A visual tour of downtown Los Angeles, now and then:
Ofelia Cleaning. Ramiro Gomez (Facebook page) (Gallery page) is an artist whose paintings at the blog Happy Hills "document the predominantly Hispanic workforce who work tirelessly behind the scenes to maintain the beautiful imagery of these affluent areas." He also places painted cut-outs of workers on the lawns in pricey neighborhoods. [more inside]
On Friday, a Starbucks opened in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. There is something a bit "weirdly off-kilter" about this location according to one customer. In particular, everything there, including the store name has the word "dumb" in front. The store is claiming parody-based fair use exemptions to intellectual property law, and so far, the (non-dumb) Starbucks appears not to have responded. In case you want to pick what you want before hand, their menu of dumb drinks is posted on Twitter.
The Best of L.A. Taco: L.A. Taco looks back at the best tacos, art, music and people celebrating the taco lifestyle. [more inside]
The Breaking Bad Art Project is on exhibit at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles through August 26. [more inside]
Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick (previously) makes the day of the nine-year-old proprietor of Caine's Arcade.
The Los Angeles band named X. The one that performed "Los Angeles" , "Your Phone's Off The Hook But You're Not", "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene", "We're Desperate", "White Girl", and "Breathless". The one with John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake in it. [more inside]
LACMA is currently hosting "In Wonderland", a retrospective of Surrealist art by female artists from Mexico and the United States. This is a great chance to check out some under-appreciated artists, who were often overshadowed by their male counterparts. [more inside]
Although [Michael] Mann has said he was inspired by a true story from Chicago in the late 1960s, the film is no gritty realist number about desperate thievery. Rather, HEAT is a high-gloss creature of its time, utilizing the classic "duel between cop and robber"... to thematize lifestyle issues in the mid-1990s. Specifically I argue that, for all its slickness and emphasis on style and personality, HEAT is a film about work and its increasing personal costs. For the characters in HEAT, work provides excitement* and challenge, but it ultimately excludes any emotional life outside of the demands of the job. *That's the shootout scene
After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
Alex Cox: REPO MAN was made as a "negative pickup" by Universal at the time when Bob Rehme was head of the studio. At the time, the big deal over there was STREETS OF FIRE, and nobody really noticed our film [8 MB PDF] at all. Which was lucky for us, since Bob Rehme had "green-lighted" a film which was quite unusual by studio standards. (previously)
Levitated Mass. A 340-ton granite boulder will be transported 60 miles by freeway and set on a 456-foot cement ditch at the L.A. County Museum of Art.
Throughout the world, El Mac's grand spraypaint portraits combine with RETNA's cryptic, hieroglyphic language to create stunning murals.
Stonehenge West, a monumental art project and home outside Los Angeles, may be torn down for building code violations.
Kerfuffle in the LA Art Scene- the possibility that both the mural and its whitewashing are the art - from artist Mario Muller's Truffle Hunting
Please enjoy one of collage artist Lewis Klahr's haptic, romantic meditations on materiality and mortality, False Aging, and a look at his process.
Portraits by Richard Dumas; a page (one of many) of actors and directors; a Brooklyn gang (photographed by Bruce Davidson) in 1959; photographs by Ernesto Bazan. Clive Limpkin. Some Warhol Polaroids. Film set photographs and portraits by Brigitte Lacombe. Photographs by: Dennis Hopper [nsfw], Weegee [nsfw], Jeff Bridges, Julia Calfee [nsfw], Ed Templeton [nsfw], Lauren Dukoff, Robert Frank, Sid Grossman and Allen Ginsberg. A Princeton Dance Weekend in 1960, an American family vacation in 1950, Los Angeles, Coney Island, et cetera. A diverse livejournal collection of photographs.
Tomokazu Matsuyama was born in Japan. He moved to the US when he was around ten years old, not speaking any English, and being overwhelmed by the culture shock of 1980s Los Angeles. His artistic work is a reflection of this upbringing. Matsuyama’s paintings envision traditional Japanese imagery through the lens of American pop art, creating a unique and beautiful hybrid. He strives to portray this global melee through a conscious “appropriation” of all of his influences: cultural, artistic, and personal. Matsuyama’s unconflicted and positively ebullient works do not ask, “What am I?,” but assert, “I am everybody.” (via) [more inside]
The world's largest ball pit? 400,000 black plastic balls, one reservoir, thousands of happy goths. Other unusual things being filled with balls: the Spanish Steps, Rome, a co-worker's cube, San Francisco. (videos)
Crazy 4 Cult is a new exhibit coming to Gallery 1988, the Los Angeles art gallery that hosts the annual (and always great) IAm8Bit exhibit. Just as IAm8Bit uses videogames of the 1980s as the theme for the artists, Crazy 4 Cult is using Cult movies. For fun, the exhbit poster features a huge number of movie references - can you catch them all? Via.
Yesterday, Design*Sponge added a city guide for Toronto to their small but growing list of Guides. The list also includes a Letter Press Guide, an Affordable Art Guide, a Gift Guide (2006), and guides for Brooklyn and LA.
2 years ago I FPP'd FlavorPill, a company that sends out permission-based emails for books (Boldtype), music (Earplug), and fashion (the JC Report). They've since added ArtKrush (it's art, stupid! - nsfw) and Activate (world events) to their aresenal. In addition to the topic-specific mailing lists, they offer city-specific lists for London, New York, SF, LA, and Chicago. Sample issues are archived on the site.
The Language of Saxophones At 55, L.A. musician and poet Kamau Daáood is finally beginning to acknowledge the possibility of his own place in local letters with his debut book of poetry, The Language of Saxophones, a 30-plus-year retrospective published by City Lights. Though he’s recorded a solo CD and read nationally and internationally, Daáood had never seen fit to collect his material in a book. Until now. “I never liked the idea of poetry sitting on a shelf somewhere, lost in all those book spines”.
"Hubert Selby died often. But he always came back, smiling that beautiful smile of his, and those blue eyes of his... This time he will not be back. My saints have always come from hell, and now, with his passing, there are no more saints". Selby is the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn, (tried for obscenity in England and supported by, among many others, Samuel Beckett and Anthony Burgess), Requiem For a Dream, Song of the Silent Snow. He is being eulogized in the USA and UK, but also, massively (I've just watched a fantastic TV special) in France, where he is much more popular than in his native land (Selby's death was the cover story -- plus pages 2, 3 and 4 -- in the daily Libération today -- .pdf file): Dernière sortie vers la rédemption, L'extase de la dévastation. What makes all this kind of ironic -- in a very Selbyesque way -- is that Selby himself used to say, "I started to die 36 hours before I was born..." (more inside)
Public Art in Los Angeles, including murals. The Mural Conservancy of LA. Murals in Tucson. Loyalist and republican murals in Northern Ireland. The murals of Diego Rivera (at the Diego Rivera Web Museum). the Diego Rivera Mural Project.
All the Saints of the City of Angels: This website is dedicated to the exploration - at once poetic and historical - of this "spiritual geography" of Los Angeles; a road trip into the city's cultural, spiritual, and ethnic heritage via its streets which bear the names of saints.
The Tekken Torture Tournament wires competitors into a "modified Tekken III Playstation console which converts virtual damage into a bracing, but non-lethal electric shock." (If you live in the Los Angeles area and have a high tolerance for pain, there's still time to register.)