Graff Lab & Toxic Soup Updates

"Toxic Soup" was named an official selection of the 2010 Twin Cities Film Festival, the Louisville International Festival of Film, the American Conservation Film Festival and the West Virginia Filmmakers Festival.

Including the KahBang Film Festival, the New Jersey Film Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival, that brings our total number of festival selections to seven to date.

In other news, we are pushing ahead with our new documentary about LA's world famous Graff Lab. The documentary follows the setbacks and successes of the Pico Union Housing Corporation's efforts to fight the gang violence and unemployment problems of this historic neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles.

About five years ago, Ricky Guerrero had an idea to start a public art space in the parking yard of the PUHC where local kids could safely and legally practice their graffiti art. Since then, Ricky's dream have exploded with graffiti artists coming from as far away as Italy and Australia to leave their mark in the yard.

The summer's highlights include artist Rudy "Rude" Martinez's unveiling of one of the largest Michael Jackson murals in the world on August 28th as well as a Michael Jackson dance tribute performance by Thrill the World LA.

[vimeo id="14755933" width="540" height="360"]

I would also like to take the chance to publicly express my condolences over the tragic death of Dr. Frank Ryan, who was kind enough to grant me a lengthy interview about his charitable work for the Graff Lab as well as for his own foundation, the Bony Pony Ranch just three weeks before his passing.

Graff Lab Documentary

Yesterday was the first day of shooting for a new documentary I'm directing on The Graff Lab and the Pico Union Housing Corporation located off of Venice and Union here in Los Angeles.

The Graff Lab is known throughout the graffiti community as a national treasure that produces and encompasses the best Los Angeles free style aerosol art in an effort to encourage and support the right to self-expression and the creation of art and culture that does not infringe on the rights of others.

The documentary will go beyond the Graff Lab to document the work of the Pico Union Housing Corporation, the group from which the Graff Lab was born. You can read more about the Pico Union Housing Corporation here.

In any event, I drove up to Malibu with friends Dario Davis and Matt Berger where the Graff Lab crew was enjoying a day of relaxation at the 28 acre Bony Pony Ranch courtesy of Dr. Frank Ryan. En route we stopped at an antique shop off the side of the road where young Berger bought a Winston acoustic guitar for $50 after bumping into Garey Busey getting his mail in his pjs.

But back to the Bony Pony Ranch... that place is awesome. Dr. Ryan has llamas, long horns, buffalo, goats, donkeys, ponies as well as an enormous tipi village. Before Dr. Ryan acquired the ranch it was owned by country singer and actor Dwight Yoakam. That's all for now. Stay tuned for more updates on the Graff Lab documentary.