I’ve Never Hated Anyone As Much As I Love You

SepterheadSepterhedSepterhedSepterhed

It’s odd how cities like New York and Boston that are both contained within defined boundaries have also both maintained their early architecture.  Here, our metropolis continues to push out and yet buildings go up and down faster than even our neighborhoods’ populations change.  So, my most recent hypothesis about the Angelino identity is that we are a people forced to find comfort in a world where everything’s ephemeral.

I loved this wall.  I still have to buck-up my hypothesized Angelino-ness to help reconcile with this loss every time I drive by. But if I could just buck-up my inner-Capitalist, I could afford to buy my very own Septerhed and hang it in my bedroom.

Luckily, I can peruse Septerhed’s work for free here: http://www.septerhed.com/

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CicLAvia

CicLAviaCicLAviaCicLAviaCicLAvia

“We’ve got the ocean, got the babes/ Got the sun, we’ve got the waves/ This is the only place for me,” Best Coast blasted over Spring as a flash dance mob line danced across the steps of City Hall… Back on the bike toward the Historic Bank District, and it’s bikes as far as the eye can see.

The thing about a bicycle is that it’s like floating on a magical transportation device. A bike evokes an inexplicable sense of childlike playfulness. There’s a reason why the apocalyptic father of sci-fi, H.G. Wells, is known to have said, “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”

But, the impetus behind CicLAvia was not to urge adults to rediscover their innocence.  It was to urge car drivers to get out of their cars.  In the 1970’s, Bogota, Colombia, was a traffic nightmare.  In response, some members of the government and some from the community got together to try closing down the streets to cars.  By 1982, it became a weekly event in Bogota and has since spread to over 100 cities all over the world.  Current advocates for the project purport increased cycling to alleviate traffic and fight the obesity epidemic.  Quite the feat for two wheels and some aluminum!

Last Sunday’s event was the fifth installment in Los Angeles, drawing over 100,000 people.  Rumors have it that CicLAvia might become a monthly event.  So, it’s not too late to get a bike and join the party.

For more information, check here: http://www.ciclavia.org/

Flowered Shoefiti

Stuffed Animals on Telephone WiresStuffed Animals on Telephone WiresFlower pot shoe flingingFlower pot shoe flinging

There used to be these rather disturbing stuffed animals hung on telephone wires across the Eastside linked to the ice cream truck, Hearts Challenger, but recently they seem to be pleasantly replaced with flower-pot shoefiti.  The shoes are not only a friendlier gesture than the warrior-faced animals, but it’s also a kind repurposing of the shoe flinging practice traditionally linked with bullying, turf wars, and drug houses.

Anyone know who’s doing this?

Bradbury Building

Bradbury BuildingBradbury BuildingBradbury BuildingBradbury Building

This George Wyman creation cost over $500,000 to build… in 1893. Talking about its marble floors, open cage elevators, and skylight ceiling cannot translate how neat it is inside. It’s no wonder Hollywood has made this building a set in several films including, but not limited to, Blade Runner, Chinatown, and (500) Days of Summer. It’s still in use, so visitors are only allowed on the first floor. But, the Los Angeles Conservancy offers tours of the building on Saturdays, for more info check here: http://www.laconservancy.org/tours/downtown/bradbury.php

Roxy Paine – “Erratic”

Roxy Paine - ErraticRoxy Paine - Erratic

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.  So, why then are you, yet again, stuck in traffic in Beverly Hills on Big Santa Monica Blvd.? At least, this is what you’re asking yourself when you’re running late, all the radio stations are playing commercials, there’s a cop right behind you, and you look out the window to see that Beverly Hills has curated a steel pile of poop.

Well, kind of. Roxy Paine is an American sculptor who is known for his “dendroid” sculptures that are like trees, but made of steel.  He often replicates nature in his work, which he then refers to with loose fitting titles like Distillation and Defunct. This piece, Erratic, actually refers to a geological anomaly where a boulder makes a home somewhere it’s not supposed to be by doing something like hitching a ride on an iceberg in a prehistoric flood.

Paine’s works highlight our struggle to find balance between the natural and the unnatural.  This steel boulder in Beverly Gardens Park is no exception.  Unless you think it looks like a pile of poop, in which case, it still invokes an uncomfortable reaction, just not one that toys with the complexities of being a human in 2012.

Pasadena City College Flea Market

Pasadena City College Flea MarketPasadena City College Flea Market

Pasadena City College Flea MarketPasadena City College Flea Market

The best way to talk about the Pasadena Community College Flea Market might be to explain what it’s not.  It’s not outside, so the sun doesn’t turn you into the Wicked Witch of the West. It doesn’t charge you to enter.  It’s also not pretentious – nobody frowns on you for not knowing the difference between a midcentury modern and contemporary end table.  But mostly, it’s not overwhelming.  Because it takes up several floors of a parking lot, you can’t see everything at once.  Even though there are over 500 vendors, it’s more of a mosey than a mission.

For more information about the Pasadena Community College Flea Market, check here: http://www.pasadena.edu/fleamarket/

Deep Creek Hot Springs

Deep Creek Hot SpringsDeep Creek Hot SpringsDeep Creek Hot SpringsDeep Creek Hot Springs

When Angelenos leave town on the 15 searching for nudity, they’re normally going to Vegas.  But, one only needs to drive to Hesperia to find these nude bathing pools.  That is, one gets off the freeway in Hesperia and then drives another 20 miles or so, 6+ of which are on a dirt road.  Also, once you park, it’s still another 2 mile hike down to Deep Creek.  Most importantly, the Deep Creek Volunteers remind us that “nude is not lewd,” which is to say, there are no poles, no pasties, and no private rooms.  It’s kind of like how Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”  Well, there were a lot of women in very hot water during my visit to these hot springs and all of them were wearing their bathing suits.  Sometimes, it’s just nice to know that if you have a burning desire to take off all your clothes, you won’t get arrested.

I’m a firm believer that hot springs are always enjoyable, but the best part about this trip is the landscape.  You start in a Joshua Tree speckled desert, you work your way across a hillside covered with juniper and sage, and then you reach a portion of the 23-mile Deep Creek.  I don’t know where the creek begins or how, even after a dry summer, there is still water flowing.  But, there’s no wonder the Forest Service reports, “Deep Creek supports the greatest diversity of wildlife habitats of any drainage on the San Bernardino National Forest.”

For more information about these springs, check here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/sbnf/recreation/hiking/recarea?recid=34152&actid=50

Silk Floss Tree

Silk Floss TreeSilk Floss TreeSilk Floss Tree

If I told you it has a green stem and thorns, you’d call it a rose bush.  If I told you it makes silk, you might call it a worm.  And if I said it’s South American with extremely flashy pink flowers, I don’t know, maybe you’d call it a flamenco dancer? Either way, it is none of these things.

The Silk Floss Tree is perhaps one of the most unusual specimens in Los Angeles, but it is not unusual to see them lining our streets.   Though I’ve chosen to point out how they are strange, we have chosen them because they do exactly what we want them to do… Just when you fear summer is winding down and fall is setting in, the Silk Floss’s flowers burst onto the scene. How can you not love this late bloomer?

Gold Medallion Tree

Gold Medallion TreeGold Medallion TreeGold Medallion Tree

Though sociologists and world peace optimists might watch the Olympics to witness a global community, most of us sit glued to the television for 2 weeks to witness the rewards of ultimate athleticism.  Since very few of us are willing to completely surrender our lives to becoming the very best, we must watch others win the gold medal instead.  Us laymen must settle for charming bundles of yellow flowers presented to us by the Gold Medallion tree.  We might not get bragging rights, but we do get butterflies and drought tolerant growing conditions.

Barnsdall Art Park

Barnsdall Art ParkBarnsdall Art ParkBarnsdall Art ParkBarnsdall Art Park

The question: How many public organizations does it take to maintain 11-acres of cultural heritage and activity? Let’s count…

The City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) holds reigns over programming in Barnsdall Gallery Theatre and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.  The public can rent the theatre to curate our own performances, while the city curates the gallery shows with a focus on mid-career artists based in Southern California.

The DCA is not alone in gallery management; the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Associates is a non-profit that helps with exhibitions, publications, and educational programs.  In addition, current exhibits like “MADE IN LA” have curatorial assistance from LAXART and the Hammer Museum.  Since these latter organizations are more a one-off deal, we won’t count them.  We’re at 2.

There’s the Barnsdall Art Center, which provides art classes for adults through the Barnsdall Art Center Student Advisory Committee (BACSAC).  The Friends of the Junior Arts Center provides art classes for the youth.  We’re at 4.

We can’t forget about the park’s anchor, the Hollyhock House.  The house was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles project, and it sits atop Olive Hill with humility as it attracts attention from historians and tourists alike.  It’s basic operations are assisted by the Friends of the Hollyhock House, but the current restoration project is primarily being funded with the assistance of Project Restore, a non-profit devoted to preserving architecture of cultural fabric.  Now we’re at 6.

The Wednesday farmers market is produced by Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), the same non-profit that runs the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. 7.

There’s the overarching Barnsdall Art Park Foundation, a general advocacy organization trying to streamline all the efforts of the organizations listed above.  8.

Finally, since this whole hill is a city park, we shan’t leave out LA Department of Parks and Recreation. So, folks, I count 9 public organizations.  That’s almost 1 per acre.  No wonder this park has so much to offer.

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