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LAist Interview: Kiino Villand

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Kiino Villand is a DJ, commercial photographer, husband and dad. He organizes the after parties for the RESFEST LA screening series, which, incidentally, will resume at the Egyptian Theater once the Sundance Film Festival finishes.Kiino’s own work is on display at Peel Studios until December 28th. His show, called “First in Flight,” is an exhibition of photographs, featuring society fixture (and Danielle Steele offspring) Vanessa Traina, that appeared in Anthem Magazine’s winter issue. Kiino’s upcoming projects include shoots for Emmy Magazine, Stiil, an Estonian magazine, and an assignment in post-disaster New Orleans for Fit Pregnancy, creating images to accompany a woman who delivered her infant in one of the hospitals abandoned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Age and Occupation:
36, photographer/writer/DJ

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
12 years, currently in Atwater, previously in Venice and Hollywood.

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Why do you live in Los Angeles?
The weather, the action.

Where are you from?
Born in Jersey, family is from Estonia. Few people have even heard of Estonia. It's just south of Finland. The best known Estonians are probably Arvo Part, a highly regarded abstract classical composer, Neeme Jarvi, a conductor, and Carmen Kass, a supermodel. Sorry for the ramble, I just had to shout out on behalf of lil' ol' Estonia. Okay, also of Estonian descent: Tyler Brule, the founder of Wallpaper magazine and Mena Suvari.

Angeleons interested in Estonian culture should check out the Estonian House at 1306 W 24th St. 90007
@ Vermont

Photo credit: Andraleia Villand

What is your role with RES Fest?
I help put on the after parties, I serve as resident DJ and I've been shooting for RES magazine since the demo issue.

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What is uniquely LA about RESFEST screenings at the Egyptian?
RESFEST proper is a traveling multi-day film festival, which hits over 35 cities worldwide. LA is the only city where we do a monthly screening series. We feature cutting edge work by directors and motion graphic artists. Mostly music videos and shorts. Occasionally, we do retrospectives of certain directors' works. After the screenings, we have afterparties at various nearby spots like Geisha House and Café de Artistes. And let me tell you, these afterparties get wild. Have you ever seen Michel Gondry, Roman Coppola or Spike Jonze on a dance floor? Exactly. Resfest is where it all goes down.

Readers can stay informed about upcoming RES screenings by signing up for the RESalert newsletter at http://www.res.com/resalert.jsp

As a photographer, what do you think about the light in Los Angeles?
It's dope.

What is your favorite time of day to shoot in this city?
Sunrise and sunset. Sometimes rush hour on the 405.

What are some good places in LA to take children?
The LA Zoo, definitely. The taping of any TV show. I hope to demystify television for my 2-year-old daughter as soon as she can begin to comprehend things a little more.

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Is there an "LA child" personality?
Hmm. Tricky one, since I'm in the midst of figuring it out and since I haven't spent too much time with my daughter elsewhere yet. But one thing comes to mind...We had friends and their kids over who had just moved here from New York. After playing in our backyard, the 5 year old asked, "Did the sandbox come with the park?" I thought that was illustrative of the differences between NY and LA.

What's your favorite area of the city?
Venice. And can't complain about Atwater. Topanga is killer too.

What's your preferred mode of transportation?
Bicycle with baby trailer.

How often do you ride the MTA subway or light rail?
Never. I need to change that. If there were more coverage, I'd be down.

What's your favorite movie(s) or TV show(s) that are based in LA?
"Entourage" is up there. "Strange Days" was pretty cool. But of course, the crème de la crème would have to be "Mulholland Drive." Maybe my interest is heightened because I had to shoot David Lynch in his house, which is where he shot a bunch of scenes.

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Best LA-themed book(s)?
"Where the Wild Things Are."

Share your best celebrity sighting experience.
Well before "Entourage" was even in pre-production, I was driving around with LL Cool J shooting a magazine story on him. We stopped on a residential street and a big 'ol black sedan pulled up along side us. LL said to the driver, "Yo, what's up, hit me in a little while, there's sum'n goin' on later." It was Mark Wahlberg.

In your opinion, what's the best alternate route to the 405?
By helicopter. Not that I've had the opportunity, but definitely: helicopter.

What's the best place to walk in LA?
Any fire access road that leads into the hills. Whether it's Griffith Park,
Beachwood Canyon, Runyon Canyon, Mandeville Canyon, Topanga...they're all dope.

It's 9:30 pm on Thursday. Where are you coming from and where are you going?
I'm coming from the front door where the Nicky D's pizza delivery guy just said, "Thanks, have a good night." And I'm headed to the kitchen to chow down with my wife as our daughter sleeps blissfully in her crib.

If you could live in LA during any era, when would it be?
Maybe the early sixties. When swanky loungeadelica was kicking in.

What's your beach of choice?
Zuma is nice and big, and better water quality than Venice...I think. But if you mean best beach in the world, then that would probably be Trunk Bay in St. John, USVI. I used to work at a campground down there. Pristine.

What is the "center" of LA to you?
It's looking like Hollywood Blvd. is getting to be the center, with all the new spots opening.

What is the center of LA when you have a kid?
Ah ha. Whole other story. I'd say Griffith Park. Plenty of action over there. The old school carousel is killer. The pony rides. The zoo. And around the holidays, the festival of lights goes off. Just get there before 6 PM so you're not stuck in an hour long line waiting to get in.

If you were forced to live in a neighboring county, which would you choose? Ventura County is a wussy answer.
I'm a total wuss.

If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA, where/which would you choose?
Any Schindler or Neutra designed house in the hills with a solid foundation...if there is such a place.

Los Angeles is often stereotyped as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends. Do you agree with that assessment? Do find it challenging to make new friends here?
New friends are not challenging. Quality friends are the tricky part. I knew before arriving here that most LA people would be completely ridiculous and out of touch...heads screwed on backwards. It was never a mystery that it would take some time, but that you can definitely discover pockets of supreme coolness here.

What is the city's greatest secret?
That within it are certain clusters of those who have a healthy, grounded and intelligent perspective on life, people and the world at large.

Drinking, driving. They mix poorly, and yet they're inexorably linked. How do you handle this conflict?
Hand the keys off to the nearest water drinker.

Describe your best LA dining experience.
For wow factor: The Stadium Club at Dodger Stadium is pretty fun as long as you get a table with a view...can't believe they actually have some tables with no view. Many thanks go out to Granny Burch, my mother-in-law who won the tickets and Stadium club passes at Smart and Final. For good people factor: having friends over our place for brunch. My specialty: French crepes stuffed with fruit, assorted jams and of course Nutella.

What do you have to say to East Coast supremacists?
From having traveled a fair amount I can conclusively say it is blatantly obvious that every place has positive and negative aspects. There is no clear winner over all...anywhere. Now CHILL everyone.

Do you find the threat of earthquakes preferable to the threat of hurricanes and long winters?
Basically, yes. We have our tent, Honda generator and canned food on standby.

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
I'd like to be near home so I can assess the situation and take care of things. Hopefully it won't be all Keystone cops like the last time. My wife and I literally ran into each other as we jumped off the couch trying to figure out which way to go. The popcorn in my hands flew everywhere.

If you're interested in learning more about Kiino's work, sign up to his mailing list by sending an email to:
info@kiinovilland.com with "add me" in the subject line