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IMG_5165Whew!  Before I look forward to 2014 (and I must say, it cannot come soon enough), I thought I’d take a quick look back on my digital footprints and share my favorite CultureShockArt moments of 2013.  So I picked 5 posts from Twitter, Instagram, WordPress and Pinterest that were either popular, or made me squeal, “Eep eep! Such and so acknowledged my existence!”  Yes, I find that these situations render me as a 12 year old girl wearing 3 Swatch watches and L.A. Gears but hey, such is the magic that is the internet.

#5- HuffPo and my MOCA musings

For the most part on Twitter I feel like that one crazy aunt or uncle who sits in the corner at family gatherings shouting bizarre non-sequiturs to nobody in particular.  Once in a while a random post will illicit a response from someone, and I go completely starstruck when it is a celebrity, museum or a blogger I admire (yes, I get starstruck over museums and bloggers too).  So back in March when I wrote this post about some Los Angeles MOCA drama (and we had our fair share of it this year), little did I know HuffPo Arts would post it in their “Twitter reactions” gallery at the end of one of their articles.  The Art Girl geek in me came out when I saw my snark displayed amongst some of my favorite arts writers.

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#4  Orange Crush

I was extremely late to the Instagram party, but once I dove in I took to it like a fish to water.  Strange enough, IG has taught me to keep my eyes open, not for photo ops, but to be more observant of my surroundings.  I now find my head in the clouds…appreciating them more than daydreaming.  At one point I had color phases when I would be obsessed with certain hues that would dominate my wardrobe, nail polish, handbag selection, you name it.  First orange, then lilac, then red… On this particular day in April I was laughing at the budding collection of all things “Orange” on my desk and snapped a pic of it.  Well, when Caroline Issa, editor of Tank magazine (and one of my style ICONS), emoji’ed her reactions to some of my pics, I was thrilled beyond belief!  I still really love this photo, but not as much as the oodles of shots I take of my napping dogs who deserve their own Instagram account.

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#3  My 15 Minutes Seconds of Fame

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The Warhol Museum is responsible for driving the most traffic on a single day to my humble little blog.  In August when I posted a reaction to an op ed piece about how a writer hates museums, the Warhol Museum noticed and linked my article to their website and Tweeted it to their followers.  I was forever grateful for pub and encouragement.  There are so many museums out there that are using social media to engage with their audiences in smart ways and the Warhol is near the top of the list.  THANK YOU Warhol Museum for taking the time to notice and show some blogger love.

 

#2 “What’s Your Bag?”
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If I had a nickel for every time I got this question this year, I’d be able to afford 3 more of her bags!  This by far was the most talked about handbag in my collection this year.  It started many a random conversation in stores, restaurants, airport security screening lines, meetings, and an awkardly funny encounter with actor, writer and producer Issa Rae (we have the same bag).  So I wrote a post about bag obsession–not necessarily the bag itself, but what’s inside it.

When the designer pinned this picture on their Pinterest site, it drove crazy amounts of traffic to my blog.  Nice!  It’s also one of the most pinned photos on their site. (Really nice). Everybody wins, right?!

 

#1 The Sphinx and the Cronut

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Of all my posts this year, this one cracks me up the most!  The Banksy mania that overtook NYC in August was slightly outdone by the city’s obsession with the Cronut.  I had to find a way to mash these two phenomena together.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one who got the connection.

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Pulitzer Prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold sent me a message on Twitter saying he loved my Banksy post!  I have to say it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Despite all this name dropping and validation seeking, what I find most rewarding are the new experiences this blog has shown me.  I saw some wonderful exhibits and met some amazing artists, writers, designers and bloggers this year who took me on an inspirational journey beyond the keyboard.  For that I am truly grateful, and I am especially thankful for all of my readers who have shown their support and encouragement to me in 2013.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I wish you all the best in the New Year.

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Photo Credit: @banksynyc, Instagram

In music, fashion, food and art there’s pop cultural phenomena so ubiquitous and so pervasive that I feel duty bound to write about them.  Or hate on ‘em..

Like roaches and bad heartburn these things just keep on returning eliciting both our collective ire and fascination.  Really, they’re train wrecks and we can’t look away. Examples:

In music, it’s Kanye West.  He’s everywhere… Why?  Make it stop, please!  I’m tired.  Doesn’t he get tired of himself? Megalomaniacs rarely do.  Sadly, the more we hate on him, the harder he comes back at us.

In fashion it’s currently Birkenstocks.  Frankly, I thought this one was going to die out with the summer but now I’m seeing Birkenstocks with socks, just in time for fall.  Don’t ask me where this came from, but it’s a THING….and people love to hate on it (for good reason).

Oh food, the food!  Where do I begin?  Cupcakes?  No, they are so over.  Macarons?  Who really hates on Macarons?  Anyone? (actually, my husband does, he calls them “air cookies”).  Bacon? Kale? Avocado toast? (specifically Avocado toast from Gitane, for the record no hate from me on Gitane) Green juice? Take your pick! We can all spot a food cliche quicker than we can order a quinoa beet salad from the “farm to the table”… I’m guilty of perpetuating all of these.  But if I had to pick, one?  It’s gotta be the Cronut.

And then there’s art.  There are some train wrecks you see coming that are so obvious they don’t need warning let alone commentary.  This is why I resisted talking about Banksy…until today. We are now officially at the point where the train wreck occurred and now someone’s looting the crash site.  It’s such a mess I can’t leave it alone.

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For those of you living under a rock or outside New York City, the infamous British street artist Banksy has taken up residence in NYC for a month, and his presence has caused quite a stir in the 5 Burroughs (though I don’t think he’s hit up Long Island yet).  Since I’m in L.A. and can’t traipse NYC to snap pics of his recent works, I’ve been quietly following him for 3 weeks on Instagram.  Since day one I’ve seen and heard a lot of on-line angst over his “residency”. Hating on Banksy quickly became as clichéd as the swarming crowds taking pictures of his work.

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Photo Credit: @socialstreger and the Gotamist.com

And herein lies the problem I have with this whole phenomenon.  The “fans” and the “haters”.  Most fans have been lining up to take pictures, while others are determined to claim “firsties” to vandalize his work, and many a hater has taken to social media to complain about Banksy at every possible opportunity.  Each new piece turns into a picture snapping, vandalizing, plexiglass protecting circus.  Meanwhile, lurking in the near distance are the profit mongers-the building owners and other random parasites looking to cash in on their fortuitous predicament of being vandalized by one of the greats of street art.

Yesterday’s piece (a pretty cool Sphinx like rock formation located in a sketchy biohazard-riddled street puddle in Queens) was at the center of another greed-filled controversy.  The internet was abuzz when a random individual claimed squatters rights on the piece and allegedly began to offer up pieces of the sculpture for sale at $100 each.

The minute I heard this story it became clear to me that as much as we want to think of Banksy’s NYC residency as a self-aggrandizing, promotional media stunt, it’s too easy to dismiss it as such.  The sad byproduct of all of this is how reactions quickly went from curious to opportunistic.

Yet, just when I’m resolved to view this current Banksy phenomenon through my misanthropic lens, I can’t help but think about what Banksy’s work has done to engage the city.  People are “talking.”  Whether you love Banksy or hate him, defend street art or rail against it, there’s a conversation.  Even critics like Jerry Saltz are getting into it and getting the dialog going.  Perhaps this isn’t so bad after all?

Tell that to the NYPD.

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Photo Credit: @banksynyc, Instagram

So maybe this phenomenon isn’t truly hater worthy.  Let’s see what happens when Banksy comes to L.A. in December.  In the meantime let’s just marvel at this Instagrammer’s ability to capture that seminal moment when clichés collide…(a train wreck of the best kind)

The Sphinx and the Cronut…

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Photo Credit: @notexactlyblue, Instagram

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Thankfully L.A. does not suffer from a lack of unique design fairs; I tend to flock to the ones that combine good food, great design and a great story.  Parachute Market is a relatively new kid on the block, and they promote seasonal fairs that revolve around a cohesive theme.  Just in time for the Fall Equinox, “Elemental” curates clothing and furniture designers, artisans, and chefs who are selected to showcase their wares and provide a glimpse into how basic elements influence their creative process.

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I took a quick stroll through the fair and saw some amazing work.  The jewelry in particular was stunning.

The event is the brainchild of Coryander Friend (who has great taste in handbags), a set decorator who assembled a great group of both established and budding designers.  Visually it was amazing, there were performance artists, great music and a vibe that I can only describe as Post-Burning Man “Afterglow”.  My only critique is that it would have been great to see a list of vendors or signage as I was looking for specific booths but the layout made it a little difficult to see everything.

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What I liked most about this show was that proceeds from ticket sales went to “Inner-City Arts”  a non-profit arts program that provides after school and weekend art curriculums to underprivileged children who would otherwise not be exposed to arts programs due to budget cuts (the LA Unified School District cut it’s arts budget by 76% in the last 5 years).  In fact, according to a 2012 KCET article, “53% of more than 272,000 students in kindergarten through fifth grade will not receive any arts instruction in elementary school”.

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For more on Inner-City Arts:

http://www.inner-cityarts.org/index.php

Parachute Market:

VENUE: 405 Mateo St., Los Angeles 90013 (Arts District).
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 21,  12:00 pm – 7:00 pm & Sunday, Sept, 22,  12:00 pm-6:00 pm.

P.S. Heading out of the market I picked up a bottle of Golden Milk from Moon Juice for my drive to Hollywood.  Instant obsession!  Loved it.  I wish my hood would open a juicery.

P.P.S. A couple of my favorite vendors:

A Question of Eagles

Rachel Duvall Textiles

 

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Positano, Italy Instagram photo by @equipment_fr (Equipment) | Statigram

This vacation-itis.  I’ve got it bad; so bad that it’s spread to Italy.  The Amalfi Coast would be a dream vacation; I’d love to visit here someday. This picture from Positano is stunning!  There’s something about those orange umbrellas….

To prove that vacations don’t have to completely drift from your true loves, I’m sprinkling in some beach inspired works of art thanks to Saatchi On-line.  For this post I decided to go a little abstract.

Saatchi Online Artist: Sheila Riley; Paper, 2010, Assemblage / Collage "beach"

Saatchi Online Artist: Sheila Riley; Paper, 2010, Assemblage / Collage “beach”

And for a real budget busting vacation, a Tuscan summer holiday at Hotel Il Pelicano wouldn’t be bad either.  It’s the place of champagne wishes and caviar dreams (ugh, if you’re old enough to remember that phrase, I’m sorry for making you re-visit that), or more like sipping Campari and Soda while dining on THIS MEAL (I can’t translate, but they had me at Bastianich… doesn’t it look divine?).   Il Pelicano is one of those hideaway places that’s not so hidden; you want to be “found” here (looking fabulous of course).

Il Pellicano-hotel-deck.  Photo Credit: Garance Dore

Il Pellicano-hotel-deck. Photo Credit: Garance Dore

It goes without saying that a locale as lovely as Il Pelicano deserves an amazing ensemble, so my beach basics had to bring a whisper of gold along with the old standbys, the Ray Ban Wayfarers.  Pass me the Limoncello, I’m settling into this daydream of an Italian beach vacation quite nicely!

5 Beaches x 1 Pair of Shades Continued...

Michael Kors tunic, $525 / Bathing suit / Dsquared2 ankle wrap flat / Hermès tote bag / Frends white headphone / Ray-Ban lens case

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Happy Easter

I bought some lilacs that are now all over the house. While I wish I could find them year round, I love the delightful surprise to find them in bloom! They even inspired this Easter weekend smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, yogurt, agave, Maca powder and ice).  Happy Easter!

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Photo Credit, Roy Choi

Photo Credit, Roy Choi

Chris Rock once said that women need three things: “Food, Water and Compliments”. Clearly the man hasn’t met me because I need art, good music and a fabulous handbag…  At a “Le Fooding” event you can get all of the aforementioned (minus the handbag–well, maybe they’ll be a swag bag… I digress.).

Ever since I saw Antohony Bourdain talk about Le Fooding on No Reservations I have had champagne wishes and francophile dreams of attending one of their events which can best be described as “Woodstock for foodies”. When Brooklyn hosted their own NYC version (Le Fooding Brooklyn Fling) last fall, I knew it would be a matter of time before the tribe headed west. Thankfully, I found out about the upcoming L.A. event after spotting a tweet and the above picture by Roy Choi.   The Le Fooding team has already met with the chef as they prepare for the two day festival on April 26-27. Choi will be joining Nancy Silverston, Ludo Lefebvre, Josef Centeno, Carolynn Spence, a foursome of legendary French chefs, DJs, and Graphic Artists who will all “feed” off of each others’ creativity during this food festival.  I desperately need to know the DJ and artist line up and will keep you all posted as I get details.

By day, MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary is world renown art venue, but for two nights next month MOCA’s alter ego “Le Grand Fooding Crush” will be an “anything goes, pan-sensual bazaar” (Arrested Development fans, that was for you).  I’m REALLY looking forward to this one.  The best part of the event is that some of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Los Angeles Food Bank.  J’aime anything that feeds your mind, body and soul, and Le Fooding looks like it will fit the bill.  C’est magnifique! (Pardon my French, I’m clearly getting caught up in delusions of francophilia).

For more on Le Fooding (and an interesting attempt by yours truly comparing chefs to Impressionists), click here.

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Andy Warhol was notorious for many things, but you may not know that one of them was his “Time Capsules”.  The artist would collect ephemera, art, and other inspirational items used as source material for his work. The items were boxed, catalogued and archived for a subsequent unveiling.  He began boxing these capsules in 1974, and they went virtually undiscovered until after his passing in 1987.  The Warhol Museum has been unveiling the Time Capsules as part of it’s “Out of the Box” program where full time cataloguers manage the archiving and documenting of the contents of over 617 capsules created by the artist.

This unique live unveiling was just posted by the Museum and it is a fascinating glimpse into the artist’s life.
 

For Information Science nerds, voyeurs and fans of the artist, this footage is fascinating.  It got me thinking about my own time capsule.  If I had to create one for 2012, what would I put in it?  Limiting myself to 5 items (including Art, Food Fashion and Music) that sum up 2012 here’s what they would be:

1.  My “Keep Calm and Listen to Hip Hop” shirt. Because, let’s face it, we just can’t get enough of the many iterations of Keep Calm can we?

2.  Yayoi Kusama Dots.  Had I purchased a piece from the Yayoi Kusama Louis Vuitton handbag collection, I’d include the box and a piece of the gift wrapped tissue paper (mais non, not the bag!).  Why?  I just think Yayoi Kusama had a fantastic year.  She hit the cultural trifecta in 2012 (Whitney and Tate retrospectives in addition to the LV collab)

"Yellow Trees" Photo Credit: Vogue

“Yellow Trees” Photo Credit: Vogue

3.  The only person that had a bigger year than Yayoi Kusama was probably Psy, so I probably would have to include a copy of “Gangam Style”, just for laughs.  But jokes aside, my musical contribution would be the first album my husband produced this year.  I was really proud of it.

 

 

4.  And in the inanimate realm, the only “thing” that had a bigger year than Psy is KALE.  Kale was EVERYWHERE in 2012.  I’d include a bag of dried Kale Chips that would probably disintegrate into a green pile of dust…Or maybe I would include a can of Warhol designed Campbell’s Tomato Soup from Target, just for the irony of it all.

5.  Lastly, I would include a copy of Newsweek.  After 79 years the magazine will discontinue it’s print version.  The poignancy of that decision is quite sobering. To include a magazine in an antiquated conceptual relic such as a time capsule seems befitting.  I can’t help but wonder if the “digital” versions of time capsules will capture the same sense of mystery, excitement and wonder as the old ones do.

What about you? If you could capture the essence of 2012 in a time capsule, what would you put in your box?  

I’d love to hear from you!

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My reaction to hearing about this Le Fooding event next month?

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I’ve always wanted to go to a Le Fooding event.  They combine my love for Food, Music, Writing, Style and Artistic Expression.  A feast for the senses!

For more on Le Fooding Brooklyn Fling, click here.

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While I say I’m a “recovering Foodie”, I frequently find myself relapsing into old habits…like stalking new restaurants.  In the months before Industriel opened I thought it was going to be a Gallery, but when I found out it was a restaurant I excitedly counted down until the opening-then completely forgot about the place and fell into a really boring dining rut (recovering = salads every day).  I recently peeped the menu and brought my Downtown partner in crime (and fellow Bottega Louie enthusiast) here for a working lunch.

I was immediately struck by the rustic decor which combines a French apothecary and avant-garde boutique like the Astier de Villate (by the way, the website for the Astier de Villate is so interesting!).  Truth be told I kind of felt like I was in a Nine Inch Nails Video.  The big showpiece in the restaurant is the honey bear chandelier designed by owner Armen Hakobayan. It hovers over a mini vintage clawfoot bathtub.  I really liked it.  Not sure what’s up with L.A.’s fascination with hanging bears though.  I still see them in Echo Park, but I digress….  Industriel definitely gets cool points for finding a unique way to masque exposed ceiling pipes!

Industriel’s cuisine features a French Farm to Table theme.  I went the healthy route and had the Beet Quinoa salad with Feta and arugula.  It was so clean, fresh and healthy I LOVED it, especially since it wasn’t food coma inducing (though next time I’m having it with a burger; they looked sublime).  My partner in culinary crime had a Kale Salad featuring house cured bacon, white anchovies and parmesan.  I’ve previously heard that this salad was salty, but my friend thought the flavors were bold and complimented each other.  He even went as far as to proclaim it  his favorite salad of year-quite a compliment.  My only compliant was a minor one: I didn’t like the whole “charge for bread thing”.

Despite that, the service was impeccable.  This is one of those Downtown spots that doesn’t feel corporate.  I loved that aspect of Industriel.  I’m looking forward to a return visit especially when I want to feel like I’m in a cool cafe in Provence.

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Photo Credit: Localresearch.com

There’s a small stretch of Sawtelle Bl that is the Westside’s version of Little Tokyo.  In all my years of living near this area, I never spent time over there, but Saturday I needed to go to Giant Robot to look for a gift for a friend, and found some pleasant surprises.  They’ve got the Culture Shock Trifecta of Food, Fashion and Art that will keep me coming back (especially since I did not get my fix of Ramen or Shaved Ice as I opted for a delicious meal at Chego on Overland afterwards).

First stop was Giant Robot where we picked up a Gary Baseman vinyl figure from the Hot Cha Cha Cha series from a few years back (it’s being used as creative inspiration for an album my husband is producing), and while there I couldn’t resist picking up a blind box item from the Jibibuts “Artist Collection”.

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Photo Credit: Noferin.com

I rarely speak of collectibles, but for those of you collectible neophytes out there, a blind box item is a play on a Japanese Gashapon toy.  Think of it as a designer, adult version of the capsule toys you used to get out of a vending machine.  Twelve featured artists all contributed a uniquely designed, painted wooden piece that looks like a modern kokeshi doll.  You don’t know which artist you are going to get until you open the box. Since I recognized a number of the artists featured, I had to buy one, and I ended up getting Squink’s design.

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CultureShockArt

It’s so cute sitting on my desk.  Giant Robot has a huge collection of gifts, toys, collectibles and a great library of graphic design and art books.  It’s hard not to spend an entire afternoon in this store alone.

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Image Credit: Giant Robot

A half a block down Sawtelle, we also stopped by “I am Fine” — Eishi Takaoka’s solo exhibition at Giant Robot 2′s gallery across the street from the store. His work was quite stunning in that it features carved wooden heads all sharing the same morose expression, yet each are adorned in a variety of backdrops, halos and other refinery that lend a unique story to each piece.

Lastly, I rounded out my Sawtelle stroll by stopping into In Residence, a beautifully curated store that carries a unique collection of items that “give back” (plus they have an amazing collection of affordable, stylish handbags).  I’m really intrigued by the whole B1G1 model that companies like Warby Parker and Toms have chosen to employ.  While at In Residence I picked up a beautifully designed bracelet by 31 Bits (perfect for summer whites) and a croched hat by Krochet Kids for my husband (a wise investment for winter).

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My 31 Bits Beaded Bracelet from In Residence

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For more on In Residence check out their website.

For more on collectibles and all things cute, check out Supahcute, a great blog curated by fellow recovering foodie! :)

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