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.