April showers mean May flowers…LA Blooms, to be exact. This spring, don’t miss the first-ever LA Bloom Festival, a nine-day celebration of transformation and Japanese arts and culture, hosted by the Japanese American Cultural Community Center in Little Tokyo. Co-curators – acclaimed international artist and modern zen master Hirokazu Kosaka and landscape architect and artist Calvin Abe – have transformed the iconic Noguchi plaza in Little Tokyo into a temporary ecoartspace, replete with one of the world’s largest zen gardens, a colorful metaphorical rainbow (more on that later!), and exhibitions on contemporary and traditional ikebana. Add to that performances, workshops, and a three-time world champion of sumo wrestling and you have a veritable LA Bloom bouquet of activities. With so much programming packed into nine days, we thought we’d give you the how to’s and what’s whats.
Opening Night Performance: Mare Nubium – Friday, April 27th – 8pm
Mare Nubium is the abbreviated performance of the much-lauded kalpa, which was performed at the kick-off of Pacific Standard Time at the Getty. In Sanskrit, kalpa means eons, or a long period of time. It’s said that once every hundred years, an angel comes down from heavens and swipes the surface of a stone with her silk sleeves until the rock disappears. Hiro Kosaka creates a symbolic parallel between the kalpa and the inevitable passage of time that slowly transforms our lives and the memories that we hold onto. Performers include Butoh (Japanese dancer) master Oguri, who leads a small company of dancers. It’s deep, and beautiful, seriously. Buy tickets here now. Listen for an upcoming interview with Hiro by Lisa Napoli on All Things Considered.
de LaB Tour with Hiro and Little Tokyo Happy Hour – Wednesday, May 2nd – 6pm to 10 pm
If you miss the opening night performance, catch de LaB‘s special tour with Hiro next week to get an explanation of LA Bloom from the modern day zen master himself. End the evening with a much-deserved cocktail at Little Tokyo Happy Hour in the zen garden. RSVP here. Admission is free otherwise and the ecoartspace and exhibitions will be open to all.
Jazz Night with Mia Doi Todd and Motoko Honda – Thursday, May 3rd – 8pm
Jazz and Japanese culture collide harmoniously when gorgeous songstress Mia Doi Todd and experimental avant-garde jazz pianist Motoko Honda take the stage on the plaza. Buy tickets here now.
Sumo Workshop with Three-Time World Champion Byamba – Saturday, May 5th – 2pm
Even if you don’t have kids, this is something you won’t want to miss. World champ Byamba brings an often misunderstood Japanese cultural tradition to life for all as he demonstrates the basic sumo stretches and teaches a workshop for little ones. Basically, a heavyweight workshop for lightweights. Admission is free.
Since I was born I’ve have suffered from an unfortunate affliction: the dreaded black thumb. For this reason, I’m always in deep awe of people who can not only keep plants alive, but use them as a natural medium for artistic expression. In particular, I love the work of LA- and Paris-based landscape art and design studio Cao|Perrot Studio.
Vietnamese-born, adopted son of Los Angeles Andy Cao is a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome and the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Native Briton Xavier Perrot was awarded the Lauréats des Nouveaux Albums des Jeunes Architectes et Paysagistes” (Emerging Young Architects and Landscape Designer Award) by the French Ministry of Culture. Together they seem to make nothing less than magic.
From ethereal gardens for the modern abode to compelling public art installations, this studio pushes the boundaries of landscape architecture as a discipline and bravely explores landscape design as a form of art, expression, and experimentation. Their work is whimsical and fantastic, ranging from magical floral arrangements to conceptual spaces shaded by hovering, shimmering cumulus clouds. They play with materials to create experiential and unforgettable landscapes.
I’m thrilled to think that we’ll soon get the opportunity to work with Andy on an upcoming project. More details to come soon. All we can say for now is that spring in LA is about to bloom, big time.
Few individuals have been able to reshape and redefine the urban landscape (or work a mean mustache) like the late, great John Chase. The legacy of this legendary writer and urban designer continues to live on in Los Angeles, his vibrant spirit dwelling in the colorful, lively public spaces he helped to develop.
Last year, de LaB partnered with KCRW’s Frances Anderton to celebrate John’s influence in West Hollywood. From Plummer Park to West Hollywood City Hall, friends and admirers took a city-wide tour on the talented designer’s May 21st birthday, remembering his efforts to create beautiful, functional, and successful urban spaces.
To celebrate John’s profound influence on West Hollywood and the design community at large, the LA Urban Forum and design east of la brea produced this one-of-a-kind walking map, including 31 WeHo destinations that John designed, protected, enabled, approved, admired or frequented, along with descriptions, stories and anecdotes written by John’s friends and collaborators. Designer Keith Scharwath created the map in an eye-popping trademark John hot pink hue. The commemorative map is now available for purchase online. One map is $5, and three maps are $10. Prices include shipping. If you’d like to buy four or more maps, please contact hello [at] designeastoflabrea [dot] org.
Own your own special little piece of an LA design legacy. Click HERE to get more information about purchasing a John Chase West Hollywood map.
What inspires some of today’s most inspiring Angelenos?
This weekend, attendees of the X Ten Biennial at ATX were treated to a sneak peek into the creative minds of ten local visionaries, who were given ten minutes to share about their favorite artists and sources of inspiration. Organized by Leonardo Bravo (Big City Forum) and writer Jeremy Rosenberg, the Desert Island Discs-meets-PechaKucha-style event featured participants from every discipline – art, literature, design, architecture, anthropology, and even puppetry.
“It takes a foreigner to see Los Angeles in a different way than a native. That’s what David Hockney did for me,” cultural anthropologist and graphic designer Jim Heimann said about his personal source of inspiration.
Slake co-editor Laurie Ochoa shared a few beautifully illustrated articles from Joseph Pulitzer’s time at The World, along with a number of Inferno-esque images that prompted Slake co-editor Joe Donnelly to remark, “I didn’t know about your fascination with Hell, but it explains some things.”
For more information about the X Ten Biennial and upcoming events, visit http://xtenb.tumblr.com/.
One man’s trash was another man’s treasure at Thursday’s opening reception of The Dunnage Show, held at the delightfully offbeat, exquisitely curated gift and design shop Inheritance. Instead of letting 12 tons of dunnage go to waste, members of the LA Box Collective breathed new life into these discarded pieces of old wood by transforming them into unique furniture and accessories.
Featured works included the “Cloud Pony” bench by Andrew Riiska, stools by Casey Dzierlenga, a Shinto bench by Samuel Moyer, a children’s eating table and chairs by Cliff Spencer, a woven screen by David Johnson, and new work by William Stranger and Robert Apodaca. Check out this and other gorgeous woodwork at Inheritance, on display now through January 2012.
8055 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Photos by Christine Kim/Secret Agent PR
Graffiti isn’t just for the urban landscape anymore – it’s contemporary art, it’s being collected, and it’s used by brands to be younger and more relevant. On October 8th, a couple of us here at Secret Agent PR headquarters ventured out to experience this new breed of urban art on display at the grand opening of UrbnLUX’s “Graffiti For Life” exhibition at the Crewest Gallery, in downtown Los Angeles. This exhibition was one of the first of its kind – blending the well-known graffiti styles of urban artist, ManOne, with pieces from some of Los Angeles’ most talented furniture, industrial and fashion designers. The UrbnLUX exhibition showed an upscale and more refined side to graffiti art. ManOne also showcased some of his newest paintings using a very interesting technique that creates two to three pieces of art out of one installation. See the video below:
Participating URBNLUX collaborators included: Reza Feiz, Cory Grosser, Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, Ando Pndlian, Roger Bennett, Brian Rupp, and Lantern Masters.
Normally, we try not to post about our clients (separation of church and state, etc.) but we’re happy to make an exception this time. The Urban Land Institute is hosting its annual conference here in LA next week and we’re thrilled to be working with them to produce The Square @ ULI Live!, a unique space that brings LA to life for conference attendees who might not otherwise see or be able to navigate this complicated megacity. Curated in collaboration with Frances Anderton of KCRW’s Design and Architecture and ULI LA‘s Sandra Kulli and Clare De Briere, The Square is a vibrant patchwork of organizations and individuals who are making their mark in the realm of place-making with their own distinct LA-style.
Here’s a preview:
SHOPS @ THE SQUARE
The Square will feature pop-up “shops” selling a curated mix of ideas, visions for the future, and products.
Beyond the Car
Art Center‘s Advanced Mobility Research group and Conscious Commuter will showcase a range of conceptual solutions for urban mobility. The Advanced Mobility Research group will feature their own futuristic take on the car, while Conscious Commuter (a company co-founded by an Art Center grad) will feature their electric fold-up bike that is meant to integrate holistically into existing mass transit.
Community Arts Resources
Four local educational institutions will be showing representative student work that embodies their signature take on place making. Participating schools include Otis College of Art and Design, SCI-arc, USC, and Woodbury University.
Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA)
This local non-profit will show attendees exactly how they engage youth in the arts, particularly their joint program with the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA). Also known as YOLA @ HOLA. Catchy, right?
notNeutral will set up shop at The Square, offering up their signature brand of colorful, modern, perforated accessories for the modern home and garden.
Longtime LA fixture and quintessential neighborhood bookstore Skylight Books will set up their mobile store for the attendees’ perusing leisure.
Watts House Project
Edgar Arceneaux’s artist-driven neighborhood redevelopment project will show attendees what their colorful vision is for the future of this South LA neighborhood.
Art Lounge with Bill Kleiman
With an insider’s understanding of the LA art scene, including the epic region-wide Pacific Standard Time initiative, LA Art Gallery Tours founder Bill Kleiman will be on hand to help attendees navigate the city and its many galleries.
PUBLIC ART INSTALLATIONS
The 20,000 sf space will also be peppered with public art installations designed by LA artists, architects, and designers. Some of these installations will look very familiar while others are being created especially for the occasion.
cLAsh by Behn Samareh
Artist Behn Samareh has devised a new medium for creating urban scale art. Using the latest in computer fabrication technology this process allows the production of works of unlimited size and scale. Created especially for the Square, cLAsh is an example of a new kind of urban mural. The one-of-a-kind piece will be available for purchase or could be installed on a blank wall near you…
Park(ing) Day LA – LOCAL Park by Standard
Silver Lake architecture firm Standard debuted the LOCAL Park installation in September as part of the Park(ing) Day LA festivities. At once literal and symbolic, the installation was a collaboration with de LaB.
Park(ing) Day LA – Community^2 Park
This interactive Park(ing) Day installation curated by Tiffany Tedesco brings together local community activists and artists to show how people can reclaim their public space and create their own parks.
Netscape by Oyler Wu Collaborative
Perspectives on a Future City + Re-imagining Wilshire
The future-forward exhibit by Rethink LA exploring what our city might look like in 50 years that debuted at the A+D Museum will be making a re-appearance in The Square. The much-lauded Re-imagining Wilshire interactive modeling table designed by James Rojas that contextualizes the city as play is of course part of the modular exhibit.
Los Angeles is the undeniable film capital of the world. But beyond the Hollywood stars, the city itself is a leading character. These curated shorts shine a spotlight on the City of Angels and the leading cast of creative stars that make up the rich fabric of this shining city. From the streets to the global arena this is a snapshot of the place we all call home; LA.
The Square will feature a revolving loop of film segments including: films commissioned by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects for the Guadalajara Book Fair Pavilion, Heidi Duckler Dance Theater, and Out the Window.
During session breaks, attendees will enjoy downtime in the Square punctuated by live performances by local musicians, including the Spirit of Troy USC Marching Band, local chemist and chanteuse DAFNI, and the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.
On Thursday, October 27th, the Square will stay open late for a Night at the Square. KCRW’s Raul Campos will spin a set followed by a performance by the Finn Kappe Sextet. Throughout the conference, we’ll be playing an impressive play list compiled by KCRW’s Tom Schnabel.
Here’s the exact schedule of performances:
Wednesday – 10/26
9:00am – 4:00pm Chalk Artist (General Session Stage)
12:30pm – 1:00pm DAFNI, LA Chanteuse
2:45pm – 3:15pm Intro to The Square by Frances Anderton
Thursday – 10/27
8:00am – 1:00pm Chalk Artist (General Session Stage)
9:30am – 9:45am “Spirit of Troy” USC Marching Band
4:30pm – 5:00pm Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA)
6:00pm – 8:00pm Night at the Square
Besides a beer garden designed by The Lab, the OC’s anti-mall, and cafes serving Intelligentsia‘s eye-opening brews, The Square will also feature Haworth‘s interpretation of the NewWOW, or ways of working. It’s the office, as re-imagined from the year 2020.
Interest piqued? Unfortunately, the conference is not open to the general public. But if you’d like more information about how to register for ULI Live!, click here.