Archive for the ‘pop culture’ Category

WomensMarchLA – The Signs and the things I missed, being South African.

January 22, 2017

Going to the women’s march in Los Angeles felt like full circle for me. I marched in South Africa in the early 90s. And here I was again, sticking my finger in the dyke hoping that some action would prevent complete disaster. If you check out my instagram (jeanbarkerza), I have video of (not that but) a Trump Pinata and also the crowd chanting “hey hey, ho ho, please don’t fall /out the window” to a fifth-floor hipster.

Meeting up with friends? Not possible. The cell companies didn’t get their shit together, so it was impossible to connect, but that was fine. I wasn’t there to socialize, I was there to protest and march.

The only thing I really missed was the toyi-toying and the singing. I didn’t miss the teargas. I hope that by the next march, I will be able to teach LA folks the basics of joyous protesting, SA style. Here are some quick tips, with humor. My favorite line: “I am black.”

You see, toyi-toying allows you to to occupy yourself while you’re occupying, because marching, as the newbies surrounding me learned, mostly involves (legally, anyhow) standing around waiting for the cops to get their shit together. Also, you get to sing.

putin_racecar_bed

One of my faves. TRUMP HAS A PICTURE OF PUTIN ABOVE HIS RACECAR BED.

trump-bug

While we waited, LA women of all races discussed their careers, kids, and yoga classes. I never found out what the Bug was about. Trump Bugs Me?

hipster

There’s always a hipster at anything in LA. MEN OF QUALITY DEMAND EQUALITY. And facial hair. And stencils.

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HAVE WE REALLY EVOLVED?

latest-tweet

It’s called being there. “TODAY’S TWEET: “LOOK AT ALL THE FAKE PEOPLE AT THAT ‘FAKE NEWS’ EVENT”

we-the-people-veil-plus-others

WE THE PEOPLE. also TOO MANY THINGS TO FIT ON ONE SIGN. But then again, that’s why there were more than 100, 000 of us.

fire-escape

Nobody was arrested, even if they were breaking the law. See: Lady on Fire Escape. I actually literally didn’t see any cops, just a couple of fire engines.

pussy-grabs-back

PUSSY GRABS BACK. A popular topic. I enjoy the idea of all the parents that brought their kids explaining to kids what Kegels are, and why it’s mommy’s choice to do them. I didn’t see a poster that said “Talk to your child about orgasms”.

pussy-hats

PUSSY HATS, everywhere. Downtown was swarmed. None of the cell towers worked anymore.

cutedog

Dogs know. RESPECT THE PUSSY.

strongerthanpower

THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS STRONGER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER

tinkle-czar

TINKLE, TINKLE LITTLE CZAR. PUTIN PUT U WHERE U ARE.

too-broke-burn-bra

I’M TOO BROKE TO BURN MY BRA. OR MY US FLAG VEIL.

trumpsmells

LIKE SOMETHING ELSE WE KNOW

tutu

IF YOU ARE NEUTRAL IN SITUATIONS OF INJUSTICEE YOU HAVE CHOSEN THE SIDE OF THE OPPRESSOR – DESMOND TUTU (SOUTH AFRICA)

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This nutjob kinda didn’t get it and kept shouting TRUMP IS A BITCH! TRUMP IS A BITCH!

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WE SHALL OVER COMB. Cute.

Trump supporters, presumably some big company / superpac that wants unions destroyed, flew a plane over the march, with a banner reading CONGRATULATIONS PRESIDENT TRUMP. I guess when you can’t get boots on the ground, boots that are made for walking, you just pay to play.

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And, in summary… Let’s just forget about the past and MOVE ON, TRUMPIES!

Lost and Found on Washington Blvd.

January 2, 2017

Lost art led me to find new art, when a Christmas gift from my father by my mother via Birmingham in the UK got lost in the post and forced me out to track it down. In the course of looking, I discovered another of my neighborhood’s hidden gems.

badly-addressed

My Ma’s handwriting is legendary – few people can decipher it. I now understand why this letter wound up addressed to Jean Bowen, and had to be forcibly retrieved by hand.

The letter led me south-west on Washington Blvd into West Adams, where I’ve wandered a few times before, but not as far. It seemed to be just a series of shops for used kitchen fittings. But there is more, there. In fact, the post office where my parcel was being held is the only US post office I know of rated more than 2 Stars on Yelp. It’s got a real community feel, and everybody was amazingly friendly.

calendar

Every day, I’m reminded of or discover new art. Thanks Dad.

So I got the calendar, but I also, accidentally, got a whole lot more.

persimmon-sexy

I found this amazing persimmon, which I think you’ll agree as my friend Alicia says: “Manages to look like about four giggly things at once”. Another shopper nearby me saw me laughing and requested a photo of her own to show her husband.

americana-liquor-store

Then was wandering home, and this Liquor Store caught my eye. It would make a great period film location. Notice the sign in the window on the right, advertising “OUT OF TOWN NEWSPAPERS”, which dates it pre-internet, or at least pre-smartphone.

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This sign is what led me inside. It made me wonder: Who does own graffiti – and could the owner or tenant of the wall claim they do?

I wandered inside, and found the otherwise unlabeled “UNDERGROUND MUSEUM” on Washington Blvd.

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Pretty, chintzy even, wallpaper, Laura Ashley style… until you look closer, and see that it’s repeated images of a lynching.

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“In the Hood” by David Hammons (2016), also part of the Non-Fiction exhibit curated by Noah Davis.

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The surprise back garden, where there’s space to work, and in summer, a film screening series.

The area where I live (Arlington Heights / West Adams) is often dismissed as “The Ghetto” or “The Hood” in yelp reviews of places Jonathan Gold went to first, making them safe for the middle classes to explore and briefly over-run.  Most people I meet in White LA seem worried about me when I say I live here, or say in that quintessentially LA-Snob way “Oh really… I think I’ve heard of it. How IS that?” An ex-boyfriend once referred to it as a “bad area”, (because why? Because poor / immigrant / black people are dangerous?) and refused to walk two blocks to a restaurant at night with me. Poor baby…

But I’ve fallen in love with it, and more and more I find there’s much more to it than I ever imagined. And it’s not like it’s just arrived, either. The Underground has been there since 2012.

Self-Storage: A place to keep your crap

August 26, 2016

I used Self-Storage once, while between apartments, and had an odd, melancholic conversation with an uber driver on the way to pick something up out of it.

Self-storage is to private property what obesity is to great food in America – a serious problem. A kind of addiction. A greedy perversion of what should be a pleasure and a human right.

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This inspired my latest News24 Column.

Recently, I was about to move in with someone, and realistically needed to ditch 90% of what I own. Plates, cups, furniture, duplicate soda stream machine, microwave, toaster… you get the picture. That’s okay. I thought it was. I’ve been forced to reduce, toss, get rid of and let go of things many, many times over the years, though I will confess to keeping an entire 500 LP and 600 CD record collection at my Ma’s house, and the record player and a few other boxes at my Dad’s. But aside from that, I’m willing to let go. Yet I thought, for a moment, about getting self-storage. You know, just in case his soda stream broke and we, you know… needed mine.

And then I realized how crazy that was. How sad. How utterly expensive. I realized this urge was all about the fear of change – that somehow my identity was – is – tied up in this mere stuff. And in disgust, I made a list of only what I wanted to keep. Everything else, anything I can’t remember, must go.

In the process of researching why I was having so much trouble doing this, using my favorite analyst, Google, I also found these entertaining advertisements, mostly from one New York company, Manhattan Mini Storage. New York city may be the only place where self-storage is justifiable, and these guys’ adverts are like an American version of SA’s Nando’s Chicken’s, which make fantastic use of opportunities to satirize politics in South Africa and Southern Africa.

Nando’s agencies do their jobs so well that their ads get banned, as they did for this takedown of Zimbabwean Dictator Robert Mugabe.

gay clutter

Gay marriage is just as annoying as straight marriage, as it turns out. It’s very hard to de-clutter a shared space. It begins to be about territory.

 

Ouch.

Ouch.

 

People don't know what they store. The reason it's in storage is it's of no use to them.

People don’t know what they store. The reason it’s in storage is it’s of no use to them.

 

New York political snobbery. Another billboard mocks "secret republicanism"

New York political snobbery. Another billboard mocks “secret republicanism”

 

I know people like this. My desk used to be pretty messy, when I had an office job. No longer.

I know people like this. My desk used to be pretty messy, when I had an office job. No longer.

Wait, what is this? This looks like something I need in my life right now. A service that comes and cleans up my future room mate’s junk, so that I can easily move 10% of what I now own into the space I’m sharing?

No such luck, baby. It’s just another storage place.

I saw a billboard for this in LA. I thought it was a decluttering service. Turns out it's physical "cloud" storage. They pick up your items, catalogue them and store them with other folks', and retrieve them when you ask them to.

Turns out it’s physical “cloud” storage. They pick up your items, catalogue them and store them with other folks’, and retrieve them when you ask them to.

 

Homelessness… could never happen to me?

August 28, 2015

(Scroll down if you just want to see the pictures)

The subject of a screenplay I’m writing said something in answer to an interview question: that before she went to America, she imagined it being this perfect world, this wonderland free of prejudice and poverty. Having seen the USA with her own eyes and worked there a month, she returned to South Africa with a new appreciation for her homeland.

This is the truth. South Africans visiting Europe tend not to encounter real life there. But, take the train a few miles out of Barcelona’s quaint center, and you’ll see where how most people really eke out a living, in high-rise apartments. Maybe it’s better than where they came from. Maybe it’s not, but they’re in love with the dream.

America is both worse than I ever imagined and better than I ever dreamed. And yes, I’m staying, on what’s charmingly called an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” visa. I must love it here, or I wouldn’t have gone through the trauma of the tough and bank-balance-erasing application process, just to complete a few projects!

But it’s no easy ride. Recently I’ve been reminded of how easy it is to fall off the wagon in America, and how hard it can be to get back on once you’re off.

You see people living under bridge and you think: “Well, that would never happen to me.

I work hard! I don’t suffer from PTSD. Any psychological conditions I suffer from (like radical liberalism) are manageable. I’ve got some sources of income to fall back on. I never sign up for new credit cards, no matter how many offers those snakes at American Express, Capital One, Chase and the other banks send me without my consent, to an address they shouldn’t have in the first place… “

But because I’m home to South Africa for a while, I had to give up my apartment. It’s rent controlled, which means it only cost me $800 a month when I moved in. I gave notice a month ago. Last week, I saw my apartment advertised at $1025 a month – because rent control only lasts until a new tenant moves in. I’m going to have to find about 20% more rent money when I return, to live in one of LA’s cheapest neighborhoods!

And that got me thinking: What if I went away to Iraq for two years to fight a war, came back damaged and with a missing leg, serious PTSD, and a drinking problem? How would I ever find my way back home, then?

The truth is, very few people do.

Hence this rather fiery NEWS24 COLUMN.

The tunnel. Is there any way out of this?

The tunnel. Is there any way out of this?

The resident. He kisses pigeons. His nickname is “Birdman”.

House, phase I

House, phase I. Just a drawing on a wall, with the owner sleeping in front. This is back in December 2014 – note the Christmas Tree and snowman.

homeless before

House, phase II, after a few weeks of habitation.

Current house, with “Stunning Mountain Views” courtesy Skidrobot.

Homeless people are everywhere in California. It's not the America you see on TV, that's for sure.

Homeless people are everywhere in California. It’s not the America you see on TV, that’s for sure.

Obama: He just can’t win because he’s…

August 30, 2014

Poor fucking President Barack Obama. The dude is easily the most intelligent American president I’ve come across, and he’s desperately trying to keep his election promises, but the GOP congress insists on treating him like he’s just being uppity all the time. And it’s clear to me that he’s not afforded the same respect as other presidents.

For instance, look at how nobody paid any attention to what he actually said about military strategy today and chose to focus, instead, on what he was wearing while he said it.

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Yes, he’s hot. Damn, that man is hot. Specially in that suit. But try to concentrate okay?

And then there’s this garbage…

obamagossip

I mean, seriously… “Humiliates Prez”? I realize this is The Inquirer, but did they run these kinds of stories about Bush? I don’t know. Perhaps they did. Someone share them if they exist.

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This just in: Blinking is now considered sexual harassment. If you’re “Prez” Obama.

Every time he takes a day off, it's because he's a lazy you know what. The reality is, he's the hardest working president for a long, long time.

Every time he takes a day off, it’s because he’s a lazy you know what. The reality is, he’s the hardest working president for a long, long time.

I don’t get it. Except I do. The worst thing about American-brand racism is the denial.

Shots from a shoot

July 16, 2014

I worked background (as a film extra) last night, on a feature film shooting night for day in an LA coffeeshop. Now anyone who’s ever worked as cast on a film set knows you spend most of your time waiting to be called to set, and we were stationed on the sidewalk to make space for the shooting and setups inside. So I divided my energy between wandering around taking pictures of what I could find in a 30 foot radius, and reading a novel called Jamesland (pretty good, if you like stories about messed up women) on my kindle.

The great thing about Beverly Blvd is it’s paradise for sign-bloggers. Stenciling has taken off, and is very hard to remove from pavements. Obscure alterations dot traffic signs. And there’s always someone with a lost dog or something weird to sell you or tell you.

A stencil on the ground shows a guy reading a book, but it looks like he's peeing. In the background, a member of the cast takes a break.

A stencil on the ground shows a guy reading a book, but it looks like he’s peeing. In the background, a member of the cast takes a break.

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Stingers curled around a cool stencil saying “Publish Enemies”. It’s a viral (probably illegal, but I’d bet the fine is less than doing it legally) campaign for a comics / TV brand you can follow on Twitter as @publishenemies

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“Sheep needs a facelift. Draw here.” I think personally, I’d rather be a live sheep than a dead crosswalk activist. But I’ve seen mothers using their kids and babies in strollers as human shields to jay-walk, so perhaps I’m just not as trendy as they are.

 

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I am convinced this is a joke. But in Hollywood, you really never know. All I can say is that if this dog is “like their child” I hope we never have to watch the live birth video of its exit from the vaginal canal, because that would be gross.

 

Found another day, just up the road. I actually spotted this guy (without any dogs) a few days later.

Found another day, just up the road. I actually spotted this guy (without any dogs) a few days later. He looks happy, but not like the type to wear pearls or care about cash.

 

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Grumpy Cat says more money should go towards providing shelters for homeless animals, but Republican cats think this will only encourage more cats to be homeless. Snapped on La Brea on the way home from set at 6am.

As massive as LA is, as huge a hub as it is for the film business, I was struck by how small it was when I arrived on set to discover that half the crew (including the Cinematographer) were from Chapman too, and the producer was South African. You can always tell when a set is full of Chapman alumni because of the singing and friendliness that comes with the hard work and long hours. And despite any gripes I may have against the school, I say that with some pride in my former film school.

God’s wrath against dildos and porn and parking violations

June 27, 2014

I found this on Facebook, captioned “Haha! Here’s a pic of storm damage on I-75 near the Huntsville-Oneida exit.”

The storm is real. Look how green that grass is. All the dye in LA can't give a lawn the glow of real rain.

The storm is real. Look how green that grass is. All the poisonous lawn dye in LA can’t give a lawn the glow of real rain.

Oh, how I wish it weren’t Fake. This is a rare case of me being on the same page as Christians, but mostly because I think it’s so funny, and I love coincidences. But if you want REAL punishment from God, for accidental crimes, when you least expect it, check out how much this LA tow van looks like it’s hauling a crucifix, on which it will one day crucify your car.

Suffer and die, crappy car that can't afford a garage...

Suffer and die, crappy car that can’t afford a garage…

I got towed, recently. Cost me almost $600 – that’s about 10 days work at what I get paid at the moment, gone, just for being a few inches over a red line. And if you don’t pay your fines here, they put you in jail. For real. It’s kinda depressing, that you could go to jail just for being too poor to make mistakes everybody makes, while celebs can get wasted and drive into lamp posts and walk free the next day.

Hollywood Video. It’s for the birds.

June 23, 2014

Back in South Africa, you still get video rental places – and not just in the dodgy parts of town, and they don’t make most of their money from porn.

That’s because there’s no netflix, no Amazon Prime, no HBO Go, no Hulu, there. Just Video rental places, the tiny selection on DSTV’s on-demand, and piracy. Piracy offers a much better range, so it’s popular even though it’s slow and gives you cooties. And I’d forgotten, till I popped in with a friend on a hungover day after Christmas, how damn frustrating video stores are. Everything good is ALWAYS out on Thursday nights, everything else is hard to find, and it’s all so damn expensive.

I stopped for groceries at a late-night Ralphs near The Wiltern, and noticed that the Hollywood Video sign light wasn’t even on. It was still serving a purpose though. Pigeons nest there after a long, hot day of scavenging for food in Koreatown.

It must have been buzzing 20 years ago.

It must have been buzzing 20 years ago.

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It’s for the birds, now. Literally. Like drive-ins, and if they keep making those disappointing, overpriced failed blockbusters, movie theaters soon, too.

 

 

 

Shut up please, I don’t care who you think you are in #palmsprings

June 19, 2014

It’s a film festival. Not a bar. But some people… you know how it is?

If you love short films, this is an amazing banquet of talent. If you love parties, there's one every single night. If you want to chat to your friends, maybe during another film's screening isn't the best time?

If you love short films, this is an amazing banquet of talent. If you love parties, there’s one every single night. If you want to network, there’s plenty of that too, but maybe during another film’s screening isn’t the best time?

Call me weird, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t go to the movies to listen to other people’s conversations. In fact I dislike listening to them so much that I almost never go with anyone to movies, in case they try to talk to me during the film.

So I am at the Palm Springs International Shortsfest. I decided to attend, to check out what made it in, since they are only 2 hours from LA and have swimming pools and really cheap hotels. And I’m glad I did. One of the best shorts I’ve seen is a really touching documentary called, Joanna, a Polish film directed by Aneta Kopacz , about a woman with cancer’s long farewell to her boy, and his to her. Sounds more depressing than it is – it’s actually very life affirming. I loved the film, but I kept getting taken out of it because, behind me, two old men were having an ongoing conversation.

I am guessing from the tone that their conversation wasn’t even about the movie. It seemed tedious. Maybe they were recommending each other golf courses, or plastic surgeons, or retirement villages. All I know is that they were ruining the film for everybody around them, and they didn’t care. In fact, they seemed to be having fun doing it.

You all know how it goes – there’s a hierarchy of ways to get people to shut the hell up during films. I and others tried them all.

Tactic 1 – Turn and look: This, they noticed, but completely ignored.

Tactic 2 – Turn and stare: This time, I did it for longer, and received a smirk in response. I wasn’t the only one, but they seemed to be enjoying the attention they got!

Tactic 3 – Turn, look and “Shhhht”!: This wasn’t me. The woman behind me cracked first. This caused them to laugh and keep talking.

Tactic 4 – Polite desperation: “Can you be quiet, please or go outside, guys?” This was me. The response was to first drop to a quieter voice, and gradually increase in volume until the end of the film.

As the titles rolled, I attempted tactic 5.

Tactic 5 – Public shaming part I: “Would you guys not start another conversation, please?” This really amused them, and a few people around me agreed with me. The old boys laughed mockingly, but shut up for the remainder of the screening.

Unfortunately, the best film had already been ruined. The others were mostly interesting – the best of the rest being the Lion’s Mouth Opens, which I’d already seen at Sundance. Only one film felt like it didn’t belong – a 17-minute-long schmooze-fest about a local celeb photographer called Michael Childers, who while worth honoring has to be the only reason they programmed the ‘radio with pictures’ documentary full of shots of the interviewer grinning at Childers and Childers talking about how famous he and his friends are. Local is lekker, as we say in South Africa.  But this film stood out by not fitting into the line-up except to get local bums on seats. I watched in silence, distracting myself by hoping that the two noisy old guys would leave before the Q&A so that I wouldn’t have to see their smug faces again.

And what do you know? Not only did they not have the sense to leave, but when the presenter asked, at the end of the screening, for all those involved in all the films and present to stand, the two old men who’d been talking through vastly superior films by fellow film-makers stood to celebrate their achievement in Michael Childers: Hollywood in the Desert Sky.  I don’t know what their role was. All I know is that I couldn’t believe they had the gonads to identify themselves.

So this was when I had to raise my hand and out them for their rudeness to the entire theater. Ordinary rich trash out for a bit of culture after too many mimosas at breakfast? No problem. Idiocy is expected. But going to a film festival as a filmmaker and then disrupting another artist’s screening to a paying audience has to be the most disrespectful, and amateurish thing you can do. This would have been a good time for them to apologize.

But their response to me and others who vocally supported me? A sarcastic comment: “Ooooh. Such a purist”.

I had to leave, because staying there would have driven me insane. Yes, I’m a purist. I love movies. I won’t apologize for this, and I paid #12 for my ticket and came all the way to Palm Springs. I don’t care who you think you are or if you’re famous in Palm Springs – you simply have no right to ruin another filmmaker’s screening for me.

I hoped for a chance to see Joanna again without them there, but sadly, it only screened once. Look out for it at other festivals. Even disruptive chatter didn’t prevent it moving me to tears and laughter and I know it’ll be showing all over the world this year.

Johanna

Michael Childers: Hollywood Under a Desert Sky

Who’s the best? Art Contest in a Koreatown Mall

June 1, 2014

“A Brighter Future” – that’s the topic assigned by Korean bank BBCN, who sponsor the national baseball team and also this student art contest. The winners and honorees were displayed in my local mall, the Galleria. I wandered in there late at night while killing 15 minutes before an appointment for a foot massage.

It happened to be a time when I was thinking a lot about winners and losers, and not feeling like much of a winner. What’s great about what I saw is that I realized that the judges are crazy. The winners deserve their prizes, but that doesn’t mean the “losers” don’t deserve to win as much or more.

This got me to thinking that you can’t make good art if you do it for the sake of approval, and not for the sake of passion. I recently saw a film that cost about $2 million to make. The filmmakers stated up front that they wanted to make a commercial film. Everything about it screamed manipulation, right down to the fact that the music was like an action movie trailer soundtrack looped for about 90 minutes. Watching it, I felt dirty and annoyed. What a waste of money and all the participants’ talent. No, you don’t make art “for yourself”. It needs to be seen. But you also don’t cynically make it to score points, or it will suck.

With that, you be the judges.

I had the gallery mostly to myself.

I had the gallery mostly to myself.

I like this one. It's very teenaged - like the kid had to conform to the "Bright Future" thing but was in hormonal mood on the day.

I like this one. It’s very teenaged – like the kid had to conform to the “Bright Future” thing but was in hormonal mood on the day.

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A prize winner. I like it, but it is feels mostly decorative and doesn’t move me much. I predict this artist could probably make a living, though, unlike most, as nobody wants to hang trauma on their walls.

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This is really cool. I love the speeding devil-bull. By Heather Choi. Title is in Korean.

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Again, lovely for a lounge. Not sure why it’s a winner but I like it. Ashly Haine, “Italy Trip”

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I think this is brilliant. I love the sense of perspective, the choice of angle, the sky POV and the family of birds hanging out right there with her. This should have won a prize. Can’t read the artist’s name but the title is “Helping Hands”

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I picked out this one because it reminds me of the kinds of things my brother used to draw as a kid. He was really talented but went into Medicine, leaving me to flounder around in the art world. Andrew Kim’s “Energetic Crane”.

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Hilarious – a protest against the horrors of homework. I remember feeling like that, like I’d die if I had to do my maths problems. I’d avoid it until 10pm every time. Of course, not quite suitable for BBCN bank’s yay the future theme. by Theresa Oh. Can’t read the title. “… Camp”

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This being a school art contest, I saw a lot of eyes, hair, and clocks. Being a kid is difficult as you get older. You are not free, but you have all this pressure on you. People who feel their school years were the best of their lives puzzle me. I always liked learning but institutions blow. Can’t read the title or artist name… sorry.

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This is awesome. So many stories in this, like a memory of riding the bus, or of one day around town. Again unfortunately the title and artist name are blurred!

A playground picture. I like it a lot.

A playground picture. I like it a lot.

Sweet. A self portrait.

Sweet. A self portrait.

A prize winner. I am surprised this one. It is interesting, but not really on-message. It reminds me of Kentridge or Jane Alexander. Can't read the text.

A prize winner. I am surprised this one. It is interesting, but not really on-message. It reminds me of Kentridge or Jane Alexander. Can’t read the text.

I think the overhead is fun. A portrait of a life that seems crammed with possibilities.

I think the overhead is fun. A portrait of a life that seems crammed with possibilities.

The title of this is something like "families reunited" and I suspect it is to do with North/South Korea. I loved it and I think it should have won something.

The title of this is something like “families reunited” and I suspect it is to do with North/South Korea. I loved it and I think it should have won something.

Hilarious. That french bread looks like a you know what.

Hilarious. That french bread looks like a you know what. And the dude on the stomach seems really surprised by how big it is. I don’t think this was the artist’s intention. But that’s another thing about art – you can’t control what you make, entirely.

Joyce Yo, "Drowning without Soul". Weird. I don't know if I get it. Is it about prostitution?

Joyce Yo, “Drowning without Soul”. Weird. I don’t know if I get it. Is it about prostitution?

So cool. A girly giant lizard.

So cool. A girly giant lizard.

While I was looking at this, a random guy came up to me and asked "Is that your daughter's picture?" I was really insulted at the time, because it looks like a portrait of an addict mother. Why do strangers think it's okay to ask you personal questions like that? Then again, what kind of weirdo wanders around an empty mall on a Saturday night.

While I was looking at this, a random guy came up to me and asked “Is that your daughter’s picture?” I was really insulted at the time, because it looks like a portrait of an addict mother. Why do strangers think it’s okay to ask you personal questions like that? Then again, what kind of weirdo wanders around an empty mall on a Saturday night.

The eye thing again. There were a lot of them.

The eye thing again. There were a lot of them. This seems like a portrait of a talker. Or is it a lonely person watching a group of friends and wishing they could be there, with them?

This picture is so vary LA - "Urbanization of Sophistication" by Erica Lee. I love it.

This picture is so vary LA – “Urbanization of Sophistication” by Erica Lee. I love it.

Jennifer Bae "Movie Theater" captures a moment from Frozen, which the Sound Designer on my thesis film, Christine Hals, worked on. I love this because it captures the magic of movies as a child, the way they fill your head and your heart.

Jennifer Bae “Movie Theater” captures a moment from Frozen, which the Music Composer on my thesis film, Christine Hals, worked on. I love this because it captures the magic of movies as a child, the way they fill your head and your heart.

Cell phone age art. All those smileys seem to be chattering, overwhelmingly and annoyingly happy. Not sure if that's what Kyle Son meant by "Smart Phone with Emoties".

Cell phone age art. All those smileys seem to be chattering, overwhelmingly and annoyingly happy. Not sure if that’s what Kyle Son meant by “Smart Phone with Emoties”.

There's a singer like this on a hundred stages like this in LA right now. The color and style reminds me of Kandinsky. Allen Manjae Chun "If I were a singer".

There’s a singer like this on a hundred stages like this in LA right now. The color and style reminds me of Kandinsky. Allen Manjae Chun “If I were a singer”.

Another awesome teenage self portrait by Scarlett Chang. I love the energy of this picture and I would probably have given it a prize.

Another awesome teenage self portrait by Scarlett Chang. I love the energy of this picture and I would probably have given it a prize.

Earnest, interesting. Not really sure about it. Well executed though, and the bank note probably helped make it a winner.

Earnest, interesting. Not really sure about it. Well executed though, and the bank note probably helped make it a winner.

"Face Painting at a Korea Party" - the colors in this remind me so much of the pictures sold at traffic lights in SA. By Jaimie Yoon.

“Face Painting at a Korea Party” – the colors in this remind me so much of the pictures sold at traffic lights in SA. By Jaimie Yoon.

This by Paul Seo won a judges award.

This by Paul Seo won a judges award.

So you see what I mean. They’re all lovely – I photographed all the winners and then all the ones I thought were interesting. I enjoyed this little exhibition easily as much as any I’ve seen in a famous museum. I wonder where these kids – some of whom are six years old now – will be in 20 years. Who knows, they might be famous film-makers, artists, animators or photographers. I hope they are happy, whatever the future holds.