The Varden Hotel - Long Beach, California, 90802, United States

POW! WOW! debuts in Long Beach

By Emily Thornton, Special to the Press-Telegram

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An event with an exuberant name — POW! WOW! — will come to Long Beach this week for a celebration of culture, music and art.

The event includes murals created across the city Monday through Sunday, where the public can get a glimpse of artists at work, using the city as their canvass. Also planned are gallery exhibits, artist talks and documentary screenings.

Organizer Jasper Wong, who organized Hawaii’s version of the event, said in an email he started it as “an excuse to bring my friends together and paint. ... A very simple idea that became much larger in scale over the years.”

In addition to Long Beach, the event is expanding to Taiwan, Japan, Texas and other areas this year. Bringing it to Long Beach was a group effort, he said.

“There is always a passionate group of people in each city,” he said. “Individuals who strive to bring art to their city. This is the key ingredient. Long Beach has that in spades.”

John Hall, who works for Imprint Venture Lab, was one of those people. He said he was excited to transform parts of the city into works of art.

“It’s really about great art on murals,” Hall said. “We’ve secured great locations around the city.”

The free art displays will feature successful post-graffiti artists who will show their talent by creating 10 murals, Hall said. The lineup includes James Jean, a Chinese-American from Los Angeles who’s tremendously popular, Hall said. Jeff Soto from Riverside is also participating. Soto is a hugely accomplished graffiti artist, Hall said.

Murals in the city will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday and run through 10 p.m. on Sunday. Artists and locations include:

• Hueman and Madsteez at J.W. Goodson’s Salon, 2205 E. Broadway

• Low Bros and Jeff Soto at the Art Theatre of Long Beach, 2025 E. Fourth St.

• Cryptik at Ocean Chateau, 44 Alboni Place

• Fafi Installation at Lyons Art Supply, 441 E. Fourth St.

• Aaron De La Cruz Installation at Park Plaza, 1333 Park Plaza Drive

• Benjie Escobar at City Hall East, 100 Long Beach Blvd. and Alamo Court;

• Jeff McMillan between the Hyatt Regency, 200 S. Pine Ave. and the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

• James Jean at The Varden, 335 Pacific Ave.

• Tristan Eaton and Nychos, also at The Varden.

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Another part of the art at POW! WOW! will be a gallery exhibit at the Long Beach Museum of Art called “Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape.” Twenty international artists will showcase their murals, installations and more, with an opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday. The show will run until Sept. 27.

The only part of the event that has a fee is a screening and discussion of “The Deepest Depths of the Burrow,” a documentary about art, lifestyle and subculture. It takes place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on Thursday at the Art Theatre of Long Beach, 2025 E. Fourth St. Tickets are available online for $10.

Ruck Out Long Beach, for enthusiasts of the Honda Ruckus scooter, will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at The Varden Boutique Hotel, 335 Pacific Ave. Honda will give away a Ruckus scooter at the event, according to Hall.

For information, visit www.powwowlongbeach.com.

Emily Thornton is a staff reporter with Gazette Newspapers. She can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com.

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