Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dispatch from Los Angeles--Part 2

The book salon feast and its creator, reflected in the mirror.

"Despite the shock of walking into an empty flat, the absence isn't immediate, more a fade from the present tense you shared, a melting into the past, not an erasure but a conversion in form, from presence to memory, from solid to liquid, and the person you once touched now runs over your skin, now in sheets down your back, and you may bathe, may sink, may drown in the memory, but your fingers cannot hold it."--from Anthony Marra's novel "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena."
A story set during the two recent Chechen wars, Marra's novel has a lot to say about loss, love, cultural identity, betrayal, survival, war, and the art and objects we humans use to connect, commemorate, and remember one another.

The meal was sublime. Yes, of course there was vodka. We poured it into white creme de menthe to make a cocktail called a stinger and we poured it into pomegranate lemonade. There was also dovga--yogurt soup with greens and herbs. There was beef manti and stuffed grape leaves and a dish with peppers that I wish I could be spooning into my mouth right now. And you might want to lie down in case you feel faint when I tell you that we had homemade halva ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce and salted peanuts for dessert.

Then I dove into my bed for the night where I looked out over the City of Angels. Really.

I went to LACMA again this morning, as has become my habit, where I visited the Art of the Americas Building. It lives up to that rather broad name. The heyday of American furniture and decorative arts, and all that, and in a sort of reverse chronology, on the top floor there's this:

The photo can't capture the experience at all.
I gasped when I rounded the corner and caught a glimpse of this gallery with its draperies of reds and greens floating above and its curving walls fashioned of wooded slats. There are one of a kind chandeliers and  lighting that cannot be captured in a photo, and in about 5 seconds you forget all of this because the ancient art is positively stupendous.

And there's this somewhat more modern piece, which was different from everything else, but quite fitting with the larger theme of this 24 hours.

And downstairs, before I walked up the steps to the long, long ago past, there was this:

It fits right in. There were several conjoined couples in the ancient Mexican/Central American clay pieces.


Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Denise. I think a blurry photo of me in a mirror is the best kind of photo! And that art! I haven't been in that room at LACMA and will perhaps go tomorrow with Sophie. I love having you at the salon -- and thank you for writing about it.

Ms. Moon said...

My body lets out a long and complex sigh.
Most beautiful. All.

Not Blank said...

Beautiful view, breathtaking art.

37paddington said...

The salon. That quote. The art. The woman in the mirror. Lovely, all of it.