Saturday, April 05, 2008

Not so relaxing mommy and me day

Iris says that weekends are for relaxing. So getting her out of the house in time for a 11:30 tour of the Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition at FIDM (the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) was not easy. In fact, we were a bit late and missed ~10% of the tour. Museum entrance is free, but we took a tour as guests of Quick Culture.

Our guide, Ellen Greenberg, really did her homework and provided Iris with many movie tidbits that engaged her interest. I doubt that I could have kept Iris entertained for that long without her help. I enjoyed peering intently at the costumes for an hour without having Iris hanging on me and begging to go home. Photography is not allowed inside the exhibit, so I offer a picture of Iris in the park outside FIDM.

Afterwards, we drove north from the fashion district to Chinatown for dim sum at Empress Pavilion in Bamboo Plaza.

Then we drove a bit farther north to the Los Angeles Downtown Arts District for the Brewery artists' colony annual artwalk/studio tour. I was surprised by the crowds. This town cares about the arts.

I put Iris in charge of the camera for the day. Each live/work loft has a little patio area. Iris enjoyed the view from one of them.

One of the artists put out a cardboard playhouse which was enjoyed by many.

Iris wanted to see this video installation, which drew crowds. We both liked it, but they cranked up the sound so loud, that my ears hurt and we had to leave without viewing the entire thing.

With the crowds, we were unable to park on the complex itself so we parked 3 blocks away in the neighborhood. We enjoyed looking at the many well-kept gardens and modest historical bungalows. I was pleasantly surprised by this little neighborhood, tucked between the I-5 freeway and the railroad.

[Wikipedia says that we were in Lincoln Heights.]

There were so many galleries that I longed to see, over 100. Yet, I saw about 5 of them because Iris was melting down. Reluctantly, I left.

But, I promised Mark I would stop by the Music Center to exchange our tickets for My Fair Lady. We scored some good seats for a Saturday matinee later this month. What are the chances that we would be invited to a baby shower and Iris would be invited to a birthday party on the exact same afternoon? These friends are near and dear to our hearts and we reluctantly exchanged our tickets for another day.

Iris was so upset about not going directly home, I had to let her play in the dancing fountain at the Music Center a little while. She fell asleep on the way home. She was plum tuckered out and over stimulated.

When Mark and I first moved to Los Angeles, we were surprised by the number of residents of the South Bay who don't go downtown--who are afraid of it. We live within 20 miles of one of the major cultural centers of the world. What is the point of living with the density and exorbitant cost of living if one doesn't also partake of the upside of living in this metropolis?

  • Iris and I enjoyed some works so much, we considered buying a painting or two. You can view some of the artist's work here. We saw two in the carp series, which have a Manga and traditional woodcut feel at the same time. The fishes' bug eyes remind me of Ukiyo-e Kabuki posters.
  • I learned about the Artwalk through an article in the LA Times about the gardens at the Brewery. Alas, Iris melted down shortly after we got there so we didn't get far enough into the complex to glimpse the garden.
  • You can get half-price tickets for Quick Culture tours through Gold Star Events. We use Gold Star frequently for tickets. They offer an interesting and affordable selection of things to do in Los Angeles.
  • The April/May 2008 issue of American Craft magazine contains an article about craft in Los Angeles, with a slide show of local artisans' work. Do look at it; wonderful stuff is made right here.

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