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: