It’s a brightly lit Tuesday afternoon and I’m sipping on an iced mocha at LA Café, chatting with downtown resident artist Robert Vargas for the second time. The painter is having lunch while flipping through a book of Albert Moore’s languorous nudes, feeling inspired by some of his favorite romantic compositions between nibbles of salad. We’re talking about his first solo show currently at the Edgar Varela Gallery, which opened this weekend.
The scene is all very pleasant and professional; as I said, this was our second meeting. The first meeting makes for a much better story, though. So let’s rewind the tape a bit, all the way back to Friday evening, round-a-bout midnight, when Continue reading Robert Vargas
In my quest to interview the great man himself, Ed Roski Jr., I got passed off to the company’s official downtown spokesperson, their Senior Vice President of Corporate Development Fran Inman. Then they told me, Mr. Roski doesn’t give interviews.
Actually, the exact words were ‘slim to none,’ and ‘slim’ is enough of a chance for me. So, when Fran offered to meet me for lunch to talk, I accepted.
Here we are having lunch— me, Fran, and Stan (The Boss). My boss is chatting affably with her about how she came to Majestic Realty. She tells us that she met Mr. Roski through mutual friends at a tailgate party, while living and working in Nevada during the casino building days.
Stan talks a lot, which is great because I don’t. Fran asks about our business model and our writing style at Downtownster.
Continue reading On The Hunt For Ed Roski
It’s early morning, and I’m at the Landing Party Gallery on Broadway watching the owners Erik and Aaron make a slow effort to clean the place after last night’s fashion show. The show, which was a first for them, was quite a learning experience. And judging by the state of things, a bit messier than they had bargained for.
Actually it was more like 3pm. But we’ll call it morning anyway, since my phone call also served as a wake up call for Erik.
“My bedroom is in there,” he says, gesturing at the wall across from the makeshift smoker’s lounge where we’re hanging out talking. Continue reading The Gallery has Landed
Skid Row on Easter weekend; the scene is both sad and festive. Arches of pastel colored balloons float over the trash filled intersections. White folding tables are being set up along 5th street, as the hungry crowds line the sidewalks. There are long queues forming in front of the missions. This is the only celebration I am unhappy to see with such a full attendance.
A man with a heavy accent shouts something obscene at me, and I pick up pace as I hurry down toward San Pedro. Today I’m on my way to the Midnight Mission, Los Angeles’s longest running mission, to meet with the president Larry Adamson. As I turn the corner, I recognize the icon on the side of a building ahead of me: a lonely figure in a trench coat.
The sidewalks have been freshly hosed down in front of the business office. I walk inside.
After leaving my name at the front desk, I have a look at the bits of old bottles and other relics on display in the foyer. Later Larry Adamson tells me that when the mission moved locations, archeologists excavated artifacts from the remnants of the railroad that used to occupy this land. Continue reading Easter at Midnight
It wasn’t easy spotting the place. The Hive is deceptively camouflaged, with its maroon canvas awnings and glass window storefront. It could be anything, I thought. A pizza place, a café closed for business, or an empty store. I hunted nervously for the address from where I stood across the street. 729. This was the right spot.
It was Tuesday afternoon and I was standing at 7th and Spring, in search of the owner of the excited voice that greeted me on the phone yesterday when I called to book my interview and tour: Nathan Cartwright, the self proclaimed Bee Keeper, and founder of the infamous Hive Gallery.
Nathan greeted me at the locked front of the gallery, and ushered me in. As he slid the gate open, I could almost hear a low buzz emanating from inside. Continue reading Nathan Cartwright and his Hive
Like the Buddhist influenced pieces on display in the main gallery area, Bert Green sits at his desk, a little Buddha-like himself, calmly presiding over the domain of the flourishing downtown Los Angeles art scene. I took a good look at the exhibits before sitting down today with the multiple gallery owner, and founder of the Los Angeles Art Walk.
The event had been growing at an impressive rate since it’s creation in 2004, and I wanted to find out what direction Art Walk was taking these days. Bert tells me it’s great, but he thinks it’s also taken a bit of a wrong turn. Continue reading Bert Green On Art Walk
It may not seem like a big deal, but nothing is more comforting to me than a glass of wine and a grilled cheese sandwich. If you add an overcast sky to the equation, a crunchy homemade pickle, and a bowl of tomato soup— just stick a fork in me, I’m done.
Lucky for me, my friend dragged me to Cole’s for lunch today. We sat at the tables outside, where you could look through the glass window front into main part of the restaurant pub. There I saw a woman sitting by herself, enjoying a glass of white wine and a grilled cheese sandwich with a side of tomato soup. I almost clapped my hands with joy.
Actually, the soup was tomato and red pepper, and the sandwich had both Swiss and cheddar cheese on it. I already knew what I wanted, but went ahead and perused the rest of the brief menu that advertised atomic pickles for .50 cents and French Dip sandwiches with a variety of interchangeable meats and cheeses to choose from. Continue reading Cole’s