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Arts and Entertainment

Death, Sin, Redemption, Morality: Gallery Show Features Artists' Take on Law & Order Plotlines

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For fans of TV's Law & Order franchise, catching an episode in rerun can be like greeting an old, familiar (and sometimes disturbing) friend. For the first few minutes you might be working to unravel your own mystery after pulling up the episode on your on-screen guide: "Hmmm, have I seen this one before? Is it the guy who works in the deli who collects the kiddie porn?"

Those one-line episode summaries are what inspired California artist Brandon Bird to curate a gallery show called "These are Their Stories," which opens Saturday in the galley at Meltdown Comics:

Each piece is an artist's interpretation of a one-line episode summary from the DirecTV program guide. Like the series that inspired them, they are sometimes straightforward and sometimes offer a twist; sometimes they contain no easy answers, and sometimes they are just plain goofy.

We got in touch with Bird to find out why Law & Order works well in art, how the show came to be, and what he thinks about the future of the show...aka LOLA.

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LAist: What makes L&O such a great subject for artists?
BB: It's got everything an artist is looking for--themes of death, sin, redemption & morality; hot actresses; craggly old men.

How did your show at Meltdown come to be?
It came out of watching a lot of Law & Order and having DirecTV--I noticed that instead of using full sentences like it does with most programs, the DirecTV onscreen menu was giving the weirdest, most terse descriptions for episodes of L&O. Things like, "man found on bus," or "mysterious homicides." I thought, "Those kind of sound like painting titles..." which led to thinking, "Why don't a compile a giant list, and get a bunch of artists to illustrate them?" Some of the finished pieces use a lot of Law & Order imagery, and some don't use any, just using the phrase as a jumping-off point for something weird or hilarious.

What are your thoughts on L&O: Los Angeles?
I'm cautiously optimistic. On one hand, it has the writer/producer behind all the best seasons of original Law & Order (Rene Balcer), so there's hope it will wander into story territory and L.A. locations not normally seen on television. On the other hand, adding "Los Angeles" to a title isn't exactly fresh creative territory, and it'll get boring really quickly if every other episode is about a movie producer being murdered in a beach house.

Also, since I live in the Arts District, I'm looking forward to stepping outside and running into the film crew.

These are their stories @Meltdown
July 24-30th; Reception July 28th 8-10 p.m. (ice cream & cake!)
7522 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles [map]
(323) 851-7223‎