On Silver Wings: Remembering Merle Haggard

MerleIt was cold, windy and gray the day that I heard Merle Haggard died — in other words, a typical Midwestern spring day. It seems right, though, given the news.

Los Angeles to Austin: Austin to Los Angeles


I moved to Los Angeles almost a decade ago, fresh out of my 20s and still basically a newlywed. I was coming from Chicago, where I’d met my husband, Shawn. He had lived his entire life in Chicago, specifically in the south suburbs. Meeting Shawn and his tight-knit group of friends was like being thrust into the pages of an Andrew Greeley novel. Irish, middle-class, witty, fatalistic … it was something I found hard to relate to at first, since my own experiences were so different. But Shawn was only informed by his past; he was also his future. So when I got an offer out here for a job, he put our persnickety feline, two computers and an aluminum softball bat “just in case we run into trouble,” into his car and we set off.

Los Angeles to Austin: The Preview Edition

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

It’s doubtful there will ever be another travel memoir that will have as much effect on pop culture as Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Countless writers have tried — most have failed — to recreate that uniquely American take on driving through the open desert, the twin engines of speed and freedom propelling them forward. It’s Thompson who springs to mind as soon as I find out that I’m going to be driving 1,300 miles to Austin, Texas, through the California desert, Arizona and New Mexico, especially since the entire route is essentially one road — Interstate 10.

Average Joe Photography #3: Skateboarding in Venice Beach, CA

Venice Beach Skatepark (Joe Grez - Joup)

Venice Beach Skatepark (Joe Grez – Joup)

Flying back from the Far East took me through Los Angeles and with it a reunion with none other then my co-publisher at Joup, a man by the name of Shawn C. Baker. It was most certainly a homecoming and LA, for better or worse, is quite the slice of Americana. Bakes had some time off so we decided to head north from his home in San Pedro out to Venice Beach and it’s post-hippie-chic-glitz-glam. Our main objective wasn’t the show though, it was to catch Sunday skateboarding at the recently renovated Venice Beach skatepark. After all, this is where all the four-wheel action began. So let’s take a look at the shots and go into a bit of detail about them.