Smog Check Thursdays: Iris Berry + Pleasant Gehman
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.
Reigning royalty of the raucous LA punk scene from the late 1970s onwards, Iris Berry and Pleasant Gheman 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.
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
Iris Berry is a native Angelino and one of the true and original progenitors of the L.A. punk scene. She is the author of several books including Two Blocks East of Vine, The Daughters of Bastards, The Underground Guide to Los Angeles, The Trouble with Palm Trees, Gas Station Etiquette, All That Shines Under the Hollywood Sign, and Christmas at Ralph’s Market. Known for her wit and often dark, factual accuracy and empathy for her subjects. She writes her experiences with grace and deadly precision. Her lullaby-and bedtime-story voice is like a haunting tour of Los Angeles that lingers like one of the city's unsolved murders. Berry has appeared in numerous films, TV commercials, documentaries, and iconic rock videos. In the 1980s she was a singer for the band the Lame Flames. Later Berry co-founded and toured extensively with her band The Ringling Sisters, who recorded with legendary producer Lou Adler (A&M Records). Berry also sang and wrote songs and recorded with the Dickies, the Flesh Eaters, and Pink Sabbath. She’s received two certificates of merit from the city of Los Angeles for her contribution as a Los Angeles writer/historian and for her extensive charity work. From 2010-2014 she was on the Board of Directors for Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center. Iris is the co-founder, editor, and publisher for her imprint PUNK HOSTAGE PRESS where she continues to champion for original voices
Photo courtesy of the author
Pleasant Gehman is a writer, dancer, actor, musician, painter, show producer, punk rock historian, and tarot reader. She arrived in Los Angeles in 1975 and became a fixture in the nascent punk scene. Her fanzine Lobotomy, published from 1978 to 1982, lead to writing for LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, and national and international music publications. During the 1980s, Gehman was the talent booker at seminal clubs Cathay De Grande and Raji’s, booking artists including Nirvana, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Hole, The Bangles, The Blasters, and more. For thirteen years, her band The Ringling Sisters produced annual holiday fundraisers at The Palace to benefit the children at Hollygrove Orphanage. These shows included spoken word and dance as well as live music, featuring artists such as poet Jim Carroll, Henry Rollins, X, and The Gun Club’s final show. Also known as Princess Farhana, Gehman currently co-produces Belle, Book and Candle, a unique monthly event at El Cid run by and for witches featuring occult-inspired burlesque performances, gifted professional psychics, and more. Her popular podcast The Devil’s Music features off-the-cuff conversations with friends such as comedians Margaret Cho and Dana Gould, John Doe of X, Belinda Carlisle, John Waters star Mink Stole, the late Pee Wee Herman, and many more. Pleasant is the author of ten books, including Rock’n’Roll Witch (Punk Hostage Press), a memoir about her lifelong psychic and paranormal experiences from early childhood to the late 1970s underground music scene and into the present.
Photo courtesy of the author
Punk Hostage Press:
On Friday the 13th of January in 2012, Iris Berry along with A. Razor launched their imprint Punk Hostage Press. A Los Angeles, California based independent press committed to providing relevant and contemporary literature. Since then, the press has gone on to publish a wide range of titles, both poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction. Currently Punk Hostage press has well over 50 titles in print, with a dozen or so titles awaiting production. The press is known and respected for its commitment to community, and its resistance to conventionality and censorship, as they continue to champion and advocate for original voices.
For more information about upcoming book releases and projects, please visit https://punkhostagepress.com.
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.
Smog Check Thursdays: Andrew Berardini + Lavender Diamond
Thursday, Feb 22, 2024 | 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Smog Check Thursdays: Henry Solomon + Fuensanta
Thursday, Feb 08, 2024 | 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Smog Check Thursdays: Steven Reigns + Justin Torres
Thursday, Jan 25, 2024 | 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Smog Check Thursdays: Myriam Gurba + Michelle Tea
Thursday, Jan 11, 2024 | 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.