Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Cowboy Almost Christmas Wedding

Two things were clear from the start.

First, we would spend the rest of our lives together.

There was never any question about that.

Second, I was not remotely ready to get married.

There was even less disagreement on that.

My ever wayward – and increasingly continent hopping - cowhand career (which by then had little to do with cows other than eating them) at that time still took precedence over my nascent (and unremunerated) writing career.

So while our increasingly… adventuresome… adventures were becoming quite lucrative, I had - without realizing it - made a decision not to live off that money, but to instead only use my share to finance further adventures to fuel my dopamine-starved brain.

Despite my stubbornness and male pride, though, as always, she still hung in there with me and patiently waited until I would feel financially capable of providing for her in ways that did not involve liberating stolen airplanes from foreign governments or riding shotgun on diamond shipments along the Orinoco.

Finally, though, one day Lance, as head cowboy, decided to take matters into his own hands and decided he was going to make an honest cowhand of me whether I wanted to be one or not. So shortly before Christmas, he declared he would marry us himself in a cowboy wedding and gave us – and everyone else – 48 hours to make arrangements.

I foolishly tried to challenge his authority on this, but Lance reminded me if a captain of a ship was entitled to marry couples, then as undispute captain of our ship of horses he certainly could.

Thus two days later, in all my finest cowhand finery and on Christmas eve, I marched down an aisle in the middle of a corral lined with all the others in their newly shined, polished, groomed, and tailored cowboy suits, boots, hats and spurs. Plus each of our personal horses was also in attendance tacked out within an inch of thie lives which created considerable unintentional – or more likely – intentional – humor as our horses did all the usual things that horses are often wont to do.

Then in a brilliant stroke displaying his true evil genius, Lance dragooned my ever faithless horse - Mr. D - into being the ring bearer, and Mr. D then trotted down the aisle after me with his teeth holding a box with the rings that would symbolize my loss of freedom. (And with all the attention given my bride and my horse, if I hadn't shown up – no one would have noticed – or cared)

And, luckily, D did not mistake the five carats of the ring (and as we were being paid in diamonds, size was no object) for real carrots, otherwise we would have had a wedding delay while we waited for the ring to reappear.

And, speaking of dodged bullets, with Bach as my best man (and he occupied that position since Lance was performing the ceremony) – if there was ever anyone born to host a bachelor party – it was Bach since Bach was short for… bachelor… it was a miracle any of us had the energy left to still make it to the wedding.

Then when it finally came time to close the ceremony, Lance nodded his head forward as he announced I could kiss the bride and exactly as those words came from his mouth – my horse leaned forward and gently nudged me towards my bride with his nose – to the collective vocal approval of all those in attendance.

And so I was completely upstaged not just once, but twice by my own horse at my own wedding.

Then after kissing my bride (after which she gave my Benedict Arnold of a horse both a hug and a kiss), I had the quite mitigated pleasure of watching all the others embrace and kiss my new wife under my watchful eye – when Lance came over and announced this ceremony was his early Christmas present to me.

But before I could properly thank him, for just a moment I saw that look of incredible sadness in his eyes, the look he had whenever his thoughts turned to his wife and his son.

And when he saw me reacting to his momentary mood, he turned on his easy grin and reached over and gave me a ‘friendly squeeze’ on my shoulder – which left black and blue finger imprints all over my shoulder for a full week. And between the knee weakening pain and his grin, he managed to change the mood and the subject.

But now looking back, I wonder if he somehow, or in some way knew that in all too short a time, we would all gather together again, but this time to celebrate a life that had all too soon ended and mourn her passing before laying her to rest on the ridge where Lance’s wife and son lay in wait for us.

LA Cowboy Pisses Off Miss Snark!

For those three people left alive who are still unaware who Miss Snark is, she posts an anonymous eponymous blog that enlightens writers on how to get and deal with agents and publishers.

She is also funny as hell.

She also runs what she calls a CRAPOMETER where she critiques first pages, synopsises or - most recently - hooks. Unfortunately for her, her last CRAPOMETER had a ... staggering... 682 submissions that she both read - and critiqued!

And after all of that work and resultant chaos in her life - of course some smart ass had to ask her the obvious question.

And that smart ass was... of course... me!

See above link for particulars.

And if you want to see - and hear - how all us loyal Snarklings really feel about Miss Snark - click on the below YOUTUBE video:

Friday, December 29, 2006

Due To OVERWHELMING Demand....

Well, an 'overwhelming number' of exactly four fellow Snarklings asked me to post this, the first page to the Long Rider.....

In the West, a 'long rider' is a man who has been outlawed, a man on a long ride; a ride that will last forever.





Three belows were necessary before the horseshoe drove the nail into the oak beam that bridged the doorless doorway. Age had yet to weaken the ancient beam any more than it had imparted any weakness to the man who gripped the rusted horseshoe.

Once a cattle ranch bunkhouse, all that remained was a decayed ruin, fit only to haunt those of knew of its past - or those cursed or blessed with imagination enough to see in sun-bleached wood what stories had once been told around campfires before they too receded into a past of their own.

Ten years had passed since the boots of Jed Matthews last trod that silent floor; ten years to the night his life had been felled as a cottonwood tree often was - only to have a shoot spring up from its roots and rise until the tree once more reached its full measure and overshadowed the dead and useless stump which existed then but as a mute reminder of what had been.

But not only for Jed Matthews did such reminders exist. For what had disrupted his life that night had also affected the lives of many other men in more ways than he had imagined. One of the most immediate of those consequences had been the altering of the lives of those in power as they had to reflect upon what they had done and then had to prevent any further disruptions.

Finally, there were those who could only spend sleepless nights wishing there had been something they could have done... and fearing that perhaps there had been.

But none of this could be changed.

What had happened, had happened forever. And what had been, existed then only in ruins such as those - and in the memories of the men who had taken part in the tragedy; men who lay in the safety of heir beds not knowing that Jed Matthews had returned.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Does Anyone At The Los Angeles Times Read The Headlines Before They Print Them? Obviously - NO!

According to both the print and the on-line edition of the Sunday Los Angeles Times,the present California congressional delegation is dominated by white, male... Republicans. The minor problem is that the present California delegation is dominated by... Democrats.

But that is not what the headline of the article says. The article, of course, correctly contradicts the headline and states that the existing Republican leadership in the house is being replaced by new Democratic leadership, hence the demographic and partisan shift.

Unfortunately, this type of error is an almost daily occurrence in the Times. People who write the headlines - evidently - never read - or at least understand - the articles they are putting headlines... on.

And this is why I made the suggestion some time ago that assuming that the Times does not trust writers to write their own headlines, to at least REQUIRE that the writers sign-off on the headlines.

New Congress mirrors shift in California
A delegation largely white, male and Republican yields to a diverse array of Democrats.
By Noam N. Levey
Times Staff Writer

December 24, 2006

WASHINGTON — When control of Congress switches parties next month, so too will the political face of California.

Slipping into eclipse is red California, dominated by Republican House members who for years have been the state's most influential voices in Washington.

These lawmakers — all white and all Christian — hailed largely from inland valleys. Many were deeply rooted Californians who grew up immediately after World War II when the state was a more homogeneous place. Several strolled the halls of Congress in cowboy boots.

With Democrats ascendant, however, a bluer California is set to put its mark on Capitol Hill. This face is more urban and more diverse. Its senior lawmakers — who include women, Jews, African Americans and Latinos — live in large coastal metropolitan areas. Many moved to the Golden State as adults.

The contrast broadly mirrors national differences between the two major political parties. But the shift in power within the state's congressional delegation also reflects a changing California that is cleaving along an East-West divide.

One California, concentrated along the Pacific Coast, is increasingly secular, multicultural and Democratic; the other, centered east of the coastal mountain ranges, is more overtly religious, more white and more Republican.

Last Night's 'Friday Nights Lights' Mini-Marathon! And How To Save The Show!!

After being unable to make it through more than a few minutes of any of previous episodes of the critically acclaimed Friday Nights Light's hour drama on NBC - I sat through the three back to back episodes last night while working at my desk. And... possibly... there were... maybe... 10 minutes out of the combined three hours that managed to in any way capture my interest.

Which left me puzzled. It has gotten excellent reviews from many critics and the backdrop of a small Western town - and I spent much of my time for 10 years in such towns and have been around them my entire life - so why do I find this series so totally and completely... unwatchable?

Looking back at the three hours last night - I don't think I can recall a single moment where anything - on any level - other than the scenes of the elders in the black church scenes, which felt dead-on - felt real for me.

There was zero feeling of any sense of place of any kind to me and none of the younger characters felt like any real people I have ever known - much less like kids from a small Western town. And when I tried to recollect who they did remind me of - to my surprise - it was the characters of Seinfeld - but without the humor!

All the joy of life has been sucked out of them and all they ever do is sit around and bitch and complain and talk and talk about life as if they were bunch old timers hanging out, waiting for death at Zabar's on the Upper West Side of New York.

So here's my suggestion - take the exact same characters, very slightly rewrite the dialogue, change the sport to basketball, add a laugh track and move them to Manhattan.

It'll be a guaranteed hit!


Evidently... yes!

From Poytner:

Posted by Fons Tuinstra 6:07:06 AM
Has Google Built a Smarter Internet?

Google appears to be smart about how it handles net traffic.
Day two of the Asian Internet crisis. Here's a short update from Shanghai.

Much of the situation reported yesterday remains the same for me: most sites still are not accessible after Tuesday's earthquake off the coast of Taiwan. The traffic is not cut off entirely, however, since some services seem to be working better than others. This story is rather more complicated than a continent being cut off from the rest of the world.

Skype is back in action, but MSN is spotty. When I can get online, I can only see that nobody else is. Yahoo is totally out of service.

What keeps amazing me is that all Google services keep on humming as if there was no problem: Google search, blog search, Gmail, Gtalk, Google Reader, Adsense, Google Documents, Even the uncensored Google News is showing no delay, although I cannot click through to the original sources in Google News.

I have been asking around a bit why people think Google can avoid the physical barriers that are causing problems for most of the others. One explanation is that Google, without claiming or getting much praise, has been building a smarter Internet. They seem to be able to avoid single points of failure.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Five Things You Don't Know About LA Cowboy!

1. I have been wanted for a capital offense in India for over 30 years.

2. I lost my virginity in a Nevada brothel at age 17.

3. A wild horse I caught, broke and trained as rodeo stock threw two former national champions in one season.

4. I met the Manson family at the Spahn Movie Ranch after the murders.

5. In 1966, I was one of the first people to read the first draft of Carlos Castaneda's 'Teachings of Don Juan' and met him while investigating a ghost that was haunting me.

And I tag... Miss Snark:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another Misleading Los Angeles Times Headline!

First... the headline:

The holiday fixture is a film classic, but the production wasn't always angelic.

OK - so it seems clear that some aspects of the production were the opposite of being angelic - would seem be if not satanic - as least filled with strife, discord or other non-angelic behavior. Right?

Uh... no...

Stephen Cox
Special to The Times

December 23, 2006

IT is arguably one of the most magnetic moments ever captured on film. This enduring celluloid juncture from 1946's "It's a Wonderful Life" can be summoned to mind by merely mentioning "the prayer scene." In it, a tearfully reduced George Bailey — played by Jimmy Stewart — sits at a bar and contemplates taking his own life, then clasps his hands and quietly asks for God's intervention.

And while filming this key moment, this pivotal point in the picture, Frank Capra goofed — big time.

Despite a reputation for being fastidiously well prepared, the veteran director had no idea that his star would turn on the waterworks and deliver such an impassioned, intimate performance on the first take. It was something overwhelming even for Stewart himself.

So the cameras rolled, the music and bustle in the bar erupted, and the scene played out — but when it was over, Capra realized his angle was too distant. And he had failed to capture a close-up of the emotionally draining scene. Capra apologized and asked his Oscar-winning star to replicate it, but a spent Stewart knew he'd nailed it and couldn't fathom a re-creation as effective as the one he'd just poured out.

To remedy the situation, during postproduction the director and his editor manually and painstakingly moved in — frame by frame. It created what appears to be an optical zoom.

So.. the not always angelic behavior during the production was that.... James Stewart gave a perfect single take performance.

Now that sure was... devilish... of him.

Monday, December 11, 2006

There Is An Obvious Reason Why Japanese Owned Companies Are Headquartered In Torrance!

In linking to The Los Angeles Business Journal's article on Japanese businesses in Torrance, Mark Lacter's LAOBSERVED business blog states there is no obvious reason why this is so:

Japanese in Torrance: The city is home to at least 246 companies that are either units of Japanese companies or founded by people of Japanese origin. That's at least 44 more than the city of L.A. There isn't any obvious explanation for the Torrance contingent, other than it's a relatively business-friendly community and very close to the port and other major transportation networks.

Actually... there is a very obvious reason!

Just look at a map. Almost directly east of Torrance is Gardena which for most of the 20th Century had a very large Japanese population due to Japanese-American run truck farms that started not long after the turn of the last century. Even the latest census shows an almost 30% Asian population in Gardena. Then when that community prospered, the nearest middle/upper middle class community was Torrance and they started moving west setting up stores, restaurants, supermarkets, language schools, churches and temples - proving the social infrastructure for the incoming Japanese companies.

And with Torrance having the necessary land for the new offices and factories (and a glut of cheap space after the aero-space industry collapse) and a superb school system, it had advantages that none of the other Japanese-American communities in LA County had.

Therefore - it became the headquarters city for major Japanese companies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

LA To The Arts - Drop Dead!

The City of Los Angeles’ master plan to drive every non-profit and profit making cultural institution from the city limits continues unabated. In a city famous (for decades) years for losing more museums and museum quality collections than any city in the world (and a city that has driven its best galleries to Culver City, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills), now the Neon Museum may be the next to be forced to leave LA. And several other cultural institutions may be next:

Museum of Neon Art faces dim prospects
In January it will find itself homeless, priced out of the changing downtown scene. But don't shut off those lights just yet.
By Christopher Reynolds
Times Staff Writer

December 8, 2006

The Museum of Neon Art has collected scores of electric artworks, kinetic artifacts and gleaming bits of historic cityscape. But what it really needs right now is a well-placed "vacancy" sign.

At the end of January, a month after the downtown museum celebrates its 25th birthday, the lease runs out on MONA's home of 10 years at 501 W. Olympic Blvd. After a series of failed courtships, the organization has no new permanent home lined up.

"In crisis, there is opportunity," said executive director Kim Koga, who has been looking for new sites while lining up temporary storage and arranging a fundraising event.

Koga, who has directed the museum since 1998, said she has been searching for months for a new venue, but the museum is caught in a bind common among bohemians in booming urban settings: With rents rising, lofts proliferating and redevelopment efforts underway downtown, the 400-member museum, which lives on a $200,000 yearly budget, can't afford most buildings.

For a while, MONA was looking at the old Subway Terminal Building downtown at Hill and 4th streets, which has been converted into an apartment building and renamed 417 Metro. Then Koga was interested in the basement of the Eastern Columbia building at 849 S. Broadway, a 1929 Moderne landmark with a turquoise terra cotta exterior, designed as a department store, that's being turned into 147 lofts. But neither option panned out.

Now Koga is in talks with another prospective landlord that would put the museum under the same downtown roof as a jazz-blues club, she said, but nothing has been signed.

Meanwhile, MONA will stage a fundraising party and silent auction Saturday at the Design Within Reach store in Beverly Hills, beginning at 7 p.m.

"We'd really like to stay downtown," Koga said. "This is where our roots are, and the history of neon started downtown."

Created in France, neon first came to the U.S. when Earl C. Anthony, an entrepreneur with Packard car dealerships in downtown Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, saw a gleaming sign display in 1923 and immediately bought at least two and brought them west. The Museum of Neon Art, founded in 1981, began in a rented space on scruffy Traction Avenue.


One site is a stone's throw from the museum's current location, on the ground floor of the upstairs Grand Avenue Night Club at 1024 S. Grand Ave, she said, and another is a print shop on Overland Avenue near the Santa Monica (I-10) Freeway.

Now for some back story. I first introduced the Neon Museum to the former owners of the Subway Terminal a couple years, and when new owners bought the building, the deal survived... until it didn't.

Then a month ago, I introduced them to the new owners of the Grand Avenue Club who not only offered them the needed space - rent free - for close to a year - but they also agreed to house the pending Los Angeles Museum, the just evicted Company of Angels Theater and a legendary art gallery.

Again, rent free.

So what's the problem?

Well, the spaces need to have occupancy permits for these uses, which shouldn't be a problem since the spaces have plenty of restroom and plenty of exits. It's a no brainer. But this is LA where getting even the simplest thing done can take months and months of endless inspections.

And the only person in City Hall who actually took an interest in getting things done - and who was also capable of getting them done (two very different things), left on Monday.

So I just wait... and wait... for someone... anyone at City Hall... to return a call or an email.

Meanwhile, projects no one wants such as potted trees and cheesy stamped crosswalks get easy funding while projects that might would actually improve the quality of life in Downtown, enhance the city's artistic life and create revenue generating cultural tourism... are ignored.

Welcome to LA!

Now please leave...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Suggestion Number Two On How To Improve Los Angeles Times! Have All Headlines Approved By Writers!

A not uncommon occurrence when I talk to an LA Times writer after an article appears in print (or on-line) is that they almost 'died' when they read the headline appended to their article without their input. To protect both the innocent and the guilty, I will refrain from mentioning which recent story titles upset which writers.

Like most papers, the Times has people who edit the stories and people who write the titles. Now usually, the writer get to see the story edits, but they usually do not see, much less approve, the story titles. And increasingly frequently, these titles sometimes either distort the intent of the story or, on rarer occasions, even get the facts of the story wrong, a situation that would be fixed if the writer was given a chance to see - and sign off on - the title before it goes to press or on-line.

Today's very minor example is below:

Cal State panel fails to suspend Cyprus program

Deborah Schoch

December 7, 2006

A trustee committee for the Cal State system declined Wednesday to suspend an overseas study program on conflict resolution held on the divided island of Cyprus.

Now the panel failing to do something is a far stronger statement - and makes for a snappier headline - when compared to the panel 'declining' to take an action. But is it... accurate?

I don't think so. Below are some web definitions of 'fail':

# fail to do something; leave something undone; "She failed to notice that her child was no longer in his crib"; "The secretary failed to call the customer and the company lost the account"
# be unsuccessful; "Where do today's public schools fail?"; "The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably"
# disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake; "His sense of smell failed him this time"; "His strength finally failed him"; "His children failed him in the crisis"
# stop operating or functioning; "The engine finally went"; "The car died on the road"; "The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town"; "The coffee maker broke"; "The engine failed on the way to town"; "her eyesight went after the accident"
# be unable; "I fail to understand your motives"
# judge unacceptable; "The teacher failed six students"
# fail to get a passing grade; "She studied hard but failed nevertheless"; "Did I fail the test?"
# fall short in what is expected; "She failed in her obligations as a good daughter-in-law"; "We must not fail his obligation to the victims of the Holocaust"
# become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close; "The toy company went bankrupt after the competition hired cheap Mexican labor"; "A number of banks failed that year"
# prove insufficient; "The water supply for the town failed after a long drought"
# get worse; "Her health is declining"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Scariest Recent Sentence In Los Angeles Times!

Justin: "Kate Winslet is one of my favorite older actresses.

Kate Winslet just turned... 31.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christopher Knight On James Wood At Getty!

Most of the article welcomes having an art professional running an arts institution... duh!... and then goes into more detail about James Wood's impeccable background for this job. And then comes the one other point everyone agrees upon:

What might prove most difficult for the new president is grappling with a structural problem built into the Getty at its original home in Malibu and replicated, alas, at its Brentwood campus. The Getty Villa and the Getty Center both feel remote from the city's fabric, designed more for tourism than for civic engagement. The institution must function at both levels.

And this can best be done by moving the photography collection into a new museum off the hill and within the center of urban life in Los Angeles. And, possibly, it might be built in a complex that would also allow for a new building for MOCA to be able to at last house its permanent collection.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hamid Behdad - Adaptive Reuse Czar And Mr. Downtown To Leave Public Service!

I just received the below email:

Dear Recipients,

Attached, please see my FINAL announcement. Thank you.

Hamid Behdad, PE
Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
200 N Spring Street, 13th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Hamid will be grealy missed by everyone who cares about this city. He has been one of those too few at City Hall who want to know how things can get done as opposed to finding reasons why things can not be done.

Below is his announcement:

Born on Christmas Day of 1956 to a Muslim family in Iran, Hamid Behdad was raised to be different but understanding and respectful of others. Growing up in a middle-class family, he learned ambitions from his mother, integrity from his late father, and competitiveness from growing up with five brothers.

Working from the first semester of college in September of 1975, Hamid realized that for a son of a middle-class family of eight – where kids were limited to a couple pairs of shoes each New Year and new clothes as a reward for good grades in school –there is no magic way tosucceed except to work hard.

Life experiences from the Iranian monarchy of Shah, the religious regime of the Ayatollah, as well as the devastating era of the Iraq-Iran War, had influenced Hamid to seek a different life abroad. Leaving 29 years of fond memories from his home country, as well as his loving family,he decided to test his “motherly-taught” ambitions by seeking a new life in the “land of opportunity”, the United States of America.

As a testament to his competitive nature, his first ordeal came in the form of a 2-year long fight with the Islamic Regime for his passport, followed by a 42-day long mission to convince the American Embassy in Germany to grant him a student visa for entering the United States.

Landing in Seattle Airport in a rainy October day in 1985 with nothing more than two suitcases in hand, less than $5,000 cash, and not knowing one complete sentence of English, Hamid began his American adventure! The day after his arrival he immediately started studying English at Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington.

On June 2, 1986, Hamid flew to the City of Brookings, South Dakota to start his graduate studies at South Dakota State University (SDSU) – the only school willing to give him a “conditional” admission – where he would also earn a Master’s Degree with a 4.0 GPA in Engineering.

In spite of his relatively successful academic accomplishments, his intense job-hunting efforts proved to be fruitless. Having sent over 150 resumes and job-request packages to every known company in the U.S., Hamid struggled as he was not offered even one single interview. God, however, works in mysterious ways.

In 1988, Los Angeles County held campus interviews for recruiting engineering graduates at SDSU, where Hamid scored 97 (of 100) in the first interview of his life. Accordingly, Hamid was offered a position with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in Alhambra, California.

Without any other viable options, Hamid made his way to California. In May 5, 1989, while packing everything he owned into a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (purchased for $620 in the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan), Hamid took his chances by driving for the first time in his life on US highways and freeways for a 2000-mile trip from South Dakota to Los Angeles, California.

Arriving in LA with $250 of debt on his Citibank credit card, Hamid started his new career by working as a Civil Engineer Assistant at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

In December of 1989, Hamid accepted an offer from the Department of Building and Safety in the City of Los Angeles to work in the field of structural engineering, a field he was passionate about. His passions would shift later after being selected to work in the Economic Development Offices of LA City Mayors Richard J. Riordan, followed by Mayor James K. Hahn, and most recently under the leadership of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

Hamid realized his passion was about being in the center of action, where he had the ability – and was given the opportunity – to make things happen. Over the last seven years, it was this passion, augmented by genuine hard work and motivation that provided Hamid with the ingredients necessary for making a difference in cultivating the implementation of the City’s Adaptive Reuse Program.

The program has since realized the completion of 4,252 loft units, and promises 4,100 units that are currently under construction, followed by an additional 3,200 units in the development pipeline. The program is responsible for an estimated $6 billion in stimulated economic investments and has been a tremendous boon for the City, as well as a personally gratifying experience for Hamid - the proclaimed Adaptive Reuse “Czar”.

Ladies and gentlemen, after an outstanding 17 years of working for the great City of
Los Angeles, it is time for me to move on. My years of service with the City have been perhaps the most fulfilling 17 years of my life, and now at the age of 50 I am still motivated – and like to assume that I have the ambitions - to continue my career in the private sector.

God willing, I will survive this one too - wish me luck, and thank you very much for your support throughout all these years.

Finally, and as a token of my appreciation to the great City of Angels - as well as the Adaptive Reuse Program that provided me with the opportunity to be the “Czar”
- I would like to offer my FREE consultation services to all of those who are currently in the process of developing an Adaptive Reuse project.

So long everybody.

Tyler Green Interview With New Getty Chief!

Below are the three most intriguing questions and answers in Tyler Green's interview with new uber-Getty boss, Jim Wood aka James Wood aka James N. Wood:

MAN: One of the issues that the Getty has faced for years is that the Meier in Brentwood and the Villa are physically disconnected from Los Angeles. The Getty has never felt like a part of the fabric of the city. I know you don’t have any Los Angeles ties, but is this something you’ve thought about and is it something that you need to address?

JW: It’s certainly something I’ve thought about. Specific answers… No, that would be presumptuous. But one of the attractions of coming here in the abstract sense is that there’s no question that Los Angeles and New York, in 30 different ways in my opinion, are the two most dynamic incubators of contemporary art and the visual arts and how they deal with the rest of the country. Another tremendous plus in my mind is that the visual arts institutions in this city are led by an absolutely terrific group of people that I’ve known for a long time.

Look at the institutions here. One of the things that quite excites me is that you’ve got the whole spectrum, from the Hammer, to MOCA; from historic moments in time, to institutions that do it all. How the Getty fits in -- I haven’t got the answer yet, but the dialogue that is possible is one that the Getty can learn a lot from.

Hopefully, this means he will consider bringing the rapidly growing photography collection off the hill and down into the urban fabric of Los Angeles. And since the Getty signed a covenant prohibiting the addition of even one single square foot of new space up on the hill - assuming I recall this correctly - and someone please correct me if I am wrong - then the Getty really has no choice but to do this.

And with MOCA seriously needing a large new buidling to accommodate its permanent collection - possibly there can be some kind of partnership on this project.

MAN: In recent years, in the Munitz years really, the Museum’s pace of acquisitions has slowed. You’ve written a great deal (most recently in Whose Muse?) about how important it is for museums to actively collect. Do you want the Museum to return to its previous acquisitive ways?

JW: I’m not going to get too specific because I need to know more about the priorities of the different collecting areas. Collecting is absolutely essential to the metabolism of an institution like this. And that’s not just collecting art, but collecting collections, and to go beyond that to collecting people. You need to keep growing.

The whole question is to focus on what’s going to be the most intelligent way to use the means this institution has to make Los Angeles more cosmopolitan. One of the very appealing things about the Getty to me is that its’ collecting opportunities are really quite open. We were not left with an iron-clad restriction, so the opportunity is there to make the most of changing times -- both in terms of the legality of acquisitions and in the cost and the importance of different cultures for both Los Angeles and the nation. I think one wants to remain very flexible here.

Yea! More art!! Finally!!!

MAN: Given that Los Angeles is one of the two big producers of contemporary art in the United States and one of the four biggest producers in the world (to say nothing of LA’s other creative industries), what should the Getty Trust’s relationship to contemporary art be?

JW: Contemporary art, contemporary culture is the water we swim in. The Getty needs to be very sensitive to that. Does that automatically mean we start competing with these other institutions in town that are collecting contemporary so brilliantly? I would argue not at all. I would say that the icons from St. Catherine’s is the kind of thing that is essential to have happen in a metropolitan area where young artists are figuring out how to express their own culture. Show me any great artist and usually they will say, ‘Here are the moments in the past I used to, in effect, learn how to deal with the present.’ History doesn’t have to be revoked from the contemporary. To me it’s quite the opposite.

Great answer! And with only the Getty having the resources or inclination to collect in its current fields - let the buying begin!

And the rest of the interview can be found at the above link to MAN.

Tyler Green Take On New Getty Trust Head - And The Recent Rash Of Art Star Imports To LA!

First, Tyler Green agrees that getting a great art person trumps having someone with LA ties for this position:

What we think: Wood is a first-class choice. I wrote back in February that it was important for the Getty to hire an art person to run the Trust, and Wood has strong art world credentials.

I also wrote that I hoped that the Getty would hire someone with Los Angeles ties. Wood has none. He sits on the boards of the Clark Art Institute, the IFA at NYU, HUAM, and the RISD museum. Oh well. There's no question it's more important that the Getty be run by an art guy.

In addition to the issues discussed here ad absurdem for several years, one of the Getty's biggest problems in recent years has been a brain drain, an exodus of top-notch talent. Expect Wood to be a stabilizing force. I think the staff would have loved anybody with an art background, but Wood's background should be especially appealing.

Second, he delves into the cornucopia of first rate art world talent that our city has attracted over the past few years:

Finally: The flow of Easterners heading to Los Angeles continues. New Yorkers Annie Philbin and Gary Garrels went to the Hammer. New Yorker Michael Govan runs LACMA. Michael Brand went from Virginia to the Getty Museum. And now Wood to the Getty Trust. (And who could forget: MOCA's Jeremy Strick is an ex-AICer. So with Wood at the Meier-on-the-hill, maybe we're one step closer to Michael Kimmelman's fantasy of the Getty buying-out MOCA, ha ha.)

LAOBSERVED Has Getty Press Release On New Head Of Getty Trust - James Wood!


LOS ANGELES-The Board of Trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust announced today that James N. Wood, an internationally recognized arts leader, has been named to serve as president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Mr. Wood, who served as director and president of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1980-2004, will take up his position in February after he relocates to Los Angeles from Rhode Island.

The rest of the release is at the above link.

Genuine Art Star Slated To Run Getty Trust!

The Chicago'ification of LA continues- but in a good way - with the Getty Trust landing one of the most brilliant and knowledgeable and effective scholars and administrators in the art world. And even while excellent Michael Brand runs the two Getty Museums technically, what resources the museums get is dependent upon what the Trust allocates to it, and that is why it was so critical that a hard core art person runs the Trust.

Christmas has come early to the LA art world.

James N. Wood named Getty Trust president
By Christopher Reynolds
Times Staff Writer

10:42 AM PST, December 4, 2006

James N. Wood, a 65-year-old art historian and former president of the Art Institute of Chicago, will take over the presidency of the Getty Trust, Getty officials announced today.

He'll start in February.

The Getty, the wealthiest arts organization in the world with an endowment of more than $5 billion, includes two museum sites — one a modern campus on a Brentwood hilltop, the other a re-created villa at the edge of Malibu — along with research and conservation institutes and a grant-making foundation.


Wood succeeds interim president Deborah Marrow, a veteran Getty administrator who took the post in February after the abrupt resignation under fire of Barry Munitz. Munitz, former head of the California State University system, led the Getty for seven years but was forced out amid the attorney general's probe of his free spending and other irregularities.


Wood, educated at Williams College in Massachusetts, began his career with a series of academic and museum positions, including a post at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He took over as director of the St. Louis Art Museum in 1975, then moved on to serve as president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1980 to 2003.

His specialty is European painting and sculpture from the 16th to 20th centuries, along with American painting and sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Wood "was at the top of my personal list" of best candidates, said Jeremy Strick, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. "He's a brilliant choice. This is someone who's spent his career in art museums, leading one of the greatest institutions in the country, and indeed the world."

Strick, who worked for Wood as a curator at the Art Institute from 1996 to 1999, called Wood "deeply reflective and at times quiet — but decisive." He noted that the Art Institute's president oversees not only a museum but an art school, a many-sided job description with some similarity to the Getty Trust presidency. Strick also noted that Wood played a key role in the Chicago institute's increased emphasis on contemporary art in recent years.

Getty officials said Marrow would return to her former job as director of the Getty Foundation when Wood arrives.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Bookstore Comes To Main Street! New Independent Book Store Opens In Downtown!

Just received the following e-mail from the owner of the first new independent bookstore - Metropolis Books - featuring new books - and some used books, too - to open Downtown in many, many years.

I just wanted to let you know that Metropolis Books is now open!! The City is planning our Grand Opening for December 15th, once the date is firm I will send out evites. For now please feel free to come on down to 440 S. Main Street in L.A. Last week there was an article in Publishers Weekly about the store, and we will have a small feature in the Downtown News this week and a larger feature later. Hope to see all of you soon.

Beautifully done space with lots of great couches and chairs - right in the heart of Gallery Row and within walking distance of 5 great new clothing stores and 9 - and soon to be 12 - new restaurants.

Welcome to the 'hood, Metropolis Books!

Washington Post Take On LA And LA Times!

Kevin over at LAOBSERVED links to the above story that surveys both Los Angeles and the impending fate of the LA TIMES. Good reading, other than several factual errors, of course, the worst of which is below:

The paper's circulation area spans a territory the size of Ohio, over five counties and 88 cities and through a veritable United Nations of neighborhoods -- Iranians next to Koreans near Armenians close to Thais across the county from Vietnamese abutting African Americans near Jews surrounded by Hispanics of all nationalities and political stripes.

And, of course, LA County alone has 88 cities - and the five counties combined have closer to 200 cities. And while Armenians are next to Thais, Koreans in Koreatown are not next to Iranians in Westwood, so while general point is right, not all the exact specifics are.

The best/worst part of the story is at the very end.

In his opening remarks Nov. 13, the new editor, Jim O'Shea, the former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, told staffers that he didn't know how long he'd be in the position and that his family had not joined him in Los Angeles, according to a video of the address made available on the Times Web site.

"You all know . . . sometime after the first of the year we are probably going to have new owners," O'Shea said. "And that could be a lot better for everybody here. But don't kid yourself, it could also be worse -- a lot worse."

Rutten said O'Shea's comments were telling. "I don't think anyone could have ever imagined that we would have someone here as editor whose . . . family is not going to be here and who says he himself doesn't know how long he's going to be around," Rutten said.