Notes on looking isn't dead

Notes on Looking is a creative writing platform for the Los Angeles art community.

Read More

Most recent notes on looking…

Francesco Gagliardi at Pieter

Apologies for the lack of performance images, sometimes pulling out my iPhone to take pictures feels like intruding and even like stealing. Also I find that cameras distract me, I visited Pieter to experience a performance of musical scores and not to be conscious of myself watching the performance on a 4″ screen. Pieter functions through the grace of those who use it – Jmy James holds the lease and a community of performers and audience members provide for The Free Bar, The Free Boutique and also dance studio supplies. The room is spacious and has a wood floor, as I enter the Free Boutique is behind me and a table diagonally across from the stair holds bottles, sliced persimmons and a bowl of popcorn. Curry popcorn, I later determined. Beyond the bar stands a chalk board with a rail holding many fat chunks of colored chalk. Color pops up again on the wall to my right as I cross to the bar: closest to me variously colored placards lean against the wall, their rectangular shapes vary in size from that of good quality paper back books to perhaps 18″ x 24″ and the colors I recall are white, blue, black and red. The larger rectangles are light tan and might be thin plywood or pale Masonite. There is a mound of flowered fabric, bedding I imagine, flowered in a way that is ‘pretty’ in some eyes but becomes gaudy in another context such as this. (Hmm, so easy to laugh?) I pour myself a finger or two of Bulleit Bourbon, crunch on popcorn and look around this new... read more

Muertos, Luchadores y Fowler Symposium

These last two weeks for me and many other Latinos have been about setting up ofrendas for Dia de los Muertos as a way of remembering and honoring the dead.  This Day (or rather week) has influenced many artists living in Los Angeles.  Day of the Dead celebrations at Self Help Graphics in Boyle Heights started in 1972 and since then has always brought together the Chicano community, including the artists of Asco and Los Four, to perform their traditions and make both cultural and artistic works. Revival at Self Help Graphics is curated this year by Patssi Valdez and will be up for another week.  ¡Ándale, cómprate una flaca!  It’s a great time to go to East LA to check out the art scene and SHG should definitely be one of the stops, as they have recently moved into their new location on 1st street. At Craig Krull Gallery in Bergamot Station, Gilbert “Magu” Lujan’s work was exhibited only for one week during the Day of the Dead festivities (Nov. 1-5).  His colorful paintings of chubby, ballooned out  lowriders, anthropomorphic animals, and Chicano locals encircled a central round table holding Magu’s ofrenda.  Magu passed away just a few months ago and it was nice to see this important Chicano artist being celebrated and remembered at this art gallery, especially next to another exhibit and ofrenda for his friend and colleague (also from the artist collective Los Four), Carlos Almaraz. Almaraz passed away in 1989, but his drawings, paintings and pastels still capture the street life of East Los.  My favorite are his car crash paintings.  They are expressionistic... read more

Lessons for writers, the first

Writing begins a conversation. You can’t say everything you want all at once. Start somewhere. Write something. Put it out there. Do it again. Allow your writing to lead your thoughts. Not the other way around. Just begin. (You can’t get better writing for yourself.) XO PS Be nice to yourself – you’re learning. You always are.... read more

Repost from “The Performance Club,” with links

Yvonne Rainer, Douglas Crimp and Taisha Paggett Blast Marina Abramović and MOCA LA   Rainer received the following letter from someone who attended the Abramović audition for a work to be performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles’ gala: So, I spent an hour today at the Abromovic [sic] audition at MOCA. The deal is that the artists/dancers she will hire will spend 3(!) hours under the dining tables of the donor gala with their heads protruding from the tables. They will be sitting on lazy susans under the table and slowly rotating and making eye contact with the donors/diners. Of course we were warned that we will not be able to leave to pee, etc. That the diners may try to feed us, give us drinks, fondle us under the table, etc but will be warned not to. Whatever happens, we are to remain in performance mode and unaffected. What the fuck?! And the chosen performers are expected to be there all day friday and saturday. The hours probably total 15 or more and the pay is $150 (plus a MOCA one year membership!!!). I am utterly appalled. This should be illegal. There is another audition for another role where the performers lie naked on tables with fake skeletons on them. Since I cannot stomach being a turning, severed head while people get drunk in front of me, I am seriously considering taking a naked role and performing an intervention at the gala celebration where I use my body as a surface to communicate the fact that I worked x number of hours for $150.... read more