Beatnik Bandito, Monday, November 28, 2016


I had quite a dilemma on Monday night. My multi-talented friend Sam (aka Samantha Parks Bulls Daughter and @bullsdaughter) was teaching her inaugural yoga classes at Flow LBC, but Deja Nichole was scheduled to do a full 40 minute set at a venue called Beatnik Bandito in Santa Ana. At this stage of her career, seeing a full Deja set is still a rare enough treat that I chose that option. Sorry, Sam, but I am planning on doing your “Mellow Mondays” class next week, so I will see you then. Sounds delicious! For a small taste of the multi-talents that Sam possesses see my blog entries at Bedlam Lullaby and Speak It Easy. As for her yoga teaching talent, I am looking forward to experiencing that facet of Sam for the first time next Monday. If anyone else is interested please join me next Monday evening at Flow LBC from 8-9:15. This is a great time to take classes at Flow LBC. Ramona currently has almost more teachers than students, so there is a fair-to-middling chance that you may wind up with a private class for the price of a regular class! Best way to learn if you are a beginner.



Beatnik Bandito is a tiny self-described Music Emporium in downtown Santa Ana. By day it is “A finely curated conglomeration of all things music! A shop that is owned and operated by musicians, for musicians, and for all others that live to love music!” It is also available seven nights a week for very small-scale performances. The stage area can accommodate a four piece combo easily, and the house seats only about 12; there is room for standing, but the room is much deeper that it is wide.

From looking at their Events schedule it appears that they are very popular and have events scheduled pretty much every night. On this particular night the theme was Americana Music and the lineup was Deja Nichole (backed up on guitar by Tyler Curley, aka @vexedtonightmare), a three-piece combo The Fallen Stars (“Sounds like hanging out with Springsteen, Emmylou and Wilco in a dusty roadside diner somewhere on Route 66”), and a solo performance by Patty Booker


First up was Deja, and I was very happy to see that Tyler Curley was there with guitar. I have blogged earlier about performances by both Deja in Deja at the Fox and Tyler in Tyler Curley at Fox Open Mic, and on each occasion they collaborated and did a wonderful job of supporting each other. The room was, unfortunately too dim (or maybe I am just too incompetent) to get any video. Deja sang a set consisting of mostly originals, including one that was created in a collaboration with Tyler. She is a very gifted songwriter and has penned songs on topics ranging from police brutality (Lion’s Den) to the joy she derives from the new friendships that she has developed as she pursues her nascent career in music (Friends). You can hear those songs and others on her page at Reverb Nation. Deja and her mom Joanne are becoming real road warriors; after traveling from La Palma to Santa Ana for this gig they left at about 9:30 so Deja could make it to another singing engagement in Brentwood at Il Piccolo Verde!


Tracy, Matt, and Bobbo

For one of her numbers Deja did a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and about a third of the audience joined her on stage! It turns out that Bobbo (guitar), Tracy (bass), and Matt (percussion) also made up the second act, The Fallen Stars. The Fallen Stars consists of Bobbo and Tracy Byrnes, plus whatever drummer they can rummage up–according to Tracy they have left a Spinal Tap’esque cavalcade of drummers across the country and beyond, although none have (yet) spontaneously combusted. They play a very fresh blend of Americana rock and, in Bobbo’s terms, are able to “country it up” when needed. From the OC Register, “Somewhere between the wide-open stretches of Gram Parson’s beloved Mojave Desert and the decaying cityscapes frequented by Bruce Springsteen shine the Fallen Stars”, and I think that captures them pretty well.


Patty Booker

The final act was Patty Booker, and I apologize for the quality of the picture I took. The back lighting made it tough to get a good shot. I did not know of Patty before, but when I posted a picture of her on Instagram I got an immediate comment back from Ramona. She said that Patty was an icon of the honky-tonk music scene in Orange County  back in the 80’s and was her dad’s favorite singer back in the day; she can remember him proudly parading around in a shirt with her picture on it! Patty said that she hasn’t been playing much in the past few years dealing with menopause, but now that is behind her and she is back and ready to rock again. She sang an impressive array of songs, most of which were either written by her or as collaborations with an impressive array of co-writers. A great show and a very pleasant evening out!

Speak It Easy, Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Most of day one of the Trump era was spent in a down haze, trying to keep the despair and negativity from seeping in, but I found the perfect antidote that evening at “Speak It Easy: Creative Food for the Soul“, a monthly event organized by Sam, aka Samantha Parks Bulls Daughter, aka @bullsdaughter, and hosted by the Callaloo Caribbean Kitchen in Long Beach.


SIE (Speak It Easy) is the manifestation of the positive energies of Sam and her collaborators: Shelley Bruce, Lance Lowe, and Donovan Brown. Sam is a transplant from Kansas, of all places, has spent time time as a barista, and is now a yoga instructor who will be teaching at Flow LBC, the new yoga studio that Ramona Magnolia Tamulinas is opening in Wrigley. In addition to those talents Sam is a connector, a radiator of positive vibrations, a very talented singer and performer, a genuine live wire, and an all-around great person to be around. Being a connector, Sam does not want her event pigeonholed as a “poetry slam” or a music-dominated “open mic”, so she has revived the vaudeville concept. From Wikipedia, “A typical vaudeville performance is made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill”. It is kind of like a set in Mathematics: what do the elements of a set have in common? They are all in the same set. What do the acts in a vaudeville show have in common? Only that they are in the same show. Leaves a lot of room for flexibility in scheduling!  Samantha is also an animated and engaging MC, and the interludes between acts were as entertaining as the acts themselves.

The SIE format is to have a number of invited, featured, guests, and intermix that with an open sign-up list. The evening opened with a musical set by The Black Noise, a collaboration between SIE parter Donovan Brown and Victor Ojadughele. I had encountered them in the past, and had written about them in a review of the Definitive Soapbox. I had been impressed by them at that time, and they got the evening off to a great start. The audience, quite subdued  to that point as everyone was pretty much involved in trying to process the news du jour, was energized by their spirited performance.


The Black Noise was followed by a couple of spoken word artists, and then a mixed spoken word/music performance by Kyoko. A common theme at the opening of each set was how to deal with the new reality, and the general theme was “bring it on, we will deal with this too.” There was a very funny comedy performance by Marie, and inspired and touching readings by SIE co-founder Shelley Bruce and featured artist Darrius Bradford.

Next up was my favorite young artist, Deja Nichole! Deja was there with her lovely mother, Joanne, and her beautiful grandmother. She opened with a duet composed for this performance with her friend Nikki Cicero, and then performed a couple of original songs, one of which I am including here. You can find additional Deja videos in my coverage of her birthday show and Tyler Curley’s feature performance, both at the Fox Coffee House.


Deja was followed by a comedy act, the inimitable Mardy MacFly, who cut a trim figure in all red and delivered a hilarious performance. His material is fresh and accessible to mixed audiences, and his delivery and brand of physical comedy were very effective. I am regretting that I didn’t get any video of his performance, but as he is well worth seeing again I am sure I will be able to do a better job next time I see him.

I first met Sam in the context of an open house at Flow LBC when she performed with her a capella trio, Bedlam Lullaby. I had seen one of her sisters-in-song, Cameo Adele earlier that evening, and was very happy at the end to see that they had been joined by their third member, Denicar Bergancia. Cameo Adele, by the way, recently released a solo effort, To You From Venus that I highly recommend and is well worth listening to. Bedlam Lullaby closed the show with a perfectly placed and emotional rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” It was a perfect end to a perfect evening, and I am pretty sure that everyone there left in a much better frame of mind than they had entered.

Steelhead Coffee, Saturday, November 5, 2016

Just a quick note to give a shout out to Cheetah and Rhiann Platt, the proud owners of the ultimate shop catering to the aerial arts, Aerial Essentials in Las Vegas. They are having their grand opening celebration there today, and if you are in the area stop in.

Just sitting here waiting to head over to my ballet class at Elevation Studios. Been a fun and interesting morning. First, the lovely Jillian was working the register, and Jillian is always good for a giggle or three. I got her going, and then the young lady in line behind me went it for the knockout as both of them were prone to the giggles and primed to go off.

The young lady from the line sat next to me and started perusing a large format book of techniques for drawing perspective. I asked if she was an artist, and then had to convince her that she actually is one. If one does art, then one is perfectly justified in calling oneself an artist. Her name is Kimberly and she manages Recreational Coffee, a coffee shop at 3rd and Long Beach Blvd that I am planning on visiting at some time in the near future.


Saw an amazing stunt baby just a little while ago. A young man sat next to me, and he had his 19 mounth old daughter with him. She was on the chair across from him, and had turned around and was kneeling facing the back. You could see the wheels going around as she was determined to stand up. Finally, when dad was distracted by his food she managed to go for it. In a flash she was up, over, and smacked face down onto the concrete floor. There were about three seconds of crying, then dad picked her up, wiped her face, and she was fine. Knows how to take a fall!

Status Update, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Going pretty good. I am now 8-1/2 weeks out of the operation, and have almost full flexion in my elbow without discomfort. Still kind of tender if I put stress on it, so I am continuing to lay low a bit on the yoga side. Giving myself credit for small milestones, like washing my hair. When the brace first came off (2 weeks ago) I could get my right hand about a foot from my head, the next day it was but inches away, then I could tickle my scalp but could not apply pressure. Then soon I could wash the top of my head, but couldn’t reach the back of my neck. Now, however, it is all systems go with hair washing!


Ramona and Grace

The last few days have been rather momentous due to changes in my living situation. After living solo for the past 3-1/2 years I now have a couple of housemates. My yoga muse, Ramona Magnolia Tamulinas, and her new puppy, Grace, are now firmly ensconced in my spare bedroom. Ramona is in the process of opening a new yoga studio, Flow LBC, that will fill the yoga void that currently exists in the Wrigley neighborhood. Her energies have been rather scattered for the last year or so when she was working as a nanny and living in Glendale with only sporadic forays into Long Beach; the Long Beach yoga community is looking forward to seeing much more of her from this point on, and it is great to have her back in town. Great for me to have my own live-in yoga teacher!

It is a bit of an adjustment for me, and it was nice to see the bustle of activity yesterday, with a couple of women in the house and a couple of big firsts for my occupancy!  Ramona put my oven to use for the very first time. It is a is a nice old gas oven, but I have just been using a toaster oven. Even better, Ramona’s daughter Sadie did a very thorough house-cleaning, another first! I am not big on house-cleaning, but in my defense I also have a very strong “clean as you go” approach, so while the dust may build up, and stuff tends to clutter, I do manage to maintain an acceptable level of neatness. Sadie, by the way, is very good at it; she cleans like a demon, is merciless at attacking clutter, and came up with some nice improvements for storage.

Here is a reflection back on my living history…

1950 – 1973 lived in a couple of apartments in Chicago, and then a house in Franklin Park with parents and 1, 2, 3, …, 8 siblings, finally (I am the oldest of nine). Went off to college in 1968 and had roommates in the dorm for two years, lived with three other guys in a house off-campus for one year, and then lived in a trailer outside of town with two other guys. Family sometimes had a dog, but never more than one, I think.

1973 – 1977 I was married. We lived in married student housing in Macomb, IL, for one year, then rented a house in town the next. My wife quickly acquired three cats, and never once maintained a litter box. The cats came with us to our apartment in Holt, MI, and then into a nice little two bedroom, two bath townhouse with a full basement in cooperative housing in Lansing. The cats stayed with my wife when she decided that this graduate school thing was taking  way too long and bailed.

1977 – 1981 I was in West LA, and slept on the floor in my friend Lana’s rent-controlled apartment. Her brother Ramon had the couch. Lana had one fat cat, and she took good care of it. Not the most luxurious of accommodations, but at $9o/month quite affordable.

1980 I was lured by the promise of a couch to sleep on to move to Santa Monica and moved in with Victoria and her teenage daughter Tiffany. Tiffany was on the kid’s acrobatic gymnastics team that  we had at the time, and Victoria was in the IBEW and trying to make a living in a very heavily male-dominated studio electrician field. No pets.

1980 – 1982 Victoria, Tiffany, and me moved into another house in Santa Monica populated by Audrey and her pre-teen daughter, Rachael. I had a space under the eaves of the house. Definitely rustic accommodations, but had room for a bed, my first bed since leaving Michigan! Shortly after we moved in a young ballet teacher, Jacqueline, moved in as well. I don’t recall any pets. Audrey was a kind of a life coach, with a neurolinguistic programming practice that she ran out of the house. She did well enough at it that she was able to buy a house in Pacific Palisades.

1982 – 1992 I moved to a house on Rose Avenue in Venice, right across from the Penmar Golf Course. The first year there was my friend Gene, his old and smelly dog Rusty, and two other guys. The next year the other guys left and Gene’s girlfriend Davida moved in. They eventually married, and in 1988 their daughter Frazier joined the fray. In addition to the fart-bomb that was Rusty there was at least one, and perhaps two, cats in the  mix; the litter box was unfortunately 1) situated right outside the door to my bathroom, and 2) not tended to as often as I might desire. There were some challenges here as Gene did all of the cooking for his family, but was the antithesis of me when it came to cleaning up, so there were generally piles of dirty dishes in the sink.

1992 – 2002 I moved into a house in the Hollwood Hills. It was on Mulholland Drive right at the  intersection of Laurel Canyon Blvd. It was like being in an eagle’s nest, and could swoop down in minutes to music events both on the Hollywood and Valley sides. The main residents were Buddy and Mayumi. Buddy is a friend from graduate school at UCLA (which I was just finishing up when I moved in) and his Japanese wife Mayumi. When I first moved in they had two very young boys, Niki and Spike, and then along came Bucky. There was also a rotating cast of other residents, among them Bruce Ray White, Buddy’s siblings Jon Dog and Vicki, the entire Brause family (Scott and Mariko and their kids Maria, Kensuke and Sosuke), girlfriends of Jon Dog (Shayne and a crazy black girl), boyfriends of Vicky (Chris, who she is married to now), and the entire Tony T family (Tony and Kyoko with first daughter Tammy, and then son Joey who was born while they were in residence). It was a pretty cool place to live and much fun was had by all! Then they had to go and sell the house…

2002 – 2007 My first foray into actually living alone. I bought a house in California Heights in Long Beach, worked real hard (had two full-time jobs for that entire span). No pets, no roommates, although I did have a rental in the back with my tenant Andrea.

2007 – 2010 Met Elsa, fell in love, and went all in. Sold my very affordable house (3.1 miles from work) in Long Beach (at a great profit) and bought a much bigger house (2800 sq ft) in Placentia (30 miles from work) to accommodate her needs. In addition to Elsa there was her son Dat and their dog Lu.

2010 – 2013 In late 2010 Elsa was gone (but still on the deed to the house), and I was on my own. My niece Kelsey and her fiancée Jason lived with me for the last year. Finally had to hire a lawyer to get Elsa to settle on the house, and sold it for a big loss.

2013 – 2016 Moved back to a rental house in Long Beach in March, 2013, and lived alone until this week.