Bene Flashmob Christens Summer ’06 “Gelato Summer”

bene bene!Saturday, 27 May, 6pm. Culver City.

Gallery Row. Openings galore. Zombies at sixspace. Portraits at Blum and Poe. In the narrow alleyway behind La Cienega, a small pin-striped truck putters up and promptly parks parallel to a sign advising “NO PARKING AT ANY TIME” . . .

A man with mirrored cop shades, headphones and flowing black coiff held out of eyes via smiley-faced bandana steps out of the truck. Black t-shirt. Cut-offs. Bright green square-toed Italian boots senza socks. He starts hauling speakers out of the miniscule truck and within minutes has a soundsystem blaring wrecked disco beats. Enter: DJ Greenboots.

Luca, a rail-thin man in a striped shirt and centerdent hat, spills out of the truck with two women and begins chattering in Italian to both of them. Yet a third man, Johnny, grins from the window of the truck and congenially offers a wide selection of complimentary premium gelato to anybody brave enough to approach the window. This is Team Bene Bene: Johnny, Luca, Greenboots. You’ve just stumbled upon a Bene Bene Flashmob, you lucky so-and-so. Welcome to Gelato Summer.

I step up to the truck for a complimentary gelato, marvelling to see the truck not only sparkling clean, but parked someplace other than Fairfax Village for a change. Within minutes, I’m wincing at the glorious toothache only frozen mango slices can provide.

“We may have to split soon; I’ve heard talk of the owners being called,” Johnny confides in me. “We’ll be at Angela Hanley by 7:30 for the opening.” I’m off to sixspace to marvel at zombies.

bene bene!

730pm. Angela Hanley Gallery, 2404 Wilshire, MacArthur Park.

I spot the truck adorned with Christmas lights but not before I hear it, laying down beats right onto the sidewalk of Wilshire Boulevard. Sporadic revellers leaving the dual Latino and Indian festivals that have shut down Wilshire for the day walk by, bewildered. More than a few pause for gelato e techno.

bene bene!Gallery cocktails paired with curbside techno provide the perfect complement to the setting sun at the MacArthur fountain. The party continues well into the evening, but it is time to take our leave of little Bene Bene and take advantage of the proximity to La Fonda [photo], where we will soon marvel at the glory of a Japanese man, selected from the crowd, fronting the full Mariachi band and crooning Coo Coo Roo Coo Coo in perfect Spanish.

Johnny, Luca and Dj Greenboots (real name unknown) are available all summer, should you require fresh gelato and fresher beats for activities both versive and subversive.
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