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.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Classic Car show at Bob's Big Boy

Usually when I say that something is so suburban or totally middle American, I am paying that thing a nostalgic and heartfelt compliment full of secret admiration and quite open city girl self loathing. In fact, in the nine months that I have been writing this blog I cannot think of one time where I in anyway disparaged the great tyrannical majority. I like malls... I like perfectly manicured lawns... I like kids playing sports... I loooovvve men playing sports...

But I have learned that I hate men at car shows. Men at car shows remind me of the worst men in bible yielding, gay bashing red states. The men at this car show were almost all three of four things- old, mustached, fat and/or sexist. Be they leaning over car hoods or sitting in folding chairs with their posse, be they beefed up Tom Selleck types or pale flabby geriatrics in bowling shirts, they all craned their necks for a good look. Many made comments, and some of these comments were disgusting and made by those years older than my long departed granddad.

The classic car show has been held for years in the parking lot of Bob's Big Boy, a 1950's car hop chain famous for the statue of a devious, dip-cone colored, burger wielding toddler that guards it. Every Friday night, from five to ten, the aforementioned creepsters, along with some women, many of the biker persuasion, join together to show off old cars, sell old cars, drink inconspicuously (your loose lips and red noses give you away boys!) and sit...they do lots of sitting.

I get it. There is no greater heaven than sitting somewhere scenic, with friends you love in the early evening. But they have to be your particular crowd or else it is boring and uncomfortable as hell, and the classic car and fried food set isn't exactly my cup of tea. The actual lot is pretty small and filled with about 30-50 cars, a few spiffed out beauties, a great many older models that I could discern nothing brilliant in. But keep in mind that the only brilliant thing I ever notice about a car is a brilliant color and a hot owner.

But if I am trying to have an expert's eye, I would say I have seen much cooler cars at countless state fairs. Unless you are really a car aficionado, a quick one minute walk through on your way to tuna melts and a shake is probably all you'll need. Cool idea though. Cool idea, wholesome theory...but like some of America, pretty scudzy in practice.

Travel: C(rush hour, 101, Friday night...need I say more?).
Ease: B-
Content: C
Subjective coolness: C-
Overall: C

Directions: From Hollywood take the 101-N to the Barham Blvd. exit. Turn right on Barham. After about a mile continue on West Olive. Turn left on North Pass, turn left at West Riverside. Bob's will be on your right at 4211 West Riverside. Ironically, it's street parking only, because the parking lot is filled!
Hours:Every Friday 5-10pm.
Price: Free, excepting your female dignity.