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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 | ]

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 | ]

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 | ]

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 | ]

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 …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Letters from the front: A play gives voice to the men and women who serve

Posted June 4, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

Letters of the hand-written kind may seem quaint and anachronistic. But to Andrew Carroll, they’re rich historical documents from which we can extract and learn “the world’s greatest undiscovered literature.”
For years, Carroll’s been collecting letters to and from veterans of wars from every conflict in US history, amassing over a hundred thousand to date. (Emails, too.) They’re the foundation of two books as well …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

Tattoos explode, right before your eyes, from body to canvas

Posted May 30, 2014 by | 5 Comments | ]

On Saturday night, at 7pm, you can witness as a tattoo explodes–in paint, on canvas, right before your eyes.  At KGB Studios on North Spring Street downtown, the model Alli Cat will pose for three hours as artists Anna Stump and Ted Meyer create a 9 x 9 foot canvas of art around her, inspired by her body art.
“Besides being hot and intelligent–our favorite …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews »

Chronicling the demise of Hollywood Park, one frame at a time

Posted May 28, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
photo by Michele Asselin

Often, the best stories can be found right in your own backyard.
Photographer Michele Asselin has realized this figuratively before, chronicling stories and photos of nannies for the New York Times after she herself became a mother.
This time, she trained her lens on her neighbor in Inglewood, Hollywood Park, the racetrack that was lost to developers late last year. With just two weeks until demolition, Asselin …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews, News »

No gas, no emissions, no engine: The world’s first cardboard car revs up DTLA

Posted May 21, 2014 by | 4 Comments | ]
The Pantone Silver model

Kilduff Motors claims the K100XL, now on display at its new showroom at 9th and Broadway downtown, is the world’s first cardboard car. But when was the last time you believed a car salesman?
What we do know about this new entry to the motor world is this: it’s cute, if a bit boxy, and it’s hand-crafted right in DTLA, so you’d be buying local. …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews »

An astronaut’s biography, and a musician’s novel

Posted May 16, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Landing June 3rd in bookstores

The Echo may not seem a place for a book party, much less a pajama party, but last night it served as both those things.  Writer Willy Vlautin came to town from Portland to launch his fourth novel, The Free, and attendees were encouraged to wear their PJ’s and bring their pillows.  The event was hosted by Chuck Palahniuk of Fight Club fame, and …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews »

Sci-fi takes center stage at Sci-Fest in Hollywood

Posted May 14, 2014 by | 2 Comments | ]

The idea came to actor David Dean Bottrell (“Boston Legal,” “And the Band Played On”) a few years back, after he’d read a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin: How about a festival of science fiction-themed stage plays?
The genre had morphed and changed over recent years thanks to high-tech wizardry in movies and on TV; Bottrell liked the haunting, more suggestive possibilities of live …

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