SCI-Arc (Marlin Watson)



Jun '05 - May '06

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    By Marlin
    Jun 19, '05 7:31 PM EST

    An open letter A few passerbys have left posts. Judging by the general subject matter of Archinect commentary, I expected any casual comments on my blog to fall along the same lines. The comments have all referred to the quality of writing, a humbling anomaly. I was curious about this endeavor; it's encouraging I've managed to steer a handful of passerbys away from strangling the me. Like everyone else, I delete emails I don't immediately recognize. For the first couple of weeks I posted, it never, ever occurred to me that anyone would have any reason to email me from the archinect site. When the light bulb went off, I read and responded. If anyone wrote without a response, my ambivalence is the cause. Always the subject was a brief comment on the writing. More so than humbling, collapsing. I assumed this blog would be like a local theater performance: only my friends and family would show up. So I didn't bother to tell anyone. From my past I only knew a few people that emailed. So, again, the posts and emails are softly flattering and I appreciate it. If I deleted your email, this is a public thank you.

    B-Sides The internet is a pegboard kiosk. On one page is a compelling collapse of clearly definable, episodic periods in my life. Javier Arbona was a member of the entering undergraduate class of architects the same year I entered Cornell. My time with this class of memorable characters was brief, in addition to the even more memorable class below them, the characters that comprised my core year and only year of architecture studios at Cornell. Later, when i was fully engulfed in SCIArc, I learned Javier had moved out west with a handful of other great characters for work. Mason White migrated to Cornell as an educator. One post is from right now, two structural bays north from the Kappe studio. The me, I'm living out the episodes, arcing out of professional stints that have turned me into a bit of a pit bull. More so than the posts, I'm the humbled anamoly.

    Congnac I bring the big glue gun model in Friday. I want some brief feedback before a weekend push. Kappe and Sam are reasonably pleased with the direction. I misunderstand Kappe and footnote myself with reasons I had difficulty with the towers. He cuts me off to let me know they're actually well sited. I sighed. This is the first project with multiple towers. Later Sam says some Sam things, I say some Me things. Later I sigh again. Thank heavens Sam is a New Yorker. I also bear witness yet again to the literal and figurative manifestaition of the New Yorker expression, “showing your ass”, but not from Sam or Kappe. Otherwise I was doing superficial healthy things and not working. What follows, then, is a diversion, homage even, to being sick and to the handful of people who read these posts for the writing. A whimsical journey of architecture, professionalism, and celebrity, I may even suggest bookmarking it for a sick day. If passerbys don't like the writing, what follows isn't going to help much. And another couple of unsolicited caveats: no quality of work is ever audible over the noise of an empty desk, and never dotingly herald someone for a meaningful drunken diatribe. Especially if it took place almost a decade ago.

    1 995. A Tuesday in the summer, because Tuesday is when tips are sorted at my Starbucks on Ventura Blvd. I grab my cash as I take lunch and head over to Moby Disc, the used record store next door. Moby Disc is where I blow my weekly wad of gratuity from strangers on items I'll eventually sell back ten years later. I enter, head to the used CDs. I just passed a tiny woman in the tape cassettes aisle.

    1999. The girlfriend, Zaga , and I are drunk at Kate Mantillini's. The Italian food is mediocre at best; the drinks and architecture are dope. We act like Deniro and Pacino in their scene from Heat filmed at the table a few feet away. She's a film lover; I love her. We spot John Henson, former former former host of E's “Talk Soup”, walking to his table. Zaga loves him. Zaga adores him. “Go say hi.” I say, breaking native Angelino protocol. “What am I gonna say?” She says with super ear-to-ear Zaga grin. “You'll say in the car how you wished you did if you don't.” Mr. Henson heads back to the bugout fisheye mirror private dining room. Instead of sitting down, he does rounds, and then heads up the adjacent stairs to the bathroom. “Go now!” Zaga starts up from the stool cantilevered from the bar with a ten year old's zeal. “Okay!” she punctuates, already halfway to the stairs.

    2 Paula Abdul is perusing through the ever-shrinking shelf of used cassette tapes. I glance, look away, do my thing, blow my wad, say goodbyes until eventually the employees stroll over for coffee. I head to the door. The used tape shelf is next to the metal detectors before the exit. I look to the top left, the A cassette section.

    3 Morphosis' Kate Mantillini restaurant is not a hotbed for star sighting. It is better known for the populace of nearby Hollywood execs that flock there for martini lunches and back-end celebratory dinners. A staircase adjacent to the private dining room leads upstairs to a landing for the bathrooms. I'm staring straight up from the bar at the love of my life, all fragile 5'4” of her. The tracing oculus and mural above the bar frame our view of each other. Zaga is looking back at me, back to the men's bathroom, back at me. John's taking his time. She's shaking and smiling uncontrollably. I'm reminded of the canine response to the word “walk”. Suddenly the door opens, Zaga turns, and from this point to when Zaga returns to the table, I can't tell what's happening.

    5 The datum tree hanging in the middle of the atrial space of Morphosis' Comprehensive Care Center is no longer there. Construction and expansion of the Cedars Sinai hospital compound has been extensive in recent years. In the quest for every ounce of usable space, I imagine the first to go would be the space that only existed for its own sake: to be the most amazing place I could ever imagine being-in, if I had to wait for my terminal cancer patient. Being-in in the waiting room now truly feels like already being buried six feet under. The CCC and the Cedars-Sinai hospital are only a block or so from the Beverly Robertson Starbucks. Beverly center, reastaurant row, haute fashion, and a hospital. This entire neighborhood is a wonderful place. The highbrow design community collides with civic accommodations for a growing elderly population in nearby retirement homes. What results is an incredible nieghborhood for walking. On walks to the Ralphs in the Beverly connection, I was not above detouring a block to stroll through the CCC. I no longer live at the Robertson apartment. While the datum tree has been tossed and the lobby ceiling lowered, the administration hallways still display the 4' x 8' panels of the CCC drawings (Morphosis: Tangents and Outtakes) and construction phase Black and Whites. I still enjoy the early Morphosis drawings and droedels. It's always a pleasure to see them in tangible form.

    8 2002ish. It's seven AM, and Shann drops me off on Beverly Blvd. somewhere west of downtown. We were all up all night at her party, and I had stayed well past the departure of my ride. Shann was gracious enough to schlep me to Beverly, where I could catch the bus across town to Robertson Blvd in West Hollywood and walk the last few blocks south to my apartment.

    13 Moments after Zaga turns away, I catch what appears to be John heading down the stairs and into the dining room, arm around Zaga, Zaga super grin. A roar of cheering erupts from the dining room. Applause. The entire restaurant turns to see what's happening, but like me, no fucking clue. Flashbulbs go off. Me, I'm trying hard not to look silly sitting at the bar alone for so long, drink in hand.

    21 Coffee. Shann was gracious enough to give me the last remains of party pizza, with box, to break fast on this morning's Rapid Transit journey. A half hour westbound through a half dozen ethnic neighborhoods, the bus arrives at my stop, Robertson and Beverly. Here I am. I take note of my situation. It's dawn on a Saturday. I wore my work clothes to a party. I'm haggard, hungover. I smell like a bar and my breath stinks from smokes. I see myself outside myself, hanging out on a street corner, so tired I can barely stand up. Me and my pizza box.

    34 A few blocks east down Beverly, then south at Crescent Heights to the Paul Frank store and 3rd street, former television producer of Three's Company Peg Yorkin houses her non profit group, The Feminist Majority, in an often overlooked gem of a one-storey Neutra building. Whimsical, symmetrical façade. Precision original plan. Zaga understood the significance of this factoid when I damn near peed my pants visiting her at work one day. When I occasionally pick Zaga up for lunch at her work from now on, I can freely amble around a little Neutra building. The original flooroplan is long since gone. Peg Yorkin relayed a comment to Zaga once that her ambition is to restore it.

    55 Zaga's recounting of what happened in the private dining room has just done it. I'm jealous, and I could also die assured the world is aligned. Zaga and I share an apartment south of Pico and Sepulveda, almost underneath the 10 to 405 freeway. A few weeks later, Zaga comes home with an envelope that arrived at the Feminist Majority: pictures of Zaga and every staff member of Talk Soup, and then some with Zaga, John, and every staff member of Talk Soup. An impressive stack. This enveloped photo montage is a minute-by-minute record of the coolest fifteen minutes I ever spent alone at a bar, with my girl.

    89 I walk this stretch of Robertson a few times a week for coffee at the Starbuck's on the corner at Beverly. This stretch of Robertson is the super haute fashion strip. The movie star flocked Ivy restaurant, and the beautiful people-flocked Newsroom restaurant. Dreadful food (Anyone recommending Kate Mantillini's or Newsroom is not recommending it for the quality of the food). I agree, though, Newsroom is worth the drinks and beautiful people. Additionally, it's a compelling collision of Hollywood lunchspot and Newsstand. Robertson district. Design district. South of Pelli's Pacific Design center, locally called the Blue Whale, the headquarters for Eddie Murphy as Bowfinger's Mindhead cult. Highbrow street wear, these are the retail clothing stores they shut down for popstars, and shut down for retail skits in episodes of Punk'd. My apartment at Robertson and Burton way, a block south of this strip, rests on the Los Angeles corner of the coronal suture between Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood. The last two-storey building in a district long since rezoned and built up. My street signs are blue. Across the street, the street signs are white, ornate, and iconoclastic. Per the benefits of the zip code, the most lucrative business on this street is the postal center. Further up Robertson, the uppercrust of womens' haute, shoes, cut-and-sew; every new season is an extraordinary re-blossoming of color, design, and borderline nudity. I love the Robertson apartment. Rent controlled corner in a Beverly Hills (“adjacent”) Neighborhood. How many well planned dates, by no motive of mine, dissolved into a window shopping walk and coffee at Starbucks or the Coffee Bean directly across from the Starbucks.

    144,000 The Coffee Bean behind me is closed, The Starbucks in front of me is open. Aw yeah coffee. I nearly fall through the door. Fuckall! There's a trio of catty customers meandering at the counter and won't finish up. The barista shows no concern for me and my impatience. After all, he can smell me from the register and I'm carrying a pizza box. The cartoon on the cover reads, “Hot and Fresh! Always our Pleasure!” Factoring in my hangover, my eyes finally adjust to the interior. I try to stare down the customer, but only see his big ass obnoxious afro.

    233 At the time, Zaga was heading up part of the Wahsington lobby to place sanctions on the Taliban for violations of women's rights. When I'm with someone so closely, I learn everything they learn. Through me and my stupid fetishes, Zaga learned about this little Neutra building and my convoluted sense of architecture. I learned about feminism. Two years prior to 9-11, she indirectly taught me everything about Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban, top to bottom. I think deep down Zaga and everyone at the Feminist Majority knew the consequences of overlooking the situation in Afghanistan. I didn't. I was too busy peeping the travertine in the lobby.

    377 WMD Magic 2002ish, Venitian Las Vegas. I am absolutely forbidden from helping the union workers. Tradeshow rules. However, if I look and dress like a joe, and I whisper a promise of free beer and weed if they don't break anything assembling and disassembling the tradeshow booth, they'll hang on every word I say. I learned this from Jambmaster Jay Vanos. In San Diego, I say “Sabado, Mota y Cerveza, Carnales”. Drywall straight as a razor. Booth comes down with only one hitch. Way beyond acceptable. Miri's pissed I brought weed in the employee van.

    310 Gehry's design for the Harley Davidson exhibit has come down. I missed it by a day. As, Miri, my boss/marketing director, and I are leaving the Bellagio, I notice the rear doors to Rem's Guggenhiem Museum are wide open. The last bits of the Harley exhibit are being carted out. I drag Miri to the exit/entrance, and poke my head in. The museum proper is closed.

    187 Hold up. My roommate has a big ass obnoxious afro. Who's the guy everyone confuses him with? Current American Idol contestant Justin Guarini. Reality show hack. I need coffee. Please leave. Meanwhile, Apparent Idol Justin Guarini is yucking it up with the customer behind him, this little brunette, with current American Idol contestant Kelly Something, the eventual winner, in tow. This is still not enough for me to delay coffee nor does it justify the gawking stares from the barista while I continue to be ignored. Justin sucks, coffee boy. I used to be you. One day you too, Mr. Barista, may walk into your former place of employment, lugging around a random to-go container, looking like an ashtray and no one, sir, will help you either, because they will be too busy taking stupid pictures of reality show hacks and their fans.

    $15.97 Henry Rollins in “Get in the Van” relays an anecdote involving him, Chuck Dukowski, and a Carl's Jr. Chuck gets the all you can eat plate and instructs Henry to do the same. The cashier hands them the plate on a tray, and they proceed to the salad bar. Hungry, starving, punk rock, Chuck piles the entire tray with salad, and instructs Henry to do the same. The manager notices from behind the cashier, but does nothing. To Henry Rollins, the lesson is clear: if I look and act like what I am doing is the only thing I know how to do in this world, no one will fuck with me. I grab Miri's ordering clipboard and enter the Guggenhiem.

    1984 This brunette keeps laughing it up with the Idols, I love you, oh thank you, wow, sorry, fine, okay, on and on. All the sudden she whips out a camera and hands it to the barista to take a picture. I'm so hung over I'm not sure whether the self-deprecating hypothetical joke in my mental diatribe or the for-real photo moment in front of me occurred first. My arm is getting tired. The pizza is becoming a burden. My hands are too gelatinous to strangle this woman. The barista postures the camera above his head per Justins height. Kelly and Justin gather around the condiment bar, and the brunette spins around to get between them. Right here, reality crescendos like a breakbeat build to a surreal pause: the brunette is Selma Blair in workout spandex. Drop the bass.

    for one, ate one A stout museum employee approaches, and turns to stop a couple of tourists from entering through the same set of doors. We wander around, Miri and me. I'm in my own private world. All that remained in the main gallery space of Rem's new museum were Gehry's towering chromed forms, stripped of context, tiny placards, and museum goers. All to myself. An old school homie had a hand in working on the Harley exhibit during his stint at Gehry's office, so I made a mental note to check it out. At the tradeshow, I kicked myself the entire time for not following up. I was fortunate to have experienced something a hell of a lot cooler: an extra private exhibit of Gehry's forms at the Guggenhiem.

    5762 Around two in the afternoon, when my roommate with the bigass jewfro wakes up, I tell him the story. Selma, the pizza, afro, the cute one without a chance in hell of winning. Per the constant afro references, my roommate is a closet American Idol fan. He tells me the contestant voted off last night collapsed after the show and was taken to Cedars-Sinai. This lined up with sporadic words I overheard in the Selma-Justin conversation. Seven AM, Someone had their priorities backward. Selma had been working out, the Idols had been at the hospital all night with a friend. I had been smelly and pissy about waiting for coffee.

    one, for nine, oh, six in your party? I think Tom Farrage did these stools. Good weld right here. Will I ever get to do anything as cool and functionally unnecessary as that clock? Do those people know how lucky they are to be seated at the Deniro Pacino table? I'm trying to think big thoughs. My corresponding facial expressions may justify to my solitude paranoia-concocted voyeurs that there is a good reason I'm drunk and alone; I'm certain they've also seen my companion cavorting with cooler persons for quite some time. Soon, Zaga returns to the table. I greet her: What the hell? This is her story verbatim. Cue up a sprightly tiny raver with two-toned hair:

    117711 So I said, Hey, John! I just wanted you to know, I get stoned every night and watch your show! He just stops. John looks stunned, but so then John says, “Really? No shit! That's awesome! Come downstairs and meet everyone! My staff and I are having our wrap party!” I'm like, Okay! So we go downstairs into that dining room over there with the freaky orb, and he quiets the room down, and he says, “Hey! Everyone! I have an important announcement and a very special someone you all need to meet! This, everybody, is Zaga Fuentes, and every night...she...gets high...and watches...OUR SHOW!” And then, all the sudden, the whole room exploded cheering! They start screaming, “So do we!” I freaked It was the most surreal way of feeling so important so unnecessarily it was amazing! And so everyone got up and introduced themselves, that Chinese guy with the fisheye glasses, the writing staff, and they all took pictures of me, gave me big ass hugs and then they took my information so they could send me a copy of the pictures!”

    132,617 Used cassettes. Another Bad Creation single for Iesha. There's no way I can know ten years from now I might actually want this because that beat was kinda hot. There's an urban legend Pharrell ghost wrote some of the old BBD beats while in high school.

    Absolute The answer is yes. After the ABC tape there's Two. And an MC Skat Kat single.
    DJ Shadow said it in Scratch, "Every artist in this used bin, had a dream to be the best. One day I'm sure I'll be in here." All that can be done is to do, and let history, critics, and future renovation sort it out later in the used bin.


    • morningbell1101

      i want to be zaga.

      these posts make my day. lovely...

      Jun 20, 05 12:03 am  · 
      David Cuthbert

      It took me 10 hours to read this post - this is the best one yet. You need to publish this blog into a book A-Z by Marlin. A must read for anyone wandering the discretions of architectural adolescence.

      Jun 20, 05 4:20 pm  · 
      Luis Fraguada

      Iesha, you are the girl tht I never had, and I want to get to know you better.
      Iesha, you know I want you so bad, and there's nothing no one can do, to keep me away from you!

      Jun 20, 05 5:22 pm  · 

      Hot shit, I'm in Marlin's blog.
      small footnote... i think you're confusing Mason White w/ someone else at Beethoven. I think he might be jealous, though. ;)

      Jun 20, 05 11:31 pm  · 

      DIR NOTE:possibly. Otherwise, Mason White is my new motherfucker, compliments of his Mike Dunn recommendation. Ibid blew my mind yesterday. I have a new, beyond mindblowing fiction discography to devour.

      Jun 20, 05 11:48 pm  · 

      what are you talking about?

      yeah, and props on the blog. it reads like an old serial novel. not that i ever read any of those, but i was hooked - and the zaga story is tops.

      Jun 22, 05 1:01 am  · 

      DIR NOTE: Guggenheim in Venitian. Hotels in vegas blend together. WMD Magic @ Venitian, important part.

      " the ability for great success exists only of there is also the possibility of great failure." -rotondi

      "fuck you pay me"-rosen

      Jun 22, 05 6:35 am  · 

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