In addition to the traditional family and feel-good holiday films, this season offers a small selection of unexpectedly provocative productions.
The Latin band Ozomatli is rocking out on the flatbed of a truck parked on a closed-down Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. It’s a Saturday in early November, and the band is playing for a motley group of aging and 20-something hippies, union workers and even some Jews from the Westside, all of whom are dancing in the street a few hundred yards from the Occupy L.A. encampment on the grounds outside City Hall.
“Pacific Standard Time,” the sprawling multivenue consideration of Los Angeles art from 1945 to 1980, is, for the most part, a story of artists who thrived here. However, “Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles,” which opened Nov. 13 at MOCA Grand Avenue, posits a different narrative, recounting the famed New York photographer’s sojourn in Los Angeles between 1947 and 1952 as a somewhat soured love affair. If Hollywood is indeed a boulevard of broken dreams, then the Weegee show is our tour guide.
Naomi Uman is a woman of many talents, but drawing is not one of them. “I always knew that I was an artist, but I can’t and I couldn’t draw realistically,” Uman said during a phone interview from New York where she was visiting her mother. And so, rather than pursuing a career as a painter, she became a chef. Cooking in the kitchens of society fixtures like Gloria Vanderbilt and Malcolm Forbes, Uman carved out a fine, if unfulfilling, career for herself. “Eventually, watching all of my creations being consumed became frustrating.”
Among the holiday-oriented movies slated for this season, we find some quite unusual, fascinating fare, including a spy story, a silent movie, a couple of films from Iran and the latest project of the celebrated, though controversial, French-Polish filmmaker, Roman Polanski.
Part of “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” this exhibition at The Getty explores how a community of Southern California artists, including Wallace Berman, George Herms, Judy Chicago and John Baldessari, developed innovative strategies to disseminate their work.