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Cabinet of Curiosities unveils mysterious worlds viewed through peepholes at Union Station

August 2, 2016 in Art, Downtown, Mass Transit, Transportation

A peek inside artist David DiMichele's Cabinet​

A peek inside artist David DiMichele’s Cabinet​

DTLA’s iconic Union Station unveils the Cabinet of Curiosities, an original installation of mysterious worlds viewed through peepholes, created by a group of Los Angeles-based artists. The exhibit will open to the public on August 6 and remain on display during station operating hours through August 31. A special reception with the artists, open to the public, will be held on Sunday, August 7 from 3 – 6pm.

Curated by Carl Berg, the exhibit showcases original works from artists Tanya Brodsky, David DiMichele, Ashley Hagen, Noel Korten, Keith Lord, Cecilia Miniucchi and Andre Yi.

Cabinet of Curiosities will feature a visual glimpse into the artists’ world not on a grand scale but rather on a more personal level. Only one person can view the artworks in the exhibition at a time, giving the viewer his or her own intimate experience. It requires active participation by the viewer something often lost in a world of digital billboards, video screens at gas stations, and smart devices on which you can watch movies.

“We’re delighted to bring this intriguing installation to our Grand Waiting Room,” said Ken Pratt, Metro’s Director of Union Station Property Management. “Our goal is to surprise and engage commuters, tourists and others traveling through the station with an unexpected and fanciful art experience.”

“Cabinet of Curiosities” refers to a European practice from the 16th Century, also known as Kunstkabinett, Wunderkammer, Cabinets of Wonder, and wonder-rooms, which were encyclopedic collections of objects and were regarded as microcosms or theaters of the world and were a precursor to the first museums.

These unique worlds formed from an assemblage of objects and in many ways functioned as a library of these objects, not unlike computers and the Internet, by creating relationships between things.

The exhibition however is inherently not digital and the artworks created for this exhibition were mostly handmade by the artists themselves. A throw-back to an era were mystery was created by crafting objects that used visual phenomenon to trick the viewer into seeing something that is really not what is seems to be.

Cabinet of Curiosities is part of Union Station’s first-ever summer entertainment series that spans unique events, thought provoking cultural programs and live music, free to the public throughout the summer season. For more information on Cabinet of Curiosities and summer programs at Union Station visit

About Union Station:
Built in 1939, Union Station is the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the station’s signature Mission Moderne style makes it one of L.A.’s architectural gems. Today, the station has evolved into a vibrant transportation center serving 75,000 passengers daily. Union Station is currently in the first phase of a Master Plan that will enable it to better handle the growing number of transit riders, accommodate high-speed rail and serve as one of L.A.’s premier public spaces while protecting the historic core of the station. For more information, visit Connect with Union Station on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Traffic jam from hell this weekend DTLA

February 5, 2016 in Downtown, Driving, Mass Transit, News, Transportation

Detour route outlined around DTLA starting tonight.

Detour route outlined around DTLA starting tonight.

I know they’re calling it #101slowjam where a section of the 101 on the east side is closed for the demo of the 6th street bridge.  However, last I took the 110 around DTLA, which is their intended detour route, things were at a standstill crawl and it wasn’t even a peak drive time.

My suggestion is if you need to be downtown this weekend during the 40 hour closure you use metro trains and buses as its going to be a hellish drive.  If the intent is catch the 5 or 60 from there find a better spot to grab it and avoid the congestion downtown.  This is going to be a long 40 hour closure.

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Help the homeless in DTLA with tarps and tents

January 21, 2016 in Downtown, environment, LA, Seasonal, Social issues

Screen grab from the Crowdrise donation page.

Screen grab from the Crowdrise donation page.

Its sorta the lull between storms and the homeless are getting a bit of a break from the rain, but not the cold so much.  I got this email from former BLA’er Dave Bullock and thought I’d share it with you all here.  Its a campaign to raise funds to buy tarps and tents for the homeless on skidrow.  Help if you can.


People are dying from exposure in Skid Row and there is something we can do about it.

My long time friend, community activist Don Garza, has been walking the streets of Skid Row before and during the rain storms and handing out tarps and tents to the homeless who don’t have adequate protection from the elements. He needs our help to buy more tarps and tents that he can hand out. Please consider donating and sharing to your friends and social network:

Don and I really appreciate your help.


Dave and Don

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What you missed at L.A Auto Show Press Days

November 22, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Seasonal, Shopping, Technology

One the things you get in Press Days of the Los Angeles Auto Show that you don’t get in the public days is the grand reveals and Green Car Drives. It is physically impossible as a party of one to hit every press conference so I have to pick and choose which to attend so I can get in and see all the cars on display and photograph them.  Trust me its a lot of work and not all party and booze and great food.  There is some of that, but the thrust of the 2 day event is press conferences and not all are wowsers.

Audi was a real surprise.  Instead of the ususal hype and bluster, they started with an apology for the current diesel kerfuffle with fudged testing vs operation parameters.  They promised to earn their customers respect back.  Then they went into the discussion on the future of Audi relying on electric cars, first to come is the A3 E-tron and soon to follow an all electric SUV the E-tron Quattro in a few years.  By 2025 Audi expects 25% of all cars they sell to be electric. Read the rest of this entry →

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2015 L.A. Auto Show Highlights

November 21, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Technology, Transportation

First up…Chevy’s Volt took the green car of the year award in a ceremony held Thursday Morning.  Later I got to drive it and was impressed.  Smoother ride, smoother transition back and forth between EV and gas mode, with much more time in pure EV mode than the prior version.  Add in a much more refined, high end materials and fit in finish inside this car is nothing like its hard edged predecessor.  I can see easily why it won “Green Car of the Year” for its technilogical and creature comfort advancements.  Nice job Chevy.

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Elio P5 best kept secret to be revealed at L.A Auto Show

November 6, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Shopping, Technology, Transportation

We know little of this car other than an entry on the schedule of premieres during Press Days of the L.A. Auto Show coming up in 2 short weeks.  Elio is a new car company the P5 is their debut car.  Little is known.  Rumors abound.  Its a 3 wheel car, .9liter 3 cylnder, 80+mpg, 0-60 in under 10 seconds, top speed over 100. This is either going to be the greatest thing since the Tesla to make us change how we think about cars or will will be another blip on the radar that we snicker over like the Dale.  I fear the latter as with “cheap” gas again and a resurgance of guzzing SUV sales and falling hybrid sales, but we’ll see.  It may just wow us.

The L. A. Auto Show is open to the public 11/20-29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Buy your tickets now and avoid the lines at the ticket booths.  While there judge for yourself if the Elio Motors P5 is the future or a blip.

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L.A. Auto Show teasers….it opens next month

October 15, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, Seasonal, Shopping

Alfa Romeo 4c - click to embiggen

Alfa Romeo 4c – click to embiggen

Where to start…something new or something old?  Let’s start with the super new Alfa Romeo that is to be revealed at this years 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.  Will it be as sexy as the 4c they pulled the curtain from in Detroit in January?  My guess is yes.  My guess is that it will be a BMW 3 series competitor, because that’s what they all wanna have.  We shall see won’t we?  Lord knows a sexy 2 door sports car is a nice way to relaunch a brand, but they need more to sustain one.

To kick off the new Alfa the Motor Press Guild is organizing a retrospective of 35 collectible concours quality Alfas from the past to be displayed in the Gilbert Lindsay Plaza of the convention center. Those cars will be driven to the show from the Palm Springs Concorso held the weekend prior.  Additionally Alfa Romeo is bringing a few cars from their private collection to show there as well.  This will only be available to the press so I’ll take lots of pics for you.

The other news is that the Green Car of the Year finalists were named.  This goes to the car, usually a hybrid, though a traditional gasser was included one year and a now not so clean we learned the hard way diesel.  But I digress, the field this year is interesting and I’m not sure how it will go.  They’re all familiar names, two got complete makeovers.  Volt by Chevy is more mainstream looking and has doubled electic range, Prius…gets the funky face front intakes seen on their fuel cell car, not functional, funky for the sake of funky with the promise of better driving dynamics.  That’s like asking a toaster not to be a toaster.  The finalists up for judging by the Green Car Journal:

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Hyundai Sonata
  3. Chevy Volt
  4. Toyota Prius
  5. Audi A3 e-tron (my personal favorite)

Tickets are on sale now, grab yours early and avoid the crush outside waiting insufferable minutes in the ticket lines.  ORDER HERE.

Los Angeles Auto Show, Los Angeles Convention Center. November 20-29, 2015.  Check web for daily times.

Pic by me.  I’ll be at the show for press days 11/18-19 and share with you the winners and losers.

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Lotus Festival at Echo Park

July 12, 2015 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Seasonal, Shopping

Echo Park Lake and the lotus in bloom looking at DTLA, Click to embiggen

Echo Park Lake and the lotus in bloom looking at DTLA, Click to embiggen

Well today I ventured to Echo Park for this years Lotus Festival.  Yes, they were in bloom and they were knock me over gorgeous.  The rest of the festival, meh.  My last time there was 2007 when I was a rower with the team metblogs Dragon Boat, but I digress.

This years show had very few artisans.  There was some nifty stuff.  Lots of Day of the Dead skulls painted on stuff you wouldn’t expect.  Great food trucks…gotta give the food vendors the nod as they make this festival.  The rest, sadly was swap meet crap.  Its a common theme in outdoor events too many times of late, they let vendors in reselling cheap import crap forcing out the artisans with quality work who can’t compete at a price point.  grrrr.

The music was fun and lively.  and varied.  Something for everyone and that alone makes its worth the drip to Echo Park and fight for parking.

Today is the last day.  More details on the show in the Lotus Festival FB page.

Pic by Me, more on my Flickr album

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Tower Records, the documentary 3/25/2015

March 18, 2015 in Downtown, Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Music

Flyer for the Movie

Flyer for the Movie

I knew about Tower Records long before I moved here.  Sunset and Horn. My bestest buddy from college lived just up the hill on Horn from there.  Every trip to visit Los Angeles included at trip to Tower Records to soak up the vibe and pick up the lastest and greatest tunes.  And star sightings.  Lots of them back in the 80s. Even after I moved here and was living in Canoga Park I still made it there often.  As I look at my collection of tapes and CD’s and odd bits of vinyl each brings back a memory of a trip there.

The Grammy Museum at L.A  Live has a documentary on the rise and fall of Tower Records that will show March 25, 2015.  Tickets are on sale now .  Reel to Reel: All Things Must Pass promises to be a joyous trip down memory lane.  The old store may have been killed by the MP3 pirates, but its memories will live on.

Deets: The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live. Olympic and Figueroa, Los Angeles MAP HERE  Tickets: $15

Overexposed In Chinatown

December 24, 2014 in Downtown, Immigration, LA, Photography, Shopping

ctown5 ctown20It’s not what it sounds like, although what it sounds like sounds fun…

Nope, I was downtown the other day with a camera set to too high an exposure, on a mission to acquire a parasol.

Almost every store in Chinatown around the rectangle created by Broadway and Hill / Cottage Home and Cesar Chavez sells parasols. But there’s only one I’ve ever encountered with a wide selection of diverse and lovely paper–not polyester, same-painting-on-every-pink-and-blue-version, parasols. After three years away, I wasn’t sure the parasol store would still be in the square at the intersection on Gin Ling and Mei Lin Way (yep, all those little pedestrian streets have names…check out the map here…helps when you’re looking for a specific gallery).

ctown08To my relief, Andy’s Gift Shop was still there, across from the lucky coin-toss fountain (a miniature landscape with different mountain-hermit homes sculpted into the waterfall rock, a different pagoda or edifice you can toss a coin into for prosperity and good luck in any area of life). After meandering past the weirdly cordoned-off statue of Bruce Lee and the skatepunk dudes trying to nail the (presently turned-off) waterfall’s house of Good Luck in Love with pennies, I made it into the gift shop and accessioned what was needed. Thanks Chinatown! It’s nice to know a few things haven’t changed.

I have a really crappy phone with an even crappier camera in it. The settings on the phone randomly re-set them depending on the phone’s own perverse mood swings. That day, it had set the exposure to what us photography-illiterate folks call “way too damn bright.” Oddly, the photos came out pretty, with a washed-out sort of lighting that perfectly showcased the lurid colors of the neighborhood.


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Must see exhibits at CA Science Center…and lunch

December 23, 2014 in Art, Classic Eats, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, History, LA, Shopping, Vintage

Pompeii corpse cast - click to embiggen

Pompeii corpse cast – click to embiggen

I have to tell you, the Pompeii exhibit at the CA Science Center through January 11 is quite the show to take in. Amazing artifacts, jewelry and such. But what really got me was the casts of the bodies found in the city as they excavated it.

In short August 24, 79 The city of Pompeii was struck by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius.  The folks ran and hid, then were buried with ash.  Flash forward some 1600 years and archeologist figured out the ash covered corpses were hollow and proceeded to fill them with plasters capturing this folks in the final moments of their life.  Moving.  Morbid.  Incredible.  Much more telling than all the artifcats and murals.

An added bonus, and I don’t know how we got it, but since we bought our tickets for Pompeii online a nice California Science Center employee gave the lovely Mrs and I passes to see the space shuttle Endeavour.  Read the rest of this entry →

‘Tis the Season for Crowds: Krampus on Parade & Renegade Craft Fair

December 13, 2014 in Art, Crafts, Downtown, East Side, Entertainment, Events, Fashion, Holidays, LA, Seasonal, Shopping

I braved not one but TWO crowds today.  First up…  The Echo Park Holiday Parade!!!  I had high hopes for this because I’d heard a bunch of Krampus revelers were going to be there and I was not disappointed.  If you’re one of the uninitiated, “Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved… Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children and drag them off into the black forest.” (wiki)

Krampus was made popular a couple years ago by a viral video of hairy-costumed nightmares rampaging through a northern Italian mountain community and beating the ever-loving crap out of passersby.  I needed the little one to see this so she’d be on her best behavior for the next couple weeks.  But unlike Italy where it is apparently legal to beat innocent tourists, it’s frowned upon here, especially for 6 month olds.  That’s probably for the best.

There were other parade participants but I honestly can’t remember who they were after seeing the Krampus steam engine car built by Bay Area artist-engineer Kimeric Smythe.  Also several members of the Salzburg-area Alt Gnigler Krampus and Perchten Troupe joined the parade of domestic brand Krampus… Krampuses?  Krampen?  Krampai?  Whatever.  It was a hoot.

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As if seeing Krampus in Echo Park wasn’t enough, I dragged the kid downtown to Grand Park for the Renegade Craft Fair.  It’s one of my favorites.  Although I had nothing to buy this time (poor wallet…), I got to see some new friends like the ladies at Ave Dee.  I bought a fanny pack from them at the Patchwork Show in Long Beach and it’s been my saving grace on short outings with the kid.  Contrary to what movies tell you, you do not need to travel everywhere with a full diaper bag breaking your back.  Sometimes you just need your wallet, cell phone, car keys, and an emergency pacifier.  Maybe some chapstick.  Ave Dee’s fanny packs are the perfect hands-free device for busy mommas like me.  And they’re cool!  Anyone who says fanny packs are lame are probably pretty lame themselves.  And I guarantee you they’re carrying around way too much crap.

I also stopped in on good friends and former roommates extraordinare from Outlaw Soaps, Russ & Danielle Vincent.  These amazing villians started their business in our house just a couple years ago and look at them now!  Masters of saponification.  Lauded by the mighty Oprah herself, even.  I highly recommend you jump on their bandwagon, stat; they’re moving their productions from Oakland to a little parcel of land just southeast of Lake Tahoe and they’ve quit soap making until the new digs are up and running in January.  When I saw them today, they had very little stock left.  That’s what happens when your goods are being bought for wholesale by the likes of national retailers like Urban Outfitters and ThinkGeek!  I’m so proud of them, I could scream.

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Just another reason I love L.A

November 26, 2014 in Downtown, Photography, Weather

Staple Center at sunset

Today was Public Days of the L.A. Auto Show. I brought my son and a neighborhood kid I’ve known since he could barely walk.  Its our annual tradition.

We left to grab a bite to eat at L.A. Live, Yard House to be precise, and exited to find this vista.  The sun bouncing off the Marriot/Ritz Carlton illuminating the ultimate L.A. icon, the Palm Tree.  It was otherworldly.

Add in it was 80+ degrees outside in November and it couldn’t be a better reminder of why I love Los Angeles. Click the pic to see it full-size.

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Mercedes Benz does an Art Car

November 24, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events

MBartcarfront I missed the Benz press conference and reveal…busy shooting elsewhere so I missed the point behind the Art Car. I have no idea why or who did it but its different.  Quality work event.

I’ve got a few detail pics after the jump.  Pretty nifty stuff.

Sound off in the comments on why you think they did it and the meaning of it all.

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L.A. Auto Show…press days round up

November 22, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Events, News, Seasonal, Transportation

I have to tell you the cacophony of the Auto Show during press days is very different than that of public days. Its not thousands of people meandering about, but a herd mentality of media types running from one press conference and reveal to the next. Its usually a couple in a row in one hall where you shuffle a few feet at time vying for the best seat to hear/see and be the first on stage for photos when its over. Its 15 minutes of manufacture hype with 5 minutes of photo op, then 5 minutes to get to the next show. Insanity.

Also different is that the manufacturers have stuff that is available for press days only. The reps I talked with didn’t think the live demo of the iRoad in this video would take place for public days…so thats my lede. Read the rest of this entry →