Gehry kept reshaping the architecture of a major civic building for a city that seemed to be trying to reimagine, if not remake, itself. One of the most remarkable aspects of Disney Hall is how from the start it sensed the extent to which the literal and symbolic holes in the Bunker Hill urban fabric needed filling. The exuberance of the design, the way it seems eager to expand outward like a bunch of balloons in a child’s fist, is in direct contrast to Moneo’s cathedral and Isozaki’s museum, both of which turn inward. Over time Gehry and a few key colleagues in his firm, including James Glymph, Craig Webb and a young Michael Maltzan, gathered the smaller buildings of the initial proposal into a single mountainous form. (The plain box along 2nd Street, holding the L.A. Phil offices, was added in a later stage.) They changed the cladding from stone to stainless steel. They slid the building closer to Grand Avenue and slipped a glass-enclosed ground floor under the steel curves above, so that pedestrians move directly, without particular ceremony, from the sidewalk into the lobby. Those who come by car ride escalators up from the parking garage below. The abruptness of that entry and the way the wide outdoor stairs leading up from the corner of Grand and 1st Street have always been underutilized, even orphaned still leaves many visitors to the building disappointed. But this interest in undermining the grander expectations of a classical music audience was a key part of Gehry’s design from the start. Disney Hall stands with the best entertainment venue architecture in Los Angeles. More photos He also made the lobby narrow and asymmetrical, even serpentine, in an effort to save the architectural and emotional payoff for the moment when you walk into the auditorium itself. It makes sense that the most impressive examples of public architecture in Los Angeles Dodger Stadium, the Hollywood Bowl, the great theaters on Broadway and in Hollywood are not civic or religious but designed for entertainment. This is a city where performance and civic self-image have always been intertwined, even inseparable.
Passage: A concert of note
. ONE note, to be exact. It was the New York premiere of the “Monotone-Silence Symphony.” Conceived by the late French artist Yves Klein (1928-1962), the symphony requires 70 musicians and singers to take turns hold a single sound for TWENTY minutes, followed by another twenty minutes of DEAD SILENCE. The piece was performed just once in Klein’s own lifetime, in Paris in 1960, accompanied by three nude models smearing themselves with Klein’s signature blue paint. New York art gallery owner Dominique Levy was the moving force behind this past week’s performance: “I thought that was the craziest and most unreasonable thing to ever do,” Levy said. “How can you expect people to even bear 20 minutes of one note and 20 minutes of silence? And then I was lucky enough to experience it approximately, I think, ten years ago. And it was a life-changing experience.” Life-changing enough that she organized the concert to coincide with an exhibition of Klein’s paintings and sculptures — most of them blue. “If you think about it, it’s one single tone,’ Levy said. “And he works in monochromatic color, one single color.” And so to Wednesday night’s performance in a Manhattan church (minus the distraction of the three nude models in blue). Together, the voices and instruments had a mesmerizing effect over time. To listen to Yves Klein’s “Monotone-Silence Symphony,” click on the audio player. Audio recording courtesy of Bill Siegmund, of Digital Island Studios, New York. A New York Times blogger wrote afterword that he imagined he’d heard bagpipes at one point.
Not only has he managed to climb to the upper echelons without having to choose baseball cap versus cowboy hat (he goes for the tuque), he thinks nothing of speaking his mind, recently taking Luke Bryan to task for his recent hit Thatas My Kind of Night. Itas nice to see someone actually giving an honest opinion in an industry where everyone is careful not to step on anyone elseas toes, ostensibly out of courtesy but more likely out of fear of reprisal. Not that Brown should be left out of criticism. Heas got his own style of shmaltz, specifically his biggest hit, Chicken Fried, right down to the verse about freedom and the flag, parked up against the one about beer and blue jeans. So heas not immune to the promptings of writing clichAs either. Then again, who isnat? Where Brown is miles above most of his country music peers is in the live concert, where you actually get the feeling youare not seeing a carefully choreographed show that doesnat change from city to city. These are regular guys in T-shirts, throwing riffs back and forth for the joy of it. The vibe is jam band, the sound is somewhere between southern rock and Jimmy Buffett, the song choice often unpredictable. The opening actually wasnat all that unpredictable; he started with the subtly reggae infused Jump Right In, establishing the son of Jimmy Buffett credentials heas been establishing over the years. From there he went straight into his version of a80s neo-traditional country with songs like As Sheas Walking Away and Ainat In No Hurry, solid, mid-tempo tunes that fit snugly into the current trend though far better.