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Pico Artists at Work on Sunday, October 15, presented the opportunity to experience a not-quite-yet-burgeoning “art district” before it takes off … The heaviest concentration of artsy storefronts was clearly between 30th and 34th streets … Someday, you’ll be able to say, “I remember this neighborhood when …” … At Randy Ball’s Artistic Picture Frames (which doubles as the Blue 7 Gallery) there was (and is, through October 31) an exhibit of Joe Ravetz photographs of homeless persons and their hand-held signs – quite a good show. It called to mind G. K. Chesterton’s observation that while it may be true that a blind man on a street corner is a picturesque sight, it nevertheless takes two good eyes to see the picture…

Seen at 3019 Pico that Sunday: a sign: “GOP * HQ – 2006 – Santa Monica Republican Women Federated.” Honest: Republicans in Santa Monica! … Well, maybe it was a piece of art … Heard on an outdoor stage in Virginia Avenue Park that Sunday: The [ad hoc] Pico Ramblers playing bluegrass – young Kyle Murphy and his fiddle have a future.

News item: The City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday evening, October 24, to ban smoking outdoors … Well, not everywhere outdoors – just the places a smoker might want to smoke (outdoor cafes, bus stops, movie lines, etc.) and a few that a smoker never thought about one way or another (within 20 feet of an open window, etc.) … As W. C. Fields remarked on film, when told that he couldn’t get a drink because the bars were closed on election day, “That’s carrying democracy too far.” … But seriously, folks, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote 180 years ago that the greatest flaw of democracy was the future danger of the tyranny of the majority … The future is now…

If you have never read William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways, do it. A reflection he makes in the course of his reportage on traveling America’s two-lane blacktops: “My rambling metaphysics was getting caught in the trap of reducing experience to coherence and meaning, letting the perplexity of things disrupt the joy in their mystery. To insist that diligent thought would bring an understanding of change was to limit life to the comprehensible.” … Wow! And that is written as part of a narrative story that makes it even better in context. (1982, in paperback by Fawcett Crest from Ballantine Books.)

Listed in a recent Mirror, among the events foretold in the pages of Seven Days, the Fred Segal debut of “Le Petit Prince” – “a new fragrance and skin care line for children” … Good grief! … The future is now … The newsstand price of The New Yorker magazine is now $3.99…

Truer words were never spoken: Citizen Bruce Cameron, at the October 10 City Council hearing on the first reading of the smoking ordinance, “Frankly, the City is addicted to wanting to be perceived as being on the cutting edge.” …Amen.

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