a clean confession about Tarfest


Saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and mammoths did not go to Tarfest 40,000 years ago even though they were in the neighborhood. Tarfest only had its 14th annual celebration of music and art this past Saturday.

Accompanied by F.A. who wrote the first-person account, you have until Friday, I attended to support the galleries LAUNCH LA and KP Projects.

Support did not mean we bought art, because as artists, writers, musicians, photographers we can also support the aforementioned galleries by simply being there. “My presence is my contribution,” a mindfulness instructor once shared with me. And I have found it to be true in any situation. In the context of art and art institutions, that has been my continuing contribution—to show up and view the art in person, and also to show up to the opening reception and meet the artists.

Over the years, my contribution took other forms such as arts journalism or blogging about art (as I am doing now) and also sharing art I love on social media, so that others can glimpse why I might be drawn to a piece—”glimpse” being a deliberate word choice as no one can really “see” art online and feel the full power, texture, and scope of the creation. There are ridges of paint that get flattened when digitized. There are colors that wake up only when bathed in daylight or the lighting in a gallery. There are pieces of art that can dwarf an iPhone or a computer screen. No, online only a JPEG can be seen, not the art itself—which was all the more reason we visited the tents with curated art by KP Projects, formerly Merry Karnowsky Gallery.


I’ve been visiting and writing about Merry’s gallery for years so I recognized art by Tara McPherson, Shepard Fairey, Victor Castillo, Mark Whalen, Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins. What I wasn’t familiar with was another Tarfest sponsor, NOMAD: “a printmaking studio and art compound located north of Echo Park in Frogtown. Its vision is to serve the community as a catalyst for creative collaboration and offers space for filming, photo shoots, workshops and special events that does screen printing.”


The music stage featured guests chosen by Kevin Bronson of Buzz Bands LA: Dear Boy (headliner), Durand Jones & The Indications, Brit Manor, BRAEVES. Dublab also provided DJ sets from Ale, Mitchell Brown, T- Kay, Slayron, Seano.


Dance performances by Clairobscur Dance Company, Move The World Dance Activism, and the DIAVOLO Institute happened before F.A. and I arrived, but we had witnessed the kinetic storytelling of DIAVOLO before at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights and the Mimoda Dance Studio.

I also missed James Panozzo of LAUNCH LA that organizes Tarfest every year and “believes exposure to the arts enhances quality of life and strengthens community through the shared appreciation of creative expression in all its forms and hybrids.” After talking to him at many events, I can tell you he is just as inviting as the celebrations of art that he ignites in Los Angeles.

— Q.D. from Culver City, CA


F.A. about to peek into the atrium of the George C. Page Museum


Art and magic are no different. But we are.


We wrote the 5 mysteries.

We’re from another world.

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