Friday, June 2, 2023

DnA Newsletters

What's so Special About Vienna? What Does Water Want? Which Way Oceanwide Plaza?

Get answers to these questions and more in my twice-monthly newsletter for KCRW public radio station and its audience of design and architecture enthusiasts. It contains news, musings and a round-up of "Design Things To Do." 

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Read latest and past issues by clicking on the links, below:

Traveling in Style, Wes Anderson Style

May 14, 2024:

Accidentally Wes Anderson (AWA), the exhibition (above), opens at Santa Monica Museum of Art; Design Things to Do: Design Miami.LA; Adam Moss talks about The Work of Art; Los Angeles: A Model City opens at A+D Museum; At Home in Venice: Houselessness & The Human Right To Housing In Los Angeles, an exhibition and talk by John Raphling; California Green Building Conference at the BeeHive; Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin talk with me at Helms Bakery District about the Atlas of Neverbuilt Architecture; Corrections and Collections, a conversation at the Wende Museum about architectures for art and crime, with me and author Joe Day; The Edge of Summer: Belonging in a Strange Land, Clockshop Celebration and Fundraiser, honoring Julia Meltzer; What I'm Digging: "Micro-forest” just planted at Santa Monica College; Sounds of Seeley, a music mix created by DJ Caviar; The Code, exquisite pop song wins Eurovision 2024.

Hello From the Old Country

April 30, 2024:

The 15-Minute City, a book by Carlos Moreno, is published as cities debate pedestrianization and other 15-minute city strategies; Design Things to Do: LEGENDS 2024 comes to the La Cienega Design Quarter, West HollywoodO-Launch Weekend, student graduation show at Otis College’s Los Angeles Campus; Design and build your Dream Front-Yard Plaza with John Kamp and James Rojas
Ontario Museum of History and Art; How To Save Your Favorite Building, a conversation about Reconciling Change With Continuity, hosted online by the Schindler House;
Victoria Lautman interviews Elizabeth Smith about the 1989 MOCA exhibition, Blueprints for Modern LivingDesign Miami comes to Los Angeles; Common Ground – Exhibition and sonic improvisation featuring artist Adam Silverman and Austin Antoine of Get Lit at the Skirball Cultural Center; What I'm Digging: "My Grandma’s Doilies are Not a Joke"; Adam Markovitz picks some of the best bridges in Los Angeles; Marc Mimram, French engineer, designs modern bridge for neoclassical Bath.

Ideas Still Bloom in an Architecture "Graveyard" 

April 16, 2024:

Architectural ideas are tested at Coachella festival (above, photo by Lance Gerber) and at "Poly Canyon" in San Luis Obispo, aka the "Architecture Graveyard." Design Things to Do: "Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak" opens at the Skirball Cultural Center; SCI-Arc's 2024 undergraduates present their thesis projects; Angel City Press writers on the cityscape join the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books; Flowers for Aline, flower arrangements by Ravi Gunewardena and other Sogetsu Ikebana masters installed at the Hollyhock House; Tim Street-Porter and author Annie Kelly talk with Victoria Lautman at the Neutra Office and sign books at Arcana; Potter Daniels Manor is the 2024 Pasadena Showcase House of Design. What I'm Digging: A mad cheese-rolling contest in Gloucestershire; "Lights Out, Texas" helps prevent migrating birds smash into towers; What's in a middle name?

Frank Gehry and Diller Scofidio + Renfro Build Again on Bunker Hill

April 3, 2024

Two new buildings are coming to Bunker Hill: the Colburn Center by Frank Gehry and a Broad museum expansion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Will they bring anything new to Grand Avenue? Design Things to Do: Suited Up! Thom Browne signs his new book at Arcana Books on the Arts; The Radical Practice Of James H. Garrott, Exhibition at the BAg Gallery; Tim Street-Porter and author Annie Kelly, in conversation with Victoria Lautman at Neutra Office; Fireplaces Photo contest, organized by NAHR;  CHIP, the Citywide Housing Incentive Program, seeks public input. What I'm Digging: The Mulkey Show, as explored by Vanessa Friedman; Kim Kardashian and Judd Foundation in furniture furor; SNL spoofs Tiny Desk Concert, and brings to mind the genius of Ruth Seymour.

AI, Design and a Royal Photoshopping Drama                                                                                         

March 19, 2024

AI: Can design companies survive without? Can designers survive with it? What can we learn from the Royal photoshopping drama? Design Things to Do: Hanging Toilets and Happy Families: a Book and a Talk about ADUs; Full Spectrum: Colour in Contemporary Architecture, SCI-Arc symposium; Breaking Ground: The Legacy of Women Landscape Architects, Pasadena; The Genius of the Place: The Life and Work of Geoffrey Bawa, private film screening, hosted by L.A. Forum; Anna Heringer, Donghia Designer In Residence Lecture and Reception; ED1: Friend or Foe?, a dialogue hosted by FORT: LA; What I'm Digging: American Fiction lampoons liberal expectations about Black writers; Sam Apple goes on a dog hotel odyssey with his Goldendoodle Steve; Paul Tough finds that his young son Max finds his peeps when he takes up Russian.
March 5, 2024

Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot attracts hundreds to Fear Not pop-up exhibit and talk honoring the heroic Alexei Navalny; Design Things to Do: Nowruz festival celebrates the spring equinox for the 14th year at UCLA; Deborah Murphy celebrated for her work raising awareness of pedestrian needs; Jack Rogers Hopkins: California Design Maverick exhibition opens at the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts; Oliver Furth talks about OP!, the book and the attitude, at Spring Market at PDC; Artificial Intelligence: Understanding the Impacts of AI in Design, under discussion at Spring Market at PDC, and then at Westside Urban Forum; Well at Work and ED1: Friend or Foe? coming up at Neutra Offices; What I'm Digging: Riken Yamamoto wins Pritzker Prize; Antoine Predock passes; RIP Iris Apfel, model for aging with gusto; dog in flowers at Frieze LA (above).

Surf the Curve of Nowness, as the Art and Design Palooza Comes to Town 
February 22, 2024

A federal preservation group pushes for more conversion of historic buildings to housing, as modeled in Awesome and Affordable; Design Things to Do: In Tune With Itself: Bennet Schlesinger has a show at Marta; Invisible Collection becomes Visible at Phillips Auction House; Fundraiser for MATERIAL Press and Neutra VDL; Launch party for Los Angeles Review of Architecture (LARA); The Art Juggernaut Arrives: Frieze Los Angeles/Felix/Perrotin/The Pit; What Does Water Want? Walking tour with artist Rosten Woo and Clockshop; Julius Shulman Prize for Jerald Cooper; What I'm Digging: Pets for Renters; Oceanwide Plaza Saga; Aluminaire House Illuminated.
February 6, 2024
The Aluminaire House comes to Palm Springs; Design Things to Do: Elena Manferdini and Claire Isabel Webb discuss AI and Art; ADUs Explained/Self-driving Tour; Galia Linn and Senon Williams at Emma Gray HQ; Shure Design Studio Gallery + Retail Space opens in Glassell Park; Valentine's Day tour of Venice Canals/Russell Brown at Modernism Week's CAMP; LA Art Show; Stories Untold at Modernism Week in Palm Springs; Introducing Indigenous Architecture; What I'm Digging: Women in a Rage/Griselda and Feud: Capote vs. the Swans; Men in Suits/Suits and Holdovers; Happy New Year, Emperor’s College

January 23, 2024
New pool grottoes blocked in Beverly Hills until the city builds affordable housing; Awesome and Affordable shows AH can be great. Design Things to Do: Electric Moons, a convo about LA streetlighting at A+R; Under The Influence with Langarita Navarro, and Jia Yi Gu at Gehry's Baldessari house; Art Iran and Power in Every Thread open at Craft Contemporary; UnHoused: A History of Housing in Santa Monica opens at Santa Monica Museum; Mayer Rus talks with Brett Woods and Joseph Dangaran at Leica Gallery; AI and Art, a conversation with Elena Manferdini and Claire Isabel Webb at the Italian Cultural Institute; What I'm Digging: Mob Wife Core; the reopening of Murrieta Springs; All Creatures Great and Small.

January 9, 2024 

Ruth Seymour Remembered; Design Things to Do:A talk about Common Ground with Los Angeles Planning History Group (LAPHG); Counter:image: Acres of Books in art walk in Downtown Long Beach; We Are Here: Imagining Space in the 21st Century at A+D Architecture + Design Museum; Electric Moons: Talk with author India Mandelkorn at A+R, Housing Vienna, coming up at the Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design; Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy; What I'm Digging: Murder at the End of the World; Ancient Elements of Cool; Cats and More Cats.

November 28, 2023 

The game of thrones at OpenAI; Design Things to Do: ASU asks what AI means for creativity (see public artwork by FreelandBuck, above); The Los Angeles Conservancy celebrates Linda Dishman as she leaves after 31 years; Architects gather for their annual AIA/LA design awards and the AWAF fundraiser featuring Sade Elhawary; Helena Arahuete talks about her own work following years with John Lautner, at Neutra's Silver Lake office; Lucas Reiner talks about trees of life at the Inglewood Cathedral exhibition; I sit down with Ann Weber at Wönzimer Gallery to talk about art and community amidst her solo exhibition; What I'm Digging: Furry rat-catchers, bird-saving glass, exercises for "radical attention."
November 7, 2023
Is "New Dork City" the answer to California's housing stalemate?; Design Things to Do: A+D Museum is back with a new home and fundraiser, KAOS Theory at Artform Studio and on Artbound film about Angel City Press, Common Ground at Construction Specifiers Institute, Design for Dignity at AIA/LA, David Netto at Arcana Books on the Arts, LAF hosts Under The Influence at Manola Court, It's About Time at Brand Library, Westedge Design Fair is back, Inglewood Cathedral at Arcane Space Gallery, Don't Call Me Ugly tour by LA Conservancy; What I'm Digging: "Lamb Mowers" in suburbia, Miranda on the Florentine Codex, Scott Power in convo with Prime and Man One.
October 24, 2023
Driven Angelenos and their future as California becomes a gerontocracy; Design Things to Do: Modeling Sound with Frank Gehry and Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on its twentieth birthday; Pictures in the Garden by Matt Wedel, at L.A. Louver gallery; Art in the Garden, by Chris Wolston, at Hotel Bel-Air; Judy Baca and artists paint another stretch of The Great Wall of Los Angeles, at LACMA; John Waters, Pope of Trash, on show at the Academy Museum; Hollywood Forever Cemetery adds the Gower Mausoleum and Columbarium; a "thereminist" named Armen Ra performs at Marta; What I'm Digging: the new no-brand Barnes & Noble; Bad Bunny in drag; the many accomplishments of Annie Philbin, including the latest Made in L.A., as she departs the Hammer Museum.

October 12, 2023:
Saving the Schindler House; Recalling Wayne Ratkovich, saver of fine buildings destined for the wrecking ball; Design Things to Do: The Beauty & Mischief of Blackman Cruz; Culver City Art Walk and Roll; Crossing Design Borders: A Conversation with Mark Rios; Dwell Time: Rose Lowinger talks with Carolina Miranda about her new memoir; Procession: Performances and Festival honor the history of the LA River; Crafty Fundraisers: FORT: LA at the Mosaic Mansion/Craft Contemporary to honor Suzanne Isken; What I'm Digging: Shetland TV series; Cold Plunges; Save Iconic Architecture.     
September 28, 2023
A riff on the topic as Simon Doonan's latest book Maximalism: Bold, Bedazzled, Gold, and Tasseled Interiors is published (Image above: staircase at Kips Bay Showhouse in NY, designed by Sasha Bikoff, photo by Nicholas Sargent); Design Things to Do: Darius Airo's work on show Casual Banter, at Face Guts; Parties to celebrate 102 Years of Nuestro Pueblo: The Watts Towers of Simon Rodia; The Good Future Design Alliance (GFDA) takes on Design Waste; Marina Otero and Liam Young in conversation at the Hollyhock House, at LA Forum's Under the Influence 002; OCMA First Anniversary Week of fun; What I'm Digging: Men Thinking About Rome; Philip Kennicott's brilliant take on A/C addiction; Five Places LA, featuring Shana Nys Dambrot and Laurie Lipton.

Live Long and Prosper!                                                                                                                        

September 13, 2023

The Nimoy, formerly The Crest Theatre, opens with Musil-designed murals revived; Design Things to Do: Derrick Adams: Come As You Are opens at the Gagosian Beverly Hills; Adaptive Reuse at the California Club; Close to the Edge closes with two fun events (a talk with Prime; a symposium with Sekou Cooke); A Wondrous World of new shows at LACMA; Delightful Houses discussed with FF&P; Gary Leonard talks at Los Feliz Library; What I'm Digging: Shopping lists in the 17th century; Monique Birault's Cromolyn Collection of lamps; a fab Reggio school in Madrid, Spain, that teaches sustainability without being preachy.

Commune with the DNA of Los Angeles                                                                                               

August 29, 2023

"Commune with the DNA of Los Angeles," says FORT: LA's Russell Brown as he captures Stilt Houses on Screen; the campaign to stop the Canyon Hills development as attitudes to land-use change; Beverly Hot Springs saved, for now; Design Things to Do: Alfredo Boulton at the Getty Center; Threading the Needle at Angel City Brewery; Solving the Puzzle of Adaptive Re-Use; Prime Time at Helms Bakery District; What I'm Digging: the anniversary of LA buses; a new playground at Nickerson Gardens; Zócalo's California-as-destroyer take on Barbenheimer; Falling Felines (and Sassy Chickens) delight.       

What a Load of Hot Air                                                                                                                            

August 9, 2023

The case for more passive cooling, less air conditioning. Trees saved in Beverly Hills. Design Things to Do: Teena Apeles writes about 52 Things to Do, and I reflect on getting around LA on the Metro, while Design Things to Do includes: Bossa Nova and Brazilian Design at Sossego, Printed Matter’s 2023 LA Art Book Fair, Dominique Moody's Sacred Studio, Multifamily Glam Walking Tour with Yours Truly. What I'm Digging: the news about a Renter's Caucus in Sacramento, Homeowners Fighting in The Owners, Rapper's Delight and Feline Figures.

Trouble in Paradise                                                                                                                                       

July 26, 2023

Is it Goodbye to Beverly Hot Springs? News: A beloved natural spa (in a delightful fake grotto) may be sacrificed to make way for new homes. Can't we have both? Design Things to Do: An Evening of Urbanism + Unearthing a Black Aesthetic; The Art of Ruth E. Carter; Interstellar Fun at Wende Museum; Black California Dreamin' at CAAM; Tiki Tales on Catalina. What I'm Digging: a "documentary" about NEOM; Swimming in the Seine; eating al fresco on the roof; and mourning the amazing Sinéad O'Connor.

From the Garden of Alla to Barbie's Dreamhouse

July 13, 2023

Goodbye William Kelly, beautiful man who co-created a beautiful place; more coverage of Common Ground and why we should care about the second stair; Design Things to Do: A conversation about Vertical Shared Access Reform; An Evening of Urbanism; the remarkable Alla Nazimova, her legendary home and hotel, and a play about her at Theatre West; Museum as Medium for photographer Elizabeth Gill Lui; Fun with cardboard at Rediscover; Barbie, the movie, promises a design fantasia; What I'm Digging: Old Glory, Outlander and anything that supports green canopy; and the Lincoln Lawyer.

A Journey around my Own City                                                                                                                     

June 29, 2023

Exploring the Regional Connector and the new public art; Design Things to Do: At LACMA, Women Defining Women in Contemporary Art of the Middle East and Beyond, Afro-Atlantic Histories, Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982 and Sam Francis and Japan: Emptiness Overflowing; ALL CHILL brings "ice cream with a mission" to Leimert Park; The Flower Show celebrates the artistic view of flowers by Alison Saar, David Hockney, Henri Matisse, the architect Thom Mayne and more. What I'm Digging: Loren & Rose and Dolly Lowe.

Close to the Edge                                                                                                                                        

June 15, 2023

Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip Hop Architecture, created by Sekou Cooke, comes to Helms Bakery District. If you are wondering if Hip Hop is a new architectural style, "how Hip-Hop Architecture is produced is more easily described than what it looks like,” says Cooke. Also, CicLAvia comes to South LA for Juneteenth; fabulous Oceanside Architecture is the topic of a conversation presented by FORT: LA at Sossego; LA Design Festival celebrates summer with "design for the people"; What I'm Digging: Donuts, the edible ones, and Doughnut, the economic theory. One Margherita.

What's so Special about Vienna?                                                                                                                

June 1, 2023

A look at "Red Vienna" and its social housing program that has captivated housing experts from California; Adaptive Reuse 2.0: the City of Los Angeles expands the ordinance allowing the conversion of offices into housing/Design Things to Do: Kellndorfer at Neutra VDL House; Last Remaining Seats; Hammer considers L.A.’s Housing Crisis, with KCRW’s Anna Scott; Pride Week; Male Edition: The Art of Men’s Style; Los Angeles Design Festival/What I'm Digging: Bureau des Legendes; books by Eleanor Catton. And cats. 

Gloria Molina, remembered                                                                                                                       

May 17, 2023 

Gloria Molina, remembered; protective trees both real and sculpted will memorialize murdered Chinese; Cassina opens supersize showroom; MyGBCE comes to SoLA Beehive; tarot card readings at the MAK Center and "collective care" at LA State Historic Park; California Photography Now at LA County Fair; Fun at Eurovision and Goodbye to Sumiko.

Staying Connected                                                                                                                                      

May 3, 2023  

A meditation on loneliness and housing and land-use, prompted by the Surgeon General's "National Framework" on rebuilding social connection; MADE in Beverly Hills celebrates old Hollywood glamor; try out “conceptual scents” at the LA Scent Fair at Craft Contemporary; Legends 2023 comes to LACDQ; ceramics "converse" at LACMA; AIA/LA opens the doors to (W)rapper (and a talk with Eric Owen Moss) and other buildings at ArchFest; spring shows open to the public at SCI-Arc and Otis College of Art and Design; The Diplomat and Birnam Wood are What I'm Digging.

Hot Tips for a Busy Week                                                                                                                          

April 18, 2023

A tribute to Mary Quant and her belief in the future; a “smog eating” mural is unveiled in East LA; Earth Day brings Seeding The City, a Climate Change conference and last sighting of Lauren Bon's Underland; the LA Times Festival of Book brings hundreds of authors and events to USC (including Yours Truly at the Angel City Press booth and on a panel about how to solve the housing crisis); MADE in Beverly Hills pulls lets people step over the threshhold of Hollywood landmarks including a tour of the swanky Trousdale Estates.

April Delights                                                                                                                                             

April 4, 2023 

The Georgian makes a comeback, with a nod to Santa Monica's "Bay City" days; rewilded gardens are on show for all to see; more about Seeding The City as it brings Fairy Gardens, wild animal drawing classes to Helms Bakery District; AIA/LA invites emerging and established firms to show their creativity in designing denser housing for Los Angeles; a preview of the designers who'll turn Coachella into a public art pop-up; the Battle of the Oranges and more on (W)rapper.

Look at Me                                                                                                                                                

March 21, 2023 

An argument for more "eyes on the train" as ridership drops on mass transit; a defense of Eric Owen Moss's "menacing cyberpunk" (W)rapper; a welcome to Bowie in the USSR at the Wende Museum; the PDC Spring Market; Design by Diversity Day, Small Infrastructures, Seeking Zohn, The Other Art Fair; Flowerboy Project/Sean Knibb's spectacular Digital Flowers, soon to go on show, up large, at Helms Bakery District.

News Galore                                                                                                                                            March 8, 2023 

David Chipperfield wins the Pritzker Prize; in Women's History month, a celebration of Marie Louise Schmidt, creator of the blockbuster -- and block-shaper! -- 1936 California House and Garden Exhibition; lessons from the demolition of Hotel Pennsylvania; Joe Osae-Addo back in LA; Clive Piercy on show; Puss in Boots a furry wonder.

Back in the Mix                                                                                                                                     

February 22, 2023

Designers Yves Behar and Sebastian Errazuriz debate A.I. and how much it will impact their creativity; art, furniture and art-furniture goes on show in cool spaces at the Cody House and a Marta installation; Samara Joy, M3GAN uncut, and the "scary" 15-minute city.

Hello, I'm Back                                                                                                                                         

February 7, 2023

Frieze and Modernism Week come to town; Livable Communities Initiative seeks ideas for the ideal street; designs for a Memorial to massacred Chinese people go in front of the public; in Black History Month, consider the semantics of African-American or Black?


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DnA Newsletters

What's so Special About Vienna? What Does Water Want? Which Way Oceanwide Plaza? Get answers to these questions and more in my twice-mon...