Monday, May 11, 2009

You Can Forget All Your Cares and Go Downtown - Monday 5/11/2009

Antipasta, Braveheart and I ventured into downtown Los Angeles for the day to visit some museums and soak in the atmosphere. Central Los Angeles doesn't have the kind of street culture that other major cities do, but it's still pretty wonderful.

I'd driven by the new(ish) Walt Disney Concert Hall but I hadn't been up close or inside. It seemed rather sharp to me, but it's quite sensuous when you see it up close. As Braveheart said, the building itself evokes the movement of music. I really wanted to put my hands on those walls. And maybe even try sliding down them!

We went inside and there were tours offered, but they didn't offer a viewing of the auditorium. Antipasta and Braveheart were mildly shocked that I haven't been there yet. There they go, setting the cultural bar a little higher again.

Above the entrance to Our Lady of Los Angeles Cathedral. I love that her toes stick over the edge of the platform.

Oddly, I didn't take a photograph of the outside of the cathedral. You can get an idea of it from the church's architecture page. It felt very uninviting to me. Layers of shingled concrete give the impression that it's like an armadillo ready to roll up at the slightest provocation.

Maybe this armored effect is a symptom of the struggles the Catholic Church faced during the time when this structure was designed and built, as it was under siege of so many accusations of sexual abuse by its priests.

A noon mass began as we stepped inside the gigantic sanctuary. See the three-dimensional cross in the window?

The windows were probably my favorite part of the cathedral. The thinly cut natural alabaster lets in a most benign light.

I happened to take a shot almost identical to the cathedral's own representation.

One of the small chapels that line the corridor outside the sanctuary. The Cathedral commissioned some truly lovely artwork.

All in all, though, the cathedral feels like a mausoleum. Cold and impersonal. I wonder if it will resonate for people in a hundred years when it has had time to absorb the hopes and fears of those who worship here.

It was just a little misty up at elevation. This building is on 4th Street near Olive.

Our next stop was MOCA [Museum of Contemporary Art], where it's okay to photograph exhibits from the permanent collection.

I like the sculpture on the left. It's called "Soft Scissors."

See it now?

I like art that doesn't take itself too darned seriously.

Number 1, 1949 by Jackson Pollack surprised me. When you are in the room with this piece, you can follow all the different colors and layers in succession and see so much.

It struck me that it's like looking out at the whole amazing universe and simultaneously inward into the heart of the atom.

We explored the performance room part of the Dan Graham exhibit.

Braveheart's response to most creative challenges is to remove her shirt.


I take pictures or notes. Or both.

Well-walked and hungry, we arrive at Grand Central Market to seek out lunch. It was after 2 p.m. by then and some of the stuff on the steamer tables honestly looked a little crusty. But we scoped it all out and came up with a shared lunch of teriyaki chicken, ceviche tostada, scallop burrito, and tilapia.

The tilapia plate, served with rice, beans, shredded lettuce and corn tortillas. Mmm.

And we're off to Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library. This building and the services it provides along with all it's branch libraries are one of the truly great things about this city. I use it all the time.
Along with books, interesting architecture and literary events, it houses a gallery on the 2nd floor and an exhibition space on the 1st floor.

This is a self-portrait of Richard Neutra, a California architect whose designs had a great impact on California. I have to say that I am not a huge fan of the sharpness of his building designs, but I was very impressed with his artwork.

Antipasta pointed out that there were early 1930s style cars parked in front of his futuristic looking buildings in many of his renderings. Interesting!

Stairs up from 5th Street to 4th, across from the library. There's usually water running through the rocks on top of the bannister.

These kids aren't fooling around. They know how to get around downtown.

We search in vain for a Pinkberry...

Yes, my toes are a little tired. After yesterday's calf-stretching climb up and around Vasquez Rocks, they've had a bit of a workout.

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