Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Graveyard Glamour

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

6000 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90038
(323) 469-1181

Los Angeles is famous for its movie stars, classic films, and television shows. Take pleasure in all three at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, one of the most unique places to visit in the city. During summer weekends and holidays, round up your friends and head to the Fairbanks Lawn for a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience. Once the sun goes down, the lights go up. Settle in under the stars with a smart crowd of movie fans as beloved shows are projected onto the Cathedral Mausoleum wall. It’s a communal affair that’s always magical. Sure, you can watch Back to the Future anywhere, but only at Hollywood Forever can you have the thrill of taking a picture in front of the actual DeLorean driven by Marty McFly. Bring comfy blankets to lie on and warm clothes—it gets breezy at night—and fill up a cooler with snacks and refreshments. Arrive early to explore the famous gravestones nearby, where you can pay homage to all-time legends. Get ready for your close-up next to Cecil B. DeMille. Rock out in front of Johnny Ramone. Do your best Bugs Bunny impression above Mel Blanc. You won’t be the first, and you definitely won’t be the last. You can also catch concerts at The Masonic Lodge, an intimate venue inside the cemetery. The mix of great entertainment and Hollywood royalty makes this one of those incredible L.A. things you could never do anywhere else.

– See more at Love This City
 

 
Photograph by Megan Westerby
Edited by BlackBook

Rubell Family Collection – Artful Outing

RUBELL FAMILY COLLECTION

95 NW 29th St
Miami FL 33127
(305) 573-6090

Your tastes may have evolved since you hung a Warhol poster in your dorm room, but you needn’t be an art expert to know that a trip to the Rubell Family Collection is an education in creative edginess. Spend an afternoon with friends here and you’ll all qualify as modern art name-droppers. The moment you step in you’ll be channeling your inner Miami Vice, as this 45,000-square foot building of big deals was a Drug Enforcement Agency facility back in the day. While all the art here is strictly legal, there are some things that may make you blush as you plunge down the rabbit hole of modern marvels. Put your own selfies aside to check out the original queen of self-portraiture, Cindy Sherman, whose work features prominently here. Spark up a conversation as you all try to figure out what is going on with Jeff Koons’ aquarium basketballs. Connect with your college-aged self with an original Andy Warhol Brillo box and talk about the days when fifteen minutes of fame didn’t come in 140 characters or less. Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat fill you with inspiration as you absorb some of the artist’s unflagging energy. And that’s just the permanent collection. Traveling exhibitions are equally trippy, such as the recent 28 Chinese, which toured through artists’ studios from Beijing to Hong Kong without ever leaving Wynwood Standard Time.

– See more at Love This City
 

 

Photograph by BurnAway
Edited by BlackBook

Tenement Museum – Family Time Travel

TENEMENT MUSEUM

108 Orchard St
New York NY 10002
(212) 431-0233

Kids love discovering lost worlds, and a trip back in time at the Tenement Museum makes for a great family outing. When you reach the Lower East Side’s legendary Orchard Street, the cobblestones and crowded sidewalks will already have you in the mood of a bygone era. The museum offers all kinds of tours, but you’ll want the kids to meet an actual resident, the teenage Victoria Confino, played by an interpreter in period dress. Follow your young guide up the stairs into the dim hallway of an authentic tenement relic, the likes of which housed thousands of immigrants at the turn of the century. It was sealed up for decades, adding the allure of an abandoned place to its layers of history. Imagining it’s 1916 won’t be hard to do. In the apartment, Victoria will tell you all about her family and her difficult new life as an immigrant in New York City. Don’t worry about the little ones getting antsy, they’ll enjoy hands-on access to clothes, coal, and ancient cookware. The tours are small so everyone can maximize their interaction with Victoria. Go ahead and pepper her with questions about the sprawling estate she grew up on in Greece and its contrasts to her cramped life in New York. When the tour’s over, you’ll all have a new sensitivity to the immigrant experience—and a newfound appreciation for indoor plumbing.

– See more at Love This City
 

 

Photograph by Reading Tom
Edited by BlackBook

Hollywood and Highland Center

HOLLYWOOD AND HIGHLAND CENTER

6801 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90028
(323) 817-0200

To truly feel like you’re in the heart of Los Angeles, grab your family and make tracks to the Hollywood and Highland Center. Located, appropriately enough, at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, this shopping and entertainment mecca will put stars in your kids’ eyes as they take in all the showbiz icons at once. With a photo opportunity everywhere you turn, your camera’s going to get a serious workout on this family outing. Kneel in front of your favorite artist’s star on the Walk of Fame. Watch your kids flex like superheroes next to Superman. Smile like a screen idol as you sink your palm into Tom Cruise’s handprint at the TCL Chinese Theatre. There’s even a spectacular, unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign awaiting you from atop the mall. After working up a sweat under the warm sun, let the kids cool off in the dancing-water fountains, then surprise them with one-of-a-kind chocolates at Sweet! Hollywood, which lets you make your own candy bars. You can even take a tour of the world-famous Dolby Theatre, home of the annual Academy Awards—Tinseltown’s highest honor. Maybe it’s time to prepare a speech? Surrounded by so much inspiration, it won’t be hard to imagine you’re cradling an Oscar.

– See more at Love This City

 

 

Photograph by jondoeforty1 
Edited by BlackBook

Happy Thanksgiving: All That I Am Thankful For

Today there isn’t much to say. Be careful out there. Some people go overboard during this season and there are too many people who drink and drive. Take the keys away from tipsy friends and do what you can to alert others to the dark clouds lurking amid all our silver linings. Be thankful for what you have and be aware of those around you who may need a boost. Sometimes a phone call can make a big difference. Be aware of those around you who are far away from home or are alone for other reasons. This time of year can be the loneliest for many. Be a good neighbor, a good friend, a good mate. Watch what you eat, and I’m not saying look at your food as you gorge yourself. Stay healthy. 

I have many problems, but these are far outweighed by the things I have to be thankful for.

I thank you for reading me.

I thank my editors who do their best to make me sound coherent, and temper me when my temper gets in the way of my higher brain functions.

I thank the tone-deaf operators who let me DJ at their joints.

I thank the operators who entrust me to build them their better mousetraps.

I thank Amanda for her…understanding.

I thank the Lord for the gift of family.

Tomorrow I will dine with my 90-year-old father and my 83-year-old mom. They have been together for 63 years and are a joy to behold. Dinner will be a blast. My brother and his wife will be there with Amanda and I, and we will bring a perfect stranger: Jillian Lee. She is an aerialist at Toy, a contortionist and dancer, and does hosting and other jobs at Hotel Chantelle. She is a Florida gal chasing her dreams in the city that still goes to bed real late. These days, NY definitely sleeps and it occasionally takes naps. 

I am thankful for all the talented people who gather in this city of ours and push to the edge. Clubs are still my choice of entertainment. Every so often I find myself in the very right room at the very right time. I love the music, the designs, and the people who are prancing around at 3am. I love the sexuality, the mysteries, the adventures of the night. I came into the world at 5am nearly six decades ago and I hope I go out at a similar time whenever my time comes.

I’m thankful for my experience in nightlife. I have rarely been bored. Even when I find myself in a place that is obviously not happening, the analysis of why it is not happening interests me to no end.

Thanks for listening to my rants today.

Thanks for being here for me.

Our Man in Miami: From Haiti to Betty Page with Kimberly Green

That snap you’re looking at is of me and Kimberly Green, top gun at the Green Family Foundation (GFF). A couple weeks back we had the pleasure – and the privilege – of being shot by Francesco Lo Castro as part of an upcoming mural and portrait project the ace visualist is doing at Butter Gallery in concert with this year’s Basel. Kimberly’s a busy gal. In addition to a wide range of work in Miami, GFF is extensively involved in all kinds of great good efforts throughout Haiti – and they have been for well over a decade. That means Kimberly’s either there – or elsewhere – more than she is in her own hometown. So when she does manage to swing through we make a point of doing or seeing something spectacular. The last go ‘round it was the Lo Castro shoot, which was double-plus fun and then some.

This trip happened to coincide with the opening of an exhibit at Miami International Airport entitled “Hands of Haiti.” Set in the recently built South Terminal Gallery and put on by the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance (HCAA), the show features sixty incredibly striking works, all of which were rendered under a barrage of post-quake hardships. The soundtrack consisted of various cuts culled from The Haiti Box; that set of early Alan Lomax recordings that Kimberly executive produced in conjunction with the Association for Cultural Equity. Hearing those circa ‘30s field recordings alone is a bewitching experience; to hear them in the grandeur of MIA’s newest wing amid an exquisite collection of woven vodou flags, Jacmel Carnival masks and other indigenous wonders was sublime.

After hitting the exhibit we decided to grab a bite at Van Dyke so Kimberly could fill me in on the latest in Haiti. Turns out she’d also just met with Miami Beach Cinematheque op Ed Christen, who reps the fabled Bunny Yeager. And he’d dropped off a stack of vintage Betty Page photographs for Kimberly to consider purchasing for the art-soaked home she calls Disgraceland. So while giddily browsing through some very vintage images over the chilled glasses of Prosecco sent by manager Matt Bracher, we got down to what’s up.

Okay, you just got back from Haiti, again, where you held another weekend of Sinema Amba Zetwal (Cinema Under the Stars). Care to fill in the folks? I’d love to. Last weekend was the final two screenings in the tour we’ve been on since February. I work with an organization called Fast Forward, which puts together outdoor screenings of Haitian-made documentaries, and we followed the fault line of the earthquake. The tour was called Food for Souls, because everyone was bringing rice and water and what have you, but no one was really taking care of the cultural core of the people. We had between three and ten thousand people at every screening, all of whom got to hear some of Haiti’s best musicians in addition to seeing a wide variety of film shorts covering everything from gender equity to environmentalism to the “remembrance” pieces Alan Lomax shot back in the ‘30s. The previous screenings were held out in the country, but this last event was held in Petionville, which is where most of Haiti’s private sector is based. So it was nice to be able to show the shorts to those who are in country and spearheading the efforts to rebuild.

Sinema is actually in cahoots with a few of those concerns, isn’t it? Yes, we’re sponsored by Brana, makers of Prestige beer, which is the Haitian beer. Brana also does a fortified milk for children, and we’ve been distributing that at all the events. We also work with Voila, which is one of two Haitian cell phone companies, and Partners in Health, which was founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, who is now the U.N.’s Deputy Envoy to Haiti. At all of our screenings they provide HIV and TB testing, as well as clinic referrals. Then there’s Earthspark International, an American organization that’s bringing renewable energy stores to the country.

Since we just came from catching that airport exhibit which GFF soundtracked, let’s tell everyone what’s what with Alan Lomax’s field recordings. My friend Warren Russell Smith came to me with the project a couple years ago and I immediately jumped at the chance to get involved. It’s a collection of field recordings Lomax made in Haiti back in the ‘30s, and because the sound quality wasn’t as good as some of his later work, they’d been sitting dormant in the Library of Congress ever since. We remastered them and released the set as The Haiti Box back in November of last year; then the earthquake happened, and we decided to use the set as both a fundraising tool and a sort of cultural repatriation. Now we’re working in conjunction with Haiti’s Ministry of Culture and Communications and the Ministry of Education, and we’re creating a full-length documentary along with a series of 12 shorts that will be used as a supplementary educational program throughout the entire school system.

That’s terrific! Aren’t you also involved with former President Clinton and all he’s doing down there? Yes, I’ve been working with the Clinton Global Initiative for many years, but two years ago he founded the Haiti Action Network, which brings together private and public partnership. And recently I was appointed co-chair of HAN’s Cultural Committee. We’re working now to restore monuments and historic buildings. And we’ve also been asked to curate an exhibit in November at the Clinton Library in Little Rock that will feature archival footage from Lomax as well as current documentaries made by Tatiana Magloire of Fast Forward. I’m really excited about this!

I bet! That’s beyond cool. Okay, we’re sitting here on Lincoln Road at Van Dyke Café, and it turns out your father [Steven J. Green] owns the building. What’s that all about? (Laughs) Well, my dad, who’s former Ambassador to Singapore under Clinton, runs Greenstreet Partners, which is an international real estate development company, and he bought the building a few years ago. He says he may have overpaid a little, but he’s a Miami Breach native, and he feels like this is owning a part of our town’s history. He also bought that fabulous Morris Lapidus building where our Foundation is located.

We can’t end this chat without mentioning this incredible Bunny Yeager photos that are sitting in front of us. Man, these are some killer images! Aren’t they? Ed Christen brought them to me; he’s apparently repping Bunny Yeager, and these are outtakes from a few of the series she did with Betty Page. I really dig the shots from the old Lion Country Safari. And I’m thinkin’ they’ll look great in Disgraceland! The demure shots though remind me of the photos I have of my mom [Dorothea Green] back when she was Miss New York and in Miami Beach for the Miss Universe Pageant. That’s where she met my dad, by the way, who was then an aide to Mayor Chuck Hall. They’ve been happily ever after ever since.

Notes From LA’s Art Underground

For all its glamor and hipster mystique, art is not much different from oil, gold or the railroad. When you want the freedom to tackle new territory on your own terms, the adventurer is called to “Go west.” And that is exactly what many of New York’s underground artists and gallery owners have done to keep their work fresh with the spirit of reinvention. But the warm blood of the Los Angeles art scene, which is currently the hottest, most fertile and experimental in the country, draws its oxygen from many sources. In a city that spreads out for limitless miles, the mix of cultures across hundreds of neighborhoods — many of which off er rents friendly to starving artists — possibilities are also without boundaries. In neighborhoods such as Silver Lake, Echo Park, and across the fly blown fringes of downtown, kids are creating an artistic life around music, art, fashion and an awesome set of skateboard trucks.

Shepard Fairey and Aaron Rose are two such artistic seekers who came to California to stretch their arms out sideways aft er years of working within the narrow corridors of the East Coast art establishment. In L.A., says Rose, “There is access to space so that artists can experiment. Here, there is the freedom to make mistakes.” Fairey, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, bombed all of New York with his subversive yet playful street art, the most iconic of which is his Obey image of the late professional wrestler, Andre the Giant. Fairey captured the spirit of the times again this spring with his moving red, white and blue poster of Senator Barack Obama, the image anchored with the word “Hope” or “Progress.” Says Fairey, “People come up and tell me that when they fi rst saw it, they started crying.”

In the early 1990s, Rose stamped his mark on Manhattan with his own gallery, the freethinking collective, Alleged. Showing in a storefront on the Lower East Side — before bond traders took over — Rose gave a platform to the DIY aesthetic that now informs the most cutting-edge art in Los Angeles. This month, Beautiful Losers, Rose’s inspiring documentary about that movement, hits theaters. In it, one can see the through line between the moving art made by genuine nobodies (at the time), and its successors in the renegade galleries of L.A. circa 2008. Jo Jackson, one of the artists featured in Beautiful Losers, describes the potency of the work seen in the film: “Anyone can make things with their hands,” she says. “They just can’t look for perfection.” She could have been talking about L.A. right now.

Originally from Southern California, Rose has returned to claim his creative birthright, twining his roots deep into the high desert sand. His peer, graphic designer/artist Fairey’s origins are in skateboard art, punk rock and a thirst for the vernacular — and this pedigree in grit is L.A.’s magic. A mash-up of Mexican culture, old school cholo graffiti, hip-hop sounds, skate and surf style, and the legacy of bands such as Black Flag and the Germs, the city pulses with colors and textures that don’t exist anywhere else.

Meeting up in Fairey’s multi-tasking Echo Park studio and gallery space, Subliminal Projects, Fairey and Rose compare notes on their favorite underground art spots. It is a wide-ranging talk that crackles with the electricity of the moment.

image “These Sunsets Are to Die For!” by Shepard Fairey Subliminal Projects Gallery 1331 West Sunset Boulevard 213-213-0078 Owned and run by Shepard Fairey, Subliminal shows art chosen by Fairey, rather than his own work. Sitting right at the mouth of Dodger Stadium, the location is a fitting populist statement. “Since the time we started, we made a screen print for every artist we showed. Someone might not be able to afford a $500 painting, but they might be able to afford a $50 print.” Plenty can afford the full price. Hollywood creative types, such as Joaquin Phoenix, drive miles east along Sunset Boulevard to buy art unburdened by the pressure to make the gallery’s rent. Explains Fairey, “One of the reasons L.A. is producing such interesting work is that there is not a huge need to sell. At some galleries, you can go in and propose your own show. It’s the work that matters, not the name.”

Choke Motorcycle Shop 4157 Normal Avenue 323-662-4653 Nestled in the heart of boho Los Angeles, on a quiet street in Silver Lake, Choke is a bemusing hybrid. “It’s a motorcycle repair shop and café and art gallery,” says Rose. “They have installations with great art, but there are also ‘coffee artists’ in the form of master baristas. It’s got the best espresso in the city.” It is also home to mechanical art. Recently, Choke owner Jeff Johnson transformed a vintage 1960s VW Beetle into his fantasy Baja Bug. No matter what they come for, some of the most creative people in Los Angeles hang out here. “I walked in the other day,” says Rose, “and Rickie Lee Jones was hanging out on the couch sitting next to some ratty kid covered in grease.”

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Hope Gallery 1547 Echo Park Avenue The Hope Gallery is quietly going about its mission to show cutting edge art. Recently though, it made some noise with a show of work from Hamburger Eyes, a San Francisco-based experimental art collective and magazine. Rose simply says the phrase “Hamburger Eyes” to Fairey and the two nod in recognition. “Art shows are springing up everywhere now,” says Shepard. “I went to an opening in the garage of someone’s house in Echo Park. Very often a rock gig will spontaneously turn into an art exhibit.”

New Image Art 7908 Santa Monica Boulevard 323-654-2192 New Image is in cozy West Hollywood, a neighborhood with proper brunches and secure parking. Nonetheless, the gallery has been promoting the work of unknown artists for over years. Shepard knows it well: “Marsea Goldberg, who owns New Image, gave me my first show in 1997. Marsea always takes a chance.”

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Tiny Creatures 628 North Alvarado Street North Alvarado is something of an exotic locale for culture seekers, fl ung as it is on the edge of Glendale. “I first noticed this gallery when they had a show curated by a local punk rock band,” says Rose. “How many galleries ask a band to curate a show?”

Family 436 North Fairfax Avenue 323-782-9221 One pivotal element to the L.A. art world is the self-produced art book or graphic collection. “What I love about Family,” says Fairey, “is that there is a lot of handmade art and limited runs. You don’t have to be into comics at all to appreciate the care with which they create the work. And they don’t just stock what is expected to be cool. You can tell the personality of the people who run the shop.”

Ooga Booga 943 North Broadway, #203 While no longer the L.A. art epicenter, Chinatown still boasts one of the area’s hottest galleries. Says Rose, “Ooga Booga is a very cool curated gallery of homemade publications. On one wall they show pieces of art. What is important now in art is that there are things to buy. It really is the Warhol economy, in which artists make T-shirts, bags, utilitarian pieces and CDs.” Nearby neighborhoods continue to grow and, last winter, the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA hosted the Murakami exhibit adjacent to Little Tokyo.

Berdhouse Gallery 1505 ½ Echo Park Avenue 213-482-9976 Still making its name is the Berdhouse Gallery. This one is truly in the nascent stage. So are its owners. Says Rose, “Jessie Spears, who is a very cool artist, sent me to this place. The gallery is tiny and run by very young people. I mean, like, teenagers. Hanging out in front were these kids who look like the Mexican version of the band the Misfi ts.” A recent exhibit featured a collaboration by the L.A.-based Derek Albeck and the U.K. artist French, exploring pen and ink images of monks, knights and forms of desolation.

Exhibit A 1086 South Fairfax Avenue In a true nod to the impact skateboarding has made on local art, pro skateboarder and artist Tony Alva recently opened his own gallery in Little Ethiopia, Exhibit A. One of Alva’s early shows was of work by Mark Gonzalez, a skater and artist Rose showed in New York at Alleged. Fairey has shown there as well, putting up a series of his rock-inspired silk screens, some on wood. As Fairey explains, “The umbrella of street art is skateboard culture.” Fairey deejayed his own opening, which makes sense given his personal philosophy. “People make paintings and aspire to get people turned on to that,” he says. “But L.A. is about art as a hip lifestyle and art has multiple uses. A painting can also be a record cover, and the road to art appreciation is paved with a good party, a good DJ or a limited-edition CD.”

image The city of Los Angeles. Perhaps the most compelling local space for artistic invention is the city of Los Angeles itself. “I like the derelict side of town,” says Fairey. “I’m inspired by Chicano murals, old signage and the grittiness.” Rose agrees: “When I download my photos every week, they are almost all of fonts from old signs I see.” Both artists find a satisfying tension in the contrasts between the high and the low, the scrubbed and the frayed. At one end of the spectrum lies the artifice of pre-fab Disneyesque malls, such as The Grove on Third Street, the new Americana in Glendale and the twinkle of Beverly Hills. At the other end, roam streets that may be a little tattered but still teem with raw, saturated beauty.