Monday, August 6, 2018

Mosaic in Wilmington

Yup. Driving down Anaheim Street and right at Avalon, I see this on the Southwest corner.

So of course I turn into the small plaza of shops on the corner. I avoided the pit bull and its owner (he seemed a lot meaner than the dog), and heard a bunch of cussing as a restaurant owner threw someone out for not buying anything. Cars were cutting people off. At the Chase ATM, young guys were cutting women with children off to get to the machines.

This was not an area filled with brotherly love and kindness.

I took some pictures, but have been unable to learn anything about this mosaic. It has an under-the-sea theme, but is not on any public art website that I've seen.

Here's a close up of sea critters in the kelp.  I thought there was a signature in the bottom right, but it was not anything I could read.

I would love it if someone could enlighten me. Who created this mosaic, and why is it there?

Here is the biggest photo, for your edification and enjoyment:

Monday, July 30, 2018

New, Huge Mosaic Project Ongoing in San Pedro!

Can I get this posted in the next 27 minutes for Mosaic Monday?
Julie Bender is at it again. She's San Pedro's favorite mosaicist

and that's not even a complete list.

But now ... along 25th Street, she's covering 2,000 square feet with a mosaic. Once again, she has the whole community involved!

Here are pictures I took last Wednesday or Thursday.  Bear in mind that it is a work in progress, not even half done:

Of course there is a mermaid--along with police officer, baker, student ...

As well as dancing whales and an angel

And a few local landmarks, like the Korean Friendship Bell (with soccer players at lower left)

And it's 11:56. Happy Mosaic Monday!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Have you been to the Bowl this year?

Here's what you're missing if you haven't been:

This was Tuesday night (July 24, 2018) around 8:15 or so. Moon rising behind us, still plenty of light out. A program of Sibelius followed by Ravel's Bolero. Beautiful evening, and the Park & Ride makes it so easy.
I blogged about the Hollywood Bowl Museum once,
The Bowl has it's own history up on its website, from its days as Bolton Canyon/Daisy Dell to the days of the sonotubes, then big balls on top, the Jazz Festivals, jumbotrons, and all up to the current 21st century singalongs. Lots of pictures.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Kayaking and Dragon Boats at Cabrillo Beach

At the northern end of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, there are private, fenced areas reserved for scouting camps, kids' kayaking lessons, and a Dragon Boat club (the long, white boat on the right).
Sunday morning was the perfect day for everyone.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The LA River and the city's hopes ....

The LAist just published a piece about what the Los Angeles River might look like in 20 years, and the story was also on KPCC, if you'd rather listen than read. The author is KPCC's Susanne Whatley. And this beautiful picture (also on LAist) is by Steve Lyon and was on Flickr Creative Commons.

AND, there's a 7-minute video of a drone flyover of the Taylor Yard (used to be Union Pacific property), which is along the east river bank where the river travels between the Silver Lake & Mt. Washington neighborhoods. Huge area, needs clean up, but it could be developed as a riverside park.

Thanks, Flo Selfman, (@floselfman) for tweeting this out to your followers! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Palm Trees in Los Angeles

Last week I blogged about jacarandas (again).

And in the past, I've blogged about eucalyptus trees in Los Angeles, and the trees of 1891. So today, I refer you to an excellent article about the history of palm trees in our city, by Dan Nosowitz in Atlas Obscura.

Nosowitz goes into a lot of detail about the palm trees, pointing out that they aren't even trees, really. They don't even have wood.

I've heard before that hundreds of palms were planted in advance of the 1932 Olympics here, and I just verified that on one of the history pages that Nathan Masters does for PBS, called "A Brief History of Palm Trees in Southern California." 25,000 trees planted in 1931! But according to Masters, beautifying the city for Olympics might have been a secondary reason. The program to plant palms back then was part of a larger program to put men to work. A $5 million bond helped pay for 40,000 palms in total.

The PBS story gets the prize for best pictures, though. Go see. The image at right is from the Los Angeles Library, and is not dated. Nor does it note a location.

Garden Collage Magazine also chronicled the arrival of palm trees, back to Mission days, up through the '32 Olympics, and into the present. That's the one to read if you want a quicker overview.

Another palm tree story ran twelve years ago in the LAist and it claimed that 100 years ago, Los Angeles was full of pepper trees. Palm trees replaced them. Are pepper trees native? Because in Palos Verdes, which is still richly populated with pepper trees, folks call them invasive.

Well, I just learned (from another PBS/Nathan Masters piece) that our pepper trees are South American. From Peru, specifically, and they are ornamental. Hmmm ... they smell awfully peppery for ornamental purposes. But that'll be a story for another day.

Finally, a few months ago the Los Angeles Times reported on the mass die-off of our palm trees, with a great graphic that you should really go see: iconic movie scenes with disappearing palm trees.  The article lists the pests that endanger and kill our palms.

And many of these pieces interview one Jared Farmer, who wrote the book Trees in Paradise.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

It's Shakespeare Season!

Yes, it's time for the Bard.

And last night, after the temperature soared to 108 degrees in Los Angeles, the best place to be was at Pt. Fermin Park in San Pedro, overlooking the ocean, watching Shakespeare by the Sea.

Where, by 8:30, I actually had to put on the sweater I brought.

Heaven! To be cold!

And the play wasn't bad either.

Actually, it was wonderful. The Merry Wives of Windsor, done in period costumes.

A few years ago, I saw a Shakespeare in the Park performance of Merry Wives, and it was done in a 1950s theme, with the two wives channeling Lucy and Ethel. Very funny,very effective--but last night's version was easier to understand, just based on the chosen lines.

Here, Falstaff cowers in the lower right as Mistress Quigly rouses the faux fairies to attack.

My trusty camera has died, and I'm relying on my phone camera, which isn't quite up to the job. Maybe I should start a gofundme page for a new camera?

There are always two plays presented, and this year's second is A Winter's Tale. Also carefully edited and completely comprehensible (if you can get over a woman giving up her child to hide in the woods for 16 years ... but that's Shakespeare's fault).

This picture is from the website Tales of Travel and Tech, taken by host Deb who went with me to see Winter's Tale and blogged about it. Stage at left, lots of benches. In fact, Deb went to the trouble of putting up Shakespeare by the Sea's 2018 schedule.

If you travel, want to travel, or like to read about travel, or if you're into travel tech, the best and most lightweight bags, the useful, most dependable gadgets, etc., check out Deb's website.

At right is the fearsome bear from Winter's Tale. Don't be fooled: the beast can roar!

Shakespeare by the Sea is celebrating 21 years, and will tour as far north as Encino and south to Laguna Niguel. Here's their calendar. Chances are they'll come to a venue close to you, and the play is free (but your donations are so appreciated!)

Below is Leah Dalrymple as Mistress Quigley. She also played Hermione in Winter's Tale. She was wonderful in both roles, and lovely to talk to afterward (the players assemble in front of the stage for a bit of a gabfest after the show.)

I miss Shakespeare Festival LA, which used to stage plays around the downtown area. Julius Caesar on the steps of City Hall (1999); As You Like it in the old ticketing area of Union Station,  and the last few plays, from 2005 on, at the Los Angeles Cathedral's courtyard.

A quick search (OK, not so quick since it took me a bit to figure out the proper title to search for: Shakespeare Festival/LA) tells me that the first production (Twelfth Night) was in Pershing Square in 1986. The current website ( describes how the homeless of Pershing Square got involved and even collected trashbags full of cans that could be recycled, in lieu of a cash donation.

Ben Donenberg founded the company, which changed its name to Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles in 2011. And there was no play in that year. But Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles thrives; it is the group who brought us Tom Hanks as Falstaff this year. Huzzah!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

All Hail the Shedding Jacarandas!

 Just don't park your car under them.

I love jacarandas. Nothing matches the color. Few suburban vistas are as lovely as a street lined with these trees in bloom, like giant puffs of periwinkle bordering the skies and homes.

But those pretty flowers fall, and each one has a base of sticky goo that adheres to shoes, cars, and everything it touches.

I blogged about jacarandas once (omg, it was 10 years ago!). A19th century landscaper named Kate Sessions was largely responsible for bringing them in to California. Sessions was based in San Diego and had a nursery in what is now Balboa Park.

Here's another, much more detailed piece about jacarandas from the LAist, from about 2 years ago.

Huell Howser did a show on jacarandas, and you can watch it at Chapman University's site.

If that doesn't cover everything you wanted to know about jacarandas ... which are originally from South America ... then I don't know what will.

As for when they bloom and shed, it's different each year, depending on warm and cold spells in spring. Often there's a fall blooming as well, but those are less frequent, I'm told.

And if you are a gardener or homeowner that has to rake up the purple plague, you have my sympathy.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

San Pedro Community Gardens

Off the 110 in San Pedro, along one of the many slopes that are left to grow wild in San Pedro and the Peninsula -- which is riddled with little canyons, crevices, and hills -- gardens bloom with fruit from all over the world. Filipinos started gardening here over fifty years ago, and the plots grew to cover six acres. Retirees and urban farmers from many cultures grow tropical fruits, bean trees, vegetables, potted vines of tomatoes, and more.

The picture at right is from a 2011 post on LA Eastside.

The problem that confronts this maze-like collection of gardens and makes it newsworthy? Water is becoming scarce, and so some of the gardens have been abandoned. But not many.

The gardens have a website:, and it has a laser focus: the status of water. There I learned that few years ago a pipe broke, with devastating consequences. Now, the issue is that the landlords are just cutting off the water for most of the day.

Over a month ago, the Los Angeles Times ran a story about the San Pedro Community Gardens, and they have a video posted on their site as well. So you can see, in their own plots, Frank Mitrano, Carol Christian, and David Vigueras, who says: "It's not a garden. This is a universe."

At left is one of the photos that accompanied the Times article, which was packed with information.

The land belongs to Los Angeles City's Dept. of Sanitation, according to the Times. During the drought, they cut down on the water when they realized that hundreds of thousands of gallons a day was being poured into the gardens.

No bad guys here: there was a drought. There is still reason to conserve water. It's driven some of the gardeners out, but others are making do. The water flows only during select hours of the day, and pipes are old. Gardeners are doing what they can to collect the water their plants and trees need.

At right is a year-old picture from the Garden's website, showing the results of no water on some of the plots.

I applaud these gardeners and think we should have more of them. I will shorten my showers for them. I have no talent for gardening and am amazed at what men and women do to grow and nurture plants from the dirt.

If you'd like to know more about community gardens in our area, there's not only a website for the Los Angeles Community Garden Council, but Yelp has a list (of course) of the top community gardens, and CurbedLA has a 2014 list of the best.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mosaic Monday Goes South

I've been vacationing, and drove south. While I was not on a quest to find mosaics, I could not help spotting them. So here is work of art I stumbled across.

The picture was taken at a garden shop in the touristy area of San Clemente. Of course. Because if you say "San Clemente" there are only two reactions possible: Baby Boomers will remember the Western White House of Richard Nixon (which is for sale, btw) (for $63 million, since you know you wanted to ask) or they'll know the town as a major surfing destination.

The sign at the base says "Sustainable Functional Art" This shower is just one example of their work, so if you're interested, go to the website.

At the WillandJane site, you'll see a charming picture of some children enjoying a working shower/mosaic/surfboard like this. Their Gallery page shows other designs, using recycled surfboards, starfish and shells, and glass mosaic pieces.