Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sunset Blvd: Local muralist at work on Local's wall

Muralist and local Silver Lake artist Nicky Gagliarducci is recreating vintage L.A. just to the west of the restaurant Local on Sunset Blvd. The project meets with Local's ethos: Nicky is a locally sourced artist capturing an historic local scene. I watched him work recently; he's going to add a surrealistic touch to 25' long montage: Silver Lake's own walking doctor.  It's not the quietest place to paint but he was quite genial about the process.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Downtown L.A.: Chaya downtown art + happy hour

   A wonderful combo platter of art and well priced happy hour is on the menu at Chaya Downtown Los Angeles. Thanks to Mattatouille for this great shot of Stuart Haygarth's imaginative chandelier created from the plastic flotsam of daily life. Reviewed in today's L.A.T., S. Irene Virbila couldn't help but notice the piece, a standout in any setting. Haygarth is based in London; typically his work is from found pieces, this one is not.
   Find yourself on the patio for happy hour. I went with Eating LA last month; missing on the menu was a happy hour sake but the manager promised to add it. Chaya Venice's happy hour remains a personal fave: always lively. Downtown's version is a bit more button down but comes with a city view.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Century City: Spiffy new photo showcase at the Annenberg Space for Photography

The newly opened Annenberg Space for Photography joins the list of premiere places in town to view and experience fine art photography that includes the Getty Center (where Paul Outerbridge and Jo Ann Callis exhibitions are on view until August) and the G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Paul Kopeikin Gallery and Peter Fetterman Gallery.  Hours are Wed-Sun 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City. Parking on site is validated. At the press preview, I captured photographer Douglas Kirkland's on set photos (left) as well as Greg Gorman's elegant black and white portraits. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

What I learned in New Orleans

There’s a significant difference between high ground and low ground: one floods, the other doesn’t. Every house has a brand new refrigerator. 2009 has been the windiest ever in the city. Wildlife, except for pigeons, mega-roaches and winged, swarming termites, are rare.  (I did see one small heron and some turtles though.) Traditionally, storms have been a method of redevelopment; damaged buildings are not repaired, demolished instead to remove residents. If potholes are big enough, folks dump their trash in it, and sometimes-- old refrigerators.  Like the 40th annual Jazz & Heritage Fest, Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young have stood the test of time.  Per a Sunday morning music lesson with Dr. John, there are killer weird things that happen in New Orleans that happen nowhere else. That’s for sure. 

Gulf shrimp, oysters and crawfish taste better when they haven’t been transported thousands of miles. How to make eggs sardou by chef Lee Richardson of Ashley's at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas: béchamel sauce, artichokes and quick sautéed spinach.  The key to a good crawfish boil is the seasoning: extras can include whole cloves of garlic, potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus and corn.  How to eat a crawfish: twist off head, pinch off tail fins, squeeze tail, nip and twist the meat out of the shell. Abita makes several types of brews including a seasonal strawberry beer and the Turbo Dog—all go down mighty quick. Sazeracs have never gone out of style in New Orleans and can be counted on at cocktail hour. Even at high noon, cemeteries here, with their whitened above ground tombs, are eerie and trippy.   As my friend writer Patty Friedmann says, visit soon, because New Orleans doesn’t promise to be there.