Tag Archives: los angeles

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July 7, 2013.
LACMA Director Michael Govan announced plans for a complete makeover of the LA County Museum Of Art Complex. When renowned Swiss architect Mänfred Zweibach proposed his breath-taking $300M “Zwirlyplex” vision, critics were momentarily silenced by the sheer audacity of the vision.

“But…we’re completely ignoring the rich history of vernacular architecture of Los Angeles” argued Franklin Grossemutte Trautte, enigmatic benefactor who has only recently surfaced on the West Coast. Mr Trautte made his initial fortune in recycling ’70s and ’80s TV tropes and memes. At a recent LACMA board meeting, described by nameless observers as “a candid and open sharing of views and visions”, Trautte unveiled his idea for a massive edifice in the form of a Woolly Mastodon.

The edifice, quickly dubbed “Masta Don”,  would house the entire Post-Modern holdings currently in the BCAM, which would be converted to a Zeppelin hangar. Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass” would be moved, and painted a cheerful lime-green, and be the entry portal for the Four-Pillared Gallery under Masta Don’s massive hindquarters.

Construction is slated to start in June 2015.

FURTHER COMMENTS
“The “Masta Don” = amazing. Doing in one name and one architectural complex what rap videos have been trying to accomplish since the mid-nineties: successfully conflating Westside punk ass bangin’ and slangin’ with the ethos of 1970s mafia films. The subtle wordplay continues with “Masta Don’s massive hindquarters” reflecting the ingenuity of the structure in incorporating non-verbal signifiers of high art, here masterfully referencing 1992’s Stravinsky-esque cultural coup d’état, “Baby Got Back.”
—Anne Convery

Not only is it an eyesore, it also encroaches on the La Brea Tarpits/PAGE Museum. Not cool.
—Adriana Yugovich

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Abandoned toy rockets behind garage. Los Angeles, CA. Dec 2010.

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Bad Wax. Los Angeles. Thanksgiving Day, 2010

Levitated Ass

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“Levitated Mass”, LACMA’s $6M orphan boulder by Michael Heizer. Perched over a pedestrian underpass, this sad quarry-speck is isolated by a bleak gravel pan where grass and trees once stood. People circle it, pause, then run away from it. Described as a megalith, it is not, as a megalith is associated with Stonehenge, Easter Island, and so on. This is merely a displaced 21.5′ boulder from a Riverside Co quarry. 
LA Co Museum Of Art, Los Angeles, CA. April 2013.

But that’s the pretty view. Feast your eyes on the harsh one:
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“Kid, it sucks now. You shoulda been here two years ago!”

The day after I graduated, the day before I left.

After graduating from college, I moved to Los Angeles in June 1977, after an eventful trip west on my mortally wounded ’75 Suzuki T-500.

The first place I lived on my own was a dumpster apartment complex in Van Nuys, Located on the corner of Victory and Fulton Blvd, it backed up to a dinky strip mall on Victory Blvd. California Donuts, a CPA, laundromat, maybe a dry-cleaners. It was right across the street from Jimmy Smith’s Supper Club, where Jimmy held forth on his Hammond B-3 Fridays thru Sunday nights.

Immediately across the street was an Alta-Dena Drive Thru Dairy, where you could buy milk, smokes, and the LA Times for a dime (but not all together). Down the street was Changing Times Hair Salon, owned by the irrepressible Juan Lizarraga; “Hair styled by Pierre of Pacoima, formerly Walter of Watts”. But that was in the future.

The traffic was constant, the air gritty with smog, and the neighborhood was relentlessly ugly. It seemed all the trees were several blocks away.

The apartment building itself was a faded 2-story courtyard complex with an alligator pond for a pool. I looked at the apartment the day after my grubstake arrived after being lost in the mail for three weeks. I’d been staying with a college friend whose young marriage was dissolving, the job she’d lined up for me had evaporated, and my wheels were a gigantic beast of a Dodge ’71 pickup truck to replace my dead motorcycle.

When I walked into the courtyard, the pool was half-empty, with several of the mullet-headed vato chicas with their KISS Army t-shirts and heavy eye makeup standing around looking at it. The rental agent was glad that the unit was occupied, and vanished seconds after I wrote the check.

Everything I owned in the world fit into the corner of the apartment, which was $200 a month. That night I went to a Lucky supermarket, wandered the aisles, wondering what I was going to feed myself. I remember buying fish, white rice, household stuff, and a mop. Then I went home and made dinner, and ate it in silence.

As the days passed, I slowly began to come to terms with my new home. The building manager was a rowdy Filipino with a large fish-tank. The Vietnamese extended family lived in one of the 2-bedroom units in the back; the patriarch, wife, daughters, grandchildren, and the Anglo son-in-law. There was a spectacularly ugly Chicana who lived upstairs, and had a face an iguana would’ve loved. She entertained callers at all hours.

The Filipino vanished after a late-night drunk-fight with one of his homies ended in a sickening crack of his fish-tank, followed by a dead-silence, then 50 gallons of aquarium and fish hitting the carpet. He was replaced by a married couple that used their 2 small boys as basketballs. Tom, the husband, was a comic-book palooka with a room-temperature IQ. The wife was a porcelain-faced, Cupid-bowed mouth, heavy-hipped foghorn whose profanities were loud and memorable. Nothing she said was ever less than 90db.

I looked for work. Navigating this very large, strange city was exhausting. My truck got 8mpg with a tail-wind, had one locking door, and a concrete-splattered bed, minus the tailgate. The FM radio had 3 options; KBCA for jazz, KROQ for low-wattage New Wave, and maybe KMET for what’s now classic rock. It was the Ultimate Chick Repellant, which might as well have said “Never Get Laid” on the sides. I’d park this beast next to Jags, Benzos, anything that looked better than me. Nobody jacked my portfolio.

Looking for work here was only somewhat better than looking in Cleveland two years earlier. Now I didn’t have a fallback. This was it.

“Aw kid, it sucks now. You shoulda been here two years ago!”

“Didja go to Art Center? You shoulda”

“Ohio what?”

“Art Center”

“Art Center”

“Art Center”

I kept at it because I’d crossed the Mississippi with the express intention to escape Ohio. I got a hand-typed rejection letter from ABC. After that, the mailbox was empty most of the time. My dad sent a large box with paperbacks he’d plowed through and tossed. There were days I didn’t leave the apartment.

One day I got a call from a tiny magazine I’d interviewed at. Was I still interested? Uh, yeah. I was down to my last $150. It’d taken me 3-1/2 weeks to find a job. Now I had  it.

Only later did I understand how lucky and fat that was.