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Photos: Rethinking LA’s mural ban

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Updated Thursday August 29: 
The City Council voted Wednesday to lift the city-wide ban on murals.  From the LA Times:
The new rules, which must come back for an expected final approval next week, will permit new murals in business and industrial zones as long as artists register projects with the city and pay a $60 application fee. Commercial messages are prohibited and works must remain …

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Skid Row artists display their work at MOCA

SKID ROW feature

Downtown LA’s Skid Row hosts the largest concentration of homeless people in the country.
KCRW’s Press Play  covered the city’s latest efforts to address the growing number of people affected by homeless.  The recent Department of Veterans Affairs scandal has motivated many, including First Lady Michelle Obama, to scrutinize how we care for our country’s homeless veterans.
Local officials are trying to change their approach to homeless …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Taiko drumming: ‘Not just Asian anymore’

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 …

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Sonia Nazario on children crossing the US border: ‘It’s a modern day odyssey’

The Mexican border at Sasabe Arizona
Photo: Phillip Capper via Flickr/ CC

When author Sonia Nazario wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning book  “Enrique’s Journey” in 2006, nobody was paying much attention to the number of children coming across the US border. Now, as the New York Times reports, “more than 52,000 children have been caught crossing the United States border alone since October — double last year’s number.”
Back in March, Warren spoke with Nazario about the book, …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews »

Hueman walks the line between fine art and street art

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Last year, Los Angeles City Council got rid of a decade-long ban on murals, which means that LA’s future is looking more brightly colored than ever. One artist who is already bringing new work to the street is a woman who goes by the name Hueman.
Allison Torneros, aka Hueman, doesn’t fit the typical street artist image. She’s a petite woman in her late twenties …

Arts & Culture, Headline »

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

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, Interviews »

Tom Schnabel remembers jazz musician Charlie Haden

A photo of Charlie Haden from 2008, by Tim Dickeson.

The jazz world is mourning today the death of a great musician. Bassist Charlie Haden passed away at the age of 77, after a long illness.
Haden – a three-time Grammy winner – was born in the Midwest, but came to LA in the 1950s, enrolling at Westlake College of Modern Music.
His music and performances touched on political themes at times, a mirror of the …

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Origami physicist fuses art and science

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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 …

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Escape from LA in Edan Lepucki’s “California”

Edan Lepucki at KCRW

Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California, follows a young couple as they leave an apocalyptic Los Angeles for the wilderness to try to make it, away from what’s left of society.
It’s a book that deals with, obviously, escape. But also survival, family, camaraderie (or not), and grace under fire.
Lepucki’s book has already gotten lots of attention with a little help from an unlikely champion, the …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Art in space! Echo Park gallery designs satellite art

Art Satellite - iam8bit x ClydeSpace 001

Here in Los Angeles, art is by no means confined to the walls of galleries and museums.  There are murals and billboards, parks and oceanfront boardwalks.
But one LA couple is sending their artwork to the final frontier – space.
They designed the exterior of a satellite that’s scheduled to launch from Kazakhstan at 8:58 a.m. PST on Tuesday.
Jon Gibson and Amanda White are the owners …

Arts & Culture, Headline »

The hidden history of California’s parks

Cathedral Cove
Crystal clear water, kelp forests, sea caves, sea birds, and sea lions all may be seen from the Cathedral Cove overlook on East Anacapa. (Photo: NPS.gov)

July 4th has come and gone, which means that summer is officially here. Given any thought yet to where you might go on vacation?
We’re looking at some of California’s less well-known state and national parks—going beyond the superstars like Yosemite, Sequoia, and Joshua Tree to some of the places that tend to get passed by. Some of them, you can cover in a few hours. …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

Film reviews with LA Weekly’s Amy Nicholson

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There are plenty of movies that’ve taken place on the road. It’s a familiar set for Hollywood. Think “Rain Man,” “Due Date,” and of course, “Thelma and Louise.”
There’s a new one now open in theaters in LA. “Tammy” stars comedienne Melissa McCarthy in a road trip movie with McCarthy and her cursing, hard-drinking grandmother played by Susan Sarandon.
LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson fills …

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PHOTOS: Inside California’s first marijuana farmers market

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Farmer’s markets are a popular trend in Los Angeles, but the first-ever medical marijuana farmer’s market made its debut in East Los Angeles today.

Card-carrying medical marijuana patients braved 90 degree heat and a long line to get into the California Heritage Market in Boyle Heights.
“They’re definitely going to have to have better access because there’s a lot of people that want to be here,” …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

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

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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, California Elections, economy, Headline, Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, Runaway Production »

Mixer: LA County CEO headed out, so’s Hollywood production

friday mixer square

Los Angeles County CEO Bill Fujioka will retire in November, after more than seven years as the county’s top official.
Abby Sewell reports for the Los Angeles Times.
She says the county CEO has purview over 100,000 county employees and budgets and whatnot, but gets little attention aside from political writers and journalists.
Citing frustration with “the pace of reform”, Los Angeles County Supervisors scaled back Fujioka’s …

Arts & Culture, economy, Education, Environment, Food, Headline, Issues, News, Politics, water »

LACMA redesign has museum spanning Wilshire Blvd.

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The L.A. County Museum of Art has unveiled a new design for its proposed $650 million makeover that would have the museum’s main building span Wilshire Boulevard – with traffic passing underneath the structure. The new design by architect Peter Zumthor was created to address concerns that the original plan to extend the museum over the La Brea Tar Pits would cast a shadows …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, News »

An olfactory guide to Los Angeles

KCRW's Steve Chiotakis, left, takes a big whiff of East LA from a scent strip held by artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter.

What does your neighborhood smell like?
It’s not a question we ask ourselves often, and yet it’s something we notice every day. Is it the smell of sea air, freshly-cut grass, car exhaust, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, urine, or something else?
Los Angeles artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter posted a survey online and received dozens of responses. He used that information to create 11 scents that correspond to different …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

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

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, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Summer »

Commission gets more power to ensure coast access

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Beach access activists have won a big victory. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law giving the California Coastal Commission the authority to fine property owners who illegally block beach paths to the beach. The commission has never had that authority before. Previously, it had to go to court to have fines imposed on intransigent property owners. The new powers come as a …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Drought-stricken California keeps getting dryer

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California’s drought is getting worse: The National Weather Service says one-third of the state is now suffering from “exceptional” drought, the highest category of drought conditions. The latest areas to be added to the “exceptional” list are in Central and Northern California. The U.S. Drought Monitor – yes, there is such an office – says no part of the state had “exceptional” drought conditions …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

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

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 …

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