Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Venice Colonnades

This is Venice--you recognized it, right? Windward Avenue. I cropped this picture so you could focus on the colonnaded building. The whole picture--with charming beach visitors from 1912--is shown at the end of this post. And it's from, a site that I love.

The colonnade is more than 100 years old, but a century ago, this was the St. Mark Hotel. A lot of the gingerbread trim has disappeared over the years.

The late and much-missed Ray Bradbury was instrumental in saving these columns, joining the efforts of the Venice Historical Society in 2008 to kick off the Ray Bradbury Adopt-a-Column fundraiser. A $2500 donation refurbishes and restores a neglected pillar--read about it here.

Want more of Venice? How about a film that captures it close to half-way between the St Mark's era and today?

Go rent Touch of Evil, a 1958 film noir by Orson Welles, and look long and hard the lengthy opening shot that goes on and on and on, much like this sentence, following Charlton Heston as a Mexican cop walking along the street in a border town with his new bride, played by Janet Leigh, as the music from the bars blare every time they pass an open door. Go rent it now. My blog will be here when you get back.

Jonas Never recently (about six months ago) completed a mural linking Touch of Evil and Venice today. Here's a picture--the actual artwork is 102 feet wide and 50 feet high, and it's on the side of Danny's Deli. Here's an article about the mural and artist from Venice Patch. The Public Parking sign is right in front of Inspector Vargas and his bride.

So--finally--I present the full-view 1912 picture. Click on it to get totally lost in the past, or at least, in one past:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Emmy Plaza: Marlo Bartels

More mosaic art by Marlo Bartels--this is Emmy Plaza, outside the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood.

The Emmy folks have been here since 1991. Jan Scott, production designer and winner of 11 Emmys herself, is given credit for the grand design of Emmy Plaza, which features a fountain and 27-foot-tall statue of the Emmy Award (hidden by trees in this photo, from Marlo Bartels' blog).

Interestingly, the 1991 Los Angeles Times piece about the TV Academy's opening says it's an 18 foot statue. Maybe it is and the fountain that serves as a pedestal adds another 7 feet?

But none of that has aught to do with Marlo Bartel's work.

Mr. Bartels' contribution to this public plaza--sometimes called Emmy Plaza, or Academy Plaza, or Hall of Fame Plaza--is two 50-foot undulating mosaic statues and seven cubes, all covered with mosaic tiles. The undulating mosaic statues are benches, a form that to this artist allows for endless innovation.

I wasn't able to find any pictures of the cubes, but they are of cracked tile like the meandering long benches that twine between eucalyptus trees.

In the Hall of Fame section of the plaza, busts and statues of iconic TV stars dot the plaza as well. Here's one of Bill Cosby that shows the mosaic bench right next to it.

This last photo and the one above are from the Public Art in LA website, a great source for photos of the individual star bronzes. Those are worth looking at--there's Dinah Shore, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Lucy & Desi, Mary Tyler Moore & Dick van Dyke, Tim Conway, Walt Disney, Johnny Carson, Walter Cronkite, and many more.

The Academy has a detailed and complex history outlined on its site, which only makes me grateful that this post is about the mosaics outside, and not the politics within.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Marlo Bartels' Sylmar Mosaic

Mosaicist Marlo Bartels has work on display all over the Southland, but somehow I've missed seeing his name. So I'm gonna devote the next coupla Mosaic Mondays to him.

Since I've never featured Sylmar in a post before, we'll go there first.

The picture on the left was taken in front of MS Aerospace on Foothill Blvd, during a visit from Astronaut Jim Kelly. (The photo's from their gallery)

Marlo Bartels designed the pyramid an ball behind them. There's another picture of it to the right, and finally a beauty below, which came from the artist's website via a link. (Gotta think that's him reflected in the window, taking the picture.)

Bartels has been working in ceramics since 1977. This is from his website:

He works with ceramic tile, terrazzo & stone; shaping, forming and glazing the clay elements by hand. With the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., he has developed new techniques for fabricating furniture and sculptures, using tile facings on ferro-cement with polystyrene substrates.

Sylmar, CA  MS Aerospace

Marlo is the artist-in-residence at Fullerton College this year, and his studio is in Laguna Beach. His work is everywhere, but the OC has quite a lot of it. He's even done some Home Savings and Loans!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Harvey House Girls

The Lomita Railroad Museum hosts some fascinating talks. Coming up this Thursday, October 18, 2012, is one on "Fred Harvey, His Houses, His Girls, and Railway Dining."
There's a reception at 6:30 pm, and the talk starts at 7 pm.
Here's what the flyer says:

Early railroad travel in the U.S. was very uncomfortable and meals were only available at “road houses” where fare typically consisted of rancid meat, cold beans, and old coffee. Fred Harvey, early 1800s entrepreneur, was responsible for changing the railway dining experience to fresh ingredients cooked by European chefs served on Irish linen tablecloths by attractive Harvey Girls. Join us for a fun and informative journey through this history of railway dining and the impact of Harvey Girls on the settlement of the West where men outnumbered women by 2 to 1.
 Presenters are Toni Wasserberger is Professor Emeritus of English and History at El Camino College Compton Educational Center; Susie Dever is Dean of Academic Programs at El Camino College Compton Center and Chair of Lomita Railroad Museum Foundation.