The Best of L.A. is Out Now

Photo: Liz Ohanesian for L.A. Weekly

Photo: Liz Ohanesian for L.A. Weekly

L.A. Weekly’s annual Best of L.A. issue is out now. It’s thick and filled with lots of great local spots. For the issue, I headed back to the homeland– the San Fernando Valley– and wrote up Captain Ed’s Shoppe. It’s a Valley institution. My other picks include Daiso (for providing cheap office supplies) and party game makers Wise Guys Events.

In other news, there’s a new issue of Hi-Fructose on the horizon (maybe in your mailbox now). I wrote about Laurence Vallières, who makes massive cardboard sculptures of animals. You can order this issue online. The story is only available in print.

And then there’s my story on D*Face for L.A. Weekly, which I may have mentioned in a previous post. D*Face is a British artist who started out on the streets, but does all sorts of work now, from murals to paintings to installations. My favorite pieces in his current show are portraits engraved on old school desks that are covered in graffiti.

Old Books, New Art and Virtual Reality

Chapter 3 of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Chapter 3 of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

When I was 12 or 13, I fell hard for The Smiths and Morrissey. In typical Morrissey fanatic fashion, I started reading the writers that the singer mentioned in songs and interviews. The biggie was Oscar Wilde. I went from The Picture of Dorian Gray, through the plays, fairy tales, basically anything I could find. I loved it all.

Years later, I stumbled across The Clark Library’s website and found out that they had this massive collection of works from Oscar Wilde and his co-horts. How the heck did this end up in L.A.? Maybe it didn’t matter. I had to see the Oscar Wilde collection. A few emails later, I had a story assignment and a tour scheduled.

“Inside the Clark Library’s Immense Oscar Wilde Collection”

Also, for KCET Artbound, I interviewed Stephanie Inagaki. She’s an L.A.-based artist whose portraits are both unexpected and beautiful.

“Stephanie Inagaki’s Intimate Portraits”

In other Artbound news, my recent story on L.A. punk legend Alice Bag one a recent vote, meaning that it will be the basis for an upcoming segment on the Artbound television series.

“Alice Bag’s Portraits of the Los Angeles Punk Scene”
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A Horror Convention, a Japanese Film Festival and More

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Last weekend was Son of Monsterpalooza, which is a horror convention that is filled with special effects artists and other people who make monsters and other creepy things. I was there on Saturday to cover for L.A. Weekly. Not too long after arriving, I noticed that Tom Savini was sitting at a booth near the front of the convention center. Immediately, I knew I had to get a quote from him. If my brother– who spent pretty much all of his teenage years talking about horror movies– found out that I was here, that I saw Tom Savini and didn’t try to meet him, he would never let me live it down. So I went up to the booth and got quotes and a photo.

I spent four hours and change hitting up people for interviews and photos. One of the highlights was stopping by the Chiodo Bros. booth. They made Killer Klowns from Outer Space. I love that movie. In the end, I got two stories out of the experience.

“Son of Monsterpalooza, a Gathering of Monster-Makers in Burbank” (L.A. Weekly)

“10 Creepy Awesome Things We Saw at ‘Son of Monsterpalooza’” (Topless Robot)
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Lots of Art and One TV Show

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Last weekend, “Monsterfink!” opened at a nifty Burbank collectibles shop called Creature Features. The group art show, which featured more than 100 contributors, brought together monsters, hot rods and, of course, Rat Fink. It was about as Southern California as an art show can get and I wrote about the event for my L.A. Weekly column, Cult Stars.

Read: “In Burbank, an Art Show About Monsters and Hot Rods — and Rat Fink”

Speaking of monsters, I recently visited Chet Zar, kind of the monster painters, at his studio in the San Gabriel Valley. He’s currently working on a show to open next month at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, but you can see a little of what he’s doing in the story I wrote for MySpace.

Read: “This is ‘All Hallow’s Eve’: Artist Chet Zar Traverses From Tool to Fine Art”

Early in August, I had the chance to hang out with Alice Bag. She fronted The Bags, one of the original late-1970s L.A. punk bands. Since then, she’s played with a lot of groups. Plus, she wrote a memoir, Violence Girl. Now, she’s showing her paintings in galleries. A lot of her work focuses on documenting the history of women involved in the Los Angeles punk scene and it’s fascinating. I wrote about Alice Bag for KCET Artbound.

Read: “Alice Bag’s Portraits of the Los Angeles Punk Scene”

A few weeks ago, Black Jesus, the new show from Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder, premiered on Adult Swim and it’s become quite popular. I talked to one of the show’s starts, Kali Hawk, about her character and the controversy that hit the show before it launched for Paste.

Read: “Catching up With Black Jesus Actor Kali Hawk”  

Sunday night, Captured Aural Phantasy, who I previously profiled for L.A. Weekly, returns to El Cid with a new season of stage shows based on comic books and radio shows. I wrote a preview of this weekend’s event for L.A. Weekly.

Read: “5 Far-Out Things to do in L.A. This Week for $10 or Less” (It’s the third entry.)

New Stories: Transformers

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In first or second grade, I was totally into Michael Jackson. Thriller had just come out and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it was the biggest album of the day. That Christmas, I got my own Michael Jackson doll. I treasured him, but not enough to keep track of the single sequined-like glove. I still have the doll, but he is incomplete. That’s why I find Transformers collectingso interesting. Those toys had a lot of small parts and there’s little chance that their former six-year-old owners kept them intact. That makes collecting those toys of the ’80s tough for adults.

Last weekend, I went to BotCon. That’s an annual Transformers convention that moves from location to location across the country. While I was there, I asked a lot of vendors about those collectibles. I wanted to know what people were trying to find and what was considered rare. You can read about that in my story for Topless Robot.

Meanwhile, I met some creative Transformers fans at the convention. One customizes toys for fans who can’t find the look they want. Two others started their own toy company that makes accessories/tiny friends that fit with a number of retro toys. I wrote about them in my latest column for L.A. Weekly.

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A few months ago, I hopped into a towncar with Afrojack and interviewed him while en route from Point A to Point B. Fortunately, it was a Saturday evening in Hollywood. Lousy traffic makes for better interviews! The story is now ready to read as part of Paper‘s special issue on high-profile DJ/producers.

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On the DJ front, tomorrow will be my last night at Shadowplay, the goth club that my pals and I launched last year. I won’t be playing, or even going to, clubs often for at least the next few months as I have to focus on some big writing projects. If you would like to join us,  go to the Grand Star (next to the Bruce Lee statue in Chinatown) Saturday night at 10 p.m. This is a 21+ event and the cover is $5 all night.

 

 

New Stories: One Weird Cartoon and Industrial Music

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Early last fall, I stopped by Titmouse Animation Studios and met JJ Villard. King Star King, the show he created for Adult Swim, was in the midst of production. Over the course of the next few months, we spoke a few more times. Last week, the show premiered online. On Thursday, my story about JJ came out in the print edition of L.A. Weekly. Pick up your copy at newsstands across Los Angeles, or read it online.

3 Teeth are a new industrial band with a style that harks back the genre’s golden age. They’ll make their debut at Complex tomorrow night and I had the chance to interview them for L.A. Weekly.

That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.

New Stories: E3, Hipster Little Mermaid and More

Traci Hines at Japan L.A. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

Traci Hines at Japan L.A. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

Last week was E3, so I spent a good chunk of time Metro-ing back-and-forth from Los Angeles Convention Center. This was my second time attending E3 with a badge. (I went badgless two other times.) It’s much different from the events that I normally cover, mostly because it’s a trade show rather than a fan convention. It’s much more similar to NAMM, the music trade show in Anaheim, than it is to San Diego Comic-Con.

I wrote E3 stories for L.A. Weekly this year. “Why Aren’t There More Women in the Video Game Industry?” features interviews with women who make games, write about games and are otherwise involved in the industry. “Oculus Rift Gives You Magical Powers in a New Video Game Set in 2020 L.A.” spotlights a game I tried out at IndieCade’s booth. Anamnesis was created by two USC students and uses Oculus Rift to present multiple points of view in a narrative game.

Aside from E3, there has been quite a bit going on lately. Paper Magazine sent me on assignment to check out Cut Your Teeth, an underground dinner party from Wolvesmouth mastermind Craig Thornton and artist Matthew Bone. For KCET’s Artbound, I met up with writer/photographer Mr. Bonzai and sculptor Keiko Kasai at their home/studio. The two have been together for 30 years and Mr. Bonzai recently unveiled three decades of drawings he created based on Kasai. Last weekend, Traci Hines was at Japan L.A. for an Adorkable Apparel pop-up shop. Hines is a singer who gained a lot of popularity thanks to her resemblance to Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I talked to Hines about how she channeled that popularity into a nifty clothing line for my latest L.A. Weekly column.

Stay tuned because there will be more stories coming out in the next few days.

 

Time to Catch Up

Photo: Liz Ohanesian

Photo: Liz Ohanesian

Last weekend, I went to Long Beach Comic Expo and was excited to interview Jarod Lee Nandin. He cosplays Jenkins, aka The Griefer, aka “that which has no life” from the South Park episode “Make Love, Not Warcraft.” It’s a particularly genius episode of South Park. I remember watching it at my friend’s house and almost falling off the couch because I was laughing so hard.

Anyhow, I previously saw Jarod at a couple other conventions and admired his costume, so I asked him for an interview and he kindly obliged. Jarod is a super cool guy and very friendly. I figured that someone cosplaying such a minor South Park character would have to have a good sense of humor and now believe this to be a correct assumption. You can read the story in this week’s “Cult Stars” column for L.A. Weekly.

“A South Park Cosplayer With a Message for the Trolls”

Otherwise, things have been pretty busy lately. I’ve been working on freelance goals and, most of the time, I’ve been meeting them. It’s nice to see how things work out when you actually make spread sheets and write stuff on white boards.

I just updated my clips for the first half of 2014, so you can catch up on stories there. It’s not everything, just some stand out pieces. Amongst the highlights are my first feature for Boing Boing (on Sailor Moon) and an interview with Herb Alpert that I still can’t believe happened. There’s also a tour of Cartoon Network’s Burbank Studios, a Jem and the Holograms think piece and a personal story in which I make my husband sit down and watch the original Star Wars trilogy with me. He never saw it. I’m kind of a nerd about it.

Next week, I’ll be at E3. If you want to follow the adventures, look up @lizohanesian on Twitter.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

 

New Stories: Pulp Novels, Japanese Tattoos and a Whole Lot of Other Stuff

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Since the start of the year, I’ve been making business goals at the beginning of every month. The goal is based on how much I invoice. It’s a modest goal, but I still managed to miss it in January and February. Fortunately, things changed this month. I surpassed the goal on March 18, giving me about two weeks to try and get a little further ahead.

This probably sounds dumb, but I think part of actually making the goal had to do with getting over my aversion to spreadsheets. Looking at the numbers column by column every morning and every evening helps a lot.

Also, I’ve been trying to tune out a lot of the outside world, just so that I can write without distraction. When that happens, I can get four stories done in just over 24 hours. That includes time spent sleeping or eating or whatever. Not everything I wrote is available to read yet, but here’s the list of what is online.
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New Stories: Oscar Parties, Teebs and Cosplay

Inside Space 15Twenty for the opening of "Ante Vos." (Photo: Liz Ohanesian, first appeared on KCET Artbound)

Inside Space 15Twenty for the opening of “Ante Vos.” (Photo: Liz Ohanesian, first appeared on KCET Artbound)

Hey, it’s a week where I remembered to update this blog. The following are stories of mine that were published this week. Please check them out when you have the chance.

“8 Fun L.A. Oscar Events for Non-Assholes”

I’ve been reading Paper since the 1990s, so it was nice to get to write something for the magazine’s blog. This is just a roundup of cool Oscar-related events. An in-the-know friend said I found some events that didn’t hit his radar, which made my day. If you’re planning on doing the Oscar party circuit on Sunday, try to hit up at least one mentioned here.

“Teebs: Ethereal Beats and Visual Remixes”

Teebs is a local musician and artist whose work you should know. Last week, I got to meet up with him as he installed “Ante Vos,” an art show made from record sleeves, at Space 15Twenty in Hollywood. The story appeared on KCET Artbound.

“How One L.A. Cosplayer Deals with All the Attention (and Harassment)”

For my latest Cult Stars column for L.A. Weekly, I talked to L.A.-based, internationally-known cosplayer Maridah. In the interview, she addresses an issue that many cosplayers face. That’s harassment and otherwise inappropriate behavior from folks online and at conventions.