How The Racist Cancer Of The HPOA Signal Box Art Contest Rules Spread To The Ritzy Little Apartheid Stronghold of Larchmont Village, Forcing Me To Hire A Lawyer To Pry The Evidence Out Of Their Secretive Grasping Scofflaw Zillionaire Fingers

Artist Ann Bridges's original submission to the Larchmont Village BID's signal box art contest, showing a later-censored illegal fruit cart.
Larchmont Village BID signal box art contest winner Ann Bridges’s original submission, showing a later-censored illegal fruit cart.
Last Summer we broke the story of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance’s anti-Latino signal box art contests and of CD13 Councildude Mitch O’Farrell’s willing complicity in this disgraceful episode, along with his stubborn doubling-down through silence in the face of what1 seems like some pretty cogent criticism. The story has dropped off the blog, but not off our agenda. The last thing I discovered, but did not write about until now, was that the Google revealed2 that the kooky little backwater BID in Larchmont Village, that old-school Southern California Apartheid throwback3 ritz-o-rama neighborhood in South Central Hollywood,4 had also held a signal box art contest, and it had also included the very phrase made famous by its ethnic-cleansing big sisters to the North: “No cartoon images or graffiti work of any kind will be considered.”

Well, naturally, I was going to investigate this phenomenon, the point being to find ground zero of this pernicious nonsense,5 so on August 6, 2016, I fired off a CPRA request to Heather Duffy Boylston, whose email address is linked to in the BID’s contact form. Wait a while. Crickets. I spent the next couple months firing off more emails to various co-BIDspirators,6 making phone calls, leaving voicemails and messages, offering to stop by offices, whatevers, and still…just silence. I asked Miranda Paster to intervene. I asked Holly Wolcott to intervene. Nothing. So finally, even though I hate to spend the money, but who can sit around doing nothing7 while zillionaires flaunt their characteristic indifference to truth, justice, and the rule of law, I hired a lawyer to fire off a demand letter. That woke them up, and they sent me a whole bunch of nonsensical irritating junk about their signal box art contest. You can browse through it in the usual places:

And turn the page for the highlights of the contest itself. As always, it’s chock-full of unselfconscious zillionaire weirdness and such-like goodies.

On November 2, 2015, things were just getting started. Here is the earliest document I have, which is an email from reprehensible new urbanist Ma’ayan Dembo of the Do Art Foundation, some kind of creepy art-focused non-profit corporate-charity-whore institution, to Heather Duffy Boylston, Rebecca Hutchinson, and Tom Kneafsey of the BID, starting the conversation.8

And next, on November 12, 2015, we have Do Art Foundation directrix Carmen Zella after having sent a copy of the Hollywood flyer over to the Larchmont BID for their approval discussing the matter with Duffy Boylston, Hutchinson, and Kneafsey. This is the smoking gun right here, proving that Larchmont Village didn’t originate the casual racism of the “No graffiti art” rule, but did adopt it without comment. It’s the kind of thing that flies below their radar, one supposes.

This submission, by Ngene Mwaura, didn't make the final cut, it seems.  It's not hard to see why that is.
This submission, by Ngene Mwaura, didn’t make the final cut, it seems. It’s not hard to see why that is.
So here is a PDF of all the entries that made it to the final round, and then here is a January 15, 2016 email from Rebecca Hutchinson mentioning that:

Our BID Board met and we have decided on Ann Bridges for the Larchmont utility boxes. We would like to see her color version. We all really like her artwork and how it we imagine it will look on Larchmont! A big factor in our decision is that she said in her artist statement that she works in the area. We also know our BID colleague at Wilshire Center has had a great experience working with her.

Tied for a close second were Paige Emery (her building images) and Mimi Haddon (love her kaleidescopes) although we would have asked her to create a version for us in blues/greens vs. pinks. I’m happy to elaborate further on our decision if you’d like. Please let me know the next step and thanks so much for everything! We were thrilled with the options.

Ann Bridges final work, notably missing the illegal fruit cart.
Ann Bridges’s final work, notably missing the illegal fruit cart.
How thrilling not to have to sort through a bunch of goddamned graffiti art on your way to picking yet another painting of painfully cute little Larchmont stuff, eh? Anyway, there’s one last interesting little twist. You might have noticed above, and it’s reproduced near this sentence for your convenience, that one of Ann Bridges’s original sketches had a fruit vendor’s cart in it. I have never actually seen a fruit vendor in Larchmont Village, and imagine that if any of them ever showed up, they’d be tackled, tased, and hauled East on Beverly until they could be tossed over the line at Western, but evidently Ann Bridges associates them with the local vibe. Not Hutchinson, Duffy Boylston, and Kneafsey, though.
Artist Ann Bridges's original submission to the Larchmont Village BID's signal box art contest, showing a later-censored illegal fruit cart.
Artist Ann Bridges’s original submission to the Larchmont Village BID’s signal box art contest, showing a later-censored illegal fruit cart.
See here on February 8, 2016 when Rebecca Hutchinson writes to her co-conspirators about the sketch:

I love this! But do you think we need to advise her to NOT paint the fruit guy’s
stand bc of illegal street vending?!?!? eek I hope I’m overreacting.

OVERREACTING?!?!??!?!? EEK I DON’T THINK SO?!?!??!?!? To be fair,9 of course, this was right after the BID-world’s collective FTFO about the possibility of legalized street vending, which at one point in 2015 they were spending around $7,500 per month to defeat, so probably that’s why Rebecca Hutchinson has it on the brain. And lo! In the final version, no fruit vendor. So not only was native Angeleno Latino culture thrown out the door by means of the contest rules, but when it climbed back through the window in the form of Ann Bridges’s sketch, the BID bosses stomped it to the curb and threw it under the bus, and the final approved version didn’t have anything whatsoever in it to upset the hypersensitive10 snowflakes of the white power elite. But then, that pretty much sums up every aspect of Larchmont Village, whose motto ought to be something like “Sure, the last 75 years happened, just not to us.”11

Image of winning artist Ann Bridges’s sketch of her signal box art is a public record and, as such, not subject to copyright in California, as are the other images.

  1. If I do say so myself, and I guess I’m gonna.
  2. Via this article in the kooky little backwater Larchmont Buzz.
  3. Not that there’s anything throwbacky about Southern California Apartheid. It’s the style of Larchmont Village’s Apartheid that’s old-school, not the fact of Apartheid itself.
  4. There is a movement afoot in these parts pushing for Hancock Park to be known as “South Central Hollywood.” Please use this name for it as much as possible. I mean, look what the City government did by pushing “South LA” over “South Central.” It changed everything…EVERYTHING!! Why can’t we do the same with “South Central Hollywood?” Short answer: We can!
  5. Even though I was and am sure that it’s all Kerry Morrison’s idea, I don’t want to assert so in public without some proof, which is turning out to be surprisingly hard to find, I think probably mostly because of creepy illegal scheiss like this.
  6. Including Big Bad BIDfather Tom Kneafsey, who seems to have founded the BID and seems to run it like a personal fiefdom of some sort, “fiefdom” being the word of choice when one wants to insinuate without asserting directly that someone is more or less a tinpot comic opera dictator.
  7. Insert gratuitious Edmund Burke quote here.
  8. Note that Ma’ayan Dembo is quite a piece of work herself. She seems to have graduated from Stanford University in 2014, having done her senior project on graffiti art in San Francisco and Berlin, the conceptual ground zeros of the new urbanism’s Enola Gay tendencies. Amazingly, she seems to think that graffiti was invented in 1970. I’m not kidding. Right there in her senior thesis, approved by freaking Stanford freaking University, appears the following sentence: “In 2014, graffiti is 45 years old– having already started a family and now raising children, it’s viewing the world through a different lens.” The proper response to this, after one stops laughing, is mmmmmm-kay… Ironic, then, isn’t it, that she got hooked up with this anti-graffiti-art bunch of zillionaires? Although I suppose if you’re going to let zillionaires buy your drinks you’re eventually going to have to go home with them after.
  9. Or at least “fair,” which is about the best we do at MK.Org.
  10. This actually isn’t sarcasm. They are amazingly thin-skinned, especially considering that they are the Lords of the Universe, or at least the well-compensated lackeys of the Lords of the Universe.
  11. I stole this joke from someone, but I can’t remember who, and for some reason the Google is no help. If you know who said it first, drop me a line.

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