My L.A – Day 2

Day 2 of our series of blog posts following Sally’s experiences taking Memory Box to the USA thanks to a Cultural Exchange funded by the British Council and Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Sunday 15th September – Day 2

It’s taken some acclimatising to the time zone, temperature and the culture; but I felt so much better about leaving the ‘Loft’ today. The area I’m staying in, on 5th and Broadway is so very different to what I’m used to. There are so many homeless people here, yet the area itself is beautiful. The architecture in this part of the Down Town area reminds me of being in New York. The buildings are set out in ‘blocks’ and are predominately 1920/30’s in style. Not at all what I was expecting.

The knowledge that I have family close by has helped me to feel less daunted by the 5,250 mile journey. My Mother and Father in law live in California, and came by to check on me today. After commenting on how ‘interesting’ the area I’m staying in is, Larry gave me some tips on how to blend in…they were priceless. ‘You’ve just got to walk like to own it hunny’. As if that was ever an option. 

MOCA – What’s next? The future of Los Angeles Architecture

Before leaving for the US I signed up for a number of seminars and events. This event at MOCA was probably the least subject relevant, but it still had my interest. It also offered me an opportunity to get out and about, as well as see some contemporary art.

The event was a panel discussion between Architect, Deborah Richmond; Writer and Critic, Guy Horton; Architect and Historian, Alan Hess; and KCRW’s (a local architecture company) Frances Anderton.

I must admit, much of the discussion was lost on me – I was unfamiliar with the panel and the architects that were being deliberated, and disinterested in conversations about out-of-town ‘malls’. A few things did engage my interest, however. The panel kept referring to ‘California-ness’, and asking if it defined or impacted upon the overall approach to Californian architecture.


As a Brit, Deborah Richmond asked the panel to define exactly what ‘California-ness’ is. Asking ‘What is California-ness? Is it like pornography; in that you know it when you see it?’ After composing himself, Guy Horton responded with ‘California-ness represents a blank screen on which the story is waiting to be written’ similarly Alan Hess felt that ‘California is a muse. It imposes creativity. It happened to Charles Eames and many others who came here, they allowed it to happen to them’.

There was some real food for thought, and the seminar felt like a great introduction to the cultural scene of LA.


I ended today sitting on the roof, reading my book next to the pool. SUCH a luxury. Until, a group of young men pitched up and started shooting a music video. Jet lagged and wearing my pyjamas, I took that as my cue to go to bed.

Enjoyed this post? Start at Day 1 of Sally’s adventures taking Memory Box to Los Angeles. Or you can carry on to Day 3.