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Arts and Entertainment

Expect the Unexpected: Beastie Boy Mike D Curates Art Festival at Geffen Contemporary

Mike D and "Transmission LA: AV Club" participating artists. Photo by John Shearer for Wireimage/Getty.
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Staying true to his musical ethos with The Beastie Boys, pioneering hip hop artist and rapper Mike D will curate a 17-day festival at the Geffen Contemporary in Downtown L.A. Hosted by The Avant/Garde Diaries, a global online interview magazine, and under the creative direction of Mike D, "Transmission LA: AV Club" will serve as a platform for an exciting array of installations and exhibitions showcasing the innovative perspectives of visionary artists in the fields of music, food, film, fashion and art.

The audio visual festival runs from April 20 through May 6 and hopes to offer something for everyone via pop-up restaurants, a coffee bar, concerts, DJ-nights and other random events. Among the lineup of artists hand-picked by Mike D to participate in the festival are L.A.-based artists Mike Mills, Sage Vaughn, Benjamin Jones, Will Fowler, Public Fiction and Roy Choi - owner of the Kogi Korean BBQ Truck - as well as New York-based artists Peter Coffin, Robert McKinley, Tom Sachs and the Still House Group.

We had a chance to speak with Mike D about "Transmission LA: AV Club," his goals for the festival and the avant-garde.

How does it feel to be in L.A.? How do you feel about the festival?
It feels good. I've lived here on and off; I'm excited to be doing this festival in downtown L.A. L.A. is really cool, a lot has changed - for the positive. I'm looking forward to having this hub of activity for events covering as many aspects as it does.

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What can people expect at "Transmission LA: AV Club"?
Expect the unexpected. The goal is to create a place where people can chat and hang out. We want to provide a unique experience for everyone. The show is going to be pretty broad and eclectic with a lot of audio/visual installations as well as different light and paint-based installations.

Why did you choose the artists you invited?
Everybody that's included I'm inspired by and a fan of, and they're going to bring a lot to the event.

As coffee lovers, the idea of a pop-up coffee bar is exciting. Can you share more info about it and what inspired it?
I really enjoy going to see visual art, but I get frustrated because I like to have a good espresso but a lot of the times I can't have one. Rob, one of the artists, is designing a unique coffee bar installation which hopefully is going to be the remedy for the traditional museum-going experience.

Since the show is hosted by The Avant/Garde Diaries, how do you define avant-garde?
I would say, to me, I think it's something that at first people can't quite get comfortable with. Sometimes there comes a certain moment in visual art, film, literature, music where something becomes unfamiliar, and often it gets rejected. Often, some people gravitate towards it and like it, but some people do not embrace it because they can't get comfortable with it. And that moment in time, when things are so new that they challenge people, is avant-garde. Sometimes the work that challenges people ends up being the most iconic.

Do you think it's important for artists to challenge people?
I think it's most important for people to do good work. To do things that interest them but at the same time trying to push themselves.

Do you have any tips for artists who want to dare to be different in their respective creative fields?
Stay true to your inner voice and intuition and put the work in and listen and learn from others around you. Always be aware.

Admission to "Transmission LA: AV Club" is free, and the opening hours are as follows:
Sunday: 11am-6pm
Monday: 12pm-6pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday-Friday: 12pm-10pm
Saturday: 11am-10pm

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