Because of whatever often-fleeting eye candy I might chance upon when venturing forth into the urban arena, I rarely leave home without some sort of photographic documentation device in hand — and that goes double whenever I find myself in the Arts District south and east of downtown. Case in point, discovered near the 6th Street Bridge and signed by what looks to be “dreb” near her left hip (click to enlargify):
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Certainly not THAT bridge. Nowhere near the one Anthony Keidis sings of drawing blood and giving his life away. But a bridge’s under nonetheless — in this case the one that carries Sunset Boulevard over Silver Lake Boulevard — that the majority of passers-through traverse safely installed within the confines of vehicles. Perhaps there’s a scant percentage of those commuters who know that it was designed by none other than Los Angeles bridge-building master (and unsung LA hero) Merrill Butler, constructed in 1932 and was declared Historic-Cultural Monument No. 236 in 1981.
Since it’s in my neighborhood, I travel beneath it on foot or by bike pretty regularly. It’s often more foreboding than friendly, but that’s precisely why I venture through… to keep a claim on it. That, and it’s got some nice Romanesque architectural details (groined vault arches, FTW) that go otherwise unnoticed.
Another thing that would otherwise go unseen is a recent addition from Caché (pronounced cat-chay), my favorite muralist, famed around these here parts of LA’s Upside for his prolific chickens. This one, painted simply on the inside of the column in the deepest darkest part of the bridge (shown at right, too dark to capture in the above panorama) is nothing less than a pleasant surprise, a bit of whimsy in a serious place, a ray of light in the shadows. A hidden caché, if you will.
One of my most favorite art gallery’s in L.A. has got to be the L.A. Center for Digital Art. Maybe because I drift into that realm with my own art often, but the images shown there are technically at the top of that genre and media.
The current show that will run this month is the Electron Salon bringing in art from 24 different artists. Its opening reception will take place in conjunction with Thursdays Art Walk at L.A.C.D.A from 7-9PM.
If you are planning on attending this weeks Art Walk and the Artists Reception at L.A.C.D.A take a train to Pershing Square and walk the 3 blocks or so to Gallery Row. It beats the hassle of traffic and trying to find parking in the area of this well attended event.
As a sidebar the folks at Occupy LA have apologized for what happened at last months Art Walk. This was reported HERE in blogdowntown. (If you don’t follow blogdowntown add it to your reading list as it is a great hyper-local source of info on DTLA). Another Occupy L.A. event likely won’t happen again at this month’s art walk.
Monrovia does things a little different. In this case we turn Cinco de Mayo into a big street fair that is family friendly and hold it before the actual day. We’ll be doing it Sunday April 29th to be precise. The event is full of activities for kids, music and art featuring local artists. It will even include a food drive for the Foothill Unity Center so bring a non perishable canned goods you can donate while you are there.
I’m not always successful, but whenever I’m biking around Los Angeles, I try to return a way different from whatever way I came and/or devote a little bit of my rides to exploring someplace new and/or at least revisiting an area I hadn’t been through in a while. Such was the case yesterday coming back to Silver Lake from a trip out to SPCALA headquarters near the Jefferson Park community that I ventured up through the Pico-Union area from Hoover, and made two discoveries.
The first is the hole-in-the-wall bakery pictured at right, seen just as I crossed Washington Boulevard. Looking up I spied that yellow banner hanging outside a Panaderia for the Bicycle Bread Company (BBC). While it’s true I hadn’t been on Union in about six months, unless this place opened during that time than I was guilty of never seeing it before. Because if I had seen it I most certainly would’ve stopped and bought something, given much I like bikes. And bread.
Sure enough: guilty. According the the BBC website it’s been in business since 2009. Also according to the website they’re hours in that space are limited to 5-8pm on Thursdays, but I apparently got both lucky and over-charged in that the place was open and I was able to come away with a one-pound round loaf of BBC’s cinnamon raisin whole grain sold by the panaderia owner for $5 (apparently there’s a hidden 25% commission surcharge above the $4 per-loaf price listed on the BBC website). Thankfully that extra dollar dinged didn’t detract from the absolute homemade milled-on-site scrumptiousness of the bread.
A little bit more about the BBC as well as a great mural found up the street, plus a bonus Victorian that surprised me after the jump.
I’m not a fan of malls, but I am a sucker for a good fine art event. At least Paseo Colorado is a semi-open mall. Paseo Spring Fest promises to be among the better ones as it is a juried event, meaning the artists have to be reviewed by a jury panel to ensure they are accomplished at what they do.
During your time at the art show if you need a break and feel the need for a little libations do stop in at the Bodega Wine Bar.
Parking is fairly good at the Paseo. It is about 6 blocks, an easy walk from the Gold Line Memorial Park Station which is a pretty good option if you are mass transit enabled.
Details: Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 11AM-6PM, 280 E. Colorado Blvd.Pasadena, CA MAP HERE
You’d think I live in Pasadena given how often I post about the place, I don’t, but they always have something of interest going on. This Saturday its the 10th Annual Pasadena Earth and Arts Festival to be held in and around the Armory Center for the Arts across from Memorial Park. Here’s the run down of things that will be at this FREE festival:
- huge eco-market place with exhibitors private and public helping you to live green
- The Green Truck and Coolhaus food trucks for sustainable noshing
- First ever sustainable beer garden with a biodegradable “little red cup” featuring the beer from Craftsman Brewing Company and Eagle Rock Brewery
- Fallen Fruit will be there with its jam making wisdom. Feel free to bring in your found fruit from public spaces or your own back yard.
For gawds sake take public transpo to the Gold Line and exit Memorial Park Station…you’ll be right at the park and only a very short walk to the Armory Center. Show your metro pass or ticket at the Transportation Booth and they will have a gift for you…well a gift as long as the supply lasts. Beats the difficulty in finding parking in the area which can be expensive when you do find a space and don’t forget that PPD does patrol hard for scofflaws.
Details:Saturday April 14, 2012 11AM-5PM, 145 Raymond Street, Pasadena CA, MAP HERE
The images from the cell phone have evolved, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art has nearly 3 dozen photographers showing images taken with their cell phones. These promise not to be “instagrams” but rather documentation in an a sometimes digitally manipulated view of the world around us.
Mobile Pixels will run from April 12-May 5th 2012. The show’s opening reception will coincide with the Downtown Art Walk on Thursday April 12 from 7-9PM.
Parking is brutal Downtown on Art Walk nights so I would arrive early if you must drive. Public transportation is a better option given the lack of parking and traffic in the area, do yourself a favor and use the Red or Purple line to get yourself to Pershing Squares Metro station and walk the 4 blocks to this marvy show at LACDA.
This should be interesting. 7 local news photographers, 1 photographer/artist and one Disney artist are getting together to put on a show and reception this Saturday night.
Two of my favorite artists will be there. Stephen Coleman a photographer and the Disney Artist, Rick Kess…pretty much ensures I’ll be in attendance. Free food and booze doesn’t hurt either…sorta stimulating all your senses at once.
Deets: Saturday 7PM – 10PM, Paint n Play Art Studio and Art Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 MAP HERE.
On the final day of its journey from Riverside County to its new home at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I opted to bike down to South Los Angeles with my friend Joni because we’re a couple of those kook types who thought it would be da schist to pull a literal all-night “boulder dash” and follow the 340-ton rock along the entire length of the last 10.5 miles to the museum. Call it Levitated Mass Transit.
Your enthusiasm may vary, but the trek was a total once-in-a-dozen-lifetimes blast. And while its moment of arrival in front of LACMA at 4:30 a.m. was cause for celebration among the hundreds gathered in attendance, for me the most dramatic moment happened above in Exposition Park at the bend in Figueroa Street just south of Exposition Boulevard when the 200-foot long, three-lane-wide transport vehicle had to negotiate its first turn of the night, and its right front corner came within what looked to be less than an inch of making contact with a speed limit sign. As the spotter says to me at the end, “If you’ve got a half-inch, you’ve got a mile.”
Gneissly and successfully avoided.
In the waning months of the last year of the last century spent toiling as the editor of a weekly newspaper in Pasadena a press packet landed on my desk detailing an exhibit at the Mendenhall Gallery and from it I discovered and become enthralled with the art of Richard Bunkall, a resident of the city and long-time instructor at Arts Center College of Design.
Little more than a week later, at the age of 45, Bunkall died after a five-year struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. In shock as I read the perfunctory obituary in the Pasadena Star-News, I mourned his passing somewhat selfishly in that I’d just found his heroic art. As such I wanted both to know more and share that with my readers, and thanks to the grace of his widow Sally during what had to be such a difficult time, she allowed myself and writer Kathleen August to intrude upon the Bunkall home, and access his studio, where he created his amazing works, and where surrounded by family and friends he passed in May 1999.
It was a deeply emotional experience and privilege, to say the least.
It was equally emotional to visit the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) last night for a standing-room-only event surrounded by some of his most profound and moving creations, to remember the man and his art and to celebrate the launch of a new book devoted to both, the first publication of the artist’s remarkable 25-year career as a painter and sculptor.
If this is your first time hearing about Richard Bunkall or it’s been a long time since you last thought about him, I’d encourage you to make a trip out to the PMCA to introduce or reacquaint yourself with his remarkable imagery before the exhibit, “Richard Bunkall: A Portrait” closes April 22.
Where: Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union Street, Pasadena, 91101
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 5 p.m., through April 22.
Cost: $7 adults; $5 seniors and students; free the first Friday of the month
If I’m getting redundant in my topics — maps, cycling, birds, maps — file your complaint with the other contributors here who have far better things to do than post. In the meantime, I just keep plugging away in this lonely place — this time with another historic map from Big Map Blog — and just in time for that local trade association’s annual function known as the Academy Awards this Sunday. If I were giving out the Oscars, Big Map Blog would get one for bringing all us little people out there in the dark this awesome and timely 1937 addition to its collection of cartrography: Hollywood Starland, at right (moderately embiggenable if clicked).
Sure the artist misspells Katharine Hepburn’s name, and strangely enough the then 14-year-old Hollywoodland sign isn’t anywhere to be found. But don’t let those oversights keep you from clicking on over and marveling at the full-size version of this otherwise meticulously glorious representation of a bygone era in celebrity worship so bitingly chronicled just a couple years later in Nathanael West’s “Day of the Locust.”
I have sung the praises of the Big Map Blog in the past, most recently in December when a 1932 map of Los Angeles was added to its extensive cartographical collection. And here I go again, because they just posted another jaw-dropper in the form of H.B. Elliott’s birds-eye viewpoint of our town when the population was only 65,000 back in 1891 — one that looks like the artist drew inspiration for it from an imagined vantage point aloft above what is now Elysian Park.
What makes this document so exquisite is not just the map itself, but the detailed representations of both exteriors and interiors of some of the commercial and civic landmarks of that time, most of which are long gone. Click the above image to biggify it. But better yet, got here on Big Map Blog and click the full size download link and get yourself the 157″ x 111″ version to marvel at available there for free.
Walking back from a trip this afternoon to a neighborhood bakery to get some valentine sweets for my sweet, I chanced to look down and discover this intriguing silhouette of a certain historic luxury cruise liner (that I immediately recognized because I’m a history geek like that) sprayed upon — of all places: a Silver Lake driveway apron (click to embiggen):
The approximation of the logo above it is that of the ill-fated ship’s owners, but with with a “4,” a “12,” and a “12″ appearing in the banners under the flag where the words “White,” “Star” and “Line” would be.
It’s interesting (at least to me) that the piece would reference the date of April 12, 1912 — an entirely normal and uneventful day at sea in RMS Titanic’s brief history — instead of the far more infamous date three days later when she sank into the depths of the North Atlantic, taking the lives of 1,517 people with her.
No doubt much more attention will be paid to the the hundredth anniversary of April 15, 1912, when it rolls around in a couple months. But rather than jump on that tragedy bandwagon, perhaps the artist focused on April 12 in homage to the spectacular ship when she was full steam ahead on calm seas and in all her awesome glory.
You’re probably not like me and are able to cope with the scope of the massively collaborative and on-going Pacific Standard Time exhibitions that fall under the ambitious region-wide initiative’s banner. Me, not so much. With so many institutions involved, I suffer from something of a paralysis when trying to decide whether I should go to the Getty or the Hammer or LACMA or wherever. Case in point: I literally became immobile when I just now went to the Pacific Standard Time website and a banner popped up that told me there are 42 events taking place right this moment of 10:28AM — and that may even include a Big Gulp Cup retrospective at my local 7-11.
A few weeks ago I did manage to brush my intimidation aside and pay a first-time visit to MOCA to see the cool exhibition of Weegee’s Hollywood period photographs, but — pardon the digression — then I wandered around the museum’s permanent exhibit and found this piece of crap stuck to the wall, which reinforced both my abject disdain for “contemporary art” and my urge to punish whoever curated it with an extended indian-burn session to the forearm of his or her choosing.
So instead of getting all wound up trying to eenie-meanie-miney-mo to which big box the next I’d go, instead I brought along my inner map geek and together we ventured yesterday to the first floor galleries of the Central Library downtown where I spent an extended segment of the afternoon marveling at the selection of kick-ass cartography displayed as part of its “As The City Grew: Historical Maps of Los Angeles” exhibit.
The 34 maps arrayed go back to the mid-1800s and offer an awesome and up-close glimpse back into our city as it was and as it became. Unlike the aforementioned contemporary bullshit I encountered, some of the maps are true and intricate works of art, and I would highly recommend paying them a visit whether you just find yourself in the library’s vicinity or are in between far better-decided visits than mine to the myriad Pacific Standard Time venues.
WHERE: Los Angeles Public Library, Central Branch, 630 W. 5th St, 90071
WHEN: Through November 4, 2012