LOS ANGELES — Awash in blood-red paint, a naked Kembra Phaler, the Goth-like, performance artist-fashion designer, jaywalked on Melrose Avenue. There was a drag queen car wash, and actress Bryce Howard turned out in her black tulle prom dress.
If it all sounds like a momentary trip into madness, that was exactly the goal of Paper Project L.A., the weeklong romp that ended Dec. 11 with panels, performances and play time inside Melrose multimedia space Acme and orchestrated by Kim Hastreiter and David Herskovits of New York downtown style bible Paper Magazine.
The pair, along with a sizeable crew, swept into town to produce a special all-Los Angeles February issue.
"It was like a big experiment and the results were amazing," said Hastreiter, who convinced Adidas, Chrysler, Kodak and Nokia to underwrite the multimedia affair. "We're ragged in the best of ways."
From noon to midnight, starting Dec. 6, cool kids of every age turned out to witness Jeremy Scott and low-brow artist Robert Williams discuss the "other" Los Angeles; get their hair slashed into edgy cuts by Rudy's Barbershop stylists; see daily changing art exhibitions, as well as fashion performances by local designers Ashley Paige (including a sandbox tailgate party) and Henry Duarte, and watch the likes of Audrey Bernstein singing "Endless Love" with Johnny Fayva — the medallion-wearing alter ego of Russell Steinberg — or rising musical acts such as Los Super Elegantes and The Chapin Sisters.
Each day a photo stage was set up where shutterbug Torkil Gudnason captured the "Tribes of L.A." — from black Hollywood wives to Mexican-American Morrissey fans to neo-burlesque dancers.
Howard, the cover girl for the special issue, was among friends such as China Chow, Spike Jonze, Ann Magnuson, Rebecca Romijn, Tiffany Limos, Bijou Phillips and Sarah Sophie Flicker of The Citizens Band, who turned out Sunday night for the "Last Supper." In a formal dinner setting, complete with installations by Ingo Maurer (150 candles "floating" above heads) and Karen Kimmel (who employed florists to create elaborate corsages from laser-cut veneer slices and flowers), Fatburger double doubles were served on china.
Hastreiter said the events were "better than a thousand movie stars. There's so much great art, so much great style and energy and music in L.A. We're definitely going to do this annually."
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