Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Hurrah

When I set about to do this blog it was about me. What would make me happy here. What would make me like LA more. What would give me an adrenaline rush. But over the year I began to realize this experiment was much more about you. It was about the reader, about sharing places with people so that they could become part of the city, so that we all can interact with our surroundings on a much deeper level.

So has it made me love LA? Well, it has certainly made me appreciate it more. There are so many parts to the city, so many totally different communities that seem to have only one thing in common- they are filled with once or future dreamers. We hipsters in the East dream of fame and artistic fulfillment. The immigrant communities downtown dream of a better life, a better future for themselves and their children. In the Westside we have those contented that their dreams have been satisfied, or jaded because they just weren't satisfied enough. Further down the coast there are those who dream of a perfect wave, and get to ride it everyday.

I will keep updating this blog occasionally when I happen upon somewhere awesome and hope you can all use it as a reference point. It has made me so happy to see how many people outside LA, outside America, have become readers and I encourage everyone out there to keep exploring, because once you become stuck in an everyday, neighborhood rut, the child is truly gone.


Los Angeles Zoo

Olvera Street


Descanso Gardens

Museum of Tolerance

Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn

The Alexandra Hotel


Craft and Folk Art Museum

Murphy Ranch(Nazi Compound)

Derby Dolls


The Queen Mary

Bronson Caves

Angels Flight

Kayaking in Marina Del Rey


Mosaic Church

Renaissance Faire


LA River Path

Watts Towers

Riding the Rails


Self Realization Fellowship Shrine

Coldwater Canyon Park

The Magic Castle

Reagan Library


Jumbo’s Clown Room

Griffith Park Pool


Car Show at Bob’s Big Boy

Autry National Center



The Brewery Art Walk

LA Kings at Staples Center


Norton Simon Museum

Westwood Village Memorial Park



Madame Tussaud’s

Flower District

Mulholland Drive

Love, love

Hadley Meares Dec. 31st, 2010

Mulholland Drive

Twenty One Miles. That's how long Los Angeles' most fabled highway runs towards the stars. And I made it my goal, as this was my last grand adventure, to drive all those miles alone. I absolutely love Mulholland and think it is traveled way too much by douche bags and not nearly enough by my friends.

I started in Hollywood, my mix cd already playing. Up the hill from Ventura Blvd I went behind a slow tour bus and it wasn't fifteen seconds before I saw a film crew on craggy rocks capturing the dusty view below. I then passed several tour vans, a bunch of hikers on their way to Runyon Canyon, and couples stopping at several scenic overviews. The road twists and turns, takes all you attention, and makes you feel like you are on a roller coaster, constantly on high alert.

As you get higher the hills become green and shaded, the views more spectacular and the mountain parks more deserted. The houses are large and rambling until you dip into Sepulvada Pass and enter hidden castle land. Private gates, private communities, castles on hilltops and no one around but a Bentley whizzing past or a security guard in a little booth.

Once you rise above Beverly Hills you can see the ocean on one side of you, the Valley and snow capped mountains on the other. At times the road becomes so narrow and treacherous you fear you may drop into one of the private pools or coyote filled canyons below. A glimpse of a tennis court here, a looming gate there is all you can see for all the green leaves. Then you dip again into another canyon, then again...and you are in private school land, private community land, and then you breeze by the American Jewish University.

But suddenly, at about eight miles in, I broke out of my present tense revelry. Mulholland vanishes and becomes a populated dirt hiking trail. I found myself going down, down Encino Hills. I tried to get my GPS to take me to the rest of the road- but to no avail. You see, I have been to that part of the road that takes you to the ocean and to the end of Los Angeles County. It is beautiful- green mountains, spectacular estates and gorgeous open spaces. But I had a UNC bowl game to watch, and I don't know, something was holding me back from reaching the promised land. Maybe I'm lazy, for I know the road is a lame metaphor, but boy is it accurate.

Ease: A
Content: A
Subjective Coolness: A (great alone to ponder and get away, romantic for a date, exciting for out of town guests, fun for a group of crazy friends...)
Overall: A

Directions: Look it up! God knows I couldn't figure it out.
Hours: All hours, darling.
Price: Gas, your sanity.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Los Angeles Flower District

In the middle of the worst part of downtown LA there is an overwhelmingly magical block. Two giant warehouses filled with thousands of freshly cut, exquisite wholesale prices. It smells like heaven, looks like a giant series of Monet paintings, and reminds one that no matter how broken this city, this country seems, basic commerce is still alive and thriving in the most unlikely places.

Just the fact that there is a "Flower District" warms my heart. In 1913, Japanese growers started the Southern California Flower Market. Then came the Los Angeles Flower Market across the street, and the numerous small shops that sprang around them. It is where many florists, clever brides, hotels, rich ass Beverly Hills people and others get their flowers. Need an orchid? Well, baby, not only are there several orchid stalls in the two markets, there is also an entire orchid store where you can pick up a seedling for only $8.00.

Today the area is an absolute feast for the senses. In one vendor stall two ladies were cutting and arranging Christmas wreaths, in another a restaurant owner was picking hundreds of flowers that were being loaded into a cart. Another woman transported garlands down the street on a little tractor. And then there are the flowers- lovely, mostly very high quality (you will not find these in your local supermarket) specimens of every color and size imaginable. A bouquet of blue hydrangea, one of my favorites, could be found for as little as $7.00, a flirty and fun tropical bouquet was only $5.00 and there were hundreds of bouquet quality roses for all you brides- to- be.

This is the best of LA. Places like this and my beloved farmers' markets exemplify what is unique and extraordinary about California. Our rich cultural diversity, agricultural superiority and entrepreneurial spirit all collide in the markets. There is a feeling of camaraderie, and the interactions are pleasant and equal-not filled with the bitterness and suspicion so frequently felt in city life.

Basically, nature rocks, right? And who knows- maybe the flower trade is controlled by the mob, maybe people are murdered in their beds for the best cuttings of gardenias. But there is nothing more beautiful and pure than a single flower, and no matter what Dr. Phil says, sometimes it is best to take beauty at face value.

Ease: C
Content: A
Subjective Coolness: A
Overall: A-

Directions: CONFUSING. Located on the 700 block of South Wall Street. From Hollywood take 101-S to the 110-S. Take exit 23A-C and keep left, following signs for 6th St/Wilshire Blvd. Merge onto 6th Street. Turn right onto Wall Street.
Hours: Trade hours start at 2:00am, but for we mere mortals the hours are: Mon, Wed, Fri:8am-12pm; Tues, Thurs, Sat: 6am-12pm
Price: Website says $2:00, but I just walked in for free, because I am a rebel. There are decks all around for as low as $3.00. I just parked in hour parking on a side street.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Madame Tussaud's Hollywood

Oh, Hollywood Blvd. Full of the sound and fury, signifying nothing but broken dreams and the wealth of Scientology.Outside Madame Tussaud's, in the heart of this grimy American nightmare, dusty carnival barkers screamed at Liz and me from megaphones to come inside, shoving pamphlets in our startled faces. After we paid A LOT to get in we looked at each other wearily and made our way to the start of the tour, which is on the third floor. After stepping off the elevator we realized we may be entering the first ring of Dante's Inferno.

It appeared to be a disco filled with screaming children.

Yes, it was that bad. George Clooney leered at us from a VIP table. Loud music pumped club beats and little girls ran around the figures of hot current celebs, oddly positioned like some low rent version of Raphael's, "The School of Athens." From Carrie Underwood to Lady Gaga, the girls posed and shrieked around them while poor Jennifer Aniston stood opposite Brad and Angelina, her molded eyes glued to their every non-move.

The second floor was much quieter, since the kids had no idea who any of the figures were. It was dedicated to the older folks (which we are now, I suppose), to our last great century. We slowly started having fun, dissecting if that really looked like them ( Ingrid Bergman: NO, Bette Davis:YES), if they were really that tall (Jimmy Stewart:YES, Robert Redford:NO) and why they were still displayed (Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods). Oh, and who the hell was that. Seriously,who is this lady to the left? If you can tell me I'll give you the mold of my wax hand ($12, on the first floor).

By the time we hit the Star Trek section, the sports section, the superhero section, the classic movie section, we were having a grand time. It is like a 3-D "US Weekly", it made you want to gossip, it inspired dialogue and shared history and a sense of wonder. We both wanted our pictures taken with various high end statues and became giggly and happy when they turned out well. Hello, Jack. By the first floor, we were like more jaded versions of the little girls we had seen upstairs. It was a lot of fun.

The most interesting exhibit was the smallest. Narrated by Beyonce, to appeal to kids (although we were the only ones there), it explained the way a wax figure is made. It also told the fascinating history of Madame Tussaud, about how she was forced to make the death mask of Marie Antoinette's, and what an absolute pioneer she was in the art of self promotion. You can touch all the figures, which I really love, and though they feel like insubstantial Barbies, the best of them capture a human essence that is just as captivating as a great painting or photograph.

Which brings me to my unnatural love of glorified mannequins. In ancient Rome and through medieval times the statues we now see as white were painted fantastic shades, the colors of life. I have never gotten over my absolute love of realistic dolls, painted effigies on tombs, any statue by Bernini. I'm just a total sucker for fake people. I guess it's a good thing I live in Hollyweird.

Content: B
Subjective Coolness: A-
Overall: B+

Directions: Right next to Grauman's on the Strip. Trust me, you will not miss it. They won't let you.
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10am-6pm. Friday-Sunday: 10am-8pm.
Price: Ridiculous. $25 at the door. $20 online. Plus $10 for parking. If you can, be smart like Liz and walk

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


When I was little one of my many odd obsessions was a giant coffee table book on the history of fashion that I found at a used bookstore. I read it over and over again, ogling the clothes. Other girls and boys may have dreamed of designing the clothes but I always dreamed of wearing them, of being the muse. Vanity starts early.

For those former children who spent hours doodling clothing designs, or mansions I dreamed of inhabiting, or movie sets I hoped to work on, there is the Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing (FDIM). It's located in downtown LA and for some reason you are not allowed to take any pictures on the campus--which I find totally bizarre. The campus itself is a colorfully slick affair, well maintained and filled with a diverse student body. It has the frenetic atmosphere of a busy New York street, complete with a nice but slightly dirty adjacent city park and lots of security.

The reason I came to campus was to check out the FIDM museums and shops. First there is the Study Collection, which has rotating exhibits. The current exhibit was a collection of women's wear from 1850-2000. There were thirty different dresses on display, all exquisitely crafted and unique with beading, silhouette, dye or embroidery. I learned many new factoids from a packet that FIDM students had put together ( which the awesomely friendly security guard handed me). There was a to die for sea foam green 1930's crepe evening gown, a pale silk tunic dress from 1911 that I would wear every day if I could, a lovely lace covered ballgown from 1853-I love that sloping shoulder look-and a hideous dress called a Robe de Style from my usually beloved 1920s.

Attached was a tiny but very eclectic museum shop with high end jewelry, clutches, nick knacks, art books, and clever gifts.Many of the items were designed by FIDM students or graduates and the jewelery was particularly impressive. I then got a pass from security to go to the Annette Green "perfume museum" located on the second floor, which bills itself as the only museum dedicated to fragrance in the US. Shocking I know. It was just a microscopic room, with a small exhibition about male perfume (though I did love the "Stork Club Cologne" in the shape of a champagne bottle).

An unexpected treat was the FIDM Scholarship Store; a thrift shop filled will cool items. Designer wedding dresses for $200, bolts of fabric cut to order, $2.00 bags of assorted buttons, cute $10-$25 dresses that were way too small, tons of necklaces and $4.00 ties. It's kind of a smaller and hipper TJ Max. Parking isn't terrible, there are $5.00 lots all around. But unless, like me, you really love staring at dresses and imagining their original owners, or yourself in them, I wouldn't suggest making a trip to FIDM. But if you are in the area you should by all means check it out, especially the Scholarship Shop. This isn't a bad review though- when I got home I finally sewed two buttons back on one of my favorite dresses. I've been putting it off for about three months.

Subjective Coolness: B-
Overall: B

Directions: Take the 101-S to the 110-S, exit at the 8th/9th Street exit and keep left. Turn right at South Grand. 919 S. Grand.
Hours: All different- check out the website:
Price: Free, besides parking and shopping indulgences.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marilyn's grave at Westwood Village Memorial Park

When I was driving to Westwood Memorial, I prepped myself for sadness. Westwood is often dubbed the "graveyard of tragic females", because of the women buried there whose lives were cut dramatically short- Marilyn Monroe, Minnie Ripperton, Dominique Dunne, Farrah Fawcett and one of my faves, Natalie Wood. When I first entered, it seemed my expectations would be met. Westwood is a tiny, quiet, shaded park, hidden beneath the tall buildings of Wilshire Blvd. In contrast to the Disneyworld behemoths of Forest Lawn and Hollywood Forever, it is an understated and elegant community cemetery. Oh, but what a community it is!

First, let's get the Marilyn part over with. I really like Marilyn Monroe. I think her comic timing was impeccable. She was, bar none, the most photogenic person ever, and it seems she was also really smart. She is buried in a mausoleum of white stone, but her crypt is light pink marble which makes it quite haunting since it stands out rather sadly, much like she did in life. Pennies were pressed in the grooves of her crypt, and there were fresh flowers. The crypt next to her is empty, waiting for Hugh Hefner to claw his way in some day, probably in 3050.

So I walked around, rather morosely, pondering fame and mental breakdowns until I realized that I was getting more bang for my movie star buck than the Walk of Fame. On one side of the park Truman Capote is buried above Mel Torme, who is ten paces from Eva Gabor,(Eva Darling, according to her headstone) who is buried a stones throw away from John Cassavetes...go figure. On the other side, across the main lawn where the mere mortals (LOTS of doctors) rest, is where the real fun is to be had...because that's where the frat boys are!

The Northwest corner of the cemetery reads like a who's who of Hollywood good old boys in the 60's and 70's, and the fun is contagious. It's seems they all decided to try to one- up each other one more time in the funny department. It's like Dean Martin is presiding over one more booze filled Celebrity Roast. In a way he is, since he is buried here and his epitaph reads "everybody loves somebody sometime." Then there is "Miss Peggy Lee," Walter Matthau, Farrah Fawcett, Karl Malden, Jack Lemmon ( whose grave reads" JACK LEMMON IN), Billy Wilder ("I'm a writer, but nobody's perfect")," Rodney Dangerfield ("There goes the neighborhood"), and my favorite, Merv Griffin ("I will NOT be right back").

It made me really love Hollywood- here was this family of consummate entertainers, who were so effervescent that they were making me laugh out loud at their very graves and put me in a giddy mood as I was driving away. If that's not some kind of gift to humanity, then I don't know what is.

Ease:D( It took me FOUR times to find it...)
Content: A+
Subjective Coolness: A+
Overall: A-

Directions: Oh boy, just go to this website and follow what they say exactly-
Price: Free, just park inside.

Other great epitaphs from Westwood:
Jeffery Craig Burkhart: "Darling, you should have been there."
Dorothy McKee Wray: "She passed the good around."
Hannah Russell: "...And life goes on."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Norton Simon Muesem

Personal Taste. We all have it. Mine is a penchant for brightly colored furniture, sundresses and pearls. A unifying aesthetic that gives an art collection a distinct personality is often lacking in big corporate museums like the Getty and my beloved LACMA. There are just too many curators, overly involved trustees and board members. That's why the Norton Simon Museum is such a delight. And I apologize in advance if I sound a bit pretentious or high minded today, but Pasadena always puts me in that mood. It's such a god dang CLASSY place.

As an art lover, I have a passion for soft and melancholy paintings. I am drawn to solitary figures- be they a pretty girl, a struggling sailboat or a grand old tree. Apparently, those who shaped the collections at Norton Simon (including his wife, the movie star Jenifer Jones: see the movie, "Beat the Devil"!), have exactly the same taste. The gallery of 19th century works sometimes smacks of the "greatest hits" collection of names that plagues many small museums, with its abundance of Degas, Pissaro's and Monet's. But it also has several beautifully wistful paintings. Some highlights include spectacular Van Gogh's, a lovely Renoir and a chic Mogdolini.

I mean the gallery even smells like class.

Downstairs is another major treat- a huge collection of the often humorous, always grand 19th century Japanese artist, Hiroshige. Hiroshige was a major inspiration to the artists in the "impressionist" gallery above. There was one weak gallery upstairs. It was filled with my least favorite and seemingly the most plentiful kind of art- 18th and 19th century Dutch genre paintings. I find their dark backgrounds, highly theatrical depictions of the bible or those terrible still life's of rotting fruit or dead animals depressing. I mean, who the hell wants to see a poor dead bunny hanging by the legs, or some ho cutting off John the Baptist's head?

But in the back of that gallery was a real treat- a small but well selected group of Medieval, Flemish and Renaissance religious works and the ethereal and graceful Cowper Madonna by Raphael, which was on loan from the National Gallery in DC.

The crowd was very decidedly un-LA and thoroughly un-hip chill and chubby suburban. There is a very romantic and misty sculpture garden surrounding a lake, a great store with cheap, high quality prints and best of all, it was free! Every first Friday night of the month is free, my friends,so go have yourself a tasteful, grown-up and economical night.

Travel: D ( I had a late but lovely Thursday night and was super tired, and I HATE the 1-10, so Jess was kind enough to drive back...seriously, Friday night traffic was a nightmare.)

Ease: B
Content: A
Subjective Coolness: A
Overall: A-

Directions: Take the 101-South to the 1-10 North to the 66 East. Museum is on the left at 411 East Colorado Blvd.
Hours: Monday-Sunday 12-6. Friday 12-9. Closed on Tuesday.

Price: Adults: $8, Seniors: $4, children up to 18: free, valid student ID( I know some of y'all still have those...liars): free. Parking free in lot. Free first Fridays of each month.

Friday, October 22, 2010

LA Kings vs. Carolina Hurricanes at The Staples Center

Hockey on TV is sooo boring. The players always seem far away, you can't really see the puck, no one scores and the players don't have much facial personality. But after my beloved basketball, hockey is by far my favorite sport to watch live. There is just so much excitement- big burly bodies crashing into each other, players gracefully jumping on and off the ice, said ice flying everywhere, power plays and goal attempts and most importantly to us mammals- the constant promise of a good old fashioned beat down.

When our fight finally came in the 3rd period it was like Christmas had come 2 months early. Seriously, the crowd was euphoric. And what a crowd it was. The Staples Center was surprisingly packed with mostly beefy guys in hockey jerseys who clearly love their Kings. Lots of kids were there as well and it was a very family friendly activity.... as long as you weren't sitting with us. Because behind Lonnie and me were three of the most obnoxious frat court fratties who ever lived. And they lived for starting "you suck" chants, throwing out every hockey term they could think of, and even uttering the comical phrase, "I could do so much better than this PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE THAT I AM NOT."

It was so much fun!

The LA Kings' organization put on a great show. There were all the usual halftime gimmicks- little leaguers playing a half court game, men with frosted tips who look vaguely like Ryan Seacrest throwing out t-shirts and handing out coupons. The players also skated out of a mock castle (they are the Kings), and there were hot, ice girls who scraped up the ice during breaks, sad looking "celebrities" riding kick-ass painted Zamboni's and a crazy mascot named Bailey, the Lion who seemed to have forgotten his meds.

The Staples Center is an amazingly efficient machine. Four professional sports teams play there, not to mention the countless shows, yet everything is neat and clean. There are tons of bars, yummy food that is relatively reasonably priced, a smoking patio that overlooks LA Live, where we definitely smelled weed and the staff is pretty friendly. We had awesome lower seats, thanks to my dapper and lovely friend Kevin. Parking is an easy five minute walk away and only $10.00 per car. It was just a very smooth time.

The night reminded me how much I love sporting events and how I hope in my old age to just have lots of season tickets in cushy chairs. My husband and I will drive up from our beach house in our golf cart and stay in one of our children's houses....anyway. It also made me a little sad because I feel like we Angeleno's don't go to nearly as many sporting events as our friends in smaller markets do. Travel is always a bitch, the tickets are often too expensive and parking is often a nightmare (I once had my tires slashed at a Dodgers' game). So here's my challenge to LA teams- have a "hipster night." Make tickets half off, print up some ironic t-shirts that fade easily, serve Pabst Blue Ribbon and say the night is "green" because you are using recyclable water to make ice for the drinks.

They'll be fans for life.

Travel: B-
Ease: B
Content: A+
Subjective Coolness: A+
Overall: A-

Directions: Come on, it's the Staples Center. You can figure that one out.
Hours: Home game schedule is here-
Price: Tix range from $30(nosebleeds) to $135.00 and above. Parking and drinks add up but not exorbitantly.

Thanks for the awesome video Lonnie!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Brewery Bi-Annual ArtWalk(scroll down for pics)

Once upon a time in 1902, in the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles, a power plant was built for the Edison Electric company. Later, the complex became a Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery. One chuckles to imagine what the hard-working men and women who worked at this temple to the orderly would have thought, when in 1982, many strange and avant-garde folks took over the break rooms, the boiler rooms, the bosses' office and the infirmary and filled them with paint thinners, art books,mannequins painted gold...

and from what I could smell...lots of weed.

The Brewery is often called "the largest art colony in the world." The spaces range from two-story carriage house style places with a patio area to tiny little concrete rooms up the stairs and around the whitewashed corner in the main building. The co-op who runs The Brewery claims to only rent to artists, which begs the question- would my bubble head doodles count?

The vibe at The Brewery is amazing. When we went it was packed with people drinking beer, children playing, teenagers on bikes and incense galore. It was happy and New York edgy and filled with hipsters of all ages. The grounds are beautiful, with trees growing around the industrial buildings, statues made with found objects in drainage ditches and murals on the side of old brick walls. A Bruce Springsteen song meeting Ani DiFranco.

Being welcomed from studio to loft with artworks, music and sometimes cookies fostered a sense of community one rarely feels anymore. The artists were there to talk to you and though everything was for sale, no one pressured you to buy anything. It was a privilege to be allowed to see where the artists sleep, create, eat, and if some of the works are any indication, have kinky sex. Someone should do a documentary about this place. It feels like Melrose Place with a dirty beard (for you North Carolinians- imagine Carrboro dropped in an old cigarette factory).

Unfortunately, the awesomeness doesn't quite extend to the art. Most of the works had a handy-hobby quality that made them seem amateur and almost cheap. There were a few standouts I really enjoyed: Mike Pedersen, Jill Sykes, Teale Hatheway, Sam Kopels and the delightful Amy Lynn. But honestly my favorite thing was seeing how these aesthetically gifted people had arranged their living spaces. It was like a home and garden tour for this poor hipster, and what can I say? I am still titillated by folks' bathroom cabinets. I guess at heart I'm just a big old snoop.


Directions:Take Sunset East into Downtown Los Angeles. Turn Left on Alameda. Turn Right onto Alpine Street.Turn left onto Main Street. Take Main Street about a mile, turn right on Moulton Avenue (located two blocks past Lamar St.). 2100 North Main Street.
Hours: Semi-Annual, Spring and Fall. Check out website for more info:
Price:Free, free, free like the artists who live here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Oh Saint Monica, patron saint of difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery and unfaithfulness (too good, right...look it up), I didn't think it would be this way. As a writer, and someone who has a rather difficult time living in the moment, I have a confession to make. I often have an idea of what I am going to say about one of my destinations before I even go. Never was this truer than with GLOW. I was prepared to give A+'s across the board. I mean it combines three of my favorite things- the beach at night, installation art and walking outside with an alcoholic beverage.

The first and only other GLOW was two years ago, and it was extraordinary. Conceived as an all night, interactive art festival featuring local artists tightly spaced on and around the Santa Monica pier, my friends and I were among the thousands who marveled at glowing orbs in the water, a tower made of glow sticks, florescent tunnels one could run through and conceptual pieces performed by fantastical creatures on stilts. It captured the magic and mystery of the shore and the city on the shore. My friends and I thought we had died and gone to a heaven filled with Gatsby's elusive green lights. Apparently the city of Santa Monica thought it was more like a Fellini-esque hell filled with rollers, drunkards and trippers.

So this GLOW ended at midnight and had the stifled, corporate feel of a half empty municipal art museum that just happened to be on the beach. The pieces were spaced ridiculously far apart (wet sand+food and drink=exhausting) and designated by great white lampposts. Many of the works were lackluster, appearing to have been designed by a committee of landscaping drones. Something called "the battle of earth and the moon" turned out to be two hippie dudes dancing around in head dresses while someone played a drum. Another exhibit was just a light shining on the water.

A car's headlights would achieve the same effect.

Children running around thrilled to be up late were a charming sight, and there were a few lovely works. There was a giant white orb high in the sky that projected a participant's face so that he or she became the man in the moon. Of course, one man in the moon proposed to his girlfriend. There was an architecturally precise bridge of light one could walk through that looked like a ship leaning towards the water, and a mass of bubbles frothed out of a pale blue lifeguard tower. Another piece used a projector to magnify participants' hands and arms in full color across the sand.

So there were some impressive experiments, but the joie de vivre, the anarchist spirit of the first festival was missing. Instead, there were orderly, looooonnnnngg lines to actually get to participate in anything and cops policing, some on horseback, at every turn. The best thing about the night was the communal joy of sitting in the damp sand, bs-ing with friends while waiting to meet or find other friends. No matter what the occasion, that always seems to be the thing that makes me glow the most.

P.S. Note the orbs all over my photos. I know it is light pollution, but the southerner in me thinks it's lots of art world ghosts with a few lost sailors and surfers thrown in for good measure.

Travel: D (parking was a nightmare).
Ease: D
Content: B-
Subjective Coolness: C+
Overall: C

Directions: At the Santa Monica Pier (who the heck knows if they will even do it again).
Parking: Just had to find it, cost anywhere from $10-$30.
Hours: 8pm-12pm.
Price: Free, besides the soul disappointing disappointment.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Autry National Center

Hadley's newest hit,
only available on Please-give-me-a-book-deal records.

(to the tune of Gene Autry's "Back in the Saddle Again")

Went to the Autry Museum
Wax statutes of cowboys with big chins
Indian baskets made of grass
Fake towns that are a gas
Went to the Autry Museum

Wanted to ride the fake horse
You say that's for kids, I say of course
Heritage center just for tots,
where they can touch clay pots
Went to the Autry Museum

Dirty-drinking ho's
kind of white washed, I suppose
Went to the Autry Museum.

Feces-covered dudes
not so stoic, I presume
Went to the Autry Museum.

Lots of neat western curious
tiny cards, golden scales, mementos
Guns abound for boys
for girls, suffragette toys
Went to the Autry Museum

Tough saloon girl I'd like to be
just hope I don't die of dysentery
Made me want to play Oregon Trail
and get some cowboy tail
Went to the Autry Museum

Travel: B (dang Los Feliz Blvd. trail)
Ease: B
Content: A- (Surprising, I know)
Subjective Coolness: B
Overall: B+

Directions: Take Los Feliz Blvd. and turn on Riverside (right before the 5), take all the way through Griffith Park and you will see signs. Actual address:
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Parking is on site and free. Across from the LA Zoo.
Hours: Tues.-Fri. 10-4, Sat. and Sun. 10-5
Price: $9 adults, $5 students and old uns, $3 chillins.