Preserving the Arts

You could walk five blocks in Los Angeles and notice a lot of things. Whether it be the ongoing traffic in the streets that grid it, or the glint of neon shining out of the corner of your eye from several signs alongside your path, or the occasional bum asking for some spare change.

But, for all these distractions that grab our attention it's easy to overlook some of the places that give this city the savvy and ambiance that really defines it.

The same could be said for Studio 528, located at 453 Spring St. in the heart of the city. Instead of the traditional systematic rows of numbered seats complete with cup holders, Studio 528 instead goes for a more personal atmosphere. By combining the "kick off your shoes at the door" feel of a studio apartment with an upscale trendy setting, it creates an experience that displays style and personality.

The brainchild of Deborah Martin, Studio 528, was created to showcase films that have had a prominent influence on the industry. It was designed not only to celebrate their individual achievements, but also to pay tribute to these blockbusters, which have offered us more than the traditional flick.

And give credit to the selection, because with a lineup that includes "Do the Right Thing", "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "The Graduate", to name a few of the selections, it beats wasting ten bucks at the local theater to go see Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

In fact that was one of the things that I enjoyed most upon stepping foot on what urban trendsetter Martin had created; the fact that it truly celebrated cinema. In a day and age when Hannah Montana can rule the airwaves while the rest of America eagerly awaits just how Fast and Furious Vin Diesel can get after a string of bad movies, it was relieving to find a place that actually embraced creativity.

But really why should anyone be surprised, because aside from every third Saturday of the month when reels are spinning in her home theater, Martin's day job is behind a canvas as an artist. When asked about what drove her into this field, Martin went on to mention "I was born into it. It comes naturally for me and I have always been motivated to create"

Talk about an artistic spirit, as the one goal Martin hopes to accomplish with her profession is simply "to have more time to travel and paint."

As if that wasn't enough, the widely talented Martin and her colleagues also offer a variety of workshops for all you aspiring artists out there. Martin went on to mention that one of her goals in creating the monthly film series was to promote her fine art and photography workshops, she said, while offering a 10 percent-off-coupon just to make it more enticing.

Martin's primary objective in establishing Studio 528 is as she explains, "first and foremost a place where I create. The workshops and monthly film series are focused on community outreach and support through donations to Free Arts as well as the "Art Share" organization whom I am currently collaborating to develop scholarships for students as well as to provide an internship in the new gallery space."

But perhaps the cherry on the cake came from being treated to the visually stunning "Stranger Than Paradise." Not only was the film on its own entertaining, but also perhaps the most notable trait about the film was how well shot it was. The settings and sequences that the protagonists of the film lived and breathed in were all so fitting for their characters, while at the same time capturing a glint of personality to everything about it. What added to this appreciation of detail was the fact that some of the most profound shots came in places or situations that could have very well happened in any of our lives, and in a sense it made my introduction to this spot even more fitting.

Studio 528 just goes to show you how we pass by things that strike us as normal, but really there's a lot more than meets the eye. And with donations to the studio going to Free Arts For Abused Children it's an experience that's not only satisfying, but also earns you some points towards your karma. One thing's for sure, it beats sitting around and watching some rejects attempt to go from G's to Gents on TV.