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On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | September 19, 2019

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans, and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! We’re fortunate enough to live in one of the great entertainment meccas of the world. Join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer!

Here’s what I got up to this week: A kicking car show at Route 66, some heel-tapping’ tunes at a real Mexican cantina and a beautiful bite of Andy Warhol’s Tomato in Venice!

That’s right, folks, I really got around these past several days…and I know you’ll want to hop in your 1955 Thunderbird and do the same once you hear of my adventures. The good news is that each of the events I attended are still accessible in the coming days.

The Rotary Club does a lot of things right in this community (peach cobbler at the Cowboy Fest to name one) and they also do a lot of good. The Route 66 Car Show (at the Route 66 Classic Grill in Canyon Country) accomplishes both for this club of local heroes. Not only do these people know how to put on a car show, but Alexx Rufus, the event coordinator from Rotary, said the proceeds will continue to help them aid victims of homelessness, drug addiction and human trafficking. I can’t think of a better way to spend your time and money, friends. (The car show was free to the public but the Rotary Club of Santa Clarita was selling raffle tickets to raise money.)
Even though it was a hot day over 70 cars showed up for the cause and boy-o-boy they were beauties. Pristine Impala’s, impeccably restored Model T’s, Mustang’s that could make you melt, and even an old ‘Henry J’ which I was informed by one of the Rotary members was sold by Sears and Roebuck beginning in 1950 for the bargain basement price of $1300. I’ll take one!

A live band kept things rockin’ all afternoon with classics from the 50’s and 60’s while The Route 66 Classic Grill served up food and drinks until I truly felt I’d gone back in time. (I am a sucker for the old days.) Catch their next car show on October 12th from 5-9pm.

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One of the crowd favorites, a restored fire engine.
(Lori Murphy, Photographer)

Speaking of the old days, walking into the Viva Cantina in Burbank was like entering a time machine. Located directly next door to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center and its picturesque mountains as a backdrop, riders would literally saunter up on their horses, tie off the reins to a hitching post out back and rest their boots on the bar for a drink. I loved it.

A friend of mine was playing at the Cantina, The Jude Ciccollela Band (you may recognize him from his role on the hit series 24). Their old school playlist along with Jude’s rustic baritone transported me even more delightfully into the past with songs like Wichita Lineman by Glenn Campbell and Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Margarita’s the size of my head were making their way around the room as dancers took to the floor. I highly recommend venturing out to this unique venue, the Viva Cantina, the very next chance you get! (Especially if Jude Ciccolella is playing.) 

There are many reasons to visit Venice Beach, but you may not know that a high quality, highly acclaimed theater company also calls it home. The Pacific Resident Theater has a few plays running at the moment (that’s right, it has three different venues that make up the space), one of which is All My Sons by Arthur Miller. However, I went to see a new piece by Vince Melocchi entitled Andy Warhol’s Tomato and I found it to be incredibly poignant and moving. The story was simple: a young Andy Warhol growing up in Pittsburgh is given the opportunity to paint a sign for a local, hard-working, blue collar bar owner. The two men could not be more unalike.

I really don’t want to give too much more than that away because I would encourage you all to make the trip, literally and figuratively, down to Venice to see this touching play. It’s appropriate for all ages and delivers a message of generosity and understanding in a world where we can use all we can get. Despite all our disparity, the play demonstrates that we can always learn something from each other if we look closely enough…like the simplicity, the complexity, and the life-giving deliciousness of a tomato.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol (Visit pacificresidenttheatre.com for tickets)

So, there it is for this week, friends. Always feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up. (reachjasondowns@santaclaritagazette.com) Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appétit!

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