LOVELACE - A version of Deep Throat that’s a little hard to swallow

A rock opera can be a powerful tool. Load your message up with power chords and soaring vocals and you've go a pretty persuasive argument no matter what it is you’re saying. A confusing mash-up of pop culture and new age spirituality like The Who’s Tommy becomes something genuinely inspiring as does Andrew Lloyd Weber's straight forward biblical rocker, Jesus Christ Superstar. If Leni Riefenstahl had added some heavy guitars and drums to Triumph of the Will, it’s quite possible we would all be eating a lot more schnitzel.

Lovelace is a new rock opera composed by Charlotte Caffey of Go-Gos fame and fellow musician Anna Woneker of That Dog, penned by Playwright Jeffrey Bowman and directed by Ken Sawyer. The subject matter is intriguing enough. Linda Lovelace, real name Linda Boreman, starred in the 1972 groundbreaking feature length porn film Deep Throat. If you weren't around back then, or just haven't studied up on your social or porn history, it's not an exaggeration to say Deep Throat’s theatrical release helped to alter modern culture for better or worse, depending on your views of pornography. Lovelace benefits from some inspired performances. Katrina Lenk as Linda Lovelace has an infectious charm and rousing voice, and Jimmy Swan as her husband turned pimp conveys a stunning amount of arena rock charisma. The music is a non stop onslaught of intensely well crafted hook infused rock anthems.

For me, the problem with Lovelace was not in the performances or staging, but the message. The writers take Lovelace/Boreman’s revisionist and much debated accounting of the events at face value, presenting them as historical fact – which they are not. It’s hard to know if this is due to sexual politics (a dislike for porn?) or merely wanting their story’s heroine to be a straight forward martyr/victim. In any case, it results in no small degree of misinformation for the audience. Not mentioned is co star Harry Reem’s persecution by the Nixon White House for his performance in the Deep Throat and, more importantly, Lovelace/Boreman’s collaboration with his prosecution. Boreman also later testified against pornography for Ronald Reagan’s Meese Commission and became a cause célèbre amongst anti porn crusaders. By not mentioning these facts or, in the very least acknowledging the widespread criticism to Boreman’s accounting of events, the production, perhaps by default, delivers a very specific and impassioned message, and it is one Rick Warren and his ilk would likely approve of.

Lovelace runs til March 1st at the Hayworth Theater

Watch clip of Lovelace here.


January 31 - March 29, in the Gallery

Atelier Bow-Wow
Small Case Study House

Opening reception: Friday, January 30, 6-9 pm
Artist talk: Friday, January 30, 6:30 pm

Founded by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima in 1992, Tokyo-based architecture studio Atelier Bow-Wow explores the use and function of space within urban environments. Bow-Wow developed the term "pet architecture"--a style of small, ad hoc, multifunctional structures that make the most of limited space. Using the framework of art galleries or museums to experiment with form and behavior, Bow-Wow's newly commissioned project for REDCAT is the culmination of an extended Los Angeles residency period, during which Tsukamoto and Kaijima researched the Case Study House program and made this postwar project a point of departure in thinking about domestic dwellings.



TAKING OVER: Danny Hoch vs. Culver City

I read recently that president Obama's mother-in-law is not a big fan of health food. She likes fried chicken and doesn't want to be told what to feed those sweet little girls when she's taking care of them - likes the old neighborhood on the south side of Chicago and doesn't like "alot of fuss". Well she's moving into the White House and she's going to have to get used to some serious changes.

The characters in Taking Over, the newest play by writer/director Danny Hoch, don't like the changes to their neighborhoods and they don't have to watch what they say in order to stay politically correct - so they let you know loud and clear and in their native tongues. Hoch comes out near the end of the show, sans any character trappings and confesses his ambivalence about the phenomena of gentrification. The point is made very effectively - I get it.

I'm around Hoch's age, I grew up in New York in the 70's 80's 90's. I just moved out here about a year ago. I miss the old days and I get the lure of the new days. I'm sure the same thing has happened out here to one degree or another.

While watching the show, I was thinking how I've lived through gentrification as a parent. But when you've got a kid, you look at where you live through their eyes and that makes it a little easier to bear the loss of your own youth and the world you grew up in. Taking Over is great. Hoch is a huge talent. 42nd street has become Disneyland, Hollywood Boulevard has become Disneyland. I don't really like Disneyland , but my kids - they love it.

TAKING OVER runs until Feburary 22, 2009 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. For tickets and showtimes click here. To watch an exclusive video interview with Danny Hoch, click here.


Happy Birthday Jackson Pollock

When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing. It is only after a sort of 'get acquainted' period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well. --Jackson Pollock

Culture Clash's Herbert Siguenza Turns 50

Culture Clash founding member Herbert Siguenza celebrated his 50th birthday at the legendary La Fonda restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard on Monday night. Will Dog of Ozomatli performed accompanied by a tuba, trumpets, trombone, percussionist, congas, and clarinet. The crowd sang along with Will Dog's Latin version of Eddy Grant's Police on My Back. In attendance were Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, Youssif Kamal, Vincent Montoya, and Fredo Ortiz (Beastie Boys, Yeska).


John Updike: March 3, 1932 to January 27, 2009

The spirit has infinite facets, but the body
confiningly few sides.
There is the left,
the right, the back, the belly, and tempting
in-betweens, northeasts and northwests,
that tip the heart and soon pinch circulation
in one or another arm.
Yet we turn each time
with fresh hope, believing that sleep
will visit us here, descending like an angel
down the angle our flesh’s sextant sets,
tilted toward that unreachable star
hung in the night between our eyebrows, whence
dreams and good luck flow.
your ankles. Unclench your philosophy.
This bed was invented by others; know we go
to sleep less to rest than to participate
in the twists of another world.
This churning is our journey.
It ends,
can only end, around a corner
we do not know
we are turning.
-John Updike, 1993

John Updike, the kaleidoscopically gifted writer whose quartet of Rabbit Angstrom novels highlighted so vast and protean a body of fiction, verse, essays and criticism as to place him in the first rank of among American men of letters, died on Tuesday. He was 76 and lived in Beverly Farms, Mass. Read the full NY Times obituary here.


ART LA 2009: January 23-25 at Barker Hangar

ART LA, the New Los Angeles International Contemporary Art Fair, took place at the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport from January 23-25, 2009. The exhibiting galleries at art la formed an even balance of established blue chip and emerging galleries, all presenting the most progressive, international art work being produced today. Half of the exhibitors hailed from the immediate Los Angeles area, and half were from the United States and abroad.

Kenny Scharf

Works by art stars Mark Ryden (Michael Kohn Gallery), Kenny Scharf, and Kehinde Wiley brushed shoulders with notable works by Adam Pendleton (Roberts & Tilton), Brian Alfred, John Bock, and Wim Wenders. Yet the most dominating pieces of the weekend were the conceptual sculptures, photographs, and textiles of LA resident Tim Hawkinson (ACE Gallery). From gargantuan ears on a seemingly sedated fetus, to a branch of birds extending out from the mouth of a sculpted child, to organic photos of fingers sprouting hands and text-based textiles, Hawkinson was fearless in his explorations of medium and message.

Tim Hawkinson

Other highlights included author Richard Hertz presenting his book The Beat and the Buzz on the history of the LA art world since 1970, a slideshow and panel discussion by Jonathan Maghen on the LA subculture of soccer leagues called Municipal de Futbol, and a feature film by Agathe Snow entitled Chinatown: Every Square Has Its Round that documents her visits to Chinatowns across the country from NYC to LA.

Art la is a division of artfairs, inc. which also organizes photo miami and photo la.

Tim Hawkinson
At the Patrick Painter Booth
Kehinde Wiley
John Bock