L.A. Now: Venice Art Walk and John Chase’s West Hollywood

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On DnA this week, we talked about L.A. Noire and the extraordinary lengths the game designers went to in creating a virtual, and past, Los Angeles. Even though 1947 LA was notoriously crime-ridden and had many social problems, the production designer, Simon Wood, spoke wistfully of a time when, in his view, effort and passion went into the design of everything, from clothing to cars to buildings, while today he said, with few exceptions (like the iPhone), cars and products look like “clones” of each other. Such a contention — doesn’t reality always seem messier than a mythologized past? — can be tested this weekend with some wonderful walks and events that offer up a window onto design and architecture now.

Tomorrow, Alissa Walker, Christopher Hawthorne, Lorcan O’Herlihy, John Kaliski and other friends and fans of the great, late John Chase will take to the streets of West Hollywood for a day long walk and talk through the environs John loved, hated and/or helped create. Find out more here, and here and here.

Venice Art Walk, the annual fundraiser for the Venice Family Clinic and a mainstay of the Venice community. It can’t be overlooked that Venice has changed substantially since the art walk started in 1979 when young artists experimented in large, cheap warehouse spaces. Now property can cost as much as in Beverly Hills and many artists have taken root in more affordable neighborhoods further East.

But still there is much to see, including, these days, the architect-designed houses built for the more affluent community but still exhibiting some of the old Venice spirit. One tour takes you to Appleton Way in Venice, in the large-lot area East of Lincoln, where, according to the organizers, “several spectacular homes have sprouted in just the past five years. Four of these homes—designed by Brooks + Scarpa, du Architects, Santiago Ortiz, and homeowners Sylvia Aroth & Jeff Cook—will be on this self-guided tour, along with the Carson/Bettauer Residence on the next block, and gardens designed by Suzanne McKevitt and Z Freedman Landscape Design. An added bonus just a few blocks away is the Cor-Ten clad Walnut Residence (shown, above) designed by Modal Design around an 80-year-old umbrella pine.” For information on these and other tours, go to:  www.theveniceartwalk.org.”