Chock it up to the romance of summer or the Arts Council for Long Beach’s efforts to turn the once sleepy LB Artwalk on its head, but on Saturday evening in Downtown, I swear, there was a couple hugging and kissing on every corner.
One such couple was very tall and took up the sidewalk in a casual embrace on Pine Avenue and Broadway; they made waiting for an Uber look fun; I honestly felt left out. Another couple held hands and strode briskly across the street, the woman’s heels clack-clack-clacking, running off to enthusiastically indulge in a shared interest; how nice.
Another couple (of neighbors) showed up to artist Joon the Goon’s first solo exhibit at MADE by Millworks wearing matching tropical button-ups. One was ecstatic that they’d both chosen palm tree-clad apparel without advanced notice, the other grimaced at his futile attempt to dress as an individual and was likely wishing he could go back to change into something more him. But there was a lot more to this month’s art walk than sizing up every seemingly happy pair of people on the street.
On the second floor of Groundwork Fitness four photographers, including former 1897LB owner Jose Cordon, put on a show Cordon might describe as representative of “the real Long Beach.” Attendees at “Usual Suspects” saw film photos of the familiar urban sprawl and liquor store signage you’ll never see on a city flyer, run-ins with the police, empty roads at night lit only with the orange glow from street lamps—while Poel, head honcho of art collective The East23rd and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, rapped about his history in Long Beach.
Poel of @east23rd rapping @groundworkfit Saturday night, artist @TheCope on drums. It was a one-night-only show, "Usual Suspects," with photography by Valerie J. Bower, Jose Cordon and more. #MyWeekendLBP pic.twitter.com/EJBu3SCEBO
— Asia Morris (@hugelandmass) July 15, 2019
“We’re just a bunch of old guys in North Long Beach that still do art,” Cordon shrugged, forever the self-deprecating creative. Cordon organized what felt like a real community event, promoting the next generation of local artists, in this case, Los Angeles-based photographer Valerie J. Bower and locals Greg Bell and Kevin Seng. Click their names for more info and to support their work.
I missed the ballet and rap performances at the East Village Arts Park for “Cré Day” but showed up with a half hour left to draw on a Post-it Note and slap it on the communal display board. Rushing over to the Dark Art Emporium for the last 15 minutes of Tiny Terrors 2, owner Jeremy Schott was getting ready to usher out the 40 or so people still packed in the gallery, their noses to the wall as I’d predicted in “The 7,” admiring the details. Around the corner at Hops & Vines, DJ duo Las Chicas Tristes had just finished their set for the evening while Rasta the pit bull sat on the sidewalk, tongue out and tail wagging at the crowd of artists and patrons gathered outside.
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