Offensive Mural Defacement [pt II]

[click to enlarge]

After publishing this article on the demise of L.A. Freeway Kids, a rousing debate arose on the comments board. Good!

As a follow-up, I now present “Does MLK dream of 40s?”

When I drive to work everyday, I avoid the 105-110 interchange by heading north on Broadway. While stopped at the light at 95th, I noticed a liquor store on the corner with a really neat-o mural on the side. On the western end, MLK; on the eastern end, Tupac.

The mural, as you can see, was originally painted in 2004. Clearly a mural of this magnitude was done with the owner’s permission.

But here is the real question: Which is more offensive?
    (a) The discussion on whether graffiti can be art, or whether tagging can/not be considered legitimate;
    (b) The tagging which has been thrown up over the mural; or
    (c) The fact that MLK looks like he’s dreaming of ice cold beer and wine?

Jane Goodall at Roots & Shoots Peace Day

Last Sunday I went to Griffith Park for Peace Day, as mentioned here. In the midst of all the Swerve posts, I thought I’d post my photos from something different.

(Humans included for scale. I am about 5’5 and had to duck to enter the tent.)

Dr. Goodall was truly lovely, by the way. She walked through swarms of people who wanted their picture taken with her, visited the tent pictured above, which is either a tent she lived in or one just like it, and then went up the hill to lead the Dove Parade. After the parade she spoke from the stage about Roots & Shoots, the United Nations, and her hope for the future. She spoke of living in harmony with the natural world, and illustrated her points with stories of interactions with chimpanzees and humans alike. She is a rare human, beautiful on the outside and within and full of poise and grace the like of which is not seen frequently. It does not hurt that she has a lovely accent, too.

Photos of a display inside the tent, a 20-foot dove, and Dr. Goodall herself behind the cut.
Continue reading Jane Goodall at Roots & Shoots Peace Day

Swerve Fest: (Not Quite As) Live from the Field, Pt. 3

Splashpg-V2We wrapped up yesterday’s Swervesperience with the screening of Australian filmmaker Mike Hill’s The Man Who Souled the World. Souled is the story of skatebaord wacko and local son Steve Rocco, and documents the huge impact he and his company World Industries made as the world of skateboarding transitioned from one of dominance on the ramp to dominance on the rail. It’s a great story, but unfortunately I think if you don’t already know who some of the key players are in the Rocco drama, you might be a little lost at points. But for anybody that was remotely connected to the world of skateboarding at that time, this is a huge bowl of nostalgia soup served with a side of “Damn, I wish I was a teenager again.” It’s also chock full of vintage footage of kids tearing it up all over spots like Venice Beach. Taken in order with Dogtown and Z-Boys and Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator, Souled sort of completes an unintended trilogy that tells the story of skateboarding from is birth to almost the present day. If you weren’t able to catch the film at Swerve, it opens at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 and Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex on Friday, October 5th, or get more info at the official site.

As for the rest of the fest, I was hoping to make it back to Barnsdall this afternoon but it’s not going to happen. Which is unfortunate because basically everybody I know is going to see DeVotchKa. We will, however, be in line early for the gala screening of Anton Corbijn’s Joy Division biopic Control, and probably checking out some of the awards show (with Jason Lee, featured extensively in Souled) following. And if my tired old bones don’t give out by 10:00, maybe even a bit of We Are Scientists.

Sunday Snapshot: There’s No Place Like Dome

If you’ve seen the ones in Rome or Paris you might be able to pardon me for long refering to this stately structure as L.A.’s Pantheon, even if it is actually just the Second Church of Christ Scientist north of USC on Adams east of Hoover.

Just nothing: it’s an awesome piece of architecture. And having marveled at its impressiveness from a distance for years, I finally pedaled by for a couple quick snaps, later learning from the excellent entry on the Big Orange Landmarks blog that the church took 2.5 years to build and opened for services in 1910 and at that time was the largest church west of Chicago. The copper-topped dome reaches a height of 130 feet, is 70 feet in diameter and weighs 1,400 tons.

One more pic after the jump and plenty more over on Big Orange Landmarks.
Continue reading Sunday Snapshot: There’s No Place Like Dome

Swerve Fest: Bonde do Role @ The Echoplex night was the Swerve Festival’s second night, and Bonde do Role played one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. When you walk into the Echoplex and see a trio of crazy sweaty Bazillian party kids jumping around the stage screaming Portuguese raps over a guitar loop taken from The Darkness’ “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, right away you know you’re in for a no-bullsh*t set.

And that’s what we got. The energy was intense. The band surfed the crowd, and the crowd jumped up on stage and humped the band. Sweat sprayed. Drinks were chucked. People danced. Good times were had.

I want to write more but I’m tired from all the dancing and the computer screen is kind of blurry, making it difficult to type. Besides, no description my poor brain can come up with right now would really do the show any kind of justice. You just kind of had to be there, and hopefully you were.

Swerve Fest: Live from the Field Pt. 2

So, Beautiful Losers makes me feel like I need to go home and make some damn art. Felt longer than it’s 81 minutes, but that might be because it started 30 minutes late. Hopefully that won’t screw up the timing on the other films. As for outside the theater, the stage setup is super awesome. Big stage, plenty of space to get your nasty funk on. I’m not really here for the music, but if I were I’d be pretty psyched. A couple of suggestions:

  • If you want a shirt, hit the line for silkscreening by Hit + Run first. It’s easily the longest and has been all day.
  • The line for sharpie tattoos from Jesse Spears is surprisingly short, so make sure you take advantage of it. She’s fun.
  • The line for the photobooth by The Seventh Letter is almost non-existant. Take advantage of that too because it’s also silly and fun and you’ll walk away with a free souvenir.
  • The food’s just okay, and the line is long. You might think about eating before you head out if you’re really hungry. They are selling beer and wine in another area.

Overall, though, the crowd’s not that bad, and the weather couldn’t have been better. Hopefully it will hold up for tomorrow, because I’ve been told the secret show is not to be missed.

Snow in Monrovia???

9%2029%2007005.jpg Well it’s not really snow, but what happens when a really big snow cone machine get’s out of control. Um well, ok it’s part of last nights shooting of the TV Show October Road for its Christmas Show.

The production company filled a chunk of North Myrtle Avenue with snow around the corner onto Lime Avenue and Libary Park to make it look like December in Massachusetts. Very cool. Even better as this group of local kids actually got to play in snow as there was quite a bit left all over town. Caused a bit of havoc with the Car Show but what the heck…when is it the last time we had that much snow in town anyway?

Pic is mine, done with the che-ez you know the drill to make it bigger.

ICME – historical monument

9%2029%2007016.jpg We can play where is frazgo with this one. Hint it is a beautifully restored and functional historical landmark. Sorry, no prizes for the luck winner. All you get is the satisfaction of knowing you are correct since I am not wired into the local prize patrol. Final note…isn’t the first bit of fall color really cool?

pic by me with my new che-ez. get’s bigger if you stroke it with your mouse a few times.

Donuts At 3am

But not the Yum-Yum kind.

Big ups to the ass-clown who woke me up at 3:18 this morning, ruining the lovely dream I was having (Merv Griffin was my host in Las Vegas — I don’t know, don’t ask.) with the red-line revving of a muscly car engine outside our window. We live on the corner of what seems to be a popular drag racing venue. Speed bumps were put in down one half of the street we live on a few years ago so the 3am racing has diminished a bit. So when I heard the revving this morning, I didn’t think much of it until it became screeching and lights blaring as the dude, I mean DOUCHE, spun around and around and around. Then I sat up with that half asleep adrenaline running, thinking, if he loses control and jumps our curb, my husband and I have nothing but one stucco/plaster wall between us and the headlines of the Metro section.

Come with me after the jump to discuss the smell of these 3am donuts and to answer some questions.
Continue reading Donuts At 3am

Celebrate Yer Freedom T’Read

banned_books_1.gifToday is the start of Banned Book Week, which is from Sept 29th – Oct 6th, 2007. The theme of Banned Books Week 2007 is “Ahoy! Treasure Your Freedom to Read and Get Hooked on a Banned Book.” Libraries and bookstores around the country are expected to mount exhibits and schedule readings and special events through Oct. 6. I searched, but was not able to find any for Los Angeles, save for a a dance performance in Mission Viejo And the LA Times Books blog entry only covered the basics about the week in general, and what it stands for. (If anyone has any to post, please do so in the comments!)

The book with the strongest California connection on the list, by the way, is #6 on the Top 100 Challenged Book List: Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice And Men. It’s challenged for its references to racism and euthanasia. This book was the pre-cursor to the “Okie” influx depicted in “The Grapes of Wrath”. While neither are directly set in Los Angeles, the ranches and agricultural bases of the Inland Empire and Salinas Valley had a great deal of influence in the 1920s and 1930s on Los Angeles’ strength as a commercial center. But, like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, it’s a little too much history to be remembered- hence the banned book list.

Anyways, to celebrate, go out and read! Visit the Central Library! Or stage a mock trial of a book or author using materials from the Constitutional Rights Foundation, which is right here in Los Angeles. But, most of all, we have to remember to stay vigilant, even in the cultural mosaic and left-wing vortex that is Los Angeles.

Historic Echo Park Theater A Sure Thing hay has been made over what to do about the perpetually derelict Ramona Theater at 2139 Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. There’s a suspicious lack of data concerning any official plans for the building outside of some general inquiries on the Echo Park Historical Society message board and a post on Curbed LA dated April 2007. In spite of (or due to) its cloudy future people are watching this place. Some think it should be a club in the vein of Spaceland or The Smell. Others think it should be turned into an organic grocery store or a restaurant.

I say all of those suggestions are stupid. The Ramona needs to be a movie theater again. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, it’s also the least likely fate to come to pass.

Keep reading…
Photo via
Continue reading Historic Echo Park Theater A Sure Thing

It Caught My Eye: The Power Of Water

I detoured on the bike ride home yesterday to ico-Union to pick up some tasty Pollo Campero on Olympic and I’m glad I did because coming back west to Hoover and hanging a right I soon found myself in the presence of this striking sculpture facing south at the southern tip of LaFayette Park just below Wilshire and I came back the same route home this afternoon to take pix and a closer look at this artwork previously unknown to me (click to biggify):

Though there was no plaque in place giving any details, inscribed in the upper right corner of the base wall relief was “PWAP/1934/Lion-Herron/Peticolas,” and so of course I googled it at my first opp and only one single solitary link came back to, but it had just the info I was looking for.

Titled “The Power Of Water, it was a collaboration by artists Henry Lion, Jason Herron and Sherry Peticolas that was completed in 1934 and installed in 1935. Originally a fountain but at some shameful and ironic point “The Power Of Water” was filled in with dirt.

More biggifiable pix after the jump (the relatively fresh blood all over the stone in the last one, adds a different dimension, to be sure).
Continue reading It Caught My Eye: The Power Of Water

Go to Swerve Fest tonight, on us!


I’ve got 5 pairs of tickets to tonights Swerve Fest premier and after party that will go to the fist 5 people to comment on this post. Be sure to leave a full real name so I can leave it with Will Call, and only the first 5 folks get ’em. And… GO!

ALL GONE! DATE PAST! Folks, this was for Friday’s opening events, and we gave all the tickets away on Friday before said events. People posting comments Saturday asking for tickets to Friday’s events are out of luck. Sorry.

From abLA :: Snow in LA by Valerie Palmer

I went to see the Dash Snow opening at Peres Projects this past weekend and left feeling a little empty and a little uninspired. The exhibit itself is broken up into both of Peres Projects’ spaces. The new space is very bright and very white and the old space has been painted black. Both contain Snow’s signature photos and his collages that rely heavily on tabloids and pornography. Right there I had a problem: I feel like porn incorporated into art just serves as a crutch for boring people who want to be provocative. I mean, it seems like a default for artists who are trying to be shocking or outrageous but aren’t creative or smart enough to do it in an original way. In any case, all the engorged body parts and dripping fluids felt kind of old and tired to me…continue on