Five Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week, From Chatroulette to Marlboro Man

Alexis Smith's Strangelove (2004)
Alexis Smith's Strangelove (2004)
Courtesy Honor Fraser, photo by Josh White/JWPictures

This week, music videos get higher-art treatment, quirky paintings hang in Koreatown and a straight-shooting L.A. artist has a debut show at her new gallery.

5. Finding artistry on MTV

"We believe music videos are the most universal, accessible and entertaining art form in the world," says the Los Angeles Music Video Festival's "about us" page. They've also been vehicles for the weirdest collaborations between visual artists, musicians and filmmakers -- think of Bjork's Mutual Core, a collaboration with digital artist and programmer John F. Simon, or David Lynch's images for Interpol. On Friday, LAMVF curators will show two hours' worth of music videos they deem new and edgy at the Armory Center for the Arts.145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Fri., June 21, 8 p.m. (626) 792-5101,

4. Random group web chat

Artist Kiki Seror, whose video work often has the look of surveillance and the in-the-moment energy of a video diary, will play Chatroulette at CB1 Gallery the closing event for her current exhibition, "Hysteresis." She will project, the website where strangers from anywhere enter randomly into chats, on three monitors and will have webcams attached to makeup brushes or eyeliner pencils. The strangers who choose to engage will see her, or anyone in the gallery who chooses to participate, applying makeup from an unnervingly close perspective. 207 W. Fifth St., dwntwn; Sun, June 23, 6 p.m. (213) 806-7889,

3. Rainbow colors out of whack

Nine longish, rectangular strips of subdued color painted on a large sheet of paper lean to the right in Molly Larkey's Amplify, while seven smaller squares of color lean to the left. One more rectangle of color, a deep blue, has been drawn with chalk pastel onto a separate, much smaller piece of paper. Affixed to the bigger paper, this small strip hangs slackly off the bottom. It's because of the leaning and hanging that Amplify, currently hung alone in a side gallery at Commonwealth & Council, pulls you in. 3006 W. Seventh St.; through June 29. (213) 703-9077,

2. True-grit fairy tale

Entering "Fleeting Diversions," Jasmine Little's current exhibition at Jancar Gallery, is like walking into a fairy tale, but the dense kind the Brothers Grimm originally wrote, where forests are haunted in stomach-churning ways and betrayals and perversions abound. This doesn't make the fairy tale any less magical. Little's deep orange-brown trees and full leaves, lush moss and mushrooms that look like they have personalities and personal agendas are entirely enchanted. 961 Chung King Road, Chinatown; through July 13. (213) 259-3770,

1. No beating around the bush

Alexis Smith's collage Don't Feel Like the Lone Ranger is in a quaint, tastefully old-fashioned wood frame with a plaid border inside. At its center is a wistful, vintage image of a cowboy on horseback with a gun in his hand, overlapped by another vintage illustration of a boy happily riding a carousel and adopting a cowboy's pose. Smith affixed a real plastic gun over the boy's hand, huge in comparison to him, and a crumpled pack of Marlboro cigarettes over the carousel horse's head. Orange letters below the boy read: "Things were simpler then. There were the good guys and the bad guys and the good guys always won." It's not subtle, Smith's critique. Nothing is in this, her first solo exhibition at Honor Fraser gallery -- she belonged to now-closed Margo Leavin for years -- but her straightforwardness turns nostalgia inside out. 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd.; through July 27. (310) 837-0191,

See also:

*Natural History Museum's 100th Birthday Bash and Opening of Its New Renovation...Starring Devo

Follow me on Twitter at @cgwagley, and for more arts news follow us at @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.

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Armory Center for the Arts

145 N. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103


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