Connecting L.A., Mexico City
A summit at REDCAT seeks to deepen the cultural ties between the two cities.
Political relations between the U.S. and Mexico may be fractious, but cultural institutions on both sides of the border continue to connect with each other in interesting ways — and California Institute of the Arts, as part of its Latin American Initiative, wants to improve the connections.
The art school based in Valencia has teamed up with the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles to organize the MXLA Creative Economy Forum, a two-day summit set to take place next week at REDCAT in downtown Los Angeles. It is to explore cultural exchange between Mexico City and L.A.
“There is much moving back and forth across the border,” said former CalArts President Steven Lavine, who helped organize the forum. “In light of the antiMexican rhetoric, my hope is to make more visible the huge scale of what is going on.”
“If you take the top filmmakers in Hollywood, you end up with Mexican filmmakers like [Alfonso] Cuarón, [Alejandro] Iñarritu and [Guillermo] Del Toro,” Lavine added. “There is a long history of connection between the film industry in Mexico and the United States.”
Fashion designer Carla Fernandez, DJ Camilo Lara, Museo Jumex chief curator Julieta Gonzalez, artist Eduardo Abaroa and filmmaker Jonás Cuarón (son of Alfonso Cuarón, of “Gravity” fame) are some of the noted Mexican cultural figures set to speak at MXLA.
Participating from the U.S. side will be Tomas Cookman, the founder and CEO of Latin indie label Nacional Records, Sony Pictures Chairman Tom Rothman, former MOCA curator Alma Ruiz, author and MacArthur Fellow Josh Kun and artist Harry Gamboa.
And there will be figures who straddle the border, such as artist Ruben OrtizTorres, a CalArts alum born in Mexico and based in Southern California.
The hope is that in connecting people from disparate areas of culture, there can be an opportunity to find new ways to cross-pollinate and perhaps pool resources.
Nacional’s Cookman, Lavine noted, has been adept at bringing together small record labels and indie artists in ways that allow them to work independently while sharing distribution and other commercial infrastructure. Perhaps there is an element in that model that could be employed by book publishing, for example.
“A lot of culture turns on distribution, how stuff gets where it needs to go,” Lavine said. “One of the questions we want to address is how can you make processes of distribution function better?
“The government looks at the big-ticket items, but some of that might stifle culture in the process.”
Lavine is hoping to spur some of those conversations — and perhaps some new relationships.
But it won’t all be talk. In addition to the speakers, a special, surprise performance is scheduled.
Depp sorry about that Trump joke— Christie D’Zurilla Graciela Iturbide
Johnny Depp went from snarky to sorry after joking in Britain about assassinating President Trump.
The White House was rote in its response Friday to comments the actor made Thursday night at the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts in Somerset, England.
“President Trump has condemned violence in all forms, and it’s sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead,” the White House said in a statement obtained by ABC News and others. “I hope that some of Mr. Depp’s colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would if this was directed towards a democrat elected official.”
Depp apologized via a statement to People on Friday afternoon, saying he was sorry for “the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump.” He said it didn’t come out right.
“I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone,” the actor said. A MODEL wears a design by Carla Fernandez. The Mexico City fashion designer is one of the scheduled speakers at the MXLA Creative Economy Forum.