Turn Around in Chandigarh!

It’s easy to forget that in India, many people have not seen anything like peace frog before…so when we hit the stage in Chandigarh tonight, the audience needed a little time to digest what they were seeing and hearing…it took about 6 songs before the people started getting off their seats and began reacting…of course by the 7th song they screamed and yelled the entire time! Nice town! The weather  here reminds me exactly of L.A.!

October 30 in Doors history

Two events three years apart on October 30 catch The Doors at the apex and nadir of their career.

October 30, 1967, The Doors eponymously titled first album and the single “Light My Fire” sell 500,000 and 1 million copies respectively. The Doors becomes not only the bands first gold record but Elektra Records first gold album as well.

October 30th, 1970,Jim Morrison was sentenced after being found guilty of the Miami obscenity charges on September 2nd. Before sentencing Morrison’s attorney Max Fink made a plea to Judge Murray Goodman for mercy. Fink’s plea was rejected by the court and Jim Morrison was sentenced to the maximum allowed by law. Sixty days of hard labor for the profanity conviction, the same for the public exposure conviction plus a fine of five hundred dollars, the sentences were to be served concurrently. Since Morrison had already filed an appeal and posted a fifty thousand dollar bond on September 2nd he would remain free pending the outcome of the appeal.

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Visiting Venice, L.A.’s cultural hotspot

I’m convinced that there’s nowhere quite like Venice. It’s a cultural mecca for all things quirky and the people-watching capital of Los Angeles – if not the state.

Its pseudo hippie culture is capable of producing any form of entertainment, from rainbow-wigged juggling performers, sidewalk artists and acrobatic break dancers to serenading street dwellers.

Granted, I’d been here before. But this time I came back with the semblance of a game plan, as it’s inevitable that the easily distracted would get lost on the boardwalk where there is no shortage of colorfully outrageous sights to choose from.

As a classic rock fan and an even bigger art nerd, I set out for some Venice highlights – its local Doors history and its signature murals by artist Rip Cronk. The latter definitely made up for the former.

I’d always known that The Doors formed in Venice after frontman Jim Morrison and keyboardist Ray Manzarek graduated fromUCLA in 1965. So like a true fangirl, I scoped out a few notable Venice addresses from Manzarek and Robby Krieger’s official website and readied my Google maps print outs.

While the effort was far more glamorous in theory, I paid my homage to the Westminster Avenue apartment where Morrison spent his first summer after college living in Venice and writing songs. Turns out, no matter how rock ‘n’ roll your residents’ history is, an apartment building is, in fact, always an apartment building. Though a Doors fan seems to operate the four-story building now called “The Morrison,” it’s a plain structure when compared to its dungeon-themed neighbor, which is complete with clawed wall fixtures, flame torches, rooftop knights and gargoyles. Only in Venice.

My second stop was Brooks Avenue – site for a 1969 Doors publicity photo shoot with Henry Diltz promoting the “Morrison Hotel” album. Of the shots, the Venice boardwalk is all that remains the same. The Coca-Cola mural used in the shoot is weathered paint chips at best, the garage of another site replaced. The best way to remember The Doors is to simply listen to the band’s music.

I had better luck when it came to finding the masterpieces of muralist Rip Cronk.

The artist’s large-scale works are local icons and color much of the brick and stucco sides of beachside Venice buildings. Cronk’s work is so prevalent in the community that online catalogues keep records of each of his projects.

I sought out four of the artist’s larger murals – “Morning Shot,” a two-story portrait of a shirtless Jim Morrison; “Venice Kinesis,” a refurbished and retitled 1989 mural originally called “Venice Reconstituted” which Cronk updated just last year; “Homage to a Starry Knight,” a 1990 recreation of Vincent van Gogh’s post-impressionist masterpiece; and “Abbot Kinney,” a mural portrait memorializing Venice’s 1905 founding father.

There’s a playful spirit to Cronk’s work. Bold color contrasts and attitude weave their way into his chosen subjects.

“Venice Kinesis” is perhaps the most impressive of all – a humorous three-story reinterpretation of Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” bathing the side of the boardwalk’s Danny’s Deli in an eye-catching electric blue.

However, Cronk’s Venus is a little less Venetian Italian Renaissance and more patron Southern California girl – donning roller skates, shorts and tank top and the single thought cloud: “History is a myth.”

Cronk cleverly trades Botticelli’s floating roses for windblown orange California poppies, sunglasses and skateboards, while the Italian forest becomes the Venice boardwalk – complete with a mimetic depiction of the mural within the mural.

Cronk captures Venice’s own energetic spirit, advising that perhaps you can’t come to Venice with a plan. Exploring the boardwalk requires one to “take it as it comes,” as The Doors might say.

Looking to explore? Email Roberts at lroberts@media.ucla.edu if you think you know L.A. best.

“Artscapes” runs every Wednesday.

DJ Jim Ladd Let Go from 95.5 Klos

DJ Jim Ladd, the legendary, unique and long-time fixture on L.A. radio, has been let go from his free-form radio show on 95.5 KLOS.  This is sad news for Doors fans.  Jim Ladd has always been a huge fan and big supporter of the band.  Most recently, in August he introduced the Manzarek-Krieger shows in southern California, as well as the Robby Krieger All-Star concert following the golf tourney which benefited the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  You could always count on Jim Ladd having either Ray or Robby or John either in-studio or on the phone, especially when there was an event looming.  I will especially miss being able to listen to his show during late night drives home from Los Angeles … not only for his eclectic play list, but the Doors “deep cuts” that get played nowhere else. Ida Miller, Read about this sad day for L.A. radio: http://www.ocregister.com/entertainment/klos-323910-ladd-radio.html

 

Hyderabad

Today we arrived safely in Hyderabad…. everyone is getting ready for the biggest Holiday of the year in India tomorrow! You can feel it and see it! Flowers everywhere! It’s called the Festival of Lights and everyone hangs lights like Christmas but much more intense! We are staying in the same hotel for the next 4 nights.. and they offer mediation and yoga classes by the pool every morning so a few of us are going to learn for the first time. We have today and tomorrow off, than we play Thursday and Friday at the same venue so the pace of the tour will slow down a little… finally get to really unpack suitcases…I believe the first week of the tour will go down as the most difficult as far as stress, lack of sleep, travel, etc…. Yesterday we were able to sightsee in Bombay… population 22 million! An amazing city!

Indians are Joining Us On Facebook!

I see many Indians joining us on facebook here! Welcome to the peace frog family! We have people here from all over the world that we have performed for and met personally throughout our world tours and events in the USA. Most of the people who are on this page, we have had the pleasure of meeting and knowing so this page is not about high numbers of “likes” but a way of keeping in contact with the all the frogs around the world! We are grateful for the support and love all of you give us especially when we are on the road away! Thank you!
“This is the strangest life I’ve ever known” JM