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On 10th Anniversary, Music Critic Calls Disney Hall "Traditional"

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How time flies: it was just a decade ago that the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Hall opened and almost immediately became one of LA's most iconic buildings. Reflecting on the Disney decade, LA Times music critic Mark Swed has penned a somewhat schizo piece on Gehry's lauded and profitable concert hall (with acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota). While Swed admits Disney changed both Downtown and the city--"the hall has become our most potent symbol of Los Angeles as a genuine city of the future"--he also says it's kind of meh and needs a lot of money thrown at it. The venue "reinvents nothing" and is "thoroughly traditional," says Swed.

Swed's main complaints about Disney Hall:

-- It's "not nearly as welcoming as it should be" because the hall doesn't project video of concerts on its exterior.
-- The lighting used on the steel wouldn't be suitable for a Denny's (we're paraphrasing about the Denny's).
-- The cafe design sucks.
-- The loudspeakers "trotted out on the stage and the Champagne bar in the lobby have got to go."
-- The outdoor garden doesn't have a cafe for God's sake.

Gehry has said these upgrades would cost about $10 million, but Swed thinks it'd probably be double that. The writer is also concerned about the Regional Connector subway line screwing up the acoustics of the hall and wants more testing. He adds that rerouting the line could cost $100 million, but that might be a steal compared to the oversight and construction of a "silent subway."
· Critic's notebook: Nearly 10 years old, Disney Hall needs upgrades [LAT]