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Koi Division Is the Fish-Themed Joy Division Cover Band the World Needs Right Now
Donning black clothes and plastic fish masks, they wind their way through Joy Division covers with modified lyrics that explore the daily, often baleful, goings-on of the sea. Their shows incorporate a bubble machine and display a beachy version of the iconic Unknown Pleasures album art behind them. Though it might seem as if they’re mocking, there is a reverence behind the humor.
CalArts alum and It’s a Wrapper Studios founder Lyndon Barrois Sr. (Film/Video MFA 95) has come full circle. His childhood hobby of making miniature HotWheels drivers out of gum wrappers led to a successful Hollywood career in animation. Now, he’s back to meticulously shaping foil and paper to tell poignant stories.
On a cool October day, Barrois tinkers with Halloween decorations in his studio behind the Los Angeles home he shares with his wife, TV writer and showrunner Janine Sherman Barrois. He’s already set up several witches and ghouls, repurposed from old costumes, in a line on his front lawn. Some of them cackle and shriek when the wind moves them just right. Among the festive decor is a “Biden/Harris 2020” sign, the contentious and looming election arguably more daunting than any phantom specter.
Graduating college is supposed to feel like standing in front of myriad open doors, embarking on the next phase of a lifelong journey. But what happens when you graduate in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic that requires you to stay six feet away from everyone outside your household? For film students, it’s a mixed bag. film students, it’s a mixed bag.
Sometimes, it’s just flat-out disappointing, while other times, there’s motivation to make the best of it and not put a career, or a life for that matter, on hold. Depending on their chosen medium, some have found they can accomplish more remotely than you might expect.
You emerge from a warm pool into a bioluminescent cave. A woman suggests you let go of your cumbersome human body and sink into the soil, small and weightless. You’re inside someone’s lungs; they rise and fall, the thud of their heartbeat a comforting metronome.
These are some of the “virtual trips” you can take through The Unmarked Door’s audio journeys, “Adventures in the Mind’s Ear.” The 360 sound is so immersive you’d swear you were there. In the slew of online pandemic content, there’s something incredible about what an escape sound — and just sound — can be.
Benson’s tour takes us to five “witch houses” from Culver City to Burbank. Their Storybook architecture makes them ideal settings for fantastical and otherworldly stories, though their actual histories are equally interesting. Intentionally, the famous so-called Witch House of Beverly Hills, also known as the Spadena House, is not on the list as Benson said they “wanted to shine a light on things that don’t always get noticed.”
Locations include The Hobbit Houses of Culver City, three extraordinarily whimsical structures designed by Disney artist Lawrence Joseph. A previous tenant was Joe Amsler, one of three men who kidnapped Frank Sinatra’s son, Frank, Jr., and attempted to hold him for ransom in 1963.
Dracula became a household monster in 1931, when Universal released its seminal horror flick of the same name, directed by Tod Browning and starring Hungarian-American actor Bela Lugosi in the title role. It is Lugosi’s Dracula that spawned legions of cape-wearing devotees and what some consider the first true goth rock anthem.
While N95 masks are strictly reserved for medical workers, what constitutes as a good mask for the public? What’s the ideal material, design, and practice to protect ourselves and each other? To find out, we talked to Dr. Ben LaBrot, a USC clinical professor and the founder of nonprofit Floating Doctors. Here’s what we learned
Two Bit Circus and its flagship “micro-amusement park” exist at the intersection of technology and whimsy. It’s known for a variety of amusements including a giant ball-in-a-maze game that requires people on teeter-totters to operate, a gunner turret simulator, a laser maze, and Hexacade, a six-person arcade console. A few years ago, they built an “escape room” at their space in The Brewery’s art colony. Unlike similar games, however, the goal wasn’t to escape, but to cooperatively pilot a spaceship.
We still line up for Kogi’s beloved bulgogi burritos, while newcomer X’tiosu Kitchen’s fusion of Oaxacan and Lebanese cuisines makes waves in Boyle Heights. Yong Chen, a history professor at UC Irvine and the author of “Chop Suey USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America,” believes part of fusion food’s pull in L.A. is because Los Angeles (and the Southland in general) is “an important destination for immigrants.” We have a culinary diversity here that makes it easy to share. However, Chen notes that every cuisine is, in some way, a kind of fusion food.
It’s hard to find an immersive show that grants its audience more than limited agency. Though often highly interactive, most shows barrel along without significant input from their viewers. That’s why Theatre Macabre from filmmaker Darren Lynn Bousman (Saws II, III, and IV) is so ambitious. It promises guests a series of choices that morph the narrative as they’re made, using a spiderweb of a script that employs about 40 characters and exceeds 400 pages.
Booty-O’s, the official cereal of WWE trio The New Day that promises to “make sure you ain’t booty,” sells for $20 a box, as does Exclusive Cereal’s most coveted box of sweetened grain: the Rugrats-spinoff Reptar cereal (currently out of stock).
Once upon a time, immersive events were strange and secret, or at least they seemed that way. Then, brands learned about immersive entertainment. Now, immersive is everywhere and everything is immersive. Out there, outside of the enthusiast world, the word has lost meaning, the way any word does if you repeat it enough times. It seems like every week, yet another brand is trying to entice me to come and check out their “immersive,” Instagram-friendly experience. Let me tell you some of the things PR people have tried to convince me were “immersive”…
The narrative won’t be unfamiliar to anyone who’s seen a Disney movie, read a Shakespeare play, or listened to a fairytale. It’s about a love that cannot be and a couple who does it anyhow—so, perfect musical fodder. But what matters here isn’t so much the plotline, but the execution.
The Wave: Hollywood Comes Out to Vote at Well-Known Venues
Los Angeleno: Trick or Treating Drama Through the Ages
Los Angeleno: Report on Alleged LASD Gangs Reveals ‘Code of Silence’
Los Angeleno: A Look at California’s 12 Propositions
We Like LA: How ‘Safer at Home’ Allows L.A. County to Reopen
We Like LA: How to Get a Vaccine Without a Car (It’s Complicated)
We Like LA: Angry at Friends Who Are Still Gathering? Metal Health Experts Weigh In