ok, i’ve been remiss in my architectural blogging
mea culpa, i’m sorry. my sad, paltry excuse: i’ve been really busy. i know, cheap and paltry.
also i haven’t been in l.a that much as of late (i’m currently in sydney, heading to singapore tomorrow. did i mention that i might actually be asleep while writing this? it’s true).
in lieu of a fully fledged architectural blog update i’m going to post a listing to the sowden house (one of the most interesting houses in the world, probably) in the hopes that someone i like buys it, as it’s near my house, and that way i will, in theory, have more friends.
someday soon i’ll have more of my own actual photos to post. in the meantime: the amazing lloyd wright house.
back to sleep.
assuming i’m not already asleep.
or good morning.
i truly have no idea.
so, on october 2nd, 3rd, and 4th i’m playing 3 shows at the fonda theater, here in glamorous (ahem) hollywood.
these 3 shows will be the sum total of the shows i’ll be playing as the world tour for ‘innocents’. meaning: the entire world tour for ‘innocents’ will consist of 3 shows at a theater in my neighborhood.
so. some people had been asking:
why the fonda?
why only 3 shows?
well, ‘why the fonda?’ here’s my list:
- it’s filled with the most amazing hieronymous bosch frescoes (as you can see in the pictures). i don’t know who painted them or when, but they’re huge and amazing and remind me of when i was 7 or 8 years old and first saw ‘the garden of earthly delights’ and thought to myself ‘wha..?’ i still believe that hieronymous bosch must’ve had an extra gland in his brain, most likely producing vast amounts of dmt.
- it’s a goldilocks theater, meaning it’s big enough for good production but small enough so that everyone in the theater can see the stage and the performers.
- the people who run it are very nice and interesting.
- according to google maps it’s 1.4 miles from my house, so i plan on walking there for every date of the 3 day world tour.
- it’s a building that just feels filled with strange l.a history. almost every inch of it comes with a ‘i wonder what happened here?’ narrative attached.
- it’s not new. l.a is filled with amazing old theaters, and i fully believe that they need to be preserved and supported. it seems criminal to me that people are building new theaters in l.a when there are countless old theaters that are architecturally significant and amazing and falling into disrepair. so, musicians and audiences: support old theaters.
- it’s in hollywood. and i’m fascinated with and baffled by hollywood and all of it’s weirdness and faded glamour and random cheapness and byzantine degeneracy and surprising old beauty.
and why only 3 shows?
simply: so that i can spend more time at home in my studio working on music. when i go on tour i sit around a lot (cars, airports, hotels, etc), and when i sit around i can’t spend my time making music. and pretty much all i want to do in life is stay home and make music. so, thus: a 3 date world tour.
at some point i might do real world touring again, but for now i hope to spend as much time as possible at home in my studio working on music, and i can’t do that when i’m traveling all the time.
i hope that doesn’t sound too selfish, but i fully believe that life is short and should ideally be spent doing what you love. and, simply, i love being in my studio working on music. and i can’t do that when i go on tour (as i have a studio filled with weird, old equipment that is temperamental and doesn’t like to travel..).
ok, so here are pictures of the fonda. i hope you like the gigant-o hieronymous bosch frescoes as much as i do.
and hopefully see you soon.
p.s-i’m including a picture of the ‘gregory peck’ star out front. technically it’s not architecture or a part of the theater, but gregory peck is one of my favorite people/actors, so i thought i’d include his star. i guess it’s vaguely ironic that he’s one of my favorite actors, as he did try to kill my namesake in ‘moby dick’.
ok, what do the following things have in common?
- the beatles
- water slides
- frank gehry’s disney concert hall
well, from my perspective, they’re all so great that they generally don’t need random bloggers such as myself to draw attention to them.
but every now and then it’s worth taking a minute to acknowledge things that are big and great and self-evidently big and great. like, for example, gehry’s disney concert hall.
i mean, i don’t know if this would be considered hyperbole, but i think it’s one of the greatest buildings conceived of/designed/built in the last 100 years. i know, that’s saying something. well, to be clear, it’s saying that gehry’s disney concert hall is amazing. which it is.
for some reason it always reminds me of eero saarinen’s arch in that the scale of it is so much greater than you would imagine it to be, it employs super heavy materials in a very effortless and delicate way, and it doesn’t exactly look like something that would’ve been designed and built by humans.
if you resist the hyperbole that this is one of the greatest buildings in the world i would disagree with you but probably acknowledge your opinion. but if you tried to say that it’s not one of (if not the) greatest buildings in l.a then we would probably have to battle with chinese throwing stars.
of course i’m not the first (or even among the first million) people to sing the praises of this building. that’s why i’m hesitant to sing it’s praises, as it’s kind of akin to writing about the merits of ‘let it be’. and even if you find the gehry concert hall to be too random or odd you have to, at the very least, admire it’s inventiveness and utter uniqueness. well, insofar as you can qualify ‘uniqueness’. i mean, if something’s unique then it can’t be ‘very’ unique or ‘utterly’ unique, right?
in any case, i love this building and i maintain subjectively that it’s one of the greatest buildings in the world. there. gauntlet thrown. because it’s an amazing building. and, plus, you might not know (even most angelenos don’t) that there’s a cute little shady park behind the concert hall.
there, grand space alien architecture and even a shady place to eat your sandwich.
to be very clear, i dont’ know what this is.
ok, i take that back. i do know what this is. it’s a big black floating metal box sitting in the middle of a forest. to be more specifically clear: i don’t know why it exists.
i has no windows, nor does it have any plumbing or electricity. which leads me to the only rational conclusion one can come to when confronted with a big black metal box in the middle of the woods. which is: it’s an alien observation pod. or condo.
but regardless of it’s intended or unintended utility i posit that it’s great architecture. i mean, if i were an architect (which, clearly, i’m not) i would look at this big black metal box in the woods and say to myself, ‘who, that’s cool’.
and i imagine many architects strive to make buildings and structures that are, simply, weird and cool. which seems like a noble and valid pursuit. i mean, of course architecture ideally would involve the creation of spaces that serve real world purposes and have nice quotidian functionality. but some architecture can also aspire to just be odd and interesting and cool. like this big black accidental box in the woods.
oh, i looked around for alien footprints but found none. but, of course, aliens are clever and would probably not leave obvious footprints. and/or they were hovering over the ground.&nb ssp;or both. i saw no hovering foot prints either. but to be honest, i don’t know what hovering foot prints would actually look like.
i ran into someone at sage in echo park the other night and they asked me, ‘i know you have your studio in your lautner house, but what does it look like?’ so… here’s my studio.
i know, it’s small and underwhelming (just like some musician architectural bloggers i know). but i’m including it because:
- it’s where i work
- it was challenging building a small personal recording studio in a lautner bedroom. the challenge was to respect and not compromise or damage lautner’s paneling and original millwork. (also, to be honest, some of the wood in the lautner house was in REALLY bad shape, so we had to go out and try to replace the damaged wood with newly stained wood that matched lautner’s original work. it was challenging.).
- i’m putting out a new record in the autumn and i thought i’d put up some pictures of where i work.
(and, a caveat: in taking/posting these pictures i’ve learned: it’s hard to take beautiful and artistic photos of a small bedroom studio… so, mea culpa).
ok, basically: i’m a bedroom musician. my first studio back when i was 18 years old and had a tascam 4 track was in my bedroom (eventually a basement, but it started in my bedroom). then i moved to an abandoned factory and my studio WAS my bedroom. then i moved to a slightly less abandoned factory and once again my studio was my bedroom. then i renovated a small loft in manhattan and put my studio in the bedroom and decided to sleep in a closet.
yes, glamorous and true. the bedroom in my loft in nyc is soundproofed and has good air conditioning, so that’s where i put my studio. and the closet in my loft in nyc is kind of cozy, so that’s where i sleep. and now i have my studio in a bedroom in los angeles. granted it’s a bedroom in a very interesting john lautner guest house, but it’s still a little bedroom.
many of my friends have HUGE GIGANTIC AMAZING STUDIOS. but i’m just one little guy, so why would i need A HUGE GIGANTIC AMAZING STUDIO? plus i like working in small spaces (maybe i was a monk in a past life. or, given my veganism and sobriety, maybe i’m a monk in my current life. or maybe i’m just little and dull).
so, architecture. a beautiful but crumbly john lautner bedroom that we turned into a small one person recording studio (oh, p.s-i apologize for not tidying up for the pictures, but this is architectural blogging verite). trying to make it efficient and practical and sonically sound (no pun intended) while respecting all of lautner’s original work and detailing was, as i mentioned, the interesting and challenging part of the renovation. and now that it’s renovated and nice and small and functional it’s where i work on music and where i made/recorded/wrote all of the music for ‘innocents’, my next record.
oh: much less glamorously… i keep my drums in the basement. maybe someday i’ll take pictures of my drums in the basement but i can almost guarantee that no one wants/needs to see a picture of a basement filled with drums and microphones.
and oh, i’m off to tahoe and nyc and canada for a few weeks, so my architectural updates won’t involve l.a for a little while.
p.s any fans of musical gear will notice that 99% of my musical equipment is kind of old and broken down. for some reason i really love old and broken down musical equipment (thank you ebay). especially as i try to make music that has a quality of vulnerability it just makes sense to use broken down equipment that also has a quality of vulnerability. or so i believe. plus old equipment smells nice.
p.s.s i also have really good alarm systems at my house, so just because i’m going away doesn’t mean anyone will be able to break into my house… or, rather, you could break in, but THE LAW would be here real quick. so, no ‘bling ring’ (or ‘analogue drum machine ring’) will be happening here, i’m guessing.
ok, i don’t want to name this property so as to protect it’s anonymity. but suffice it to say it’s just about the coolest most fascinating home in all of l.a. and, well, possibly the world.
i mean, in addition to it being an amazing house it also contains a gigantic theater from 1930 in the backyard. and a stream. there’s a stream in hollywood? yes, apparently there’s a stream in hollywood. who knew? i didn’t, clearly.
i love this place. and it’s magic theater and stream and giant plants. i hope the pictures somehow indicate just how amazing this home/place/wormhole/brigadoon/property is. and yes, there’s a skeleton hanging in the trees. and yes, there’s a bunny in a skull mask and fez.
p.s-find the wizard.
p.p.s-yes, this is a blog about architecture. well, broadly speaking.
ok, i confess that i generally tend to take pictures of: old houses and weird houses and houses that are kind of falling down and houses that are succumbing to entropy.
today’s house is neither old nor weird nor falling down nor succumbing to entropy. i see it almost every day, as it’s in my neighborhood, and even though i see it every day it invariably strikes me in that it’s a fairly rare example of good, new, tasteful, and relatively site sensitive architecture.
it was designed by francois perrin, who is a french architect living and working in l.a.
personally, and subjectively, i love how it’s restrained and sculptural, and how it subtly references a lot of iconic l.a mid-century case study houses.
it’s also a really deft example of employing materials that might not always be thought of as cohabitating benignly (like cement and wood) in a very challenging location (a hill-side with an 80 degree slope). and no, i’m not being paid to write advertorial for this house, i just think it’s really tasteful and great, and stands in stark contrast to the thousands of beige crap-shacks being erected by rapacious developers.
thanks, and have a nice weekend.
i love this little modern moderne art deco tiny ocean liner with gun slots building.
it does look like a 1930’s version of an albert speer spaceship ocean liner, ready to fly to the moon and battle moon people (thus: the things on the roof that look like gun slots). and am i using the vaguely right nomenclature? is this a moderne building? i always feel kind of uncomfortable writing ‘moderne’, as it sounds made up and wrong. but maybe it’s valid architectural nomenclature?
oh, i also just realized that this might actually be a well known building as designed by a well known architect. and, once again, i’m confronted with my gaping ignorance as regards well known buildings as designed by well known architects.
well, regardless of it’s history or nomenclature or patrimony it’s a beautiful little jewel box of a tiny ocean liner building.
ok, a rarely seen example of a rare architectural genre that might only exist here in glamorous dystopian l.a… mid century gothic.
see, when we think of scary gothic houses we tend to think of scary old victorian houses. crumbly and falling down with overgrown lawns and tattered curtains and scary old people potentially living inside and only oming out with rotten old shovels to bury dead cats in the backyard. whereas modern houses tend to be clean and pristine and filled with light and in no way scary or creepy.
but here we have: a scary and crumbly and falling down mid century modern house.
and, to be clear, what was probably once a really beautiful mid century modern house, with some great lines and amazing little details (like a tree growing through the roof by the entranceway). but now entropy has gripped this beautiful little mid century in it’s maw and is turning it into a scary gothic house that the kids avoid when they go out collecting unicef pennies at halloween.
and yes, it looks like it’s about to be renovated. and the entropy will be scraped off and once again there will be a shiny fancy beautiful million dollar mid century perched on a hill overlooking a canyon. or perhaps this is a superfancy art project that is too sophisticated for mere mortals, like me, to understand.
'by perfectly recreating the effects of entropic degression we turn this bourgeoisie edifice into a landmark of de-gentrified situationist impermanence.'
sort of thing.
well, whether it’s natural entropy or fancy set dressed entropy it’s still a cool mid century gothic house with tattered curtains and raccoon ghosts floating from mid century room to room.