Besides going to the Southland to snort salt and throw tequila shots in the air, my objective for the trip was to stop through the Ritte Van Vlaanderingham world headquarters and see just what makes the magic tick.
Upon my arrival I was greeted by honch Spencer Lease Canyons and his dogs Butters and Peanut. “Welcome to my empire!” he exclaimed as he pulled out a small Casio keyboard and began playing the theme song from ‘Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory‘.
Oh, the wonders that the facility holds, and as I wandered around and began drinking in all the sights and sounds I thought to myself “self, why don’t you grab your camera machine and document some of this wonder?” So into the back of my truck I dipped, only to find that in my haste I’d left my camera machine sitting on my desk at home. Then I got sad and reached for my telephone machine which also has a camera on it, but one that I prefer to use far less than my actual camera machine. Trying not to get in the way of the busy business that the handsome people in Ritte’s employ were engaging, I made like a ninja and snapped off some very important photos like this bike leaned up against some cardboard boxes;
and these bikes hanging on the wall;
and these frames in the process of being gussied up by Kelli, Ritte’s in-house expert painter;
Or this frame in what I can only assume is a garbage bag;
It was exciting to finally see how a mega corporation like Ritte operates, and inspired by all of the hustle and bustle therein, I was moved to make art;
With my creative beast having been fed, we made our way back to Spencer’s home in order to get dolled up for that evening’s rock and roll performance at Hollywood’s famed Viper Room music venue.
On the bill were two bands I wasn’t terribly enthralled with, and two that I was;
Luckily for us, we were joined by Ritte’s own carbon fiber wunderkind and Los Angeles bikecycling legend in the making, Hern, who lead us out of Santa Monica and into Hollywood aboard our bikes.
We arrived just in time to stop sweating, slap some high fives, order a round of drinks and take in Who Rides The Tiger, a band it should be noted has disbanded for no good reason in particular, aside from reestablishing themselves in other acts such as O Zorn!, The Vibrators, Send in The Sages, and The Jealous Sound.
It’s been some time since last I saw them perform, but needless to say, in WRTT’s time away, they’ve sharpened their skills, which left the crowd in both shock and awe;
Photos courtesy of Becky Osborne
As Tiger finished their set and the final note hung heavy on the air, I returned to the bar to find another can of beer. Within a short time they’d off loaded their gear and I gave Bill and Mike some sweaty hugs. After catching up a bit, Lady Sinatra took the stage and if I remember correctly began their set with an acknowledgment that tonight would be the last time this would be happening. Then they pulled the trigger and the room came unglued;
Photos courtesy of Lala Land Rock and Roll
They played with the energy of a band not on the verge of collapse, but rather one at the beginning of their musical careers. It’s clear they love what they do, and it was a bitter sweet evening on which to see them off.
As night began making way for day, we decided to collect our belongings and make our way back to Santa Monica for sleep. But not before stopping by Cantor’s (where it should be noted both Jim Morrison and Guns n’ Roses once hung out, but not together, and presumably drank refreshing Arnold Palmers, or ate sandwiches.) I think I had a macaroni sandwich, or something equally stonerie, and Spencer ordered a waffle that was so terrible, it ruined the entire evening.
Finally, on Hern’s tail, we eventually returned home at four in the morning and part of my brain died as a result.
Some other stuff happened while I was away, but none of it’s terribly note worthy, so at this point, I’d like to thank Los Angelenia for its hospitality and tell you I’ll schedule a return visit immediately after my next chest waxing appointment.
It’s with that, that I will now dip the proverbial ladle into the proverbial pot and serve up a proverbial bowl of proverbial stew. (Just so we’re clear- There’s no ladles, pots, bowls or stew.)
Jeff from All City made the contact shortly before my departure with some news about some stuff;
“We’re really excited about these new items featuring the rad illustration that George Retseck did of the Macho Man Disc;
We’d appreciate it if you shared it with your readers and helped get the word out. All the images can be nabbed off of our Flickr.
That right there would me a mighty fine addition to any art nerd’s bike collection.
Or, I mean bike nerd’s art collection.
I get the two confused sometimes.
From my old chum Nate at Santa Cruz Bikes, I received this example of glaring disrespect;
Rodney Dangerfield’s got nothing on Dr. Hedgeh(og).
In the world of art that doesn’t suck, I will make note of my life long love affair with Batman. From the time I was a little tiny child I was enthralled with everything about the character. At five years old, upon my first visit to San Francisco I didn’t care about seeing the city as much as I wanted to stay in the hotel room and watch the conclusion of the original movie.
Naturally, during the late 80s, with the release of Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight’ series, my appreciation was reignited, and it’s been a slippery slope ever since. So it was with great pleasure that I stumbled across ‘The Deal’, masterfully written and drawn by Gerardo Preciado and Daniel Bayliss;
I think when I finished reading that I said something along the lines of “holy crap“.