Friday, February 26, 2016
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
Main sitting room
The cruise ship Carnival Inspiration
View from the sitting room
Sunrise on the harbor
Friday, February 19, 2016
Tim entering Rain Room
Waiting on line to get in
Karen and me wandering around, snapping photos
Me staying amazingly dry
Bird's-eye view of Metropolis II from 2d floor
Monday, February 15, 2016
Eichler home: poolside detail
We bought tickets for this year’s Modernism Week as soon as we decided to retire. We don’t go every year; but when we do, we always have a great time. Fascinating architectural tours, fabulous fashion, and sunny Palm Springs weather—what’s not to love?
A ten-day-long celebration of everything mid-20th-century, Modernism Week has become quite the popular annual event, with enthusiasts flying in from all over the country. Most tickets have to be purchased well in advance and hotels booked months ago. We made our reservations in October.
Although we’ve attended many different tours and lectures over the years, no two years are ever alike. This time we went on four architectural tours, Saturday and Sunday, and danced the night away on Friday. No wonder we’re so tired today! (Click on images below to enlarge.)
Our first event of the weekend: a tiki cocktail party
fundraiser, hosted by our favorite artist Shag. Tim
drinking something tropical.
A live band, the Martini Kings, provided hip retro
dance music. (Album cover designed by Shag.)
Breakfast the next morning at Sherman's deli, one of
the most famous restaurants in Palm Springs
The 8 o'clock rule: if you want to be seated right away
for breakfast, you've got to get there by 8AM. Totally
And the desserts are outrageous, too
The first tour of the weekend: Sunmor Estates, so-called
because in the winter the neighborhood, located east of
downtown P.S., gets an hour more sunshine. The 1600-
square-foot homes were built in the 1950s/60s on a former
WWII airbase. Today, many of them are vacation rentals.
(Interior: living room.)
Fabulous vintage mirror
Wall art: retro design
Poolside—turquoise, chartreuse and orange were all the rage
Backyard kitsch—I want one!
Second tour: new homes built from old Eichler
blueprints. Highly controversial, but, boy, would
we love to own one! Does anyone have a spare
million dollars to loan us?
Vintage cars added to the fun. Cherry 1960 Ford Falcon
wagon (like my very first car) in front of an Eichler reboot.
Cool Mad Men exhibit at Modernism Week HQ
Props and costumes from the TV show
The highlight of the weekend: Merito Manor tour. A
small complex (10 units) of downtown apartments,
recently renovated as condos—absolutely fabulous!
Many of the units are vacation rentals
Exterior: distinctive folded roof-line
Original space-age (1961) front doorknob—love it!
Yet another turquoise interior
Although most are now gone, each Merito unit was built
with its own stone-covered wet bar. This one remains in
No trip to P.S. is complete without stopping
Nat Reed now has a gallery, too. After
years of dithering, I finally bought this
amazing rendition of Disneyland's
Monsanto House of the Future.
A long-forgotten hotel, designed by mid-century
architect John Lautner, was recently rediscovered and
lovingly renovated in Dessert Hot Springs, Palm
Springs' far less affluent neighbor community. Each
one-room unit includes a kitchenette and stylish
one-room unit includes a kitchenette and stylish
As soon as we pulled into town, we stopped at Lulu, one
of our favorite P.S. eateries, and made dinner
reservations for Sunday night, Valentine's. And lucky, too,
because the joint was packed last night!
Happy Valentine's Day!!
Sunday, February 07, 2016
We love neon. It’s colorful, technologically fascinating and, of course, magnificently retro. In recent years, L.A. has undergone something of a neon renaissance, with local businesses reactivating many of the area’s most iconic—and spectacular—signs, including Culver City’s fabulous Helms Bakery neon.
One of the first things we did, when we moved back to L.A. in the mid-90s, was join the Museum of Neon Art (MONA), which in those days was located downtown. It housed well-known, but discarded, signs of yore and was a wonderful slice of yesterday.
New museum greeter
Neon clocks for sale in the gift shop
Old (new?) clock
Last night, MONA reopened on trendy Brand Blvd. in Glendale. The museum had been closed for several years, fundraising and renovating its new site, so we were anxious to go. We were greeted by a 10-foot neon frog—wearing a tux and top hat, no less!—in the gift shop window. Past the gift shop was a room filled with refreshments. Down the hall from there was the main exhibit room, where a string band—with neon instruments!—was setting up to play.
Wall art and neon musical instruments
One of the more fun new pieces
Another interesting new piece: neon overlaid on
depiction of indigenous people
The room was filled with new art that was interesting and, in some cases, even fun. But only a handful of the museum’s older holdings were on display—where was the Brown Derby hat and Manny, Moe and Jack? To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement. Still, if you’re into neon, you’ve got to go. The gift shop itself is worth a quick trip.
Iconic image: Van de Kamp's
Chevrolet OK used cars
"Cameras" and "Win with Winning Wire"
Outside the museum: Clayton Plumbers