I am a big fan of LACMA not only because of the diverse collection of art installations housed in one city campus, but because it offers free public entertainment to everyone and anyone who is open to enjoying a wonderful time on its grounds with good music performances to be had. Free and open to the public, the now twenty-five year old “Jazz at LACMA” concert series features leading Southern California jazz musicians every Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. beginning in April through November of every year.
This venue is perfect for those who wish to commiserate with long-lost friends who are coming from different parts of Los Angeles. A few of us drove east from the coastal Beach Cities to LACMA. One of our friend’s husband who planned to drive from his office in Downtown L.A. to LACMA just made it in time for us to enjoy dinner and deep conversations before the jazz performance actually began. We even became acquainted with fellow patrons, along with their families and pets, who told us that they frequented these public performances as they were fortunate to live within walking distance to the campus.
While waiting for the stage area to be set up, we decided to explore the exhibits currently on display at LACMA’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum and Resnick Pavilion. More about my experiences of the Agnes Martin and Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali‘i exhibitions can be found here and here.
We noticed that other museum patrons have purposely arrived at the venue to set up elaborate picnic areas at Robert Irwin’s “Primal Palm Garden,” located just east of LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion. I’d say they were regular patrons of the Jazz at LACMA performances.
My friends, family and I, on the other hand, were novices to this event and found ourselves empty handed when it came time to set up a picnic dinner. Having to forage for the evening’s meal here? It was a fairly easy task as LACMA housed at least four dining options for all types of eaters (in our case, we had a group comprised of picky kiddies, vegetarians and white meat eaters). Thank goodness!
After finishing our dinner and drinks purchased from the nearby pop-up Patina Restaurant food stand, we gathered on the lawn just outside the BP Grand Entrance to share in the enjoyment of the jazz music as performed by Billy Childs, a four-time Grammy Award-winner, pianist, and composer, along with his quartet (collectively known as Billy Childs Quartet).
A short capture of the live jazz performance can be viewed here:
The performance ended with an unexpected treat in that for the first time since its 2008 installation, I was finally able to view the late Chris Burden’s Urban Light public art installation glowing against the evening sky. That surely was a separately awesome experience for me.
Thank you, LACMA and the City of Los Angeles’s Department of Cultural Affairs, for making this evening a memorable experience for us Los Angeleans. We thoroughly enjoyed this gathering and look forward to attending future public performances again soon.
LACMA | BP Grand Entrance
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-857-6115 (Music Department)
Billy Childs Quartet
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