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Pop-Life: Why Melrose Avenue is a Mecca for Graffiti Writers

Nachos soaked in thick, salty cheese, primed for the late night, were ready to be grabbed. Steam escaped from the taco trucks that lined the block, enclosing the action like a barricade. Clouds of Nag Champa incense serenely bowed to the bitter scent of Krylon spray paint, crawling from the electric mural until it enveloped spectators in a foggy haze. As the pristine, laced-up sneakers glided along the concrete canvas, a photographer perched nearby to capture photos. The artist smiled, motioning to the ground. The photographer quietly grinned, acknowledging the code. Pictures taken of a muralist should be captured from the jeans down. Exposing the identity of a street artist in the media could have fatal consequences, particularly if they're a member of the covert graffiti crews that infiltrate the underground. Street crews are responsible for some of the un-commissioned and therefore illegal murals on Melrose in Los Angeles. While these artists were commissioned for the night, some of the same people art bomb un-commissioned spaces. Spectators huddled in corners to watch the live art unfold at the FAME Festival.

Peppered with jewelers, crafters and emerging artists showcasing and selling their work, the monthly FAME Fest pop-up event occupies two spaces. Artists whose pieces sell for an upwards of $5000 are given space inside of the spiritually themed Ethos Gallery on the strip. Painters and crafters with work starting at $100 set-up shop in the adjacent parking lot facing Fairfax High School. Fairfax is home to the district's only public visual arts magnet program. The venue is also situated near the legendary Canter's Deli, one of oldest 24/7 restaurants and Hollywood hangout in California. Part of "Melrose Nights," a periodic retail event, FAME Fest creator Eddie Donaldson says that the temporary arts festival plays a viable role in the area's social revitalization. While historical L.A. landmarks remain the same, the surrounding culture that showcases, sells and processes art is rapidly changing. "They're all emerging artists, so the energy is high and the stakes even higher, because most of the people here are putting everything they have into what they do. They paint live while they're here. They create art on the spot. It's more of a for yourself and by yourself situation, versus an edited show by a gallery owner that picks what they want to see the best. The public gets to take it raw -- directly from the artist," he explains.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

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.

  • 2019-08-17T17:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-18T12:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-18T20:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-20T14:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-21T20:00:00-07:00
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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.

  • 2019-08-21T17:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-24T17:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-25T12:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-25T20:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-27T14:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-28T20:00:00-07:00
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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.

  • 2019-08-28T14:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-28T18:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-29T06:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-08-31T17:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-01T10:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-01T12:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-01T20:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-03T14:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-04T20:00:00-07:00
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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.

  • 2019-09-04T14:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-04T18:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-05T06:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-07T17:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-08T10:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-08T12:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-08T20:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-10T14:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-11T20:00:00-07:00
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Dia 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 1970’s 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.

  • 2019-09-11T14:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-11T18:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-12T06:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-14T17:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-15T10:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-15T12:00:00-07:00
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  • 2019-09-15T20:00:00-07:00
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