Courtney Arwin: Good Peoples
There is saying that has stemmed from the south when referring to a person that is endeared to you. They are called ” Good peoples” it is to say that individual is a good person all around. It is the kind of person that we all want more of in our life.
At Citizens Of Culure we are often talking about businesses or talented creators. I wanted to take time to celebrate individuals that are genuinely nice and caring. The kind of person that is quite simply, good peoples.
Courtney Arwin is one of them.
She is currently an art student living inEcho Park.
I’ve had her vegan baked goods and met her dog and family.
I took some time to vist and snapped a few photos, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.
It was a great Sunday morning and it was great to catch up.
Courtney, stay just the way you are.
Rob Roy is not a Rapper
Under low light a modest silhouette gyrates like an old 60’s rock star. I was lucky enough to be invited to Backside‘s instore event at their Echo Park location.
Space had been cleared in the shop as if they were trying to create a dance floor. Rob Roy was their guest.When I arrive heavy distortion is filling the air, guitars are squealing, and there is a double bass echoing off the walls all this and apparently that is just the outro to one of his songs.
Upon first sight you might think he is a bit over dressed, after all we are in an establishment that sells casual clothes. The audience is casual, the scene is casual, but Rob Roy is any thing but. He is suited like a Men In Black, which is more that I can say for most rappers. His performance isn’t the lackadaisical stage jaunt that I was expecting… Rob Roy is performing his as off. Right after the heavy metal he goes into “Axela”, its sultry and slow. The drums are simple and the melody is carried by a chorus line of oohs and aahs. Over the D’Angelo-esque bass line, he singing in falsetto. He’s seducing the audience, not impressing them with word play, he’s drawing them closer. For someone labeled rapper he isn’t showing any of the symptoms,not battering us with lyrics, not vomiting out indiscernible syllables.
Not that he can’t rap,he can, and he proves it. Mr. Roy serves up staccato flavored bars, with metaphoric icing whipped into the center. Its definitely impressive but not at all what you might be used to. He’s not just vamping over hooks either he’s actually hitting notes. In velvet rope he digs into the beat and harmonizes on the chorus. He raps but its not a rap song, not a typical one by any means. He’s making me question everything I know about music. If this is rap, and it is this good, this musical, then what is that I am hearing on the radio? The two can’t possibly be the same.
Where in the spectrum of music do you feel you fit now? What is the void in music that you fill?
I stand in opposition to anti-intellectualization.
Why not just take the easy way out and make some more conventional sounding music?
There’s enough people doing that. I’m interested in deforming and provoking, not pacifying.
If budget were not a concern, how many pieces would you have in your back up band, which would they be?
A dj, 6 back-up singers, a drummer, and perhaps a bass player.
Animal Rescue: McCoy
In the height of the economic slump families were losing their homes and abandoning their loved ones in the process. McCoy has been a victim of this sort of abandonment, but after meeting him I wonder how anyone could leave such a charming individual behind.
McCoy is 9 year old Samoyed living in Echo park, California.Not much is known about his past but we do know he was scheduled to be put down by his shelter. After these dogs have been abandoned they roam the streets as strays or are found living in poor conditions, with dog cracked nose, in their original homes. Because of McCoy’s age and need for expensive arthritis medicine the shelter deemed him to be unworthy of life. Through a series of miracles the Samoyed ended up a resident at a good friend of mine’s home.
Every time I come by McCoy is doing something interesting. He doesn’t stop what he’s doing to greet me but he always makes his way over in due time. In speaking with his keeper I find she has a strong bond with her dog and they communicate in a way that is uniquely their own. She discusses times when he will awaken her in the morning, “He will come up to my face when I’m laying down and wake me up. When he woke me up on my birthday, I told him what day it was and he gave me the biggest kiss ever!” being that McCoy is not particularly affectionate this is surely exemplary of his ability to sense her feelings and respond.
McCoy has arthritis in his two hind legs so he is not very active , he seems very aloof and it is possible he is suffering from dementia. It’s not an easy undertaking to bring a dog with special needs into your home but at the same time it is not a completely selfless act. The more I listen to his owner talk about him the more I see how McCoy has enriched her life as a companion and even housemate. “There is something about taking care of someone that you know needs you” , she explains about her experience.
I begin to consider the idea that maybe McCoy isn’t the only one that has been rescued here. Certainly they have both been through hard times, and maybe its those times that create common ground between the two. It is this common ground I think that enables them to be so close and is specifically related to the circumstances of their lives. Before you go out and shop for the freshest, youngest pup you can find I encourage you to stop by your nearest animal shelter or rescue and find out if there isn’t someone you can’t find common ground with. In saving an animal’s life you may end up improving yours. Everyone needs rescuing sometimes.
Future Shop Mixer
If you’ve seen my latest photographic aquisition then you have a small taste of the kinds of items you can find in LA’s newest retailer. Future has a new home in Echo Park at 1814 Sunset, right next to Origami Vinyl. I was lucky enough to be invited to Part Two of their opening ceremonies gathering..There was no shortage of wine and PBR to get you nice and cozy with the people and garments.
Think 90’s babes in matte heels and boots. The kind of girls that speak multiple languages and don’t really look like they have jobs. The place was filled with them. I loved the ambience of the store and I snagged some old school “Yo MTV Raps” Trading cards. Not just great gear but also some vintage artifacts that will add personality to any space. I saw an old brick Gameboy, VHS tapes , VCR, and a few old Playboy Magazines that may have been stolen from someone’s older brother in ’92. When DJ, Josh Casto is spinning classics all night it is hard to stay focused on shopping but the ripe selection of merch in Future get’s you right back on track. I grazed my hand, not only over some choice vintage finds but, sweet labels like Corpus, Cheap Monday, and Alternative Apparel. If only I didn’t have to pay rent I would have gotten so much more than the Polaroid camera I showed you guys not-to-long ago. It’s not just cool American stuff either, Future is crossing over a few international brands, one of which is Lazy Oaf, whom Future happens to be the only stockist of in the US . Who needs the pompous validation of American labels when you can wear well-crafted threads from England or Austrailia? The party spills into the street as the evening roars on. I kept thinking of all the ways I could play on the name of the shop. If you’ve never been to the Future make sure you swing by . I am making a point to go back to the Future. If your’e looking for some neat conversation pieces or to start dressing a little better or get your friends to stop making fun of your lackluster garb, this is the place. Its a great shopping experience and you’d be in with a great group of people to be part of their clientele in part, because of the location. Echo Park is a hot bed of art and culture in Los Angeles and favorite alternative to the Hollywood bourgeoise. I still have to get back down there be cause I want the green Dr. Marten’s I saw there for a price to low to tell on the internet. Part of me is even reluctant to publish this as I feel I am giving away what should be a secret find.Selfish as I may be this is too good a location to keep to myself. If you like that “stylish on accident” look, stop in some time and chat with the staff. When they aren’t helping you pick out a garment they make great conversation and could teach you a few things about the world. I’d wager to say all the ladies in the store are babes; shoppers and staff alike. Yet another reason to stop in but in the great words of Levar Burton,” you don’t have to take my word for it”. Pop in yourself and see what Future is like. I’ll probably be there trying on shoes that I saw on shoe hero. Men’s and Women’s clothes, shoes, accessories and more. It’s enough to add some flavor to your wardrobe and get out of those cheesy outfits everyone is too kind to tell you are crap. The Future is now.Join in.
Future’s blog: futurelovesyou.blogspot.com