Saturday, February 28, 2015

22 Hours/Sanctuary: A Dispatch from the City of Angels

For the second weekend in a row, I've gone to L.A., thanks to the willing and competent M who has been here cooking and dispensing pills to her grandmother.

I went to my friend Elizabeth's book salon and got myself an Air BnB room a few blocks from her house. The house where I stayed was a former rectory or convent (the owner wasn't sure which) and exhibited a very Catholic vibe which played nicely into the backstory of the main character in "The Book of Salt."

At the Salon, there was appropriately themed delicious food:

Feast your eyes on this piece of edible art from Elizabeth's own hands:

The big picture and my very own slice resting on my very contented lap.

This morning I continued the French theme with a baguette for breakfast and two non-chain store lattés from two different cafés within walking distance of the Air BnB. Next, I went to LACMA  and looked at this:

It's called Levitated Mass, and you walk right under this 340-ton granite boulder.
I suppose an art installation might like this might seem silly to some, but seen in this mid-city context, where you can stand beneath it and look out at the high-rise buildings in the neighborhood, it seems way more poetic than those buildings do--and just as futile.

It's also an interesting counterpoint to the Page Museum next door, where bones of creatures from the ice age lie entombed in tar pits.

So levitate or get stuck, I say.

I also looked at a lot of art by the artists that Gertrude Stein (she is a character in the "Book of Salt") collected. Matisse, Picasso, etc., then finished the morning looking at Thomas Wilfred's light art. I was not acquainted with his work until I sat in an easy chair for about 20 minutes this morning, watching colors and shapes unfold. I let my mind wander and felt like I was watching the history of the universe.

And then on the way back up LaBrea toward the freeway, I saw again the windows of all the furniture stores that, last night, were tastefully lit tableaus.

Imagine these windows an hour past dusk, dear readers, warm lights drenching the sidewalks of the City of Angels, and beneath each one, a homeless person bedding down for the night.

“I was certain to find the familiar sting of salt, but what I needed to know was what kind: kitchen, sweat, tears or the sea.” 
― Monique TruongThe Book of Salt


Ms. Moon said...

What a beautiful post and how jealous we all are of you being able to go to Elizabeth's salon!
Sounds like a perfect get-away and I am so glad you got to go. Good for the body and soul.
And that quote is perfect. Except...there is also the salt in the amniotic fluid in which we all emerge from at birth.

Elizabeth said...

Well, that's a great advertisement for my salon -- I might have to incorporate it into my webpage when I finally get one! Thank you, Denise --

Anonymous said...

This brings me back to my childhood. I grew up on Sycamore - right near Wilshire and La Brea. We called the museum the Tar Pits. It was a long time ago. It sounds like a fabulous time. I'm glad you had two wonderful weekends away. Sweet Jo

Elsewhere said...

Maybe you will like this light installation too? It's the starry night by Van Gogh, built into a bycicle path.

the lights collect the sun during the day and shine during the night

37paddington said...

How wonderful that you went to Elizabeth's salon! That image of the beautifully lit room tableaus and the homeless bedding down for the night beneath the store windows stays with me...