Like many Angelenos, Lisa Anne Auerbach will make the arduous journey from Downtown L.A. to the Westside this evening. Unlike most others, however, her method of transportation is more atypical ““ a bicycle.
Auerbach and hundreds of other bicyclists scattered throughout the city will convene at the UCLA Hammer Museum for its fourth annual Bike Night, an event that will celebrate both art and the bicyclist community in Los Angeles.
An avid bicyclist and artist who will guest host this year’s event, Auerbach started Bike Night in 2009 as a way of uniting the growing biking community in Los Angeles.
“I started biking in Los Angeles as a commuter about 10 years ago. At that point, the scene was pretty small,” Auerbach said. “It wasn’t until five or six years ago that it started exploding. Now there (are) people on bikes (everywhere).”
An array of biking-related activities are planned for the evening, including a reflector craft station, bicycle repair workshops and a portrait station where visitors can get a picture with their wheels. Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A.” biennial exhibition, which showcases the works of 60 underrecognized artists from the L.A. region.
Jim Fetterley, technical director at the Hammer Museum, said the museum has adapted its space in order to accommodate the growing popularity of bikes for this year’s event.
“The Hammer’s trying to be bicycle-friendly rather than just bicycle-themed,” Fetterley said. “(Visitors can) roll their bicycles up ramps and onto the museum floor, (where they’re) treated like a piece of art.”
Fetterley also said the Hammer Museum wants to show that bicycling is not solely about recreation, but can also be a legitimate tool for getting around the city.
Since its inception, the central motif of Bike Night has been a film screening with a biking subtext. This year’s event will include a screening of “Quicksilver,” a 1986 bike messenger thriller starring Kevin Bacon.
The film will be projected in 35 mm format in the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater, although those looking for a less cinematic experience can watch the film on DVD in the museum’s newly renovated courtyard.
While biking to the event is encouraged, those without a bicycle need not be dissuaded from attending. In fact, most people do not ride a bike to the event in the first place, according to Fetterley.
“Bike Night gains a lot of foot traffic just from (passersby) seeing large groups of people biking through Westwood and lining up around the museum,” Fetterley said. “(People are drawn in) by seeing the hundreds of bikes. It’s sort of like an art installation.”
Edward Belden will bring a set of wheels to this year’s event, although for a much different reason: to churn ice cream. Belden is the founder of Peddler’s Creamery, an organic ice cream company using a bicycle as the central means of production. The company will not only give out samples of its product, but will also demonstrate the ice cream-making process to visitors.
Belden said his company’s presence is less about business and more about supporting the sustainability of bicycling.
“(Our business model) is designed to be a benefit corporation. It’s not just about making profits, but it’s also about supporting meaningful events (like Bike Night) that are rooted in community and sustainability,” Belden said.
While Belden is not personally riding his bike to the event ““ it may be problematic to lug ice cream equipment across town, he said ““ others like Fetterley, a self-described “bike nerd,” look forward to making the commute to Westwood by way of bicycle.
“It’s not like there’s an audience seeing a lecture, which (the Hammer does) plenty of. Anybody that shows up is part of the performance, which is what makes the event fun,” Fetterley said.