October 2009

Culture(d)—October 2009

edited by MAYER RUS

paradise tower, hard rock, las vegas


The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has come of age with the opening of the 17-story Paradise Tower, part of a $750 million expansion designed to give the reputedly rowdy resort a more sophisticated image. Mark Zeff of zeffdesign describes the addition as a “rock-n-roll manor house of the future.” His vision of Hard Rock style reaches its pinnacle, naturally, in the three-bedroom penthouse, an adult playground wrapped in shimmering platinum-tile ceilings and walls. Fun for the whole family—but probably more so if you leave the kids at home. 800-693-7625, hardrockhotel.com.

hello kitty


Hello Kitty, that friskiest of Japanese felines, is celebrating her 35th anniversary with Three Apples, a multidimensional exhibition at Royal/T, the peculiar gallery/boutique/café in Culver City. The show features a predictably zany assortment of Hello Kitty merchandise—including collaborations with the likes of Dior and Anna Sui—as well as homages by contemporary artists such as Gary Baseman and Buff Monster. There will also be lots of Hello Kitty-shaped food to try at the café. Get back, honky cat! October 23–November 15. 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 310-559-6300, royal-t.org.

chifruda, brazilian, design, furniture


The Brazilians are coming! The Brazilians are coming! Espasso, Carlos Junqueira’s glorious emporium of modern and contemporary Brazilian furniture, has just issued a limited edition of master furniture designer Sergio Rodrigues’ seminal Aspas chair of 1962 (now redubbed Chifruda). Meanwhile, NOHO Modern is hosting the first major U.S. exhibition of the work of designer and artist Zanini de Zanine Caldas, a former apprentice of Rodrigues’. Together, they represent the best of Brazilian design in the 20th century, as well as the 21st. Espasso, Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Ste. B205, West Hollywood, 310-657-0020, espasso.com. NOHO Modern, 6162 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, 323-463-4434, nohomodern.com.

Green Dot Animo Leadership Charter High School


The American Institute of Architects has named three Southern California schools as honorees in its annual design awards for educational and cultural facilities: Francis Parker School in San Diego, by Lake|Flato Architects; the 100 percent energy-self-sufficient Green Dot Animo Leadership Charter High School (as yet unbuilt) in Lennox, by Pugh + Scarpa; and the bright yellow Camino Nuevo High School in Silver Lake, an unmistakable neighborhood landmark by Daly Genik. A mind is a fabulous thing to inspire.

Golem, redcat, halloween


REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown performance- and visual-arts center, celebrates Halloween with two screenings of The Golem, one of the earliest (1920) and creepiest horror movies in cinema history, accompanied by live music orchestrated by Brian LeBarton. Director Paul Wegener’s Expressionist masterpiece tells the terrifying story of what happens when you piss off a Czech rabbi. Be afraid! October 30–31. $20. 213-237-2800, redcat.org.

dan glickman, MPAA


Dan Glickman took over as chairman and CEO of the powerful Motion Picture Association of America in 2004, after serving as a congressman and secretary of agriculture. In October, he acts as host for the National Coalition Against Censorship’s annual bash. We caught up with Secretary Glickman at his office in Washington, D.C.

1. Whoa! Lawyer, congressman, cabinet member and now head honcho of the MPAA; who’s harder to deal with: members of Congress, the West Wing or the heads of the major studios?
Big egos travel in all these circles. It’s how you meet the challenge—I’ve learned never to surprise people. It can turn an angel into a devil overnight.

2. The MPAA is best known for its ratings for films. Do you see any irony in participating in an event advocating freedom from censorship?
The MPAA prevents censorship—like the Hayes code, which worked with state and local censors in punitive restrictions. It [the MPAA] protects freedom of expression while respecting a parent’s need for information.

3. How do you respond to the idea that art is free?
With a quote from the British minister of intellectual property: “Product should be freely accessible, not accessible for free.” It’s immoral not to pay people for their work.

4. Does the entertainment the U.S. produces show our best face to the world?
Yes. We’ve been able to figure “it” out. The secret of our success is recognizing universal human stories of individuals taking on challenges and tackling problems.

5. Do you ever get teased about not being in Kansas anymore?
No. But I have a poster from The Wizard of Oz in my office. After 33 years in Washington D.C., when people ask, I always say I’m from Kansas. Roots are important. —Nancie Clare