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Los Angeles for Beginners

Posted June 01, 2011 to photo album "Los Angeles for Beginners"

Beginners not only writes a poignant postcard to contemporary Los Angeles, but maps out a personal landscape for writer/director Mike Mills.

Los Angeles According to Mike Mills
Richard Neutra Lovell Health House
Biltmore Hotel, 506 S Grand Ave
Elysian Park
Los Angeles County Art Museum (LAMCA), 5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Glendale Narrows
Tacos Arizas, Sunset and Logan
Cosmopolitan Book Shop, 7017 Melrose Ave
Billboard, Alvarado and Sunset
Los Angeles County Art Museum (LAMCA), 5905 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles County Art Museum (LAMCA), 5905 Wilshire Blvd.

Getting into LACMA was really not so easy, but luckily my dad really was a museum director, so I could use his name. There are some paintings at LACMA, like the David Park Paintings, all these Bay Area figurative painters –– well, my dad coined the phrase “Bay Area Figurative.” So I had an entrée and all the art historians and curators were a little touched that I was writing a story about my dad who was an art historian. I remember walking though that great wing in which we shot –– there was a huge Clyfford Still, a huge David Smith, a De Kooning, a Philip Guston –– and I was thinking, “whoa, they are showing us this room.” So I asked, “has anyone shot in here?”  And they said “not yet.” That was cool little code to me that maybe I could get in there. But we had to go to all those artists’ estates to get permission. And luckily my dad knew some of the people. I think that my dad’s ghost helped a lot. And it was so great that Mary Page [Keller], who played the mom, got to interact with the David Smith sculpture.