Studio Brunstrum

Winging My Way to LA – Day 1

February 27, 2014

February seems to be my time to escape to LA for a creative pilgrimage... I just returned from the second year in a row to visit my dear friend and designer Connie McCreight.

February seems to be my time to escape to LA for a creative pilgrimage... I just returned from the second year in a row to visit my dear friend and designer Connie McCreight.  I keep telling myself that it is best to capture the essence of an experience while in the midst, but I really wanted to be in the moment  and just "absorb" while there, so I decided to wait and recap my adventures now that I am back in the dreary, what else is there to do on a quiet early morning but cuddle up and write?


When I arrived on Thursday, I could not wait to sit in Connie's beautiful garden in the sunshine bare footed. What a treat as I have had boots on since October! Connie lives in an area of Hollywood near the Hollywood Bowl called Whitley Hills. It is so quiet and secluded- almost like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket on a snowy day. Wonderful for cocooning and shutting out the chaos and the frantic daily pace of Hollywood.

Our first adventure - we went to lunch outdoors at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and toured the Diane von Furstenberg "Journey of a Dress". Imagine, an entire career launched on the idea of one dress that wrapped and hugged your figure with a simple tie waist! Women in the 70's were hooked  on the idea and in no time over 5 million of all prints and sizes were sold as the dress was so suitable to the everyday workplace and transitioned easily to night time wear. Fast forward and  Diane left the wrap dress behind and moved on within the fashion industry but in 2014 the wrap dress turned 40 and she found that today's new generation were shopping for her dresses in thrift shops so she started manufacturing her signature dress again- this time in new colors and prints, silhouettes and fabrics.  So all could celebrate this monumental birthday,  an exhibit of beloved past examples of the wrap dress were unearthed from closets far and wide.

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Next up, the Alexander Calder exhibit also at LACMA entitled Calder and Abstraction: from Avante Garde to Iconic. We viewed over 65 pieces from one of the most important artists of the 20th century. I had mostly known of his mobiles- kinetic sculptures in which he connected flat pieces of painted metal  by wire to move delicately in the air propelled by either air currents or motors. I was not as familiar with his monumental structures or stabiles even though there is the very large scale "Flamingo" in Chicago. These sculptures are bound to the walls, sit on pedestals, hover close to the ground and vary significantly in scale much like his mobile sculptures that hang in the air. All are a real act of deliberate balance.

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A drive to downtown Los Angeles for a quick tour of MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) where I had a private tour (Connie had a meeting) with a docent...

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Some of my favorites: Felix Gonzalez- Torres "Last Light" exhibit of light bulbs,  a fabulous cracked glass installation (did not catch the name of this artist but it reminded me of the ice on a lake in Minocqua). I also loved  other pieces by such fabulous artists as: Mark Rothko, Rosemarie Trockel,   Jean-Michel Basquiat,Juan Munoz "Shadow Figure"  and Robert Gober- both gifts of Blake Byrne (more on him later...). Wish I had more time to really escape into this museum.

Onto dinner at Church and State- a French  bistro located in the original Nabisco Bakery built in 1925. Executive Chef Tony Esnault creates delightful dishes- I had Coq au Vin- in what was once the loading dock of the National Biscuit Company  and is now located in the hot new industrial warehouse district or better yet known as the bustling Arts District of downtown LA. Reminiscent of Chicago's River North neighborhood as it transitioned years ago!

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And our day was not yet over... onto the Walt Disney Concert Hall (stunning architecture) for a performance by the LA Philharmonic. This is the second time I have attended with Connie and both times I have missed the famous musical director and dynamic conductor, Gustavo Dudamel.  Am hoping to someday see him perform as he has transformed this orchestra and his passion is well renowned.

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Whew, I am tired just writing what we accomplished in a single day! Definitely filled with "the arts"...


Susan Brunstrum
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