Cats, the Crips Take Over the L.A. Art Scene; Snoop Dogg’s On Guard Duty

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Proof that the felines-in-art trend has more than nine lives: “The Cat Art Show,” coming to Los Angeles in late January, which showcases the work of dozens of artists, from Shepard Fairey to Tracey Emin and Liz Markus. (Some of the profit from the selling exhibition will benefit the city’s Stray Cat Alliance.)

It’s already been a busy year for cat-fancying curators. This summer, New York space White Columns hosted “The Cat Show,” which featured an artist-designed environment in which adoptable kitties frolicked for the public. (The previous year, alternative art institution Tomato House hosted a similarly themed exhibition out in Brooklyn.) In August, the Walker Art Center held its second Internet Cat Video Festival —they’ll be providing film programming for “The Cat Art Show” in L.A.

One of my favorite inclusions in the L.A. exhibition is Marc Dennis’s A Great Big Giant World, 2013, which depicts Snoop Lion-as-museum-guard standing in front of an ornately framed image of an impossibly cute kitten. “I actually don’t like cats in real life, but I love to paint them,” Dennis admitted. “As an artist I create staged and voyeuristic scenarios of contemporary American culture. My painting is a riff on the incredible, sometimes overbearing Internet love for cats and the passionate respect and love for hip hop. I look at cats as divas, much like hip-hop culture in a sense has become, but with a bigness, an air, a kind of gangster stately disposition. I chose to paint Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) not just because I enjoy his music but because he is an iconic figure, and in my painting he serves as a sentry, a guard of sorts, watching over ‘Biggie Kitty.’ And the Victorian nouveau style blue and white bandana pattern background is a tongue in cheek reference to the Crips.”

“The Cat Art Show” curated by journalist Susan Michals also features work by Ramsey Dau, Buff Monster, Ray Caesar, Tim Biskup, Brandon Boyd, FAILE, Justin Bower, and many other artists. Below, a few highlights of to expect when the show opens in January. Visit the official website for additional information.

guy denning_CATpiece Guy Denning, Kraft durch Freude (says Balthus)

NicholasChistiakov Nicholas Chistiakov, Orange Cat

NoelFielding Noel Fielding, Bubble Gum Cat at the Cinema

RachelSchlueter Rachel Schlueter, Billy Raised by Raccoons 

RayCaesar Ray Caesar, Kitten

STARE_KETKevin Earl Taylor, Stare

Main image: Marc Dennis, A Great Big Giant World

Russell Brand Ruins Yoga For Everyone

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There are two things I don’t particularly care for: yoga and Russell Brand. You can imagine how I’d feel if those two things were combined. I would like none of that, thank you very much! But here’s what I’m missing from the most L.A. yoga class ever: Russell Brand staged a walkout at the Golden Bridge yoga studio. And yes, Demi Moore did participate. 

It all started because Brand was upset that his yoga teacher and BFF, Tej Kaur Kalsa, wanted out of her yoga-teaching contract. Golden Bridge just wouldn’t budge! So, naturally, Brand insisted that everyone leave the class in protest.

“Russell absolutely adores Tej, and she has become something of a guru to him,” an insider tells Radar. “They are the best of friends. They meditate together, they hike, they go to vegan restaurants together, and Russell took it very personally when he found out that Tej wasn’t happy at Golden Bridge.

“Tej told Russell that she wanted to quit teaching at the studio, but claimed they wouldn’t let her out of her contract. That made him spitting mad and he vowed to take action on her behalf!”

So last Tuesday, at the start of morning class, Brand decided to fight the power and stage a mass walk out.

The source says that just as the students were getting situated on their mats, and fellow celeb Demi Moore was taking off her shoes and finding a spot on the floor, Russell marched to the front of the class, with Tej standing next to him.

“Golden Bridge is not treating my friend in a respectful manner,” Russell charged. “After years of dutiful service, they refuse to let her out of her contract. If you’d like to continue to study with her, follow me!”

An eyewitness says the crowd shifted nervously for a few seconds, wondering whether or not they were being Punk’d, but soon enough, at least half of the class, Moore included, rolled up their mats and followed Russell right out the door!

None of this sounds particularly relaxing. But can’t you just imagine how annoying it would be to have yoga with Russell Brand? Lots of farts coming from that jokester, I’m betting.

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The Top New Year’s Eve Parties in L.A.

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This is the cheesiest New Year’s Eve photo ever. We hope your evening looks nothing like this. And it won’t – if you attend one of these top New Year’s Eve parties in L.A. Whether you like it flashy, glamorous, foodie, or weird, we’ve got you covered. Go out with a bang, bubbly, and a good story you can share over your eggs Benedict and hash browns on the first day of ’13.

Howdy, Hello, Hiya: My Name Is Tricia Romano

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imageBefore you start reading my blog entries and wondering who that crazy lady wandering around L.A. at all hours of the night is, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tricia Romano, and I’ve previously terrorized the shores of the East Coast where I wrote a column about nightlife called “Fly Life” for the Village Voice in New York. That five-year run ended in 2007; I packed up and moved to Los Angeles last spring and was living a quiet life by the beach, when BlackBook lulled me out of retirement. I’ll be reviewing the latest in Los Angeles nightlife, dishing news and gossip about the city’s parties, bars, clubs, restaurants, and even the occasional taco truck.

Speaking of trucks: The now-infamous Kogi Korean BBQ vehicle has managed to squeak into the top-4 slot of L.A. Taco’s Taco Madness tournament. The Twittering upstarts are currently up against Yuca’s, where they are losing to the more traditional family-owned chain, 61 percent to 39 percent. Voting in this round goes till manana, and the winners will be announced Monday. I’ve also been told that the owners are in New York all this month, where they have been hobnobbing with some heavyweight foodies, including Anthony Bourdain and LA Weekly’s Jonathan Gold. Kogi’s rep also hinted that there’s going to be some major news in about a month. (Are they going to permanently set up shop in my kitchen? No? One can dream.)

You need something to wash down those delicious tacos, and if you’re in the USC neighborhood, you can now stop at a gastropub instead of a corny frat bar. The newly opened The Lab looks just like you’d expect with a name like that — all scientific and stuff. The minimalist and sleek design is pretty sophisticated for your average college student, but it seems that the Lab aspires to reach a crowd beyond the usual dorm room spillover. There’s an extensive beer and wine list (ranging from a Blue Moon Belgian White to Moosehead to something called the Trojan Blonde), as well as a Lab sampler on offer at an economical $7. The food menu does have some gastronomic aspirations — lamb shank, seared tuna, and risotto — but Caroline on Crack wasn’t terribly impressed by the grub. You’ll have to judge for yourself.

Beer enthusiasts have yet another thing to look forward to: The city’s first-ever beer festival. Hosted by the LA Cabal (the Los Angeles Craft and Artisanal Beer Appreciation League), The Craft Beer Fest on May 9 at the Echoplex will feature 26 handcrafted beers and free pub grub, all for $30 and seven hours of unending fun.

Email me tips at {encode=”tricia@triciaromano.com” title=”tricia@triciaromano.com”}