It’s not every day that I get to have a glass of wine with one of my adolescent heroes, but such was the case last August when I visited the home of Frank Gehry and his wife Berta. I’ve known of Gehry since a picture of the shiny, swooping model of the then-still-a-glimmer-of-a-wish-of-a-fantasy of Disney Hall appeared in Newsweek in the mid 90’s, and I was, in that moment, hooked. I count my visit to the Frank Gehry retrospective at the Guggehnheim in the early 2000’s to be one of the formative experiences of my creative life, and I was lucky enough to watch Disney Hall rise up out of the ground from my post as an usher at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion a few years later. The year the hall opened I painted myself silver and donned a swooping silver Disney-shaped hat for Halloween. Needless to say, I’ve been like next-level-obsessed with this guy and his work for quite some time.
So when Margaret Batjer first told me that LACO’s Westside Connections was looking at architecture as a theme for this season, and was working on securing Frank for one of their concerts, I was over the moon, begging to be involved. We concocted a plan for me to write a piece about Frank’s house (this is actually something I’ve done before – writing music about buildings), and I was off to meet the man himself in the house he built more than 35 years ago.
I have more to say about the experience of Frank’s house than I can possibly say in this blog. You’ll have to come to the concert to hear for yourself. But more than anything, I left my drink with Frank and Berta impressed by the generous spirit they both possessed, they who sat with a young composer and talked for hours about everything – music, architecture, creativity, life. On the outside, Frank’s house can be a little intimidating. It’s all corrugated metal and chain link fence and crazy angles and sharp corners. Inside, however, it’s luminous and fun and fluid and whimsical and generous, much like the couple who live there.