5 design things to do this week

Hear about the crazy spending of the Asian elite with novelist Kevin Kwan; consider how artistic expression of history informs our present; learn about an eminent domain showdown in the Hollywood Hills; celebrate design in downtown LA, wabi wabi in Culver City; and discuss zoning policy over a round of mini-golf. And then there's Pride Week.

Kevin Kwan writes satirically and hilariously about the over-the-top world of Asian wealth.

1) Kevin Kwan Book Party

Kevin Kwan knows something about Asian wealth.  Born into a prominent Singaporean family, Kwan moved to the United States when he was 11.  After writing stints with Andy Warhol’s Interview and Martha Stewart Living, Kwan found success by finding the funny bone at the intersection of his two worlds, with a trilogy of books about a super-rich Singaporean-Chinese family that hilariously skewers class and the stuff that signifies it.  The first book, “Crazy Rich Asians,” is currently being made into a movie; and he has just published the third, “Rich People Problems.” On Tuesday night at the vintage consignment shop Decades he will sign copies of the book and chat with DnA’s Frances Anderton. You can also catch DnA’s interview with Kwan here.

When: Tuesday, June 6, 6 – 8 pm

Where: Decades, 8214 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA  90046

Tickets: Free

Shadowlands, 2017, 8 x 16 feet, courtesy of Ken Gonzales-Day and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles Gallery

2) Art-Past-Present #3

History books are filled with stories meant to provide background and context for our world today.  But how these historical events are portrayed makes all the difference in how we give them meaning to our present lives.  In this third installment of this provocative series, The Wende Museum Chief Curator Joes Segal invites artist Ken Gonzales-Day and art advisor and independent curator Brenda G. Williams to consider how interpreting the past informs the present.  The idea of the program is to create a space for artists and designers to “be in contact with people with other realities and other convictions.” 

When: Tuesday, June 6, 6 – 8 pm

Where: The Wende Museum, 5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite E, Culver City, CA 90230

Tickets: Free.  Please RSVP to rsvp@wendemuseum.org

In 1964, Steven Anthony wasn’t going to just give up his home. Would you?

3) Siege at Fort Anthony

“A lost neighborhood and the efforts … to preserve it in the face of powerful forces of Urban Renewal and civic transformation in the County of Los Angeles.” Sounds like a current headline, right? In fact, it’s a description of a showdown that took place over 50 years ago between the rich and powerful interests in LA and a dad and local bartender who just wanted to save his home and neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills.  Join Los Angeles Public Library and Los Angeles historian Richard Schave (co-founder of Esotouric bus adventures) for a special presentation on the Siege at Fort Anthony, with special guests Elona Anthony (the wife of beleaguered homeowner Steven Anthony), Hollywood historian George Kiel, Bunker Hill native son Gordon Pattison, L.A. historian Nathan Marsak, and Fort Anthony defender John Maljevic.  According to Ms. Anthony, the retelling of these events can “remind people of the injustice that not only happened to our family, but that are still going on today due to power and greed, and all my husband asked for was a simple demand: that our property be protected through the U.S. Constitution and that he have his day in court.”

When: Thursday, June 8, 6 – 8 pm

Where: Los Angeles Central Library, 630 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Tickets: Free. More information here.

The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi celebrates the beauty of imperfections.

4 ) LA Design Festival/This Modern Life

Since Dwell on Design launched in Los Angeles, June has become a blizzard of design events, marketed for the past few years under the umbrella Los Angeles Design Festival. This year it focuses on a long weekend of over 35 events centered on downtown Los Angeles (schedule here). Notable events on the calendar include New California Craft opening at ROW DTLA Friday night and de LaB’s Making LA Together. In the Saturday night culmination of this NEA-sponsored project, four shortlisted teams will present a live audience with projects that address issues of transportation, water, density and community.

Meanwhile, Helm’s Bakery District in Culver City will throw open its doors Saturday for This Modern Life: Embracing Life’s Imperfections, for a campus-wide day of workshops, demonstrations, tastings, sweepstakes and special guests celebrating the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi, the art of recognizing beauty in imperfection. You can tour the district’s stores and Local Mercato and Beautiful Things L.A. pop-up; hear John Chaich talk at Arcana Books on the Arts about his book Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community and hear a discussion between Frances Anderton, architects Michael Lehrer, John Kaliski and contractor Joan Barton of Dirty Girl Construction, about the viability of Peter Zumthor’s LACMA design (followed by cocktails hosted by WestEdge.)  

When: LA Design Festival: Thursday, June 8 – Sunday, June 11.  See full schedule of events, details and tickets here.

This Modern Life: Saturday, June 10, noon – 6 pm. See schedule of events and details here.

Where: This Modern Life: Helms Bakery District, 8758 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034.  Free valet parking by Rejuvenation Showroom at Helms St. and Venice Blvd.

Tickets: This Modern Life is an unticketed event.  Other festival events are ticketed individually.

The Back 9 is a consideration of how land use decisions get made and includes a performance, an installation, workshops and contextualizing programming (talks, films, workshops) before and during the run of the exhibition.

5) LA Poverty Department Presents The Back 9: Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles

Ever since the nation’s first land use ordinance was written in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century, they have been used as chess pieces in a civic game of developers versus communities.  The Back 9 is a project by the Los Angeles Poverty Department and artist Rosten Woo to inspire civic engagement in this ongoing struggle through art exhibits, performances, workshops and programming.  In response to a current proposed revision to zoning in the historical downtown core — which aims to create market rate housing on 5th, 6th & 7th Streets in Skid Row — The Back 9: Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles uses mini-golf as a metaphor for political gaming and deal-making.  Woo, a designer, writer and educator who produces civic-scale artworks for a variety of grassroots and non-profit organizations, is doing an installation in collaboration with artists from the affected communities which will be on view through October 31.  John Malpede of LAPD is directing a performance that will take place on a zoning themed miniature golf course designed byRosten Woo.

When: Performances June 8, 9, 10, 16 at 8 pm & June 17 at  3 pm. Exhibit runs June 10 through October 28, 2017.

Where: Skid Row History Museum & Archive, 250 S. Broadway, Los Angeles CA 90012

Tickets: Free. You can donate to the LA Poverty Department here.

And the other big event this week?: LA Pride Week. Paul Smith marked the occasion by repainting its 8221 Melrose facade in the colors of the rainbow. The Resist March takes place this Saturday.

Paul Smith on Melrose has been repainted in honor of Pride Week (photos here and at top of page by Mallery Roberts Morgan.)

Want to submit an event for 5 Design Things?

5 Design Things is published Mondays and covers events taking place that week from Monday – Sunday. If you want to submit an event for consideration, send it to dna@kcrw.org to arrive no later than the Friday before the week of the event. Make sure to include date, day, time, location, description of the event, an image to illustrate it, and relevant links.