Rain, Art, & Lights | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we began exploring Los Angeles with pie and a some culture at the Getty Center. It was rainy the whole day, so we relished our time indoors and still marveled at how beautiful the museum was. But the day wasn’t over yet, and we had more art to take in at the Getty Villa.


Getty Villa

Tip: If you are planning on visiting the Getty Villa, you will need to register ahead of time online to get your FREE tickets. Yes, you need tickets, but yes, they are free. I actually had gotten tickets for 2 different times, with one being the last slot available so that we weren’t as rushed to leave the Getty Center. (Very sorry to anyone who wanted tickets for the slot I didn’t use and was unable to register.) Make sure to reserve your ticket and then either have your ticket saved on a mobile device or printed to show at the gate.

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If you’d like to visit the Getty Center and the Getty Villa in one day, you can use your parking voucher from one at the other! (Aka free parking at your second Getty destination!) Since we went from the Getty Center to the Getty Villa, we had to first let the Getty Center parking folks know that we were headed to the Getty Villa so that they could give us a voucher to bring over to the Getty Villa. This worked out pretty well for us because the Getty Center has a ticketed garage and we were able to present our voucher to the guard at the Getty Villa, but I’m not sure how it works if you go from Villa to Center.

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Some ceiling love

The Getty Villa is a gorgeous, stunning estate that is near Malibu but not quite there, despite what the museum itself advertises. (And I’m pretty sure their social media team is mad that I called them out on that. The truth will set you free, Getty Villa.) The estate was originally the residence for J. Paul Getty and slowly transformed into what it is today as he kept running out of room for displaying his antiquities. Not only did he want to display his really impressive collection, he wanted to display them in a way that reflected their time and how they would have been displayed in their time. The estate’s architectural design (oh, did you think you had escaped me talking about Getty architecture, guess again) is based on the Villa of the Papyri, which was destroyed by the volcanic eruption that rendered Herculaneum to ruins. Not only is Getty Villa a pretty spectacular re-creation of a Greco/Roman antiquity villa, the entire estate is also modeled to be reminiscent of an archaeological dig, with some of the structures intentionally built to resemble half-uncovered ruins. And while the Getty Villa was the original and sole site of the Getty Museum, it now houses only the antiquities in the way they were meant to be displayed, so the pieces have a lot of room for admiration.

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Also, the estate itself is art. The gardens were just beautiful and featured beautiful fountains. Also, just look at how obsessed I became with the beautiful tile work on the floors…Read More »

Annual Work Summer Getaway

I’ve been at my new company for almost 3 months, and this weekend I was able to go to a resort weekend courtesy of my employer, where employees and their families could come out to just relax and unwind in each other’s company. We spent less than 24 hours at Airlie and had a grand old time. I don’t have any photos, if you’ll believe it, so I’ll try to just paint a picture of my weekend with my usual verbosity, aka words words words. (Feel free to check out the resort site for photos of their gorgeous estate, though! It’s a really popular wedding venue for good reason.)

The main Airlie house where we checked in/out and had our meals

Ben and I headed out on our less than one hour drive and were all checked in and ready to play by 3:30, which gave us about an hour to relax and enjoy the festivities that were set up for 1:30-4:30. (Check-in for our rooms didn’t start until 3PM, which is why we were only there for the tail end.) We enjoyed drinks, snacks, and some deeeeelicious ice cream that was so appreciated given how overwhelmingly humid it was, with storms in the forecast.

At promptly 4:30, Airlie staff started cleaning everything up, including bubble ball soccer! So we headed to the Whistling Swan Pub, where some of my coworkers started to spend the gift cards that our company really generously gave out, on getting a few drinks since the open bar had closed and would not reopen for 2 hours. (Honestly, I would’ve just waited, there was an open bar for nearly the entire day besides those 2 hours.) In the meantime, my teammates and I played a little foosball (I’m sort of terrible) and darts (I’m pretty terrible, but we all were and were a lot better by the end of our game!). I even got to ride the property’s bikes for a quick loop around the parking lot, just to feel the wind in my hair. (And whiz past Ben because sometimes, I am just a child.)Read More »

The Lobster (2015)

I first saw a trailer for The Lobster around this time last year, but I was unable to figure out where or when it was being shown in theaters near me. I searched and searched, but figured that I had either missed its showings at smaller theaters or that it simply was on too-limited release and I’d have to wait for it to show up on a streaming service or something. The premise seemed interesting: A sad Colin Farrell and other singles have a limited amount of time to find true love. If they fail, they will be turned into the animal of their choice. (Farrell’s character, David, chooses the film’s eponymous lobster because it lives for over a hundred years, is blue-blooded like an aristocrat, is fertile throughout its entire life, and lives in the sea, as he has always loved waterskiing and swimming.)

Let me first say that I was cracking up for nearly the whole movie. It’s not stupid, crass look-at-how-funny-I-am kind of comedy. In the universe of this movie, the people clearly have no social skills. This results in some really hilarious conversations and exchanges. The awkward, stilted dialogue makes you feel so uncomfortable and you’re cringing so much and you just have no other response but laughter.

This was, hands-down, one of the greatest scenes in the movie, because 1) her dance moves are ON POINT and 2) she is me

We dance alone. That’s why we only play electronic music.

The physical humor was great. The comedic timing was excellent. Usually, when I see movies that are labelled “dark comedies”, I find them kinda funny-ish sometimes I guess. But I was stifling laughter and trying not to annoy the couple sitting in front of me with my giggles. This movie is really funny.

Starting to see a comedy trope trending with the dad bod and the sagging tighty-whities

At the same time, it’s a “dark” comedy for a reason, and that is because, well, the assumptions and rules of this world are a bit morbid. People come to this hotel when they become single, and are given 45 days to find love or be turned into animals. (Which they choose at the beginning of the stay.) Those who try to escape this fate live in the woods and are hunted by the residents of the hotel. For every Loner that a resident captures (they use tranquilizer guns to hunt, don’t worry), their stay at the hotel is extended by one day. On David’s first day, his left hand is handcuffed to the back of his pants so that he can really appreciate how much easier life is when you are part of a pair and not alone. During an assembly, hotel staff show humorously straight-faced demonstrations of what happens when you are alone (you choke on your food and die, you get sexually assaulted while walking) and when you are part of a couple (your partner saves your life, your partner wards off would-be assailants). Masturbation is punished, as it is an example of self-pleasure, and we see that the punishment is having your hand placed in a hot toaster! (OUCH) Every day, the residents are brought to arousal, likely as a means of motivation to finding their partner. (This scene was one of the funniest in the entire movie, and you have to wonder how they do this for women. A scene later maybe sheds some light on this.) Residents are only permitted to do solo things, like play golf, and are not allowed to do group/team/pairs activities like tennis. The rules are harsh and strictly enforced, and it is all meant to make people want to be paired up more.

The three best bros that ever did live?

I was confused by these rules a little bit. For example, is it compulsory to check into the hotel after your relationship ends?  It seems like everyone is here after their spouses leave them some way or another. What about the two very young girls who are best friends and at the hotel at the same time? How did that work out, exactly? Were they originally in a romantic relationship with each other, maybe? Is it legally required to check in after your relationship ends, perhaps? There is a scene where David and our narrator, Rachel Weisz, are in the city and David is very nervous when a cop approaches him and asks about his partner. Are people not allowed to be single, by law? Or, are they so desperate to be in a relationship, either because of their own insecurities or because it affords them better opportunities in this world, that they voluntarily go all-in to find love in this hotel. Are there a lot more hotels like this? Is this one of many? Is it a chain, do these hotels compete? How are they even funded, do the people pay to stay there?

This movie, in all its ridiculousness, says so much about what we look for in relationships and how wrong we can be. Every resident of the hotel introduced themselves very matter-of-factly and mentioned a defining characteristic. The implication throughout the movie is that couples had one big thing in common, for example: both have a limp, both are short-sighted (near-sighted, but read into the double entendre there how you will), both get frequent nosebleeds. This was so telling because people were willing to fake what they had in common with a potential partner in order to find love and leave the hotel. It reminded me a lot of how online dating works today, and how we put these fairly superficial traits on our profiles and look for people who have the same ones. When your criteria for messaging someone is “Oh, her favorite band is Muse, too!”, you have to wonder if that’s really the best way to find love. At the same time, when you only have a limited amount of time – like, say, 45 days before being permanently turned into an animal – what else are you meant to go on to determine who out of the hundreds of thousands of millions of people out there is worth your time in trying to forge a relationship with? For the people in the hotel, did they have much time to learn more about each other without some entry point of “Hey! I speak German too!” to start the relationship off?

Another thing I noticed (before we head into spoiler territory) is the movie nails how intolerant our world can be of grey areas. David is frequently forced to choose absolutes when he wants to live in the in-betweens. When he checks into the hotel (as we see in the trailer), he is asked his sexual preference and indicates that he prefers women… but he did have one homosexual experience in school. “Is there a bisexual option?” “No, I’m afraid we no longer offer bisexual preference. I’m afraid you have to decide right now whether to register as a heterosexual or homosexual.” And he hesitates for a long time. It is one of the only times we see a very deliberate, er, deliberation in this hotel where you are choosing who you will spend your life with. If he chooses one over the other, he cannot ever experience the other ever again. “I think I should be registered as a heterosexual”, he finally decides. We see this again after he exchanges all of his belongings for the clothes provided by the hotel. (I kind of liked that the hotel made everyone conform in this way. You would not be influenced by someone’s style; just who they were. Or that one thing you have in common. At the same time, though, maybe someone’s style is a big part of who they are and you’ll never know until you leave the hotel with them.) When asked for his shoe size, David replies that he is a 44.5. “44 or 45? We do not have half-sizes.” Again, we see him hesitate for a brief moment before he resigns himself to wearing a size 45.

Oh man, I went into this movie expecting to roll my eyes at lot at some auteur piece with humor that I didn’t get and wasted stars (like some directors do to me) but I really loved The Lobster. If you are able to catch it in theaters, I highly HIGHLY recommend that you do. It’s a pretty beautiful movie as well, and I was engaged and enjoyed the movie throughout, until the end… which was when I felt really uncomfortable but not in a bad way.

More analysis and review in the spoilers after the trailer!

P.S. You can choose what animal you would be in the movie with this fun quiz. Here are the choices I was given and I think they are pretty great:

I am already a cat, but I mean a water bear and a deer are great backup choices.
I am already a cat, but I mean a water bear and a deer are great backup choices because a) space travel and b) telling undeserving trees to GET REKT

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