Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Getty Center

We went to visit the Getty Center on Saturday. It's been open 12 years, so it was about time we stirred ourselves to drive the 70 or so miles to go see it.

I've been past it many times. I work way south of it, but my company has three business units to the north of it, and I have had to drive there via the I-405, as I may have mentioned a dozen or so times on this blog.

This is the 405 heading north past the Getty. It's a typical California freeway heading up through the hills towards the baking northlands. You can see part of the stone facade of the Getty in the frame.

And here's the 405 heading south. The tall buildings are Santa Monica, Westwood etc. (LA for all intents and purposes). It's actually very sunny but the camera scrunched itself down to get an overall picture.

This is the tall bit of LA that's near the 405 again. The actual city center is much smaller and more willowy and is off in the smog haze to the east (left).

The actual art at the Getty was a little disappointing but then we both lived in London for many years so we're spoiled. Compared with the average density of culture in LA, the Getty is a little neutron star of activity. We learned how to do bronze casting (which I already knew, but it was a nice refresher), and how to apply color to a polychrome figure (which was new to me). They used a pounce pouch to transfer designs through a pricked stencil, which would never have occurred to me. (I thought they were used to prepare surfaces with chalk.) We also saw a lot of Impressionist paintings and French drawing room furniture. I preferred LACMA, which we visited a couple of years ago.

The Getty is a beautiful building with some clever water features and we spent several happy hours there. The food at the sit down restaurant was lovely and although the flier was filled with subtle warnings about how expensive it was going to be, it came to $50 for two including tip, which is considerably less than we'd spend on food for a day at Disneyland. Though at Disneyland, we could have thrown in a Churro each for that price.

We also bought out the entire stock of the gift shop, or so it seemed. It's the only reasonably priced museum gift shop I've ever been in. The man who served me had extensive tattoos and plugs in his earlobes and he was helped by a much older guy who was remarkably polite in the Southern California tradition. This second guy gave me a reusable free bag advertising the Getty Villa, which he carefully put in a paper bag with my purchases. You couldn't possibly be seen using your new bag to carry things in. It's just not done. I know this because I have bought many bags in So Cal and every time they've put the bag in a bag so I can get it home safely with its baggitude intact.

In the sculpture garden they have about seven sculptures. Was taken with this one, which is a nightshirt. If this is what Robert Plant was singing about in Custard Pie when he said, "Put on your night shirt Mama, and your morning gown - well, you know by night I'm gonna shake 'em on down," you can see that shaking it on down could be quite a task as it's hung on cables.

We listened to The Kills' No Wow on the journey.

Not the song, the CD. The CD lasted just about the two hours total traveling time as it took about an hour and a half to get the plastic seal off the jewel case. We decided the biggest difference between The Kills and The Dead Weather is Jamie Hince tends to agree with Alison Mosshart (i.e. sing the same words) but Jack White disagrees with her (sings a second person's lyrical part with its own viewpoint). The Kills are really easy on the ears (and eyes) and get straight into a groove. The Dead Weather have that narrative thing going, conflict.

Conflict is the first principle of a successful screenplay. Never have two people in the same scene who want the same thing. The active listening and the active comparing of the relative merits of the singers' points of view requires more from the listener, which makes you feel a part of the creation of the work rather than a consumer. Though sometimes you just do want to get into a groove, particularly when driving a freeway.

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