A Broad View

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I’ve heard so much about The Broad Museum, everywhere. From people (in person) and people (online) to people (via a phone or text conversation). With each conversation the more I heard the more I wanted to visit this artistic place in Los Angeles.

My youngest son, Brad, (who appreciates art, all kinds, from Jackson Pollack to Basquiat to Andy Warhol to Kaws to Picasso), and I walked passed an extra long line of people (who didn’t purchase  free tickets beforehand, online) and into the tall rectangular structure, anticipating a rewarding experience.

The building is interesting. Simply driving by it seems to be an ordinary structure, nothing much to think about. But if you stand a distance away you can see how art is used to form the shape. Looking towards the entrance, the north side of the building, you will notice that the bottom corners are sliced off, creating a unique design. You will also make note of the complimenting gashes carved all around its surface. Plus, there is a small oval (window?, I think) surrounded with a frame of blue and yellow.

When Brad and I entered the building our first option, if we so chose, was to stand in a line (Yuk! I hate lines!) to sign up to experience the Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama (2 hours later, from that moment). Line displeasure aside, we concurred, Why not? An interactive piece of artwork should not be bypassed.

We assumed exploring would take a while, a couple hours at least, so we took the escalator to the 3rd floor – the only floor with art displayed – and strolled around the venue, gazing at and contemplating various pieces. Of course, we had to hit the Basquiat works and the Andy Warhol’s, which did not disappoint. I learned that the Barbara Kruger pieces are the color inspiration for the ultra popular clothing store, Supreme. Supreme’s red and white colors, the styling, and the font they use are an imitation of Kruger’s. We walked under the oversized table and chairs created by Robert Therrien, which was supposed to return one to childhood memories of crawling around. For me, I didn’t vibe on that memory – I never crawled under tables. But, the style of the chairs Therrien recreated are a perfect match to a chair I have that belonged to my dad, long ago. A chair that is a staple piece in my home office. Jeff Koons’ colorful balloon-like animals and fruit (made with stainless steel and a mirror-like surface) are fun pieces of art. Reminders of the good things in life. And the black and white photos by Robert Longo make you think. As does the charcoal on canvas drawing by Jenny Saville.  Both artists created a feeling that I have been part of a similar story. And finally, the exhibit Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power was extraordinary and thought provoking, showcasing contributions by artists beginning during the civil rights movement.

Heading back to the ground floor, to the Infinity Mirror room. I realized we still had 45 minutes left before Brad and I could even stand in line (Blah!) to enter the space filled with panels of mirrors and strings of lights. We wondered if it was worth the wait.  Right about that time, as we were contemplating leaving (instead of waiting), Brad and a guy – an employee of The Broad – both about the same age, engaged in a conversation about the pants and shoes each was wearing. (Fashionistas are everywhere!) There had to be some kind of bond because when Brad asked, “Is it worth the wait?” pointing toward the Infinity room. Mr. Employee said, “Follow me.” We did. And he graciously guided us to the front of the line.

Wait or no wait, it was worth it.

On the way home, we discussed what we thought about the museum and it was determined that, overall, the works of art were definitely worth taking the time to visit.

Yet, the downfall, was that with so many people given access to The Broad at one time, the noise level was very distracting. Art should be experienced quietly, reflectively, and respectfully, like libraries.

 

just do it

i have a pile of books to filter through. lessons to lightly write. work to get done. yet. here i sit. unwilling to get on-task. me. a teacher. always reminding my students to stay on task. to concentrate. to get their work done. but, i am finding that the task, though necessary, has not quite found its way into my educator thoughts.

IMG_1354

in a while, i will sit in front of those school books. those teacher’s manuals. and i will review. yes i will. because, review i must. for my own sanity. and to ensure starting the year off right, properly educating students. who will be depending on me to fill their days with classroom ooo’s and aaah’s, and just as important, life lessons.

but first, i need to sit here and think.

“mom, can we talk?” brad asks.
“yeah, sure,” i say, with a smile.

i guess my teacher tasks will have to wait even longer to imprint my brain with information.

For me, LOVE is…

being honest

telling the truth

no matter what

putting it all on the table

just do it

because

playing games isn’t for me

honestly

i can handle it

all of it

the good, the bad, and the ugly

i’ll appreciate it

because

i thrive on authenticity

and seriously

even if i feel hurt

because the truth must be told

the hurt will pass

our love will deepen

i’ll trust you fully

wholeheartedly

so

for me

all i want

is for you

to

be real

be raw

be open

and

live

a

life

without

regret

for me, that’s love.

he said, she said

 

lips

Rudy said I kissed him on the lips. I say it was his cheek. His left cheek, to be exact.

Everything before that moment Rudy and I seem to agree on.

We seem to have the same memory of when we noticed each other for the first time, and the slow dance later in the evening.

Yet, all these years later we still dispute what happened when the song was over, and the bright lights turned on inside the nightclub.

Rudy claims I smooched his lips. Sealed them with a knowing gesture. You know, like let’s take this to another level. And, OK, sure, another level of intimacy sounded pretty good to me; yet, I did not kiss his lips. Not at that moment.

But, I did press into him, slightly, to give his cheek a peck. A simple gesture meaning thank you for this dance. That’s it. No more.

I’m right, and he knows it.

Immigrant

IMG_5573Rudy was nineteen years old when he left Honduras and came to the United States for the first time. His dad had died a few years before and though he had no real reason to leave his homeland, and especially his mom, he knew the time had come for him to be proactive about his own future. Conversations began with a sister of his who was living in Shreveport, Louisiana, and very much willing to greet Rudy with open arms. Thus began the process of applying for a Passport and a Visa, which would allow him to travel out of the country. A month or so later, before boarding his flight, mom and son embraced, each feeling the weight of a heavy heart.

The Visa, stamped into his Passport, would expire four years from the issue date. But, within the four years he was only able to travel back and forth to the states in six month intervals. Meaning, he could not stay in the United States for the total duration of those four years, but rather use the Passport and Visa as traveling documents. After about five and a half months of living in Shreveport, Rudy decided he wanted to visit some friends in California for a few weeks, before heading back to Honduras. His sister helped him apply for an extension on his Visa, which would allow him to continue his travels until he heard back from them, either yes or no. Aside from filling out paperwork, Rudy was asked to send a copy of both his Passport and Visa and the original Immigrant Declaration declaring he was legally allowed to travel. All good, but also worrisome. Rudy was worried that without the mandatory Declaration to speak for him, if for some reason someone questioned him, he wouldn’t know how to explain himself. You see, his English skills were basic, at best.

Not to be deterred, Rudy boarded a greyhound bus bound for Orange County, California. At the immigrant checkpoint in El Paso, Texas, an authority figure walked up and down the aisle asking random people for some type of documentation. Passports, Licenses, ID’s and such. Two guys were taken off the bus, never to return. After that, the man-in-charge waved the driver on. Rudy felt relief, figured he’d make it through, no problem. Little did he know, he still had San Clemente’s checkpoint to conquer. But, because he wasn’t aware of what was going to happen, he slept sweetly.

“Excuse me, Sir?” he heard a voice say, loudly, as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Sí,” Rudy answered nervously. He was asked to show his documents. He gulped, cast his eyes down towards his lap. Not because he was doing anything wrong or illegal, but because he was trying to figure out how to explain why he didn’t have his Immigrant Declaration paper. Rudy’s speech stumbled. Hand signals and basic words were how he communicated. But this didn’t help as he tried to explain himself to the officer. So, the authority figure waved his hand in a follow-me motion. Outside, in a small tollbooth-like office, a Spanish-speaking translator listened as Rudy told him about the extension for his Visa. There was no computer to check the validity of his story nor were there cell phones to make a quick call. But, maybe it was Rudy’s demeanor and honest tone, because the official cleared everything, believed he was in the process of extending his Visa, and wished him “Good Luck” in Southern California.

Shortly after he arrived to my birthplace, Rudy and I met, and began to have serious feelings for each other. Soon after that he got a call from his sister stating she had received an answer to his request for an extension. “They denied it,” she told him. And then, Rudy told me the truth. That he was no longer legal in the United States. Not surprisingly, I honestly didn’t care. In my opinion, in those early days, I felt immediately that Rudy was an honest and loyal person. And I completely trusted him when he told me I meant a lot to him. And, anyway, at that point, it was the romance that meant everything.

One day, as we were driving to my brother’s house down south, Rudy noticed the very familiar San Clemente checkpoint. He stared at those officers scanning cars, looking for people entering California illegally. He swallowed hard, just as I realized I had made the mistake of thinking my brother lived further north of the checkpoint. Rudy spent most of the visit taming his nervous ticks. But, luck was on his (our) side. He now jokes that it was my blond hair and my cute ’67 yellow Volkswagen Bug that allowed us to sail right through the span of immigration officers, without a second thought. We married about a year and a half later, not because getting him an Alien Resident card was our priority, which was a definite plus, but because we knew we were meant to spend our lives together.

Seven years ago, after we had been married for twenty-one years, with the encouragement of myself and our children, Rudy finally became a US citizen.