Vincent’s Day in L.A.

SOME NIGHTS can’t or shouldn’t be planned or curated. You just have to allow *it* — whatever that *it* might turn out to be — to happen. This  entire evening a year or so ago, grew purely out of serendipity, much in the same way that this photo turned up the other day on a random thread that I only happened to see. Like so much on line it’s there and then it’s gone.
  The night in question: San Antonio-based artist, Vincent Valdez’s Culver City opening. I’d just finished a longish feature about him and his years here in L.A. working on a mural depicting the saga of Chavez Ravine on the exterior of a low-rider ice cream truck. The art piece was to be completed in conjunction with the release of Ry Cooder’s album Chavez Ravine, which also told the story of the old neighborhood.

That deadline passed, then another, Valdez the first to admit that he was haunted by the weight whole process. That and a show of new, original work that grew out of his time here in Los Angeles.

I spent a good portion of the evening wandering around the event with my frequent partner-in-process Times photographer,  Genaro Molina, who shot the piece on Valdez and the other on Cooder I’d worked on a couple of years before.

Vincent had been so busy (some of the paintings were in fact drying on the wall) that there wasn’t any sort of after-party planned. Like most early-starting weekend events, the gallery began to thin-out as people pressed on to their second or third engagement of the evening — after all it is L.A. But those who had tightly “calendared-in” themselves missed out. The rest of us who lingered, who left things open-ended were treated to some extemporaneous entertainment.; Mr. Cooder (center), who had been in attendance, ducked out for a few. As it turned out, he’d dashed back home to get his guitar, because, well, he thought the accordion player was just that good and he wanted to join in. Molina — surprisingly — wasn’t on the clock that night, nor was I — so no photos, no blogpost for the paper. Instead, even better, we were able to just soak it in and let it happen just like civilians. Nice.

This photo courtesy, Vincent Valdez.

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