Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Brewery Bi-Annual ArtWalk(scroll down for pics)

Once upon a time in 1902, in the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles, a power plant was built for the Edison Electric company. Later, the complex became a Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery. One chuckles to imagine what the hard-working men and women who worked at this temple to the orderly would have thought, when in 1982, many strange and avant-garde folks took over the break rooms, the boiler rooms, the bosses' office and the infirmary and filled them with paint thinners, art books,mannequins painted gold...

and from what I could smell...lots of weed.

The Brewery is often called "the largest art colony in the world." The spaces range from two-story carriage house style places with a patio area to tiny little concrete rooms up the stairs and around the whitewashed corner in the main building. The co-op who runs The Brewery claims to only rent to artists, which begs the question- would my bubble head doodles count?

The vibe at The Brewery is amazing. When we went it was packed with people drinking beer, children playing, teenagers on bikes and incense galore. It was happy and New York edgy and filled with hipsters of all ages. The grounds are beautiful, with trees growing around the industrial buildings, statues made with found objects in drainage ditches and murals on the side of old brick walls. A Bruce Springsteen song meeting Ani DiFranco.

Being welcomed from studio to loft with artworks, music and sometimes cookies fostered a sense of community one rarely feels anymore. The artists were there to talk to you and though everything was for sale, no one pressured you to buy anything. It was a privilege to be allowed to see where the artists sleep, create, eat, and if some of the works are any indication, have kinky sex. Someone should do a documentary about this place. It feels like Melrose Place with a dirty beard (for you North Carolinians- imagine Carrboro dropped in an old cigarette factory).

Unfortunately, the awesomeness doesn't quite extend to the art. Most of the works had a handy-hobby quality that made them seem amateur and almost cheap. There were a few standouts I really enjoyed: Mike Pedersen, Jill Sykes, Teale Hatheway, Sam Kopels and the delightful Amy Lynn. But honestly my favorite thing was seeing how these aesthetically gifted people had arranged their living spaces. It was like a home and garden tour for this poor hipster, and what can I say? I am still titillated by folks' bathroom cabinets. I guess at heart I'm just a big old snoop.


Directions:Take Sunset East into Downtown Los Angeles. Turn Left on Alameda. Turn Right onto Alpine Street.Turn left onto Main Street. Take Main Street about a mile, turn right on Moulton Avenue (located two blocks past Lamar St.). 2100 North Main Street.
Hours: Semi-Annual, Spring and Fall. Check out website for more info: http://breweryartwalk.com.
Price:Free, free, free like the artists who live here.

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