Travel Guide: Los Angeles
July 23, 2019
The Studio Brunstrum travel guide from Susan's latest trip to LA for her friend Connie's Birthday featuring: the Louis Vuitton X Exhibition, a tour of the Fowler Museum at UCLA, a flamenco show by the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, dinner at Beauty and Essex, and a fabulous garden party birthday celebration!
Director of Development Kris Lewis and Curator Erica Jones of the Fowler Museum at UCLA gave us a private tour of the exhibition Inheritance: Recent Video Art from Africa. The exhibition features video works by three contemporary African artists contending with inherited political, social and environmental realities in their countries. All are grappling with the ramifications of colonial legacies and have different viewpoints as to what the future holds. My favorite exhibition was Saro-Wiwa’s Table Manners that focused on environmental degradation and promoted healing through the act of eating local foods; the exhibition consisted of eight videos, each featuring an individual from a different village eating a simple meal. I have never been so entranced by the textures and complexities of food – especially as all were eaten without utensils! Nor had I ever considered eating an entire crab, shell and all. After our tour, we were invited to partake in an African dinner prepared in the courtyard.
We enjoyed a gorgeous night sipping wine and eating a delicious meal in the box seats at the Hollywood Bowl while listening to the LA Philharmonic directed by Paolo Bortolameolli and watching a bevy of dancers from the Siudy Flamenco Dance Theater. Flamenco is a style of solo dance originating in Andalusia, characterized by hand-clapping and percussive footwork; I had thought it was a partner dance, but was I wrong! The mostly female dancers wear tight-fitting red, white or black colored Spanish dresses with many layered ruffles. Some are bright colored or have a polka-dot pattern. Flamenco is a form of story-telling but it is told through the body and the music. We witnessed the story of a husband’s funeral and how the wife found the strength to survive after his death.
Billed as the brand’s biggest global event of the year, the Louis Vuitton X exhibition recently opened to the public in Beverly Hills in an entire building previously occupied by Brooks Brothers on Rodeo Drive. The exhibition was so popular (and filled with so many selfie-takers) that we could barely see all 180 items on display. The collection encompasses products and collaborations depicting the 160 year history of Louis Vuitton, from Art Deco perfume bottles to Frank Gehry monogram bags to special order trunks and heritage pieces to sequin gowns made exclusively for the red carpet and of course, the debut collection of men’s clothing made in collaboration with Virgil Abloh (whose exhibition Figures of Speech is concurrently at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago).
Just like the Beauty and Essex restaurant in New York City, you enter the Hollywood restaurant by Tao Group through a working pawn shop! Only in LA, the entrance was also in an alley; our Lyft driver did not know where to drop us off for dinner or pick us up after! The menu features Chef Chris Santos’s delicious signature multi-ethnic dishes which were served in a beautiful double height dining room with a 20-foot oval skylight. While the main area of the restaurant was stunning, dare I say the most fabulous room in the restaurant was the ladies’ room. I have been to restaurant bathroom in which an attendant served champagne to all the women in line! It was such an “Instagram-able” moment that it took me 10 minutes to perch on the loveseat for a “required” photo, glass of champagne in hand of course! I have taken many photos of client’s bathrooms, but never have I taken a photo of me in a bathroom! I guess there is a first for everything…
Spending time and celebrating my friend Connie’s birthday was such a treat! Hosted by her friend Cathy in the backyard of her home in Beverly Hills and attended by twelve of her best friends, it was a night to be treasured. The fifteen arrangements of gorgeous pink and blush flowers interspersed in varying cut crystal vases was a statement to behold. My photos do not do the table justice. I met many new friends and had in-depth conversations with those I have known over the years, while listening to live music and eating a delicious meal. The best part? Cathy made Connie two birthday cakes – one was chocolate the second was strawberry shortcake; we all had a piece of each!