Saturday morning began with a Premier! At 9am sharpish we, the proud parents, assembled in the screening room at the NYFA, having first walked the red carpet assailed by paparazzi. Or taken the lift to the fifth floor anyway.
As it was his weekend off, and as his parents have had every day off so far, he chose what we did next and what we did next was the La Brea Tar Pits and LA Museum of Contemporary Art! At the museum we had a specific piece in mind: “Metropolis 2” by Chris Burdin.
I could say lots more about the many and varied things we saw but what really sticks in my mind were the wonderful Netsuke displays – tiny Japanese carvings used to cinch up a kimono (that may not be quite right but its close enough). Here are a few.
Pleasingly it has not respected the ornamental lawns around the visitor centre and black railings have been hastily erected around various bits of lawn now covered with sticky black asphalt blurted up from the depths.
There is a large pond too – the remains of an old gravel pit – which bubbles with methane and has large puddles of asphalt floating about in it. It also has an arresting diorama of a mummy mammoth stuck in the tar while a baby mammoth trumpets pitifully (one assumes) from the bank. The daddy mammoth looks on stoically. Actually he looks far too stoic to my mind, bordering on the quietly pleased in fact. There’s a bigger story there…
It is apparently the most prolific source of fossils of any tar pit anywhere. Five million and counting. We checked out one of the pits they are excavating and it looked like fairly grim work; stuck in a hole in the baking heat trying to dig out bones while glue-like tar constantly seeps up to the surface.
True to form if Saturday was culture, Sunday was sweat. We drove to Santa Monica and rented bikes from a cheery Dutchman who lent so many bikes to hiis neighbours that he decided to make it a full time business. There is a cycle path that goes 22 miles along the coast and we did, ooh several; from Santa Monica down almost as far as Manhattan Beach and back along a curving beach path full of cyclists, rollerbladers, skateborders, reclining bikers and dim pedestrians unable to read the “bikes only” signs all over the tarmac.
It was a bit of a slalom at times but great fun and Tom was in his element. On the way back we stopped at the skate park and watched some cool boarders performing for the crowd while pretending we weren’t there, A couple were seriously good…
Tom eventually scampered off down the beach and plunged into the sea; going further out than seemed wise and getting hurled around by the waves in the late afternoon sunshine. He came back saying he had been thrown upside down THREE TIMES and was cross when I laughed at his indignant outrage. We ended up at Santa Monica pier of course on the Pacific Rollercoaster that Tom had been coveting a ride on since we set off.