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 …

Arts & Culture, News »

Bringing the war home: Inventive photographs tell the stories of veterans

Posted February 13, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Captain Elizabeth A. Condon, New York Army National Guard, veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom, with daughter, Kate, and mother Elizabeth; Troy, NY, June 2008, Fujiflex Super Glossy optical c-print, from In Country: Soldier’s Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan, © Jennifer Karady

If you’re headed to Palm Springs for modernism week, or any other reason, here’s a possible, if unrelated, detour: an exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum of photographs by the Brooklyn-based artist, Jennifer Karady.
An hour and a world away from the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, where soldiers are trained for ground combat in the middle east, the museum commissioned a piece from Karady, …

Arts & Culture, News »

Nothing digital about it: LA Zine Fest celebrates printed work

Posted February 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Much has been said about the demise of printed matter: the newspaper, the magazine, the book. But this weekend in Los Angeles there’s a celebration of print taking place where you can pick up armfuls of publications. No digital device necessary.
This will be the fourth annual LA Zine Fest, said co-founder Rhea Tepp, with more than 200 zine creators showing off their stuff.  “I think …

Arts & Culture, News »

No cameras allowed: Artist Bill Robles makes a career drawing courtroom dramas

Posted February 4, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
MichaelJackson

Bill Robles has the mellifluous baritone of a broadcaster, but he’s made a living for over 40 years with his eyes — and his hands. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design, back before it was located in Pasadena, Robles found himself sitting in a courtroom for the trial of Charles Manson in 1970, on assignment for a local TV station. He’s been covering, …

News »

Festival of sacred world music debuts with a soulful Afro-fado beat

Posted January 30, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Waldemar Bastos on the Aratani stage in Little Tokyo

Surviving imprisonment and then escaping the civil war in Angola for Brazil, then Portugal, Waldemar Bastos survived because of music.  Today, he’s considered the voice of his native country, where he now lives again.
You don’t have to speak Portuguese or understand the situation in Africa’s 7th largest nation to appreciate Bastos’ divine sound. He spoke to KCRW’s Lisa Napoli about the life events that inspire his …

Arts & Culture, News »

Let there be light (again)

Posted January 26, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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When the International Jewelry Center opened on the east side of Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles in 1982, the building’s architecture (by firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill) was panned as “inhospitable” and “an overwhelming loser.”
But the 270-foot long, computer-triggered, neon sculpture commissioned to adorn the front of the building got a rave: “All that saves the building from almost total offensiveness is a …

Arts & Culture, News »

‘One girl can light a candle:’ Students use music to tell the story of Anne Frank

Posted January 21, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
A tech rehearsal for The Passion of Anne Frank at Grand Arts HS in downtown Los Angeles

For years, the Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts downtown, nicknamed by those who know it as “Grand Arts,” has struggled to find and keep a principal and make its place in the community. The imposing futuristic structures that comprise this campus look like dramatic cousins to the Disney Concert Hall up the street.
Now, a new show called “The Passion of Anne Frank” will allow the …

Arts & Culture, Environment, News »

Pass the oak trees and the camellias and you’ll find art

Posted January 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo by Robert Wedemeyer

A contemporary art gallery in the woods? That’s what you’ll find if you take a walk on one of the glorious paths at the Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. The latest art show in this unique space fits it perfectly. It’s a colorful, playful group exhibition titled Elemental: Seeing the Light.
The history of the space is just as intriguing as the new show and …

Arts & Culture, News »

‘Like bubbles in a glass of Champagne:’ Toasting an all-but-forgotten Hollywood star

Posted January 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Were it not for the fairly recent restoration of the site known as the Annenberg Community Beach House, many of us might never have heard the name Marion Davies. Indeed, it’s easy to dismiss the long-ago movie star, who died in 1961, even when you visit the spectacular public space along the Pacific Coast Highway that was once her home: The structure here that bears her …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

A dingy, forgotten space transformed by art

Posted January 7, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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From blighted underpass…

…to vibrant art space
Out-of-sight spaces often harbor the unsavory aspects of a city, best overlooked. But from 2006 to 2013, the underpass on the fringe of downtown near the LA River was the site of a glorious re-invention, one that included all manner of art and people from all walks of life. “God’s most destitute place on earth” as nearby graffiti declared it, …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

The year that was: Lisa Napoli’s 2014 in review

Posted December 30, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
The world's first cardboard car is available in a convertible model, too

Los Angeles can be a daunting place to explore, which is why I love what I get to do here at KCRW–root out interesting people who are doing interesting things that might otherwise not get much media attention.
To that end, here’s a short-list, in no particular order, of some of my favorites stories I had the privilege of telling in 2014, in case you missed …

Arts & Culture, economy, News »

Playing Santa to total strangers

Posted December 23, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Where do all those letters that kids write to Santa go?  For over 100 years, the US Postal Service has made it possible for people to “adopt” letters from the neediest kids, based on their zip codes–and fulfill their Christmas wishes.
In Los Angeles, ground zero for Operation Santa is the massive postal processing facility on Central Avenue.  Weeks before the holiday, people stream in …

Arts & Culture, News »

The major source of state arts funding? You won’t believe it

Posted December 19, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
One of about a dozen celebrities who've signed on to endorse the plate

California ranks near the bottom of state-funded per-capita arts spending in the nation–44th, to be exact.
What’s the unusual source for the lion’s share of state-funded arts education? Turns out, it’s the sale of specialty license plates.
You may have seen the so-called “ArtsPlate” by artist Wayne Thiebaud, since it’s been in use on the roads for 20 years. But you probably didn’t know that $35 of …

Arts & Culture »

The perfect last-minute gift: A good read

Posted December 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Funk, and a spaceship

Carolyn Kellogg, who covers publishing for the Los Angeles Times, sits on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and is one of the most influential journalists in the industry. In other words, she reads more than most mere mortals and really knows her stuff. Over a cup of coffee, we talked about books as dandy last-minute gift ideas.
First, she recommends using the services of your …

Arts & Culture, News »

How ‘Tradition’ became a classic: Celebrating ‘Fiddler’ at 50

Posted December 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Lines of people swarmed the box office as soon as Fiddler opened/photo: Photofest

The Tony award-winning Broadway show turned Oscar-winning film, “Fiddler on the Roof,” didn’t look from the start to be a work that would endure for decades. It took the team who wrote the work, based on the 1905 writing of Sholem Aleichem, a number of attempts to massage it into the classic it became. “Twelve things a day,” was the mantra after early lackluster reviews in pre-Broadway tryouts, as …

Arts & Culture, Cargoland, Environment, Interviews, News »

Cargoland: Artist Cathy Opie on her 10-day cargo ship ride

Posted December 3, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
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I didn’t go to artist Cathy Opie’s house explicitly to see the bunnies, but before I got to talk to her about what did lure me over to West Adams, I got a tour of this extension of her existence. Her partner, Julie Burleigh, has, over the last five years, converted an eyesore abandoned lot down the block from their house into a community …

Arts & Culture, News »

The show must go on: Bob Baker’s supporters vow to keep the puppets moving

Posted December 2, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Young puppeteers keep Baker's work alive.  The theater is home to 3-thousand marionettes.

In his last days on earth, puppeteer Bob Baker waxed poetic about shows he hoped to stage and moved his hands for a hospice worker as if he were still manipulating one of his marionette creations. Though the 90-year-old with a life-long passion for puppets passed away last Friday, his imprint on the industry he helped to craft won’t soon fade away, says trustee …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

Art meets kitsch: Self-described snob displays mom’s vast collection of turkey platters

Posted November 25, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Art dealer Mat Gleason and his mother, Helen

Mat Gleason, a longtime figure in the LA art scene, admits that he long pooh-poohed his mother’s proclivity for scavenging through antique stores and swap meets. “I was always snobby about her collections,” he told me as we stood in a gallery he’s just taken over next to his Coagula Curatorial.
Then his mother, an 80-something year old mother of seven, asked to see a show of …

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