Saturday, July 28, 2007

Guangdong Nights

I am completely enthralled with season 3 of "So You Think You Can Dance" and I really like Mia Michaels modern dance routines. Her costumes can be somewhat distracting but some of her pieces are so lyrical and moving. And my dance vocabulary is increasing with each episode now (I can comment on a dancer's musicalityfor example). And these kids are really good. Danny is power and grace in motion and Sabra is about as radiant as a shining star wrapped in pixie dust.

So when I saw that the Guangdong Modern Dance Company was going to be a part of this summer's season of Grand Performances I put it on the calendar. The wonderful thing about the Grand Performances summer series is that the venue is the Water Courts of the California Plaza on Grand Avenue, and that it's always free. You show up with your picnic and a bottle of wine and enjoy wonderful and unusual performances as twilight hits the city skyline.
From what I read about the Guangdong Modern Dance Company is that it is the first modern dance company in China. The Artistic Director is renowned and award winning. And this is their first time in Los Angeles. The performance took place in two acts; the first called Heaven and Earth inspired by poems from the pre-Tang to Song Dynasties. Now I have no idea what that means but it says that these poems were full of passion and feeling. Unfortunately that didn't translate to the dancers. The movements were beautiful but I felt a distinct lack of feeling and emotion. No one broke through the routine to bound out of the synchronicity and precision of the routines. It was more gymnastic than lyrical and moving.

One routine though was pretty striking where the principle dancer was center stage with her skirt stretched to the far corners lake a net keeping her bound to the earth. It was performed mostly with her back to the audience and in a low cut dress her back, long neck and graceful arm movements were
emphasized beautifully. The second act was called Upon Calligraphy. The passages of movement were again slow and precise. I kept waiting for some one to break free and soar, but it never happened. Still is was a beautiful night and a rare opportunity to see this dance company from China in our little town.

When the performance was over we walked around and took shots of the Water Court, the still closed Angels Flight, the Walt Disney Concert Hall down the street and its fine gardens, which was a special treat to see at night, nicely lit with a centerpiece fountain made of a mosaic of blue and white china shaped like a huge water lily or something with pools of cool water resting within its petals.
More on Flickr from me and my Sweetie.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My First Spoke Card

I had a lovely bike ride this afternoon. We think there were about 30 people, some I knew; Manny and Cybele, Stephen and Alice, Spencer and Delmy (who I actually met for the first time today). Will says I rolled about 6.5 miles. I haven't rolled that far since I was a kid, and me and some friends rode the L.A. River from my neighborhood in Lynwood all the way to Cudahay.

With stops along the way today, Will shared some history, development, as well as some odd occurrences and trivia about the L.A. River.
There was a rider with a bike rigged with a cart that held a child, that cart was rigged with another cart that held a PA system. The little girl being towed in the second cart was operating the iPod that controlled the soundtrack for the afternoon.

The turn-around point was the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens.
With the wind in my ears I shifted gears on the hill and seeing those ahead of me signal a left turn ahead, I did the same for those in my wake. The center occupies a wonderful Spanish style dwelling with lush gardens, an artful interpretation of the river done on a garden-size scale, and a cool and shady courtyard with Spanish tiles surrounding the fountain.

This being my first "mass" ride, it was interesting to witness the attention our little group received whenever we had to roll on public streets or when we passed people by on the way. Through the little neighborhood that hugs the river someone asked as I rolled by "Where you all going?", "To the river" I said. And as we rolled under a small overpass that was the gathering spot of a few of the city's indigent, our soundtrack filling the air, they smiled and did a jig, holding up their liquor bottles in salute.

Shasta Daisy


Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'd like to Introduce Dr. Pozzi

Thanks to Julia I received an introduction to Dr. Pozzi at Home. His place of residence is the Hammer Museum. A wonderfully intimate (small) museum that is free through the summer. Will and I took a trip over on Saturday afternoon to say hello to Dr. Pozzi and view the rest of the art installations.Dr. Pozzi is the work of 19th century American painter John Singer Sargent, and the informality of the doctor in his brilliant red dressing gown is so intriguing, one slippered foot poking out from beneath his hem.

Photos on Flickr of the Hammer Museum, a drive by the Storybook House and a stop at Milk on the way home for refreshments.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Last Stop Paris

I uploaded the rest of my holiday photos to Flickr. Last stop Paris. It was beautiful riding the train through the South of France.

We couldn't have had a more convenient and beautiful hotel than the Hotel le Notre Dame, at the epicenter of Paris. Literally. In the courtyard of the Notre Dame is a plaque indicating it as Ground Zero.
The light rain and cloud cover was a welcome relief from the warm days we had spend at our ports of call. The sun even obliged us when we scaled the Eiffel Tower with clear blue skies and perfectly billowy clouds. And it wasn't until we descended the Eiffel that the clouds closed ranks again and let the rain fall in earnest.
As we ducked into a shop on the lovely Rue Cler to buy a couple of umbrellas, in the moments it took us to pick one out from the selections on display and hand over our Euros to the shopkeeper, popping them open as we stepped outside, the rain miraculously stopped.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It's the 4th of July

Woke up thinking about what a great trip we had last year. A road trip that was all designed to get us to Grandma's house in Troy Montana for the 4th of July, where my family were gathering. It was a minor miricle to have us all together. With just me, my brother, mom, uncle and grandma, we are as spread apart as we've ever been. But the talk is we may be together again this Thanksgiving in South Carolina, well all but one. I don't think Uncle Jim and Elva will make the trip, but maybe????

So today my sweetie and I are celebrating the 4th of July with the Dodgers and
with a belly full of Dodger Dogs, Peanuts and Ice Cream we'll stay for post game fireworks at the ball park.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Of Art and Whimsy

The Farmer's Market that used to be down the street from my office on Wilshire is gone. I believe they moved further down the street but when I called the phone number for the association that handles organic farmer's markets in the city, I only got voicemail. I left a message and stated my inquiry for their new location, along with my name and number, but no one called me back. I really needed a good peach.

So it was decided that Saturday morning we would take a walk down to the Silverlake Farmer's Market via the back streets that connect to steeply-steep Micheltorena, and wind our way back down to Sunset. There we would bag us some goodies at the farmer's market and have breakfast at Millie's. Later in the afternoon we would haul about 40 cans of old paint from the basement, and Joe's leftover motor oil from the garage, load it into the back of Will's truck and take it to a hazardous waste disposal center in Glendale. Which is relatively close to Fish King where we can pick up some soft shelled crabs for dinner. And Foster's Freeze just happens to be on the way home and by 3:00 in the afternoon we could use some ice cream dipped in chocolate running down our chins.

So that was the plan. And all of those things we did. Right down to the last drop of dripping ice cream.
What wasn't in the plan was a yard sale in full swing at a nice little house on Maltman as we wound our way down to be deposited back on Sunset and the Farmer's Market. As we walked by the front of the house we spied some very interesting bits of glass, pottery, and figurines place mosaicly into cement interweaving between the plants and shrubs along the curb.We began taking pictures and as we looked around some more saw baubles poked onto cactus arms and other oddities. I walked along a bank of fold up tables lining the driveway and a man passing me said "You can go into the backyard. It's very artistic." I didn't even get a clear look at him, there were so many people eyeing the treasures for sale on the tables before us. But the words found their way to my ears through the din of all the other voices swirling around, and I crooked my finger at Will and motioned to him to follow me. We entered a narrow walkway along the side of the house and through a gateway we were in the backyard.

There we found an wondrous display of art, baubles, bottles, figurines, statuary, shrines, beads, and winding paths all intertwined within huge tropical plants and palm trees with an art studio tucked away in the back corner.
We believed it must be the home of the much loved local resident of our Echo Park/Silverlake community, Alberto Hernandez. His garden was featured in the movie Quinceanera and I remember first hearing about him in a feature in the Times or the Weekly. Though photos can not do justice to the live experience of being in his garden where nearly every inch is a work of art and whimsy, I shot away. When we arrived back home Will did a quick search to confirm that it was in fact the garden and art studio of Alberto. What a special treat it was to stumble upon this yard sale and be allowed entry to the magic garden of Alberto Hernandez. More on Flickr.