Geek love: Mixing a passion for technology with a nostalgia for the educational and collaborative atmosphere of art school, CalArts grad Mark Allen opened Machine Project four years ago. One of L.A.’s most ambitious galleries, it displays the whimsical side of electronics with shows that have featured a flower-petal-spewing volcano, a robot driven by a cockroach, and musicians performing a piece scored by visitors feeding data into a computer. Learn by doing: Workshops open to the public demystify the process of creating such contraptions. “What I try to do is not to convey expert knowledge so much as a spirit of comfort with everything from computers to poetry to anthropology.” Street theater: The gallery’s interactive happenings have earned it a rep for throwing the weirdest parties in town. “The audience becomes the show. We provide cultural context.” Indian spring: March and April events include a concert performed on handmade instruments and Bollywood screenings and discussions. » 1200D N. Alvarado St., Echo Park, 213-483-8761 or machineproject.com.
Photograph By Beth Coller