This Valentine’s day I spent the weekend in LA visiting friends and seeing my favorite band Sparks play at the Ace hotel. It was maybe the most ideal time to visit LA: the recent rains have spurred a fragrant greening of the hills, and the wintering songbirds gave the mornings a tropical feel. One of the best parts of the trip was my visit to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, a place I’ve been dying to see for years. It was incredible, like a Cabinet magazine come to life. There was a room dedicated to creepy superstitions (eating mice on toast to cure bedwetting?), TWO rooms of microscopes for tiny exhibits (one dedicated to Hagop Sandaldjian’s sculptures INSIDE the eyes of needles, and a row for Henry Dalton’s rococo floral collages made with individual butterfly scales) plus a rooftop garden with white doves and finches. I can’t recommend it enough. It reminded me a lot of Flutter. Note to self: more microscopes!
The Sparks show was at the gorgeously renovated Theatre at the Ace, and the creme of LA was there (I wish I was better with faces, all those well-dressed silver foxes were certainly distant rock royalty). Waiting in the line, I couldn’t help but notice that almost everyone was decked out in killer vintage and fancy perfumes. Like, really unusual, fantastic perfumes. I definitely, positively smelled Rien by Etat Libre d’Orange, and I’m fairly certain Jasmin et Cigarette was there too. It’s funny how you can tell sometimes not what a perfume is but only that it is a very fine and distinguished scent. Chandler Burr would have died.
I had an awfully friendly daiquiri at the poolside bar and watched the sun set over the city, then explored the nooks and crannies of the gold-on-gold Spanish Gothic theater (a sign on the wall of the ladies room said “Ms. Mary Pickford removed this mirror so, out of respect, we left it that way”). There was also this amazing sculpture in the lobby, her name is “Ladyfingers” by Kevin Will (photo by Spencer Lowell; not pictured: a posse of turquoise ceramic kittens). Sparks delivered a perfect set: their breakthrough album from 1974 in its entirety, played with a 38-piece orchestra… plus bonus material! It was heaven, if you like that kind of thing.