I love Los Angeles. Arrived after a long trip over the Pacific. I entered the routines I know that well. Rented a car in the airport and drove through the arteries of this enormous flat and sensual urban landscape. Through the mythological names, hitting La Cienega Boulevard, then San Vincent, to the right on Cynthia Street and then arriving at Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood, my favorite hotel since Asger began using it as his home away from home. I told our friend Stefan, the owner, that Asger stayed in Bangkok, but would come later.
My main reason for making a stop in L.A. was to see the voodoo art exhibition 'In Extremis' at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. It was the final chance, it was closing January 20th, after running for several months. I was disappointed with this much hyped exhibition. Too lightweight, too smart. Some weak choices, for instance two Stivenson Magloire paintings, definitely among his weaker pieces. Is he supposed to stand in for Saint Soleil? OK, so no Saint Soleil, no Antilhomme, no Prospèr Pierre-Louis in this voodoo-inspired-art context? That's not OK. That's a scandal. And no Lafortune Félix? Well, I certainly do respect idiosyncrazies and personal preferences. But here I feel it is a matter of the curator, the respected Don Consentino, having taken it too easy.
Oh, what a wonderful Sunday afternoon. January sun. Los Angeles is one of the rare cities where Sundays can be good. Always good to drive around. I was parking in a public parking area at North Robertson Blvd. Shopping shirts, I bought five, in Steven Alan's West Hollywood shop. I used to buy his shirts in Franklin Street, Tribeca, New York. Then I walked to the corner of Melrose, across from the super Italian restaurant Cennoni's, a déja-vu for me. I've been looking for this exact corner on several visits to L.A. The view I remember from around thirty years ago is Rod Stewart being helped out of his red Ferrari by the parking valet, and entering the restaurant with his tall blond hairdo, accompanied by a beautiful woman.
I walked down Melrose five blocks East, past San Vicente, and came to the usual choice: Have lunch where? At Urth Café or Pain Quotidien. Urth is full, I got a table on the terrace of Quotidien, facing the traffic on Melrose at the corner of Westbourne Drive. I love the sights and sounds of the slow stream of big, wonderful luxury SUV cars in both directions. Lexus, Range Rovers, Audis, BMW's, and I'm always surprised of seeing so impressively many Mercedes black box cars, not beautiful, you could call it provocatively ugly, therefore powerful, almost menacing, obscene. I like this. I like the idea that people buy cars that send signals about money and lifestyle. I like politically incorrect cars, unshamely showing off their owners' money and vitality. I like the direct in-your-face manners of this city.
Monday lunch in Mondrian's on Sunset. Cool, elegant. This hotel is one of Phillippe Starck's best works. After that I drove out on Sunset Boulevard westwards, towards the sunset. I have done it many times before. It's a great feeling. Comfortable driving, many sensual curves. Passing great homes, and the pink Beverly Hills Hotel. I think of when I stayed there with my ex-wife Hanne Uldal and our little son Kristian, 31 years ago. I remember a meeting in the hotel's famous Polo Lounge with a Hollywood producer about a film Asger and I wanted to make: 'The White Zombie'. The tennis lawn behind bushes, the well-cut and -watered gardens. So voluptuous! Continuing the last long stretch before hitting the ocean. Taking in the last minutes of the sunset over the Pacific. One of the best views I know. That's why Dan Holmberg and I called our company Sunset Productions. Dan is the master of filming sunsets. He shot many at the Pacific coast. Then it's getting darker, and I lose a sense of where I am and have a certain pleasure by letting it happen, just being for a while lost in a terrain vague. I love the feeling of people living in those houses, and I notice the sudden changes of status of the houses, new neighbourhoods, also some poor ones.
Arrived in Miami early morning with night flight from L.A. Have checked into Shore Club on Collins Avenue. Will meet Asger in a couple of hours when he is coming in from Bangkok. Then we will go out having dinner, I will suggest, at Ola's on James' Avenue where they have the best selection of seviche, I know of. They also have a wide selection of mojitos. Or simply stay here and sit in the bar in the fabulous fusion restaurant Nobu, and let the sushi chef decide what we eat and in which sequence. And then tomorrow we fly to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.