TODAY’S ESSENTIAL NEWS
» California’ New Program Provides Assistance to First-Time Homebuyers The California Dream For All program, launched on Monday, aims to make the process easier for first-time home buyers in the Golden State. The program will provide a shared appreciation loan of up to 20% of a new home’s purchase price to assist Californians with down payments of closing costs involved in purchasing their first homes. When the house is sold, residents will be required to pay back the original loan as well as 20% of the home’s appreciation. The program is open to any first-time home-buyer in California who is intending to live in the home that is bought and earns under a certain salary depending on the county. In Los Angeles County, borrowers must make under $180,000 per year. [NBC]
» Hammer Museum Unveils Latest Transformations A $90 million project to renovate the Hammer Museum has been in a slow, undulating process for the last two decades, with work being completed in phases since 2000—despite the museum never being closed to the public due to construction. This week the Hammer debuted its brand new, palatial lobby, currently featuring a mystifying, web-like installation by the artist Chiharu Shiota, which the Hammer’s chief curator Connie Butler has described as “kind of maze-like and womb-like.” The museum has also added a new 5,600-square-foot street-level gallery, which will house Rita McBride’s installation called Particulates—made of 16 lasers interacting with dust— and an outdoor sculpture terrace, displaying Sanford Biggers’ massive bronze statue The Oracle, which debuted at the Rockefeller Center. [ABC]
» Number Of Homicides In L.A. Falls, But Remains Higher Than Pre-pandemic The number of homicides in Los Angeles has dropped from 402 killings in 2021 to 382 last year, according to the LAPD’s 2022 Homicide Report released Tuesday. This represents a 5 percent reduction in homicides and, according to Police Chief Michel Moore, the department’s clearance rate—or the number of cases solved—has increased by 10 percent, rising from 68% in 2021 to 75% in 2022. But the report contains some worrisome data as well. Even with the overall number of homicides down last year, some specific parts of the city saw a sizeable increase in murders. In LAPD’s Valley Bureau, the number of homicides jumped 14% last year.[ABC]
» Coffee Shop Mural Stirs Up Controversy In Altadena A new mural outside a hip coffee shop in Altadena has caused a debate surrounding its apparent depictions of racial violence. Some residents have complained about the mural’s depictions and have called for it to be taken down immediately. “[This mural does] not belong in a Black community or a community of color,” said She’ She’ Yancy, who lives next door to the mural. Other community members do not recognize images of violence in the surrealistic mural, claiming to see only bodies with hands and faces. [KTLA]
» Victoria Alonso Clashed With Marvel Over Blurring Gay Pride References In Ant-Man 3 Last week, Disney indicated Alonso’s abrupt dismissal as executive producer at Marvel Studios was due to “an indisputable breach of contract and a direct violation of company policy.” At the time, THR reported that the breach of contract was caused by Alonso’s work on the Oscar-nominated feature Argentina, 1985, which was made by Amazon. However, Alonso’s lawyer has now hinted that the “violation” is actually referring to certain moral objections made by Alonso—some insiders believe these objections were regarding the censoring of Gay Pride references in the latest Ant-Man movie for the Kuwait market. [THR]
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Gajin Fujita’s New Solo Show at L.A. Louver Is Also His Pandemic Diary
“I’ve really been digging into my childhood memories of the California landscape,” Gajin Fujita tells LAMag on a now-rare sunny March afternoon.
He was giving a tour of True Colors, his three-years-in-the-making show that opens Wednesday at L.A. Louver, the august Venice gallery that has represented Fujita for over two decades. For anyone familiar with the artist’s laborious, densely metaphorical work—which resides in the permanent collections of the Hammer, LACMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—a Gajin Fujita solo exhibition is a big event because they simply don’t happen that often.
“It’s my most personal for sure, and the most political,” says Fujita.