“On February 15, Creative Commons hosted an evening of demos, discussion, and drinks in Los Angeles called, “CC as a Vehicle for Social Change in Emerging & Immersive Media.” With 200 guests registered, the evening featured demos and panel of three virtual reality social impact projects including “Bronze, Brass, Jazz” [2017] and “Walking With Grace” [2016] (Maya Santos & Joel Quizon, Form Follows Function).”

“Ever wonder what became of the homes and businesses that Japanese Americans left behind during the incarceration of World War II?

The downtown Los Angeles neighborhood of Little Tokyo became home on April 29-30 to a site-specific multimedia installation titled “Bronzeville, Little Tokyo” — a project remembering the brief moment in history from 1942-45 when this decidedly Japanese American space became an African-American enclave known as “Bronzeville.””

“As the 33rd iteration of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (http://festival.vconline.org/2017/) gets underway today through May 3, a special presentation within the extravaganza resurrects the often overlooked travesty of forced relocation and internment of Japanese American citizens to camps in the western United States, during World War II. An equally unknown facet of this dark chapter of “the last good war,” is the part that African Americans played in filling the void, however briefly, left by the unfortunates stripped of land and property in the name of national security.”

“2017 is my tenth year of exploring and writing about Los Angeles communities. In 2007 I explored Granada HillsMontebello, and Alhambra, and titled my series California Fool’s Gold in homage to Huell Howser‘s California’s Gold (1991-2012). In 2014 I spun off a related series, Urban Rambles, in which I undertake short, small, loosely structured walks of various corners of Southern California. As part of my tenth anniversary of blogging about Los Angeles, I decided to reach out to friends and people I admire to see where they would choose to explore. The first person that I contacted was a past collaborator, Maya Santos, the talented filmmaker behind Form follows Function (FfF). She suggested exploring a neighborhood which no longer exists, Bronzeville.”

“A slim newspaper has been circulating as part of promotions for Visual Communications’ 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), portions of which will be screened at JANM. Titled Bronzeville News, it mimics some of the humble broadsheets that may have circulated during the Bronzeville years of Little Tokyo, when, in the absence of Japanese Americans who had been incarcerated in remote camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, African Americans moved into the neighborhood and made it their own, nicknaming it after a historic black neighborhood in Chicago.”

“Walking into the Vida Group Building on South Los Angeles Street, I couldn’t help but sense the ghosts of the past. In the grey building next door, Rafu Shimpo paperboys rolled up copies of the day’s newspaper and hopped on bikes, Mrs. Hotta welcomed visitors into the Rafu lobby while reporters took smoke breaks on the street.

Rafu has moved twice since that time, but the memories remain powerful. The neighboring Vida building is now home to Takachizu (translation: treasure map), a gathering space for Little Tokyo community members to share memories and mementos.”

“Grace Chikui, 53, relies on walls, the edges of grassy areas, and the feel of the asphalt under her feet when she needs to go somewhere. In the short documentary film, Walking with Grace, Chikui explains how she lost her sight to glaucoma when she was a child. But the neighborhood in Los Angeles known as Little Tokyo is familiar to her and she feels comfortable walking around. She can tell whether she’s in an open area or passing by a building by how the air feels. “When the sun is shining, I could see a little bit, like maybe the building’s shadow. I don’t get lost,” Chikui says in voiceover. In the film, she turns a corner, her light orange dress and sunhat a bright spot against a concrete wall, her cane tapping side to side before her like a metronome.”

Asian-American Filmmakers from Form Follows Function, will be debuting their first VR film, Walking with Grace at the end of April during the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival.

The beautifully filmed documentary takes you on a journey in the day of the life of a blind woman named Grace Chikui as she walks through her hometown, Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. 

“Come In! S,M,L,XLA is the Los Angeles Architecture and Design Museum's new exhibition of work by young, local design practitioners. Devoted to “spatial interventions reflecting on the inquiry of scale," the group show (through August 31) takes inspiration from the dense Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau tome S, M, L, XL by presenting 21 projects in an equally dense, multi-faceted assemblage.”

“We've been hearing a lot about the big changes coming to Downtown's Union Station as part of the long-term Union Station Master Plan—a big rearrangement of the layout, a new grand concourse, new uses for the beautiful old ticket room and Fred Harvey restaurant—but now we get to see some of them: animated! In this video via The Source, Metro Deputy Executive Officer Jenna Hornstock offers up a great condensed version of the makeover and some highlights of the plans to transform Union Station it into not only a "world-class transit facility but also a destination that serves everybody.""

“At the end of May, the City Planning Commission is set to hold a hearing on the proposed redevelopment of Boyle Heights's Wyvernwood Garden Apartments; in advance of that meeting, the nonprofit East LA Community Corporation is staging a march tomorrow--May Day--to protest the project. Miami-based owner/developer Fifteen Group hopes to replace the 1,187 units, which date back to 1939, with 4,400 apartments, 300,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, 25,000 square feet of civic space, and 10.5 acres of publicly accessible, privately maintained community parks.”

“Since typewriter repair shops have nearly disappeared, it’s no surprise that one of the few remaining places to get your typewriter fixed – U.S. Office Machine Co. in Highland Park – has a couple of video tributes to watch. Ruben Flores is now in charge of the Figueroa street shop that his late father, Jesse, founded in 1962.”