When one travels to Rome, one is struck by how the Church essentially replaced a pagan culture, by repurposing temples, civic buildings etc. and converting them into churches. The Faith surplanted the previous culture, but in the US we are witnessing the reverse (perhaps symbolic of the how the Faith has fared in our culture)–of sacred spaces being converted into restaraunts, resorts, and this…from the California Catholic:
Los Angeles’ former cathedral, St. Vibiana’s, built in 1876, has gotten a new life since the Los Angeles archdiocese sold it to developer Tom Gilmore in 1999. It is now called “Vibiana’s Place,” and reopened as an art center in 2006.
“Church law requires that former churches be used for a dignified purpose,” archdiocesan spokesman Tod Tamberg told the Associated Press in 2005. St. Vibiana’s transformation into an art center is “really a wonderful second life for the former cathedral,” said Tamberg.
From Oct. 11-13, the old cathedral served as a venue for LA’s “Fashion Week.” BOXeight, a nonprofit arts organization, held its contribution to Fashion Week at Vibiana’s Place. The event, “Have Faith in LA,” was a “fashion, music and art collaborative.”
Designers featured at the event include Jeffrey Sebelia, whose Cosa Nostra collection displays his “love of all things punk rock,” said the Oct. 10 Los Angeles Times. His most requested piece is “the flirty striped dress zigzagged with zippers.” The Cosa Nostra web site reveals women’s styles, some tight and formfitting, while others emphasize cleavage.
“Have Faith in LA” featured Louis Verdad, a designer whose collection for women, like Sebelia’s, emphasizes the sexy – bare shoulders, low cut necklines, short skirts. According to his web site, the León, Guanjuato-born Verdad is “known for his chic, sophisticated design,” and draws his inspiration from “the elegant status-driven society in which he grew up.”
Less elegant, and more revealing, are the designs by the Bohemian Society, also featured at the Vibiana’s Place show.
Among the entertainment groups featured during three-day event was “You Wear It Well,” which calls itself a “traveling presentation of short films and videos that investigate the intersection of fashion and film.” A short clip, “A Shaded View of Fashion,” featured on the group’s web site features scantily clad women, two men kissing, and a transvestite.
Another entertainment group was the Hysterica Dance Company, whose choreography, with barely clad men and women, emphasizes the erotic.
BOXeight calls itself “an arts organization dedicated to the rejuvenation of a downtown neighborhood, and the organization of a Los Angeles arts community.” It says it hopes that, through its efforts, “downtown will flourish into a standard for artists communities across the globe.”
Among BOXeight’s sponsors is the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, created by the new city charter in 1999. The council’s mission is “to unite the diverse communities of Downtown Los Angeles and to provide an innovative forum for all community stakeholders to contribute to a healthy, vibrant, and inclusive Downtown.”