Con­nect­ing L.A., Mex­ico City

A summit at REDCAT seeks to deepen the cul­tural ties be­tween the two cities.

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Carolina A. Mi­randa carolina.mi­randa @la­times.com

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.

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