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by Bill Lasarow

These three events may be the biggest art free-for-alls that we will get all season. DADA is in effect a huge non-juried open. Nearly five hundred artists living in and around the Downtown area will get into the act, this year moving to Seventh Market Place, the normally placid shopping mall on the western edge of the shopping and financial district. After the warehouse space set at the southeast industrial perimeter of Downtown and the vacated 6th Street office building, the takeover this year has got to be seen by a lot of people who won't have a clue about what's going on. Aside from the spewing forth of artistic unconventionality, the usual bevy of crowd-producing special events--opening night, two spoken word nights, the annual Mad Hatter's Ball on Halloween, and the fashion show--should produce some hilariously awkward moments. If the name "Downtown Arts Development Association" has always implied a coalition between the art and business communities, this will be the first time that they really put money and art where their mouths are. It'll be interesting to find out whether the outcome is tasty or results in a case of urban indigestion. Downtown Lives '98 opens with evening only events on October 23rd and 24th. Daytime hours are Wednesday through Sunday for the two following weeks. Admission is $3, or $5 for the several weekend evening events. For further information call DADA at (213) 624-1196.
If L.A. Freewaves, which got started in September and wraps up the first half of this month, is also an unwieldly sprawl, it's also spread around so thinly as to be almost invisible unless you know where to look. And how to look. Freewaves is all about electronic media-based art, which means video primarily, and, to an increasing degree, digital and online art. You can go to the Web right now at If you want to check out some of the new work and to glean affiliate projects, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Pomona College's Montgomery Gallery, the Long Beach Museum of Art, and the Electronic Cafe (1649 18th Street in Santa Monica, next to the Highways performance complex) are all hosting projects. Organizers call this year's festival "All Over the Map," i.e. both geographical and aesthetic. Get all the details from L.A. Freewaves' office, (213) 617-3950, or go to the aforementioned Web site.

The weekend before Halloween Advanstar's Artexpo L.A. brings its usual caravan of well over 200 commercial fine art dealers and publishers into the Convention Center at 1201 S. Figueroa Street in Downtown L.A. As always, there are special exhibits and events geared for those who want issues in the art that they engage. Former Craft and Folk Art Museum Director Patrick Ela curates The Art of the Day of the Dead, which includes a knowledgable selection of L.A.'s most innovative Latino artists. Legacy of Rodin is a documentary exhibit whose centerpiece is a selection of Auguste Rodin's working tools rather than the master's sculpture. Artexpo L.A. opens with a benefit for the Starlight Foundation on October 23rd from 6-8pm (tickets are $25), and runs through October 26th; admission is $12 for all four days. For further information call 1 (800) 331-5706.