Zippertravel’s new series, PlaceMaker, fuses a profile of a city with an individual artist, designer, or other maker who calls that place home. Up this week: painter Eamon Harrington in Malibu, California.
On a recent trip to Malibu, California we reconnected with longtime residents and great old friends Eamon Harrington and Veronica Brady. They gave us the inside track on the town from farms to restaurants, beaches to music, including an introduction to the band Dawes.
Malibu High alumni Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, along with Wylie Gelber and Duane Betts, make up this fast-rising indie quartet. First formed in 2009, Dawes’ sound has been compared to the best of ’70’s California folk-rock music. “Rock’s thoughtful past has rarely sounded more vibrant,” wrote Rolling Stone Magazine in response to the 2015 release of the band’s fourth album All Your Favorite Bands. All Music called the album, “a warm, organic texture that’s at once raw and immediate, sophisticated and polished.”
When they’re not on the road touring, you may catch Dawes’ lead singer/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith and brother drummer Griffin, jamming in Malibu with The New Old, a local band led by their father Lenny Goldsmith, former singer with Tower of Power. The New Old performs regularly at Café Escobar on Pacific Coast Highway 1 (PCH). Click on the youTube video below to Listen Up to Dawes’ hit single “Things Happen,” set in the wonderfully strange world of impersonators on Hollywood Boulevard.
It’s a hackneyed 19th century adage, but “Go West, young man” will always be good advice for restless East coasters. Twenty-five years ago we announced that we were leaving New York for Los Angeles and our friends Eamon Harrington and Veronica Brady surprised us by sharing that they, too, were headed for the Golden State. Eamon and Veronica settled in Malibu, where they raised a family and pursued their careers in television and theater. Planet Grande Pictures, a Malibu-based production company, was founded by Eamon and partner John Watkin in 1993 and has produced Emmy-award winning documentaries on AIDS, Alzheimer’s, and racism, as well as Oprah Talks to Michael Jackson, the highest rated special in television history. So far this year, Planet Grande has produced four feature documentaries.
But despite the successful transplant West, the restlessness continued for this producer/director until he found a new passion: painting. A self-taught artist, Eamon began painting in a small studio behind their home before moving inside the main house for more space and natural light. He paints nearly every day, working bent over huge strips of canvas laid out on the living room floor. His brush strokes are bold, forceful and sure. Finished canvases are stacked in corners. Many others have been sold and now hang in homes, businesses and galleries throughout the U.S. His paintings are often energetic, vibrant, with a sense of immediacy. Language and color collide or coalesce. Common phrases take on new meaning as color and repetition render them urgent or brand them self-deprecatingly humorous. Exuberant color and pattern studies are impressions, soft as a Malibu sunset or oozing across the canvas like a mudslide on PCH, the yin and yang of life in the Bu.
For more information about Eamon Harrington’s artwork, or to make a purchase please visit his shopify page.
A city of less than 13,000 people, Malibu is synonomous with Hollywood celebrity. But beyond sightings of Beyonce, Steven Spielberg, or Miley Cyrus, the town is a fantastic amalgam of surfers, farmers, and people who just love living on the edge. Caught between the chaparral wilderness of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the three California seasons — Wildfires, Mudslides and Earthquakes — have historically reaked havoc on this stretch of California coastline that boasts 27 miles of truly spectacular scenic beauty.
The wide stretches of white sand, rocky cliffs, caves, sea stacks and tide pools are one of the best reasons to visit Malibu at any time of year. El Matador Beach is the most popular spot for locals and visitors alike, but we would also recommend Pt Dume State Beach and Zuma Beach. Malibu beaches encourage you to be active – volleyball setups, hiking trails, and excellent surfing – but there is also plenty of room for solitude. Be aware that the entire California coast line is public domain, so you can walk for miles or spread out your towel on any beach — including Billionaires Beach – provided you know how to gain access. Fortunately, there’s an app for that which you can download from lacurbed.
Peaceful seclusion is the mainstay of Serra Retreat in the Santa Monica mountains. High above the city, take in the expansive ocean views, play horseshoes or relax in the meditation gardens. If you want to go shopping Malibu style, the Malibu Country Mart and Trancas Country Market feature local owner-operated shops as well as LA, national, and international stores including Maxfield and Ralph Lauren’s Double R brand. Just a few minutes south in Pacific Palisades, the Getty Villa is one of our favorite places in Los Angeles. Viewing the museum’s antiquities collection, architecture and gardens you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a lush, classic Mediterranean estate. Admission to the Getty Villa is free, but you must reserve parking in advance ($15).
Swedish-born farmer and restauranteur Helene Henderson rocked Malibu’s food scene when she opened Malibu Farm Cafe at the end of the Malibu Pier in 2014. Using organic produce and ingredients sourced locally – often from her backyard farm and many other small Malibu farmers – Malibu Farm is that all too rare find: great food with an ocean view. Malibu Farms recently expanded to include a restaurant and bar at the beginning of the pier. Both locations are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The best happy hour find in Malibu is at The Sunset Restaurant in a somewhat secluded location on Zuma Beach. It’s the perfect ending to a travel day : old friends, fresh fish tacos, a beautiful sunset over the Pacific and a glass of California Chardonnay.
The Malibu Guitar Festival, April 28-May 1, 2016
If you’re heading to Malibu later this month, don’t miss the Malibu Guitar Festival, founded in 2015 by The New Old guitarist John Watkin and Doug DeLuca. The 4-day event will be held in selected outdoor venues, April 28-May 1st, 2016. Proceeds from the festival support Malibu nonprofit community organizations. For more information and to purchase tickets vist the Malibu Guitar Festival website.
“There are more guitar lovers, guitar collectors and famous guitarists per capita living in Malibu than anywhere else in the world… in the way that festivals become synonymous with towns, I think Malibu could be synonymous with Guitar Festival.” John Watkin
Malibu’s 25th Anniversary
The City of Malibu marked its 25th Anniversary this year, and to celebrate the city commissioned this commemorative 6-minute video from Planet Grande Pictures.
Actress, singer/songwriter, political activist and author Barbara Williams is a former Malibu resident whose new memoir The Hope in Leaving was released in March 2016. Born and raised in the impoverished world of mid-twentieth century western Canadian logging camps , Williams tells the story of her family: constantly on the move, always looking for “the hope in leaving and doing better next time,” while struggling to escape poverty, mental illness, sexual abuse, and injustice. In a review in the Globe and Mail, Stacey Mae Fowles found the memoir poignant and understated and concluded, “The Hope in Leaving is an incredibly powerful offering, delivered with rare grace and strength given its painful subject matter. With it, Williams has proven the most powerful storytelling is that which trusts readers to feel its impact without instruction, and find meaning without guidance.”
The Hope in Leaving is now available in bookstores and Ms. Williams is currently doing readings in various east and west coast cities. For more information about her book tour stops visit barbarawilliams.com. Also available as an e-book, I’ve just downloaded the memoir for our upcoming road trip through Canada north to Alaska.
There’s always something new on Zippertravel’s Pinterest. This week you’ll find 100 images on our new board “Malibu Beaches” at www.pinterest.com/zippertravel.
And while you’re on our Pinterest page, browse through some of the other 175 terrific boards dedicated to travel, architecture, fashion, and design. You don’t have to be a Pinterest member to view Zippertravel’s boards, but if you enjoy pinning you can do so by clicking on the button in the upper left hand corner of this page or selecting the Pinterest icon below. It’s just that easy.