Monday, August 17, 2009

Art Walk, Old Skool.


You kids are probably too young to remember, but once upon a time images were captured not with electrons and silicon, but with "film", a gooey mixture of chemicals slathered on a strip of (probably flammable) plastic or paper or whatever happened to be at hand. And there was none of this "instant gratification" you youngsters talk about. With film, you didn't get to see your photos until you took the film home and soaked it in poisonous chemicals in your bathtub. Yuck. "How could this be possible" you ask? Well, luckily for you, I discovered a working example of one of these ancient devices during an archaeological dig in the ruins of a garage in Burbank, California, and I brought it with me to Art Walk. What follows was recorded using that quaint and now-so-obsolete technology.

To say that Art Walk was "crowded" is an understatement. Wall to wall people made it hard to walk on the sidewalk (but there were plenty of cops to keep you from stepping on to the street.)

There was art, as you would expect. But it seems the more popular Art Walk gets, and the more people there are, the less art I see. This isn't a cut an Art Walk, mind you. This is me people watching rather than art gazing. As I live in the 'hood, Art Walk has become an adventure in finding art I would like to return to and enjoy later while enjoying the party in the right-now.

Art, meet commerce.

I have no idea what was going on here.

The newly-expanded Art Parking Lot, featuring extra fuse-popping lights.

Bars and bands were hoppin'.

A new bar "Down and Out" at the site of the old "Charlie O's" soft-opened for Art Walk. The place has sliding glass doors that give the effect of the party spilling out into the street. Note the portraits inside above the bar. Not seen in this shot: O.J. Simpson.

But mostly just people, people, people...

These old-fashioned cameras don't focus themselves, they rely on you to do it for them. You get to twist a knob whilst peering through the viewfinder until you stop seeing double, which is impossible to do when it is dark, and you are drunk.


You kids with your new-fangled electric cameras... (The police car is responding to a "415", which seems to be the police code for "a guy holding a bag of ice to his face.")

On the way back to the loft, I was hit by frozen tater-tots thrown from one of these windows. The bastards ducked back inside when I turned and pointed the camera at them... There is nothing subtle about these antiques. Getting a candid shot takes skillz with a "Z".


skidrowdude said...

What a great photo-essay Li! I always love your pics, but I think this really captures the art walk- B&W is great! I can't believe you actually used FILM.

I'm down in your hood now, walking White Dog past the Alexandria every day. I'll be looking for the blue Benz cruising around...

MB said...

Hey, I posted that! Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. I used a 1960's vintage Yashica "Electro 35" camera, and Kodak TRI-X Film, which was introduced in 1950.

The chemicals my wife uses in the tub tend to be scented "Lavender", not "stale vinegar". She's always been more sensible than me in that regard.

BTW while I was taking the picture of the young woman filming on fifth, someone came up to me and asked if that was "a black and white camera" that I was using. "Sure," I replied, "if you put black and white film in it."

Browne said...

My favorite part of this post, were the need to shut off main to cars and have a different day for the swap meet thing, that was freakin ridiculous.

I like art and there was nothing artful about the art walk this month.

You know what is killing the art walk in my opinion, bands. It's not the alcohol it's the bands. Bands bring kids and kids don't buy art they don't buy anything but sushi off a freakin truck.

People in downtown act as if they hate Broadway owing to the junk and I'm like really because I saw all kinds of useless crap for sale at the art least the Broadway merchants sell things like juicers for my fresh oranges that I get at the very nice Farmer's Market in Pershing Square. That is the best Farmer's Market ever!

I don't like all of this crafty bs and this loud music and food in a truck business, what the hell is this the county fair.


skidrowdude said...

MB- sorry for confusing your art with Li's- I didn't know you were a photographer too... great stuff!

Tri-X film brings back memories- I used to have a darkroom and that was my fav film to shott/develop.

I hope I run into you sometime MB- watch for the guy with the crazy white Jack Russell walking around your place.

bgfa said...

Closing off the street would be the worst possible thing to do, it would turn the Art Walk into a street party that has absolutely NOTHING to do with art. Since I don't run it any more, though, that's probably just what will happen.

browne said...

Bert it has already turned into a street party. I agree closing the street will do that, BUT the damage is done. And the way the streets are now it's just really insane. I couldn't even walk up the street. It was filled with people and dogs and police and just loudness. I was very uncomfortable I don't like that environment which is why I don't go to concerts or music festivals. I very much hate that kind of environment, though obviously I'm a rarity.

To me if the people who do art want to save the art walk they need to get rid of the indy band stuff. The bands and little kid parties is what's making it too street partyish. Once you let music in somewhere you kill off everything else, because music is loud and in your face.


AimlessInLA said...

Usually when the police refer to a "415" call or whatever, the number refers to the California Penal Code section that was violated--in this case unlawfully fighting in a public place--AKA a bar fight.

I don't know if other PDs do the same sort of thing or not.