Sunday, March 13, 2011

Art, hip hop, and Chinatown

I was invited today to see an art show of a talented artist named Zoe Crocher. She has an archive of a call girl, Michelle Du Bois, who photographed herself and her aliases over a few decades, and once framed, these incredible photographs of this woman tell a story almost as surreal as the woman herself. Zoe also has a series of images taken from different hotel rooms near LAX. In each photo, a plane is flying by. They are snapshots of life; images we see and might not remember or recognize, yet once printed and on display, are forever captured in our mind's eye, giving them much more weight and significance than previously thought. Her work can be seen here -

As I wandered out of the Mandarin Plaza in Chinatown (a newly discovered little artist colony of studios, small storefronts and deserted offices), I weaved in and out of the crowds. Between Broadway and Hill Streets are small plazas that open up and invite you in.

There is nothing more amazing than the red lanterns. I love wandering through Chinatown, off the main streets, for this reason. The colors and sounds and the smells draw you in. There are a hundred stores selling trinkets and junk, shoes, lanterns, incense, dim sum, pastry, buddhas, bracelets, and robes. I even saw samurai swords. All cultures are celebrated.

Gentlemen playing a fierce game of chess....

with some of the locals cheering them on....

And at the center of all this was a hip hop festival, with record bins, live bands, incense and tacos. The gyrating beats seemed out of place with the swaying, fragile lanterns, but somehow it all works in Chinatown.

Beauty comes in all forms...

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