Los Angeles

Around the Counties: A Glance at L.A. County Arts with Oliver Wang

Los Angeles Sunset by Waltarrrrr.jpg

Today on Around the Counties columnist Oliver Wang weighs in on L.A. County arts. The professor and DJ tells us about his favorite art space, the trend he see's occurring among local record stores and shares some details about a special project he is working on. Interested in attending a weekend basketball event featuring The Fung Brothers and a special guest DJ? Read to the end to find out more about the Saturday event Wang recommends for you this week.

What makes Los Angeles County so attractive?

Its size and complexity offers myriad opportunities and pursuits. I don't blame people who come here for a weekend and think L.A. is terrible. It's not the kind of city or region you can "take in" or get an appreciation for in just a few days. You have to really embrace and understand that its sprawl and size - as annoying as it is to traverse - is also why there's so many different pockets of people and culture that are able to flourish here.

Great Los Angeles Walk. | Photo: Waltarrrrr/Flickr/Creative Commons License

What are some of your favorite art venues in L.A. County? Why do you particularly enjoy them?

Since I'm not into what most people conventionally label as "art," I spend far more time in bookstores and record stores than galleries or museums. So if I had to choose amongst those, I definitely have affection for The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A. since it combines BOTH books and records in a great space. I could spend hours there.

The Last Bookstore. | Photo: Bryan Frank/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Can you tell us about a project you're working on outside of Artbound?

I'm currently revising a book on the Filipino American mobile DJ scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's based on research I began in graduate school and will come out on Duke University Press.

Oliver Wang. | Photo: Farah Sosa.

Do you see any art trends in Los Angles County?

I've seen an interesting trend amongst record stores who are borrowing the term "curation" to apply to collections they have available for sale. That includes Strictly Grooves in Highland Park and Touch Vinyl in West L.A. I don't know if this is pure gimmick or something that will catch on but it's a curious attempt at bridging the cachet of the term "curated" to another realm of cultural object.

Can you recommend an art event to the Artbound audience that's taking place this weekend?

I noticed that one of the people I first wrote about for ArtBound, the Fung Brothers, will be at this weekend's 3-on-3 Asian Hoop Fest, along with DJ Icy Ice (a Filipino American DJ). Plus food trucks (another topic I've written about in the past). I feel like I'm almost obliged to go to this!

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Top Image: Los Angeles Sunset. | Photo: waltarrrrr/Flickr/Creative Commons License

About the Author

Melody Soto is a journalist living in the San Fernando Valley.
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