February 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
The year before last, I wrote a couple of pieces about New York and Los Angeles and their shifting fortunes as artistic capitals:
Today I read an essay by Moby that beautifully describes the mutability and wildness of Los Angeles as well as its artistic ferment. About his reasons for moving here from New York, he writes:
There’s a sense that New Yorkers never fail, but if they do, they’re exorcised from memory, kind of like Trotsky in early pictures of the Soviet Communist Politburo. In New York you can be easily overwhelmed by how much success everyone else seems to be having, whereas in L.A., everybody publicly fails at some point—even the most successful people. A writer’s screenplay may be turned into a major movie, but there’s a good chance her next five screenplays won’t even get picked up. An actor may star in acclaimed films for two years, then go a decade without work. A musician who has sold well might put out a complete failure of a record—then bounce back with the next one. Experimentation and a grudging familiarity with occasional failure are part of L.A.’s ethos.
Maybe I’m romanticizing failure, but when it’s shared, it can be emancipating and even create solidarity.
The full essay can be seen here:
November 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
Two months into the massive repainting job at Castillo del Lago, all traces of Madonna have been removed from its exterior. Gone are the jaunty red ocher stripes; the new look is stark white with grassy green trim. The paint accomplishes the task of making a vast house look even bigger while illustrating the sobriquet white elephant. (But I’m sure Crosby Doe, the real estate agent and neighbor who has complained at length about Castillo del Lago’s previous incarnation, is delighted.)
The retaining wall is also white, a risky move in an area known for tagging. Fortunately, vines have been planted along its base; eventually, they will turn the wall into a giant topairy.
Over at Wolf’s Lair, the extensive repair work continues. The new owner, Moby, has undertaken the kind of crucial and costly structural work–reframing exterior walls, replacing windows–that most homeowners would skip altogether. While remaining faithful to the original design, he is essentially rebuilding an old estate. It must have needed it.
The John Lautner-designed guest house, now largely reframed, is being turned into a recording studio. This development probably would have pleased Lautner, a modernist who didn’t place form over function. You can see the before pictures here: http://la.curbed.com/archives/2010/04/tour_of_wolfs_lairs_lautner_guest_house_and_future_studio.php
Onward, toward the end of renovations–and two festive housewarming parties!
April 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
I promised a certain realtor not to write about it until after escrow closed–not that LACurbed and the LA Times didn’t–but now that it’s official I can say this: the new owner of Wolf’s Lair is a New Yorker named Richard Melville Hall. He’s also known as Moby. This week, he takes possession of a 1927 storybook manor with sweeping views of Lake Hollywood and the Hollywood Sign, a guesthouse by John Lautner, a pool, 3 acres of grounds and a subterranean speakeasy.
Properties of historical and architectural significance cry out for owners with the means and sensibility to restore and care for them. In this regard, Moby is ideal: a successful, work-at-home artist who has already expressed his commitment to Wolf’s Lair’s improvement.
It also doesn’t hurt that we neighbors might be less likely to mind hearing his noise bounce around the Canyon than anyone else’s. In a natural amphitheater like Beachwood, the quality of the music really matters.