Well, young connoisseur of finer things, we regret to inform you that construction on Eli Broad's much-anticipated downtown palace won't be completed until an unforeseen date, circa 2013. But Broad announces today that he has just the thing to hold you over in the meantime:

“An online construction camera enables viewers to monitor real-time progress of The Broad, a new contemporary art museum that philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad are building on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles,” reads his press release.

Oh, Broad — you enabler, you!

Of course, construction on the actual museum portion of the project won't begin until next year, so for now, you'll be stuck staring at the bowels of downtown L.A., where Broad's $52 million, three-story parking garage is currently in its foundation stages.

A rendering of the final product.; Credit: Associated Press

A rendering of the final product.; Credit: Associated Press

Warning: You will start to get very sleepy within approximately 30 seconds of staring at ditzy cranes pick things up, fart them around and put them back where they started. (Unless some hottie walks by in her jogging shorts. But if you're in it for the voyeurism, we'd highly recommend you camp out at the Venice Beach live cam instead. Only peeps we've seen enter Broad's frame so far are androgynous art students.) The time-lapse video at the bottom of the page is a little cooler, but since nothing's been erected yet, there's not much to see there, either.

Anyway. What we're trying to get at: Until the $130 million museum's zany coffee-filter layer gets underway, you've got more important sights to behold. Say, the next portion of Broad's presser.

“Construction is underway on a three-story parking garage that The Broad Foundations are building and financing for the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, which will own and operate the garage upon its completion.”

Wow. As if it's some kind of favor!

We love art. And we love seeing one of L.A.'s most tasteful billionaires pump new life into downtown's art scene. But not for a second should you, the taxpayer, believe that you're not helping finance this thing.

Broad may be fronting the money for the $52 million garage (and the walkways leading from your car to his galleries), but the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency most definitely plans to pay him back.

The CRA is a public agency running on funds that would otherwise be going to schools and emergency services. It was created to overcome blight in the city's poorest areas.

(After a scathing state audit of such agencies across the state this year, Governor Jerry Brown tried to eradicate them completely, but instead only succeeded in cutting their budget in half.)

What kind of alternate paradise do we live in, where a $130 million museum's parking problem is considered “blight”? Broad's baby will bring wealth and loveliness to its neighborhood, no doubt. However — if the city's going to drop $52 million on downtown L.A., lord knows it could do better than buying the plebeians a goddamn parking garage. Locals won't go to the museum more than once, and tourists are more likely to eat at The Broad's inevitable ritzy cafe than some ramshackle joint down the street.

So, just saying: If you're going to gaze longingly at the Broad Live Construction Cam, waiting for that special day when Broad's Lichtensteins can finally be yours, do keep in mind what it is, exactly, that you're looking at.

Real entertainment would be pointing a live cam down a neglected street of South L.A., streaming the video alongside Broad's and watching the CRA try to explain it's way out of that one.


LA Weekly