Saturday, September 30, 2006

Los Angeles, I'm Yours

back in the city of angels. every time I go back to ny, I love it and miss it and after a week, I'm ready to leave it. this trip was a little more over-scheduled than most, so my time was mostly spent working, and seeing family for rosh hashana. plus the wedding. and a little shopping. and conferences are mostly about constantly feeling tired, cold and hungry - at least for me. so this trip didn't include much in the way of memorable meals/museum visits. a shame, I know. I did manage to swing by the moma for the herzog and de meuron exhibition - two days after it closed. I wandered around the permanent collection a bit, and tried to read a little in the garden, but found myself feeling too anxious and restless to enjoy the museum (with the exception of the wonderful rachel whiteread, which the new building is better equipped to exhibit, or maybe they're just acquiring more of her pieces. I just don't remember the moma owning much whiteread until recently). I think her work speaks to the architecture junkie in me. so the outrageous entry fee to the moma almost feels worth it to walk through Untitled (Paperbacks). (similar in concept and execution to her holocaust monument in judenplatz, vienna).
Rachel Whiteread. (British, born 1963). Untitled (Paperbacks). 1997.
Plaster and steel, Overall 14' 9 1/8" x 15' 9" x 20' 8 3/4" (450 x 480 x 632 cm).

I also had a wonderful view of foster's new hearst building from the rainbow room, and watched it recede into total darkness as night fell while I was at the wedding.
as I made my way around the city, I finally finished reading slouching towards bethlehem, joan didion's essays about california. some of them eerily resonant for a book written in the 1960s (los angeles' most enduring images is the city on fire), some quaintly nostalgic (naive meth addicts in the haight). I felt an odd cognitive dissonance reading it while in new york. and now I've begun the memoir (again based on jessica's recommendation. she's become my book guru), The Tender Bar, and am feeling the reverse dissonance. JR Moehringer's memoir takes place in Manhasset, one town over from my parent's new house. just a few miles from where I grew up. I even started reading the book while on the LIRR heading back to my parent's place, as I cringed listening to the accents around me (an accent I'm occasionally accused of having, and have consciously worked to lose, but sometimes beer gets the best of us and it slips out unintended).

I'm only about 100 pages into it, but as I read it, I keep thinking "I know these guys. I grew up with these guys." Sorta. The guys in this book were like the ones I went to grade school and junior high with - the irish and italian, lower middle class guys who were less academically inclined than my friends and I, mostly the kids of immigrants, or immigrants ourselves. they were the ones who had been in ny for many more generations, who didnt subscribe to the american dream the way we still clung to it (or our parents drilled it into us). they were the ones who grew up to be cops, mechanics, bartenders. the ones we had crushes on in junior high and had just became aware of boys - because they already looked like men. the ones we left behind by high school - they all went to their zoned high schools, while my friends and I all filtered into ny's magnet schools (none of our families could afford private school, so we had to depend on our academic talents to save us from the hell that is the new york public high school system).

so I feel a certain kinship to the world he's describing, even if I've never truly been a part of it. our constant striving, our immigrant moms, our self-conscious attempts not to pronounce "water" like it has an "aw" in the middle, separated us.

hm, not sure where I'm going with this but since its a blog and not a book report, let me just say, two thumbs up on the Tender Bar. so far.

and so glad to be back in LA. heading over to the CA boom show later today, volunteering at the MAK tour tomorrow, so a big architecture weekend for me. will try to take and post pics.


At 8:41 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Speaking of grade school, did you go to P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows?


Post a Comment

<< Home