Lili Lakich has been exhibiting neon sculptures since 1973 and was a co-founder of the Los Angeles Museum of Neon Art in 1981. Once a month, she holds an artist salon in her massive, buzzing, twinkling studio in Downtown Los Angeles.
Here are a couple of her pieces, including (if I can get the movie to work), a very recent installation that came to life when her beloved vintage Volvo finally gave up the ghost.
The Volvo installation. (Click to view.) Buy it for someone you really love.
For more info on Lili and her work, visit: http://www.lakich.com/
During the salon, when everyone was sharing the creative projects on which they were working, I announced my new love of pork (the noun, of course.) I hadn’t eaten pork since my grandmother’s pork chops and dumplings when I was a kid. When I turned 16, I raised the flag of vegetarianism (and then worse, a year and a half of dreary macrobiotics because, as Don Delillo used to describe a couple of tandem Nordik Trak-ing characters in his book, Underworld, I was “training to live forever”). My recent newfound porkish desires emerged after a few reluctant nibbles from friends’ plates of chili verde and carnitas. One night last winter, I was having dinner with my friend Tracey and as we were looking over the menu, I thought, “I’m going to do it. I want pork.” So I said to Tracey, “I want pork,” expecting some kind of startled reaction or assurance of bravery that never came. She didn’t look up from the menu when she said, “Mmmm, pork is good,” then slurped noisily from her margarita. Ordering the carnitas from Ciudad was a bigger deal for me than for Tracey, clearly, and since then, I’m convinced that pork really is a key to happiness.
Upon my unsolicited (and out of the blue) announcement of my big crush on pork, Lili’s face lit up. “I love the fact that of all the meats to start with, you picked pork! I love pork, too, and I have the best recipe for pork tenderloin.”
And I give you: Lili Lakich’s Slovakian Pork Tenderloin with Caraway Crust
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Perforate and stud a nice piece of pork tenderloin with slivers of garlic, every 1/4″ or so.
Rub the tenderloin with olive oil, then totally cover it with paprika; throw on a little salt and pepper
Sprinkle the tenderloin with caraway seeds and place it in a pan
Quarter some onions, chop up some carrots and red new potatoes and put all of this in the pan with the tenderloin
Bake the tenderloin and vegetables uncovered for about 12 minutes; then turn the heat down to 350 degrees F and cook for 35 – 40 minutes, until, according to Lili, “the juice runs clear when you slice into it.”
Lili then looked me dead in the eye, as only a woman who’s quite serious about her pork would do, and said these words: “Don’t overcook it.”