Monday, February 29, 2016

New Art and THB in formal wear

Hello all:

THB is posing at the loft in his tuxedo and Jerry Garcia vintage tie (vintage meaning THB hasn't worn this tie, or just about any tie, in over 15 years) prior to heading out to the Berkeley Art Museum grand re-opening gala a few weeks ago.

Behind THB is a commissioned work by Chris Brown, a Berkeley artist that THB and DB have admired for many years.

This painting is hanging in the entrance hallway (if a one room loft can be said to have an entrance hallway). The perspective is a bit strange, the piece is 70" x 75", so a lot larger than it looks here (and THB looks tall, debonair, and even distinguished, right?)

Note: THB is not wearing glasses, this photo was taken after his two cataract surgeries. Tomorrow THB picks up his new glasses (needed for reading, hardly needed at all for distance)

Here it is without that annoying debonair figure in the foreground

And, as part of the commission, Chris gave us two paintings to choose from.

No problema, we bought both! This one is at the beach:

A more obvious "nautical" theme...this one is 65" square. It's in our bedroom at Monterey Dunes.

Neither picture has a name yet. 

If you'd like to take part in an informal poll, let me know which painting you like better and your gender (if you want to remain anonymous). While we were trying to decide, men much preferred one and women the other. 

Loft: Dark Blue Men 

Beach: Sailors

Day 3: LA to E-ville

Day 3: LA to E-ville
Day old baguette from Tavern; epi bread is better, that wasn't available yesterday morning

THB again up early to Starbucks, though a bit later than yesterday and they are better set up today (well, this time they turned the lights on in their "store"; they are inside the Ralph's (hmmmm....) a few blocks from the W.

Today we walk south to Johnny O'Groats, about 2 miles away. Lousy pancakes (though DB's are gluten free, so still a treat for her), $35, and on the way back get a good look at J's building, in the fog.

Utility box and boosters?

Gently pack-up and checkout of the W, it's close to $800/night when the taxes and parking ($40!) are thrown in, and aside from the minor annoyances, it's a great set of rooms.
Well, it takes some getting used to

Below Pico we pick up L the sistah, she's joining us for the rest of the day. 

Close to her pick-up spot south of Pico/Overland, is another light rail station awaiting opening in May:

The Ashby Station (matching BART)?

Lunch at Canters for pastrami sandwiches; unfortunately, rye bread is really not good (last time we bought a loaf to take home): thicker and doughier, not a good cornmeal crust. Along with extra pickles, matzoh ball soup for L (THB takes a few whacks at the gigantic ball), some bagel chips (comes with the soup), and Russian dressing (L likes to load her sandwich). Two Arnold Palmers, L treats.
L the sistah with her version of pastrami on rye

From lunch we scoot downtown, park under the Disney Hall and at 12:55pm get in the line for our 1pm free ticket entrance to the Broad, the newest major art museum in town, all the work from the Broad collection.

The place is crowded, not packed, since they are metering the fans in half hour increments, and extremely diverse and very young. Free admission can do that!

Most of the artists are instantly recognizable; there's a lot of work on the third floor:
Big-time LA artist

Another artist using creative materials

THB's fave piece in the museum (Dumas is from S. Africa)

the second floor is "stacks" of other works to be rotated through (the grand opening was in November if THB has it right):

and the first floor has more work and a shop.

Very cave-like on the first floor

At 1:40 we get a move on across the street to the Disney for five pieces (one the encore). THB knows nada about classical music, even after he gets done listening and watching the concert!

Parental units however were big fans:

And, we've decided to keep renewing, the seats are pretty much the best in the house!

The second piece of the first half featured a guest pianist, Sergio Tiempo. He comes on stage wearing pretty much the identical outfit and hair style of Gustavo Dudamel, the very young conductor. As they walk off-stage together, they are also the same height!
Tiempo's instrument

THB thinks this is Gustavo, it could be Sergio

The second half features a piece by Aaron Copland and an encore of music from Hitchcock's Vertigo (in honor of the Oscars?).

Have a hard time finding the car on P5, or was it P4, because there are two P5s (or is P4s). Once in the car, it is pretty easy to slide out of the parking and around a few turns and up on the 110 heading west to the 405 to National Blvd and a near driveby where THB and L spent our first few years before moving to Casiano (if you go to the Getty and look down, straight down, over the 405, you'll be looking into the backyard where THB played a lot of whiffle ball in his teens).

Drop L the sistah at another friend's house (she's going home tomorrow), and we head to the car rental drop off. THB has run into another growing annoyance: what looks like legitimate gas station that doesn't accept credit cards at the pump (and practically not in the mini-market). Can be a Mobil, Shell, turns out if the station is in a dodgy part of town (and THB doesn't think these are bad areas, this one is near the airport), they only want cash or ATM cards. 

Drop the car at Dollar and then wait and wait for a shuttle (this is 1/2 mile from the airport and there's no traffic) to get dropped off past the Southwest terminal because they are doing remodeling at this terminal. They, even though we are TSA Pre, this LA terminal is mixing in Pre and regular flyers through security. Some of us only have to take laptops out, others have to practically take off everything their wearing and empty their suitcases and go through a different type scanner. Amazing...

Dinner in the airport: two salads, a big glass of wine, and an ice tea (THB is not sure, maybe $50?)

Smooth flight to E-ville, pick up the car from long-term parking ($22/day) and  we're back for two weeks before heading to KC for a week of ceramics.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Day 2: LA

Day 2: LA

Weather: Very pleasant, mostly in 60s and just a bit of the day in the low 70s
J's former building (the sale of her condo just closed)

Old joke: What are the two things Los Angelenos always lie about?

Answer: How long their commute is and how much smog there is at their house

What is today? Today is Saturday, nice and easy, nobody going to work

What was the weather really like in LA today: SMOGGGGG-EEEEEEEE 

What was the traffic really like today (Saturday): HELL

THB is up early to snag the NYT and a couple of decafs with steamed milk at the Starbucks a few blocks away. The coffee goes great with the pastries from Milo/Olive ($7).

THB recommends The People vs OJ Simpson: An American Crime

Around 7:15 we take off for Tavern, what THB likes to think of as a great bakery with a decent restaurant attached. It's 45 minutes walking mostly along Wilshire, and even at this hour there's plenty of traffic pouring on to the 405. Not pleasant...or is that my tinnitus acting up?
On San Vicente

Monkey Bread, THB does not get one today, tho highly recommended

Ask them to warm it up for you

THB's half

DB's half

DB goes for scrambled eggs, crispy (very crispy as it turns out) bacon, potatoes and toast. THB has a walnut pocket and does not have the monkey bread, the fruit salad, and several other of his regular items because he eats DB's toast and half her bacon and potatoes. Two more decafs....$35.

Stroll back partway through the VA center and cut off Wilshire one block shorter this time. Do some research and we're off to hunt art, one of THB's passions. 

We've mapped out the day starting just south of the 10 on La Cienaga (traffic ranging from mildly terrible to "thank goodness we're not going the other direction, they're at a standstill"). There's a clumping of galleries, with Blum & Poe being the most upscale. They've got a minimalist show and Lee Ufan (he has his own museum on Naoshima) is the highlight along with some young Korean artists.

Carl Andre piece on the floor
The floor, it's okay to walk on this "piece"

Two Lee Ufan pieces

From there we visit a gallery that DB spent quite a bit of time with at the Fog design and art show in San Francisco a month ago. The work is intriguing: small ceramic pieces layered  and built up in a metal frame. Prices for smaller pieces are very reasonable. The one THB likes: sold!
Edward Cella carries David Hicks work


Roam around a bit, not seeing anything of note and then stop for lunch at Mexican place, El Rio Bravo: tacos for DB, chile relleno and enchilada verdes con pollo for THB, share a beer, $35.

Back walking the area and mostly mediocre galleries until the last two: Samuel Freeman (we buy a small ceramic bowl by a Japanese artist, Mineo Mizuno, who has settled in N. California) and Walter Manciel Gallery. 

We bought a smaller bowl by Mineo Mizuno

Walter Manciel represents Hung, he knows her well

A Mills graduate student's work that Hung recommended Walter carry, this is a small one, the bigger pieces can be 8' tall

Walter used to be in Bay Area before starting his own gallery, and carries Hung Liu. He tells us that Hung's great glass installation in the Oakland Airport was damaged a few years ago (Please do not touch the art!) and was recently repaired. 

Walter helps sort out our next set of gallery visits, in a heavily industrial part just south of downtown LA. The first set of three galleries includes work that THB and DB both thought amazing, at CB1: painting on industrial felt. Even the maquettes are great. 
At lease one of these also is in NY


Maybe this was THB's fave of the day

Or this one?

From there we move a bit north, up and over the LA River to another little pocket of galleries, in an even more destitute part of industrial LA, where we see two great shows: Venus over Los Angeles (they have a gallery in NY) with railroad tracks and giant "railroad" ties stacked up; and at Nicodim and exhibition of off-kilter playground equipment by a Polish artist now living in Berlin and pricing his pieces in euros, a good deal for us as the dollar is killing almost every other currency now.

Lots of graffiti in this part of town

One last shift, to a small gallery selling what mostly looks like things you'd fine in a small specialty design store and a huge (HUGE!) gallery, Maccarone (also from NY) that is featuring Keith Sonnier, a guy that uses neon soooooooooo much better than Dan Flavin. THB and DB had never heard of him nor seen his work before. These are NY prices: $120,000 and up, sorry euros not accepted.

What's cooking out back of Chimento

A well balanced meal: huge pig (or it is lamb) and four half ears of corn

Also in NY, now in the industrial innerlands of downtown LA (there are lofts/signs of life about a mile away)

For an extra $10k, we'll hide the electrical connection

Or not, they seem to be part of the pieces

Drive back in clear air and empty freeways (nope, still smoggy and clogged) to the W for a short rest up. THB and DB are wondering if the W has been sold, things are so off-kilter (THB has some playground equipment to recommend) from prior visits. 

For example:

They've remodeled so the cafe is now out by the pool (true, that's where the cafe is, so people going to the pool now wander through the people eating in the cafe). We decide to have soft drinks, outside at the cafe: there's not a waitron to be found. THB goes up to the bar to order soft drinks. No check arrives, so THB goes up to the bar to pay for the soft drinks, $10.

Murphy, up and down

A bolt is missing on the cover, the white bar doesn't quite function on the pull down and set-up

Another way to solve the "how can I turn the water on in the shower to hot without getting scalded" problem

So far, in about 25 hours: they seemingly gave away our room as we were standing there waiting to check in; someone came into the room to deliver "fresh" glasses while we were there resting up (his "list" said the room was vacant); the murphy bed (yes, that empty room has a murphy bed) needs repairing; no decaf out in the morning; the mini-bar had a half-empty wine bottle (we took it to the front desk to make sure we weren't charged for it; DB found it when we emptied some of the bottles to put our salads away in the fridge)...and, enough....the room is lovely!! It is a truly a great set-up for us...or for anyone (it's also most likely the most expensive room here, on no-discount Oscars weekend). 

Oh, and the floor vibrates...wait, maybe that's a benefit!

Dinner at Mori Sushi with sistah L (as she would refer to herself). We've been coming for years, J found it and Mori (he was behind the sushi counter then) made every meal a treat. Moru bought the place from Mori when Mori retired 3-4 years ago, and he runs the counter and now is always our guy for the night (or lunch). 
Moru hard at work as the small place fills up

A few great appetizers, and then it is fish on rice from thereon out, and it is fabulous. The best. Terrific. Unbelievable. L even manages to out-eat THB (not by much). THB and DB share the house sake (DB manages to out-drink THB, that contest isn't too close). $615 for three, which includes a very generous tip. Moru was very fond of J and has asked L to send a pic of her for his office. THB tells Moru he will make sure middle child will complete this task. 

Tomorrow the three of us (L, not Moru) are off for a pastrami sandwich, the Broad and the symphony.