Thursday night I ate a sushi meal so fresh and so expensive as to be simultaneosly energizing and astonishing all at the same time. My day began early on Friday morning, as the miracle of time zones meant that the conference call season began in the off-season. Outdoors, an April rain served, no doubt, a precursor to May flowers.
One court hearing, one meeting, and several telephone calls later, it was 2:15 p.m. My flight was at 7:35 p.m. When had blocked out my day prior to my visit, I originally thought I would finish my business by 11 a.m., and then go either fishing in the Santa Monica Bay or walking at a favorite locale. By Friday, my options had reduced, and I hoped to be able to visit one of my favorite public spaces, the Huntington Gardens in San Marino.
I had elected not to rent a car, to test once again my new view that one can tour carlessly in Los Angeles, given the fine rail service now in place. I boarded the Gold Line train at Union Station, bound for Pasadena. As I did the mental math,though, I realized that I would not be able to get to the Huntington and back in optimum time. I noticed that another favorite place of mine, the Southwest Museum is a rail stop. I got off there, and scaled the "Hopi Trail", a long, high climb up to the museum. Sadly, the museum was closed, as the renovation which had been a constant threat during my stay in Los Angeles seven years previously had apparently already begun. I took pictures in the garden, and ambled back to the Metro stop. The train pulled up just before I did, and I made my way back to downtown, via the Gold and Red lines. The trains are so easy to use nowadays.
I got off at Pershing Square, just across the street from the LA Barber College where I used to let students practice buzzing my endlessly challenging waves and cowlicks. I walked by the Biltmore Hotel, which has grand deco interior design, and where I used to stay in 1988, when the rates were remarkably reasonable in an effort to attract trade to this resurrected hotel, and a butler on each floor sewed buttons and delivered hot brownies to the guests.
I went into the downtown branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, itself a California deco structure, with a new addition which features a huge, breathtakingly fun mobile. I made my way down the escalators to the sections I liked. I read magazines I rarely get to read, with names like Orchids(I am now an expert, I believe, in cattelyas, or at least as much of an expert as one can be after one article), Froots (did you know the ngongo is the new, old banjo?), and Clavier (which last magazine, by the way, contained an ad which assured me that I could teach intermediate piano students twelve-tone method, which, no doubt, would be more likely to be true if I myself were up to intermediate level. I also learned from an expert in Minnesota that I could raise rates annually, relentlessly, and without remorse or explanation, which sounded, actually, like a remarkably universal idea).
I love the art exhibits that are always free at the Los Angeles Public Library. A digital photo display, Doug McCulloh's "L.A. Neighorhoods: Hollywood" captured candid slices of life ranging from a child's birtday party to a starlet being escorted by a handler with a seemingly iron will at the Oscars ceremony, with everyone's photo take from the neck down.
The marquee attraction was "Drawing by the Light of the Moon: The Art of Fred Marcellino". I know that in a weblog, one is supposed to pretend that one is so literary as to customarily hurl out literary references and know them in depth. I should therefore, if I were to do my readers full justice, pretend that I knew Fred, was offered three prints, and had a fervent exchange of e mail with him in 2000. In fact, though, I did not know who he was, but figured that anyone who draws book covers, album covers and children's picture books is all right by me). This exhibit was amazingly good.
Marcellino's book covers included three very familiar images--the stunning "Unbearable Lightness of Being" cover, withs its fingers reaching to grasp a bowler hat; the "Accidental Tourist" cover, with its winged armchair; and "The Handmaid's Tale" cover, with its white-capped handmaids standing by a constricting wall. I did not reconize any of the album covers, unless, perhaps, the be-tuxedo'd mandrills on Best of Mandrill raised a responsive dollar-bin wave of sentiment in me.
The children's books were stunningly good, and I thought to myself that what I need in life is more children's picture books. Then I made my way to the front of the library, where I enjoyed viewing fountains, watching pigeons and ending my Los Angeles sojourn. I made my way out to the airport, watched a pleasant trifle called "The Holiday" on the plane, and arrived home in good order.