From the beach to LA’s revived downtown

Los Angeles, full of contrasts.

A day on the beach in Malibu in October and a lovely lunch with seared tuna at Paradise Cove, the hidden, little beach with a restaurant up the coast a few miles from Santa Monica.

In the evening, a chamber music concert at Frank Gehry’s magnificent Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, that long forgotten part of the big city that now is coming alive fast. At dusk, in the setting sun, the whole building turns bluish in a marvelous color display, and I experience the same stunning revelation as in Bilbao, Spain, driving into that city and rounding a corner to face that masterpiece by Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum.

A drink before the concert in the garden roof of the concert hall and the surrounding cityscape seems to have nothing to do with what we usually think of Los Angeles.

And after the concert, a delicious hamburger and a beer at Nickel Diner, a fun little art deco place right in the middle of the, by so many, dreaded downtown. Since my last visit here, it’s clear that downtown LA is changing and changing fast, even though the streets later at night are still eerily deserted except for the 700 or so who are camped around City Hall down the street showing that the Occupy Wall Street movement is also alive and well in California, a movement that gets more support from the public than the Tea Party, according to Pew Research Center’s latest poll.