Wandering: DTLA’s Arts District


Last year I went to a meeting at the CleanTech Incubator near the L.A. river and I was surprised to see how much development has gone into the Arts District.  Over the last few months I’ve been getting acquainted to L.A.’s latest gentrified, “it” neighborhood.  Here’s what I LOVE about it:  The energy is phenomenal (I think that has to do with the fact that there are amazing coffee houses on every corner).  The murals are stunning.  The designers and artists that created this community (and lived here before it was trendy) are still here.

The Arts District is nearing a tipping point. The money has moved in but not the pretentiousness and congestion that plagues other nearby communities (sorry Silverlake and Atwater) and again, the bonus is that the artists are still hanging in.  It is my favorite neighborhood in L.A.

Here are some pics of my favorite spots:


Gifts galore at Poketo
Gifts galore at Poketo

Click here for more pics on Steller.

Weekly Rewind Vol. 1

I’m trying something new.  Here’s my Friday round up of my absolute favorite posts from last week in Fashion, Music, Art, and Food.  All posts are inspired by Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.  So let’s jump in!

1.  Kara Walker-Indypendant Article



The Kara Walker Domino Sugar Factory exhibit has closed, and I have to say I had mixed feelings about this particular project.  I’ve long admired Kara Walker’s work, her creative process and the sheer emotional gravitas behind this immensely profound project.  But there was a nagging part of me asking, “is this just provocative?”  I came across this piece written in the Indypendent that touches on the sensitive nerve that is exposed when I think about this piece.  In a society obsessed with selfie opps, I am appalled by how many people chose to experience this work.  The article sheds some light on that ennui that surely would have detracted from my experience had I been able to see it in Williamsburg.  I’d love to hear Kara Walker’s reaction to the article and wonder if it was all an expected element of the experience.


2.  JR’s container project in La Havre

Photo Credit: JR-Art.net
Photo Credit: JR-Art.net
Photo Credit: JR-Art.net

Does this man ever sleep?  I’ve been really impressed with how JR has been able to push his creative expression into new mediums.  Last week the artist culminated his “Women Are Heroes” series by covering a container ship with eyes from one of the women featured in the 7 year project, then took some amazing shots of the container ship sailing the seas.  He also continues his exploration of ballet by photographing and pasting dancers in and on shipping containers.  There was even a brief Yessin Bey/Mos Def cameo, all of which were chronicled on Instagram this week.  If JR stays true to form, there will be a documentary on the unfolding of “Heroes'” last days.  Read more about the project here.


3.  When the beautiful Caroline Issa recently Instagrammed a picture of herself surrounded by an equally beautiful canopy of Orchids at the Dior Couture show this week, I had to see the show.  Not only was the set design stunning, I will be dreaming about each and every one of these coats! In addition I now want a belt, make that ALL of the accessories, bone straight hair with a middle part and white eye shadow.  I think I can make the last two happen :)


4.  This week’s iTunes download:

My advice to you this weekend? Find a dollar, download this song, get in your car Saturday morning, and go find an adventure… and when you do, please tell me all about it.


Have a FABULOUS weekend everyone!

2013 “Rewind”

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.



#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.



#3  My 15 Minutes Seconds of Fame


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?”

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


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.


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.

The Sphinx and the Cronut: Why We Love Being Haters

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.



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.

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.

Photo Credit: @banksynyc, Instagram

So maybe this phenomenon isn’t truly hater worthy, but I admittedly shudder at the thought of what would happen if Banksy took up residency in Los Angeles.  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…

Photo Credit: @notexactlyblue, Instagram

Design Goes “Elemental”- Parachute Market in Los Angeles


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.


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.





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”.


For more on Inner-City Arts:


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


5 Beaches x 1 Pair of Shades #3 Amalfi Coast

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