A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Blackwater Jukebox with Burly Temple frontman Alex Volz at Echo Country Outpost. I think.

Blackwater Jukebox with Burly Temple frontman Alex Volz at Echo Country Outpost. I think.

Part IX: A few of my favorite establishments, Urth Yoga, Echo Country Outpost and a 1am traffic jam to Costa Mesa

Out on my own now and free of amateur therapist duties, with my doomed work assignment (and dinner with cousin) behind me, I was free to relax and indulge ahead of my drive down to Costa Mesa. This day was all about hanging out in what will be, barring unforeseen circumstances, my home at some point in the future. I’d visited twice before but this time as I wandered around, I did so with the very serious thought in my head, “could I live here for a while and be happy?”

Stories Books & Cafe (from their site)

Stories Books & Cafe (from their site)

A few favorite eastside establishments

I began with a head clearing and soul reclaimation process at a well-known place for a killer breakfast, Millie’s, a few blocks from Sunset Junction. From there (in no particular order, as I don’t remember now) were stops at Silver Lake Goodwill (especially good for used books and music), Origami Vinyl (all-vinyl record shop, in-store live performances, local treasure), Stories Books & Café (another local treasure, new and used books, wi-fi, café, back patio with readings and other events) and American Vintage (amazing selection of boots, vintage clothes and home of my favorite Mexican cowboy boots). I will also mention Skylight Books in Los Feliz (near Griffith Park) and Rockaway Records. I realize that’s but a small slice; consider it a start.

I then made the happy discovery of Urth Yoga and their cheap but rigorous open Vinyasa yoga class, and the pricey but equally intense juice bar a few doors down. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to get the juice and then the yoga. But even with the kale and whatever else was in that juice, I couldn’t manage the handstand. Someday.

Dinner and a Movie? No, even better: The Echo Country Outpost

I had one of the best dinners I can remember at Sage Vegan Bistro. It was some sort of greens bowl with kale in it and a ton of other stuff, and it was downright astonishing. I then rather serendipitously met up with the incredibly cool Brad Roberts, who blogs for Radio Free Silver Lake and also Feed Your Head, and we were off to Borts Minorts’ farewell part at the Echo Country Outpost. A word of explanation here. Borts Minorts is an indescribable sort of person, but I’ll do my best. Borts Minorts aka Chris Carlone, originally from San Francisco and then various places I think, is a rather whacked-out performance artist, and was based in Los Angeles for about a year. He’s responsible for some 400+ music videos, and that was just while he was in L.A. He’s back in NYC now, and this was his going away party. The evening featured Blackwater Jukebox, Burly Temple, Fort King and various combinations containing ingredients of each.

Another quick word about the venue. Well, “venue” is not the right word. The Echo Country Outpost is this amazing artistic community in a rather surreal sort of art gallery/hippie commune sort of place that looks like it should be out in the backwoods of Oregon somewhere and not on Glendale Boulevard. It’s quite a place they have, with artist studios, kitchen, gift shop, indoor performance space and “outdoor performance patio with tiki bar and yardsports playlot with ping pong and campfires.” All true. Here’s their mission statement: “We are dedicated to friendship, shameless playfulness, recreation and leisuresports, creative interactivity, low and middle art, high science, respectful recklessness, general woodsiness, lake culture, beach life, desert dust, animal thunder, motor vehicle restoration, fine films, literature, live music and all kinds of other performances.”

Blogger extraordinaire Brad Roberts, at the Echo Country Outpost, pre-hooplah

Blogger extraordinaire Brad Roberts, my stalwart guide, at the Echo Country Outpost, pre-hooplah

The music, the madness

Holy shit, what a party! Everyone socializing on the outdoor patio, around the tiki bar, playing with a big black dog, ping pong, balloons, bubbles, exotic scents from my distance past and then the celebrants drift slowly as one liquid being downstairs past the general store and kitchen to the performance space filled with psychedelic lights, smoke machines and wild gypsy jungle music. Dancing. Mayhem. I felt like I had stepped into a time machine and transported back… well, about 40 years or so. My answer to the question “where have all the hippies gone?”

Fort King

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/85582296″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

I saw all or part of the first three bands, but it was a little past midnight and I had to drive down to Costa Mesa. Why on earth did I have to go to Costa Mesa? Well, it’s like this. There was a concert the following night that I wanted to see. More on that in my next installment. So I tearfully said my goodbyes and left just before headliner and party boy Borts Minorts came on. Happily part of his performance was captured, so I can see what I missed. Sorry Borts. I hope New York City treats you well.

With one heck of a contact high, I stumbled out of there and onto the 5, where I proceeded to get myself into the worst and longest traffic jam I had ever seen at 1 a.m. I probably should have taken this as a bad omen and turned around, but blissfully ignorant of my future, I inched along on the packed highway and munched on my bag of tortilla chips. About 2 hours after I left L.A., I pulled into Costa Mesa.

Coming up next: first impressions of Costa Mesa, missteps at Laguna Beach and my thoughts about great rock bands, not so great audiences and the Wavelength Festival with Delta Spirit and The Airborne Toxic Event.

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