In Anaheim I take a tour of Philip Johnson's Crystal Cathedral. There are friendly guides who tell me about the architecture and the televised services. The grounds are cluttered with unusual, flashy sculptures.
On the way to Anaheim, I spotted this pyramid. Did you know Los Angeles has such a large pyramid?!
In Wilshire I get in free to the LACMA Japanese Pavilion. The multi-level gallery is comfortable and intimate, a living-room sized Guggenheim. The waterfalls don't work anymore, but you can't blame Bruce Goff for trying.
In University Park I buy a ticket to the Velaslavasay Panorama. On display is "Effulgence of the North" – a dimly lit arctic scene with a soundtrack of rumbling, cracking icebergs. I spend a long time here.
On the north side of the hills, I manage to find John Lautner's Chemosphere. It's swanky modern architecture, and thus has unfortunate tenants.
In Echo Park I go to La Luz de Jesus, a gallery at the epicenter of the Lowbrow art scene. I've been reading about this gallery for years, but it turns out that most of the space is devoted to a huge gift shop. Everything is garbage.
Curios for sale at La Luz de Jesus
At a bookstore on the Sunset Strip, I have a celebrity sighting. Chris Kattan, I'm 90% sure. A while later I sit in on a book signing by Margaret Killjoy, who has just published a collection of interviews with anarchist writers. I talk to Margaret afterward. He tells me that he played a key role in the birth of steampunk, but now the movement has become a fashion show.
I spend one afternoon at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Culver City. I like their imaginative approach to understanding the built environment, though I'm surprised this approach is so well funded. Matt Coolidge helps me dig through some filing cabinets to find folders about the Salton Sea and the Integratron. In the gift shop I buy the book "In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space." Later, I recommend this book to Craig McGuire, and he likes it okay.
On top of Los Angeles is the Griffith Planetarium. When you are down in the city, the skies are unnaturally beautiful, rich blues and oranges. At the Planetarium, you look down and cannot see the city.
At Griffith Planetarium, a cone
And a dome
And a dome in a museum