Arts & Culture, LA Noir, Zocalo Public Square »

Lessons from a veteran haunted house builder

Posted October 30, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Image via Flickr by liz west/ Creative Commons

I took Stewie out of storage on the first of October. The eight-foot-tall scarecrow with a massive, mutated pumpkin head (he may have grown in the abandoned gardens near Chernobyl) is always the first prop I put up in my Hallowe’en yard display.
I debated for a minute whether “Uncle Albert,” a “groundbreaker” zombie that jerks out after visitors step on a pressure-triggered mat, should …

Arts & Culture, News »

When a walk becomes a pilgrimage

Posted October 29, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
The 500 mile long and winding road

Long before writer Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and published a best-selling book about it, pilgrims were searching for peace and salvation along the Camino de Santiago, a series of roads that wends through Spain and France.
This weekend, “Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago,”  a documentary about this medieval pilgrimage, opens for a week-long screening here in southern California. We talked to Annie O’Neil, who has a …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

Glen Campbell opens up about his battle with Alzheimer’s

Posted October 27, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
glen-campbell-1970-bb35-billboard-650

It’s hard to label musician Glen Campbell in any particular genre. His roots, of course, are deep in country music.
But he was also one of the first artists to crossover from country to pop, landing hits on both Billboard charts.
He even toured with The Beach Boys, acted in a few movies – like ‘True Grit’ with John Wayne – and hosted a variety show, …

Arts & Culture, Zocalo Public Square »

Wrestling with paper to create ocean views

Posted October 27, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Response to Print of Mussel Rocks, California, 2014

This comes to us from Zocalo Public Square. 
A craggy rock emerges in sharp relief out of the ocean. Swarms of birds descend into crashing waves. A blue sky of clouds resembles a crumpled piece of paper, discarded then retrieved. These are some of the striking images in “Response,” an exhibition of photographs by Laura Plageman at the DeSoto Gallery in Venice.
Most of the photos …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

The obsessive collectors of Southern California

Posted October 24, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
David Boulé, California orange enthusiast. Photo by Gary Leonard

Sometimes collecting becomes more than a hobby. A new series of short films called Monomania L.A. profiles people who’ve obsessively collected everything related to a single aspect of Los Angeles history, from the California orange to the Santa Monica beach.

Call them “monomaniacs.” People like David Boulé, who for some reason, buy one thing, and then another thing like it.
“I have the collectors gene,” Boulé …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

Psychedelic: Pakistani truck artist brightens the LA roads

Posted October 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Truck artist Haider Ali and his finished product

For the last few weeks, Karachi-based artist Haider Ali been working around various spots in southern California, mostly in the parking lot of his hosts at the USC Pacific Asia Museum at Los Robles and Union in Pasadena, spiffing up a Ford cargo van.
In his native Pakistan, Ali is one of a handful of prominent truck artists who do brisk business around the country.  India, he says, …

Arts & Culture »

How teaching Shakespeare to middle schoolers transformed a struggling actor

Posted October 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Mel Ryane and her new book at KCRW

Mel Ryane, a classically trained actor, thought the idea seemed simple enough: Volunteer at a local public school to teach kids an appreciation for Shakespeare. Share the joys of literature and the Bard’s life lessons with kids who might not otherwise learn them. Her time on the stage had to have prepared her for the task–no? Well, it turns out, definitely not. Nothing could have primed Ryane for the terror and …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, LA Noir, News »

How Jewish émigrés impacted the birth of film noir

Posted October 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Film still for Double Indemnity (1944), © Paramount Pictures. Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Shown from left: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck.

In the 1930s, as the National Socialist Party gained power in Germany, people around the world did what they could to help Jews escape the Nazi threat. Jewish filmmakers and producers found refuge in Hollywood, and their contributions forever changed American cinema and culture. Those stories are told in several new museum exhibits across Los Angeles.

The 1942 classic Casablanca follows a complicated love story …

Arts & Culture, News »

Petersen Museum shifts into idle for major remake

Posted October 20, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
petersendesign

The Petersen Automotive Museum has put on the brakes, shutting down for a year while it undergoes an $80 million remodel.
Before closing down, the Miracle Mile museum held a 20th anniversary fundraising bash this weekend with a concert by the Beach Boys. Museum officials announced a new, $125 million fundraising effort to pay for the renovation and museum operations.
The remodel will include extensive changes …

Arts & Culture »

Inside the Hello Kitty empire: An icon turns 40

Posted October 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Allegory of Love by Marc Dennis

My, how the super-cute Japanese export known as Hello Kitty has grown since first adorning a coin purse 40 years ago. For one thing, she’s become an $8 billion international empire, with her image affixed from backpacks to underwear and airplanes to tombstones. She’s also the character that sparked the “cute” culture called kawaii while helping to break down racial barriers at a time before things from …

Arts & Culture »

‘Birdman’ soars into theaters

Posted October 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
birdman

The new movie “Birdman” stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Zach Galifianakis, and it’s getting rave reviews.
Keaton stars a washed-up action movie actor looking to revive his career with a Broadway play – but it gets really, really weird.
Our regular weekly film critic Joe Morgenstern is out this week, so joining us in his place is LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson. She spoke …

Arts & Culture, News »

Twisted history clouds ‘Easy Rider’ chopper auction

Posted October 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
EASYRIDER

Get your motor running…
The “Captain America” chopper ridden by Peter Fonda in the film “Easy Rider” is set to be auctioned this weekend in Calabasas. Sellers are hoping to get more than a million bucks for the bike, which played a central role in the drug-addled road trip flick.
Only one problem – it’s not clear that it’s the original bike.
There were originally two “Captain …

Arts & Culture »

Celebrating the life and work of a cherished writer and teacher

Posted October 15, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
lescloseuplookingdown

This Sunday at 6pm, a book party to be held on the campus of UCLA will also serve as a memorial: the writer Les Plesko committed suicide over a year ago, leading his friends to rally to make sure the book he considered his magnum opus got into print
Plesko taught for nearly 20 years at UCLA Extension, and was an active member in the community of …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

HBO to offer standalone streaming service

Posted October 15, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
hbo-go

The top premium cable TV channel in the U.S., HBO, will start selling a streaming, web-based feed of the movie channel with all its original programs starting next year, for people who do not have cable or satellite TV.
During an investors’ meeting at the New York headquarters of parent company Time Warner today, HBO CEO Richard Plepler said the move will target 80 million …

Arts & Culture, News »

Great in any language: Meet the most famous writer and musician from…Estonia

Posted October 10, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Musician Silver Sepp and writer Kristiina Ehin--Estonia's "it" couple visit LA, and Grand Park

It’s not every day you get invited to meet people from Estonia, much less people who comprise Estonia’s power artistic couple: its most famous writer and in-demand musician.  Where is Estonia?  I myself had to look at a map (N of Latvia, W of Russia,) but after meeting the accomplished writer Kristiina Ehin and her husband of three years, Silver Sepp (yes, Silver is his …

Arts & Culture, News »

A communal experience, delivered over the airwaves – in between English and calculus class

Posted October 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
IMG_3833

It’s second period on Friday at Grover Cleveland Charter High School in Reseda, a school of 3,000 students, faculty and staff about an hour’s drive north of downtown LA in the morning rush. Students, aka the cast and crew of KCAV News, stream into the campus TV studio and get to work, putting the final preparations on their weekly news show.
In a matter of minutes, they rehearse, …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Interviews, News »

Photos: Traversing Australia with camels

Posted October 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
When Robyn and her caravan reached the Indian Ocean nine months and 2000 arduous miles later, the camels were thunderstruck at the sight of the ocean. They had never seen so much water. They would stop, turn to stare at it, leap sideways, look at one another with their noses all pointed and ridiculous, then stare at it again, then leap forward again. Bub went straight in for a swim. He had not yet learnt what caution was.  © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions

37 years ago, National Geographic – known for its iconic photographs of nature and its inhabitants – sent American photographer Rick Smolan on a strange and life-changing assignment.
His job was to document the travels of a 27-year-old Australian woman across the desolate outback there.
Robyn Davidson was accompanied only by four camels and a dog.
And Rick Smolan.
The 9-month, 1700-mile journey was captured in Davidson’s astonishing …

Arts & Culture »

You can watch movies from Quentin Tarantino’s personal collection

Posted October 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo courtesy Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino is having fun. He’s recently taken over the programming helm of the New Beverly Cinema, the theater he bought in 2007 to save it from indie-theater destruction. Starting this month, Tarantino is screening movies right out of his personal collection. And all the movies will be on film, good old-fashioned 35mm film. 
Tarantino joined Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment this week to talk about the project. Below is an edited transcript of …

Arts & Culture, News »

CicLAvia grows up!

Posted October 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
CicLAvia Route Map

Los Angeles is supposed to be a city where the car rules supreme and cyclists and pedestrians take a backseat to the needs of motorists. CicLAvia has an antidote to that car-centric notion.
Free, open to all, and with no registration required,  it’s hoped CicLAvia gives people the opportunity to experience the city in a new way, while also promoting health and a wider discussion …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

Where feminist art began: Revisiting ‘Womanhouse’

Posted October 1, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Doesn't look historic, but the grounds on which this building sits played an important role in art history

533 N. Mariposa Avenue is an ordinary looking apartment building on a hilltop in the nether land between Koreatown and Los Feliz.  The most remarkable thing about this quiet street is its view of the Griffith Park Observatory.  But the ground on which it sits turns out to be a hallowed bit of contemporary art history.
Back in 1972, pioneering artists Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, along with 21 …

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