Arts & Culture, News »

How eating (grass-fed) meat changed one family’s life

Posted July 1, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Jared Stone wanted to get back to his roots.  Though he lives in southern California and works in the entertainment industry, he’s originally from Kansas.  He started thinking about what he eats, and realized that he knew more about the inner workings of his TV set than the origins of his food.
He could have planted a garden, but instead, he found himself driving north …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

Boyle Heights students honor their school’s namesake

Posted June 17, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Students Kimberly Espinoza and Ashley Lopez are among the contributors to the book

Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School in Boyle Heights is a living history lesson for the kids who attend it. Students learn about the Mendez family in Orange County, and their successful 1946 challenge to end segregation after their children were refused the right to attend their neighborhood school because of the color of their skin. The Mendez case set the stage for the more familiar landmark Brown vs Board of Education, …

Arts & Culture »

Inside the mind and journals of Exene Cervenka

Posted June 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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“It’s a strange time in which we live,” says the punk rock singer and visual artist Exene Cervenka as we sit inside the gallery at Bergamot Station that’s readying an exhibit of her artwork. “I’m glad I didn’t grow up now.”
Cervenka says she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be on the road with her band, X, now. Back in the ’80s, she found herself so …

Arts & Culture, News »

Faith, food, color-blind equality: A photographer turns her lens on a dwindling 20th century religious movement

Posted May 27, 2015 by | 14 Comments | ]
Bedford_01.KCRW Blog

Devotees of the early twentieth century spiritual leader known as Father Divine don’t go to church. They practice what they believe by living together, communally, and preparing an enormous banquet each day. During their feast, they listen to tapes of the man they called God, who died back in 1965 and who at one time had tens of thousands of followers.
Besides his claim of divinity, …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

How women were the unsung heroes of the Mexican Revolution

Posted May 13, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Soldadera: Leandra Becerra Lumbreras, the year before her death at age 127

The artist Nao Bustamante was already working on a show about soldaderas, the women who fought with and ably assisted the troops in the Mexican Revolution, when she learned about Leandra Becerra Lumbreras–said to be the oldest survivor of the conflict that began in 1910.
She arranged to take her crew to Mexico to interview this woman who said she had fought the war “with her tortillas,” …

Arts & Culture »

Long before Lady Gaga, Sophie Tucker had the corner on outrageous

Posted April 29, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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She wasn’t exactly a looker, and no one would ever accuse her of being slender. That didn’t stop Sophie Tucker from rising to unprecedented superstardom in a career that spanned six decades. In fact, it probably helped.
After running away from her Orthodox Jewish family in Hartford, she stole the show at the Ziegfeld Follies at age 22 and until she died in 1966, was famed as …

Arts & Culture, LA Noir »

iPhone-wielding gawkers blinded by whiteout on Sunset

Posted April 27, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Locals have long called the scary-looking dilapidated structure at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Bates Ave. the Bates Motel, though that’s not really its name. It just reminds people of the iconic motel in Hitchcock’s Psycho.
The former Sunset Pacific Hotel has been long-abandoned. Back when he was a City Councilman, Mayor Eric Garcetti called this one of the most troublesome properties in the city. …

Arts & Culture, economy, Interviews »

Will a rebranded neighborhood have room for the poor?

Posted April 22, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Every year, filmmaker Drew Bachrach (who earns a living creating content-for-hire) saves up enough money to make his own work in the summertime, to pursue a passion project. When he heard about the planned demolition of a housing project in Watts, built decades ago as temporary barracks for veterans returning from World War II, he knew he’d found his subject. He wondered if what happened …

Arts & Culture »

“Pass it on” takes on a whole new meaning in the hands of artists

Posted April 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
New York painter Jana Weaver went first, and the game went on from there

The wonders of the Internet never cease. Inspired by the children’s game Telephone, curator Nathan Langston has used the web to link together 315 artists around the world in a unique and enduring fashion in an online gallery that’s just debuted and is sure to lure you in for hours on end.

In Telephone, players whisper one message down a chain of people to see how it morphs and ultimately gets interpreted. In …

Arts & Culture, News »

The grout-bearing stork, or, when your “baby” is your art

Posted April 15, 2015 by | 3 Comments | ]
Guests at the shower brought not diapers, but grout

Unless you happen to dwell in the 1% stratosphere of mega-superstars, you know the eternal artistic struggle: how to make enough money to pay the bills, and still leave time for projects of passion. Artist and educator Katrina Alexy came up with a solution: She calls it an art-ernity leave. She got her boss at The Pilgrim School to give her an unpaid year off from her job as an art teacher, figuring …

Arts & Culture »

An artist eavesdrops into the world of bees

Posted April 8, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Bee Purple by Jessica Rath

Artist Jessica Rath was first inspired to immerse herself in the world of the bee when she witnessed what’s called a “cold huddle” years ago, a swarm of bees churning to create friction for warmth. “The sound stayed in my head,” she said, “and I began talking to composer Bob Hoehn about translating bee behavior into a very large score and making a human …

Arts & Culture, News »

As the Arts District turns: The rapid transformation of a once-sleepy neighborhood

Posted April 1, 2015 by | 4 Comments | ]
Photo by Melissa Richardson Banks

With the news over the last few weeks that Soho House and other high-profile tenants are snapping up property in the Arts District, a hue and cry has erupted (at least in some media outposts) that the once-gritty neighborhood is done–at least for artists.
I met up with long-time resident, photographer and neighborhood activist Melissa Richardson Banks to hear her take. She drove me around the 52-block area late last Saturday …

Arts & Culture, News »

Turning trash into art: The life-changing magic of “Consumed”

Posted March 30, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Mary Mattingly; Life of Objects, 2013, courtesy of the artist and Robert Mann Gallery

Long before the current bestselling book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” the artist China Adams decided to reassess her possessions. In 1995, she rid herself of any material item she considered to be unnecessary– 77.13 percent of what she owned ranked as “official burden status” under a three-point system she developed. Then, she reduced those things down to their essence, stitched them into pieces of tarp using …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

The woman who’s bringing LA to the world’s most influential art fair

Posted March 25, 2015 by | 3 Comments | ]
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More evidence of the influence and importance of Los Angeles as far as the fine art world: Meet the Venice (California)-based Elizabeta Betinski, known affectionately to some artists around town as “Boom Boom.”  She’s the force behind an upcoming show, featuring the work of 20 LA-based artists, that’ll hang adjacent to the Venice (Italy) Biennale. This is just one of three exhibitions that have been chosen as …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

A living legacy of African-Americans who served in the Civil War

Posted March 18, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Colonel Franklin J. Henderson and a portrait of a Civil War serviceman

“I always remember the men who came before me. They couldn’t dream of the opportunities,” said retired Colonel Franklin J. Henderson as he stood in the Getty gallery at the Los Angeles Central Library a few Saturdays ago, surrounded by photographs of African-American soldiers from the Civil War. The colonel, who served as a paratrooper in the Korean War and rose through the ranks …

Arts & Culture, News »

Oh, the hair! Archives of defunct newspaper revives 80s SoCal music scene from “pop to the pit”

Posted March 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Motley Crue by Gary Leonard, courtesy LAPL

Some people move to LA for love. Wendy Horowitz did, too–except that the object of her affection was a band.
On assignment for High Times magazine in Boston back in the ’80s, she found herself interviewing, and falling for, the musical group from Hawthorne that calls itself Redd Kross. It changed her life: “They made me laugh. They were approachable. They really were like sunshine, shining into …

Arts & Culture, News »

At last! Virtual reality becomes virtually real

Posted March 4, 2015 by | 2 Comments | ]
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The futuristic-minded among us have been fantasizing about and prototyping virtual reality for decades now. Back in 1965, the pioneering professor Ivan Sutherland wrote a seminal essay on the subject called “The Ultimate Display” and went on to co-create what’s believed to be the first VR headset, which he called The Sword of Damocles. The street artist who calls herself Zenka has been captivated by …

Arts & Culture, News »

Head-covering optional: A new mosque aims to bridge gaps and shatter myths about Islam

Posted February 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
PrayerCircle

There is no dress code at The Women’s Mosque of America, where congregants are encouraged to wear what feels comfortable. The newly-formed mosque, said to be the first of its kind in the United States, is less about a literal place than it is about a state of mind. It isn’t, organizers say, designed to supplant the traditional mosque. The hope is that the all-women’s gathering will  encourage continued dialogue …

Arts & Culture, News »

What it’s like when Oprah calls: One writer’s experience

Posted February 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
The writer Cynthia Bond

We talked to writer Cynthia Bond last year after her debut novel, Ruby, was published.  For years, Bond wrote in stolen moments from her job helping at-risk youth write their own stories.  Like many authors, she was happy just to finally have her book in print.  Then, a few months ago, she got “the call.”  Oprah, maker of best-sellers, was on the line, effusive in her praise for …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

A painting with your movie ticket: Hollywood’s digital transition means more space for art

Posted February 18, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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It’s a Thursday night at the Laemmle movie theater on Lankershim. Patrons are streaming in for the evening shows. As they make their way down the corridor to the theaters, they’re greeted with a series of bright, floral paintings by the San Diego collaborative duo Hill and Stump –and art patrons, sipping wine.
Much has been said about the transition to digital movie projection, but …

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