Brewery Art Walk - 17 APR 2010

It was a day of Art and Iconic Eateries. Todd, Rich, Rob and I started with breakfast at Philippe's. If you have never been to Philippe's, you've never experienced Los Angeles. "Philippe The Original" is located downtown a block from Olvera Street, LA's oldest street, and three blocks from Union Station. Established in 1908, it's owner created the French dip sandwich. You can check out the history on their website: http://www.philippes.com/
With sawdust on the floors, you stand in one of several lines to order from a uniformed woman behind what looks like an old fashion meat counter. You eat at long wooden school cafeteria table, surrounded by strangers that feel like family. This was the first time for breakfast for everyone except me and we learned that if you are standing in line when they yell, "Last call for Breakfast!" you need to ask for a ticket in order to be allowed to actually order breakfast when you finally get to the front of the line. Although breakfast is only served from 6:00-10:30 AM, you can order a sandwich and their fantastic coleslaw, anytime. They also have some great home made pies and the best cup of coffee that only cost 10 cents. After eating, we headed over to The Brewery Art Colony to attend its' twice annual open house/studio weekend. The first loft we entered had nearly every surface covered in metal or faux metal (painted masonite)...I love what he did with the water cooler.
Located on the site of the former Eastside and Pabst Blue Ribbon Breweries, it has 22 buildings on 23 acres and houses 300-studio complexes which according to their website "consists of 500 or so resident or day use artists in every field of creation and production." http://labrewery.com/brewery/  Outside I found this Don Quixote of the Containers: And a Car Shark: This is the view from the top of one of the brewery buildings:
I also liked the view in the opposite direction:
One artist did some creepy things with dolls, I'm sure some parents were disturbed by a doll with a scissor in its' mouth or a noose around its' neck but I got a good laugh out of doll parts being used as planters...an old cloth body with succulents growing where head, hands and feet would have been or plants growing out of the top of a doll head. He also had a full size cross handing from the ceiling with a skeleton attached...that also gave me a chuckle.
I found the buildings artistic:
One of my favorite artist is Bruce Gray, I particularly like his found objects sculptures. His YouTube film about his work, gives you a feel for walking into an artists loft: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn9ennZWxtg
Several artists had cats or dogs; in a place like this, cats are a necessity, as I'm sure they keep the rodents in check.
And then I found my kind of art:
Their next art walk will be in the fall, check this website for updates: http://breweryartwalk.com/
After about five hours, we were exhausted and decided to head over to the Original Tommy's for dinner.
On the way we got side-tracked and stopped for the best bagels in Los Angeles, Brooklyn Bagel Bakery, making real New York style bagels since 1953. When I was in college they were open 24 hours so anytime you had a craving for a really good bagel it only required a drive downtown. But, now they're only open 6AM-6PM, so I have to stop whenever I'm driving by during business hours. Check them out some time, they are located at 2217 West Beverly Blvd: http://www.brooklynbagella.com/
Finally we landed at our fourth LA icon: the original ramshackle little stand on the corner of Beverly and Rampart. Serving the sloppiest chili-cheese burgers since 1946, there are no chairs or napkins but luckily plenty of paper towels and a stand-up counter for eating. Good food, cheap: http://www.originaltommys.com/
This day was a record even for me...four historic Los Angeles locations in one day...Life is Good!

Poppy Reserve - 09 APR 2010

I saw on the news last night that the poppies were blooming, so I got up early and called Rob to see if he was up for an adventure. He didn't recognize my morning voice but said when he heard the word "Adventure" at 7:00 AM, he knew who it was...and the answer was YES!
I've been to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR several times before, but have never been able to catch the really big show.
It was cool and windy so the show wasn't as spectacular as it would have been if the conditions were ideal. Yet, with the flowers only half open it was still an incredible sight.
The Reserve has very strict rules about staying on the trails and not picking the flowers as the beauty needs to be preserved for others. However, along the highway there are lots of tourists stopping to tread over the flowers in order to take pictures.
Rob takes in the view:
I've always loved photographing old farm equipment but these picturesque items, were screaming at me as I drove by; so, I caught them on the way back.

The last time I saw a nature explosion this good was March 2005 in Death Valley National Park. (Again, it was a newscast that alerted me to the beauty and I ran out the next day to find it.) This is what I found:
And there is always tourists, stopping to photograph each other.
After leaving the poppies, rob spied a couple of bright lights in the distance and asked me what I thought they could be.
Never one to leave a mystery unsolved, I drove over to them. Turns out they were the Sierra Generating Station Sun Tower Project...it was more fun having a mystery that seemed like a secret government project.
Driving pass Action, we found a funky antique place that had everything from chuckwagons to giant farm animals.



Happy Trails to you!

Service Cat - 05 APR 2010

We've all heard of a service dog, used by people with disabilities to give them living assistance. It seems my brothers' dog, Annie, has a service cat. We've noticed for several months that my aloof (not people friendly) cat, Jan has developed a strong bond with Todd's aging dog. Jan follows Annie around like a shadow and is never from from her when they are both outside. Jan has always acted more like a dog than a cat, so her bonding with Annie was not a surprise.
At 13 years old, Annie is now almost completely deaf. We've been using hand signals with her for a long time. She still helps with guarding the property because she reacts whenever one of the other dogs gets excited. She loves hanging out at my house. (Our houses are built on the same lot which allows our pets to freely walk from one yard to another.) Whenever I'm home, Annie will sleep on my floor until I go to bed. My brother comes over to get her when he's going to bed. A few times, she has spent the night and some times she leaves on her own accord to wait outside Todd's door until he's ready to retire. There have been a few times when Annie has spent the night in the garage because Todd didn't see her and assumed she was still at my place. Last night, Todd heard Jan outside his door crying and crying...just meowing up a storm. He went to the door and discovered Jan was calling him to let Annie in the house. Annie was in the shadows, patiently waiting inside the garage where Todd could not see her. Jan had to make sure Todd knew Annie was waiting to come inside. Jan has now become the ears and voice of Annie. The dog has a service cat!

More Historic Theatres - 31 MAR 2010

In doing my research on downtown Los Angeles Theatre District, I realized there were a couple of theatres I missed, so Rob and I took another trip downtown to capture the missing images.
Pantages Theatre - 410 W 6th Street, when it opened in 1920 it was the second Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. In 1929 it became the Warner Bros Downtown Theatre. The gemstone replaced the WB shield when it became the Jewelry Center in 1988.
Metropolitan Theatres ran it for 12 years as the Warrens.
Look closely in the center and you can still see the word WARNER:
I revisited the Globe to get a shot from across the street.Also took a few more shots of the Tower and its' clock.



I like this faded signage on the side of the Tower Theatre:
Got another shot of the Orpheum without the America's Got Talent audience lines blocking the front:
United Artists - 933 S Broadway, open in December of 1927 with Mary Pickfords' silent film My Best Girl.

I had to stand at the back of the parking lot across the street to get the entire 14-story office building. Note the UA marquee in the bottom left corner of the building.

This is another building with great three-dimensional statues.
Each one of the pillars has a different image:
Went back to get a full view of the Arcade (Pantages)...
...then I noticed the eagle detail.
Stopped again at the Cameo to check out the full-front view and was pleased to see the 1910 building detail that matches the public domain drawing (see previous blog entry).

After a ride on Angel's Flight, I discovered the back of the Million Dollar Theatre still has the marks of its' prior tenant. It was constructed for the Edison Co in an opulent Churrigueresque style and later occupied by the Metropolitan Water District before Sid Grauman turned it into his first movie palace.
Belasco Theatre - 1050 S Hill Street, open November of 1926.
The Belasco is located next door to the Mayan.
Mayan Theatre - 1038 S Hill Street, open in 1927 as a legitimate theatre specializing in musical comedies.
One of the few theatres that was never destroyed by remodeling.
The inside is as wonderful as the outside and is currently being used as a nightclub.
Variety Arts Theatre - 940 S Figueroa Street, opened in 1924 as a playhouse for a Women's Club.
Five story Italian Renaissance-style theatre which opened with Will Rogers as the Toastmaster.
Regent - 448 S Main Street, this building was so boring, Rob refused to get out of the car. It's the last of 20 movie theatres that used to be on Main Street. From its' dull exterior, you would never guess it was built in 1914, when it was called the National. Later it became Gore's National and in 1923, the Regent No 1.
Check out the previous blog entry: Broadway Theatre District Los Angeles - March 12, 2010. I've also posted a YouTube movie: