Sunday, July 17, 2005

Some remnants from last week's hedonism

I was actually planning to blog in detail about the rest of my last weekend as well, that involved a trip to San Diego and volunteering for the Artwallah annual festival. Both were fun things to do, but I've been too late in writing about them and the details have already started to blur. Here are the highlights though:

San Diego: A nice, not very long road trip after a long time. I need to get people together to do the Sideways road trip before it's too late and the summer's over. We need to get sloshed up with wine and wander in the beautiful vistas of Santa Barbara county. In fact, there's one stretch of road that S and I had decided to explore, after discovering it by chance on our way back from San Francisco a year ago. And we need to get down to San Diego more often as well, now that we have two friends living there (ok make that three if we count Beck and boyfriend separately).

Artwallah: Great fun, for those who went, I was the goofy, utterly inept person handling the artists' merchandise table (no not the one with the beard, that was Adnan). I hadn't heard of most of the artists whose merchandise we were selling, they were fresh talent, some getting their first exposure through the Artwallah festival. Adnan and I had a wonderful chat about music, and I found out that while he was an animator, he was also taking lessons in Hindustani classical vocal music, which was very cool. Sadly, it reminded me of my own two years spent in Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, my lack of single-minded dedication and tenacity to continue with my lessons.

Later in the evening I was joined by Emil, E-M and S, and we got to hear the music of some of the artists whose music I was helping sell. They all seemed very talented, and Emil was very impressed with the hip-hop group who were wearing kurta-pyjamas while singing about the 'hood! I loved the fact that the kids seemed to have found very innovative ways to accomodate all the different influences that they had grown up with. Also hilarious was stand up comic Paul Varghese, and the animated short by Nina Paley that had an incredibly funny reworking of the Ramayana.

But the biggest discovery for me was the venue of the festival. The Barnsdall Arts Park, looks truly unremarkable from street level as you navigate the treacherous and bumpy corner of Vermont and Hollywood Blvd. However, once you manage to wind your way through the road (or take the short cut through the stairs), the view from the top of the Hollywood hills is stupendous. On one side is a clear view of the Griffith Park observatory, on the other the Hollywood sign, and then you can make out the outlines of the Santa Monica Mountains and national park. The complex has a gallery and a theatre, that promises free Shakespearean performances all summer. And all this within walking distance of Little Armenia and Thai Town. I know I'd be looking for excuses to come back.

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