Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Los Angeles that Could Have Been

Fergitabout da things dat'r gone...what about da things dat never got built?

I came across two items on that theme this week. One is from Adam Arenson, who is writing the definitive book on the Art of Home Savings and Loan (not sure if that's the final title). On his blog, he posted about a nearly-forgotten project from 1954: the Monument to Democracy. That's a drawing at left, as proposed by Millard Sheets.

This monument was to sit in our port, as the Statue of Liberty sits outside New York City. The statue was to stand 480 feet tall, and the base was another 46 feet tall. The globe alone would have been 125 feet in diameter.

The champion of this project was County Supervisor John Anson Ford. Ironically, as Arenson points out, this project was being discussed just as Sheets was designing his first building for Howard Ahmanson--the precursor or trial run for the many banks he would then build.

And the second item?  This Forbes article by David Hochman about things in LA that never were--in fact, the piece is about a museum exhibit called "Never Built: Los Angeles."

The exhibit would include models and original plans that we can only now imagine. Among them:

  • LAX, with its central hub covered by a giant glass dome, 

  • A huge cylindrical skyscraper of a hotel rising right out of the ocean west of Santa Monica. The drawing at right was done by Carlos Diniz in 1968, based on the design by Tony Lumsden.

  • A parks plan commissioned in 1927 from Olmstead and Bartholomew--the former name refers to the sons of Frederick Law Olmstead who had their own design firm. The idea was to build Los Angeles around "parks, playgrounds, and beaches." (Here is Christopher Hawthorn's LAT article summarizing that episode--it's truly interesting. Hawthorn praised the plan as possessing "astonishing sophistication and farsightedness.")

Piling irony on top of irony, the exhibit "Never Built: Los Angeles" may never show. The curators, Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, need money to build their models and exhibits, so "Never Built: Los Angeles" is now on Kickstarter, soliciting donations.

So we can not only not get it built, but we can't see what we ain't got.

Everyone who has looked into this brings up the same magical idea--our city could have been very different. That in turn would have made us different. So it becomes an exercise in 'what-if' history that leads us to wonder about missed opportunities and redemption.

The book at left, btw, is about that 1927 parks project. You can buy Eden by Design: The 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew Plan for the Los Angeles Region from Amazon.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Mosaics

It's not from Los Angeles, but this is kinda neat:

The picture at right is a closeup of a mosaic made of Legos.

Since this is a Christmas Eve posting, can you guess the subject from the closeup?

The mosaic was built in 2004 in Spartanburg, SC by Eric C. Harshbarger at the Christian Supply store. The store and artist actually planned this for a year, according to Eric's blog.

And the store owned it and may still be displaying it, for all I know.

Eric is not a mosaicist, really, more a puzzle-ologist who does these amazing installations--as well as creating gizmos, aplets, and doodads.

OK, here's the finished work, another photo from Eric's own blog (hope he doesn't mind). To the left of the mosaic is the picture it was based on, a Nativity scene by (I think) Tom DuBois. DuBois' work--many Nativity scenes and paintings of Mary--can be seen here at LDS Art.

The mosaic is 90 inches by 70 inches and Eric limited himself to 8 colors. He had three days in SC to build it, and about a third of work was done in advance. The store wanted him to work on it standing up so the customers could see a work in progress. I get the impression from his blog that doing so was not easy. I found more pictures of the work in progress on Eric's blog and here.

But the effect is stunning, isn't it? The torchlight especially.

Eric spent 34 hours over three days, and used 30,000 pieces on this mosaic.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santa Claus Lane Parade History

KCET has put up a slew of pictures (like the one at right) along with a history of the Santa Claus Lane Parade. This was taken during the daytime, when the street was being readied for the parade, in 1928--the year of the first parade.

It was a Chamber of Commerce stunt to bring attention to the shops in the area. Those are living fir trees in the photo, brought from Big Bear in planters filled with soil. One hundred in all, and they were later transplanted at the Hollywood Bowl.

For that first parade, movie starlet Jeanette Loff sat with Santa in his sleigh. And for the first few years, Hollywood actually maintained a small herd of reindeer that pulled that sleigh.

Well, actually, it was the County Parks Department who maintained them, but they were quite real. I found out those little tidbits while researching my upcoming book, The Boomer Book of Christmas Memories.  That's the proposed cover to the left.

Yup, that's me and my brother and he gave me permission to use his photo. Actually, I think he's more troubled by the bow tie he had to wear than his terrified expression.

And yes, this is a shameless plug, especially since the book won't be available till next May. Here's a link to the website, where I will be posting to a blog of Boomer trivia.

But self-promotion aside, check out the many pictures (I counted 19) on the KCET "LA as Subject" post--it'll bring back memories or at least, fill you with a twinge of nostalgia!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Marx Brothers Screening

No better way to ring out 2012.

Culver City will present a FREE showing of Night at the Opera, staring Harpo and those other guys, on December 29th at 3 pm.

Where? The Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the SW corner of Culver and Overland.

Why? Because it's Culver City's 95th anniversary, and because the 1935 film was made at the MGM lot in Culver City. Or maybe it's just because Culver City is feeling whimsical. Who cares?

You don't need reservations.

There's plenty of free parking.

Why did one of my writing clubs decide to hold their Christmas party that afternoon?

Hmmm . . . Marx Brothers on the big screen v. people I see every month anyway . . .

There's also something going on with the Culver City Historical Society and their archives, between 1 and 3pm . That group's Archive Resource Center is located in the rear of the Veterans Memorial Building, and admission is also free.You'll be able to see a dress from Meet Me in St. Louis (also shot in Culver City) and other film and civic memorabilia.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mystery Mosaic at ELAC

This mosaic, unsigned, is on the exterior wall of the Writing Lab of East Los Angeles College. Everyone seems certain that this used to be the Music Building, but other than that, not much is known about the mosaic itself or when it was installed.

Here's a close-up on the left. My thanks to Professor Daniel Lambert for these pictures.

So, please, anyone who knows anything about the mosaic or the artist--who must be a cat lover--drop a line in the comments!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Worst School Disaster

Like everyone else, my FB page is full of calls for attention to mental illness and petitions to tighten up gun sales. I'm for anything that helps.

HOWEVER, my friend has posted a piece on her blog about an even worse incident of violence against school children that  occurred in Bath, Michigan. While I usually focus on Los Angeles history, I think this is worth reading.

Weirdly, knowing it all happened 85 years ago made reading the story a bit cathartic for me. The picture came from an EBay ad.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

...And I Like Mike, Honest!

Like so many, I had the highest hopes when the Lakers signed Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni. And as a nearly indefatigable optimist, I still do. I mean, the season's not even a quarter through, right? Or just barely. And when Nash's shin heals, whenever that is, and everyone gets used to Mike's style, then maybe, with all fingers and toes crossed...

But to get to the point of this post, here's a post from The Onion about D'Antoni and the Lakers that should make anyone smile through the tears.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bringing Back the Streetcar

Looks like it's closer to happening.

At right is the approved route. Reconnect and revitalize seem to be the buzzwords. It started back when we had a Community Redevelopment Agency (i.e., the new good ol' days), and now other groups have stepped in keep the project moving, like Metro and City Hall. The Federal government has awarded grants to help develop streetcar lines in other big cities, so why not here in LA?

Like the old streetcars--the Red Cars, etc.--this would move along fixed rails in the street. Supporters say it would fill in gaps in the current bus & metro system, making Downtown accessible. As Eric Metz wrote on the UrbanOne website :

Despite Downtown’s compact size, it’s difficult to have dinner in South Park or at L.A. LIVE and then attend a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall without driving or taking a taxi. 

Wow. I just took a look at the html code for that quote. Paragraphs and paragraphs!

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures: the old and the new. The picture on the left is from the LA Library's Herald Examiner Collection. Although the streetcar is id'd as one built in 1906, the picture's date in 1952.

The right hand picture is from the Urban One site.

I think the new streetcar is kinda cute. What do you think?

The most up-to-date and comprehensive information is at the StreetcarLA site, where the map came from.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Evelyn Ackerman, Mosaicist

Evelyn Ackerman wasn't simply a mosaicist--she worked with all sorts of materials: textiles, metals, glass, paint & canvas--and of course, tiles.Unless you go to gallery shows, though, you may not have seen her work.

The mosaic pictured here, Rain, hangs in the Culver City home she shared with her husband of six-plus decades, Jerome Ackerman.

Evelyn Ackerman passed away just a few days ago.

You can see more of her work at the Ackerman Modern website. You can also read a detailed biography of the couple there.

Everyone refers to her as a "mid-century" artist, and I guess that's true. She started making mosaics in 1955, and most pictures of mosaics that I've found date to the 1950s.

The picture at right is from 1952, and she's standing outside the West LA studio on Federal Avenue that she and her husband opened. The name was a combination:  JErome 'N' EVelyn. By 1956, the date of the installation below left, Jenev was called era Industries, and they eventually moved to the Pacific Design Studio until they retired. The Ackermans worked together to produce ceramics and pottery (mostly by Jerry) and tapestries, wooden carvings, and metal objects like door handles.

In order to concentrate on design, the mosaics--both pictures and tables--and other items were made in Mexico. In one interview I read, Jerry said that "Evvy and I always had a great curiosity about materials . . . we wanted to stretch. We enjoyed the exploration." 

I tried desperately to find a picture of local public art. The picture of Evelyn standing before the installation of a mosaic panel is at an apartment building on Kiowa, said to be registered with the Los Angeles Mural Conservancy--but I could not find a photo of it besides this one, from the AckermanModern website. It's called "Fantasy Landscape" and was installed in 1956.

Ackerman is one of 40 women featured in the current Autry National Center exhibit, "California's Designing Women," through January 6.

Here are several Los Angeles Times pieces on Evelyn Ackerman:

  • A charming and personal eulogy by David Keeps

  • The official LAT obituary

  • Pictures of her work here--starting with one of the few public mosaics she did: "Sea, Land, and Sky" in Santa Barbara, and here (featuring work by her husband) and even more here, highlighting their Culver City home.

Monday, December 3, 2012

MacArthur Park Metro Mosaic

At the CuratingLA blog, I found a nice write-up of Metro LA's public art program, which started in 1989. Over 300 works of art have been commissioned through that program, which combines private donations with public funds. The work below is titled "Urban Oasis," and the artist is Sonia Romero.

Romero created 13 pictures, six framed in red and seven in blue. They are installed at the mezzanine level of the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Station for all to see.

I particularly like the two-guys-at-booth picture. It's Langers, and the guy on the right is Norm, the manager. The guy on the left? Norm's Dad, Al Langer, the founder--photographed just before he passed away.

All these photos came from the Metro "About Art" site.

The corner Art Deco designs are all copied from buildings in the neighborhood. The division between the two sets of pictures--red and blue--is Wilshire Blvd.

"Urban Oasis" was named one of the The Best Public Art Installations in the US by Americans for the Arts.

In this center mosaic below, the artist appears holding a paintbrush.

Sonia Romero is not necessarily a mosaicist, but like many of the artist who've contributed work to our Metro Stations, she created pictures that could be tile-ized and reformed by the wizards at Mosaika. (You can see the step-by-step details on Mozaika's blog, where the picture below right came from.)

To create her artwork, she walked the neighborhood, talked to people. As you'll learn if you watch the YouTube video,  at the CuratingLA site, where she talks about "Urban Oasis."

Romero describes the process--her artwork was done as a lino-cut print and then made into bas-relief hand-carved porcelein tile.

Sonia Romero grew up in Echo Park and went to LA County High School for the Arts, btw, and works out of the She Rides the Lion Print Studio on Avenue 50 in NE LA. SheRidestheLion is also her Twitter name, but don't bother with the blog SheRidestheLion. That belongs to a writing mommy.

If you've seen the medallions that went up in Little Tokyo a couple of months ago--the Lucky Kitty and other Japanese doll images--those are Romero's work too.

BTW, there are FREE public art tours of Metro Stations on the first Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday of each month. The Thursday tour departs at 7 pm, and the Saturday at 10 am, both from the Hollywood/Highland Station. The Sunday tour, also at 10 am, departs from Union Station. Details here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pershing Square, 1962

Marvin Wolf (whose book Fallen Angels you see at far right) took these pictures fifty years ago, when he wandered around Pershing Square with his camera. Just out of the army, he came into the city for a job interview, and was told to come back after lunch.

This particular monument is the oldest piece of public art in Los Angeles, and memorializes those who died in the Spanish American War in 1898.

Twenty-one names are listed. The title at top reads "7th Cal. Inf., U.S.V." The monument went up in 1900, through the efforts of veteran Charlie Hammond, to honor his fellow soldiers. The artist was Samuel M. Goddard.

The man standing next to the monument told Marvin that his father served in that war, in the Navy.

And as I learned from the MilitaryMuseum site, California sent thousands of men to fight in the Spanish American war. The men remembered in Pershing Square never made it to the fighting, though. They died of disease while stationed at the Presidio in Northern California, most of them after the Armistice was signed.

In 1993, the monument was moved from its original location and changed--the base height was reduced by half, according to this information from the PublicArtinLA site.

The Biltmore Hotel is in the background. And now, in December, ice skating season is open! $6 an hour plus $2 for skate rental.

Marvin apologized for what he called "solarization"--and I assume he means the mottled look on the face of the two men at left. If you blow the picture up, you can see it. The negatives were not perfectly preserved for all of that fifty years.

I remember what I was doing fifty years ago. Well, sort of. I remember my classroom, and I remember coming home from school to hear a lot of shouting in the house during the World Series. The teams were the Yankees and Giants, and we cheered for the Giants because they were from California. At least my Dad did. Mom cheered for baseball, no matter who was playing.

Those of you too young to remember anything that happened fifty years ago--it's a weird feeling. Fifty years is a long time. How can I remember that long ago when I clearly do not feel that old?

But look at these guys here. Chances are, they were around during World War One.

And observe how little men's suits have changed in fifty years.

Wanna see what the park looked like in the 1880s? Click here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Plum Catsup and Other 19th Century Recipes

Just stumbled across the website and blog for Vintage California Cuisine, a cookbook with recipes from the early days, pre- and post-statehood. How did I miss this before? But now, in time for Christmas gifting is the Amazon page for Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes From the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden Stateby Mark Thompson.

The blog link above takes you to a post about catsup. The book has several recipes, and not all are made with tomatoes. In fact, the one on this blog post was made with plums bought fresh at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Please go and enjoy the blog (here's the link again) or better yet, buy the book for someone who will appreciate it (you, perhaps?). After all, these are not recipes that are likely to show up on the Food Network or Epicurious.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mosaic: Entrance to Civic Center Metro Station

"In the Living Rock" is the title of a mosaic that lines the wall of the planter at the entrance of the Civic Center/Tom Bradley Metro --1st and Hill, Los Angeles. (Wasn't that the last line of a radio jingle?)

Outside the station, not inside. The station serves the Red, Purple, and Silver lines.

The artist is Samm Kunce, and the mosaic was installed in 2004--eight years ago.

According to an MTA press release, "Kunce used a classical composition to depict a hanging garden exquisitely executed in Venetian cake glass mosaic and supported by an expanse of striated sand colored granite. A contrasting black granite ribbon etched with poetry runs through the center of the work." 

The poet is Ovid, who lived in the first century BC--as you can see in this second picture, from the PublicArtinLA site.

Now, Venetian glass is also Murano glass--Murano is an island of Venice. I found a definition of wedding cake glass that says it is lampworked glass (meaning, glass handmade from  rods held over flame) decorated with colorful glass overlays.

I could not find a website for Samm Kunce, just a Facebook and Linkedin page and many short bios on art sites--here's one from the Metro website.  She's based in Brooklyn, manages a NY art gallery, and so most of her work is there, but we've got  "In the Living Rock." Here's the artist's statement, again from a Metro website (as is the picture above):

Organic variation and movement in the glass are suggested in this ancient material when the smalti are left in larger pieces. The mosaic has been set according to the character of key segments allowing a more natural rather than illustrative representation of plant form while the striated granite in its layering refers to geologic time”.

I am adding this picture of the Bryant Park underground station--not in LA--just to show another aspect of her work that complements ours. It comes from the MosaicOfArt blog and is credited to Franz Mayer of Munich.

Given that this is in underground NY, and thinking of Sandy, how eerie is that quote?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

1920s Holiday Home Tour & Progressive Dinner-West Adams

Here's your chance to channel your inner Gatsby!

Next weekend--December 1 and 2nd, is the 26th annual West Adams Holiday Home Tour and Progressive Dinner, in the Wellington Square area.

If you're not up to dinner, you can take a self-guided walking tour of these beautiful homes on Sunday, the 2nd.

The focus for this tour is the post-WWI era and the Roaring 20s.

But--I just checked the site and many of the Sunday tours (not all) are sold out. So better make your reservations.

Dress in costume if you're so inclined! Flapper dresses and tiaras welcome. Below right is the home where you'll have the main course--the Frederick and Mary Dee Residence, built in 1922.

You'll check in at one house, then go to different homes for the appetizer, soup, salad, dinner, and dessert courses.

Here's what the brochure (pictured above) says:

Wellington Square’s celebrated residents of bygone days have included the great jazz pianist Dorothy Donegan; Evelyn Freeman Roberts and her husband, Tommy Roberts, co-founders of the Young Saints Scholarship Foundation; actor-comedian Nick Stewart, who played "Lightnin'" on the "Amos 'n' Andy" TV series and founded the Ebony Showcase Theater; UCLA Bruins and Lakers basketball star Lucius Allen; decorated Civil War soldier Norman Ives; and Drs. John and Vada Sommerville, pioneering African American dentists, civil rights leaders and the first owners of the Dunbar Hotel (then called the Hotel Sommerville) on Central Avenue.

The Progressive Dinner tours are docent-led, and will leave every 45 minutes. They last about 3 hours. Prepaid reservations are required: $85 each ($60 if you're a member of the West Adams Heritage Association). The Walking Tour alone (on Sunday afternoon) is $30.

The picture to the left is of last year's event--just to give you an idea of how the homes are setup. It's all very cozy and intimate.

Here's the daily details:

  • On Saturday, Dec. 1, the tours start at 3 pm and the last tour leaves at 6:15 pm. 

  • On Sunday, Dec. 2, the tours start at 3:30 pm and the last tour leaves at 6:45 pm.

  • Check in for the Sunday self-guided tour between noon and 2 pm--the homes will close at 3 to prepare for the next dinner.

All the tours depart from the intersection of Crenshaw and Washington, but the exact address will be given when you register.

And how do you register? Call the WAHA at 323-735-9242, or email them at Or reserve through their website,

Monday, November 19, 2012

Back to Coronado Mosaic

Walgreens is about to open a new store at the site of a former Home Savings & Loan in Coronado, CA.

That’s way out of Los Angeles County, I know, but I did blog about the mosaic (created by artist Susan Hertel) a while ago. Here's my picture.

The building had been a Petco until 2009. Before the Home Savings & Loan went in, it had been a Bank of America—going ‘way back to the days when Bank of America was Bank of Italy. In fact, there’s another piece of art from that early era which Home S&L covered up—more about that at the end of this post.

But about the mosaic, this is from a Patch Coronado article

"One of the main concerns for the city and residents alike was that the Millard Owen Sheets mosaic on the front of the building not be removed. Not only was it left in place, but Walgreens preserved it by regrouting and resealing it, Fait noted.


(Mr. Fait is an Associate City Planner with Coronado.) (And I need to post a comment to Patch, correcting the attribution--this is Susan Hertel's work, I'm very sure.)

Regrouting and resealing a large mosaic is no cheap or easy project--so bravo to Walgreens. In addition to preserving the mosaic, the corporation also put in ” a new roof, a new electrical system, new plumbing and new heating and air conditioning. . . . replaced the sidewalk and removed two driveways – which added four parking places on the street – and installed a bench under the awning.

“They also planted two new trees and added a new storm drainage system.”

Now that’s the way to reconcile neighbors to having a new chain store on the corner.

About that other work of art—here are two pictures of it taken by Gloria Tierney for Patch. I cropped them and tweaked the exposure to bring out more details, but you can see the originals and more pictures at the Patch site. (the picture at the top of this post was taken before Walgreens got involved--so before restoration.)

And here is the story, quoted from the Patch article:

Once construction began, workers discovered the mosaic was not the only notable work of art on the fa├žade. There was also a terra cotta medallion of an aged, explorer-style sailing ship hidden under the blue awning.

“The medallion was designed by the Northern California ceramics company Gladding, McBean – which dates to the Gold Rush era – back when Bank of America was the Bank of Italy. For decades, the piece was placed on all of their banks.

“When Home Savings took over the building, they set the awning over the medallion and installed the company's own corporate symbol. Now both will be preserved on Walgreens' new structure.”

And—since I’ve strayed out of Los Angeles County anyway, here’s a treat for those who appreciate modern mosaic work: a link to Mosaic Arts Now (an emag) article on the many beautiful and intriguing mosaics entered at a judged exhibition in Chartres, France: the Prix Picassiette.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More on John Montgomery

One of the treasures of the Western Museum of Flight is the reproduction of a glider flown by John Montgomery in the 1880s.

I blogged about it in 2010 (and last week), but I'll mention it again because Craig Harwood and Gary B. Fogel have written Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West. Montgomery made the first  first flight in a glider twenty years before Kittyhawk--and his flight was in San Diego. (The Wright Brothers flew the world's first motorized aircraft.)

Fogel will be speaking about the book, the man, and the glider flight on November 17 at 11 am at the Western Museum of Flight, 3315 Airport Drive in Torrance. Free parking, and the talk is $5.

Montgomery's an interesting character--but why don't we know more about him?

Turns out he's been overlooked by historians and engineers for over a century. He worked in isolation, didn't seek publicity, and when he did finally go public with his work, he passed up the chance to work with aviation pioneers who would have supported and promoted him. Instead, he partnered up with the guy who developed early dirigibles--using Montgomery's work but cutting Montgomery out.

So in addition to a race/rivalry for patents and attention with the Wright Brothers, Montgomery was publicly waging other battles--all while carrying on his own research. The 20th century was not kind to him: his test pilot was killed, the San Francisco Earthquake intervened, then--just when Montgomery was nearing success--he got caught in a whirlwind and killed while testing out his own new glider. (The picture at left--from Wiki--was taken just before his death in 1911)

Quest for Flight, besides covering Montgomery, also goes into the contributions made toward flight in Southern California in the 19th century and the very early years of the 20th century.

(All this comes from a summary that the authors were kind enough to send me).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Los Angeles' Fallen Angels

Updated and revised, with a special added story about Thelma Todd's murder,Fallen Angels: Chronicles of L.A. Crime and Mystery has been repackaged and released by author Marvin J. Wolf.

This picture of Todd was taken to publicize the movie Corsair.

The book covers most of the sensational murders and crimes of our city, from pre-statehood days up through John Belushi's death. There are so many crimes in there, from Attorney General Earl Warren's 1938 battle with Tony Cornero and his gambling ship (which I haven't read yet--I'm saving it for last since I wrote my own article about it), as well as nasty, brutal murders like the Black Dahlia slaying and the Hillside Strangler spree, that you can just gorge yourself on seediness.

Yes, there are more detailed books on any of the 40ish crimes listed here, but Wolf's book gives the basics of all. Fallen Angels: Chronicles of LA Crime and Mystery was first written based on research done by Katherine Mader (now a Superior Court Judge) and published in the 1980s, and the new version is available on Kindle.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chinatown Mosaic

"Four Beauties Catching Swimming Fish" is the title of this beautiful mosaic. It adorns the Plum Tree Inn  at 913 N. Broadway--a restaurant and banquet hall that gets excellent reviews on those web rating sites.

According to the blog Random Refuge, this mosaic and the two other mosaics that are mounted alongside it were created in Hong Kong in 1968. The artist is good ol' Anonymous.

A picture of all three mosaics is below. They sit right across the street from Little Joe's.

I found one brief mention of the artwork in the LA Times, back when the restaurant was the Golden Palace. In 1987, the paper said that the three-paneled tile mural was said to be the largest outside of China.

The picture above right was on a blog called TamaraTales, but now that I've enlarged it I see a copyright. Hopefully Ms. Rieckehoff won't mind that I post it here.

Here's a picture of the three mosaics together.

I suppose that technically, this is a picture of painted tile and not a mosaic. The definition gets blurry at times--not the technical definition, but how to apply it. Most people refer to these three pictures as mosaics, and they make a lovely post, so that's good enough for me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Veteran's Day in the South Bay (and John Montgomery)

Many events are going on in the South Bay to celebrate Veteran's Day weekend:

  • The USS Iowa in San Pedro will host a Veterans Appreciation Day on Saturday, November 10th, from 1 to 4 pm. Children's activities, veterans' resources & info, entertainment and free food, free tours for veterans of the ship (tours are free for vets only not just on Saturday, but on Sunday and Monday too). To get more info--including parking info--scroll to the bottom of this article in the Daily Breeze.

  • In Redondo Beach on Sunday (the 11th), the Junior ROTC of Redondo HS and the LAPD Emerald Society Pipes & Drum Corps will perform in a show honoring veterans at (where else?) Veterans Park at the foot of Torrance Blvd. The Elks Club--right next door--will host a barbecue later, free to all vets and members of the armed forces. Everyone else--your $5 donation goes to fund for the beautiful Veterans Memorial. It all starts at 1 pm.

  • Back to Saturday, November 10 at  the Western Museum of Flight in Torrance: a celebration honoring veterans of the Vietnam War from 10 am to 3 pm. At noon, Lt. Col. Ben Williams will give his first-hand account of CSAR missions, and there will be special exhibits and books for sale as well. The Museum is at 3315 Airport Drive; more details here


For the following weekend:

One of the treasures of the Western Museum of Flight is the reproduction of a glider flown by John Montgomery in 1883.

I blogged about it in 2010, but I'll mention it again because  Gary B. Fogel has written Quest for Flight, a biography of Montgomery, and will be speaking about his book, the man, and the glider flight--which is pretty much man's first flight in a glider. (The Wright Brothers flew the world's first motorized aircraft.)

That talk is on November 17 at 11 am at the Western Museum of Flight, 3315 Airport Drive in Torrance. Free parking, and the talk is $5.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grand Hope Park

One more Marlo Bartels artwork: this one by the Renaissance Tower Apartments, downtown.

These pyramids sit in the courtyard of the Towers, which is on the southe end of Grand Hope Park. The addition of the art was part of an ongoing project funded by CRA/LA (Community Redevelopment Agency/Los Angeles) (I do not know the status of CRA/LA, since  funding for redevelopment agencies in general were cut by the state government months ago).

BUT--CRA/LA was responsible for many, many civic improvements all over our fair city, including these. In fact, my understanding is that CRA/LA actually owns the park property. These pyramids by Bartels date from 1994, and they were designed to cover the air vents in the sidewalk.

Bartels also created pillars (below left) at the same place, and some wall panels that match the colors of the pyramid bases.

I blogged about the Clock Tower at Grand Hope Park a few months ago, and that post has some of the park's history in it. Grand Hope Park is full of artwork; I could probably manage a few more posts out of it.

And danged if there's not a video of the place! The pyramids appear at about 1:20.This comes from a place called Hollywood, and tells me that Grand Hope Park was used as a location for the Sandra Bullock movie, All About Steve

To finish off, here is a closeup of one side of one pyramid, to give you an idea of the intricacy of these designs.

While the other photos here came from PublicArtinLA, this last picture is from a flicker site and is attributed to JohnWilliamsPHD. There are 4 or 5 other shots at the site if you want to see more.