More Film Festival News

DFFLA logo“Young Turks” has been selected for inclusion in the 2013 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles, to be held at various venues downtown from July 10-18, 2013.

The Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles (DFFLA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to showcasing the best in independent cinema in the heart of the world’s entertainment and arts capital, according to its website. “Our programming reflects downtown L.A.’s vibrant new urbanism, the unique ethnic and cultural diversity of its communities and neighborhoods, and its seminal role in the early days of American cinema. Set against the historic backdrop of City Center, DFFLA serves as a beacon for movie fans and industry professionals throughout Southern California.”

The “Young Turks” and other artists around in the 1970s and ’80s were pioneers of this “vibrant new urbanism,” and filmmakers  Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson are very pleased to have “Young Turks” included among the films selected for this celebration of downtown history.

Showtimes and locations will be announced later this week.


Seemayer on the Changing Downtown Landscape

Stephen Seemayer at the District Gallery, which recently hosted an exhibit of the artists' work.

Stephen Seemayer at the District Gallery, which recently hosted an exhibit of the artist’s work.

“Now you see people walking down the street with poodles that have shirts on.”

“Young Turks” director Stephen Seemayer, in a recent interview with Richard Schave, discussed the changing nature of life downtown, a major theme of the artist’s 95-minute documentary film, which is slated for DVD release later this month.

Art Above the LawOn the podcast You Can’t Eat the Sunshine, a production of — which hosts “bus adventures into the secret heart of Los Angeles” — Seemayer talks about the movie and life downtown in the 1970s and ’80s, but he also recounts tales of the “Red Zone,” a series of guerrilla art shows that were staged in the early 1990s.

“We decided we were just going to take over a space, take over a building, not ask any permission, not pay for any insurance, not get any permits,” Seemayer says on the podcast, appropriately subtitled “Art on the Edge.”

Seemayer in Red Zone IIn fact, for the interview, Seemayer met Schave in a warehouse at the Angel City Brewery, just across the street from Wurstküche, a beer and wiener shop now in the building that unwittingly had hosted the first of the “Red Zones” in May 1990.

The then-printing shop was painted red after its owner had left for the day, and then the artists descended. The original artists who had planned the “Red Zone” — which they titled “Art Above the Law” — installed their pieces, but then hundreds of others showed up and started improvising artworks on the spot. For his part, Seemayer’s contribution was a silhouette of himself made from meat nailed to the brick wall.

For more on “Young Turks” and the “Red Zones,” listen to Seemayer’s interview.

For more on the “In Your Face” and “Signs of the Times” exhibits mentioned in the interview, go to Seemayer’s website, which has photos of all the work shown at the District Gallery and Angel City Brewery.

A Young Turk in Paris

WoodsDavyParis2013Woods Davy, one of the sculptors profiled in “Young Turks,” will be showing new work at a gallery in Paris through the end of June. A reception is Thursday (May 23), 6-10 p.m., at the Marie-Laure de l’Ecotais gallery on the Rue de Seine in St.-Germain-des-Prés.

May 22-June 29, 2012
Galerie Marie-Laure de l’Ecotais
At the back of the courtyard
49 rue de Seine
75006 Paris

Another Turk Studded Exhibit

desertColeen Sterritt‘s work will be included in another exhibit, “From The Desert,” opening Thursday (May 16, 2013) at the Pacific Design Center.

“Our local deserts have a long history as sources of inspiration for artists,” reads the press release from Hudson|Linc, the curatorial group mounting the exhibition.  ” ‘From the Desert’ celebrates this history by bringing together a diverse array of artists who make conceptually strong work that uses the desert as inspiration and/or source material.”

In addition to Sterritt — whose “sculpture evokes desert topography,” according to the release — the following artists will also be including work in the show, which was curated by Steven Wolkoff:

Adrienne Adar, Anthony Ausgang, William Berry, David Buckingham, Gavin Bunner, Lynn Hanson, Autumn Harrison, Brian Hollister, Carmine Iannaccone, Thomas Isaac, Nick Lisica, Dafna Malmon, Constance Mallinson, Anne Martens, Dan McCleary, Margaret Nielsen, Andy Romanoff, Ross Rudel, Linda Stark and Don Suggs.
“From the Desert” runs May 16 through July 31, 2013.
“From the Desert”
May 16 – July 31, 2013

Opening reception Thursday, May 16, 5 – 8:30 p.m.

Pacific Design Center, Suite B215
8687 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Parking Information

Coleen Sterritt Shows New Work in Chinatown

Coleen Sterritt piece in "Decomposition"

Coleen Sterritt piece in “Decomposition”

Coleen Sterritt, one of the artists featured in “Young Turks,” is showing a new sculpture as part of a group show at a Chinatown Gallery.

Decomposition“Decomposition,” showing now through July 12, 2013, at Fellows of Contemporary Art on North Broadway, was curated by Constance Mallinson. Besides Sterritt, it includes work by Jonathon Hornedo, Doug Harvey, Marie Thibeault, Yvette Gellis, Nikko Mueller, Nancy Evans and Mallinson.

According to FOCA’s website: “The works vary in approach from abstract painting to figurative painting to sculpture, and engage debates ranging from how ‘contemporary’ can suggest political content and help shape perceptions on current issues, to nostalgia and its relationship to loss, and to the representation of decay and its connections to aesthetics.”

Sterritt’s piece involves the systematic destruction of a hollow-core door then reassembled in a different and dramatic shape. In “Young Turks,” Sterritt explains how her work at the time of shooting the documentary (1977-1981) would both entice and repel the viewer simultaneously, creating a conflicted emotional reaction. Her piece in “Decomposition” has a similar inviting/off-putting dichotomy: A door offers access to a new place, but deconstructing that door and fusing it back into an unnatural shape removes its function and forces the viewer to see it in a different, nonfunctional light.

“Decomposition” continues through July 12.

Curators Lab Exhibition Space
Fellows of Contemporary Art
970 N. Broadway, Suite 208
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 808-1008

Newton the Nomad

Richard Newton in "Get Under the Table - Don't Look at the Windows," a performance staged at the El Dorado Hotel in 1980.

Richard Newton in “Get Under the Table – Don’t Look at the Windows,” a performance staged at the El Dorado Hotel in 1980.

Artist Richard Newton, who in “Young Turks” memorably takes viewers on the “first tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art” on Bunker Hill, will show a series of his short films on Thursday, May 16, 2013, at the Laguna Art Museum.

Some Poets — Short Films from 1969–1987 by Richard Newton” will start at 7 p.m. at the museum located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

During the shooting of “Young Turks” in 1977-1981, filmmaker Stephen Seemayer and Newton lived downtown and collaborated on each other’s projects. (Seemayer is driving one of the cars in Newton’s film/performance “A Glancing Blow,” a portion of which is included in “Young Turks.”)

The Victor Clothing Building, 240 S. Broadway, was home to Richard Newton and several of the other "Young Turks" in the 1970s and '80s.

The Victor Clothing Building, 240 S. Broadway, was home to Richard Newton and several of the other “Young Turks” in the 1970s and ’80s.

Newton had a studio at the Victor Clothing Building for a few years, and later he had the top floor of a building at 8th and Spring streets. But apparently, after an unstable childhood, he has never really felt settled.

In the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, journalist Rhea Mahbubani paints a touchingly intimate portrait of Newton, the performance artist/filmmaker/gadabout.

“Just like I move around a lot, I change my name a lot,” said Newton, who donned the pseudonym Ric Marin upon embarking on his career as an artist. “So besides the fact that I don’t seem to know where I belong, I also actually don’t know what my name is. Fortunately, I guess I have art to attach all this stuff to.”

“Ultimately,” Mahbubani concludes, “Newton’s every venture is driven by a desire to communicate.”

“What I enjoy the most is when viewers — across a broad spectrum of ages and backgrounds — somehow find something in what I have done to relate to themselves,” he said. “I want them to be able to step in and feel something.”

Read Mahbubani’s article here.

“Some Poets — Short Films from 1969–1987 by Richard Newton”
Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Thursday, May 16, 2013
7 to 8:45 p.m.
Free for museum members, free for nonmembers with museum admission
Information: (949) 494-8971 or

ArtWalk on the Wild Side

"Terminal Bar," photocollage by Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson, 2013

“Terminal Bar,” photocollage by Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson, 2013

Come to the east side of downtown for ArtWalk tonight (Thursday, May 9, 2013) and see two (count ’em 2!) shows featuring work by “Young Turks” filmmakers Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson.

"Transient L.A.," limited edition softcover book by Pamela Wilson and Stephen Seemayer

“Transient L.A.,” limited edition softcover book by Pamela Wilson and Stephen Seemayer

At Angel City Brewery, the “In Your Face: How Artists Transformed L.A.’s Urban Landscape” exhibit includes photocollages by Wilson and Seemayer made from images of long lost haunts once frequented by the Turks. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind, framed and signed print featuring images of such lamented landmarks as the Atomic Café, Al’s Bar, Yee Mee Loo, Craby Joe’s and Torchy’s. There is also a limited edition softcover book of the whole collection which will be on sale tonight for $20.

November 27, 2011 "Please don't beat me," collage by Stephen Seemayer

November 27, 2011
“Please don’t beat me,” collage by Stephen Seemayer

At the nearby District Gallery, Seemayer’s latest is on display in a solo exhibit, “Signs of the Times.” The show includes 63 new artworks inspired by Occupy L.A. and a short new movie by Seemayer and Wilson of photos and video they took during the two-month protest on the lawn of City Hall.

In Your Face continues through June 9.
April 11-June 9, 2013
Angel City Brewery
216 S. Alameda Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Signs of the Times continues through May 26.

April 25 – May 26
District Gallery 740 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

LA Weekly Focuses on Arts District

"Atomic Café" is one of the pieces by "Young Turks" filmmakers Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson in the "In Your Face" exhibit.

“Atomic Café” is one of the pieces by “Young Turks” filmmakers Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson in the “In Your Face” exhibit.

In its latest issue, the L.A. Weekly writes about all that’s going on in the Arts District today, including the “In Your Face” exhibit at Angel City Brewery that includes work by “Young Turks” filmmakers Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson.

Reporter Catherine Wagley credits the late Joel Bloom with giving the district its name, but, as anyone who has seen “Young Turks” can tell you, the district was attracting artists and musicians way before even Bloom showed up.

Al’s Bar, on the ground floor of the American Hotel, opened in 1980 as a punk rock haven and pool hall for artists and the truck drivers and others who worked in the industrial buildings in the area. The American Hotel, at the corner of Traction and Hewitt, had been in business since at least the 1920s, but in the ’70s, the proprietors started renting rooms (bathrooms down the hall) to struggling artists as studios and living spaces. (Wilson, then a student at Otis Art Institute, moved into two rooms on the fourth floor in the summer of 1980.)

“Young Turks” was filmed all around downtown L.A. starting in 1977, and when Seemayer’s original rough-cut was shown at the Downtown Drive-In in June 1981, then-Herald Examiner art critic Christopher Knight wrote:

Those who are familiar with the downtown scene know that the Young Turks are a thing of the past, supplanted by the quickly evolving activity of the area. … And the gentrification of the area will only accelerate. “I give it another four or five years,” Seemayer concedes. Like the now-legendary scene that revolved around the Ferus Gallery and Barney’s Beanery in the ’60s, what the film depicts is already gone. The movie is a period piece, with a faintly romantic nostalgia [about it.]

That was 32 years ago. It seems the downtown “arts district,” whether it’s one specific neighborhood or the entire downtown area, has gone — and will continue to go — through cycles of discovery and development.

“In Your Face: How Artists Transformed L.A.’s Urban Landscape” continues through June 9.

April 11-June 9, 2013
Angel City Brewery
216 S. Alameda Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

You can read the full L.A. Weekly article here.

Downtown in the Spotlight

Cartwheel logoOn Cartwheel,  an art blog based in Los Angeles, Wendy Sherman writes about all the recent exhibits that focus on the history of artists in downtown L.A.

About the “In Your Face” exhibit now showing at the Angel City Brewery, Sherman writes: “This exhibition is for anyone interested in finding out more about the rich history of the artists who made the arts district the thriving, creative environment it is today.”

"Al's Bar" photocollage by Pamela Wilson and Stephen Seemayer, 2013 (detail)

“Al’s Bar” photocollage by Pamela Wilson and Stephen Seemayer, 2013 (detail)

“In Your Face,” sponsored by the District Gallery, is a collection of works by Carlton Davis, Ed Glendenning, Irving Greines, and “Young Turks” filmmakers Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson. The “three movements,” as Sherman calls them, each document an aspect of Downtown history from the Art Dock to Al’s Bar.

Sherman goes on to discuss Seemayer’s solo exhibit at the District Gallery, “Signs of the Times,” which continues through May 26. It is a group of pieces inspired by Occupy L.A.

Read Sherman’s full article here.

Popcorn and Prizes


“Young Turks” filmmakers Stephen Seemayer, left, and Pamela Wilson with their son and associate producer, Zach Seemayer.

Don Gewelke — with his daughter Lisa and friend Phil — came from New York for the screening.

Don Gewelke — with his daughter Lisa and friend Phil — came from New York for the screening.

“Young Turks” screened at the United Film Festival Los Angeles on Monday night (April 29, 2013), and a good time was had by all. Several lucky members of the audience tweeted to win “Young Turks” T-shirts and Party Boys CDs.

Filmmakers Pamela Wilson and Stephen Seemayer followed the screening with a lively and revealing question-and-answer led by festival host Sal Rodriguez. They talked about living downtown in the 1970s and ’80s.

Rodriguez commented on Seemayer’s inclusion of several homeless people as counterpoint to the interviews with downtown artists that make up the bulk of the documentary.

Tony discusses life on the streets of downtown L.A.

Tony discusses life on the streets of downtown L.A.

Rodriguez was struck by the intimacy and frankness Seemayer was able to evoke from Tony, Schlitz and the others, who all lived in the alleys and vacant lots surrounding the Young Turks’ studios. Seemayer explained his decision to include them in the fabric of the film: “These guys were all around our lofts and studios, and we got to know them. If you think about it, the only difference between us and them was a couple of months rent.”

After Rodriguez commented that “Young Turks” is a remarkable, educational document of a vital art scene and era not widely acknowledged by a lot of cultural institutions, Wilson talked about plans for the future of “Young Turks,” saying the next step is to get it released on DVD and into the film collections of museums and universities.