One month in LA today…

Feels kind of strange. I think I’m beginning to accept that I’m actually living here, not just passing through on an extended stay as I did on all previous long stays in this city. A feeling that is amplified by actually starting to unpack my stuff, and by going to an art opening here and meeting up with friends there.

That was an interesting scene. The opening. It was at the Hammer Museum at UCLA. The show was Made In Mexico, of which I managed to see about a half. The evening was primarily spent cattily scanning the crowd, fending off predatory men with too much cologne, and having some fun & comfortable conversations with my (NEW!) sister-in-law, Gabriela, and her friends. I say “cattily” because my early arrival did offer me quite a while to scan the crowd and I don’t always have the most generous thoughts about people. It was an interesting mix of casually dressed students, agressively artistically dressed people who seemed desperate to be noticed, and well-dressed art show regulars sprinkled in among those who seemed to come knowing that many people would be there and who could care less that it was a gallery. True to form, I liked the idea of some of the modern art, thought some of the art was funny, thought some of the pieces were executed well, and only actually liked some of the more classic pieces in the permanent collection.

One piece in the Made in Mexico show was fun. One artist created an installation featuring a video of a car wash in action, and some bubbles falling from the ceiling. Clever, I thought first, looking at one of the mainstay sources of employment for Mexicans in LA, the car wash. Fun, too, to have bubbles in a gallery. They floated out of the ceiling, coming to rest on the floor or on outstretched hands of visitors. Then I read that the artist learned that a car wash was operated using water from the morgue next door — water that was run off after being used for washing out cadavers, etc. The video is of that car wash, zooming in on seemingly oblivious folks chatting on cell phones while their expensive cars are being cleansed with post-funereal rinse water. The icing was that the bubbles in gallery were, also, created using morgue water… a fact which instantly changed the festive feeling among the people who had been trying to catch them in their hands and on their heads. That was fun.

So I suppose I’m in LA now. I’m going to another opening tomorrow, it being (according to my roommate) the “opening weekend of the season.” I had no idea that art had a season. Perhaps, lacking seasons created by weather, Angelinos compensate by creating their own alternative reasons to note the time of year. I wonder if I have to change my clothing? And does the food change as well? I suppose there the answer must be “no.” We are still in California, where you can get tomatoes and avocados year-round.