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Beastie Boy Mike D.'s art festival closes with huge turnout; includes Adam 'MCA' Yauch fans

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, May 07, 2012, at 11:11AM

This display by Ben Jones was a festival favorite -- especially for kids.

Beastie Boy Mike Diamond's audio visual art festival, "Tranmission LA: AV Club" closed Sunday at DTLA's Geffen Contemporary, with an outpouring of patrons who wished to see the dynamic show before it was gone -- and who had Diamond's late bandmate Adam "MCA" Yauch fresh on their minds.

Robert McKinley co-designed the show with Diamond and said that Yauch's death did have an impact on the weekend's turnout.

"The mood definitely was a little more somber but extremely respectful," said McKinley, "and I think people have come and in their own way remembered MCA and his influence on…this."

The Beastie Boys are "like family" with each other McKinley said, and have all heavily influenced one another. McKinley said he spoke with Diamond Sunday morning, and the beastie boy had recalled how Yauch taught him the importance of details and fine-tuning -- qualities that were immensely helpful in building the "Transmission L.A." show.

"Im sure a lot of Adam's [Yauch] spirit is here as well," said McKinley.

The multi-week art festival was a playground of audio and visual experiments that included hypnotizing, spinning, circular pinwheels and animated projections that lit up entire rooms. The pieces were all- encompassing, engaging and interacted with viewers on multiple levels.

"Its amazing. It's so great," said Little Tokyo resident Patti Ibanez. "I just love the diversity of it and how fun it is and spontaneous it is -- it feels like New York in L.A. for a little bit."

Ibanez said that although she was "really upset" by Yauch's death announced last week, she had planned on attending the show since it was first announced.

Aggy Lejeune, from Los Angeles via London, said all the audio visual projects were "fantastic" but his favorite part was the coffee bar -- "even though the boats weren't working."

The pop-up coffee shop was surrounded by a water moat (which usually carried boats), and strings of lights decorating the top and sides of the caged-in area. McKinley designed the bar and said that by putting it next to the sound system and the leather couches, they aimed to create a "nucleus" and "intermission" spot for festival-goers.

The bar was a "combination of art and functionality that we wanted to have," said McKinley.

Other highlights included the urban/ethereal art of Sage Vaughn which combined black and white images with colorful swarms of butterflies, and a re-imagined Popeye video cartoon that depicts the Spinach-eating sailor having an emotional breakdown after the death of his wife Olive Oyl and their child.

Before the exhibit began, Diamond told blogdowntown that he hoped the festival would be a "place for confluence"; a spot for hanging out, interacting and spending quality time -- not just looking at art.

"It'll bum me out if people just go once and they check it off their list," Diamond said.

On Sunday, his goals seemed to be realized: Outside the exhibit, people soaked up the sunny afternoon on the rainbow-colored picnic benches -- inside, they sat and listened to the sounds of DJ Peanut Butter Wolf.

Hanging near the "Transmission LA" entrance was a large Mercedes-Benz emblem serving a double dose of symbolism. While the luxury car company sponsored the event, the Mercedes icon is also what the Beastie Boys became known for stealing and wearing around their necks in their younger days.


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