July 19, 2011 § Leave a Comment
What’s better than a food truck? Dozens of food trucks all serving up their portable finest right before your very eyes.
Continuing our coverage of these wheeled wonders, this week’s destination was hosted by Westside Food Truck Central at 4th & Spring in Los Angeles. Though food trucks do ride solo, they also build communities by running in packs to attract the masses. Food Truck Central is no exception, and is one of several events that occurs weekly on the streets of LA.
You know you’ve come to the right place when the first truck you stroll past offers a free sample, especially when it’s freshly made falafel and hummus from Yalla’s menu. Of course, no outdoor event is complete without a rock climbing wall, a couple DJs, and a handful of invites to dance parties later that night.
After deliberating through countless appealing menus, tacos struck gold. Komodo was clearly the taco of choice—their Asian Marinated Chicken and Fish n’ Grapes entrees did not disappoint. Colorful, flavorful, and satisfying—Komodo is the best decision you will make all day. And if their truffle & garlic fries don’t change your life, than nothing else will. Komodo has stolen the hearts of LA locals, been reviewed as, “Not your typical taco truck” by the Travel Channel, and recently snuck its way into the pages of GQ. Need we say more?
Komodo was just one of many trucks serving happy foodies that evening. From sweets to sushi, you are sure to find anything your heart desires in one of these four-wheeled dream machines. Want to join the craze? Tweet and Friend these fine establishments and maybe we’ll see you at our next LA Eats stop.
Written & photographed by Rachel McCord
July 15, 2011 § Leave a Comment
No LA culture collective is complete without a review of the season’s most controversial happening—Art In The Streets at the MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary. Featuring a range of artists from Blade to Basquiat to Banksy, the show presents itself as the first “major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art,” and is certainly America’s largest street art exhibit. The brainchild of Museum Director and chief show curator Jeffery Deitch, the AITS show is jam-packed with artists spanning many graffiti periods from early hobo street art to LA Chicano art. It also includes contemporary artists like Shepard Fairey, a name most households recognize for his famous Hope Obama print.
Upon entering the show the viewer is overwhelmed by the massive scale and volume of work within four white museum walls. It is easy to spend several hours in the exhibition and still miss a good deal of what the show offers. Highlights include the Cosmic Fun Zone, a hallway with blasting disco music, black lights, and floor-to-ceiling neon trinkets. Neckface recreated a dark inner-city alleyway complete with a live hobo (actor) who jumps out of the shadows and scares visitors. And of course no graffiti show is complete without Banksy, whose work includes an actual steamroller, surveillance cameras that mimic chirping birds, and a graffiti stained-glass window created in collaboration with a Los Angeles elementary school.
Other highlights include the AITS’s impressive list of partners. Nike, one of the largest sponsors, created a special-edition shoe for exhibition and currently funds live skaters to skate bi-weekly on ramps near the front of the exhibition. Levis also made a grand appearance at AITS with a free film workshop open to the public whenever museum doors are open, offering classes by famous videographers. Additionally, Juxtapoz devoted an entire issue to the exhibition as a mini exhibition catalogue.
Despite its attempt to be a comprehensive survey of graffiti, the show has received major criticism from the Los Angeles art community. While the show is visually stunning, critics find the show to lack a comprehensive presentation of contemporary graffiti movements. Additionally, though the museum is a show of “the people’s art”, all graffiti that appears in the museum without museum permission is promptly removed at closing. The greatest source of controversy may stem from an event that occurred four months prior to the show’s opening—Italian artist Blu was invited to paint a mural on the exterior of the building but when his work proved too controversial, the museum whitewashed it and requested a different mural. Blu refused and withdrew from the exhibition.
Regardless of criticism, the show is a landmark exhibition for Los Angeles and will be one of the most discussed shows this decade. It is a must-see for anyone devoted to Los Angeles culture and contemporary art.
Art In The Streets runs April 15 to August 8 with free museum admission every Monday.
Written by Amanda Evans
July 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Jinjoo Hwang is a fellow Los Angeles photographer. There strangeness in her work – the images, though rooted in reality, transform into abstractions of a remote observer. Her portfolio has a few straightforward portraits; mostly, however, her work consists of obscure landscapes and still lifes. You can see her work hereor here.
July 11, 2011 § Leave a Comment
At least, that’s what Fyodor Dostoevsky says in his masterpiece, Crime and Punishment. What he’s getting at, though, is the seemingly innocuous idea that crime, no matter the motivation, is an act instigated by circumstance, rather than one’s own volition.
It seems like a moment since theaters across the world watched the dust settle; the lingering burn of sulfur slowly dissipating as bottle rockets careened passed the rolling credits of Blue Valentine, bursting against the toxic black of what can only be described as outer darkness. Blue Valentine found writer and director Derek Cianfrance tackling the tender subject of divorce. Now, it seems as though he’s taking on a similarly paced drama; this time coupled with far more dire circumstances, and implications felt by several generations.
Cianfrance, who’s only other feature film credit aside from Blue Valentine is the little known drama Brother Tied, co-wrote The Place Beyond the Pines with fellow scribes Ben Coccio and Darius Marder. The story centers on a motorcycle stunt man (Ryan Gosling), who is forced into a life of crime in order to support his son, the result of a one-night-stand. As though that weren’t enough, things become complicated when a rookie cop (Bradley Cooper) begins tailing him, which ignites a generational feud between the two men. With a penchant for intensely real emotional drama, it’s interesting to speculate as to the direction and personal flare Cianfrance will apply to a crime story.
“It’s going to kind of end like a family trilogy I’ve been working on, from ‘Brother Tied’, which is about brothers, ‘Blue Valentine’ is about husbands and wives, and this is about fathers and sons. At the same time, there are guns in the new one. I remember shooting ‘Blue Valentine’, that scene at the end of the film with Dean and Cindy in the kitchen and it was so emotional, so painful, and so difficult to get to that moment, I thought, ‘This is why people put guns in movies.’ Emotional violence is more difficult to get to. At the same time, when you put guns in movies, people shoot like 10,000 bullets. In ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’,there are two bullets that get shot. When the bullets get fired, they do damage. It’s going to hurt.”
“Pines” reunites Cianfrance with “Valentine” star Ryan Gosling. Joining them is a slew of A-listers, including Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Greta Gerwig, and Ben Mendelsohn . Production on the film is expected to begin sometime this summer, with a 2013 release.
Written by Zack Campbell
July 8, 2011 § Leave a Comment
1. The branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one
another and to their physical surroundings.
• (also human ecology) the study of the interaction of people with their
2. (also Ecology) the political movement that seeks to protect the environment,
esp. from pollution.
We’ve all heard it before; we’re destroying our earth. Going green, cutting back on fossil fuel emissions, and reusing and recycling are some of the most advertised and obvious ways that we can cut back on leaving a blemish on our planet, but there is one way in particular that most of us overlook: our diet. Oftentimes, we focus on long-term ecological solutions like phasing out fossil fuels and repairing the ozone layer. But we need to be mindful that more immediate, direct intervention on behalf of our planet’s life is required as well.
1982, the IWC adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling, which took effect in 1986 and allowed for scientific research whaling. According to the Whale Wars website, “…some twenty thousand whales have died since 1986 not for profit, but for science.” Regardless of how affected you may feel by this number, the annihilation of whales has affected the oceanic ecosystem and has been a problem often internationally overlooked on the governmental level.
Whale Wars was started in 1977 by Captain Paul Watson, who began fighting against commercial destruction and poaching of sea animals, dedicating himself to the aggressive conservation and protection of ocean life. Today, their initiative has been televised, bringing the whole narrative to the public eye. With support from around the world and volunteers from every corner of the globe, Watson and his team have turned the tide on many of commercially-driven, ecologically destructive industries. The Whale Wars television show provides an insight into and an understanding of what is actually going on in our oceans, and has sparked a movement amongst activists to protect our oceans.
Sea No Evil is an annual benefit held in Riverside, CA, that raises money for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society through the auction of illustrations and art pieces from artists around the Los Angeles area. This year was filled with pieces from prominent illustrators like Jeff Soto, Shepard Fairey, Gary Baseman and Dave Kinsey, as well as a lot of work from local and up-and-coming artists (Ocean Roots, Shannon Crawford, FriendsWithYou, Kev Munday, Hydro 74, Melinda Read, Zoltron, Christ Anthony, etc.). The event was packed with supporters of the Whale Wars series and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The crew of Watson’s ships (the Bridgett Bardot, the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin) were walking around, socializing with the guests, and the overall feel was very familial—everyone was there to support and hear more about the Sea Shepherd’s initiative.
The night was filled with entertainment. DJ Juicewon, Michael Rey and the Woebegones, and She Wants Revenge provided the musical backdrop of the evening while the bidding started on the pieces in the main gallery. The most important part of the night, however, was Watson’s speech. During his talk, he addressed the ecological issues that he and his crew have been facing over the years and what the audience could do about it, explaining the motives behind fighting the Japanese whaling fleets and other actions that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have taken against poachers and consumer corporations. He repeatedly touched on how important it is for average people to take issues into their own hands without approaching the government, and how passionate people working towards their goals are always more effective than people who are being paid to do the same things. He is currently on the Blue List of world terrorists, but he made sure to explain that he is honored to share that in common with the Dalai Lama. Watson stressed the importance of benefits such as Sea No Evil, and different ways that we could contribute, and it was definitely an educational experience. His point was that we need to be aware of the harm we, as humans, are causing our planet, and that if we continue to overlook our destructive corporations like the Japanese whaling fleets, we are going to suffer the consequences.
The night offered much-needed insight into the ecological standing of our planet’s oceans and many ways that we (as Californians, and as a nation) could help out. It is important for us to be good stewards of this planet, and I would encourage our readers to do a little research for themselves and find out what is really going on here. Make sure you check out Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, and do yourself a favor—be aware of what is going on around you.
Written by Josh Kaye
Photos by Jen Trahan
July 7, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Michael Schmidt’s work is exciting and raw, especially his portraits of motorcyclists doing their thing. But these motorists are not necessarily untouchable, or prideful, or intimidating – they are approachable. The sun shines on their sticker-laden helmets. They smile, they fall, and they really do ride off into the sunset. Though their lives are dirty and dangerous, Schmidt balances his images between the dangerous and the welcoming. His work expands past portraits of motorcyclists – his work is really quite good. See his work here.
July 6, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“Slap some reverb on it!” seems to be the credo of many indie-pop bands these days. How else are modern listeners to discern between their tightly structured, melodically driven songs from the mainstream stuff you hear on the radio?
With Heaven is Attached by a Slender Thread, The One AM Radio are not throwing on layers or drowning their sound in effects to fill any emptiness—instead, they rely on full, orchestral arrangements, grooving rhythms and playful melodies to get the job done.
What’s interesting about Heaven is that, from a distance, the record sounds similar to contemporary chillwave acts like Toro y Moi and Small Black; but the production style of these two effects-and-reverb-heavy acts is absent. Many of the songs feature a fat, droning synth that’s perpetually on the verge of peaking, but never quite does. The vocals are at times a cool falsetto, and at other moments are softly sung—almost spoken—in a gentle style similar to Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. The One AM Radio’s Heaven is a head-bobbing tribute to what an indie-pop band is capable of when they leave the chillwave at home.
Written by Christian Koons
July 5, 2011 § Leave a Comment
On a hot summer evening in Fullerton, California, hundreds of people have amassed in a Best Buy parking lot to experience the latest trend in the L.A. cultural cuisine: food trucks. Truck junkies, who most likely spend far too much time on Twitter, wait patiently in line.
If you’ve heard of the food truck craze by now, you’ll know that this trend has taken the Southern California food scene by storm. The infamous Kogi BBQ truck is what supposedly started the movement with its interesting and surprisingly mouth-watering fusion of Korean barbeque and Mexican food. Other vendors have taken Kogi’s lead, inspired by large customer turnouts and the relatively low cost of owning and operating a food truck.
The trucks here tonight were cooking up concoctions such as French toast stuffed with coconut, eggs, pandan leaf, and sugar (Chomp Chomp Nation); all-beef frankfurters wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon and covered in carmelized onions, peppers, and spicy chipayo (Bacon Mania); savory crepes stuffed with a spicy southwestern blend of chicken, peppers, onions, and sharp cheddar cheese (Crepes Bonaparte); and grilled cheese made with brie, garden tomatoes, and fresh spinach on sourdough (Spud Runners).
With the trucks’ recent expansion into the vast outer regions of the Los Angeles area, the business looks as promising as ever for new and existing truck vendors alike. As they strive to privilege the essence and culture of L.A.’s neighborhoods, they set themselves apart from restaurant giants, giving them the unique and friendly reputation that keeps SoCal residents coming back for more.
Written by Jesse Greenwood
Photos by Rachel McChord
July 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
If curiosity killed the cat, then Darren Aronofsky has a death wish. After crafting several critically acclaimed features and raking in a slew of awards, director Darren Aronofsky has shown that he’s not afraid to try his hand at vastly different kinds of films. His repertoire, respectable as it may be, is perhaps the most eclectic filmography of any filmmaker in modern cinema. To wit, his past films range from the fantastical movie The Fountain to grounded dramas such as The Wrestler to the more recent psycho-sexual thriller Black Swan. So naturally his next film would be…a biblical epic?
As the award-laden Black Swan took movie-goers by storm back in December, Aronofsky was already in the midst of planning his next flick. Strangely enough, his next vehicle was set to be The Wolverine; the not-so-anticipated follow-up to the critical failure X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Aronofsky opted out due to scheduling conflicts; however, his penchant for choosing bizarre material remains intact, as he is currently gearing up to direct a biblical epic focusing on the story of Noah’s Ark.
“I don’t think it’s a very religious story. I think it’s a great fable that’s part of so many different religions and spiritual practices. I just think it’s a great story that’s never been on film. I want to make a big event film, and I think it can be that.”
Even more interesting is the rumor currently circulating that Aronofsky is eyeing Christian Bale for the title role in the film. Regardless of the actor, under Aronofksy’s guidance it’s sure to be a career-defining performance. His execution has proven to have a certain dynamism, so all we can do now is drum up ruminations as to how the film and performances will actually play out on screen. Nevertheless, with his eye for detail and knack for inventive cinematography, the film is sure to be as beautiful as it is poignant.
Although only recently announced, production on Aronofsky’s biblical epic is expected to begin within the coming months. A word of advice for the common movie-goer: when you buy your tickets to see the film in the next year or so, leave your presuppositions at the door. I can bet this won’t be like any Noah you’ve read or heard about before.
Written by Zack Campbell, Film Writer