Showing posts from September, 2017

My PST: LA/LA DTLA-East Side Art Crawl

by Alci Rengifo Joyous expressions, haunting visions and political defiance- such are the components of the season’s most exciting region-wide art project, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an initiative of the Getty Center with support from Bank of America. This immense amalgam of Latino art, ranging from Latin American to Chicano to Afro-Latino, is of late installed in the form of 70-plus exhibitions across Southern California. The massive survey will run from September until January 2018. In Los Angeles, PST arrives as a long overdue acknowledgement of the artistic power of cultural roots that form the bedrock of the city. This correspondent found himself on a shuttle with the press tour covering exhibits at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA), and Self Help Graphics & Art here in the boiling caldron of the east side. Journalists from as far away as Chile and Panama were on board, as well as local and nat

'Craft in America' Trains Lens on Transborder Arts

Master Zapoteca weaver at 88-years-old, J. Isaac Vásquez García is revitalizing the use of natural dyes. by Abel M. Salas It is hard to make a case against the consistent quality of programs aired on PBS. Not only does public television in this country do everything right, content across its programming grid is always good. From feature documentaries to episodic drama and shows focused on the arts, science, history and everything in between, the award-winning excellence which imbues so much of what is ultimately selected for broadcast has never been compromised by its “educational” mandate. Occasionally, however, independent media makers, program developers and producers in the PBS orbit create something so much better than what could be found anywhere else—including commercial network, cable network and digital content production platforms—that we experience a kind of reunion honeymoon. More than simply rekindling our thorough infatuation with shows we adored as children, the

Bilingual 'Aladdin' Electrifies DTLA

Lewis Powell III alternates with FInley Polynice in the role of the Genie in Aladdin DLE this weekend at LATC. Review by Abel Salas In an electrifying reprisal of a show staged earlier this year at Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, TNH (Teatro Nuevos Horizontes) Productions opened its uniquely visionary take on Disney’s Aladdin Dual Language Edition to deafening applause, unabashed laughter and screams of delight from children and grown-ups alike at the Los Angeles Theater Center (LATC) in downtown Los Angeles last Friday. With more ample stage room, a concert caliber sound system, costumes by designer and art director Abel Alvarado that could have been lifted directly from an “Arabian Nights” runway fashion show, and an impressive, other-worldly set by Marco Del Leon, the English-Spanish Aladdin adaptation reboot did not disappoint. On the contrary, billed as an expanded, more spectacular version of the production which debuted in January this year to critical acclaim o

'Con Safos Magazine' Resurrected in Exhibition

Con Safos co-founder and original Editor-in-Chief Arturo Flores in front of a 1970 Ruben Salazar portrait by Sergio Hernández. Photo by Oscar Castillo. by Alci Rengifo The passage of nearly 50 years has not dimmed the radical glint in their eyes. On July 9, the founders of the legendary Chicano publication Con Safos: Reflections of Life in the Barrio , reunited for an evening of war stories, snacks and a playfully nostalgic revival of the once annual Tortilla de Oro Awards presentation at the Museum of Social Justice in downtown Los Angeles' historic Placita Olvera. From February through August of this year, the museum housed memorabilia, art and artifacts as a survey of some of the issues and satirical artwork that made Con Safos an incendiary publication during the turbulent tail end of the1960s. Satirical cartoons, anti-war spreads and photos by renowned photographer Oscar Castillo, among others, graced the museum’s walls. Also included was a spread covering the deat

El Elotero vs. El Hipster

Los Lobos' Cesar Rosas (l.) and David Hidalgo (far right) flank elotero Benjamin Ramírez (2nd from left) and his parents Imelda Reyes and Alex Ramírez backstage at the TATUAJE exhibition hosted by Plaza de la Raza and produced by Antonio Pelayo.. Photo by Abel Salas. by Alci Rengifo There is a curious way in which class prejudice bypasses the parts of the brain that use common sense or flexibility. A perfect example of this phenomenon is the now infamous video of Argentine hipster Carlos Hakas overturning the food cart of Mexican immigrant Benjamin Ramírez. In Hakas’s eyes, Ramírez’s crime was blocking the sidewalk, in addition to not having that most prized symbol of American bureaucracy and Los Angeles etiquette: A permit. Every time I watch the video I keep asking myself, why didn’t Hakas just walk around the thing? On a daily basis, in this cauldron of a city, I simply walk around the food trucks, screaming prophets and possible romantic interests. Why couldn’t Hakas