Thanks to Banksy, Art in the Streets, (or more precisely, art in a massive shed in Lil Tokyo called ''The Geffen Contemporary"), now offers Free Mondays, June 13—August 8th.
As these things go, the exhibit is probably as rock solid a compendium of the street art movement as you're gonna see in the next several years.
To read an excruciatingly boring LA Times critique of the exhibit, go here. These people always have something to bitch about. Sigh o'clock.
Otherwise, if you're in town I highly recommend giving it a whirl. You'll likely spend a thoroughly enjoyable few hours. Even if you do or don't like all of it, it will definitely get your brain moving.
A few months ago, Ted passed through town playing solo shows on his way up to Noise Pop in SF.
Being an old friend, we asked him in for an episode down at the space. After several weeks of post-production editing, other ongoing music projects (Ghost Wars, The Soft Moon, Nairobi Sun, Artful Nudes, etc), and preparations on various event productions around the country (MWTX, SXSW, Vice Late Night, THIS los angeles, Pitchfork Festival, FYF, MFNW, etc...), we finally launched the first video of the Ted Leo episode last week. The second went up yesterday. The third goes up next week, June 20th. Ted, thanks again.
From his several bands and music projects, (Swiz, Fury, Bluetip, Retisonic, True Baritone, etc)...to his 15-year stint as Dischord art director...to the dozens of album covers, tour posters and magazines he's turned out as a freelance graphic designer...to audio engineer to video editor to film & commercial director to carpenter to vert skater to husband and father... He's got skills.
More than that, he's a good and honorable friend. In our almost 16-years of comraderie, we've played many shows in the US and UK together, and we've done an awful lot of odd, mundane, and gratifying work along the way. *[If we could only clone him and then get someone to provide a decent budget... he might make a truly fine feature film one of these days]. Until then, Jason thanks again for blasting through another weird one with us.
Tamarra (hi Tammy!) was again kind enough to reprise her role as our set designer. With just four days at her disposal, in total we built three sets for three videos. Each plopped inside the other like Russian dolls. A semi-endless series of reveals revealing the reveal... all squished into a 15-ft wide x 20-ft long x 14-ft high rehearsal space. Tammy, thank you.
1) Faux-forest. Sketchy tee pee. Fake campfire logs (found on craigslist for $40 bucks from a squirrely broad in a Ralph's parking lot deep in the San Fernando Valley). Immaculate '72 Fender Twin Reverb purchased on the cheap in Albequerque, New Mexico, (thanks to lunatic Brandon Madrid).
2) Fake squat apartment covered in newsprint. Wild walls made of balsa wood, held in place w/quickie clamps. Windows covered in duvetyne to block out all natural light. Floor boards reclaimed from Jason's kitchen refinishing project.
3) And finally a blown out rehearsal space. All props torn down and set aside. Filmed using available ambient light.
Director of Photography James Wall and lighting technician/art director Erik Denno provided their respective skills and ran the session's 2nd and 3rd cameras. Kerosene 454—eternal.
Having never worked on one of our makeshift film & audio projects, the fellas arrived a bit awed/bemuse by the scenario.
Fair enough. Inside of a space smaller than most living rooms we'd built three quite opposite environments, each requiring an entirely different lighting strategy from the last. Erik and James, thank you.
*[By the way, how many post-hardcore musicians does it take to change a lightbulb? Five. Four to debate the best Bad Brains album, and one to download the flashlight app on his iPhone]. So dumb, sorry.
I'm sorry Anton's skateboard got stolen from the hallway. Typical.
Jon Gilbert, audio engineer. Jon, the clarity of your Ted Leo mixes is really something special. Thank you.
Four days of building props. One day of filming and live audio recording, (11AM-9PM). Three sets, three songs, three takes each. Eight people in one tiny room. Breakfast at Novel Cafe. Lunchables at Urth Cafe. One pepparoni pizza, one vegan pizza for "dinner". Sixteen bottles of water. Eight coffees. Two Cokes, three RC Colas. One pack of gum.
It is not often that I go into such detail regarding the work that I do. Usually I just blast a randomized, context-free laundry list of crap I've been doing. Sometimes there just really isn't that much to say. Sometimes I don't quite know what to say because the work is too personal, too tedious, or too complicated. Or I'm simply too tired to type the words. And sometimes I don't bother—because so many months pass between the date we work on a thing and then put it out—I just don't bother writing about it because it all seems so far in the past.
But in this instance, I feeled compelled to detail the details. Why? Perhaps because it was a lotta work. Perhaps because our production crew shares some serious deep history and sensibilities. And/or, perhaps because our efforts were fun.
For the rest of our lives we'll now have an ass load of DIY videos and half-assed photos to remember the day and the combined creative efforts of our friends. I quite like the thought of this.
In fact, as I think about it, "the process of doing" may very well be the only reason I do anything creative anymore, (professional and personal works alike). With any luck, one's creative work leads to more creative work, which in turn leads to more opportunities to be creative and share something of this life. Indeed, if there's any sort of point to be made by tonight's post, that's probably it. Make something with others. See it through to the end. Share it and say thank you. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Soon as we broke down and said our goodbyes to Ted, Jason and the crew, Tammy and I began prepping the room for an evening shoot with Austra.
It's true, that same night we did a session with director Otto Arsenault and set designer Sophia Rubio. Fortunately they arrived a bit late, having been in the emergency room for most of the day.
Sophia cut off her fingertip while making outfits for Austra's performance. See that look on her face up there? That's the look of an uber-trooper.
This past Friday I had a late-afternoon appointment at the DMV in Lincoln Heights. Ugh. Especially at closing time. Everyone anxious, bored, pissed, terrified... Man, such an ill vibe up in that piece. Wanting to shake it off, I headed across the street to skate the new Lincoln skate park.
Like guitars and books, throughout my life skateboarding has always been the great equalizer, the stabilizer, the necessary break from everything complicated or whack. And like dance or transcendental meditation, it offers a momentary reprieve from the conventional terms by which we must otherwise generally live our lives. It is art-in-motion. Which is to say it is simply the body at play, devoid of purpose or utility. It is an expression of the inexpressible.
No dice. The Swoosh was hosting some sort of grom shop contest. Not really my bag. The makeshift DJ booth, robo-beats on repeat, and MC-guy with the too-loud microphone was giving me the dumb chills. Wicked bad.
So I shot a few half-assed snaps and went on my way. Still, it's nice to see another skate park go in, especially in a part of town that doesn't otherwise give kids, lovers, haters, domino players, baby pitbulls, and gangbangers a place to get active and socialize in relative harmony.
Afterwards I tooled around El Sereno and then over to Highland Park for the Andrew Jeffry Wright opening at THIS los angeles. The exhibit is, by turns, astoundingly kooky, colorful and heartwarming. If you don't like dumb puns and scat-jokes, you should probably go, if for no other reason than to have your boundaries stretched a bit further toward the stoops.
Spent the weekend trying to do my taxes, working on work, occasionally eating, walking dogs and sleeping. In that order. Total mind cave.
Such a blur.
A vacation or a brain aneurysm... Whichever comes first.