In LA Chinatown, Culture Gets Made
“What did the Polish rapist say at his police lineup?That’s her! That’s her!”
In the context of Los Angeles storefront performance space Automata Arts, that one liner could be regarded with nothing but irony, especially as read the other night by serious-as-a-heart-attack (all black clad and what not) poet Vanessa Place .
But her sincere delivery of a litany of cruel humor, hammering home images of violence against women, punctuated by tossed pages of bottom feeding jokes nevertheless drew a few laughs. That however is understandable, given that the Chinatown art gallery crowd still shapes up on opening nights for the ancillary experience of techno, food trucks, and flowing booze, the spectacle that any cultural event in LA devolves into. Now we can attest to a resurgence of profound work, in words and objects and performance that is going down here, fueled by the likes of arts writer Mat Gleason’s recently opened Coagula Gallery, making this scene a sea change from the Downtown LA Artwalk. While that misfortunate Mardi Gras wannabe happening is newly co-opted by marginal graphic art hucksters, faux Occupiers and a legion of intimidating cops, in the phony stage set streets of LA’s Chinatown, real culture is being made.