Silverlake/Los Feliz

deFineArtsLA Exclusive: Dave Hill’s Genuine Hipness

What is a hipster sense of humor? Surely it has something to do with irony—the hipster’s original sin—or at least the thin version of irony that exists in wearing a D.A.R.E. t-shirt, while smoking a cigarette outside of the Silver Lake Lounge. But even irony has lost its all-consuming flavor amongst UCB and Largo crowds. Hipster humor also has something feminine about it, non-confrontational in its satire; it’s about a style and a matter of intention more than it is the content of a joke. Absurdity is actually its most potent ingredient, a commitment to the weird, a detached joy in the randomness of things.

In a name, it’s interviewer/performer/writer/comedian Dave Hill, who will be performing his one-man show, “Dave Hill: Big In Japan,” tonight, at 9:00 PM at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Hill looks like the character of Dim from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, and the pitch of his voice ranges from acid-trip-high to wallowing-drunk-low in a matter of seconds. He has become known for his fast-cut, Borat-style interviews—which have been featured on This American Life—in which he is always the main subject (Hill probably wouldn’t exist were it not for Sacha Baron Cohen, but the two differ vastly their approach). Many of his interviews are filmed on camera, and one gets the feeling he is constantly winking at the audience, but not in a mean way (a lot like Jim does when he looks toward the camera on The Office). He has an incredibly quick wit, but he doesn’t use it for harm. Carrying a misguided sense of uber-confidence, Hill seemingly wants to be friends with everybody he talks to, and thus, his undeniable charm.

He’ll walk into the red carpets of New York’s fashion week, holding a huge boom-mic with a windscreen on it, and proceed to ask an attendee what she thinks of the Kofi Annan collection. Though even this is harsh for him. More likely, he’ll take a private movement/acting class in New York City, and twirl around in tights with the male instructor, laughing with him rather than at him, creating a sense of camaraderie through shared acknowledgment of the absurd.

This is, in fact, Hill’s greatest strength: his ability to include the subject, and by extension, the audience in the creation of the joke. He is genuine, which is why it works. And why he may be one of the best examples of hipster humor out there.

For tickets more information about The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, please visit www.ucbtheatre.com, or call (323) 908-8702.

Posted in Bring Your Flask, Conceptual, deFineArtsLA, Mixed media, Neighborhoods, Performance, Personalities, Silverlake/Los Feliz, The Social Scene, Theatre, Video Art No Comments »

deFineArtsLA: Stuff It!

BREWER_frick_N_frackGrowing up on a farm in South Carolina affords memories of a childhood of which few could dream—the apple orchard where barefoot we would run, yes. The chorus of cicadas droning in the sunset, yes. And the wood-paneled living-rooms adorned with the stuffed heads of dear, oh yes, sweet Carolina.

I know most of you probably think taxidermy is a little abnormal. Creepy.  Backwoods. It both fascinated and terrified me as a child. I’d look up at the buck head mounted above my grandfather’s fireplace and imagine how it got there—the old Quasimodo-type hunched over a pile of loose skin, a long needle and thread pinched in his thick fingers haunted my imagination.

Taxidermy is much more than a backwoods craft, though. It’s an art whose roots stem back to the 18th Century, when hunters began to have the skins of prized hunts mounted to preserve them as trophies. It wasn’t long before taxidermists were getting creative—take the work of Walter Potter, who constructed whimsical dioramas with mounted animals mimicking human life.

A recent trend in the field is rogue taxidermy, the fabrication of mounted animals which do not have live counterparts. If ever you visit Wyoming, you may see a jackalope, the famous horned jackrabbit so fast that it can’t be seen by the human eye.  If this Friday you visit La Luz de Jesus in Los Feliz, you can see even more. Robert Marbury will curate the “Rogue Taxidermy Show” with his partners Scott Bibus and Sarina Brewer of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists—the organization who coined the term in 2004. Taxidermists working in the field use “recycled” animals—from roadkill to discarded livestock—to create a bizarre and fantastic body of work. The show runs from May 7th through the 30th, and promises to deliver high art, in both concept and craftsmanship. They even will have a live demonstration on the 8th! If you’re an animal lover, don’t worry—no animals were killed for the sake of a mount—all the sources are recycled. It’s nice to know that 3000 miles from home, taxidermy is alive and well.

By Helen Kearns

“The Rogue Taxidermy Show” opens on Friday, May 7th and runs until May 30th at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Feliz. Reception begins at 8 PM on the 7th and ends at 11 PM.  For more information, please visit www.laluzdejesus.com, or call 323-666-7667.

Posted in Art, Contemporary Art, deFineArtsLA, Exhibitions, Mixed media, Neighborhoods, Silverlake/Los Feliz No Comments »

New Year, New Art

The way you start off a new year is very important to the way the new year ends up going for you.  At least that’s what they say.  Put their theory into practice with some of January’s most promising arts events in our fair city – would you like your 2010 to look a little more Bond-like? Would you rather it looked a little more experimental than your 2009?  It’s so tempting to answer those questions with: there’s an app for that, but really your city has got what it takes to kick off your new year just the way you’d like.

Mr. Bond

Friday, January 1 is not likely to be your most shining and perky day.  That doesn’t mean you can’t start on a sleek, technologically advanced, Bond-like bend – from 7:30pm at the Egyptian Theatre there’s a double feature of Dr. No and You Only Live Twice.  You may not be at your sharpest on Friday, but you’ll soon make a better Bond than Mr. Connery.  If you’re less than interested in leaving your house that day, worry not.  Saturday evening (January 2) from 7:00pm, they’ll be screening Goldfinger and Thunderball – if you don’t have a love/hate relationship with villains after a weekend like that, you’re not cut out to be the next Mr. Bond.  And that’s no way to start a new year.

Please click here for the Egyptian Theatre’s full January 2010 calendar.

Barely There

At Sam Lee Gallery, just near Dodger Stadium, you’ll find local artist Jeff Gambill’s exhibit “Barely There,” on through January 23.  His paintings have this generally zen, colorful feeling that convey the transient, transitional message he’s going for.  Fresh from a trip to Japan, you’ll definitely see an East Asian influence in each of his works.  They don’t scream out at you, but they definitely make you want to look closer.  And what better message than looking closer at something that doesn’t shock and awe for a new year?  Time to delve a little deeper, kids.

The Sam Lee Gallery is located at 990 N. Hill Street #190.  Please call (323) 227-0275 or click here for more information.

New Year, New Music

It’s so easy to fall into an all-Mozart (or all-Beyonce) rut.  Take some time in January 2010 to break out of it.  It may not last the whole year, but at least you can say you tried.  On Saturday, January 16 at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica,Jacaranda invites you to discover Thomas Ades, Benjamin Britten, Peter Maxwell Davies, George Benjamin, and others.  The concert, called Licorice and Rosin (“licorice” is a slang term for clarinet and rosin is a solid form of resin used on string instruments), will present some of Britain’s more exciting contemporary music from the last twenty-five years.

If a church is the last place you’d like to be, Monday Evening Concerts at the Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School kicks off 2010 on January 11 at 8:00pm with a concert called “Mostly Californian.”  Featuring compositions by Clint McCallum, Luciano Chessa, Michael Pisaro, and others, you will hear sounds of contemporary California.  (No, that doesn’t include woeful cries for our current economic situation.) The composers in question present lyrical, theatrical works that won’t sound like anything else you’ve heard before.

Please click here for more information about Jacaranda.  Alternatively, click here for information about Monday Evening Concerts.

Soundtrack for a Revolution

The Grammy Museum just celebrated their first birthday – still haven’t been? Monday, January 11 at 7:00pm they’re presenting Reel to Reel: Soundtrack for a Revolution, a documentary that looks at the American civil rights movement and the unparalleled soundtrack that went along with it.  Filled with archive footage, interviews with civil rights leaders, and a soundtrack of freedom songs sung by modern day R&B, Hip Hop, and Soul legends like Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, The Roots, and John Legend.  Monday’s screening will be followed by a panel discussion chock full of everyone you’d like to get advice from for a soulful 2010 – Danny Glover, filmmakers Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, producer Dylan Nelson, and music producer Corey Smyth.

For more information, please click here.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Classical Music, Contemporary Art, Downtown, Exhibitions, Film, Galleries, High Brow, Hollywood, Jazz, Low Brow, Museums, Music, Old School, Santa Monica, Silverlake/Los Feliz, World Music No Comments »

A Whole New (LA Art) World

We’d be very surprised if this is true of any of our readers, but it seems that some Angelenos are less than familiar with the art scene in Atwater Village.

Okay, so we are admittedly less than familiar with how to even get to Atwater Village not to mention how we’d start exploring it’s art scene.  The problem is that, well, it’s far.  Then, we don’t know where to go once we’re there – what if we miss the best spot? After all that stress, we’ll surely be hungry and we’re at a loss for where to get a good snack in the neighborhood.  Alas, we tend to just stay in our close environs.

This weekend, November 7-8, however, none of us have a good excuse to skip out on the “spaghetti side” of town, so called because once you get over there, the streets are so windy and confusing, they’re akin to driving around a plate of spaghetti.  The 12th Annual Silver Lake Art Crawl is here again to present you with a whole bunch of things you’d likely not do otherwise: spend time scouring the more eastern side of our fair city, try freshly harvested fish tacos as a result of an art/food experiment, and, well, actually walking somewhere.  There’s also a big celebration at Barnsdall Art Park on Sunday at 1pm, which will feature music, art, dancing, and plenty of food trucks like Cool Haus, Let’s Be Frank, Dosa Truck, Tiago Coffee, and a host of others.

To give us a better idea of all that the Silver Lake Art Crawl has to offer, we recently sat down with the festival’s director Drew Baldwin.  Lucky for you, we taped the whole thing.  Check out our video and definitely head east this weekend – you won’t regret coming across some new local artists nor will you be able to forget the deliciousness that is Lamill Coffee or Café Stella.  Turns out, it’s worth braving the eastbound traffic from time to time.

The Silver Lake Art Crawl is this weekend, November 7-8 from 11am to 9pm both days.  For more information, please click here.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Exhibitions, Festival, Galleries, Installation, Mixed media, Music, Neighborhoods, Silverlake/Los Feliz No Comments »