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Arts, Public Spectacle Lyn Kienholz's Quest to Bring Black L.A. Artists to the 2015 Venice Biennale

Lyn Kienholz's Quest to Bring Black L.A. Artists to the 2015 Venice Biennale

Lyn Kienholz is the physical opposite of her late ex-husband, L.A. pop-art titan Ed Kienholz. While he was a lumbering Promethean shaped like a Humvee, she is as tiny and thin as a breadstick, usually dressed informally in turtleneck sweaters and comfy flats. Beginning with "Wow, there are so many...…
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Film, Good Rep <i>Passing Through</i> Again

Passing Through Again

(Click to enlarge) Released the same year as Charles Burnett's recently revived Killer of Sheep (1977), Larry Clark's Passing Through is another rarely seen but potent underground L.A. neorealist treatise that plumbs similar themes of the exploitation and degradation of black culture and posits jazz music as a revolutionary call...…
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LA Life, People Putter Smith

Putter Smith

{mosimage} Putter Smith found out about the sinister overarching effects of Hollywood just after his film debut in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. “I was floating in this little rubber raft just 50 yards off of Huntington Beach, and this little kid who looks to be about...…
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LA Life, People

Carlos Niño

Out of all the musical gifts in Carlos Niño’s Echo Park recording studio, including some choice wind chimes and a battered old harmonium given to him by poet Kamau Daaood, the one he seems to prize most is a bit of street wisdom handed down by the late Leimert Park...…
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Film, Short Run Leimert Park: The Story of a Village in South-Central

Leimert Park: The Story of a Village in South-Central

“The three things I love to do most in the world is sit on my ass, drink coffee and listen to jazz,” says the late Richard Fulton in Jeannette Lindsay’s celebratory documentary about the titular South (Central) L.A. neighborhood. Fulton, a Vietnam vet who spent six years living downtown on...…
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News, Features

Screwball Diva

Chances are if you know Darcey Leonard from her day job at Silver Lake Shoes, you wouldn’t recognize her alter ego “Miss Darcey” — the diminutive dark faerie who is the booker, co-organizer and “extreme hostess” of Club Screwball, a loose weekly affiliation of urbane freakery that first debuted at...…
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News, Features Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull

WHEN LITTLE FEAT’S LOWELL GEORGE wrote his classic road song “Willin’?” (“I’ve driven ev’ry kinda rig that’s ever been made”), he could have been writing about Dennis Justice, a 59-year-old professional bus driver who can measure his life in real miles. “Both of my sons are in the bus business,”...…
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Arts, Books The Arkivists

The Arkivists

Those who knew and loved Horace Elva Tapscott, the late jazz bandleader, composer and social activist from Leimert Park, invariably refer to him as “the phantom” or “the ghost.” Even when he was forthcoming, his timing was mysterious. “After he had his seizure, I remember him sitting in his room...…
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Columns, A Considerable Town

The Shooting Party

The gunslinger known as Petey requests a halt in filming so he can mosey over behind a gleaming white SUV and take a dump by its rear right wheel. While he does this, the crew scratch their necks and sip their coffee or look around at the scrub brush that...…
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Arts, Books

Angel of Olvera Street

Very soon I shall be gone — I am just a morning glory, A fading flower at dawn. —from Mieko (1969) I first met Leo Politi in 2001, nearly seven years after his death, when Gim Fong, the proprietor of a small Chinatown art shop, produced a transparent plastic storage...…
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Music,

Pet Sounds

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Arts, Books

Posuer Nation

Illustration by Ronald KurniawanA writer friend once described the brief history of an advertising campaign she worked on that never got off the ground — and thank God, because it sounded so draconian it could have sprung from the loins of Joseph Goebbels himself. An underarm deodorant for teenage boys...…
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News, Features

Who’ll Stop the Reign?

Aryan Brotherhood members in an exhibit in the narcotics-trafficking trial of Michael "Big Mac" McElhiney, top right, who co-ran AB operations at the U.S. Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois. He is currently at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown L.A., awaiting trial for conspiracy to murder AB associate Charles "Bubba" Leger. ...…
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News, Lists

13 Great CD Reissues You May Have Never Heard Of

The Conet Project (Irdial) A lawsuit gave second wind to this eerie four-CD box set of shortwave radio transmissions, thought by spy and paranoia buffs to be worldwide, 24/7 code broadcasts by intelligence agents. Originally issued in 1997 by British indie label Irdial, the rock group Wilco sampled the recitation...…
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News, Lists

Notable Scene Stealers

Ben Falcone (Joey). The life span of NBC’s wan Friends spinoff may hinge on less Kelly Preston and more Falcone, as Joey’s sweaty neighbor Howard. His arsenal of tics, mewls, eye pops and twitches is one of the most cringe-inducing characterizations of a loser hanging onto the bottom rung since...…
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News, Lists

Gobbing On Empires

(!) Call it the Year of the Punk Rock Opera. Green Day surprised everyone when, five days after debuting theirs in its entirety at the Henry Fonda Theater in L.A., American Idiot took an eyeblink to sell 266,637 copies and hit No. 1 on the album charts. Sure, it overreaches...…
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Music,

Back to the Bass

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News, Features

The Lady at the Bottom of the Groove

Carol Kaye’s earliest musical memory is of sitting alone in her father’s Model-A Ford outside of the Elks Club in Everett, Washington, listening to the strains of his Dixieland band inside. “The hair raised on my arms,” she recalls in her low, jazz-hipster voice. “I thought, ‘Ahhhhh, listen to that...…
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News, Features

South of Here

Photo (top) by Debra DiPaolo Greg Leisz has a “road face”: Divots carved in his sallow cheeks and crinkled maps around his boyish eyes make one think of a Walker Evans Dust Bowl Okie. Now in his 50s, he has traveled a long road to become arguably today’s most in-demand...…
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Arts, Art

The Jester

Photo by Ted Soqui Joel Mesler is fond of pranks. For months, he had been needling and taunting the new Mountain Bar on Chinatown’s Gin Ling Way in his self-published newsletter (“Why not a bookstore or a flower mart or a spa/brothel?”; “Now all the swells won’t come to Hop...…
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