Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Does the South Bay have a cultural side?

As I was at the 6man tournament in Manhattan last weekend, surrounded by volleyball, booze in gatorade bottles, cunning costumes, and an oversupply of teens trying to fit into an adult world, I asked myself if that event, being the most crowded, was really the apex of life in the South Bay. I mean, where are the art shows? the true wine tastings (not the fake restaurant ones)? the poetry or political banter, the film night, or even a Ginsburg coffeeshop reading of Howl?

Now, I know for a fact there are people in the South Bay that have culture. That's not the question. Those people know art, wine, poetry, history, and all the rest; but usually they go outside the bubble to find it. Why? Does beach life consume so much of the beach culture that there is no room past surfing, vball, or boozing on a saturday? And don't get me wrong, I'm not harping here - I'm just wondering. Where do you go for art? for a wine tasting, or listen to somebody rant over why the government is corrupt? I can't find anywhere.

Case in point : Saint Rocke. Monday night Kinky Friedman played. This dude ran for governor of Texas, rubs elbows with Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, and a ton of other famous people, had a huge writeup in the LA Weekly, and yet the South Bay crowd didn't get it. Or did they? Next week we have a group of musicians from a refugee camp in Sierra Leone, a truly amazing story, and truly life-altering music & hope. I love it - I get to meet & talk to these guys, learn about their past, learn about how the world has brought them to where they are. If you are into these things, you HAVE to see this show. And well, if you're hungover from the rager on Sunday, I understand. Be well South Bay. to check out Sierra Leone Allstarts


Paul Moses said...

The South Bay has plenty of culture. The South Bay has created cultural movements that have influenced the world. Surfing culture, punk rock culture have deep roots in the South Bay.
Art, wine, music, politics are just aspects of a culture. How a community responds, cultivates or disregards these aspects is what defines their culture.
The South Bay can be a demographic that eats up some cultural aspects. For example we love a big parties like the Charlie Saikley Volleyball Tournament, the Dive and Surf D-Man Festival and the Hermosa Ironman. I think those events are embraced because we own them. These events originated here from ideas that are uniquely South Bay. On the other hand the South Bay is woefully lacking in public art that can define a community. We also don’t have a well branded music festival. The opportunity for the Hermosa Beach summer concerts is there, it just doesn’t get the vision and leadership needed to take it the next level. Our politics are NIMBY driven. The common cultural thread here is that the South Bay is very, very locally minded. We shy away from big outsider influences like the Extreme Beach Sports Fest sponsored by Target that came and went a few years ago. But I would personally welcome the return of the Jose Cuervo Volleyball Tournament back to Redondo’s Seaside Lagoon, now that was an event.

Anonymous said...

we go to paris for wine, cheese, art, architecture....culture.

we go to the getty museum for art and culture

we go to disney concert hall for culture

we go to norton simon museum for art

we live at the beach to chill and have fun. peace.

Anonymous said...

Amen for this post! It does seem on the surface that the most potent cultural moment the south bay cities have to offer is drunken beach goers. Generally I dig Venice, parts of Santa Monica, Los Feliz, Silverlake, and downtown LA on rare occasion. hmmph.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this lately myself. I have to go north to Santa Monica or to Downtown to get any kind of culture that isn't beach related.

When Hermosa had their art show a few months ago, half of it was "beach art" know, sunsets, surfing, etc. There was practically nothing else to be found. What kind of an art show is that?

Gotta say though, Saint Rocke has the potential to do something different. It's not the typical South Bay hang out and if any kind of culture is to be found around here, this is where it should originate. I'm not asking for poetry night but surely it could be the start of something different around here. Part of that is attracting the right crowd (and by that, I don't mean just locals).

Now what can we do about this?


Ella said...

It gives me hope, seeing people like you in South bay, living outside the bubble within South Bay. Rock on!!! Like your posts.