Tag Archive | Fun Things to Do in LA

A Visit to The Broad Museum!

Broad Museum Exterior
All Photos by Gail

When I was in California at Christmastime, a little bit of advanced planning allowed me to enjoy a visit to the new Broad Museum of contemporary art, located in beautiful downtown Los Angeles. Featuring 2,000 works of art from the private collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced like Bro-d”), admission is free of charge, but because the museum just opened on September 20th, 2015, the demand for tickets is so high that they must be reserved online in advance. By December, the list was already booked up through February 2016! It is times like these that writing an awesome blog like The Worley Gig comes in handy. With a  couple of exchanged emails, the Broad’s press office was kind enough to extend VIP-treatment to myself and two guests, which included front-of-the-line cutting privileges that saved us about two hours of waiting in a queue that already wrapped around two sides of the building by the time the museum opened at 11 AM.  It is good to be the King, or Queen, whatever.

Urs Fischer Untitled 2012
Urs Fischer, Untitled (2012), Melting Lamp Post, Located in the Ground Floor Lobby

Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, and featuring an innovative Veil-and-Vault concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection, and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, the building itself is a work of art.

Please enjoy some photos and tips from our visit!

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room
Here I am with my Sister inside Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room

The first thing you are going to want to do when you get into the museum is veer off to the left (when you see the Urs Fisher sculpture above, you are in the right place), look for a museum docent with an iPad, and put your name on a list for timed entry to the Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama. We put our names in within 15 minutes of the museum’s opening, and the wait time for entry was already 75 minutes! Usually, only one or two people are allowed inside the installation at one time, and they only let you stay in there for a rigidly-timed 45 to 60 seconds! Because we were a group of 3, they let us all go in at the same time. When your entry time approaches, they will text you so that you can make it back down to the lobby from wherever you are in the museum, to wait about 15 minutes for entry, which is convenient. Read more about the Infinity Mirrored Room and its associated guidelines, at This Link!

Tulips By Jeff Koons 1995-2004
Tulips By Jeff Koons 1995-2004

Art is displayed on the first (ground) and third floors of the building, with the second floor reserved for storage (more about that later). We took the escalator to the third floor right away and were greeted by Jeff Koons famous mirrored steel Tulips sculpture. So gorgeous! The Broads must be huge fans of Koons, because there is an entire gallery dedicated to just to his work. The Broad has the largest collection of Koons work in one place that I’ve seen since his retrospective at The Whitney back in 2014; which was just insane.

Koons Gallery
Jeff Koons Gallery

Blue Balloon Dog with Wall Detail
Blue Balloon Dog with Wall Detail

This photo of a Koons Balloon Dog showcases the building’s porous, honeycomb-like exterior (made of fiberglass and reinforced concrete) which lets natural light flow into the  galleries, and the glass curtain wall behind it, which protects the interior from the elements. Genius.

Roy Lichtenstein Interior with African Mask 1991
Roy Lichtenstein, Interior with African Mask (1991)

If you dig Roy Lichtenstein, there are perhaps a dozen paintings and sculptures by the legendary Pop artist.

I made a video of Barbara Kruger’s lenticular photograph, Have Me, Feed Me, Hug Me, Love Me, Need Me (1988)!

Robert Therrien, Under the Table 1994
Robert Therrien, Under the Table (1994)

This piece is lots of fun.

Elevator And Stairs/Escalator

A futuristic, cylindrical glass elevator will transport you quickly between the first and the third floors, but if you want to check out the second floor, you will have to take the stairs.

Broad Storage Floor Window

On the second floor landing there are these oval windows set into the stairwell wall, through which you can peer in and see where they store all of the spare artwork. This part of the museum (which is the concrete “Core” of the building) is called The Vault, and it is pretty cool. The Vault is also where laboratories, curatorial spaces and offices are located.

Broad Storage Floor Window
Inside The Vault

White Riot Robert Longo 1982
White Riot By Robert Longo (1982)

Desire 1969 Ed Ruscha
Desire By Ed Ruscha (1969)

Robert Rauschenberg Untitled 1963
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (1963)

Can you imagine having all of these fantastic artworks — and hundreds more — in your private collection? Unreal. There is a 15-minute introductory film (located adjacent to the Infinity Mirrored Room) that you can watch, which tells you where the Broads got all of their money, in case you’re interested.

Takashi Murakami
Works By Takashi Murakami

The Broads also love to collect the works of superflat artist Takashi Murakami. As with Koons and Lichtenstein, there are enough Murkakamis here to stage a career retrospective.

Robert Therrien No Title 1993
Robert Therrien, No Title (1993)

Also in the lobby space, very close to the entrance, you’ll find another larger-than-life sculpture created by reclusive, LA-based artist Robert Therrien, this time of a stack of saucers. His work is fascinating.

I am not sure how long the inaugural exhibition will be up, and with thousands of artworks to choose from, it would make sense for the museum to change it up fairly often, so be sure to visit The Broad’s Website before you visit. The Broad’s first special exhibition will debut in June 2016, with a comprehensive survey of the work of artist Cindy Sherman. Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life will be the first major museum show of Sherman’s work in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years, and the exhibition will fill The Broad’s first-floor galleries with close to 120 works drawn primarily from the Broad collection.

Find out more about The Broad Museum, and plan your visit by reserving your free tickets, at The Broad Dot Org!

Broad Signage

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Japanese Garden, Balboa Park, California

Japanese Garden Signage
All Photos By Gail

Even though I grew up in Southern California, there are a lot of tourist attractions I never had a chance to see when I lived there. These days, when I go back to visit my family and friends I try to check out some of the places that especially showcase what a naturally beautiful area California is (which of course I never appreciated until I moved to the concrete jungle of NYC).

Small Pagoda

On my most recent visit at Christmas, I had a fun time with my friend Sue at the Japanese Garden, located in Balboa Park in the city of Van Nuys. If you’re a fan of the fun Tattoo Artist reality competition series Best Ink, then you might recall the Japanese Garden from this season’s episode where the Best Ink contestants visited it to get inspiration and sketch during the “Design an Asian Tattoo” challenge.

Sculpted Tree

While the Japanese Garden is an ideal place to spend some quiet time enjoying nature or checking out their shrubbery from around the world, like the Thuja Green Giant, it has a constructive purpose as well as being beautiful to look at. The Garden is actually built on the site of the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, which was designed to produce reclaimed water that will meet the requirements of the California Department of Health Services and the County Health Department.  It is apparent that the tree care company staff and direction have a firm grasp on each of the plant’s needs, the garden is lush and healthy. The filtration process takes a total of about 11.5 hours, producing reclaimed water can be made available for specific reuse, with any excess being discharged to the Los Angeles River.

Garden with Stream

Japanese Garden Hot Pink Flower

These photos were all taken in December, just a few days before Christmas (during the spell of 75 degree, sunny days that Californians refer to as “Winter”), so you can imagine how much more lush and floral this place looks when things start to grow again in the spring.

Foot Bridge

In the uncropped version of the above photo, you can clearly see the reclamation plant in the background.

Stone Pagoda Statue

The Garden is also an ideal spot to practice your amateur nature photography skills!

Japanese Garden Tatami Room

This photo was taken from inside the on site Tea House.

Reeds Reflection

Waterfall

Bamboo
Wild Bamboo!

The Japanese Garden is Located at 6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, California, 91406. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and Sunday from 10:00AM until 4:00PM (the last gate entry each day is at 3:15PM). The Garden is closed to the public on Friday and Saturday, on all LA County Holidays and if it rains within 24 hours of opening time and during open hours. It is suggested that you call (818)756-8166 on the day you wish to visit to make sure the Garden is open. Admission to the Garden is only $3.00 per person, $2.00 for Seniors 62+ and Children under 10. Exact change is appreciated.

Japanese Garden Koi Fish Mural
This Koi Fish Mural is painted across the walls inside the Visitors Center.

Historic Merry Go Round at Griffith Park

Griffith Park Merry Go Round with Sue
Look How Excited Sue is to Ride the Merry Go Round! (All Photos By Gail)

Now that the snow and frigid cold are kicking off the New Year here in Manhattan, I am looking back fondly at my recent week long holiday trip to Southern California, where I enjoyed clear blue skies, bright sun and warm temperatures each and every day! California!

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Signage
It Almost Never Closes!

On the Sunday before Christmas, my BFF Sue (Pictured above) and I went on an adventure to Griffith Park in Los Angeles, where we rode the vintage Merry Go Round with extreme glee!

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Clown Booth
I don’t know what this is about

Located in Park Center between the Los Angeles Zoo and the Los Feliz park entrance, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round was built in 1926 by the Spillman Engineering Company and brought to Griffith Park in 1937.  It features 68 horses, each of which moves (in other words, it’s “a jumper”). Each horse is finely carved with jewel-encrusted bridles, detailed draped blankets and decorated with sunflowers and lion’s heads.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Band Organ

A Stinson 165 Military Band Organ, reputed to be the largest band organ accompanying a carousel on the West Coast, plays over 1500 selections of marches and waltz music. It is pretty cool and reminded me of Disneyland for some reason.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Distance Shot

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Horse Close Up

This is my horse, which I named Lightning Bug. The Merry Go Round goes remarkably fast and will actually make your hair blow back with the wind it kicks up, so I am guessing that if you are just a little bit stoned or drunk it is much more fun to ride than if you are sober. Fortunately, seat belt-type things are provided, so you can secure yourself onto your trusty steed!

Devil Head
I Like It

Griffith Park MGR Gumball Machines

It costs just $2.00 (what a bargain!) to ride the Merry Go Round for what is probably just a few minutes but feels like a good amount of time. Wee!

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Pinwheels

They sell these pinwheels there as well.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Band Organ

Here is another photo of the Organ, which I believe may have been fancied up for the Christmas Season.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Xmas Display

Here is some additional Christmas Fanciness! I believe in this display, animals in hats are meant to be selling shoes, or perhaps specifically; horse shoes.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Rules

As is the case with anything these days, there are a few rules that should be followed. At any rate, I recommend you visit the Merry Go Round if you happen to be in the area, and have yourself some fun!

The Merry Go Round at Griffith Park is Open Weekends throughout the Year and Weekdays during the Summer, and over Christmas and Easter vacations, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.