Petersen Automotive Museum is as hot as a ticket-me-red Camaro

Petersen Automotive Museum
The new Petersen Automotive Building on Wilshire Blvd. is a standout!

Across Wilshire Boulevard and a block west of LACMA is the amazing Petersen Automotive Museum, founded by Robert Petersen, publisher of Hot Rod magazine.  Designed by House and Robertson the building’s architecture is controversial.  The L.A. Times reviewer really dislikes the building, but in my opinion, that blood red building wrapped in enormous, sinuous stainless steel sculptural ribbons deserves applause.  It is as brash and over-the-top as American muscle cars.

I have to confess that I am not a car person so I haven’t been inside, but the building is spectacular even from across the street. If you are a car person, you can see hot rods, race cars, historic BMWs and other automobiles at the museum. You can even use their race car driving simulators.

Petersen Automotive Museum
This photograph gives a sense of the scale of the building and the stainless steel ribbons that envelope it.

An astonishing video at LACMA shows European court dancers in tribal fabrics

Masked Dance video at LACMA
Tribal fabrics made into court clothes are costumes for The Masked Dance video.

Another exhibit at LACMA, one I almost missed, is entitled ‘Sense of Time: video and film-based works of Africa.’  One work, The Masked Dance’ by Yinka Shonibare is absolutely astonishing. It is a  video of people dressed for a European court dance, wearing clothing made from African tribal fabrics.  Almost all of  Shonibare’s works explore the relationship between Europe and Colonial states.

In a few minutes  one sees dance, courtship, death (maybe), murder (maybe), rebirth and escape. Sadly, the room this video is shown in is relatively small and has too much light. I couldn’t find this video on YouTube although many other of this brilliant artist’s works are there.

(And tomorrow, More photos from my visit to LACMA.)


Yinka Shonibare's Masked Dance video
My poor qualty photo of one of the dance scenes in The Masked Dance by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare. This exhibition is upstairs in the Hammer Building.

After Mapplethorpe nudes comes men’s clothing during the last 300+ years

AFter you've made your way through the Mapplethorpe show, you can walk across the hall to sen men's clothing. through the centuries.
After you’ve made your way through the Mapplethorpe show, you’ll find yourself channeled into a show of men’s clothing. through the centuries.

As a kind of balance to the room after room of Mapplethorpe’s male nudes, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is exhibiting men’s clothing since the 1700s. Most of the recent items in the exhibition are works by famous designers.

Men's Robes LACMA
Robes for men range from the utterly pedestrian one, front and center, to Rudi Gernreich’s Unisex robe from the 1960s on the right.

There is, however, one example of clothing that was worn by the man on the street: a Pearly King vest. The Pearly Kings and Queens were members of the working class who did charitable works beginning in the early 19th Century in London.  I remember that as I child I was fascinated by photographs of them I saw in magazines. And they still exist.  In fact, one pearlie group marched in the opening of the 2012 Olympics.

(Tomorrow: an astonishing video I almost missed!)

Pearly King vest at LACMA
An authentic Pearly King vest made of wool worsted with mother-of-pearl buttons. On the left is Johnson Hartig’s take on a pearly outfit.


Huh? The Farmers Market in Los Angeles is a tourist attraction?

East patio Farmers Market Los Angeles
The East patio at the Farmers Market was the only really busy area during the lunch hour on a Wednesday.

The Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax boasts that it is the oldest farmers’ market in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1917 when a few farmers pulled wagons filled of local vegetables and fruits onto a vacant lot and began to sell.  But 98 years later it is sad. Worn. Bedraggled.  In seriously need of an upgrade.  And, in my mind, it barely qualifies as a ‘farmers market’.  There are a couple of fresh fruit stalls near one entrance, but that’s it.  No rows and rows of farmers selling their own delicious locally-grown fruits and veggies like the ones you find at the hundreds of neighborhood farmers markets all over L.A.

broiled fish stall farmers market los angeles
A hand-painted undersea scene on the outside of a stall selling broiled fish.

It is more of a fast food lunch place than a place to buy the freshest fruits and vegetables.  Whoever owns the property should take a cue from the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles which has experienced a rebirth in the last two years.  (The post I wrote about the Grand Central Market is here.)

On the other hand, some of the stalls at the Farmers Market are quite colorful so I took a few photos.  (We ate lunch across the street at Mendocino Farms.)

Loteria take-out Mexican food stall
The name of this Mexican food stand is ‘Loteria’ and  they have used the cards for fortune-telling as  inspiration for their  graphic look.
French crepery stall at Farmers Market Los Angeles
The mural at the base of the French crepe stand is so charming!  And from the number of Nutella jars, apparently that cocoa and hazelnut concoction is a big seller.


A couple of years ago thanks to the efforts of the PETA people foie gras was banned in California, but that ban was reversed.  But why this shop was showing a French ceramic rooster next to their sign I do not know. Faoie gras is from geese.
A couple of years ago thanks to the efforts of the PETA people foie gras was banned in California, but that ban was reversed. But why this shop was displaying a French ceramic rooster next to their sign I do not know. Foie gras is from force-fed geese.
Carmel apples at Farmers Market
Caramel apples bedecked with M&Ms and candies were just the beginning. This shop had a dozen other varieties.
One prominant shop in the market sells doggies treats.  I think these are for big dogs.
And let’s not forget the pets.  One shop sells doggies treats. I think these are for big dogs.  I think they could also be used a bases for ornamental wreaths–they are that big.
Du-par's at Farmers Market Los Angeles
Dupars is a famous old pancake house. The one in Studio City is known for breakfast meetings for people in the entertainment world.  This photo was taken a noon on a Wednesday and there were not many customers inside or out on the patio.