Wednesday, August 31, 2005

is it lunchtime yet?

a few food-related links today:

  • I love data. and so does LA Downtown News - at least when it comes to lunch. the article breaks down the lunch numbers for eight downtown restaurants, such as empress pavilion, ciudad and philippes. did you know empress pavilion serves around 600 customers for lunch during the week, 2,000 on the weekend?
  • the man with the greatest job in the world, R.W. Apple Jr., takes a trip to santa barbara. not surprisingly, he loves la super rica too.
  • and the woman who introduced me to la super rica also knows how to throw a party. check out the desserts jess served from the new pastry shop, sweetcakes.
  • UPDATE: jess has posted about the wine tasting she hosted, where we had those sweets. included are the results of the tasting with recommendations. I don't have much of a palate when it comes to wine, but I can tell you the finger food, the cheese and the pate were amazing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

architects are selfish bastards

or so the implication goes in the recent new york times article on plagiarism in architecture. as one architect in the nytimes piece points out:

Markus Dochantschi, a New York architect, concurred. “Think of Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns,” he said. “Or Cézanne and Pissarro, who quite openly responded to each other's work. In art, that's considered creativity, not plagiarism. If there were more of a communal sprit in architecture, people wouldn't see this as a problem.”

I had sent the article to one of the senior fellows at the lear center who has been a bit of a role model and mentor for aram and me. he had already seen it, of course, and responded in kind on his blog. check it out for a thoughtful analysis of how creative communities drive innovation and its relationship to architecture.

Living with the trade deficit. Scratch that -- living IN the trade deficit....

john really needs to start a blog. or at least get broadband. I received this email from him today and its just too smart not to share:

Ok, occasionally I come accross something that is just way-too perfect as a metaphor for the moment, and I think this "infinetly bloggable" item is one of them:

Some bright bulb in the Architecture world has come up with the idea of turning all of the empty shipping containers that come in from China (that can't go back, 'cuz we don't export jack shit) into pre-fab housing. That's right! You have the opportunity to live in an economic metaphor! Build your home INSIDE the cavernous, vaccuous trade deficit! Hell, there's tons of space, on the cheap. It's what all the fashionable hipsters are doing. Can't afford a home that's quadrupled in value after a swift interior decorating job with plastic crap from China? Then live in the empty containers that brought the crapola over in the first place! You may not be rich, but your life can be rich in irony -- only moments before the housing bubble implodes, of course.

Link below.

more details on schindler events

more details on the two upcoming fall events by the MAK center:

Saturday, September 10, 2005
11:00 am – 6:00 pm

On R. M. Schindler’s birthday, the MAK Center will dedicate its annual free day for presentations and discussions on contemporary life, architecture, preservation and the future.

11:00 am
CAT – or How to Build a Unique Contemporary Art Collection (21st cy) with No
Presentation by Peter Noever, artistic director and CEO MAK Vienna

12:00 pm
The Gen(h)ome Project: architecture and genetics
Presentation by Chandler Erans of Open Source Architecture, guest curators of The Gen(h)ome Project, and Kimberli Meyer, MAK Center Director

1:00 pm
99% Aeromad: a prototype for an inflatable dwelling
Presentation by Alexis Rochas

2:00 pm
Edible Estates: an attack on the American lawn and everything it has come to represent
Presentation by Fritz Haeg

3:00 pm
The challenges and rewards of renovation
Panel discussion with:
  • Helena Arahuete, architect, Lautner Associates
  • Jeff Fink, architect and contractor for numerous Schindler restorations
  • John Hirsch, Space International Architects, renovation architect for the Mackey Apartment Building
  • Kelly Jones, former Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Pasadena
  • Michael Lafetra, filmmaker, owner and restorer of modern homes
  • Michael Murray, president of the Board of Directors of The Gamble House, owner and restorer of modern homes

4:30 pm
The Fashion of Modernism
Panel Discussion with
  • Thom Andersen, Filmmaker, Professor of Film at CALArts
  • Frances Anderton, Host of KCRW’s DnA (Design and Architecture), Producer of Which Way LA and To The Point
  • Escher Gunewardena Architects, winner of the Dwell Home II Competition
  • Sam Watters, artist and author writer with forthcoming books on LA revivalist houses and LA apartment buildings, 1900-1935.

Docent-led tours of the Schindler House throughout the day
99% Aeromad on view from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Free and open to the public

Sunday, October 2, 2005
11:00 am – 7:30 pm

Experience some of Los Angeles’ exemplary modern homes, generously opened by their owners to give you a chance to see both interior and exterior.

Tour 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Silvertop (John Lautner, 1957)
Straddling the ridge above Silverlake, this classic Lautner, recently featured in the LA Times Magazine,features a sweeping concrete roof, glass walls and garden designed by Garrett Eckbo.

The Walker Residence (R. M. Schindler 1936)
This house cascades down a steep hill, mimicking the sites’ topography and taking full advantage of a view of Silverlake.

The Wilson Residence (R. M. Schindler, 1935-38)
Another great example of a cascading hillside house.

The Tierman Residence (Gregory Ain, 1939)
Pure geometry with unexpected articulations makes this house critic/architect Robert Venturi’s favorite Gregory Ain house.

The Yates Studio (R. M. Schindler, 1938-47)
Originally designed as a music studio addition to a bungalow, it was the site of a concert series called “Evenings on the Roof” that continued until 1954.

The Bubeshko Apartments (R. M. Schindler, 1938 and 1941)
This hillside building has units which range from tiny to large, providing an opportunity to see the scalability of Schindler’s design principles.

The Schlessinger Residence (R. M. Schindler, 1952)
Schindler’s last house is still owned by its original commissioner; virtually nothing has been altered since it was built.

The Elliot Residence (R. M. Schindler, 1930)
This well-sited hillside house feels much larger than its modest size, thanks to Schindler’s masterful use of interlocking spaces.

Cocktail Reception 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
The Wolff House (R. M. Schindler, 1938)
Schindler’s buildings were rarely white. The recent restoration of this house brought back its original colors; their intensity and combination defy expectations.

Ticket prices for Tour and Reception
Self-driven: $65 Friends of the Schindler House and students, $80 general public. Ride a shuttle bus for the afternoon sites for an additional $30

To purchase tickets for the tour and reception, please call: 323-651-1510 or

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sunset Junction

and one more - during chaka khan's disappointing performance. (but I'm blaming that mostly on the sound guys). yeah, I'm the little white girl.

Sunset Junction

Originally uploaded by msgluck.

like the rest of 20- and 30-something LA this weekend, checked out sunset junction. brought my camera but didn't take any photos - fortunately, john, like the good boyscout he is, was there to document the evening. here's aram and me - aram in his best jupiter shwag, while I channel the spirit of jackie O.

monday media

some articles for your edification:
  • when does homage become theft in architecture? the nytimes takes a stab at answering that. this one is particularly interesting to me, given some of the work aram and I have done on the relationship between copyright and creativity.
  • speaking of intellectual property rights, aram takes on the man. read his smartly crafted letter in defense of his file sharing.
  • heading back to palm springs for labor day weekend and in celebration of jess' birthday. the jonathan adler-designed parker palm springs has some great specials. so if you need to escape the 95 degree heat next weekend to the 115 degree heat, check out the parker. they even have an indoor pool.
  • C's family evacuated with the rest of new orleans yesterday. let's hope they don't face too much damage when they return.

Friday, August 26, 2005

maher takes on the bubble

bill maher takes on the real estate bubble as only bill maher can: sarcastically.

And here we are today with real estate prices across the country that could aptly be compared to Courtney Love: irrationally high and about to collapse.

I don't want to say there's a housing bubble, but I had a refrigerator delivered this morning and a homeless guy offered me $3 million for the box. Not to burst your bubble, but all bubbles do burst. And we learned this recently. It's not just that grandma was alive the last time it happened. You were alive. Eminem was on the radio. Just like now because, again, it wasn't that long ago.
yet he finally provides a concise answer to everyone who says they can't wait for a bust, because that's when they can finally pounce. um, no. that's not how it works:

When real estate collapses, people will go bankrupt, which will take down the banks, which all along have really owned their homes, which will bring down the markets and then the dollar. And the GOP will win an election based on renaming Amtrak the Jesus Choo Choo and the whole thing will fester to the point where Plan B is to live in caves and barter.
please don't let that be our future.

skid row's history

the latimes provides a fairly detailed account of the history of skid row downtown but pays only cursory attention to its future. so now if you're dying to know how skid row got its name, or what its borders are, look no further. if you need to know how downtown's gentrification affects the homeless, the poor, the disenfranchised, don't look to this article. but this one, from a few days earlier, might provide more insight.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

curbed comes to CA?

the nytimes isn't the only one focused on the left coast lately. it looks like everyone's favorite real estate blog, curbed, is turning its jaundiced eye towards LA. The url is active but is currently password-protected. anyone have any news on when it might launch? with a real estate market that rivals, and possibly exceeds ny, its about time someone covered the excesses in pricing, architecture, and food for our fair city.

nytimes house and garden - its all about us

the nytimes house and garden section today is all about CA. sparked by the end of the second design biennial at the pasadena museum of california art, the article asks the question "what is california design?" apparently CA's climate and culture are the twin pillars of influence, imbuing designers with the freedom to experiment. basically, a retread of every article ever written about CA's art, design, architecture, etc. the same could even be said (and has been) of CA's tech innovation up north. and like the tech industry, these designers are motivated by a '"weird utopian desire" to do the right thing.' what that truly means is open to interpretation.

keywords that brought you here

some of the better recent ones:
  • the influence of crystal chain movement on gunther domenig
  • ruen pair la menu
  • sluttiest (from a german domain, natch)
  • weekend immersion french california
  • blog oc luke meier
  • barney's warehouse los angeles
  • mercedes century lounge
  • terra non firma at howard house
  • tate modern advertising or publicity hummer
and variations on the keywords "brad pitt's wallace neff house" remain strong. it belongs to ellen now, people. so give up the stalking.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

going to geek out for a moment

I've been saying this for a while now. its gratifying to know I'm not the only one thinking it. but the article misses a few major issues:

  • google isn't only turning into microsoft. they're also turning into enron. for a company that ostensibly is predicated on the free and open exhange of information, to bully and boycott a media company because of an unflattering article is hypocritical and dangerous.
  • google isn't only a threat because of their market cap and engineering talent. they're a threat because, as one friend recently put it, the web isn't big enough for them. yes, they recently put their plan to digitize universities libraries on hold to allow copyright holders to opt out, but its a temporary blip in their plan for world domination. when one gatekeeper controls access to information, the types of information we can access, and how it is presented, and the ways in which we can use that information are held in the hands of one corporation. simply put, that's why google has become scary. not because they've raised the median salary for computer software engineers in silicon valley. shame on the nytimes for missing that.
all that said, I use google every day for a variety things and love it. I use gmail. I use google talk. I use google earth. I am writing this post with blogger (owned by, yes, google). some of my best friends work for google. hehe. seriously, they do many many things better than anyone else. I just hope they stay true to their original intent and stay the course. avoid proprietary platforms. allow truly open access to information. ok, done with my tech rant. back to pretty buildings.

dispatches from camp casey

my very talented friend john hoffman recently took a trip to camp casey to join in the vigil and document (both in photographs and video) the protest taking place there. below find one of his images - the church in the background is where bush attends services when he's in crawford.

John Hoffman, 2005, Some Rights Reserved

from john: My understanding is that the crosses presented in the image I sent represent 20% of the U.S. honored dead -- twenty people for each cross pictured. As soon as they have built more, enough for a one to one ratio, it will fill the entire area surrounding Camp Casey II.

john is currently at work editing a documentary short he filmed while down there. I'll post details as they become available on the project - the plan is to screen the short at a fundraiser for Veterans for Peace in the next few weeks.

I don't need no stinkin' bubble

the nytimes provides "expert" advice on home buying in this inflated market.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

venice biennial and city planning

next year's venice architecture biennial will focus on the theme of city and region transformation:

Titled “The Meta-city: Issues in City Planning,” the exhibition will focus on innovative proposals and directions needed in response to changing populations and working habits.

could this be a hopeful sign that the architecture industry is realizing the importance of creating a stronger dialogue with urban planners? I don't know, but the director of the biennial is from one of my alma maters - LSE, which has a strong emphasis on cities. the class I took with saskia sassen on global cities was among the best I had.

Monday, August 22, 2005

mo' money, mo' problems

CNN money tells us architects are underpaid in relation to the educational investment. The AIA begs to differ.

james wolcott is still my hero

after a momentary lull on his blog, he's back and better than ever. few liberal pundits are as choleric and irascible, yet also witty, smart and just funny. one of his latest posts on cindy sheehan addresses the right's smear campaign against her. I dont usually post about politics on this blog, unless its related to LA's urban development, and I've had to resist temptation to quote wolcott too many times. but no more. he's just too good. so perhaps I will intermittently stray from architecture and urban issues to pay homage to my favorite political pundit. here's this week's:

responding to arianna huffington's (somewhat rhetorical) question:

"I wonder if the civil rights protests were happening today, who at the cable shows would feel compelled to give equal time to the John Birch Society?"

Actually, the rightwing has gotten more sophisticated than that. If this were the Sixties redux, they wouldn't put on a John Bircher opposite a civil rights leader, they'd find some Southern Negro to testify that they don't need some interloper like Martin Luther King marching into their communities and stirring up more trouble than it's worth. Or some Larry Elder or Larry Cain lift-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps pro-business cheerleader to argue that federal intervention isn't needed to uproot segregation, that the free market will remedy black society's ills if only these self-appointed troublemakers would butt out.

That's how the game is played now. Pit members of the same minority against each other for the benefit of privileged white bystanders hoarding their poker chips.

But I think there's something else festering in the mind of Sheehan's slimers: our old friends Rampant Sexism and Snobbish Classism. Men in authority, and those opinonmakers who polish that authority to a fine shine with their diligent tongues, resent being questioned by women. They consider it nagging, and nagging reminds them of their mother or wife, or a wife that reminds them of their mother.

rest of wolcott's brilliant, bilious post can be found here.

monday media

lots of transit/urban development stuff in the media recently:

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'm tired

so I'm just going to link to some related stories:

tooting my own horn

fortunately, no new wars or terror attacks this morning, so the marketplace segment ran. I sound about 12 years old and seem to have weirdly adopted some of the strange syncopation of cali talkers. like, totally. I need to get my bad queens accent back. anyway, it ran on the 7:50 edition archived here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

facing a correction

according to this article, 53 cities in the US, representing a third of the housing market, are "extremely overvalued" and will likely face a major market correction in the not-too-distant future. the researchers looked at factors such as historic price, area income, mortgage rates and population density to determine if home prices were overvalued. anything above 30% of what he estimates should be the fair market price based on those factors were deemed "extremely overvalued." and guess what? CA is screwed. number one of the list is santa barbara, but CA really dominates the list:

  1. Santa Barbara, Calif.
  2. Salinas, Calif.
  3. Naples, Fla.
  4. Riverside, Calif.
  5. Merced, Calif.
  6. Stockton, Calif.
  7. Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  8. Madera, Calif.
  9. Napa, Calif.
  10. Medford, Ore.
  11. Sacramento, Calif.
  12. Modesto, Calif.
  13. San Diego, Calif.
  14. Santa Rosa, Calif.
  15. Chico, Calif.
  16. Barnstable Town, Mass.
  17. San Luis Obispo, Calif.
  18. Oxnard, Calif.
  19. Fresno, Calif.
  20. Los Angeles, Calif.
  21. Miami, Fla.
  22. West Palm Beach, Fla.
  23. Vallejo, Calif.
  24. Ocean City, N.J.
  25. Bend, Ore.
  26. Sarasota, Fla.
  27. Redding, Calif.
  28. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  29. Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.
  30. Santa Ana, Calif.
  31. Atlantic City, N.J.
  32. Bakersfield, Calif.
  33. Oakland, Calif.
  34. Santa Cruz, Calif.
  35. Palm Bay, Fla.
  36. Las Vegas, Nev.
  37. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
  38. Vero Beach, Fla.
  39. San Jose, Calif.
  40. Bellingham, Wash.
  41. Panama City, Fla.
  42. Coral, Fla.
  43. Providence, R.I.
  44. Reno, Nev.
  45. Kingston, N.Y.
  46. Visalia, Calif.
  47. Deltona, Fla.
  48. Boston, Mass.
  49. Washington D.C.
  50. Essex County, Mass.
  51. San Francisco, Calif.
  52. Prescott, Ariz.
  53. Duluth, Minn.

I have a fan

pop culture references and flattery will get you everywhere. and if she thought I was smart before, wait till she hears me on npr. just did a marketplace interview. will hopefully be on tomorrow morning, or mon if the story gets postponed, or if there's a new war or some terrorist attack pre-empts me. who knows. if it runs, I'm talking about cable television daypart programming. fascinating, I know.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

need to end with a happy post

looking at today's posts you might think my heart is blackened by bitterness and bile. true, yes. but I need to end with a happy note. jess does a nice write up of how a cancelled mozzarella monday gave us the fortunate opportunity to try some of jar's regular menu. some may argue $9 deviled eggs are not happy. try the eggs - you might change your mind.

we interrupt this programming

for a minor rant.

wtf is up with the helicopters lately? after two years living in hollywood, I've gotten used to the sound of the traffic choppers, the police choppers, the CEOs who avoid the traffic choppers, but the last 24 hours have been unbearable. last night at 2am it sounded like one was landing on my roof. for a half hour. I'm already an incorrigible insomniac who regularly dreams about 9/11. I dont need low flying aircraft passing overhead every 30 seconds to remind me of that fact.

and then today it was the same at yoga. can't a girl do a downward facing dog without her ass exposed to the LAPD flying overhead? again, for an hour. two years here and I'm still not used to the sound. or maybe the older I get, the harder it is to tune it out. either way, its getting out of control.

red vs. blue, black vs. white

an organization named the Bay Area Center for Voting Research has released a study of the most liberal and conservative cities in the country. looking at the voting patterns of 237 US cities with population of 100,000 or more, they then ranked them on liberal and conservative scales. the findings are somewhat surprising: the country is not divided into blue versus red states - its essentially black versus white:

BACVR researchers found a direct correlation between a city’s political ideology and its racial makeup. “The great political divide in America today is not red vs. blue, north vs. south, costal vs. interior or even rich vs. poor – it is now clearly black vs. white,” says Phil Reiff, a BACVR director.
the list of most liberal cities:

  1. Detroit Michigan
  2. Gary Indiana
  3. Berkeley California
  4. Washington, D.C. Dist. of Columbia
  5. Oakland California
  6. Inglewood California
  7. Newark New Jersey
  8. Cambridge Massachusetts
  9. San Francisco California
  10. Flint Michigan
  11. Cleveland Ohio
  12. Hartford Connecticut
  13. Paterson New Jersey
  14. Baltimore Maryland
  15. New Haven Connecticut
  16. Seattle Washington
  17. Chicago Illinois
  18. Philadelphia Pennsylvania
  19. Birmingham Alabama
  20. St. Louis Missouri
  21. New York New York
  22. Providence Rhode Island
  23. Minneapolis Minnesota
  24. Boston Massachusetts
  25. Buffalo New York

the most conservative? who gives a fuck. they're mostly in texas anyway.
ok, here's the complete list:

and if you must know, LA is number 37 on the list of most liberal.

on death and memory

for some reason, lately, it feels like death is on everyone's mind. if I was a writer for vh1, I would say the grim reaper is having the best week ever. first, nate's (un)expected passing on six feet under. then, the memorials began for peter jennings. and now we witness the obvious grief and anguish of cindy sheehan. even mtv got in on the act last week, albeit in their slick, trite after-school special kind of way. not to be outdone, last week's nytimes dining section discussed funeral foods.

so it is with death on the brain that I watched this episode of frontline: A Jew Among The Germans. what does this have to do with LA? absolutely nothing at all. but it is related to architecture, public art and spaces, and the process of memorialization.

its an absorbing first-hand account by a holocaust survivor who goes back to germany to try to understand the government's process of building a memorial. (eventually built by peter eisenmann). while first-hand, it never backslides into hackneyed cliches about either germans or jews. Marian Marzynski searches for answers: can he return to a world that terrified him and feel safe? can the tragedy of the holocaust ever be adequately memorialized? must memorialization always be represented by metaphor and abstraction? is it possible to create a sense of 'good guilt' among germany's younger generation?

the documentary has particular resonance for me because my mother was born in germany in a displaced persons camp, and my grandparents were both survivors (as were my great aunts and uncles). even without the personal interest, the debate is still salient, particularly as we watch new york struggle with the wtc site. the frontline piece is available online - its broken into 4 streaming chunks, but is well worth the graininess and occasional pauses in realplayer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

working hard for the money

CNN money looks at some careers where the education investment is very high, yet real-world salaries are relatively low. what's near the top? architects. [via archinect]

Monday, August 15, 2005

grand intervention going, um, grandly

excerpt of an update from my friends at the norman lear center:

Grand Avenue Intervention: August 2005 Update

In the month since our call in The Los Angeles Times for an infusion of democracy into the planning process for the new downtown civic park at Grand Avenue, our invitation for proposals and comments has been met with a very encouraging response. Yesterday, The Los Angeles Times reiterated the call for citizen input through creative proposals for the park.

We've heard from community activists, architects, urban planners and park lovers from all corners of Los Angeles. Many have urged us to put a deadline on submissions, so now we have: The cutoff for this first round is December 9, 2005.

In these last few weeks, scores of submissions and a steady stream of comments have come in. A number of our correspondents have asked us to start putting them online, and to encourage community discussion, so now we have: A sampling of proposals and comments has been posted, with more to come, and we're inviting reactions to them. The more dialogue, the better.

[some name dropping in the middle here, suffice it to say there's a lot of interest.]

A number of people have asked us what the reaction of the developer, The Related Companies, has been. The answer: They've welcomed our grand intervention and are eager to find a way to collaborate with us. While they're understandably concerned about the constraints of designing this park--especially financial limitations, and the challenge of designing what amounts to three terraced parks going up the hill--they also recognize that public participation is essential. We're happy to offer this forum, and the ideas that appear on it, as a way to jumpstart their outreach, and the continuing outreach by the Grand Avenue Committee.


this is my vision of hell

New River Township is, for the moment, the edge of beyond.
Richard Patterson for The New York Times

Its square mile of tightly packed homes is the outer crest of Tampa's residential swell, four miles from the nearest grocery store and 30 minutes from the nearest major mall. Just down the road, beyond some orange groves, cattle graze languorously amid the insect hum of a sun-baked field, and only a few mobile home parks and a roadside stand selling tiki huts interrupt the vast sea of pine, palmetto and dense thatch.

I know the description is supposed to spark some sort of pastoralist nostalgia, and the times is celebrating the newfound "diversity" of the exurbs, but isolation and lack of commercial amenities makes my skin crawl. I always thought DUMBO was too isolated from civilization. I chose my apartment in LA because I didn't have to drive to buy a quart of milk. C grew up in a development like this - new condos constructed every week, plenty of surrounding wilderness to play in, kids rode their bikes to their friend's home. I just can't imagine it. my mother used to send me out for groceries and it involved a 30 sec walk. same for the dry cleaners, pharmacy, hair salon, pizza place and (because it was flushing, after all), authentic chinese restaurant with maybe one other family of gwai lo in a banquet hall of asians.

I moved to LA exactly two years ago. I flew out the morning after the east coast black out - most of queens still had no power, including JFK. (props to jetblue - the only airline actually operating that day). the night before, I took a walk with my mother in my old neighborhood in total darkness, with just a small flashlight to guide us. as we walked, the diversity of languages around us bespoke the diversity of their neighbors. I knew we had a lot of chinese neighbors - there were tons of local businesses to support that community. but I also heard spanish, hebrew, arabic,korean, and some south asian dialects. everyone was sitting on their stoop since it was too hot to stay inside. I had no idea just how diverse the neighborhood had become. I think I read once that queens is the most diverse place on earth - there are more nationalities and ethnicities there than anywhere else. take that london.

I'm just about to finish jane jacob's book Death and Life of Great American Cities (finally - I was yet again sidetracked by the fat new sept issues - fall clothes! fall ads! fall housewares! - I kid you not. damn those magazines and their seductive siren call I have no choice but to heed). in light of that book, and the many others that emphasis the importance of diversity of uses, coupled with the obvious oil crisis we're now in, that companies are still pouring money into developments like the one the nytimes describes. I don't care how "entreprenuerial" residents there are. they still have to drive 45 min to pick up a bag of cheetos and a case of schlitz. bad, bad planning.

monday media - transportation edition

andsome non-transportation related news:

Sunday, August 14, 2005

keywords that brought you here

some of the more interesting keywords that brought people here:

  • somebody's watching me download
  • who owns the golden gopher, los angeles
  • mercedes century lounge
  • salvaged bars,ny
  • how do i donate unwanted stuff in park slope
  • predatory towing los angeles
  • ellen degeneres wallace neff
  • roach coach restaurant mtv
  • google earth siteseeing celebrity homes
  • brewery loft los angeles
  • mcmansionization of america
  • social hollywood restaurant chodorow
  • runyon canyon historical estate
  • ellen degeneres and ben stiller's smooch
  • ann wintour picture
  • basement jaxx hollywood bowl show
  • basquiat and watts riots

celebrating silvertop

and john lautner, in general. the latimes magazine shoots today's cover story at the silverlake home, and runs an article celebrating the work of john lautner. seredipitously, the mak center is planning an architecture tour in oct that includes silvertop, so us plebes will have the chance to see the house made famous in 'less than zero.'

Friday, August 12, 2005

maximilians schell

stopped by m&a's exhibition, maximilians schell today and snapped a few photos. if you're anywhere near the exhibition, I recommend stopping in. its a mimetic representation of a black hole "the deadliest force in the universe" but built with superlight golden mylar. from the web site:

The interior of this immersive experimental installation creates an environment for enhanced social interaction and contemplation by changing the space, color, and sound of the M&A courtyard gallery. During the day as the sun passes overhead, the canopy casts colored fractal light patterns onto the ground while a tranquil subsonic drone from an integrated ambient sound installation by composer James Lumb (Electric Skychurch) entitled "Resonant Amplified Vortex Emitter," lightly rumbles below the feet of visitors.

rest of the photos can be found here.

lorcan o'herlihy's habitat 825

I meant to post this on mon when I took the photo but I was slow downloading pix to my computer. but here's the update on habitat 825's construction. concrete foundation is poured.

more info on the schindler tour

the theme this year is preservation for the self-guided architecture tour planned by the mak center as a fundraiser. most of the homes on the tour are recently renovated/restored. the final list:

The MAK Center is pleased to announce a very special architecture tour on Sunday, October 2, 2005

Please join us for a tour of the interiors of the following Silverlake and Los Feliz buildings:
  • The Bubeshko Apartment Building (R. M. Schindler, 1938)
  • Silvertop (John Lautner, 1957)
  • The Walker Residence (R. M. Schindler 1936)
  • The Tierman Residence (Gregory Ain, 1939)
  • The Schlesinger Residence (R. M. Schindler, 1952)
  • The Elliot Residence (R. M. Schindler, 1952)
12:00 am ­ 5:00 pm

And for a cocktail reception at:
The Wolff House, (R. M. Schindler, 1938)

5:00 pm ­ 7:30 pm

Ticket prices: Self-driven: $65 Friends of the Schindler House and students,
$80 general public. Silverlake Shuttle: $30 additional charge

To reserve tickets, please call 323-651-1510

hey - we're a model!

after yesterday's post that the rest of the world looks more like LA these days, and tim's comment suggesting that may not be a bad thing, comes today's article in the washington post - we're the densest! and I'm not referring to the born-and-bred blond angeleno who recently insisted hong kong was in japan. no, according to the wapo, LA embodies a fairly recent (but growing) paradox: densely packed sprawl. and I am nothing if not good at summarizing the data:

  • Los Angeles has become the most densely populated place in the continental United States - 25 percent higher than that of New York, twice that of Washington and four times that of Atlanta, as measured by residents per square mile of urban land.
  • Ten of the country's 15 most densely populated metro areas are in the West, where residents move to newly developed land at triple the per-acre density of any other part of the country.
otherwise, an absorbing account of density both good and bad - land fill reuse, orange county development, immigrant poverty. a good read.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

watts, 40 years later

today is the 40 year anniversary of the watt's riots/revolt. to commemorate the day, the latimes has this fascinating, rashomon-like account from nine eyewitnesses, including the arresting officer and woman who was arrested that started it all.

it's the most wonderful time of the year...

christmas has nothing on mid-august in LA. why? the barneys warehouse sale started today. and the crowds descend early. you can always tell the experienced barneys warehouse shopper. we're the ones who wear skimpy tank tops and skirts, (I even saw a few women in their leggings), nothing too fussy or fastened, in order to slip in and out of the clothes in full view of the public. there are also a few intrepid souls who just dont give a fuck, and change down to their undies to try on the discounted marc jacobs and diane von furstenbergs.

nav and I were prepared. shopping at the barneys sale is closer to blood sport than leisure activity. and the competition only gets more vicious as the pickings get slimmer. you start to horde. I found nav wandering bleary-eyed and aimlessly with a half dozen shoes in her arms to try on. once you grab a spot in front of a mirror, you camp out as long as possible. its every (wo)man for themselves. if a comrade goes down, you just might have the leave them in the trenches. war is hell.

but victory was mine. scored an amazing pair of prada shoes - they were literally the first thing I picked up. if I wasn't so lazy, I would photograph them and post the pix. but not only am I lazy, I also fear that degree of fetishization. or at least the public admittal. (my sister and I have been sending pix of new shoes we buy to each other for years.) nav also lucked out - a beautiful pair of silver miu mius. we are single-handedly supporting italy's luxury goods industry.

sale ends aug 21st. enjoy.

everybody hates us

found these two parallel articles recently - the specter of sprawl seems to incite fear and loathing across the globe:

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

gehry sounds like a miss america contestant

this latimes article is an all-you-can-eat buffet into the mind and heart of frank gehry. and in a larger sense, of the ways designers and artists carefully craft their public image in the media. it almost makes me wish I could write a dissertation on the topic. oh wait, I already did. onward to the analysis:

"I've already got one winner, and I didn't want to push my luck," said Gehry, the architect behind Walt Disney Concert Hall, which sits in the midst of the planned development.

"But the gods have willed it otherwise," he said, "and I am very excited about it."
ah yes, the faux-modesty. the aw-shucks, I'm just a boy from canada who lucked out in LA. yet he also implies, he's just doing the lord's work. he's just a vessel of the ultimate Creator. "the gods have willed it otherwise." does the LA county board of supervisors consist of bible-thumping, praise-the-lord, red state republicans? I have to believe our board of supervisors wouldn't fit right in at a bill frist backyard bbq. (or maybe gehry's use of the plural "gods" is playing to the secret pagan minority).

notice as well he calls attention to his other "winner." he plays on that all-too-common dichotomy of "I'm a genius, but only by the grace of god." at least michelangelo actually believed that.

"At my age, I didn't want to get involved with just an ordinary development," Gehry said. "Especially on this site, with everybody watching. It's high profile, and we're going to have to deliver a special thing, or else I am going to get run out of town. So the heat is on."

he also lays the groundwork for future reviews. hey witold! get ready! this is no "ordinary development." he's going to give us a very "special thing." I've actually heard that gehry is a pretty nice guy - in a relative sense - compared to the prickly genius of a koolhaas, but I can't believe he's not consciously projecting a very careful image to the public. he's also clearly concerned with his legacy - at the age of 76 he must be thinking about what legacy he leaves behind as he shuffles off this mortal coil.

and then buried near the end of the article, for those of us who can slog through gehry's self-congratulatory pablum, some of the real issues:

...Some supervisors... expressed concerns that a number of major issues in the deal — including the final cost of the public park and the extent to which the public entities will subsidize parking under the park — are still unresolved. Yaroslavsky said that information given to the supervisors about the parking issue "has been very amorphous."
one of the more recent public park projects, millenium park in chicago, was budgeted at $150 million. by the time it was complete, it cost $475 million and was four years behind schedule. it would seem prudent for related, LA county and gehry to hammer out these details beforehand, to avoid ballooning budgets and major time delays.

the tyrrany of reality TV

design by referendum is scary. demolition by referendum is even more frightening.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I miss books

I've spent the summer reading magazines (few more weighty than US weekly) and the interweb. and finally finishing up Jane Jacobs. which is a reversal for me. when I was in high school and college, I used to read a book a week during the summer - I went through a fitzgerald phase, a tom robbins phase, even a henry miller phase. all the books I didn't get a chance to read while I was in school slogging through foucault and derrida (what can I say, it was the early 90s and I was an art history major).

so today I cashed in an old amazon gift certificate to stock on some books I've been meaning to read (despite the fact that I have a backlog already):

why I love the internet

and here is the photo of the billboard for century lounge:
[via boing boing]

mysterious missing invaders

the free, illegal public art project Space Invaders is disappearing and no one seems to know who's behind it. is it the city? building owners? random individuals? video game-hating, anti-80s zealots?

a much longer rant at Hollywoodland and a useful map for finding the little guys.

Monday, August 08, 2005

finally, some truth in advertising

the century lounge has put a billboard near LAX that reads "vaginas 'r' us" to advertise its strip club:
But Century Lounge owner Howard White insists he's simply advertising his business, and says it's no different than a Broadway marquee hawking a popular play.

"In sort of a naive way, I felt that there was nothing terrible about it since the 'Vagina Monologues' was on Broadway forever," he said. "I didn't feel there was anything terrible about it."

And technically, there isn't, Los Angeles city officials say.

"The word 'vagina' is not an obscene word and we're not in a position to question the First Amendment," Councilman Bill Rosendahl said.

my first thought when I read this is, toys 'r' us will be sending a cease-and-desist letter any day now. but white is prepare for that:

"If I hear anything from them, I'll just change 'us' to 'Vaginas is Us' or 'Vaginas Are Us,' " he said.
no matter what, the vagina stays. viva la vagina! [via boing boing]

anyone find a photo?

upcoming schindler stuff

I can't believe its almost that time of year. the days grow shorter, the leaves start to turn colors (I think there's one block in santa monica where I saw that happen once), and of course, its rudolph m. schindler's birthday. in honor of that day, the mak center hosts schindler day on sept 10th, when the house is free and open to the public and they host a day of workshops, panels and presentations. this year's theme will be preservation. with several recently completed major renovations to schindler homes, as well as some lautner and ain bulidings, the mak center will be inviting preservations, architects and historians in to talk about their experiences:

The tour is part of an overall program that examines questions of contemporary preservation. On Saturday September 10 (Schindler's birthday) we will hold a day-long presentation at the Schindler House. We will ask architects, artists, builders and homeowners to discuss the following questions: What makes a building stay alive? What are the gray zones of preservation? How does preservation intersect with contemporary concerns? What does history mean in Los Angeles? We will also open up the newly renovated Mackey Apartment Building (home to MAK Center Artists and Architects in Residence) to the public that weekend.

A related house tour will occur on Sunday, October 2, when some of the houses discussed on September 10 will be opened for touring. The tour is a fundraiser and supports the ongoing conservation of the Schindler House.
I don't think they've released which houses will be included in the tour as they firm up plans, but the list is pretty great. expect access to privately owned homes the public isn't normally allowed to visit.

monday media

Sunday, August 07, 2005

ebay is my friend

the good news: I won two breuer wassily cream leather chairs on ebay for almost nothing.
the bad news: I have to go somewhere called "mira loma" to get them. if its past monterey park on the 10 I'm lost.

and I've had to call in favors to get matteo, who has a larger SUV than me, to drive there. its a good thing I just spent this week buying him groceries and running errands while he had the flu. my kindness has come back to bite him in the ass.

apparently, this afternoon there are open houses for 3 new homes on the market: a schindler, a neutra and a koenig. a real estate broker friend is supposed to drag me along this afternoon (assuming I make it back from my trip to the inland empire alright). not in the market, just to gawk.

Friday, August 05, 2005

eminent domination

short, cute flash animation on the future of eminent domain from mark fiore. [via cyburbia]

LA's more powerful unelected official

a little late, but this profile ran in the july issue of LA mag. the question it raises: is Joe Edmiston more Frederick Law Olmstead or Robert Moses? of course, how anyone can compare an environmentally committed public official who has saved over 3,000 acres of the santa monica mountains from development to robert moses, is beyond me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

the inevitable blog post about blogging

I started this blog for a couple of reasons - to get in the habit of writing daily (sort of). to get in the habit of reading daily. to learn more about a topic I had more than a passing interest in. I've tried (only somewhat successfully) to avoid the kind of naval gazing you find on most blogs but eventually, the topic always rolls back to most writers' favorite topic - themselves.

as some of you know, my business partner, aram and I are working on a book proposal based on a project we were commissioned to write last year. we might, MIGHT, have a literary agent. we don't know what, if anything, will come of this. but we thought, why not chronicle it anyway? so we're launching a new blog: Apart at the Seams. we don't want to talk about the content of the proposal - its not really relevant to this blog. we're trying to focus on the process of writing a proposal, signing with a literary agent (we hope). getting a book deal (we hope). writing and publishing a book (again, we hope). we don't know how it will end but thought it might be useful to provide an account of the journey. and it will probably be far more intermittently updated than this blog. so welcome. see you there.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

bigger is badder

the vastly underrated csmonitor looks at LA's attempts to curb unbridled square footage growth:
"Mansionization has become one of the most pressing issues in my district," says Wendy Gruel, the city councilwoman who sponsored the legislation, which goes into effect immediately upon formal approval this week. The measure will limit homes built on lots of 8,000 sq. ft. or less to 2,400 sq. ft. - or 40 percent of the lot size, whichever is greater. The move affects just one community of her district (known as Sunland-Tujunga). Neighboring towns of Pasadena, Glendale, and Burbank have visited the issue, some coming up with similar ordinances, and Ms. Gruel says other areas of the San Fernando Valley are clamoring for their own laws as well.
oh, and joel kotkin of course gets in his 2 cents. which makes me wonder if journalists are capable of writing about LA, surburbia, or sprawl without putting in a call to him.
HAPPY WITH 500 SQUARE FEET: Marty Greer (left) moved to
Sunland, Calif., in 1974. He says a boom in larger homes (right)
is changing the area's character.


finally asking the right questions

sam hall kaplan tackles gehry's plans for grand ave in the latest edition of LA downtown news. unlike some of the overly enthusiastic claptrap we've seen since gehry was attached to the project, kaplan asks some of the right questions: can gehry create a project that works on the street level, creating a public space that "succeed[s] as an urban cultural and community nexus"?

gehry's emphasis on form (at the expense of function according to kaplan and others) makes urban planners, community activists and academics anxious. while the grand intervention project was initiated before gehry's announced involvement, it serves as a further catalyst for greater public participation in what is becoming one of LA's largest, most expensive and highly visible urban projects.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

downtown at sunset

the la conservancy hosts their walking tours of downtown at sunset on wednesdays in aug and sept [via blogdowntown]:

Take advantage of our beautiful Southern California summer evenings, and join the Los Angeles Conservancy for our “Downtown at Sunset” walking tours. Featuring slightly shorter versions of our regular Saturday walking tours, this popular series will take place Wednesday evenings in August and September. Tours start at 5:30 p.m. and last approximately 1-3/4 hours. This year’s series includes four tours: Art Deco, Downtown’s Evolving Skyline, Little Tokyo, and Union Station.

a mexican standoff - LA style

entertaining post, with some good advice, about fighting predatory towing companies in LA.

Monday, August 01, 2005

monday media

  • anti-McMansionization finally hits LA: The City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to an "anti-mansionization" ordinance for the Sunland-Tujunga area of the San Fernando Valley, the first time it has specifically addressed restricting home size in Los Angeles.
  • High Yield Detonation Effect Simulator: a google maps hack showing overpressure distances for terrorist attacks. LA is in there too but its country clubs and golf courses seem to be safe. [via boing boing]
  • A daily dose of architecture provides screen shots and commentary on gehry's simpsons appearance.
  • and this announcement doesn't do justice to how stylish, sincere and schmaltz-free this wedding was. congrats again to jess and henry.