Tlayuda LA

I’ve always wanted to decorate a restaurant – and now, alongside my darling bride, I have!!!

Summer 2015, our friends Laura and Ana opened Tlayuda LA in beautiful glamorous Hollywood. They approached us to do the art for the place, which included developing a logo for the signage, the letterhead, and the trash cans. And paintings. Many paintings and drawings for the interior. Of course, we were happy to oblige.

Over the months, this arrangement has led to an ongoing series of murals, including my ever-evolving Tlayudapendence Day, featuring a giant tlayuda hovering over the ┬áLos Angeles basin. In homage to childhood heroes like Richard Scarry and Sergio Aragones, I am slowly cramming this painting with as many delightful details as will fit. Each time I visit, I take a couple hours to add a celebrity home, a civic landmark, a big box store, a freeway overpass, or any other detail that’s needed. It’s a mural of a thousand Easter eggs. It’s a project that never has to end.

Getting meals in exchange for artwork has long been a career benchmark of mine, second only to comped dental work as a sign that one is a Serious Working Artist. I am fortunate to have friends who are cranking out such delicious food as this. And the restaurant is a hit. The results are in, the people have spoken.

Tlayuda LA is at 5450 Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles, CA 90029. Come for the art. Stay for the food.

Grass Gallery – a brief history

Grass Gallery was our follow-up to Avalon Seafood, which had two exciting seasons in North Adams. After flexing our muscles in the tiny Avalon Seafood space, we coordinated with MCLA and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center to program a much larger space around the corner. We christened this space Grass Gallery since grass is ubiquitous, second only to dirt. Once again, the storefront was a diamond in the rough, a “raw” space, though I had helped clean it up three years prior for the first incarnation of the North Adams Artists’ Co-op Gallery. Small world!

Inspired by Mark Danner’s investigative journalism, I wanted to organize a show of anti-war art. So I asked my friend and colleague Richard Rand if he’d be the juror, and we put out a call to artists, and we received dozens of submissions from around the world, and we produced “End of an Empire: a Survey of Anti-War Art”. Eighteen superb artists held down the walls and floor for an extended two month run. There were lectures, artist talks, music, and more. North Adams has a large veterans community, and we were happy so many veterans came to the show and had a positive reaction. We didn’t end war in our time, but we were able to bear witness and host informed debate.

To follow up this success, Claire and I wanted to present an immersive environment with the hundreds of tiny figures she creates. We also wanted to work with our friend Ann Scott, who had curated a show of contemporary political prints from Oaxaca and was keen to exhibit new work from the same collective. We took the risk of intermingling these two ostensibly very different shows. The result was a home run. Bold graphic works hung on the walls, totemic figures flooded the center of the room, and they had a conversation. Turns out disparate schools of art have more in common than one might think.

Artists who showed at Grass Gallery included Rose Desiano, Susan C Dessel, Christina Ernst, Paula Everett, Rosemary Eden Fitzgerald, Claire Fox, David Gyscek, Lisa Hecht, Artemis Herber, Wayne Hopkins, Erin Ko, Daniel Monteavaro, Nabawia El-Soudani Olivera, Kevin Orlosky, Humberto Ramirez, Joy J Rotblatt, Elizabeth White, Cathy Wysocki, and the ASARO Collective of Oaxaca. The gallery was active in 2011.

How it feels to be a “staff pick” at Book Soup

How does it feel to be a “staff pick” at Book Soup? Pretty good.

Whenever I’d visit this legendary independent bookstore on the Sunset Strip, I’d linger over the staff picks one finds throughout the store: those witty, incisive handwritten cards that would single out particular titles for special attention.

When they agreed to stock Trump Noir, I had no idea the book would join the ranks of staff picks! On my last visit though, I saw that it has. And I am honored. Call it another landmark in a long, ephemeral career.

If you live in Los Angeles, I encourage you to buy your copy at Book Soup and support independent bookstores. If you live in the rest of the world, you can buy it here on my site! On the “Trump Noir” page, naturally.