Francisco Real killed people. He smuggled illegal immigrants. He sold drugs and collected taxes for the Mexican Mafia. He ran a gang and family criminal enterprise that made his street in Glassell Park one of the most dangerous in Los Angeles. But L.A. being the city of reinvention, last week...
Most people talk about death as if it's a friend they kind of know but have heard some bad things about — in hushed tones, as though giving voice to those transgressions means that death would rub off on them in some weird way. And it does! To wit: Local doyenne of the dead and "Ask a Mortician" web series host Caitlin Doughty presents her mellifluously morbid memoir, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory. Taking a job in a crematory on a whim, Doughty found herself immersed in a world about which few know or care — despite the fact that death is that singular stoplight toward which everyone ultimately hurtles. One of the fascinating Angelenos featured in the Weekly's 2014 People issue, Doughty details everything from stray human ashes on her clothes to the shaving of the dead to the accidental death of a toddler she witnessed as a child. Good times. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Tue., Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m.; free, book is $24.95. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com.More
L.A. Opera launches a biannual series of free, live simulcasts direct from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with Verdi's La Traviata beamed in high-def straight to a large LED screen on the Santa Monica Pier. Verdi's great romantic opus is updated in this art deco–inspired production set in the Roaring Twenties. It's free to attend, but seek out reserve advance tickets to avoid long entrance lines. You can avoid the handling fee of $1 per order by picking up your free tix in person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion box office at 135 N. Grand Ave.; any leftover tickets will be available to walk-ups at no charge at the Pier on the evening of the broadcast. You can bring your own picnic, but all alcohol must come from the beer garden on-site. Santa Monica Pier, Colorado Avenue and Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica; Wed., Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.; arrive early and bring folding chairs or blankets for seating. laopera.org/operaatthebeach.More
The sixth AxS Festival (pronounced "axis"), themed Curiosity, represents the spot where art and science meet in contemporary culture. It's inspired by Pasadena's rich history of innovation in design and engineering, and its equally rich history of supporting modern and contemporary art. In fact, while much of the program is characterized by futuristic daydreams showing off awesome new art toys, many of the exhibitions, installations and dance and music performances excavate the ever-present past. For example, Machine Project's Field Guide to the Gamble House is a commissioned work reimagining the Arts & Crafts landmark by inviting artists to create new works including "participatory nap concerts, a tableau vivant, puppets, dance, séances, videos, inflatable sculptures, joinery-specific lawn furniture, a secret Swedish-Japanese fusion restaurant" and more. There are two free open houses (otherwise, guided tours cost $20); a series of events and workshops is priced separately. By contrast, a full slate of mostly free programs at something called SPHÆRÆ is a temporary, site-specific, outdoor sculpture–slash-stage by Dutch architect Cocky Eek. Its programming features immersive sound works, video pieces and conversations. And Caltech is staging a musical called Alice Through the Wormhole, Or What's This Wonderland Up to? So there's that. Various Pasadena locations including the Gamble House, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena; Fri., Sept. 19-Sun., Oct 5; various times; free-$90. (626) 793-8171, axsfestival.org, machineproject/gamblehouse.More
The name, Luminario Ballet, is a bit deceiving. The dancers wear pointe shoes and perform contemporary ballet, but the moniker does little to reveal the most distinctive feature of this troupe — the accomplished, sometimes dazzling aerial work the ensemble incorporates into performances. The aerial work will be on view with the reprise of LedZAerial, set to music by Led Zeppelin, and an ambitious work-in-progress, TRAILS, danced against NASA satellite images showing the effects of climate change in California. Set to Philip Glass' Mishima, performed live by musicians from the New Valley Symphony, TRAILS also includes video body-mapping technology. Canadian Olympian and international dancer/aerialist Emilie Livingston joins the dancers as a special guest. Just as the broader perspective from a trapeze brings a different view from dancing on the stage, the perspective from outer space conveys an urgency different from what can be seen on the ground. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 19-20, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 21, 3 & 7 p.m., $30-$40. (818) 508-4200, elportaltheatre.com.More
When it comes to the life of Bruce Haack, separating truth from fiction is not easy. The groundbreaking electronic music composer and inventor is said to have taught himself to play piano by age 3. By 8, he apparently was escaping his abusive mother's wrath by sneaking off to Indian...
Visual allure often isn't a virtue we value when chasing obscure flavors in L.A.'s international neighborhoods. In fact, adventurous diners tend to appreciate the opposite: The grungier the location, the more accomplished we feel for having sought it out. Looks be damned — let the fireworks happen on the flavor...
The Los Angeles art world has been saying a collective "hallelujah" since the arrival in January of Philippe Vergne as MOCA's new director. Although some East Coast commentators condemned the appointment — citing in particular a budget crisis scandal in which Vergne resorted to selling off a number of works...
Emmy season is the perfect time to focus our attention on the beautiful costumes that make our favorite shows come to life. After all, what would Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones or Mad Men be without the costume designers who make those far-off worlds believable? Once a year, the FIDM Museum & Galleries' "Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" exhibition gives these costumes the spotlight. Curated by Mary Rose, president of the Costume Designers Guild (as well as a governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which presents the Emmys), the exhibit allows up-close and personal access to 75 designs otherwise only visible on the silver screen. Pick your favorites before the Emmys air on Aug. 25, or come back after watching the show to marvel at the winning designs. FIDM Museum, 919 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; thru Sept. 20; free. (213) 623-5821, fidmmuseum.org.More
Most of the art in "The Meme Machine," the first show Agency is hosting in its new East Hollywood location, has a cobbled-together look, as if it was made from stuff found in the basement or out on the street. Even Luis Gispert's video, Block Watching, fits that bill. In it, a woman in a cheerleading outfit and costume jewelry — bangles, jangling necklaces, big hoop earrings — is in front of a green screen. Sounds of car alarms play loudly and she moves her body to match their pitches and crescendos. She's quite good at it. 4911 Clinton St., E. Hlywd.; through Sept. 27. (818) 415-7619, agencycontemporaryart.com.More
Married Women Over 30, here’s a pitch for a movie: My Dinner With Idris. You never thought it would happen to you, but one rainy night when your handsome and successful but distracted husband who doesn’t appreciate you is out of town, Idris Elba (The Wire, Mandela: Long Walk to...
Surprisingly moving for a film assembled from such familiar scenes, Craig Johnson's The Skeleton Twins mushes together queasy/quirky indie family drama with the beats of a romantic comedy. You know the outline just from eyeballing the poster: Kristen Wiig's Maggie and Bill Hader's Milo find their way toward loving one...
Don't expect many laughs from this retro-futuristic curio, which doesn't really go for them, despite its parodic title and its '70s insistence that in the far future View-Masters would be cutting-edge communication tech.
Before the surrounding residential area and hills were invaded by studio people and the attendant blocks of pricey cafés and insane housing prices, Mitchell Litt Home in Sherman Oaks was a big reason people with money came to Ventura Boulevard.
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As a designer, Desanka Fasiska is not, as she puts it, trying to reinvent
the wheel. You dont need an instructional diagram to put on any of her outfits.
Not that she doesnt appreciate the avant-garde. She wants to be of the moment,
even a little ahead. Respected creatively by her peers. But mostly, she wants
her clothes to be something that a potential customer understands as in Oh,
I love that. I want to wear it. Interesting and comfortable. And, of course,
She is keenly aware that fashion is as much commerce as it is art. It has been
a learning process, Fasiska says, because I do have to answer to the market
ultimately with what is going to sell and what isnt. Im happy I dont have a
partner, because I like calling my own shots. I dont think I could have anyone
telling me what I could design and what I couldnt design except for the market.
Fasiska, who grew up in Ladera Heights and started her flirty, floaty Desanka
line three years ago, projects a kind of pragmatic confidence with a twist of
bubbly Cali girl. But she wasnt one of those kids making outfits for her dolls
she was drawing the clothes. Fashion wasnt a driving force in her life. She
didnt know what she wanted to do other than not go to college after graduating
from Beverly Hills High. Six months of doing nothing, then her mom pushed her
to go to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
And thats where she fell in love with fashion. Once she became an FIDM graduate,
she studied at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and did a semester at the Chambre
Syndicale de la Couture in Paris to study couture sewing, followed by a six-month
internship there with American designer Carrie Rossman. All-night sewing sessions
taught her a lot.
She planned to return to Paris after graduation she had the really cute boyfriend,
was speaking French but on the way back to France, she stopped in New York and
was inspired to stay. But it was just before 9/11, and jobs became hard to come
by. Well, there was the well-paid, if somewhat gross, gig as a receptionist at
an escort agency. At least the hours were good. And there was a two-month internship
with Anna Sui not that she was doing much creative there. Think gofer.
Ultimately, Fasiska known as Desa and named for her Serbian grandmother wasnt
really doing anything fashion in N.Y. Time to come home. Friends from high school
who didnt have as much training as she did, people who took, like, one fashion
class, were starting successful clothing companies. Plus, she was excited by the
possibilities of design in L.A.
With her parents backing dad is a metallurgist and mom is a retired insurance
defense lawyer she launched Desanka, which was featured in Gen Arts Fresh
Faces in Fashion show last October. Detailed illustrations that evince a sense
of discipline and stick-to-itiveness dot the walls of her Garment District studio,
where the line is manufactured. Shes already filled a rolling rack with samples
from her Spring 2006 line, which she says will be for her first big show at this
falls Fashion Week. Shes been able to hire a few people to do some of the business-side
work that her mom has been handling which means, Fasiska says, She can be my
Desanka is available at Sirens & Sailors, 1104 Mohawk St., Echo Park, (213) 483-5423;
Satine, 8117 W. Third St., (323) 655-2142; Diavolina, 156 S. Robertson Blvd.,
(310) 550-1341; Tracey Ross, 8595 W. Sunset Blvd., Sunset Plaza, (310) 854-1996;
Silk velvet bolero with metallic leather piping over rayon jersey tie-dyed
blouse and silk georgette skirt with silk velvet yoke and cabochons
Metallic cashmere sweater with pom-pom trim over silk georgette and
metallic silk blouse and metallic wool shorts
David Lebovitz has the kind of life any foodist would aspire to. Ten years ago, after a long career in the kitchen at San Francisco's Chez Panisse, he up and moved to Paris. And now, with one of the top food blogs on the web and a pile of books under his belt,...
Petit Trois, the long-awaited space next door to Trois Mec, will open tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Owned and operated by the Trois Mec team — Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo — Petit Trois aims to offer Bar a la Carte, described as the traditional French bar experience. "I...
Congratulations America! We're officially bigger winos than the French. According to the Organization of Vine and Wine, the U.S. became the biggest internal market in the world, volume-wise, as of 2013. We won this coveted title by consuming 29.1 million hectoliters (mhl) of wine - not including vermouth or special wines,...
If your idea of the four food groups is cheese, charcuterie, bread and wine, Milkfarm in Eagle Rock is set to become your new grocery shopping central. Leah Park Fierro, formerly head cheesemonger/manager of the Cheese Store in Silver Lake, opened the cheese-and-charcuterie haven April 7, inspired by the little specialty shops...