Woman in calavera face paint during Día de los Muertos | Photo from "Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead" ABs10

Monomania L.A.: Ernest Marquez and Rancho Boca de Santa Monica

Through a series of short films and articles, Monomania L.A. profiles five L.A. as Subject collectors who have turned a monomaniacal obsession with a particular aspect of Southern California history into a public resource. These collectors have documented disparate subjects -- the California orange, sci-fi reading circles, political graphics, a Mexican rancho, African American photographers -- but their stories share one thing in common: a passion for history that has enriched our understanding of Southern California's past.

In this land of newcomers and transplants, Ernest Marquez can trace his California lineage back further than most. Born in 1924 on land that the Mexican government granted to his great-grandparents in 1839, Marquez has devoted much of his life to documenting a family history that began in 1771, when his great-great-grandfather Francisco Reyes arrived here as a soldier in the Spanish army.

"I went to the library and got history books about Santa Monica and Los Angeles and couldn't find anything about our rancho in them," Marquez told us. "The historians completely ignored our family and our rancho for some reason. If there was some mention of it, there might have been a paragraph or two."

But Marquez wanted more. So he set out on a decades-long quest to piece together his family's history. He sent away to the National Archives for the Land Commission records on Rancho Boca de Santa Monica, the 6,656-acre land grant his great-grandfathers Ysidro Reyes and Francisco Marquez received in 1839. He scoured the region's archival collections for information about his ancestors.

Eventually, he began writing a narrative history of his family. Naturally enough, he wanted to illustrate his history with photos from Southern California's rancho period.

And in the process, a new collection was born.

"I discovered there weren't any [photos from the rancho period], but along the way I found these other images of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach," Marquez said.

One photo became two; two became two hundred; and ultimately Marquez amassed a trove of 4,600 rare photos of historical Southern California, with an emphasis on the Santa Monica Bay shore.

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Día de Los Muertos / Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos has been adapted for centuries from its pre-colonial roots to the popular depictions in mass media today. Inspired by rich Oaxacan traditions, it was brought to East Los Angeles in the 1970s as a way to enrich and reclaim Chicano identity through a small celebration at Self Help Graphics and Art. Since then, the celebration has grown in proportions with renditions enacted in communities all around the world.

  • 2019-10-17T06:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-10-20T10:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-10-23T20:00:00-07:00
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How Sweet The Sound: Gospel In Los Angeles

Gospel music would not be what it is today if not for the impact left by Los Angeles in the late '60s and early '70s, a time defined by political movements across the country. Artists like James Cleveland and Aretha Franklin captured live recordings of the church experience of South Central and the voices and sentiment of the people coming together to give birth to a new gospel sound and the election of L.A.’ s first black mayor, Tom Bradley.

  • 2019-10-24T06:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-10-27T10:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-10-30T20:00:00-07:00
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Jeffrey Deitch's Los Angeles

The charming, unusual and at times polarizing Jeffrey Deitch left Los Angeles in 2013 after a tumultuous run as the director of MOCA ending in his resignation. He makes his return with a new gallery opening with the first LA exhibit of renowned Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. A behind-the-scenes look at the contemporary art world through the eyes of a legendary art dealer and curator.

  • 2019-10-31T06:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-11-03T09:00:00-08:00
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  • 2019-11-06T19:00:00-08:00
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Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience

From the iconic typeface of “The Godfather” book cover to Herman Miller’s Noguchi table, the influence of Japanese American artists and designers in postwar American art and design is unparalleled. While this second generation of Japanese American artists have been celebrated in various publications and exhibitions with their iconic work, less-discussed is how the World War II incarceration — a period of intense discrimination and hardship — has also had a powerful effect on the lives of artists such as Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita and Gyo Obata.

  • 2019-11-07T05:00:00-08:00
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  • 2019-11-10T09:00:00-08:00
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Heath Ceramics: The Making of a California Classic

"Artbound" looks at the dinnerware of Heath Ceramics and a design that has stood the test of time since the company began in the late 1940’s. Through the writings of Edith Heath, the founder and designer of Heath Ceramics and voiced by renowned chef Nancy Silverton, this episode explores the groundbreaking work of a woman who created a classic of American design.

  • 2019-11-13T19:00:00-08:00
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  • 2019-11-14T05:00:00-08:00
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