The Future Perfect Painted by Danny Heller – Vote on KCET Artbound!

As part of our work creating a robust blog for Palm Springs Modernism Week, we came across an amazing artist who kind of blew our minds.  Danny Heller is a Silver Lake-based painter who, quite simply, paints houses.  But not just any houses.  As this great KCET Artbound piece highlights, Heller has a unique perspective.  His light-filled photorealistic paintings capture the beauty of signature Southern California mid-century architecture, and add something just a bit indescribable.  He’s part of a new generation of modernists who look back with nostalgia but also interpret the concepts of modernism with a look towards the future.  His paintings make us want to run out and buy a vespa…or a Wexler.  In short, we love.   And if you love too, be sure to VOTE HERE to help transform this KCET Artbound story into a short documentary.  You only have till this Sunday to vote!  Also, don’t forget to like Artbound on Facebook.


Parking Day LA 2012

With many people in pre-dawn lines waiting to pick up their brand spankin’ new iPhone 5s or glued to their windows waiting to catch a glimpse of Endeavor as it flew over LA, the crowds for Parking Day LA 2012 were not huge this morning.  Nonetheless, LA designers did not disappoint as there were still a few great pop-up green spaces spread across town from Culver City to Downtown.  We were lucky enough to be involved with two parklets this year, so here are a few of our favorite shots.

de LaB continued its tradition of hosting a parklet in front of popular Silver Lake eatery LOCAL.  This year the provocative pop-up park was designed by the Art Center grads at The Rare Studio.  Soft Publics was an edible, “sittable” pop-up green museum disguised as a construction site.

Culver City-based landscape architecture firm AHBE also built their perennial parklet near Helms Bakery in Culver City in front of everyone’s favorite purveyor of sweet tasty treats, Coolhaus.  “Parkside Confessions” gave passersby an opportunity to share their thoughts on urban green space, making the journey from teepee to tree of life.

The LA Times ran a great preview yesterday with a rundown of parklets across town and there will probably be more coverage of the best of Parking Day LA later today or this weekend.  Also, stay tuned for more info about the three permanent parklets that will be announced later this fall as part of a City of LA pilot program that hopes to set the rules and in turn encourage more permanent parklets throughout the city.


Summer Adventures 2012

As is tradition, we shut down Secret Agent PR HQ for the month of August and took some much-needed time to catch up with life.  Here’s a quick recap of our adventures and what inspired us on our travels this year.

Agent C spent some time exploring closer to home in the OC before heading back to Paraguay to catch up with some of her old students.  No photos of Paraguay since she had to travel without any steal-able devices, unfortunately.  As a last hooray, she also made a jaunt northward to Portland where she was inspired by the robust architecture, design, and fashion scene.  She also became addicted to Stumptown coffee.  She’s currently in rehab.

Agent J headed home to the Mother Land and the beautiful isle of Cephalonia to outfit her family’s newly completed home Villa Ersi.  Between assembling furniture and filling up the new pool, she spent her time beach hopping and acquiring a ridiculously golden Mediterranean tan.  She also managed to squeeze in a trip to the famed Athens Monastriki Flea Market.  From antique books to rotary phones, there is nothing that you can’t find here if you’re willing to endure bustling crowds, sweltering heat, and soaring prices.

I headed to the Great White North to explore Quebec.  Most of my time was spent eating but my one design discovery was the amazing Solair chair.  I had no idea that these babies were designed in the 70’s by two Canadians from Montreal.  Knock offs were on corners and front porches throughout Quebec City.  I was happy to find them sold at OK in Silver Lake.  Once they passed the most important test (snooze test by Cael), we scored a couple for our newly renovated front garden.

For more photos, check out our gallery.  And that is the story of our summer.


Go: New. Artisanal. Now

 

 

This summer is truly the season for biennials!  Art fans have Made in LA 2012, the Hammer Museum‘s amazing season-long program showcasing the best and brightest up and coming LA artists.  And now, for one delicious day, epicureans have New Artisanal Now, For Your Art‘s first-ever artisanal food biennial.

 

Inspired by and timed to coincide with Made in LA 2012 , New Artisanal Now will showcase some of the City’s finest food crafters.  Hosted in a special pop-up shop (in the FYA space) at  6020 Wilshire Blvd., an all-star team of culinary insiders including Krista Simmons (Top Chef Masters/LAist), Shawna Dawson (Artisanal LA) and Michaele Musel (The Secret Fork) have curated a selection of 12 amazing local food artists for our enjoyment and discovery.  From bacon confections to trendy drinking vinegars, this is not to be missed.

Saturday, July 28th – 12pm to 6pm at the For Your Art Space at 6020 Wilshire Boulevard.

Photos by David Gilbert via For Your Art


Spotted: Zoku Mod Pop(sicle) Machine

Ah, the popsicle.  The quintessential summer treat.  Cold, sweet, refreshing…what could be better?   Uh…designing your very own colorful edible work of art and then flash freezing it so you don’t have to wait.  Fantastic idea, Zoku!  The Quick Pop Maker is this New Jersey-based company’s first major product, but we can’t wait to see what they make next.  We see a popsicle party in our near future…

The Quick Pop Maker is one part fun science experiment and one part well-designed kitchen tool, flash freezing liquids to make popsicles in minutes.  (It’s not recommended to put alcohol in the Zoku for obvious reasons…we checked!)

Obsessed as we are?  Check this out.

You can get molds to customize your pops too. (Seriously, just look at them. We’re sold.)

Zoku Character Kit (photo by Zoku)

And if ridiculously cute is not your thing, you can always try these healthy versions.

Cucumber Mint Margarita Quick Pops (photo by Zoku)

Strawberry Shortcake Popsicles (photo by Bakers Royale)

Mango Lassi & Strawberry-Honey Yogurt Popsicles (photo by Desserts for Breakfast)

Double Rainbow Quick Pops. Photo by Zoku


Spotted: The Hive

Hanging Cloud Lamp, Hae Young Yoon, The Hive

Thanks to a random but kind comment on Facebook, we just discovered and are totally buzzing about The Hive, a Cebu-based design house that acts as a habitat for designers and artisans.  The company made waves in March at Manila Fame when it showcased a bright bunch of young and exciting Filipino designers.  We love the aesthetic and the fact that many of the designers use local materials.  Japan, Korea, watch out!  The Philippines has a bad ass new generation of creative talent coming up fast.

Here’s what we’d put in our imaginary house:

Danny Fang, The Hive

Hong Kong-based Dutch designer Danny Fang takes Filipino Salago pulp and adds some gold leaf bling to create the Checkmate King pendant.  *Love*.

Kenneth Cobonpue, The Hive

 

These little piggies are designed by The Hive’s founder Kenneth Cobonpue.  The Animal Farm planter, made of crushed local stones, is the perfect addition to the urban patio barnyard.

Hae Young Yoon, The Hive

The light and fluffy Hanging Cloud Lamps by Hae Young Yoon have us dreaming of our upcoming summer respite.

Luisa Robinson, The Hive

And Luisa Robinson‘s Secret Garden mixes metal with roses way better than Axl ever did.  Table runner, wall sculpture, or….dress?  Either way, we covet.

 


Spring and Summer Redux

It’s mid-July and we haven’t been to the beach yet!  That should change shortly, but before we shut down HQ for a few weeks for our annual summer break, we wanted to share a few shots of what we’ve been up to since we last posted.  Our yearbook, if you will.  And what a year!

Let’s see, we started by throwing a party (for ourselves)…

And later hung out with a World Champ

Biyamba, sumo champion, LA Bloom

Then we headed to NYC…

When we got back, we launched the 2nd Annual LA Design Festival from one of the city’s best roof tops

Before buckling down for the biggest modern design show in the nation (and hitting a few parties)…

But really, most importantly, we met Walter White.


Agent J is One of Greek America’s 40 Under 40

Julie Karatzis, photo by Carla Choy

By day, she pitches.  By night, she letterpresses.  Agent J, like any true secret agent, has many identities. And this week, she’s being recognized for the one of the most important ones.  Congratulations are in big order for Julie who’s flying to New York this week to attend Greek America’s Forty under 40 Awards Reception.  Her fellow honorees in the Class of 2012 include a motley crew of accomplished Hellenic professionals ranging from a State Assembly member to a geneticist, with a smattering of lawyers and philanthropists, and one of the Three Stooges.

Συγχαρητήρια!

(Photo: Carla Choy)


Spotted: Limited Edition Hirokazu Kosaka Prints

We’ve already talked quite a bit about LA Bloom, but here’s the one part of the festival that is not fleeting.  A few lucky people (ourselves counted among them hopefully) will go home with a limited edition print of Hirokazu Kosaka’s Mare Imbrium or Sea of Rain.  JACCC will be taking orders for 100 numbered prints.  An unframed print runs a cool $100.  Order a fully matted and framed wall-ready version for $200.


Go: LA Bloom Festival

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.