Archive for the ‘Disney Hall’ Category

The stock market made manifest in Architecture

Irrational Exuberance

Flat is the new “up”

Top: Disney Hall, Frank Gehry
Bottom: Farnsworth House, Mies van der Rohe

Eames again


Eames elephants, house and showroom.

I love L.A. And how when you put an elephant near Disney Hall you learn something about that organic architecture. Gehry’s sail-like, billowy, watery curves take on new connotations. It’s like in the poem The Blind Men and an Elephant.

“It was six men of La-La Land…”

If you’re at work, turn down the volume. Unless you want the sounds of elephants bellowing throughout your workplace. I think if you like Horton hears a who! you’ll like this.


Serra Gehry Meier Munch

If you can’t make it to New York, to see the Richard Serra show opening today at MoMA

See Frank Gehry’s “hallway” at Disney Hall in Los Angeles

If you can’t make it to Los Angeles to see Gehry behind Disney Hall,
walk along and through his bridge in Chicago

If you can’t walk Gehry’s only bridge,
lean back against Richard Meier’s Getty Center in L.A.

Each unique but related.

And if you can’t lean back against Meier’s Getty Center,



Photo of Serra’s “Sequence” (2006), Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times


They build magic mountains in L.A.

and across the street, lakes

over parking lots.

It’s a lovely fantasy for now.


Disney Hall for DJ Spooky, Amon Tobin, and
Cut Chemist.

You want fries with that?

For the LA Phil’s Shadow of Stalin series they and other artists remixed Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Mosolov. While other parts of the series look fascinating, this event didn’t explore much about Stalin, or the former Soviet Union. Sampled video clips from ‘Nevsky,’ ‘Potemkin,’ etc. played on two large screens front and rear, but they weren’t synched with the music and repeated too often and too randomly. It all felt random: music about music, about dance, about trance – forced into the LA Phil’s Stalin series.

One of my favorite parts was Norton Wisdom, (nice website.) He painted to the music, live onstage, as he has done with Butoh dance, Tibetan, Indian and Indonesian music, and various genres. You can vaguely see him in the bottom of the bad cellphone photo above. It seemed he had a large glass, onto which he brushed or used his fingers or a cloth to create dark, brooding, sexy images; with a bomb surprisingly added or an Uncle Sam arguing with Uncle Joe Stalin. Nice to watch them grow, and when you thought he should stop he’d make them better. Then Wisdom would wipe the images away glass with a cloth and beautiful back and forth gestures. (I always love to see window-washers work.) And he did listen to what the musicians were playing and trying to work with it. He made me think of opera, in which music and images blend.

If you like loud, I hope you were in Disney Hall last night, between about 10 pm, when it started, to past 3 am when it might have ended. I’m glad I was there. But the musicians wasted an opportunity; there they were, in Walt Disney Concert Hall with its miraculous acoustics, given an important theme to explore. They ignored both.

A side performance in a ‘side chapel’ in the arts cathedral of
Disney Hall:


L.A. vs. Chicago?
Ambition, muses and Olympic games.

Dudamel to LA.

The hot 26 year old Venezuelan conductor believes he’ll find happiness in L.A.

Meanwhile the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is still looking for a music director since Daniel Barenboim stepped down ten months ago. Critic Andrew Patner, in this passionate and well-reasoned article and review of Dudamel’s debut last Thursday with the Chicago Symphony, wanted the CSO to go after the Venezuelan.

“Let’s hope that they (the CSO board members) are carrying pens and contract paper to share with Dudamel before he leaves town.”

Well, either they didn’t take the caps off their pens fast enough, or they weren’t interested, or, once again in the arts, L.A. beat Chicago.

They took the film industry away from us years ago, then the title of “second city;” is their orchestra going to eclipse ours? In architecture, leaders who 100 years ago would have probably lived in “wild west Chicago” today live and work in the exciting and still-defining-itself city of the angels.

Looking for a music director, it doesn’t hurt L.A.’s orchestra at all that they perform in

the new and fabulous Disney Hall designed by Frank Gehry.

That’s a much better place to work (and to listen to music) than is

Chicago’s Symphony Center, (Daniel H. Burnham, 1904), a place many of us put up with to hear great music, but don’t love.

Chicago needs to be more ambitious to stay near the top in culture. We need to realize more projects like Millennium Park (with its own fantastic Gehry-designed outdoor music venue.) I wish that rather than renovate Orchestra Hall as the CSO did a few years ago, we’d have built a new one.

L.A. is ambitious today, competing with New York, the way Chicago was in the very late 1800’s, when Chicago built Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Theater.

Speaking of Adler and Sullivan, cultural historian Tim Samuelson tells the story that not long after Symphony Center, ne’ Orchestra Hall opened and the acoustics were less than hoped, they brought in Louis Sullivan to see if he could improve the acoustics. Dankmar Adler, the real acoustician in the firm was already gone to the great echo chamber in the sky. The Orchestra officials asked Louis Sullivan, “What be the cost to improve Orchestra Hall?” To which he replied, “What would be the cost of six sticks of dynamite?”

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And speaking of L.A. and ambition, in a week we’ll find out which US city gets to compete worldwide for the Olympics. The USOC officials were taken to Chicago’s very ambitious Millennium Park, and all around town. On Saturday they’ll let us know how impressed they were.

Chicago is competing against — Los Angeles.

“I am an American, Chicago-born.”