By George Wayne
The first time I ever visited Los Angeles, California in 1992, I stayed at the Chateau Marmont and met the artist Ed Ruscha by the hotel’s iconic pool. On my latest visit to L.A. a few weeks ago, I thought of that moment of meeting the fabled artist who is as synonymous with Los Angeles as any American artist dead or alive. I was admiring his work along with other artists – Barbara Kruger first and foremost during my very first visit to The Los Angeles County Museum of Art or LACMA as it is known, imposed so beautifully along palm tree lined Wilshire Boulevard in LA. But the truly must-see exhibition still running at LACMA and most definitely worth the trip to LA alone just to see it is the Samurai: Japanese Armor From The Ann And Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, which runs through February 1, 2015 inside The Resnick Pavilion of LACMA. It’s a bold, magnetic and eye-catching presentation exploring the subject of the fabled Japanese ideal machismo – their famous Samurai warrior.
This is a major exhibition featuring the most amazing battle gear especially, worn by samurai from the 12th century through the 19th century. Fascinating samurai accouterments through the centuries with full life size figures both man and steed in full motion to capture the spirit of the famed Japanese warrior. ‘’When we think about the figure of the warrior throughout history, there are more iconic representations than the samurai in Japan.’’ That from Michael Govan, the LACMA CEO who also could not have been lost on the fact that Tom Cruise also anointed the samurai on screen in his classic opus The Last Samurai as he thought about signing on this fascinating and big hit exhibition for his LACMA.
So on this recent visit to Los Angeles, GW decided to broaden his horizons and instead of staying where most New Yorkers convene when in LA along the Sunset Strip corridor between the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Chateau Marmont. I decided to stay way downtown in the hip and emerging Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles. And as usual, your astute arbiter was right on point. The Line Hotel in the heart of trendy Koreatown has become the anchor, along with the Standard Downtown, for the hip Los Angeles demi-monde.
It’s Restaurant Week right now until mid February when the fabulous Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board showcases Los Angeles cuisine, featuring specially priced fare at more than 350 leading L.A. restaurants including Fig & Olive and Craft. I also enjoyed a night dancing at Giorgios at the Standard Hotel on Sunset with the legendary LA impresario Bryan Rabin. GW did that one night in November and took a long a fabulously hip dude I met staying at The Line Hotel…it turns out Peter Xu is one of the coolest, smartest, sweetest, hippest Chinese dudes I have ever met. And we have become great friends!
He is the coolest dude that lives in Shanghai right now. Not that he is ever there. When he was leaving L.A. after we met he was headed home to Shanghai on China Southern Airlines to say hello to his family and regroup and catch another plane to Shanghai to somehow make his way to Sao Paolo, Brazil and San Paolo Fashion Week. Such is the lifestyle of an international superstar blogger.
And so it was on that very same day I was reading a copy of that day’s issue of the Daily News while being chauffeured in a mini-van down driving by 5555 Melrose Avenue and the iconic gates of the legendary Paramount Pictures. And I read that Matthew McConaughey and his wife had a fight on the red carpet at about the same time on that same day in Hollywood, GW was on the back of a thoroughbred horse by the name of Ace and riding this dusty trail at sunset by the iconic Hollywood sign just above my head – an arms length away it sometime seemed as we cantered along scarily close to the deep crevasses and precipice of the mountain overlooking all of Los Angeles. GW also recommends this a must do for the New Yorker who wants to really play ‘’tourist’’ in Los Angeles. You must get in touch immediately with lila Joy Ginsburg at the Sunset Ranch in Hollywood at 3400 North Beechwood Drive in the heart of Hollywood. Horseback riding at sunset is not for the faint of heart – trust me. Those horses have a mind of their own and although well trained animals and you are watched closely by instructors and chaperones my horse Ace seemed to think it was cool to canter what seemed like hours right along the dusty precipice to this ravine. It was scary as hell.
If I looked to my left I was looking down this vast ravine with brush and huge boulders as the only thing that could break my fall if this horse suddenly railed and threw me off. It was not a far-fetched notion. So I preferred to look to my right, as the famed Hollywood sign loomed right just above my head. And there was George Wayne doing his best John Wayne in True Grit.
And dressed for the part too in his vintage cowboy hat and the fabulous pearl button Western style Wild West black shirt that my friend Tom Ford gave GW as a gift from his very, very first men’s collection for Gucci.
And I will be in touch.