Guest Host Alums
(Names from P-S)
These bio statements are as-written at the time of the guest host takeover, so keep in mind that people's information and accomplishments will change over time. You're reading a time capsule from when their takeover was published on LA River X.
Peter Bennett (2019)
Peter Bennett has been a successful travel and environmental photographer for over 25 years. In 2015 he formed Citizen of the Planet, LLC, devoted exclusively to the distribution of his stories and work that focus on a variety of environmental subjects. Over the years Peter has worked with numerous local environmental organizations including FoLAR, Heal the Bay, Tree People, Alaglita, Communities for a Better Environment, and the LA Conservation Corps. Peter has been an instructor since 2010 at the Los Angeles Center of Photography (formally the Julia Dean Photo Workshops) and led the Los Angeles River Photo Adventure Workshop for many years. Peter’s photography emerges from his fascination with observing change. The LA River has proven an ideal petri dish for exploring and documenting, with its constant movement and flow. This has kept the River an engaging subject for Peter since 2008, capturing beautiful landscapes, majestic historic bridges, exquisite still lifes, and enticing glimpses of the river’s wildlife and many recreational activities. Through his blog, shows, workshops, and an upcoming book, Peter is a key player in transforming the perception of the river as a fenced-off concrete channel movie backdrop to the iconic and accessible centerpiece it is becoming for our precious city.
His LA River X takeover shares some of his intimate and iconic images of the river and its advocates and fans.
Philip Rankin (2022)
Philip Rankin lived for nine recuperative months in Atwater Village while beginning his MFA in Jazz Studies at CalArts. A few years later he would return, and has now called Atwater Village home for a decade. That has been ample time to build an intimate creative relationship with the river - walking and cycling, recording its unique sounds, and composing music inspired by the river’s inimitable spirit and abundant personality. Philip Rankin is a pianist, composer, and educator as well as an enthusiastic photographer and birder.
His LA River X takeover showcased his twin talents in music and photography, and culminated with the premiere of his LA River inspired chamber jazz suite, played by the Porciuncula Ensemble.
Philip has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Watch a few moments from the premier of Philip's LA River inspired chamber jazz suite.
Follow Philip on Instagram.
Projected Visions (2020)
Founded in 2011 by Ryan P. Griffin, Projected Visions started as a monthly happening on the LA River every full moon. Now Ryan's live projection paintings and animations pop-up at intentional locations (river and beyond), and on human bodies, utilizing the built and natural environment as inspiration for wild activations. Projected Visions often collaborates with fellow LA River X Guest Host Alum JP Orchestra.
Their LA River X takeover showed the river in an entirely new way, as a palette for painting with light.
Rex Weiner (2021)
Rex Weiner lives by the river in Frogtown where he explores the river daily and organizes free writing workshops and other events for the Elysian Valley Arts Collective. Rex is the creator and host of the conversational series 'I Read Your Book And…', he is an editor, author, screenwriter, and journalist published in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Review of Books, Rolling Stone Italia, The Paris Review, and Capital & Main, with interview credits including Billy Bob Thornton, Leonardo di Caprio, and Tom Waits. Rex’s screenwriting credits include ‘The Adventures of Ford Fairlane’ for 20th Century Fox and Silver Pictures from his original serialized story published in The New York Rocker and the LA Weekly. He created, co-wrote and associate produced Forgotten Prisoners: The Amnesty Files, starring Ron Silver and Hector Elizondo, and was one of the first writers on the TV series Miami Vice. Rex is co-founder of the Todos Santos Writers Workshop. and he serves on the Board of Trustees for the LA literary center Beyond Baroque.
His LA River X takeover shared photos from his backyard, the Glendale Narrows.
River Delights (2021)
River Delights is a videography project by Margaret Gallagher, whose artwork and naturalism you already know and love from her LA River X takeover in 2019. The immersive videos of River Delights take attentiveness to the next level: the point of view of a toad; the rushing waters of Tujunga Wash; and mesmerizing algal blooms.
Their LA River X takeover offered a gently robust rebuttal to anyone arguing that Los Angeles doesn't have a real river.
River Ridge Club & Stables (2021)
The River Ridge Club & Stables in the Atwater Village Historic Equestrian District comprises an eclectic group of adventurers, families, animals, storytellers, and visual artists. At the helm is the Rath-McIntosh Clan: Jody Rath and Shannon McIntosh along with their sons Rex, Quinn, Porkchop and Applesauce. They are a family of students, builders, filmmakers, musicians and advocates who prefer getting a little dirty along the way. They started the River Ridge Club as a base station for their latest pursuits. The River Ridge Club & Stables barn came to life in the late 1930s as a commercial horse boarding facility. Today, they honor that heritage while also embracing a communal commitment to outdoor adventures, conservancy, growth, compassion, fun, and camaraderie. Within their property and the river channel just outside the back gate, they ride, bike, hike, fish, float, sing, saunter, paddle, plan, plog, work, rest, imbibe, learn, explore and discover.
Their LA River X takeover showed so many ways to play at the LA River.
Safi Alia Shabaik (2021)
Safi Alia Shabaik, known by her moniker flashbulbfloozy, is a Los Angeles based interdisciplinary artist working in photography, collage, sculpture, and experimental video. She discovered her visual voice at an early age and later attended UCLA, earning her B.A. in Fine Art with honors. Under the mentorship of Catherine Opie, she learned the art of large-scale color printing in Opie’s custom-built darkrooms. Upon moving to New York, Safi became fashion stylist, photographic documentarian, personal assistant, travel companion, and confidante to the legendary icon Ms. Grace Jones, in her personal and public lives. Safi’s photographic work explores identity, persona, transformation, daily life, and the humanity of all people. Her subject matter spans the self, family, street life, fringe culture, and counterculture – people who push their bodies to extremes and challenge societal norms. Safi exhibits her work nationally and has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Black + White Photography, Lenscratch, Alta Journal, Catalyst: Interviews, Edge of Humanity, The Advocate, Upworthy.com, CameraCraft, Artillery, and in Grace Jones’s book: I’ll Never Write My Memoirs. Safi has been featured on The Candid Frame (episode 465). Her work has earned her recognition in PhotoLucida's Critical Mass Top 50 and as the first recipient of the Las Fotos Project Foto Award for Self-Expression, presented by the Photographic Arts Council Los Angeles. In collaboration with the Parkinson’s Foundation, Safi is the recipient of a Visual Arts grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. She is a founding member of both the Los Angeles Street Collective and FERN, a multiethnic art collective of six women located on both sides of the continent. A lover of the human form, the artist is also an award-winning mortician.
Her LA River X takeover brimmed with unexpected moments: beautiful, poignant, instructive, curious, and attentive
Sarah G. Grant (2020)
Sarah G. Grant is assistant professor of cultural anthropology at California State University, Fullerton. Her research uses ethnographic methods to understand the human experience of industrial agriculture, climate change, and precarity in contemporary Vietnam. She is finishing her first book-length manuscript about industrial coffee production in the Central Highlands and developing two new research projects. The first is a multispecies examination of fertilizer production and consumption, as well as birds, shrimp, and climate change in the Mekong Delta. The second is an ethnography of community science, conservation, and birdwatching communities in a transnational context. More days than not, Sarah takes to the river in Long Beach by bike, with binoculars, bird guide, and camera in hand.
Her LA River X takeover spoke for the river as vital bird habitat, celebrating its resilient abundance.
Seth Holmes (2020)
Seth Holmes is a photographer, watercolorist, writer, storyteller, set dresser, and all-round genius. Easily distracted, he frequently procrastinates by exploring the city or baking sourdough bread (long before pandemic baking was a thing). His work has included a music video for Nicki Minaj, a Star Wars Jedi Challenge commercial, James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, as well as video game live-streams (Fortnite, Brawl Stars, HearthStone), corporate events (Uber, Variety, Target, Ritz Carlton) and our local favorite, The Bob Baker Marionette Theater.
His LA River X takeover spoke for the river as vital bird habitat, celebrating its resilient abundance.
Steven Chavez (2022)
Steven Chavez is a landscape architect, photographer, and teacher. He practices landscape architecture in his office, Steven Chavez Associates - Landscape Architecture (SCA-LARC). A landscape architecture professor at Cal Poly Pomona and UCLA Extension, Steven is also the Founding President of the National Association of Minority Landscape Architects (NAMLA). Steven’s doctoral dissertation at North Carolina State University’s College of Design explores urban river crossings and his Master of Fine Arts focussed on the Los Angeles River. His photographs hone in on the often-overlooked beauty, and potential, in ordinary everyday landscapes.
His LA River X takeover provided a taste of his incredible project in which he showed us the river in 71 ways, from the centermark of every single bridge.
Steven has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Steven on Instagram.
Su Jen Buchheim (2021)
Su Jen is a storyboard artist, illustrator, and maker of beautiful miniatures who brings her artistic sensibilities to observing the world of birds right here in our beloved concrete river. She studied Illustration and Graphic Design at Otis College of Art and Design and at the Animation Guild in Burbank. She lives close to the river, which she regularly walks and bikes. Her creative work spans children's book illustrations, animated e commerce sites, illustrated movie posters, and commercial storyboards.
Her LA River X takeover was an inventory of her patient observations, her curiosity, and her storytelling, each image testifying that nature is resilient, beautiful, and right here in our urban landscape.