Wilshire Boulevard, so I am no stranger to the unique and iconic light structure that is located at LACMA. How many times have I driven by the outdoor artwork, entitled "Urban Light" and created by Chris Burden in 2008 without giving it a second glance or stopping my car for even a moment to be enveloped in the perfectly and almost frighteningly symmetrical structure of vintage lamp posts? The answer is, approximately every Monday and Friday since last September. The sad thing is that I wasn't even the one to suggest stopping and viewing it two Thursday nights ago on the way home with two of my friends from an art exhibit in West Hollywood. In fact, I was the one to groan and complain that my feet hurt and I was tired and had to get up early in the morning for Spring Break the next day--couldn't we do this some other time?
My friend argued what I soon realized is something that I said on the first day of class--even in a city like Los Angeles with so many hidden gems, art exhibits and fascinating things to discover, it becomes easy to tell yourself that you are too busy to take the time out of your day to find parking and a group of friends to go enjoy a new restaurant or part of town. You'll do it some other time, you say to yourself or out loud, as you follow this statement up with a plethora of excuses, such as my pathetic ones of hurt feet and a "so early" 10AM flight the next day. Once I realized that I was in fact being the person that I decided I no longer wanted to be on the first day of class, the person who dismisses fun things to do in L.A. because of inconvenience or petty excuses, we stopped the car and enjoyed the structure on a Thursday night for the first time, though we have been living in Los Angeles for about four years now.
The structure itself is awe-inspiring because of its symmetry, as I stated before, as well as the way the posts light up the night sky and illuminate the darkness, highlighting silhouettes of palm trees in the background. It's also fascinating how many people were there, despite the fact that it wasn't a nice, sunny, Saturday afternoon in L.A., nor a lazy Sunday of shopping and sight-seeing, or even a low key Friday night. It was a Thursday evening at 11PM, and the structure was full of tourists, or maybe even local Angelenos taking pictures with their iPhones and digital cameras, just like we were.
How many of them specifically planned taking a time slot out of their day for this activity? How many of them were tourists who, as they viewed the tall lights in the night sky, marveled at how lucky native Angelenos must be here to experience this beauty everyday? And how many, like us, finally decided to stop talking about doing something and just do it, just stop the car to view a beautiful and iconic exhibit?
One thing is for sure, I am closer to learning my lesson about doing more in Los Angeles because overall the detour only took about fifteen minutes out of my night and was well worth it.
--Photo Credit: Caroline Queen and Lynell George