A couple of weeks ago we went to the Getty Center. Have you been there? Even if you haven’t, you might have seen it from the 405 Freeway. It’s a giant white structure done in the great architectural tradition of Miami Vice. Except tasteful. The Getty Center is situated high above Los Angeles in the Bel Air hills, on some of the most expensive real estate in the world. And it took many many years to build it, beginning back in the 80s sometime. They have an art museum there, and sometimes they host special events. To be honest, their collection is somewhat lackluster, with only a few notable entries. However, the place itself is a work of art, and as far as places to take beautiful pictures goes, it’s tough to beat the Getty.
After you pay for parking, you don’t have to pay an admission fee to get into the Getty. But you can’t just walk into the Getty, like you might with another museum. First you have to park. And ride in an elevator, a process that I find both interesting and terrifying at the same time.
Then you have to get on the tram that goes all the way up the hill. Particularly disconcerting fact about the tram: There is no driver!
On the way up the hill, Daddy talked to some people from England who were sitting next to us. They were fans of Liverpool, like my Uncle Beaux. Uncle Beaux is not British, nor does he live in England. Yet he follows English soccer. Except in England, they call it football. These British people were impressed that Uncle Beaux was a Liverpool fan, even though they didn’t meet him. They assumed he must be a man of discerning taste. They were also happy to have us there to point out all the extraordinarily expensive homes that are visible across the valley from the Getty. Daddy says that Adam Sandler, the Regans, and “all the royalty” lives over there.
The first thing you notice when you actually get to the top of the hill is the fact that it’s really bright. This is why they pass out umbrellas to people at the tram stop. But Mommy’s like, “Yeah, right, I’ll just carry that with my third arm while I chase Mini around.” And the lady who was passing them out was like, “Who pissed in your cheerios, lady?” And then Mommy explained that this conversation took place in something called “internal monologue,” and that was why it was OK for her to be so obnoxious to somebody she didn’t know. She didn’t take an umbrella.
When we got into the Getty Center, I was overwhelmed by the scale of everything. I held Daddy’s hand while I was still feeling the place out and getting a lay of the land.
They had to ship in something like 85 million billion tons of travertine from some quarry in Italy to finish the Getty Center. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I think that travertine is a little overdone. I mean, it’s beautiful, sure, but if I have to look at another KB home with travertine in the shower, I’m going to scream.
Having said that, they really do it up right with the travertine at the Getty Center. They don’t just smooth everything over and streamline everything. Since the architects designed the walls to include unfinished stones, sometimes you can see some fossil remains in the stone, which seems to underscore the fact that archtecture is both a form of art and a piece of living history.
But we weren’t there to dick around looking at rocks! We had a storytime to get to.
The Getty organizes a storytime for its younger visitors, which sounds like a nice idea, doesn’t it? That’s before you get there and you find out the “story” is some chick wearing a crazy outfit, standing in front of a painting with a guitar.
The “story” centered around looking at the painting, and saying how many dogs were in painting (1). And how many little girls were in the painting? (Hard to say, because they all have similar hair lengths, and similar clothing). And this painting was painted in France, where they speak French. Can anyone say three in French? And in case you’re wondering, yes, there are a significant number of preschool age children in West LA who can say three in French. FYI. I thought it was all a little pretentious, but I did cop a decent snuggle from Mommy during the story time.
Afterwards, we went to see some of the more significant pieces in the Getty’s collection.
And some of the least significant.
But the chief attraction for me was outside, where you can get a good look at the architecture.
And the crazy gardens.
And the statues.
Ahhh! the statues!