Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Mosaic Monday from the south end of San Pedro

Mid century geometric mosaics on an apartment house on 25th Street, just east of where it turns into Palos Verdes Drive South.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dress Up at Disneyland

Did you know there were sort of secret days on which visitors dress up to go to the Magic Kingdom? Some really epitomize the term "dress up," as in "Sunday morning church and stroll clothes." The most exquisite dress up day would be Dapper Day and it occurs twice a year.

Dapper Day has its own website, which is where the above montage came from. The next Dapper Day in Orange County is September 18--upwards of 20,000 people come dressed in their finest from their era of choice, and you can join them!

I called the dress up days "sort of secret" because there's a website or facebook page for many of them. You just have to know where to look for it. Here is a list of the days that was published by LA Weekly (thank you, thank you!).

The day coming up  next on the calendar is April 26: Pin-up Day. This involves goodie bags and special group pictures at certain rides. See the linked FB page for times. Also see their links for what constitutes a pin up outfit. They're much milder than I thought. Attitude seems to be the defining factor of the ensemble.

The 10th Annual Unofficial Star Wars Day was last June, but I haven't found a date for a 2015 event. You can "like" the event site on Facebook to stay informed.

For the record, I think that Disneyland does not allow full-on costumes. Star Wars fans can wear tee shirts, etc. but not their Padawan or Jedi Master outfits. On Dapper Day--well, when does a suit with a bow tie become a costume? It doesn't! Get thee to a habadashery!

Gay Days are old hat by now--but Boomers like me remember when, back in the 70s or 80s, this was a big issue. Hah! According to many, any day is gay day at the Magic Kingdom. For the record, however, Gay Days fall in October.

Other special days include the twice-a-year Raver Days, Dr. Who day--also called Galliday--and the Harry Potter Day. Then there's Lolita day, Tikis, steampunk, rockabily, Bats, and goths. And lions and tigers and bears--well, why don't they have an Oz day?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Giannini Place

If you hear "Giannini", you might think of Bank of America--especially if you're into corporate histories, because A. P. Giannini created the Bank of America as we know it.

Did you know that before there was a Bank of America, there was a Bank of Italy, founded by Giannini in 1904 in San Francisco? In fact, the Bank of Italy helped the city recover from the 1906 earthquake by providing loans for rebuilding. In 1923, Giannini placed its corporate headquarters right here in Los Angeles. After just five years, he merged his Bank of Italy with a small, local firm called Bank of America Los Angeles, and then changed the name of his banking chain. From 1930 on it's been Bank of America. The building itself has housed other companies, but of late it's stood abandoned.

Giannini Place, as the former corporate headquarters is now called, is a 12-story building at Olive and 7th Street, and as the Los Angeles Times reports in this story, it's about to be transformed from one of our top eyesores into a "hip hotel,"by Sydell Group.

Sydell Group recently bought the site for $30 million (according to the Times) and is already converting another structure--the Commercial Exchange Building on Olive and 8th, one block away--into the Freehand Hotel.

The Times story has links back to 1923 articles about the opening of the Bank of Italy headquarters, and also describes the plans for both the Freehand and Giannini Place hotel (there's no official name yet). It's an interesting read in itself--here's the link again--but it is also accompanied by a SLIDESHOW! Yay! No separate link--it's embedded right into the beginning of the article.

The pictures show that while columns and marble and ornate ceilings are still in place, there are lots of repairs to be done. And that there's a big ol' vault in the basement.

My black and white photo is from the Los Angeles Library's Herald Examiner collection. It was taken in 1941 and identifies the structure as the TransAmerica Building.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mid April Report

Old and new on Abbott Kinney in Venice

On April 28, go see a lecture and slide show about Pacific Ocean Park--remember that wild place? Did you know that it was built because it's owner was miffed at Walt Disney and Disneyland, so he built his own "Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier" ? So there.

The speakers will be Marc Wanamaker (who often writes and talks about Venice and early movie history) and Dominic Priore, who has written the book on POP and will have it for sale at the lecture.

7 PM, April 28, at SPARC (the old police station), 686 Venice Blvd. It's presented by the Venice Historical Society. If you're a member of that august group, the event is free; otherwise, it's $10.

Have you seen the Sunset Strip Rock and Roll Billboards exhibit at the Skirball Center? On April 21 (Tuesday) at 8 pm, photographer Robert Landau and billboard artist Enrique Vidal will talk about their careers and the exhibit itself. Free, but rsvp's are recommended. They always say that.

Of course, the big event this weekend will be the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC. There's so much going on there that I can't even begin to list the authors, panels, specialists, celebrities, etc. John Scalzi with Wil Wheaton! Plus there are so many talks aimed at writers of every genre, even those who cross genres (cough). Go to the page, and go to the Festival!

What to read? How about the story of Jymm, one of the 6,300 homeless veterans in Los Angeles. Read it through to the last sentence. This story raises painful issues, like: does a person have to conform to my standard of normal to get the benefit of the doubt when decisions are made about his health, his mental health, his care? Or how about: how many demands can be made on overworked agencies before incarceration is chosen as simply the easiest way to deal with a difficult person?