Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern – Famous for Food and Fun

 

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Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern now has an outpost with an ocean view in Santa Monica.

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The atmosphere is warm and friendly; its essentially gastropub elevated to a lively level. It’s a great place to stop in just for a drink, and that’s certainly where we started.

We had a Pomegranate Mimosa, fresh and refreshing.

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And of course we had their signature Famous Mary, which is almost a meal in itself. It’s made with Absolut Peppar, blue cheese, olive, pepperoncini, jack cheese. You can get the  “real meal” version with egg, shrimp, and bacon, too.

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To go with these drinks we had the addictive dueling Southern Dips, two delicious flavors served with homemade corn tortilla chips. The zingy pimento cheese and savory roasted corn with poblano guacamole are both intensely flavorful.

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We also had the Spicy Ahi Poke with avocado, papaya and deliciously spicy Serrano chilies, all on crispy wontons. The appetizers are terrific and could serve as a meal in themselves.

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But who could resist the Maine Lobster and Shrimp Club Sandwich served on a buttery brioche. A large quantity of extremely fresh lobster and shrimp were perfectly blended with house mayo, avocado, and topped with bacon and lettuce.

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Jimmy’s signature dishes however are arguably their burgers. And there are plenty to choose from, too. Their Famous Cheeseburger offers American cheese and 1,000 Island dressing with their hearty New York chopped sirloin. The beef is naturally raised, and their buns are sesame-seeded Parker House. Other burger options include spicy burgers – one with jalapeno jam, double veggie burgers, and even a cowboy burger replete with onion fritters.

Just in case you’re not full yet — here comes dessert. We went on the comparatively light side with the none-the-less seductively rich dark chocolate Pot de Creme which comes with a wickedly indulgent Grand Marnier cream.

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On the supremely decadent side you could go with the Bananageddon made with fresh bananas, pastry cream, pecan blondie crumbles, butter pecan ice cream, salty caramel sauce, candied pecans, white chocolate, and whipped cream. Don’t count the calories, and it is pure enjoyment. Or you could have a drink for dessert, such as their generously proportioned Irish Coffee.  Their full bar offers plenty of tasty options.

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All in all,  Jimmy’s is a super comfortable place to hang out, portions are large and drinks are delightfully strong.

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It’s reputation lives up to it’s name, quintessentially American and famously delicious.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis

Bryan Ida: The Language of Color

Bryan Ida works in layers. Layers of color, line, and meaning are all equally discernable in his new exhibition at George Billis Gallery, Echo and Line, running May 20th to July 2nd.

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Ida’s images create external shapes and a haunting, richly symbolic language. The Los Angeles-based artist’s background in electronic musical composition is reflected here, with paintings that evoke the visual frequencies on recording-studio monitors. There is a musical flow to the works, which the artist has said are meant to reveal the passage of time and the importance of memory.

In each of Ida’s works, the careful, adroit use of color and his perfect abstract shapes form a harmonious visual music. There is a sense of containment and a vibrant sense of aliveness in each of his images, as if beneath the surface the colors and lines could break free or transform. Ida is working with ideas of connectivity, of perfection and imperfection, of the complexity of life itself. One of the most interesting things about these paintings is how geometrically perfect they are, and yet there is the sense that each image was caught in a single moment of perfection, one which could shift into another form in a heart-beat or a breath.

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Working in acrylic and mixed media, Ida has created work that is subtle yet intense, images of renewal and change so precisely defined that there is a sense of both isolation and splendor. If these are evocations of memory and language as the artist suggests, then who is to say what secrets and inchoate longing are kept here; what we contemplate and what we can express.

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Examining the rich blues and greens of “Unseen and Unimaginable,” viewers are studying the thin, perfect lines of a strange bird, its skeletal wings and body spinning outward through a wheeling universe dotted with stars, planets, or perhaps the glow of tiny microbial creatures. This is all about motion, symmetrical lines in flight against a soft, somewhat unfocused, peacefully pulsating unknown world.

Similarly, in “Transient Layers and a Quickening Pulse,” we have what could be a layered city skyline above a pattern of dimensional, floating platforms and upright, thick lines which could themselves be towering skyscrapers. These images are themselves filled with tiny, pulsating shapes that remind the viewer of creatures in video games or Chinese calligraphy. These are the patterns of life, the raw essence a landscape contains, the formal shapes we have superimposed over them. Ida has painted an intricate, complex work from the hues of his palette to the shapes within shapes.
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The fluidity of Ida’s work seems to speak of transition, change, and a barely contained spirituality. In “Immersion,” there is what appears to be a beautifully textured puzzle of interlocking rounded wooden pieces in a gentle rainbow of colors. This could be a gate or a door, a maze of pipes, or merely an abstract pattern. Whatever it may be, it is marked by a bright central circle of light, a large clear spotlight that lightens the center of the painting like a portal illuminated within the circle of a flashlight’s beam. The title can be viewed as every meaning of the word: involvement – whether physically within a substance, or through the mind or culture; the teaching of a foreign language. Ida’s language here is not exactly foreign: it is familiar yet mysterious, somehow known and unknown.

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Two other artists share the George Billis gallery space with Ida. Taylor Montague’s “Oblique Views of Suburbia” offers wavering, beautifully glowing images of architecture in a beach-town environment. The coastal color palette from the gold light of the sun to the intense blue of the sky near the sea contrasts with sand-colored buildings and dark electric wires. This is the world of the California coast, and of dreams.

Gina Minichino takes intensely modern subjects such as Easter peeps and ketchup packets and renders them with the perfection of a Dutch still-life. Like Montague and Ida, Minichino also creates her own symbolic language, here through lush renderings of common images, infusing them with meaning.

Samuelle Richardson: Of Fine Art and Fabric

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Samuelle Richardson may have entered the world of fine art as a painter, but her work now is in creating astounding fabric sculptures.  These beautiful pieces seem ready to spring to life.

“The figures I make are hand-built armature with fabric stretched and stitched over the form. The character of a shape is my most important concern and I achieve it by building up layers,” Richardson relates. “My art practice is rooted in life drawing and long ago, I saw that a deeper knowledge of anatomy would help me make better decisions in rendering the human form, so I immersed myself in a process called écorché where a scale model of the skeleton is built by hand, in clay.”

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Her pieces feel magical in their completeness, as if motion were simply frozen within their fabric, and should one look away, the pieces would come alive.

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Her Ghost Dogs, which use wood as well as fabric, seem ready to take off and run. They live up to their title, haunting figures, beautiful and frail.

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A different sort of beautiful energy infuses the artist’s earth angels, figures that are flying toward and carrying earth to safety.  These gliding and protective figures are suspended in a ten foot radius, soaring and strong.

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To see such powerful work made from cloth is to wonder both at the strength of the medium and the intensely classical form of the artistry.

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“Fabric has been familiar to me for a long time. My background in the design industry is where important decisions were made based on the characteristics of fabric. Various types of fabric yield different results when applied in the same way.  I love the feel of fabric and I see characteristics in fine material that remind me of the way my favorite painters have mastered color,” she says.

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“In my three-dimensional work, I especially appreciate the crush and pull of fabric as it relates to skin over bone.  I also like matching fabric to the character of the sculpture.”

Richardson explains that she saw a catalog of Louise Bourgeois’ Cell Series and knew she’d have to try her cloth figure technique. “I had made figures in clay before but I had not yet thought of combining my knowledge of fabric and the three dimensional form,” the artist explains.

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The result are sculptures that seem incredibly alive, as if beneath their cloth they breathe.  The softness of the material further enhances the powerful and persuasive illusion that there is a living spirit beneath the cloth.

“Today I am looking closely at images of Manuel Neri’s work from the 50’s. The series was made in the image of his favorite model and there are some interesting figure studies done in fabric strips, wire, wood and other found material.  I am also looking for ways to incorporate found material in my work and I gain a lot through the perspective of my favorite artists.”

Asked who those favorites would be, Richardson cites “Calder for his humor, Diebenkorn for his elegant command of color and design, and James Havard for his rare quality of naïve imagery based on a classical knowledge of the figure.”

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Richardson credits her transition from canvas to fabric to the vicissitudes of violent weather. “I might still be a painter today had my studio not been destroyed in a record-breaking storm in 2009. It took a year to repair the damage, so I moved my work into the house and began experimenting with hand-built armature and fabric. I liked my new medium so much that I never looked back.

Richardson will be part of a July 2017 group show curated by Betty Ann Brown at Groundspace Project, It’s a Wonderful World. Looking forward ahead, she’s scheduled for two group shows at MOAH in Lancaster, Calif., in 2019.

“My new work is underway and it will be about human figures.  I plan to make a group that interacts similarly to the figures in Ghost Dogs.”

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis; and courtesy of the artist

 

I Spy: Espionage Tonight DWF20 Filmmaker Profile

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I spy…a lot of laughs and action in Rob Bralver’s Espionage Tonight, a wild, zany, dark, funny film that casts a spy thriller as a reality series. Bralver started out as an editor, transitioned to a writer/director and he’s now directed more films than he’s edited, but his sense of story is honed in the editing room, taut and well-paced.
“I always wanted to make a spy movie. My career prior to this film was in documentaries, and I became very familiar with the crafting of narratives and the business of entertainment. I noticed a lot of similarities between that world and the D.C. world of politics and espionage, which I’m equally fascinated by. There’s a lot of overlap between the two in terms of tradecraft. Sleight of hand, disguise, misdirection, PR, all kinds of tools where the only difference is the final product – entertainment or news. This movie was my way of exploring those parallels in hopefully a new and fun way, as we now live in a time where all the barriers and distinctions are gone. Facts, stories, recreations, policies – it’s a free for all, no matter your political orientation. While maybe that’s concerning in terms of possible real world repercussions, it’s also ripe for comedy,” Bralver says.
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Bralver’s previous work includes Cure For Pain: The Mark Sandman Story. “It’s a story about ambition, family, and loss. I learned a lot on that one, lessons that I expect served me well on everything going forward in work or life. There were very similar themes in Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton and Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia,” he relates. “It was not by design, but these very different stories and different people were all in their own way about outsider figures dealing with extreme loss and finding ways to overcome, and building new families and works to value to sort of reformat and re-strengthen their lives. Espionage Tonight was a departure from that kind of story on the surface, but I think at it’s core it’s the same thing on a different scale. The whole national landscape kind of needs to dust off the past and get a clean slate.”
That may sound heavy, but the film itself is pure fun. “Don’t worry too much about the details. Sit back and enjoy being lost for the ride. It’s meant as an impression of our new reality, where distinctions and exposition really don’t matter, lots of things never get resolved or never mattered to begin with, and the only resolution is probably getting on a boat and sailing away. I also hadn’t seen a movie like Airplane or Hot Shots in a while, and wanted us to have a new one. Don’t take it too seriously…but then think about it a week later.”
Put it this way – the lively, scathing, funny film is a lot more Survivor than Survivor could ever dream of being.
– Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke