5 design things to do this week

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This week you can: learn about preserving landmarks core to the African American experience; see Tokyo through lenses past and present; see classic films where animation and music groove; get a sneak peak at the future of waterfront developments; and shop L.A.-branded products to support local designers and makers.

This Rosenwood School in Fredonia, AL – one of the earliest – was built in 1915 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP) in 2001. Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and president of Sears Roebuck, built state-of-the art schools for African-American children across the South.  At least 58 Rosenwood Schools are on the NRHP. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1)  USC School of Architecture Lecture Series

As populations move, communities and neighborhoods morph and shift, often leaving little trace of the stories that were told.  Buildings that were once core to a common experience of a time or a place or a person, can be forgotten and pushed aside to make room for something new – and with it, a crucial part of our history.  Once it is gone, it’s gone.

Brent Leggs is the Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a $25 million fundraising and preservation campaign of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to protect and preserve the story of African American activism, achievement, architecture, and beyond. He’s also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and a Harvard University Loeb Fellow. The Smithsonian Institution called his book Preserving African American Historic Places the “seminal publication on preserving African American historic sites” (a preview of the publication can be found here.)

Inspired by the Rosenwood Schools (see image above), Leggs has led campaigns to create the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Alabama, which President Barack Obama designated in January 2017. Other campaigns include the protection of icons like Villa Lewaro, the estate of Madam C. J. Walker in Irvington, New York; Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey; A. G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham; and more.

When: Wednesday, August 29, 6 pm

Where:  Harris Hall, 825 Bloom Walk, Los Angeles, California 90089

Tickets: Free.  More information here.

Yasuzo Nojima, Woman, 1932 (left) and Mika Ninagawa, TOKYO INNOCENCE, 2015 (right) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2) Tokyo Before/After Photography Exhibition

As the world gets ready to look towards Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, this exhibition offers a look at the evolution of modern Japan.  In the 1930s and 1940s – even before the devastation of WWII thrust Japan into a rapid transformation – the juxtaposition of tradition and modernity was already being expressed in many artistic forms. The exhibition Tokyo Before/After features side by side images from the 1930s and 40s with works made after 2010 which reflect a post-Fukushima society preparing to host the world.  The combined effect is designed to give viewers a sense of Tokyo past, present and future and to reveal a city of many faces.

When: Opening night reception Wednesday, August 29, 7 – 9 pm.  Exhibition runs through September 29.

Where:  The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles,  5700 Wilshire Blvd. ,Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tickets: Free.  More information here.

We may not all live in a yellow submarine, but animation can still rock – as shown in the Rock & Animation film series this weekend at the Aero in Santa Monica. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3) Aero Theater Rock and Animation Series

Music and imagery bring out the best in each other for these three films being screened as part ofAmerican Cinamatheque’s Rock and Animation Series this week. On Thursday, Eiichi Yamamoto’s Belladonna of Sadness is among the most amazing cult films to emerge from Japan in the 1970s, featuring watercolor-inspired, often erotic imagery and the driving progressive rock of Masahiko Satoh.

Yellow Submarine is on Friday, with its Blue Meanies attacking the music-loving inhabitants of Pepperland until the Beatles and their music come to save the day. Psychedelic art direction by Heinz Edelmann.

Finally, on Saturday you can see Pink Floyd – The Wall, with its swirling flashbacks and hallucinations designed by Gerald Scarfe that bring visualization to the iconic concept album of the same name.  Go to one or all three and let your mind be blown, man.

When: Thrusday, Friday and Saturday, August 30, 31 and Sept 1, 7:30 pm

Where: Aero Theater, 1328 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Tickets: General Admission $12. More information and tickets here.

4)  Urban Interventions: Redesigning Waterfronts

Waterfront property is highly desirable.  Terms like ‘Oceanview’, ‘Lakefront’ and ‘Private Dock’ headline real estate listings evoking dreams of the good life.  But how do considerations such as coastal erosion and climate change, with rising water levels and superstorms, affect their visions?  Is building on water – or man-made islands – the next frontier? Or is it time to leave waterfronts alone? Kongjian Yu, the landscape designer who has fought poor development in his native China will join Frank Wolden, whose firm AVRP Skyport is designing Seaport San Diego for a discussion with Frances Anderton. The 2pm panel will be followed by drinks and snacks.

Urban Interventions: Redesigning Waterfronts is the first lecture in the series “Crafting Community: Creating Design Legacy” sponsored by Gafcon.  

When: Saturday, September 1, 2 – 6:30 pm (panel 2:00 — 3:30pm; drinks and mingling to follow)

Where: A + D Museum, 900 E 4th St., Los Angeles, 90013

Tickets: Free.  More information here.

Also at A + D Museum, opening Sept 1, Wireframes, an exhibition exploring the history and future of computer graphics in architectural visualization, featuring the work of a CG Architect Award winner, the most prestigious prize in the visualization industry.

LA Original at MOCA supports local artists and makers. Proceeds support MADE by DWC, a social enterprise operated by the Downtown Women’s Center. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5) LA Original Pop Up Shop at MOCA

Frank Lloyd Wright said “tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles,” referring to the loose boundaries and experimental creative collaborations of the 1970s.  LA attracts people from all different parts of the world, from all walks of life, with a wide and varied range of beliefs and attitudes, creating a distinctly unscripted and unconstrained cultural landscape – and a perfect climate for creativity.

An initiative of the Mayor’s Fund and Office of Economic Development, LA Original provides a platform to highlight and promote Los Angeles’ creative community through a line of LA-branded products, all locally designed, assembled, or manufactured, and gives back to creative entrepreneur programs across the City.  Los Angeles marketing and design shop 72andSunny created the pop-up shop at MOCA and conceptualized their logo and promotional campaign featuring LA-based creative luminaries such Kendrick Lamar, Danny Trejo, Dr. Woo, Shepard Fairey, Roy Choi, Kristy Sandoval, Frank Gehry, L.A. Dance Project, and the LA Phil.

The pop-up collection of accessories, food items, housewares, jewelry, and apparel has been at MOCA since July and closes at the end of this week.  Proceeds from sales support MADE by DWC, a social enterprise operated by the Downtown Women’s Center,  which teaches job training and maker skills to women transitioning out of homelessness. You can also shop on-line here.

When: Closing after this weekend (open through Labor Day)

Where: MOCA, 250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tickets: Free. More information here.