LAX had free wireless access but we didn’t have any time to kill. We were ten minutes into our trip to the airport when Peggi realized that she had forgotten her jacket with her house keys and drivers license in the pocket. So we waited by the side of the road for our brother-in-law to speed the jacket to us.
Now in Chicago I have the option of joining the Boingo Wireless network here for $6.95. Forget about that. I’m not that wired. We are traveling with my mother-in-law and she did some sort of frequent flier upgrade with the tickets so we sat up with the fat cats in first class. Plenty of legroom, free drinks and and a hot meal. There is a thriving class distinction in this country. We read the NYT and I dove back into “On Photography.” I am really enjoying Sontag. “Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture, grandparents’ pots and pans — the used things, warm with generations of human touch. Instead, we have our paper phantoms, transistorized landscapes. A feather weight portable museum.” That from 1977 and “photography itself increasingly reflects the prestige of the rough, the self-disparaging, the offhand, the undisciplined — the “anti-photograph.”
This will be a nice addition to the Funky Signs section on the Refrigerator. This car looks like it is built to handle the curves in the Hollywood Hills.
We checked the LA weather online before leaving Rochester and it said, “Haze.” We woke this morning to news that the Santa Ana winds were responsible for new fires in Malibu last night. We took a long walk in the hills across Beverly Glen canyon from where we were staying. Walked by Rod Stewart’s house, Frank’s former pad and Barbra’s palace and then climbed the hills to 10050 Cielo Drive where the Tate LaBianca murders happened in 1969.
Smoke from the fires in Malibu drifted through the canyons in LA this morning. This is how it looked out our bedroom window.
We are having dinner at the Getty with my in-laws. There is a traveling Weston photography show there, two outstanding Rembrandts and a beautiful Goya bullfight painting. We’ve been here before. We’ll be up there for the hazy sunset too.
We watched Orange County last night with Jack Black, Catherine O’Hara and Colin Hanks as family and Schuyler Fisk as the girlfriend. The tagline for the 2002 movie is, “It’s not just a place. It’s a state of mind” and sure enough this film could have taken place anywhere. It is a very entertaining slice of life. Five stars. Perfect fair for a family gathering. My wife’s mom was the only one not laughing. We took a 4 mile walk in the Will Rogers State Historic Park. It was a beautiful day for a walk but I think it’s always a beautiful day in California so that’s not saying much.
Will Rogers Park looks like all scrub brush but there are some beautiful trails that hug the hillsides and keep you out of the blazing sun.
Our nephew, Andrew, asked if we wanted to go the the Hammer Museum on the UCLA campus. We saw a show of Francis Alys’ work—mostly video installations of his performance art called, “The Politics of Rehearsal.” An old red VW bug tries to drive to the top of a steep, dusty hill in Tijuana only to roll back and try again while a band stops and restarts a song. A stripper continually removes her clothes and puts them back on while Alys is heard off camera discussing Mexican politics. And in a collaboration with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Alys uses rehearsal footage from a scene in Inarritu’s film, Amores Perros, along with outtakes, alternate camera shots and the final take to again illustrate his zen-like idea of enjoying the ride and the opportunities for renewal instead of focusing on closure.
I fell asleep at nine or midnight NY time and then woke up at six (LA time) and read my nephew’s ” Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” book for a few hours before heading downstairs for coffee. I love it. “For Zen students, a weed is a treasure.”
We walked up Bel Air Drive today until the road ended. And then we walked downhill to Beverly Glen and then back up again. It is a beautiful day. I just checked in Rochester and watched a camera animation of the sun going down over Bishop Kearney High School. We had our first snowfall there. Peggi made Challa bread with the kids when they were young and it has become some sort of tradition on Thanksgiving in the Meyer household. So she had them braid the dough again and it’s in the oven. “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.”
We transfered planes in Chicago and found our new seats but one of them was missing. Only the metal frame was there. Apparently someone had puked in that seat and they were replacing it. The Mexican attendant asked if we wanted her to spray a product on the arm rests to combat the odor. We decided to stick with the faint scent of barf. The oversize couple in front of us put their seats back immediately on take off and our quarters lost half their cubic space. The guy bought a pizza on board and his wife had a big sandwich and a macaroni salad on her tray table in a matter of minutes. The stewardess served coffee and gave us a napkin that read, “More legroom than any other US airline.” I asked if this was a joke and she said, “Totally.”
The two in-flight movies were so lame we could glance up every fifteen minutes or so without the audio and not miss a thing. My wife was reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and I was reading Susan Sontag’s rant, “On Photography.” “Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world—all these elements of erotic feeling are affirmed in the pleasure we take in photographs.”
We took a walk in Bel Air and I grabbed this poignant shot of tourists on a star hunt.