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CulverLand traffic game debuts on Culver City sidewalk for limited engagement

October 21, 2010 |  1:32 pm


Introducing CulverLand — for a limited time only.

This newest attraction won’t be confused with Disneyland, but it accomplishes the unlikely: creating a reason to celebrate Southern California traffic.

Both artwork and game, CulverLand occupies an 18-by-90-foot stretch of unfinished sidewalk in front of the Culver Hotel in Culver City.

Colored squares mark a rectangular path with rules that riff on SoCal car culture and CandyLand, a child’s game in which players advance by drawing cards of different colors.

In CulverLand, human game pieces can proceed to the next square, for example, when they are passed by a car painted the same color as their current square.

An alternate drinking-game version involves matching cocktails to the colors.

It’s all a product of cartoon animator and game designer John Derevlany, 46, who won a city competition — and as much as $4,500 in funding — to create a game-themed artwork. Its unveiling roughly coincided with the city’s early October hosting of the 2010 IndieCade, which showcased games, electronic and otherwise, created by independent designers.

Other proposals had included a scavenger hunt triggered with clues from a temporary pirate radio station and something with giant stickers, Derevlany recalled.

“I’ve always liked enormous, giant games and thought it would be fun to do something that celebrates Culver City a bit and has fun with traffic,” Derevlany said. His other inspiration was 12-year-old daughter Ava, who punches her dad every time she sees a Volkswagen.

When Derevlany field-tested his creation, composed of the six most common car colors, he had to reduce the bright hues, especially greens.

“Artistically, I wanted lots of blue, red and green, but two-thirds of cars are black, white or gray-silver,” he said.

The installation, made with temporary, biodegradable paint, will remain until Nov. 1.

The game should take 10 to 15 minutes to play, less time during rush hour, said its creator: “It’s one time when you can say, ‘Yah, it’s rush hour!’”

-- Howard Blume

Photo: John Derevlany lies on top of the CulverLand. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times