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The Mystery Of LA’s Urban Lights At The LACMA

The Mystery At LA's LACMA by Jetplane Jean

My alarm buzzes for 5:45 am and at this point, I have already settled into the Western time zone and can no longer convince my body that it is truly 8:45 am as if I were back at home. I don’t even need to wake Marco, he’s been awake for the past hour and is ready to get a move on this morning. I’m lucky I have such understanding friends, Marco has to be in at work at 11 am today and could have definitely told me to take an Uber instead and just rolled back over to sleep.

This is my last day in California, and as much as I want to shut my eyes for a little bit longer, I know I’ll be angry at myself for missing the opportunity to avoid traffic headed towards the LACMA and finally see those big, beautiful lamp posts. Many a Facebook friends visiting California have taken the standard photo of their carefree smiles twirling around one of the posts, and the movie No Strings Attached finally convinced me it was worth the hype.

Hey, I enjoy hitting up the tourist destinations every now and again; sometimes I find there’s a pretty good reason for why they’re so popular.

The Mystery Behind LA's LACMA Urban Lights by Jetplane Jean

Wordlessly, we slide into the car, not willing to start filling the air with idle chatter so early. Neither one of us have consumed any coffee and our insides are definitely crying, looking to be fueled by caffeine before any more morning activity commences. Surprisingly, the traffic is minimal at this hour; we tried to haul ass down to Malibu a few days prior and found that wasn’t exactly the case. “I figured because it was dark out there wouldn’t be any traffic.” Half asleep statements are always my favorites.

The Mystery of the LACMA Lights

It’s still pretty dark out when we reach the LACMA Urban Light display – not to mention chilly, especially for the native Californian complaining next to me as we park the car. So far, it’s just us and the guy power-washing the pavement around the exhibit. The sound of pressurized water fills the air at one of the quietest hours of the day. At first I’m nervous; I always have a hard time working on self portraits in front of other people, and now there’s an audience of two – Marco handling the camera and power-washing man. I eye the reflective stream of water running in between the two tallest columns of lamp posts and know my time of insecurity is over for the day. Marco can no longer complain about the cold as I shed my leggings and coat, leaving only the thin summer dress I packed for a “night out.” That “night out” turned out to be a perfect early morning shoot instead, the light blue floral pattern complimenting the bluish hue of the world slowly warming up from night to day.

The Mystery of the LACMA Lights

I can’t take full credit for these photos; Marco is an excellent photographer and knows exactly what I’m looking for when I give him quick instructions before flinging my shoes off and running back into place. A few LACMA workers glance over as I twirl beneath the lights, but for the most part, we are left alone. The realm that exists between the night owls finally heading to bed and the morning doves rising for work always feels like a big secret. To think, we are creating before most roll out of bed and check their email.

The world is quieter, more serene.

The Mystery At LA's LACMA by Jetplane Jean

But at exactly 7:15, the lights are shut off and traffic picks up.

The main entrance gates are starting slide open and we know it’s time for us to leave. We’re starving and my feet are freezing, so the only place that can remedy this issue is a place where dreams are made from: Randy’s Donuts.

Mystery of the LACMA Lights

Tell me, have you been to the LACMA’s iconic Urban Light display and what’d you think of it? Did you head there at night to see it all lit up or wait until sunrise like we did? Do you have any favorite art displays around the world? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!

Exploring the LACMA at sunrise by Jetplane Jean

UPDATE: LACMA’s Urban Light display will be going dark for two months starting May 1st, 2016. Check before going if you’re looking for that soft glow from the lamp posts!

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