Well, that was fun! OMC and I spent a delightful 17 hours in the Southland (of which only about 1.5 were in traffic) with jetsetters Messrs L- & G-. It was like a mini anniversary trip for us: LA was the first trip we took together all those years ago last week. We saw the sun set over the ocean in Santa Monica, a random woman stand up in a restaurant to sing You'll Never Walk Alone, absolutely no celebrities, and Hummers. Lots of Hummers. Including a stretch Hummer limousine so large it couldn't make a turn without stopping all traffic on Sunset on a Saturday night while the driver made a series of increasingly absurd 3-point turns.
But the most spectacular sight was of course the wondrous Disney Hall, which we (sort of ridiculously) were visiting for the first time. We went just to check out the exterior of the building, since Dianne Reeves was in the hall during our visit.
The many superlatives that have been lavished on this place are indeed warranted—lucky you, LA. We'd been ogling the pix since its opening in October 2003, but walking around it was an even grander experience than I anticipated. We honestly can't stop talking about it. M. L-, having been the prior evening to hear Andsnes, led us straight to the amphitheatres and narrow walkways discreetly cradled in the curves of the building. Walking down the path in the photo on the right was similar to the experience of going around Serra's Torqued Ellipses: disorienting, monumental, fascinating, and totally fun! (I regret that I didn't bring my camera, though with the poor lighting I doubt I would have captured anything significant anyway. But click here for some kick-ass photos of the place from construction through completion.)
And then, improbably, there's that fountain. Amid an equally improbable garden. We ascended a staircase from street level, surrounded by gleaming steel, and emerged in Eden in full bloom in the middle of January (PDF fact sheet). With a deliriously fragrant pink snowball tree from Madagascar! It's just outrageous.
What a joyous thing to have in your city. And to think, the property used to hold a banal parking lot. (Nothing against parking lots, of course; SF could certainly use more of them! But you see my point.) Generally speaking I am no fan of LA, but hearing some music in that hall has now become an imperative... Maybe Lorraine in May?