Monday, July 25, 2016

Mayan Theater

Mayan Theater exterior
The mid-1920s was a golden age for L.A. theaters. Every movie house was designed to be more ornate than the one before, often emulating a particular historical period or architectural style. The most famous theaters, like the Chinese and Egyptian, were especially exotic and magnificent. Less well-known, but certainly exotic in its own way, was the Mayan, a musical theater venue, built in 1927 to resemble a pre-Columbian Mexican temple. Tim and I got to tour it, last weekend, as members of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation.

Located a few blocks southwest of downtown L.A.'s once-flourishing theater district, the Mayan is a hidden gem, covered in a concrete facade of faux Mexican design that continues inside as well. Smaller than many of L.A.'s more elaborate theaters, the Mayan nonetheless has the deepest stage (38 feet) since it was built as a live-performance venue rather than a movie house. Today, the Mayan is a nightclub.

Exterior (detail)

Overhang above the entrance


Even the floor continues the theme

The lobby

Chandelier (detail)

Lobby wall (detail)

Bar (lamp added later)

Decorative design

Inside main theater

More ornamentation

View of the stage from the balcony (click on image to enlarge)

The stage

Stagehand notes on wall since 1927 (click on image to enlarge)

Interior stage curtains

Stage ornamentation (detail)

View from the side stage

View from the main stage

Reproduction of early Mayan poster

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Broad Museum

Me and a freestanding Lichtenstein at
the Broad Museum
There's a new museum in town, showcasing the extensive modern art collection of Eli and Edythe Broad. UCLA alums will recognize the Broad name from the recently renovated art school north of the Young Research Library. Those of us, who are older, probably remember the name from when actor Tom Skerritt was TV commercial spokesperson for homebuilders Kaufman and Broad (pronounced Brode) in the 1980s. Since then, the Broads have become L.A. mainstays and highly respected philanthropists. Their new art museum opened in downtown Los Angeles, late last year.

I am not a big modern art fan, but I do love interesting new architecture, of which the Broad certainly is a good example. Located a block south of Disney Hall, the museum is covered in a honeycombed concrete, steel and fiberglass "veil" that filters natural light into the exhibit space. I quickly became enamored of the building as well as the art it contains. Plus admission is free. So what's not to love?

Waiting on line to get into the museum
Detail of the exterior "veil" (street-level)

 Looking up through the roof of the veil

Space-age elevator shaft to the third floor

Looking north to Disney Hall and the L.A. cathedral beyond
The current special exhibit, on the ground floor, features the work of Cindy Sherman, one of our favorite 20th-century photographers. Her preferred—and only—model is herself, creating portraits of unique and amazing characters, often individualized by their fashion and period setting. Sherman is a true chameleon, who fully disappears into her work. Can you believe that this is her in each of the following photos?

Wall-sized image of Cindy Sherman greets visitors at the
start of the exhibit

A trio of female portraits (click on image to enlarge)

Cindy as librarian?

One of her most famous pieces, Untitled #92


Mother who has lost her child?

Mother with child

Gloria Swanson?

One of her most recent works—double image intentional—
my favorite piece in the exhibit

The third floor is mostly open space, where various pieces of the Broads' collection are rotated every few months. (Apparently one new item is added to their collection every week!) Some works are extremely famous, some not so much. Here are a few of the items we admired:

Both the elevator and escalator open onto a bright space,
featuring Jeff Koons' balloon-like Tulips and Takashi Murakami's

Part of mural detail (click on image to enlarge)



Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles porcelain sculpture



The rest of the collection, not on view, is stored in a vault that's visible through a window on the second floor. The point, of course, is to tempt you to periodically return to the museum to see what new delights are on display. We will be going back soon.

Peeking into the vault 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Nate and Vanessa's Wedding

Happy newlyweds
Although Tim and I never had any kids, we do have plenty of amazing nephews and nieces, for which we are both exceedingly grateful. I love my sister Vicki's sons and daughter as if they were my own.

Last Saturday, my youngest nephew Nate married his long-time sweetheart Vanessa in Snohomish, WA, where Vicki and her husband Frank live. The ceremony was joyous—personalized vows from the heart (lots of happy tears!)—and the venue, Woodland Meadow Farms, magnificent. Never have I seen two people so truly belong together. We partied all weekend long (wienie roast, Friday night, in Vicki's beautiful backyard). What a wonderful celebration.

Uncle Tim showing grand-nephew Henry how to roast wienies

Me and Vicki

The groom's siblings: brothers Micah and Aaron and sister Beckie

Wedding venue

Walking down the aisle

Mr. and Mrs.

Beckie, Vicki and me

Vicki and son Micah

Tim and me

Nate, Frank and Vanessa

Beckie's 2-year-old daughter Vivian

The cake before . . .

And after 

Much happiness, Nate and Vanessa. We love you!