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Disney Hall prepares to set sail

September 21, 2003|Diane Haithman

In the category of Things to Do Outside Downtown's Walt Disney Concert Hall In Case You Don't Happen to Be Invited Inside for the Gala Opening on Oct. 23, here's a suggestion inspired by a recent telephone conversation with Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney and current vice chairman of Walt Disney Co.

Disney, an avid sailor, mentioned that the hall's architect, Frank Gehry -- also an avid sailor -- told him that if you stand at a certain place outside the building, you can see in its undulating curves "the bow of a boat coming right at you, and a spinnaker up. And you can."

Disney could not remember exactly where to stand to create the illusion that you're about to be hit by a sailboat, so we asked Gehry, who said that a boat will appear headed your way if you look at the building from the northeast corner of 1st Street and Grand Avenue.

"If you stand there, the two big walls are like the sails with the wind behind you," Gehry said, "so the wind would be coming over your shoulder to it. And if you sail, when you put your mainsail out one side and your jib sail out the other, it creates this beautiful-shaped space, and that's called wing on wing."

And in case you miss the boat, so to speak, Gehry said Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, who is also a noted composer, will capture the mainsail/jib sail experience in a new piece titled "Wing on Wing," which the Phil will premiere at Disney Hall in June.

-- Diane Haithman

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