August 2009

Culture(d)—August 2009

edited by MAYER RUS



Matthew Specktor’s beautiful and arresting first book, That Summertime Sound (MTV Press, $24), chronicles a different sort of ’tween experience—the obsessive desires and frustrations of a young man caught in the time warp between adolescence and adulthood in the ’80s. Specktor, an L.A. native who has worked for years in film development, has a crisp, evocative style that captures both the nuances of a particular time and the universal themes of any insightful coming-of-age story. We’ve all been there. If your literary tastes run to the distaff, try Paula Froelich’s debut novel, Mercury in Retrograde (Atria, $24), a delicious romp through the world of Gotham women-about-town. Comparisons to Sex and the City are inevitable, but Froelich, a former reporter for the New York Post gossip register Page Six, puts her knowing spin on the genre. It’s the perfect frothy accompaniment to a beachside repast.



While La Cienega and Melrose continue to brim with fabulous furniture showrooms, La Brea Avenue has become a must-visit destination for design cognoscenti. Voila! (518 N. La Brea, 323-954-0418, stocks idiosyncratic treasures from around the globe. Reform (601 N. La Brea, 310-938-1515, specializes in handcrafted California design, and the selection is museum quality. And the dazzling collection at Eccola (326 N. La Brea, 323-932-9922, focuses on the best of 20th-century Italy. For devotees of art and craft, La Brea is the new Shangri-la.



With celebrity deaths so much in the news this summer, Ovation TV’s weeklong event “Live Fast, Die Young” seems particularly poignant. The prime-time programming block kicks off with the U.S. premiere of the Australian documentary Heath Ledger: A Tribute (8 p.m. ET/PT), followed by shows on James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain and other brilliant, tragic icons still central to our national psyche. Begins August 2,


The latest provocative exhibition hosted by MOCA’s satellite space at the Pacific Design Center is the site-specific Feathered Edge: A New Installation by Ball-Nogues Studio, which explores the convergence of digital technology and handcraft techniques. Free. Through November 15. 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 213-626-6222,