Wednesday, June 29, 2005

comparing houston and baghdad

since I'm not in LA this week I don't feel compelled to only write about that city (as the last few posts indicate). and I don't feel like only writing about new york, although I'm happy to be here. thus, a link to the blog of the institute of urban studies, that presents the bush administration's constant comparisons between baghdad and US cities to attempt to mitigate waning pulic support for the war:
Tom DeLay made his absurd comparison between Baghdad and his home town:

'You know, if Houston, Texas, was held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody'd go to Houston, because all this reporting coming out of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways.'

This was, of course, completely unfair to the Iraqi capital. Baghdad was one of the great cities of the world when Houston was nothing more than stinking, festering swamp.
Which just goes to show that some things never change.

is a bust necessarily bad?

slate looks at the housing bubble, its predicted bust and asks if that's a bad thing for the US economy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

touring the hood

got into JFK at 6:30 this morning and the van wyck was packed. so I asked my father to drive thru the streets to get to their new place on long island. it also gave me the chance to drive through my old neighborhood - I grew up on the border of flushing and jamaica. here is a photo tour through jamaica, land of a 1,000 car parts.

a graveyard for cars...

...and people

in brooklyn these lofts would sell for a $1 million each

and in case you were wondering, the mural is in front of a construction site

and this one is for rudy.

Monday, June 27, 2005

the 3 H's: hazy, hot and humid

a few weeks ago as I was walking with elenia past some wet cement on a hot day, I commented that the smell reminded me of summer. elenia pitied my poor urban upbringing (not everyone gets to spend their summers on mykonos).

leaving tonight for ny. here is why wet cement reminds me of summer:
weather forecast for new york, ny

Sunday, June 26, 2005

more chavez

even tho "the divine mister c" doesn't want any more chavez references, john passed along this article on ry cooder's new album, with an in-depth interview with the artist. what is striking is how resonant cooder's points are with today's political landscape:
'It was after the war,' explains Cooder. 'FDR was gone, the New Deal was crumbling and the Republicans set about dismantling all the social programmes. And the first thing they wanted to do was public housing. They didn't start with social security, you wouldn't do that, that's bad politics. But it was easy to say that the federal government shouldn't be building houses for poor people. It was asked in the LA Times: why are the taxpayers supposed to subsidise housing for poor Mexicans?'

the album's release also coincides with a landmark decision on eminent domain by the Supreme Court, with one of the worst rulings in its history, (despite the nytimes's somewhat bewildering defense of the decision.) the problem with the ruling, as the history of chavez ravine teaches, is that this type of property expropriation always seem to affect those who are disenfranchised and lack influence. no one is seizing property in brentwood to build a walmart.

random stuff

the nytimes discovers LA's koreatown and pronounces it "revived and upscale" - apparently the presence of $15 massages is the basis for the proclamation. if that's the criteria for gentrification, then my hometown of flushing, queens has been "gentrifying" for years.

they also discover nic harcourt and KCRW.

venice turns 100, and for some inexplicable reason, feels it must compete with vegas.

and check out the work of scott greiger, who happens to have my favorite piece in the current exhibition, Pink, at bergamot station.

tomorrow I leave for ny, for a mix of business and pleasure, with hopefully better results than my last trip home. on the to do list (for the third time) - visit the new moma. first time the hour wait, 12 degree weather and my lack of gloves discouraged a visit. second time the flu. third time's a charm (I hope). and if I get to borrow my parent's car (or convince them to come with me) a day trip "upstate" (anything north of the bronx is upstate) to the Dia Beacon is a priority.

Photo by Bill Jacobson

hot property - is modernism dead?

has every celebrity in hollywood begun to reject modernism? this week's hot property describes a country english, a country french, a cottage-style house in laurel canyon...there isn't a modernist house in the lot. the only modernist transaction in the column is ellen degeneres putting her hollywood hills compound on the selling block, so "she can move on and explore 'different kinds of architecture.'" - which apparently means buying the pitt-aniston wallace neff house. and does anyone else have a hard time picturing rick rubin in a Country English-style gated estate with a family room and playhouse? seriously, look at this guy:
he looks more likely to eat your children than to have any.

Friday, June 24, 2005

secret supper

the LA city beat uncovers some hidden restaurants - italian restaurant inside a car wash, texan bbq in chinatown, sushi at the airport. they missed one - pasquales - a hybrid cafe/coffee shop on san vicente (not the brentwood section). [via blogdowntown]

star signs: uranus is rising

I think there is something in the air right now. for so long, things felt really...unstable...for everyone I know. now it seems the stars are aligning for many of my friends, so a public and single congratulations is in order - john found a job and a good way to spend his last year in LA before he goes to architecture school. he's taking me out for sushi and sake this weekend to celebrate. elenia starts work next week at democracy 21, helping us stupid americans reform campaign finance. evan moves to chicago this weekend to start b-school, and I get to take care of his mid-century modern couches for a few years. and I'm hoping the siren's call of sun and surf will finally lure rudy out here soon. and nikki starts working for The Man, in this case, as a consultant for the sprint-nextel merger in the bowels of the heartland.

and professionally, things are looking good as well. can't make any premature announcements but I can link to our new company's first mention in the press. aram is awesome.

and to make this post really all about me and absolutely nothing to do with architecture or urban issues, let me also relate my Best Celebrity Sighting Ever. last night, to celebrate all this good fortune, C and I had dinner at AOC. wonderful meal, C even surprised me and agreed to eat pork cheeks (he can be a somewhat un-adventurous eater). and then we spotted them, the hottest MILFS on tv - kirsten cohen and julie cooper nichol. together.

but not everything is perfect in sunny LA. evan leaves this weekend, leaving me without a hiking buddy and nikki is caving in to The Man, straightening her fro this weekend. tonight, we celebrate the end of an era.

update: C has asked that I refer to him as either "The Divine Mr. C" or as "Joe Kickass." Duly noted.

keywords that brought you here

a few of the better queries that brought you here (still eliminating all the brad pitt-related queries). I'm also not going to post all the various gordon ramsey, hell's kitchen related searches.

  • chavez ravine eminent domain
  • sci arc eric moss screaming
  • habitat 825 west hollywood
  • achitecture single-family house
  • guggenheim carla bozulich
  • dennis hopper frank gehry interview disney concert hall
  • were dose the goliath birdeater live
  • west hollywood tia carrere house for sale
  • foucault and koolhaas lacma
  • brentwood circle in brentwood los angeles nicole simpson
  • chris hawthorne sci-arc
  • ozlem mortgage broker
  • architectureforsale projects small houses
  • r.m. schindler lacma exhibition four foot section
  • thom mayne graduate house toronto
  • architecture palm springs escher elrod
  • malibu walkway opens memorial day and address
  • california school of culinary arts pasadena california
  • a bookstore in minnesota that sells beverly hills, 90210
  • arc's article on hockney
  • golden gopher owners liquid kitty

Thursday, June 23, 2005

julius doesnt suffer fools gladly

a great recap of last week's LA Conservancy Annual Meeting with Julius Shulman. (thanks Jess). the highlight of the meeting? certainly not ben stiller's limp defense of the book he co-edited, Looking at Los Angeles. rather, it was shulman's lambast:

Mr. Shulman prefaced his answer by saying, "Democracy is a precious thing..." and the crowd, eager for nuggets of wisdom from this legend, sort of eased back to hear what was shaping up to be a lecture of sorts as he spoke of the forces that came together to put this book of photography together. They were jolted forward in their seats with, "But I think this book is crap." I heard the gasp go through the audience, but the panelists stayed silent and poker-faced. I looked around the room and the look on everyone's face told me we were wondering the same thing - what did he just say? Did he just say this book is crap?

and some art stuff

the weisman center in minnesota is currently showing Frank Gehry and the Artists of Venice Beach, 1962-1978. it explores the influence of the community of artists frank gehry drew from and befriended, including guys like ed moses and larry bell. and to see new works by some of these artists, check out the opening this weekend of Pink at the Patricia Faure Gallery in bergamot station. the opening reception is on sat from 5-9pm.

a few interesting links today and some rumor and innuendo...

  • mere mortals can't buy celeb homes. and as if agents and managers weren't making enough from their 15%, they also moonlight as realtors. oh, and to answer all those brad pitt queries that bring traffic here - ellen degeneres bought the aniston-pitt wallace neff-designed home in may.
  • the editorials begin for grand ave - this one pleads for more money to be spent on the arteries leading to the project than on public spaces within the project itself.

and some restaurant news:
  • jeffery chodorow owns 24 restaurants globally and counting...and he's preparing the opening of another one in hollywood. doesn't mention what restaurant he plans for us. we already have asia de cuba and rocco's went down in flames. maybe a new ono? or mix? or a confusingly names english is italian? anyone know?
  • and I was recently told the much-anticipated partnership between nancy silverton and mario batali is one step closer to reality. according to one of the owners of silverlake wine, they're currently negotiating for space on highland. could be the pizza place on the corner of melrose and highland, perhaps? with the exception of ammo, the area is sort of a no-man's land for culinary adventure. this might breathe new life into what's still a pretty industrial/residential strip.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

latimes links

too busy and tired to surf for interesting links outside of the latimes - but the paper comes thru for me - articles on sci-arc losing its bid to buy its site, the coming bust for today's housing bubble, and no one wants to fess up for leaking a memo about some questionable payoffs for a developer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

tipping points - an LA edition?

a few days ago the nytimes ran an article on tipping points for brooklyn neighborhoods - when longtime residents realized their neighborhood had changed - a coffee shop opening in ditmas park, the city bothering to actually post street signs in dumbo, same sex couples in red hook, a firebombing of a black-owned home in canarsie. most of the "tipping points" are the usual tropes of gentrification - can-you-believe-an-organic-market-moved-into-the-old-butcher-shop? variety.

but it begs the question, what are LA's neighborhood tipping points? I haven't been here long enough to answer the question, so I'll depend on my readers (and yeah, most of my "readers" are personal friends and acquaintances. but a few of you are if not born and bred, have been here a really really long time). so tell me, what's your neighborhood's tipping point?

paris + paris = decorating disaster

I have no idea if this is real, but here are some supposed photos of paris hilton's house in the hollywood hills. its everything you'd expect from a socialite with a lot of money and no taste. [via busblog]

happy birthday rudy

rudy turns 35 and breathes a big sigh of relief as he suddenly becomes an unfashionable demographic for advertisers. rudy - that doesn't happen until you turn 50, my friend.

more free stuff to do

the schedule is up for grand performances downtown, starting on the 24th with mad hot ballroom and running thru sept. I'm going to guess the inclusion of basquiat as one of the film picks is in conjunction with moca's basquiat show in july.

lynchian weather

david lynch has some free time on his hands - you can now get your LA weather report direct from the auteur's mouth on his website. one of the strangest things he's produced in a while. [via archinect]

we're number one - in homeless

after an "exhaustive" three-day census in january the results are in - Los Angeles county has 90,000 homeless residents:
The numbers from the street count were higher than previous estimates, which indicated that between 78,000 and 84,000 people were homeless in the county at any given time. The count also raised the estimate of the number of people who are chronically homeless, from 7,500 to 35,000. It also showed that Los Angeles far outstrips New York, Chicago and San Francisco in the size of its homeless population.

the good news is the latest census complies with requests from HUD that asked cities that receive federal aid for the homeless to provide more statistically accurate counts. let's hope these numbers at least mobilize city officials to become more proactive. [via archinect]

Monday, June 20, 2005

lorcan o'herlihy's habitat 825

hey - the big mound of dirt is cleared away! construction can begin. lorcan - you don't even need to make site visits, this blog will provide it all.

you know its a serious construction site when the roach coach begins to show up - the truck was there this morning providing breakfast for the crew. and some of the crew likes to take breaks in the shade of the bamboo at the schindler house - richard loring - if you're wondering where everyone is when you stop by, look near the lemon trees on the schindler site.

latest fetish object

I have a lot of shoes. a lot. and not an insignificant amount of sneakers, even though the two "sports" I practice either don't require sneakers (yoga) or don't require the ones I usually buy (hiking) because the soles are too flat. and yetI keep buying them.

here is my latest fetish object:

except instead of orange those stripes are black and there are some gold stripes in places. completely useless. overpriced (even on sale). but beautiful (despite the unkind words C had for them). once again, form usurps function.

monday media

I'm totally exhausted from this weekend so too tired to post much right now. so here are a few articles from the past couple of days related to LA, architecture or urban planning.

  • readers digest (they're still around?) rates the cleanest and dirtiest cities in America. yeah, we're near the bottom.
  • one of the most pointless editorials I've ever seen, even in the latimes - editors write about their work commute. hard hitting journalism ensues - LA drivers are rude! you can read on the bus! there's a lot of traffic!
  • why can't more of the latimes' opinion pieces be more like this? an articulate, thoughtful look at the global consequences of governing a city like los angeles. ok, I may not agree with his stance on taxes or federal funding, and ultimately he doesn't really offer much in the way of concrete solutions, but at least he's trying to contextualize LA in the larger network of world cities.
  • and even though I was not very politely told by C to stop talking about chavez ravine, last week the latimes reviewed Ry Cooder's latest album, Chavez Ravine, that explores the history of this lost community. three of the songs are written in the voice of key players in the drama - "the idealistic city planner, the evil developer and the bulldozer driver just doing his job."

Friday, June 17, 2005

go east, young man

apparently the only affordable housing in southern california is now in the desert. the median home price for the state of california is now $424,000, up $63,000 in 12 months. so if 5.3 on the richter scale doesn't freak you out, the desert is now your best bet.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

thurs home sections: latimes a snooze, nytimes still loves us

I typically look forward to the home and design porn in the thursday home and garden sections of the nytimes and latimes. this week the latimes is dedicated to the "urban outdoors." maybe its my lack of a backyard, but..yawn. articles on weatherproofing and fire pits just don't, um, ignite me. but the nytimes is picking up the slack this week for me - maybe not news, but a profile of the owner of the new HD Buttercup home furnishings complex in culver city. I think just about everyone knows he used to own ABC Carpet and Home e in ny. but the best piece of gossip in there - the one that inspires a low moan at the too-perfect coupling of these photogenic "stylemakers" - is eric cole's burgeoning relationship with ms. rachel ashwell - founder of shabby chic. but can his modernist/ethnic sensibilities mesh with her french country/flea market aesthetic? can those two crazy kids make it work. I sense an HGTV special coming up...

update: I've decided that cole and ashwell are the insipid, self-aggrandizing, white-bread, waspy, hetero version of my favorite new york power couple - simon doonan and jonathan adler. but without the wit. or the cheekiness. or the observer column.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

building boom

a couple of recent articles on different buildings projects in LA - and not one is about grand ave:

daily dose down with LA

one of my favorite architecture blogs, a daily dose of architecture, covers a few LA-related events and artifacts today - ry cooder's new album, chavez ravine; yesterday's DnA; and the new book ben stiller (?!) co-edited about LA.

the rest of the world is looking more like us

I'm a little late posting this a link to this article, but on sun the nytimes ran an article on the global housing bubble and potential ways to minimize the bust. (thanks john!) the big question the article addresses is whether the cool-down in housing prices worldwide will happen in a slow and methodical manner or if it will plummet fast and hard.

oh, and total non-sequitur: downloaded mozilla thunderbird and god, as my witness, I will never use outlook again! go open source. it rocks. (thanks aram) .

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

starting a company is hard

announcement will be forthcoming when the web site is up and running. other pieces are falling into place. but - can anyone recommend a good lawyer in LA? one who can draw up and review basic contracts. nothing too complicated. and hopefully not too expensive.

west hollywood waste

some crazy conference of mayors going on right now in chicago chose seattle as the most livable city in the US. ok - whatever. but buried towards the end of the press release, weho gets its props for innovative recycling:

Mayor John Duran of West Hollywood, California won recognition in the small cities category for his city's innovative efforts to recycle restaurant food waste.

“In an effort to meet a California law mandating each city divert 50 percent of its solid waste from landfills, West Hollywood implemented an innovative program to recycle restaurant food waste,” the panel of judges said.

Restaurant food waste is sorted at the Athens Services yard and then transported to California Biomass in Victorville, where it is converted into composting material for citrus orchards, lettuce fields and other agricultural applications. Crops treated with the composted material require 30 percent less water and 30 percent less chemical fertilizer than other crops, and the compost helps decrease salinity in soils.

“Mayor Duran has a strong environmental ethic and this program has half of all restaurants citywide participating in the food waste recycling program – fully 80 percent of the waste generated by these restaurants is recycled," the judges said. "This is a proven effort to strive towards California’s ultimate goal of zero waste and deserves recognition.”

Monday, June 13, 2005

lorcan o'herlihy's habitat 825 - (non) weekly update - june 13

the foundation is laid...sorta.

lorcan o'herlihy's habitat 825 - (non) weekly update - june 13

the big empty pit is now a giant mound of dirt. progress...

no martinis

no martinis

after a good hike this weekend in topanga we came upon this sign. and just when we were about the break out the martini shaker, olives, gin, vermouth, stirrers, ice and toothpicks. ruined the whole hike.

monday media

  • perhaps overly optimistic view of socal's urban prosperity. I love LA but even I wouldn't call it one of the "most livable" regions in america. and I lived in nyc and london - two of the least affordable cities in the world. but if you're feeling down this monday morning and pondering how far LA's come since the king riots, then this article should lift your spirits.
  • The Planning Center turns 30. This community and regional planning firm is responsible "for more than 30 general plans for cities and counties, and more than 200 specific plans for both private- and public-sector clients." [via cyburbia]
  • We're not the only fat, lazy bastards. The british are facing similar concerns about obesity - linking design and lifestyle to increases in obesity-related diseases (and with a national healthcare system that is already strained, the problem becomes more pressing). the solution? "preventative design" - encouraging people (esp kids) to walk, exercise, even skate.

sunday's "scene" - nytimes again hits up LA

its been a while since the sunday styles section of the nytimes featured an LA "boite" - I think they last one they wrote about was pink's - stretching the definition of boite in ways I thought only the latimes could do with "celebrity" in hot property. this week they feature guy's, with just two rules for getting in, both pretty obvious - eat dinner or be female. and like any newspaper that tries just a little too hard, it only covers guy's on the weekend - amateur nights. I have a feeling the dress code of "Chestnut-brown lowlights (as opposed to blonde highlights) and cutoff denim shorts for women" doesn't apply tues nights - when its ladies who love ladies.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

eat your heart out, brad pitt

sure, he now works for frank gehry, but can he build his own house? little ricky schroder can (from today's hot property):

The actor-writer-director, 35, made his home on the range near Grand Junction, Colo., for 15 years, but he and his family aren't completely cutting ties. They plan to maintain a 500-acre ranch they own there along with a three-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot log cabin that Schroder built himself.

Friday, June 10, 2005

can't we all just get along?

christopher hawthorne, who I generally really like and respect as an architecture critic and writer (particularly when he was at Slate), seems to have taken one too many hits off the crazy pipe. ok, maybe not crazy. maybe wildly optimistic and highly unlikely. in his attempt to kill two birds with one stone (I'm mixing as many metaphors as I can today), he suggest a way for sci-arc to get a new space (since they're likely losing their current one) - have the grand ave redevelopment peeps give away one of the publicly owned parcels to the school and have an "emerging, experimentally minded architecture firm based in Los Angeles." (doesn't that describe almost every architecture firm in LA?)

the way he sees it, sci-arc gets a buliding, related companies gets positive PR, and suddenly a conservative commercial project gets the sheen of design respectability and youthful exuberance.

sounds great, right? he even (briefly) lays out how the process would work - the land would be donated by the city or county depending on location, sci-arc would pay for the bulding itself - and hawthorne assumes the cost would be two to three times more than the $12.8 million it currently has budgeted to buy its current home should it prevail in court.

hawthorne admits there are other problems besides raising the money (which is indeed is a big one). context is one - will a new sci-arc work in the middle of what is looking more and more like a mall? another is filling the gap in sci-arc's current space.

admittedly, I am not an expert on the inner workings of related companies, sci-arc, LA's community redevelopment agency or eli broad's mind. but it seems there would be other problems to contend with. for one, sci-arc is a private, for-profit institution and not part of the cal state or UC system. I would assume those institutions might object to a sweetheart deal given to a private university.

second, hawthorne may be underestimating the space and design needs of sci-arc. sci-arc has always utilized raw warehouse space - both in marina del ray and downtown. the rawness and openness contributes to sci-arc's sense of identity - its hard to imagine sci-arc in some shiny new blobitecture.

third, mayne has already dropped out of the grand ave project as a potential architect. would this simply be a back-door way to get mayne back on board? hawthorne doesn't really address that. no one seems to know why mayne dropped out, and I don't know the personalities involved, but will mayne be that eager to get back in the proverbial bed with broad?

yup, its an interesting idea but one fraught with conflict and contentious constituencies. (I like alliteration).

Thursday, June 09, 2005

nytimes house and home - all up in our grill

today's multimedia slide show in the nytimes house and home focuses on LA design - urban landscapes, cat beds, cupcake stores, chaise lounges. the piece is written by kcrw's frances anderton.

another day, another multi-million dollar luxury housing complex

on skid row. this time its a $140 million apartment and retail complex on 4th and main downtown, just a hop, skip and jump from the old bank district.

Project  rendering
An architect's rendering of the Medallion project at the northwest corner of 4th and Main in Los Angeles.
(Leo A. Daley Architects)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

google [hearts] FLW

happy 138th birthday, frank.

hell's kitchen kitsch

it turns out that, gasp, hell's kitchen is a fake - complete with green room, security checkpoint and hair and makeup areas. and those impatient customers are actually actors. shocking.

ramsey's kitchen nightmare on BBCA is way better anyway.

communism, corruption and eminent domain

after the latimes' recent big, wet, sloppy smooch to dodger stadium, it might be interesting to watch tonight's documentary on KCET at 9:30: Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story [via LA Observed].

To be honest, I don't know much about the neighborhood that stood where dodger stadium is today. John had told me the building of the stadium involved corruption, abuse of eminent domain and vicious inter-city politicking - all par for the course for LA's major development projects, right?

yet the story of chavez ravine goes much further - a proposed public housing project funded by the Feds was to have been built there, yet was hamstrung and ultimately abandoned, as its supporters were forced to defend themselves from allegations of communism (The assistant director of the LA Housing Authority even lost his job and spent a year in jail after facing down the House Un-American Committee). eminent domain razed the homes in a neighborhood of mainly mexican-american families. and in one of the worst abuses of the public trust, the city bought the land back from the Feds at a drastically reduced price and turned around and cut a sweetheart deal with the Brooklyn Dodgers - selling the land for a fraction of that price.

fire up the tivo. this should be a good one.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

keywords that brought you here

as one friend pointed out, gratuitously mentioning brad pitt increases traffic. so I will not list the brad pitt-related keywords. no more brad pitt. brad pitt. brad pitt. brad pitt. ok, done luring google and at least a few more unsuspecting surfers (and ultimately disappointing them) to this blog through the gratuitous use of brad pitt's name. ok, onto the non-brad pitt-related keywords:

  • ed moses cedd (ED: for the record, ed moses the artist is the father of cedd moses, the bar owner)
  • arc's article on hockney
  • golden gopher owners liquid kitty (ED: yup, that would be cedd again)
  • daniel schwartz sister bari
  • laguna landslides sinatra
  • balboa highlands blog
  • habitat 825 construction (ED: lent out the digital camera again so no updates this week)
  • hillside house silverlake california lorcan
  • ralph's supermarket tut special
  • elrod house pool
  • ny city hates kostabi (ED: this might be my personal favorite)
  • sci-arc legal battle
  • los angeles downtown projects
  • basquiat untitled
  • eliasson escher la weekly
  • architect history behind brad pitt's craftsman in hollywood (ED: I will allow this one since its so specific)
  • dennis boses
  • cedd moses wife
  • burnside house frank lloyd wright pasadena
  • feeling uninspired
  • crystal encrusted sidekick 2 designs
  • thomas schindler santa monica auction
  • elrod house palm springs currently owned (ED: I know who it is, but I won't publish it. suckas)
  • va va boom indy
  • marissa mayer photo
  • lautner elrod house
  • caltran architectural tour
  • thom mayne alaska reaction
  • meson g escrow
  • king tut tour blockbuster for corporations
  • lorcan o\'herlihy schindler apartment
  • venice art walk auction results 2005
  • nytimes modular houses
  • mayne royce hall
  • benefits

incestuous blogging

read a fascinating, in-depth interview on LAist with my friend, colleague and business partner, Aram Sinnreich as he waxes philosophic on file sharing, digital music and the difference between LA and NY.

oh, and the interview was conducted by our friend Jess.

hollyhock house reopening - ready for tourists

frank lloyd wright's 1921 hollyhock house is beginning docent-led tours starting tomorrow. after a five-year, multi-million dollar renovation to repair damage from the northridge quake, the house is open again to the public. and for schindler fans - remember schindler came to CA from chicago to oversee the construction of the house. for more info: Call [323] 644-6269 or go to

photo from

handy gallery guide

artforum presents an interactive global guide to art galleries and museums:


Monday, June 06, 2005

monday media

mondays are always a busy day with little time to blog, so here are a few links to enjoy:

Friday, June 03, 2005

my two second review of merce cunningham's 'split sides'

deconstruction + chaos theory + unitards x Radiohead and Sigur Ros - narrative, melody or synchronization = some kick-ass dance.

for an explanation of above, check out this review. describes how each element of the performance is decided before the piece begins, with a roll of the dice - choreography, costumes, music, set, lighting. sort of a like a Jackson Pollock painting performed live.

slip sliding away

every disaster needs a scapegoat, even ecological ones. this week's landslides in laguna beach, where 18 homes were destroyed, has found its scapegoat, the so-called "sinatra house" built by developers as a spec home, never sold, never inhabited, never livable. according to the latimes, the house probably wasn't responsible for the slide, but its scale and size led residents to wonder. its very existence, combined with the events of the slide, have acted as a lightning rod for residents of the community - concerns about development, serving real estate interests before community interests, and how laguna beach is changing as its affluence increases. (mtv reality show, anyone?). the house has become a symbol of the conflict between new money excess and a type of pastoralist nostalgia for the "storybook village" - which apparently is how many laguna beach residents still see their town.

its certainly not a new story. nor a unique one. and people seem to need a scapegoat for natural disasters in order to make sense of the unpredictable and the terrifying. there is something bibical in this reaction. doesn't this harken back to noah and the ark? our own greed and depravity, our excess - warrants destruction. in this case, its not our greed - its a real estate developer's (I think they rank sometimes rank up there in pop culture representations with lawyers and car salesmen, glengarry glen ross, anyone?). its unlikely the house actually caused the slide but that doesn't refute the very legitimate concerns of unbridled real estate development.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

another weekend, another artwalk

this time, slightly closer to home than the brewery or venice (from their web site):

Eighth AnnualArt & Design Walk
Sat June 4th, 2005 4:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
Free admission
West Hollywood's Avenues of Art & Design Showcases the Hottest Trends in Interior Design, Fine Art and Fashion

For Parking: Special arrangements have been made with the City of West Hollywood to provide increased parking and transportation to the public that day. Meters on the Avenues will not be enforced during the event.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

race and riots

I try to write about Los Angeles, but the truth is I only really know a small sliver of this city. I've been here for almost two years and I wanted to start this blog to help me understand the city - a place I"m simultaneously fascinated and repelled by. LA's history is also still a mystery to me - back when I was in grad school in london I took a class on global cities and wrote my papers on LA, knowing I was moving here to complete school.

it became clear LA isn't really a "global" city by most measures - its a city of extremes. extreme social and spatial polarization, extreme ecological disruption (both man made and natural), extreme consumption (material, environmental, spiritual, you name it). extreme self-destruction.

and its not a new phenomenon. the 40th anniversary of watts is fast approaching. I was in college during the king riots, not even a glimmer in my mama's eye during the watts riots. so it was with great interest that I listened to today's day to day on NPR, where keith fleming, a reporter from newsweek there to cover the story was almost beaten to death. a fascinating interview him as he describes the event of that week in 1965 but I'm left to wonder - is this one piece in an ongoing feature? I understand interviewing a member of the press to discuss his eyewitness account can connote authority or objectivity but that ended the moment he was almost beaten to death (if it ever existed before). why not interview someone from watts who was there? is there not a former panther who could talk about the events that week? or maybe a former latimes classifieds messenger who became the paper's only black reporter to cover the riots? ok, he may be harder to track down, but surely NPR can find a voice from the community who can offer a 10 min interview 40 years later. in any event, its still a pretty fascinating piece.

random stuff

been busy figuring out work stuff, but finding time to play. first, going with hilary tonight to wax nostalgic for a time when the kids kept diaries instead of blogs, kept under lock and key, and OMG, I would totally DIE if anyone read it...writ large...and public. and speaking of angst, tomorrow night a little ballet, a little radiohead.

and to keep this on point - though only tangentially, jess had an awesome starchitect sighting.