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l.a. centric magazine

may/june 2012

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www.twsteel.com


THROUGH JUNE 30 TWO MAJOR EXHIBITIONS RUTH WEISBERG: NOW & THEN

“Time and Time Again” 2002 Oil & Mixed Media on Unstretched Canvas 54 x 100 inches

CLAIRE FALKENSTEIN: AN EXPANSIVE UNIVERSE

Claire Falkenstein Installation Detail

JACK RUTBERG FINE ARTS

357 N. La Brea Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Telephone (323) 938-5222

www.jackrutbergfinearts.com may/june 2012 l.a. centric

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EIS Studio | EIS Product architecture, interiors, landscape

DESIGNING MODERN ENVIRONMENTS

PEBBLES sculptural seating

1348 abbot kinney blvd. venice, ca | 310.392.8887 w w w.eisstudio.com | info@eisstudio.com


HERRINGTON MELISSA

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Alexandra Wiesenfeld, “secret life of Birds (Maya #3)”, 2008, oil and acrylic on paper, 47 by 71 inches

AlexAndrA Wiesenfeld

ALSo repreSenTinG: Sienna DeGovia rebecca Farr Laura Kim David Lloyd Thomas Macker Matthew Anthony Stokes Michael Wingo

2903 Santa Monica Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA 90404

310-828-1912

Gallery Hours: Tue–Sat, 11am – 5pm and by appointment

www.gallerykmLA.com


Earthly Paradise : Displaced Realities Yeonju Sung SoLo exHibition Opening ReceptiOn | May 17, 2012 | 5:00pM – 8:30pM May 1 7 – July 13, 2012

Art-merge | LAb Pacific Design center | 8687 Melrose ave. suite B256, los angeles, ca 90069 Courtesy Design Loves Art at the Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, CA

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www.art-merge.com


Pollock at 100: Exclusive Centennial Celebration

5th Annual

July 13-15, 2012

Media Partner

Opening Preview July 12 benefiting the LongHouse Reserve | Bridgehampton, NY | arthamptons.com Jackson Pollock’s East Hampton Studio at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampon, NY; Staged in December 2011. Photographed by Gary Mamay exclusively for ArtHamptons.

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l.a. centric magazine

May - June 2012

contents

16 | calendar 18 | onview two art exhibitons

26 | people q&a: fabian alsutany

20 | places silver lake

28 | art street lights by teale hathaway

22 | shops los feliz & santa monica

30 | jewelry andrea li and su benningfield

24 | people renee faia

32 | fashion summer favorites

Los Angeles Design Comes of Age 39

Lost Landmarks of Los Angeles Past 44

Wanderlust: South Africa 52

Brent Turner looks at L.A.’s design scene

Alison Martino picks 16 of her favorite places

Laura Grier captures some amazing scenes

62 | art collecting how to begin 64 | health yoga: what’s your excuse? 70 | travel story a residency in greenland

66 | food justine freeman reviews red medicine, tar & roses, and wilshire 78 | dating.pool one click away

On the cover: Annabelle Fleur models

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Goodnight Macaroon color blocking tee, Zara shorts, Rebecca Minkoff circle swing bag, and Jeffery Campbell Dresden sandals

lacentricmagazine.com


John Kelly Chocolates, 2012 Truffle Fudge

Chocolate & Caramel with Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt

A L L H A N D M A D E • A L L N AT U R A L 1111 1/2 MONTANA AVENUE SANTA MONICA, CA 90403

1508 N SIERRA BONITA AVENUE LOS ANGELES, CA 90046 AVA I L A B L E AT F I N E R E TA I L E R S N AT I O N W I D E JOHNKELLYCHOCOLATES.COM

2012 John Kelly Foods, Inc. may/june 2012 l.a. ©centric 13


l.a.contributors Just i ne Fre e man

L is a C S oto Visual artist Lisa C Soto exhibits in the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe. Her sculptures and drawings reference cartography, landscapes, and world cultures. Born in Los Angeles, Soto was brought up in both Spain and New York City. She currently works out of her art studio in the Beacon Arts Building in Inglewood, CA. lisacsoto.com

Although she can't stay put, this LA native finds the town to be just dreamy. Justine loves to witness first hand how much LA continues to mature as a cultural metropolis and savors the moments when she gets to share how much the scene has flourished. In the last few years alone, the art world has expanded and the culinary universe has spotlighted some talented new chefs. Trying out new restaurants is always on her list of things to do. Justine blogs at mysoupdujour.com

Pau l Kop e i k in Paul was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and has had a gallery in Los Angeles for over twenty years. He loves gardening and raising his daughter.

Mand ana Yam i n Mandana Yamin is the senior writer for L.A. hair, a fun guide to L.A.’s top stylists, salons and hair trends. In March of 2011, she created a personal and humorous blog about single life called Where The Eff Is My Soulmate??? She lives in Santa Monica, California.

L au ra Gr ie r She has worked freelance for a variety of media giants like Warner Bros. Studios, National Geographic, and Wire Image. Presently, Laura is a Los Angeles based photojournalist, and the founder and present owner of Beautiful Day Photography www.beautifuldayphotography.com

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l.a. centric magazine

Pub l isher & Editor

Richard Kalisher Architecture & Design Editor:

Brent Turner

F o od & T ravel Editor :

Justine Freeman

Vin tag e L .A . Editor :

Ast r id O v ide o C l ark Astrid Oviedo Clark runs an art advisory firm that helps individuals build their art collections. She has worked in the art world for over 20 years, beginning as an archivist for Leo Castelli, the greatest art dealer of the postWar period. She has curated museum exhibitions and lectured on fine art. She previously worked at Gagosian Gallery in New York and Christopher Grimes Gallery in Los Angeles.

L or na Umphre y Lorna Soonhee Umphrey is a host, actor and writer, based in Los Angeles. As a child, Lorna moved around quite often having lived in places such as West Virginia, Oklahoma and Ohio, so making friends came easy to her, a perfect skill for interviewing. She has reported for KoreAm, LocalSpotter.com, and Audrey magazine. A former beauty and photo agent, Lorna keeps her eye on the pulse of the art, film and pop culture scene, and finds LA as the perfect fit for this market.

Te a l e Hat haw ay Teale Hatheway is an artist living in and working about Los Angeles. She studied at Scripp College, the Slade School of Fne Arts, and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She is a fourth generation Angeleno and an advocate of historical preservation.

Alison Martino A rts Editor:

Lisa C Soto

Art Collecting Columnist :

Astrid Oviedo Clark

C on t ribu t in g Editor s: L orn a Umph re y Mi ch el l Ne w man Man d an a Yamin C on t ribu t in g W rite r s: Tri ci a Tongc o Pau l Kop ei k in L aur a Gri er An n a Br ui sma C op y Editor Ron S amps on

Adve r t is i ng In for mat ion : R i chard Ka l ishe r | 3 2 3 - 308- 8916 a dve r t is i ng@ l a c e nt r i c maga zine. com Submissions - L A C ent r ic on ly accepts e-mai l submissions. Ple as e s end stor y ide as, complete d f ic t ion, ar t, and photos to submi ssions@lacentr ic magazine.com or v isit our website for more det ai ls. Ple as e note t hat a resp ons e may t a ke up 2 mont hs. © 2 0 1 2 R . K . Graph i c s / C it y C e nt r ic Me di a. A l l R i g ht s R e s e r ve d.

Eric Kalisher

Conception • Design • Editor-at-large


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Expo Line Opens metro.net

SELECT CONCERTS May 5 KROQ Weenie Roast - Verizon May 5 the Weeknd - Hollywood Forever May 8 Snow Patrol - Hollywood Palladium May 12 Brendan Benson - Troubadour May 12 Rufus Wainwright - Los Angeles Theatre May 12 Brian Jonestown Massacre - Wiltern May 16 John Digweed - Mayan Theatre May 18 Best Coast - Wiltern May 19 Dum Dum Girls - Echo May 19 Roger Water - L.A. Coliseum May 19 Paul Oakenfold - Avalon Hollywood May 30 Jack White - Wiltern June 2 Beach Boys - Hollywood Bowl June 2 Mogwai - Music Box @ Henry Fonda June 2 Sugarland - Verizon June 22 Vans Warped Tour - Pomona Fairplex Jun 29 Summerland - Greek Theatre July 1 Ben Harper - Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl Shell, Courtesy of Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Hollywood Bowl Opening Night hollywoodbowl.com

JUNE

22

MAY & JUNE

Joshua White/JWPictures, courtesy of L&M Arts, Los Angeles.

APRIL

Expo Line train at the Western Avenue station. Photo by Metro.

l.a.calendar

Alexander Calder at L&M Arts through June 16

Herb Ritts

Last Remaining Seats

Paper Moon - Los Angeles Theatre laconservancy. org/remaining

L.A. Style The Getty Center through Aug 26

MAY

30

getty.edu

JUNE

14-24

LA Film Festival

Opening with Woody Allen’s latest, closing with Magic Mike, and featuring nearly 200 other films.

lafilmfest.com

Beasts of the Southern Wild will be shown at a gala screening

La Bohème

at the LA Opera Eight Performances in May and June

laopera.com Photo by: Robert Millard

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l.a.onview

MICHAEL BOYD

As part of its focus on 20th and 21st century architects and designers, Edward Cella Art + Architecture will exhibit the debut of PLANEfurniture, an innovative suite of modern furniture created by noted designer and collector Michael Boyd. Inspired by the pioneers of modern design, from Gerrit Rietveld and Rudolph Schindler to Jean Prouvéand Donald Judd, the PLANEfurniture collection attains perfect proportions and a simple, functional beauty. The distinctive character of PLANEfurniture is founded in the modernist principles of function and form reinterpreted for today with a simple elegance and economy. Grounded by an extensive and intimate knowledge of the history of modern furniture, Boyd adapts and refines the chair, table and desk, creatingaltogether new forms that are as rational as they are timeless; livable as they are aesthetically pleasing; and comfortable as they are adaptable. Designed and built by hand in Los Angeles, PLANEfurniture is sustainable and affordable. Constructed of harvested, salvaged, or recycled woods by local craftsman, each piece is composed of a few elements, assembled to achieve an interplay of shapes and angles. Ensuring a universality of use, PLANEfurniture is comprised of four systems: PLANKseries, WEDGEseries, BLOCKseries, and RODseries, each logically adapting its central tenant to functional solutions for indoor or outdoor use. Each piece in the collection may be customized by wood, color and size, and will furnish a room, a patio, or an entire house. Boyd says that "PLANEfurniture is intended to appeal to all who seek universal solutions to age-old design problems. It is ultimately about trying to reconcile style with logic, passion with discipline." Architect Mark Lee puts Boyd’s work in context: "After decades of collecting, studying and being immersed in the scholarship of modern furniture; Michael Boyd is creating furniture of his own. When looking at the piece made of rudimentary planes, one can sense and deduce their historical lineage while remaining wholly original, and originality that evolved though erudition. PLANEfurniture is of our time and of all time." PLANEfurniture by Michael Boyd is on view through June 16, 2012. Edward Cella Art + Architecture, 6018 Wilshire Blvd, Miracle Mile.

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Michael Boyd: (above) PLANKseries sidechair with perforations / Chinese red; (below, left to right) RODseries ‘Flip Lounge’ armchair + ottoman; WEDGEseries 'Arrowhead' corded lounge chair; a selection of PLANkseries sidechairs.


PETER SHIRE

Peter Shire is recognized for being an innovative and unclassifiable artist. Since the 1970's Peter Shire has been at an intersection where craft, fine art, architectural and industrial design collide. He is not a "traditional" ceramist and his ceramics push the boundaries and preconceived notions of clay. For nearly four decades Peter Shire has made a collection of teapots, cups and other functional items typically found in domestic settings with atypical designs. The works have challenged ideas of form versus function, and have become sculptural objects occupying domestic settings.

(from top) Peter Shire: Sushi Set, cone 06 clay and glazes, variable dimensions; Constructivist Tearoom, 2007, ceramic cup, plate - 5” diameter, cup - 3-1/2 x 2-1/2 x 2-1/2”Peach With Tamago Slice, 1977, cone 06 clay with glazes and marbleized cup, 8-1/2 x 8-1/2x 6-1/2"

Cups, 1974 - 2012 is a body of work focused on Shire's interpretation of a commonly used vessel, but are in no shape or form commonplace objects. A few of the works in the show have fragile thin walls that appear as if they could be easily chipped if touched by human lips. Their painterly surfaces and sculptural elements added or removed, give each cup an individual personality and sense of presence. Some of the larger cups have bases, handles and sculptural elements that look like assemblages or collages of ideas sculpted with clay. The cup Peach With Tamago Slice is an example of a cup that has been cleverly and colorfully compiled to create a playful construction whose changing surface and multiple textures propel the eye into multiple moments of discovery. Peter Shire's work continues to challenge conventional mass produced objects with a keen sense of design and personal touch. He has built his career freely combining architectural concepts, design principles, fine art and craft without letting solemnity overwhelm the seriousness of play. Peter Shire’s Cups, 1974-2012 is on view through June 9, 2012. Laura Schlesinger Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave #T3, Santa Monica.

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l.a.places

SILVER LAKE

Silver Lake and Downtown Aerial

The Silver Lake Reservoir is a daily presence in my life and a welcome one. Since I’m always looking for a shortcut (even if it takes longer) and like to stay off Sunset, I am always driving to and around the Reservoir on my way to the stores along Hyperion Avenue, my gym, and my daughter’s house near the Shakespeare bridge. When someone is in my car they are always impressed with my route: Waterloo to Scott to Benton Way to Effie to Fanning right to the dog park and continuing around the east side of the lake on Silver Lake Blvd to Armstrong to Angus to Griffith Park Blvd to Hyperion. It’s so convoluted that people who try and replicate it invariably get lost. (But don’t get caught in traffic on Silver Lake Blvd. where lately the police have been stopping cars at the dog park and writing tickets to drivers turning left on Rockford.) It is impossible to walk by the dog park without stopping to see the great variety of dogs there; the canine world mirroring the human world as owners and pets play and talk with one another. When my daughter and I walk around the reservoir, we occasionally play a game where we decide the cutest of all the cute dogs that are walking by us. Sometimes we stare instead through the fence and pick our competitors as they play, especially in the section reserved for small dogs. We love

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that there is a special section for small dogs! Did I say reservoir singular? Actually there are two bodies of water: Ivanhoe Reservoir (named after the 1819 Sir Walter Scott novel) and Silver Lake (named after Water Board Commissioner Herman Silver), both lined with concrete. Together they hold around 795 million US gallons of water and had provided water to 600,000 homes in downtown and South Los Angeles. But the lake was taken off line in 2007 after it was discovered that the water had unusually high levels of cancercausing bromate. The lake was drained – that was a sad sight – and then 400,000 black plastic "shade balls" were added to the Ivanhoe reservoir to keep out sunlight, which had reacted with the water to produce the bromate. There are many distinctive birds that make the reservoir their home, but perhaps none is as majestic as the great blue heron who nests in the eucalyptus trees along the West side of the lake. The heron, with its blue-gray plumage and long, curved neck, is a large, almost prehistoriclooking bird also found along the entire length of the LA river. Pairs of birds build massive nests out of sticks, which they carry one by one, to a high, strong branch. The breeding season can last through summer, with gangly young birds still standing in the nests in early fall.


By Paul Kopeikin

The Silver Lake Meadow (Paul Kopeikin)

Nothing has had a more positive impact on the neighborhood then the 2.2 mile walking/jogging path and the recently opened three acre “Silver Lake Meadow”. I walk or run on it every chance I get and am always amazed at all the people who come there regularly. It seems as if I’m experiencing the entire circle of life as people who were walking alone are suddenly walking together and after a while pushing a stroller. It makes me realize how wonderfully diverse the neighborhood is and will always be as successive generations of people from all over the world come to and grow up in the surrounding community. In April of last year the three-acre "Silver Lake Meadow" opened and immediately became an important part of the neighborhood. While occasionally over-crowded, it is just as often practically empty. And since dogs are not allowed in the park it offers a wonderful chance, especially after a run, to take off ones shoes and walk barefoot in the grass. It’s hard to believe now that anyone was against the park. But people were, especially homeowners on the east side of the lake that didn’t want their peace disturbed. Now the only ones disturbed are the coyotes who had all this land to themselves and now occasionally stare over from the other side of the fence, wondering how much more of “their” property will be encroached upon.

I have been in the neighborhood long enough to remember when everyone took their lives into their hands walking and running in the street. The path is almost completed now, except for Tesla Avenue, where not long ago. I ran into our neighbor and councilman for the fourth district, Tom LaBonge. I was running around the lake and he was standing inside the fence, so naturally I stopped to ask when the path was going to be finished. For a while an elevated path was erected and so it seems as if something had been decided upon. I advocated for making that part of Tesla a one-way street, but LaBonge assured me the path would be inside the DWP property, not elevated, and that it would soon be built. I remember how long it seemed to take for all the other improvements to happen, but now that they have I realize, it didn’t take long at all. Somewhere around 2015, the Silver Lake Reservoir's water resources will be replaced by an underground reservoir being built in Griffith Park and the reservoir will no longer be necessary. People are already talking about what’s next. Most speculate that the entire site will become a park, and as much as I love the water, I can’t wait to see l.a. what happens next.

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l.a.shops

Marci Siegel & Co-Op 28 in Los Feliz

Barely walking half of a block from her store, Marci Siegel has already greeted five passersby, and it is as if we have been transported to a bygone era when people actually knew their neighbors. The store, Co-op 28, is an extension of Siegel’s warm and outgoing personality, and the environment there is at once both comfortingly familiar and constantly evolving, with new designs coming in everyday. The goods in the store are not only handmade by local artists, but also handpicked by the owner herself. “I don’t consider myself a salesperson at all,” said Siegel. “I consider myself a presenter, and when I like something, I present it with passion and enthusiasm.” Siegel prides herself on carefully choosing, quality items that she finds interesting and creative but also reasonable priced. On a given day, a shopper can find a necklace made with keys from a vintage typewriter or a mounted plushie deer head that is more adorable than macabre. Every square inch of the store demonstrates a thoughtful presentation of merchandise that is a feast for the eyes. Vibrant scarves burst out of vintage suitcases, while in another corner, a charming retro bicycle carries bike bells in its basket. A small antique scale holding a pile of rings rests on top of the cashier counter, which is constructed out of stacks of hardcover books. The space is playful and inviting, with Pretzel, the owner’s peaceful Dalmatian, often found lounging on his pillow underneath

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a display table. In the store’s first year, Siegel has successfully created a sense of community through her relationships with people — from customers to artists and even other businesses. “When you come to my store, it’s not just the shopping. It’s so much more than that. It’s important that people feel relaxed, have a friend, and have a great shopping experience,” said Siegel. “The dollar is just a bonus.” Word of mouth has been integral to the growth of Co-op 28, and according to Siegel, repeat customers bring in their friends and excitedly show them around the store as if they work there. Co-op 28 regularly hosts a range of events that are free and open to the public: fashion shows, art classes, and musical performances. The back area is a gallery dedicated to featuring work by local artists that rotates frequently. The entire store embodies the same dynamic attitude of its owner who seeks out the new and exciting so she can bring it to her customers. “You never know what the day will bring,” said Siegel. “I only know that I’m going to go into work, and it’s going to be interesting and creative. And I’m going to make new friends.” She aims to build her store upon the values of community, collaboration and innovation, so that each time someone visits they find a friendly face behind the counter and new surprises on the shelves. —Tricia Tongco Co-Op 28, 1728 N. Vermont Ave, Los Feliz


Santa Monica’s Green Light District

The "Green Light District" in Santa Monica features parks, the local farmers market, green businesses, community garden, beach front activities, yoga studio, and more, all of which make this area special. Ultimately, the goal is to make "green light district" as ubiquitous a phrase as "red light district", while creating a consistent, positive, family friendly experience for tourists and locals alike. Organizers hope that this will be the template other cities may emulate. They plan to work closely with organizations like Buy Local, SBDC, and Sustainable Business Council to maximize our effectiveness and reach of this new designation. Photos: Myra Vides

greenlightdistricts.com/santamonica

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l.a.people Actress

“To a dull mind all of nature is leaden. To the illumined mind, the whole world burns and sparkles with light.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson Following the trajectory of multi-faceted artist Renee Faia from actor to singer-songwriter to photographer to designer reveals her unfolding artistic journey from overcoming her childhood shyness to working with one of Hollywood’s top film directors and creating a successful sleepwear clothing line. While many people merely dream of taking on the world in a creative venture, Faia is doing the conquering — but not without struggles as an artist that debunk the myth of an overnight sensation. Growing up in a small town in Ohio, Faia was a child of vivid imagination and curiosity, qualities that she kept bottled up at an early age. “I was painfully shy as a kid. Like really, really shy. People would ask my mom if I had a tongue, because I was that quiet,” she recalls. After an embarrassing moment in the second grade, Faia found her voice and started putting on shows for her family and friends. Yet, she opted to step out of the amateur limelight to handle the inklings of the background set. She went on to attend art school at CCAD in Columbus, Ohio, but eventually dropped out her second year, knowing that her journey would inevitably lead her to either L.A. or New York. Since she had a cousin who lived there, L.A. won out. How was her transition from the Midwest to Hollywood? “I moved

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RENEE FAIA Musician

Designer

Photographer

out here with two suitcases and five hundred bucks, crashed on my cousin’s floor for a year. I found a way to make it work.” Finding her voice was one thing, but acting upon it was another. Faia’s passion for music was discovered as a young child when she would sit around in her family’s hallway closet, listening to her father’s classic rock albums while getting lost in the photography and artwork on each cover. She began writing poetry and lyrics and this opened a musical pathway. Currently, she is collaborating on a project with musician Gregg Sarfaty -- together thee duo is called The Mazarines. They have so far done a Flock of Seagull’s cover, “Wishing” and an original song, “Back For You”. Faia even stepped behind the camera and shot guerilla-style videos for both singles (currently on YouTube), using an 8mm application on her iPhone. They are currently in the middle of recording a new album. How did Faia get her break into Hollywood? She started working for Castle Rock Entertainment in the costume department, then switched over to the art department where she learned the adage, “immersion by fire”. On working with film director Rob Reiner, with whom she would cultivate a great working relationship, Faia says, “I didn’t know what I was doing…I was told to go see him. So I remember unrolling the [blueprint] and Rob says ‘Faia, is that you?’ And I said, ‘Yeah’, and he said, ‘Looks good.’ And

that was it.” Reiner went on to cast her in his next film, the romantic-comedy, The American President. When castings started up to find the perfect starlet to portray icon Cher in the biopic ABC movie, And The Beat Goes On: The Sonny and Cher Story, Faia initially was not particularly interested in the role. But after urging from her friend and a call from her agent, she went in for the audition. “I barely had any make-up on. I had on a black t-shirt and jeans…I remember sitting there in the waiting room and there were two girls beside me totally dressed to the nines like Cher. I thought to myself, what am I doing here?” We would later find out what she was doing there when she was hired for the role with only a week and a half to prepare. Portraying a living legend could possibly give anyone multiple anxiety attacks, but Faia only allowed a minimal “freak out moment” and carried on with her job. This break-out performance got her recognized in industry trades like Variety, whose critic described Faia’s performance favorably, “The producers have found a woman who can be a stunning Cher look-alike…she has all the staged mannerisms down pat.” One of her most memorable moments was working with The Sopranos star, Michael Imperioli, in the film, High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story, where they play husband and wife. “One day there was a scene where I had to hit him, and I asked him if he wanted to work out the slap. He responded, ‘What’s to


work out? Just hit me.’ I said, ‘Alright’. So, I whack him and he disappeared. I was wondering where he went, so I walk back and see he has a wet cloth over him. I ask him about the cloth and he says (in his Italian way), ‘Nothing to do with you.’” Having worked in the entertainment industry now for many years, Faia knew the ups and downs of the business. After one film shoot in Oklahoma in which the complete production was shut down, she realized that she needed another plan, one that offered her more creative control. On a trip with a boyfriend back east to spend time with his family, she found herself pondering about clothing and comfort. She questioned herself about what kind of pajamas she like to lounge around in. This inspired her to create a classic, simple sleepwear line, described by her as “not your boyfriend’s pajamas, but inspired by them.” Faia partnered up with a friend to start up the loungewear line, Nae & Audie, which would eventually get sold in Fred Segal and many other high-end boutiques. After a few years, her business partner went on to start a family, and Faia took over the line for herself, renaming it Stellina. Her pajamas have been described as “baby clothes for grown-ups” with their lush fabrics in cotton and bamboo. With Stellina’s national and international

recognition, Faia still emphasizes that success does not come overnight and a strong work ethic is essential. “[For] my first line, we were the models, because we couldn’t afford models. We would literally shoot each other, then crop our faces out because we wouldn’t want anyone knowing we were in them.” What’s next for future of Stellina? Faia sees this line as a lifestyle brand and would love to move into the home such as bedding, home fragrance, candles and lotion. “To me, it’s all about comfort and simplicity. A simple luxury,” she says. Faia’s philosophy on life could be easily compared to the kid’s book, Harold and the Purple Crayon. “I love that concept. You can just create your own reality and see where it takes you. Every day, it’s different.” Which is proof of her life as she leaves no stones unturned as we look forward to her upcoming album, additions to her clothing line, more roles in acting, and a script in development. Faia doesn’t seem to know how to stop working, and that a good thing. —Lorna Umphrey These pages are filled with Faia’s photographs, which were taken throughout Los Angeles. Listen now to her band, The Mazarines: “Wishing” | tinyurl.com/rfwishing “Back to You” | tinyurl.com/rfbackforyou

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l.a.people

Back & Forth with FABIAN ALSULTANY Lisa C Soto talks with

Fabian Alsultany, co-producer of the new Tadasana Festival scheduled on Earth Day. New Yorker Fabian Alsultany, dubbed by Billboard Magazine as the “World Music Impresario”, Alsultany is a DJ, musician, producer, and an entrepreneur. He is a diehard advocate of presenting diverse and eclectic musical sounds. Alsultany has now ventured into co-creating the Tadasana Festival with his partner Tommy Rosen. Backed by Kevin Wall, mega-producer of concerts such as Live Aid. Tadasana premieres on Earth Day weekend, April 20-22 in Santa Monica and downtown L.A. www.tadasanafestival.com As we sit in Alsultany’s Santa Monica Airport office, steps away from the tarmac. I find it fitting to interview him in a place, where things literally take off.

Where were you born and where did grow up? I was born in NYC on July 29th, 1971. I grew up near Lincoln Center. How did music become an integral part of your life? When I was little, I had a 8-track machine and my two favorite 8-tracks were Elvis’ gold album of 20 greatest hits, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. My mother is from Cuba and my father is from Iraq. So in my house we always had Om Kalthoum and Celia Cruz playing. There was this whole latin, Arabic thing going

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on. I often created mixes and compilations. When did you envision that you would become a professional DJ? At around 11 years old, I first saw Run DMC’s “Walk this way”, it was the first time I had ever seen two turn tables next to one another. It wasn’t the scratching that got me, it was seeing them side by side. Then one new year’s eve, I was in the Caribbean with my family. My father took me to the hotel’s discotheque and we stood in the DJ booth watching. I got to see people dancing to one of my favorite songs, “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones. This image of seeing people dancing to music I loved, in public places made a huge impression on me. When did you start Deejaying? I was the DJ for the high school dances at the United Nations International School (UNIS). I was into Depeche Mode, Smiths, Bob Marley and UB40. My buddy Bisaan? was really into rap and hip hop. We got together and started to DJ for high school events around NYC. I remember

back in ’87-’88 there was a club called Mars. I was 16 or 17 years old. I would go see Moby on Thursday nights. He deejayed with a whole rack of synthesizers and a radio shack TRS 80 behind him. Moby busted out music like acapella versions of De La Soul’s “Girl I Will House You”. I would be devastated seeing this guy with his demos and synth. The club offered me a gig to DJ on the 4th floor but my parents said no way. Stretch Armstrong got the gig. Stretch, as we all know, is now a superstar and legendary DJ. You know, I went to grammar school with Stretch. Did you? As kids we had a group of friends that Stretch would take to a local record store with all the latest imports of Prince, etc, from Japan and Europe... Yeah, I still have all of my albums from that time, about 5 to 6,000 albums. So, you were deejaying and then? I was playing in bands as well. I went to see Duran Duran once, when I saw Nick Rhodes do his solo — he turned to his synthesizer and all of these sounds came out, he didn’t rip, he just played sound — I was mesmerized. I got a Roland synthesizer and taught myself how to play. Tell me about Globesonic, how did that come about? Well, I spent the ’90s deejaying and in bands. I felt it was time to have some type of umbrella for all of the things I was doing, so I created Globesonic parties, events, and compilations.


The DJ talks about his life and the Tadasana Festival in Santa Monica

You were also producing, you did work with Chris Blackwell. In what capacity? I became director of A&R at Palm Records in 2006 for a year in Jamaica. Through Joe Boyd (a famous record producer), I met Chris Blackwell who brought me on a few years prior to produce Africa Fete. It was a great experience. So what brought you to L.A.? In July 2009 I got hit with cancer. I went through cancer and chemo into 2010. During that time my marriage dissolved. I was 40 years old. I always wanted to move somewhere sunnier and warmer. One day, I got a call from my friends who were running the Santa Monica pier concert series. They offered me a job to co-produce. I moved to L.A. to run the concerts. Now you are starting the Tadasana Festival, tell me about this. Around the time I was working for Blackwell, a friend of mine had a t-shirt that read “I OM NY” . I saw it and said there is a festival in there. I stayed up all night and wrote out a concept and a business plan for a yoga music festival. When I moved to L.A., it was one of the initiatives that I wanted to bring to life. Last year my business partner Tommy Rosen (who had known about it since the start) and I began putting Tadasana together. Tommy is a yoga teacher who is deeply tapped into the yoga world, he is a yoga ninja. Last year was spent revisiting the business idea and changing the name to Tadasana. Why Tadasana? There were two things I was looking for in a name: a name that didn’t mean anything except for that festival, like Coachella or Bonnaroo, but also, I wanted to find a word that did mean something, that stood for something. With all of the names that came up, Tadasana stood out. To the general market it doesn’t mean anything; but its a hidden code to a yoga practitioner. Tadasana is the first and last pose in yoga. Everything starts with Tadasana and everything ends with Tadasana. So what is your role and what is Tommy’s role, you guys got together and decided...? We decided let’s build a ship. We shared the vision of creating large scale yoga classes with music. The music festival angle is like South by SouthWest or CMJ. Where you go into a city and you have multiple venues playing music. During the day we will have 5 different yoga tents with the top yoga instructors of the world, backed by live musicians or a DJ. The classes will have this incredible soundtrack provided for them live. In the evening time you have your musicians on multiple stages where they get to rip. Who are you excited about having in the festival? We have Shiva Rea, one of the top yoga instructors in the world. She is paired with two exceptional performers, one of them is Hassan Hakmoun, a well-known Moroccan, Sufi, Gna-

wa trance artist. He comes from a 400 year old tradition of the Moroccan Gnawa music which is essentially ceremonial, trance inducing music. The other one we are pairing Shiva up with is a performance with Vieux Farka Toure and Edan Raichel. Vieux is the son of Ali Farka Toure, world famous Malian guitar player, paired with Raichel who is the best selling musician out of Israel. Another one I am really excited about is Karsh Kale. A very well-known, South Asian electronica artist. He is kind of like Prince but from India with his own flair. I have him providing the soundscape for an Elena Brower class, one of the top yoga teachers out of NYC. Where is the festival taking place? We have 100,000 sq. ft. of space on the beach between Barnard way and the Pacific ocean, which runs between Ocean Park Blvd and Rose Avenue. What is the basic schedule? 8am - 7pm, yoga classes paired with music are going on at the beach in Santa Monica. In the evening some of the greatest musicians of the world perform in downtown LA. Venues are Zanzibar, Naam Yoga, Santa Monica Bays Women’s club, and Pure food kitchen. So what is the goal for this festival? Our mission is to put the teachings of yoga out into the world and to put forth my love for world music. On the larger scale, we want to take it to different markets, London, Hong Kong, Brazil, etc. We have created an entity that doesn’t exist on the planet. If we hit it out of the park here in Los Angeles, we will have the wings to take it around the world. As I might have told you, we now have our investor, Kevin Wall. Kevin was the producer of Live Aid, Live Earth, and Live 8. He is one of the largest scale concert producers in the world. How did Kevin Wall get involved? Honestly, the grace of god. I had no connection to Kevin nor did Tommy. One day his yoga teacher said to him, “have you heard of the festival Tadasana?”. Later on that afternoon, the owner of a beverage company he invests in, said to him, “do you know this festival called Tadasana?” Forty-eight hours later we were in his office having a meeting. We made a deal right there and then. I became a DJ because I saw Run DMC, I became a musician because I saw Duran Duran, I became a concert producer because I saw Live Aid. It l.a. was divine intervention.

Top 10 albums Fabian is listening to: 1. The Heart by Jimmy Gnecco 2. In Trance by JuJu (Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara) 3. The Toure Raichel Collective by Vieux Farka Toure and Idan Raichel (comes out March 27) 4. Yemen Blues by Yemen Blues (coming soon) 5. Ghost Story by School of Seven Bells 6. Caravana Sereia Bloom by Ceu 7. On A Day Like This by Meklit Hadero 8. Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay 9. New Blood by Peter Gabriel 10. AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered (tribute to classic U2 album)

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 27


l.a.art

TEALE HATHEWAY

I am a Los Angeles-based artist and self-professed historian. One of my frequent subjects is street lights. Why do these common objects figure so prominently in my work? I could give you the historian’s viewpoint on their benefits: improved economy due to increased hours in the working day, enhanced safety from the common criminal, attraction to and vitality of urban centers… utility as public execution site... But the simple truth of the matter is: object fetishism. I like the old designs. I originally became attracted to these utilitarian sculptures when I lived in East Hollywood, near the city’s Bureau of Street Lighting utility yard, piled high with replacement standards and lanterns. Between that home and that yard sits an installation of an assortment LA street lights know as Vermonica, by artist Sheila Klein. Living in that neighborhood, the subject of lights kind of beats you over the head. I already knew

28 l.a. centric may/june 2012

the significance of Los Angeles street lighting, because it’s a(n oft overlooked) subject of pride around here. Los Angeles was the first city in the United States with an entirely electric public lighting system. With an abundant collection of over 500 light designs in use, many Angelenos can recognize their neighborhoods by the street light alone. But it was only while working on a series of paintings about the LA River bridges that I began to see these lights as a source of creative interest. The lanterns and standards became obvious features, encapsulating the minutia of design for each individual bridge. I began creating the small ink and metal leaf drawings as a way to fill studio time between paintings. The lights are nuggets of highly designed, functional, public engineering whose representations keep my hands busy while my mind processes the more complicated compositions and demanding sub-texts of my larger pieces. Over time, I started to think more directly about the lights themselves: the way they kept


creeping into the picture while I was working on other subjects, subsequent hunts to find them hidden amongst a sea of cobra-headed modernity and translation of their delicate details into simplified, two dimensional forms. To me, the lights became the angels referred to in the name of my city, standing stoically, quietly observing as the generations pass, shedding light and beauty on their surroundings. They are testaments to the existence of a time when city planning was a perceivable function of intellectuals who believed in the human need for beauty and a certain amount of order. My process in creating these mixed media drawings also requires a certain order. Atomized black ink spits, spatters and pools over hand-cut stencils to create the darkest shadows of the drawings. The highlights of my subject are added in silver leaf. Between the ink and the metal, I ignite a granulized propellant which flashes and leaves behind a mid-tone of singed browns, crispy metal and a soft residue of white smoke. Finally, a halo of gold leaf completes the process. The layers of materials and techniques used in making these pieces explicate the most significant qualities of the lights themselves. The stencils are a street lexicon, the silver is decora-

tive, the burning signifies the layers of soot, dirt and imperfections the lights accrue as a result of a life on the streets. And the gold halo represents both the warm glow of the lamp, as well as the beatific security offered by its presence. My petit mixed-media drawings of street lights are a way of honoring the gems in the vast jewel box that is the view of the Los Angeles basin on a night approach into LAX. Rows of elegant light standards continue to line streets which were once respectable boulevards or lovely approaches to significant attractions, long since plowed under and forgotten. Compared to my timeless, sexless architectural paintings, these cultural gems appealed to my girly side, my desire to adorn, accessorize and live in refined light (with a little grease under my finger nails, of course). I paint these detailed sculptures because, in all of their influence, they are humble. At their finest they yield a warm glow which casts magic into the evening air and commands a footprint far more significant than their skinny, tall statures would suggest. Three of Teale Hatheway’s street light drawings can be viewed in the lobby of the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting.

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 29


l.a.jewelry

Andrea Li has been designing jewelry for ten years. She developed a taste for the beautiful and unusual by her weariness of the homogenized market of products that do nothing to promote individuality. Unconventionality has always been central to her work, but just as important as pushing creative boundaries is the grounding of that avant-garde attitude to something attainable and familiar. She believes that jewelry aside from adornment should be personal, A reflection of the qualities that she her work apart. Self-taught, Andrea Li has refined her art by taking basic concepts and adding many layers of extrapolation. The element

30 l.a. centric may/june 2012

ANDREA LI

of sublimation in her work over the years is what gives her jewelry its complexity and interesting context. She exercises a hands-on approach to the entire process, from the buying and conceptualization to the fabrication of each piece. Hand selecting all the gemstones that will be incorporated in her work with a discriminating eye for the uncommon ensures that all her pieces take on an exceptional quality. Andrea never sketches her designs before the process of creation begins, letting the stones dictate the direction. The process is precise and intentional, yet very organic at the same time. Her sculptural designs are impossible to replicate, resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

Photographer: Anthony Norris; Styling: Gino Velardi; Hair: Desiree Greer; Make-Up: Brittany Slaughter


SU BENINGFIELD Susan Beningfield’s jewelry is unmistakably sculptural, reflecting her years of practice as a design architect and her fascination with natural lines and sensual forms. Her collection represents a series of sculptures, scaled to display on the human body; her jewelry is elegant and sensual, cast in precious metal and exclusively crafted in downtown Los Angeles. Her inspirations come from African sculpture and metalwork, from Scandinavian design, and from her love of metals, wood and stone. The artist draws out the essential beauty in each piece; some express an understated strength and others a wonderful sense of movement and freedom. Her work is at once sensitively conceived and boldly elegant, striking that sought-after balance between the strength of the metal and the suppleness of organic form. The work uses shapes and textures from Beningfield’s direct and essential experiences of the material world, ones which inform and nurture her creativity. Natural forms and the laws of physics and movement lie close to the artist’s heart as a dancer and architect, and are fundamental to her designs. Her South African upbringing imbued in her a love of nature and a clear preference for creating bold and elegant design work. Her enterprising spirit has taken her from study and practice in Johannesburg and Paris, to post-profes-

sional architectural training at Princeton University in 2001, and finally to Los Angeles in 2003. In the City of Angels, Beningfield designed directly for the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry for most of her five years in his practice. Although Beningfield discovered her first affinity for working with precious metals during her studies in the ’90s, it was as an architect in L.A. that she was exposed to the new technologies of manufacture offered by computer modeling and 3D printing. She saw an opportunity to innovate in the field of jewelry design — exploring the sculptural freedom offered by pioneering techniques to create pieces of extraordinary beauty and originality.

first modeled on the computer and then 3D printed in wax, before being cast into precious metals. They are finally painstakingly assembled and finished by hand. Each piece therefore combines the latest technologies with age-old manufacturing techniques. The result is an unique collection of remarkable sculptural jewelry, which is as individual as the people who wear it. “Part of being a creative soul and knowing the way that creative energy expresses itself,” Beningfield says, “is having a strong sense of its fragility and of being, moment to moment, right up against its imminent collapse.” In that tenuousness, she finds the beauty of creation.

“Architecture is sculpture that we inhabit. Jewelry is sculpture that we wear,” says Beningfield. “Each is spacial and interactive in its own way, but jewelry has the joy and frivolity of pure expression, because its function is only to be beautiful and adored. Designing it is particularly liberating and joyful for me.” Beningfield openly challenges conventional design and manufacturing techniques by bringing knowledge of current modeling technologies from the field of architecture into that of jewelry. The pieces are

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 31


l.a.fashion

Annabelle Fleur

& some of her favorites

BCBG blouse, Helmut Lang Fulcrum print skirt, Giuseppe Zanotti colorblock high heel sandals (see insert), Asos spike stretch bracelet and 3.1 Phillip Lim Minute clutch (see insert)

32 l.a. centric may/june 2012

Annabelle Fleur blogs at vivaluxury.blogspot.com


(above) J Brand mid-rise skinny jeans in soft lilac, Ted Baker micro pleat Emmii top, 3.1 Phillip Lim Minute clutch, Asos spike stretch bracelet (insert) Zara laminated high wedge (right) Gifted stylebymarina.com dress & sequined clutch bag, Zara heels & jacket, Asos spike stretch bracelet, J Crew friendship bracelets

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 33


l.a.fashion

Equipment signature mint blouse, Nanette Lepore sweet sixteen skirt, StylebyMarina. com sequined clutch bag, Asos spike stretch bracelet, J Crew friendship bracelets

34 l.a. centric may/june 2012


cooperative mixed-media neon bag, Urban Outfitters

(above) Winter Kate Riya dress, from StefaniBags.com, Zara heels, 3.1 Phillip Lim Minute clutch, Asos spike stretch bracelet (right) Leyendecker dress and Beso Beso necklaces & rings

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 35


EVOLUTION OF THE BR MILITARY WATCH

AVIATION BR 03-92 42 mm . VINTAGE BR 126 41 mm . Natural Leather strap Bell & Ross Inc. +1.888.307.7887 . information@bellrossusa.com . e-Boutique: www.bellross.com

36 l.a. centric may/june 2012


Information Bell & Ross: +33 (0)1 55 35 36 00 . information@bellross.com . www.bellross.com

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 37


jackie robbins leather + jewelry

los feliz village 1954 hillhurst avenue los angeles, ca 90027 323 664-4860 www.jackierobbins.com jackie@jackierobbins.com


BUILT IN L.A.

The Regional Design Scene Comes of Age by Brent Turner

The heart of the matter: Couple Andy Griffith

may/june l.a. centric 39in Venice and Rose2012 Apodaca in their A+R store


The Ford & Ching showroom is an artfully renovated theatre and play space in downtown L.A.’s Chinatown

No significanT DESIGN story ever begins at a foosball tournament, and that includes this one about Los Angeles. Yet walking through a breast cancer charity competition at Ford & Ching’s downtown Los Angeles showroom—a hip renovated Chinatown theatre that serves as locus for the design rep’s West Coast headquarters — one can’t help but note how the city’s design history parallels its “anything goes” attitude. As an ultra-urban guest list of photographers, writers, musicians, and designers spiritedly compete on fashionable Pepto-pink foosball tables by design firm RS-Barcelona (tourney proceeds benefit the Keep a Breast Foundation), Ford & Ching accomplish something surprisingly fundamental: they’ve transformed the designed object from a showroom untouchable to a functional lifestyle brand. To understand the local design community as this sort of playful comingling of creative energies is to understand the creative spirit of the city as a whole. L.A. has long held the eyes of the world for its cinematic output, and yet in recent years it’s the rest of the city’s cultural output that has garnered increased attention. In October 2011, the Getty rolled out Pacific Standard Time, a citywide arts initiative highlighting the region’s global impact upon postwar visual art — and with it came a renewed interest in postwar architecture and design. Andy Griffith and Rose Apodaca, the couple behind the Venicebased boutique A+R design explain the interest: “An aesthetic-centric population has called L.A. home since before statehood. And for more than a half century, this is where auto companies worldwide stationed their design teams, where graphic-minded artists such as Andy Warhol came to get their first break, and where fashion brands came to shoot their campaigns. The rise of Pacific Standard Time is only the tip of the iceberg. Witness the numbers of Angelenos now trying to save our architectural and design legacy; the new modernist homes rising in neighborhoods, rich and lower middle class; and the very fact that our store, A+R, since it opened in late 2005, continues to grow with new design enthusiasts of all stripes.” 40 l.a. centric may/june 2012

Ask almost anyone what draws creative movers and shakers to L.A. and the answer will inevitably lead back to the same thing: the region’s open-minded attitude. Designer Kirk Nix explains, “I moved here in the late 1980s, because I was so drawn to the culture and actually felt as if I was missing something. The adventurous spirit of the design community here has inspired our work for many years and has inspired us to take more risks and lead versus follow.” Nix, who heads up the global hospitality firm KNA Design, recently saw his firm’s first local project unveil, the 74 room Hotel Wilshire, designed by Killefer Flammang Architects. “We investigated the transient nature of Los Angeles, as a city of folks consistently on the move, and based the geometry on the grid of the city in order to pay homage to it. We see the [Hotel Wilshire] interior as fresh, clean, and unfettered by superfluous details, much like the people we hope will one day fill it.” The elimination of superfluous details is, in fact, the very essence of Mid-century Modern, the postwar design phenomenon that marks L.A.’s first major contribution to the international design scene. The list of preeminent architects and designers who plied their trade at one time or another in Los Angeles reads like a who’s who of the period, including such notables as Schindler, Neutra, Ain, Lautner, Lloyd Wright, and Eames. Modernism’s stark, horizontal aesthetic does seem to take on an almost spiritual sense here in the desert- and coastal-adjacent metropolis. Mid-century’s influence is far reaching, too, as founder of the design showroom Twentieth Stefan Lawrence explains, “We started with the mid-century look in 1999, but as we move forward, much of what we handle is contemporary—building on that aesthetic.” Twentieth is located on Beverly Boulevard, in what could be described as L.A.’s design corridor— a two mile square swath of design showrooms and galleries straddling West Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles along the axis of Robertson and Beverly boulevards; the massive Pacific Design Center (which earlier this year saw the completion of its Cesar Pelli designed campus with the 400,000 sq. ft. RedBuilding) marks the northern frontier, while boutiques along 3rd Street line the area’s southernmost edge.


If the middle of the city is the epicenter of the region’s design community, its extremes—Venice/Santa Monica to the west and Los Feliz/ Silverlake/downtown to the east—might be the bleeding edges. Griffith and Apodaca, who relocated their showroom from Silverlake to Venice in 2007, explain the difference between neighborhoods, “Venice, where our design store A+R is located, is often referred to as Silver Lake by the sea, and there are parallels between the two communities in terms of the liberal-minded, art-centric lifestyle, often informed by creative careers…The difference might be that in West Hollywood, objects are showcased on high-gloss shelves, whereas in Silver Lake, they’re displayed on raw plywood!” With two factories in downtown creating handmade furniture for distribution on four continents, Modernica is a homegrown success story. Founder and co-CEO Jay Novak explains the international appeal from Modernica’s Beverly Boulevard showroom: “L.A. has as rich a design heritage for a young city as anywhere in the world. Painting, clothing, music—why aren’t we reveling in it? At Modernica, we get input about what we do from France, Germany, Japan and England. They’re very excited about California design. Really good design has legs, whether it’s a Louis XIV chair, a Grecian urn, or an Eames fiberglass shell chair.” Achieving permance is perhaps design ultimate green act, as designs with “legs” accomplish the one thing most consumer products don’t—they avoid the dumpster. Sand Brim has been offering artist/ designer-made art and design objects at her Altered Space Gallery since 1995. “Good craftsmanship is critical for us. We work only with studio designer/makers who are deeply involved in the making of their designs or art. We are looking for art and objects that have a sense of permanence. We see the works we offer as an antidote to the world of nicely designed objects that are made with shoddy materials by workers paid $1/hour. Those things end up in the dump and are antithetical to what we are about. I see Altered Space as bringing a higher level of art and craftsmanship into the design landscape. One of my goals with Altered Space has been to support the endangered designer/maker community and create an understanding an appreciation for things that have permanence and meaning.” L.A.-based website Poketo.com underscores this artist-as-maker ethos. Founded by husband-and-wife team Angie Myung and Ted Vadakan, Poketo curates and sells fun, playful “art for your everyday.” Myung explains, “By continually working with great artists and offering unique finds that reflect our philosophy, we hope people will find something that resonates with them and nudges them to express themselves through their dress, their work, and how they live their lives.” While Poketo deals in contemporary work — functional-artist designed objects and apparel — Myung points to some of L.A.’s historical landmarks as her favorite places in the city, including Angel’s Flight, the Bradbury Building, Capitol Records and Union Station. Perhaps it’s L.A.’s growing architectural heritage — from Beaux Arts to Art Deco to Modernism to the Postmodern work by homegrown starchitect Frank Gehry that all dot the landscape — that affords the region a modicum of validation. Yet, it’s still the wide-open creative atmosphere that is its biggest allure. Since the middle of the 20th century, designers and artisans have flocked to Southern California’s ample light, space, and weather. While early practitioners may have been the rare visionaries back then, their eye for design seems to have permeated the general sensibility of the region today. Highdesign can be found everywhere in L.A. now; it can be high-brow — Philippe Starck’s stunning SLS Hotel for sleak, lavish luxury — or it can simply be high-concept, as is the case with Freeland Buck’s torqued and die-cut surfaces for the artisanal deli Earl’s Gourmet Grub in Mar Vista on Venice. Back in downtown, where the foosball games are heating up in Ford & Ching’s showroom, it’s clear that what matters most to L.A.’s growth

as a design destination is that which has always defined the region — a fundamental willingness to play, experiment and, in the process, move the l.a. creative dialogue forward. Hand-made, hand-destroyed: Altered Space Gallery showcases artisan-made design, such as these distressed skateboard decks by George Peterson

Fun in the sun: The rooftop pool at the Hotel Wilshire is an homage to SoCal sun, designed by KNA Design; photo by Fred Licht


DESIGN

JOHN

WILBAR SCULPTURE • FURNITURE

WWW.JOHNWILBAR.COM

Red Radius / sculpture: 8.3’h x 5’.4’w x 4’d

Hall Table 44 / 32"h x 44"l x 18"w

Red Coffee Table / 32"dia. x 18"h

222 West Abriendo Avenue | Pueblo, Colorado 81004 | 719-542-1370

www.johnwilbar.com John Deaux Art Gallery | 221 South Union Avenue | Pueblo, Colorado 81004 | www.johndeauxartgallery.com


HERBERT BAYER "Leaning Spiral Tower" tabletop edition, c. 1969 34 3/4" x 14" x 10 3/4"

"Undulated Wall" tabletop edition, c. 1967 37" x 21" x 21"

"Memorial Sculpture" tabletop edition c.1960-2007 48" x 21" x 21"

These sculptures and others from the Herbert Bayer Family Collection are available in editions of 6, in sizes from tabletop to monumental. For more information, contact:

EMIL NELSON GALLERY 2862 COLORADO AVE SANTA MONICA, CA 90404 www.nelsongallery.com Email: info@nelsongallery.com


picturing a lost

L.A.

alison martino, creator of vintage los angeles, chooses 16 lost landmarks from l.a.’s past

44 l.a. centric may/june 2012


Photo: Richard Wojcik collection

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 45


vintage l.a.

by Alison Martino

(Beverly Park) family amusement park Or that a gigantic once stood where the Beverly Center is? (The Gilmore Drive-In) drive-in movie theater Did you know that a

sat on the

same property as

Newer transplants to L.A. might have trouble

picturing quaint local hangouts or mid-century architecture where contemporary behemoths now stand. This is one of the reasons I created a flourishing Facebook page called "Vintage Los Angeles", also known as VLA. The page pays tribute to L.A. history, told by the people who lived it. It's crammed with thousands of photographs and rare images that have never been seen before. I started the page a little over a year ago and it has quickly climbed to 25,000 members. It's the closet thing to time travel; priceless images and personal stories of places long gone are contributed daily. This is the best part about running the site: the community interaction and participation. It is a thriving online museum. VLA has received such an emotional outpouring of support, and has grown so fast in popularity, that it was recently profiled in The Huffington Post and Good Day LA. Now, I am pleased to be celebrating our history in L.A. Centric. I've been fascinated by L.A. since I was a small child and was lucky enough to see as much as I could of beloved vintage sights before the rapid redevelopment of the eighties. My father, singer Al Martino, was a regular at restaurants like Chasen’s and Scandia that were venerable institutions. I am grateful my folks took me to these legendary L.A. eateries before they met the wrecking ball. Scandia has been sitting empty(!) on Sunset Strip for years and Chasen’s has been turned into a Bristol Farms market — although they saved a few of the booths inside. But it wasn't until I became a television producer on the TV show “Mysteries and Scandals”, a docu-series that featured the Golden Age of Hollywood, that it became clear to me that I wanted to help

46 l.a. centric may/june 2012

The Grove

does today?

document as much of the city as possible before it all disappeared. The first episode I produced for “Mysteries and Scandals” was about Marilyn Monroe. I was always mesmerized by her, but as I put together the show, I became captivated by the photos and footage of Los Angeles from her era. I didn't even recognize my home town. Our series “Mysteries and Scandals on E! produced 127 episodes. During that time, I spent hours studying historical L.A. photographs and realized I was far more interested in our city's architectural past than in the celebrities. Of course, viewers wanted to see shots of Marilyn putting her hand prints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater, but I wanted to know what the parking meters looked like. From there, I started vigorously collecting anything I could get my hands on regarding L.A. history. I've spent dozens of hours combing through every Los Angeles photo library and flea market you can imagine. Once I knocked on a door at Hollywood’s Crossroads of the World offices and a guy passed me a stack of old Alison Martino at Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 22 postcards as if they were contraband. They went immediately into my voluminous collection of memorabilia, which includes matchbooks, menus, and ashtrays from Hollywood's golden era. One day I will donate all of it to a museum, but for the time being Vintage Los Angeles is our online museum. I hope that VLA and my column here in LA Centric will help to reclaim the sumptuous, secret history of a city that often seems to forget its past all too quickly. For my first VLA article, I would like to share photos of some of my favorite places no longer with us. You may remember them...

See even more at the Vintage Los Angeles page: tinyurl.com/amvintagela


Photo: Richard Wojcik collection

CHASEN'S Chasen's, located at 9039 Beverly Boulevard near Beverly Hills, was a hangout for entertainment luminaries. This is where you would spot Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, or Clint Eastwood. They were known for their famous chili and red leather booths. It was "rat pack" swank. It closed in 1995. I happen to have been there on closing night with my family. The original building, except the facing wall on Beverly Blvd., was demolished and a Bristol Farms grocery store was built in its place. Thankfully, a few original booths were saved and you can actually sit and eat in them.

DINO'S LODGE Dean Martin opened Dino's Lodge in the late 1950s on Sunset Blvd. It was also the backdrop of that great Fab ’50s TV show "77 Sunset Strip". The lodge and buildings no longer exist, but if you look in front of the doorway, you will see a plaque confirming that the series was filmed here. This is one place I wish I could have seen — especially that giant neon Dean Martin sign.

KIDDIELAND / BEVERLY PARK If I were to tell someone who just moved here that there used to be an amusement park where the Beverly Center is, no one would believe me. It had a Ferris wheel, trains, and even a haunted house. My earliest memories as a child are going on these rides. For one dollar, you were able to ride ponies around a small track seven times. I celebrated my 3rd birthday here. These were some of the happiest times in my childhood. The park closed in 1974. The enormous, concrete Beverly Center shopping mall place took its place.

THE FISH SHANTY As a child there was nothing more exhilarating then walking through the enormous doors that were in the shape of a whale's mouth and made out of blue tile. Inside you would eat fish and chips in a marine life setting. The Fish Shanty left a permanent imprint in my brain forever. I miss driving by it at the corner of La Cienega and Burton Way. It closed in the ’80s to become a car dealership.

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vintage l.a. THE GILMORE DRIVE-IN One of my fondest memories of L.A. was going to the Gilmore Drive-In theater. It was located near the Farmers Market in the Fairfax area in Los Angeles. The Gilmore Drive-In opened in 1948 and closed in the mid-1970’s. It sat vacant for the next five years, before being razed. So many members on VLA have said they learned how to drive in that empty parking lot. Can you imagine all that empty land today? Across the street was The Market Basket and the Original Loehmann's. I spent hours as a little girl shopping with my mom in that little mall, and parts of it are still with us today. From the book, Above Los Angeles

LA CIENEGA LANES La Cienega Lanes was a bowling alley on the corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica, built in the 1940s and closed in the ’70s. In the early ’80s La Cienega Lanes transformed into an infamous roller disco rink. Many Hollywood parties were held here. I remember seeing Cher on rollers skates in spandex pants. I myself had multiple birthday parties here. I remember the music, the lights, and the blisters from the rental skates. It's now a CVS. The building has maintained it's former structure, though, and you can still see the original ceiling inside.

SCANDIA An iconic hot spot known known for its elegance, wood paneled walls, copper and brass fixtures, and bright red leather chairs. It was extremely popular in the Hollywood community. Richard Gere even references Scandia in American Gigolo as being the best restaurant in the city. On any given night, you could see Warren Beatty or Natalie Wood emerge from a sleek black car and into this Mid-century Modern building. Near the entrance was a moody, rat pack wooden bar. The Scandia chefs served perfect Swedish meatballs in silver platters. Beer mugs with names of notable Scandia “Club of the Vikings” guests such as Errol Flynn were displayed. Sadly this building has been empty for years. This classic structure cries out to be revived into something swanky.

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SHIPS Ships was an ultra modern “Googie” style coffee shop, extremely popular for their sweeping boomerang architecture. They were also famous for having toasters on each table. (For some reason the toasters made everyone really happy.) They had three locations: La Cienega and Olympic, Westwood, and Culver City. They closed in the ’90s and are extremely missed. Ships was the epitome of California diners of 1950's & ’60s era.

TAIL OF THE PUP Tail of the Pup was a small hot dog stand that was in the shape of a hot dog in a bun. Los Angeles used to have many unique examples of this "whimsical” architecture, and this was one of the last. It was located near the Beverly Center and moved around a few times. Unfortunately, it was unable to find a permanent home. Now, it’s sitting in storage hanger. With any luck, they will re-open somewhere in the city for both a new generation and those who remember it.

THE ISLANDER Going to the Islander was like going to Polynesian Tiki Heaven. I remember that spectacular torch-flanked entrance and bridge that lead you into this theme restaurant. Tiki was popular with folks of my father’s generation. This should never have been torn down. Today, it's an empty lot.

Photo: Richard Wojcik collection

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vintage l.a. PACIFIC OCEAN PARK POP stood for Pacific Ocean Park. It was another amusement park, located just south of the Santa Monica Pier. Unfortunately, it burned down before I was born. If I ever get my hands on a time machine, I would go immediately to POP. The 28-acre park was decorated throughout in a sea-green and white art moderne look. Its entrance was set amidst fountains, sculptures, and a large sea horse and clam shell. The ticket booth in Neptune's Courtyard was set under a six legged concrete starfish canopy. Plastic bubbles and sea horses adorned its top. It's hard to imagine anything cooler and more fun than Pacific Ocean Park.

WALLICHS MUSIC CITY This was the record store in Hollywood and the premier music store in Southern California for decades. It was a place to go for tickets, sheet music, LPs, and 45s. They also sold TVs and musical instruments. It was the first music store to seal record albums in cellophane and put them in display racks for customers, along with private listening booths to hear records before you bought them. Glenn Wallich, its namesake, also started Capitol records. I used to go here in the ’70s with my parents after my father finished a recording session up the street at Capitol’s recording studios. I have vivid memories of the entrance and the window display. It was completely demolished in the early ’80s. My dad said, "It was the end of an era."

THE GAS LIGHT This Mid-century Modern was built in the shape of a space ship in 1963. It went through several incarnations, beginning as a club called the Gas Light. After the Gas Light, The Millionaires Club occupied it during the mid-1960s. They added drapes to the claw and an enormous chandelier could be visible from the street. It would brightly announce the futuristic ’60s design at the intersection of La Cienega and San Vicente. A few years later, during the psychedelic era, this building got a wild makeover for CLIMAX II in 1970. The murals blended right into the landscape and only lasted one year until it was repainted back to its orginal white to open Osko’s in the 1970s, the holy grail of Disco Clubs. I can't imagine how many gallons of paint that must have taken. Okso’s can be seen in the 70’s classic film, Thank God It’s Friday. Photo: Richard Wojcik collection

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THE PAN PACIFIC AUDITORIUM The Pan-Pacific Auditorium was built by Clifford W. Henderson and his brother Phillip in the Fairfax District at 7600 West Beverly Boulevard. It stood on the southeast corner of Beverly and Fairfax Avenue and the Farmers Market was on the northeast corner of Third Street and Fairfax. It was one of the most exquisite buildings in Los Angeles, famous for it's Streamline Moderne architecture. Elvis Presley played this beautiful art deco marvel and, at other times, it held the largest ice skating rink in the world. The Pan Pacific closed in 1974, decayed over the years, and then mysteriously burned down in 1989. As it went up in flames, I watched its demise from a short distance away, alongside thousands of other Angelenos. L.A. never recovered after losing this gem, but you can see a recreation of it at Disney's California Adventure theme park. It is also preserved on celluloid in the film Xanadu.

THE BROWN DERBY

Photo: Richard Wojcik collection

The Original Brown Derby was an iconic image that became synonymous with the Golden Age of Hollywood. The Hat opened in 1926 at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard and remains the most famous location due to its building’s distinctive shape. The chain was started by Robert H. Cobb, who was responsible for the birth of the COBB SALAD! It's borderline disturbing that this building wasn't saved and persevered for a lifetime. There were three other locations: Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Beverly Hills. Tragically none of them are with us anymore. Time gone by...

SCHWABS PHARMACY Located on the famous Sunset Strip was the most famous drugstore in the world, Schwabs. It was famous in part because its owner, pharmacist Leon Schwab, kept claiming that Lana Turner was “discovered” sitting on a stool at the store’s soda fountain. Schwab's opened in 1932 and was a popular hangout for writers, actors, and tourists for decades. The pharmacy was torn down in 1988 to make room for a block-long shopping complex that included a Virgin Megastore, now a Trader Joe’s. Schwab's can be seen in Billy Wilder's classic film, Sunset Blvd.

Future articles will feature places that are still with us, as well as long gone favorites. I'll also be interviewing Los Angeles icons who have helped shape our community. We will cover everything from architecture, art, history, restaurants, and other vintage landmarks. My ultimate hope is that newer developers see the value in our older structures. We can't afford to lose any more classic architecture; there's no excuse. Old buildings can be revived and restored rather than demolished. I'm hoping my tributes to Vintage Los Angeles will help reinforce a framework for preservationist action and get a newer generation involved. Every time someone sees one of my photos of a classic place now replaced by a soul-less strip mall, I’m always asked 'What were they thinking?” There are several beautiful historic buildings around town that could be revived, and I hope the efforts of VLA and my contribution to L.A. Centric will help encourage a new approach to preservation. — Alison Martino

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Wanderlust:

South Africa by Laura Grier story and PhotographY

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there are moments in life

where even a photo can’t replace the words to describe what you are seeing with your own eyes. In my career as a photojournalist, my work has taken me to 6 of the 7 continents on this planet. I am awestruck on a regular basis. I felt this sense of awe as I sat on the top of Table Mountain with my girlfriend Sarah, sipping a beer and munching on gourmet cheese and biltong (South Africa’s version of beef jerky) while watching the clouds pouring over the top of the mountain like a slow motion waterfall. This phenomenon is what gives Table Mountain its name and signature effect of a white tablecloth cascading over the cliffs. It is just part of the dramatic landscape that frames Cape Town, South Africa. Picture flying into a city where an amphitheater of mountains thrust their way out of the middle of the buildings, surrounded by pristine beaches. It is one of the cleanest cities I have been to and the only way I can describe it is to imagine combining San Francisco, Los Angeles, Big Sur and Napa into one peninsula. It is one of the few places I have been to where I felt like I could live there, that I wanted to live there. Despite it’s violent history -- and the fact that everyone put the fear of God in us to be careful driving around Cape Town as two single women -- we had such a positive experience there. Everyone we met was so hospitable and eager to ask us “Americans” everything about our country. Americans are a rarity there and after 27 hours of traveling I can understand why. What made me sad were the stereotypes that South Africans have about Americans.

Basically, from our media, they think that we are all obese, ignorant, pro-war, and very dismissive of Africa. I made it a personal mission to debunk these ideas about our country with everyone that we met -- but in all fairness, they are not that far off. For the first time in my life, I did feel ignorant. I realized that I couldn’t list most of the African countries, let alone find them on a map and name their currencies or languages. I realized we are, in fact, so sheltered from what is really happening in the rest of our world, and I was determined to learn as much as possible while I was visiting this vast continent. I had an agenda on this trip. I wanted to experience everything this city had to offer in just five days and I quickly made a list. Cape Town boasts activities that would make it on to most people’s “bucket lists”, including my own, so it did not take me long to compile it. I find I have to travel this way, with a sense of urgency and a plan, because I want to see and experience it all. The more I travel, the longer my lists get. (My list for this trip is at the bottom of the page.) It was an ambitious list, but we managed to check off every one! Our first step was to rent a car, because similarly to Los Angeles, everything is pretty spread apart. This proved to be my hardest obstacle of all: driving a stick-shift car on the left side of the road, on the right side of the car. After pulling out into oncoming traffic a few times and turning on my windshield wipers instead of my blinker often, I think I finally started getting the hang of it.

Laura’s List: 58 l.a. centric may/june 2012

• • • • • •

Our first stop was to drive down to the country and continent’s southern most point, the Cape of Good Hope.The drive was not unlike driving the gorgeous coastline of Malibu, but instead of driving along the water, you were navigating hairpin turns, hugging the steep cliffs with zero guard rails. I could barely turn my eyes away from the road to take in the breath-taking views, for fear of killing ourselves. Finally, I had to find a place to stop and take photos. This landscape was even more alien to us, because in certain ways it felt like we were home driving the Pacific Coast Highway in California, but then we would have a harsh reality check as a family of massive baboons suddenly came running out of the bushes towards us and we would realize that this is Africa. We had seen signs everywhere cautioning us about the baboons, but you don’t realize how huge they are until you are face to face with them. That was to be only the first of many animal encounters that day. We then stopped at Boulders, aptly named because it is a beach with huge boulders resting in shallow green water, which has become famous for its resident population of endangered Cape African Penguins. In my mind penguins only lived on glaciers, but I think these guys must have gotten lost on their way to the South Pole and decided, like the rest of us, that they didn’t want to leave Cape Town. They are so ridiculously adorable and they just waddle around like little old men on the beach and hang out. We even saw them coming out of the sewers further in town, keeping a cautious, yet curious distance from us humans. We continued further south on our drive

Visit the Cape African Penguins Visit trendy Camps Bay Trying Biltong (their beef jerky) and game meat Stellenbosch Wine Country Visit the Cheetah Sanctuary Great White Shark Cage Diving


and reached the Cape of Good Hope National Park. Within minutes of entering the park we spotted a massive group of ostriches just grazing. In the span of an hour we had seen penguins, baboons and ostriches. It’s moments like this where I’d ask myself “Where am I?”, What a strange, yet beautiful landscape! Yet, somehow people have become accustomed to sharing their backyards with wild game and monkeys, a thought that excites and saddens me at the same time, because I am sure America was once like this before we hunted out all of the buffalos. The hike to the lighthouse at the top of the Cape of Good Hope isn’t too strenuous, but I will say I wasn’t prepared when I left the house that morning in my flip flops. It was yet another reminder of how little I knew about this city, especially how mountainous it was. During the hike we could hear so many different languages being spoken and most of the signs were in Afrikaans (a dialect of Dutch that has transformed as it incorporated other local languages). I felt like I was at the edge of the world and it was wild and gorgeous. On our drive home we freaked out when we saw the colored beach houses of Muizenburg. As a photographer I am always searching for color and light and these houses were a dream backdrop. Since Sarah and I were traveling only with each other, we had become, by default, each other’s “muses” and I quickly pulled over and opened the trunk, got out my yellow bikini and had Sarah put it on to take photos against the houses. A huge sand storm kicked up, but that didn’t stop us from taking some of our favorite photos from the

trip. I decided a while back to have a “signature pose” on my travels, which has become a self-portrait of me jumping in colorful, foreign backdrops. So this was the perfect place to do it. That night we decided to have Mussels in Hout Bay and drive around to Camps Bay further up on the coast. Sarah and I struck up a conversation with a couple at the table next to us, and they ended up joining us for dinner and drinks. We learned that she was German and visiting her friend Michael, who was an installation artist in Cape Town. Upon further questioning we found out that he was more of a renegade artist who put up sculptures in public places without permission or commission, in hopes that they would remain there. We heard that he had put up a “Floating Heart” in between two palm trees in Camps Bay that lights up at night. It was right across the street from Caprice Café. So I made a mental note to remember that, and then pretty much forgot about it until the next day. The following morning, we decided to see what all the fuss was about Camps Bay. The weather was perfect and the beach vibe was how it should be in California. Everyone was outdoors at cafes having drinks and coffee while people sprawled across the beach and played soccer and jumped through the waves. It was hot, crowded, full of energy and beautiful people. It was like a less pretentious version of South Beach, Miami. We settled in at this amazing café for brunch. When I looked across the street and noticed “Caprice Café”, the conversation from the previous night

came back and I remembered the installation piece! The Floating Heart has to be around here, I thought. Sure enough, floating above a random group of African Acrobats, we saw the floating heart, and I ran across the street to grab a photo of it. I literally made one of the acrobats balance on his friend’s head 4 or 5 times to get the perfect shot and they were more than happy to oblige. It turns out that they were part of the Zulu People and they were pretty excited to meet an American and had all kinds of questions to ask, like if we knew Rihanna or Jay-Z. I have to say that it is amazing how music can be the common denominator in so many places that I travel to. You may not speak the same language, but somehow our music reaches every nook and cranny in the planet and people always talk about it. I wondered if Rihanna and Jay-Z actually realized the power they truly have over the world. We went back to our friend Stephen’s house where we were staying later that day, giving ourselves a pat on the back for not getting lost for the first time in three days in the city. It is a proud moment when you start understanding how to get around in a foreign city on your own without a GPS. You almost start feeling like a local. He had a whole group of friends over for a Braai (the South African word for BBQ) and we all chipped in to help with the cooking. We tried Impala Meat, Wild Boar, Ostrich burgers and amazing trout. I realized that I pretty much eat a South African diet already; mostly red meat, rice and hardly any vegetables. They pretty much exercise their dominance over the food chain on a daily ba-

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sis and any meat they can cook and eat, they do. I was LOVING it! The craziest part about that Braai was what happened next. I was just making conversation with one of Stephen’s friends there and I was flipping through photos on the back of my camera to show him our recent excursion to Camps Bay. He stopped when he saw the photo of the Floating Heart and said that his best friend made that art piece. What are the odds of that?! Sarah and I had only met a handful of people in our brief time in Cape Town and randomly the couple that we befriended two nights before for drinks and dinner, happened to be close friends of this guy! What is even stranger is that these types of “Small World” occurrences happen so frequently to me that I have even coined a term to describe when it happens, “divine synchronicity”, which is when everything comes back around full circle and you have a coincidence. I believe it means you are exactly where you are supposed to be in that moment and that you are on the right path. I paused, realizing I was sitting in the sun at a BBQ in South Africa, meeting new people, and that I was young, happy, and exactly where I was supposed to be: in Africa. The next day Stephen took Sarah and I on a mini road trip to Spier Winery in Stellenbosch, the Napa of South Africa. Despite all of beauty we had seen in the past four days, we finally witnessed the “ugly” side of Cape Town. Despite the fact that Apartheid has been over since the early ’90s, there still is a great deal of racial tension and segregation. We drove past massive all-black shanty towns and witnessed a culture that was

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reminiscent of the ’50s in America. We could sense the fear and prevalence of crime only by the existence of huge walls lined with barbed wire around each and every house, people practically barricading themselves for safety. Other than these clues, we never witnessed any crimes or felt unsafe, although Cape Town is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It was a sombering landscape to drive through on our way to a decadent tasting in the gorgeous wine country outside of Cape Town. I asked Stephen so many questions about the political situation in South Africa on the drive and had another moment of feeling like an ignorant American. How can I just traipse around Cape Town without a care in the world and leave here in a few days without truly knowing its history and the reality that lurks just under the surface of this city? That was the moment I decided we must to go to the Apartheid Museum after wine tasting. I needed a massive history lesson, but first I needed to sample the famous wines of the region. Stellenbosch Winelands is only 20 minutes outside of Cape Town and used to be known as the City of Oaks due to their massive Oak trees. It has the feel of being in the Mediterranean and as quickly as we had switched from Cape Town to driving through shanty towns, we switched back to tree-lined streets, quaint Dutch-styled wineries, and rows and rows of grapevines as far as you could see. Spier Winery was a true experience rather than just a winery and had a diverse collection of activities, including a cheetah and rare bird conservatory as well as a sophisticated African cuisine restaurant called Moyo, where


the tables were perched up in the tree tops and had outdoor cabana-style lounge areas. Not only could you learn about the animals, but you could go into the enclosures with the cheetahs and pet them — and also hold the birds. It was one of those life experiences I will never forget. [and it was just icing on the cake to go wine tasting afterwards and eating crocodile and impala up in the treetops of Moyo.] It is amazing to me that there are so many exotic creatures in such a condensed area and the locals tend to not realize what a privilege it is to be around them all of the time. Nevertheless, they respect their power and are slowly making strides in protecting these great creatures. It felt like everyday I was having encounters with the most awesome animals and that I was living on the Discovery Channel. Still, nothing could have prepared me for my final encounter on our last day in Cape Town. It was in the Top 5 on my Bucket List in Life, and I refused to leave South Africa without doing it: yes, that would be paying money to climb into a cage in freezing water to be surrounded by 20-footlong Great White Sharks! On our last day in Cape Town, Sarah and I got up at 4am, packed our bags and left on a road trip to Gansbaai, a small fishing village about two hours outside of Cape Town. The drive alone was breathtaking and I was so energized by fear and anticipation of what I was about to do. I kept thinking: This is crazy! Am I really about to get into the water with Great White Sharks? I felt like this trip was all about conquering my fears and the other things I knew nothing about. In fact, I feel that way about all of my trips and about traveling in general. The things you learn and the people you encounter will forever alter your perception on the world and change your own beliefs about what you

thought you knew. Traveling teaches you things you could never learn in school or in books. For me, I knew that I had to stare a shark face to face, to finally conquer my fears about them. On the drive there, I saw the front pages of the newspaper stapled to the posts on the side of the road. The headline read “Surfer eaten by a Shark in Muizenberg Yesterday”, the very Muizenberg where Sarah and I had only days earlier been shooting photos by all of the colored houses on the beach. It is a grim, yet true fact, that this is a fairly common occurrence here in South Africa. Some people feel like the cage diving has made the sharks more aggressive towards humans, but even armed with this new terrifying information, I still chose to get in that cage and get dipped in the water with Great Whites. I cannot express how it felt to be in the water with a shark the size of a Suburban coming at you baring all 3,000 of its teeth, but I could have never appreciated their sheer power and presence without having done that. One second you are seeing nothing in front of you except for a few fish and in a split second a shark is grabbing ahold of the cage a foot away from your face. It was terrifying, exciting and beautiful in a strange way. [[The feeling I had was the epitome of being alive, why I have chosen to become a photographer and to document this crazy world we live in, and why I feel compelled to do what I do everyday and love every minute of it.]] In that moment I felt vibrant, like every part of me was synched into reality and moments like this is what stokes my wanderlust. I know I will come back soon to this gorgeous, complicated land someday soon. It was so nice to be able to “disconnect and reset” from my daily existence and I honestly, came back humbled, happy, relaxed and a changed woman. l.a.

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fineart

T

how to build an art collection

by Astrid Oviedo Clark

his is the first in a series of articles that will demystify the act of collecting in today’s world. Each article will address a different aspect and give you not just basic knowledge but practical ways to think and begin collecting and maybe even become the next great collector. When people think about art collecting, they envision white walls and concrete floors with unapproachable sales peoples wearing black designer head to toe, or packed auction floors, like Christie’s, full of billionaires vying for a Picasso that will break auction records at $106.5 million. There is a belief that this is an arena only open to the very wealthy and very knowledgeable. However, on both counts, this is a false. The fact is that most great art collectors began with neither. One of the best examples of this is the wellknown story of a couple, Dorothy and Herbert Vogel from NYC who lived off her librarian salary and bought art with the husband’s post office salary. They amassed a minimal and conceptual art collection of over 2500 items. They began by going to galleries and buying the work of unknown artists, following these artists, befriending them, learning from them. Many are considered the most important artists of that period. Having an art collection is not directly related to how much money you have. There are works of art at every price point, for every budget. And no matter what budget you have, you can make savvy choices as to what you are buying. Why buy a framed poster for $2,000 when you can instead own an original work of art by an emerging artist who is doing something unique and is getting the attention of curators and critics. In other words, becoming an art collector begins simply by caring about the art you surround yourself with and not settling for decoration for your home. All you need is a budget and ability to live with a clean, empty wall when you begin your journey. You do not need a formal art education. Nor do you need an art consultant. Art consultants are aides who will fast forward the process in a guided manner. But as the Vogels demonstrate, all you need to do is open your eyes, see as much art as you can, read about artists, talk to artists, and ask lots of questions. The one piece of knowledge you will need is to know that no great artist existed in isolation. Every artist needed to be supported by a network of other artists, curators, critics, collectors and dealers. Vincent Van Gogh for example did live in Arles alone, but his brother was an important art dealer and his best friend and frequent visitor was Paul Gaugin. Pablo Picasso arrived to Paris and his best friend was an avante-garde critic at the time. He had the best dealers and visionary collectors like Gertrude Stein when he first began. One could say that they were associated with the right brands. This still applies today. This column will explain to you: 1) how to hedge your risks on an artist by being able to discern which galleries (from blue-chip to emerging) are the best ones that will help nurture an artist’s career, and 2) how to read an artist’s bio and know that important curators are looking at this artist and that critics are reviewing them. This is not to say it is an insider’s world. But like anything there is a system that is easy to crack once one knows the method. This column will help with this. But to start, begin looking and training your eye. Museums are a great place to start. There you will see what museum curators have chosen as the best examples by an artist of any time period, works that are worthy of being in art history books. (They are in there because they broke new

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Christie’s Auction of works by Picasso

ground in terms of subject matter and the manner they were created. Go to the museum lectures and tours. Ask questions. Read. You will not only be subconsciously training your eye, but you will get a sense of what strikes you over everything else. For example, after a visit to a museum, you may decide the 1913 paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, the father of abstract art, really made an impression on you on how it looks and how it reflects the period it came from. However, owning a Kandinsky is prohibitive in price. There are artists who have since turned to abstraction in an altogether different way, moving forward the lineage of abstract painting. (Think Jackson Pollock in the 1950s, or Mark Bradford today.) The fact is, the best work is conceptually and technically important and they support each other. And yes, there are emerging artists who are doing this now at the lowest price points. Visit galleries and even auction previews. These are free and open to the public. They want you there. And don’t forget to look! With the internet, you can visit theses galleries in other cities virtually to see if they have an artist that strikes you. Be patient though; do not jump and buy the first thing you see. Again this is all about building what I call your “mind’s eye” — the ability to see work that is visually striking and is supported by the conceptual underpinnings of the work. Go to online art websites with reviews, news, and even gallery guides. Two of the best are www.artinfo.com and www.artnet.com. These sites are the best for the most up-to-date art news, analysis, reviews, and even to plan for upcoming exhibitions. Print publications are good as well. There is Artforum, whose esoteric writing is frequently ignored by the experts in the field as they look carefully at the advertisements. Not only do they act as a preview of what the top galleries in the world are showing but the most influential galleries can be assessed by the placement of their ad. (Yes, really.) It is political. Others publications include Art in America, ARTnews, Modern Painters, and Art & Auction (best for articles on collecting overall.) This may sound daunting…but this is just a broad introduction to the collecting art. I hope to offer you a more detailed no frills guide to understanding the art world, the basics to start looking at art and collecting it…. at any budget. You will learn how to ask questions, what to watch out for…and pitfalls to avoid. These will be tools that even the greatest art coll.a. lectors did not have when they started. Feel free to submit questions to artcollecting@lacentricmagazine.com Astrid Oviedo Clark will try to address them in future columns.


May 17-20, 2012

Opening Preview May 16

benefiting Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Endorsed by:

Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

Muni: Delivering customers to fine art at a fare price

Muni: Take Muni and receive $5 off admission.

Media Partner

sffineartfair.com Klari Reis, SF to Marin (detail), 2011, Mixed media on floating aluminium panel, 60 in. Diameter. Klari Reis, Courtesy Cynthia Corbett Gallery, London

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health

yoga: where to go?

by Michell Newman Los Angeles Yoga Teacher www.yogamichell.com

WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE? “I hear a lot of people say

they're not flexible enough to do yoga, which to me is like saying

I'm too sick to take medicine.”

- Billy Gill,

There seems to be a common response when the word yoga is mentioned: an excuse as to why we’re not doing it. Having the desire to do yoga is the first step. If you're too busy, be honest with yourself. That's yoga! If you can't focus your mind enough to slow your breath and listen to your body, don't worry, that's the human condition. With more than a thousand yoga studios in Los Angeles, from Echo Park to Santa Monica, every style, level, and time-slot imaginable, we’ve got your excuses covered with these options. Since we can’t list them all, here are a few of the best in every neighborhood!

Yoga Teacher

The Early Bird

“I don’t have time!” - Raychell,

mother of two

West Hollywood City Yoga 6:30am Mon - Fri Mixed Level 1067 North Fairfax 323.654.2125 www.cityyoga.com

Santa Monica Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga East 7am Mon - Sat All Levels 522 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401 www.poweryoga.com

Echo Park Urth Yoga 6:55am Mon - Fri Mixed Level 2809 W Sunset Blvd.      213.483.9642 www.urthyoga.com

Larchmont YogaWorks Larchmont 6:30am, Mon, Wed, Fri Vinyasa Flow 6:30am Tues & Thurs Ashtanga 230 N. Larchmont Blvd. 323.464.1276 www.yogaworks.com

The Night Owl “Yoga is just

too slow

for me.”

- Stephen, skier, surfer, mountain biker,

64 l.a. centric may/june 2012

Echo Park Urth Yoga 8pm Mon - Thur Basics, Restorative & Anusara 2809 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026      213.483.9642 www.urthyoga.com Hollywood Golden Bridge Yoga 8pm Mon & Wed Kundalini and Meditation 1357 N. Highland Ave Los Angeles, CA 90028 323.9346.4172 www.goldenbridgeyoga.com

Mid City Liberation Yoga 8pm Mon - Thur Level 1, Vinyasa 2/3, All levels & Meditation 124 South La Brea Ave Los Angeles, CA 90036 323.964.5222 www.liberationyoga.com Santa Monica Power Yoga East 7am Mon - Sat All Levels 522 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401 www.poweryoga.com


Photo: Jeff Skeirik Yoga Model: Melodia Medley

On A Budget Echo Park Urth Yoga 6:55am & 12:30pm M- F 4:30pm Th, 2:30pm Sat Mixed Level, $5 2809 W Sunset Blvd 213.483.9642 www.urthyoga.com

Sherman Oaks Black Dog Yoga Various classes all week, $8 or $10 An eclectic mix of Hatha Yoga 4454 Van Nuys Blvd, Suite 206 818.380.0331 www.blackdogyoga.net

Santa Monica Power Yoga East All Levels All Classes by Donation Suggested $14 522 Santa Monica Blvd www.poweryoga.com

Most studios have an introductory new student discount. For a list of all the studios check out The Accidental Yogist, where an aspiring yogi discovers the Los Angeles Yoga Scene! blog.accidentalyogist.com

Keep It Intimate Los Feliz Yoga Vibe Classes from 7am-7:45pm 7 days a week Vinyasa Flow based classes All levels 1717 Hillhurst Ave 323.953.8449 www.yogavibela.com

ONE MINUTE SELF PRACTICE

Silver Lake Still Yoga Classes from 9am - 7:30pm 7 days a week Anusara inspired class All levels 2395 Glendale Blvd 323.906.8960 www.allstill.com

Even with all of these options, if you find yourself finding new reasons to procrastinate, I would like to share a simple self practice that anyone who can breathe can do. Sit up tall, roll your shoulders down your back, feel your rib cage expand and take a full, deep, expansive breath through your nose. Exhale everything out completely until you feel a hollowness in your lower abdomen. Try to do this with your eyes closed, sitting still, nine more times. It may not sound like much but I can promise you, taking just ten deep, focused, breaths a day, can have major effects.

Culver City Yoga Daya Classes from 9am on 7 days a week Iyengar inspired classes All levels 8985 Venice Blvd. Suite F 310.558.9642 www.yogadaya.com

Choose Your Style Multple Locations YogaWorks With 14 locations all over Southern California and classes from Pre/Post Natal to Level 2/3 Vinyasa Flow and everything in between, YogaWorks has a class for everyone. www.yogaworks.com Pasadena Yoga House Pasadena With classes for kids, special needs such as arthritis and MS, no matter what it is you seek from yoga, you will find it here. 11 West State Street 626.403.3961 www.yogahouse.com

Glendale Yoga At The Village Over fifteen different styles with fantastic options for special needs, seniors, prenatal, LA Weekly rated them the “Best NonThreatening Yoga Studio in Los Angeles!” 1306 Sonora Avenue 818.265.9833 www.yogaatthevillage.com Santa Monica Santa Monica Yoga Ashtanga, Hatha, Iyengar, Flow, Prenatal, Power, Kundalini and even Pilates - they have it all! 1640 Ocean Park Blvd 310.396.4040 www.santamonicayoga.com

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 65


food

Written and Edited by

Justine Freeman Red Medicine is an eightteen-month-old, Vietnamese-inspired restaurant on Wilshire just east of La Cienega. It’s open late, serving tired and hungry industry folks well into the wee hours (2 am). Located where Kokusai used to be, this restaurant has Jordan Kahn at the helm (his first solo venture since leaving XIV as pastry chef extraordinaire), along with Umami’s Adam Fleischman and beverage director Noah Ellis. Production designer Charisse Cardenas uses lots of reclaimed wood here, with Douglas fir on the walls, an 8-seater bar made of Oak, and custommade maple furniture set inside this industrial feeling, candle-lit space. Turns out the joint is named Red Medicine because of the hot and spicy nature of the food, and it’s therapeutic, healing effects. In reality, Vietnamese has lighter and, some would say, more feminine flavors than other Asian food, but “Red” also connotes good fortune, success, and honor. The dinner menu is sectioned off into cold plates, hot plates, small plates, and large plates. Of course, the dessert menu is unbelievable and another story all together. The crispy spring rolls with dungeness crab, lime, pea pods, fines herbes, and chili were a pretty good start, but I would instantly recommend the dungeness crab from the hot plates section of the menu if you were to choose between the two. The chicken dumplings with caramelized sugar, pork fat, lemongrass and confitures was more of a meatball than a dumpling. They get wrapped in a leaf of lettuce and the fun part is choosing which toppings to sprinkle or slather on. It’s refreshing to use so many leafy greens and get that fresh bite of lettuce for a change. It’s easy to come here and avoid eating any rice or bread, and still leave feeling satisfied. The chicken was sweet and savory and the condiments and spicy sauce punched it up even more. The brussels sprouts were topped with fried shrimp crackers, which I just pushed to the side. The actual sprouts were incredibly good. They were rich and glazed in a fish sauce with caramelized shallots and vermouth, reaching the level of decadence. The dungeness crab arrives like a hidden treasure beneath this Vietnamese crepe and surrounded by black garlic and malt crumbles. Here is what to expect underneath. A giant pile of dungeness crab, sweet and delicious from a strikingly delicious marinade of passion fruit and brown sugar, topped with a few pieces of banana, mushrooms, and heart of palm. This dish is a must-have. The crab exudes a tropical aftertaste from the passion fruit juice and banana bits, but it retains the soft flavor that makes dungeness so appealing. Combined with the exquisitely fine crepe and the garlic and

66 l.a. centric may/june 2012

RED MEDICINE

Beverly Hills

mushrooms thrown in, that element of earth manages to ground it all as your taste buds soar. The Imperial Wagyu beef brisket was my absolute favorite. It turned out to be $80 which seems expensive, but not really when you realize it’s big enough (2 lbs) to share between 4-6 people. It’s braised for 36 hours with palm sugar and fish sauce and is juicy and tender with a faint hint of crispy fat. I love the fixings that accompany this perfectly braised brisket. Intended to be shared as lettuce wraps, the brisket experience is hands-on and social. You take the meat and dunk it in the citrusy and light fish sauce, and then layer it inside the lettuce cup. Then you top it with a few rounds of sweet pickles, sliced carrots, marinated radish, and a medley of herbs like parsley and mint. One bite and you will understand. The flavors blend together like a cascading waterfall that washes over you and carries you away to a Vietnamese paradise. The Maitake mushrooms arrived looking like a forest fairy’s delicate wreath on the plate. Once in front of us, a small pitcher of charred cauliflower puree was poured into the middle of it. Underneath the frisée lettuces were snake beans so long they resembled spaghetti, shaved cauliflower, dehydrated mushroom, bacon, walnuts and bits of fennel. The puree was made with dairy and the cream paired beautifully with the earthy flavor of the mushrooms and charred beans. I truly enjoyed these charred and earthy flavors. The tinge of bitterness from the lettuce and licorice-like scent of the fennel added an interesting and subtle twist to the dish. A ten for creative presentation and flavor. The only crime that counts is to leave without trying a dessert. The coconut bavarois with coffee, condensed milk, thai basil, and peanut croquant is worth every single calorie. The textures are gorgeous together, the silky condensed coconut milk and soft crunch of the peanut croquant with the coffee ice cream blending right in with the chocolate powder. The green dots are liquid basil, which I cannot identify exactly how they interact, but I can guarantee that this dessert is one you will not quickly forget. Red Medicine is a cool dinner spot. There’s always a buzz in the air and the cocktails are ultra creative. We’re talking tamarind sours and ryebased drinks shaken with pickled peppers and fennel fronds. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable and the food is great. And for a late night snack at 1 am, I’m not probably the only one who would rather tear into a Banh Mi sandwich here then drive to Little Saigon. I’m a big fan of fusion cuisine, and dinner at Red Medicine is just what the doctor ordered.


TAR & ROSES Santa Monica

This new Santa Monica eatery has beautiful, rustic dishes and an ambiance of unrefined sophistication. Marble tables are surrounded by walls of reclaimed wood in Andrew Kirschner's welcoming, dimly lit space. The natural woods and raw materials emphasize the simple, honest quality of the modern American restaurant. There are plenty of wood-fired dishes with healthy, organic ingredients. The “Next Iron Chef � competitor must have learned all he needed to know as former chef of Wilshire, because everything here was impeccable. I never would have guessed this was Tar and Roses opening night because there was not a glitch in the food or service. Here's a look at dinner. Beef tongue slices were served cold, and though the cut was on the thicker side, the tongue was tender, resembling sashimi in its texture. The ample flakes of roasted garlic brought a wonderful warmth of flavor and the small scoops of Mediterranean tuna added a Spanish element to the dish as well as a natural salinity that I adored. The lemon ricotta gnocchi with charred rapini was a nice, subtle dish. The dumplings were soft and light, and the faint lemon flavor of the broccolini was a gorgeous accompaniment. The slight crunch of the greens and the tender potato compliment each other well. This is a mild dish that is pleasantly rustic. The bone marrow with marmalade and gremolata was delicious and copious. Piled and smeared onto heavenly pieces of garlic bread, with the parsley and lemon zest sprinkled on top, this extremely rich treat has incredible taste. A creamy nuttiness and sweetness to it, this primal fuel source of animal fats and protein is also loaded with vitamins and minerals. The whole, roasted sea bass made a picturesque arrival. With grill marks on the crispy metallic flakes of its skin, and lemon slices and herbs placed between the delicate filets of its belly, the branzino on its bed of leafy greens looked too pretty to eat. Luckily, I was able to capture its beauty. The truth is, fish bones are just as darling to admire. The fish came with a meyer lemon risotto that was so creamy it made me dizzy with happiness. Of course, I had to eat more to regain my strength. We also ordered a side of Tahitian squash that arrived with quinoa, kale, and pistachios. The squash was spiced with tumeric, and I loved the spices and nuts thrust together in the bowl with kale and quinoa. What a handsome blend of earthy tones and warm notes to balance out the sweetness of the squash, culminating in a taste of something rugged and wholesome. The little gem lettuce salad was perfect as an

after dinner salad to help us digest. There was an intense lemon dressing on the lettuce, with mustard seeds and small sardines for an added bite that made the salad memorable. A dollop of burrata helped cut the acidity and mixed in nicely with everything in that luscious way that is so classic of this gooey mozzerella. Seriously, the crostada was even better than it looks. With a warm egg custard layered on top of handmade, flakey crust and piled high with small, lightly toasted, forest strawberries, blood orange, and rosemary, I was instantly hooked. It was accompanied by a glass jar full of honey comb ice cream from L.A. Creamery. It had bits of real honey comb and swirls of honey in it. The ice cream was too good for words. Now, I know why all this fuss is made over the birds and the bees. The raw honey crystals weren't just sugary. They were sticky and candied and sweet and could not have been better suited for the tart berries and bold flavor of the blood orange. Maybe The Land of Blood and Honey isn't Angelina Jolie's Bosnia, but a dessert at 'Tar and Roses'. Arborio rice pudding arrived in a passion fruit caramel sauce with Mercado almonds. It was fruity, sweet, nutty, rich and creamy. The passion fruit was a magnificent touch, both bursting through the other flavors and enhancing them. Tar and Roses also features an extensive charcuterie and cheese selection as well as familystyle dinners that must be ordered in advance for parties of 5 or more. Some of these truly inventive and hearty dinner options include a wood-fired goat with Moroccan accompaniments, a whole goose with traditional sides, a standing rib rack with horseradish potato purĂŠe, or a shellfish pot with roasted corn. With such spectacular choices, choosing can't be easy, but no matter what, I think everything here is coming up roses.

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 67


food

Since Nyesha Arrington became the new executive chef at Wilshire, I decided to check out her new menu. Arrington is on her way to becoming a house-hold name after winning “Chef Hunters” on The Food Network and competing on this season's “Top Chef: Texas”. So I was surprised that the joint was kind of dead, until I realized it was Monday night after Thanksgiving weekend. More than likely most folks were happily at home eating up their leftovers as I took a seat outside on the patio where I could admire the dancing flames in the fireplace and the knobby trees draped in glittering lights. I wouldn't miss those leftovers one bit. Studying the menu revealed that Arrington had obviously picked up a few tricks from her mentor, Josiah Citrin. She has, after all, worked with him at Lemon Moon in Culver City and Mélisse in Santa Monica. Not to mention the invaluable skills she must have acquired through osmosis, simply rubbing elbows in the kitchen with the legendary, award-winning French chef Joël Robuchon. A little of that Michelin star dust must have settled nicely into her culinary repertoire after having worked at his L'Atelier and at The Mansion in Vegas. We ordered the octopus salad to start. I had read that Arrington's Korean grandmother had introduced her to the unique flavors of kimchi, bulgogi, and octopus from a young age, and she's been known to incorporate these flavors into her dishes. This dish turned out to be a small revelation. The octopus was soft and tender and not plagued by the oftentimes natural chewiness associated with the mollusk.

68 l.a. centric may/june 2012

WILSHIRE Santa Monica

They were considerably large pieces and yet as soft as a scallop. It was accompanied by fresh parsley, tomatoes ,and slivers of cucumber for a refreshing kick. Next up for review was the pork belly. It arrived with french lentils and a poached egg, always a promising sign. It's hard to go wrong with pork belly and a well-executed poached egg. My gut was right, and the dish was rich and hearty with smoky notes and garlic confit. Little croutons delicately soaked up the egg yolk, after a soft nudge of my fork had it spilling over the lentils, the same way that sunshine pours into a dusky room and quickens your pulse. The halibut arrived and with an excited glance I predicted greatness. I was sadly disappointed. It was dry instead of tender and the sauce that accoutred it barely enhanced it at all. I expected the first bite to melt away in my mouth after seeing the crispy, golden brown hues but there was nothing buttery about it. Finally, the earthiness of the king trumpet mushrooms was a slight consolation. As was the wild boar papperdelle. This meat dish was both savory and sweet with perfectly textured al dente noodles. It had bits of olive which complimented the meatiness of the wild boar and the sweet mixture of vegetables in the sauce. It was a welcome reprieve from the halibut and was gone before I could get a picture! (Please do find it in your hearts to forgive me.) Dessert was a no-brainer. I ordered the sticky toffee pudding with crème fraiche ice cream, probably because I know it's Princess Kate's favorite dessert. I remember reading

the recipe and loving the fact that it's naturally sweetened with finely chopped dates. I can't go to Palm Springs without stopping for a milkshake made from the palm dates that grow on all the palm trees. The moist sponge cake came in a pool of toffee goodness, and the crème fraiche ice cream had just the right amount of sourness to avoid sugar sensory overload.


Photos: Myra Vides

A beautiful, eclectic collection of clothing, zen furniture, and California lifestyle essentials... 2400 Main St 90405 Santa Monica Green Light District naturalhighlifestyle.com may/june 2012 l.a. centric 69


70 l.a. centric may/june 2012


may/june 2012 l.a. centric 71


There are less than a thousand people living here and many families have stayed for generations. The museum is the oldest in Greenland, founded in the late 1800s. Sarah, the pretty Greenlandic girl who runs the front desk, is a descendant of the painter whose work hangs in the main building. It is filled with enormous canoes lined with taut fur. Next door there is an old meeting hall with a large organ, ledgers filled with ornately scrawled names, and crackled portraits. The building where I spend most of my time has the newest work: delicate drawings of Inuit spirits, paintings of Greenlandic girls smoking cigarettes, and little carved ivory sculptures. The gift shop sells real narwhal tusks and a walrus head. The residency has been around since the early 1900s. When I get to the cabin I find mementos filling the shelves and letters pinned to the wall. There is a polar bear skull on the window and suggestions from past residents, including one who was apparently too tall (he lists all the places in the house that someone over six feet will bump into). A few were photographers: there are rows of albums filled with Greenlandic natives and Danish settlers that have long since been buried on the hillside behind the museum. I am surprised by how funny they are, faces contorted into grimaces while they camp it up for the camera. Some of the settlers are unwittingly hilarious, their trousers hiked up to their armpits, pipes jutting out from grumpy scowls. They look like models for the dwarves from Snow White. Two weeks into my stay in Greenland there is a grisly murder. In the closest town to Upernavik, a boy in his early twenties shoots five people, including a grandmother and a child. The town had only sixty-five people; I morbidly work out the decrease in the percentage of the population. Sarah tells me nothing like this has ever happened before. Her mother is working for the prosecution, interviewing the murderer, and the tiny airport is filled with forensic investigators. I ask her for daily updates. The helicopters shuttle back and forth from the hospital on the bay, the

72 l.a. centric may/june 2012


only one for miles. I am somewhat baffled by her shock. It may be growing up with the gang wars in Los Angeles or not being used to seeing racks of guns at the supermarket. It seems obvious to me that easy access to weapons would mean immediate violence, but apparently that is not the case here. The Greenlandic people are prolific hunters. Daily activities include shooting polar bears and chopping up sea mammals with machetes. Despite this they are a gentle people. What at first seems to be shyness gives way to friendly smiles and waves, and I instinctually feel completely safe walking around. (After the murder, I question this assumption and wonder if it is simply a reaction to a rural culture.) There is evidence of hunting everywhere in the town. Polar bear skins hang below laundry to dry. Seals and gutted fish are split open on racks, and spots of blood dot the embankment. There is a particularly gruesome section next to the main road where all the hunters bring the polar bears they have caught to flay. It is piled with fleshy bits that have been embedded in the ground for years. After a snowfall it seems like it has been erased, but as the sun comes out the gory nubs begin to surface again and the veins stand out against the stark white. It seems like a difficult life. The hunters work tirelessly and their faces are etched with deep lines. The land seems beautiful, but upon closer inspection the unforgiving brutality is shuddering. The animal rights activism I brought from California seems completely pointless. I can only respect the hunters for carving out a life in this climate, and their continuous good humor is awe-inspiring. I end up making my residency piece based on the wooden frames the hunters stretch their skins on, which remind me of canvas bars. They are shaped like the triangular roofs in the village, and have bead formations found in ancient Inuit huts superimposed onto a map of Upernavik. I place them on three ends of the island to triangulate a point, where I bury a secret present for a future resident to find. I figure this works well in the continuum I have entered and am leaving behind. The main airport has a signpost with arrows pointing in all directions, towards cities like Moscow. Rome, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. The arrow at the very top reads: 3 hours, 15 minutes to the North Pole, which makes me feel bewildered and excited at the same time. This is both l.a. the first and last thing I see.

may/june 2012 l.a. centric 73


est. 1984 EXPO’S SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS (LAST STOP) at Bergamot Station Arts Center RELOCATION LIVE PUBLIC ART AUCTION

THE

JUNE 9TH @ 6pm & JUNE 10TH @ 1pm www.smauctions.com Celebrating over 25 years as LA’s Independently Owned and Operated Fine Art Auction House 2525 Michigan Ave Suite B7/C2 Santa Monica, CA 90404 P: 310.315.1937 / F: 310.315.9688/ info@smauctions.com / Bond No. 69339324

74

DAVID HOCKNEY / ED RUSCHA / CHRISTO / RAYMOND PETTIBON / ED KIENHOLZ / JEFF KOONS / ANDY WARHOL PETER BEARD / GORDON ONSLOW FORD / TONY BERLANT / JACQUES VILLEGLE / ROBERT GRAHAM JONATHAN LASKER / RICHARD PETTIBONE / JOHN MCCRACKEN / DAVID BOWIE / TAKASHI MURAKAMI l.a. centric may/june 2012


may/june 2012 l.a. centric 75


and present

Eat. Drink. art.

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Biannual Benefit

SaturDay, May 12, 2012 7:00 PM

Celebrate an evening of artistic decadence with splendid flair. Guests will dance, drink, and mingle with artists, curators, civic and cultural leaders, neighborhood friends and Gallery supporters atop beautiful Olive Hill. admission SingLE AdmiSSion: $25

Buy tickets here: www.EatdrinkArt.Barnsdall.org

PLaCe

Los Angeles municipal Art gallery Barnsdall Park 4800 Hollywood BLvd. Los Angeles CA 90027

Featuring • tastings of fine wines and beers • KCrw dJ dan wilcox • LA’s best gourmet trucks like Coolhaus, Let’s Be Frank, the Border grill and more • Performances, installations, and demonstrations by multi-talented artists

For more inFormation www.Lamag.org/Special-Events info@lamag.org 323.644.6269

PLEASE notE: AduLtS-onLy EvEnt. no onE undEr 21 wiLL BE ALLowEd Entry.

LAMAgA | Los Angeles Municipal Art gallery Associates is a private non-profit organization founded in 1952, whose primary mission is to promote, assist, and serve as advocates for the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. LAMAGA provides financial, marketing, and public relations support for the Gallery’s exhibitions, publications, and educational programs.

Barnsdall Art Park Foundation is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture Barnsdall Park as a dynamic and vibrant artistic, cultural and recreational destination for Los Angeles and the world. Since its founding, the foundation has funded capital projects such as the ceramics kilns and the monument sign that marks the park entrance on Hollywood boulevard.

S u P P O R t I N g PA R t N E R S

MEDIA SPONSORS

Barnsdall Art Center Student Advisory Committee (BACSAC)

B E v E R Ag E S P O N S O R


26

LOS ANGELES CONSERVANCY PRESENTS

th CLASSiC FiLMS & LiVE ENTERTAiNMENT iN HiSTORiC THEATRES

MAY 30 – JUNE 30, 2012

FEATuRiNG THE MOViE PALACES OF DOwNTOwN’S BROADwAY HiSTORiC THEATRE DiSTRiCT AND THE HiSTORiC SABAN THEATRE iN BEVERLY HiLLS

PAPER MOON

Los Angeles, Orpheum, and Million Dollar Theatre images courtesy of Berger/Conser Photography, from the book The Last Remaining Seats: Movie Palaces of Tinseltown. Saban Theatre image courtesy of Robert Paetz Photography.

MAY 30 LOS ANGELES THEATRE

(1973)

Director Peter Bogdanovich hosts our screening of this recent classic at the Los Angeles Theatre, the last and largest of the great movie palaces built on Broadway

JuNE 6 ORPHEuM THEATRE

TOOTSIE

(1982)

Los Angeles Theatre

Geena Davis joins us for the 30th anniversary of this beloved ode to acting, at the magnificent, beautifully renovated Orpheum Theatre

JuNE 13 LOS ANGELES THEATRE

! TSLEEP u O THE SBIG OLD

(1946)

Film historian Alan Rode introduces this noir classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

JuNE 20 MiLLiON DOLLAR THEATRE

Co-PRESENTEd wiTh

CANTINFLAS in LOS TRES MOSQUETEROS

Orpheum Theatre

(1942)

Hilarious parody of The Three Musketeers; in Spanish with English subtitles; pre-screening discussion led by Laura isabel Serna, uSC professor of film & critical studies

JuNE 27 ORPHEuM THEATRE

ROBIN HOOD

(1922)

Leonard Maltin introduces the silent version of this timeless classic starring Douglas Fairbanks; live organ accompaniment by Robert israel

Million Dollar Theatre

JuNE 30 SABAN THEATRE

THE WIZARD OF OZ

(1939)

Special Saturday shows (matinee and evening) A young Judy Garland leads an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road; our first time ever at the beautifully renovated Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Los Angeles Conservancy, devoted to preserving the unique historic places of Greater Los Angeles.

Saban Theatre

FoR dETailS, uPdaTES, aNd TiCkETS, viSiT laconservancy.org QuESTioNS? Call (213) 430-4219 (EvENT hoTliNE) oR (213) 623-2489 SERiES STAR SPONSOR:

HOLLYwOOD FOREiGN PRESS ASSOCiATiON

SERiES SuPPORTiNG SPONSOR:

MEDiA SPONSOR:

SERiES SPONSORS:

STEVE BiNG EVENiNG SPONSORS:

LiNDA AND JERRY BRuCKHEiMER MAY 30

CATHY AND STEVE NEEDLEMAN JuNE 6

JuNE 13

JuNE 30

JuNE 20 FuNDED iN PART BY


dating.pool

L

one click away

by Mandana Yamin

ast year, over 29 million Americans searched the Internet in hopes of finding love. One out of five people met a spouse on the computer. So, after much hoopla and feeling the statistics were favorably on my side, I realized that I was one click away from meeting the “one” — either that or some random lunatic. The City of Angels (where are they when you need them?) is no exception. We all know someone who met on a dating site, fell in love, got married, had a couple of kids, and all the rest. Yet, for all the success stories, I’d like to take a minute to reflect on the more unusual profiles that leave me questioning, “Whatever happened to all the good ones?” The scanning process is tedious, occasionally amusing, and ultimately quite frustrating. There were two guys who immediately grabbed my attention. One was a sexy porn star/former tennis champion, and the other was a filmmaker/ artist/real estate broker, who was incidentally bi-curious. Yes, it’s a jungle out there. But after reading some useful tips about what to look for, I became a pro at weeding out the wildest animals. I steered clear of any man who posted the following photos on his profile: flexing his muscles in front of the bathroom mirror, posing shirtless by his yellow Lamborghini, or cuddling on the couch with his two Siamese cats. Oh, and any man who describes himself in any of these ways: a spiritual soul, likes to laugh, enjoys long walks on the beach, a good freestyle dancer, believes traveling has shaped his life, and who writes “horseshoes, I have my own set”. Just as I was about to hurl my laptop out my bedroom window, I found someone who caught my eye. He had an alluring profile: photos of him standing by a beautiful cathedral in Prague and sailing in Mexico, looking tanned and sexy in his board shorts. I scrolled down some more and saw he had graduated from a reputable university, he volunteers during his free time in poverty-stricken countries, loves to ski, plays beach volleyball, speaks a couple of different languages, and seems somewhat normal. So far, so good.

Before our first date, we had several playful and flirtatious email exchanges and a few latenight meaningful conversations. Then, it was time to meet face to face. He offered to pick me up. I thought to myself, “What a gentleman.” But after I shared this bit of information with one of my single girlfriends, she said it was a terrible idea: “What, are you crazy?!! He could be a mass murderer!” She had a valid point. I’m admittedly attracted to men who are edgy, carefree, and live on the dark side, but maybe I’m not quite ready for my body parts to be scattered along Malibu while a hungry, lone pelican glides through the

78 l.a. centric may/june 2012

sky holding my left arm and violently choking on one of my silver bangles. So I found some work-related excuse and explained that it would be better if I met him at the restaurant. Despite battling a vicious stomach flu earlier that week, he insisted we should meet sooner rather than later. He picked a hip, new eatery in Venice and was already waiting for me as I rushed into the tiny entryway. He gave me a quick hug as I leaned in to give him a small peck on the cheek, all while noticing that he was at least three inches shorter than the six feet he listed. I also loathed his mustard colored stripe shirt. (I silently chanted over and over again: “Clothes can be changed”.) Luckily, I am fantastic at small talk and so was he. He ordered a pricey bottle of wine. There was an awkward silence as we clinked glasses. This could be a start to a wonderful evening, I thought to myself. I really did want to like him. But in quick succesion I discovered that he is borderline psychotic, has a restraining order against his ex-girlfriend, hasn’t worked out since high school, and has an unmanageable case of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). It all started after the second glass of wine, when the conversation turned serious. We spoke about where we grew up, our work, family, and where we saw ourselves in ten years. Without a beat, he confessed he had OCD. I didn’t want to pry, but since he willingly opened the can of worms, I prepared myself for what he needed to get off his chest. Coincidentally, it went quite well with the escargot with garlic sauce I was enjoying for my appetizer. He explained rather methodically that he excessively had to doublecheck things, such as locks, appliances, and switches, and was reluctant to leave the house unless everything was unplugged. Well, if we end up together, at least we would save money on our electric bill! He asked me when my last relationship ended. Must we speak about our exes on date one?

After not having a decent meal in days, I was salivating for the arrival of my steak au poivre. He told me his ex-girlfriend was a stalker, neurotic, and completely unstable. Wow. Isn’t that the kind of information you divulge on date six, seven, or perhaps never?! Then he went into a fifteen-minute tirade about his torrid relationship with that woman with whom he had lived and then kicked out, who later broke into his house, destroyed all his personal belongings, and attempted to ruin his credit and subsequently his life. I wondered after one of their nasty fights if she was ever tempted to intentionally turn on the TV, clock radio, and toaster oven while he was at work just to mess with his neurosis. At that moment, the waiter came up to the table and asked if everything was okay. He was chatty and personable, and after he left, my date seemed visibly annoyed. “You paid more attention to the waiter than to me,” he complained. I was confused, and suddenly my queasy stomach filled with a baby calf, greasy fries, and a family of garden snails was telling me to make a mad dash to the bathroom. We skipped dessert and he asked for the bill. I thanked him for dinner and was relieved the date was over. I never made it home, and had to pull off to the side of the road to puke up my lavish meal. Needless to say, I never heard from him again. I was neither surprised nor disappointed. I was 0 for 5. After that fiasco, I took a welldeserved break from dating online. Sure, some people have found love via the Internet, but you could find love virtually anywhere: Whole Foods on Lincoln, at the Farmer’s Market at the Grove, waiting in line for the restroom at The Brig on Abbot Kinney, at a party you crash, even in a car crash. As for me, well, I’ve decided to “unplug” myself from the world of Internet dating. Maybe I have a little OCD, but then again who doesn’t? Next stop NYC. King l.a. Kong, here I come.


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may/june 2012 l.a. centric 79


L.A. Centric - May/June 2012  

An issue of L.A. Centric, published in May 2012.