Pettibon's No Title (When the surf...), 2008.

FBI indicts “art darling of the hip” for allegedly ripping off surf artist Raymond Pettibon’s wildly expensive “Wave” series in multi-million dollar forgery scam!

"The beauty of art may be in the eye of the beholder, but the behavior we allege today is objectively ugly.”

Christian Rosa, art darling of the Hip, has been indicted for the forgery and sale of Raymond Pettibon’s “Wave” series.

According to the US District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rosa stole at least four unfinished works from Pettibon’s studio, worked them to completion, then sold the forgeries complete with Certificates of Authenticity through a middleman dealer.

Regarding the case, FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said, “The beauty of art may be in the eye of the beholder, but the behavior we allege today is objectively ugly.”

A whip-sting of truth from the feds.

Rosa, 43, (real name the less charming Christian Weinberger), was schooled in Vienna and bedazzled his way through the LA and NY art scenes with his paintings, zombie formalist in style. (Roll eyes here.) Both Jay-Z and Leo DiCaprio own his works.

Until last year, Rosa typically fetched over a hundred grand, but recently the value for an original fizzled down to thirty, tops. Rosa maybe thought forging the wave paintings would be easy money to maintain the lifestyle he had grown accustomed to.

Everyone loves surfboarding.

The forgeries were sold for over six figures each.

Enough for a down payment on a wide Riverside spread.

Pettibon, who was originally brought to fame in the 80’s through his cover art for the punk band Black Flag, was a friend and mentor to Rosa, painting each other’s portraits, sharing gallery space, and gambling at dog races.

His wave paintings, begun in 1985, typically sell for about 1.2 mil. They are noted for their simplicity, making the familiar strange, as they say.

While Pettibon’s works are noted for their simplicity, which are hardly more than elaborated school notebook daydream doodles, the style make a Pettibon wave easy to recognize.

New York-based art collector Michael Hort, who owns both Pettibon and Rosa works, says it’s not surprising that Pettibon’s wave paintings were forged.

“Pettibon is easy to knock off. They’re easy to replicate. They are not that complicated, though you keep going back and finding new things to look at.”

Experts certainly did find things to look at. It wasn’t long before examiners sniffed out irregularities in the pieces. Artnet described the forged paintings as having “seemingly strange yellow-greens blended into Pettibon’s normal cobalt blues” misplacement of text, and a too-careful signature.

Basically, Rosa was sloppy, the criminal’s mortal sin.

According to the official indictment:

From approximately 2017 through 2020, WEINBERGER, together with others known and unknown, engaged in a scheme to defraud potential art buyers by selling forged Pettibon paintings.  Pettibon is a prominent contemporary artist based primarily in New York, New York, who has produced a series of paintings depicting ocean waves with surfers accompanied by handwritten text (the “Wave Series”). WEINBERGER is a contemporary visual artist based primarily in Los Angeles, California and Vienna, Austria. As part of the scheme to defraud, in or about 2018 and 2020, WEINBERGER sold the following artworks, which WEINBERGER falsely represented to be authentic Pettibon “Wave Series” paintings, to two buyers (“Buyer-1” and “Buyer-2”):

Untitled (“It was the Moment . . . ”), 2013, 100 cm by 155 cm:

Untitled (“Drop in . . .”), 2011, 80 cm by 60 cm:

Untitled (“Bail, or bail out . . .”), 2012, 115 cm by 163 cm:

Untitled (“If there is a line . . .”), 2016, 118.1 by 208.3 cm:

Rosa fled to Portugal in February but has now been dragged back to the states to await trial.

He could face up to 20 years in the bullpen if convicted.


In ominous beginning to 2022, Los Angeles beaches close after 4 million gallons of untreated sewage escape into ocean!

"You come all this way and you don’t get to play in the sand or the ocean? That doesn’t seem fair. We were so looking forward to this change in scenery, but like everywhere, there’s catastrophe.”

I am now in Florence, having rung in the new year just hours ago in a quaint piazza, many carabinieri milling about. I asked one where the party was going to be after finishing my meal of linguini all’astice and Negroni. He responded, “Nowhere. There is no party. Go home and go to sleep,” though laughing. Whilst walking back to the 19th century hotel on the banks of the Arno, I realized they were actively breaking groups of people up, Covid etc., but this being Italy, the party happened anyway.

Back in Los Angeles, a different sort of party was taking place on the banks of the Pacific as 4 million gallons of untreated sewage escaped from a 48-inch wide pipe, fleeing into the Dominguez Channel then losing itself in the ocean.

Beaches all over the county were immediately shuttered as water safety inspection teams raced in to assess the damage.

This is the second major sewage spill in the region in the last six months after 17 gallons of sewage spewed into Santa Monica Bay this July. Officials say “climate change creates perfect storm of raw sewage and rainfall in the cities that can least afford it” but the sentiment does nothing to salve the wounds of tourists.

Sandi Williams, who traveled to Southern California from suburban Massachusetts for the holidays, told the Los Angeles Times, “You come all this way and you don’t get to play in the sand or the ocean? That doesn’t seem fair. We were so looking forward to this change in scenery, but like everywhere, there’s catastrophe.”

There’s no catastrophe in Florence. Things very wonderful and Ms. Williams should think about just coming here.

Horror New Year’s Eve cliff collapse at Bells Beach kills one, injures three

Four hit by falling debris. Three suffered minor injuries, the unnamed man died in a rescue chopper en route to hospital in Melbourne. 

A twenty-eight-year-old man is dead after a cliff collapsed pouring debris onto a group of six at Southside, there on the southern side of the Bells Beach headland one hundred clicks from Melbourne.

The accident happened around 2:15 when the group was showered by debris falling from the eroding hundred-foot high bluff above ‘em.

Four were hit. Three suffered minor injuries, the unnamed man died in a rescue chopper en route to hospital in Melbourne. 

Anyone with a long memory will recall a similar accident in 1996 when five adults and four kids were killed while sheltering from shitty weather under a limestone overhang during a surf contest at Huzza’s, across the bay from North Point in Western Australia’s south-west. 

If you’ve ever surfed South Point y’might’ve seen the memorial, built above the collapse site. 

Skye Thompson was twelve when her Dad, the noted surf coach Lindsay, waved goodbye before the cliff collapsed.

“I had just finished surfing and was about to leave the beach and that’s when the cliff actually fell,” she told ABC news at the twenty-fifth memorial in September. “I was standing right alongside it and saying goodbye to my friends and my father. That’s a difficult memory.”

Hawaii radically alters approach to visiting hordes focusing on a “more sustainable, less colonial” experience as native Hawaiians take over tourism authority!


Hawaii, gorgeous 50th state, onetime monarchy, has always been in a real pickle when it comes to tourism. On one hand, visiting hordes are the islands’ lifeblood. On the other, visiting hordes really mess the place up. Tourist impact has long been viewed through the simple lens of money in coffers but, for the first time in history, the tourism authority is now majority native Hawaiians and things are going to drastically change.

According to a report in Bloomberg the new plan “relies heavily on community involvement and visitor education.”

“In the past, visitors were spoon-fed what outsiders thought they wanted,” Kainoa Horcajo, founder of the Mo’olelo Group, a Maui-based consultancy that helps hotels to reimagine their cultural experiences told the financial paper. “Now, it’s time to take a risk, challenge the visitor, and give them something real.”

Alterations include:

-Needing a reservation to visit most popular places like Maui’s Wai’anapanapa State Park or Oahu’s Hanauma Bay.

-Hefty ticket prices to hike trails etc.

-A “crash course” on how to be a “good tourist” with required educational videos and staged productions.

-A “conservation fee” to be paid on arrival.

-An encouragement to “give back.”

“In the past, tourism fed into the stories marketing executives thought White people wanted to hear,” Clifford Nae’ole, cultural adviser for the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, and former president of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association told Bloomberg. “Hawaiian food was pineapple pizza and spam; a luau was just about girls dancing in grass skirts. Now, chefs are proudly incorporating native Hawaiian ingredients such as ulu, or breadfruit, into dishes, and luaus have become historical lessons about the Polynesian migration to Hawaii just as much as they are entertainment.”

Spam musubi is, honestly, one of my favorite foods on earth but I suppose I’ll see it go for the good of Hawaii.

No word on how surfing will be affected by the changes.

No surfing at Morro Bay.

Surfers return to California’s Morro Bay after deadly Christmas Eve attack by Great White on Sacramento bodyboarder; Salmon Creek surfers “pursued” by “aggressive” Great White!

Whites going wild in California… 

Six days ago, Sacramento man Tomas Butterfield died a lonely death while surfing a joint called The Pit, a beachbreak a mile or so north of Morro Rock.

No one saw the attack, no one heard any screams; surfers found the forty-two-year-old’s body and board. Sheriffs had to go through the parking lot to figure out who was killed “based on cars still parked” while paramedics put his body on ice.

The joint was closed for 24 hours as per protocol.

But, now, surfers have started to return to Morro Bay, although numbers are down and virtually no one is venturing down to The Pit.

“Yesterday, nobody was in the water,” Perry Shoemake told the San Luis Obispo Tribune on December 28. “I’ve been surfing for 55 years. I know (a shark attack) is always a risk. But it’s something I don’t think about much. If it happens, it happens.”

Xavier Gonzales told the Trib’s reporter as he readied to paddle out, “Sometimes when I’m out there with just one or two other people or even by myself, you get a certain feeling that something’s a little off, and those are the days you never want to come across… The chances of getting attacked are pretty low, but that’s what you sign up for when you surf. I feel sorry for that family and that they lost somebody they love. I pray for that family.”

Kevin Grochau of North Morro Bay wasn’t going near the joint, howevs. He watched from the beach.

“I see as many as 25 or 30 people out in the water here sometimes,” he said. “There are some good waves today. But most of the morning, there have been anywhere from three to five people surfing.”

Gonzales, meanwhile, did admit to getting het up by nerves.

“I’m pretty nervous, for sure. But after I paddle out and catch my first wave, I’m sure I’ll be stoked. It’s always nice to go out with somebody versus alone.”

A few hundred miles north at Salmon Creek Beach, where Eric Steinley was hit by a Great White in October, surfers reported an aggressive twelve-foot Great White on December 22.

“Holy crap, we were terrified because it was not backing off,” said Timothy Reck, who was chased, along with another surfer, into shallow water by the White. 

Thirty minutes later, another surfer, Nate Buck, said he saw a Great White, also around twelve feet, six feet from him,

“It felt like I could’ve leaned over and almost touched it,” Buck said, adding two sightings in one day was pretty “significant.”

Cue expert referencing death by killer bee more likely etc.