Thursday, January 30, 2014

Editorial: Experiencing LA for My Birthday

Free Day Tickets for LACMA
Free Day Tickets at LACMA

LACMA - Urban Lights by Chris Burden

This year the stars aligned and my birthday turned out to be the same day as the Museums Free-For-All.  I took it as a sign that the best way to experience my birthday this year was going to one of my favorite places - Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) - with some of my favorite people.  Given the museum's location near Fairfax/Wilshire, I was also inspired to add in one of my favorite eateries to the itinerary - Canter's Deli!

LACMA was wonderfully crowded with a line of food trucks on Wilshire to match the crowd of people.  Convenient to the Metro 720 Rapid, I bypassed car and parking issues and even ran into one of my friends on the same bus. (Apologies to my friends who had to drive around and wait for parking. I appreciate you seeing through traffic troubles for my special day!).

We began with the obligatory pictures - by the Urban Lights (Chris Burden) and Levitated Mass (Michael Heizer) - and then followed this up by wandering through the museum's many exhibits.  I had a number of friends with me, but we managed to navigate through a number of sections of the current exhibitions and the permanent collection.  The best thing about museums is that even with a crowd you can still manage some "me" time to take in the art.  What I like best about LACMA is not only the diversity of its collection, but how these pieces can inspire and let you lose yourself in time. Given the amount of people at LACMA that day, this also meant some time finding people too, but that was also part of the fun. 
Veggie Reuben at Canter's Deli
Veggie Reuben at Canter's Deli

After several hours at the museum (re: lose yourself in time), we said good-bye to some and headed off to Canter's to meet others for dinner.  The Canter's staff was great with our large group.  I had called several hours ahead with a reservation and the table was ready even when we got there a little early.  Having gone vegetarian in the last couple years, I miss having my favorite Canter's staples of pastrami and matzo. But the menu is rather vegetarian-friendly and I immediately selected the delicious veggie reuben while everyone else was overwhelmed by the menu. For my birthday, I was surprised by one of my favorite Canter's bakery items - a black and white cookie - complete with a boisterous rendition of "Happy Birthday" and restaurant applause (see Instagram video).

Black and White Cookie "Birthday Cake"
Black and White Cookie
"Birthday Cake"
As it turns out,  I had friends that had never been to LACMA or Canter's before, so it was pretty wonderful to share these places with them and gain new memories with them.  I'm not sure if there's such a thing as a perfect birthday, but - having had so many of my favorite things in one day - I can't help but think my Saturday came pretty darn close.

Here's to more LA adventures this year and more to share with you all.

-Charity Tran, Editor

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