Cocaine Angel Why this indie film will blow your mind
Steve Gonzalez This CSUF artist expresses himself through the controversial craft of graffiti
Locked and loaded ...gets depressingly technicolor
CSUF GRAFFITI ARTIST
If graffiti is the outlaw, Steve Gonzalez is one of its loyal followers.
COCAINE ANGEL ANAHEIM ART CO-OP LOCKED & LOADED FOR MISFIRE
The Buzz Editor: Jennifer Caddick Executive Editor: Ian Hamilton Director of Advertising: Stephanie Birditt Assistant Director of Advertising: Sarah Oak Production: Keith Hansen Mike Gomez Account Executives: Juliet Roberts
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By Evan Corcoran
Daily Titan Staff Writer
The quaint, artistic beach town of Laguna comes to life at night, offering restaurants, bars and art shops packed in between the hills and canyons that stop along the white sands of the Pacific blue. Some of these bars and restaurants go unnoticed during the day as the sun glistens off the endless horizon that is the ocean. The surf and sand draws people to what used to be a quiet beach. Only after the sun has tucked itself under the aqua blanket do the hillsides twinkle with tiny houses and the bars bustling with crowds of people enjoying food and drinks. Bars and restaurants of all types attract locals and visitors alike. Regardless of what you might
want from a bar or restaurant Laguna Beach has something that can accommodate you with an easygoing, great time that can be expected from a place where flipflops and shorts are the perfect attire all year round. Here are a few bars and restaurants, all situated in or around the downtown area, that will give just a small taste of what’s going on in Laguna Beach. North of downtown Laguna Beach, the Royal Hawaiian is a fun place with a tiki bar motif you would expect to find somewhere in the tropics. This restaurant and bar has bamboo on the walls and is adorned with traditional, wooden Hawaiian carvings. The Royal Hawaiian is known for its “Exotic Tropical Drinks” that can really pack a punch. The most famous of these
Photo courtesy of CRITIKI.COM
drinks is called a “Lapu Lapu.” “It is basically a Mai Tai on steroids,” Leif Anderson, a Laguna Beach local, said. Strong drinks make up for a lack of prompt service. The restaurant’s seating room is currently under construction. The Royal Hawaiian is still a good way to begin the night before heading south to the plethora of bars packed into the small streets of Laguna Beach. Beer lovers will appreciate Brussels Bistro – a Belgian style bistro that offers authentic Belgian-style beer on tap and bottled. Located off Forest Avenue. Brussels Bistro is casual yet eloquent. A relaxed atmosphere with excellent beer and food, the waiters are friendly and knowledgeable about their beer selection. “Try it. If you like it then I will be happy. There is a lot of choices here, but it is the way we do things here,” said Alain Pauwels, the owner of Brussels’ Bistro. Waiters can be seen running around in this small almost underground restaurant and bar bringing baskets of fresh bread baked daily. Occasionally you will see waiters set down a dish where they de-bone the fish right at the table using only a spoon. Live jazz is played Monday through Thursday, and on Friday and Saturday nights the tables are removed from the dining area converting this small Belgian bistro into a European style nightclub. But, since hitting the dance floor isn’t for everyone, a quick
Photo courtesy of ochomesbytrish.com walk up Pacific Coast Highway will bring you to a small bar called The Saloon. Basically a standing room only bar, The Saloon is a dimly-lit place with red brick walls and an East Coast feel. Happy hour is Monday through Friday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and fills up quick. Be aware of its most famous concoction called “The Pink Drink–” a pineapple soaked, vodkabased elixir that will make your walk to the next bar just a bit more entertaining, or a bit more difficult, depending on how many you have had. The sometimes cramped space at The Saloon might encourage you to move on to maybe something with more room to spread out. So finish that uber-drink and walk down to Broadway, where you’ll
find the Marine Room. A bar inspired by sport fishing, the Marine Room is a lot bigger than your average Laguna Beach bar. In the front room there is a small stage for live bands on the weekends and a dance floor. A huge bar that almost stretches across the west side bar holds every liquor one could need. In the back room, a pool table is the centerpiece with arcade games and tables to either side. No specialty drinks here, but plenty of entertainment and leg room. But don’t get sucked in to staying, because there are still a few more places to hit up. With locations all over Orange County, Hennessey’s Tavern in Laguna Beach is a two-story building with an upper lounge with live music and dancing every night of the week, and the typical bar and restaurant setting downstairs. Basically it is the same as any other Hennessey’s Tavern with food and drink, but still a good place with some variety for entertainment. So that’s five bars– all with their own unique twist, but one more is worth a mention. Get in a cab and head south on PCH; The cabbies will know where to take you. The Sandpiper Lounge, with more of a dive bar feel, is where locals like to end their night. “It’s away from the downtown stuff and it’s way more laid back,” said Mike Carver, a patron at The Sandpiper. Offering strong drinks and the occasional live band, The Sandpiper fills up for last call. Everyone is welcome to play with the dartboards and foosball table in the back and to get down on the small dancing area in the front. Whether it is day or night, Laguna Beach has a lot to offer. Just walk around and you are bound to find something that sparks your interest.
Photo courtesy of COASTMAGAZINE.COM
This CSUF artist expresses himself through the controversial craft of graffiti
By Sylvia Masuda
Daily Titan Staff Writer
The law doesn’t take kindly to graffiti artists. City dwellers complain the graffiti on freeway walls and buildings ruin the neighborhood’s aesthetic and image. City officials erase urban scrawlings with paint and rid of urban artists with jail time. In the world of fine art, graffiti is the notorious outlaw. If graffiti is the outlaw, Cal State
Fullerton student Steve Gonzalez is one of its loyal followers. He has been writing for nine years and counting. “In a way, it’s sort of weird because my identity was found through my art,” Gonzalez said. “[Graffiti] is pretty much my expression of art. I’m not painting like Rembrandt; I’m painting graffiti pieces.” As a child, the Escondido native was already showing a creative edge as he drew and played with Legos,
clay and video games. It was in his freshman year of high school when he picked up graffiti. One of his friends was part of a group of “writers” (a graffiti crew). His friend showed Gonzalez something he had made. “I looked at it and I said, ‘I could do that,’” Gonzalez said, eyebrows furrowing. “So I started to pick it up, just drawing words. I self-taught myself.” In high school, he started writing
one of his now-signature tags, “atomk.” Some people knew him just by his tagging. Years later, he’s still going. His work is more refined and more picture-intensive; himself, more art-savvy. “I guess you could say my designs come easily to me since I’m used to stressing my brain for the right look in a creation I’m doing,” Gonzalez said. The 23-year-old Fullerton resident knows his trade. Almost a decade of experience can do that. He rattles off a whole set of graffiti terminology without a sweat. “A ‘toy writer’ is pretty much someone who sucks at graffiti,” he said. “You could say my graffiti looked ‘toy.’ You don’t know the culture. You’re just doing it.” From there, he said, you become a “writer.” A “bomb,” or a “throwup,” is a quickly-executed tag, oftentimes in one color. A “piece” is a more intricate design. A piece on a wall is called a “burner.” A “fame shot” is a piece everyone can see – like on a wall or a freeway or a side of a restaurant. “Heavens” are graffiti pieces on freeway signs, billboards or rooftops. Writers who attempt heavens walk an especially dangerous line, using rapelling gear or even just friends’ sturdy grips for support. “They just have balls,” Gonzalez said. “It’s seriously graffiti artists who are ready to die for their art.” But those like Gonzalez who aren’t keen to risking their lives still have to wrestle with law enforcement. “You never want to drive to places,” he said. “If you do happen
Photos by karl thunman to get caught, if your car is right there, [the police] have info. You can’t just run away.” Biking or taking the bus to the tagging destination are artists’ preferred methods of transportation. Gonzalez prefers skateboarding. Even though he tries not to leave tracks, he has still been through a lot for his art. He has had to pay many times for his “crimes.” “I’ve gotten caught – community service, records,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve been there, done that. I’ve paid my dues and now I’m going to school and I’m doing good. I realize I can’t get caught again.” He had a suspended license for a year. On probation for three. Community service, corrective school, even narrow escapes from going to jail. “Graffiti is an important part of my life, but I understand my life still has to flourish, so I don’t want to have a lot of criminal records, and be dealing with the law all the time and all that mess,” he said. Now he sticks to legal art – painting on canvas. They start as unfinished sketches in his black book. Gonzalez said every graffiti artist has a black book, or piece book, for his or her own practice and for other artists to tag on. For them, it is an important possession. He has a drawer’s worth of books. Flipping through the pages of one of them almost feels like overstepping a personal boundary; it’s essentially traveling through his thoughts. “I’m an imaginary drawer and painter,” Gonzalez said. “Almost everything I do is from imagination.
It’s totally not from reference.” How can it be from reference? His most recent pieces look like scenes from an urban “Alice in Wonderland:” bright, fluorescent washes of lime green and hot pink, psychedelic spotted mushrooms, pagodas warped into irate, pointyheaded fellows and scores of kinkyhaired, round-faced Kokeshi dolls. Kokeshi are a type of Japanese doll, and Gonzalez has incorporated them into most of his canvas paintings. They are one of the characteristic stamps on his art. “When I saw them,” Gonzalez said, “I had an itch to draw them – in my own style, of course.” Some are innocent. Some are scared. Some have narrowed eyes, as if possessed by evil. Gonzalez’s friends have become so fond of his work, they’ve paid money to have him draw for them. In fact, he started doing canvas work for those commissions. Since he transfered from Palomar Community College to CSUF, he has become more involved with the art community. Through word of mouth, he picked up a few valuable connections and started selling at street art fairs. His first art show was in April of last year, and he’s held others since. Eventually, his connections earned him a gig as a shop artist for Street Lab, an edgy urban clothing store in Downtown Long Beach. He also sells some of his pieces there. Gonzalez considers himself a “newbie” in the art scene. He sees himself fitting into the urban art movement, which he defines as a concoction of fine art and abstract art “in a ‘street’ kind of way.” “I know my skills are good enough to get involved,” Gonzalez said. “I just have to put in some work.” Though he has been scoring himself some attention, Gonzalez emphasized how important it is to
him that his art is a reflection of himself. Usually, it is only made for his own fulfillment. A graffiti crew, he said, has a claim to each member’s art and tells each member what to do with his or her handiwork.
“Some crews liked me and some didn’t because I never joined any crew,” Gonzalez said. “It would not feel right to me because nobody else had a part to play in my skill. I wanted my art to be for myself.”
Cocaine Angel By Robert Stroud
Daily Titan Staff Writer
this week’s concerts 11.29 The Wiltern- The Decembrists Spaceland- The Hedrons
11.30 The Wiltern- The Decembrists The Glass House- The Aquabats Echoplex- Little Jimmy Scott Spaceland- Frequency
12.01 The Wiltern- Slightly Stoopid Spaceland- Entrance
12.02 El Rey- VHS or Beta
12.03 Spaceland- The Binges
12.04 The Wiltern- Motion City Soundtrack The Echo- Port O’Brien
12.05 The Wiltern- The Cult
It has become commonplace to see movies that choose to glorify or condemn the lives of serious drug addicts. In a marketplace where films are flooded with stoners spouting punch lines and burnouts desperately trying to sabotage their lives on the way out, it is refreshing to see an addiction-based film that attempts to portray its characters as honestly and realistically as possible. “Cocaine Angel,” starring, written and produced by Damian Lahey and helmed by first-time director Michael Tully, revives the addiction drama from the stereotypical films that flood the story with tales of despair and redemption. This story follows a week in the life of Scott, a young cocaine addict living in Jacksonville, Fla. Scott’s
story is not about his spiral down into his coke addiction, nor is it about his journey into recovery. This film concentrates on the story of this man’s day-to-day routine of relatively selfish behavior as he goes in search of his daily supplies of cocaine and the cheapest whiskey he can find. As Scott makes his rounds visiting friends, family and dealers, it becomes apparent this man has become content with the way he lives his life. Even though his life is just a shell of what it used to be, he insists on reassuring himself his life is worth living – through shaky monologues full of delusional compliments. It is because of this character’s desire to deceive and motivate himself into going on with his life that he becomes very likable. The key factor for this movie’s success can be attributed to Lahey’s portrayal of Scott. Lahey’s ability
to assume the role of this unstable man, who is at the brink of his own destruction, is what makes this movie both believable and enjoyable. As Lahey assumes the role of Scott, he is able to sincerely convey the appearance of a man who has traded the stability of his family and job for the ups and downs of his life as an addict. But instead of a cliché story of regret and despairwhich has become commonplace in modern film – Lahey is able to portray Scott as a man who has become content with the sacrifices he has made, by distracting himself from what he has done to his life. Although some of the other
Photo courtesy of thereeler.com aspects of this film suffered because of the small size of this production – such as some poorly lit sets – this movie was both entertaining and original. While the film does conclude with a slightly optimistic message, it is not there just for the sake of leaving the viewer with a happy ending, but because it is the right place for the film to go. This low-budget independent film brings hope to the all too familiar and predictable addiction drama. Even without all the luxuries that are available to movies made by larger studios, Tully and Lahey were able to create honest portrayals of people who are struggling with their drug addictions.
Play something new Released 12.04 Artist:
Daft Punk Album:
Artist: Rufus Wainwright Album: Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall
Good Times, Bad Times Artist:
Libertines Album: Time for Heroes
Carnival II Artist:
Ghostface Killah Album: The Big Dough Rehab
Photos by urmi rahman Daily Titan Staff Writer
Christa aka “CC” Philosophy major “I dress this way because this is what I’m comfortable in. I [shop] in the O.C. area.”
“Princess” Philosophy major “I shop in Beverly Hills and L.A. a lot. I watch TV, read magazines and form my ideas. I take bits and pieces from everything.”
Jose Sanchez Art major “I shop at different stores [and buy] clothes I feel comfortable in. Nothing specific, just things cheap and on clearance.”
Anaheim Co-op art haven By Nate Jackson
For The Daily Titan
Jeff Streed is a skinny, lovable diabetic hippy with a heart of gold. At least that’s how his friends jokingly described him in an afterhours hangout session inside the paint slathered walls of this 2006 Cal State Fullerton alumnus’ homeaway-from-home. In his rare absence from the main room of the AAA Electra 99 gallery, Streed’s friends took turns dishing stories about him on a laid-back Wednesday night with the Rick Springfield song “Jesse’s Girl” blaring in the background and trails of cigarette smoke drifting toward the high ceiling. All jokes aside, those who know Streed best are aware that inside the shell of this sweet, off-beat artist churns a ferocious imagination with talent to match. Lucky for Streed – a painter, musician and graphic designer – that imagination gets a chance to thrive in a fascinating venue that nests in the most unlikely place. At night it waits to be found, hidden deep inside a concrete maze of drab office buildings in Anaheim, off of the 91 Freeway. You can step inside the walls of AAA Electra 99’s co-op art gallery and museum and see everything from a jarred monkey skull to hanging gardens of bikewheel chandeliers and epic canvases dripping with soul and imagination. This is the place where Streed hangs his paintings, plays in local bands and gathers with fellow artists and friends. “[Jeff] is one of those people that are just genuinely thoughtful about every element of his life,” said Michelle Kim, a volunteer for the gallery. “In everything he paints and designs, you can tell that he has just a genuine vision and it’s really great to see his progression in the stuff he presents in the gallery from his more early days all the way up until now,” Kim said. Streed has a long history with the gallery and its owner, Richard Smith. An artist at the gallery since its first location in Newport Beach, Streed was recently named “Artist of the Decade” by Smith at a celebration of the gallery’s 10th anniversary of “Flinging Subculture at the Masses.” “When we first got [to Anaheim], we had to fight the city,” Smith said. “The city council thought we were basically in cahoots with the devil, but we beat their asses because of the First Amendment, and because
I’m crazy and joined the [Anaheim] Arts Council and got all the little old ladies on my side.” Streed first established a connection to AAA Electra 99 while playing there as an 18-yearold kid in a “noise art” band called Kill the Scientist. Streed soon got the courage to ask about renting a space on one of the walls to hang his paintings. “It’s scary to think I’ve been here so long,” Streed, 28, said. With his college days behind him since the spring of 2006, Streed has been a busy man. He recently finished working on a graphic design catalogue for Modern HQ, a graphic design firm out of Orange, which specializes in ‘60s retro furniture production. His work with the company features sleek, colorful egg chairs, silver Sputnik lamps and a variety of interesting tables and household accessories. “It’s been such a dream job for me as a graphic designer,” Streed said. His Web site, www. jeffreystreed.com, highlights his Web page designs and his work on multiple CD covers for local bands, including one of his own bands, The (no) Apologies Project. Things might be peachy now but, Streed said the early days as an art student were not quite what he imagined. “For my first couple art classes [at
Orange Coast College], I always felt like the last kid picked in a football game,” Streed said. “The teachers and students never really responded to my stuff, and the whole time, in my head, I was like ‘PICK ME! PICK ME!’ It was so frustrating.” Arriving to CSUF in the fall of ’02 as a graphic design major, Streed was inspired by one of his first painting professors, Kyung Sung Cho who saw his style and vision in a way that engaged his desire to pursue a drawing and painting major as well. “I just feel like she really got me. She was speaking at a level I could understand and also talked about art at a level that I could aspire to. I don’t know, I guess painting was just like a drug for me after that class.” He still remembers getting an A from Professor Theron Moore in graphic design as one of his greatest artistic accomplishments. His recent art is just as eyecatching in the gallery. Smith said, “Sometimes [Electra’s] about the artwork not going together to the point that it hurts your goddamn eyes to look at it, even Jeff’s.” Some of Streed’s early artwork is a testament to his personal struggles. During his college career, he was very ill for his first semester at CSUF and missed a whole summer semester before being officially
BUZZ 11.29.07 7 diagnosed with diabetes. One of his paintings is filled with frantic green textures, a body riddled with needle punctures and a collage of personal e-mails and medical texts. A giant hypodermic needle looms on the left edge of the canvas with the words “Use Once and Destroy” slapped on the side of it. The painting is a bold, jarring look into the mindset of a young man trying to understand and cope with his sudden health issues. “Painting this was a cathartic experience in the true sense of the word,” Streed said. “I had to find a way to make sense of it all.” One of his featured works is a 3-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide maplike representation of an “inner landscape.” Fleshy globs of blue are painted throughout the surface, and a mysterious multicolored creature in the corner of it adds to the feeling of looking at an ancient record of uncharted territory of the human imagination. The unique sense of depth and space on such a large scale is altogether stunning. “I was always taught that if you’re going to paint big, then paint big, but at a certain point I have to remember that you can only transport so much in a [VW] Golf,” Streed said. After 10 years in business, AAA Electra 99 provides not only a great place to hang out and see a local band, but also acts as a haven for young and aspiring artists to find their niche, showcase their talent and sell their art.
By Thomas Liam madden For the Daily Titan
Today I was overly giddy to discover that post-puke sorority girls, my late, beloved, golden retriever and myself will all very soon share something in commontoilet water consumption. According to The New York Times, Orange County will start the process of purifying sewage into drinking water on Nov. 30. In short, from fecal-filled to water billed in several fun and easy steps. It doesn’t bother me that I might fall victim to some Jenkem (Wikipedia it) induced coma, or even the awaited trite joke made by some drunken half-brain who just discovered that getting “shitfaced” was now a reality, but really, it’s that lurking feeling again that starts gnawing away at me. It’s that hallucinogenic quality, that droning hum that creeps into your head after exhaustion, disbelief or streaks of misfortune. It’s the blinding that comes from being expected to not question or doubt and to keep on moving. Comparable to that tired manic laughter that comes from nowhere, without purpose or explanation. It’s that feeling of living in this America. Of course, why question the ethics behind processing excretion into Evian? We are told what is safe and easily tolerable. The drug warnings are always placed in fast ramblings at the ends of advertisements; Toys are lead free till your memory is shot and seizures shake you to the floor, and our spinach makes you sick. Do you get the feeling we are moving too fast? Have we become so obsessed with blinking and ringing technology that we might have lost track of what was once considered routine and easy? In almost Graham Greene fashion, why can’t we see that maybe the citizens of some tiny village in a dusty outskirt might worry more about their farmland more so than a democracy? As Americans, shouldn’t we realize soon that infrastructure and the need to build upwards isn’t applicable to everyone? It’s a painful and hypocritical task to exude virtue when you’re fighting over there and crumbling apart here. Our popstars’ newsworthiness is
only based on how badly we need a numbing fix. We’re prescriptiondependent, sleep-deprived and our bowels are unsettlingly irritable. However, we continue to preach on from our spot on Mt. Moral High Ground. We continue on and on, and wallow in routine. Te c h n o l o g y forces us into a mathematical process, where ingenuity and creativity are replaced by efficiency and identical results. Like rookie soldiers, we are marched into conformity, where the human instinct to question and create is forgotten. Maybe that’s why so much goes unnoticed, although I can’t seem to detach from brightly-lit screens or pathetic online gossips.
But as another year approaches, a war celebrating its fifth birthday and almost 4,000 dead, we trudge. No questions asked, just a sense of someone angrily telling you to “mind your own business.” But from witnessing dear friends uncharacteristically snap and lose innocence, to spotting sketches of stress across the long faces of those who care, you start to wonder whether or not we are some uniform product of our times. If you do decide to courageously and patriotically question, just don’t do it by phone (they’re listening), and be prepared for an exhausting process that may leave you thirsting for a cold, refreshing glass of that purified excretion.
It’s the blinding that comes from being expected to not question or doubt and to keep on moving.
illustration by thomas liam madden and Jennifer Caddick