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Taking the scene downtown

August 25, 2005|Kevin Bronson

MAYBE the heart of Hollywood was beating last Saturday night, and the Sunset Strip was probably jumping. But how about that traffic on Santa Fe Avenue?

Yes, in the bowels of the downtown warehouse district, there were crowds -- and music and dancing and all manner of art. "It's hard to raise a community in Los Angeles," said Lance Sanders, 30, founder of the art club Hangar 1018, "but it's down here."

Indeed, Hangar 1018, a converted industrial space cater-cornered from a strip club, is one of several downtown venues catering to what hipsters call "the underground art scene." Closed by police late last year for code violations, Hangar 1018 reopened this spring, more than $100,000 in renovations later.

Its space is rented two or three times monthly for events such as last weekend's 3 Shots, a music-art gathering that featured a performance by the rising L.A. band Gram Rabbit, even if the exhibited art was decidedly modest in ambition. The crowd was diverse, the lemonade was spiked and the kitsch was thick -- you could even get a Skooby's hot dog out back.

"These things have a certain vibe," Sanders said. "It's supposed to feel like a party at somebody's house."

Across the street, Dim Mak Records was throwing a party; not far away, one sign pointed passersby to an "Art Show," another to an "Art Party."

The scene figures to be the same this weekend, when Hangar 1018 will be the setting for the fifth anniversary show of Cannibal Flower, one of the city's most established roving art franchises. That show includes work by painter Nathan Spoor (and dozens of others) and music by DJ Shepard Fairey -- not to mention artist Rygar's body-painting fashion show featuring 25 nude models.

It's the kind of off-kilter coalescence that lends itself to venues like Hangar 1018.

"I was hoping it would become the spot for the underground art scene," said Cannibal Flower founder Leonard Croskey. "It's great that it got legal."

*

Cannibal Flower fifth anniversary, Hangar 1018, 1018 Santa Fe Ave., L.A. 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $5 to $7. www.cannibalflower.com

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