I love living in Southern California. It’s easy for me to say that having lived in SoCal since I was born. But, the truth is that I really do love living here. It isn’t easy to live here in practice though. The cost of living is really high and it’s something that trickles down into every aspect of life. We have some of the highest gas prices in the country (including Hawaii) and that cost makes everything just a bit more expensive than other places. Because of the way that SoCal was designed (mainly the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, but, not limited to them), to do just about anything requires a car. Hell, even going to the supermarket requires that one either owns, rents or leases a vehicle. Sure, there is the option of public transportation, but, if you really need to get anywhere in a timely fashion then that is an option that you might want to reconsider (having taken a few buses to work for two years, it was something I never once wanted to go back to). Not to mention there is an over abundance of traffic. Just trying to get anywhere sometimes can become a real chore. But, the funny thing is, that as much as I hate traffic and all of the headaches it brings, it is because cars are so much a part of the culture here that we can live and breathe anything to do with cars. From the moment we are born to the time we pass on, cars are as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe. And for those of us here, the air we breathe is affected by the cars themselves. Ah, the circle of life. It is a wonderful thing being around cars all of the time, but, the one thing that makes that better than anything else is having the opportunity to come together and celebrate cars.
While having car shows is nothing new to us here in SoCal, there are a few that go above and beyond the call. A simple search of car shows in SoCal can lead you to a dizzying amount of shows nearly every day, in every city. There are shows for every car scene and any type of enthusiast. Some are small gatherings with just a few people attending, and others are larger than life shows that blow away any previous notions of what a car show can be. One such car show exists, and luckily, we were fortunate enough to be a part of it. That show was called the SoCal Season Opener by Clean Culture.
I had heard about this series of car shows/meets from a buddy of mine. Admittedly, I didn’t know too much about it other than the name. The name was pretty familiar because of a show that took place at the tail end of the year. While I had heard of that particular show, and it caught my eye, we were unfortunately committed to appear on the red carpet for the Hollywood Christmas Parade that same day. That show was the Clean Culture end of year show at Dodger Stadium. Just seeing the flyer for the first time made me think that this was going to be something big. I mean, as with anything in business, location is everything. Having a car show at Dodger Stadium was as big a deal as one could imagine. While I hadn’t ever heard of this series, I was intrigued. My curiosity was peaked while we were on our way to the Christmas Parade. It was on our way there that, while driving down Sunset Blvd., that I saw my friend’s car (and a few other modified cars) pass right in front of me. It was pretty nuts, and something I had not expected. You see, my friend has a 3000GT VR-4, and it is a pretty rare sight to see. What made the event surprising was the fact that we had actually diverted to visit a friend of mine in Silverlake. So, why was my friend heading that way? It turns out that he (and the group of cars around him) were on their way to Dodger Stadium for that show. And it was from that conversation that we would have later on where he told me just how big that show was.
The stories that my friend would tell me about the Clean Culture show seemed too good to be true. I mean, I had been to some big shows before (in fact, there are a whole host of articles on this site where I talk about them), but, hearing that there were several thousand cars sounded like a bit of a stretch. It was definitely possible, but, we live in an age where there are car shows every weekend (and week), and sometimes some of those shows overlap. It’s kind of messed up when that happens, and a lot of the time that splits the cars that show up and the audience. So, when I heard from my friend that this show was one of the biggest that he had ever been to, I was a bit skeptical. But then something weird happened, I started to hear that same sentiment over, and over, and over again. Was it true? Was it really true that all of those people showed up for that show? Did the same awesome cars and car show teams that I have seen and loved make it to that event. In a nutshell, yes. It was definitely true. Using a little bit of detective work (and pretty much Google-ing anything to do with the Clean Culture shows), it was pretty apparent that my friend was not lying. Just go on the main page of their website and you’ll see a wonderful picture of the parking lot at Dodger Stadium from last years final show. That should sum up the magnitude of pull that this show and the people behind it have. Clean Culture was something I knew little about, but, man, oh man, was it bigger than I could have imagined. And that really came to head when we became a part of the show.
Not long after I had found out this show, I knew that I wanted to see what this show was all about. I mean, out of nowhere (at least for me), here came a show that had a great reputation and attracted a lot of people. It was doubly exciting because this was a show that I had never heard of. Before I knew it, not only was I on the way to check out the show, but, the entire Spektrum team would be there. I love being around our team, and having the opportunity to once again be a part of a show with them made me even more excited. This would be the third show of the year for us, and was one of the shows that I was most anticipating. I could have never anticipated what the show would be though until the day it happened.
The day of the show had started out pretty stressful. The audience never really gets to see what goes in to putting a show together, and it wasn’t until we started doing them that I realized just how much work goes into it. Lugging all of the equipment, stands and promotional material to the places we need to go to was something I had never put much thought into. But, when everything starts to happen you have the support of your team, it makes life a lot easier. So, when the day of the SoCal Season Opener opened up, I had no clue what it would be like. Not being a morning person, anything that has to do with mornings is already pretty tough for me. I was already down a few points, but, when our reporter Daynie showed up at while I was loading the truck, I couldn’t have been happier. She helped me load up a few things and carry some of the stuff that wouldn’t fit in our SUV. We had never done a show this big before, and we were bringing the whole team and ton of giveaways. I was gitty with excitement from the get go. Even with crusty eyes and my spine completely out of alignment (from the night before, haha) I was more than happy to be going to the show. Little did I know though that this would be the easiest part of the day. From that moment on forward the craziness meter would go through the roof, and there was no looking back (and that’s a good thing)!
The SoCal Season Opener (as it was called) was going to be held a the Orange County Fairgrounds. I don’t think I had ever heard of any car shows taking place there, but, seeing how Clean Culture works, they like to choose places that have a lot of room for them. And more often than not, they choose places that are not the usual car show spots. I think it has been working for them, and that day it definitely paid off. Normally the home of the Orange County Fair, this day it would be home to one of the craziest shows that I had ever had the pleasure of being a part of. And all of that started the moment we got off the freeway and drove to the main entrance. After having done quite a few shows now I always expect a line of cars on the way in. Those cars are usually all of the vendors and show cars. It was just that this time around, except, unlike last time, there were a lot more cars. When I say a lot of cars, I mean, a freaking’ hell of a lot of cars. I was in a different car than Daynie (our reporter) and not even a minute after getting in line, I get a phone call from her. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She was telling me just how amazed she was at the amount of cars that had arrived, and that she had never seen anything like that. She was right. The only time I had ever seen craziness like that was back at SEMA, and that is to be expected. But, seeing this in person made me think about what my friend had told me about before. There easily had to be a couple of hundred, or even thousands of cars, and a ton more people. It was one of the most incredible sights I had ever seen, and to think, the show hadn’t even started!
The line to get in was one of the longest I had ever seen, and nearly two hours later we were inside and setting up our booth. It was the first time that our entire team was together for a show, and everyone was so happy to see each other. It’s not often that we are all together, and having everyone there made it feel like we were a family again. This time we were joined by some members from 360 Brazilian Mist. The three beautiful ladies that joined us were Kena, Teresa and Jessica. We had worked alongside them before, so, it was nice having some friendly folks right there with us. It was pretty awesome to see everyone get super excited as our members arrived one by one. I am fortunate enough to have an incredible team and one of the moments that really makes me happy is seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces when they see each other. Like I had said before, this was our biggest show, and not only were all of the girls there (Daynie, Jen, Cristal, Hanna, Sam, Ily, Gladeez, Tyler and Alexis), but, our friends Gee and Brandon were there as well. For the first time we also had a new friend named Johnathan come on board to help us out that day. With all of those people there, we were stacked more than we had ever been. To make things even better, we were in the middle of the hornets nest, and every person and car at the show passed in front of us. This was even moreso when we began to giveaway the products we had from 360 Brazilian Mist. Needless to say, our little corner of the world was a madhouse that day, but, it wasn’t the only spot.
In fact, when I had a moment to finally walk away from the booth and check out the show, I couldn’t believe that with every minute that passed, more and more people were arriving to the show. It was absolutely nuts! But, you know, for all of the craziness going on, the one thing that I noticed everywhere I went that day was people smiling. It was warm that day, and it was hard to get around (because of all of the people), but, everyone was having a great time. It was pretty awesome actually. Everyone’s enthusiasm for just being there was rubbing off on me to everyone else around. Maybe that was the point of the show. Unlike a lot of shows that I have been to in the past, this one had a completely different vibe to it. This show set up an atmosphere that everyone wanted to go to, and because of their vision in using social media and word of mouth to its advantage, the organizers created a show that was unlike any I had been to. The only things that they wanted was to have fun, and to bring everyone together into one place to celebrate cars and their passion for them. I could go on and on about how crazy it was, but, the truth is, that the pictures and the smiles on everyone’s faces should really tell the whole story.
Clean Culture really knows how to throw a party, and it was obvious to all of the people that showed up that day, that they knew that. It’s no wonder that they have such a huge following not just here, but, all over the country and everywhere they go to. I loved this show quite a bit and the feed back I received from our team was nothing but positive. We would love to go back and see another show. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll make the trip to a show that is out of state and see how they party it up out there. If it’s anything like they do here (and I no doubt that it is just as awesome), then we are all in for a treat. Not bad for a show I knew nothing about. I go to a lot of shows throughout the year, and it takes a lot to surprise me. Car shows are one of the types of shows that I have become a little bit immune to. Not that I don’t like them, but, that when one goes to as many as I do, it takes a lot to throw something out there that I wouldn’t have expected. This show came out of right field, and energized the crew and I. It was awesome. For those of you that don’t believe me, that’s okay. Do yourself a favor and take a chance to head out to the next Clean Culture. I guarantee you that it won’t disappoint. If you love cars and anything to do with them, you are bound to find something you like. The atmosphere there will almost surely sweep you up with it and you’ll be happy it did.
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete with special guest photographer Gladeez
For more information on Clean Culture and any upcoming Clean Culture Shows check out their website at http://cleancultureevents.com
This article was prepared or accomplished by Daniel Navarrete in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spektrum Magazine, or its affiliates.