July, 2009

Save and Misbehave: Lights on L.A.

Every year in every city, starting around Halloween, lights become a free and instant mood-enhancer catching your eye everywhere you look.  Between New Years Eve and Halloween, however, all the dazzling lights are taken down and put away.  To tide you over until October is Lights on LA – an event on display now through September 15 in Pershing Square in Downtown LA… for free! 

An event that celebrates LA-based artists was organized by Tarryn Teresa Gallery and features a creative scene of individually decorated light bulbs strung up in a temporary exhibit.  It was coordinated to enhance the area’s free summer concert series and each evening, as the street lamps are turned on, the light bulbs start to dazzle.  Finally, a romantic, interesting, lit path to walk on after one a Pershing Square summer concert or after a romantic, interesting, dazzling dinner nearby.  Think of all the possibilities! Head downtown, choose your favorite, and send us a photo of it – we’d especially love photos of you with your favorite light bulb. 

Lights on LA ends September 18, 2009 and coincides with Pershing Square’s summer concert series (also free).  For more information, please call (213) 627-5100.

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What Recession?

In an economic downturn everybody needs a helping hand. In rare, but opportune occasions, we can offer that hand while being wined and dined with catered delicacies from Nobu, champagne, and free vodka.  Let us present the annual benefit auction at Gallery 825, home of the Los Angeles Art Association.

The relatively obscure, but historically significant organization has been helping the southland’s emerging artists since 1925.  Though the organization has had the generous support of a handful of art patrons throughout its existence, hard times can often force these anemically run institutions into financial struggles.  Like many non-profits, the LAAA relies on gifts from generous patrons and fundraisers like Saturday’s Annual Benefit

While tickets to Saturday’s event aren’t exactly free, they do come with some benefits besides the warm, fuzzy feeling and the ultra-chic title of “art patron.”  The VIP preview will run you 100 bones, but will enter you into a drawing to win a limited edition print by artist Kehinde Wiley. You can hardly get 15 pages into any art rag these days without seeing this young artist’s name. The ticket will also get you the catered menu from Nobu and all of the free champagne you can drink.  At 25 bucks, and beginning at 7, the non-VIP ticket will still get you an all access pass to Blue Angel Vodka’s bar, and a seat for the live auction, which will be emceed by Christie’s Los Angeles President Andrea Fiuczynski.

There will also be a silent auction accompanying the event, and for all of you collectors out there, you will have the opportunity to own pieces by art world luminaries Shepard Fairey, Greg Miller, Richard Artschwager, Ed Moses, Andy Moses, Lita Albuquerque, Salomon Huerta, Alex Couwenberg, Lia Halloran, and Laddie John Dill to name a few.  

With the recession easing and frozen credit markets thawing, go throw some of that money you’ve been saving under your mattress to a good cause.  We think you’ll feel good about it in the end. 

VIP Preview 6 to 7p: $100, includes champagne and food by NOBU; General Admission 7 to 10p: $25 (includes hosted bar).  For more information, please call (310) 652-8272 orclick here.

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Save and Misbehave: Kid’s Edition!

Exposing children to art is one of the most important things a parent or teacher can do to help them grow creatively and learn to think outside the box.  Just imagine overcoming stage fright at a tender young age!  You’d save that child years of naked-on-the-stage nightmares and therapy bills.  The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Colburn School are of the same school of thought and tomorrow afternoon (2-5pm) you can catch the final event in their Summer Encounter 2009 – a free children’s concert and art exhibit.

Approximately 60 students have participated in the two-week long program exploring the artistic and cultural resources available in downtown LA.  Tomorrow afternoon will be their “gallery show” and final concert, so to speak, displaying all they’ve learned about the performing arts.  Their artwork was inspired by works on view at MOCA and they’ll be performing at the Herbert Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School in Downtown.  While little Timmy would probably also be inspired by a concert of Beethoven at Disney Hall, I have a feeling that watching his contemporaries explore the joys of art and music will make him think, “well, maybe I could do that!”

The Summer Encounter 2009: Children’s Concert and Art Exhibitionwill be held tomorrow afternoon from 2-5pm at the Herbert Zipper Concert Hallat the Colburn School.  For more information, pleaseclick hereor call (213) 621-2200.  No reservations are required.

Posted in Art, Downtown, Music, Save + Misbehave No Comments »

Lolita: The Original Saucy Minx

If there was ever an equal book-to-film adaptation, then Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov and Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film adaptation, would be the definitive one.  Playing Saturday, August 1st, 7:30pm as part of LACMA’s “Weekend Series: James Manson on Film,” it’s not to be missed. Manson’s performance as Humbert Humbert in the pre-pubescent sexual thriller marked the age of progressive cinema where boundaries were pushed to their moral limits without superfluously explicit sex-scenes. Manson left nothing– and yet everything– to the imagination, in the quest of his sexual obsession with the young, sexually inclined teenaged Lolita, making his performance one of the most legendary of all time.

In this film, it is as if the words themselves became the images; images, which respected the entity of Nabokov’s controversial best-selling novel by means of a great director and sound screenplay adaptation. Celebrated French nouvelle vague director Jean-Luc Godard, once called Kubrick’s film, “a simple, lucid film, precisely written, which reveals America and American sex better than Melville.”  For those who have never seen the film and for those who relish to see it again, large and in all its glory, this screening is your chance.  Perhaps this time on the big screen, you’ll discover something new in Humbert Humbert or in his love for Lolita. 

You might like to note: In addition to LolitaLACMA is also screening a variety of other renowned 1950-1970 films, which are sure to spark your interest. If you go to a double feature, the second film is just $5!

- By Andrea F. Pagliai 

Lolita will be screened at LACMA this Saturday, August 1 at 7:30pm. For more information, please call (323) 857-6010 or click here.

Posted in Film, Miracle Mile, Museums No Comments »

All’s Fair in Love, War, and Hollywood Bowl Parking

This weekend at the Hollywood Bowl, luck’s not necessarily a lady; it’s a parking spot.  I’m no gambler, but I’d be willing to bet that if you show up later than 6:00 PM on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (even though showtime’s not until 8:30 PM and 7:30 PM on Sunday) to see the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra’s rendition of Frank Losesser’s classic Guys and Dolls, there won’t be a spot for miles.

From conductor Kevin Sites and director Richard Jay Alexander, the same dapper gents who sent the songs of Les Miserables soaring into the hills last summer—and with the help of Tony-award winning choreographer Donna McKechnie—Guys and Dolls promises to be a star-studded event.  Jessica Biel assumes the role of the innocent missionary Sarah Brown, Scott Bakula shoots for Nathan Detroit, Brian Stokes Mitchell—living up to his nickname as Broadway’s “last-leading man”—plays Sky Masterson, and as Arvide Abernathy, the always lovable yet consistently overlooked Beau Bridges.  Oh, and don’t forget Brando and Sinatra, whose ghosts are sure to be hovering in the mist, shooting craps and snapping along to all the loveable numbers they once called their own. 

Needless to say, this weekend might be the time to try out that old LA public transportation system.  Or who knows?  Luck might be on your side.

The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra’s production of Guys and Dollsopens its curtains at 8:30 PM on Friday, July 31st and Saturday, August 1st, then at 7:30 PM on Sunday, August 2nd.  Please call (323) 850-2000 or click here for more information. 

Posted in Bring Your Flask, Music, Musical Theatre, Theatre No Comments »

Patti Smith In The Flesh

I remember being a young, non-Angeleno blogger in a time of yore when blogging was left for Weezer-listening emo kids writing in their Livejournals, just like — embarrassingly enough — myself.  It was once upon a time in a far off land named Las Vegas where the pre-Killers music scene and blogging were intertwined so that an extensive community of online journalists were all a-twitter (not a-Twitter) about shows the day afterward.

It was during this special time that I discovered Patti Smith in full-force via mix tape…ahhh, mix tapes.  And my world was turned upside down.  I thought I knew rawness and grit, as well as poetic justice.  But until I heard Smith’s Horses, I was merely a lamb in the dark.  Upon listening to her, I was scared, but I kind of liked it  — I had seen the light. Smith, from that point on, became an artist for whom I always saw crucial in my musical and poetic education/development for better or for worse. She’s Patti Smith.

This Saturday, August 1, Patti Smith will perform at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.  Most of you will revisit Patti Smith and her legend, but perhaps there is a little naïve music lover waiting to be rocked.  Remember to mark this day in your calendar, that is, if you can get your hands on a ticket.  If you are one of the unlucky ones, Ms. Smith will also be performing with her band September 3 part of the Santa Monica Pier Twilight series.

To make a reservation for her SMMoA performance, please contact KCET Special Events at 323.953.5801 or kcetspecialevents@kcet.org.

Posted in Music, Old School, Personalities No Comments »

Save and Misbehave: Dear Lemon Lima at the Montalban

We made mention a while back about the strange, but cool new Montalban Theatre.  Excuse us, it’s called the Nike Sportswear at the Montalban.  Once you get past the odd combination of sportswear retail space cum performing arts stage, you’ll want to head over on Tuesday night for their Cinema Tuesday screenings.  This week, Dear Lemon Lima is on view giving us a look at “an awkward Alaskan teen as she discovers her Yupik heritage.”  It’s basically a coming of age tale Alaska-style.  An LA Film Festival award winner, Dear Lemon Lima seems like one of those sweet, truthful movies that you end up seeing at the Montalban (cause it’s free) and that you end up loving and telling everyone about.  So be sure to call us on Wednesday and tell us everything! 

Dear Lemon Lima is screening tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 28) at 7pm at the Nike Sportswear at the Montalban.  It’s free, but you mustRSVP.  You’ll also get a chance to nibble on Big Sugar Bakeshop’s cupcakes and ask the director and cast some questions afterward.  For more information,click hereor call (323) 483-0089.

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The Seasons Have Been Announced

Summer isn’t generally a time to plan ahead.  The summer forces us at least to try to forget what day of the week it is and we wouldn’t want to bring you crashing back into the reality of fall before needed; although fall in LA isn’t really like crashing into reality considering we won’t see rainfall until January.  In any case, we just got really excited about the upcoming 2009/2010 seasons at various arts establishments we had to share them! So get your Blackberrys out and start filling up your fall calendar, but don’t take any blazers or scarves out just yet.

In the theatre department, A Noise Within has got a fall and spring lineup that will literally make you cry and laugh.  Their fall shows include the dramatic Richard III by William Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and Noises Off by British import Michael Ryan.  With the spring comes more laughs starting with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing followed by Irish playwright John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World.  If we could only choose two, we’d likely head to Noises Off and Much Ado About Nothing, but we’re suckers for chaotic comedy, comic romance, and imports from the UK.


s_walt-disney-concert-hall1On track with theatre, we find that Center Theatre Group has three lineups we ought to share.  Featured at the Kirk Douglas Theatre are works by Danai Gurira, Obie Award-winning Lisa Kron, and Malcolm McDowell in Tynan.  Over at the Mark Taper Forum, you’ve got Oleanna on view now and in the fall comes Tony Award-winning Parade.  Then once Spamalot closes at the Ahmanson, August Osage County takes its place, followed by Mary Poppins and Dreamgirls.

The LA Philharmonic has quite a season coming up and it’s not just because I’m crazy for Verdi’s Requiem (being performed in November).  Gustavo Dudamel is coming! When his new job starts in October, he’ll be conducting the LA Phil through a season full of Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, and Ravel with guest performances throughout including the Berlin Philharmonic and Anjelique Kidjo.

Over in Westwood at UCLA Live, the 2009/2010 season has a taste for everyone.  Kicking off the season, Annette Benning will star in Medea followed by Societas Raffaello Sanzio’s Purgatorio, inspired by the Divine Comedy.  Other performances include Culture Clash, Carlos Fuentes, and the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour.

So now you’ll know where to find us in the coming months.  We’ll let you know if we end up changing our plans, but it will take a really good season to change our plans – the summer’s for being spontaneous, but for the fall we’re all booked up!

Posted in Dance, Music, Neighborhoods, Team FALA, Theatre No Comments »

Fine Arts LA Does Comic Con

I am sure you are familiar with a little event that 125,000 people wait for all year with pennies (and Benjamins) saved up burning holes in hot pockets, costumes begging to be worn after months of design, and bags ready to be filled with loot: the San Diego Comic Convention — or, as I have learned to say, “the Con.”  Starting this past Wednesday to today, collectors, vendors, and spectators made their annual pilgrimage to San Diego to buy and sell wares, take photographs with costumed characters and booth babes, get a few items signed after playing some video games as well as watch discussion and preview panels for TV shows, movies, and industry workshops. Not to mention, catching up with all your con friends  — a total must.

If you happen to not have nerded out with the best of them, the mother of all comic book conventions may have escaped your radar. But with ample friends who fall into the realm of artists of the comic book persuasion, collectors (what up, LASK!), and just straight up nerds (you know I love you), I am fully aware of Comic Con and its power.  My challenge was to find the fine arts at Comic Con.  I know, I know, this is Fine Arts LA and the convention is in San Diego, but this was an experiment all the way around, so I ask for a little flexibility.

Saturday morning, I found myself San Diego-bound on the Surfliner train from Union Station.  Saturday was whiled away at Coronado beach and Lucha Libre tacos – I know, working hard.  Sunday started bright and early.  The convention hall was already in full swing with crowds pushing their way into, around, and from the exhibiting hall.  I really enjoyed the spectacle of it all.  Of course, my favorite part was the costumes. There were packs of Stormtroopers, Hogwarts students, and Jack Sparrows, with a smattering of Lord of the Rings characters and a really good Iron Man. There were the pristine factory-made costumes, but my favorites were the hardcore homemade ones, carefully constructed out of cardboard and metallic paint.  I love DIY.

To be honest, searching high and low, there was little to no fine arts in the traditional sense, but plenty of arts abound.  Illustrators set up booths with stacks of comics and drawings, sculptors showed off their talents with figurines small and large, and painters took centerstage (their subjects revolved around superheros and busty girls). Filmmakers and game developers were in attendance alongside graphic designers galore – not to mention those budding clothing designers.

Aside from the colossal booth installations of the big name production companies, it was a breath of fresh air to see young artists and  entrepreneurs up in the hustle, with plenty of fans eager for more.  No matter how small of a niche business, all of their biggest fans were there – even if there were only three people.  Finding the fine arts at the Con proved to be a difficult task, but I did have a good time sorting through the popular arts.  The overall sense of camaraderie was comforting, a feeling that can be found in the art world of the most highest or lowest of brows .  It was like Art Basel…in an alternate universe.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Fashion, Festival, Film, Installation, Low Brow, Painting, Video Art No Comments »

Cole Sternberg Tells Us What He Knows…

Who knows what goes on within an artist’s mind? Well now we’re getting closer to knowing… Cole Sternberg, a quickly emerging local artist, has given us some valuable insights. 

Recently, we had the pleasure of suffering heat stroke, er… touring Sternberg’s (hot) Downtown studio in which he’s preparing for an upcoming show at the American University Museum and for a month-long residency with e105 Gallery and Art Lab 21 in Germany in August.  With a recent show at Kinsey/Desforges in Culver City under his belt, we were very excited to see what he’s got coming up and here we’re giving you a sneak peek at the man and his work. 

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Sternberg has lived in LA for five years, which almost makes him able to say he’s “from” here.  Working with oils, watercolors, and spray paint, his works have an organized chaos to them that’s actually quite appealing.  Once a lawyer, Sternberg uses many topical issues as his inspiration for his upcoming museum show and he’s also influenced by such variant art icons as Claude Monet and Cy Twombly.  From issues with the U.N. to a look at how Twitter helped shape the voting conflict in Iran, Sternberg’s pieces explore some rather dark places in a comprehensive, creative manner.   Needless to say, he’s one to watch (and we don’t just mean in our video interview)!

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