Valerie Green Devises “Devices”


Valerie Green’s “Left to My Own Devices” now at Moskowitz Bayse utilizes digital processing to create a unique and translucently layered series of dimensions based on photographs of photographs on computer screens, tablets, and smart phones.


Using a liquid lens cleaner, Green devices prismatic rainbows; re-photographing her own printed images, slicing and chopping them, she makes surreal and shredded images that appear fragmented and dreamlike.

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Green uses a grey computer screen, Photoshop editing processes, photographs of photographs, and tiny pieces of photographs to create her images, which are all about the layers.  Both surreal and abstract, these rainbow droplets and opaque and translucent surfaces reflect the technology of today in the soul eternal.

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“My pieces are about the translation from virtual space to 3D. I’ve made lots of different projects that led to this, but in this exhibition, the inspiration was with our hands and our devices, how interconnected they are, and how interconnected what we see in real life and what we see on a screen could be,” the artist relates.

  • Genie Davis, all photos: Jack Burke

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Day Two: Mountain High


Beautiful day in the snow dusted mountains, and of course a stop at Schatt’s bakery is mandatory. Try the English toffee. But don’t stop there: try the fresh baked, often warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies for sale at the Edison, one of the ML Film Fest’s venues.


Now let’s get to the films.

Shorts Block 2 began our film programming, with another eclectic mix of 8 films. The incredible animation matched the Elmore Leonard-esque v/o on the animated The Lingerie Show, a fresh cinematic short story well worth noting. Next up was the delightful comic tale of almost-adultery, The Truck. Below, the film’s charming screenwriter and producer Maryse Latendresse explained that the dryly comic near-sexual-liason was produced as part of a Canadian 72-hour filmmaking challenge project, and that the story line came out of her desire to, as a writer “write about the things we’d like to do but don’t do ourselves.”

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Below, Zach Strum and Micah Vassau director and writers of The Panty Symphonic, along with their music director and co-producer, explained the zany, anti-film-school approach to cinema in their surreal film – where a pair of magical panties creates a semi-feminist ideal, and involves a cellist, a last will and testament, and a man in a tutu in  a child’s swimming pool. The piece was shot on VHS, which was an interesting artistic choice. Speaking personally, while recognizing the element of craft the buzzy video medium added to the surrealist vibe,  the VHS medium was a bit of a distraction from an otherwise mysterious fairy tale set to music.


A standout: A Night in Tokoriki,  a Romanian love triangle with a twist, offered a fresh take on a 21st birthday celebration.  Lots of buzz around this one, which took awards at the Berlin film fest earlier this year.

Next up, the feature Baby Bump.  How to describe:  a Polish Pedro Almadovar-esque chronicle of the tribulations facing an 11 year old boy whose mom doesn’t want him to grow up, but puberty is happening all the same.  Visually arresting, somewhat surreal, and a universal insight into the mind of an 11 year old boy.

Playing with this film was the short Infinite Water, a delicious animation of pastel-drawn art created by CalArts grad Sunn Liang, below.


Last but not least, Beware the Slenderman from acclaimed doc director Irene Taylor Brodsky, below, with festival programmer Paul Sbrizzi.


Brodsky chronicles the horrific attempted murder of a 12-year-old girl by her two best friends who lured her into the woods to appease the demonic Slenderman, an internet myth. While the film postulates the internet as a possible cause for the crime, a source of psychological terror for two impressionable girls, the more interesting story is that one of the two perpetrators is schizophrenic, the other, who tested completely normal, an outlier who may or may not have sociopathic tendencies. A cautionary tale of urban myth, impressionable youth, and a judicial system intent on punitive consequences regardless of age, this is a compelling doc that is well worth a view.

The second full day of the fest leaves this impression: eclectic, cutting edge, interesting works that shape a persona for this still-new festival as the place to be to see cinema that is thought provoking and unique.  Viewing all the films on tap results in an experience unlike other festivals – a mix of genres and unusual and often surprisingly wonderful cinema that you won’t see anywhere else. Slenderman’s director said she looks forward to saying her film was at this well-curated festival when it was still small – and to participating again as it grows. So do we.




Garage Art:  West Hollywood Premieres Automated Garage and Community Plaza Artwork

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On Tuesday the 24th,  the city of West Hollywood held a Grand Opening celebration commemorating the completion of a new form of public art: a beautiful community plaza and an automated parking garage, both showcasing not only stellar space but site-specific art. Sleek, modern, and airy, the Automated Garage and Community Plaza represent the first municipal project of its kind on the west coast. The structure offers a 200-space parking garage and a 7,000-square-foot plaza – with stunning hand-painted murals located at four parking bays.

The murals were created by artists Art of Chase, MONCHO1929, Bronwyn Lundberg, and Kim West. Each piece is unique and vibrant. 

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In Parking Bay 1, Moncho 1929’s “Flight Plan” features soaring birds that are meant to represent the innovative tech and wonder of the automated garage itself;  his poetic murals have previously been archived with the Los Angeles Mural Conservancy.

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Parking Bay 2 features Kim West’s pastel “Untitled,” exquisitely floral, evoking butterlies, translucent sunsets, and abstract trees. Other works by west include a four story artwork graces the exterior of the new Huaster, Wirth, & Schimmel Gallery in DTLA.

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Parking Bay 3 features the witty work of The Art of Chase, “We Are All One,” a pop art cluster of eyeballs meant to represent diverse energies moving together. On the opposing wall is a merged symbol that represents the peace and love in West Hollywood’s inclusive history.

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And in Parking Bay 4, Bron’s “Business Park” visualizes colorful pop raptors wearing wigs and talking on cell phones, a delightful riff on business and culture. Adjoining is a Pterodactyl nicknamed Lizadactyl after Liza Minnelli. Both pieces reflect the roots of LA artist Bron, who is the co-founder of the pop art studio YoMeryl.

West Hollywood mayor Lauren Meister is justifiably excited by the art and the technology of the parking structure, located in an area that has long needed additional parking resources. “The technology is amazing,” she notes.

Councilman John D’Amico adds “It’s a clean, green, parking machine.”

The Automated Garage was designed by sustainable design architecture firm  LPA; the mechanical vehicle storage and retrieval system by Unitronics, and actual construction undertaken by T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc.

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Automated parking is an innovative solution to parking challenges, requiring a smaller physical footprint than a conventional parking structure with the same capacity. That space savings resulted in the ability to create the community plaza, and helps to support reduced CO2 emissions with less time idling or circling for parking spots – the equivalent of taking 92 cars off the road every year.  On the garage roof are photovoltaic solar panels that utilize sustainable material crafted from recycled grocery bags.

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But environmental friendliness isn’t the only cool thing about this garage. It features a large glass wall on the east side that allows those on the street below to watch the mechanical shuttles ferry vehicles in and out of parking bays. There’s also a fixed-art installation here created by artist Ned Kahn.  Kahn’s work, the beautiful “Net of Indra” is a grid of crystal spheres which reflect the moving mechanisms in the garage. It’s a perfect fusion of art and technology, and while a completely different piece, shares a common subject with Chris Burden’s mechanical car sculpture Metropolis II at LACMA in its reference to automotive culture and mechanical manipulation.

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The Community Plaza has a park-like feel with trees and benches. A stage provides a setting for community events and concerts. The plaza is home to a beautiful triptych art banner which is a collaboration by street artist MONCHO1929 and West Hollywood’s current City Poet, Steven Reigns. The project consists of three vinyl banners that are designed to express freedom and motion, both captured in a single moment in time. The fluid nature of the artwork includes the incorporation of Reigns’ poem “Morning, West Hollywood” in the background of the piece, with the poems’ lines “Everyday we wake up, a brilliant and creative people in a beautiful city, our past and present intersecting, illuminated, full of promise and possibility.” Images include vibrant birds symbolizing hope and freedom – hummingbird, parakeet, sparrow – each expressing the diversity of people and the freedom of choice in the community’s culture.

Both garage and plaza make wonderful showcases for West Hollywood’s commitment to sustainable living and their ongoing community-focused cultural planning. They’ll be on display at the plaza’s first concert event on June 26th, a performance by jazz musician Jennifer Leitham – not to be missed.

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival: Intimate and Exciting


The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is entering its sophomore year with a wonderful, eclectic selection of films and intimacy as refreshing as the crisp Mammoth Mountain air. We’ve been enjoying views of the recently snow-dusted peaks (yes, in May) along with three film offerings on the fest’s first full day.



First up: Shorts Block One featured 5 cutting edge short subjects. Above and below the female duo behind The Emily & Ariel Show,  a fast moving, witty combination of stop-motion puppetry and live action depicting a night between 20-something friends.  Visually arresting.


Below, fest programmer and Slamdance alum Paul Sbrizzi asks questions in Q &A’s refreshingly run right after each short with attending filmmakers.  No more mass questions at the end of the program – these immediate sessions provided a lot of insight into the making of the films.




Below, director Adrian Geyer discusses Tisure,  my favorite of the shorts viewed so far, an incredibly poetic take on a relationship, set in a vast, natural setting in the hills of Venezuela. The remote location, which Geyer said took 8 days on horseback to reach, was discovered while he was researching a feature-length documentary. This beautiful short serves as both a fictional imagining of the early life of his documentary subject, and a completely immersive, experiential rumination on the fragile construct of human life and the awesome and fearsome timelessness of nature. Don’t miss.


The filmmaker shot on 5D, but the look is that of classic widescreen film.


Below, Got a Girl director Isaac Blade.  A witty study of relationships, this short played before a feature presentation later in the evening. Blade spoke on the collaborative process behind his project, and the strong use of music in a lively and truly fun film.  Blade, who fine tuned this perfectly crafted love story for nearly a year,  is already at work on his first feature project.


And now the features:

Atlan is a simply terrific Iranian documentary that takes on a “man and his horse” story that stuns with its visual images and moves with its presentation of a Turkman horse trainer and his beloved but intensely stubborn horse, Ilhan. The title refers to a phrase its protagonist learned as a small child just beginning to speak “Mount a horse and depart.” Another must-see.

Mad is a narrative first feature by director/writer Robert G Putka, who while he was unable to join the audience in person, nonetheless participated in  a post-screening Q & A via iPhone. This family dramedy features wonderful performances by two estranged daughters and their just-past-a-nervous-breakdown, bi-polar mother. The “fun” is definitely in dysfunctional here,  as are plenty of poignant moments.

The fest also hosted a happy hour at the official accommodation of this 5 day event, Sierra Nevada Resort and Spa. It was a truly enjoyable beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres gathering that allowed attending filmmakers, attendees, and press to mingle and discuss their work. The resort, by the way, is gorgeous.

So far, the fest has lived up to its founder, Shira Dubrovner’s wishes that the programming be thought-provoking and the atmosphere unpretentious. We look forward to tomorrow’s films – and if you have free time this Memorial Weekend,  consider a drive to the mountains.




  • Genie Davis; All Photos: Jack Burke