Sunday, April 17, 2016

Heritage Square Fashion Show and Tea

Period dressers and Natalie Meyer (right), 
who created most of the show costumes
In 1969, the L.A. Cultural Heritage Board created Heritage Square, a living history and architecture museum, where local Victorian-era houses and other buildings are collected and preserved. Visible from the Arroyo Seco (110) freeway, the colorful two-story homes are hard to miss as you're driving from downtown L.A. to Pasadena.

As attractive as Heritage Square is, I had never been. So when I got an email about a fashion show happening there yesterday, I contacted my friends Karen and Vicki, who had also never been, and bought tickets.

Sponsored by the Costumer's Guild West, the show featured fashions from the 17th up to the mid-20th centuries. Most of the outfits were created by Natalie Meyer, costumer for the Heritage Square Museum. Many audience members also dressed-up, making for quite a festive day. Tea and scones followed the show, before we toured two of the museum's restored homes. A third house, currently undergoing renovation, was stripped down to its slat walls and wood floors—fascinating to see.

Heritage Square Museum is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and most holiday Mondays, 11:30AM-4:30PM. Highly recommended if you're interested in L.A. history and/or late 19th-century architecture.

The day's fashions:

The homes:

 Mt. Pleasant house (1876)
Hale house (1887)
Lincoln Ave. Methodist Church (1897)
John J. Ford house (1887)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Theodore Payne Foundation tour 2016

After a three-year hiatus, we agreed--once again--to be part (house #11) of the Theodore Payne native plants garden tour, April 2. We hired a professional pruner to shape-up our gardens and filled in all backyard gaps with new plants and a small path of up-cycled concrete stepping stones. If I say so myself, our yards look especially glorious this spring. See for yourself what a little bit of rain can do:

 Ready for the hordes to descend--some 80 people
visited our gardens on tour day

Backyard: the calm before the storm

 Luckily, our octopus agaves (two!)
decided to bloom in time for the tour
and were both magnificent


Top of the blooming agave in the backyard
(note bees enjoying the blooms)

Base of the backyard agave, surrounded by burberry,
manzanita, and poppies

Backyard view through our leafing redbud


Baby blue eyes (detail)

Happy homeowners! (Yes, that's a brace
on my knee--long story . . .) 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

"Meet Me at Third and Fairfax"

L.A. landmark: Farmers Market clock tower
The L.A. City Historical Society hosted a special members-only tour of the Original Farmers Market yesterday. We were there, even though we've been to (what we call) "the Farmers"—one of our favorite L.A. haunts—a million times.

Since it was an historical society tour, the emphasis was on the history of the market, some of which I never knew or had long forgotten. For instance, I never knew the Gilmores—who owned and developed the land over 100 years ago—were originally dairy farmers. While drilling for water, they struck oil and immediately sold the cows! Soon after, Gilmore became the largest distributor of gasoline, west of the Mississippi, with some 3500 Gilmore gas stations servicing three states. The family built a stadium, a drive-in theater, and Gilmore bank on the surrounding land—all of which are now distant memories. But the market, created in 1934, has survived and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in L.A. We love it.

If you visit Farmers Market, be sure to look for the exhibits displayed throughout, chronicling the history of the area. You'll leave with a whole new appreciation of Los Angeles.

Replica of Gilmore gas station at the Market

Gasoline is clear, so Gilmore
added dye to give his fuel color

Gilmore mascot atop the gas station

Can't leave the Market without a Dupars pie!

And, of course, locally-grown produce

Can you find us enjoying some late lunch?

CBS Television City, the west coast's first TV studio, 
now sits where the old Gilmore stadium stood

Great video about the history of Farmers Market

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Desert Botanical Garden: Sonoran Light

Garden entrance: Chihuly structures at dusk
We just got back from Tempe, AZ, where we spent three days immersed in baseball spring training. As usual, we had a good time attending games and eating the local cuisine. (Click here for past spring training trips.) But, for me, this year's highlight was seeing "Sonoran Light," an evening art installation at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The artist, Bruce Munro, uses common recycled items and fiber-optic lights to create luminescent sculptures that change colors and engage the viewer. The most spectacular piece, called "Field of Light," features some 30,000 spheres (recycled Christmas ornaments?) illuminating the Garden Butte hillside, flowing, like lava, into the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail. In the dark, "Field of Light," in particular, seemed to go on for miles and was absolutely breath-taking.

Although "Field of Light" was impossible to capture with our cameras, we did manage to take some good photos of the other exhibits (click on images to enlarge):

"Water Towers," made with recycled water bottles

"Water Towers" detail 

Tim standing in front of a geodesic dome made of
water bottles

Dome detail

Enormous "Chindi" mobile with moon (left)

"Eden Bloom" with cactus in the background

A second "Eden Bloom"

A tiny portion of "Field of Light"

We also, of course, got to experience the garden's less flashy residents at night, enhancing the desert's dark mystery.

Boojum tree, a Garden favorite

Majestic saguaro

For more information about "Sonoran Light" and/or the Botanical Garden, please watch:


Friday, February 26, 2016

Catalina Island

Guest contributor Tim on Catalina Island
Earlier this week, Tim was asked to help-out with a remote broadcast at another nearby locale that included spending the night in a fabulous hotel. (Remember our tripto the Queen Mary last month?) I had another commitment and so didn’t get to go. But Tim did bring home a camera filled with glorious photos of the island. I’ll let him tell the rest:

Once again traveling to local getaways with “travel detective” Peter Greenberg—this time to Santa Catalina Island, located less than 30 miles from the mainland. Peter was broadcasting from the beautiful Inn on Mt. Ada above the small town of Avalon. The hillside mansion, where I also spent the night, was completed in 1921 and overlooks the town and its harbor. Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr., who bought Catalina Island in 1919, named the home after his wife, Ada.

I left from Long Beach at 10AM and sailed past
the Queen to open waters

 The Casino from the Catalina Express

View from the patio of the Inn 

 Entrance to the former Wrigley Mansion

 Dining terrace

Main sitting room
Dining room
Broadcast location
The cruise ship Carnival Inspiration
View from the sitting room
Sunrise on the harbor