Art. Music. Entertainment, and other Random Interesting Commentary About things I run into in downtown los angeles. My name is America and I love art- music, fashion, dance, theater, museums full of strange things, and anything and everything that can be placed under that nebulous umbrella term. In an effort to avoid a static summer I have decided to keep my eyes open and report on what art I run into . Know of something coming up? Let me know I'll be excited to check it out. Enjoy!

22nd October 2013


Check out this picture I edited at LunaPic

Check out this picture I edited at LunaPic

9th December 2012

Photo reblogged from Jeremy Fall with 22 notes







1st November 2012

Video reblogged from |ˈsi•di'sent-ship| with 1 note

Debate ft. Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Full), Is Islam a Religion of Peace? (by TheSasss1)

27th January 2011


A Taste of Brazil at the Dorothy Chandler: Grupo Corpo Weekend Engagement

2009 work ÍMÃ is based on the attraction and repulsion of parts and whole.

If a body language does indeed exist, what does Grupo Corpo come to communicate? The world-renowned Brazilian dance group is coming to Los Angeles under Gloria Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a very limited engagement this Friday, Saturday and Sunday only to present two pieces entitled “ÍMÔand “Parabelo.” Neon Tommy sat down with choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras to get a handle on what these exotic movers and shakers are all about.

Founded in 1975 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Grupo Corpo (translated as “body group”) “combines the sensuality of hip-swinging Latin moves with the technical prowess of classical ballet, fused with modern dance that is heavily infused with the high energy of Afro-Brazilian dance,” said Rodrigo Pederneiras, choreographer and founding member of the group.

This diverse range of influences melts together to produce a body of work that pays homage to the regional and popular dances of the company’s homeland, but reinterprets them through the universal language of ballet to speak to a global audience.

And speak they do: the team of 22 dancers travels to over 12 countries, including South Korea, Lebanon, Israel, Japan and Mexico to perform 80 shows a year from their 10-ballet standing repertoire. Acting as ambassadors of culture, “we want to touch everyone with our work, and we want to know as much as we can from the different cultures and lifestyles,” the group says.

For their performance here in Los Angeles, the program includes a blend of old and new, tradition and innovation: a 1997 piece titled “Parabelo,” and a more recent 2009 work. Providing some background on the works, Pederneiras describes “Parabelo” as “a sort of old gun that was used in the beginning of the last century. This piece was inspired in a region of the Northeast of Brazil — where the sun is so strong that it kills like a gun. But on the other hand it is a place of very rich popular culture.”

Previously self-proclaimed as his “most Brazilian and regional” creation, the dance is set to a contemporary soundtrack specially composed by Tom Zé and José Miguel Wisnik that echoes the countryside, with all its local flavor.

“’Parabelo’ radiates the characteristics of the land and introduces a Brazil filled with regional nuances,” Pederneiras said.

About his collaboration with the composers, he added, “I am always guided by the music. From 1992 on all our ballets — except ‘Lecuona,’ from 2004 — have specially composed soundtracks. The different styles of the musical compositions give me the inspiration for creating the choreographies.”

Equally important, he said, are the costumes, lighting and scenery when choreographing a piece, all of which come to the fore in the second ballet, “ÍMÃ.” Employing special seven-color LEDs recently released by an American company, Rodrigo’s brother and artistic director Paulo Pederneiras constructs a vivid stage set that beautifully illuminates the dancers and offsets the equally bright costumes designed by Freuza Zechmeister.

Not to worry, however: while the dances themselves are inspired by Brazilian culture, the dancers’ attire are clean, no-frills unitards that ensure the choreography is not overpowered — no sequined boleros or fruit headpieces here.

Beyond intricate stage design, costuming and musical collaborations with artists, what remains at the heart of Grupo Corpo and ties the seemingly disparate influences together is the commitment to a Brazilian identity, whose unique zest pervades all aspects of the show.

Brazilian culture is a mixture of cultures — we have a big influence of European Culture (we were colonized by Portugal) and also African Culture (the slaves imported from Africa during the colonization). We live in a tropical country, the sun shines every day, it is hot,” Pederneires said. “All those elements make the Brazilian culture — we love the music and we have dance in the blood. I’m Brazilian and it is present in my work.”

Inherent to this style are what he refers to as “peculiar movements through the rhythm, the dynamics,” which are the hallmark of the company the world over. Where traditionally ballet-based dance groups call to mind flowing bodies and a placid exterior, Grupo Corpo inserts high energy and a very particular sass to it all, something distinctly Brazilian about the movement.

The dancers are having fun and are not afraid to show it, hopping about the stage capoeira-style to the synth-mixed sound of a cheeky whistled melody. The moves have a beautiful strangeness to them that praise joyful expression and exuberance of the body over the usual delicate, restrained dance form. It’s wacky, it’s fluid, it’s passionate, and somehow it works: every aspect of the performance (scenery, choreography, soundtrack) is shot through with a flavorful twang, constantly reminding one of the funky Afro-Brazilian roots at the heart of Grupo Corpo’s persona.

And it is this infusion of heritage into the dance that is precisely the goal for Pederneiras, and has been since the company’s inception. It is this that critics are referring to when they insist you haven’t seen anything like it before, not just the masterful choreography or emotional thrill you get from watching.

The attraction and repulsion of bodies in “ÍMÔ set to the score that juxtaposes guitar with ocarina or synth with cuíca all interact to create a fascinating poetry of polarities, a dialogue between the sensorial extremes that evoke a sense of unfolding as the show progresses. Grupo Corpo must be experienced to be fully understood, and in experiencing it the viewer enters the dialogue as well. The nature of the response, based on past experience, leans toward a resounding applaud.

Venue: Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 972-0711 

Performance Schedule: Friday, January 28, 7:30 pm

                                 Saturday January 29, 7:30 pm

                                 Sunday, January 30, 2:00 pm

Tickets: $25-$105 in person at above address or online at

See article in its original location here.


15th October 2010


Art Walk Meets Catwalk: The Coming Together of Two Different Worlds

Artist Robert Vargas sketches attendees outside Crocker's Club on 5th and Spring

Walking the streets of Downtown Los Angeles, it is marveling how quickly the landscape changes from pristine to putrid, as the slums edge into the city’s crisp architecture and
shiny walkways.

On Thursday night, hordes of hipsters in skintight jeans and misfit highschoolers with cameras around their necks walk side-by-side through the maze of homeless and abandoned buildings to find hope in beauty: it’s Art Walk, and all the galleries are open free to the public until the wee hours of the morning.

It’s a terrifying walk past the poverty and filth that most prefer to ignore during the day—but the stark reality of night only serves to illuminate the beauty inside on the walls of the showrooms.

Once arriving at the corner of 5th and Spring, the atmosphere comes alive as pounding electro music blasts through the air amidst cries of “hot dog, hot dog” at the stand-alone carts. A fascinating mix of cigarette smoke and expensive cologne mask the urine soaked dumpsters at every corner where art lovers move as one, streaming in and out of doors and overrunning the streets. This is the real art scene.

But tonight something is different—or is expected to be, at least. As fashion week descends upon Los Angeles the, famed Crocker’s Club—housed in the vault of long-dead Crocker’s Bank that shows art exhibits on the upper floors— is hosting a velvet rope, exclusive kickoff party for the designers and magazine buffs imported from Hollywood and Beverly Hills. A bit of glitter mixes with the usual grit; whether it produces masterpiece or mass hysteria is the grand question.

The artists, for one, seem unfazed: Art Walk regular Robert Vargas kneels directly in front of the club sketching any who will sit before him. On the floor around him lay charcoal-smudged portraits of doe-eyed beauties and haggard transients alike. The well-dressed line of people awaiting entry to the club are oblivious to him and his crowd of fans: either they are studiously ignoring the action or are too busy adjusting their hemlines before approaching the bouncer at the red rope. Maybe a bit of both.

The scene strongly resembles that of a hip Manhattan club located in the city’s meatpacking district, where the high/low society mix is ever-present and the tension between the two palpable. Luckily the art, ever the social equalizer, provides a place for both groups to interact comfortably.

Hermès and H&M alike approach the wall-sized canvases at Immortal Gallery on West 6th Street, and dance to the electro beat outside Bolt Barbershop. Scores of people gather to watch a jazz band perform in an alleyway, captivated by the dapper man with a top hat and cane dancing to the wailing saxophone. Even the taco trucks parked in an empty lot are surrounded by both parties, coming together to order carne asada or bum a smoke.

But then, Art Walk has always been about bringing people from different backgrounds together. It is evident just from looking at the range of art presented—you have the high gloss photos of Los Angeles framed on white walls inside, and the oil paintings of marijuana leaves being sold out on the street. Sleek gallery invitations lay discarded next to flyers advertising concerts to be held in an empty warehouse.

One of the most attractive qualities of downtown Art Walk—that set it apart from others in the city—is precisely the juxtaposition of these two extremes: the ugly sidewalks littered with sleeping bags and lined with shiny sports cars; the sweaty scene kids dancing to a traveling band across from a swank hotel club; and the well-dressed glitterati debating the merits of a sculpture alongside locals in subtle jeans and leather jackets. It’s just another Thursday night Art Walk on the corner of 5th and Spring. Fashion week - the urban nightscape welcomes you.

See this article in its original location here.

Tagged: artanddesignartgallerydowntown laFashion Weekart