Arrived in L.A. last night, and this afternoon walked up Bunker Hill (always surprisingly steep for non-Angelinos) to Walt Disney Concert Hall.
It's been close to five years since I first saw the hall on opening night. (Before you read any further...you MUST see some images of the place, if you haven't already.)
I contributed to NPR's coverage of the 2003 opening, and was overwhelmed by something a journalist isn't supposed to feel: ecstatic child-like glee. Ambling outside Frank Gehry's curving, sloping, swooping stainless steel panels, wandering inside through the twisting passageways, where curves arch and fly, bend and bow, up and out and away...I was elated. Disney Hall felt like the realization of something I'd taken to be impossible, but had always hoped for: a seamless combination of serious artistic purpose with sheer whimsy.
I presume that every bend and flutter was carefully planned, but where most structures impose an awareness of the deliberation behind their design, Disney Hall gave me a feeling of...play.
I *love* to play, but often feel I *ought* to be working. Frank Gehry (and the many others behind the creation of Disney Hall) gave me the perfect cure for my self-inflicted guilt. The feeling of limitless possibility that comes with childish play...while I was at work.
With those memories, I was almost afraid to go back today. Was it just opening night excitement? Had my perspective been bent by the intense (and expensive) hype for the hall?
Well, I was there moments ago. And although I was able to walk calmly and quietly, my feeling was...Yippee! Yah yah yah YAH! WHOOPIE! Ha-ha-ha-HAA!
Gotta rein that in enough to do a show from Disney Hall on Sunday. I'll be joining KUSC's Gail Eichenthal to co-host a live broadcast of the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Sunday afternoon, April 6. (2pm Pacific time on KUSC, 91.5 in Los Angeles, and if you're not in LA you can listen live at kusc.org. Gustavo Dudamel conducting Debussy and Ravel, Leila Josefowicz soloing in Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2.)
And we'll be featuring the L.A. Phil in concert at Disney Hall all week on Performance Today, April 7-11. Interviews with Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, Music Director-in-waiting Gustavo Dudamel (he takes over in the fall of 2009), and several principal players from the LA Philharmonic.
If you listen on Sunday afternoon, or anytime next week, I'll likely sound calm and professional. But I'll be feeling...YIPPEE!
That laughing baby video in your blog is HILARIOUS!!