vendredi 11 novembre 2005

Adventures in Downtown LA.

That blue-purple line is the path we walked. Obviously.

Last night, for whatever reason, Jen and I decided to be all cultured and go on an art walk in Downtown LA. Okay, we read that there were going to be a couple of openings and we wanted wine. No, really, we wanted to be cultured. I swear. After battling east-bound traffic to get downtown (who the hell are all these people wanting to go INTO downtown at the end of the workday?!), I executed this slightly-scary and highly illegal rapid U-turn to get a parking spot I'd spied on the street, and we were off.

Here, let's give you a blow-by-blow map, complete with numbers and all.

The red 'x' is obviously where my car was parked, and where we began and ended our journey.

  1. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). All the exhibition spaces were closed, save two. One featured this old VW bug that had been taken apart and hung from the ceiling all stretched out, the other were these amusing line drawings.

  2. No art here. But we were starting to get away from the nice safe part of downtown with MOCA and the Disney Concert Hall and similar structures, and to the scary smelly parts of downtown. It was almost like the opening to a Law and Order: SVU episode where two girls are walking around somewhere dark and smelly and then BAM! Something bad happens. Maybe this art walk was a farce; we certainly didn't see anyone else walking around. Maybe it was a trick and they were taking us into the heart of downtown to kidnap us and sell us off into slavery. You never know.

  3. PHEW. MORE GALLERIES. At Pharmaka we saw pieces from the collection of Paul Ruscha, a fascinating one being "Dinner with Dubya", where, if I recall correctly, Bush, Sadaam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Condoleeza Rice, Karl Rove, Valerie Plame, Tom Cruise, and Brooke Shields. Next door, at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, were some disturbing paintings I don't ever want hung in my house. Next to that, at El Nopal Press, were Russian prints that were fun to look at, however the environment was marred by the little heathens running around the room and the otherwise unhospitability of the people there. Finally, at Bert Green Fine Art were these massively overpriced canvases. The kind of stuff where you look at it, and are like, hrm, with a bit of practice I could pull something very similar off, if only I had my own airbrush. Or maybe just spray cans of paint.

  4. No art, but a very yummy smelling pizza place. So tempted. So very tempted. But no. There was art to be seen.

  5. Okay, more art. At the de Soto gallery was finally something I would be interested in. Unfortunately, they do not have a website and obviously I don't remember the name of the artist. Okay, after extensive googling I finally found the website, and the name of the artist, Michael Haussman. Unfortunately, there seems to be another, more popular, guy with the same name and I'm tired of sifting through pages right now to find more about him. But he did paintings of bullfighters and bulls. My favourite, unfortunately, was the one he was painting on the wall of the gallery. Sigh.

  6. Hey, we're in Little Tokyo now! Next was the MOCA exhibition at the Geffen Contemporary, Ecstasy: In and about altered states. Tons of people were here, not surprisingly. And the theme - well, the title tells you all. A particularly interesting piece was the LSD fountain. Awesome. I also liked the Takashi Muramaki mushrooms. I would like one for my living room. It would be cooler than my boring coffee table. And Jen, eagle-eyed as ever, pointed out the girl who plays Paris on the Gilmore Girls (no, she was not an exhibit, but rather a visitor to the museum). I actually recognised her too, but that's only because I religiously watch GG. Logan? So over him. Rory needs to get her ass back to Yale and stop being a whiny baby. Okay, sorry for that digression. Anyway, IMDB says that Liza Weil is 5'4, but I think that's a big fat lie as that is about how tall I am, and I felt like I towered over her.

  7. Okay, we were done with art. Obviously we weren't done with the walking, however. We walked down to check out this Cuban restaurant (called, imaginatively, Cuban Cafe), but I had to ixnay it because it looked cheesy and there was nobody there. Plus, it had a "B" health rating, which actually, generally doesn't bother me that much (when you get down to "C", then I'll stop going). Although, now that I look them up, I'm doubly glad we didn't go because, hello, they got points off for being "improperly cleaned" and "deterioration/unapproved materials".

  8. Ah, now this is the fun part of the night. "There's the Disney Concert Hall!" we exclaimed, which meant that we were close to the car. But HAHA! Downtown LA is tricky! There is a HILL. A steep one that goes up, oh, about 4 stories in the span of a teeny tiny block. And we just realised that we had to get up said hill.

  9. This is where we tried to be sneaky and walk to the top of a parking structure, figuring that when we got to the top, we could blithely walk across and end up at the top of the hill without too much effort. This probably would have worked, had we not climbed up four flights of stairs to find that the exit was LOCKED. Foiled!

  10. So we walked up the damn hill ourselves. And then we realised that the street where my car was parked? Ah, yes, on this weird mystery street that actually required walking up more steps to get access to it. Downtown is like an MC Escher drawing. But luckily, there was this nice escalator that we rode on to cut out more damn stair walking.
And finally, we were back at my car, after TWO-AND-A-HALF hours of walking. That is a lot of walking, let me tell you. Using the handy dandy gmaps pedometer, I calculated that we roughly walked 3.03 miles. However, I we walked far more than that because, hey, we had to walk around each gallery, and the Geffen Contemporary was gigantic (relatively speaking). So really, we must have walked at least 3.5 miles. And then there was our footwear.

Great boots, n'est-ce pas? However, would you please note the heels on said boots? The ones on the left were what Jen was wearing - I'm not sure those are the exact ones, but they're close enough, and on the right were mine. So observe the heel. On the website where I bought my boots, they say that they have a 2.25 inch heel but they lie because I just measured them and it is more like 3.25. They are comfortable, or will be moreso once I stick some nice Dr. Scholl's inserts to make it more like I'm walking on nice cottony surfaces rather than pavement. Jen's boots have a 2 inch heel. I mean, walking around 3.5 miles in those boots was more like walking, oh, I dunno, 5 or 6 miles in sneakers. Maybe more.

It's a good thing I decided not to keep these boots. Because I would have worn them. And then my feet would have surely rebelled and, I don't know, refused to keep on walking.

And then there was that stupid hill we had to get up. That's gotta be another half a mile, in terms of exertion. So I'm going to say we walked 7 miles, because that's how much my feet hurt now.

No, I didn't take this picture last night while you weren't looking, Jen. It's from a previous meal. Obviously, I like me my chicken livers.

We obviously had to reward ourselves for walking so damn much. So off it was to AOC for some cheese, yummy chicken liver crostinis with pancetta (I am going to figure out how to make that chicken liver spread someday soon), and wine. Mmm, wine. Bad service for the first time ever, though. However, that's not going to keep me from going back and getting those crostinis, I'll just not to sit at the end of the bar again.

Or, at least, until I figure out how to make them. Mmm.

[Update] My prayers have been answered: scroll down.

But yay for all the culture. Art, "exploring downtown LA" (ie, walking all over the damn place), and good food. A good night, I have to say.