Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Car Burglary Alert -- Eagle Rock

The LAPD has issued an alert regarding a recent rash of burglaries from cars in the Eagle Rock area.
Recommendations from the LAPD:
1. Never leave valuables in PLAIN VIEW in your car. Thieves know that you hide your property under towels, sweaters and packages. Secure items in your trunk prior to arriving at location. Thieves are watching you.
2. Use some type of anti-theft device--alarm system or steering lock.
3. Park in well-lighted or high-traffic areas.
4. Permanently mark your property with identification. We suggest your driver license or ID card number.
5. Keep serial numbers of electronic equipment, such as computers, IPODS, GPS and cellular telephones.
6. Never leave your car running unattended.
7. Keep you car doors locked and windows rolled up.
8. Don't leave personal identification documents in car (Vehicle Ownership Title, credit cards etc.). Keep copies of license plate and vehicle identification number with you.
9. If you car is stolen or burglarized, immediately report it to the police.
10. Report suspicious activity or people loitering in the area--especially if someone is looking into vehicles.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Second Saturday Gallery Night

Coming in June!
The second Saturday of every month, many local galleries and artist spaces keep their doors open late. Many schedule openings and other special events that evening. Among the June highlights:
• Avenue 50 Studio presents “Metal Urges” featuring weighty pieces by local artists Michael Amescua, Charles Dickson, Hacer, Heather McLarty, Daniel Quinonez, Jaime Sabate, Deborah Thomas and Nan Wollman
• In the Avenue 50 Studio Annex, it’s “The Stamp Project--Creating Cultural Currency,” created by local artist and activist Margaret Garcia, through which artists, poets, musicians and writers react to the Federal Government’s failure to recognize the cultural community in its stimulus package, by creating life and work-affirming stamp images
• Popular painter and mixed media artist Walt Hall will have a solo show of new paintings about life and death inside Cactus, and the CoolHaus ice cream sandwich truck will be parked outside
• In celebration of Gay Pride Month, drkrm/gallery will present an extraordinary, never-before-seen glimpse into pre-AIDS gay sexual culture with “The Fairoaks Project,” an exhibit of Polaroid photographs taken by Frank Melleno during the spring and summer of 1978 at The Fairoaks Hotel, a San Francisco bathhouse
• Kristi Engle will be in the midst of a solo show by a significant definer of the local art scene, artist/curator John O’Brien
• MorYork will be showing “Fruit Salad,” the works of photographer Peter Brenner
• New Puppy will be experiencing the energy of “CAPTURED: U, Me & Hip Hop,” a group photo exhibit of captured moments in Hip Hop culture
• Every Second Saturday is “T-Shirt Revival Night” at Outpost for Contemporary Art; every month, for just a small charge, a different artist will spiffy up your T-shirt or bag or…with unique silk-screen images
• The Land of Odd is having two shows—a “Photography Exhibition” featuring Vern Evans, Jolly de Guzman, Edith Ben-Horin, Bruce Kaplan, Joe B. Hall and Diane Harrelson plus (try not to be scared) “The Evil Bunny Show” with artwork by Jinx, Sheri DeBow, Missy Feigum and Carisa Swenson until midnight
• Jose Vera Fine Art & Antiques is exhibiting new works by multicultural contemporary artist, Toni Scott, reflecting the power and unique identity of African Americans who have significant Native American Ancestry, with a reverence for and celebration of the melding of, African American and Native American traditions (+ the NELA Sweets Truck parked in front)
• workspace will be showing "Potpourri," the works of Davida Nemeroff, proprietress of Night Gallery, exploring multivariate forms of femininity in photographs and objects.
• Future Studio is debuting BOOK BOOTH HIGHLAND PARK, a few doors up the street from Chicken Boy's roost, next to the entrance of La Arca de Noe restaurant, 5570 N. Figueroa Street; BOOK BOOTH is a free community art/literature project. (The books and magazines found at BOOK BOOTH are all donated by your neighbors and are looking for new homes, so if you see something that interests you, please take it. If you have family-friendly books and magazines that you would like to pass along—just leave them at BOOK BOOTH. Please help keep BOOK BOOTH neat and trash-free. Until the end of June, you can still catch Michael Gullberg's "The Air That I Breathe" by appointment call 323 254-4565.)
• Mike Kelley and Michael Smith's "A Voyage of Growth and Discovery" will be open at the Farley Building in Eagle Rock from 7-9 (See this blog's posting of 6/4/10)
• Studio Root66 has extended Cheryl Cambras' "Super Happy Cuteness (see photo posted 6/4) and mixed it up with Roderick Smith's "Stage Plays," a collection of small oils in tin frames inspired by the retablo crafts of Mexico
So mark June 12 on your calendar and visit www.nelaart.com for a longer list of local venues, addresses, maps.

Franklin Artists Win Big

Jenny Hu and Marl Guillen

Franklin High School students made a strong showing in Congressman Xavier Becerra’s 17th annual Student Art Competition. Out of 125 entrants, Franklin took third place and swept the three honorable mention spots. The theme for this year’s competition was “Looking into the Future.”
Local winners were:
Third place: Emerita Dela Cruz, a junior at Franklin High School, for her entry “Photo Album: Life”
Honorable mention: Jenny Hu, a senior at Franklin High School, for her entry “Looking to a Future in Davis”
Honorable mention: Marl Guillen, a junior at Franklin High School, for his entry “Termite Attack”
Honorable Mention: Erik Duarte, a junior at Franklin High School, for his entry “Premonition”
The winners were honored at a reception at the Sherry Lansing Theatre at Paramount Studios, where the Congressman told the students, “In this time of budget cuts and strains on arts programs, it is heartening to see so many of you continue to pursue your passions and master your creativity,”

Emerita Dela Cruz

Erik Duarte
(photos courtesy of Congressman Becerra)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Local Pols & the Art of Funding Arts

Given that Los Angeles is renowned the world over for its arts and entertainment industries, there is a certain irony in the fact that the State of California ranks dead last among the 50 in per person spending on the arts. Northeast L.A.’s legislators have been highly creative in devising new ways to increase arts spending. However, so far their efforts are experiencing rough treading.

Assemblymember Anthony Portantino was recently honored with the California Association of Museums’ President’s Award for his support of museums and cultural institutions and for his introduction of AB 1777, which, if passed and signed by the Governor, will transfer 20% of sales tax collected on arts-related businesses to a fund for distribution by the California Arts Council. The bill would authorize a city, county or district or a nonprofit arts organization to apply to the council for a local assistance program grant for organizational support.

Portantino’s measure declares that, “Life in this state is enriched by art, innovation, and creativity.” He bases his argument for the bill on the facts that every dollar in state support for the arts leverages $7 in revenue; that the State's cultural enterprises provide 500,891 jobs for its residents, accounting for 7.6% of total employment; that arts nonprofits therefore contribute $5,000,400,000 to this state's economy and $300,000,000 in state and local taxes and that nonprofit arts organizations help the state meet its obligations in the field of education by serving schoolchildren, college and university students, teachers and other adults. The bill declares nonprofit arts organizations to be a stimulator to creative industries, playing a key role in the 21st century workforce and the global economy--including in the fields of architecture; advertising; consulting; education; performing arts; museums and other cultural industries; design--including electronic design, software development, film and games; historic preservation; music; new media; publishing; radio and television and tourism.

“An investment in the arts and the creative economy industries can revitalize a neighborhood or area,” says Portantino.

AB 1777 is a reintroduction of a measure proposed last year by then-Assemblymember Paul Krekorian, who represented Atwater Village and Griffith Park. It is being put forward in the State Senate by another Northeast legislator, State Senator Carol Liu. The measure is sponsored by California Arts Advocates.

Portantino’s measure does not create a new tax. A State Board of Equalization analysis says that the bill would bring about the transfer of approximately $22.8 million--which would otherwise go to the general fund--to a Creative Industries and Economic Revitalization Fund.

The State currently spends three cents per year per capita on arts; the national median is $1.

AB 1777 is apparently not moving forward this legislative session, but it remains pending.

Another measure that had great potential for the arts has not done even that well. AB 2677 by Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes of the San Fernando Valley would have allowed a surcharge of 25 cents on the sale of permanent markers and aerosol cans (up from the current five and 10 cents respectively). As introduced, the bill would have required that 50%of the revenues from the tax be allocated for funding the arts.

Last year, a similar measure by Liu cleared the State Senate, but not the Assembly. That bill would have had the effect of dramatically increasing Los Angeles’ funds for graffiti clean-up and would have enabled the purchase of new abatement technology.

When Fuentes introduced AB 2677 this year, he made a significant change. He added a mandate that half the surcharge money go to arts. Therefore, people who would have had to pay more for paints and markers for artistic purposes would have potentially gotten something back.

Local City Councilmember Jose Huizar introduced a measure seeking L.A. council support for Fuentes’ bill. Meanwhile, the arts allocation aspect of the bill didn’t fly. Then, when the City Council’s Information Technology & Government Affairs Committee met to consider the matter on June 1, committee members were informed that the bill had not made it out of committee and was dead.

"Car Club Show": Cars, Art and a Good Cause in NELA Adjacent

Howard Swerdloff of Howeeduzzit Gallery and Vanessa Acosta of the Peace, Culture and Education Center/Foundation with the art of Gilbert "Magu" Lujan, one of the original and most noted figures in Chicano Art and dean of Eastside car culture

Howeeduzzit Gallery may be located in an industrial park in Alhambra, but the May 16 opening for its current show featured Highland Park artists and Eagle Rock classic cars—for the benefit of a new Northeast L.A. service organization.
“The Car Club Show” is a celebration of the automobile as art.
“I love the romantic side of L.A. with cars,” says participating artist Richard Valdes.
Inside the gallery, 15 Los Angeles area artists use a variety of media to depict urban car culture. Among them are photographer Kevin Hass and painter Pola Lopez, both of Highland Park. Also represented are several artists whose work is familiar to regulars at Northeast L.A. galleries, including Patricia Lee, Richard Valdes and Frank Gutierrez, as well as Gilbert “Magu” Lujan, one of the original definers of Chicano Art and member of “Los Four,” who had the first Chicano art exhibition in the city of Los Angeles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1974.
Collectively, the works in the show depict car as canvass, headlight or steering wheel as art object, cruising as ritual and driving as lifestyle. They demonstrate a sensibility that everything in sight is deserving of decoration.
For the opening only, the Howeeduzzit event extended outside the gallery and into the parking lot with a gathering of real cars and their owners, sponsored by Marcos’ Garage of Alhambra and featuring the car clubs Trompers of Eagle Rock, Undertakers and Bang Time.
The opening served as a kick-off benefit for the Peace, Culture and Education Center/Foundation. The Center, which will be mobile, at least at first, will bring meditation and centering skills and martial arts programming, along with art, dance, music therapy and yoga to Northeast area youth. It will also provide programming for parents.
The new program is the creation of Highland Park resident Vanessa Acosta. Acosta is well-known in the Northeast arts world. She has fostered the ethnobotanical garden at the Southwest Museum for 18 years, has facilitated cultural tours and workshops, has served as a board member at Avenue 50 Studio and has been highly supportive of other local galleries and arts spaces. The center is an outgrowth of that work and furthers interaction among the local arts community and local youth and parents.
According to Acosta, the goal of the Center is "to foster a culture that rejects violence and encourages the active use of dialogue to address the root causes of conflict."
Acosta is especially interested in providing programming for boys from immigrant families and support for their mothers in what can be a stressful and confusing environment. She envisions the programming as addressing gender role issues, the sense of entitlement that boys can develop and the bewilderment that mothers often feel, which all too commonly lead to domestic violence. She would like to facilitate centering and a sense of self in youth and to provide parenting and violence-calming skills for their mothers.
The programming will reflect Acosta’s belief that young people have to experience peace within themselves before there can be peace within the home. She also looks at the fact that there is now a whole generation of kids born since the United States went to war with Iraq, with that being the only broader political reality they have known, and sees the need for youth to experience what a sense of peace is at home as a vital component of their growing up.
The program will serve youth ages 5-12. The hope is to have it running by January of next year.
A “Car Club Show” may have been an appropriate venue for the launch of the Center due to more than its ability to attract an appreciative crowd for wine and cheese.
The show depicts a world readily recognizable to the youth who will participate in Acosta’s program. Gutierrez says that the car show concept evokes the omnipresence of automobile culture he knew as a young boy. Some of the images feature a desire to see and be seen, such as Lopez’ Zoot Suit-attired image of “Mi Padre” or Magu’s “Ford Enchilada Being Followed by a Pan Chicano.” Some allude to a more covert side of life, such as Valdes’ images of life and romance under the freeway (“A lot goes on under the freeway,” the artist points out.) or the bullet hole in the window of Hass’ “Hathaway Truck.”
Howeeduzzit Gallery is the realized vision of sculptor, wood worker, gourd artist and musician Howard Swerdloff. Swerdloff is a resident of the San Gabriel Valley, but his work has been featured at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park and on the Arroyo Arts Collective Discovery Tour. Howeeduzzit shows feature perhaps the most diverse gatherings of any gallery in the area. The diversity includes the selection of artists from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. But it also extends to media. Shows in the gallery’s three years of existence have featured dolls, cars, gourds, ceramics, chairs, paintings, drawings and photography.
“Everything has its creativity,” Swerdloff says of “Car Club Show.” “Custom cars start as vision. Then you implement it. Anybody able to transform anything is an artist. It’s the way you do the thing you do.”
Further, Swerdloff has made a point of always including some of the most established L.A. artists side-by-side with up and comers. Swerdloff sees the gallery not only as a space for exhibition of art, but also as a place where artists meet and converse with other artists.
The opening of “The Car Club Show” was day one for the Peace, Culture and Education Center/Foundation. Meanwhile, the art show continues through June 5 by appointment. Upcoming exhibits include an all-men show in August and an all-women show in October. Visit www.howeeduzzitgallery.com.
Closing reception for “Car Club Show,” Saturday, June 5, 2-5 p.m. Howeeduzzit Gallery, 821 S. Raymond, #27, Alhambra. “Photography Show, Captured Images Caught in Time” opens Sunday, June 13, 2-6 p.m.

The art of Highland Park artist Pola Lopez

Highland Park photographer Kevin Hass at the car club gathering outside Howeeduzzit Gallery

"Hathaway Truck" by Highland Park artist Kevin Hass, from Car Show @ Howeeduzzit Gallery

Taking "A Voyage of Growth and Discovery" Through Eagle Rock

Michael Smith as Baby IKKI on his "Voyage of Growth and Discovery"

A major art event has taken up residence in an unlikely space in Eagle Rock. “A Voyage of Growth and Discovery” by Mike Kelley and Michael Smith will be on view at the Farley Building for three months, until August 26.
“A Voyage of Growth and Discovery” features the character of Baby IKKI in a mixed media work that includes a multi-channel video, a 30-foot sculpture and a sound installation.
The two-and-a-half hour, six-channel video component of “A Voyage of Growth and Discovery” follows the existential journey of Baby IKKI—a pre-lingual character Michael Smith has been performing at major international museums and in public for over 30 years--as he wanders through a festival of "radical self-expression" in Nevada's remote Black Rock Desert. The installation evokes the festival's fantasy-like environment, which is described by the event producers as “both folksy and grand—a mixture of fairground, playground, hippie commune and the futuristic architectural aesthetic of R. Buckminster Fuller.” Baby IKKI negotiates the rave-like festival environment while also exploring the primal natural elements of fire, water, earth and wind. Related sculptures fill the 15,500-square foot space surrounding a 30-foot tall junk sculpture of Baby IKKI.
The collaborative project was actually born in Mike Kelley’s studio space in the Farley Building, a 50s-era public storage building. It had its debut in New York before returning to its roots.
“A Voyage of Growth and Discovery” is co-produced by West of Rome and the SculptureCenter of Long Island City, New York. It is curated by Emi Fontana, West of Rome’s Executive and Creative Director.
Pasadena-based West of Rome Public Art (WoR), launched in 2005, is a non-profit “conduit of cultural activity,” dedicated to the realization of artists’ projects, exhibitions and public interventions that encourage dialogue and community interaction, primarily within the Los Angeles region.
In opening the artists’ studio to the public, West of Rome is intentionally calling into question the traditional division between the art’s public and private spheres. The event also reflects West of Rome’s ongoing desire to highlight parts of the City outside the art world’s usual path—in the case of Eagle Rock, an area characterized by ethnic diversity and a large population of creative professionals.

Art Spaces Pop Up in the Industrial Mists

Crank it up

Opening Night @ pLAyLAnd

The warehouses along the concrete-lined Los Angeles River, along the railroad tracks of Northeast Los Angeles and along its boulevards were once a manifestation of a city turning its back on beauty. Increasingly, however, those cavernous spaces are proving to be ideal arts venues.
At “VOLUME,” contained within AT1 Projects alongside the tracks in Atwater Village, 40 artists have the use of 12,500 square feet plus an adjacent “pavilion,” making it an option to hang a ten-foot tall sculpture from the ceiling, or a 12-foot portrait on the wall or to use a whole darkened room to install a video or sound installation.
VOLUME is a coming together of some 40 Los Angeles and New York artists working in such diverse genres as painting, sculpture, site-specific and multi-media installation, performance, sound art and video. Curator Andrea Neustein actually refers to the space as her co-curator. She also writes in her curator’s statement about how the space is informed by its Atwater Village neighborhood, “a cross-section of residence and industrial production.”
VOLUME, AT1 Projects, 3229 Casitas Avenue, Atwater Village, Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6, through June 6 (with possible extension). www.at1projects.com.
PLAyLAnd just completed a two-month stay in a warehouse on Eagle Rock Boulevard in Glassell Park, where it felt like a secret world hidden behind an unmarked back gate. Inside, its series of rooms and its weekend events featured 25 artists from Los Angeles, Reno and San Francisco and work as diverse as site-specific installations, circuit-bending sound scape, an international mail art show, video installation, live performing sculpture, photography, painting, large-scale sculpture, poetry bomb, spoken word, performance, handmade toys and Mudpeople. It was a “do-it-yourself inter-media art exhibition,” but it clearly wouldn’t have happened without Elaine Parks aided by Helen van der Neer, resident artists of the general area.
While VOLUME and pLAyLAnd exhibits included an awareness of their buildings’ previous incarnations, both exhibits were themselves ephemeral. Then they became part of the collective history of their spaces.
Kara Tanaka and Marco Rios, "Everything Was Closed," vinyl banner, at VOLUME

Mudperson at pLAyLAnd

Dan Carlson, "Threshold," steel + aluminum + monofilament plasma + cut sheet steel, at VOLUME

Neal Taylor, "From Here to There," sight specific installation featuring objects found in the warehouse now known as pLAyLAnd

Jess Ryan,”Kaleiding” at VOLUME (steel, MDF, wood, lacquer, mirrored plexi, hardware, projection screen, projector, original 2:32 film with score by John Atkinson of Aa)

pLAyLAnd's "International Mail Art Show"

Anna Homler, “Pharmacia Poetica” (detail) at pLAyLAnd
“The purpose of the Pharmacia Poetica is to demonstrate how the literal becomes the lyrical and in so doing, cures.”

Anna Homler, “Pharmacia Poetica” (detail) at pLAyLAnd

Anna Homler alien vocals, playing small machines and found objects, at pLAyLAnd

Opening night at pLAyLAnd with the art of Mike Christy

A.B.J.B. (Andy Ben and Jeff Boynton) explore "circuit bending"--the art of opening up electronic sound generating devices and intentionally short-circuiting points on their circuit boards in search of interesting and perhaps never-before-heard sounds. (pLAyLAnd)

Kenzi Shiokava, “Shaman Staff” (wood, bone and fiber) and “Corporate Ghost” (wood and telephone wire) at pLAyLAnd

Cinco de Mayo in Cypress Park

The 2010 Cypress Park Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival
Presented by the
Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council
Saturday, May 1

Futbol Glory: The Copa de Outpost

Artists, friends & neighbors, kids and actual athletes will complete for soccer/futbol glory this weekend in support of Outpost for Contemporary Art. There will be live music, performance art, food and drink from local restaurants and trucks. And the winning team will be honored with the “Copa de Outpost,” hand-crafted by artists Carolyn CastaƱo and Reanne Estrada.
Headliner for the day will be the Guadalajara-based artist collective, Homeless, who will play a soccer game between "dictators" and "guerrillas.”
Outpost for Contemporary Art is a Los Angeles non-profit, based in Highland Park. Outpost is devoted to connecting people to art and artists from around Los Angeles and around the world through a wide variety of events, exchange programs and residencies. Outpost Cup precedes will help bring South American artists to Los Angeles for extended residencies. The first residency, scheduled for this fall, will involve Grupo Bijari, the Sao Paulo-based artist collective that designed the Outpost Cup logo.
The Outpost Cup will run from 8 AM to 6 PM, June 6, at Vista Hermosa Park, 100 North Toluca Street in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. (The park is on First Street west of the 110-Harbor Freeway between Beaudry and Glendale Boulevard.) Suggested donation for attendees is $3, which gives the donor a discount ticket for food purchases from sponsor Coolhaus. http://southamerica.outpostart.org

The Past and the Future of Design

Improvement in Sheep Shears
Patent #52,293
January 30, 1866
Inventor: Albert H. Kennedy, Brunswick, OH
“The nature of my invention consists in providing the application of power through spiral spring wires and the combination of machinery, so that sheep can be shorn with great facility and ease.”

A complex tiling form composed on computer and grown in real space using a 3D printer, 2010 @ The Art Center College of Design's "Future of Objects

The Art Center College of Design is taking a look at both the past and future with “The Curious World of Patent Models” and “The Future of Objects.”
The exhibit explores intersections among the domains of art, science, technology and design with side-by-side exhibitions that look at the interplay between the technologies used to fabricate objects and the thought-processes used to conceive them. “The Curious World of Patent Models,” includes more than fifty scale models representing ideas submitted for United States Patent protection circa 1800-1880. “The Future of Objects” displays new digital-age fabrication and prototyping techniques in which startlingly complex forms are conceived and “grown” by machines known as 3D printers. The exhibit shows how technologies related to those used every day in households and offices to print 2D information on flat pieces of paper are now being used to “grow” freestanding 3D objects in physical space using a variety of solid materials.
Art Center College of Design’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery, 1700 Lida Street in Pasadena, Eagle Rock adjacent. June 4 through August 15.

Museums of the Arroyo

Trying out the popular early twentieth century sport of croquette outside the Longfellow-Hastings Octagon House at Heritage Square Museum

A blacksmith at work at Heritage Square Museum

Popular Los Angeles historian Cecilia Rasmussen signs Curbside L.A.: An Offbeat Guide to the City of Angels at the Lummis Home and Garden

Thousands of visitors participated in the annual “Museums of the Arroyo Day” (MOTA) May 16, in celebration of the history, arts, culture and beauty of the Arroyo Seco. Participating museums included Heritage Square, The Los Angeles Police Historical Society and The Lummis Home and Garden in Northeast Los Angeles, as well as The Gamble House and The Pasadena Museum of History in Pasadena.
Up next, the annual Vintage Automobile and Classic Car Show at Heritage Square, June 12, will document the evolution of the automobile. Over 50 vintage automobiles of every type will be on display, including such rarities as a1956 Packard 400 from the Packard's International Club, a convertible 1929 Ford Model A Phaeton, a 1935 Peugeot 302, a 1941 Tatra T87 and a 1966 Covair.
Heritage Square Museum will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote with “Their Rights and Nothing Less,” a celebration of Women’s Suffrage, beginning June 19. The exhibit will include original, rarely-seen ephemera from the early years of the suffrage movement and will feature a section dedicated entirely to the efforts of women in Los Angeles who led the fight. Summer events at Heritage Square will include a vintage car show and silent and classic movie nights.
For more information on Heritage Square Museum, visit www.heritagesquare.org.
For more information on the Lummis House, visit www.socalhistory.org. See the article on the campaign to save the house’s magnificent doors in last month’s Arroyo Seco Journal.
For Museums of the Arroyo Day, The Los Angeles Police Historical Society, paid tribute to the first policewoman in the United States, Alice Stebbins Wells, who joined the LAPD 100 years ago. Exhibits at the museum include photographic documentation of the role of women in LAPD history. www.laphs.com