BESIDE THE EDGE OF THE WORLD: A FRESH LOOK AT UTOPIA

As their point of departure the five artists took (St.) Thomas More’s “Utopia,” (1516), “a truly golden little book,” as he described it, about a mythical ideal island. (The Huntington owns a first edition, complete with map). A satire of politics, society and religion, More considered such perpetually relevant topics as the tendency of kings to start war, squander money, and create poverty in the working classes due to greed.

IN THIS PLACE CHRIST WANTS TO BE BORN

The reason why we are where we are this Christmas, in this house, family, office, workroom, hospital, or camp, is because it is here in this place that Christ wants to be born, from here that he wants his life to begin again in the world…We did not choose this place–Christ has chosen it. We did not choose these people—Christ has chosen them.”

–Caryll Houselander, “The Mother of Christ”

PERSHING SQUARE ICE RINK EXTRAVAGANZA

From top to bottom, the event, atmosphere, and zeitgeist were quintessential LA. The setting: a balmy 67 degrees. The rink, at 532 S. Olive Street: surrounded by palm trees and skyscrapers. The main sponsor: Bai, an antioxidant infusion drink. Another sponsor: the North American tour of Disney’s “Frozen: The Broadway Musical.”

A GLASS PANEL HOMAGE TO LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS

Artist Anne-Elizabeth Sobieski’s family lost their Pasadena home to fire when she was 17. “I was frozen. I don’t know how much time went by. We just watched as the roof fell in, and one by one, every room burned.”

Ever since, she’s had a special heart for firefighters. So perhaps it was only fitting that she was chosen by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture (formerly the LA County Arts Commission) to design the fused glass panels for the newly built Santa Clarita Fire Station 104.

THE SRIRACHA SAUCE EMPIRE

Sriracha

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins: Sriracha sauce is a crown jewel of Southern California foodie culture. You’ve seen the plastic bottles. They’re filled with bright red sauce, emblazoned with a rooster, stamped with text in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese, and topped by a green squirt cap. For many, this blazing […]