All posts by Guest Author

The Shopping Cart Economy

Shopping Cart 2.jpgSomewhere in LA, thereís an underground demand for shopping carts. I know this because Iíve seen the demand in action. Iíve seen the shopping cart economy function. And in my very own cul-de-sac. Two days ago, a shopping cart appeared on the curb outside my house.

I live at the end of a cul-de-sac in Echo Park. Itís as reasonable a place to ditch your shopping cart as any, I suppose, so the appearance of the cart wasnít what surprised me. What surprised me was its life after it arrived.

First, I moved it. Who wants a house with a shopping cart parked in front of it? Against the cautions of a friend that it was ìcovered in the hivî, I pushed it (granted with only two fingers) further away from my house towards the cul-de-sacís dead-end. ìAt least now it doesnít look like it belongs to meî, I thought. Iíd have gotten rid of it through the proper channels, but who knows what the proper channels are? Besides, I figured it would be interesting to observe.

I was right.

The cart sat next to the drainage opening at the end of my cul-de-sac for one whole day and two nights. It sat there, unmolested. Until today.
Continue reading The Shopping Cart Economy

Arclight Employees Unite!

catphoto.jpgLook, Iíll get it out right up front; Iím a cheap bastard. By necessity. Iím poor, so Iím cheap. I like to spend money with the best of them when I have it, but when I donít, Iíll juice a penny. Iím the guy who upon reading about the parking meter scam run by downtown homeless thinks, ìhmm, not a bad idea.î So every time I find myself at the Arclight theater on a Friday night, I wonder two things: 1) why do the tickets cost three dollars more on the weekend and 2) is this really worth fourteen bucks?

I know, I know. Itís the best theater in Los Angeles, maybe the world. But with national ticket prices middling at $6.21, is fourteen dollars reasonable? An offhand comment made last Friday by the twenty-something woman selling me the tickets for Lords of Dogtown cast further doubt:

ìIf we didnít get to see movies for free, we couldnít afford to see them at all.î

Itís obvious when you think about it, but hearing it said out loud, it sounded absurd. Working full-time at a movie theater and unable to afford the price of admission?! Itís true, with the exception of the bartenders and wait staff in the Arclight cafÈ (who also, BTW, see the movies for free), your run-of-the-mill Arclight employee with regular expenses like rent, transportation, and food cannot afford to see movies at the theater by which he or she is employed.

While rethinking whether or not I could afford to see movies there, I sarcastically suggested unionization to which the woman replied with a stone-cold, straight face that the attempt had been made and that the people who orchestrated it no longer worked there. The insinuation was that they had been terminated for attempting to organize.

“So what?” after the jump…
Continue reading Arclight Employees Unite!

Say it, don’t spray it.

clickitarmy.jpgAnybody else noticed the recent glut of ìClick It or Ticketî warnings on the radio stations and freeways of Los Angeles? I know theyíre only trying to save lives, but these spots make me want to unlatch my seatbelt if only out of spite. Am I not capable of deciding whether or not to wear a seatbelt on my own? And with 90.4 percent of Californians already wearing seatbelts, is a $3.3 million marketing campaign really a good use of funds? This press release explains the statewide effort, but not the annoying catch-phrase.

“CHP Deputy Commissioner Farrow said that the patrol is deeply committed toward raising seat belt use in California. ìThe simplest and most effective action a motor vehicle driver or occupant can do to save their life is to spend two seconds and buckle a seat belt.î

Now thatís a reasonable cost/benefit analysis. Two seconds versus death? Iíll take a seatbelt, thank you very much. But ìIt only takes 2 secondsî just doesnít have the poetic flippancy of the familiar ìClick It or Ticket!î

Is it me or do the ticketing authorities of Los Angeles and California (and other states) bandy this ìClick It or Ticketî catch-phrase about in a particularly self-satisfied manner? I imagine uniformed commissioners repressing smug smiles, like theyíre SOO pleased with the clever rhyme, but too bureaucratic to admit it. In fact, the implicit pleasure taken in the obvious couplet suggests a smarmy self-righteousness I find quite annoying as well as paternalistic.

And now I’m on a roll…
Continue reading Say it, don’t spray it.

Fill me up buttercup

You make have heard of H.D. Buttercup, the rich man’s Ikea with the stupid tag line – are you ready for it… manutailer
Well this Saturday night they are hosting the latest Create:Fixate art show -> club -> bar -> dance club. Come see live art, live music, live people, seriously, get our of your house.

Viewables: Andy Moses : Wess Dahlberg : Christoff Koon : Petra Westin : Ron Reihel : Lyuben Dimitrov : Kenny Harris : Elizabeth Lopez : Steven Janssen: Siuan McGahan : Andrea LaHue : Mike Russek: Robert Yager : Eric Tucker : R.S. Yeager: Paint Bombs : Gulbin Yavuz : Trace Palmer : Patsy Cox : Jbrother : Linka A. Odom
Live Painting: Jason Macaya : Astrid Chevalier : Chase (614)
Installation: Parris Patton
Ineractive Installation: CTRL

Auidable treats: Somnambulist VoxBox : Rhythm Nathan Live Breakbeat Jazz: Trace Element Fateless Flows : Lab. 01 : Kenneth Graham Spectral/Ovum : Liza Richardson KCRW : AquaVee SPS/Missdrea Media : Saru Shadow Records/Bastard Jazz : Yellowtail Soulphonic/Spooning : Lab .02 : Audiomoe Magnify : DJ 1-Luv Unorthodox Beats : Wiseacre Recline Sounds : Alfonso Recline Sounds

8723 ñ8739 Washington Blvd,. Culver City
$12 admission : $10 before 9pm : Free before 7p

The Echo Park Improvement Association

So Iím poking around Councilman Garcettiís website thinking that since I discovered that there are about sixteen community and government groups that have some interest in Echo Park Lake that Iíll never make a dent and that the destiny of my controversial post last month is only to serve as evidence of my disenfranchisement and tendency not to follow through when I find this. And everything changes.

I get my ass out of the house and make my way down to a meeting of the Echo Park Improvement Association where I discover that the people putting the ìgentî back in gentrification arenít gents at all. Theyíre predominantly sweet, elderly women whoíve lived in Echo Park since before most of us were born. Okay, there were a few gents sprinkled in for good measure, but by ìpredominantly sweetî I do mean ìpredominantlyî, cuz a couple of these little old ladies are firebrands who wonít take no sass from nobody. These folks can sympathize with the feeling some of you have that your neighborhood is being stolen away. They felt the same way, only when they felt it, the thieves were gang-bangers and drug dealers. But they stayed the course and redoubled their efforts and itís thanks to them that Echo Park Lake gets new benches, new paintjobs, and 18 new trees (forthcoming). Itís thanks to them that graffiti gets painted out, lots get cleared, and dangerous intersections get stop signs.
Continue reading The Echo Park Improvement Association

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

clubaiga_mtnbar.jpgWe were down at Mountain Bar in Chinatown on Saturday for my birthday. It’s a great space. Really red. And they were nice enough to let my party share the upstairs room with a gallery opening after-party. The bar opens on Gin Ling Way which I guess is another name for the Chinatown pedestrian area off Hill that features a charming wishing well, though the charm is significantly mitigated by the nighttime security fencing and the presence of maintenance workers sweeping it for change (charity or profit?) The fact that the neighboring shops are closed at night and the space is blocked to traffic allows the bar to let its patrons loiter outside in a de facto courtyard without concern for noise complaints or safety. And what fun to be had on a quartet of children’s coin-op rides. I didn’t really have any complaints from the place while we were there (except perhaps the cigarette smoke upstairs; those hipsters LOVE to smoke indoors), but inside the alluring crimson walls beats a heart as black as nightÖ
Continue reading Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.


Flickrís krazydad was referenced in a previous post, but in addition to his work with squaredcircle and the creation of his Experimental Colr Pickr, heís also got a really good selection of traditional LA photography.

Some favorites? Sun Valley Cherry Pickers, Sun Valley electrical tower sign (create-a-caption), and something called the LA Bunny Hop.

(potentially more information on that bunny hop thing here or about the bunny hop and that couch you threw out last weekend here)

When Free Samples Get Out Of Hand

Today I left for Costco and thought, “I should bring my camera. Oh that’s ridiculous, I’m going to Costco”. So I’m in Costco, super busy Saturday, and they have those sample tables set up at the end of every isle. You know, it’s like a whole lunch buffet. Near the back of the store, there’s a woman standing behind a card table with a red and white checked table cloth and a tupperware container of Dog Food

She explained that some people want to see and smell the kibbles before committing to a 40 pound bag. Alas, no picture.

Too much art, but potentially free DIY porno.

I’ve got to be the least qualified to comment on whether this art is going to be any good (too inclined towards graphic design in the past), but I had a good time at their last show, so why not spread the word around. Self-described “arts organization” Create:Fixate puts on it’s spring show this Saturday night downtown at the Spring Arts Tower (453 S. Spring Street).

The highlights last time:

– The seedier side of downtown after dark. (Don’t use this as an excuse. The downtown zombies are as scared of you as you are of them).
– A jazz-core trio (sounds lame, but isn’t) called rhythm nathan who referred the audience to this link that has zero information about the band but does describe the drummer’s work with recording artist Minnie Driver.
– An informal but comprehensive discourse on the Art of Curating with Pascual and Cihan of the currently homeless though not defunct Swift Gallery (come on dudes, update your website).
– Some drinks my friend bought me.

This Saturday’s promised highlights:

– Two video/photo booths provided by keshot corp. Send photos or video instantly to any email address (I suggest mine: [email protected]).
– Live painting. The obscure and seemingly counterproductive art of live painting offers plenty of “oh, that’s how they do it” moments as well as the opportunity to heckle and distract. I prefer those clacking sticks they use to faze foul shooters at basketball games.
– My friend absent in San Francisco not there to remind me I owe him drinks.

If you must have details visit, but I promise you, it’s too much information to make sense of. Just show up. It’s $10, but if you get there before 9, it’s $7. If you’re really, really cheap; actually care about the art; and/or are too scared of the after-dark-downtown zombies and C.H.U.D.s there’s a free preview from 4-7 the day of. The only other benefit to going early is, you might see what itís like before they get the art organized.