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Los Angeles, CA US
I analyze the balancing and imbalancing of cultures
Recent Activity
Introducing our two new beautiful adoptees from the local shelter: Willow and Waylon, sibling terrier mix strays (they think schnauzer/yorkie mix). Wishing everyone a fun and healthy holiday season this year! Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Many of you already know that our incredible family member Muki passed away on the evening of September 29, 2015. We are so grateful to have been able to spend 17 years and 4 months with him on this planet. Every day and night with him was the most wonderful gift. Muki chose to leave his physical form on his own, a rare situation for most dogs. He was aware we had inquired about an... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Below is Grandmother Despina, who at 108 years old may be the oldest person to ever be filmed. Her grandsons Janaki and Milton Manaki purchased a Bioscope camera during a trip to London and filmed her weaving upon returning to their Macedonia (Balkans) home, now in present-day Greece. This was all captured in 1905, which would make her birth year a staggering 1791! Fortunately for us in 2015, this is truly a mesmerizing look back... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Banksy’s “DIsmaland” is a sprawling physical commentary on the crass world of mainstream entertainment (and considering how Disney employees are strictly forbidden from visiting the installation certainly says a lot). But besides the sarcastic swipes at commercialized artistry and fantasy, the anonymous artist’s huge exhibit also comments on the urgent issue of captive animals in theme parks, a gross relic of old-fashioned taste and morals: SeaWorld’s animal abuse denials aren’t fooling anybody anymore. Although their... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
"I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either.” If I hadn’t watched the Republican debate last night, this awkward statement that was reiterated by presidential hopeful Donald Trump (when asked about previous quips he’d made regarding overweight women) could have just as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
It’s always thrilling to see big name bands in smaller venues. Social Distortion’s sold out shows at the House of Blues Sunset Strip this past weekend will definitely be one that LA remembers. The night opened with Jonny “Two Bags” Wickersham performing songs from his solo album Salvation Town. I’ve always respected his work (Cadillac Tramps pretty much ruled where I grew up) and his new album has everything you’d expect from an accomplished musician... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Our time warp weekend started off with the Adolescents, the Weirdos, Ch3, and Bad Cop Bad Cop. This show was probably one of the most hot and crowded nights at the Roxy we’ve seen lately—every inch of space was packed and the audience was clearly super pumped for the lineup. We arrived just in time for the Weirdos, who played such an awesome and fun set. Of course, Zander Schloss (Circle Jerks) on bass was... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
The ladies of L7 performed two heavy nights for their hometown crowd at The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood this weekend. Recently reunited, the original lineup with Suzi Gardner, Donita Sparks, Jennifer Finch and Demetra Plakas was a rare treat. Despite decades of influencing grunge rock and riot grrrl bands, the performance had the sharp energy one would expect from their albums of the late 80s and throughout the 90s. Sparks and Finch (who still had... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
The recently released documentary on Brit shoegaze band Slowdive offers an intimate journey of the group's early development as well as a personal, insider view of the making of Souvlaki, easily one of my favorite albums of the 90s. While the media’s denial of their artistry at the time is well documented, lesser known tidbits of the group’s interpersonal relations are revealed in terms of the making of the Souvlaki. If you’re into Slowdive or... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
“First they laughed at us, now they copy us.” Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Agent Orange live at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood earlier this month—they were local legends where I grew up but I was too young to see them with the original members. It’s amazing how many influential bands are touring again. While the apex of this particular wave of music was decades ago, it’s still awesome to be able to catch shows like this in 2015 (and there are a lot of them lately,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
It shouldn’t take a boatload of common sense for governments to understand that trying to eliminate personal aesthetic and cultural preferences among their citizens is futile—particularly now when the world is more interconnected than ever—but Iranian hardliners still do not seem to realize this. Iran banned long hair and ponytails on men five years ago but apparently that wasn’t enough to crackdown on the clearly Western-influenced styles that so much of their youth (still) prefer... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
“Anything to Say?” is a timely example of what the most relevant works of public art do—challenge the status quo and draw in observers to actually engage and participate in important, yet often overlooked or ignored, issues. Comprised of three life-size bronze sculptures of Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange, the figures stand on matching chairs lined up with a fourth chair that sits conspicuously empty, all in plain view in the middle of... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
It’s been several years since I last found myself in Hong Kong, and although the street art scene back then was already quickly growing, it looks like it has officially tipped in popularity and accessibility in more recent years, joining the fluctuating realm of many other temporal public art works. This shift has a lot to do with the global wave of contemporary art, which has captured the imaginations of youths around the world as... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Obtaining visas can be a hassle when dealing with international travel—here are two interactive sites that help you organize which countries your passport is welcome with or without a visa (the data also gives a very general idea of each country’s global relations): Passport Index is a useful tool for finding out what countries your passport allows you to enter without obtaining a visa. Each country’s passport is assigned a "power rank” which spans from... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
“If you don’t believe in the value engagement brings, then don’t visit.” North Korea—unlike neighbors China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea—just isn’t as prone to external influence and regional development despite its location in one of the most technologically-connected regions in the world. Although the Internet is slowly inching past the regime’s grip on people’s access to information there, such progress is only a reality for some North Koreans. The reality remains that much of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
There aren’t too many countries with leaders who are diehard metal fans, but Indonesia’s President Jokowi is one of the few. Running the most populous Muslim country, as well as the world's fifth youngest population, Jokowi has plenty of sensitive cultural issues on his roster since taking office in October 2014. The latest controversy is the fate of two convicted drug traffickers, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, both Australian citizens who are set to be... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Samsung sponsored this simple yet striking interactive billboard in Seoul during the recent holiday season in order to encourage people to seek help and report cases of child abuse. In many cultures including South Korea, child abuse remains a growing yet ignored issue in families and institutions. Ageism and sexism play a large role here, where younger people are highly discouraged to challenge their elders under any circumstances and males are automatically entitled to a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
The background for the cover art of Joy Division’s 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures is even more “scholarly" than most already believe and also reveals a glimpse of the band’s surprising influences in their early Manchester days. This week Scientific American has a really interesting blog post on the origin of the iconic cover, usually attributed to an image from The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy of radio waves from pulsar CP 1919 (below). But after... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
It is astounding how much the desperate mainstream media, along with certain portions of the general public, has revealed their unfortunate misunderstanding of the terms “censorship,” “freedom of speech,” and “freedom of expression” in recent weeks. Yesterday, 50-year old Egyptian writer Fatima Naoot went on trial in Cairo for a Facebook comment she posted on her account that criticizes Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, the annual Muslim festival where countless sheep, cows,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2015 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Indonesia is well known for having the world’s largest Muslim population at 205 million people, which is roughly 88% of the entire country and nearly 13% of the world’s Muslim community. Perhaps largely due to this religious backdrop, Indonesia’s sprawling underground punk music scene remains relatively unnoticed by outsiders despite its sheer size and momentum. In 2011 the Indonesian government made significant attempts to subdue the punk subculture, referred to as “the new social disease,”... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2014 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Perhaps the most striking part of the new “Soldiers at Stonehenge” exhibition that opened this week is the projection of WWI footage on to the ring of prehistoric standing stones. Part memorial, part public art, the ancient site stood at the center of Britain’s military training camp from 1914-1918. Historical artifacts and photographs will complete the stories of the 180,000 soldiers and the surrounding community in this exhibit, which runs through April 2015. The average... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
The Victoria and Albert Museum’s latest exhibition, Disobedient Objects, opened with impeccable timing this past summer, just weeks before major anti-police violence protests launched throughout the US. With global protests steadily continuing regarding myriad issues, it looks like the influential institution has also inserted itself in the current Hong Kong democracy protests by supporting the artists and activists who are racing to save and archive the art works created during the widely-watched demonstrations. “Umbrella Man”... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Tensions between Germany and Greece, both historical and recent, are potentially very relevant for the next Documenta, tentatively titled “Documenta 14: Learning from Athens.” Already known as the world’s most influential and expansive contemporary art exhibition, the quinquennial program will be held in both Kassel, its traditional host city, as well as Athens, according to artistic director Adam Szymczy. Szymczy explained in a recent interview that his interest in including Athens as a site stems... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at BALANCE OF CULTURE
Tunisia, already known for its beautiful old villages and towns, now has another draw for tourists and locals alike. This summer in the town of Erriadh, on the northeastern Djerba tip of the country, 150 artists from 30 countries contributed murals and sculptures for “Djerbahood,” perhaps the first public street art exhibit in the region. Despite graffiti art being a rather foreign aesthetic to the traditions of this town, most Erriadh residents have embraced their... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at BALANCE OF CULTURE