"and I guess it struck a nerve/
You know, not a few days or weeks late like a normal birth, but a number of years late, like 40 - 50 years.
As devoted Jetsetters Travel Writers, always on the go, we had not one, but three experiences in which we had déjà vu trippy experiences that really make us think we were born 40 - 50 years too late. For both of us having grown up in the good old, corn-fed Midwest in Chicago, we're huge fans of architecture created by the rightly self proclaimed "Greatest Architect in American History."
Who is this, you ask and why? Read on, my friends and we'll explain in our three-part karma journey for our latest Jetsetters Magazine feature article.
First, we went to the always cutting edge Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art to view an excellent 90-minute theater production presented by The Theatre of Will Foundation. It was a one-person play about the then 68-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright that occurred during a three-hour timeframe in 1935. The setting for this play was in the drafting room at Spring Green, Wisconsin at Taliesin, the initial hilltop architectural home for Mr. Wright's fellowship of architectural and landscape architect apprentices. This brilliant two-act play examines Wright's life, from personal adversities and professional set backs to design innovations and architectural achievements to his outrageous comments about American popular culture.
Having personally seen interviews with F.LL.W, John is a very gifted and talented actor who convinced us that we were back in time witnessing the real Frank Lloyd Wright. His body movements, mannerisms, and speech pattern were uncannily on the mark. John cleverly portrayed F.LL.W.'s bombastic personality as this architectural visionary reminisced to his students for three hours while he speedily hand-drafted, or as he said, "shook the design out of his sleeve," for one of his masterpieces - Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pennsylvania.
This imaginative and very charismatic character felt that "Truth should come before beauty," yet he self-absorbedly believed that his clients only thought they knew what they wanted in a home. Having been delayed for over one year, this frustrated department store owner and client, Edgar J. Kaufmann, was in the car and racing towards Spring Green to view his set of plans. Little did he know, they were going to be well worth the wait and would later be hailed as one of the complete masterpieces of 20th century art that was Frank Lloyd Wright's most sublime integration of man and nature.
Julius Shulman, 92, is the modern architecture photography god who started working with Richard Neutra in 1936, and has created breath-taking memorable photographs of architectural masterpieces by others such as RM Schindler, Charles & Ray Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Frey, and Pierre Koenig, to name a few. Frank Lloyd Wright once said: "That to his mind no better photos had been taken of Taliesin West than those of Julius Shulman." When you see early black and white photographs that Julius Shulman took, these are often the best-known pictures of the residences designed by these pioneer architects during the mid-1930's and later. Hearing these stories, my wife and I again agreed that we were both born too late to have experienced some of these architects with their colorful personalities, and their works of art as they were being designed, built and newly presented to the world.
What a great cause, I thought as we gnoshed on such tasty treats as jumbo Mexican white prawns poached in sherry and herbs; home made Greek Spanakopita; and puffed pastry filled with ground beef, veal, spices and herbs. We also enjoyed a few glasses of Cabernet while revisiting the 1920s through their live entertainment and photos of many buildings sadly destroyed in the name of progress. Seeing the crisp white gallery walls, Kim flashed back to her college days as an art minor and told me of many late nights patching and painting white gallery walls in preparation for the big exhibit opening day. Meanwhile, local actors and actresses from this talented artistic and theatrical community performed 1920s era songs and skits from an upcoming F. Scott Fitzgerald play; crooned Eddie Cantor numbers; belted out famous Judy Garland songs; and entertained the gallery attendees with a flapper number by queen Zelda Fitzgerald.
While cruising back home in our retro-MINI Cooper after a great outing, we were talking and connecting the dots on the amazing experiences that we've had today. Since history repeats itself, we realized that we're glad to be around now as the streamlined designs and understanding of nature and it's beauty from the past generations are again striking a nerve and are tapping into a whole new generation of art and architecture enthusiasts.
By Donald & Kimberly Tatera, Southern California Jetsetters Magazine Correspondents.