Monday, July 31, 2006

good things come to those who wait?

so it seems that the lear center has finally released the book Ready to Share based on last year's conference. sure, it took place about 18 months ago, but better late than never. aram and I actually wrote an academic article on copyright in the music and fashion industries that is published in the book, so I'm looking forward to receiving my copy - which comes just in time for my parent's arrival. maybe now they won't think grad school was a total waste.

Friday, July 28, 2006

planning for fall

it seems like summer is almost over, despite all the heat. I'm spending half of aug entertaining family guests. my parents are coming for a week, followed immediately by my sister. all haven't been out here in over 2 years. so I will most likely drag all of them to the schindler house to get my tour (I keep my blogging a secret from my parents but not my docent duties). plus, I love playing tour guide - I truly do. I'm taking my parents to the hollywood bowl, we have dinner resevations at AOC, and I plan on asking john and jack to join us for dim sum in SGV. (john - ocean star?)

sept is the hard part to plan. I have a wedding in ny towards the end and I'm mostl likely speaking at a conf in ny around the same time. in mid-oct my father is in all probability having back surgery so I want to be there for the 4 days he's in the hospital. so here is my conundrum: do I just stay in new york, work from there, meet with clients/potential clients and couch surf between friends' apts and my parent's house? or do I fly back to LA and then go out to ny again mid oct? and did I mention I also have to go to ny in nov to speak at another conference? and here is what's calling me back - the Silver Lake architecture tour. which is just silly, bc I go to tours for free all the time with the schindler house, I've already been to Silvertop in the past year, and this thing costs $75 without the reception. can architecture be an addiction? because maybe I need to go cold turkey.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

mission almost accomplished

yesterday josh and I had drinks with a couple of people from CIM, who are going head to head with the scientologists in the hollywood land grab. (that giant condom on sunset? yup, that's CIM). and not sure I mentioned this, but in the grand tradition of informality + blogging, I've somehow been upgraded to co-editor at curbed LA. my mother would be so proud if I actually told her I blogged. its still a shameful family secret.

anyway, josh and I met with these nice folks, who invited us out purely because they liked our blog. that was it, no other reason. we were semi-shocked. our constant verbal diarrhea is actually appreciated by suits at mega-developer corporations. we were hoping for some good gossip but these people are like the mob. I think their MBA graduation ceremony includes a vow of omerta. no nasty stories about the kor group. no juicy gossip on the scientologists. not even a bad word to say about diva architects. I mean, really. we already know who the divas are, just spill it.

however, they kindly paid for our food and drinks (or rather, CIM did) and as josh points out, if we can occasionally convince people richer than us to pay the tab, our job here is done.

another grand intervention

the lear center is holding another public meeting and workshop on the grand ave park:

Come One, Come All!

Grand Avenue Civic Park
Public Meeting & Workshop #2


10am - 12:30pm, Saturday, August 19, 2006
National Center for the Preservation of Democracy

111 North Central Avenue
Between Temple & 1st
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Watch the Webcast on

Please join us in Little Tokyo for the second in a series of community workshops. The program -- organized by the official Grand Avenue Park design team, led by Brenda Levin, Mark Rios and Aaron Paley -- will include a presentation of initial design concepts that synthesize the ideas and principles generated in the first workshop. Participants at the workshop and those attending online will have the opportunity to give feedback to the design team.

Can't make it to the meeting? The Norman Lear Center is hosting a LIVE WEBCAST, complete with an online, real-time discussion board. Within 48 hours of the first workshop, as many people had viewed the Webcast online and posted comments as attended in person.

In an effort to extend its public outreach, the Grand Avenue Committee and Related Companies are endorsing event Webcasting and online civic engagement efforts by the Norman Lear Center. Online viewers can post comments and questions, which will be relayed to event moderators. Video of the event and a transcript will be archived online.

Please join us in person or online for this exciting experiment in civic engagement and design.

  • Download the August 19 flyer
  • Watch video or read a transcript of the first Community Workshop
  • Check out the Civic Park Work Plan
  • Read the Draft EIR Report and add your comments (Deadline: August 3)
  • Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    holy. fucking. shit.

    Herzog and de Meuron's new renderings for the Tate Modern's extension.
    apparently, they wanted to do a 180 from their design for the original museum. mission accomplished.

    Monday, July 24, 2006

    its too hot to blog

    almost. I've been spending as little time as possible at home since I have no AC. what time I do spend here is usually in the dark (lamps add too much heat), splayed across the couch, quietly moaning and sweating. and totally not in a sexy way. more in a kvetchy way. and I now depend on the kindness of friends who have let me couch surf the last few nights just to sleep in AC. tomorrow my window unit should be installed and I'm fairly certain my little 6,000 BTU unit will be the proverbial straw on the grid's back and we'll all go black. and john can blame the malthusian catastrophe we face on me. he's certain we're heading there.
    anyway, this weekend was not without a little bit of architecture. I blogged on curbed LA last week about the skirt exhibition at the prada store. jess and I decided to check it out on sat and while I mocked the LA Times' search for deeper meaning, I have to say, those were some gorgeous skirts. and we have to hand it to OMA, those architects know a thing or two about mounting an exhibition. they twirl, they swirl, they sway in the (non-existant) breeze. there is an emphasis on the quality and workmanship - some of the skirts have multiple magnifying glasses strategically positioned to highlight the beading, or materials, or design. Its a perfect embodiment of what Hal Foster argues in "Design and Crime" - architecture and design have subsumed art and criticism as the privileged discipline's of contemporary visual culture. And as the prada exhibition proves, its a domain that is no longer exclusive to the rich (although only the very rich can actually afford these skirts, the store - and exhibit - is open to all). more inportant that financial capital is cultural capital to "appreciate" these spaces. I'm going to go all grad school on your ass, and use a quote I depended on in my thesis from foster:
    Might this ‘designed subject’ be the unintended offspring of the ‘constructed subject’ so vaunted in postmodern culture? One thing seems clear: just when you thought the consumerist loop could get no tighter in its narcissistic logic, it did: design abets a near-perfect circuit of production and consumption, without much ‘running-room’ for anything else.
    for what its worth, foster is one of the only theorists I still remember and defer to from grad school and his book is totally readable even to the layperson.
    but we didn't just stop at the prada store. we also stopped into the georg jensen store down the block to check out tadao ando's design. And look, ma! No concrete! yes, its icy cool, minimalist and very very blue, but tadao seems to have given up his signature material on rodeo drive. surprisingly, the store only seems to feature their very expensive jewelry in the individual cases and there is none of their housewares to be found. according to the press release, the glass cubes can rise and descend so salespeople can show customers the jewelry from the cases. still, we were left feeling a little 'eh.' especially after just having been to the prada store. if these stores were celebrities prada would be angelina jolie - vibrant, sexy, every time you look you hope to discover something new. and georg jensen, well, I hate to go for the obvious jennifer aniston comparison so let's go with gwyneth paltrow - restrained, minimal, classy but maybe a little boring.

    I'm just waiting for the retail equivalent of paris hilton to open up in LA. oh wait, its coming to melrose.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    almost over my sarah vowell obsession

    or at least, I'm taking a break from it. finished the partly cloudy patriot this weekend, and I was right, I didn't love it the way I loved assassination vacation. assassination vacation just felt more coherent to me (which is perhaps unfair since partly cloudy is a collection of essays, after all). but I laughed. and overall, she's a pretty persuasive essayist. she's correct - Gore could have learned a lot from Buffy the Vampire Slayer about embracing his inner nerd.

    anyway, onto The Plot Against America, right after I finish reading the august issue of Lucky, which for some reason is taking me an embarassingly long time to finish. (anything more than a day is embarassing).

    and sitting on my bedside desk is a book John loaned me (although I don't recall ever asking to borrow it but he INSISTS I will love it): American Theocracy. and while I'm sure it will make me a much better person to understand how deeply ingrained religion is into our current political and cultural climate, its still about 100 degrees in my apartment and I'm afraid it will just annoy me. its big and heavy and hardcover and just thinking about it makes my jaw clench. maybe I'll save it for cooler weather, esp since it looks like I may spend 2 or 3 weeks in ny in the fall. of course, its size makes it an unlikely travel companion. (flashback: the 3 months it took me to read The Corrections because I couldn't carry it on the subway). anyone know if there is a cliff notes version?

    habitat 825 update

    I actually remembered to bring my camera with me to the schindler house this weekend so I can photograph progress on habitat 825. its been a while since my last update. the obvious progress since my last update: the exterior sheathing is now up - and I spotted a few windows on the lower floors are already installed. here are the photos:

    habitat 825.07.15.06_1

    habitat 825.07.15.06_4

    habitat 825.07.15.06_3

    habitat 825.07.15.06_2

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    the prodigy speaks

    because they asked nicely, and I used all my LA-centric material on curbed today, here's a link to josh prince-ramus speaking at the TED conference. apparently, BMW is sponsoring the TEDtalks web site - I guess they're all up in architecture's grill since zaha's new headquarters for them is getting rave reviews. and let's face it - innovation is a pretty compelling marketing message.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006


    its been a month already since I last had my docent duties at the schindler house. so sat I'll be there from 11am to 2:30 - tours are included with admission. I know I'm biased but its totally worth checking out. so little of LA's iconic architecture is open to the public - you can make an appt to see the VDL house, you can walk around the outside of the eames house, and you can visit hollyhock. that's pretty much it. so take advantage of the little LA has to offer in the way of publicly available private residences.

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    roses and rauschenberg

    yesterday, in the ridiculous heat, john, jack and I visited the huntington library and gardens in pasadena. I had never been before, and even though john had, a few landscape architects he knows recommended he go back to see the desert garden. below, a few pix he took at the gardens.

    the desert garden

    lotus flowers

    mona lisa in the bathroom
    apparently, they've hung the mona lisa in the men's room.
    that's how you know its a classy museum.

    and last night, stopped by moca for the rauschenberg show. not a huge fan of the rauschenberg show, but was far more impressed by the small lorna simpson show. actually, what impressed me most was how well dressed everyone there was, esp for LA and esp womens' shoes. I saw some great footwear there, including a woman with the same mobius shoes designed by koolhaas' nephew that I have. mine kill, and I can't imagine spending a few hours walking in a museum with them on - they're strictly "drive, valet, sit" shoes. god bless her and her future orthopedic surgeon.

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    my summer reading list

    over the weekend I finished assassination vacation, sarah vowell's wonderful travelogue/historical rumination on (as the title implies) assassinations past. Specifically, lincoln's, garfield's and mckinley's assassinations - which took place over a 36 year period. pretty condensed in our overall history - and all took place before any of my forefathers or mothers made their way to this country. vowell is wry, witty and self-deprecating - yet she also manages to humanize not just the presidents, their wives and children, but also their political adversaries, their enemies and their killers. its a great summer read - maybe not light chick-lit beach reading - but so much of it painfully echoes our political situation today - extreme political polarization, imperialist "interventions" (I'm looking at you, mckinley), a misled and misleading media, and religious justifications for war, tyranny and oppression. how little we learn. all wrapped up in an incredibly funny book. No, really! Assassinations are a hoot!

    I actually liked it so much, I dragged out those last 20 pages so it wouldnt end too soon. But, alas, all good things must end. So I went to the bookstore and picked up The Partly Cloudy Patriot, vowell's collection of essays that preceded Assassination Vacation. And the very first essay is all about Gettysburg! its a testament to her writing (or perhaps my geekiness) that I was beyond excited to find the first chapter took us back to her favorite philosopher/writer/politician. And she visits Gettysburg with her old friend Bennet, who makes frequent appearances as her travel companion in Assassination Vacation. it was like coming home to old friends. Now the question is - will this book live up to the standard set by the first one I read? will I be chasing the dragon - as so often happens whenever I discover something I love for the first time - The OC, shanghai soup dumplings, John Lautner, the Barneys Warehouse Sale? Will second, third and fourth experiences ever live up to the initial, giddy blush of excitement and infatuation you feel the first time? only time will tell...

    p.s. I also bought roth's The Plot Against America - more light summer reading! about nazis! But since I havent started it and its been ages since I read my last roth book, I'll withhold commentary for now.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    keywords that brought you here

    I'm taking the easy way out today, as I struggle to catch up on a few works projects. a few of the more interesting ones recently:
    • $7 million subsidy for los angeles downtown supermarket
    • great hollywood walkabout john
    • non mobile homes in parks
    • tujunga as the place of invaders from space
    • terra banks in panties [I love typos]
    • brad pitts home and distance from malibu pier [This was too specific not to include]
    • malibu ca millionaire row
    • r m schindler building the slope
    • don johnson address los angeles [stalker. with bad taste.]
    • challenge independent contractor status merchandiser
    • minimize the bust workout [I wish that were my problem]
    • jessica biel's address brentwood [stalker. with mediocre taste.]
    • 20,971 number of damien hurst's badges sold in tate modern shop.
    • non tipping salon sarasota
    • mudslide in bel-air, ca. in 1971
    • eric owen moss sucks [Duh.]
    • denim cutoffs gallery
    • ebay cheerleader santa barbara
    • providence ri pizza rating
    • peter eisenmann vagina [Awesome.]