Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Getty Museum [Elysium]

Last weekend, Kim, her boyfriend (John), Jonathan, and I spent Saturday afternoon at The Getty Museum in the Los Angeles hills. We've tried to keep doing interesting things around the area as often as we can, but it's consistently difficult to find the motivation to crawl off the couch or spend money after a long week. Jonathan is always on the move for work (still doing the 1 1/2 hour each way commute to West Hollywood from Orange four days a week), and both of our brains are on constant overload with computer stimulation that once they're off, they are off. 

With only a few weeks left before Jonathan's grad program starts up again, and he's neck-deep in work and a Masters thesis, we're filling up as much free time as we can.

Also, who could turn down this view of Los Angeles?

That freeway is the 405, and it is running perpendicular in the foreground to Sunset Blvd. Downtown Beverly Hills is the cluster of larger buildings in front, and you can slightly make out Downtown Los Angeles in the distance, to the left. Kim argues that it's the best view of the LA area, and I think she might be right.

If anything, it certainly gives you an idea of how sprawling and polluted the county is. (Hello, smog blanket!)

The trip seemed appropriate, given that we'd gone to see Elysium (with Matt Damon) that morning. The Getty, like Elysium, was clean, modern, idyllic, and feels like a fortress. I kept expecting to see droids walking around with cocktails. Which, admittedly, is the one thing missing from the Getty.

Top: The Getty, via | Bottom: Elysium, via

They were a good pair for a relaxing and beautiful LA day.

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I realize that over the years I've developed into a bit of a "speed museumer." I don't go all the time, but for someone who doesn't study art, I've gone to so many museums in my adult life, that I've really figured out the right method for seeing as much as possible and only stopping for the things that catch my eye or resonate with me -- saving loads of time. (Unlike my father who stops to read every single description of every single thing oh my god let's GO.)

Vase of Flowers by Jan Van Huysum (1722)
Walking through a museum is always a bit of a game, where tourists stand confused / bored / enamored in the middle of the walkway, sometimes with cameras poised to take photos of photos, etc., and you know you simply want to move along, so you weave through the crowd and inevitably lose everyone who came with you.

When I was young, going to museums -- hell, any historical or scenic hot-spot (Pearl Harbor and the Grand Canyon come to mind) -- made me, how do I say... a crabby-bitch-monster. Truth be told, I think the majority of my attitude could be blamed on adolescent hormones, but in the end it didn't matter what was to blame, I was simply terrible to be around whenever we went somewhere that involved a lot of looking and standing and admiring and learning, etc. It might just be that I'm hard-wired this way, because that impatience has never really left me, even 15 years later. However, now, as a mostly-functioning adult, I understand that this leave me alone I hate you demeanor has nothing to do with not liking museums / natural wonders / landmarks, but rather the fact that I do not like to be told what I should think is beautiful, what is considered interesting, or otherwise interact with people at all when I really just want to think.

Looking and appreciating things or places is very meditative for me, and I prefer to revel in the silence and get lost in my own thoughts rather than keep track of where everyone else is or pretend like I care what they think. Truth be told, I care little about what most people think about things.

So really, it's in everyone's best interest that I move along at my own -- generally fast -- pace, and not let myself get caught up in what other people are doing, because waiting is simply the most irrationally annoying thing that can happen to me in a day.

Elegant Woman by Louis Rolland
Trinquesse (late 1700s)
A Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros 
by Adolphe William Bouguereau (about 1880)
It's possible that I move too quickly through museums, but standing around looking at paintings / sculptures / drawings / etc. that bore me sounds like the biggest waste of time. I know that I could learn things, and that's all very well and good, but in the end, I'm not an art student and I don't feel the need to "experience" art with anyone. I've mentioned it before, but art is like music to me: it either moves you, or it doesn't, and no one should ever feel pressured to explain why they like something. It's personal. What is, is.

This isn't to say that I don't enjoy being places with people. I do. In fact, going places alone isn't really my cup of tea if I can help it. I liken it to being at a concert or seeing a play with friends: it's always more enjoyable to go with people, but it's not so fun if they talk through the show. Just be quiet and we'll discuss it at intermission.

misery happiness loves company, especially when you have a pretty view

This museum is large, but still manageable. It's nothing like The Huntington (where you pretty much have to plan your whole day around it), though you could easily take your time, have snacks and coffee, and make a day at The Getty if you wanted. I think it'd be fun to have lunch on the grass, or come when they're having an outdoor concert.

This is one of the few museums in LA that's actually free (though parking does cost $15). If I lived closer, I'd consider putting on my walking shoes, grabbing coffee at the coffee cart, and exploring the park / people watching. It's certainly nicer (and less pathetic) than going to the mall to walk around and look at housewares like an old married couple, which is something Jonathan and I are certainly guilty of, and the fact that we're doing preliminary wedding registry planning is only part of the reason.

Study of Clouds with a Sunset near Rome by Simon Denis (1786-1801)

I'm not all that well-versed on great places to visit in LA -- especially places that cost me [nearly] $0. Now that the wedding is 10 months away, it's time to actually get serious about saving for the things we know we'll need, which leaves us with the most pathetic spending budget.

Free is good. Tell me about free things to enjoy around these here Southern California parts, maybe?

Thank you. Happy Friday.


  1. There are plenty of "free" things to do, if leisure walking is something that interests you. John introduced me to the Furniture district just east of Downtown Culver City (also an amazing place to walk around, grab a Mexican Mocha, and enjoy the sunshine & people watching. It's easy to not spend money when everything around you is thousands of $$$.

    In LA, parking is really the only thing that will set you back if you tackle all the free activities. Which is a cost that can be shared when you pile 5 people into one car. The La Brea Tar Pits (free) outside the LACMA (not free) is also a good option -- touristy, but fun, since it was a central location for the movie "Volcano."

    Vasquez Rocks up in Valencia is also on my personal to-do list: the epic "desert" location where 'Star Trek: the Series' and 'Forbidden Planet' were filmed, it's a great place to bring the dogs, and have a picnic. As long as you don't mind dirt in place of grass.

    Neighborhood walking is becoming my new favorite thing, particularly if there's a good coffee or lunch spot to hit up. Downtowns are always fun to explore, and I'm definitely interested in checking out the famous Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach (popular filming locale and great downtown vibe).

    I, like you, LOVE not spending money -- or spending it on things like food rather than entry to a building. Since John and I are determined to continue our weekend outings for the time being, we'll definitely have to drag you and Jonathan along again. =)

    Oh, and last week, we spent an hour walking down Venice Boardwalk, past the pier, and through the Venice Canals... total cost? $1 for street parking. Pretty good!

  2. PS - Your "screw you, I'm walking around looking at art" attitude at the Getty now makes sense. I'll have to relay that to John so he'll know you're not actually mad at anyone. =P

    1. Ha! But he already knows I suffer from "resting bitch face"! It's not always "active bitch face," despite my insistence that I really am a bitch at heart.

      I definitely get in my head when I go to places like this -- otherwise I miss all the details. (You know I can't multi-task; my brain can connect to my eyes OR my mouth -- not both at once!), whereas I'm completely the opposite when I'm getting food or coffee, which is why I like to do both kinds of activities in a single outing. :D

      Let's do all those things you mentioned. x