Tuesday, February 28, 2006

more fucking traffic

as if the clusterfuck on highland towards the 101 isn't bad enough, we're now dealing with street closures around hollywood and highland for the oscars. jess, distributor of all useful info in my life, has sent over an email that outlines all street closures for the next week.

rather than reprint the email, here's a link to the oscar site which gives detailed info on stret closings. happy driving.

best former celeb home ever

because I docent at the schindler house, I occassionally get to visit some pretty amazing homes, like the elrod house or silvertop. its a great perk, and one I dont take for granted. so last night was a surprise, after john and I decided to join matteo at some jewelry-related pre-oscar party, when we walked into...liberace's former penthouse.

of course, most of it has been redesigned and is now a pretty luxe office for a luxury product placement company, so it hard to tell what original touches remain. there's a nod to its former owner with a large photo of his bejeweled hands at the end of the mirrored foyer. I'm guessing the mirrored foyer is original. and the rooftop kidney pool. (un)fortunately, most of the penthouse in west hollywood (where else?) is tastefully designed, and pretty constrained, with the exception being the abstract neon-lit, swirling tree above the pool with ceramic birds "nesting" in the tree. and as the photo shows, its one of the few original features they kep. actually, I'll admit it - I loved it. all of it. my only regret is that john didnt take any pictures that I could post on this site. but here are some photos of the original, from bob's world of liberace.

happy birthday frank

according to LAist, frank gehry turns 77 today. but with a new building at MIT, the grand ave project and the downtown brooklyn redevelopment project all in the works, he's not exactly slowing down. yet compared to niemeyer, he's just getting started. niemeyer was designing buildings when gehry was still in his short pants. what is it about architects and their shockingly strong longevity? do theyhave to hang on as long as they can because they dont start finding any acclaim until their already ready to collect social security? but I digree. happy birthday, frank!

Monday, February 27, 2006

AIA looking for volunteers

jess passed this letter along. not sure where you can find it online to download, but here's a link to the LA AIA chapter site.


This June, the AIA 2006 National Convention and Expo offers unparalleled opportunities to all that would like to be part of the activities scheduled to more than 30,000 architects that will converge to experience Los Angeles as a center of Architecture and Design.

The Chapter, its Board and Members would like to invite you to be a volunteer and help to show our guests the strength and vitality of the Los Angles design community.

Our volunteers recruiting efforts are challenging and we are confident that we can count on your help to get the volunteers that we need in order to run the chapter events.

We estimate needing approximately 600 volunteers in total – and they will be working in shifts of three hours and thirty minutes time frames on the following events:


JUNE 8, 9, and 10

7:30 AM to 11:00 AM
10:30 AM to 2:00 PM
1:30 PM to 5:00 PM


JUNE 8, 9, 10

7:30 AM to 11:00 AM
10:30 AM to 2:00 PM
1:30 PM to 5:00 PM


5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
7:30 PM to 10:00 PM

All volunteers will get a free entrance to the Expo Floor and an invitation to a terrific post convention volunteer appreciation party – Don’t miss the opportunity to be an ambassador for our city.

monday media

marissmas, while fun, got in the way of doing work this weekend, so my to-do list is growing. thus, another quickie today:

and upcoming events:
  • the wired speaker series at the central library this wed features cameron sinclair, founder of architecture for humanity and 2006 TED winner, lectures "design like you give a damn." the lecture is full but there are standing room only tickets.
  • I've already seem mayne lecture twice for free, but if you want to pay $65 for members, $95 for non-members, you can attend the LA forum's benefit to honor mayne at the petersen musuem on april 6th.
  • and the mak center's artists-in-residence program hosted an open house next weekend at the mackey apartments. as I mentioned before, its a rare opportunity to see a schindler that is normally not open to the public. its free and open to all march 11 and 12 from noon to 6pm.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

best birthday gift

I know I mentioned a couple of days ago that today is my birthday and C and I are taking a trip to hearst castle in a couple of weeks. so I didn't really expect anything more from him today, other than fulfilling his responsibility as designated driver tonight. but he surpassed my expectations.

despite the fact that tickets to the getty villa are sold out for the next six months, he managed to wrangle two for today. more on the actual villa later. but for now, its enough to say we had a great day sitting outside having lunch above the new amphitheater, took a tour of the architecture and gardens, and wandered around the galleries.

men - here's a quick hint: effort counts more than cash. sure, the tickets were free but the fact that he actually listened to me bitching about wanting to go and not being able to reserve early enough and somehow finding a way to get tickets for my birthday means a lot more than being showered with expensive gifts.

anyway, now I think I need a nap. that was a lot of walking.

Friday, February 24, 2006

the problem of memorialization

I know I've mentioned before how much I enjoy witold rybczynski's columns in slate. this one is particularly striking, given the debate and demise of the ambassador hotel. witold bemoans the lack of an appropriate memorial for JFK in dallas, characterizing johnson's concrete memorial as a "poorly done," ignoble piece and the sixth floor museum as an overly pedantic, less-than respectful tribute.

I haven't been to dallas to see this, but all I can think is - we should be so lucky. bobby kennedy seems to have suffered not only from the kennedy "curse" but also from the bad luck of having been assassinated when he was still just a lowly senator and presidential hopeful. apparently, in LA, a town obsessed with star power and the seeming incapacity to remember last week, let alone an event that took place almost 40 years ago (unless, of course, it makes a good movie), being the jr. senator from new york and brother of JFK just doesn't rank enough to warrant a memorial.

keep in mind that not only is the texas school book depository a museum, but so is the lorraine motel in memphis where king was shot. of the major assassinations in the 60s, it seems only RFK hasn't been properly memorialized, unless you count an emilio estevez vehicle (did I actually just write that?) as a "proper" memorial.

schindler's mackey open next week

the mackey apartments, designed by schindler and owned by the mak center, will be open to the public next weekend for the final exhibition of the current artists-in-residence program. the mackey is typically open only by appointment (and the penthouse is available for rent for short-term stays, I believe) and is rarely open and free to the public, so I highly recommend stopping by, if you've never been.

info on the event:
MAK Center Artists and Architects in Residence & Guests
Final Projects Exhibition, Group XXI
Reception, Friday, March 10, 2006, 7 to 10 pm
Exhibition Hours, Saturday & Sunday, March 11 - 12, noon to 6 pm

at the Mackey Apartments
1137 South Cochran Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Twice yearly, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture hosts visiting Artists and Architects in Residence who spend six months living and working in the R.M. Schindler-designed Mackey Apartments in the mid-Wilshire district. The current residents, Elena Kovylina (Russia), Grupposenza composed of Robert Huebser (Germany), David Emmer (Germany) and Benjamin Haupt (Germany), David Moises (Austria), and Sonia Leimer (Italy), — present the results of their work in LA at the Mackey Apartments. The 21st group of residents projects address the Hollywood dream, Los Angeles real estate, custom car culture and the contemporary architecture of sin (more information below.) The residents will open up their living rooms as exhibition spaces to display the results of their residencies including photographs, drawings, site documentation, sculptures, and video.

In appreciation for the hospitality they have felt from art and architecture professionals, the residents will present works by Los Angeles colleagues in the Mackey Penthouse, a guest apartment. Exhibition artists will include Jonathan Ballak, Mika Cho, Zoe Crosher, Skylar Haskard, Nicholas Kersulis, Mayumi Oumi, Arthur Ozujiro, Nicola Stäglich, Melissa Tolar, Sergio Torres and Richard Wearn. Rob Faucette will perform the Heartsink Sound of Amy Radio, which will be broadcasted with an FM-sender throughout the apartments.

This event is free and open to the public.

The Mackey Apartments are located at 1137 South Cochran Avenue in the mid-Wilshire section of Los Angeles, 6 blocks west of La Brea between Olympic and San Vicente on the west side of Cochran Avenue.

gladwell goes to the dark side

one of my favorite authors and new yorker columnists has finally begun to blog - malcolm gladwell. he just started a few days ago, and seems to primarily use the blog to respond to reader emails, expand upon his articles when the constraints of print media don't allow him to riff or reference sources, and as a platform to reverse his arguments. has he finally gone the freakonomics route and decided this might actually be a valuable platform for cross-media promotion and, dare I say it - synergy? (yeah, I spent the last two days at a digital media conference - can you tell?) or is he just going the james wolcott route (my secret husband), using the Internet to bypass the powers-that-be at conde nast to publish all the bile, vitriol and snark they won't touch? looks like the former, I wish it was the latter. but I'll take what I can get from one of the smartest writers on the new yorker's famously "secret" masthead.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

sowden for sale

sure, I go to a conference for a couple of hours and I get scooped by Curbed LA. lloyd wright's sowden house on franklin is for sale. the listing is careful to mention it was featured in The Aviator as Howard Hughes' home, and has a more impressive publication resume than some journalists, yet it fails to mention that according to one recent book, the house may also have been the site of the Black Dahlia murder. you would think that being the possible site of one of the most infamous murders in LA's history (and an upcoming Brian De Palma movie) might actually increase the asking price, but the brokers seem eager to ignore that little tidbit of macabre history.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

only four more shopping days...

till Marissmas.

my best friend in new york, Don, has a birthday in nov. he has dubbed the month of nov DONukah and ramaDON in celebration of that fact. thus, I have dubbed the next two weeks or so Marissmas, since my birthday is sat. no resolutions that I feel like publicly proclaiming. no circumspect posts on the past year. but I will say that I am totally looking forward to C's gift: we're taking a drive up to Hearst Castle in march and staying at the Madonna Inn. not sure which room we're in but I can only hope its this one:
so if anyone has recommendations for food, sights, or stops along the way - let me know.

santiago in santa barbara

(Sketch courtesy Santiago Calatrava archives)
Secret Sketchbook I 1995

after visiting the met's disappointing calatrava exhibition in december, I'm somewhat heartened to see that the university art museum in santa barbara has not only mounted its own calatrava exhibition, but its getting pretty good reviews. not sure if I'll be up there in time to see the exhibition, but if you're in the area, it sounds like a worthwhile detour.

(Photo courtesy Santiago Calatrava archives)
Planetarium/IMAX Theater, City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

mr. smith goes to the getty

most of the article and reviews I've seen on the new getty villa focuses on machado and silvetti as the architects for the renovation but doesn't delve very deeply into the process of renovation: the organizational, architectural and logistical challenges. the planning report addresses all of these, in an interview with the villa's project manager, Corbin Smith. its a fascinating read as the getty dealt with site, traffic and noise problems, the death of their landscape architect midway thru the project, and the utter lack of any historic preservation issues. [via planetizen]

Monday, February 20, 2006

monday media

a quick one today since my GBF and the barneys warehouse sale awaits:

  • christopher hawthorne fires a couple of shots at the planned headquarters for the LAPD downtown. ha! get it? he doesn't like the building and I made a pun.
  • paris hearts LA.
  • breaking! "palm springs epicenter of modernism." the desert sun wins for least newsworthy headline but scroll down far enough and there's a nice write up of the major mid century architects working in palm springs.

Friday, February 17, 2006

no mo' movies?

(Luis Sinco / LAT)

the latimes chronicles the rise of the grand movie palaces downtown - and their rapid post-WWII decline, as the last of them struggles to stay afloat. buried a few paragraphs down - news that the grand ave developers have dropped plans to bring an art house theater to the project, due to a lack of interest on the part of potential theater owners. but LA Live isn't giving up as easily - they've signed a deal with regal theaters as part of their "sports-entertainment complex." but the theater (and the rest of the complex) are focused on tourists, not the growing community of downtown residents. so the question is - will tourists from iowa be willing to shell out $12+ a ticket to see big momma's house 2 when they can catch it at their local cineplex for less?

and then there's the latimes' slight schizophrenia. as one article bemoans the lack of movie theaters downtown, this one takes a look at hodgett & fung's project for a new Asian American center that will include a 300 seat theater.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

'symmetry' in the latimes

(Joshua White / MAK Center)

the current exhibition at the mak center at the schindler house, Symmetry, gets a nice write-up in today's latimes. the timing is fortuitous - there's a curator walk thru this weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

lego art

damien hirst and his shark tank

while some are boycotting lego, others are finding innovative ways to use lego to skewer? pay homage? I'm not sure - but I do know my inner art geek thinks these are totally awesome. (via pretty goes with pretty):

koon's balls. 'nuff said.

yay! my favorite - rachel whiteread's room

Salvador Dalí's Lobster Phone

for the complete list: Art Craziest Nation

tagged! a departure

I'm not usually a fan of memes spread across the blogosphere - they always struck me a slightly self-indulgent, but this looked like a fun one, so I'm glad jess tagged me:

Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:

  1. art gallery intern
  2. envelope opener in a large warehouse
  3. advertising account executive
  4. media analyst
Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:

1. The Jerk
2. Clueless
3. amorres perros
4. bad education

I guess a little high, a little low. and I clearly have a thing for gael garcia bernal.

Four Places I’ve Lived other than L.A. (with food memories from each)

1. Flushing, NY: this is all about my grandmother's cooking: chicken soup, braised cabbage, roast chicken, kasha varnishkas - jewish cooking.
2. Binghamton, NY: not many happy food memories here. um, bad dining hall food and an olive garden? actually best food memory: friday happy hours at number 5 - a converted firehouse restaurant. we couldn't believe we had to spend an outrageous $4 for a beer but they put out a free spread that included roast turkey, ham, you name it. it was manna from heaven for a poor college student.
3. Hell's Kitchen, NY: my favorite delivery: afghan kebab house. I ordered from there at least once a week, and began to force all my friends to order with me after 9/11 because I feared they might face undue discrimination - and if they closed down, I would be devastated.
4. London, UK: the chorizo sandwich at borough market imported from spain. the chocolate and hazelnut biscuits at carlucci's. great thai above a pub. living on curry row in shoreditch. dinner at OXO tower with my parents for my 30th birthday. man, I have a lot of good food memories there.

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch:

1. Veronica Mars
2. Lost
3. Project Runway
4. How to Cook Everything: Bittman Takes on America's Chefs

almost impossible to choose just four. my tivo works overtime. but as you can see, wed is a big TV night for me since the top 3 are all on that night.

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation:

1. Costa Rica
2. Greece
3. Japan
4. Turkey

Four Websites I Visit Daily:

1. Design Sponge
2. A Daily Dose of Architecture
3. Go Fug Yourself
4. Defamer

plenty of MSM also, but decided to list the blogs I love.

Four of My Favorite Foods:

This is a tough one for me. hard to choose just 4.
1. xia long bao (but generally any filling wrapped in pasta - dumplings, ravioli, perogi, etc)
2. chicken soup
3. pizza. (but not any of the pizza in LA.)
4. any grilled meat - kebab, korean bbq, churrasco, southern bbq. fire + meat = crazy delicious.

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:

1. London in the summer, walking around hampstead heath
2. new york in the fall, hanging out in brooklyn with friends
3. china, esp shanghai - bc I've never been and it seems like a crazy, exciting time to visit china
4. brazil - again, bc I've never been and I love the food, the people, the music, the martial arts, the dancing, the thongs.

Four Tags:

1. Rudayday, because he loves food and traveling.
2. David Card, to see if he'll use his corporate blog to do this.
3. Joe, because we like the same TV shows and its been a while since he's posted.
4. krucoff. because he's krucoff.

I think I might need more girl friends. one of the occupational hazards of working in technology, I guess. all the bloggers are boys.

hidden city contest

this is why I like the internet: tropolism is hosting an open source architecture photo contest: Hidden City:

The contest is simple: post your photos (with a caption) to our public Flickr pool (or email them to us for posting), and our jury will select their favorites in five categories. The winners will be posted to Tropolism.

The theme of the contest is uncovering the Hidden City, your Hidden City, the one you see every day. It may be in plain sight of everyone else, but it is your eye that finds the extraordinariness in a particular street corner, a unique stair, a crazy intersection, a visually arresting approach, or a particular tree in the city. The photographs can be of a beautiful (and perhaps unpublished) park, or as simple as the sun hitting a particular building at a particular time of day. Please include a caption, or a Flickr annotation, about what makes it extraordinary to you. The entries should have one thing in common: they demonstrate, to you, the pleasure of living in the city.

The 5 Categories are:

  • Best Hidden Place
  • Best Density
  • Best Natural/Urban Overlap
  • Best Unofficial Landmark
  • Best Building

We will keep the contest open until March 10, 2006, and post winners the week of March 20. Good Luck!

Monday, February 13, 2006

upcoming architecture events

a couple of upcoming events. and if I can ever figure out how to get my pix off my phone, I will eventually post my surreptitiously taken photos at the nomadic museum this weekend.

Please join the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House
for a curator walk-through of the exhibition SYMMETRY.

Saturday, February 18, 1 pm at the Schindler House.
Curators Kimberli Meyer and Nizan Shaked discuss the Symmetry exhibition.
Free with price of admission.

In the world of space and time, symmetry derives its meaning from a center, a repetition of forms on mirroring sides of an axis. The exhibition Symmetry features works by Los Angeles-based contemporary artists that use or relate to this concept. The artworks in the exhibition underscore and often directly respond to the unique symmetry of the Schindler House. Like the house, the works perform a spin on the idea of balance, the use of symmetry—or its careful undoing—appearing sometimes on the surface, sometimes hidden in the structure, but always at the core of a work’s meaning. Curated by Kimberli Meyer and Nizan Shaked, Symmetry presents work by nine artists: Edgar Arceneaux, Patrick Hill, Brandon Lattu, Sandeep Mukherjee, Amy Sarkisian, Eddo Stern and Jessica Hutchins, Stephanie Taylor and Sam Watters.

Symmetry is on view through May 7, 2006.

On Tuesday, February 28, as part of its Nights at the Mountain series
at (of course) the Mountain Bar in Chinatown, the Los Angeles Forum for
Architecture and Urban Design is hosting Pecha Kucha night with
architect John Southern as our host.

Pecha Kucha is a Japanese term that roughly translates as chit-chat,
or perhaps as irritating chatter. Pecha Kucha is a lot of fun for
short attention spans. Pecha Kucha is a new kind of venue for anyone
involved in, or interested in, architecture, design, fashion, and

Originally created by Tokyo's Klein Dytham Architects, Pecha Kucha
consists of 20 people showing 20 images each, each for 20 seconds.
The presentations start at 8:20 (20:20 in military time). There will
be no running over, there will be no turning back, there will be no
cover. Be sure to bring your friends and come thirsty.

Deadline for submissions is Sunday, February 26.

For more information, including Pecha Kucha rules, please visit our
web site:


hot weather, hot chocolate

its hard to think about hot chocolate when its near 90 degrees, but one of my favorite nyc lunch spots, famous for their version, has finally opened in brentwood, city bakery. and while the chowhound reviews are mixed, I may just have to make the trek for the mac and cheese.

and while I don't often write about restaurants on this blog, in a blatant attempt to get curbed LA to link to me again, there is enough going on the world of (semi) celebrity restaurant news to warrant a post:

but other happy news: the hungry cat is open for lunch. finally!

monday media

for once, an early start on monday media:

Friday, February 10, 2006

late fri linkage

its late fri afternoon. you're probably not going to be doing much work. you're surfing the web. a few articles of interest:

  • the latimes profiles ken smith, after winning his commission for the $1 billion Orange County Great Park.
  • another bush blunder - his mistakenly identifies library tower downtown as "liberty tower." patt morrison at the huffington post wonders what exactly LA needs liberating from.
  • go east, young man - inland CA, particularly san bernadino and riverside counties, are experiencing the greatest population, home sale and job growth as people are priced out of LA, san diego and orange counties.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

getting back into the swing...

like everyone else in LA right now, I've been battling what I thought was a bad cold but I'm now beginning to think is allergies brought on by the santa ana's, the raging wildfires, and all the plants blooming as a result of 85+ degree weather. so blogging has been light, as has work and social commitments. but taking a couple of claritin and fighting it off. a couple of events:

tonight is the downtown art walk, with free admission to not only a number of galleries but also moca, the lapl, and the museum of neon art. there's also a guided tour for the galleries and a downtown art ride for those of you with bikes and stamina.

also, I'll be docenting again this weekend (is that even a verb?) at the schindler house. my shift is on sat from 11am to 2:30pm. if you've never been, come by for a tour of this historic home. docents are available every weekend, the house is open during the week for self-guided tours. admission is $7, $6 for students. more info here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

me blowhard, you jane

one of the 2blowhards has written an eloquent and educational paean to jane jacobs - it would make a lovely eulogy if she wasn't still alive. a great primer, and some terrific quotes by the urban theorist/activist/writer.

Monday, February 06, 2006

monday media

red carpet shot from http://www.ambassadorhotel.blogspot.com/

whoops, almost forgot. its monday:

all foster, all the time

and a few pics on or from the south bank.

have I mentioned how much I love norman foster? a few shots of city hall:

new construction adjacent to city hall, again designed by foster. I believe these are corporate offices, including a new HQ for ernst & young:

more foster, visible through the fog:

a few photos...

just a few photos from london. I'm not including the one of my friend in the ER with an IV after our 4am ambulance ride due to a nasty virus. but a few other fun ones.

breaking! the british love terriers! an ironic (I hope) decorating motif in the hotel lobby:

even the bathrooms at the design museum are cool. nothing pays tribute to the contributions of female designers like a bathroom door:

the british also love their goats:

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I just wrote a long post about london and my motherfucking browser crashed. and I'm jetlagged and delirious and have no patience to try to remember and re-write what I wrote.

perhaps later I'll feel up to it but for now let me just say london is arguably the greatest city in the world. I loved it when I lived there (albeit it took a few months before I was truly, madly, deeply in love with the city) and I love it now.

I wont go into most of what I did or ate or drank (although I will say london is a great eating city. no, seriously, stop laughing. if you still think it sucks you haven't been there in the past decade. its really great and not just the indian food). I will mention I gorged on the museums while I was there, like a dying man gasping for air (yes, I know LA has world-class museums but you can't tell me it can possibly compare). in just a few days time, I managed to fit in a trip to the design museum, the sir john soane museum, the national gallery, the hayward gallery for a dan flavin retrospective, and 2 visits to the tate modern to take in rachel whiteread's turbine hall commission and the new half-finished layout (which I'll try to write a post on later). unfortunately, my trip to the fashion and textile museum was (almost) for nothing since it was closed when I went.

but all was not lost - and I'm bringing it home now - (since I have to, in some way, relate this to architecture and not a low-rent fodors) just across the way from the fashion museum lies a small storefront that is the UK headquarters of united nude, a shoe company founded by Rem D. Koolhaas, the less famous architect and nephew of that other koolhaas and an english cobbler. (and I highly recommend clicking on that link for one of the most hysterically pretentious websites ever to invoke architecture and shoes). so how could I possibly resist? especially when half the shoes were on sale for a ridiculously low price (even with the 2:1 GBP to dollar ratio) and the pair I bought was inspired by the barcelona chair. my only regret? not buying more than one pair.