5 design things to do this week

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This week you can: join DnA as we wrap our Bridges and Walls series, dig into the history of an LA architectural icon, go fly a kite, clean up a river, and see some Hockney portraits… and one still life.

Taylor Yard, a brownfield site along the Glendale Narrows stretch of the LA River that will be turned into a park, by a team helmed by the Bureau of Engineering. Photo by Frances Anderton. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) Bridges and Walls Wrap Party

For the last two months, KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture has looked at the structures — both physical and invisible — that connect us and divide us in California. We called the series Bridges and Walls.  The impetus for the conversation was then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s repeated calls for building a border wall.  The result was eight in-depth reports that featured a wide range of guests giving voice to the human impact of the infrastructure that shapes our state.

Now the series has wrapped but the conversation continues with a party and discussion at the Helms Bakery Design Center.  Following drinks and bites, KCRW’s Curious Coast reporter Jenny Hamel will interview Frances Anderton and Avishay Artsy, co-producers and co-hosts of Bridges and Walls, about the series and the questions it raised.  Some guests from the series will be present to respond to questions and join in the celebration.  We’d love you to attend and bring your questions and observations about the bridges and walls that connect and divide us.

When: Thursday, April 12, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Where: Helms Bakery Design Center, 8758 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles 90034

Tickets: Free. Register for the event here.

View looking northeast showing the new Los Angeles City Hall under construction, circa 1927. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2) Los Angeles City Hall: An American Icon

City Hall is arguably Los Angeles’s most widely recognized landmark, and a popular location for film and TV productions. Built 90 years ago, the iconic three-tiered tower (based on the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in modern day Turkey) is a hybrid of classical style and Art Deco design and a monument to the ambitious era when it was created.

Three of LA’s leading architects, John Parkinson, Albert C. Martin, and John C. Austin, received the commission for City Hall in 1925. Completed three years later, the bitter legal fight behind its creation is detailed in the new book Los Angeles City Hall: An American Icon, published by Angel City Press. Author and historian Stephen Gee brings us behind the scenes to meet the architects and artists who built the tower and decorated its walls, as well as the long effort to preserve it and seismically reinforce it.

The Los Angeles City Historical Society and the History Department of the Central Library are convening a panel discussion about the history of LA City Hall.  Joining Stephen Gee are Kevin Jew, Chief Operating Officer of the preservation nonprofit Project Restore, and Christopher C. Martin, FAIA, of architecture and planning firm AC Martin.

When: Wednesday, April 11, 6:30 to 8 pm

Where: Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W 5th St, Los Angeles 90071.  Traffic Advisory: Due to lane and street closures near the Central Library, plan ahead and allow extra time to reach your destination.

Tickets: Free. No RSVP required but arrive early to secure a seat. More information here.

Kites create an art gallery in the skies above Santa Monica Pier. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3) 7th Annual Otis Kite Festival

While perhaps not his most famous invention, the Tetrahedral Kite was actually invented by Alexander Graham Bell as he tinkered with the principles of human flight.  More than a century later, kites may not have cornered the transportation market, but their design and windswept flight has captured our imagination for the creative application of engineering, art and mathematics.

Now in its seventh year, the Otis College of Art and Design Kite Festival welcomes kids of all ages to engage their artistic and scientific minds to build their own kites and enjoy the wonder of a flying art gallery.  In addition to free DIY kite kits and workshops on color theory, water color and sand sculpture, the event will showcase local and global kite artists, including event honoree Master Artist Tom Van Sant, George Peters, Ron Gibian, Richard DeLisio, Kevin Bayless and Rod and Marti Milburn.

When: Saturday, April 14, 11 am – 4 pm

Where: Directly north of the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica 90404

Tickets: Free.  Parking available in beach lots for $12-$15.  Public transportation to the festival is available on Metro Expo Line and Big Blue Bus. RSVP here.

Now in its 29th year, the Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) Great River CleanUp: La Gran Limpieza is a fun way to support your community. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

4) 29th Annual Great LA River CleanUp

Originally designed 80 years ago to provide water channelization to stave off flooding, the Los Angeles River now sits mostly dry and disrespected.  Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) has been working to change this with the mission to bring public access and recreation to an ecologically sustainable LA River.  The annual clean up effort takes place over three Saturdays at nine different sites along the 51 miles of river.  Come out and claim your little piece of the river, and along with 10,000+ other volunteers wearing custom designed FoLAR event t-shirts, you can be part of the largest urban river clean up project in the country.  Music, snacks and the great feeling of engaging with your community await.

When: Saturday, April 14, 9 am – noon (additional clean ups on April 21 and April 28)

Where:  Upper River:   Sepulveda Basin / Balboa Sports Complex /  Glendale Narrows Riverwalk

Tickets: Free.  More information and registration.

Want to learn more about the LA River and the Urban Revitalization Project before you join the CleanUp?  On Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 pm, join Barbara Romero, deputy mayor of Los Angeles, Jill Sourial, The Nature Conservancy urban conservation director, Richard Ambrose, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor, and moderator Mark Gold, UCLA associate vice chancellor of environment and sustainability, to discuss the massive restoration plan and the diverse communities it serves. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024.  Free, however tickets are required and available at the Box Office one hour before the program. Parking $6 cash only.

Australian comedian and Hockney friend, Barry Humphries, is one of 82 Portraits and 1 Still Life by David Hockney at LACMA opening Sunday. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5) David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life

Among other benefits of living into your 80s, you are likely to have known many family members, close friends and work acquaintances.  London and California based uber-artist and octogenarian David Hockney had at least 82, whom he painted over the years in a series of live 2-3 day sittings.

John Baldessari, Douglas Baxter, Edith Devaney, Larry Gagosian, Frank Gehry, Peter Goulds, Barry Humphries, David Juda, Rita Pynoos, Joan Quinn, Norman Rosenthal, Jacob Rothschild, and Benedikt Taschen are among those portrayed, as well as LACMA’s Stephanie Barron and Dagny Corcoran. If you’re wondering about the one still-life… you’ll have to see the exhibition.

And before you go, listen to DnA’s interview with Hockney, recorded in 2016 as he was working on this series.

When: Opening Sunday, April 15.  Runs through July 29.

Where: LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90036

Tickets: General admission $20. More information here.