Monday, May 11, 2009

American Apparel is the new Hot Topic. Discuss.

Someone just told me about The Lab in Irvine. I checked out the site, wrote back to her, then decided to turn the message into an open letter here:
The Lab is interesting; it actually looks very Melrose to me, too, not just an OC thing. Funny how it calls itself an 'anti-mall,' when most malls I visit these days have an Urban Outfitters as well as other boutique-y shops similar to those at The Lab. It's unnerving how well clothing corporations have learned the formula for successfully co-opting pseudo-bohemian culture; American Apparel is the new Hot Topic! Extra smart (or insulting?) to have a gallery space like Artery in the middle of the complex to 'legitimize' the pseudo-bohemia of the whole thing!

On the plus side, at least it's a great venue for artists to show their work -- but who decides what work ends up on the walls?
Have you been to The Lab? If so, do you think I'm being harsh? Or reasonable?


  1. You mean the Lab in Costa Mesa? That's been there for many years, way before the Hot Topics and Urban Outfitters of the world became ubiquitous. It did used to have a Tower Records in there....

  2. Well, it seems to have lost some of its bite over the years, alas.

    Where do you recommend hanging out in the OC these days?

  3. Oh, don't call it that...there's artwalk in Santa Ana every month, I think, and downtown Fullerton if you avoid the crazy kids on the weekends, and downtown Orange (which is near where I live). There's nooks and crannies everywhere but nothing that screams "must see."

  4. I'm not allowed to refer to Orange County as "the OC"? Hm. Anyway, thanks for letting me know about the local hangouts/artwalks, those are all fantastic to know.

    Where are you hanging out these days? Or must the location(s) remain undisclosed? :)

  5. It is my life's crusade to forbid "the" OC from becoming acceptable, since no one used that term before that stupid show. You may use it without the "the." I also have another crusade going where I'm trying to prevent Nascar from ever becoming a legitimate sport....

    These crusades take a lot of my time, so I haven't been hanging out anywhere really. Just got back from NY and Toronto so I'm still organising photos from there. Plus, my dad has been having health issues so I've been spending time with the folks...

  6. I send my best to your dad.

    In the meantime, I'll say "OC" instead of "the OC." Alas, I think you're screwed with NASCAR....