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The Alternatives

A well-lighted underground

A downtown arts fest with a palette of sights and sounds.

July 29, 2004|Heseon Park | Special to The Times

Think "underground scene" and images of club kids using glow-sticks to ward off the uncool come to mind. Six Degrees, a two-night "underground" arts and music festival, intends to change that.

The event, taking place this weekend in downtown L.A.'s artist loft district, combines the forces of the Lab 101, Create:Fixate, Transport Gallery and Cannibal Flower -- all galleries that regularly mix art exhibitions with live music. This is the first time they've come together for one show.

"You won't find any glow-sticks here," says Transport's Mike Russek, who along with club promoter Puresounds organized Six Degrees. "What you'll find is young emerging creative forces coming together to promote each other's art and network with other people of similar interests."

More than 50 artists -- including Shepard Fairey, Edward Colver and Dennis Larkins, as well as newer talents Nathan Spoor, Andre Freimann, Freddi C. and Luke Chueh -- will exhibit work in three conjoined warehouses. The 20,000-square-foot space will be transformed into a gallery, complete with freshly whitewashed walls and floors, and divided into three zones.

Hip-hop, Brazilian and urban beats will greet guests entering Zone 1, where vendors will offer what's billed as a "traveling sideshow restaurant" -- picture vegan food and pole-dancing clowns. A bar and Korean barbecue also await partygoers in a patio area.

Zone 2 will feature live painting from the Lab 101 group, whose artists will paint a 50-foot-wide wall and hanging canvases; Transport, Create:Fixate and Cannibal Flower will also exhibit work on 200 linear feet of wall space.

San Francisco DJ Lorin will headline in Zone 3, a room dedicated to electronica sounds.

But with all the distractions, how much will attendees actually focus on the art?

Russek says that when the promoters at Puresounds approached him about hosting a giant arts and music festival, he was skeptical, at best.

"Whenever someone tries to incorporate art and DJs, it usually becomes more about the party and less about the art," Russek explains. "Lights usually get turned way down so the atmosphere is more club-like, which plays down the work a lot."

So Russek worked with Puresounds to create the fully lighted Zone 2, devoted solely to art; that way, the works will be featured as they would in any gallery, he says.

In the adjoining areas, DJs will spin a vibe meant to lure guests from one section to another, with a lineup including Southern California DJs Nobody, Josh One, Blake & Paris, Rashida and Valida, as well as crews from Dublab and Firecracker.

Though many of those names are familiar to clubgoers, the goal of Six Degrees isn't to attract just them but rather to draw a larger crowd of art aficionados from all walks of life bent on having a good time.

Says Russek: "It's like the saying, 'six degrees of separation.' "

*

Six Degrees

What: A festival of art exhibitions, DJ sets, live entertainment, drinks, food and vendors.

Where: 1329 E. 6th St., downtown Los Angeles

When: 6 p.. to 2 a.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday.

Price: In advance, $15 for both nights; at the door, $15 per night. 21 and older.

Info: (213) 225-5934; puresounds.org/sixdegrees

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