Even if they weren't my friends, I would still think Jenna and Oliver from Materials and Applications were totally rad. Their Maximillian's Schell installation (aka the Golden Vortex) has lent an aura of majesty to Silverlake Boulevard, and in a real nod to Utopian ideals, the space is open to the public 24 hours a day. Here are the work's creators, Gaston Nogues and Ben Ball, standing under their masterpiece.

    The best part is, not only do the folks at M&A care about art and beauty and the planet – and actually DO something about it – they know how to throw a kick-ass party. Past events have featured architectural towers of food and beer custom-brewed just for the occasion, and the New Year's Eve fete celebrating the end of the golden era was equally gourmet.    There was a fountain of chocolate that had the couple kids in attendance going majorly ga-ga over their Willy Wonka fantasies come to life, while the adults sipped fine champagne and gobbled garlicky escargot in a very civilized fashion until the whole kid thing became totally contagious…and…Voila! Chocolate-snail fondue! Would you believe it was actually quite tasty? We decided it was kind of operating on the mole sauce principle, but to be honest, nothing can taste too terrible when you're washing it down with Schramsberg Brut Rose, my new favorite bubbly. (And yes, the Style Council does need an alcohol sponsor.) Here I am with Cecil, who brought the lovely pink stuff, and art world scene queen Fumiko Amano, whose Atelier Zero event listing tells you absolutely everything happening downtown.     Once the escargot and champagne ran out (the chocolate was still a-flowing) we headed downtown (thanks Fumiko) en masse to a party in one of those run-of-the-mill 5, 10, 20,000??? square foot spaces that have enough roller skates to outfit everyone and the pool table from Al's Bar in the basement. Wow!    And so I rang in my first New Year in Los Angeles with roller skates on my feet and pink champagne in my glass. I can think of worse things.     By the way, Jenna and Oliver (pictured here in the foreground) are currently hosting some crazy ice sculpture invitational on the frozen tundra, but when they return to La-la they'll be seeking volunteers to help with their new installation, so if one of your resolutions is to get involved with groovy art stuff, contact them.Happy 2006 to all!

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