LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Norton Simon Museum

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

 Week 33. Norton Simon Museum

This week we visit the Norton Simon Museum, located at 411 N. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, California, 91105.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, later dubbed the belle époque, or “beautiful era”, Paris was at the forefront of urban development and cultural innovation. Its citizens witnessed the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the ascendancy of the Montmartre district as an epicenter for art and entertainment and the brightening of their metropolis under the glow of electric light. For artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso, however, it was often the less triumphant details of modern life that inspired creative expression. We visited the museum’s special exhibit, “By Day & by Night: Paris in the Belle Epoque” which presented paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs from this period that demonstrate how artists participated in the inventive spirit of the age by interpreting the everyday as something extraordinary. We think this is an extraordinary exhibit, not to be missed.

We began the visit viewing a short movie chronicling Norton Simon’s fascination with art and his extraordinary collection. You will not want to miss the sculpture garden or viewing the amazing collection of Old Masters.  

If you have not been to the Norton Simon, we urge you to go. Lunch is pleasant at the museum and there is a plethora of nearby restaurants. There is plenty of free parking.

Exhibit ends Mar. 2, 2020.


Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.



Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.




Week 30:  Jeffery Deitch Gallery, Judy Chicago