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The performance art of deep frying

December 13, 2007|Elina Shatkin

EVERYTHING tastes better in batter. That's not the official motto of the Third Annual Fry-B-Q, but it ought to be. For one glorious night, the Echo Park gallery/performance space Machine Project will throw open the lids of its armada of deep fryers. What gets the grease? Any foodstuff visitors find worthy of being embraced by scalding hot oil.

"We're prepared to fry anything," Machine Project director Mark Allen says, "as long as it's edible." That includes burritos, Oreos, wonton-wrapped chocolates, bananas, BLT sandwiches, Twizzlers, marshmallows, corn on the cob, hot dogs and sushi rolls -- all of which have felt the sizzle at past fry-ins. Because how else would you make a delicious, heart attack-inducing food even richer?

Guided quite literally by gut instinct, patrons are encouraged to let their culinary imaginations run wild. But even so, originality has its limits. "As much as one would like to be an innovator in the fried food department, there's not much you can do that the county fair hasn't already thought of," Allen says.

Beyond that, there's the sheer majesty of five fryers humming at full intensity late into the night. "Towards the end of the night it's great," he says, "because we have all these bits of things and whatever's lying around, we start frying."

Homer Simpson would bust a gut.

-- Elina.Shatkin@latimes.com

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THIRD ANNUAL FRY-B-Q

WHERE: Machine Project, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Suite D, Los Angeles

WHEN: 7-10 p.m. Saturday

PRICE: Free admission; $5 fry all you want

INFO: www.machine project.com

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