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There’s something startling about Los Angeles’ Beastie Boys exhibit. It feels like walking into someone’s bedroom or sneaking into a green room while the band’s on stage, except the dirty t-shirts, the scuffed posters on the walls, and the worn cassette tapes are behind glass cases. And instead of a tiny, dimly lit room, where most of this stuff was found, you’re in a 4000-square foot gallery filled with light and pristine white walls where Beastie boy artifacts proudly hang.
Beyond The Streets — a roaming exhibition that’s known to fill massive, sprawling spaces — has called Fairfax outpost, Control Gallery, their new home for the most intimate and exhaustive exhibition on the Beastie Boys to date. Exhibit invites visitors to dive into the celebrated hip hop group’s more than 30 years in music spanning from Licensed To Ill, Check Your Head, Ill Communication and the Grammy-winning Hello Nasty, To the 5 Boroughs, The Mix-Up and their final studio album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.
Exhibit is part art show, part educational buffet of an era when the sonic irreverence of punk and the emergence of hip-hop breeded the Beastie Boys in the summer of 1981. The collection includes memorabilia and artifacts from the personal collections of Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond. (The band disbanded following the death of third member Adam “MCA” Yauch in 2012 from cancer.)
Much of the collection has never been seen by the public, there are tour shirts with grime caked in the creases and a mint edition tee that was found in Mike D’s archive at his mother’s house. There’s also a magnificent 808 drum machine owned by the Beastie Boys on display, a Fisher PH 480 boombox, a handwritten note from Madonna, endless pages of lyrics showing the evolution of some of their greatest hits, and G.I. Joe action figures from their parody music video of “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” (featuring Santigold) off their eighth and final studio album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two in 2011. But that’s not even skimming the surface of the exhibit’s collection.
“Beastie Boys has such a storied history that when it came time to sort through their ephemera, the most difficult part was not being able to include every single thing we came across,” Beyond the Streets founder Roger Gastman told Rolling Stone. “Many people forget they started as a punk band, so besides the musical cross over, their cultural perspective was significant — drawing from so many influences and subcultures, including graffiti, street art, and skateboarding — which in itself created a look and sound all of its own that would have a lasting impact on multiple generations.” Gastman curated the collection with Michael Delahaut and Tim Conlon.
The exhibit is free to the public and open through Jan. 23 (located at 434 N. La Brea Ave.). Timed-entry tickets are now available via AXS.