Image that says SMOG Check Thursdays
Gallery Event

Smog Check Thursdays: Andrew Berardini + Lavender Diamond

Thursday, Feb 22, 2024
7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Tickets free with reservations

Overview

Cut through the haze with Smog Check Thursdays at The Broad and enjoy a fresh breath of air with literary readings as well as spoken word and acoustic performances—all against the backdrop of John Baldessari’s large-scale artwork that inspired the title of our collection exhibition, Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog)Smog Check Thursdays will feature short sets, so you’ll be in and out in 30 minutes, guaranteed!Do your part to conserve the literary environment and reserve your free spot online, hassle-free. To conserve the ozone, consider taking Metro to these events—the new Regional Connector Transit Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station takes you directly to the East West Bank Plaza at The Broad.

A journey through color via words and music from author Andrew Berardini and musician Lavender Diamond, two quintessentially LA artists. The pair complement each other’s work, be it story or song, through creative output by turns lush, melancholic, whimsical, and deeply human.

 

East West Bank Logo


know before you go

Free tickets include same-day access to The Broad, including Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog) and our third-floor galleries. Come early to see the exhibition or stay late after the event–we’re open until 8 pm on Thursdays.

Standing room only with ADA seating available.

Tickets to this event do not include access to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013), and must be booked separately.

For information on our current health and safety policies, visit Know Before You Go & FAQ. Visitor policies are subject to change.

Get Tickets

Details

Andrew Berardini

Andrew Berardini

Reflecting on the book Colors (Not a Cult, 2023), Chris Kraus wrote, “Andrew Berardini is an adept at seeing.” As an editor and curator, Berardini has had past collaborations and exhibitions with MOCA, Los Angeles; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; and the Estonian Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. He has authored hundreds of essays for museums and art spaces including for the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and SFMOMA, San Francisco. He is best known for his personal writing about art, backboned by analysis and embodied with levity, sensuality, and invention.

A contributor to Artforum since 2006 and former critic for LA Weekly, he has been a contributing editor at Art Agenda, Mousse, and Momus. Since 2008, he has been faculty at the artist-run free school the Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles, and for some years ran a residency for art writers at the Banff Centre in Canada. A recipient of the Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Art Writing Grant, Andrew’s past labors include being the public writer for Pierre Huyghe, an editorial assistant at Semiotext(e), and the writer-in-residence at the Institute for Art and Olfaction. He currently lives in California.

Lavender Diamond with Steve Gregoropoulos

Lavender Diamond with Steve Gregoropoulos

Amidst the purple flowers of the jacarandas and the spidery fingers of the graying birches, a long low breeze sweeps the rosy blush off the end of spring, wheezing the last of the cotton out of the cottonwoods and the last petals from the wild poppies hiding in greenish leaves soon sepiaed and tanned by the long shearing shine of summer sunlight. In the gathering dusk light, as the evening star twinkles in the pink creams and violent swirls of coming night, you can hear in that breeze that steals away spring the twilit song of Lavender Diamond.

The murmurs of myths tell of a time in crystal caverns where song and light changed seamlessly, with dreamy joys and slippery laughter. A thieving miner plucked from this cavern the singing jewel, Lavender Diamond. And when he brought her into the day, her power of song vanished. Sold and ringed onto the delicate hand of a noble maiden, Lavender Diamond dazzled a talkative magpie who swallowed the stone whole. Dying on the banks of cool stream, the magpie and the stolen diamond dissolved together. A new bird was born and Lavender Diamond regained her song. 

In Lavender Diamond, one can hear the coolness of that distant cavern, the brilliance of a thousand luminous crystals emanating a single pure unbroken ray that shines through meretricious cynicism and easy despair to bring hope, rebirth, possibilities.

The legend of Lavender Diamond first emerged through the performances of chanteuse and comedienne Becky Stark who quickly gathered together a coterie of musicians and friends to fully realize the crystalline hymns of the legendary songbird. The musical outfit known as Lavender Diamond emerged from chrysalis with their first EP Cavalry of Light with a band composed of Stark, pianist Steve Gregopoulous, guitarist Jeffrey Rosenberg, and drummer (and acclaimed comics artist) Ron Rege, Jr. An unlikely confluence of Burt Bacharach and Fugazi, Vashti Bunyan and the Human League, Minnie Pearl and the Beatles, their first full length album, Imagine Our Love was critically claimed by Pitchfork (“a band willing to plunge unreservedly into its own aesthetic world-- to embrace theatrical bombast without stopping to look over its shoulder” and the BBC  (“ showcases the classically-trained Stark’s dauntingly impressive vocal range to stunning effect.” But was also beloved by the masses, hypnotized children, turned water into wine, cause spontaneous weeping with joy, and even if none of the above happened precisely, it at least manifested a Utopic vision of mythic beauty, country charm, and a sweetly subversive, psychedelic soul. 

Lead singer Stark embodies all those traits and more, an earnest joy marked with a comedic self-awareness, whose storytelling skills are the stuff of folklore. She has been called Ramblin’ Becky Stark by no less than Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.  Founder of the LA Ladies Choir, member of the Living Sisters with Inara George and Eleni Mandell, performing with John C. Reilly with a record produced by Jack White, Becky Stark, with her seraphic voice crests and carries, inspires and gambols with a multitude of talented partners in crime. She has stood on stage with Brian Wilson at the Disney Concert Hall and sung with Pete Seeger at the Newport Folk Festival (and belted out Heart’s “Crazy on You” with the Decembrists). At 17, she starred as Snow White on TV and not long ago she borrowed a guitar from David Byrne to do a sing-a-long with Cindy Sherman and Miranda July at the New York Public Library. Her songstressing for Lavender Diamond however forms the spiritual core of her illustrious musicmaking.

With starry-eyed visions and orchestral sweep, Lavender Diamond is a joyful assembly, born out of a fable and into sound.

Andrew Berardini

Steve Gregoropoulos is a composer, arranger, producer, and songwriter working in Los Angeles. He will be orchestrating Moonflower Marie, the forthcoming Lavender Diamond opera. He studied composition with Schoenberg’s amanuensis at Oberlin Conservatory and has written five full length symphonies and two operas. Scenes from his opera Good Grief were performed by bass baritone Dean Elzinga and his operatic setting of Under Milkwood will be completed this year. His most recent solo album Visitation Square is scheduled for release in the immediate future.  

About Smog Check Thursdays Literary and Performing Arts Series

Cut through the haze with Smog Check Thursdays at The Broad and enjoy a fresh breath of air with literary readings as well as spoken word and acoustic performances—all against the backdrop of John Baldessari’s large-scale artwork that inspired the title of our collection exhibition, Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog). Smog Check Thursdays will feature short sets, so you’ll be in and out in 30 minutes, guaranteed! Do your part to conserve the literary environment and reserve your free spot online, hassle-free. To conserve the ozone, consider taking Metro to these events – the new Regional Connector Transit Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station takes you directly to the East West Bank Plaza at The Broad.

 

December 14: Amelia Ada + Clement Goldberg + Naz Riahi

A look at what’s to come on the literary horizon of Los Angeles. Presented by DOPAMINE, highthting work that is experimental, by writers resisting assimilation; work that stretches the boundaries of what defines ‘queer,’ by writers with intersecting identities; work that is raw, by writers who are self-taught.


January 11: Myriam Gurba + Michelle Tea

Myriam Gurba and Michelle Tea revile societal norms with candor and wit. Gurba’s writing has been described as “profoundly insightful, thoroughly researched [and] incredibly inventive…” by Kirkus Reviews. Tea has received honors from Lambda Literary, The Rona Jaffe Foundation, PEN/America, and the Guggenheim Foundation.


January 25: Steven Reigns + Justin Torres

Steven Reigns, first Poet Laureate of West Hollywood and Justin Torres, winner of the Indies Choice Book Award and First Novelist Award, delve into buried or misrepresented histories.


February 8: Henry Solomon + Fuensanta

A glimpse into the richly varied world of Los Angeles jazz with saxophonist Henry Solomon and singer and double bassist Fuensanta, each performing 15-minute unplugged acoustic sets. Presented by Minaret Records, a local record label and events production concern whose mission includes the fostering of community/collaboration and connecting progressive art practices to the public.


February 22: Andrew Berardini + Lavender Diamond

A journey through color via words and music from author Andrew Berardini and musician Lavender Diamond, two quintessentially LA artists. The pair complement each other’s work, be it story or song, through creative output by turns lush, melancholic, whimsical, and deeply human.


March 7: Iris Berry + Pleasant Gehman

Reigning royalty of the raucous LA punk scene from the late 1970s onwards, Iris Berry and Pleasant Gehman regale us with tales from the City of Angels’ gritty underbelly. The pair provide firsthand accounts of life lived on the outskirts of mainstream society in their signature observational styles. Presented by Punk Hostage Press.


March 21: The Koreatown Oddity with Trenttruce

Described by Pitchfork as being “lodged comfortably in a scene of cerebral loners,” Angeleno and former Ras G collaborator The Koreatown Oddity puts a uniquely personal stamp on hip hop. For Smog Check Thursdays, he will perform a 30-minute set with opulent lyricist and experimental beatmaker Trenttruce.


April 4: Andrew McIntosh + M.A. Tiesenga

The final installment of Smog Check Thursdays reflects over a half century of artistic and educational excellence associated with California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and the impact the school has had on the creative communities of Los Angeles. Situated among the artworks of Broad collection artists John Baldessari and Mike Kelley, we are pleased to present short solo performances by CalArts School of Music Faculty member Andrew McIntosh and CalArts MFA holder M.A. Tiesenga. Baldessari studied at Chouinard Art Institute (which would become CalArts) and would go on to be an influential faculty member at CalArts and highly revered conceptual artist. Kelley was both a CalArts alumnus, having studied under Baldessari, and later a faculty member who taught while maintaining his iconoclastic creative practice. Come experience Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog) before it closes on Sunday, April 7 – or revisit the exhibition for this very special performance.

 

Read More