Monday, August 30, 2010

Out and About--MOCA and The Biltmore

I just saw my friend Kevin post pictures from the Dennis Hopper exhibition when it hit me that I still hadn't blogged about my own visit to the museum!  It's been a crazy month, let me tell you.  So once again we hop into the time machine and head back a couple weeks to a very hot summer day that started at the beach and ended downtown.

I am a huge fan of Los Angeles, as most of you know, and I never cease to be amazed at the opportunities here.  On this day, I was able to indulge in the most contemporary art at one location and then revel in the rich history of yet another location only a few blocks away.  The beach in the morning and skyscrapers downtown in the afternoon.  First, brunch in Marina del Rey...

Sitting in the restaurant's beautiful outdoor garden on this sunny summer day

Appreciating a perfect summer suit

Celebrating the day ahead with a glass of champagne

Arrived at MOCA first...

...then headed off to the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA for the exhibit

Contemporary Fashion:  1960s hot pink minidress, 1960s white leather handbag, gold Charles David cork wedges, gold hoop earrings, gold and diamond band ring, gold Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses.
Essie's Plumberry polish on toes.

Ironically, you couldn't take photos inside the photo exhibition, but that still didn't stop me from getting a couple

The Dennis Hopper exhibition was well curated by another fantastic artist, Julian Schnabel.  He filled the walls with photographs instead of isolating and highlighting only a few, which told a much broader story.  Sometimes the story was because the photographs were beautiful or contained a lot of meaning and messages.  Dennis was quite passionate about civil rights issues and that is clearly reflected in his art.  Then sometimes the story was more a fascination with his lifestyle and all the artists who he spent his time with, which ranged from actors to artists from the Ferus Gallery.  Of course all his photographs were well composed and most exuded some sort of sensuality.  

Julian also included some of Hopper's film work, including his direction of the classic Easy Rider

Now off to the Gallery Bar at the Biltmore Hotel for a smart cocktail after the show

The three towers of the Biltmore up against the Los Angeles skyline

Entrance to the Biltmore.   Since 1927, just about every giant--actors, artists, writers, politicians--has stayed and played at the Biltmore Hotel.

The Biltmore's majestic lobby

The Biltmore's Gallery Bar (above) and adjoining Cognac Room (below), where I enjoyed my refreshments

Another reason I love the Biltmore is its connection to my beloved classic cinema and its history.  Not many people know that the Biltmore is the birthplace of the Oscars.  In 1927, the Academy of Motion Pictures--led by Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM--came up with the Oscars ceremony at a luncheon in the Biltmore's Crystal Ballroom.  Legend has it that it's there where master MGM art director, Cedric Gibbons, also sketched out the design for the Oscar award on a Biltmore napkin. 

In addition, the Academy Awards were then physically held at the Biltmore for many of its early years--1931, 1935-1939 (1939 being arguably the greatest year in movie-making history), and 1941-1942 and then later the 50th anniversary of the awards as well.  A photo of the 1937 ceremony is shown above with its legend below matching names to many of the famous faces.

Some of my favorite classic cinema stars received their Oscars at the Biltmore--
including Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, and Jimmy Stewart for his Best Supporting Actor role in The Philadelpia Story, one of my favorite movies ever

The Biltmore in 1943

I love Los Angeles!

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