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Turf: should it stay or go? Native plant advocate Charles Anderson adds his voice to the debate about landscaping during a drought. Plus, we explore the extreme shoe designs of Chris Francis, and Gideon Brower explores the labyrinths of LA.

Photo by Noel Bass, courtesy of Craft & Folk Art Museum.

Chris Francis: The Glam Shoemaker of LA 8 MIN, 13 SEC

Currently on view at the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) is an exhibition featuring the functional art footwear of Chris Francis. The LA-based designer and maker draws from engineering, architecture, literature and music to make eye-popping shoes -- from sculptural heels inspired by the experiments of an 18th century engineer to stilettos with broom brush bristles and a sex pistols button, drawn from his nights at CBGBs. DnA talks to Francis about how his upbringing in Kokomo, Indiana, inspires his work, what’s happened to the craft of shoemaking and why musicians should not perform in flip-flops.

Trees and Lawns 11 MIN, 47 SEC

As the drought continues, many Angelenos have ripped out their lawns. But landscape designer Mia Lehrer told us on a recent DnA that this can disrupt our local ecosystems and lead to the death of many trees.

Now local landscape architect and native plantings expert Charles Anderson adds another layer of complexity to the Socal landscape debate -- saying that in fact we need to rethink our trees, because not all make sense for the Southland. He talks to DnA about the emotional importance of trees, how to pick the ones that don’t need watering, and when it’s okay to use fake turf.

Labyrinths of Los Angeles 7 MIN

Mention labyrinths, and you may think of medieval cathedrals, new age mysticism or the legend of the Minotaur in ancient Crete. You wouldn’t think of busy, urban Los Angeles. But these complicated, symmetrical walking paths are all around us, serving as places for meditation or prayer, or simply as decorative design elements. Gideon Brower visited a few of L.A.’s many labyrinths, and reports on his experiences.

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