‘Flash’ Lights Up Los Angeles at 35th Anniversary Event

Ken Malate

More than 3,500 stylish Angelenos showed up to LACMA’s late-night L.A. Flash event on Sept. 6 demonstrating the relentless originality of contemporary Los Angeles street style.

The original L.A. Flash project was first introduced on the year 1973. Five photographers were there to document the current street style of the time.
The photographers were David Alexander, Annette del Zoppo, Peter Kredenser, Don Peterson and Lester Sloan. More than 400 photos from the ’73 L.A. Flash were showcased through outdoor projections.

For this event, photographers Melissa Manning, Jessica Miller, Amy Graves and Charley Gallay tried to replicate the work of the original L.A. Flash event.
The work of the original photographers were eye-popping images that explored deep into the culture of street wear of that generation. From the screen projections the audiences can see women with amazing afros and polished black men in colorful suits posted in front of their “whips.” The viewers can also find the typical hippie scene that was intensely documented through these images.

Karen Satzman, a LACMA staff member, described the night as a “very art-focused event.”

“We’re opening the museum later than usual to celebrate the 35th anniversary of when the first photographs for L.A. Flash were taken,” said Satzman.

“I love that there’s this many people of all different ages. There are those here who have experienced the ’70s and those who are here who want to experience it for the first time. I think it’s great,” said Mary-Jo Johnson, event-attendee.

The attendees enjoyed live music from Carlos Niño, which played oldies and contemporary tunes. Niño showcased a wide-variety of tracks, from the hip-hop suave of A Tribe Called Quest, to the soothing rhythms of Bob Marley. Every now and then he would throw in some hits from Abba and other ’70s hits.

“I really love the music that they’re playing! It just makes you want to get up and go,” said Sandy Vazquez as she blithely danced in front of the DJ booth.
Guests were also treated to special screenings of independent films, and curator and educator-led tours of modern art from the permanent collection and special exhibitions inside the museum.

The night was a unique interpretation of what Los Angeles swagger was truly all about. “I was just telling my girlfriends that I wish I would have been born in the ’70s as a black man,” said Emma Mcintosh “They had the most impressive style. I loved the hats, the denim vests, and the amazing suits.”

Throughout the night, one realizes that the common reaction to the photos was sheer awe. Just speaking to the people, it’s hard not to come to the realization that everyone envied the stylistic prowl that the older generation possessed.

“Looking back at the time, there’s a lot of pieces that I wish I still had and still incorporated into my wardrobe today,” said Laurie Woolfe. “So many people now are backtracking to older times for inspiration to incorporate into their daily lives.”