Approximately 200 people work at the Skirball Cultural Centre and they are all friendly. We parked up and before we’d left the car park we were being hailed from an information desk “I know what you’re here for, it’s great to have the rice back!” and so it continued.
The Centre is a stunning collection of buildings, designed by Moshi Safdie, full of air and light and peace, beautifully set into the hillside. We are putting the show into three gallery spaces, including the large Getty Gallery. It has taken some thinking about and the first day has proved quite slow as we mulled things over, taking time to make the big formative decisions.
Early on I was ushered upstairs to meet Uri Hersher, the centre’s director in his wonderfully habitable top floor office. I found myself immediately warming to Mr. Hersher. He listens well and speaks well, with seriousness and humanity. We talked about Stan’s Cafe and the show before moving on to how the show addresses the Palestine – Israel conflict. Last time the show was here this topic had proved so loaded and so controversial that the team had rightly retreated from the issue a bit. Now, with more rice and a month of performance ahead of us it seemed sensible to seek some advice from the boss. Mr. Hersher was very relaxed and very encouraging; he sees the show as about education and emphasises that nothing is off limits so long as it is factually accurate and balanced. Craig, who bore the brunt of the fallout last time, says that in his experience one person’s balance can be another person’s bias. The good thing now is that we have the explicit endorsement of the boss.
By 18.30 jetlag started kicking in we retreated, back along Ventura Blvd to our place on Sunshine Terrace, where Charlotte and Jo had cooked up a delicious pasta concoction including ‘Holiday Sausage’ which we took to be salami by another name.