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.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I want an indian wedding

if I ever get married, I think I might have to have an indian wedding. any celebration that involves cutting off traffic on 49th street in the middle of the afternoon so the groom could ride a horse (both of them dressed in traditional indian garb - apparently elephants are too hard to rent in ny), live drummers, and men dancing wildly in the streets, is the kind of party I want to be involved in.

other things I discovered this weekend:
  • the rainbow room is a classic for a reason. gorgeous art deco interiors, amazing views.
  • prayer in any language bores me. hebrew, urdu, whatever. yawn.
  • I think I discovered the fatal flaw in norman foster's new hearst building: it seems to disappear at night. completely. it wasnt visible from the rainbow room as soon as the sun went down - I dont know if that's a temporary thing or if its better lit during the week when employees are there late. its such a gorgeous building, just wish the exterior lighting was better.
  • I might need a break from jewish food for a while. I think I doubled my cholesterol in the past 48 hours. oh wait, next week we get to fast for yom kippur. I'm almost looking forward to it.
  • my parents have 3 tivos yet only seem to record shows that end in "ood." that means a season or two of deadwood and the brotherhood. they're addicted to premium cable.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm stressed

work has been very, very busy lately - which is typically a good thing when you're just starting out. but a combination of factors is stressing me out and I haven't had time to blog. so to recap lately: mammoth is great. Go, even in the summer. great hiking, great canoeing. it looked like there was great fishing and it's all pretty cheap in the off season. plus I got to see california's fault line, which gets deep enough in spots you can't see the bottom. awesomely scary.

heading to nyc tomorrow for a wedding, a conference, and some round challah with the family. now that I've been gone awhile, I feel like friends are starting to treat me like a tourist. one ex-boss is taking me to his favorite off-broadway play (have I mentioned my intense dislike of musicals?) - sweet, but I foresee 2 hours of hell) and another is taking me to the isaac mizrahi show (ok, I kind of like his talk show). but I feel like I'm one Les Miz ticket away from a fanny pack and subway map.

despite all the "entertainment" planned, I haven't made a single dinner reservation anywhere, I have no idea what to pack in terms of footwear, and I havent really made definitive sleeping arrangements anywhere, since I figure there are a ton of friends/family I can crash at. the good news: the weather is around 70 everyday and it doesn't look like it will rain much (although I sort of hope for at least a drizzle). still on the agenda - the herzog and de meuron show at moma, planning to skip zaha at the guggenheim after hearing too many lukewarm reviews, and unfortunately I've already seen the utensil show at the cooper hewitt. with the way my calendar is shaping up, I dont think I"ll have a lot of time to wander the museums. work, work, work.

Friday, September 15, 2006

goin fishin'

one of my goals this year, after now living in LA for 3 years, has been to get out of LA more. see more of california. C and I went to san luis obispo in march, I went on a couple of trips to laguna and other parts of orange county, and now this weekend, off to mammoth - which I've never been to. and now I remember why - I don't have the proper wardrobe for cold weather. its dipping down to the 20s and 30s in mammoth this weekend. holy shite, that cold. its been a pretty stressful week, so I'm looking forward to hiking, the lake, canoeing and yes, maybe even fishing. plus we've got a dog, a fireplace, and vodka olga brought back from the ukraine. what else does one need for a cozy weekend in the mountains? that ukrainian moonshine will make me forget all about the fact I don't have a winter jacket.

and then off to nyc next thurs. can't wait to be back in MY natural habitat - concrete, skyscrapers, and shopping.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Aram calls Matt Lauer "glib"

Aram's appearance on the Today show yesterday. Now online.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

ca boom tour

yesterday, john and I went to the ca boom silver lake architecture tour. will write up more on that when I have more time , and will post on it for curbed once john uploads his much more professional photos than mine. but in the meantime, I was able to upload half my photos - flickr is driving me crazy, randomly decided that half my photos are not jpgs and half of them are. anyway, here are the photos of neutra's VDL and ohara residence (my favorite on the tour, restored by bonura building), the elevado residence by gubel & associates, the altman residence by finarchitecture (my least favorite), the creative-named silver lake house by standard llp (gorgeous), and the campbell-machado residence (more on that one later but there is a reason I have almost no photos of that one. the houseboys/sentinels standing guard on every floors were a bit intimidating).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

our little company on ABC world news tonight

aram has been on a tear lately - tons of print, but now he's getting some TV spots/online. behold- aram on world news tonight. and there is talk on the today show this morning but we haven't found it online yet.

best perk yet

every once in a while, being one of the co-editors of curbed LA has its perks - if you're an architecture geek. sure, it may lack the free products and gadgets "real" journalists get at "reputable" magazines, but I get access to tours. and this sat I'm going to CA Boom's silver lake architecture tour with a friend. I only hope this means we have passes to the other three tours this fall.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

they'll be coming for me any minute

I just realized that in the course of posting today and updating some of the sidebars on this blog, I recently googled the search terms "san+onofre+nuclear+power+plant" and "plot+against+america." I'm going to go search for "jon+benet+pornography" now and then just wait for the jackbooted thugs to come kicking in my door.

p.s. happy birthday, jess.

The OC: No McMansions, No Traffic

I spent the weekend in san celemente, site of a heated battle over home heights and richard nixon retirement village. I mentioned last week I was hoping we were heading to a mcmansion, since that's all they build in orange county, right? (un)fortunately san clemente's buildings are relatively modest two-story homes, whose size is deceptive from the outside. we were right above a golf course overlooking the ocean, so at least that part fulfilled the fantasy. but dave's home has some great 60s/70s bones, with the requisite sunken living room, stone-covered wall and two decks.

I wasn't able to observe any cougars in their natural habitat, the way we did earlier in the summer in laguna. or sleep in a mcmansion. or even hit horrendous traffic on the 405. instead, we grilled. we drank. we watched the third season of arrested development on dvd. and the first season of miami vice (still totally fucking stylish and much darker than I remember - and did they invent the concept of music licensing or just pay a fortune for tina turner and phil collins?).

instead of mcmansions, there were mobile homes and trailers lining san onofre, where we played bocce by the beach every day. I know I've been living in LA for three years but I still find the surfing subculture this strange, exotic animal. and san clemente, rather than letting you observe cougars in all their disquieting glory, provides ample opportunity to observe surfers in their element, oblivious to the twin breasts of the san onofre power plant adjacent to the beach.

gorgeous, aren't they?

hard to come back to LA, to the heat and the work that is waiting. I feel ready for fall. for cooler weather. for boots. for jackets. for hot soup. for the new fall season. who did meredith choose? what will happen to jack and kate and sawyer and hurley now that they're with the Others? will michael knight win project runway or will we have to suffer through yet another miscarriage of justice? will tim gunn adopt me and become my life coach?

god I love fall.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Three years

I realized a couple of days ago, I just passed the three year mark in LA - the three fastest years of my life. and I realized I'm slowly starting to think like an angeleno:
  • this week my car has been a fickle, unhappy mistress. but one new battery, one oil check and a smog test later, I think we've reached a detente. what's startling about all this - I refer to my car as my mistress.
  • I bundled up the other night to go meet a friend in santa monica...because its so much colder by the water.
  • waking up at 6am to do business with new york no longer seems unreasonable.
  • I'm going down to a friend's beach house in orange county for the weekend, and I'm secretly hoping its a mcmansion. seriously. I've never been to one before, its in san clemente, and there's a bit of a battle brewing there. so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a gate-guarded community, some faux-tuscan exteriors, maybe a palladian window or two, and if its less than 2,000 sq ft I'm turning the car around and driving home. I just want to see how the other half lives.
happy labor day.