that would make any of the local low-rider bros take a second look, but what we love about is is how the very short women on the staff scream hello and goodbye unseen from the far end of the restaurant as soon as a customer crosses the threshold. Such is the hospitality at the downtown location. The staff bend over backwards to be welcoming and helpful, all the while laying conversational booby-traps that are at best startling and at worst the potential for disaster. When Clare ordered both the pho and the chicken curry noodles one time, without saying that we'd share the two dishes, the 90-pound waitress shouted, "It's too much food for you!!!" If a diner tries to order something before the waiter is ready to field the order, or speaks before the waiter has finished speaking, the whole transaction comes to a crashing halt, often necessitating an entire do-over. So you can see how I just couldn't stand up and traipse across the restaurant floor, willy-nilly, and start shaking hands with the customers, even for Coach Pimm.
Six weeks ago, I learned the word "raconteur". I'm not sure where I saw it first. About a week later, during happy hour at the Brewhouse, I saw a poster for a band called the Raconteurs playing at the bowl. I said to myself, "What a clever name. I think I'd like to see a band called the Raconteurs." A few weeks later, I heard KCSB giving away tickets in their usual way - to the first caller - while saying that the Raconteurs featured Jack White of the White Stripes. I counted this as a plus, and decided to put some attention toward winning tickets. I did this, and won two tickets last week.
Before the White Stripes, whose music I first heard played in Europe in 2003, "Jack White" was the name of a boy my younger sister Laura went to elementary school with who lived on Pintura. He was always present in my mind because I once heard him exclaim, "This one has more gription," in reference to one mini basketball that was easier to grip than another. It was the only time I've ever heard the word "gription" spoken seriously, and pre-dated the next reported instance of the word by two years, when the Life Artist Bubba Ray Robison heard 1996 New York Mets First Round Draft Pick Robert Stratton say, "This ball doesn't have any gription on it," shortly before becoming a millionaire.
Last night, Rivas Cultural Services introduced a Mexican exchange student to two Santa Barbara classics: Lilly's Tacos and the Santa Barbara Bowl. The pinche mexicano, as he is affectionately known, ate five "tacotes" at Lilly's, a total he later decided was 67% more than he needed. (How many tacos did he need?) He had two asada, one adobada, one maciza and one lengua. He preferred the asada to all, but also complimented the adobada. He said the lengua was okay but earned his lowest rating of the four varieties sampled. Once at the Bowl, Rivas Cultural Services and client picked up the free tickets, schmoozed the bigwigs, and had two free drinks apiece bestowed on them.
It was only a few days before the show that I realized that "raconteurs" sounded like "rock on tours". I'd like to thing this was unintentional on the part of the band, because there's nothing worse than a pun, unless you're in Mexico, where puns are king, but I had my doubts after seeing them play. After carefully considering White's Heath-Ledger's-Joker-inspired-sick-and-twisted-meets-Johnny-Depp-aloof look, and the other guitarist's mustachioed ridiculousness, I could only assume that the joke was on us. Well, not "us" exactly. Not on Rivas Cultural Services, to be sure, and not on the pinche mexicano, but certainly on everyone who paid to see an uninspired and at best occasionally interesting show.
Tags: raconteur, pinche mexicano, Lilly's Tacos, Jack White, Robert Stratton, Rivas Cultural Services
Now that I'm living deeper in Goleta than I've ever lived in my 30 years
in Santa Barbara, I've been frequenting my favorite Goleta joints more
than usual and discovering new neighborhood favorites. I've been in the
Mercury Lounge more times in the last month than I had previously since
returning to Santa Barbara at Christmas.
Last Thursday, finding myself
in downtown Goleta and needing a haircut, I make a bee-line for Goleta
Barbers, which I had passed by on a previous trip to the Paperback Alley
and identified as the perfect neighborhood barber shop. (Rivas Cultural
Services refers to the area around Hollister Avenue between Kellogg and
Fairview as "Downtown Goleta", not "Old Town Goleta".)
Goleta Barbers is not Fairview Barbers. Fairview Barbers was a white
man's barber shop in the Fairview shopping center. Goleta Barbers is a
brown man's barber shop on Hollister, a few doors up from the Paperback
It was 5:15 when I walked in and saw the sign saying the place
closed at 6:00. Both barbers were busy and there were at least two guys
waiting for haircuts, but I decided to take a chance on the barbers not
wanting to turn down last-minute customers, and sat down. One of the
guys waiting - the only white guy in the place - turned out to be none
other than Jeremy Anderson, my third grade classmate. Each of us was
genuinely glad to see the other, despite the fact that we probably only
ever really exchanged words on a few occasions throughout elementary,
junior high and high school. When Jeremy got off the chair, he extracted
some well crumpled bills from his the right front pocket of his blue
Dickies, turned to the barber, and said, "Thanks for cutting my hair,
The only guy who came in after me, and validated my already questionably late
arrival, was Hector Guerrero, who is bros with Ray Lopez, who is my
friend Bubba's sister Kara's husband. We hadn't seen each other in years
either, and Goleta Barbers provided the perfect space for a catch-up
conversation between two Santa Barbara locals who never really had much
to do with each other due to being several years apart in age, despite
being good friends of the famous Robison family.
In addition to the barbers and paying customers, there were also a few
high school kids hanging out that afternoon. These guys seemed to be
happy in their daily routine of passing a few free hours at the barber
shop, chilling with their bros and occasionally hopping into a barber
chair for a free touch-up during any breaks in the paid action. These
guys all had shaved heads. They had shaved heads, and they were getting
haircuts. This made me feel soft. My hair was longer than anyone's in
the shop, as I knew it would remain even after my turn in the chair.
(Hector's hair looked sillier than mine, but only because he'd insisted
on maintaining a combing regimen that had proven to be incompatible with
his current hairdo, grown-out as it was.) I imagined the others in the
room classifying me as the least hard in the room, due to the length of
my hair. I also assumed they were more curious about me than anything,
being that I'd never been there before but walked in sure that I'd come
to the right place. In my mind, I proved my worthiness as an honorable
local customer by being a lifelong schoolmate of the only white guy in
the room, and being a long-lost associate of the Mexican-American most
in need of a haircut in the whole place. It was a very Rivas Cultural
Rivas Cultural Services backs the Goleta Barbers. They're a friendly,
accommodating bunch of barbers who obviously take tremendous pride in
their trade, as well as tremendous pride in the role they play in the
Rivas Cultural Services plays 91.9 KCSB at work and 107.7 Radio Bronco in the car. We are also fascinated with all questions of race. This morning, the male host of the show was butchering the Mandarin language while quizzing his two female colleagues. One of his colleagues insisted she could do better. She did, and explained that she went to school with a few "chinitos". Whereupon the third speaker bested her by declaring that she was schooled with "chinitos, güeritos, negritos..."
Lately, I mean way, way before this morning, I've been wondering what the FCC does about regulating obscene foreign language speech on the air. If I get on the radio and cuss a bunch of people out in some foreign slang that no one can understand, are there likely to be consequences?
And incidentally, they love to call people güeros on Radio Bronco. A few weekends back, I was driving two friends in my bocho. My friends asked what the Radio Bronco DJ was saying. At that moment, as the comedy gods would have it, the DJ was sending out a shout-out to all the güeros out there who might be listening, even though they don't understand.
Tags: chinitos, güeritos, negritos, Radio Bronco, race
I explored two parts of Santa Barbara County formerly unknown to me this
weekend. Both excursions were funded by Ambient Event Design. In
addition to building beautiful lighting setups for events, Ambient
sponsors the exploration of hard-to-get-into local spaces.
Saturday, Rivas Cultural Services checked out the Bacara Ranch, on the
other side of the freeway from the Bacara proper. If you turn onto
Vereda Leyenda, north of Winchester Canyon, and go way back until the
road ends, the gate to the ranch is there. Then, it's a trip of several
minutes along a dirt road, heading probably due north, with a lemon
orchard bordering the road on the west side, further back into the
canyon, until you come to a glorified picnic area. Apparently, Bacara
guests have the privilege of hanging out in this secluded version of
Kiwanis Meadows at Tucker's Grove. It's probably the farthest you can be
from civilization in Goleta without being up on a mountain. My friend
since third grade, Ryan Hernandez, rented a room off Vereda Leyenda for
a while, and I remember the night feeling very dark way back there.
Well, this Bacara joint is miles deeper than that. The hillside at the
edge of the meadow is completely burned. I expect that it was
intentionally burned as a preventive measure, and not the result of the
fire coming all the way down the hill, but I don't know for sure,
haven't investigated, and didn't bother to get close enough to see for
sure. You get what you pay for here, I'm afraid.
So we spent a few hours at the site taking down a whole bunch of
lighting that had gone up the day before. It was a nice sunny day, and
not too hot. The only drawback was that the whole area was absolutely
thick with flies. Overall, however, I received great benefits from the
moneymaking and weightlifting highs I experienced while schlepping heavy
lights and cables in remote surroundings. I have here the key to
history, in Marx's words: satisfying work; which may or may not compare
favorably to the moneyspending and boozeguzzling highs the partyers felt
the night before.
Sunday, Rivas Cultural Services partnered with Dyrenforth Acquisitions
on another Ambient strike. This time we were at the Gainey vineyard,
where Mr. Gainey himself's secretary asked me to do the vineyard a solid
and cut down two bits of string that were hanging from a pipe and
annoyingly visible from the conference room, which I did while
pretending to not speak English. As far as wedding locations go, Gainey
struck me as a very nice place to host maybe 50-60 people. It really is
cool to sit around and drink a bunch of wine, or take down a bunch of
lights, right there at the very edge of the vineyard.
When Radiohead tickets went on sale at 10am a few months ago, I was able to buy one ticket, by phone. That was at about 10:20, and the guy on the other end said there were none left. I later discovered that in another part of town, my friend James Garza, kept at it and successfully bought two tickets online at 10:45. Ni modo.
When the concert date rolled around, Rivas Cultural Services was able to get my beloved Clare a last-minute free pit ticket, but due to being tired after a too-long day of work, she understandably bowed out. If I myself hadn't changed my mind 99 times about whether or not to go with my one ticket, I would have had a difficult time believing the woman I love would turn down a free pit ticket to see Radiohead right here in Santa Barbara.
The Bowl is quite a schlep for us now that we're living off Fairview as opposed to Anapamu. Not to mention less comfy now that the lawn is concrete, and more expensive every time. At Radiohead, it seemed to me that nothing remained of the old days, when I could count on there being 20 people I grew up with chatting desultorily in the pit. This time around, it was all south coast freeway dwellers. While I know there were several friends of mine in attendance, I spied none, whereas Rivas Cultural Service's star Spanish student's mom said she saw plenty of people she knew who live in L.A.
Now, great show aside - does anyone not think it was a great show? - I was so disappointed by the the band members' apparent $1000 haircuts and $600 t-shirts, I almost went out and spent a bunch of righteous indignation dollars, the kind Bill Hicks warned of. What, did the band stop at Blue Bee Donkey on the way to the Bowl? I understand that Radiohead is a top act worldwide, and I'm willing to concede that their not dressing themselves is part of the price of their achieving greatness. But if Santa Barbara hadn't been the lost stop on the North American tour, and the band hadn't been as inspired by this fact, the joke would have been on us, folks.
[Painfully honest disclosure/hypocrisy: I own two Blue Bee t-shirts, each bought for $24 at a 50% off sale.]
Tags: Radiohead, $1000 haircuts, Bill Hicks, Blue Bee Donkey
Driving south on North Fairview this morning on my way to UCSB, I heard
a promo for the Chumash casino on Radio Bronco, 107.7 FM. In the ad, the
announcer refers to Chumash Casino Resort as "El Chumash Casino y
Resort". It sounds like, "El SHOE-mosh Caw-SEE-no e Re-SORT."
During Rivas Cultural Services' nine-month partnership with Trusted
Translations, Inc. (who refer to themselves as "TROOS-ted
Trans-LOT-e-ohnz" in Spanish), I learned that translating proper names
isn't done and makes no sense, and I believe this still. But what piqued
my interest wasn't the grammar - the grammar on Radio Bronco never
inspires confidence. (Only moments earlier, one of the personalities
lamented to an unreachable contest winner that, "/Se te fueron un par de
boletos/.," where /se fueron/ is plural but /par /is singular - no good.)
What piqued my interest was that the announcer pronounced the "Chu" in
Chumash as "Shoe", even though "ch" is a letter of the alphabet all its
own in Spanish and Spanish-speakers commonly use the "ch" sound for the
English "sh". It seems that someone at Chumash wants to be sure that
Mexicans use the preferred pronunciation. I've heard both "Chumash" and
"Shoemash" in English, but I'm calling 2-out-of-3 on this one, I for one
am going to start emphasizing this majority pronunciation by heretofore
referring to "The 'Mash" as "The Shoe". The Shoe. Furthermore, I submit
that anyone who doesn't follow suit risks offending the Chumash gaming
gods and deserves what he or she gets.
Tags: Chumash Casino Resort, The Mash, The Shoe, Chumash gaming gods
Rivas Cultural Services - my life as a business name - occasionally contracts with Ambient Event Design. This weekend I was on the take-down crew for a Best Buddies fundraiser at Hearst Castle. Best Buddies is a charity run by Maria Shriver's brother. The Black Eyed Peas played. The party was down on the Rancho Piedras Blancas, but the VIP reception was up at the castle. The Ambient crew had installed lights on Thursday and Friday for the event. A guy who worked on-site for Ambient Saturday night got to jump into the Neptune pool.
It was the first time I'd ever been to Hearst Castle, although I didn't check really it out other than the area around the pool and the taxidermy in the ranchhouse. Nevertheless I left fully satisfied. Working on that landscape made me feel very California Royale. We first struck the lights around the pool and VIP tent, then went down to the ranch and struck those lights. The party rental and stage rental companies were still going strong when we left at 6 pm.
We had a filling dinner at El Chorlito in San Simeon afterwards. El chorlito is Spanish for "snowy plover".
Tags: Rivas Cultural Services, Hearst Castle, Ambient Event Design, California Royale, Black Eyed Peas, El chorlito, snowy plover