An Example Why Contemporary “Art” Leaves Me Insulted & Wanting To Smack The Artist Upside The Head

Susan and I made a getaway to MOCA downtown on Grand Avenue to check out the awesome “Naked Hollywood” exhibit of  photos by Weegee, and afterward we walked through the halls housing the museum’s permanent collection, where we found many creations that left me shaking my head — especially the one pictured above. This “painting” literally makes me want to slug anyone who’d dare earnestly defend it as “art,” which in this bullshit’s case can only qualify if art is defined as “paint applied to a canvas that’s hung on a wall.”

Simply Mesmerizing

The comment I posted to this clip of such amazing movement reads as follows, and I mean it:

I am not worthy to watch such genius. The brilliance is blinding!

Down By The River Side

The Farmer John plant in Vernon is well known for the large, elaborate and meticulously maintained mural that wraps around its streetside walls Along Vernon Avenue, Soto Street and Bandini Boulevard. But until I was down in the Los Angeles River bed during my ride last week I had no idea the well-maintained artwork was continued along the backside of the facility not nearly so readily visible, so I attempted to capture a section of it atop the concrete bank and the river below it in something of a surreal juxtaposition (click it for the bigger picture):

Mural Mystery: Balto Found!

Several years ago on area group forum, one of my neighbors south of Marathon on Occidental Boulevard posted witnessing a crime of some sort (I can’t recall what exactly but it may have been a prowler) in the back of a residence and a respondent asked if it was near “the Balto mural.” Having never seen any such a thing, I’ve been curious about it ever since and many has been the time I’ve been out and about that I’ve looked down some nooks and crannies, including several times down the alley east of Occidental — always unsuccessfully. Though I’d not given up hope of finding it, I’d guessed in the time that had passed it perhaps had been painted over.

Turns out there was one nook upon which I’d failed to look: the alley to the west of Occidental, and for the very first time this past weekend out with Susan for a walk with Ranger, we went up that throughway and boom, there it was (click it for the bigger picture):

The main reason for my curiosity didn’t stem from any sort of  love of the animated feature loosely based on the real-life dog. It came more from a wonderment as to why and how would a mural about the heroic canine (who has a statue in New York’s Central Park) come to be painted in my section of Silver Lake — and essentially hidden from view by anyone except those residents (and/or prowlers) who might utilize the alley.

In the upper left section of the frame (above the trashcan and near the top of the wall) the date 6-6-96 of its creation is visible through the fence posts. But thanks to my excellent framing skills, I’ve perfectly obscured the name above the date behind the crossbar.

With the resemblance to the animated characters being spot on, could it be the work of an animator from the movie, which was produced by Steven Spielberg’s pre-Dreamworks Amblimation studio? Or was it just a labor of love 15 years ago by a fan? I’ll have to go back and catch the artist’s name to see if that will reveal anything.

In the meantime, I found out via the Balto wikipage that two years after Balto’s epic run (which is commemorated with the annual Iditarod race), he actually visited Los Angeles, which proved to be of benefit to the dog in averting what could have been a sad postscript:

Balto was not destined to be a star in the breeding shed since he was neutered at a young age, hence he was relegated to being neglected on the vaudeville circuit with his team. While visiting Los Angeles, George Kimble, a former prize fighter turned businessman from Cleveland, was shocked to discover the dogs were unhealthy and badly treated.

Mr. Kimble worked together with the newspaper, The Plain Dealer, to bring Balto and his team to Cleveland, Ohio. On March 19, 1927, Balto and six companions were brought to Cleveland and given a hero’s welcome in a triumphant parade. The dogs were then taken to the Brookside Zoo (now the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo).

Balto died at the age of 14 in 1933. His remains were mounted by a taxidermist and remain on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Vote Early, Vote Often!

So when I heard that the Active Arts program people with the Music Center were seeking “a day in the life” type photo submissions for an exhibit that was to be part of its “Celebrate The Pulse of LA” event this coming weekend, I chose a subset of the massive number of photographs I took during the second CicLAvia last month and submitted them to be considered for inclusion. Last week the Music Center notified me that they were in. Yay!

The Music Center also informed me that it would be holding a contest, with the six top vote-getting photographers winning a camera bag, a $300 Samy’s Camera gift card, and coverage in an ensemble feature to run in the LA Times’ Brand X magazine.

The reason I’m telling you all that is because in addition to in-person voting at the Music Center this Saturday and Sunday, there’s the option of voting via text message, which started today coinciding with the opening of the online photo gallery (my set is here), and I would be totally thrilled if you’d vote for me by texting 2410017 to 22333.

If you’re extra enthusiastic and supportive, up to 10 texts are allowed per cellphone number, and I’ve been assured the texter’s digits are kept completely private and no spam will result from it.

Thank you!



In a post to his Busblog, Tony Pierce shares some Twitter love he got from The Donnas and it prompts him to wonder if they know how much he loves them, or if anyone knows how much he loves them.

Right below that he shares the following wonderful bike-related video, a Swedish import that if not for him stood a good chance of otherwise missing my radar:

robo-rainbow from mudlevel on Vimeo.

I love Tony Pierce.

Morning Snap: New Caché End To End

(click it for the biiiiiigger picture)

Yeah yeah, I know it looks like I was really drunk as I snapped this recently completed Caché/EyeOne/ Skypager mural around the corner from our house, but you can’t blame it on my blood-alcohol level so much as my trying to use an iPhone Panorama360 app in a way it’s not designed to be used. Even so, you get the idea how awesome it is.

And as a bonus Caché himself was there and I expressed my gratitude for all the wonderful gifts he’s given the community and I learned from him that the “Cycle LA Via” section was entrely done via brushwork by a San Francisco based street artist known as Skypager.