Driving While Black follows the story of a young black man navigating the streets of Los Angeles. The independent feature was written by Dominique Purdy (AKA MC/Producer the Koreatown Oddity) who also stars in the film. It’s hard to imagine a more topical film right now, so check out the trailer above and download and watch the full movie here: drivingwhileblackmovie.com.
The documentary film East L.A. Interchange will makes its world première this Sunday at the Downtown Film Festival L.A. The film is an eight-year labor of love from director Betsy Kalin, and follows the evolution of Boyle Heights and how the neighborhood survived the construction of the largest and busiest freeway interchange in the nation. The film features interviews with people like Xavi Moreno (pictured above in a photo by Chris Chew/Bluewater Media), will.i.am (The Black Eyed Peas), Father Greg Boyle (Homeboy Industries), and Josefina López (Real Women Have Curves). There’s also an original song by Raul Pacheco (Ozomatli) and voiceover from Danny Trejo.
Watts Waits is a short documentary film by Drew Bachrach that explores the changes coming to South Central L.A.’s Jordan Downs, the best known and housing project in the Western United States. The trailer was released last month, and you can watch it above.
After surviving two riots and the crack wars of the 80’s and 90’s, the 700 low-income housing units that make up this development are being torn down. What will happen next? Who will be welcome in the remade South Los Angeles?
This film serves as the last look at this cultural icon that was immortalized on-screen in Menace II Society and has played a central role in the tumult of South Central Los Angeles since it was built after World War II.
“The Cardboard Artist” is a work in progress film directed by Matthew Kaundart and produced by Luka Fisher about Calder Greenwood, who you know from his cardboard installations that pop up all over Los Angeles. The DTLA ART WALK will be screening the film this Thursday as part of its first annual film series at the Regent Theater.
Westgategallery.com is an online original movie poster boutique specializing in rare & outrageous Classic, Cult, Exploitation, Giallo, Golden Age XXX & Horror, with one of the largest selections of painted/illustrated porno 1 sheets and Italian subway posters every collected.
Some of their most amazing pieces will be the subject of a huge gallery show at Lethal Amounts in downtown Los Angeles, opening Friday, May 15 at 8 PM. The event will showcase a large group of fully restored, linen-backed posters the likes of which are rarely available in such pristine form. More information here. Keep reading for a gallery of posters, along with full details of the event…
Shanks Rajendran is an Australian filmmaker who has made waves in the United States for his searing look at forgotten and ignored areas within big cities. His first documentary here, Liberty City: Miami explored South Florida’s toughest neighborhood from the inside, and was hailed as raw and searing by online reviewers. Now he’s come to Los Angeles to bring the same outsider-yet-insider point of view to our most deprived part of town- Skid Row.
What brought you to skid row?
When I first came to Los Angeles for a holiday two years ago I was sight seeing. I went to Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood Hills, Staples Center and then my friend said: “Look I know you love doing documentaries so I want you to see something.”
Two blocks down he drove and there it was. Something I’ve never heard of or seen. SKID ROW. It was night time so there were just tents and tents and more tents. I saw people hanging around…saw a fight, saw a fire truck pulling someone out of a public bathroom, all that stuff. It was all happening right before my eyes within the period of a good 15-20 minutes.
Coming fresh from a place like Melbourne, Australia – I’ve never seen anything like this. It was one of the most confusing moments in my life… I remember asking myself “What is this?”
As a documentarian, I live and breathe issues concerning poverty, deprivation and failures. At that point, I knew Skid Row was something I wanted to look into.
Australian filmmaker Shanks Rajendran, whose last documentary was on similar topics in Miami, has turned his eye to Skid Row. Check out this 3 minute trailer which begins with his first night out on the streets.
Shaul Schwarz was among the first photographers from outside Mexico to focus on covering the drug wars that have turned Juárez into one of the world’s most dangerous cities. Mr. Schwarz worked in Juárez from 2007 to 2009, and decided to make a feature documentary film about narco-culture in general and narcocorridos specifically. The violent lyrics, similar to gangster rap in the United States, here are juxtaposed with images of actual violence. It’s easy to caricature the culture, which most people enjoy for the music and not the violent imagery, similarly to what happened with hip-hop in the 1990’s in the US, which also faced spiralling drug-related violence. That said, the issues faced by the border towns sandwiched between the USA’s insatiable appetite for illegal drugs and Mexican cartels’ willingness to do whatever it takes to maintain their position, are deadly serious. The challenge this film faces is to get people’s attention in the United States without making a one-dimensional cartoon out of the culture.
The great Boris Karloff was born in England, found fame as Frankenstein’s monster (and also played Frankenstein, thank you, readers, for the correction) in Hollywood, and finished his career in Mexico (awesome example at the end of this post). Somewhere along the way he developed a strong affinity for Mexican food, as the article above, found on BadassDigest, explains, along with telling its readers that guac is an “avocado-based sauce”. His recipe for guacamole has an English twist, with a dash of sherry thrown in along with more common ingredients:
Last night, KCRW dropped a party on Hollywood celebrating the seminal New York graffiti flick Style Wars, working up to a screening of a restored print of the film with live art by L.A.’s own treacherous three, D-CYPHER, MEAR, and RISK, live b-boying by a crew from Long Beach, t-shirt printing from Hit ‘n Run (choice bits taken from the film for prints included “Just a Kid Growing Up” and “Art Is Not a Crime”) and a panel discussion between the film’s co-director, Henry Chalfaunt, actress Catherine Keener (who helped score the funding for the movie’s restoration), and SKEME, whose scenes between him and his mother in Style Wars are as legendary as his bombs. It was a nice night capped off by a big screen showing of the movie, which is as vital as ever even 30 years after it first came out. Maybe even more so now that it look so good and won’t just be available on some shitty VHS tape your brother’s friend’s cousin has to lend you. Check out some shots of the night, held at Oscars Outdoors, which offers film screenings every week. (Born in East L.A. on August 16!).