Shamin Momin's List of Art Basel HK Musts
LAND director and gal-about-LA Shamim Momin reveals her Hong Kong hit list.
May 13, 2013
LAND’s director, cofounder, and curator Shamim Momin.
“The Art Basel shows are very selective in their inclusion and that tends to generate a much more thoughtful sensibility within the gallery list,” says Shamim M. Momin, director, cofounder, and curator of the cool, cutting-edge nonprofit Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND). Momin doesn’t just attend the various Basel fairs, she specializes in staging infamous independent exhibitions during the shows, like “The Station” in 2008 and “The Island” in 2010. Below, she describes the strong bonds between Hong Kong and LA suggesting what Angelenos should see and experience this month in Hong Kong.
The LA /Asia connection: “One of the things that interests me about Asia,” says Momin, “is the relationship to ‘new’ markets in the global scheme of things… something I’ve thought a lot about in terms of Los Angeles. Coming from New York and a more Eurocentric spectrum, it has been fascinating to participate in a city (like LA) taking shape and changing the art world. There is something intriguing in terms of directionality going on in Hong Kong right now as well. As a child of immigrant parents—one European, one Asian—I’m guilty of having always thought in a kind of “going East” rotation in the world, which of course privileges Europe first in the trajectory. In LA, there is a historical difference in the relationship to the East—“going West”— meaning Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands—that is far more embedded. It makes perfect sense to me to imagine a solid line from this city to those many in Asia ascending to a place of global prominence within the art world.”
At the show: Momin understands the excitement generated by the launch of Art Basel in Hong Kong due to her experiences at previous Art Basel shows in both Miami and Switzerland. “[They] allow for outside curators to feel comfortable participating in talks [and] onsite sections like Artpublic or other invited elements.” Knowing the overall inclusive feeling at both Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, Angelenos attending the initial Hong Kong show will have a unique opportunity to see and purchase work created by Chinese artists, specifically those not represented by dealers outside the region, which is the basis of Art Basel in Hong Kong’s noteworthy Insights sector.
Around town: Local institutions not to miss include the multitude of international galleries that have sprung up in recent years as well as the new Asia Society Hong Kong Center, located in a (huge) former British Army explosives compound, and the ambitious Para Site, a (tiny) hip nonprofit organization dedicated to exhibiting international art. Of truly epic proportions is “Mobile M+: Inflation!,” the largest contemporary art exhibition to date in Hong Kong, at the West Kowloon Cultural District site, featuring inflatable sculptures by artists from South Korea, the US, and China (South Korea’s Choi Jeong Hwa and LA resident Paul McCarthy, for example), presented by Hong Kong’s future M+ museum. “The Asian market is growing and evolving,” Momin adds, “and the new Basel show is the perfect platform in which to discover contemporary art in this region.”
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF RAMONA ROSALES
Road Trip: BottleRock Napa Valley Festival
Motor over to wine country for this inaugural music and wine festival.
May 08, 2013
Zac Brown Band highlights the BottleRock Napa Valley musical lineup
Sunny spring weekends call for road trips to wine country, and as if we need an additional tease to jaunt to Napa vineyards, this weekend oenophiles will be toasting incredible live music. The inaugural BottleRock Napa Valley festival held May 9-12. A four-day affair with stellar music, vintners, culinary cache, and comedy.
"This is a festival for music-lovers with a palate," says BottleRock co-founder Bob Vogt. "BottleRock offers festival-goers the best in Napa Valley food, wine, and beer. Where else can you see this many musicians and comedians and have access to shaded areas, seating, and restrooms? [It] has something for everybody.”
First, the musical lineup: Leading bands include The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, The Black Crowes, Jane’s Addiction, Zac Brown Band, The Shins, The Avett Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Alabama Shakes, and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, among others. With more than 80 bands performing over four days, the musical gamut crosses nearly all genres and will certainly pack a loud punch. Held on three stages over 26 acres of the Napa Valley Expo grounds, the music alone is worth tapping those frequent flier points.
Next, the epicurean extravaganza. On tap at Bottle Rock are more than 50 wineries and artisan brewers, with featured vintners including Silver Oak, Miner Family, Rombauer, St. Supery, Grgich Hills, Beaulieu Vineyard, and Hahn Family Wines, to name a few. Acclaimed chef and restaurateur Cindy Pawlcyn will helm the festival’s culinary execution, sharing the spotlight with celebrity chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Ken Frank, and Todd Humphries. The list of participating Napa eateries and food purveyors is equally of note, including Mustards Grill, Oenotri, ZuZu, Grace’s Table, The Girl & the Fig, Azzurro Pizzeria and Enoteca, Tra Vigne, Fish Story, Farmstead, The Model Bakery, C Casa, Barbers Q, and Gott’s Roadside.
And let’s not forget there’s comedy, to boot. In the midst of all this wining, dining, and dancing, the country’s top comics promise plenty of laughter, too. Jim Gaffigan, Demetri Martin, Aasif Mandvi, Anthony Jeselnik, Tig Notaro, Jim Breuer, Greg Behrendt, Wyatt Cenac, Rob Delaney, and Kristen Schaal, among others, ensure no dull moments.
Given the staggering lineup of musical acts, we asked Nicholas Allen, founder of Carte Blanche Wine and Soulshine Music LLC, for some festival and wine cliff notes. Following are his Top 5 “pairings” of rock and wine, focused on micro-cult wines crafted by acclaimed vintners that have mastered the art of bottling terroir. If you can’t make it to Napa with us, at least you can create a playlist, sample some vino, and pretend you’re there.
1. The Black Keys & Carte Blanche 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. “The Black Keys are one of the best, if not, top, acts on the national touring circuit,” says Allen. “I’d pair this complex rock ‘n roll with a big red—the CB Cabernet is layered, surprising, with big notes, and a real powerful driving force behind it, just like the band.”
2. Jane’s Addiction & 2010 Keplinger Sumo. “If you’ve seen front man Perry Farrell perform, then you know that a bottle of red is most likely in his hand. I’d suggest he drink the Keplinger Sumo--a spicy, bold red that gets you fired up, and can perfectly handle the band’s hard-hitting rock.”
3. Zac Brown Band & Morlet Family Vineyards Couer de Vallée. “It's such a nice blend of cabernet culled from the top to the bottom of Napa Valley, and Zac Brown's music is such a nice collaboration of musical instruments and different musical genres, from country, to bluegrass, to reggae, to rock ‘n roll!”
4. The Black Crowes & 2010 Macauley Cabernet Franc, To Kalon Vineyard. “The Crowes consistently stay in the realm of blues-driven rock ‘n roll, but both the band and this wine offer so much more than one varietal or style could have ever been thought possible. Wines and acts like these are extremely rare, intricate, and passionate, and need to be embraced for the long haul.”
5. Alabama Shakes & Bure Family Wines 2010 Duration. “A perfect pairing for Alabama Shakes; it's got that power and elegance from the cabernet, and that depth and extra ‘umph’ (fruit) and nuance from the Cabernet Franc. These two—the band and the wine—will be around for a long time. Bure is becoming a staple Napa wine for cult-boutique collectors, and The Shakes are becoming a sought after staple on the music scene. I dread another ill-fated and ill-timed loss of talent such as Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Amy Winehouse. Like the finish on the Duration wine, I hope to see longevity in their musical careers.”
For BottleRock Napa Valley festival passes, pricing, and additional information visit bottlerocknapavalley.com
photography by rick diamond/gettyimages.com
Q&A: Xtend Barre's Samantha Rabon
The new studio offers cardio and strength training via a constantly changing barre workout.
May 01, 2013
Although Xtend Barre West Hollywood owner Samantha Rabon is new to LA, the Aussie beauty fits in seamlessly with SoCal’s fit-focused lifestyle. Rabon dedicated 15 years to being a professional dancer, spending 12 of those as a lead soloist at the famed Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris. It was through the harsh physical demands of dance that Rabon found the healing qualities of Pilates.
Once Rabon discovered the Xtend Barre workout—a multi-level, barre-focused regimen that combines elements of dance with the strength, safety, and training of Pilates (all Xtend Barre instructors are certified in Pilates) and offers up a different routine for every 55-minute-long class—she was hooked. We chatted with Rabon about opening an Xtend Barre studio in West Hollywood, a new class inspired by the Moulin Rouge, and more. 8254 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood, 323-782-1770
When did you first discover the Xtend Barre workout?
SAMANTHA RABON: I discovered Xtend Barre about three years ago, after returning to Sydney from Paris as a retired dancer. Xtend was being offered in the small Pilates studio where I had done my Pilates training. It was everything I wanted in a workout: combining the amazing results of dance with the principles of strength and safety in Pilates. The shape and strength of my body was better than it was during my Moulin Rouge days—and in a very short time, even after having two children! I was instantly hooked and soon became certified to become an instructor; my new career started from that moment.
What sets Xtend Barre apart from other cardio barre studios in LA?
SR: Xtend Barre fuses all elements of dance with a repertoire that is always varied in order to challenge the mind and body. This allows instructors to become creative and clients to never feel bored in their workouts. It allows “every” “body” to perform dance movement in an elegant and graceful way.
The routine for each class is constantly changing in your workouts—why is this important?
SR: When doing the same class over and over, your body will get used to the routine and will consume less energy. If the repertoire is constantly changing, your body will be continually challenged and it will burn more calories, resulting in a more successful weight loss and change in the way your muscles are formed. There is nothing worse than going to a class when you can anticipate what is coming next. Many people will quit their workout routine due to boredom or lack of results. Changing your workout routine is a motivator and it makes it more interesting for you.
You’ve just launched a new class inspired by the Moulin Rouge. Tell us about that.
SR: We stick to the same format as any other Xtend Barre class, but we amp up the dance movement with a lot more showgirl style. We introduce the feather boa as a prop along with some showgirl-style exercises with names like: Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, I Think I Can-Can, You’re So Passé, Showgirl Showdown, and Don’t Cross the “Chorus” Line. We finish the class with a little dance routine so we can let our hair down and dance. It's super fun and girlie. Clients are loving the showgirl experience!
50th Anniversary of the Magic Castle
On the 50th anniversary of The Magic Castle, president Neil Patrick Harris unlocks the mystery.
December 10, 2012
The Magic Castle, circa 1963.
My first awareness of The Magic Castle was a memory I’ll never forget. I was only 8 or 9, living with my family in tiny Ruidoso, New Mexico. My father had a small law office and my brother and I would spend our free time there after school, doing chores or finishing homework or walking to the 7-Eleven for a Slurpee.
One day my dad’s secretary, Jeannie Clancy, returned from a trip to California. She recounted all of her West Coast adventures and ended with her story of a mansion nestled in the Hollywood Hills: a Victorian home filled with food and drinks, magic shows, phone booths filled with skeletons, bar stools that move on their own, even an invisible piano-playing ghost! And all of this was only accessible to those who knew the secret password.
I was understandably gobsmacked. I knew that if I ever went to California, I would have to find this wondrous place, and I would have to be let in. I desperately needed to know the password, but Jeannie Clancy refused to tell me. I begged and pleaded to no avail. She said that I would learn the secret password when the time was right.
Well, I eventually did learn the secret password, and Jeannie was right—the timing was perfect. Thirty years have passed and I’m now the president of the club. I started in the Junior Program, learned from the best, was elected to the board of directors, and now helm the ship. Occasionally, the magic and the wonder become lost on me. But when I feel a bit down, all I have to do is walk into the Castle to remember why I love it. It’s one of the greatest clubhouses in the world, filled with friends and secrets and music and mystery; a different adventure every night. It’s an establishment like no other, and I hope it will be thriving for generations to come. Hopefully I’ll get to see you there. If so, first round’s on me. And if you have any trouble getting in, just utter the secret password: open sesame. Take that, Jeannie Clancy!
In Pictures: Bond, James Bond
A look back at the many 007s, Bond girls, and villains of the iconic film franchise.
December 09, 2012
Experience A Snow White Christmas
Lythgoe Family Productions brings British-style Panto theater to Pasadena.
November 28, 2012
Ariana Grande, Neil Patrick Harris, and Charlene Tilton star in A Snow White Christmas.
Celebrate the season with a taste of British Panto theater at the Pasadena Playhouse’s production of A Snow White Christmas, opening December 13. The show is a retelling of the classic fairytale, set to an array of hit songs like Katy Perry’s “Firework,” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” And—unlike traditional theater—Panto is an upbeat British style of performance that incorporates humor, dance, and audience participation into every show (think: vaudeville).
The show was brought to Pasadena by way of Lythgoe Family Productions, who were eager to share Britain’s unique theatrical style with Angelenos. Cast members include Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande as Snow White, Dallas' Charlene Tilton as the Wicked Queen, and Neil Patrick Harris as the on-screen magic mirror. Best known for their work on So You Think You Can Dance, director Bonnie Lythgoe and choreographer Spencer Liff have staged the production, while American Idol’s Michael Orland handled the music direction.
A Snow White Christmas debuts with a gala opening on December 12, then goes on to run December 13-30. Before each performance, the theater has arranged a winter wonderland event in the Engemann family courtyard, featuring holiday music, crafts, activities, and more. For tickets ($32-100) or more information, head to pasadenaplayhouse.org. 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-7529
Photography by F.Scott Schafer
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion's Anniversary
Fifty years ago, Dorothy Chandler was charged with bringing culture to LA...
November 13, 2012
The always glamorous Dorothy Chandler Pavilion celebrates an anniversary.
Los Angeles is a city full of names, but Dorothy Chandler is one that every Angeleno knows. Her arts-focused namesake, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, located atop Downtown’s Bunker Hill, serves as the largest theater at The Music Center and is the heartbeat of the city’s performing arts scene. But before terra firma was cracked 50 years ago, LA was still a city playing second fiddle because of its dearth of cultural institutions. Chandler, who married into the Los Angeles Times publishing dynasty, sought to remedy that; in 1967, five years after ground was broken, the last of the three original buildings on the The Music Center campus opened.
In a relatively casual city, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is one of the only places in LA where you can still bust out the black Galliano. In fact, the structure has a history of Hollywood glam, having hosted the Academy Awards 26 times in the 20th century. From humble beginnings, the LA Opera, which has called the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion home since its inception in 1986, has become the fourth-largest opera company in the country. The Pavilion also plays frequent host to Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, whose 2012–2013 season celebrates its 10th anniversary of bringing the world’s best dancers to the venue. The end of the LA Opera’s 2012–2013 season will also mark a decade for Plácido Domingo as its general director. Domingo is also noted as the tenor with the most roles performed in history, with chops that have won him seven Grammys. Needless to say, this is an annum of anniversaries for The Music Center… Brava, Dorothy Chandler!
photography courtesy los angeles public library photo collection
GuestHaus Offers Artists a Retreat
Curator Chloë Flores is giving artists a home away from home.
November 01, 2012
Chloë Flores welcomes artists to her GuestHaus.
Nestled in Mount Washington, with a stunning view of Downtown, GuestHaus Residency took hold in 2011, offering free housing to visiting artists, scholars, and cultural producers who are completing projects or research with local institutions like RED CAT and the Mak Center for Art + Architecture. Organized by curator and writer Chloë Flores, whose partner Tim Lefevre built the detached guesthouse below their own Eastside digs, GuestHaus Residency provides nonmonetary support for cultural producers by providing a place to stay while executing a project, with residencies lasting up to three weeks.
“The value of both means of support—nonmonetary and monetary—transforms the economic conditions of artistic and cultural activities,” says Flores. “Housing is an expensive part of staying in Los Angeles. Residency at the GH R means that the money allocated for housing can go back into the production of the artwork, performance, event, etc.” Flores has already worked with artists and scholars like Ming Wong, A.L. Steiner, Sam Gordon, and Nicole Miller, all of whom were selected through a rigorous application process. “We had the space and there was a need. Los Angeles is a city of private spaces, when compared to cities with vast public spaces. The GH R opens up our private space to public possibilities.”
Creative Office Space on the Rise
The “Google effect” has forever changed office space in LA.
September 05, 2012
Usually at opposite ends of the negotiating table, developer Wayne Ratkovich, an expert at repurposing historic properties (he made his mark on LA by rescuing the Wiltern Theater building), and commercial real estate broker Gerald “Jerry” Porter of Cresa Los Angeles, one of the US’s largest corporate real estate firms that places clients in top office locations, sat down in billionaire entrepreneur Howard Hughes’s former headquarters (known as The Hercules Campus, a project Ratkovich is currently revitalizing into modern offices) in Playa Vista to discuss LA’s hottest commercial real estate sector: creative office space.
JERRY PORTER: Creative office space is very characteristic of a lot of the demand in Los Angeles in the growth sector of technology and entertainment. These businesses have gravitated away from the perimeter-window office to more open-plan environments, and larger floor plans in general. That model—the perimeter office space, with secretarial services at the core—is inefficient and defies collaboration. Pretty much all our office stock has to get reworked, and a certain subset of it is functionally obsolete due to lack of infrastructure. There’s approximately 40 million feet of office space in LA County that probably needs Wayne and others to redevelop it.
WAYNE RATKOVICH: Nice opportunity, isn’t it? And an interesting one: If you look at the plans the tenants have for these buildings—Google/YouTube for one and 72andSunny—what Jerry referred to as collaborative space is a big part of it. The workplace is a different place today; there’s been a lot of value placed on the idea of putting brains, time, and conversations together, and sharing ideas that influence the way office space is designed today.
JP: One of the other big changes is the way we work: From computers to mobile, everybody at every level has become tremendously more mobile than they were. They are not tied to their desk. I think all the conventional space is going to mutate over the next 20 years; it’s simply economically inefficient.
WR: A lot of our tenants have their employees sitting at tables, their dogs down below them, buds in their ears, in front of small computers, and they are working away. The first tenant who came to see this space [on The Hercules Campus] asked: “Are you dog-friendly?” First question. They wouldn’t even look at the new buildings across the street, which is kind of revealing.
JP: What Wayne has done well is to pick properties that are architecturally interesting and are attractive to this audience.
WR: Companies are expressing themselves: This is our home; this is our office. Where we are is an expression of the company’s culture and the way they attract employees. Design becomes very much a part of their thinking when relocating.
JP: They want to be unique. There is only one of each of these buildings.
WR: Hot emerging markets in LA are media, entertainment, and technology, and we’re in that belt here. So there’s a universal market for it here on the Westside, meaning almost everyone looking for space here is looking for creative space.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY DICKERSON (PORTER)
The Book of Mormon in LA
Hilarious musical opens for 12-week run.
August 29, 2012
The nine-time Tony Award-winning musical The Book Of Mormon comes to The Pantages Theatre starting September 5. This 12-week performance (through November 25) is a stop on the musical's much-anticipated national tour.
From South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, in collaboration with Robert Lopez who cowrote and cocomposed Avenue Q, The Book Of Mormon has been hailed as one of the best comedies to ever hit Broadway. The show follows two young Mormon missionaries spreading their prophecies in Uganda. Hilarious encounters—punctuated by musical numbers—ensue when the religious hopefuls are unable to connect with the locals. Although the show was notoriously sold-out during its New York run, tickets for the LA performances are still available at broadwayla.com. 6233 Hollywood Blvd., LA, 323-468-1770