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Artful Book Party

December 27, 2009|Ellen Olivier

Friends of the Hammer Museum seemed to be ready for a holiday party. When the Evites shot into cyberspace to celebrate the season with the new book "Hammer Projects 1999-2009," organizers expected 300 or 400 people to respond but wound up with 1,200 saying they would attend.

The book chronicles 10 years of exhibitions by emerging artists in the Hammer Projects series, and guests included many of the book's writers and artists. Museum Director Ann Philbin, adjunct curator James Elaine and series supporter Lauren Bon hosted the Dec. 16 event.

Inside the Westwood museum's exhibition spaces and courtyards, servers passed trays of pizzas, popcorn caramel balls and other food. Board member Linda Janger and her husband, Jerry, chatted with artists Kaari Upson and Elliott Hundley, both featured in the book. "We're celebrating artists here. That's how it should be," Linda Janger said.

Philbin said the prospect of exhibiting new artists contributed to her decision to join the Hammer. "I thought this was a wonderful opportunity," she said, calling Los Angeles a "hotbed of young, emerging artists."

Some artists in the series have long since arrived, Philbin said, citing Kara Walker as an example.

Other artists at the party included Aaron Morse, Aaron Noble, Amy Adler, Brenna Youngblood, Christine Nguyen, Edgar Arceneaux, Francesca Gabbiani, Jim Isermann, Kendell Carter, Mark Grotjahn, Monique Van Genderen, Mungo Thomson, Pae White, Pentti Monkkonen, Terri Phillips, Walead Beshty, Tony Feher, Erin Cosgrove and Christopher Russell.

Noise and tea

Tradition. That's what the annual Victorian Tea at A Noise Within is all about. Last Sunday, the theater company in Glendale turned itself into a tea salon with cafe tables and candlelight so patrons could enjoy tea, scones and finger sandwiches before seeing the British farce "Noises Off."

David Rambo, a longtime patron, is a producer and writer of "CSI." He said he first came to ANW as a theater critic for the Glendale News Press. "These are people who love the theater," he said. "Not everyone will do the plays they do."

Actress Bronwyn Reed said she played Tiny Tim in ANW's "A Christmas Carol" at age 9. Now studying theater arts at Stanford, Reed won first place last year in the English Speaking Union's National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center in New York.

Julia Rodriguez Elliott, the theater's co-founder and co-director, described ANW as a classical repertory company, specializing in plays by Shakespeare, Moliere and other theatrical masters. "I always tell people we define classic as 'true yesterday, true today, true tomorrow,' " she said. "In the case of contemporary plays, if it meets that standard, it is something we would consider."

Because of this special emphasis, Rodriguez Elliott said ANW has been a resource for 100 schools in 15 districts. And, because the theater can no longer accommodate the demand for tickets and its educational programs, the theater will be moving in 2011 into a larger, permanent home in the historic Stuart Pharmaceutical building in Pasadena.

Architect John Berry, a sponsor of the tea, described the new construction as "adaptive," featuring a glass and steel addition to harmonize with the existing building's modern, midcentury design. "What's also terrific is that it will be the last stop on the Gold Line," he said. "I envision a lot of people from downtown coming up. Angelenos are so car-centric, but the light rail is really liberating. People will be able to get to the theater in 10 minutes."

Other guests included Terri Murphy, the production's sponsor; education director Samantha Starr; and Maureen Grady Reed, an actor and teacher of Shakespearean acting at the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.


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