Fantastic Art Auction at Lyme Away Fundraiser

Copy of Nicole for flyer

March 19th 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. – save the date. Lyme Away: Help Nicole Saari Win the Fight Against Late Stage Lyme Disease

The beautiful art you see throughout this article are just some of the incredible pieces donated by artists for this event. 

Fundraiser Kristine Augustyn Heavenly Bodies $250

LA area residents, we invite you to a free art party/birthday celebration and most importantly of all, fundraiser, at The Neutra Museum Gallery at 2379 Glendale Blvd. in Silver Lake. There will also be delicious home-made Mexican food, store-bought cake :), cocktails, wine, and beer.

Fundraiser Susan Lizotte Mercury $900

The goal: to help raise funds for young mom and songwriter Nicole Saari’s treatment for Late Stage Lyme Disease — Nicole is the daughter of this ezine’s publisher, Genie Davis.

Fundraiser Robyrn Allatore Inverted Nipple $900 start $150
The event will feature an incredible collection of local artists, along with food, drink, music, silent auction items, and plenty of fun. Neutra curator Dulce Stein’s birthday is the 18th, and Genie’s is the 20th – and in lieu of gifts or lunches, we want YOU to come check out the fun, buy some art or a silent auction item, have a few drinks and dinner! 

Fundraiser Tracey Weiss

We have some absolutely incredible art donated by a wide range of wonderful artists – each of whom will be featured here in upcoming weeks. But of course, if you have art to donate, we would love, love, love to include your work, too.

Fundraiser Bibi Davidson Don't Tell Anyone $450

Please come and enjoy the evening, and if you’re not in LA but want something awesome to hang on your walls, please reach out – online purchases can be made, and careful shipping accomplished.

Fundraiser Aline Mare Darker Matters value $500 start at $150

Donations can also be made at

Fundraiser Diane Cockerwill Stairway to heaven $200 bid $125

In Nicole’s own words: “I have a dangerous combination of tick-borne infections that have become chronic and incredibly difficult to treat – severely weakening my immune system and affecting every part of my body. Without knowing it at the time, a tick bite on a backpacking trip six years ago caused me to become infected with Lyme disease and the co-infections Babesia (a parasite) and Bartonella (a bacteria). For some people, typical presentation does not immediately occur and these illnesses can slowly wreak havoc destroying health over the course of years, as was the case for me. Due to my now compromised immune system, I also have a deeply rooted chronic staph infection called MARCONS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci), a digestive bacterial imbalance called SIBO, multiple types of mold (yes, mold) colonization within my body, Candida enteritis – a chronic fungal infection in my digestive system and other areas (which also tested positive for an unusual resistance to most typical therapies), as well as severe allergies which now require me to carry an Epi-Pen. Although I still look OK, these illnesses have at this point left me disabled in a plethora of ways, as I continue to lose strength and the ability to power through my day as time goes on. I can no longer hike, surf, dance, take long walks, or do many of the things I love best. Even playing my instruments for too long results in painful hand cramps. The scariest part is that it will only continue to get worse if left without prompt and proper treatment.

Fundrasier Dani Dodge Shared Grace 300 bid 75

Chronic Lyme patients can develop fatal cardiac infections, brain damage, increased risk for cancers and more. Symptoms change and spike in severity giving me some good days where though I don’t feel well I can push myself hard to do things and other days where I can’t get out of bed at all.To give you an idea of what this is like, just a few of the symptoms I battle with include: insomnia that prevents me from sleeping more than a few hours without interruption (even with medication), severe bone and joint pain, crippling fatigue, speech problems that come and go, nerve pain, difficultly breathing at times (which has forced me to carry an inhaler), painful rashesand itching (especially in sensitive areas,) memory loss, feeling “foggy” all the time, low white blood cell count, digestive hormonal imbalance, depression, anxiety, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, hypothyroidism, menstrual pain and abnormal cycles, muscle twitches and cramps, inability to heal fully from injury, severe and longer lasting infections from other ordinary illnesses, and more.My health is quickly getting worse and it is imperative that I start treatment as soon as possible. Considering the complexity of the situation, I’m seeing a leading specialist on tick-based infections who will craft a custom treatment plan to tackle everything in the best way possible, step by step. Unfortunately, this condition is not yet recognized by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and as such, we’ve been told that little to none of the treatments are likely to be covered by insurance.

Fundraiser Robert Costantza untitled

While we plan to pursue every resource and assistance program at our disposal, the treatments and medications could cost more than $1,000 a week upfront, and the doctors have told us it will take at least two years to beat this. Due to the difficulty of diagnosing this particular set of illnesses, we’ve exhausted our limited savings just getting to this point, so we are hoping and praying for your support. You truly can help save my life – every donation helps, no matter how small, as does sharing this page with your family, friends, and colleagues.Thank you so much for your time, your love, and all your support and generosity. Any help whatsoever that you can provide is truly a miracle and a blessing to our family!”

Fundraiser Dwora Fried Las Mayas $450 Fundraiser Chuka Susan Chensy Blue Marilyn $400, $150 bid Fundraiser Alana Marcelletti Fundraiser Terry Holzman Sailors Delight $75 value $35 start Fundraiser Samuelle Richardson Fundraiser Frederika Beesemeyer Roader Eaton Canyon July Afternoon $250 Fundraiser Glenn Waggner Bad Directions Value $150, bidding $100 Fundraiser Kate Carvellas What Goes Around $300 open $100


The Indefatigable Dulce Stein


It’s rare that the DiversionsLA tag line of “art, food, fun…” etc. gets used in one story, but that would be the case here, at a vibrant dinner hosted by Dulce Stein, curated at The Gallery Presents in Hawthorne. The Gallery Presents will be a memory by the end of this month, urban renewal taking its toll for now on the South Bay art scene.

However, Stein, above second from the left, and flanked by chef Leo Munoz on her left,  with the lovely kitchen helper and server (as well as artist and musician) Elisa Garcia on the far right, will keep on bringing art, cultural experiences, and plenty of fun to artists and art lovers throughout the Southland at other venues from Silver Lake to Manhattan Beach.


DiversionsLA was included in a beautiful dinner of traditional Mexican cuisine as part of the closing for Stein’s The Frida Show.


Above, Stein with Munoz, who created Sabor Mexicano soul-full food that included a rich Sopa Tarasca, a fragrant bean-based soup from Mexico’s Michoacan; Mole de ciruela con Guajolote y arroz al cilantro – or turkey in plum mole, which for vegetarians was replaced with a delightful zucchini-based stew, Calabacitas Poblanas. Main dishes were followed by bread pudding with fruit, known as Capirotada. Served alongside were homemade horchata, Agua de Jamaica aka hibiscus tea, and sangria.

Below, a tribute to the artists who contributed to both The Frida Show and The Boobs Exhibit, both hung at the gallery and providing a terrific backdrop to a dinner fit for a Frida.

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Above, artist Vicki Barkley.


An installation piece recreating Frida’s bedroom, above, created by Janet Gonzalez.

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Above, photographer Fred Prinz gets the front-of-the-camera treatment.


DiversionsLA author with artist Charisse Abellana-Williams

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Above, artist Gabriela Malinalxochitl Zapata.

Below, music by The Furious Seasons, whose dynamic playing set the mood for a lively evening. f23c1134 f23c1141 f23c1142 f23c1148 f23c1155 f23c1158 f23c1159 f23c1162 f23c1163

So here is a toast to Stein and her creative team – a delightful evening of art, music, and food – and most of all to a spirit that keeps on keepin’ on. You’ve seen the word that best describes this prolific curator in its most proper context: indefatigable.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke

A Clandestine History of Art: Robyn Alatorre


Above, artist Robyn Alatorre.

Powerful, incisive, and stimulating, you can’t keep a good history of art clandestine for long.


A Clandestine History of Art is a tour de force for Robyn Alatorre, a fascinating exhibition up now through August 28th at the Neutra Gallery in Silver Lake. Curated by Dulce Stein, Alatorre’s show serves up over 30 works that are provocative and fascinating. The accomplished artist flips art history on its head with a dash of surrealism, adult content, and vibrant imagination that results in a feverishly passionate exhibition.



Alatorre describes her art work as a “mirror which reflects a point of view, an interpretation of the history of art itself…a translation of reality seen through traditional techniques and styles.”


The artist says that her original intent is to “distort, through the shifting of perceptions, reality. In my work, there is something above and beyond sincerity — it is a truth defying element,  which can be interpreted as authentic, or pleasing, or beautiful, but is really a parody of perception.”


How to describe Alatorre’s work here? A convention defying alternative history of art without chronology, where ideas are exchanged across time periods, and icons created centuries apart interact as part of the same narrative. Whether pairing Freudian symbolism within a Baroque era painting or a cherub exalting the miracle of modern pharmaceuticals, it may be history, or it may be our ability to see beyond the limited planes of this existence that are changed.


Alatorre’s  surreal paintings whimsically and provocatively combine the styles and subject matter of past art movements with commercial objects from our contemporary world, creating new scenarios that are both delightful and disturbing.

“This is work that I’ve accumulated for five years,” Alatorre says of her exhibition. “what I’ve been doing is looking at Renaissance and Baroque art and style, connecting the past with contemporary and pop culture. I try to put a little twist in everything. The titles of my paintings express the themes.”


Her more recent works have shifted beyond the complex and detailed Renaissance style she has embraced and become more minimalistic. “I deconstruct the image, separating it out. I’m trying to work in details beyond the subject matter.”


Nipples are one such focus of detail. “I decided on nipples because of my grandson. Seeing him as a baby, nursing, it just struck me what a ridiculous idea it is to sexualize a nipple.”


Her intense nipple closeups are actually of the male anatomy. “You might assume it is female, but that is simply perception.”


Alatorre has also altered the content of recent paintings by working on different surfaces, such as wood panels, steel, and titanium as well as canvas.

“Oils are my main medium, but I’ve experimented with working in steel and wood, trying to pick subject matter that will go along with the form,” she attests.  Her very newest piece, “#100 Happy Days” allowed the artist to utilize spray paint for the first time.

Alatorre’s richly detailed approach carries from her elaborate Renaissance-style pieces to her deconstructed works.

She is in love with the sensual, the gothic, the mythological in her works, many of which have a dark luster.

“I love Caravaggio and Titian, and my color choice stems from there. And as far as subject matter, most of my art has a political or feminist theme that celebrates the power of maternity and procreation,” she asserts.

Mixing mythology, Alatorre takes on the modern worship of medicine with
“Pharmakeia,” featuring a cherub with obvious religious connotations.


She takes on commercial work such as the bright yet bland seascapes of Robert Wyland, or brings Freudian orgasm to the forefront of her “Alpha” piece that riffs on “Leda and the Swan,” above.

“Alpha” companion piece, “Beta,” depicts the Christ child in a cosmos that acknowledges the sexual part of procreation.

Her “Strange Tricks my Sea Monkeys Learned,” based on a Caravaggio painting, was one of her first pieces taking a well-known work and updating it, both trivializing aspects of it and and making a piece more powerful than the original.


“Canto VI from Dante’s Inferno” depicts the sixth circle of hell – gluttony. “It’s based on a Facebook piece my daughter posted, in which she and a friend ate too much ice cream.  The words seen are the text from Dante’s work, discussing gluttony as a sin.

“I want people to be drawn to my art because of color and subject matter -and I want them to be drawn in order to change their minds about what I’m saying the more time they spend looking at my work. My goal is to engage the viewer to stay with the paintings through humor, political statements, and visual appeal,” Alatorre relates.


Opening night featured performers in purple and green body stockings circling the exhibition to compliment the colors of her paintings and pull viewers immediately and dynamically into the surreal aspects of the show.


Above, curator Dulce Stein, right, with Kristine Augustyn.

The closing, August 28th from 3 to 6 p.m., includes an artist talk with Alatorre and DiversionsLA.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Jack Burke

15 Cubic Years – Artwork of Robert Costanza



Above, artist Robert Costanza

Robert Costanza has done an incredibly brave and beautiful thing. He’s laid out his life’s work in his artwork on the walls of the Neutra Institute Gallery and Museum in Silver Lake.  The show is closing this weekend, July 3rd, and it’s a don’t-miss event.

15 Cubic Years follows the artist’s spiritual, artistic, and life journey, intimately revealing his trials and tribulations, successes, and failures.

“Initially it was going to be called ‘From the Darkness to the Light,’ because of the new, more spiritual direction my work was taking. I was looking at art as a spiritual path. I was hoping it would inspire artists to be inspired into evolution,” Coastanza relates.

Settling on 15 Cubic Years as a title, the works are less an exhibition than a connected portal through time. It revels in ideas and themes about connectivity and power: human, electric, steam, new technology. His engineering and teaching skills are as much a part of Costanza’s work as is his artistic skill. Connected, indeed.

At the event’s opening June 18th, Costanza’s work was punctuated, much as his personal life is, by meditation and music. Below, the Om Shakti Family.


Curated by Dulce Stein, this wildly exciting and highly kinetic exhibition traces 15 years of the artist’s life and art. Paintings, mixed-media, installations, and a video experience lead viewers around the ample gallery space to absorb Costantza’s witty, science-laced, and meditative works. The exhibition itself moves in a linear fashion, from Costanza’s early educational experiences to working in aerospace, a focus on meditation, an entering into the light of a more human and humane worldview.  Note: the works depicted here in this article are not presented chronologically.


A fascination with science and the spiritual, not a dichotomy to Costanza, runs through the exhibit. Above, Costanza’s sculpture “Returning Jurassic.” This piece is also an attempt to create steam using heat generated from the heat of a jet engine. The assemblage used both gas and liquid fuel sources – but not in this exhibition. The piece stands on its own though, as a sculptural work even without the creation of “real” energy. The art’s energy speaks for itself.


The artist’s fascination with the electrification of cities and homes carries throughout his work. He’s buried copper wire under layers of pigment, earth, and gesso and induced current through the wires, taking him 1.5 years to create a literally searing early work.  He’s utilized actual power poles for installations and stage sets. Above, this theme is carried in a hyper-realistic work edged with the abstract and surreal in both form and function.


Above, a depiction of Costantza’s experience “moving from the vacuum of a nuclear family into the educational system.” Rote learning and the subjugation of the mind produced little of the energy that fascinates the artist. Rather it was a negative energy space from which his personal positivity later sprang.


Wires, grids, power, energy. Connections.


Below, a video detailing the process of “stream entry” using Vipassana meditation. Costanza learned to create videos on his Mac for a crowdfuding campaign, wherein he pledged to upload this second, enlightening video.


Costanza has worked on and off in the aerospace industry for years. He has termed himself “mesmerized” by  the “visual aesthetics” of systems built and used.


“The book that changed everything for me was mastering the core teachings of the Buddha through Theravada Buddhism. If done correctly there are four awakenings,” Costanza relates. Theravada Buddhism is one of two great schools of Buddhist doctrine, one which emphasizes personal salvation through one’s own efforts.

The dynamic of “repulsion and attraction” that the artist feels for the intellectual and literal power grid, is very evident below, as he’s dropped in and out of the industry.


And the bliss continues. “I taught a class on meditation last summer to prepare people for a retreat. I can help people prepare and go deeper. I’m doing this show to get a direction forward. My older stuff is darker, my newer stuff lighter. I’m ready for a new transition, but it’s not crystal clear yet where it’s coming from. Maybe it’s a balance of the two extremes.”


Costanza has started a company, Rocket Buddha, which creates artistic, meditative T-shirts. This may be a new direction.

But the heart of his work? “Assemblage,” the artist says.

And in a way, every piece in this show and every step Costanza takes is an assemblage – of varied techniques and moments that have come before, follow after, and exist only in the present, in viewers’ artistically electrified eyes.

Let’s continue the metaphor. Costanza’s work is electrifying.

Go get connected. Sunday’s closing runs from 5 to 10 pm. At 7:30, Costanza will create a performance that supports this quote: “Is it not an ethical imperative and challenge to create situations that mock, question, interrupt, undermine and subvert the continuum of progress that keeps (catastrophic) things going?” Victor Zamunio-Taylor

Neutra Institute Gallery & Museum is located at 2379 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90039

  • Genie Davis; All Photos: Jack Burke