Oct 31, 2009

Shepard Fairey at the Warhol Museum

The top floor of the Warhol is gorgeously hung with Search & Destroy, the Shepard Fairey retrospective. Walls glow with the red, black and yellowed white of his strongest work-- from screen-printed posters to mixed media collages, stencils and combinations of all three, creating a swirl of ironic emotions (mocking and sincere, logical and incongruous) as one glides through the galleries.

His jabs at culture, politics and iconography, all assembled in the same place for the first time by this traveling exhibit (originating at Boston's ICA; next stop, Cincinnati; cities after that TBD,) pack a visceral punch that I wasn't expecting and there's a power in numbers here that I never realized before.

The lower floor of the exhibit, however, centered around the now over-exposed Obama Hope poster, didn't continue the momentum for me and I walked through it at a steady clip searching for the sustained jolt of the top floor. The super-sized mural was overkill. Badly lit, sagging and shiny (unlike the matte of the screen prints), it was the last piece I looked at and by then the party was over and I was hungry for art again.

The guy in the gift shop tried to sell me one of the limited edition Search & Destroy prints for $45 ("They're selling on Ebay for $170") but for me the appropriate memento was a small metal button, for $1.40, with an image of Andy on it. Around the edge in small white lettering it read, "Your fifteen minutes are up."

Jan 21, 2009

(Air)Ship of Fools

All aboard for Hell! First stop: Texas

As I read through this list of people who yesterday accompanied W. back at long last to Texas, my mind reeled at almost every name, conjuring a vertiginous trail of sharp, unpleasant and, at times, sickening memories of the past eight years, similar to the exhaust fumes spewing from the luxury jet's engines.
Jenna and Barbara, Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Dan Bartlett, Josh Bolten, Joel Kaplan, Jared Weinstein, Mike Meece, Andy Card, Don and Susie Evans, Blake Gottesman, Clay and Ann Johnson, Ed Gillespie, Barry Jackson, Joe Hagin, Israel Hernandez, Jeanne Johnson Phillips, Margaret Spellings, Alberto Gonzales, Brad Freeman, Jim and Debbie Francis, and Roland and Lois Betts.
Good riddance.

Angeleno dispatches from the inauguration

While LA Metblogs’ Sean Bonner is in DC blogging about the inauguration, I’m feeling a bit stranded here in Los Angeles as the pomp, ceremony and parties unfold, so I’ve been taking solace in my friend Kristin’s Facebook journal about her adventures in the nations capitol, as well as exchanging a slew of emails with her about what I’m missing.

Kristin is Kristin Bedford, the woman behind Kristin’s List, the LA cultural listing site. An Angeleno who worked on the Obama campaign at the Pasadena Democratic field office, she returned to Washington to spend the year end holidays with her family (she’s a DC native.)

When Obama won in November, she decided to stick around for the inauguration. And so, for the past few weeks, she has been tearing through the nation’s capitol in preparation.

As the LA Times had an article on Sunday about what certain notable Angelenos would be wearing to the inauguration, as well as the balls and parties to follow, I asked Kristin the same questions and how she would be getting around town.

She was concerned about staying warm in the early part of the day.
Obama is sworn in at 12 noon; we need to be there at 7:30 AM to get through security. The 4½ hour wait is stressing me out. Even if I layer every single American Apparel T-shirt I own, my L.A. wardrobe is not making the cut. I need to find a space suit or a bear costume to keep going.

I will be wearing two pairs of gloves with mittens over them. I have figured out that if I stuff the mittens with a half dozen hand warmers (those little packets) my fingers don’t freeze; 2 pairs of long johns under jeans; 4 sweaters; 4 pairs of socks (with more hand warmers in shoes;) and of course my new Obama scarf/hat set (priceless.)
And for the evening festivities:
I will be wearing a fitted, dark purple, up-the-knee knit dress designed by Carol Young (from her shop on Hillhurst in Los Feliz) — it is the sexy, classic, minimalist, architectural, “I’m too cool to wear a ‘gown’ to a Ball” look; a vintage camel hair Calvin Klein winter coat; a floor-length black wrap; black heels by Arche; nail color: “We will always have Paris” by OPI; hair: down; lipstick: a dark chianti.
Her plans are to hit the Bytes and Books Ball at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Google/Youtube Ball, which bills itself as “the alternative” ball experience, followed by two parties.

Washington is less reliant on cars than Los Angeles; and with the day’s events curtailing driving, she’ll be going with the flow.
Everything during the day will be by foot. For the balls, who knows? You can’t drive. Its going to be butt cold wearing these party dresses, so I think most ball people will be on the Metro (the great equalizer) — can’t wait to see women in gowns using their MetroCard.

Thats the rundown. The day is as big and as complicated as Election Day, when I worked for 21 hours and with about 500 people.
Photo: Kristin Bedford searches DC for inaugural festivities.

Barneys get bitchy about Michelle Obama

Fashion retailer Barneys New York is none too pleased about being scooped by anyone, even if it's First Lady Michelle Obama. After she appeared in an Isabel Toledo outfit for yesterday's inauguration, Simon Doonan, the store's creative director, got a phone call from a higher-up telling him to rush the designer's clothes into its NYC windows.

With what I'm sure was good natured bitchiness (Doonan is a friend of a friend and has seemed like a nice guy the few times I've been around him), he quipped, "I’m sort of annoyed that Michelle Obama has spring merchandise before us.”

The outfit will be available in March.

Jan 14, 2009

Just say NO to the bail out

Print Liberation in Philadelphia weighs in with my sentiment regarding bailing out banks and the overeager they lent money to so they could buy houses they couldn't actually afford in the first place.

Jan 11, 2009

Yes, Pecan!

Ben & Jerry's is honoring the inauguration of Barack Obama with their flavor, Yes, Pecan! Formerly (and boringly, but informatively) know as Butter Pecan, if you buy a scoop at a B & J shop, proceeds will go to Common Cause Education Fund.

Oct 29, 2008

America the Gift Shop

Phillip Toledano worked in advertising as a creative director for a decade before shifting gears to become a photographer. While doing some plum editorial jobs for the NY Times, Vanity Fair and New York Magazine, the Londoner also wracked up impressive work for his ad portfolio, culminating in an Absolut vodka shoot.

Now, he makes art meant to induce squirming as much as reflecting on truths we try to ignore-- or maybe a combination of both. One of his latest ventures in that mode is called America The Gift Shop, an installation project that transforms US foreign policy from the past eight years into ostensibly buyable objects. In an America on the brink of becoming a total consumer environment (if it hasn't reached that point already,) his pieces can be as unsettling as they are on target.

Abu Ghraib coffee table
, Phillip Toledano
Molded resin, plexiglass, 6', 2008

Oct 27, 2008

What I'm listening to

1. My Roots Go Down - The Seedy Seeds/Count the Days
2. You Are My Wonderful... Flower - Day2K/The Rockets
3. Bad Man's World - Jenny Lewis/Acid Tongue
4. LIttle Bird - Angus & Julia Stone/Just A Boy
5. The Rip - Portishead/Third
6. The Windmills of Your Mind - Dusty Springfield/Dusty in Memphis
7. Keep on Walking - Jem/Down To Earth
8. Best For Last - Adele/19

Oct 22, 2008

Excuse me?

Watch how Cindy flinches at the forbidden word. Ah, memories.

Change your underwear

Obama boxer briefs, marked down from $29 to just $7.49 per pair. Change you can believe in, from Andrew Christian.

I Met The Walrus

Jerry Levitan was 14 years old in 1969, when he snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto with a tape recorder and persuaded him to answer a few questions about peace. Lennon was, with Yoko Ono, his wife, to perform at a huge anti-Viet Nam War concert which was subsequently released as an album called Live Peace in Toronto.

Lennon and Ono were into heavy heroin use at that point, as Lennon revealed later. He recalled vomiting violently right before he went on stage, but he electrified the audience made up of worshipful Beatles fans who were also fervent anti-war protestors.

He gave Levitan the time and thoughtful answers at a time when the world needed people to look up to-- much like today and the message that Barack Obama is carrying to newer generations of minds hungry for ideas of promise, change and hope.

From the video's Youtube site:
Thirty-eight years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon's every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries the terrifyingly genius pen work of James Braithwaite with masterful digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell-binding vessel for Lennon's boundless wit, and timeless message.

Oct 21, 2008

Be prepared for zombies

With November 4th just two weeks away, you don’t want to be unprepared should zombies prevail. These fine forged steel blades were designed with one purpose in mind: Killing zombies. We here at CreepyLA suggest you don’t mess around and order one today.

Even with the economy in its current state, now is not the time to cut corners. Zombie Tools snottily explains their rationale:
It’s been estimate that around 600,000 people were killed with agricultural-grade machetes during the Rwandan genocidal war in the ’90s. We’ve seen the machetes used in Africa. They’re thin, cheap, Asian-made tools designed to chop vegetation. So we’re fairly confident that our blades, which are twice as thick, made from quality steel, much sharper and designed to cleave, will have no problem with a decomposing walking corpse.

Oct 10, 2008

I'm listening to dOP

More French electronica is washing up on my cyber shores in the form of dOP, a group whose members claim to be a former prison cook, an ex-pro soccer player and " a guy who sold stuff on the beach (cigarettes, condoms, drinks and chouchou). But now we only do music. And we're really happy about it."
Final question (from their recent RA interview:) Why do you sing in English?

To make more money.
Not to burst their bubble, but I scored Lighthouse, their EP released in March, as a download from Amie Street for 45 cents, but the price will undoubtedly rise as more people find them there. Their July release, I'm Just A Man, is only available on vinyl presently.

Make your own.

Oct 9, 2008

‘Vote NO on Prop 8′ fund-raiser this Sunday

Equality California and Love Honor Cherish are having a fund-raiser this Sunday October 12th aimed at defeating the anti-gay Proposition 8, a ballot measure this November that, if it were to pass, would deny same sex couples the right to marry in California by actually writing discrimination and bigotry into the California constitution.

The event will happen at the Mondrian Hotel’s Skybar in West Hollywood on Sunday from 6 PM to 9 PM. Tickets can be had for $100 and 100% of the ticket price goes to defeating Prop 8 on November 4th.

Money is urgently needed NOW. “Religious” conservative-backed Prop 8 supporters have far surpassed Equality California and other opponents of Prop 8 in fund-raising, pouring it into TV ads filled with outright lies and distortions aimed at appealing to ignorance and bigotry. ( Take a look at one of the ads.)

You can buy tickets here. And you can download a PDF of the invite here and see the long list of Angelenos, celebrated (you know, celebrities) and otherwise, who will be there.

If it’s at all within your means, it is a very worthwhile cause. I’m not saying everyone can afford it; but if you can afford $200 jeans and a $300 iPhone, then you can afford a donation to fight bigotry in California.

If a C-note is outside your budget, please give whatever you can at Equality California’s site or at No On Prop 8. We can’t allow victory to embolden backward zealots.

But whatever you do, VOTE NO on Prop 8 on November 4th.

Proposition 8 was placed on the ballot by the anti-gay “Protect Marriage” group, an affiliation of so called “religious” conservatives which claims to be seeking to “restore marriage” and “protect children,” according to the scant information on their web site explaining who they are. (There is no “about” link. Pretty telling, no?)

Their real intent is to deny basic rights to gay people. Marriage and children have nothing to do with the goal of these bigots.

Equality California
is a civil rights organization that advocates for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in California.

Love, Honor and Cherish is an independent, grassroots organization whose purpose is to defeat Proposition 8.

Standing up to bigots isn’t always cheap or easy (like me.) I’ll be there with the boyfriend in tow. Look for us and say “hello.” (He’s the cute redhead; I’m the silver-haired Slavic fox.)

Vote NO on Prop 8 Gala; Sunday, October 12, 2008, 6 to 10 p.m.; Skybar, Mondrian Hotel, 8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Tickets $100.

May 22, 2008

Cellcam Journal - Paris

Early morning walk in the Marais...

Bike rental stations like this one are all over Paris. Pay at the kiosk, run your errands and return to any other station. The first hour and a half is free. Many major streets have dedicated bike lanes with raised barriers to keep cars out of them. It's an example of what $8.00-per-gallon gasoline can motivate in a city.

Getting ready for the breakfast crowd on Rue St-Antoine...

... and rotisserie chickens on the spits for the lunch crowd.

My hotel on Rue St-Paul had Hollywood-themed decor with movie posters from the '30s and '40s throughout.

Paris has a vibrant theater scene, comparable to NYC and London.

May 6, 2008


As a recent convert to Google's Reader for keeping up with favorite blogs, feeds and general time-wasting, I'm almost too happy to have new enabling software to keep me sitting and not exercising my heart and lungs.
Times is being offered in a full-featured free 14-day trial version (then $30) that makes a reader look like an Apple-style version of Huffington Post without all of the celebrity crap that pollutes that still vital site (C'mon Arianna, elitists like me and my elitist friends don't care a wit about elitist celebs.)

Of course you can customize it to be whatever you want, even a celeb news feeding frenzy. But please don't.

Speaking of time-wasting and elitists, Stuff White People Like, the blog, makes the leap from viral to mainstream marketing with the publication of SWPL, the book, by Random House, no less. Self-lacerating, self-mocking criticism of and by liberals that is cringingly spot on has convinced me that we latte-sippers do NOT deserve political power. Which has already begged the question, are elitists the New Outsiders?

(Alternate question: Is SWPL, The Musical inevitable?)

May 4, 2008

In LA: Freewayblogger keeps rolling

You can't tell there's a war going on in this country. But if you have one person in every city doing what I do, you wouldn't be able to drive anywhere without seeing protest against the war and the president. - Freewayblogger
A thought has been turning over and over in my mind lately about how invisible the Iraq War has become in this country, about how easy it has become to avoid and ignore it. It's still in the news and on blogs but major media has not made a sustained effort to keep it front and center, as always choosing instead to focus on non-issues like Obama's minister or Hillary's campaign style or the latest sex scandal involving politicians or, of course, celebrities.

Something struck me today in the print edition of the Post-Gazette that was quietly horrifying, a Dr. Strangelove-moment of an unsettling degree. On the weather page, I was reading through the temperature listings by city, a habit of mine, especially when I travel. What I noticed was the listing for Baghdad is in bold type, the only one that appears that way.

I thought of family members of those in the military and serving in Iraq and wondered how they felt each day as they looked at this information. I wondered what brought about the decision to do this at the paper. I didn't know whether to damn the Post-Gazette for reducing it to this or commend them for a quiet nod of empathy, as if they were saying, "We know you are worried" to the families.

The Bushies have succeeded in cowing the press and have made certain that the Iraq War remain their private affair. Media coverage of returning casualties is banned and what coverage there is of war protest is muted, if evident at all, as Jerome Sherman points out today in the Post-Gazette. But when I came across this Freewayblogger clip, it gave me hope that maybe the anti-war movement still has life in it, still has ways to carry their message to the public.

TOTH to Wooster Collective.

May 2, 2008

Cellcam Journal - Pittsburgh

I'm Dead by David Shrigley at Carnegie International, opening Sunday May 4th. Carnegie Museum, Oakland.

Kandors by Mike Kelley at Carnegie International. Carnegie Museum, Oakland.

Think pink for November. Semple St., Oakland.

Spookily empty Pittsburgh Airport upon my arrival 9:30PM Saturday night. Thanks a lot, US Airways!

May 1, 2008

Pittsburgh sootier than Los Angeles

The American Lung Association bestowed the title of nation's sootiest city upon Pittsburgh, pushing Los Angeles into the number two position. Today's Post-Gazette print edition has it as the main front page story with a suitably ominous photo of the pollution belching Clairton Coke Works, owned by US Steel.
The "State of the Air: 2008" report, which used U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air pollution data for 2004, 2005 and 2006, says aggressive emissions controls in the Los Angeles area have reduced year-round particle levels by about one-third over the last seven years, while Pittsburgh earned the top spot by making only marginal improvement.
County Health Dept. officials dispute the rating, saying it only pertains the Mon Valley due to the Clairton facility. The ALA says taking that out of the equation drops the Burgh's rating to 16th sootiest. Better, but no reason for celebrating.

The good news is that ground-level ozone levels continue to drop rapidly in Pittsburgh, from a ranking of 17 to 34 since 2005.

Clairton Coke Works, United States Steel Corporation; painting by Howard Fogg.

Apr 30, 2008

Savage observation

After enduring endlessly salacious, quivering coverage from the cable news crowd about the FLDS Jail Bate Fuck Fest in Texas, finally a voice of reason emerges.

As much as I have a problem believing that self-proclaimed-unqualified sexpert, so-gay-I-married-a-dude-in-Canada-and-we-bought-a-baby Dan Savage is, no lie, IN FAVOR of the Iraq War, kudos to him for laying it out thick and hard about those wearers of pastel dresses and elaborate tresses and those who are strangely quiet on their predicament.
When two dudes marry, the marriage-is-between-one-man-and-one-woman brigades crap their collective pants, vomit up ten thousand press releases, and run in circles screaming about all the hurricanes and earthquakes and unattractive haircuts that Our Loving Father™ is gonna rain down on our heads if we don't pry Adam off Steve right fucking now.

Well, the one-man-and-one-woman crowd has been strangely silent about this polygamist sect in Texas that's been all over the news. It appears that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been organizing marriages/statutory rapes between one man and dozens or more women and/or girls.

"Where's the outrage?" writes a reader, which prompted me to go looking for some outrage at the website of Concerned Women for America. There are more anti-gay-marriage press releases packed onto CWFA's website than there is fudge packed into all the homos in all the Sodoms in all of North America. But there's not one single word that I could find about these straight men in Texas violating the holy and sacred one-man-and-one-woman rule. What gives?
I'll tell you what gives, Daddy Man. The FLDS scandal doesn't meet the outrage threshold that can only be met if it involves hot homo sex. We can only hope for a NAMBLA chapter within the compound that maybe has not come to light (yet, fingers crossed) and thus for CWFA's rage to be ignited.

Drink like a Man...

As in Mansinthe, the new brand of absinthe "developed" by Marilyn Manson. I'm going to try to place an order with the PLCB for a case, just to see if it gets any sort of reaction.
A well-known absinthe enthusiast, Manson was very involved in the drink's development, constantly tasting samples and providing feedback.
Leave it to Uncrate to blow the horn on this one, as it were.

Apr 26, 2008

PLCB gets even more ridiculous

The absurd heights that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board can rise to never ceases to amaze and amuse me. Instead of bringing PA out of the Dark Ages (where it exists along with Utah when it comes to alcohol restriction) and allowing stores other than the ridiculous, government-run "state store" to sell wine and liquor, they have proposed putting wine vending machines in, as they put it, "grocery stores and malls."

Having just arrived in Pittsburgh after spending the past 6 weeks in Los Angeles, where virtually all supermarkets have a decent selection of wine and liquor, and even 7-11 Stores and Rite Aids stock the bare essentials in this respect--well, I guess I just plain forgot what it's like here.

In a Post-Gazette article worthy of The Onion, I guess this is the funniest part:
One of those briefed on the proposal was Wendell Young IV, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, whose members include state store clerks. Mr. Young said the kiosk "looks like a giant institutional Sub-Zero refrigerator" with high-tech security identification measures such as fingerprints and biometric readings.
To be fair, this is a teensy step forward for making wine more readily available-- at the same inflated, overtaxed prices one would pay at a state store. But the antiquated, quaint, obviously politically well-connected union is an aspect of this state that makes it into a laughing stock across the country.

Where's Henry Frick when you need him?

Apr 23, 2008

Cellcam Journal

Blek le Rat strikes; Sunset and Maltman, Silver Lake.

Form-follows-function bike rack; San Fernando Rd., Burbank.

Classic DIY emergency brake; Vermont Canyon Rd., Griffith Park.

Koonsian hydrant; East Palm Ave., Burbank.

Apr 22, 2008

Thunderbolt Fan goes green

In Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Erin Weinger embraces the true goddess spirit of going green in our forward thinking town. This is not your hippie grandma's Earth Day.
Not to be cynical, but what is Earth Day but a retail opportunity? This Tuesday, you can recycle, shop and gawk -- and save the planet!
Taking my cue, I compiled a green list of my own:

1. Check Los Angeles gas prices. Yikes!

2. Drive to Keihl's at the Grove where I can hopefully snag one of the free logo-ed canvas totes being given to the first 50 paying customers. I'll be dropping $70 on my favorite anti-wrinkle cream. Coincidentally, it's GREEN-- the actual color, not the process by which it's made. For all I know and don't really care, it's made from baby seals and diesel fuel. But my free tote will create the perception that I care.

3. Drive to the Whole Foods nearest me in Glendale, which I was informed does the highest volume in the Southland. They used to have a BBQ smoker outside but a recent ordinance snuffed it out. People who lived nearby were up in arms about having to smell delicious, savory smoked meat most of their waking hours. Have they ever heard about closing their windows and turning on the air conditioner?

A while ago, I grabbed some grub there and sat at their outdoor patio tables to eat it. When I finished, I took my empty containers to the big green recycling bin that is divided into three sections. The plastics section was so full that I couldn't stuff mine in. A WF employee on a break told me that all three openings in the bin went into the same box inside and that I could dispose of my garbage in any one of the three sections. And people say it's too much of an effort to recycle.

Anyway, Whole Foods is doing away with plastic bags as of today-- you know, Earth Day. They could have done it sooner but I've learned when it comes to branding, one word: synergy.

4. Symbolically support " A Day Without Driving" by taking it a step further; as in, "A Day Without Driving Without Air Conditioning."

5. Attend Earth Day street fair on Wilshire if it doesn't take forever to find parking.

6. Drive to video store, rent An Unreasonable Man, An Inconvenient Truth and Walk Hard (the one I'll actually watch.)

7. Check local group blogs to gauge the smugness of the fingerwagging about carbon footprints,flatulant cows, "sustainability," etc. [I just checked; surprisingly there's barely any mention of it today. I assume there will be a few obligatory "photo essays" after the fact.]

8. Have friends over for "green-grilled" steak-- we're only cooking them medium rare. It uses much less propane.

Apr 18, 2008

Nikki teases about Geffen and LA Times

I guess my OCD's radar is locked on the LA Times for the moment:

Nikki Finke, in her Deadline Hollywood column in this week's LA Weekly, thinks Geffen is still the owner-to-be of the dyspeptic (to some more than others) LA Times.
I’m told by a source that Geffen and Zell are back at the table. It’s all very hush-hush, but my source tells me, “Cash flow is not being met for the bankers, revenue is in free fall, and the potential liability on the [Sean] Combs story is huge. Sam feels he bought a bill of goods. Geffen is back in the mix, and he’s going to get it for a deep discount. They’re in serious discussions.”
But then she tortures with this:
Geffen, however, has been on his yacht, vacationing in the South Pacific, for weeks. And a Geffen insider insists that the DreamWorks partner and Zell haven’t spoken in months.
Stay tuned.