Paved Paradise

8 Jun

Oh no. It's Adventure Day...here we go again.

So…Monday was adventure day. The destination was the Hollywood Museum. I had been, Roger hadn’t. On the way there we saw a bunch of signs advertising an exhibit on Houdini at the Skirball Museum. Change of plans. We drove over to Skirball-what is with that horrible name?- and they are closed on Mondays. Crap. OK, let’s go to the Getty Center. Closed. Seriously?

Roger suggested the Getty Villa in Malibu. I’d never been to Malibu or the Villa and it IS open on Mondays. Score!

The Villa is to Roger what Hearst Castle is to me, which was great because he was my personal tour guide. He knew every little, interesting detail. I loved it! I will do my best to give you that tour now.

The view from the parking garage.

J.P. Getty made the Villa to house his antiquities collection-mostly Greek and Roman art work. He wanted guests to feel like they really were in an Italian Villa…he did a great job of that. When you go up to the house you walk along a path and the hillside is cut so that it looks like you are at an archeological dig.

Example of the archeologic dig look.

There is an amphitheater as you walk in and they actually use it for plays.

Watching kids act out Harry Potter at the amphitheater, I just saved myself $10!

The villa is totally open so the ocean breeze flows through the house and feels great!

There are metal lions' heads in the center with open mouths so when it rains, the water flows out of them and into the reflecting pound below. Now that's a fancy rain gutter!

We walked around in the inner peristyle while we waited for a movie about the history of the Villa to begin. There’s a large pond with goddesses surrounding it. They all giving funny gestures and one was missing so I filled in for her.

Oh My Goddess!

There was a large room with art depicting/celebrating the theater. Tons of cups and jugs that looks like they belonged in Barbie’s Dreamhouse. I know people were smaller  a long time ago, but this was silly. I didn’t know what silly was until I saw this statue. I believe this is the first known account of “talk to the hand.”

Talk to the hand, 'cause the gigantic face mask don't care!

Outside of the dinning area is another pond. Apparently at a real Villa they would keep fish in the pond, yank them out and there’s dinner. Pretty slick.

My kind of backyard.

As we explored the garden I stumbled across a statue at the opposite end of the pond. After all the news of stupid politicians who don’t know how to cover their name sakes’ up, I was sick of seeing and hearing about IT, as you can tell from my facial expression below.

The definition of 'letting it all hang out.' Bleck.

A hoard of school children bombarded the yard and we retreated to the movie, but was told by two old guys that it would start in 5 minutes. As we walked into a side room I told Roger, “I bet one of those old dudes will come over and talk to me.” As soon as those words escaped my lips an old man appeared right behind me and started talking to us. He was a security guard and said not all the visitors were like us, most of the old people were cranky (shocking) and would touch the painting. Are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous! He also complained that most old people were rude to him because he had an accent. To me, he was racially ambiguous, which was only helped by his poofy, white hair. He told me he was “from the most beautiful country in the entire world. Afghanistan.”

I wanted to get a photo with him after the film, but he was gone. I think he was an awesome, disgruntled angel.

There was a replica statue of Venus, way off in the corner of a garden. She was the opposite of Floppy Mc Nastyiness in the pond.

We're almost the same skin tone.

A sign next to the statue said we could touch it, so Roger did just that.

I like big butts and I can not lie.

After looking all around the Villa, we got a snack and enjoyed the fantastic weather on the patio. If I lived there I would never want to work, it’s so nice. I will say that J.P. Getty was much more organized than Hearst was when it came to showing his art work. This whole Villa was one certain era, where as Hearst would put 1700’s French paintings with Egyptian statues and Medieval tapestries.  It worked for him, but I think he’s probably the only person in the world who could pull off that opulent look!

Speaking of Baller Status Hearst, we drove right down the road to Marion Davies’ beach house. I’ve been reading a biography about her and it’s a big thick sucker, so I know quite a bit about her now. For those of you who don’t know who Marion was, she was the second highest paid actress in Hollywood for a long time, as well as Hearst’s girlfriend for over 30 years.

In 1926 she moved into her beach “house.” Marion threw tons of parties there…wouldn’t you? And then she sold it for $600k in 1945, where it was a private beach club for years. In 1960 some idiot bought it and reduced it to rubble to build a parking lot. Of course, a parking lot, something WAY cooler–schmuck. Apparently the demolition of her old house upset Marion so much that it caused her to have a stroke.

I got to play tour guide and I explained to Roger all about her and what the house was like. I genuinely sad to see what was left.

Ah yes, Progress...I think not.

What is left is the original pool, which has beautiful mosaic tiles on the bottom. Here’s what the pool area looked like when the house was Marion was there.

I know, holy crap, why did they tear this down?

Now you know why it was heart breaking to see that new hulk of Ikea crap that was built on top of the site.

The only other thing that survived from Marion’s days there is a guest house that used to sit next to the private tennis court.

The guest house is the farthest building on the left.

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

The door wasn’t open, I checked, so I looked through all the windows and this is what I saw.

What an entryway!

There were cool photos of Marion and pals on the window screens. How cool is that!

One of the living rooms.

Everyone has one of those neighbors.

Roger on the side of the guest house.

I was so happy to see that house but at the same time I felt really depressed. I mean, if that was a glimpse of what that time was like, I could only imagine how amazing the main house was.

The weird Ikea building is a cultural center that has art like this:

What kind of G.D. art is this?

There was also an exhibit of birthday cards your grandma might buy you from Rite Aide…ah yes, art.

The view from the top is still amazing.

I know this looks great, but all I can think is, "please don't let me get a sunburn."

Ghosts of good taste past.

I told Roger that the man who designed the new cultural center made these god awful pillars to make it seem like the ghost of Marion’s house. Maybe I just have good taste but this minimalistic look is ugly as hell.

Roger, listening to me complaining about everything new...in general.

He and I had a conversation on the way over about how all the cool things in Los Angeles get torn down and turned into a Del Taco, or something with zero cultural value. We wished we could have gone to the Brown Derby or the Coconut Grove…all are torn down.  What is it about LA? No one wants to preserve anything good about the city. Gotta make way for crap!

We headed over to the Formosa Cafe on Santa Monica Blvd. It looked like it was cool at one time, every celebrity used to hang out there. Now it has the dirty bar vibe. We had a drink and went across the street to Jone’s Bar. Go there, it’s GREAT food. I can’t wait to go back.

It was a fun day, but this Joni Mitchell song sums up how I feel.


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4 Responses to “Paved Paradise”

  1. MAYBELLINE June 8, 2011 at 11:04 AM #

    Oh yes. Getty had it right. No lawn to mow. I like it.

  2. BabyCakes June 8, 2011 at 12:39 PM #

    Ahh, too bad the Getty was closed. That place is BA!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Nobody Does It Better « - March 30, 2012

    […] status Hearst before, but if anyone could out do Burton, it’s my boy Hearst. He bought Marion a beach house, jewels, movie studios, and wrote her love letters every night. What a guy! He and Marion had a […]

  2. If You Don’t Respect the Past, You Can’t Respect the Future « - April 6, 2012

    […] I’m not forgetting Marion Davies’ Beach house (Mansion), you can go back and read all about it. […]

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