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Two unlikely friends, one tragic ending

Posted September 19, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

When Jeff Hobbs arrived for his freshman year at Yale, his mother was preoccupied with making curtains for his dorm room. His roommate Robert Peace, on the other hand, had different concerns. His father was in prison, serving time for murders he may or may not have committed. His mother was struggling, as she had been for years, with her low-wage job in a …

Arts & Culture, News »

Women cross the border with a universal language: Art

Posted September 18, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
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A new show up at a gallery in San Diego aims to illustrate how women navigate borders, literal and figurative. Spearheaded by artists Anna Stump, Jill Holslin and the art collective known as FIG (Feminist Image Group), colleagues associated with Mexico’s Distrito Diez Gallery were invited to collaborate.
A fence bisects the space. On one side is work by the Mexican artists; on the other is work by the …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Headline, News, Warren Olney »

Stressed out? Unhealthy? Can your city government improve your quality of life?

Posted September 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Skeptics around the world shook their heads this week at news that the city of Santa Monica is about to get underway with a planned $1 million study of well-being. The city beat out 300 others last year in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge to create a “well-being project.” What does that mean?
Julie Rusk, the project’s assistant director, says just as Santa Monica has been at the …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews, News »

Preservationists rail against plans to ‘deforest’ Lincoln Boulevard

Posted September 11, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Some people want the mural preserved

The school that sits at the busy corner of Lincoln and Ocean Park Boulevards in Santa Monica was first built in the 1920s as an elementary school, named for environmentalist John Muir. It’s covered on two sides with a mural of the Muir Woods, painted in his honor back in 1978. For decades now, the structure has housed Olympic High School, a small city-run school for at-risk youth.
After …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews, News »

‘Snackable’ art served up by LACMA’s social media maven

Posted September 3, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Maritza Lerman Yoes said she was worried when she first joined Snapchat on behalf of her employer, the LA County Museum of Art–believed to be the first art institution to deploy the youth-oriented social media app. Would the brand of irreverence necessary to succeed on Snapchat offend her bosses at the museum?
The answer is, it seems, no: Last week one of the big VPs asked …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

How teaching at-risk youth helped this Los Angeles author write her first novel

Posted August 27, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Writer, teacher, activist Cynthia Bond

Cynthia Bond‘s first novel, “Ruby”, was ten years in the making. Life and work and incubation of a story have delayed the completion of many an opus; the fact that “Ruby” tackles racism and brutality must have made it more challenging to write.
Recently published by Hogarth Press, the novel tells the story of Ruby Bell, whose dark past makes her a pariah in her community, and the man who …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Celebrating the mighty orchestral soundtrack of Hollywood (and its 21 feet of tubing)

Posted August 20, 2014 by | 2 Comments | ]
The first meeting of the LA Horn Club

Annie Bosler is living the dream. She’s a resident and teacher at the prestigious Colburn School downtown; she’s played with the likes of Paul McCartney, John Williams, and Josh Groban; and now she’s putting the finishing touches on a documentary, a decade in the making, about her life-long passion: the twisty wind instrument with 21-feet of tubing known as the French horn.
Bosler was raised on a cattle farm in South …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

The first movie star never said a word

Posted August 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Once a model, Mabel Normand was a movie star before that term even existed. A pioneer in silent films in front of and behind the camera, she captured the hearts of the very first movie-going public at the dawn of the celluloid era.
And yet, she’s all but forgotten today. Except among film historians like writer Jon Boorstin, who found the true story of Normand’s life so inspirational he wrote a novel about her. It’s called …

Arts & Culture, News »

Artists riff on immigration themes with blend of history, humanity

Posted August 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
China Mary, Wyoming 2 by Hung Liu (courtesy the artist and Walter Maciel Gallery)

Meet “China Mary.” That wasn’t her real name, of course.
Like other Chinese women sold by their families to work as slaves or prostitutes in the United States back in the 19th century, she was renamed for the convenience of the Americans who employed them. This portrait is by the artist Hung Liu, who immigrated to California in the 80s.
View the complex issues of immigration through …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

So little time, so many good books to look for this fall

Posted August 6, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Fall is when the publishing industry typically rolls out its blockbusters.  This coming season is no exception.

To help, we asked writer and critic Carolyn Kellogg of the LA Times to wade through the stacks of upcoming titles.

Trouble is, there’s so much good stuff that her list is anything but short.

And it begins August 12th, with the release of Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews »

How – and why – to turn your kid into a bookworm

Posted August 1, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Jason Boog reads with his daughter, Olive.

How do you teach your kids to love books when you haven’t picked one up in years?
Why shouldn’t you give your child an iPhone or iPad until he or she’s at least two?
A new book explains the nuts and bolts of turning your kid into a reader in an age when focusing seems impossible.
Author Jason Boog says the bad news, for anyone who wants …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

Loving your neighbor, one laundry load at a time

Posted July 30, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
Rev. Nat Katz makes sure the laundry love keeps flowing.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of food banks and soup kitchens which serve the poor.  A movement sparked out of Ventura, Calif., offers a twist on that: making it possible for people with limited funds to do their wash for free.
It’s called Laundry Love, and it’s happening all over the country.  Typically, it’s organized by a church, mosque or synagogue that wants to engage …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Taiko drumming: ‘Not just Asian anymore’

Posted July 18, 2014 by | 4 Comments | ]
Maz Baba

This week, 500 international masters and scholars of Taiko have descended on Los Angeles for an unprecedented gathering.
They’re dissecting every aspect of this unique style of drumming and performance, and this weekend in Little Tokyo, they’ll show their stuff in several public performances.
To mark the occasion, we spoke with Masato Baba, considered to be the best Taiko drummer in the United States. A native …

Arts & Culture, Headline »

One person’s trash is another’s masterpiece: Found objects as art in ‘Diverted Destruction’

Posted July 16, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
Hollywood by Crystal Fischetti

Liz Gordon has been in the salvage business her entire adult life.  For the past 7 years, besides selling old stuff – knobs, chandeliers, fixtures of all sorts – she’s given it away, and encouraged people to make art with it.
She calls the effort “Diverted Destruction.”
This year’s theme is paper, aka the pulp edition.  (She’s already got next year’s picked out: Textiles.)  A show she’s …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Origami physicist fuses art and science

Posted July 9, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Dr. Robert J. Lang abandoned his career as a physicist to become a full-time origami artist, but that doesn’t mean he turned off the scientific part of his brain.
He describes his artistic process as one of the foremost artists in the craft as “almost mathematical, very geometric.  I take the subject and try to break down the subject mentally into component pieces and then …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

The story of our national anthem, and the man who wrote it

Posted July 2, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Most people know the name Francis Scott Key, and perhaps even that he wrote the country’s national anthem. Writer Marc Leepson‘s new biography What So Proudly We Hailed, reveals the history of the song, and more interestingly, the man.  It’s a perfect read this week as we commemorate the birthday of the United States.
Another timely reason for this book: It’s the 200th anniversary of the Star …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

A confused identity, a mother’s quest: writer Brando Skyhorse delves into his difficult childhood in a new memoir

Posted June 25, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
The writer Brando Skyhorse with one of his fathers, Frank

If you’re looking for a page-turning summer read, and if you love personal stories that make your own crazy family seem like “Leave it to Beaver,” consider Brando Skyhorse’s new memoir, “Take This Man.”
Much of the action is set on Portia Street in Echo Park, where Skyhorse grew up with his mother, his grandmother, and a rotating cast of potential fathers.  (His biological dad left …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

From high school prom to the Kennedy Center, these teenagers dazzle

Posted June 18, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
I had to take a selfie with Gabriela Campo so I could prove I knew her when.

When I met Gabriela Campo outside the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts a few weeks ago, she told me she was doing a juice fast.
“Prom,” she explained.
While this newly-minted high school graduate looks and behaves like any other young woman her age, she’s also about to have an experience few 17-year olds do: Next week, she’ll perform at the Kennedy Center …

Arts & Culture, Headline »

Bergamot blowout: How the Expo Line complicates, divides, a busy corner of Santa Monica

Posted June 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
What Bergamot could look like, as rendered by 26th Street TOD

What the heck is going on over at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station arts complex? Since a huge parcel on the arts community’s western edge was seized by eminent domain to make way for the coming Expo line, nothing concrete just yet. However, the project has stirred up a whole lot of dissent and fear that’s divided the community. And, could potentially drive out one of Bergamot’s key …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Photographing a changing Downtown LA

Posted June 11, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
photograph by William Reagh

Every day, it seems, comes the announcement of a new development in downtown Los Angeles. But the current transformation isn’t the first time for the neighborhood. Back in the sixties, nearly 150 acres around Bunker Hill were claimed by the city through eminent domain, and mowed down to start from scratch.
The late photographer William Reagh was there to chronicle every step of it. Over …

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