Stereo Type Productions hosted an art and music festival this last weekend at Camp Okihi near Hart Park.
Leeters, a local comic book store that is located in the East Hills Mall, celebrated Free Comic Book Day on May 4. Free comics were distributed to visitors and customers had the opportunity to play video games and compete in a fan art contest. The store also held a special guest, Angus Oblong, to distribute his own artwork and speak with guests about his part in creating his cartoon.
Though I’m personally not a fan of the Adult Swim television show, “The Oblongs,” I had the great opportunity to have an awkward interview with the show’s creator. He shed some light on how he became acquainted with the owners of the local comic book shop and expressed subtle enthusiasm in attending the event.
Bakersfield is not only growing in size and population but since First Friday, a monthly art event, has been held this town’s artistic culture has been growing as well. Painters, drawers, musicians and craftspeople have been collecting downtown on Eye Street to display and sell their work.
On the first Friday of every month, people gather in front of various shops around the Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar to celebrate creativity. Paintings using all forms of media adorn foldaway picnic tables, homemade jewelry are on display and music could be heard from Chester Ave.
Marc Core often attends this event to sell Chainmaile armor and jewelry along with his friend, Carlos Rubio, who shares the same hobby. “This was commissioned,” Core points to a large chainmail vest, “It’s almost done.” Core also pointed to smaller, more elegant pieces he called macromaile. “I usually sell a lot of these. Women typically like the bracelets and earrings but a lot of guys wear the larger bracelets.”
A variety of rings are used for their craft. Some bracelets are large enough to be decorated with large strips of ribbon or leather. Others like the necklace pendants and earrings are made with “macromaile” or tiny rings no bigger than the hole of a Cheerio. Most macromaile is sold based on the complexity of the work. Core explains how he decides to price his work based on the effort he used to create the piece. “Most of the jewelry is sold around $15, the armor is much more expensive.”
Rubio is currently working on a different chainmail project. He wears a heavy scalemail bracer that appears similar to the scales of a snake. “Scalemail is really neat. It looks sleek and masculine.” Rubio was introduced to the craft through his friend, Marc. Both men display and sell their work together every month.
Many local artists contribute to the event like Core and Rubio. Paintings from every genre and media are on display. Artists often set up their easels and offer to paint a fresh work or doodle caricatures to potential customers. When waiting for customers, it’s not uncommon to see men and women behind their collections creating more jewelry to sell.
Along with viewing and purchasing wonderful works of art, visitors to the First Friday event can eat dinner at a number of delicious restaurants. Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar serves Asian cuisine at affordable prices. The Mark and Sandrinni’s is also in the same area. One can also visit Dagny’s coffee shop for an after dinner cup of coffee.
Artists like Core and Rubio really enjoy the monthly gathering. Not many have such an opportunity to display their hard work. It has also inspired creativity in others. “I really enjoy the atmosphere at First Friday,” says Core. “It’s also really nice to get a little extra money from doing something I enjoy.”
Many, financially successful like to spend weekends and spare time spending money. For some, an evening dedicated to wearing heavy designer shopping bags around the Valley Plaza is considered a night well-spent. Unfortunately, I am not one of these wealthy individuals. Though I love shopping, I’ve developed a more competitive, cheap alternative to shopping. I’m a competitive thrift shopper.
I’d like to think that I’ve developed my interest in secondhand stores from the hundreds of mornings spent with my grandmother during my early childhood. The woman had the act of thrift shopping down to an exact science. Today I’m going to share some of her wisdom she has passed to me.
1. Don’t expect to find what you are looking for
Goodwills, Salvation Armys, and mom and pop stores are filled to the brim with stuff. Toys, furniture and clothes are typically arranged in chaotic piles and finding items that suit your style can be a little challenging. The best method to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to dig around for something you like.
2. Be aware of your shadow
Regular thrift shoppers can sense other regular thrift shoppers. I know this sounds weird but as you shop, others are watching you. They’re aware of the interesting things you are looking at and even if they would not regularly be interested in that item, the mere act of seeming interested in it will make others covet your find. For example, I once found this cheap tin box. It was beat-up and army green, worth no more than 5o cents. Anyways, I held on to this item because I had a use for it. As I walked around the Goodwill I simply set the box on the shelf in front of me as I inspected another item. I still had every intention of buying the box. Out of no where, an older gentlemen snatched my box as it sat six inches from my face! This is a regular occurrence so just be aware. If you want something, don’t let go of it.
3. Bring a form of mobile internet
I once found a typewriter in a thrift shop that was in perfect condition. It was a Royal model O from 1934. How did I know this hunk of junk with a $15 price tag was worth more than $300? I check its worth on Ebay. By looking it up on my phone I knew this device was a killer investment.
So now you are enthusiastic about second-hand shopping, here are a few places you should visit in Bakersfield:
- Goodwill on Coffee Rd- This place receives most of its product from big chain stores who are unable to sell all of their stock. Target on Rosedale contributes its unsaleable clearance items here.
- Salvation Army on Ming Ave- Go here for furniture.
- Plato’s Closet on Ming Ave- in the same parking lot as the Guitar Center. Though the prices are typically higher at this store, the clothes are a much better quality and name brand.
For a class related assignment, I found myself in an unfamiliar bar on an unfamiliar side of town. On Wednesday I enjoyed some great local entertainment while drinking a good beer. The bar seemed to be (at least what I can tell from its website) a local establishment that has been in existence for several years. The crowded bar resembled that of the many college bars I’ve visited in Chico yet it lacked that particular “divey” feel that I dislike so much.
The food, from what little I tried, was pretty terrible. Because my dear friend and I had already ate our fill of a meal at another downtown restaurant, we only enjoyed drinks and an appetizer. The appetizer wash a dish I consider to be one of my favorites; hummus and pita bread. I’ve never had hummus I didn’t like. It should be hard to destroy such a simple garbanzo bean spread but Goose Loonies allowed me to experience a truely terrible dip. The flavor dealing the dish’s fatal blow was that of pumpkin or some kind of squash. It was terrible! No gourd belongs in hummus! I couldn’t eat a single bite.
Don’t be discouraged from trying any of their other meals, however. Though each dish was a bit pricey, beautiful juciy steaks could be seen frequently leaving the kitchen. They looked and smelled wonderful and I plan to try one in the near future.
I tried a new beverage. Woodchuck Pear Cider. It was a bit disappointing to be honest but I can see my non-beer drinking friends taking a liking to it. It was too sweet for me. The crisp taste of pear made any of the familiar flavors of beer go unnoticed in every sip. It was as if I was drinking juice. The color of the drink wasn’t even yellow. It sat in my mug looking like a Chardonnay with a light green hue. I enjoyed it but it fails to compare with my favorite beer, Tangerine.
If you happen to find yourself in the west Rosedale area of town be sure to look out for Lengthwise Brewing Company’s Pub. It sits on Calloway just north of Hwy 58. If you visit, grab a basket of Stinky Fries and a glass of Tangerine on tap. It’s a wonderful light beer that contains the wonderful flavors of the fruit for which it’s named. Very few places in town offer this sweet, heavenly nectar in its bottled from the faucet. It’s wonderful!
Bakersfield is known by many names, though very few can be considered with any positivity. When sharing the name of my hometown with those from other places, I look ashamed as I mutter the location under my breath. I’m always met by confusion or, more often than not, sympathy. Nestled between the more lively areas of California like the San Francisco Bay and Los Angles, Bakersfield is known to most Californians as a rest stop. A boring little rest stop during your travels down the I5 to Hollywood or San Diego.
For those like myself who end up stuck in this little oil mining s***hole, finding any forms of entertainment becomes a challenging task. Early twenty-somethings like myself usually partake in the consumption of alcohol at friend’s homes or apartments. Because of the limited choices between entertainment and the financial restraints usually endured by college students like myself, drinking to excess seems like the most acceptable way to spend time with friends.
I try not to drink often. I want to avoid the further distruction of my liver. Instead, I do hobbies. Photography, drawing, running, and painting. These activities keep me sane. My husband enjoys playing the drums with my brother on guitar. I have a couple friends who make chainmail necklaces and braclets. Each individual pursuit serves a simple purpose; to pass the time.
Working on individual tasks allows locals to stay busy. This is important when one considers what makes our town a town. By observing our shops, stores, and restaurants, Bakersfield’s image is similar to those of other boring suburbs that encircle the Los Angles area. All restaurants are merely links of chains. Each store is a mega-store, feeding from the income that was once received by the locally own businesses which have long since disappeared. Sure, I’ll admit that I may be generalizing but I’ve lived in this town my entire life. My opinions of this god-forsaken city are not baseless.
Even my hobbies are not locally supplied. I purchase my paint, craft paper, and canvas from the local Micheals. My husband’s drum sticks and my brother’s strings both come The Guitar Center. Bakersfield lacks any special appeal. With little natural wonders other than the Kern River Canyon to the east, Bakersfield fails to stand out as anything other than a hopeless pit.
“So why make a blog about entertainment in Bakersfield?” you must be asking. To put it simply, I have to. It’s for a class I am required to take at the very last minute of my college career to complete my minor. Without this class, I can’t graduate with my BA in English in the spring. I may not seem remotely enthusiastic of this adventure and, to be honest, I am not. I am, however, a very open minded woman. Perhaps by the end of this quarter I will find what makes Bakersfield a decent enough town to raise my children. Maybe my pessimistic views will change by finding the “hidden Bakersfield” I’ve spent my entire life trying to escivate from the hot, dry earth.