Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

Sponsored Links

Z-Ville Productions New Sound Stage

It’s always fun seeing people doing interesting and magical things with their talents and time.


 In the film industry, a  ’Grip’ is a person who moves equipment, and knows how a director will likely want things set up… this includes lighting, cameras and audio.  There is a huge and bewildering array of film equipment used to make motion pictures….. they can range from the mundane C-47 (clothespin), to huge moving cranes and tracks to move cameras in smooth motion.


  Half a year ago I met a fellow who has a ‘grip’ company in Los Angeles.  He sent me the following e-mail announcing the expansion of his company into new and larger quarters. 



Z-Ville Productions New Sound Stage
Hey Y’all — Zander here,


It has been a while since I sent out an update about the company and how we can help you make your film / music or video project the best it can be — now we will be equipped to really make you project ROCK! We have expanded in a few smaller ways over the last six month but now…


We are proud to offer you the services of space and time:


Z-Ville Presents: An Affordable Sound Stage!


We are acquiring a great building (June 3rd) and will be fully equipping it as a functional Sound Stage. – 1/2 Price for June and July!


Here is the deal with the space as it is now and what it will become in the next few months — and we ask Your Help to make it a success. Please consider us for all your gear and production needs and PLEASE – tell all to give us a shout for GREAT rates and services… THANKS SO MUCH ……….. zzzzzzzzzzzzz


An Affordable Sound Stage:
Located off the corner of the 405 freeway and W. Florence Ave (just south of La Tijera and La Cienega)
Please call to stop by anytime!


What we have now:
3200SF building with:
1800SF Sound Stage with 18’ ceilings and cinder block walls
200SF Loft
2 – offices (for production or filming)
1 – Entryway with tile flooring
3 – back rooms (being converted into Makeup, Wardrobe and Kitchen / Greenroom)
2 – Bathrooms
3000SF Gated Parking Lot with 12 spaces
3000SF Roof – Flat with views of the City and surrounding warehouse roofs
Abandoned railroad tracks right out front for great aesthetics
Full Grip and Lighting Services on site


What is Coming:
Removable 20′x20′x16′ Cyc wall
Flats Sets: Jail Cells / Interrogation Room / Living Room / Bed Room / Dungeon – Basement / Multi Window Office with City Scenes / More…
Full PA System
Large Cloth Green Screen
Large Makeup Room
Large Wardrobe Room
Large Kitchen / Green Room
Shower designed for filming




Z-Ville Productions is a full service Production Company for the independent filmmaker / producer. We offer a Sound Stage / Production Trailers / RV’s / A Grip and Lighting Truck / Camera Packages / Locations and Crew:

*17′ G&E TRUCK with 3+ ton Grip and 3 ton Lighting:
HMI / Kino / Tungsten / Specialty items such as Fogger / Dolly / Track / Fabrics / etc…  

1800SF Raw space with 18’ ceilings / two offices / two Bathrooms / Loft Green Room / Lots of Power / Lots of Gear (see above)
Three other rooms being developed into: Make Up / Wardrobe / Kitchenette / Bedroom Set / Shower Set / Flats Sets also coming soon.

Makeup / Wardrobe Bar / Production Desk / Kitchen / Bathroom with shower / Sleeps Three – Five Persons.

*26′ CLASS C RV:
For Production or Picture Vehicle –
set up with an office in the back / full kitchen / Bathroom with shower / overhead bunk

*12 PERSON PASSENGER VAN: (Available only with Trailer Rental)

RED CAM / HPX500 / EX3 / HVX200 / DVX100b / ARRI SRII 16MM / and more…

Fully remote op and HD ready with 17” monitor and extras



Please visit our website to see more:


or call for more info:  310.422.9590  Thanks …. Zander

 Zander Villayne
Producer / Director


Z-Ville Productions
P.O. Box 5253
Playa del Rey CA 90296






  Meeting and working with Zander was a treat, he’s a pretty cool guy who is good at setting his gear up, and keeping an eye on things. He’s also good company during a long day of filming.


   Here’s the commercial we filmed that day….

Old Line Shack

  Old ag is interesting… people had to work so hard, and so long.  I am so lucky… I watch videos…. go and do some weedwacking while I listen to music in my earphones…. I box a few cactus leaves…. and hop into the truck for a ten mile drive to town and the Post Office…. while in town we buy most of our groceries.


   There’s a 130 year old stone building down the road from us… it was used in the old days as a line house for the cowboys when they’d round up the cattle here…. back when it was all open range and the cattle mixed anywhere. All the local ranches would send the cowboys to round up all together because all the cattle would wander all over the hills… the brush is very thick…. the topo is rough…. and they’d spend a few days in each canyon starting at the end and working their way to the coast… driving all those cattle down to the little flat area (coastal plain) that is along the sea.  While they spent the time in this canyon, they had the stone house to stay in.  One woman here says her granddaddy told her the old stories from when he was a cowboy about 1900…. he was in the stone house getting drunk with the other cowboys, and got in a fight with one he didn’t like, when he finally beat him unconscious he threw him into the fireplace and tried to burn him up… but the other fellows pulled him back, and rescued the victim from the fire.


  Revenuers used to come into the canyon to get the whiskey stills….they never got the people… (one was the fighting cowboy who tried to burn his buddy), the locals could ride their horses through the oak woods….. the revenuers stayed out of the woods for their own safety.


   We also had smugglers bringing booze onto the beach from boats that would bring it from Canada.  There is an isolated beach (now a nude beach) called Pirates’ Cove and another called ‘Smuggler’s Cove that were used…. rowboats would get the bottles from the boats offshore, and row to the beach. If you don’t know the rocks and tides and waves and be able to navigate around them at night, you won’t get your booze to safety. I am sure there’s some cases of Scotch under those waves.



Tango to Evora

    We all have our talents… everyone has the things they can do easily… and much better than most others.  I suppose as we go through life we try to develop those traits and talents to a marketable level…. and if we’re lucky we can do for a living the things that will provide an enjoyable aspect to life.


   There are also those who can develop their talents for purely artistic purposes.  Some of them can have the proper attitude to deal with the marketing of their artistic skills….


  Dance… it’s such a strange amalgam of movements both natural and not….. they say when a child is learning to speak, it will babble all the possible combinations of sounds that the human voice can produce…. in time they learn the language of their people…. and they have difficulty picking up an accent in a foreign language…. some sounds will not be properly reproduced, even though they were able to make that sound as a child.


   Perhaps it is something like that with dance…. when a child, most kids display an amazing combination of moves they can perform… dazzling acrobatics as a child…. long hard stretches…. flips etc. But later… after the schooling… many of these movements will not be replicated.  They will settle into a staid life of manual labor or pencil pushing.


   When I see good dancers, I could cry at my own inept clumsiness. Yes, I can place hundred pound stones into a  wall and build a terrace holding back tons of soil…. but I can’t do the beautiful moves of the Tango…. and it brings tears of happiness to my eyes to see the beautiful photos of the dancers in the music video featuring the beautiful notes of Loreena McKennitt.

One is the loneliest number

    Passing through life we are often confronted by situations that seem outside of our control… sometimes people retreat inward… reducing their exposure to the outside world…. but Man is a social animal… we need the tribe, the family,  to continue our  internal enrichment and provide companionship. But what of the lost ones wandering with no one?  Can they be reached out to? If you extend your hand to such a one…. who knows but that you will, in so doing, pull yourself to a higher place.

  The first film I was ever in is on IMDB now…. it is a ten minute short film called ‘Eating Alone’  by the Director Ron Moon.  Thank you Ron, for giving me my first film role.


I’m even on the poster for the film!… well, that’s my legs anyway.


'Eating Alone' Movie Poster

'Eating Alone' Movie Poster

Beary Trashy

We had a bear visit yesterday morning.


   He dragged the garbage can out from under the table where we store it to keep it safe from Opossums and Raccoons. He just pulled the end of the table off the porch to tip the can over…. the strength of this animal is astounding.


   He’s a sad starving bear…. eating cheese-paper and plastic.


   For a while now, we’ll have to keep our garbage locked up to keep him away from it… otherwise he’ll hang around all the time. We don’t need a bear here on a constant basis… they make it hard to get our work done.


   We’ve had bears climb onto the top of the house, we’ve had them on the patio, and we’ve had them invade our garden. One year they ate some of  the watermelons we grew. The small ones they could crack open, the large ones they tried, but failed… they had thick and deep scratch marks from the claws and teeth.  It was fun eating watermelons that bears had marked up that way.  It’s been four years or so since we’ve had a bear come by… so we got lax and forgot we live in ‘Bear Country’.  Now for some time, the garbage will be inside a wire and cement dog run we use for the occasional animal that comes by…. only this time, the animal will be locked out.


   The Kevin referred to is our neighbor…. he’s the next person the bear would likely visit… so we wanted to warn him.



Nopales, baby

‘Rollitos’ is a Spanish term which means ‘Little Rolled-up things’… or something pretty close to that.
It is often applied to almost any combination of ingredients, usually rolled up in a corn or wheat tortilla.


    This video has melted cheese in one pan.. pork fried with nopal cactus in another pan…. then you fry some corn tortillas (they didn’t show how to do that.. but in Mexico everyone knows the deal… like here in the US we wouldn’t need to show how to pour cereal into a bowl). Then you lay a spoonful of the pork/nopal mix into the cheese, roll it up like a tiny burrito.. and then place it into the tortilla shell.


   This all seems like a great amount of pans to wash…. and excess movement and work…. I heat the tortillas with no butter or lard… then fry the pork and nopal, then heat the cheese, and pour it into the tortillas, and then spoon the pork nopal into the tortillas, either rolling them up, or leaving them flat…. and I’d probably smother the things with lots of my cactus salsa with corn and beans.. yum, now that all sounds good. With all that salsa I’d eat a bit less of the cheese and pork, and still feel like I et plenty.


   This video is in Spanish….. but a person can watch it and still understand most of the preparation instructions just by observing.  That is one of the best ways to increase your knowledge of a foreign language… watch TV shows that you can understand just by the action… you will pick up little bits of language here and there.


   The video is well done…. the food looks great…. but it is a bit heavy on the fats and cholesterol.. really heavy in fact…. but I suppose having one or two on occasion ain’t gonna kill a person (right away).


   For another video of one of the delights of Mexican cooking, you must watch the video below (also in Spanish).


   There are many ways to make rellenos… many ingredients can be used…. one of my favorite ways is with nopal. This video shows pretty well how to make them.   I’d say though that heating food with plastic is not a great idea.  For my favorite nopal rellenos recipe, I just heat the leaves in a  pan with olive oil, lightly frying them to heat them through… but you don’t want to overcook cactus. And our cactus is fine raw… so there is no need to do anything more than heating so you have a warm meal.

Cactus Salad

Cactus Salad Video


   It’s a good and well done video from a cooking show…

Sadly, they chose to make the salad with canned/jarred cactus….

The difference between cactus in a jar and fresh cactus is the same as the difference between canned and fresh spinach.

Fresh is better.

Well said

Memorial Day

 ”It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
 Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

 ~General George Patton~

The Trailer from the 1949 film… ‘Battleground’






Above and below… Los Angeles Memorial Cemetery



~Colin Powel~

“We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years ….
and put wonderful young men and women at risk,
many of whom have lost their lives,
and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in.”


The American cemetery at Brittany France
many thousands of war dead lay here

Hungry Valley Four-Wheelin’


   We went with the neighbors to Hungry Valley Recreational Vehicle Area to do some off-roading on extreme trails.



   Properly done and careful four wheeling can be done with little real injury to the environment.  Once a trail is cut, the local wildlife will use it as a quicker and easier way to get from place to place.  Four wheel vehicles should go on such areas in a slow and careful way… don’t spin your tires, don’t go flying in the air….. the real way to four wheel is to gruel nice and slow….. the tires always getting maximum traction by letting the thick treads dig into the dirt and rocks…. this is not the place to slide and spin…. one bounce the wrong way, and you might find yourself on a thousand foot-roll.



   I took the video below…. the descent was very steep and does not really show on film.  It was difficult just walking this trail down…. that Hummer is a very capable off-road vehicle, and our neighbor Lane who owns and drives it is a very capable driver.




   Now, I like Four-Wheel-Drive to get from one place to another that can’t be traversed by regular vehicles… yet for me it’s mostly a practicality issue. We use our Four-Wheel Drive dump truck to drive up and over huge piles of mulch when we’re dumping…. but the fellows in the video below like to use Four-Wheel-Drive in much the same way others will complete a complicated puzzle… they like the combination of mind-work required for such an operation…. get up and over an obstacle that others would pale at just contemplating.


  No, I’m not likely to ever try anything like this video below. It is a very complicated series of maneuvers, requiring a mix of spacial cognition and knowledge of physics in a ‘seat-of-the-pants’ way that is beyond the ken of most.

Part Two