Polaroids: Santa Ana… on A dreaded sunny day, so I meet… Krayola on My Dad the Cheerleader Mateo on L.A. Record Zine Review: Santa… James Murray on INTERVIEW // December Employee… Jamie on Employee of the Month: Stephan…
I spent 4 hours on Saturday prancing, leaping, and frolicking about the Santa Ana Cemetery, paying respects and exploring. More pics to come.
Dubya had been a cheerleader too.When I was a child, I was somewhat embarrassed about the fact that my dad had been a cheerleader in high school. Never mind that he had also been a track & field star, a bad-ass submarine-based cryptologic technician in the US Navy, or an all-around super-nice, super-smart dude who instilled in me a deep love of music & made me the audiophile record collector I am today, this fact only served to embarrass me further when it came out that
As an adult, I am no longer embarrassed about my father’s choice of extracurriculars and now have the pleasure of being the proud new owner of his varsity cheer sweater! My dad has never been a big dude so the sweater fits almost perfectly. I have also been promised his hand-painted megaphone & stool and couldn’t be more tickled! I can’t wait to do a proper photo shoot in it.
Having been a Navy brat, I’ve always had a difficult time answering that classic and inevitable small-talk inquiry “Where are you from?” My answer is never simple and appropriate for small-talk as it’s quite convoluted. I almost feel at this point that I should just say “LA.” Some would deem this blasphemy since the longest I have lived in LA-proper at any given point is 6 months but allow me to elaborate on why with is probably the most accurate answer I can give.
Both my folks’ were born and raised in Los Angeles. My dad attended Lawndale High School and Mom went to Hawthorne High School, in the same school district in South LA. I moved around a lot as a kid but both my grandmothers lived in LA and we would frequently visit them. Mom and I lived with her mother for some period of time while my dad was stationed on a ship or sub somewhere we couldn’t know about. My Mom’s mom had a model train company which had its factory and headquarters in Compton. I cherish memories of visiting the factory and watching the model trains being tested on the wee tracks. Come to think of it, for safety’s sake, I had more free rein walking around that factory than I probably should have!
After Dad retired from the Navy, I went to middle school and high school in Temecula. After that, my parents bought a house in Hemet so I spent my college years there. I never felt like I was “from” these places though. They don’t represent me or how I feel about who I am and I feel if I say “Temecula” I misrepresent myself. [Maybe I should refuse to answer the question altogether!] After moving out of the house, I had a short stint in North San Diego County then moved to Los Angeles. Had I not met my future ex-husband while living in LA, I may still be living there. While I never planned on living in Orange County, I enjoy it more that I could have ever imagined.
Tragically, Mr. Johnny Sampson, a dear friend, one of my mentors in the arts field, and one of my favorite bartenders is moving on from his position in the curatorial department at Orange County Museum of Art and relocating to San Francisco at the end of the month. As tragic as this is, there are a few good things about this situation:
1. He will be absconding with his lovely wife to spread smiles, laughter, and art [and doubtlessly booze as well] to the denizens and visitors of the Big Gay Metropolis up North. The men are going to *love* him. Well, ok, everyone will; I’m sure of it.
2. I will have another kindly mischief-making soul with whom to create shenanigans when I visit the Bay Area.
3. Johnny is back behind the bar, for 1 night only, at Memphis at the Santora! That night would be tonight. [FB Event Page]
And I guess there is 1 more good thing to come out of this. I conducted an interview with Johnny for my “Employee of the Month” series in April 2013. I fell off the blog boat and never posted the interview. With this post, I am officially back on the blogwagon and with Johnny’s departure, it’s at least somewhat relevant and/or timely. Yay, everyone wins! Now, onto the goods:
Interview from April 2013:
t♥a: Tell us about your history with Memphis. Why did you decide to stay on 1 night a week?
JS: It was January 5, 2004 when I walked in to my first shift at Memphis—I did not know that I was about to fall in love with a culture and community that I would cherish for the rest of my life. I love DTSA and all of its characters, past and present, dearly. The area has lost some close friends yet has made so many more. I tip my hat and my drink to your memory, to all of you.
Memphis is like family to me, as is all of Downtown Santa Ana. Over the past 10 years, we have grown and evolved together. I think that is one of the things that makes Memphis such an amazing place to be a part of—its ability to grow with the community while retaining the core values and ethics that it was founded upon. Memphis has been such an integral part of the development and identity of both myself and DTSA that it is hard to imagine where we would be without it.
t♥a: What is your current favorite cocktail?
JS: Recently I have been on a floral kick, making variations of aviations and their ilk at home. I don’t know what it is about American cuisine, but it has mostly forsaken the whole floral palate (with an exception of jujubes—lilac and violet—who knew?!). Lavender bitters, rose water, orange flower water, jasmine tea—I’m hooked! And it carries over to the grill too…imagine some fresh halibut with a blueberry-citrus-lavender sauce…delish! I am still a fan of the classics though—there is a reason I met my wife over manhattans.
t♥a: What is your role at OCMA? What is your educational and arts background?
JS: I am a curatorial associate at the Orange County Museum of Art. So basically, I get to work directly with the director and the chief curator to make incredible exhibitions. It’s a lot of research and a lot of organization, but the results can be breathtaking. It is a great team.
Before working at the Museum I was the curator at The Box contemporary art gallery in Costa Mesa. We had a pretty intense schedule there—while focusing on emergent artists, we hosted over twenty successful shows in just three years. Previous to The Box, yet still during my time at Memphis, I earned a MA from CSUF focusing on Exhibition Design and Museum Studies (to complement my BA in English from UCI). The graduate degree definitely was the step I needed to move onto the next tier in my arts career. I have also spent time as a figure model, exhibition designer, preparator, and researcher.
t♥a: What do you enjoy most about your work at OCMA? What do you look forward to the least?
JS: Every day at OCMA is pretty amazing; I get to work with the top people in their fields to make world-class exhibitions and publications. I get to talk to artists, scholars, gallerists, and an astounding team of passionate professionals on a daily basis. I am proud of what I get to be a part of.
What do I look forward to the least? I hate to disappoint, but it is trying to find a parking space after my commute home that is the worst part of my day. I try to minimize the things I complain about, and this year I have chosen parking…ask anybody…I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing about it.
t♥a: Can you recommend some current or upcoming art exhibits worth checking out in Southern California? What are your favorite galleries and museums? [oops; not timely!]
JS: One must-see show is the Richard Jackson retrospective at OCMA that just opened on February 17th. It’s intense, irreverent, and an experience not to be missed. It will be up through May 5th. I would also suggest the Llyn Foulkes retrospective at the Hammer Museum right now if you have the stomach for it. I dare you.
t♥a: What is your favorite part about bartending? Least favorite?
JS: I love tending bar. I love the interaction I get to have with people and I love making up new cocktails to fit every mood of every one coming into the bar. I’m no “mixologist”; I’m no “craft bartender”. But I am fascinated by how with just a few ingredients one can replicate a mood or an emotion. Most of the drinks I make don’t have names because most of them are for a specific person at a moment in time–It’s a different type of therapy.
I want everyone who comes into my place to feel special. Whether it is through their drink, a little face time, or a hug. I may not have a lot of flair, but I do have a lot of love.
t♥a: How do you spend your time outside of your museum and bar shenanigans? Any other projects you’re working on?
JS: It’s interesting you ask that. I love adventure and I love the absurd. This year I am re-editing some children’s books I’ve written and submitting them for publication, I am constructing an x-ray machine (that I started years ago when I hurt myself and was uninsured), and hopefully doing lots of spontaneous travel.
t♥a: What made you decide to leave Memphis?
JS: Releasing Memphis has been one of the most difficult and avoided decisions I have made. Ever. Obviously Memphis was more than just a job to me—just as it is more than just a bar to most everyone who experiences it. And I can’t actually say that I am leaving it, I will just be participating with Memphis in a new and different role—that of the patron!
Memphis has continually supported me in my professional development in the arts. They encouraged my graduate work, they were there for my gallery, and they are active in the arts community in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, and Southern California in general. It has been through them that I have made many of my contacts and relationships that have led me to where I am today. Yet as I move forward in my arts career, I decided that it was too difficult to maintain my Thursday night shenanigans. I am proud to have been a part of it, and I am even more excited to watch it grow.
So no, I am not leaving Memphis; we are just entering into a new phase in our relationship.
Aloha and bon voyage, Johnny. Best of luck on this next leg of your relationship with Memphis: the long-distance relationship! ♥ tracey
Now that I’m back in the blogging saddle, please allow me to introduce a new feature on my blog: “Model Moment.“ As of July of last year, I have embarked on a new career path as a fine art figure model. I am having a blast & learning news things, and unlike my former career as a curator/gallerist, I am actually making money. *What a concept!*
Stay posted for more Model Moments, including images of artwork made from my poses, random thoughts from the model stand, posts highlighting various inspirations for posing and mucho más. Now onto the post!
A great post on the legendary (if not slightly lecherous) Gil Elvgren with the photos he took for reference side-by-side with his paintings: http://www.underpaintings.blogspot.com/2009/12/defining-beauty-gil-elvgren.html
More comparisions: http://www.ufunk.net/en/insolite/les-pin-up-classiques-et-les-filles-modeles