Get thee to the Getty

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of seeing a fun new play Serrano, The Musical up in L.A. (my cousin Beth is one of the backers!)  It has catchy tunes, fun choreography and beautiful singing voices….everything your looking for in a musical theater production.  See it before it closes in March! The theater is on Melrose….go early and enjoy the funky shopping and yummy restaurants in the area too!

So…since I was going to be driving up to L.A. and spending the night at my sister’s home, I thought I’d make an adventure of the day and stop at the Getty Museum too.  I haven’t been in over 10 years….it was time to go back.  In addition to their amazing permanent collection, they also had a current exhibition of black and white photography titled Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful and In Focus: Play.  Aside from dance, black and white photography is my favorite art form, so I was excited!!  You have to pay $15 for parking at the Getty, but then the rest of it…the museum and grounds…are free.  Getting to the top of the Santa Monica mountains, where The Getty is situated, entails a 15 minute steep walk…or the more desired option, the tram. The Richard Meier designed Getty Center is a wonder of architecture, but the tram, in and of itself, is also a modern day marvel.  The tram was designed to quietly transport 1200 people per hour from the very large parking structure up to the center without disrupting the neighboring homes, while at the same time offering sweeping views of the city.  It accomplishes both.

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On a clear day you can see forever…from the tram

It was a grey day, with a slight drizzle in the air, but that did not detract from the beauty of the grounds.  Okay, on a clear day you have a view of downtown and the ocean, which is probably more desirable, but it’s still gorgeous in the rain.  The Getty website describes the central garden best”….an evolving work of art, with tree-lined walkways that lead visitors through extraordinary sights, sounds, and scents.”  It is a feast for the eyes and the senses….just as much as the architectural beauty of the museum itself.

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This is the sculpture as you get off the tram….it reminded me of a basket on a lacrosse stick. The buildings in the background are the campus of Mt. St. Mary’s College, where my mom worked for over 25 years.

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this captures the grandeur of the space…this is just the cafe

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there’s symmetrical beauty in this row of trees…even without their leaves

Josef Koudelka, although an engineer by trade, made the switch to photography in his mid 20’s.  He started by photographing local theater in his Czech homeland, but his fame came while photographing the Warsaw Pact invasion in Czechoslovakia in 1968, smuggling those images to the West, and ultimately being exiled in 1970.  Because he had no proof of his birth in Czechoslovakia, he obtained the legal status “Nationality Doubtful”  hence the name of the exhibit.  While some of the photographs from around the world were at times haunting, some were also quite poignant.  No photographs were allowed in the actual exhibit, so you’ll have to see them and judge for yourself.

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Although quite small, I really enjoyed the variety in the exhibit In Focus: Play.  It was a diverse grouping of pictures, ranging from the serious to the whimsical by different photographers.

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One of my favorites…1937 Lower East Side, Weegee (Arthur Fellig)

Here are a few iconic paintings also on display…. (isn’t it interesting/weird that you can take pics of some of the paintings, but not others?)

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Irises by Van Gogh 1889

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Wheatstacks by Monet 1891

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Sunrise by Monet 1873….no surprise that I like this one!

I love to travel and explore new places, restaurants, views, etc.  This day made me realize that I don’t have to go that far..it’s in my own backyard.  Los Angeles is about an hour drive from my home, but seemed like such an adventure (…and I grew up in the San Fernando Valley..go figure!)  If you find yourself with a free day, make it a day in L.A. with The Getty, shopping, eating and Serrano, The Musical (I have a few discount tickets for those interested.)

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails! 

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