Saturday, September 3, 2011
STRANGE & STARTLING
I find it delightful to pick up a newspaper and read something other than depressing or discouraging political and economic news. So when I read in the LA Times yesterday about San Francisco’s “Parkmobiles” – bright red dumpsters filled with greenery that aim to bring postage-stamp-sized parks into the cement heart of the city – I had to laugh.
Although the city means well, some think the movable parks mostly provide a place for homeless hankie-pankie and a source of irritation for those who can’t find a parking place anywhere. Both complaints have been lodged.
On the other side of the argument, they also have provided an al fresco setting for fast food lunchers, a venue for little songbirds not usually found in the cement city, and a place for tired walkers to rest their aching feet. Two red dumpsters of greenery are already out working and four more are being prepared. On balance, even though I laughed when I saw the picture, I think the creator of those parkmobiles probably had a good idea.
Now we out here in the Riverside County boonies also have a piece of news that is every bit as unusual – and maybe more – than San Francisco’s. We have THIS! It’s a rock that’s going to become a famous piece of art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire Boulevard.
It was blasted out of the face of a Glen Avon quarry in the nearby Jurupa Hills in 2005, weighs 340 tons, is two stories tall and 21 feet wide. Furthermore, sometime soon it is going to be loaded onto a truck – a heavy-haul “transporter” with 208 wheels owned by a Portland-based company – and driven 72 miles into downtown Los Angeles, driven, that is, at the speed of a snail and only at night. Going ahead of it will be a crew of 15, various LACMA officials and police escorts. It’s estimated to take seven nights to get from quarry to museum.
There has been some talk about building a protective crate around it. The artist, of course, wants a pristine rock without scars, scrapes and pitting on its sides, but until we hear otherwise, we’ll assume it will go through the countryside as naked as it came out of that hillside.
I can hear you asking, “Well, for crying out loud, what kind of artwork is this?” I understand the artist is Michael Heizer; the name of the work is “Levitated/Slot Mass.” Eventually the rock will be poised over a 456-foot long, 15 foot deep concrete trench. Once in place, visitors will be able to walk underneath the massive granite formation and down a slope that will create the illusion that the boulder is levitating.
I admit to not understanding this type of art. And thinking of walking under any suspended 340 ton rock would gives me the same kind of heebie-jeebies that walking out over the Grand Canyon in a cantilevered walkway does – neither are anything I would choose to do.
But what I AM going to do is find out which night this big boulder will pass my apartment complex – and believe me, it will pass by, as we live next door to Glen Avon and that boulder has to come by if it intends to go to Los Angeles – and stake out my spot. If I want to see a moving boulder I’ll have to give up part of a night’s sleep. Actually, I think we won’t be the only residents of Country Village who will be attending the big boulder move; there may be an actual Boulder-Moving party, if enough people decide to attend.
But should I miss it, I will still have the option of seeing the boulder resting in the daylight, but that sure doesn’t sound like a once-in-a-lifetime event.