Monday, December 19, 2016

Tar Pits Essay by David Ulin

I should have known: good articles always show up in threes or more. Should have held off on yesterday's post a day, because now I have something to add to it: an opinion piece fro David L. Ulin that appeared in the December 19 LA Times: "What Lies Beneath L.A."

It's all about the thin veneer of metropolis we trust so heavily in, and the fractured, tarry landscape beneath.

The Times ran a picture of the LaBrea Tar Pits diorama in front of the Page Museum, but I prefer this picture "borrowed" from another blog that shows tar seeping up through a sidewalk on Wilshire. This may be the very seep that Ulin mentions several times in his essay. I think it's a better illustration of the tar today (mammoths are nice and all but can we really relate to one being stuck in goo?) and the reminder of what's really beneath the solid ground on which we place our trusting feet.

The picture comes from a 2015 blog post by Geoff Manaugh. Actually his BLDGBLOG post is a reprint of a post he'd written for The Daily Beast, and goes into the same topics Ulin addressed, with even more details: the 1989 methane gas explosion that took out a dress store on a strip mall, also the fault of the tar pits beneath. The temporary nature of our structures compared to the forces of nature underlying them. How we've taught ourselves to ignore all this.

Both are fine reading, especially if you need a break from Modern Life.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Vacation Reading for you

First, here are 25 Los Angeles area restaurants that happen to be over fifty years old. Some old favorites, of course, but also a few--like Cielito Lindo--I had not heard of or visited. You?

Second, seen this iconic photo from 1960? The Case Study House No. 22?

Los Angeles Magazine goes in-depth on its importance, with interviews with the architect (Pierre Koenig) and builders, the models in the photo, the owners of the home, and the photographer, Julius Shulman, who took this shot on May 9, 1960.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ooohhh ... Watch Los Angeles Grow!

This is for the dazzled kid in us. Los Angeles Magazine has put up a Google Map graphic of the Southland -- and yes, you can move around and zoom in on your part of town -- that lets you see the growth and change since 1984. It's great fun.

No street names, though.

Another recommended read is much more sobering: The Los Angeles Times published a haunting photo essay about visiting Tule Lake, one of the camps where people of Japanese descent were forced to live during most of World War 2. Fact: 62% of the 110,000 + people who lost homes and jobs and were forced into internment camps were American citizens.

The article shows other sites in California that are connected with racism over the years. For more info on the Internment of Japanese Americans, this is one instance where Wikipedia is a good place to start.