Monday, February 22, 2010

La Luz De Jesus/ Wacko Soap Factory

When I had just turned 18 and was starting my first year of college in Santa Barbara, the idea of my newfound freedom was intoxicating! I was on my own, I could stay out all night, I had a car, and I was an hour away from LA. This all spells trouble! On one of my late night journeys down to the heart of LA (I had no map, so I just decided to explore the city one iconic street at a time), I decided to take Hollywood Boulevard from its start to its finish, something that took me a couple hours at least. After exploring the Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theatre, the El Capitan and dozens of hooker stores, I made my way past the 101 into the depths of Thai Town. I kept driving, past the legions of noodle joints and cigarette stands, and found myself face to face with a glowing neon sign that read "WACKO". I was perplexed. People were standing around the enterance wearing bondage gear and leather face masks. I wanted in! I parked my car, and put on my game face. After sliding past the group of fetishists, I made my way inside, and into another world! The Wacko Soap Factory is like a general store for wierdos (aka. me), carrying everything from jewelry to old movie posters, from pornographic japanese coffee table books to skull-shaped giant candles. Tubs of tiny plastic dinosaurs sit next to the most extensive collection of offensive post cards I've ever seen. I was in love. I wandered around the store, trying not to make eye contact with the fellows next to me, one of which was holding the other's leather leash. I wondered, what does bondage fetishism have to do with awesome books and toys? That's when my eye caught the sign at the back, La Luz de Jesus, an art gallery. I wandered past the isles of weirdness into a photographic exhibit of bondage fetishists bathing in bathtubs of blood or milk. Hmmm. Cool! I saw the artist, and several of his subjects sitting on the floor of exhibit, talking in german accents. I had arrived on the opening night of this photo show, and since it was about 6 years ago, I can unfortunately not remember the name of the artist :(, but ever since then, I have been on the mailing list, and I try to go to the art openings as often as I can. Last Friday I went to an awesome photography show by iconic punk photographer Ruby Ray. Her pictures depicted the wonderful rawness of the 80's Punk movement, the angry and self destructive antics of the fans and bands who took Punk to a new level. Anyways, you have to check it out, Wacko and La Luz De Jesus are a collective wonderland of wierdness and will keep you occupied for an hour at least. :) Have fun! And be sure to put your name on their mailing list, the art events always have free beer.

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