Friday, June 30, 2006


did a short interview yesterday on adtech connect radio with susan bratton in anticipation of a panel I'm moderating in november at adtech. discussed some upcoming research projects, the indecency fines bill approved by the house, and what it was like in the early days of the internet boom. description here:

Title: Roving Eyes and Little People
Susan Bratton interviews Matt Wasserlauf, CEO of Broadband Enterprises; Marissa, Founder and Managing Partner of Radar Research and Len Ostroff, CEO of Rovion in a show focused on broadband, video, marketing mash-ups and more.

Find out about a dog whistle only teens can hear, be in-the-know about the latest practical joke on YouTube and an intelligent new scoring index for Web 2.0 companies. Emotion meets accountability with hotspot and borderless streaming video ad formats you might actually like…plus cool little talking web people.

listen here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

how hot is it?

I think my apartment is about 300 degrees today. my lack of air conditioning is beginning to make me feel very european, and not in a good way. next thing you know I'll want socialized health care and listen to bad 80s pop. oh wait...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

did I mention we also went to the hockney exhibition?

back in the winter of 93/94 I was an intern at the holly solomon gallery in new york. when I was working there, I went to an opening at a nearby gallery of work by david hockney and met him. he was old even back then, and hard of hearing but very sweet and gracious enough to talk to some anonymous intern. now, everytime I fly into LA and look down at a landscape dotted with swimming pools, I think back to that meeting and how when he landed here, he saw the same landscape that inspired his most frequent subject.

around the same time, in LA, john also coincidentally met hockney. I've known john for 2 years now and its odd that we just discovered we both met one of the most preeminent artists of the 20th century just a few days apart. what makes it even stranger, john had just gotten thru introducing me to Vonnegut's idea of karass as we had stood in line for Klimt, outside of our discussion of the exhibit. so now we're convinced we're somehow on the same team, moving towards an unknown, or unknowable, goal. me: straight, short, neurotic jew from new york. him: gay, tall, paranoid texan, doppelganger for hugh grant. but we're on the same team.
David Hockney
Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy
Tate, London

anyway, that was my convoluted way of introducing this article about the exhibition, that points out the complicated relationship between artist and collector/patron (holly required all of her artists to do a portrait of her - she had a rotating gallery in her office of warhol silkscreens, lichtenstein's comic book representation of her, mapplethorpe's photo, etc). what makes is especially poignant was that one of our favorite pieces in the exhibition, Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy, has such an affecting story behind it:
A third painting, Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy (1970-71), another example of Hockney’s "double portrait" series, is Hockney’s famous painting of the husband-and-wife team of Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark, celebrated fashion designers during the Swinging Sixties in London. Birtwell, a longtime Hockney muse, has recently reignited her career as a designer, thanks in part to another London fashion fad, the Topshop fashion chain. As for Clark, his story is less happy. He fell into bankruptcy and drug addiction in the 1980s and was murdered by his (male) lover in 1996. For those who know the off-screen details, the tension between the two sitters, which seems to reach out and include the artist, is disquieting, to say the least.
its a massive exhibit - it really goes on forever and John and I were already worn out from the Klimt show, so I think I need to go back when I have more time and patience to really make my way through the whole show.

Monday, June 26, 2006

what have I become?

this weekend I realized exctly how much of a cliche I've become. Observe:
  • read: assassination vacation
  • watched: wordplay
  • attended: "The Jewish Identity Project" and "Rwanda: After, Darfur: Now" at the Skirball, the Klimt exhibition at LACMA.
and I loved each and every one. Only halfway through Vowell's book, but her wry, self-depracating writing about the first three presidential assassinations in the US is fascinating. Wordplay is a warm, funny documentary about crossword puzzle freaks - if you saw Spellbound - this movie is basically what those kids grew up to be (and it made me miss that element of new york that is totally unencumbered by any desire to be "cool" and completely happy in their own nerdiness - not sure I've found that here yet).

the Jewish Identity project was suprisingly good - asking what exactly is a Jew in an age of multiculturalism and hyper-globalization. And how does that self-perception change from one generation to the next, particularly in families that went through the Holocaust (pretty much ripped from a page in my family's history). And Darfur, while timely and relevant, didn't really shed much light on anything I haven't already read in the press. Juxtaposing it with images of Rwanda's genocide brings the message home, and its hard not to feel something looking at the images of malnourished children, but I blame Sally Struthers for inundating us with similar images, then innoculating us to them. The photos just seemed to lack a real narrative, or emotional heft. or am I just cold?

which brings me to Klimt, which closes on the 30th. If you're in LA, Go. Before it closes. the lines were monstrous, they move slowly, the exhibition is packed. but its worth every annoying inconvenience. Reproductions just dont capture the colors, the layers, the vibrancy of his work. And going with john, he loved to point out how this painting could be read:

ok, prepare for art analysis 101: John pointed out that Adele Bloch-Bauer's figure can be read as both a phallus or a yoni. the dual drapes of her coat look like labia, or if read as a phallus, then her head looks like its "penetrating" the dark hole of her hat. but john doesn't like to stop there - he also likes to wax poetic on one of his favorite topics: the interplay of sex and death. Adele's pallor, her vacuous stare, lend the painting a funereal quality. we didn't even get around to trying to analyze the apparent orientalism going on in the background.

but after reading the history of the exhibition - the struggle to recover the klimt's back from the Austrian government after they were stolen by the Nazis - slaps us with the irony of finally being able to see these works just as our own country struggles with an imperialist war. yup, sweet, sweet irony.

oh, and I finally saw the dodgers actually win a game this weekend.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

they like me, they really like me!

just saw LAist's link to a post I wrote on curbed re: travis barker selling his home in holmby hills. and tony referred to me as "super-hot" - not sure if he's referring to my writing or my ass. either way, I'll take the compliment. thanks, tony!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

mariachi, taiko and...park planning?

it seems LA's residents even need to be entertained when discussing urban planning. got this email about tomorrow's public meeting to plan the grand ave park:

Come help envision A NEW CIVIC PARK extending from the Music Center to
City Hall!!!!

PUBLIC MEETING AND WORKSHOP: Wednesday, June 21st, 5:30-7:30 pm

JOIN US AT THE COURT OF FLAGS: 210 N. Hill Street: At the mall between Hill & Broadway

Ride the Metro Red Line: Exit at Civic Center/Tom Bradley Station

PARK FREE at Music Center: Enter on Grand, tell the attendant you're here for the "Civic Park Workshop"

Take the survey online and help set the priorities for parkprogramming
and uses:

Schedule of the Day:

11:30 to 5:30 See the display boards and vote for your favorite park uses.

12 noon Enjoy the sounds of a Mariachi trio

12:15 and 4:00 Take a walking tour with a design team member

5:00 Watch a Taiko Drum performance by Japanese Festival Sounds

5:30 to 7:30 Participate in the Public Meeting and Workshop

For all questions and to RSVP call 213.891.2964 or
If you require translation services for the workshop, you must RSVP and indicate the services necessary at that time.

Can't make the workshop? Participate online!!

Watch a webcast of the workshop and post comments/questions at

In an effort to extend its public outreach, the Grand Avenue Committee and The Related Companies are endorsing event webcasting and online civic engagement efforts by the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenburg School.

Monday, June 19, 2006

hollywood's revitalization

not a lot of architecture stuff lately since I was hosting my BFF from new york this past weekend. and he can care less about architecture, so we instead spent the weekend at the beach, at the bars, and watching world cup soccer. I'm still confused about offsides and how a tie can be a loss, but I'm learning. and anyway, those players are HOT. seriously. so spending a few hours at duke's in malibu watching the game was far less painful than I thought it would be.

and I'm making strides on catching up with my reading. finally finished sore winners (great pop culture/political analysis using bush as a prism for contemporary cultural analysis), sped through the devil wears prada (what? I needed a little candy after sore winners. and it IS candy. terribly written, rambling, pointless, one-dimensional delicious candy), and am now concurrently reading assassination vacation (I wish sarah vowell and I could hang) and The Big Oyster: history on the half shell, a social and political history of the development of New York City, told through the lens of the history of the oyster industry. doesn't sound exciting? weirdly, it is completely fascinating because kurlansky excels at describing history through food. salt was a page turner.

I'm also reading through back issues of Los Angeles magazine. read through the issue on Hollywood last night and was struck by a comment in one of the articles on its revitalization. I'm paraphrasing but they were discussing the periodic publicity campaigns the hollywood chamber of commerce embarks on to herald its imminent revitalization. one component of each campaign: a pointless walk-through for journalists through the neighborhood. and then I got this email:

Hi friends and fellow walkers-

I am working with Alison Becker of Council President Eric Garcetti's Office and the Dept of City Planning on a Walkability Study of the Hollywood Community Plan area. We are conducting a Walk Audit of the major streets in the plan area to review the current build out of the street VS the street designation of each street. We will be sponsoring a grand event that we are calling "The Great Hollywood Walkabout" which will take place on Saturday June 24th from 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM with community volunteers.

Anyway, we are looking to develop new street designations as part of the Hollywood Community Plan Update that help to retain as much of the existing positive character of these streets as possible. The new street designations would be specific to Hollywood and become formally adopted street standards. If appropriate these new street standards can be adopted for other community plan areas as those plans are revised.

The way that we are going to get to the new street designations is to gather community support during the walkabout. We will evaluate the current walking conditions and character defining qualities of the important streets in the plan area.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well I need your help on the day of the Walkabout to facilitate groups of community volunteers for the walk audits. The event will start off with a training session for the community volunteers on what makes a great and walkable street. We will then break into groups and travel by public transportation to each of the streets that we have selected. We will utilize a Walkability Checklist that I will develop to evaluate each block face in the area.

Can I count on you to help keep Hollywood Walkable and to make it more walkable in the future? If so, we need professional volunteers in various areas of Hollywood, such as Downtown Hollywood - Hollywood Blvd. from La Brea Avenue to Gower Street, Sunset Blvd. La Brea to the Hollywood Fwy and others; in East Hollywood along Western Avenue, Vermont Avenue, Hillhurst Avenue and other streets.

Please respond to my email with which streets you would like to help lead a group of community members on or if you have any questions. Please pass on my email to others who may be interested.

We are at a turning point on these issues in Los Angeles and it will take the effort of all us to make it happen. You can walk the walk and make a difference or just talk the talk and see our streets destroyed parcel by parcel.

Thanks for your dedication to Los Angeles,
Deborah Murphy, Associate AIA
Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning
2351 Silver Ridge Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Thursday, June 15, 2006

upcoming events

since curbed discourages event listings:

The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design kicks off its annual summer On the Map series on Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 7pm. "On The Map" is an annual tour of recently completed design projects that are presented on site by the architect/s. The events are open to the public. There is an admittance fee of $15 for non-members per event. The events are free for LA Forum members. Attendees can join the Forum the night of the event or on our website:

The 2006 OTM series schedule is as follows:
All events start at 7pm on Thursdays.

June 15
Touraine + Richmond
One Window House
2129 Linden Avenue, Venice, 90291

June 22
Lee + Mundwiler
Urban Beach House
7 Vicente Terrace, Santa Monica 90401

June 29
Cigolle X Coleman
TR-1 House and Studio
17463 Tramonto Drive, Pacific Palisades 90272

July 13
Joe Day
deegan-day design studio
2450 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles 90026

July 20
Daly, Genik
Artist's Studio
2416 Hidalgo Avenue, Los Angeles 90039

July 27
Tom Marble and Pae White
White Marble Residence
4027 Paige Street, Montecito Heights 90031

Aug 3
Ridgewood Residence
385 North Ridgewood Place, Los Angeles 90004

From the Norman Lear Center:
Grand Avenue Civic Park Community Workshop

5:30pm Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Court of Flags

224 North Hill Street
Between Temple &amp 1st
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Watch the Webcast on

Please join us at the Grand Avenue Civic Park on June 21st for the first 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 day's worth of outdoor activities:

11:30am - 1:30pm: Food stalls and walking tours of the park site

5:00pm - 5:30pm: Musical performance

5:30pm - 7:30pm: Public meeting

The goal of the public meeting will be to gather feedback from potential Civic Park users, solicit community input and develop key principles for the project. This is a chance for everyone's voice to be heard.

Monday, June 12, 2006

swell shots

this weekend was kind of packed with architecture and food stuff. I had been complaining the last few times I was a docent at the schindler house that visitorship was sparse at best. Not so on sat. it was non-stop because of the AIA convention. be careful what you wish for... it was the busiest weekend I can remember in a long time. and one of the toughest - I was bombarded by questions by architects on construction techniques that I couldn't answer. Ask me about the program, the social history, gossip about schindler and neutra - I'm happy to answer. Just don't ask me about studs.

sat evening john and I headed down to the 2x8 swell show at the gas company lofts. I posted his pics on curbed today. sort of a disappointing event since we couldn't go up to the lofts and didn't win the vespa we were sure was ours. I would even have been happy with the spa weekend at the beverly regent but no luck. we loved the grand hall of the gas company building - still in the middle of restoration. we loved the lit-from-within banana-shaped inflatable chairs.

strangely, at dinner later that night I ran into some of the architects I had given tours to earlier in the day. LA is starting to turn into a small town.

this week there will be nothing architecture-related, I hope. instead, it will be all about work, the last week of the everybody wins program for the semester, hosting a friend from new york, and saying goodbye to matteo as he heads off to ny to work at richard meier's PR agency. with his perry street apartments referred to as "faulty towers" they have their work cut out for them.

and I never did make it sunday night to his friend's house in the hills. just too hard to squeeze in, between sunday supper at lucques and the premiere of entourage. oh well.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


did I mention my monthly docent duties at the schindler house are today? I'm hoping it will be slightly busier than the last couple of times - which competed with inclement weather and LA Times Book Festivals and Coachellas - making attendence at the house a trickle at best.

last night attended the design guide event at the new A+D Museum. missed everything at lacma and ace gallery and just spent a little time at the new museum. the event was just ok - impressive amount of money spent on an event completely open to the public, including the open bar and brazilian band, but it all felt a little forced. maybe I was just feeling off. I dont know.

tonight john and I are attending the 2x8 swell thing at the gas company lofts downtown and we're far more excited about the lofts than the student work, but maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.

to top off the theme of this weekend, I promised matteo I would stop by his friend's house in the hills tomorrow night to see the house while mtv italia shoots a promo or something there. as usual, I'm fuzzy on the details, but matteo insists I'll love the house. at some point this weekend, I also need to finish an article on media planning due mon. fun.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

all schindler, all the time

spent a few hours today volunteering at one of the AIA conference tours, helping the schindler house. so I got to see schindler's erlik house and went to see the fitzpatrick house again. but with the new owner of the erlik house uncomfortable with even personal photography of the house, I only took a few exterior shots I'll upload eventually. and I didn't bother with the fitzpatrick house since I took so many photos last time. the erlik house was gutted a couple of years ago and completely redone, but was faithful to schindler's original specs. what was surprising to me was how much I liked it - its one of his last (done in 1951 - he died in 1953) and I tend to like his earlier stuff much better but this was just a jewel box of a house. small, bright, airy and light - with some typical schindler touches like clerestory windows, recessed bathroom skylights, complex interlocking spaces, and wood built-ins. I wish I had some photos of the interior.

anyway, got this notice about upcoming music events at the schindler house on kings road this summer:

The MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House is pleased to host another summer of

sound. at the Schindler House

Produced by The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS)

Saturday, June 24
The first Los Angeles concert by the renowned Tokyo based guitar improviser known for work ranging from the spare acoustic reductionism of "onkyo" to hell-on-the-highway inspired electric boogie.

Saturday, July 29
Using voice, cassettes and her laptop "as an old out of tune guitar," Yuko Nexus6 revels in fusing the ridiculous with the sublime to create songs which cling to the mind like anxious dreams.

Friday, August 25
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Louis and Bebe Barron's otherworldly soundtrack with four composers still under its spell: Thomas Dimuzio, Tom Grimley, Sukho Lee and David Rothbaum.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

Advance admission: $18; $14 for students with valid I.D., Friends of the Schindler House and SASSAS (The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound) members; $25 at the door.

Space is limited. Advance ticket purchase recommended.
Purchase tickets via SASSAS’s soundNet website:

Presented in association with

MAK Center for Art and Architecture

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

then and now

the guggenheim then:

Guggenheim Museum

the guggenheim now:

guggenheim scaffolding
guggenheim renovation
guggenheim under the scaffolding

apparently undergoing a 2 year, $25 million renovation, with new climate control, security systems and I believe I read something on the scaffolding about restoring FLW's original facade and color.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

back to sunny LA

what I managed to accomplish in less than a week in ny:
  • cook dinner for my parents
  • attend my high school reunion
  • celebrate my mother's birthday
  • meet with clients
  • catch up with old friends
  • take my little sister to dinner
  • lombardi's
  • xiao long bao
  • anglomania at the met, the flatware exhibit at the cooper hewitt (both are excellent)
  • finish the second half of sore winners (the first half took 4 months, second half 4 days. sometimes I miss commuting.)
  • blow out a tire on the BQE
what I did not accomplish (and wish I had more time to)
  • eat at babbo
  • go to the zaha hadid exhibit at the guggenheim
  • see a few more friends, meet a few more clients
  • go anywhere near the meatpacking district (bc of an interest in design and architecture, of course. no other reason.)
topic brought up in every conversation in new york, regardless of who you are talking to:
  • the gehry/ratner atlantic yards project
  • soaring real estate costs/brooklyn's gentrification (but this one is evergreen)
  • an inconvenient truth, but truthfully, that may have been my own fault
total time I've seen the sun:
  • I believe there was a half hour or so late monday afternoon
it will be good to be back in LA.