Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Silver Lake's Michael Maltzan Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art

Exhibition entrance at MOMA

From December 2010's Los Feliz Ledger:

Silver Lake-based architect Michael Maltzan’s project for downtown’s Inner-City Arts is front-and-center at New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s (MOMA) exhibition Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement. Running now through Jan. 3rd, the show presents 11 architectural projects from around the world that bring well-designed buildings to underserved, often impoverished communities. Although limited in scale and budget, the projects highlighted have had positive wide-reaching effect in terms of social, political and economic transformation.

The Inner-City Arts project began in 1993; Maltzan was commissioned to remake a former auto body shop on Skid Row into a new home for an after school arts program. He incorporated the body shop’s roll-up doors, making an aesthetically pleasing space that allows seamless movement between inside and outside. For the children who come to the center, the space’s openness is in direct contrast to the more institutional type buildings they typically occupy throughout the day. The building is purposefully all white and meant to enforce a sense of optimism and possibility for the future.

Over time, the now one-acre complex (a micro-city of creativity) has evolved from its modest beginnings. At MOMA, the exhibit maps the project’s evolution and includes a full-size model of the current building, design elevations and a wall-sized architectural photograph that shows Inner-City Arts in context, just east of downtown—an unlikely location for ambitious architecture of this caliber.
“It’s in an area of the city, which is anonymous for most people,” said the architect.

One of the tenets of modern architecture is the idea that architecture can advocate and partner in social change. Maltzan believes that while architecture should aspire to be progressive, the question of change is more complex.  “Change at times is good and is at times bad but it is always inevitable. It takes ambition, focus and hard work to make society in a more progressive way; architecture can be an agent in that way,” he said.

Maltzan and his firm have also received acclaim for two other socially conscious projects built for Los Angeles’ Skid Row Housing Trust, and the firm is now in the final stage of drawings for a third mixed-use effort for the Trust, the Star Apartments. For those that may miss the exhibition in New York, a comprehensive view is available on the museum’s website.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Project Restore to renovate Barnsdall Park's Hollyhock House

Restoration work on Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House

My article from November 2010's Los Feliz Ledger:

EAST HOLLYWOOD—By the end of 2010, a long-planned restoration of Hollyhock House should get underway.

A public/private partnership, “Project Restore” is the non-profit organization that will oversee construction at the house that includes improvements to the historic garage and seismic retrofitting and foundation work at the house as well fixes to leaking roofs. The $4.359 million allocated for improvements is a combination of state funds, a grant from the National Park Service via Save America’s Treasures program, seismic bond funds and Quimby fees from the city. These funds are not from the city’s general fund, thus the project is not subject to the same budget cuts facing the other facilities in the park.

Per Kevin Jew, project manager for Project Restore, the Hollyhock House garage will be upgraded first so that it can serve as an on-site construction office.  Already, initial steps have been taken at the house including the positioning of steel posts (photo above) that will anchor a temporary roof above the patio just off the living room. Portions of the roof have been sheathed in metal to prevent further water damage; those roofs will also be fixed.
Say goodbye to the 80+ year old Canary Island pine at Hollyhock House
One major and highly visible step will be the removal of a stately Canary Island pine on the house’s western facing side.  The tree’s roots are damaging retaining walls, according to Jew. Curator Jeffrey Herr confirmed that he is committed to keeping the house open for public tours, which may be re-routed somewhat for public safety’s sake.  The renovation will not be completed until late 2013. Summertime’s Friday afternoon wine tasting events, in conjunction with Silver Lake Wine, should not be impacted.

Remaining in a state of limbo: restoration work and the re-opening of Residence A, for decades home to adult art classes. An historic structures report was completed by the city in 2009 that estimated the cost of structural maintenance and restoration at $1.9 million. Funds for that restoration project are not yet in place.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

[Out there] At Baja's End: Las Ventanas al Paraiso (Los Feliz Ledger)

Las Ventanas: View towards the Sea of Cortez

 A Treat for the Spirit and the Senses

CABO SAN LUCAS–A lizard skittered across the pebbly path just outside my room. I considered the movement a farewell after four grand days at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The fact that I took notice of the reptilian salute explains much about my visit to this resort so well located in the desert landscape that one becomes steeped in connectedness (and reconnecting with oneself). I was so relaxed and happy that I relished the details of every last moment: the azure sea, the frigate bird circling above, the lizard crossing my path and the goodbye wave from the staff lined up at the resort’s entryway as we drove away along the date palm tree-lined drive.

Land's End: Cabo San Lucas
 Los Cabos has a well-earned reputation as a touristy party spot. The once remote fishing village has been remade into a string of fashionable resorts, condominiums, and shopping areas—the two cabos being Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. But at Las Ventanas, on the resort corridor, you’re removed from the tequila-infused mayhem and honky-tonk of downtown Cabo San Lucas. One of the nicest resorts I’ve ever been invited to, Las Ventanas was designed to take full advantage of its stepped-down hillside location: the resort is set into the hill, with a hidden system of passageways underneath for staff.  You’ll never see a maid’s or room service cart; nothing ordinary spoils your views of the sea and brilliant white clouds, save for the edge of the resort’s infinity pool that melds right into the sea.

In early summer, the humidity had not set in, so although it was warm, a dip in the pool took the heat off.  Each pair of low-rise lounges has their own umbrella—a pool butler will quickly adjust the slant to keep the sun at bay.  Oh yes, they are pool butlers as well a friendly chap who’ll clean your sunglasses so they are transparent. If you’ve visited Mexico, you’ll know that service can be very friendly and welcoming, at Las Ventanas, they’ve made an art of it, which quite frankly makes for a very pleasant experience when everyone you deal with has a genuine smile on their face.

Sunset at Las Ventanas
Remarkable attention to detail extends to every corner of the property whether it is the raked coarse sand that edges walkways and grounds planted with native cactus and agaves or the raked beach and small thatched huts that shade hammocks or the small gifts at turndown like a mini straw doll magnet. 

Lovely but wild Sea of Cortez
Contrasting with the resort’s cocooned environment is the natural wildness of the location:  the rough waters out front means that ocean swimming requires a short walk to a nearby cove while rays and sharks are easily spotted offshore. Swells mean a pleasant boat ride to a snorkel spot may engender seasickness (I’m a firm believer in Dramamine) or an encounter with a stinging jellyfish. The same trip yields underwater views of the Sea of Cortez’s vibrant eco-system:  I snorkeled amongst a multitudinous school of amberjack following a current. And the sun is brutally direct—sunscreen is a must and sunburns a common souvenir.

Tibetan bowls are part of a meditative spa ritual
Of special note: the compact spa at Las Ventanas which has an outdoor shower (a wonderful treat), an intricately tiled steam room and in-ground soaking pools (one hot, another cool).  I took part in a unique meditation ritual: Tibetan bowls are played musically (the sound is unmistakably restful), sage is burned and ancient chants and lute music fills the air.  I felt incredibly relaxed as I lay under the latilla (thatched roof), isolating each sense before a restorative massage.

And that’s what you’ll find: clean, windswept ocean breezes, the brilliant sun, the warm waters, the kicky margaritas (made with fresh lime juice with Centanario reposado tequila), the rooms flawlessly decorated in artisan-made furniture, and the ocean-to-table Baja-Mex cuisine, all combine to entice and re-awaken the senses.

Las Ventanas' executive chef Fabrice Guisset
Baja-Mex cuisine reinterprets Mediterranean dishes, like ratatouille, with indigenous Mexican ingredients such as Serrano chili. I spent a pleasant morning watching Fabrice Guisset, the resort’s classically trained executive chef, demonstrate and serve several of the resort’s signature dishes in the open-air demonstration kitchen, set in the green herb garden. Guisset does his best to make the most of the Baja peninsula’s produce and exquisite seafood, as well as the talents and traditional recipes of his Mexican-born staff.

A profusion of rosemary plants heat up in the sun, scenting the air as I learn how to make guacamole properly and a lighter-than-air snapper with gremolatta. Much of the fresh fish served at Las Ventanas is line caught and brought in by local fisherman.  Red snapper, Wahoo, and striped sea bass are so fresh—you can often see the fishing boats just offshore—that their pure flavors hardly resemble stateside versions. A simple fish taco is delight because the fish not only just out-of-the-sea but it’s also expertly cooked over a wood fire at the resort’s Sea Grill. (For more on Las Ventanas' cuisine and chef's garden as well as a delicious guacamole recipe, check out my post "A Chef's Garden at Land's End" for

Lamp lighting at day's end.
On the last day of my visit, I took a yoga class on the beach. We looked out to the cerulean blue sea to center ourselves, our instructor taught the class in four languages: charmingly blending her instructions in Spanish, Hindi, French and English. As the class lay on mats in the sand for our last moments of meditation, small songbirds chirped sweetly, as if on cue.  And why wouldn’t they? Even the birds and lizards must realize they’ve found paradise.

Excerpted from the Los Feliz Ledger desktop edition 9/1/10.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Resnick Pavillion at Los Angeles County Museum of Art opens soon

Resnick Pavilion designed by Renzo Piano

Opening to the public on October 2, 2010, Los Angeles County Museum of Art's (LACMA) ultra-contemporary $53 million, 45,000 square foot Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion was unveiled to Los Angeles' media today.

An Olmec basalt rock monument

Three exhibitions fill the space. Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico features monumental prehistoric stone sculptures as well as smaller objects from Mexico's earliest civilization.

An Olmec Colossal Head 1200-900 BC

Fashioning Fashion is a rare chance to look into history's closet and has nearly 160 exquisitely made examples of  clothing and accessories from intricately embroidered silk and muslin dresses to tailored waistcoats to a rather sexy c. 1900 leather corset accessorized with fetish boots.

18th Century-style fashionistas

Eye for the Sensual: Selections from the Resnick Collection has more than 100 fine pieces of furniture, sculpture and decorative art (such as a pair of Art Deco lamps made from bronze cobras) that span centuries and reflect the couple's eclectic taste. The building's numerous skylights face north, so the entire space is flooded with natural light. The palm garden and surrounding landscaping is by Robert Irwin who also designed the Getty Center's landscaping. Check out the impressive new space, BCAM and LACMA's vast holdings for free during the inaugural weekend of October 2-3. Ticket info here.

LACMA's new Resnick Pavilion

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Los Angeles' Natural History Museum 1913 Building restored

Restored facade at L.A.'s Natural History Museum: the Eagle sculpture soars again

I've been to L.A.'s Natural History Museum many times: the 1913 Building was the home of the infamous Discovery Room--a creepy crawly extravaganza known as the bug room at my house.  $100 million dollars later, it's now been redone and houses the new interactive and very modern Age of Mammals exhibition which manages to encompass 65 million years of history in one room.

Age of Mammals at the Natural History Museum
As I wrote in September 2010's Los Feliz Ledger: Among the highlights of the restoration is the return of a picturesque terra cotta eagle sculpture, with 7-foot wingspan, that is dramatically perched above the building’s oft-photographed facade. Guided by 24 pages of original drawings, the architecture and engineering team brought back architectural details, such as the 30 arched windows and glass roof in the wing that holds the Age of Mammals.  The restored windows remarkably brighten the space, giving it a very contemporary feel. Newly opened within the historic structure, the perennially popular Age of Mammals was re-designed, with up-close displays behind glass panels that give visitors a way to connect with the deep past. The room that has numerous interactive touch screens, 38 mammal skeletons and digital shorts that illustrate concepts like planetary geology and human evolution, all designed to make science accessible. More than 130 specimens came from the La Brea Tar pits; the suspended whale skeleton above helps put human size in perspective.

Art glass by Judson Studios tops the domed ceiling of the 1913 Building   

Look up to see the original, stunning art glass ceiling, now brilliant and luminescent once again. Created by Highland Park’s Judson Studios, the restoration of the rotunda’s domed opalescent art glass ceiling was overseen by David Judson, great-grandson of the initial artist.

And there's still more to come at the museum: new landscaping and entrance will face Exposition Boulevard and a new Age of Dinosaurs Hall. All scheduled to be redone by museum's 100th anniversary in 2013.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Silver Lake Walking Man's local memorials

An iconic fixture on local streets, Walking Man (aka Dr. Marc Abrams) died last week. Sunday's memorial walk in his honor was covered in the New York Times. The story includes an interview with muralist and artist Nicholas Gagliarducci.  (I previously wrote about the mural in May 2009). As the New York Times reports: The mural depicts Dr. Abrams in his trademark light green shorts, reading a newspaper and headed past historic Los Angeles buildings and parts of the city long-since built over.

“There was a sadness about him that might have triggered the old L.A. scene I painted,” Mr. Gagliarducci said. “These parts of our city are things that have disappeared, so it’s like he’s there walking through history.”

There's another Walking Man portrait in the painted mural on the Micheltorena St. Elementary school's Sunset Blvd. facing wall (above). Very saddened by his passing are the youth in the neighborhood who have seen the Walking Man go by their entire lives.

Walk in peace, dude. You will definitely be missed.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Kids are All Right gets Los Angeles' bohemian side just right

Shot in-and-around Los Angeles, director Lisa Cholodenko captures Silver Lake and Echo Park's boho aesthetic in "The Kids Are All Right." (With spot-on, smart and funny performances from Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, too!)   It's a very well art-directed version of reality with looks that seem torn from the pages of architect Barbara Bestor's Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake. Pictured above is the Echo Park vintage-tinged dining room of Mark Ruffalo's character. Kudos to production designer Julie Berghoff for making his hillside home so believably lived in.

Who wouldn't want to stop in at the locavore restaurant--supplied via a bountiful community garden-- that Ruffalo's character owns? (Exteriors shot in Echo Park). There's a lovely, artfully-lighted outdoor patio, rustic wood panels and a cozy lounge/bar.  Imagine Forage's menu meets Malo's bar vibe set in the outdoor garden at Cliff's Edge, complete with a Santa Barbara County-made wine list.

Perhaps there will be a "Sideways"-like bump in sales for the Santa Barbara wines featured in the film including Alma Rosa and Fiddlehead Cellars' Pinot Noir.  The movie will be in theaters this Friday. If only the fictional restaurant would open soon too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

John Baldessari at LACMA Los Angeles

Welcome to conceptual artist John Baldessari's retrospective complete with gift shop at LACMA. The entire second floor of BCAM is now Baldessari-land with 150 works created from 1962 to the present (and a site-specific 60' nose and 60' ear hanging from the building's exterior).    John Baldessari: Pure Beauty runs through September 12th. Inaugurated at the Tate Modern in London, the show will move to the MET in NYC after its Los Angeles dates.

Based in Santa Monica and a well-loved fixture of the LA art scene, Baldessari's relationship with the museum has been fruitful, advised LACMA's CEO Michael Govan today. The artist helped design LACMA's logo and also art directed the stunning Rene Magritte exhibition that memorably included Magritte's signature blue sky above.

I've always thought there was much sly humor in his text and photo pieces; his answers to journalists' questions today were peppered with wry observations and funny comments. A self-professed film addict, Baldessari is a fan of film noir and often uses found film stills in his work. He finds that movie imagery (the dying cowboy, for instance), captures stereotypes and cliches that are embedded in a viewer's mind. He seeks to manipulate and tweak them to mean something else.

"I don't think art should be elitist," he advised. To that end, there's a Baldessari iPhone application coming out Friday and a commissioned mixed-media series, entitled "W/Studio 54," on display at Wolfgang Puck's CUT restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire, Four Seasons too.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Vader Project is back in Los Angeles: 100 customized Darth Vader helmets

Hey "Star Wars" movie fans and pop-culture enthusiasts: this show is for you. One of the most popular events during the annual Star Wars' fan convention held in Los Angeles in 2007, the Vader Project returns this month (June 11-20) to its own pop-up gallery at 6812 Melrose Ave. The brainchild of my friends Sarah Jo Marks and Dov Kelemer of DKE toys, the Vader Project is 100 Darth Vader helmets customized by artists such as Gary Baseman (above).

At the pop-up gallery you will be able to not only see the one-of-a-kind creations (and some are rather wacky) but also buy a catalog of the entire collection before it goes to auction in July at Freeman's Philadelphia Auction.

You may not get to see "real" "Star Wars" characters like those at the fan-boy convention, but you never know.

Daily from  Noon- 6 p.m. June 12-20, 2010
The Vader Project
6812 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dwell on Design to tour Eastside L.A.

June 24-27, the design and architecture conference Dwell on Design will come to the L.A. Convention Center. Home tours are included in the event.  The Sunday June 27 Eastside Home Tour (which starts in Larchmont--not even faux or near Eastside) features six modern homes such as Silver Lake's very fab Auburn 7.  Expect hills and hipster enclaves per the website: "This isn't a part of L.A. that many tourists get to see. We head East from Larchmont into Silver Lake and Atwater Village along their peaceful, leafy streets for anyone who dares to stop by. "

Tour if you dare! Screen shot is from the concurrent Mobius LA event.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ventura, California's Art City and Art Walk

A few shots from my trip to Ventura's Art Walk (next one is October 16/17). Art City Gallery and Stone Supply was one of my favorite studios: completely outdoors, its home to 20 sculptors.  Per my story in the Los Feliz Ledger:  For more than 25 years, the acre site has been home to Art City Gallery & Stone Supply: a vast yard that exhibits fine art stone used in sculpture making.  The real attraction is the 20 open-air studios where artists create sculptures using materials that range from pebbles and shells to massive monoliths of Canadian marble.

One of the stops on Ventura’s bi-annual art walk, Art City Gallery is one of those places that must be experienced to fully appreciate its tactile nature. Here sculptors are actively manipulating and transforming rock, resulting in visual poetry.

Visit soon—the one-of-a-kind studio is open Wednesday through Sunday and during the Fall Ventura ArtWalk scheduled for October 16th and 17th.

Art City
197 Dubbers Street
Ventura, CA 93001

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Autry National Center's "How Women Made the West"

Forget the cowgirl, the demure Indian maiden, or the pioneer woman in a sunbonnet perched on a wagon buckboard. At the Autry National Center’s conceptual new exhibit “Home Lands How Women Made the West,” traditional stereotypes of women-out-west are replaced with a new narrative—one that puts women at the center as builders of home and community. “Seeing women in history makes history look different,” is the show’s opening statement and the Autry has done much to create an innovative and interactive exhibition that inserts real women into the American west’s saga.

Follow-up the exhibit with a visit to the bookstore and read my complete take on the exhibition at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park that runs through August 29.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Farmlab is downtown L.A.'s earthy, artistic think tank

Not a Cornfield was one of Los Angeles’ most creative, ambitious and perhaps largest public art installation.  From mid-2005 to March 2006, a blighted industrial vacant lot just north of Chinatown became 32 verdant acres of living sculpture within view of downtown’s skyscrapers.

Conceived by artist Laren Bon and funded by the Annenberg Foundation, the Not a Cornfield legacy continues to grow at Farmlab, now headquartered across from the northernmost end of the State Historic Park (the former Not a Cornfield site).

Farmlab is an artistic think tank and meeting space that visibly demonstrates a more holistic approach to urban living. Junked cars are planters blooming with native plants; 15’ high barrels collect rainwater; and wildflower seeds that were collected in the State Historic Park are distributed for free.  Each Friday, a free lunch hour public salon—lunch included—offers a range of thoughtful presentations by local artists, curators, historians and activists.

Read my full piece at the Los Feliz Ledger.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lance Armstrong above Sunset Blvd. courtesy of Shepard Fairey

Runners during Sunday's (3/21) L.A. Marathon can look up (and back over their shoulders) for inspiration: Shepard Fairey's wall-sized portrait of cyclist and Live Strong's Lance Armstrong is above Sunset Blvd on Studio One's exterior at the corner of Elysian Valley and Sunset Blvds. BTW Fairey's gallery, Subliminal Projects, is selling the official 25th anniversary LA Marathon screen print by Studio One's Cleon Peterson.

Defiance/Courage/Action is the title I presume.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beverly Hills' Gagosian Gallery Addition Brings Out the Stars

For a glittery opening for Andreas Gursky --worth checking out his manipulated digital satellite images of oceans.  New space is impressive--bowtruss roof saved, skylights and a massive sliding door to the street.

Beverly Hills' Gagosian Gallery Addition Brings Out the Stars

Monday, March 8, 2010

Silver Lake's silent film history at Farmlab public salon Friday 3/10


Image: Mack Sennett directing "Stolen Magic" (Keystone, 1915), Hans Koenekamp is the cameraman. Courtesy: Robert Birchard

A celebration of the birth and early growth of the movie industry in Los Angeles. Award winning film editor, writer and film industry historian Robert S. Bichard presents over 100 images exploring the first movie studios in L.A--which were established a century ago. The Selig Polyscope, Keystone, Pathe, Mixville and Norbig studios constituted L.A.s first Studio Row in the 1910’s, and Hooray For Edendale! will take you inside the gates of these long-vanished pioneer film factories. This is a must attend event for anyone interested in the history of Los Angeles and the movies.

Farmlab Public Salon

Farmlab, 1745 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, 90012

Robert S. Birchard
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ Noon,
Free Admission 


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

ManifestEquality Hollyood shows art with a message

This is one Oscar week event in Hollywood that's not just about the glitz. In a former dingy Big Lots space on Vine St. in Hollywood, ManifestEquality explores the theme of equal rights for all in a pop-up art exhibition that features dozens of contemporary artists. "The gallery has gathered international and local artists in a call to present art that unites art, activism and the message of universal equal rights into a memorable multi-media moment," explains organizers Jennifer Gross, Apple Via and Yosi Sergant in a prepared statement.   

Commune design gets props for remarkably transforming the mundane big box retail space into a of-the-moment gallery partitioned by angled walls perforated by recycled windows that uses every inch of space creatively--even the barbed wire fence outside. There are nighttime performances and DJs Wednesday and Saturday nights. Shepard Fairey DJ'd the opening night preview; look for his work in the show along with other artists such as Robbie Conal, Gary Baseman, Amanda Visell and a memorable building wall-sized justice mural by graffiti artist El Mac outside.

1341 Vine Street
(between Hollywood & Fountain) 
Los Angeles, CA 90028-8141 

March 3rd - March 7th, 2010
Wed & Thurs - 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday - 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat & Sun - 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Atwater's New Modern-Home Subdivision The Mews

L.A.'s New Modern-Home Subdivision

Went to The Mews open house this weekend in Atwater. I really liked the open plan and light-filled, brand new construction with "green" building features like solar panels.  Location not so much: betwixt the 5 freeway and train tracks, on the street that parallels the massive Costco lot, though close enough to walk to the Village bakery on Los Feliz. Please comment if you check it out!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rodeo Drive's fashion houses attract design star-power for

Rodeo Drive's fashion houses attract design star-power

A round-up for housingwatch of famous architects and their retail projects on Rodeo Drive including OMA Rem Koolhaas' Prada store, Angela Missoni (designer of the all white Missoni boutique) and Frank Lloyd Wright's Anderton Court. Inside, the Missoni boutique evokes memories of Milan's famous shopping street Via della Spiga, with a long corridor punctuated by doors to smaller rooms. Look for Converse shoes made with Missoni fabric in April at the just opened flagship store.

I think the Chanel store is a well executed example of architecture serving the brand. Just looks elegant.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Custom Yoka Bear show at Black Maria Gallery

100.1, originally uploaded by DKE Toys.
Blank bear to art: from the team that brought you the Darth Vader mask show comes customized Yoka's by artists at Atwater's Black Maria Gallery. Show runs through March 2.

Opening: Thursday, Feb 18, 7:00 – 10:30pm
Black Maria Gallery
3137 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wolfgang Puck unveils Oscar food: Smoked salmon and chocolate statuettes

Wolfgang Puck unveils Oscar food: Smoked salmon and chocolate statuettes

A guest post for Eating LA: always impressed by how many press people show up for a dinner dance preview. Spago's Sherry Yard shows off her heavenly baked Alaska.

Airstreams, Modern Homes Draw Fans to Palm Springs

Airstreams, Modern Homes Draw Fans to Palm Springs

Super-cool looking Airstream trailers, house tours and vintage collectibles: Palm Springs Modernism Week as seen in HousingWatch.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Irving Penn's Small Trades at Getty Center

File this in the better late than never category: checked out photographer Irving Penn's "Small Trades" exhibition of 252 platinum and rich palladium prints at the Getty this week which closes Sunday 1/10. Penn worked with these negatives over 50 years creating intimate but revealing studio portraits of tradespeople in London, New York and Paris. These psychological portraits, set against a neutral background, are revealing decades later and emblematic of Penn's fascination with "dissolving cultures"and worlds that would disappear. Some of these trades are long lost: no need for coal or ice men these days or even chamois sellers.

The Getty Center is open until 9 p.m. on Saturdays. Parking is free after 5 p.m. on Saturday as well, otherwise it's now $15. Admission is free.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

L.A. Arts Month

Howdy 2010! Postings were light at the end of the year: lots of conflicts such as paid work, family (Martin returned from six months in India!), the holidays, a biennial bout with some kind of flu and a new blogging gig for AOL TripVine: LA Suite Life where I cover all that's new, different and hopefully, interesting about SoCal hotels.

In anticipation of L.A. Arts Month (more at, I checked out the second half of MOCA's Collection: MOCA's First Thirty Years their comprehensive historical survey of the past 70 years of contemporary art at the Geffen Contemporary (with an emphasis on NY and Calif. artists). Felt like a trip to my own office as many of the artists showcased are among my faves and I look at their work everyday. Ok MOCA has the originals but it was a pleasure to see them given the grand museum treatment: Edward Ruscha, Barbara Kruger and Hiroshi Sugimoto's black-and-white photos of luminescent cinema screens. A number of John Baldessaris and Catherine Opie's still searing self-portrait are here as well. Looking forward to seeing the first half of the show at MOCA Grand Ave. soon.