Wilshire Blvd was alive with people all night long as the LACMA rock slowly made it’s way to a new home in the neighborhood. The crowds were enthusiastic and the air relatively balmy – it was the place to be if you didn’t mind heading out at 1 am and staying till 5.
The transporter with shrink-wrapped boulder was truly a sight to see and it made good time up Western Ave, moving at a frisky 5 mph without delay. The LACMA twitter feed hopefully suggested a possible arrival at LACMA in the 2 am range. But once it turned west onto Wilshire you had to wonder if the boulevard itself had a problem with sharing the limelight with a boulder.
Because of the center-planted medians along Wilshire, there was little wiggle room for the super wide-load transporter to make its way down the street between median and curb, and the entire entourage (dozens of workers and multitudes of support vehicles) was stopped in its tracks waiting for tow trucks to take away the random illegally parked cars on the side of the road. This happened at least a half dozen times (you’d have thought they’d have towed all those cars much earlier in the evening) with the crowds building, then dispersing as the wait time grew and grew. There was another lengthy glitch when the signal light at Fremont Place along Wilshire had to be jacked up and out of the way as the rock would have plowed right into it. All the other signals were removed earlier, but this one snuck by them somehow.
Nevertheless, the nighttime event was delightful for the engineering of it all, the sheer size of the contraption, and the beauty of this uncommon sight lit and glowing. But also for the fact that it was an outpouring of people embracing community in the wee hours of the morning,
A few observations from your Buzz crew on the beat last night:
- When it got moving, the entire rig moved at quite a clip. At some points I was riding my bike alongside the rig, only about 4 feet between me and the boulder, racing down Wilshire.
- Funny to see patrons emerging from bars at Wilshire/Western with stupefied looks on their faces muttering “What’s going on?” Many had no clue and seemed to be in (drunken?) shock.
- “Jesus” showed up in full regalia, as did Councilman Tom LaBonge, a unicyclist, a guy with music blaring from his bike, and a team of kids dressed like they were ‘running with the bulls’ in Spain. But mostly it was families, couples, individuals young and old, who just wanted to witness the moment.
As much as some say this is a waste of money and resources, or can’t be categorized as truly “art”, we beg to differ. The event moving the star of ” Levitated Mass” to its site seemed like a piece of performance art mixed with community building that could hardly be beat. We expect the rock, once it’s ‘levitating’ above us at LACMA, will be just as breathtaking.