So This Gigantic Rock Comes to Town…

Workers from Hanjin Shipping begin transporting part of artist Michael Heizer's massive artwork setup for LACMA. Photo courtesy of LACMA.
11:30am | Sounds like a joke. And maybe it is. Because really, is there anything especially interesting about seeing a 340-ton rock in a world that's full of them? 

You'll be seeing some news coverage of the rock as it rolls through Long Beach -- like it's going to do something, right? It's a rock! Unless it escapes its moorage (or whatever you call a rock's being secured to a 200-foot-long truck) and goes on a crushing rampage, is this really news? 

In case you haven't heard about the Riverside boulder that Time magazine is calling "probably the most popular piece of granite on the planet" (kudos on the rhyme -- but "probably"? It's got competition?!), it may be the biggest human movement of a single stone since the construction of the Egyptian pyramids. The rock is taking a 22-city tour (that makes me giggle: the rock is on tour, tee-hee) on its way to L.A., where it will star as the mass in Levitated Mass, a new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

You can follow the rock on Twitter (tee-hee) as it makes its journey, which includes a stop on Atlantic Avenue at 36th Street, where it will party. That's right: it's going to party like a star rock, as the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association will yet again capitalize on an opportunity for fun, with festivities planned from noon 'til 7 p.m. Included among much silliness will be live "rock" music (and jazz, for whatever reason), free scoops of rocky road ice cream courtesy of Baskin-Robbins, DJs spinning only tunes with "rock" in the title (get ready to hear "Rock of Ages" a few dozen times), "a band of Swiss Alpine Mountain climbers running around in awe-filled reverence of the rock," and the biggest pair of scissors and sheet of paper you've ever seen. 

Yes, you can see rocks like this in their natural habitats (and without their being covered up in form-fitting traveling bags).. But maybe the chief point of interest here is that many of us never will. In our urban existence we are forever falling increasingly out of touch with "the natural world" -- and so for many, particularly those whose background and socioeconomic status minimizes the likelihood that we're ever going to get out to the wilderness, this is a novel chance. If Mohammad will not go to the mountain, it is said, the mountain must come to Mohammad. 

And maybe he'll have fun when it does. 

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