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An Artful Blend of Jazz and Angelenos


It's a strange view from the MOCA Plaza every Thursday night during the summer. The downtown skyscrapers empty themselves of their daily work force, but here, in the center of the business district, a throng begins to coalesce. The reason is the Museum of Contemporary Art's Summer Nights, a program offering free museum admission, free jazz and a whole lot more.

"There are many reasons we do it," says Sylvia Hohri, MOCA's director of community development. "One is to recognize jazz as an art form. Another is to build a sense of community for the city. We really try to reach diverse audiences that don't really get a chance to mingle in a convivial way like this.

Besides offering Thursday night patrons an opportunity for a free peek at the Ed Moses and Ed Keinholz exhibitions, the museum brings top-tier jazz performers like Billy Higgins and Cedar Walton as well as emerging jazz artists to perform on the plaza.

To slake the thirsts of the thousand or so people who gather here, they also add the classy touch of inviting a different microbrewery and winery each week to sell their beverages.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Monday August 5, 1996 Home Edition Life & Style Part E Page 2 View Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Up All Night--The wrong photos accompanied Friday's Up All Night column about the Museum of Contemporary Art's Summer Nights program. The photos actually depict the night life at Lunaria, a West Los Angeles restaurant.

It's a combination that attracts a more diverse crowd than you're apt to find anywhere in the city. Everyone from sober-suited corporate and city workers to green-haired art rockers seem to find something worthwhile here.

For Martin Palma, Joe Melendez, Rod Hennington and Archie Falk, it's a way for the four of them to meet up after their jobs in far-flung parts of the city and enjoy an evening of jazz.

"I've been here almost the whole summer," says Hennington, director of a management consulting firm in Whittier. 'I try to get my jazz fix every week and this is about the best buy there is." Tim Nguyen, a 22-year-old student at UC Santa Barbara who was at MOCA one recent night with his girlfriend, Sandra Miguel, says, "It's something different from the usual club scene that we usually go to."

"Oh, yeah, this place gives you really a sense of community with all these people getting together," says Kristen Graul, an actress from Larchmont Village, who clutches a cup of the micro brew du jour. "And that doesn't really happen in L.A. very much," she says.


Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Ave.; (213) 626-6222.

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday until Aug. 29.

Cost: Free. Beer and wine, $3. Parking in California Plaza garage is $4.40 flat rate after 5 p.m.

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