Saturday, April 30, 2005

evil enron and the guvernator

file under too little, too late, but gray davis finds a little redemption for california's energy crisis in the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. One of the most fascinating and infuriating chapters in the story is CA's energy crisis and the way Enron played God with our electricity. also, Bush's complicity in fucking CA and fucking Davis, eventually installing Schwarznegger as a much more business-friendly governor is a consequence of Enron holding californians hostage. Davis finds exoneration in the movie and hopefully, it will act as a record for posterity. its an articulate, intelligent, heartbreaking movie - one that tells the story of people, not numbers. see it if you have a chance.

Friday, April 29, 2005

gehry = trump?

he not only builds them, he might also buy them.

apartment porn

I seem to have an apartment theme going on this week. check out apartment therapy's contest for the "smallest, coolest apartment." the criteria - the apartment must be 500sf or less and be in one of new york's 5 boroughs. right now I'm partial to the guy who built his own louis vuitton turntables.

[via a daily dose of architecture]



two vuitton tables and a microphone

Thursday, April 28, 2005

vertical LA

LAritz alerts us to LA Weekly's feature on los angeles' re-urbanization, apartment living, and downtown development. The article on LA's DNA - which provides a welcome tour of famous apartment buildings (neutra, lautner and the zwebells. yeah, I never heard of them either but apparently they invented the garden apartment) - is an especially interesting investigation of apartment life in LA.

writing isn't the only vocation for hollywood wives

apparently, some write books. others open home furnishing stores.

jericho's walls

a collection of anonymous artists protesting the increasing proliferation of gated communities protests: they've built bright orange viewing platforms outside the entrances to the communities, allowing the public to look in. Hurry down to one of the platforms before they're inevitably destroyed by LA's equivalent of cranky coop boards.

Heavy Trash:

The viewing platforms have been installed at three locations:
3rd Street and Burnside Avenue, at Park La Brea
West Sunset Boulevard and North Gunston Drive at Brentwood Circle
Los Feliz Boulevard and Cummings Drive at Laughlin Park


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

wives who write

in hollywood, its not enough to be a wife of a major player, throw glamorous parties, shop all day and schedule spa services. it turns out without your own literary agent and publisher, you're nothing. ron howard's wife sounds, um, nice. is there any other possible adjective a person can use for the howard's and their clan of kids, dogs, cats and donkeys and minihorses? and what exactly is a minihorse? but I digress. yeah, they must be the most milquetoast, vanilla family in the industry ever.

it doesn't matter how many prizes you win...

just a few weeks after winning the pritzker, thom mayne's latest project, the state capital building for juneau, alaska is on hold. the reasons? financing and public disapproval with the design. apparently the good people of alaska like their state capitals straight up with a dome, not an "egg."

[via a daily dose of architecture]

the fate of the ennis-brown house

it seems the latimes has stopped covering frank lloyd wright's ennis-brown house, tagged unsafe this winter after sustaining damage to its retaining wall because of the excessive rains. thankfully, on sunday the nytimes wrote a piece on the house, including a link to the foundation that is now in need of an extra $2 million to restore the house.



Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

the mothership has called me home

back in LA - finally. and (almost) recovered - so now I am playing catch up and very, very behind on several projects at once. so not a lot of time for blogging. but here are some interesting articles from the last few days, in case you missed it:

Saturday, April 23, 2005

my favorite columnist hits LA

one of the greatest columnists, writers, pundits, bloggers ever - the inimitable James Wolcott, seems to hanging around LA this week. if his new yorker and vanity fair articles don't satisfy your wolcott jones, then check out his blog. even if you don't agree with his politics (and I do), its worth it for snarky comments like this (discussing an LAtimes article on the guvernator):

"The governor's staff was embarrassed after Schwarzenegger's friend, actor Tom Arnold, made the audience believe that the governor was poised to appear. But Schwarzenegger never showed."

Shows you what I know. I would have assumed that the MERE PRESENCE of Tom Arnold alone would have drawn a frenzied mob drunk with excitement.

I wonder if identifying Tom Arnold as an "actor" wasn't another subtle insertion of LA Times deadpan humor. Arnold does something on screen in The Stupids, McHale's Navy, and Soul Plane, but I'm not sure it could be characterized by even the most charitable as "acting."

everything hurts

my week in new york is winding down and by now I hoped to post photos of the new moma, regale you with stories of my fabulous meals, and generally inspire envy. instead, I've been sick since wed. not "I'm a little stuffy and rundown" sick. sick as in, I can't get out of bed, everything hurts, I can't breathe, I can't sleep, reading hurts, writing hurts, eating hurts.

so before wed I managed to get in a visit to lombardi's and to the met to see the diane arbus exhibition but my trip since has me laid out in a sofa bed somewhere on long island in my parent's new home. tonight is the first of two seders - while I'll be skipping most of the meal, I will be enjoying the matzoh ball soup - one of the only things I'm able to eat right now.

so to my jewish friends - happy passover. hope you're feeling better than me.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

keywords that brought you here - the brad pitt edition

but just so I whet your appetite for more, here are some of the recent keyword searches that brought you here:

  • jennifer bornstein sister
  • eom architects queens museum
  • harwell hamilton harris property
  • kostabi 2005
  • what's brad pitt's real name
  • west hollywood inland air quality -empire
  • wiehle carr harwell
  • brad pitt's new malibu house
  • wiehle-carr architects
  • yale art and architecture building worst
  • ennis-brown house mudslide
  • brad pitt's new house
  • lorcan o'herlihy
  • speech community
  • danny teeson
  • lawrence house by morphosis in hermosa, ca
  • basquiat
  • lautner house retrospective tv show
  • .. from postage stamp museum to the schwartzmann hotel
  • bel-air los angeles pool landslide
  • koolhaas commons
  • jennifer luce architect
  • halbreich

is there a TV show about lautner in development?

I (heart) new york

will be on hiatus for a week or so while I attend a wedding, eat real pizza and ogle the new MOMA.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

another view


construction pit 2 4.11.05

the big hole that will one day be a lorcan o'herlihy apartment complex.

o'herlihy housing


construction pit 4.11.05
Originally uploaded by msgluck.

after the brouhaha involving the site next to the schindler house, construction is underway for a lorcan o'herlihy designed apartment building. since I volunteer at the schindler house, I am going to try to periodically photo and post the evolution of the construction site. right now its pretty much just a big hole in the ground.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

everything you ever wanted to know about LADOT, but were afraid to ask

an interview with LA's transportation chief on the future of traffic in our fair city. in a nutshell - not enough people ride buses to impact the environment, LADOT needs more funding and $100 million doesn't buy what it used to:
Well, while $100 million probably sounds like a lot, the transportation
program needs are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. At today’s costs that
amount of money could fund a couple of freeway ramp improvements.

Monday, April 11, 2005

latimes scoops nytimes by... almost 2 months

the nytimes' sunday styles section covers $1 million trailer homes in malibu yesterday. nearly two months after the latimes wrote about the emergence of trailer parks for the rich and not so famous. good job nytimes. always on top of trends in LA.

hot property - pitt's new property

so hot property actually covered the real estate purchase of an A-lister, solving the question on everyone's mind since the brad and jen breakup - what's up with their properties? brad's moving to malibu - to an $8 million mid-century home (I believe US weekly or in touch had a picture this week. see, I wasn't kidding about my tabloid diet). apparently, it was recently renovated so we'll see if brad can resist the renovations he's so famous for these days. well, that and his taste in homoerotic big-budget flops and big-lipped, mohawk-baby-raising mamas.

architecture and the homeless

most of the mainstream media coverage of downtown's redevelopment barely mentions skid row, so its good to see the latimes devote at least one article to the subject. LA's skid row is unlike any other I've seen in a "developed" country - worse than ny, worse than london. and with so much academic theory about downtown's transformation into a "virtual downtown" we need to be reminded of the existence and work of social services program that focus on that area. thus, the latimes coverage of the new $22 million homeless center on 6th and san pedro reminds us that downtown doesn't only consist of new concert halls, luxury apartments and joachim splichal restaurants, but also requires coexistence and concsessions.

yet, herein lies the irony - to fund the new Midnight Mission, the old mission in the toy district was sold to developers. and what will that space become? retail and - you guessed it - upscale luxury apartments. I know by now its banal to point out the irony of former homeless shelters becoming luxury condos (see ny's bowery as a case in point). Yet that, combined with the statements like this:
Adamson and other social service providers acknowledge they face challenges serving the poor because property in Los Angeles is at a premium. ... The facility may be one of the last additions to skid row's array of social programs. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the city and county agency that controls government funds for the homeless, gives new social service projects downtown its lowest priority.
worry me greatly. the new mission was funded entirely through private donations and the sale of the old mission. (another somewhat ironic point: the homeless, my sister in med school, and I have all passed through institutions named for the annenbergs). it seems inconceivable to me that an area that supports about 8,000 homeless, including a growing number of children, would rate so low on a government agency's list of priorities. an agency formed with the express purpose "to support, create and sustain solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles County by providing leadership, advocacy, planning, and management of program funding."

Am I missing something here? why ignore downtown? has private largesse had the adverse effect of government abdicating its responsibility to this area? again, I'm still catching up on los angeles politics (and I doubt I will ever fully understand it) but someone will have to explain this to me.

Friday, April 08, 2005

bad buildings

wow. she really, really hates "tuscan" buildings in los angeles.


From the cover of Tuscan & Andalusian Reflections.

at least she's acknowledges the strangeness of complaining about architectural aberrations in los angeles in 2005. but that doesn't make her hate it any less.

house porn - the chemosphere

yesterday's latimes' home section cover the taschen-owned, escher-restored john lautner house known as the chemosphere. despite my many problems with the latimes, its a highly enjoyable article - explains the restoration, some of the problems with updating the house's technology, the history of the house. the only piece missing - how much the taschen's paid for it when they bought it in 1997. I remember reading recently they paid $1 million. the latimes seems to take great pleasure in writing about the original cost and selling price on homes in the hot properties column. its unfortunate they didnt apply that kind of keen investigate journalism to this feature.

City lights
Chemosphere’s glue-lam beam construction offers panoramic windows on the Valley.
(Ken Hively / LAT)

cookies and cats

two schizophrenic links today:

Thursday, April 07, 2005

the simpsons and starchitecture

the SF Gate examines architecture's watershed moment in pop culture: gehry's appearance on the simpsons. while the article has a decidedly SF-bent and doesn't really cover any new ground (is the price a city pays for a starchitect worth it?), it does describe the episode I am so sad to have missed.

more on kotkin

that joel kotkin, he gets around. listen to an interview with him as he discusses his new book, The city: a global history. or go hear him in person - he's speaking at sci-arc tomorrow at 1pm.
[via archinect]

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

more hot properties news

the latest on the ABC pilot about real estate brokers in NY:

HOT PROPERTIES (ABC) - Amy Hill ("50 First Dates") has scored a guest role on the comedy pilot, which follows four women who run a real estate office in New York. No character details however were released. She joins current cast members Nicole Sullivan, Sofia Vergara, Gail O'Grady and Stephen Dunham in the project, which comes from creator Suzanne Martin and Warner Bros. Television.
[via the futon critic]


unfortunately I have no idea who any of these people are, other than sofia might or might not be dating tom cruise.

downtown: think small

joel kotkin, long a champion of the suburbs, argues in the LA business journal this week that downtown's plans for revitalization are misguided. skip the grandiose, focus on the grassroots artists district, the ethnic communities, the specialized industry neighborhoods like the jewelry district and garment center. its a compelling argument, but there are a few points that seem misguided to me.

one of his major arguments is that past investment in downtown hasn't worked. he uses the convention center as his example - meanwhile ignoring walt disney hall, caltrans, moneo's cathedral, moca, and myriad other developments, both large and small, that make downtown feel like its on the cusp of a truly exciting era.

second, he argues that because corporate headquarters have moved out of downtown, downtown is further destabilized. this seems like a fundamentally flawed argument, one ignoring the theories of saskia sassen, alejandro portes and other academics who propose that while corporate HQs might leave downtown centers (and not just in LA, but throughout america and in europe as well), cities still remain vital because of growth in financial and specialized services such as advertising, law and accounting. kotkin ignores the benefits of agglomeration economies.

third, it seems that the elements that define a great downtown are changing. retail and corporate HQs leave, downtown doesn't play a central role in the every lives of most people, but what is left is theaters, museums, cultural centers and government offices. new restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment pop up to support these structures. new building investment not only serves the business community but, as sigurd grava argues, also serve as a source of civic pride (albeit he seems to mourn the loss of the old downtowns).

yet despite these points, its hard to argue with the wisdom of his basic argument - focusing on the small - keeping downtown safe and clean, the re-use of older buildings and lofts, supporting the growth of ethnic and artistic communities.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

all gehry, all the time

I sadly missed this week's simpsons with gehry's appearance on the show. tivo - why hast thou forsaken me? if you also missed it, here are a few links of interest to gehry fans:

  • gehry talks: an interview that serves as a preview of a lecture he's delivering in richmond, VA this week.
  • colleges spend big on starchitects: the CSM tackles some of the major building projects currently under construction, including gehry's Stata center at MIT.
  • frozen music: archinect's event calendar of gehry's VA exhibition.



Originally uploaded by williamhacker.

burbank's boom

The latimes covers the real estate boom in burbank, changing the character of a neighborhood they refer to as a "mayberry-like town." I'm just a little bit too young to remember burbank as the butt of johnny carson jokes, and since I've only lived here for a year and a half, I can't share in the latimes' pastoralist nostalgia for a town undergoing rapid development. what seems odd to me, as an outsider, is that it took this long for burbank to undergo these changes, given its proximity to the studios and sitting right between the valley and the city. the few times I've been to burbank (mostly for ikea pilgrimages) it struck me as a slightly less odious version of surburbia, with a mix of chain and independent restaurants and shops, its own lake and some stunning views from the hillsides.

Monday, April 04, 2005

not fooling anybody

everytime I drive down hollywood blvd past thai town express' giant hot dog stand cum thai fast food, I'm reminded why I love this town. john sent me this great site - Not fooling anybody - chronicles "bad conversions and storefront past." and yes, thai town express is in there.


keywords that brought you here, edition IV

another installment of the weird and wacky keywords you used to find this blog:
  • gunther domenig
  • la morphosis
  • walter parazaider
  • john lautner lamp crystal
  • halbreich
  • hoffman.vest.judaken
  • marissa marissa
  • jules shulman
  • architectural digest pasadena arroyo
  • wiehle-carr architects restoration harwell
  • desperate housewives opinion glendale community college
  • dunia best sinnreich
  • the role of schools in kid'obesity
  • walker art blog minneapolis herzog
  • free yoga in runyon canyon on weekends
  • new abc show hot properties suzanne martin
  • frank lloyd wright mudslide ennis brown pictures
  • ann wintour
  • provenance aline barnsdall
  • bignyc

Sunday, April 03, 2005

culver city's art scene

as covered in today's nytimes. there is almost a tone of wide-eyed incredulity to the times' coverage of the art scene in LA - they just can't seem to believe that LA exhibits artists who are represented in the major biennials, including the Whitney and Venice.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

docent tour - my april tour

I know tomorrow the LA Conservancy is running their Spring on Spring self-guided tour downtown, but if you find yourself closer to west hollywood, come by the schindler house. from 2:30-6 tomorrow I will be giving guided tours of the house for my monthly docent duties.


835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA
90069-5409
Phone 323 651 1510
Fax 323 651 2340



settling in

ever since I left ny my life has been somewhat itinerant (in the year I lived in london, I moved 4 times). but in the past month or so, I've been acquiring some of the tell-tale trappings of someone settling into a place.

A month ago I finally registered my car in LA and got a CA license. now I can't tell my car from the thousands of others in the parking lot that look exactly the same. I miss my ny plates. I also subscribed to KCRW, apparently a hipster right-of-passage in LA - so I am now the proud owner of a fringe-benefits card. which I have yet to use.

And finally, yesterday, I got an LA public library card. the library has become one of my most productive places to work (never true when I was in school). the branch on sunset and la brea for some reason doesn't seem to have wifi, and without the distraction of the internet, I'm free to write about the fascinating world of online consumer behavior for a client. so what's left? hopefully by next month, incorporation. more to come on that soon. in the meantime, I will simply revel in my library card, which I acquired with my CA license, at the library I drove to while listening to KCRW.

Friday, April 01, 2005

'los angeles plays itself'

I'm putting this film on my list of documentaries I need to watch. for some reason, its playing in seattle right now, but not in LA.

one of my favorite observations in the reviews:

And [the director] entertainingly points out a consistent theme: architecturally dramatic homes used as domiciles for villains — or, as he puts it, the "trophy house as modern equivalent of black hat or mustache."

I love the fact that architecturally striking homes are always owned by the villains - perhaps this is an artifact of some tom wolfesian knee-jerk reaction to modern architecture - often seen as dispassionate or cold or even slightly ridiculous. are there any recent films where the hero gets to live in modern architectural splendor?



and on a completely unrelated note (except that I almost always have the food network on when I work from home) - I am totally looking forward to this weekend's Iron Chef America - women warriors. tivo is already set.

LA and london converge in Queens

my two favorite cities, los angeles and london, are reprezentin' in my birthplace, queens (or alternatively 'Kuwait" to all you Wu Tang fans). actually, that's slightly misleading. london's grimshaw architects are the new choice for the redesign of the queens museum. (a museum I admittedly have not been to since the keith haring exhibit in the late 80s). grimshaw replaces eric owen moss, who just a few weeks ago was touting the commission in a lecture he gave at sci-arc.

the article doesn't give much background on the decision to replace eom - it just simply states:

"A design concept by Eric Owen Moss, picked in 2001, was scrapped in February after museum officials became disenchanted with it. QMA Executive Director Tom Finkelpearl said .... that the plan was not practical. "

since when are the starchitects expected to design something...practical?