going to the getty, everybody…

We’re back from our Los Angeles trip, only to find the weather even more beautiful up north. A spring heat wave has rolled into California, which made it pretty easy to spend the entire weekend in the garden. I have lots of catching up to do this year, after nearly neglecting the yard last summer, when it was buried in scaffolding and all the complications of a major home construction project. I spent most of this weekend out there, and we ate dinner outside on both Saturday and Sunday. Ah, spring.

snow pea

snow pea blossom

We had a few more fabulous days in Los Angeles. Took a tour of USC, including the new School of Cinematic Arts, built courtesy of a $175 million dollar donation from George Lucas. The outside of the building is just stunning; the inside, with all the makings of an actual Hollywood studio, is enough to give a film-loving 16-year-old serious college-lust. 

usc school of cinematic arts

Wish him lots of luck and scholarships when he applies in December.

We also spent time at The Getty Center, one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. 

view through the getty

I admit to enjoying the buildings and the gardens perhaps more then the art itself. I’m not sure how J. Paul Getty would feel about that. I’ve been reading Joan Didion for My Year of Excellent Essayists project–what a joy it is to read her words–and in her essay, “The Getty”, she writes, “He refused to pay for any ‘tinted-glass-and-stainless-steel-monstrosity’.” The travertine stone used in the Getty is a far cry from stainless steel; still it’s a very modern structure. It was built after Getty died–who knows what he would have thought.

getty center

The gardens are gorgeous, and always make me want to get back into my own yard. I love those oversized allium.

getty gardens lulu in bouganvillea

Last time we were in Los Angeles, we visited The Getty Villa, which was the original site of the Getty Museum. A few years ago it was completely refurbished, and it too is amazing. It’s modeled after a Roman Villa, complete with open-air courtyards. If you’ve ever studied the Romans and the Greeks with your kids, the museum is a particular treat. Both museums have nice education rooms for families. 

Oh, and did I mention that both are free?

If you’re considering going to the Getty Center, you must read Going to the Getty by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh. (Whenever I see the book I have to sing the title to the tune of the Rolling Stone’s version of “Going to a Go-Go.” I was careful to only sing it quietly as we took the tram up to the museum.) The book is a little wacky, very informative, and illustrated by one of our favorite kid book artists. Very fun.

City of Angels is another great book about Los Angeles, illustrated by Elisa Kleven, who also did the art in The City by the Bay. Lots of info about places to visit, plus detailed, whimsical pictures.

at the getty

It was fun to be away together for a few days. I was little sad to see Chris off to work, and H off to school yesterday. But the So Cal weather here the past few days is making it seem a little like it’s still vacation.

8 comments… add one
  • melissa s. Apr 21, 2009 @ 15:49

    ooh i’m jealous, i love the getty! love didion, too. she guest lectured at ucb while i was there but i was so bummed to miss her. would’ve been amazing.

  • stefaneener Apr 21, 2009 @ 21:08

    What a nice way to cap off your trip. I appreciate the book recommendations, too. I’ll have to look for them. Good for you for singing softly. The skills we learn!

    But Southern CA can keep the weather, as far as I’m concerned.

  • susan Apr 21, 2009 @ 21:24

    I love the villa getty…I haven’t made it to the new one yet…even though it is just not that new anymore. I am glad the villa has reopened.

  • Kristin Apr 24, 2009 @ 17:38

    It sounds like a mellow yet stimulating vacation. Thanks for sharing some of it.

    It would be fantastic for your son to go to film school at USC. The people who graduate from their film department tend to be successful in the industry. It’s so nice that all of you are supporting his interest in film. That must make him feel confident.

    Getty was a fabulous person to provide the public with free access to his museums. They are splendid institutions. I enjoyed the gardens in both of them and the family activities they provide are engaging.

    • patricia Apr 25, 2009 @ 20:23

      Yep, Kristin, this line of yours is key: “The people who graduate from their film department tend to be successful in the industry.” H doesn’t just want to make art–he wants to be a player in Hollywood. I think he got his bohemian side from his mom, and his business sense from his dad.
      Cracks me up.

  • Mom Apr 24, 2009 @ 21:54

    I am so jealous – wish I could have been on the trip with you. Good luck H. on getting into that wonderful university.

  • Jenny Briffa Apr 25, 2009 @ 20:00

    I love your little Easter garden. I think kids will notice if you let go of long standing traditions. I always put up a manger for Christmas and the boys used to help me make it creative. One year I didn’t have the heart to do it and the boys were so surprised and disappointed. I quickly put one together even though they really didn’t want to help me with it anymore. I guess it just made them feel safe to see it year after year. I know I felt that way when my dad put his manager up year after year. Don’t give up your Easter garden.

    • patricia Apr 25, 2009 @ 20:20

      Hi Jenny! So nice to have you leave a comment!
      I think you’re right–it’s good to keep up the traditions, even if the kids aren’t directly involved. I think we all crave the circle that traditions make in our lives.
      (And thanks for hosting my boy last night!)

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