Thursday, February 16, 2012

Speaking to Beastie Boy Mike D About Transmission LA

While Mercedes-Benz celebrated the end of New York fashion week as the main sponsor to the industries seasonal event, the automotive giant took to a small wine bar to celebrate the kick-off to another happening. Beginning April 19 and running through May 10, Mercedes-Benz will present Transmission LA: AV Club, Beastie Boy member Mike D will serve as the events curator. Transmission LA: AV Club will feature a mixture of many types of artists, musician, DJ's and beyond and will include the first viewing of the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe presented within an art exhibit.

As models got off the runway, the folks from Mercedes-Benz were lounging in the intimate Meatpacking wine bar, Zampa to officially announce Mike D as the artistic director for Transmission LA. The event, which will take place in Los Angeles, follows in the footsteps of Transmission Berlin, a cultural festival that first took place in Berlin last year with curator, fashion designer Raf Simons.

While the latest installment to the lifestyle series will take place in Los Angeles, New York City acted as the launching pad, bridging the gap between Europe and North America. With Simons on hand to “pass the scepter” as Mike D said when he spoke to the crowd, Mike D seemed pleased and honored to be able to call a festival his own. After years of putting together Tibetan Freedom Concerts with his band and tours, this is a festival Mike can call his own.

With a busy few months leading up to Transmission LA, Mike D and the rest of Beastie Boys will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio next month and April is just around the corner, there is much to do in very little time.

I had the opportunity to speak to Mike D at the event where I asked, “What made you want to get involved in a project like this?” As he grinned, he quickly responded, “It is a new adventure for me. It is thoroughly unique and if it’s unique to do, I sign up.”

As we indulged in the wine and ambiance that Zampa had to offer, I had to ask Mike if he was nervous. He responded, “Yeah. It’s new. I would be an idiot if I was not nervous. I want to keep the spirit of the show and if it fails, it will be a loud fail.” Yet, with some of the sketches and artists on hand at the kick-off event, Mike D is surrounding himself with some of the best rising talents in the business and will be just fine.

His biggest hope is to bring “Three weeks of non-stop fun” to LA, he is comparing his festival to an interactive museum and art gallery, “I don’t like not having fun at museums and galleries when it is all just white noise on the wall, this won’t have that.” As the conversation got on, I had to ask what a boy from Brooklyn is doing crafting a festival for Los Angeles, he smiled and said, “That is a good question! It is an interesting time in L.A., in that the creativity is alive and there is a vibrant art scene. They probably have had that before, but I had not seen it.” Mike D who has lived in Los Angeles for a bit may not call it home, but clearly has a connection to the city of angels. While none of the other members of Beastie Boys were present, I did ask Mike D if he would be performing at any of the events within Transmission LA and being very coy, he said, “I will partake in the fun making.”

While Mike D’s fun making maybe anything from music to art, we will have to wait until Transmission LA: AV Club opens on April 19. With the first weekend of the festival being the final weekend of annual Coachella festival, one can expect that some of Mike D’s friends may just show up and support.