Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Mosaic in Torrance, St. Catherine Laboure

Two Mondays in a row ... can you believe it?

St. Catherine Laboure Cathoric Church is on Redondo Beach Blvd in Torrance, just off the 405. This weekend, they had a big Fiesta, and my friends called me to come and enjoy some lumpia and adobo and pancit ... yup, I jumped up and drove over.
And on my way to the Fiesta, I looked up and saw this mosaic.
I've blogged about this church, it's very modern window, and its inside mosaic before, but I'm afraid I haven't seen any information about this medallion-style mosaic. But it's purty.
And the adobo was delicious.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Pasadena Mosaic

I've passed this beautiful mosaic a few times, on Raymond Ave.and Holly Street, right across Raymond from the Pasadena Memorial Park buildings. There are actually two mosaics, which explains the title of the artwork: TWO URNS.

The artist is Anne Marie Karlsen, and the mosaics were installed in 2009. They are about 15 feet tall by 5 feet wide, and made of stone and glass.

Exactly what type of stone and glass is listed in detail on the City of Pasadena's Art Search page.  The mosaic is designed to change as the sun moves across it during the day.

The address is 125 N. Raymond, and the building next door is a theater, restored but originally built in 1921 as Jensen's Raymond Theater. The mosaic art was designed to reflect the appearance, inside and out, of the Raymond Theater--now combined with the building next door to form the Raymond Renaissance, a retail and living space.

From an undated Atlas Obscura article, I learn that the theater was owned by David Lee Roth's father in the 1970s, which is a nice bit of trivia. Then, sold to a new owner named Mark Perkins, it became Perkins Palace, a rock venue. Guns N Roses, R.E.M. and other bands played there, and the performance scenes in This is Spinal Tap were filmed on its stage. The exterior was used in Pulp Fiction.

Much more is related at Cinema Treasures, which adds The Rose and The Bodyguard to its film credits, as well as several music videos.  A detailed history focused on the Perkins Palace years can be found at Hometown Pasadena.

It was the manager of the theater during this period, a lady named Gina Zamperelli, who waged a 20-year fight to save the theater from developers - actually, from one particular developer who even drove a bulldozer into the side of the theater out of spite.

So ... that's the building next door. The mosaics are inspired by that place, but sit on a newer 5-story brick building that went up in 2008, and is now largely condos, except for the ground floor. I saw one rental available, a one bedroom, for $2800 a month.

You can read more about artist Anne Marie Karlsen here. She's done a lot of public art works - many that I recognize. I blogged about the Nordhoff Station of the Metro, Orange Line and  the fountain at Paseo Colorado. Karlsen also created art on the parking garage at Santa Monica Place, the Lawndale Library, and several mosaics on cruise ships.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

TriWeekly Report of September 8, 2018

Love history? Me too.
Every three weeks I send out a newsletter with the top three history stories I've come across. The most recent newsletter went out Saturday (yesterday). You can take a look at it here.
What were the three top stories?

  1. News about a long-lost city sitting UNDER Arkansas City, KS. Etzanoa was once home to over 20,000 people, and disappeared in the early 17th century. 
  2. Your Grandma's couch. Throughout the 60s, 70s, and beyond, a patterned, incredibly durable sofa in autumn tones could be found in the dens and living rooms of grannies and aunties throughout the nation. You've seen it; now learn why it seemed to be everywhere.
  3. The horrible fire at the National Museum of Brazil: it's losses and impacts.
So go ahead and subscribe--the form is in the right right column. Every three weeks, and I always include one story (like the couch) on pop culture--stories I think anyone who reads this blog would enjoy.

Martin Turnbull's blog and website

For those who love Hollywood history, a swan dive into Martin Turnbull's incredible collection of early Hollywood photos and ephemera could easily take up a few hours, or several days.
Turnbull is the author of the Garden of Allah novels that cover the famed Sunset Blvd.hotel from 1927 to 1959. Eight novels so far, with a ninth scheduled for publication this November. The first novel (right) starts in 1927 as fictional characters arrive at the Garden of Allah--characters that populate all the books.
Even if you're not looking for books to read, though, you might want to visit the website--just to look at the pictures.

Here's what you can find on Turnbull'ss website:
  • Timelines of each decade. What songs were playing on the radio? What was the news out of the big Hollywood studios? What world events affected people?
  • A photo blog of the area over the years, where I found the picture above of a Red Car on Hollywood Blvd in the 1950s. Or the one at left of Cathay Circle Theatre in 1931, all decked out for a movie premier. 
  • A bibliography, listing all the books about Old Hollywood that you might want to read.
  • An alphabetical list of Hollywood places -- restaurants, studios, hotels, theatres, and all sorts of hangouts, some with pictures or menus 
Seriously, there is everything here that you'd need to sink into a wild fantasy of life in Hollywood during its most exciting times. All you need is a glass of scotch and a sofa to stretch out on, and you're set. Go enjoy!

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.