Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Cali & Jenna

Published December 23, 2009 by Graham

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Cali Dewitt and Jenna Thornhill are basically the perfect couple. When they’re not busy with their respective publishing baron and rock star careers, they somehow find time to publish dreamy glimpses of their adventurous lives in the digital pages of DeWitt’s blog.

Cali and Jenna’s distinct personalities fuse together into an aura of immediate magnetism, crippling humor and totally next-level creativity that shines like a radioactive cockroach in these candid, arresting photographs. The surge of a show at The Smell, the trash-strewn beauty of L.A.’s silent streets, an intimate afternoon moment spent amongst friends– they’re all rendered powerfully real in a sea of glorious grain. No other photographers capture the texture of contemporary Los Angeles quite like Cali and Jenna.

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Scenes From a Secret Robot Short

Published August 26, 2009 by Graham

Spike has been hard at work on a top secret robot-related short film. When Dallas and I visited the set, the first person we bumped into was Family owner David Kramer (more on Kramer in Lance Bang’s doc Family Portrait), furiously memorizing a verse of lyrics inscribed on his palm in a parking lot beneath the freeway. Kramer, a non-musician who had joined the project only one day earlier, was preparing to play the lead singer in a fake band called The Lost Trees, alongside the members of Moonrats.

Miranda July showed up and the four of us made our way through the vast maze of a fantastically decaying abandoned building to the room where Spike was setting up The Lost Trees’ big show. Waiting for the shoot to begin in earnest, Dallas and I decided to explore the building’s musty labyrinthine corridors. Scattered remnants left over from other Hollywood productions blurred unsettlingly with authentic artifacts from the location’s functional former life as a ballroom hall/radio station.

After conquering the rooftop with its epic vistas and then descending to the depths of the building’s eerily Saw-esque basement, we returned to the set and found “The Rec Center” now occupied by a couple of radical robots adrift in a roaring sea of extras feigning their fandom for The Lost Trees. Check out the photos above to see David Kramer embracing his inner rock star, Spike and Miranda talking shop, weird finds from our backstage explorations, and Lance Bangs shooting documentary footage in his trademark visor.

Keep an eye out for the short’s premiere in November and the unveiling of Spike’s new robotic stars!

Lance Bangs’ Family Portrait

Published August 26, 2009 by Graham

Lately, it seems like all the rad creative people and places in L.A. have become closely intertwined, like a cat’s cradle of overlapping awesomeness. Sure, an extensively detailed flow chart might help you get the picture– or you could just watch this astute new documentary from Lance Bangs! Family Portrait centers on the bookstore Family and spider-webs outward from there, touching on some of our favorite places in Los Angeles, like The Smell, Hope Gallery, and Ooga Booga, as well as the people who make those places great. Watch the rest of Family Portrait after the jump.


Part 1: An intro to Family Bookstore, the crazy range of items they stock, and the origin of the store’s name.

Read the rest of this entry »

Inherent Vice

Published August 6, 2009 by Graham

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Literary mastermind Thomas Pynchon has a new book out this week, only the seventh novel in his 45-year career. Clocking in at a slim 416 pages, the hardboiled noir Inherent Vice is being marketed as Pynchon’s “most accessible” book yet, but don’t count on anything so gauche as a straightforward narrative from the king of postmodern prose.

Taking place just after the cold conclusion to those free-loving 1960s, Pynchon’s heavily influenced P.I. Doc Sportello leads us through the paranoid haze of beach-side L.A. culture, crossing paths with a motley crew of oddball characters including “surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merman, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists.” Yep, sounds like Pynchon. Check out this online commercial for the book, narrated by the enigmatic author himself:

Books You Might Not Have Read Yet: Two from Buk

Published July 16, 2009 by Molly

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My parents allowed me to read anything in the house. If it was on the bookshelf, it was fair game. This is how I learned many things: how to cuss, how to use the dictionary as a demystifying tool, how to develop a distinct taste in literature.

The cussing part came courtesy of Charles Bukowski, the poet and novelist deemed by Time to be the “laureate of American lowlife”. His books were on the shelf because they were good, for one thing, but also because Bukowski was a compadre of my grandfather’s. I don’t think either of my parents dipped into the stash of novels and poetry often, but I sure did: the stories were rough, plainspoken and filled with salacious details and philosophical tangling. It helped that the volumes, all published by Black Sparrow, had remarkably cool covers.

I started with 1971’s Post Office and, since it suited my tastes, moved on to 1982’s Ham on Rye. From there, it was a short hop to the writer’s accessible poems and letters. Any way I came at it, an hour spent reading Bukowski was an hour spent inside the mind of the dirtiest (and cleverest) old man I’d ever met.

If my parents only knew.

Top Ten Los Angeles Novels

Published July 15, 2009 by Molly

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And yes, these are in order.

1. Day of the Locust (Nathanael West)
2. What Makes Sammy Run? (Budd Schulberg)
3. Play It As It Lays (Joan Didion)
4. Mildred Pierce (James Cain)
5. Ask the Dust (John Fante)
6. Oil (Upton Sinclair)
7. Walking the Dog (Walter Mosley)
8. The Tortilla Curtain (T. Coraghessan Boyle)
9. The High Window (Raymond Chandler)
10. Less Than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis)


Like all great cities, Los Angeles both conforms to its own stereotypes and inspires vastly-ranging conceptions of itself in the minds of artists. No two novelists see the city the same way, but there are certain factors common among great LA novels. (A great LA novel isn’t the same thing as a great novel that takes place in Los Angeles– the differences are subtle but crucial.)

Herewith, a top ten list of LA Novels. The disparities between the books are endless, but the shared traits are easily catalogued: ennui, a certain cynicism, heat, hope, desperation and a sense of doom. I don’t know what this says about living in LA, but I’m always happy to speculate.

Fool’s Gold Surprise Hotel

Published July 6, 2009 by Rubin

LA based band Fool’s Gold has made the instant summer jam with that guitar line in “Suprise Hotel” which will be released at the end of September. Made up of members from Foreign Born, We Are Scientists, Glasser and The Fall, they play an interesting mix of African rhythms and 80’s pop and from the looks of this video, you should go see them live.

MP3 >> Fool’s Gold – Surprise Hotel

Wholphin No. 8 at The Silent Movie Theatre Tonight!

Published May 18, 2009 by Graham

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Tonight at 8pm, two of our favorite institutions, short film DVD magazine Wholphin and the curatorial brain trust that is The Cinefamily, are joining together in glorious harmony for the release party of Wholphin No. 8 at The Silent Movie Theatre in LA.

Established by Where The Wild Things Are scribe Dave Eggers and his McSweeney’s colleague Brent Hoff, Wholphin is a quarterly video magazine that collects a melange of disparate shorts linked only by their quality of excellence and their rarity. Breathing new life to the format, Wholhpin offers a unique venue for films that would otherwise only play in festivals or galleries, where most people might not get a chance to see them. From well-known directors like Steven Soderbergh, Errol Morris, Miranda July and of course, Spike Jonze, to first-time filmmakers, cartoonists, comedians and video artists, Wholphin has hosted some of the most talented artists’ work from across the globe.

For issue eight, Wholphin is presenting shorts directed by brilliant photographer/youth culture documentarian Lauren Greenfield, Interpol bassist Carlos D., British conceptual artist Sam Taylor-Wood, and Dave Eggers himself. Eggers, in one of his first shots at directing, presents a three-part work called The Room Before and After, starring James Franco, comedian Maria Bamford and The Office star Creed Bratton in an animalistic display of primal emotion: they’re each given the rare opportunity to consensually tear apart a room. Check out the preview below:

Brooks Salzwedel

Published May 7, 2009 by Graham

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What you’re looking at is graphite trapped between layers of resin– carbon-based artifice entombed within the unforgiving sands of time. This is the work of Brooks Salzwedel, and it all seems to take place within the purgatorial swirling mists of a coniferous forest. Coupled with the comatose canopies of somnolent saplings, the only inhabitants of this cold gray place are towers of heavy-duty machinery that’s been left to rot by a populace long since vanished, Cormac McCarthy-style. The effect is simultaneously spooky and bewitching.

Salzwedel will be presenting new work at the Tinlark Gallery is Los Angeles, in a show opening Saturday, May 16th.

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