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Beastie Boy Mike D.'s Downtown art festival attracts hundreds

By Andrew Lopez
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012, at 10:24AM
Ashley Myers-Turner/KPCC

Discussing the art of Jim Drain & Ara Peterson, guests walk through the installation of spinning spirals.

"Transmission LA: AV Club” opened its doors at the The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo Thursday night to hundreds of people looking for a sneak peek.

The project, conceived and curated by Mike D. of the Beastie Boys, integrates art, music, coffee bars and even a makeshift bookstore into one large space in Downtown.

David Jacob Kramer of a bookstore called Family, said he joined the project after Diamond, who's a frequent visitor to his store, e-mailed him about the project. As it turns out, Kramer has worked with several of the artists being featured at AV Club.

"It was kind of a very fortuitous moment for everyone," Kramer said. "It just so happened that everyone involved was kind of already friends."

One of the more popular pieces of the exhibit was the artwork of Ben Jones, which delighted and slightly dazed people as they walked through a dark passageway that looked like a light show stolen from the set of "Tron."

The passageway led to a staggering video game animation which created the illusion of speeding down a desert road into a city, as the sun and moon rose and smiled from time-to-time. The animation covered every inch of the room and dozens of people poured in, taking pictures and admiring the playfulness of the scene.

Another hit was a colorful, moving installation called "Pinwheels," created by Jim Drain and Ara Peterson. The wheels, each with its own unique blend of vivid colors, moved at different speeds and stood at different heights on the walls, creating a dream-like atmosphere as people walked past.

This pre-opening night also proved to be extremely busy for the coffee bar, which served up strong shots of espresso to 10 people at a time.

Santigold, a singer and songwriter who fit in well with the spirit of the event, enthralled the crowd with her live performance and her ability to blend elements of pop, new wave, reggae and hip-hop.

At one point, she invited a handful of audience members on stage to dance as she performed. Hector Rocha was one of those few, and he was ecstatic about it.

"All of the sudden she asked, 'who wants to dance with me?'" Rocha said. "Five seconds later I'm on stage dancing.

"It was amazing, the best experience ever," he added.

When Diamond spoke with blogdowntown last month, he said he wanted the exhibit to be a "place for confluence."

So, did opening night leave people wanting more?

For Marsha Brady, the answer was "absolutely."

"You did want to linger, but you know, you always felt like you should go and see the next thing," Brady said. "Of course you have to come back."

"Transmission LA: AV Club" runs until May 6. Hours can be found at the MOCA website.


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